Thaemor Horror Part3 - Hell Hath No Fury1

This is where I started taking more notes on actual Conversations between the characters.  Once I told the players about the nature of this adventure, they decided to get really cinematic with their actions and conversations.  Made the whole game that much more interesting to me.  When I wrote the notes out it surprised me that it was SO much more like a British period drama than a RPG.  I thought it was really fun.  I hope they keep it up. 

This adventure started life as Hell Hath No Fury a penny dreadful adventure for The Imperial Age.  Still, since I cannot leave anything alone it has been heavily modified for system (obviously), setting and our playstyle. 

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  • It took a week or so to get back to civilization.  Home to city of Wrex, and then to a lively local public house called the Saracen’s Head, not far from the home of Lady Marne.  The group begins their survival celebration early regaling each other and the pub patrons with the stories trials and tribulations of their trek and ordeal in the orange sponge caves of the obelisk.  That is until a well-dressed young man, looking worried, harried and somewhat relieved enters the pub and spies the group.  Not that they are attempting nor succeeding in being inconspicuous.  A discreet nod in Lady Marne’s direction tells her to look at the newcomer, whom she recognizes.

    “Gordon Lew!  Why is has been absolute ages, Come! Sit! Join Us!  Everyone, This is the Honourable Gordon Lew, Youngest son of the Baron of Dearborn. ”

    “I do thank you, but I have to ask you something on behalf of my father and then I must go… I can stay for a drink though.  Have you seen the papers today?”

    “Why, no, dear boy, we just got back into town this morning, we’ve not even unpacked from our trip!”  Hortence said waving to the serving girl to bring another round.

    “I regret that I have inform you as well, My brother, Justin, was murdered last night.”

    “Oh, that is a shame. I’m so sorry”

    “Apparently he was strangled in his study.  We’ve had the local constables out to the manor, but father felt that it would be better if there was a more … private investigation, more discreet.  And when he heard that you had gotten back to Wrex, he sent me to ask you to do this investigation for us and then to inform and fetch Margret.”

    “Margret?” asked Hypatia.

    “My Sister-in-Law, Justin’s wife”

    “Of Course, dear boy, I would be glad to help out ol’ Dearborn, I’ll need to take my team of course.”  Hortence proclaimed, giving each of her companions the knowing eye, to keep their mouths shut.

    “Of course, Father and I have already secured seats on the next dirigible for you and our coachman Mr. Waite will be awaiting your arrival at the aeronaut’s pad, once you get to Dearborn Aldeia.”

    So, Tell us what happened, I’d hate to go blundering about without an inkling of the ‘what for’s and ‘why for’s”

    “Up, until the murder we were having a rather interesting evening.  Justin had invited Richard Coyle, over to join us for dinner.  Both at dinner and afterward, over brandy and cigars, Lord Cranston regaled us all with stories of his earlier explorations to the Isles of Gahn, Justin was especially interested in some of the ruins said to be on the southern islands; he believed that they might be the remnants of the Empire of Prester.  Lord Cranston assured him that he could have an expedition ready by the end of the month.  After Lord Coyle departed, Justin was very exited.  Father took a large interest in the expedition as well and the two of them continued to discuss the matter long into the evening.  Afterward As Justin is wont, he locked himself in his study to write.

    The murder took place around 12 o’ clock.  Archanis Chay, our butler, was bringing up a glass of milk to father when he heard Justin exclaim his wife’s name followed by a struggle.  By the time Mr. Chay unlocked the door and burst inside, the assailant was gone and my brother was sitting in his desk chair, dead.  Mr. Chay rushed to the exterior study doors, but they were locked from the inside.  There was just no way that an assailant had time to strangle my brother and cover his escape.”

    The group stayed quiet for a moment, and allowed Gordon to compose himself before Lady Marne broke the silence.    

    “I know that it is rather crass, Gordon, but for all of this to be seen as on the up-and-up, we’ll have to ask for an investigator’s fee… you’ll, of course, be provided with a receipt.” Lady Marne says almost embarrassedly.

    “Yes, father thought as much as well.  I was to offer you a hundred shin for your trouble.”

    “Well, done and done then, well go back to the house to grab a few things and be off.” Hortence proclaimed matter-of-factly.

    “Um, one question though, if you don’t mind… Gordon.  May I call you Gordon?” Zeta asks, and the young man nods, “Why, is Ms. Margret in the city instead of in Dearborn?”

    “She says that the country air does not agree with her, so she has been staying at our Belgrav House here in the city.”

    After waiting for Gordon Lew to leave, the group falls on themselves discussing the events and their plans. 

    “Do you think they’ll have interesting things at Dearborn?”  Hypatia asked with a dreamy look in her eyes.  It had been more than a week that she had been able to comfortably work on her Numenera, and she was starting to get a little twitchy.

    “The Lews have been the nobles of Dearborn for simply ages, I imagine that the place is stacked with stuff.  As I recall when I was there with my Bruce, it was doing well for itself in that regard.” Hortence took a swallow of her beer. “I’m pretty sure that some small things could go missing without too much fuss.”

    “And… the Library?” Malik asked, piping up for the first time since Gordon entered the pub.

    “One of the best in the county, I believe.”

    With a contemplative look, Diz took a swallow of his beer staring at the ceiling beams and finally said, “You think it could have been that Chay fellow?  I mean he was the first to find the body, and raise the alarm.”  This startled everyone from their larcenous thoughts and they just stared at the Glaive.  “What?” he asked as soon as he noticed all the eyes were on him, “Well, I guess it could have been the wife or even the father instead.”

    “Well, maybe it was revenge for stealing someone else’s discovery.  That would eliminate the family.”  Malik added.

    “What if it was someone that exists partially out of phase?  I mean that would let them in through the locked doors, right?” Zeta asked the group showing off her ‘not hand.’

    “I think it was the wife, she’s here in Wrex, right?  What if Justin was having an affair and she found out?  She would have had plenty of time to get back here after killing him.” Hypatia said around her beer.

    “Well we won’t find out by sitting around in our cups, let’s get going.” Lady Marne said finishing her beer and waving the serving girl down. 

  • Gordon Lew was indeed good to his word, there was a first class birth on the last dirigible of the day waiting for them.  The trip itself was uneventful and the dinner service was impeccable.  The Family Carriage was also waiting at the Dearborn Aldeia pad, as promised.

    Dearborn Manor is a modest (by upper class standards) country house that overlooks the aldeia.  It sits where an old world structure once stood and remnants of the construct still poke up here and there just beyond the gardens.  Broken hounds bark and bay at the carriage’s approach until hushed by an older man carrying a riding crop.  A smartly dressed varjellen stood waiting for the carriage as it pulled to a stop in front of the doors.

    “Welcome to Dearborn, I am Archanis Chay, his lordships butler.  He asked me to take you to the drawing room, this way please.”  The varjellen said gesturing to the front door.  Turning back to the carriage he added, “Mr. Poole, Mr. Waite I believe that is all for this evening.  Please tell Mr. Grady he can release the hounds now.”

    “Right, sir.  Come along young Poole these beasts aren’t going to put themselves away.” the coachman answered.

    The group is escorted to a comfortably appointed drawing room, with more than enough places to sit.  Refreshments in hand, they did not have long to wait before Hubert Lew, Baron of Dearborn limped into the room.  The older, portly man leaned heavily on his cane as he made his way to one of the wingback chairs by the fireplace.

    “Thank you all for coming on the spur of the moment.  It’s getting late, so I suppose I should get down to business.  I’ve had Archanis prepare some rooms to use while you’re here.  And of course every courtesy will be extended to for your investigation.  While the constable has already visited us, I fear that he was most perplexed by the circumstances of my son’s murder.  While I am certain that the Dearborn Constabulary will do the best that they can, I thought that a private investigation might prove more fruitful.  I believe Gordon already spoke to you about this.  As much as it pains me that Justin was murdered, I am furious and concerned that someone was able to break into my house, murder Justin, and leave without a trace.  I believe that we continue to be in danger until the culprit and his methods are discovered.

    “Hubert, what’s this about Margret living in Wrex, while Justin is still here?”  Hortence demanded.

    “Wha..? How did you?  Her disposition has no bearing on the matter at hand!”  Lord Hubert said raising his voice to speak over Lady Marne. 

    “How are we supposed to properly investigate this matter if you aren’t going to be forthcoming with needed information?” Lady Marne asked, shouting it over the baron.

    “I can assure you, Lady Marne, that woman has nothing on this in any way!” the baron shouted back, his face growing more florid with each passing moment.

    “Alright, well I guess we should go see the scene of the crime.” Hortence said as sweetly as possible, standing up.  Giving the baron a stiff smile as if to say ‘this isn’t over’ set her drink down on the sideboard.  The others nodded quickly and following suit deposited their unfinished drinks on the sideboard as well. 

    Archanis, whom had been standing at the back of the room, opened the door so the group could file out.  “This, way please.”

    Lady Marne, the last one out of the room spares a look back at the baron, clearly distressed, had lit his pipe and sunk deeply into his chair.  Its wings hiding his face.

    The study, they discovered was a fairly large room lined with bookshelves, a few comfortable chairs, a large desk and a reclining couch that overlooks a pair of glass doors that open to the patio and the gardens. 

    “It is just as it was, when I found Master Justin.  When the constable came through he was just as fastidious about not changing or moving anything.  And it has been locked since Constable Davison left.”  Archanis stated and stepped to the side of the door.

    “Who else has a key?” Hypatia asked as she moved past the Varjellen, entering the room.

    “Only the Baron and I.  I made sure the menial automatons have not entered either.”

    The team spreads out around the room.  Diz looks at the floor around the glass doors, and found there to be a lack scuffs or dirt to indicate someone had come in that way.  He also double checked the lock on the door was still serviceable, it was.  Malik went straight to the book shelves on either side of the large desk looking for something out of place, and more than slightly interested Justin’s research.  Hypatia started by looking near the desk, and found a pen on the floor, though reaching for it she then spotted a crumpled piece of paper under one of the chairs by the fireplace.  Nearly directly behind the desk chair if someone were sitting at the desk.

    Hypatia brushed the paper on the desk as she stood up to cross the room, drawing Hortence’s attention to the desk itself.  A beast of a desk, five feet of chestnut colored wood, littered with all the accoutrement needed to write, with nothing written.  Hortence called Zeta over to look at the desk.  Both noticed the blank page had no impressions on it so it, moving it they found an ink splotch on the desk mat that the blank page had been hiding.  Hortence spotted Hypatia had found something and called Archanis over.

  • “How was Justin’s body when you found it?”  She asked.

    “He was slumped back in the chair here.”

    “Back?  Not forward?” Zeta added.

    “No, definitely back.”

    Hypatia had finally retrieved the crumpled sheet.  She was in the process of reading it when Zeta asked. “Are you in charge of all the silver? I mean would you notice if any was missing?”

    Clearly confused by the question, he answered “Yes, and yes…”

    “How? Is there a list or something?”

    “I’m sure the Menials would alert me if a piece was missing.”

    Stuffing the paper in her pocket and giving Hortence a slight nod, Hypatia turned her attention to the fireplace.  And found nothing but ashes.  If something was burned in there, besides wood, it was pretty well destroyed, she concluded.

    Hortence, walked around gathering everyone and then announced that they had probably done enough in the study.

    “Where is Justin now?” She asked.

    “We moved him to the family crypt.  Lord Lew thought that you might want to see him before he was prepared.”

    “I know that it is late but, if you would show us the way, I think we should see him now.”  Hortence told the butler, “That way you can take him to be prepared tomorrow.”

    The family crypt was a small unadorned chamber under the main house.  Glowglobes mounted to the sconces came to life as the Archanis opened the door and led the group in.  Justin was lying on a slab close to the front of the long, chill room.  A simple linen sheet covered him. 

    Archanis left the group saying that he would meet them back in the foyer when they were finished.

    Waiting until the door closed behind the varjellen butler, Hypatia pulled out the crumpled note she had found under the chair, and handed to Zeta.  In short order, everyone had passed it to the next until returned, Hypatia was able to put it back in her pocket.

    It was the beginning of a letter:

    Darling,

    As much as it pains me to write this, I fear we cannot

    “It looked like it had been thrown at the fireplace but had bounced out, or didn’t quite make it.” Hypatia added.

    “Well, let’s see Justin”

    Diz pulled back the sheet, and others pulled a couple of glowglobes off their sconces to increase the light.  Marks and bruises on the body were minimal; they noted that there were no defensive bruises on his forearms.  The only marks of significance were the livid bruises on his neck.  A debate started about the positions your hands needed to be in to strangle someone.  Each position the group could come up with was then compared to the marks.  The group came to the consensus that Justin had been facing his small handed assailant.  Strangely, after some judicious poking, they also discovered that his throat had not been crushed during this process.

    “How do you do that?  I mean, you need a significant amount of pressure to cause bruises let alone strangle someone.  Even I have to apply some pressure on Malik’s throat just to demonstrate.”

    “Thanks Diz” Malik croaked, “I think they get it…  No really, let go”

    “Well, let’s go, maybe it will be clearer in the morning.”

    All agreed and they left the crypt.
  • There is a pub about 2 miles from my house called the 'Saracen's Head"!
  • edited October 2016
    This is great! I love the Downton Abbey / Upstairs Downstairs / Upper class speech - you really can have great fun with it.
    BTW - I don't speak like that (and am not offended!) I come from the Black Country, we have our own dialect and way of speaking. And although I live 7 miles away from Birmingham, please, never refer to us as Brummies. Birmingham is not, has not, and never will be, part of the Black Country.
    (This can cause some family issues - my wife is from Birmingham; my daughter was born in the QE hospital in Brum, but my son was born in Wordsley hospital in the Black Country!)
  • Susan, My wife and Lady Marne's player, says that she was thinking Hortence was more like Patricia Rutlidge's Hedy Winthrope, if Hedy could be bothered to get a title. 
    The Saracen's Head is a pub I got from another adventure that I was planning to use, just for continuity.  To know, now, that there is an actual real world place, makes it that much more amusing to me.
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