Space 1889: Play Report (Feb. 10, 2012)
- Mr. Batholomew Logan, Wanderer
- Sir Archibold Scroupe, Doctor
- Mr. Henry Reinbach, Entertainer
- Mr. John W. Booth, Assassin
- Mr. Heavyside, Big Game Hunter
Three weeks ago the heroes met in London as Professor Alfred Bottoms welcomed each of the heroes into his study shortly after they were invited to join the Explorer’s Society’s inner circle. Fine brandy and fragrant cigars followed.
Soon thereafter they were dispatched to the Libyan Desert to retrieve the famous Scroll of Anubis. It had been stolen from the Museum in Cairo, and the professor wanted it returned posthaste so his daughter, Esmeralda Bottoms, an antiquities expert, could examine it. Time was of the essence since the contact who sold the information to the professor subsequently turned up strangled in his hotel room. The professor chose to stake his reputation on these heroes — the Society’s newest recruits — to recover the scroll, thought to hold secrets that might be dangerous in the wrong hands.
As the heroes approached their goal — Fort Oublie, or in English, Fort Forgotten — things went horribly wrong. Sharp cracks of rifle fire echoed through the dry desert air as native Bedouin raiders attacked. The explorers were in a cluster of rocks about 200 yards from the west side of the fort. The camels were shot and left behind, along with most of their gear.
Seeing the nearby safety of Fort Oublie’s stone walls and the glint of rifles lining their battlements, the heroes made a dash for the fort. Angry chaps, the raiders continued to pursue the heroes, but their distance made the bullets fly wild.
As the party neared the fort, they saw the front gate was shut, but on one side a knotted rope hung from a crenellation to the ground.
Twilight made it difficult to see, but two members of the party saw among the crenellations what looked to be French Foreign Legionnaires guarding the wall, but none were firing. One person also spotted a hunched-over figure in the same uniform moving from soldier to soldier.
The raiders were closing fast, and from their shouts it appeared enemy reinforcements may be arriving. The party made their way to the knotted rope. Booth scrambled up the rope — he seemed to have a special gift for quickly evading pursuers! At the top of the wall he was surprised by a lunging, crazed legionnaire with horrible, bloodshot eyes and angry red splotches on his skin. He seemed swollen and larger sized than any normal man. The man appeared gravely wounded, but kept stabbing with bayoneted rifle screeching, “Die, scum!” Where a lesser man might have frozen at the horrific site, Booth remained unshaken and lept into action, parrying the bayonet attack by the deranged legionnaire and drawing his blade for the attack.
Other party members meanwhile scrambled up the rope to join Booth in the attack. As others scaled the wall, they heard other screeching cries throughout the fort’s interior, though none of the heroes could pinpointing the exact locations.
The crazed legionnaire proved a tough opponent. A masterful sword slice finally felled him, his decapitated head flying over the way as the last members of the party found their way up the rope. Heavyside pulled up the rope once all were up and took it upon himself to shoot into the swiftly gathering darkness. After a few shots, a death shriek from one of the encroaching raiders confirmed that one of Heavyside’s shot had hit home.
Scroupe took to examining the dead bodies. The grisly remains of legionnaires were pushed into each crenellation and another was propped up in the watchtower. The bodies are decomposing rapidly, and the doctor’s examination revealed that they all died from the same sickness that seems to have driven the first legionnaire mad.
Two more insane legionnaires loped towards the heroes across the wall, and more combat ensued.
The mindless legionnaires were more animals than men, and again proved tough opponents. Scroupe, his examination finished, twirled to join the attack, but slipped on the beheaded legionnaires blood and fell onto the sticky gore.
Heavyside took a wound but ignored it — he leaped into the fray despite the looming danger which would have daunted lesser men.
Once the two legionnaires are dispatched, the heroes see movement in one of the watchtowers, no doubt yet another crazed legionnaire. Booth ran towards the tower, his curiosity stronger than the urging of his companions to wait for assistance.
Scroupe and Logan descended ramps from the walls to investigate the howling and moaning inside the fort.
Scroupe investigated sounds coming from the stables. Entering one room of the stables he found a half-dozen camels who were clearly dehydrated but were otherwise normal.
Logan meanwhile entered another door which opened into the horse stables. Two horses screeched and moved as if to attach — they were swollen and had the same deranged look as the legionnaires. Between them was another demented legionnaire, this one some sort of officer, wielding saber and a pistol. He screeched as if he would soon attack.
Seeing there was nothing else of interest in the stable, Logan slammed the stable door shut, opening it again moments later and throwing a lit stick of dynamite into the howling room. Logan runs for cover as the explosion flung horse parts, wood splinters and other debris across the fort’s courtyard. A saber whipping end over end and landing near the well gave mute testimony to the deranged legionnaire officer’s fate.
Logan and Scroupe then made their way to the well at the center of the fort. There was an odd smell, which Scroupe’s medical training let him know was a dead body in the water. They worked the turnstile to pull the bucket (and the dead body lodged atop it) up for examination — it had a horribly decomposed legionnaire with the same illness as the others, and by its state was the longest dead body thus far discovered in the compound.
As our heroes confronted unknown menaces from a nearby barracks an unexplored room looking like perhaps the officer’s quarters, troubling questions remained. Had Booth successfully defeated the menace in the tower? Had Scroupe’s contact with the dead legionnaire’s blood left him infected? Why did the legionnaires turn into mad zombie-like creatures? Where is the missing Scroll of Anubis?
As the heroes pondered these questions, outside fanatical Bedouin raiders began to surround the fort.
Logan, Scroupe, Reinbach, Booth, Heavyside: 5 XP each (Beginner’s Luck House Rule)