Don't Forget Your Boots

Meandering aimlessly around the GURPS landscape

Tag: Steampunk

Steampunk Monster Hunters #8: “Werewolves of the Orient Express”

We had another break in the regular schedule, and it looks like we’re going to have yet another one, coming up. Upheavals and changes in Real Life™️, you know.

Much accumulated experience was spent, with two big purchases standing out.

As previously mentioned, Mercy has been saving up for Ritual Adept, last session’s award gave her all the points she needed, and “conversations with an angel lead to increased enlightenment” gave an in-game explanation. Mercy has now effectively “multi-classed” to Sage/Witch. Ritual Adept removes a lot of the restrictions hampering free use of magic, but as we learned in this session, one’s Path skills are what determines what one can actually do, so I’m expecting Mercy’s skill levels to start leaping upwards next.

The other big expenditure came from Tommy Nine, who bought off Killjoy. When he fell into that haystack last session, something inside his mechanical workings broke. Whatever it was, it must have acted as some kind of inhibitor, because, when he woke up… he had regained access to his human emotions!

During the before-game conversation, a few economic points came up. First, that Nayler, being ridiculously wealthy, had been picking up the tab for the whole gang; second, that there wasn’t much reason for it, since all the PCs are either wealthy or non-human; third, that Nayler’s actual income is so high that he really can afford to throw money around like it’s nothing. This discussion had an impact on the party’s spending habits during the session.

Who’s Who

  • Esmerelda Wagstaff, Accidental Hero Inhuman Changeling; plucky boy hero
  • Lucretia Gasser Buttersnaps, Philanthropist Commando; not her first time on the front of a speeding locomotive
  • Margaret Anne Chapman, Accidental Hero Sleuth; child celebrity
  • Mercy Patton, Philanthropist Sage; knows the secrets of the universe
  • Nayler H. Knuer, Philanthropist Techie; unexpectedly adept with a sword
  • Tommy Nine, Operative Experiment, undercover mechanical man

What Happened

The group had a bit of downtime, at home in London, while Mercy questioned “Angelica”, the messenger angel in the form of a meek little girl who they had recently rescued from the faerie circus. During this time, Mercy had one of her “special” dreams, in which she was being chased through some dark, tunnel-like space, where an icy wind whistled, but she never caught sight of her pursuer.

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Steampunk Monster Hunters #7: “Oh, The Humanity”

We skipped a month, there, due to various illnesses and troubles, but this time, we had a full house. With Esmerelda, the changeling, captured and taken by the fae last session, we see the return of an old friend…

On the character development front, Mercy has been saving up for Ritual Adept, and Margaret invested a chunk of points in Magery and Path of Crossroads. We’re digging deeper into Ritual Path Magic, after a long time dabbling.

Who’s Who

  • Lucretia Gasser Buttersnaps, Philanthropist Commando, American gunslinger
  • Margaret Anne Chapman, Accidental Hero Sleuth, snoopy apprentice witch
  • Mercy Patton, Philanthropist Sage, nanny to the supernatural
  • Nayler H. Knuer, Philanthropist Techie, lapdog of evil
  • Octavious Buttersnaps, Hired Gun Psi, last seen on a quest to handle a werewolf bite
  • Tommy Nine, Operative Experiment, undercover mechanical man

What Happened

The dispirited survivors of last session’s defeat sailed through the night aboard Nayler’s oversized balloon, as he tended Margaret’s wounds from the fight with the lamia. They returned to London, docking at Mercy’s townhouse, where they met Mercy and Tommy Nine.

Tommy had only just returned the night before from a mission to the Continent, helping track down a faerie smuggling ring operating between the Middle East and Britain. His team had discovered clues pointing towards a connection with Russia, which was being followed up by other members of his organization. Due to his status as no more than a coveted piece of equipment, no one particularly noticed either his absence or his return.

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Steampunk Monster Hunters #6: “Diplomacy”

We return to the game after the holiday hiatus! A couple of players weren’t able to make it, and their absence was truly felt…

Who’s Who

  • Esmerelda Wagstaff, Accidental Hero Inhuman Changeling; learning how to apply her inhuman powers to make her way in the human world
  • Lucretia Gasser Buttersnaps, Philanthropist Commando; rough-and-ready American gunslinger and proud of it!
  • Margaret Anne Chapman, Accidental Hero Sleuth; “World’s Greatest Girl Detective” and aspiring witch
  • Nayler H. Knuer, Philanthropist Techie; half Sir Richard Francis Burton, half dissipated ’70’s rocker… with a balloon

What Happened

Mid-July, 1851, about a month after our heroes’ previous adventure, the group gathered on the beach at Brighton to meet with their contact from the Association, Charles Dickens. Lucretia brought along a giant wicker basket full of top-shelf wines and liquors, in case supplies ran low. Margaret brought along her Uncle Byron, who always enjoyed an opportunity to meet Mr Dickens. Taking advantage of the beach setting, Nayler wore his new, experimental bathing outfit. (He had taken advantage of downtime to come up with a couple of new inventions, including a concealed kerosene-powered backpack flamethrower and a holy water sprinkler.) Esmerelda, unsure of her place in the human world, chose to keep a low profile, and wrapped herself in glamour to appear as a remarkably large crab.

Mr Dickens raised his glass. “God save the Queen!”

Most of our heroes, Mr Dickens’ security entourage, nearby servants, and passers-by in all directions: “God save the Queen!”

Lucretia: “God bless America!”

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Steampunk Monster Hunters #5: “Under The Thames”

In the face of the terrible revelation at the end of last session, Lucretia insisted on going out for many drinks with “my husband Octavious!” (Esmerelda, the changeling, in less-than-convincing disguise), and so, neither appears in this session.

At one point, I thought one of the heroes was going to sacrifice all but one of the group, including themselves, in an attempt to contain the threat. I’m told that there were multiple instances of PCs expecting to die, if not suffer an outright TPK.

Who’s Who

  • Margaret Anne Chapman, Accidental Hero, Sleuth, “World’s Greatest Girl Detective”
  • Mercy Patton, Philanthropist Sage, magical governess
  • Nayler H. Knuer, Philanthropist Techie, inventor and balloonist
  • Tommy Nine, Operative Experiment, mechanical man

What Happened

On the evening of Saturday, June 14, 1851, somewhat after sundown, aboard Nayler’s baroque two-story balloon, our intrepid band of monster hunters were surprised to hear that Wormley and Minister had already placed the ghosts of Masham, the evil witch behind the Great Fire of London, and his assistant into living bodies earlier that morning. He had a twelve-hour head-start pursuing his no-doubt apocalyptic schemes!

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Steampunk Monster Hunters #3: “Breaking and Entering”

It’s been about two weeks, in game, since our last session. Octavious, worried about the possibility of becoming a werewolf, left to walk the earth in search of a cure, only to apparently come back just a few days later.

The Association has assigned Tommy Nine, a mechanical man with specialized expertise in hunting the fae, to the group. He is partly metal, well-dressed, carries a cane, and wears a bowler hat.

Who’s Who

  • Esmerelda Wagstaff, Accidental Hero Inhuman Changeling
  • Lucretia Gasser Buttersnaps, Philanthropist Commando
  • Margaret Anne Chapman, Accidental Hero, Sleuth, “World’s Greatest Girl Detective”
  • Mercy Patton, Philanthropist Sage
  • Nayler H. Knuer, Philanthropist Techie
  • Tommy Nine, Operative Experiment

What Happened

On the morning of Friday, June 13, 1851, our heroes gathered for a social occasion. Margaret’s Uncle Byron had invited everyone to brunch at a London cafe. The party was seated outside, in a street-side garden area. At the meal, Octavious made several uncharacteristic moves: chiefly, refusing alcohol.

As the party was eating, they were approached by a young woman who called out to Margaret with a familiar manner, identifying herself as “Bill Turpin”. Margaret recognized the name as a small-time counterfeiter who had appeared in one of her early cases. In that case, the authorities had never recovered the man’s set of counterfeiting plates, because they had failed to take him alive. When arrested, he had fled, and in his haste, fallen into some ropes and accidentally hung himself. The girl detective offered the woman a seat and a drink, gently soothing her and asking her to explain herself.

The woman told a rambling and almost incoherent story. She mentioned several particulars of the Turpin case which appeared to prove her to be the dead counterfeiter. When she mentioned Turpin’s favorite whiskey, Nayler pulled a pint of the very label from his pocket and poured the woman a stiff drink. This earned him a heartfelt blessing for his kindness.

She said that she had been “double-crossed”, that she had been offered a “second chance” but it had been a trick. She appeared to be ill. As the party watched, she muttered something about “losing her” and then seemed to go to sleep with her head on the table. Moments later, she snapped her head up, snarling and mouthing obscenities as she dove for Margaret’s throat!

Lucretia pulled one of her pistols and bashed the woman in the back of the head while Margaret danced away, using her grabbering gun to ascend out of easy reach. Nine struck at the woman’s legs with his iron-shod cane, but became entangled and thrown off-balance. Mercy followed Lucretia’s example, also pistol-whipping the crazed woman. Nayler threw an empty whiskey bottle at her head, to no avail. With her initial target out of reach, the woman went to attack Mercy, but was knocked out by an uppercut from Lucretia.

With the other cafe patrons and staff scattering from the sudden and unexpected violence, the party beat a hasty retreat. They wrapped the woman in Margaret’s net, then Nine tucked her under his arm and carried her away. They went to Mercy’s estate on the edge of London, as it was the closest of their homes.

Mercy and Nayler examined the woman. He was able to determine that she was still alive, while Mercy realized that despite appearances, the woman was not a zombie, but a victim. A part of her soul had been sucked out, leaving a vacuum that a ghost could easily slip into.

After some discussion, the party decided that they needed to call up the spirit of Bill Turpin to question him. Knowing Octavious was a medium, the party asked him to do the job, but he declined with a rambling excuse. Instead, Mercy offered to perform a ritual seance, but pointed out that she would need something connected to the spirit being sought.

Octavious offered to take care of the spiritual connection by himself, accepting Margaret’s copious notes about the Turpin case, but when he left, Margaret quietly followed and shadowed him. He briskly walked to a nearby alley, checking behind himself to make sure nobody was following. As soon as he was out of sight, his appearance was transformed, making him look like a policeman! As Margaret peered closely, she realized she could see through the veil of illusion to a thin, pale woman inside the bobby’s shell.

The mysterious, disguised woman went to Turpin’s wife’s address, where she knocked on the door. Between the knock and the door opening, Margaret slipped in under her arm, cheerfully joining in the deception. Turpin’s widow answered the door. Distracting the woman with patter and fast-talk, Margaret provided enough distraction to allow Esmerelda, the woman disguised as a bobby, to stealthily search for something connected to Bill Turpin. She found an etched souvenir shot glass, which she stealthily pocketed. The two said their goodbyes and exited, returning to Mercy’s house.

Meanwhile, Lucretia and Nayler tried to question the growling zombie. Nayler quickly grew bored when there were no easy results, so he wandered off to tinker with some gadgeteering project. Thus unencumbered by assistants and their questions, Lucretia was able to accomplish a miracle of interrogation, extracting the name “Ann Bell” from the howling, cursing beast. Mercy recognized the name as that of a semi-famous London athlete and lady wrestler.

When the party gathered again, Mercy’s projections for how the seance would go were not looking good. To help make up the large amounts of magical energy required, they decided they would engage in some animal sacrifice. Nayler stepped out and used some of his great wealth to buy a fine horse.

Back when Mercy had obtained the house, she had been on the lookout for a home with certain mystical properties, so she was lucky enough to have a minor place of power in her basement. They decided to hold the seance there, but this led to the question: how does one get a horse into a basement?

“Octavious” stepped up and displayed some uncharacteristic skill with animal handling, and got the horse in place. During this exercise, Nine and Nayler were able to see through her veil of glamour, but also decided not to say anything.

The midnight ritual was a harrowing experience, with everyone donating significant amounts of Fatigue and not a few Hit Points. Nayler whipped up a quick injection to restore his lost Fatigue. Candles flickered, shadows danced, nearly everybody got a nosebleed, and… they summoned the ghost of Bill Turpin for questioning.

Who was it that had double-crossed him? Wormley and Minister, he said. They had offered a second chance at life, but it didn’t “take”. (Mercy and Margaret, being followers of the local news, recognized the name “Wormley” from a newly-opened business, Wormley’s Physical Culture Salon.)

How did he know Ann? He didn’t, he said. She had been a victim in the plot.

Where were the hidden plates from his counterfeiting days? In life, he had hidden them behind a false panel in the belfry of a particular church, but he was certain they weren’t there any longer; he had offered their location as payment for his second chance at life.

Was there anything they could do for him? “Too late for me,” he replied, shaking the weights and chains of his mortal sins as he faded away, “look to yourself, that you might escape my terrible fate!”

Exhausted, the party found their beds. Margaret didn’t even make it that far, curling up in an overstuffed chain in Mercy’s office.

The next morning, several members of the party went to Ann’s address to investigate, while Mercy researched a cure for the afflicted woman.

After Esmerelda picked the lock to Ann’s house, the searchers found some paperwork linking Ann to Wormley’s Physical Culture Salon, as well as pocketing some cash, loose valuables, and keepsakes. In the meantime, Mercy was able to use magic to restore the missing pieces of Ann’s soul, so when the searchers returned, they found the victim of their petty pilfering sitting up and looking at them. They returned most of the stolen goods, claiming to have recovered them from thieves.

When questioned, Ann had described her last memories, of Atticus Wormley approaching her in a menacing fashion. She remarked upon the frightfulness of his eyes, and specifically called him a “vampire”. (At that, everybody sat up straight.)

Wondering if they would find others under Wormley’s thrall, they asked Ann if she knew anything about other victims. She was able to recall mention of the name “Orlando Masham” but no details. This name was familiar to Mercy from legends. He had been a devil worshipper and powerful witch who had tried to destroy London in the Great Fire of 1666, only to be killed by a desperate team of monster hunters.

The party deduced that they’re dealing with a “vampire” who can somehow turn people into vessels for easy possession by ghosts, who is looking to provide a body to an evil witch who wants to destroy all of London – their first potential apocalypse!

Seeing no other obvious leads, the party prepared to infiltrate Wormley’s Physical Culture Salon, with Lucretia leading the way as an accomplished athlete who might want to become a customer, while most of the others hang back, nearby but not obvious. Several members of the group have decided to load up with an expectation of violence.

To be continued…

Cool Point: Mercy, for the awesome feat of the seance

 

Steampunk Monster Hunters: Dramatis personæ

Character creation went extraordinarily well! So, who are our heroes?

Nayler H. Knuer: Philanthropist Techie

Part Richard Francis Burton, part Oscar Wilde, an inventor and airship pilot who has traveled the world seeking thrills and made a fortune along the way. He has encountered angels and demons, which he refers to indiscriminately as “jinn”. In between harrowing adventures, he amuses himself by using Medic! to self-medicate, a practice that has left him thin and jittery.

Knuer has Inventor! at 18-, giving him four wildcard points, and Medic! at 15-, giving one wildcard point. His signature invention is a steam-powered jetpack, though he also has his own airship.

In appearance, Knuer is similar to The Thin White Duke, but with more hair. He wears a monocle to make up for his nearsightedness.

The Buttersnaps, Lucretia Gasser and Octavious: Philanthropist Commando and Hired Gun Psi

A married couple who hunt monsters together, while drinking heavily. I gather that they’ve seen some stuff.

Lucretia is American, with all that implies. She’s outgoing, frequently drunk, favors dual pistols, and can shoot the wings off flies. She’s not only a Gunslinger, she also has Gun! at 19-, yielding 5 wildcard points.

She has, by a wide margin, the highest DX in the group. She also has a wide selection of gun-related Perks.

Octavious is an arrogant, alcoholic medium who is involved in a bitter feud with a clown demon. Being a psi, Octavious lacks wildcard skills, but he has much knowledge of spirits and the undead, and is a skilled hypnotist.

He has specialized in ESP and Psychokinesis. He can speak with spirits. He can also see both the past and the future. He’s able to protect himself and move small objects with his mind, but his most impressive psychokinetic power is his ability to draw the heat out of anything (or anyone) he concentrates on.

Margaret Anne Champman, Worlds Greatest Girl Detective: Accidental Hero Sleuth

A precocious 11-year-old girl, mature for her age, with startling powers of deduction. She solves mysteries, which her guardian, Uncle Byron, turns into a popular series of books. This has given her a helpful reputation.

Miss Champman is the most intelligent member of the group, by a very slim margin. She possesses an honest face, a unique steam-powered “grabbering gun”, Detective! at 18- giving three wildcard points, and Talker! at 17- for two wildcard points.

Mercy Patton: Philanthropist Sage

A proper British governess who enchants her bag to be bigger on the inside than the outside. (I suspect ties with a certain famous doctor.) She sometimes has dreams that come true.

Mercy is the group’s linguist, being versed in several ancient tongues. She has Lore! at 17-, yielding three wildcard points. Furthermore, she is well-versed in ritual magic, particularly the Paths of Crossroads, Magic, Matter, and Undead. She carries a combination rapier/umbrella.

“Unnamed Experiment”: Operative Experiment

Created by a shadowy organization, he’s a steampunk cyborg who is just starting to realize that he retains his free will, in spite of what his creators planned. He’ll be working with the heroes while simultaneously playing a dangerous game of do-they-know with his makers.

The experiment has several sensory enhancements, can hold his breath far longer than a normal human, and no longer feels fear. His chosen weapon is a cane, but he’s not above using firearms when necessary. He’s fairly rugged, having the highest ST and HT of the group.

My understanding is that he’s been set up to hunt fae. (Though the draft character sheet I’m reading claims demons – likely a misprint.)

 

If it weren’t for you meddling Yorkshiremen…

It looks like I might possibly have the ability to run a game again soon, sometime in the next couple of months, and I’m leaning towards GURPS Steampunk Monster Hunters. More on that later, as the situation develops.

For those who haven’t seen every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the genre might need some explanation. Mundane humanity is largely unaware of the monsters lurking in the darkness, and that’s really for the best. (Like Kay put it, “People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals…” and if they knew about what was really going on out there, they would just make a bad situation worse.) You are one of the heroes who stands between the monsters and the innocent people of the world.

How’s this done? Mostly through digging up information from dusty old tomes, interviewing witnesses, and roughing up henchmen to get ’em to talk.

“There’s a reason champions are known as ‘monster hunters’ and not ‘monster killers.’

GURPS Monster Hunters 2

This isn’t Dungeon Fantasy, where you can walk down stairs into any old basement and find monsters to slay. The focus here is on solving the mystery, on the investigation, with an eye towards ending the threat. That might mean learning the Big Bad’s weakness and laying an ambush, but it might also mean giving the dangerous ghost what it needs to move on to the afterlife, or putting a stop to the mining that’s upsetting the gnomes.

In an effort to orient the players, and to get my own head straight, I’m going to work through a contrived example.

The Plot

Orson Bonefat, the Earl of Blatherskite, has run up a series of gambling debts. Being an amateur student of magic, he concocts a plan to use magic to enrich himself.

A village near Bonefat’s estate would make an excellent site for a airship mooring tower. If only he could drive off the current inhabitants, he could buy up the land cheap and make a killing!

He has access to an ancient Roman template, a place of power, on his estate. Through his contacts in the mystic community, he obtains an enchanted item, a goblet useful as a magical tool for casting spells relating to the undead. He uses these assets to create charms to temporarily raise the dead as zombies – the “mindless servant” kind, not the ones that are compulsive brain-eaters.

Bonefat begins visiting the village from time to time, ostensibly to attend the cricket matches. On these visits, he surreptitiously uses one of his charms to raise the dead in the local cemetery. The charmed remains dig themselves out of their graves and go on a mindless rampage later that night. They aren’t looking to kill people – their mission is to scare folks off – but they’re not above roughing someone up if they get the chance. They mostly chase folks, bang on shutters, break into barns and chase the horses out, and so forth.

The Mystery

The basic questions to be answered are the Five W’s: who, what, when, where, and why.

Who? The Earl of Blatherskite. He’s made some effort to hide his involvement, but he’s also Status 5. As a witch, he doesn’t have any particular Supernatural Features or Compulsive Behaviors that might give him away. Rolls to deduce his identity start off with a -6 penalty. The champions will be rolling against Current Affairs or Area Knowledge.

What? The monsters are magically-created zombies, but the true enemy is effectively a rogue witch. Rolls concerning the zombies will be against Hidden Lore (Restless Undead), and since they’re simple creatures lacking the ability to conceal their nature, those deduction rolls will be at only -2. Roll to deduce the magician behind the scenes will be against Thaumatology, at a -4 thanks to Bonefat’s attempts to cover his tracks.

When? On the one hand, the zombie attacks coincide with Bonefat’s cricket outings; on the other, he needs to drive everybody out of the village and make his dirty deals before his debts come due. Thus, rolls about timing are at -4.

Where? Linking the zombies to the cemetery isn’t much of a leap, and it’s easy to figure out that the village is the target of whatever’s going on. Anyone trying to make the connection between the village or the cemetery and Bonefat’s home, on the other hand, would be rolling at -10, since he’s going out of his way to keep his evil plans out of his own back yard.

Why? The motive for the whole situation is Bonefat’s desire to pick up cheap land so he can get rich from the airship mooring scheme. This is a plan with a couple of levels, and he’s working through zombie minions, establishing a -10 modifier for “why” deductions.

The Champions

Mr Jones is an Accidental Hero/Sleuth. He has Intuition, 36 points in “Detective!” yielding 3 bonus points, and 24 points in “Talker!” giving 2 bonus points. (Bonus points can be used to buy successes, reduce damage, add things to the environment, etc., within the area covered by the wildcard skill.)

Madame Blake is a Chosen One/Psi, with Psychometry, Spirit Communication, and some minor telepathic powers. She also has Intuition, and a 15-point Destiny, which gives her 3 destiny points. Finally, she has 4 unspent character points saved from previous adventures. (Both destiny points and character points can be spent like bonus wildcard points, but without the restriction in scope.)

Miss Dinkley is a Hired Gun/Techie. She has 48 points in Inventor!, providing 4 bonus points, and 12 points in Science!, giving 1 bonus point. Though she specializes in technology and engineering, she’s been around and seen some things, so she’s picked up a few points in Thaumatology. She has 5 unspent points.

Herr Rogers is an Avenger/Warrior with Gigantism. He’s got a hefty 60 points in Blade! giving him 5 bonus points. He has a mastiff as an Ally.

The Investigation

The champions arrive at the village following a tip. They begin their investigation by asking around and interviewing the people of the village. While meeting several colorful local NPCs, they rapidly accumulate several clues. The first eyewitness mentions being chased by “Old Man Toulouse, what died last winter”, a “what” clue that gives Mr Jones a roll against Hidden Lore (Restless Undead) at -1, effective 15, a roll he immediately makes by 4. We’re dealing with slow zombies!

A second eyewitness mentions details about the zombies that offer another “what” clue. Miss Dinkley rolls against Thaumatology at an effective 12. A roll of 11 establishes that these zombies were animated by magic, likely cast by no more than one or two witches.

After a few more interviews, Mr Jones compares the accounts and gathers a “when” clue. A roll at -3 (-4 starting modifier, +1 for the clue) against “Detective!” gives an effective skill of 13, another easy roll, made by 3. The zombies always attack late in the evening after a cricket game, and the violence of the attacks seems to be increasing, indicating an increased sense of urgency to whatever purpose they serve.

This prompts the champions to speculate. Perhaps the witch behind the zombies is someone attending the cricket games?

After some diplomacy, the champions gain access to the scene of the last zombie attack, where a man was killed. Madame Blake uses her Spirit Communication to contact the lingering spirit of the dead victim. (Herr Rogers grumbles about spooky powers.) Questioning the victim reveals that he had been distracted on the night of his death after a business argument. With good roleplay and lucky Psychology rolls from several members of the team, this counts as both a “who” and a “why” clue, but nobody is able to make a deduction roll. Still, those clues will modify future rolls.

That’s not good enough for Mr Jones, who has really been enjoying being the best detective at the investigation. He taps his Intuition to get another try at that “who” deduction. Before the GM rolls, Mr Jones’ player mentions a willingness to devote 2 “Detective!” bonus points towards turning a regular success into a critical success. The GM rolls an 11, just enough for a success. After conversion to a critical success, that’s enough to reveal Orson Bonefat by name!

Mr Jones makes an intuitive leap. The ghost’s description of the circumstances before his death, plus various incidental pieces of information gathered in previous interviews, points towards Bonefat as the Big Bad. But why?

… and the question of why matters, since Bonefat is a living human being. Nobody makes too much fuss when you chop up a zombie or stake a vampire who “died” two hundred years ago, but they tend to take active interest when a bunch of scruffy murder-hobos bust in and chop the head off a member of the peerage. No fair foiling the plot by murdering humans. Herr Rogers curses with feeling.

Well, if the champions can’t get a stand-up fight, they’ll settle for a caper. They pull off a complex series of actions that puts Miss Dinkley in Bonefat’s private study. There, she goes through his personal papers, using Administration to uncover financial records, a “why” clue. She uses a couple of unspent character points to make sure it’s a good clue, worth +2 to deduction rolls. Still, nobody makes the deduction roll. Even with a couple of clues, a -10 is hard to overcome.

As the team goes over the purloined papers, Madame Blake uses her own Intuition for a second chance, and offers to use all three of her destiny points to make this roll count. The roll fails, but 3 points is enough to turn that into a critical success. She puts together several lines in a ledger and puts together the whole plot. A few nights of bad luck led to an unexpected debt. Favors were called in, but too little, too late. Payments to buy an antique Celtic goblet, just before the first appearance of the zombies. Speculation in the airship business. Notes on the need for a local mooring tower. Property purchases, and offers made on other plots.

With the whole plot revealed, the champions come up with a solution that might not require an unacceptable level of anti-social behavior. With a little more investigation into Bonefat’s estates, the teams turns up a “where” clue and locates the place where Bonefat keeps the enchanted goblet: an old Roman ruin in a quiet corner of his estate.

Finally in his element, Herr Rogers takes the lead. The team loads up for a fight, sneaks onto Bonefat’s estate, and approaches the ruin. There, they encounter a party of slow zombies defending the goblet, and it turns into a fight scene. Rogers spends most of his bonus points being awesome in the battle. In the end, the zombies are put down, and the goblet destroyed.

As a final touch, the next day, Mr Jones calls upon the Earl. In a diplomatic way, he takes responsibility for the destruction of the goblet and Bonefat’s zombie minions, and politely communicates that the team will be keeping an eye on him in the future. No more evil magic, or they will take certain unspecified but ominous “steps”.

And then it’s off to Paris, to see about these reports of a rogue gorilla…

 

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