The Haunted

Tong of the Black Scorpion
 

The build-up

Silas is plagued with dreams, an old man in robes appears, speaking to him, beseeching Silas to seek him out for enlightenment. Silas has been chosen.

Robbery at Palace Theatre Museum, a small golden dragon statue has been stolen. The only clue – a matchbook from the club Do-San in Shanghai. The vault was still secured from the inside, no apparent method of entering and leaving, other than perhaps mystical – hence the heroes are called in.

 

Lee, you have been following a European man you believe to be an undercover British Agent. He has been making inquiries along the docks, asking about the Tongs (not very smart). On the second day, you notice he is being followed by Tong assassins. Your orders are to observe only, not interfere, so you do nothing at first. When the man discovers he is being followed, a chase ensues, and you follow. You are about a half a block behind when the man ducks into an alley, closely followed by the assassins. You know he is out of luck, it is a dead-end. You speed up, hoping perhaps to help. Just as you close on the alley entrance there is a strange glow and when you enter, the alley appears to be empty. There are signs of a struggle, some blood drops from a fight, and you can sense a lingering taint of magic.

Inspector Barnes spots a beautiful young woman and child leaving an opium den he just raided. Inside the den, a European male stabbed to death. The blood trail leads to a solid wall. The only clue – paper’s marking the man as crew on a recent boat from Shanghai, China. The case is peculiar enough for Barnes to call in the heroes to study crime scene. He was worried this was another revenant case but isn’t sure. Silas can detect residual magic but its source is unfamiliar.

As the heroes return to the warehouse, they spy a young man running for his life, several men chasing him. Before the heroes can get close to help, the man is yanked into a carriage that was following and it speeds up to get away. The heroes pursue from another carriage. The chase winds through the streets into a dense fog, visibility almost zero. There is a strange glow, then the carriage breaks out of the heavy fog and crashes into the back of the carriage they were pursuing. The carriage is empty save for blood on the back seat and a strange dagger, composed of Cold Iron and something else.

This isn't London!

As the heroes walk thru the foggy docks, it is an unfamiliar area they appear to be in (actually Shanghai docks). As they emerge from a foggy alley onto a lit street they are surrounded by Shanghai Police and Inspector Li. The heroes do not have proper travel papers and the police have found the bloody carriage. They have been keeping an eye on this area hoping to track some Tong smugglers. The heroes are arrested and locked up awaiting communication from the British Embassy.

Whilst in the cell, Tong assassins materialize and attack. They are agents of the Black Scorpion Tong. It is a brutal fight, Kitty dispatches 2 (beheading one with his own sword) and Silas the last one. They search the bodies and discover a geomantic compass embossed with runes written out of blood. Silas determines the compass is used to teleport great distances using some sort of necromantic magic, but he is not sure how to make it work for him. They also take some weapons, preparing themselves for worse. Before the police return, the bodies dissolve due to some mystical power. Only the head which rolled outside the cell remains.

To the club

Lee Huang Chang presents himself at the police station with the proper paperwork to free the heroes. He takes them to the night club “Do-Shan” and intoroduces the owner Yue Han Woo (another agent of Golden Claw). He explains that somehow, the Tong of the Black Scorpion have mastered the art of traveling great distances via magic. They are using this power to strengthen their hold here in Shanghai as well as several European cities, particularly London. Their headquarters is known as the House of the Dragon but Golden Claw has been unable to determine where it is located. This mystical transport has made that harder. They are impressed with the compass that Silas shows them, explaining how it works. If they can figure out how to activate it, perhaps they can get to the House of the Dragon.

The private area of the club is attacked by a large force of Tong and Night Guard. They manage to overpower everyone in the room simply by threatening the many innocents in the club proper. None of the heroes want the blood of these innocents on their hand. The force uses a compass to transport all to the House of the Dragon, lair of Hsien-Ko and her number two, Kwok.

Silas, Lee and Kitty are lead before Hsien-Ko, the current leader of the Tong of the Black Scorpion. She is stunningly beautiful and apparently quite mad. She wants revenge for the death of her father, previous leader of the Tong, at the hand of some Englishman. She has joined forces with the Night Guard to further her agenda. She also demonstrates that she is the creator of the virus which has been causing the revenant plague across London. All they have experienced so far has been simple trials as she perfects the virus, modifying it to work as an airborne transmitted virus. Her testing is complete and she is ready for phase 2 of her diabolical plan. She shows the heroes the designs of her new airship and a bomb. The airship will transport and release the bomb over London, this will spread the revenant plague across most of the city, bringing it to its knees and ending the might of the British Empire.

She seems quite familiar with Silas and has brought him here to meet her personally. She wants him to pay for all he has done. Unfortunately, Silas has no clue who she is or what she is actually talking about. She summons some guards and reveals her other weapon, the Homunculus created by her father. The Homunculus remains on guard in the throne room, Hsien-Ko, Kwok, and Night Guard officers leave to board the airship, the plan is set in motion. Guards lead the three heroes off to be killed.

A surprising guest

No one realizes Inspector Li came along by accident, he secretly following the characters to the club and was caught in the effect of the compass transportation spell. He is following Silas, Lee, and Kitty as they are marched to their execution. As they enter a narrow hallway, Silas makes the first move, teleporting to front guard and disarming him. Lee and Kitty both move as well. And the fight is joined by Inspector Li in the rear. They quickly overcome the guards and chase after Hsien-Ko, behind them they can hear reinforcements and the Homunculus in pursuit.

They arrive into a vast hangar, the airship slowly rising up to through the opened roof. Silas realizes they are back in London! He has one more trick up his sleeve, yelling at the others to run and try and jump on the airship. He waits on the gangplank for the approaching Homunculus. As it charges at Silas, he calmly grabs the creature and teleports them both onto the bridge of the airship. Chaos ensues!

The remaining heroes race across the gangplank and leap into the air, trying to grab onto the airship. All but Inspector Li are successfully and they hear his scream as he falls to the city below. For they have now cleared the underground hangar and are cresting across the city towards the Thames and the heart of the city.

The fight

Silas is amidst the Tong fighters and Night Guard soldiers, bullets are flying and an angered Homunculus is tearing through everything. The bomb is centered on the bridge, a trapdoor release opened below it. Silas blasts a spell at the pilot, killing him outright, the corpse collapses across the wheel spinning the ship out of control – people go flying, some right out of the ship! Hsien-Ko is holding onto a panel for dear life, and Kwok is holding onto her.

A stray bullet penetrates the bomb and the gas begins to escape, immediately turning two guards into violent revenants – who tear into the flesh of their once comrades. Lee and Kitty have managed to climb to the outside of the bridge, taking potshots at villains trying to reach Silas.

Silas realizes they are running out of time, the gas is leaking and the ship must be taken down hard. He spies the frozen Thames below and knows what he has to do. Motioning for Lee and Kitty to close together, Silas clambers over to the wheel, Kitty and Lee shooting enemies out of his way. He grabs the wheel hard and directs the ship directly into the river. With little time left before the crash, Silas leaps across to his friends, grabbing onto them and teleporting to safety as the ship smashes through the ice, a huge fireball explosion tears through the sky and the ship slowly sinks below.

Aftermath

The fire and frozen river destroyed the virus, London is safe. But the revenant plague is still around, perhaps a cure will be found. Inspector Barnes leads the clean-up raid on the House of the Dragon. He also brings around a wet and nearly frozen Inspector Li to be identified by Silas. Their ally survived his fall when he tumbled into a non-frozen part of the Thames. The team has made some new allies and a new companion has joined them in the fight: Lee Huang Chang.

Silas has the compass for study, some new source books recovered from the House of the Dragon, and a dream that still plagues him.

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The Wild Hunt - End
the wrap up

Experience rewarded: 3


The current total is here.

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The Wild Hunt
it starts on a train

Our heroes have been tasked with assisting the police in a rather peculiar case, ghosts of the Wild Hunt are robbing trains on a particular route. The heroes are aboard a train, traveling through the area, tasked with seeking the truth. There have been several “incidents” along this particular train route. “Ghosts” have stopped the train, frightened the passengers, and personal items have disappeared.

Silas and Brian spent some time researching various legends of the Wild Hunt, it has been around for a very long time and pops up across many countries. Focusing on the local area surrounding the "train incidents" reveals an old legend going back years, an older husband, unloved younger bride, a young lover and several deaths. This suggests to Silas that there is some kernel of truth to the stories but ghosts from the Hunt do NOT rob trains. As far as the legends go, the Wild Hunt usually occurs over one night.

Aboard the train can be found:

  • Our heroes (Silas, Brian, and Kitty)
  • A mother and daughter – Miss Sally and little Amanda
  • The Conductor – Samuels
  • A travelling businessman – Lawrence Tilby

The Train

Φ 8 PM, shortly before nightfall, the train stops mysteriously just short of the station in the small village of Ebenburg. It is a typical small English village: a general store, pub, and postal clerk not far from the small station. A few farm houses visible from the train, at least a quarter mile away. No one seems overly alarmed, Samuels suggests they walk up to the station to make inquiries.

Φ Suddenly something reaches through the window and yanks Lawrence off the train. Horrible screams follow, crunching of bone, massive blood splatter, yet no body can be seen. Just on the outskirts of the light-spill from the train can be seen glowing figures accompanied by glowing hounds. There are two spectral figures on either side of the train with 2 dogs apiece. Little Amanda begins screaming with fright. She cannot tear her eyes from the gaping hole that was a window. Samuels is panicky, now more than ever suggesting they make for the station and safety.

Silas has other plans and leaving the passengers safely guarded by his compatriots, he heads to the train engine. There he discovers the engineer unconscious, signs of a blow to the back of the head. Again, not something a ghost would seemingly do. He also notices the rain begin to fall, quite heavily at that. Now the ghost of Tilby appears! Samuels is beside himself in fear.

Brian steps out and does his thing, he leaps from the train onto one of the "ghosts" and with great pleasure feels the breath escape from the man as they crash to the ground together! Definitely not a ghost. Kitty notices the "glowing" affect seems to be running and streaking in the rain and can just hear above the storm one of the ghosts cursing.

As lightning flashes about and the rains go heavier, the train slowly lurches forward as Silas engages the train. Now the ghosts are running alongside, trying to board the train. Two of the hounds seemed frightened of the storm and take off running. One manages to break its leash but not before entangling two of the ghosts who fall to the ground. One is screaming in pain as the make-up starts to run into his eyes. He buries his face into the mud, trying to relieve the pain.

Kitty calmly steps out, seeing two men bound, she secures it more tightly, the other two are now under Brian. She realizes that Tilby is missing. She takes off in the direction she hears crashing footsteps.

The Station

Φ Silas eases the train to a stop at the deserted station. Except for the lone lit lantern, there is no other sign of life. He also sees off in the distance, no lights from any farmhouse. Unusual as it is well past the time when they would be needed. The rest of the passengers join him in the little station. Brian follows soon after, tossing four bundled men into a corner. One is still yelling about the burning in his eyes.

Silas and Brian begin interrogating the prisoners, all who identify Tilby as the ringleader. And just at the moment, Tilby comes crashing through the door, thrown by Kitty, who is not happy she has gotten wet. Off in the distance, there is the baying of hounds! Something unnatural about that sound this time. Silas walks across the street to the pub, banging on the door for service and help. There is no answer, but he is sure there is someone on the other side. The baying hounds are here and these are definitely supernatural. These monsters are reanimated remains, driven by an unholy urge to hunt and kill. Their hides are dried and missing huge clumps of fur, and their desiccated lips are drawn back from their teeth in a permanent snarl.

Following close behind are 4 Huntsman. Former victims of the Hunt themselves, these undead are dragged back to life to serve the Master’s bidding. The Huntsmen are now little more than rotting zombies, each dressed appropriately to the time he was slain by the Hunt. The Huntsman surround the small station, one at each wall, they gesture and the hounds leap through the windows, attacking those within!

Silas rushes back across the street but climbs atop the coal carriage, looking for a better vantage point to see what is happening inside the chaotic station. He can see Tilby die as a hound tears out his throat, the head almost falling off. Another hound is biting at two of the tied up prisoners (Freddy and Danny) but somehow misses them. Brian smashes his fists through a hound that attacked him. Its body explodes into viscera and guts, splattering all over little Amanda and Kitty. Kitty, even more disgusted and pissed off now, blasts another hound with her gun. It too, explodes violently. Two magic bolts from Silas take care of the other two hounds.

The Huntsman fade slightly and walk right through the walls to attack. Brian engages one, Kitty another, and Silas continues to challenge the other two with his bolts. Of course our heroes prevail but in the chaos of the fight, no one notices little Amanda flee. Leaving the prisoners tied up, the heroes set off in the heavy rain to find Amanda. Silas reassures her mother, Sally, that they will save her little girl. Kitty may hate the rain but it aids her in tracking the girl. About an hour passes before they finally locate her. She is soaked through and feverish.

Brian picks her up and they return to the station. The prisoners are gone…and so is the train. Cursing quietly, the heroes head to the Inn. In the middle of the street, a flash of light and Freddy and Danny appear. They are as shocked as the heroes. They claim more Huntsman appeared but the gang was able to flee on the train. They seemed free and clear when suddenly the flash of light and they appeared here, back in the center of town. Silas recognizes safety in numbers, as well as good cannon-fodder, so he lets them join up. Banging on the door for aid, this time someone responds:

"Go way, we canna help you. We will not bring the curse down on ourselves!"

Silas, out of patience, teleports inside the Inn, just on the other side of the door. He startles the man inside, Silas quickly grabs the brandished shotgun before any harm can be incurred. He lets in his friends, they get a fire going to warm everyone up, poor some stiff drinks. The owner and his wife refuse to help. Silas, locks them in their cellar. He figures they haven't really helped, so perhaps they will be safe from the curse.

They barricade themselves upstairs, the mother and daughter hidden behind an upturned bed. the two brothers (Freddy and Danny) have armed themselves with makeshift clubs, wrapped with chains. Only Brian is outside the room, he stands at the top of the stairs, looking down into the main room of the pub. They can hear the bay of approaching hounds. Within minutes Huntsman and Hounds fade into the room. There are eight hounds, maybe a little larger than the previous and eight Huntsman. Brian slips back to warn the others.

The heroes plot, knowing that the only escape will be out the window to the ground below. There is no sign of Huntsman or Hounds outside but Silas is wary. The smell of smoke alerts them to the greater problem. The Huntsman have set fire to the building! Brian races back to the stairwell to confront the advancing hounds. Due to their size, only 2 can face him at a time. Brian is prepared to hold them off as long as he can, he must allow Silas to get the women to safety. He is surprised when Kitty steps up behind him. She levels her six-guns and begins firing at the hounds below. Brian pounds them with his fists and Kitty fires shot after shot. As they drop hound after the hound, the flames grow hotter and stronger, the second floor is beginning to burn. The Huntsman slip back through the walls, leaving their hounds to finish off their prey!

Brian has been savaged badly and he knows he has little strength left. He orders Kitty to flee with the others. The two brothers have broken out the window and are tying sheets together for a rope. Freddy is first down, followed by Sally and Amanda, Danny next. They wait at the bottom for Silas. The two brothers realize they need him to survive. Silas can feel the heat of the fire as Kitty races by and out the window. Not wanting to leave his friend, Silas braves the raging flames to get to Brian's side. His friend has collapsed, his body burning from the fire. Silas, grabs him, scorching his hands and teleports them outside, just over the small nearby creek. The heavy rain and creek water are strong enough to put out the flames. They can hear the Huntsman and the baying of more hounds in the distance.

The Church

Φ It is Freddy who remembers the local church, just through the woods, maybe an hour in this weather. Silas and the two brothers carry Brian between them, Kitty has Amanda and drags Sally with her free hand. At some point, they spot a faint light through trees to the North. A five minute further walk up a shadowy lane leads to a weathered sign proclaiming “Church of the Confessor,” a modest, older Catholic Church. They bang on the door, rousing Father Miles. He lets them in, a pained look on his face.

“This ground is no longer hallowed, I fear you can find no sanctuary here. We’ve been complicit in the evil here for so long that perhaps even God himself has abandoned us.”

“The only escape is to survive the night or end the curse.”

“Any who aid the Hunt’s prey become marked themselves.”

“It is fitting I die now. I’ve turned away more than one over the years and the burden of that sin has become too great.”

Within the temporary safety of the church, Silas looks to his fallen friend, Brian. He can find no pulse, no sign of life. His friend is dead. He covers Brian's body with a shroud.

Father Miles says a quick prayer over the fallen hero. Father Miles then gathers the band and tells them the true story behind the curse, the dark secret that hangs heavy on the souls of the villagers.

Lord Albert Ebenburg, an angry and violent man spent years travelling the globe hunting. With no sire, upon returning home, he took a much younger woman as a bride. Marla Hoffman was the daughter of a local poor farmer family, He bought their mortgage to force the marriage.

The young woman found love in the arms of a young stable boy. They were young and in love, not wise to the ways of the world. Soon, their affair was discovered. Albert discovered the two one evening, flying into a murderous rage. He pursued them into the woods. In the darkness, the two lovers became separated. Albert found the stable boy first. He and his hounds made short work of the lad. Albert set off immediately on Marla’s trail, but his luck faltered. He lost balance careening through the dark woods and fell from his saddle, snapping his neck.

Marla, unaware of her husband’s death, and lover’s death, took her own life that night. She hung herself from a tree in the forest. This tragic series of events led to one murder, one untimely death, and ended in a suicide. A curse was born.

Every 20 years, on the anniversary of his death, the Wild Hunt commences! Albert is Master of the Hunt, his kills are doomed to join the host on the hunt.

Father Miles explains that the only true way to break the curse, to end it, is to find the grave of the young wife. In basement are archives stretching back over 200 years. Perhaps Marla’s resting place noted somewhere. Sally, a former secretary, is eager to help the search, she needs to contribute something to the fight! Our heroes are lucky and within a half hour they have found the records! According to Marla’s burial records, she is in a private plot located 2-miles south of the chapel.

Moments after returning from the archives, the main door bursts open, in comes the Master and his Hunters. Stain glass windows shatter as hounds leap in. Father Miles yells “Flee, break the curse, they want me!” He stands and faces the Master of the Hunt…the heroes are almost overwhelmed by the strength of the evil emanating from the Master. But they have a greater mission, break the curse! As Father Miles stands up to the horde, Silas and the others flee out the back, Kitty doing her best to trail and discover this old grave-site.

The Grave

Φ They are heroes, it is what they do, but the heavy rain, the sense of evil, it is almost too much. But perhaps there is a higher power, a power for good, somehow Kitty is able to track and lead the party to the grave site. As the heroes gather, backs to the grave, Sally and Amanda behind them, they stand side-by-side to face the approaching evil. For they can hear the Master of the Hunt and his horde coming fast. They burst into the clearing, once again the heroes feel the wave of evil washing over them, and once again then withstand the force. Silas is surprised to see even Freddy and Danny standing tall beside him. They are clearly afraid but seemed determined not to run. "If they live through this," Silas thinks, "Perhaps I can take them under my wing." He also remembers his fallen friend, without his great strength, will they even succeed?

And the battle commences. The hounds charge first! The Huntsman stand back, waiting, the Master behind them all, watching. He waves his hand and everyone can see Father Miles appear beside the Master, a member of the Hunt now. They can now also see clearly that the Huntsman include the two fallen thieves and Tilby among them, they too have joined the Hunt. It is a hard and bloody fight, Silas casts every bit of magic he has, Kitty expends every bullet, and the two brothers fight till they are down on one knee, but the Master continues to call forth wave after wave of undead minions.

Silas manages to cast his last protection magic on Amanda, he whispers to her, "Pray at the grave, pray for all of us!"

The little girl drops to the ground beside the grave, her tiny hands clasped tightly as she prays to the fallen lady, and to the father she lost to Heaven.

When all seems lost, when are heroes are almost spent, a mournful wail sounds, everyone is Shakened. Marla’s ghost appears, hovering above the ground. Her neck tilts unnaturally to one side, with the spectral remains of a noose still hanging from it. Her eyes are focused on the Master. She charges past everyone, the rope wrapping around Albert's neck, tightening.

This gives the heroes strength and they attack again, wading into the midst of the Huntsman and Hounds. Marla strangles the Master to death. All the huntsman and hounds fall lifelessly to the ground and begin to rapidly decompose, within minutes nothing but a few rotting scraps of clothing remain. Hands rise from the ground as it opens up and pull the corpse of the Master down to hell.

The ghost of Marla thanks them as a young male ghost joins her. They hold hands then slowly fade away. Their freed souls rising up to heaven. Then the spirit of Father Miles appears, he too is now freed of the curse, he nods and fades away. Everything is quiet, peaceful, the rain has even stopped, in the distance can be seen the rising sun. All turn when they hear little Amanda talking. She is holding out her hand and waving, saying good-bye. She turns to face the heroes, "That was my daddy…he said everything will be okay now."

And sunlight floods the clearing…

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One Ring - End
the wrap up

Experience rewarded: 2


The current total is here.

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One Ring - Day Three
...the reckoning

Day 3

The wedding day and the final day of the curse. If they fail today, then only death awaits two of our heroes!

They have invitations gathered from dead men and no one questions them as they arrive early afternoon at Sifby Hall. It is quite a palatial estate. The estate is isolated in the country and surrounded on all sides by farmland being prepared for the harvest. It is an imposing stone manor surrounded by intricate hedgerows and paths.

 

The team has several hours to mingle and wander the estate before the ceremony begins.

Brian makes for the maze of hedgerows, promising Silas he will not damage any of them. Silas is discreetly wandering about the house, searching for clues. Kitty is being entertained by an American who introduces himself as James West. They go off to bother the menfolk who are shooting shotguns at pigeons.

The guest list includes:

  • Karl and Meredith Wilhem: a visiting couple from Germany, friends of the Grahams. They are pleasant, if somewhat at a disadvantage from the language barrier.
  • John and Sarah Huntingdon: a handsome older couple, they are well aware of the Graham's monetary issues. Longtime rivals, they never miss the chance to rub their faces in it.
  • Terence Whitmore: Whitmore is a brash young man and one-time suitor of Allison. He is an old family friend as well, but is having difficulty withholding his anger at the marriage. He and Allison were in love and her family ended the relationship in order for her to marry Edgar Lang.
  • Reverend Gardener: middle-aged and polite, he becomes increasingly uncomfortable as the night continues.
  • James T. West: an apparently rich dilettante from the United States. It seems his gambling debts forced him to cross the pond and visit London. A new playing field of unwary casinos and the like.
  • An Indian Prince who is a master of Yoga, no one can seem to pronounce his name correctly. He is an odd duck, that one.

Outside, Brian runs into the reverend, when he sees him, the reverend is back lit from the sun, rehearsing the ceremony, going on about joining hands. Brian recognizes him as the man from the visions! The reverend is obviously nervous, he doesn’t seem to like these fancy weddings. Before wandering back inside, he says a blessing over Brian.

In the library, the first place Silas begins his search, the door suddenly slams shut and books begin flying off the shelves, hitting him. He takes cover under a nearby desk. The effect lasts for 3 rounds. When the doors reopen, all the books are back on the shelf except one under a chair. It is a book in old German on ancient rituals. So Silas pockets the book and sets off to find Brian or Kitty, both read German.

They all come together in yet another drawing room. Mister West has left Kitty back in the care of her cousin. Looking over the book, and a ritual about harvests, she learns the spell is some sort of ritual of sacrifice. Trading a life for a life. Brian wanders in after that, brushing off twigs and small sticks. He got lost in the maze and just barreled through the hedges to escape. Silas simply sighs. Suddenly the temperature of the room drops, they can see their breath, and the ghost of a young woman appears. She warns them “Beware the Harvest. Stop the sacrifice.” And just as quickly the ghost disappears. Kitty recognizes the ghost from a portrait on a wall. It is Emily, the daughter that died in the recent train wreck.

Time for the Vows

The Lang's call everyone to the main ballroom for the ceremony. The wedding proceeds without complication and Reverend Gardener pronounces Allison and Edgar man and wife. Lord Lang steps up to propose a toast to the couple and makes a brief speech in German. Heroes who speak German realize quickly he's calling to the "Dark Lady" and pledging the life of his daughter – and every other guest – as an offering!

Lang produces a wicked dagger from within his coat and Allison screams in terror. Suddenly every mundane fire and light is extinguished, plunging the house into darkness.

Scarecrows burst into the house, wielding scythes, while Edgar and the household servants produce weapons from hidden locations and begin attacking as well. Lord Lang attempts to kill Allison himself and his wife begins a magic spell.

Immediately poor Terence loses his head as a scarecrow’s scythe swings, sending the head back a few feet. The body stands for a few seconds, the hands grasping like they were searching for something, before toppling to the ground.

Brian and West both charge Lord Lang in an attempt to save Emily! Brian is intercepted by a scarecrow and some dedicated servants. West is luckier and with a mighty right hook, drops Lord Land to the ground. Emily, still screaming in terror, huddles with her frightened parents. Sarah and John are both taken down as servants run them both through with sabers. The Reverend Gardener must be blessed as a scarecrow scythe whistles over his head, narrowly missing taken the head with it. Meredith Wilhem is felled by a servant but her husband Karl steps up and takes down the servant by shoving a wineglass into his eye. Karl is an ex-soldier and won’t go down without a fight!

Kitty is also surrounded by a combination of scarecrows and servants. Cursing the damn dress she had to wear for the bloody wedding, she is slow to draw forth her first pistol and fire! Silas ports to the Reverend and grabs him, directing him to escape out the veranda door. He urges Emily and her family to follow as well. The Indian Yoga Prince rips off his beard and wrap to reveal the rugged Artemus Gordon! Gordon flicks his hand and fires the derringer that appears at a servant, dropping him in his tracks. He is also then surrounded by servants and scarecrows.

The villains have sheer numbers on their side and Lady Lang has gone full witch mode! Veins cross her face as she channels the dark magicks and blasts at Emily. If she can kill Emily, the ceremony is still a success. Silas steps into the way of the blast and casts a Dispel for the first time. His magic intercepts and stops the blast of black magic. Emily and her family are then able to escape. Lady Lang loses it and is going all evil witch hulk!

 

Meanwhile, James West turns and drop kicks Edgar Lang and there is a sickening crunch as his neck snaps. The son is dead! Our heroes have gathered back to back, facing a horde of loyal evil servants and giant scythe-wielding scarecrows, it isn’t looking good for them. But never count out an insane witch when her son is dead, husband is down, and sacrificial victim has escaped, Lady Lang whips out the big enchilada of a Hellfire Burst and centers it on our heroes! Never mind it includes her servants and summoned scarecrows, with one bitchin’ spell she hopes to take them all out. That would just leave Silas and a few other servants left to contend with.

It is one serious Hellfire and everyone can feel the heat as it blasts out, the stench of brimstone accompanying the blazing fury. And Lady Lang does indeed manage to wipe out most of her servants and the remaining Scarecrows, she even burns up her unconscious husband. But the blessing from the Reverend kicks in on Brian and a heavenly glow envelopes him and the other heroes ensuring they withstand the effects of the Hellfire.

That just leaves Silas to let go with a major magic bolt and blow a hole through the witch’s chest. Her body collapses then dissolves to dust. The heroes prevail, they managed to save Emily and her family, who have now inherited a fortune from the recently deceased Lang family. A grateful Reverend decides now is a good time to retire and two Secret Service Agents take their leave. Even heroic Karl is still standing and with the aid of the heroes is able to save his wife.

Silas realizes the prepared feast is still awaiting in the next room and everyone enjoys one heck of a repast before going their own ways.

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One Ring - Day Two
...in the darkness

Day 2

Over breakfast, our heroes exchange information and clues they have learned:

Clue 1: There is faint symbol found on the ring. The astrological sign for Virgo. The earth sign Virgo is often associated with Harvest.

 

Clue 2: A possible meaning of 9+1 in relationship to the Season of the Harvest, the third and final season of the Egyptian calendar. It fell roughly between early May and early September. During this season, the crops of the grain harvest were collected. This was in clear contrast to their contemporaries in the ancient world, who would be just beginning to plant their crops at this time of the year.

Clue 3: The ring has a Death Curse cast on it. This is the work of a powerful Witch. Breaking the Death Curse requires killing the Witch who laid the initial curse upon the ring. In some cases, very powerful Ritual Magic can also stop the curse. It boils down to a life for life curse. The power resulting from the deaths prolongs the life of the Witch.

 

Clue 4: Emily Lang, daughter of Lord and Lady Lang, was killed in a tragic railway accident. Aside from her parents, she is survived by an older brother, Edgar Lang. 7 other passengers were killed, making the total deaths from the crash 9. It would have been 10 but miraculously, one of the ‘dead’ was brought back to life by the timely intervention of a doctor aboard the train.

 

They have learned a bit but nothing more concrete tying the victims together. They need more information regarding that and hope for more clues surrounding the source of the ring and where to go to fight the curse.

While at the police, Silas is given the box containing everything around Clancy when his body was discovered. With a name ringing about his head, a glance into the box gives him the next clue. And this is confirmed by looking through the evidence of the other victims:

Clue 5: A common thread among all the victims, they were all invited to attend the upcoming wedding of Edgar Lang and Allison Graham. The wedding will be held at Sifby Hall, home of the Lang family. The estate is isolated in the country and surrounded on all sides by farmland.

Inspector Barnes also provides them with the name of the survivor of the train wreck as well as the young doctor who saved the man. Perhaps some clues can be found with them. However, the news of the wedding, the following day, and final day of the curse seems to be the best avenue to pursue. So some quick business issues to tend to then tickets on the last train to the village of Sifby.

 

They have some time before the last train leaves so our heroes are waiting at the station. Brian has discovered some concoction called a cinnabon sold by a vendor on the street and looks in completely bliss as he munches on several of the gooey cakes. Kitty is napping and Silas is anxious. He has that feeling of being watched again. He studies the near empty station, looking for someone spying on them. He barely notices and reacts before the large statue by Brian comes to life and smashes him with its fists. What is with Brian and statues? Kitty sits up, instantly alert and thinking gunfire at the station might be a bad idea, hurls some throwing stars (she got them from Silas’ desk) at the statue. They plink at the stone but have no discernable effect. Brian is trying to fight back and not drop his last pastry. Silas is having none of this and conjures a massive bolt that blows the statue into pieces!

 

The train arrives at that same moment and the heroes quickly board, leaving a bewildered watchman who comes down the stairs and discovers the shattered statue.

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One Ring - Day One
...I bind you

Day 1

We find our heroes running about looking for clues and doing research on the ring and anything linking the dead. Kitty chases down leads with the cops, Silas buries himself in books, at home, the library, and the museum. Brian stalks the streets, questioning his contacts.

After a long day, our heroes are gathering back at the apartment for dinner. Silas is the first to arrive home and across the street he spies Brian at the corner. No mistaking that lumbering form. A feeling of being watched has plagued him all day and he wonders if Brian has felt the same. Suddenly millions (well, it seemed like it to Silas) swarm all over Silas, covering his body. He can feel thousands of bites as they swarm and attack.

Brian sees his friend in distress and races down the street to help. As he draws close, the spiders swarm all over his body as well. People on the street are rightfully freaking out, screaming and running away! It is the screaming that first alerts Kitty that there is trouble ahead. Based on the proximity to home, she surmises the problem must involve her cousin and Brian. She races around the corner to help. She is stunned when she sees the sheer volume of spiders encasing her friends. Shooting is definitely not an option!

Silas and Brian run off towards the Thames. It is winter and probably frozen over but if they can break through the ice, perhaps the cold water will snap the spell affect drawing the spiders. At least it should wash them off. Brian is running a bit slow and seems to be really affected by the spiders. He loses concentration and stalls in the alleyway, unsure of where to proceed. Silas casts a spell!

Kitty arrives at the entrance of the alleyway only to see her cousin and friend suddenly enveloped in spiders and then smoke, then poof, they disappear! Naturally she assumes something bad has happened, perhaps they have been summoned to hell? Then she sees the two appear down the way in a puff of smoke, hovering over the river for a second then dropping like rocks, crashing through the ice into the cold river. A spell by Silas, well, that is a new one!

Silas has saved them both from the spiders and the magic, the spell is broken. But he quickly learns that a sodden wet Brian is not a good thing, he is sinking straight to the bottom. Talk about “dead” weight. And Silas has never felt cold like this, he can feel his blood freeze and consciousness escaping him. Even hardy Brian seems to be affected by the cold. He is trying to tread water and swim back up but with not much success.

 

Kitty stands at the edge, puzzling what she can do. Well, worse case, she could shoot them both, put them out of their misery. Then she spies an old fisherman’s net strewn along the dock. Grabbing it she darts across the ice to the gaping hole where her friends are freezing and drowning. It isn’t graceful but she gets across, falling and sliding the last few feet on her belly. She throws the net out capturing Silas’ hand, with a heavy pull, she drags her cousin from the watery depths up onto the ice. He is blue and looks barely alive. There is no sign of Brian! But there is just enough life left in Silas who manages to reach down and grab the hand of his fading friend.

Kitty is almost pulled into the water with the wet weight of both now pulling on the net. But she digs in her spurs and with a final tug, gets both out of the water and onto the ice.

It is not a happy group that marches into the apartments of Mrs. Murdock. However, she is better prepared to handle this emergency than most, as she has them stripped out of clothes and sat in front of the raging fireplace. She also plies them with several hot toddies, all with extra doses of “toddie” and soon enough, our heroes are saved from hypothermia and bundled off to bed. 

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One Ring - Prologue
with this ring...

Whilst investigating the death of seven gentlemen (the most recent his friend Clancy Donnelly), Investigative Reporter Silas Atwater uncovers a legend about a supernaturally-cursed, old ring circulating throughout London. As soon as anyone uses the ring, he or she has exactly 3 days left to live.

Clancy Donnelly is dead.

The doomed few appear to be ordinary people during day to day life, but when photographed, they look translucent. A marked person also feels like a cold corpse to the touch.

Silas gets hold of the ring, wanting to study the superstition. A collage of images flash into his mind: a scarecrow, an old newspaper headline about a train crash accident, a hooded man ranting about hands and the formula 9+1.

 

When Silas notices his eyes have a glowing blue property in the dark, he realizes that the curse of the old ring is true and calls in his loyal friend, Paranormal Detective Brian Kelly, to help.

 

Brian examines the ring and willingly submits himself to the curse. He finds that the same visions flash before his eyes. He finds the scarecrow image particularly chilling. He joins the queue for a supernatural death.

Silas and Brian pursue a quest to uncover the meaning of the visions, starting with a search for the hooded man. Cousin Kitty will not be left out, although she chastises both for actually trying on the ring. Will they be able to stop the curse before their time is up?



Another adventure begins. Our heroes are on the clock! Will they be on time? Can they break the curse?
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Schtock End
the wrap up

Experience rewarded: 4


The current total is here.

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Taking Schtock...
of the party

A Feast Fit for a Hero

It is quite the celebratory party our heroes attend. Schtock pulls out all stops to impress and wine and dine his guests. The guests are a mix of well-connected wealthy patrons, government officials, entertainers, and foreign dignitaries. Our heroes are almost overwhelmed by sheer magnitude. Brian does his best to appear as a servant and blend into the surroundings, as if a hulking mess like himself could possibly pull that off. Silas realizes his published works have fans at all social levels. Kitty just fends off every possible suitor admiring her in the tight bodice and dress.

The party goes late and our heroes are pleased that Schtock arranged rooms for them ahead of time. They barely make it into their beds before sleep arrives.

Hungover guests and the like are huddled around a splendid breakfast, even if they are unable to put much food away. Schtock has a speech planned at the ribbon cutting at the Tower Bridge, and expects our heroes to join him.

Bridge over Troubled Water

Trouble awaits them at the bridge, in the presence of Inspector Barnes. He pulls the heroes aside to inform that Gustav escaped his prison cell. Some poor young guard was mesmerized by Gustav who then simply walked right out. Due to his hatred towards Schtock, the Inspector has doubled the police presence at this ceremony. He asks aid of the heroes, and they readily agree to help.

Lord Anders Nelson is already up on the podium, rehearsing his speech. He barely acknowledges the presence of Schtock, who wanders to the opposite end of the podium stage for his own speech rehearsing.

For all its grandeur, there is still some scaffolding and work remaining beneath the Tower Bridge. Our heroes are scouting around for a while before noticing several figures near the scaffolding below the bridge. There are about half a dozen small figures and a man-sized one wearing a top hat! Watching a little more closely, it appears that Gustav and his minions are loading a barrel onto the scaffolding. Surmising the worst, the heroes take the battle to Gustav and his minions!

As the heroes arrive for a fight, they realize they are facing over a dozen or more midget fighters under the control of Gustav. Brian rushes in and Kitty goes for her guns. Silas prepares a spell to take out Gustav. The midgets quickly swarm over Brian and Kitty and they find themselves on the worse end of as these swarming midgets have the advantage of sheer numbers.

Gustav lights the fuse to a barrel then calls out to Silas. “The essence of true magic is distraction,” he sneers. “Whilst you have been busy here, Schtock has been making a very interesting speech.” At that point the barrel blows up, but the contents aren’t anywhere near as explosive as the Heroes might have been expecting – it rains confetti down on them. He then cuts a rope by the scaffolding, and, seizing one end of it, flies up in the air. Silas, trusting his companions to eventually win, races after Gustav!

A Revealing Speech

Silas loses sight of Gustav in the crowd but notices several midgets darting about creating panic throughout the crowd. He alerts Barnes to the midget threat before facing the podium and the ensuing chaos up there. Nelson had finished his speech and was standing off to the side as Schtock began his. A few sentences into the speech, Schtock stiffens and says, “but I’m afraid Nelson is a puppet of Baron LeCroix and I cannot abide those who practice the ‘Black Arts’.” At this, Schtock seizes his ceremonial scissors and strikes Nelson over the head, knocking him out. He rears back to strike him more and Silas leaps into action.

He literally leaps across the stage, knocking Schtock off onto the ground away from the panicking crowd. Schtock pummels Silas with his fists, obviously still under the mesmerism of Gustav. Silas does not want to hurt the man and simply tries to dodge and deflect the blows at first, but he quickly realizes this is a man possessed and not going to give in. So Silas lays the man out with a stiff uppercut. Brian would be proud!

He is joined by his battered companions, who felled many of the midgets before the remaining fled. The police have managed to secure the crowd and the errant midgets causing problems. They allow the heroes to take Schtock back to his mansion, well aware he was not in his proper mind. Arriving back at the mansion, they are greeted with the news that Gustav has kidnapped the young niece Susan.

Seven years bad luck

Our heroes are truly angry now and they race off to the circus for the final showdown with the crazy Gustav. It is almost empty, noises coming only from the House of Mirrors. Just inside, from all of the reflections, they can see Susan trapped inside a magician's tank filling with water. A mechanized contraption is turning, drawing the water into the tank. She is trapped! Off to the side is a maniacal Gustav, laughing merrily.

Our heroes' have a plan. Brian and Kitty will make their way from the front, working their way through the mirror maze. Silas rushes around to come in the back way, hoping to save Susan.

Brian is not one for mazes and the cramped passageways and just smashes every mirror he passes, moving forward like a dog on the hunt. Kitty follows close behind, her guns ready. Several times, Gustav somehow uses trick passages to cross behind Kitty, every time slicing at her with a knife. He does no real damage, simply annoying her more than anything.

Silas can be seen coming in from the back, doing his best to stop the water flow. He surmises the mechanism is pulling water through a hose from some outside source. He clambers to the top of the tank and slices the hose. This stops the water from flowing into the tank. It also speeds up Brian's trip through the maze. The water is now flowing freely across the ground from the exit making it easier to follow the trail.

As Brian and Kitty finally make it back to their colleague, there is still no sign of Gustav. Brian rushes and crashes through the glass tank, scooping Susan in his arms and protecting her from the shards of glass. Kitty is walking back to look behind her, seeking for Gustav. But Silas is faster and as soon as he sees Gustav sneak attack Kitty, he blasts one helluva of an electric bolt, bouncing it off the remaining mirrors and blowing a hole clean through Gustav's chest! Scratch one more crazy bad guy.

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