Thursday, June 27, 2013

Rippers: Fear of the Moon - session 2

So this Friday we managed to finish our first adventure in Rippers - Fear of the Moon. This time my friend playing Sgt. Henry Baynes was able to make it, but my friend playing Father Green was not. So I quickly arranged that Baynes had cycled to the hall to get Father Green for Harriet Burke, who wanted a man of God to help her control her imbacile son Jeremy who was getting more uncontrollable as a result of the PCs interview with him.

When we finished the last session the characters had just lockpicked the gate of Shelbourne Hall. They did not walk very far before they noticed that the gravel had been disturbed quite a lot and upon further examination that there were blood spills leading the the cellar door.

The characters quietly approached the half opened door and when they open it fully were met with growling from inside. When Sgt. Baynes shone his lamp inside he immediately saw two half dead Irish wolfhounds dragging themselves closer to the door. Baynes quickly shut the door.

The characters decided to try and get inside the hall itself, which was easy since the front door was not locked. Inside they were met with a stench of death and decay and after doing a room-by-room search found the maid/cook ripped almost beyond recognition in the kitchen. Dr. Trevelyan despite his strong mind reacted very badly to this (a critical failure on his Guts check, and lost two Sanity as well as getting the Fatalist psychosis from the Psychosis Table) and threw up before just being overwhelmed by despair. Later on they found the master of the house Sir Charles who was just as badly ripped apart. Examination of the bodies dated them to have been dead for close to a week - which was not when the full moon was out.

In Sir Charles study the characters came across plans for an expansion of Sir Charles' farmland, with notes scribbled on it that neighbor Eric Mason should be contacted. Being a retired big game hunter Sir Charles had many rifles displayed and the characters grabbed some so that they could return to the cellar and put down the almost dead wolfhounds. Inside the cellar they found a third wolfhound which had been dead for some days.

The characters returned to Lamport, ate some dinner before planning their next course of action, minus Dr. Trevelyan who retired early still very much affected by the afternoons discovery.

Next day the characters hired a trap to take them to Millwood House, Eric Mason's residence. Upon arrival they found the place empty. Journalist Langdale Pike and Sgt. Baynes enter the house and Pike immediately began to search the desk inside. He managed to lockpick one of the drawers and found a notebook containing observations made by Mason on the village's blacksmith Thomas Runcorn. Just then a person approached the house telling them that they were trespassing - this was mr. Mason. Sgt. Baynes began to explain that they were there to make sure that Mason was okay, now that they had found Sir Charles dead.

Mason calmed down and invited the characters inside for tea. After talking to him about Sir Charles and the murders in the village, the characters were in no doubt that Mason had something to do with it all. They said farewell and left Millwood House.

Returning to Lamport the characters starting to see the bigger picture. According to their theory Runcorn was Mason's pawn. After confining with Father Green and using his knowledge of the occult and folklore, they concluded that Mason was the werewolf who had attacked Runcorn and when the first full moon arose Runcorn transformed into a wolfman and started killing. What they were not sure about was the motive.

After some brief surveillance of Runcorn the characters decided to return to Millwood house to see what Mason was up to. When they arrived they found that Mason was about to leave the house with a lamp in hand. A dense fog was also starting to materialise making them unable to see almost nothing except the dim light of the lamp, a small clacking noise was also heard. They attempted to stealthily follow Mason, but were eventually unsuccessful. When that happened the noise stopped and the light suddenly vanished. What followed were a few tense moments for the characters as they attempted to stand still (Langdale Pike rolled a critical failure and I decided that he has suddenly started coughing). Suddenly a wolf howl was heard and then the sound of something running and getting closer. The transformed werewolf Mason burst out of the fog, but when we drew cards for initiative Pike was lucky getting the joker. Before the werewolf had a chance to attack two of the characters had been able to fire off shots from their guns. The werewolf did manage to strike Pike before going down to another gunshot.

Having survived the werewolf attack the evening ended with the characters confronting Runcorn, who did not put up a fight. Next day - when the full moon would arrive - they arranged for him to be chained and locked into the cellar of Shelbourne Hall with Father Green on hold with an elephant gun, just in case he got loose. Inspector Giles from Leicester Police also arrived to find the case solved - Baynes' report attributed all the murders to the mad Eric Mason. Dr. Trevelyan stated had been quite mad and unable to be cured leaving no option but to shoot him when he attacked them.


This was our first full adventure and I'm very pleased with how it went. All my players have easily bought into the concept of the game being about mystery, investigation and horror. They have roleplayed more in the two sessions this adventure took to play than they did for several adventures in our previous Deadlands campaign.
In the end with the confrontation of the werewolf we also managed to get that felling of dread/horror out that I was trying to establish.

So now I'm finished up the next adventure where the characters return to London to find that a new mystery requires their attention.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rippers: Fear of the Moon - session 1

So after almost a fortnight's absence I'm back writing.

Last Monday we finally got our Rippers RPG game going. The adventure, which I had name "Fear of the Moon", was something that I had finished many months ago, so I was pleased that I actually still liked what I had made.

Of my players one of them was unable to make, so his character Sgt. Henry Baynes took the part of a major NPC. His role in the adventure is important, so I made the decision to put him as a major NPC rather than just have him suddenly pop-up when my friend is next able to join us - which incidentally is this upcoming Friday. So the PCs were:

Doctor Percy Trevelyan
Father Philip Green
Langdale Pike

March 1892
I started the adventure with the PCs being on a train heading for the small village of Lamport in Northamptonshire. The reason for this is a letter of help that Dr. Trevelyan had received that morning from the sister of one of his fellow students - now deceased - from his university studies. It seems that Lamport has been the site of some terrible murders in the past few months. 5 villagers have been killed on two separate nights since the start of the year - coincidentally on nights where the full moon is out. As the sister Violet Spencer writes the village is stricken with terror and fears for the upcoming full moon is overtaking the villagers. Everything from werewolves to a madman on the loose is being blamed for the killings, and since Violet herself believes in the madman theory she is asking noted alienist Trevelyan for help.

Since being made aware of the killings Langdale Pike has also searched through the papers and found a single article mentioned the killings but not in detail.

As the PCs arrive in Lamport they are immediately assaulted by the lunatic teenager Jeremy Burke, who screams at them before being taken away by his mother. The PCs notice scratch marks on the young mans face.

The PCs decide to seek out Violet Spencer to let them know that they have arrived and will help solve the mystery of the killings and hopefully find the murderer. Violet is thrilled to see them and lets them know that their presence in Lamport has risen her spirits. Also present is Violet's father Vernon.

When the PCs leave the Violet's cottage they suddenly see a dark shadow moving in the window of one upstairs rooms. Rushing into the cottage again the PCs, Violet unlocks the door to the room - her late brothers - but the PCs find it completely empty. Using his psionic skills Trevelyan concentrates and casts a spell enabling him to see magical/supernatural persons and items. He is quite shocked to see the blurred frame of his old deceased schoolmate only a few feet away smiling back at him. Trevelyan senses no malice or evil and determines that the schoolmate is there not to harm Violet or her father but rather to watch over them. Trevelyan do not tell Violet that her brother is haunting the house.

Next the PCs head for the local inn The Greyshade Arms. As darkness has descended so the villagers have abandoned the streets. The inn is however quite packed with nervous and scared villagers. Having gotten a room and some supper, the PCs get talking to inn keeper Alan McGregor and hear of his theory about the murderer being one of the wolfhounds owned by local squire Sir Charles Shelbourne. McGregor believes that the dog might have gone mad, has escape Shelboure Hall and is now killing villagers.
Having heard McGregor's theory the PCs are approached by Sgt. Henry Baynes, the policeman sent from Northampton Police to investigate. Finding that they are working on the same course the PCs and Baynes decide to join forces. Baynes is able to tell more about the victims, even though they have nothing in common  and also tell the PCs that the local GP Herbert Swanson is the man to see regarding the injuries to the victims.

Next day the PCs decide that Dr.Swanson is the first person they want to see. The good doctor tells them that in his time as a doctor he has never seen any injuries as horrific as those inflicted on the victims. In his professional opinion it is the work of some sort of beast and not something a man would be capable of. The PCs also ask about young Jeremy Burke and find that Swanson had examined Jeremy the night after the first murders for the scratch marks.

Leaving the doctor the PCs decide to seek out Jeremy and his mother. Locating their cottage the PCs persuade the nervous mother to let them talk to Jeremy. The mother is scared that the PCs will take Jeremy away from her and place him in a asylum. Despite having the mind of a 5 year old, the PCs learn that Jeremy has had and encounter with "a large dog" and had it not been for the wood shed that he was hiding in Jeremy might not have survived.

The PCs locate the wood shed and find several scratch marks consistent with those on Jeremy's chin. The PCs also start to try and find out where the beast could be coming from by looking and the layout of the streets.

Having spent the morning interviewing different people the PCs return to the inn for lunch and to plan their next course of action. Over lunch they decide that a visit to squire Sir Charles beckons next. They hire a trap to take them to Shelbourne Hall.

Arriving at the hall they see none of the expected wolfhounds, which they were told guarded the grounds. Through the gate they do however notice that the gravel has been several disturbed. Pike then lockpicks the gate and the PCs prepare to enter the grounds.

At this time we decided to stop as it was getting late. Despite our last game being the action-filled Deadlands setting, I had made it clear from the start that this was going to be something else, where dice rolls were not going to disrupt the atmosphere, and combat and action would be secondary to the investigation aspect of the game.

My players made the transition superbly and really roleplayed their characters. During the entire session we had less than 10 dice roll combined and we absolutely enjoyed ourselves. As the player of Dr. Trevelyan afterwards noted, it was a great experience and he really liked that he constantly had to think instead of just letting one action scene replace the next.

For me the game flowed like I had hoped and as is always the case with rpgs the players always think of something or do something that you had not planned. The course of the adventure is also overall going to plan and the players are really in for a surprise as they unravel the mystery.