Old School Roleplaying in McKinney, Texas

Space 1889: Play Report (Mar. 9, 2012)

The Characters:

  • Mr. Batholomew Logan, Wanderer
  • Sir Archibold Scroupe, Doctor
  • Mr. John W. Booth, Assassin
  • Mr. Heavyside, Big Game Hunter
  • Professor Albert Upthegrove, Archaeologist
  • Finn Murray, Sailor

Our story begins with the heroes investigating Fort Oublie. Encountering a zombie-like deranged legionnaire, they kill the former human, discovering from his diary that it was one Captain Winter, an American who had joined the Foreign Legion and was estranged from his wife and daughter Laura. On Winter’s desk is a gold locket with a photo of a dark haired, extremely attractive young lady; doubtless his daughter Laura with whom Winter had recently corresponded.

From the diary as well as the journal notes of another dead officer, the party deduces that Winter once commandeered an old, elaborate scroll case from a legionnaire named Dubois when he returned from a long patrol near Egypt. Dubois refused to divulge from whom or where the scroll was obtained, but Winter felt it was best to hold on to it.

According to the records, a week prior a French couple with the last name Bourgeois arrived and asked to examine the scroll. Winter permitted it, and was incensed when a pile of blood-red sand spilled out after Monsieur Bourgeois opened the case. Part of the scroll case broke, apparently due to its age. Apparently, the scroll in the case had been sealed for preservation. Captain Winter ordered Mr. Bourgeois to hand over the contents, and as he reached for the scroll case, he was struck from behind.

When Winter awoke, the visitors were gone with a quarter of the legionaries, most of the scroll case, and the scroll. Apparently they poisoned the well before they left, as a horrific contagion struck the men after morning meal. The sickness seemed to twist their minds.

Winter believed he might have been able to halt the epidemic, but a Bedouin raid forced him to mobilize all his remaining soldiers. There was no time to fight the infectious madness.

After reading Winter’s journal, the heroes notice that pieces of the scroll case remained. Scroupe gathers this and some strange red sand into specimen containers for later examination.

As the investigation wraps up, from the fort’s walls Heavyside continues to trade shots with the skirmishing locals outside the walls. The few Bedouins who survived the explosive damage of Heavyside’s elephant gun quickly flee after encountering the decapitated head of a zombie legionnaire.

Two members of the Explorer’s society (Professor Albert Upthegrove (an archaeologist and scientist) and Finn Murray (a sailor)) had been dispatched to aid the party after getting word local Bedouins were trailing the recently departed expedition. Seeing that the Bedouins had been routed, the new members of the party arrive and join the explorers inside Fort Oblie.

Soon thereafter the heroes depart the fort. Making their way through the burning desert to the nearest civilized outpost and on the trail of the French couple Bourgeois, they discover that the couple had departed for London. Boarding the next steamship for London, Scroupe continues his investigation, finding that the ancient marking were an ancient Martian tongue, and the sand was not of earthly origin.

The explorers then arrive at London to give their report to Professor Bottoms and to continue their pursuit of the French Couple. As the heroes ready to leave the steamer, Logan catches site of a hooded girl looking much like the woman in Winter’s locket. The girl consults a document, then melts into the crowd before the heroes can make their way onto the dock.

As the heroes check into their London hotel, Heavyside is handed a note by a boy who was hired as courier. It reads:

Dear Sir,

I would very much like to make your acquaintance. Please grant me the pleasure of a meeting me this evening at 7:00pm at the recently opened Savoy Hotel here in London. I have arranged a private dining suite for our conversation. Ask for “Laura.”

P.S. Tell no one of our rendezvous.

Heavyside tosses the note aside, but his companions retrieve the note and insist Heavyside make the rendezvous in order to see if Ms. Laura Winter has insights to the scrolls mystery, perhaps from correspondence from her father.

After his companions case the meeting place, Heavyside meets with Ms. Winter. She reveals she is an American agent who has received a warrant from the British government to meet with, interview, and (if applicable) extradite John W. Booth, who is suspected as being none other than the escaped assassin of President Lincoln (GM’s note: in the world of Space 1889, Lincoln’s killer escaped). Ms. Winter was able to trace Booth to Heavyside due to a past affiliation; Ms. Winter has no idea Booth is lurking outside the dining area.

After a strained conversation, Ms. Winter discovers that it is John Williams Booth, not John Wilkes Booth, who is the player’s companion. Ms. Winter (who is not much of an investigator it turns out) is bungling her first investigation. Moreover, she crumbles upon the revelation from the heroes that her father is dead.

Ms. Winter is made to believe that the French couple Bourgeois is responsible for her father’s death. Ms. Winter abandons her investigation of Booth and instead seeks to join the party to find the French couple and avenge her dead father.

The heroes conduct additional investigation (based on tips from Ms. Winter’s father’s correspondence) and research a clue about a signet ring worn by Mr. Bourgeois. The ring had a signet which bore the initials “H.C.”

The next day, the party (now including Ms. Winter) arrives at Professor Bottom’s lavish office. Between their own findings and the knowledge of Professor Bottom’s daughter, the heroes discovered that the markings on the scroll case fragment are duplicated on certain pieces of Martian pottery currently held at Syrtis Major on Mars. Professor Bottoms asked the heroes to leave for Mars to continue investigating the mystery of the scroll.

The heroes find the hotel where the French couple had stayed and discover the couple has recently departed, leaving behind much of their luggage after their lavish gambling and flashy (though brief) stay in London. Discovering that the French couple has left on a recent Ether Flyer bound for Syrtis Major, the heroes manage to secure a smaller, faster Ether Flyer and leave for Mars hoping to arrive at Syrtis Major before the French couple does, planning to investigate the French couple’s luggage en route.

Why was an ancient Martian scroll on Earth?

What nefarious plan does the French couple have in mind?

What do the “H.C.” initials on the signet ring mean?

Logan, Scroupe, Booth, Heavyside: 2 XP each
Murray, Upthegrove: 5 XP each (Beginner’s Luck House Rule)

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