Section X

Doomed Caravan

Characters: Alexander Hawke, Ana Craev, Goldie 5000, Professor Emmit L. Brown

The Prince of Thoth, grateful to the “Red Devils” that saved his daughter, is worried by the increasing hostility of Shastapash, and decides to send a noble ambassador, Thyratis, to the British.

As the characters also want to get back to British lands, the Prince asks them to accompany and guard his ambassador, for which he will pay them each the equivalent of 100 pounds.

The characters agree and, after refilling what supplies they can, head out across the desert with the ruumet breehr caravan and ten gashant cavalry guards with a leader, Wiiso.

Only a week into the journey, the camp is attacked at night by a Steppe Tiger, who takes out several guards before being blocked by Goldie 5000 and then taken out by Alexander Hawke. Meanwhile Ana runs away from the creature to hide in the tent of the ambassador and they discuss leaving.

After the attack, Wiiso, who had been dressing and arming his men before they came out (too late), advises it is too dangerous to continue, and manages to convince the party to return (Ana doesn’t need much convincing).

Back in Thoth, the characters are ignored until they learn, from Thyratis, that the Prince has decided to cancel the meeting. He tells the characters he believes it is important to set up diplomatic relations with the British and asks them to try and change the Prince’s mind.

Meanwhile the characters have done some investigation and think it may have been simply lazy guards, or worse, that let the Steppe Tiger get the drop on them. Getting an audience with the Prince, the characters raise the issue of competence, at which the Prince summons Wiiso to answer the charges.

Wiiso is outraged and demands a duel to clear his honour. Alexander Hawke accepts and muskets and duelling swords are prepared. Alexander is his usual uncultured self and is even drinking right before the battle — he says it helps him.

Originally thinking it might be an easy fight, Wiiso proved to actually be quite a capable fighter, possibly the equal of Alexander, leading to even more questions. Princess Aramaranda is also at the duel, but the exotic beauty seems to take more of an interest in Ana Kraev and the other foreigners than the fight itself.

Through luck (or maybe it was the drink), just when Alex thought the battle was lost he scored a lucky break and got a solid hit on Wiiso, winning the duel.

The Prince agrees to send a new caravan, with new guards, as recommended by Thyratis, and it leaves the following morning. Unknown to most of the characters, it includes someone they aren’t expecting, joining the guards in disguise.

The expedition goes a lot better this time, although Ana Kraev seems to spend a lot of extra time in her tent during stops.

There is no trouble until about halfway to Meepsor the Professor spots something high in the sky above the heat wave to the south, some kind of flyer, keeping it’s distance.

The guards are careful that night, with extras on watch, and indeed there is an attack — High Martians gliding in from above almost take the group by surprise. Several land engaging the various guards and characters, with some concentrating on the ambassador’s tent. Goldie 5000 fights her way towards the tent, but is block by the many raiders.

The leader of the raiders gets into the ambassador’s tent while it looks like the battle is turning to the character’s favor outside, however having achieved their goal the High Martians retreat to the air, taking the ambassador with them.

Taking stock of the surviving guards, and with no way to follow the raiders, it appears the mission has been doomed, but one of the guards is missing, although the characters are suspicious because they had heard one of the guard’s black powder weapons being fired from within Ana’s tent.

Emerging from Ana’s tent, in a guard’s uniform, is Princess Aramaranda. She tells the remaining guard leader that she is on a secret mission for her father, although the characters aren’t sure as she simply seems a headstrong and Stubborn woman. Ana may know more, but is tight lipped; the reason given for being in Ana’s tent is that Ana has been teaching the Princess Russian.

The Princess, who turns out to not only be Noble and Very Attractive, but also highly intelligent, takes command of the caravan and they continue forward, still spending a lot of time with Ana (as a personal companion and guard, and also an intellectual equal), until reaching the outskirts of Meepsor where they encounter a patrol of British lancers and are escorted to the city.

Telegraphing ahead, the local garrison commander is instructed to put the group on a sailing boat down the canal to Syrtis Major. Once there the Princess, as an ambassador, and her companions are put up in the Imperial Steppe Inn.

A state banquet has been arranged to welcome them, and Lord Dundas, Governor of the colonies on Mars visits to ensure they are ready, and arranges a tailor to visit them. The Professor accepts gladly, but Alexander Hawke takes some convincing.

Meanwhile Princess Aramaranda and Ana go shopping for dresses, first in the British quarter, and then the Princess takes Ana into the main city for a Martian outfit as well, although Ana is a little hesitant at the revealing nature of the native wear (not quite befitting Victorian sensibilities).

The day after, the Princess heads off early into diplomatic discussions (or so Ana, who has been guarding the Princess, tells the others), and the party are finally able to make contact and deliver the broken piece of scroll case to Esmerelda Bottoms at the Explorer’s Society clubhouse in Syrtis Major. She tells them it will certainly help piece together some puzzles, but will take time

The characters then find themselves with some time on their hands while Esmerelda continues research and discussions with colleagues.

The characters earned 3 experience points each, plus the 100 L. each from the Prince of Thoth.

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A Princess of Thoth

Characters: Alexander Hawke, Ana Craev, Goldie 5000, Professor Emmit L. Brown, Sir Malcolm Ravenscroft

After the adventure in Morocco, Ana again attempts to sell a story, and again gets paid very little, although she does get published with the heading “British save the French from the French”, along with a photo of the characters celebrating with Moroccan guards after rescuing Fabian, with the artefact in the background.

Sir Malcolm has recovered by this point, and Professor Brown also rejoins the group, and they return to London, deciding to take Professor Bottom up on the trip to Mars. They secure the fragment of the case, from the Scroll of Anubis, inside a compartment in Goldie 5000’s body, and board a commercial liner for the 2-1/2 month trip.

As the trip is nearing the end, whilst drinking the last of the brandy aboard, Sir Malcolm relates a tale of how he and his men gallantly stood up to a bunch of marauding Hill Martians. The tale unfortunately ended in tragedy, as whilst soundly telling the Martian raiders off his second in command was killed by the blighters!

On arrival above Mars, the ship is attacked by pirates, who ram the side and attempt to board. Sir Malcolm, Alexander and Ana fight off one group who the pirate captain orders to “get the dispatches”, while Professor Brown tries out his new Light Oscillating by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (L.O.S.E.R.) device on another group. It was tremendously effective, putting the pirates to rout.

Goldie 5000 and Sir Malcolm, along with a brave crewman, take the fight to the pirate ship, which then starts to disengage, potentially trapping them. The enemy pirate captain recognises Goldie 5000 as an enemy of Oceanus, and concentrates his attacks on her; deciding discretion is the better part of valour (and given the pirates are retreating), Sir Malcolm grabs hold of Goldie 5000, who activats her jump pack, using up the remaining fuel to jet back across the gap that has widened between the two ships.

The passenger liner has been severely damaged by the ram, and starts to plummet to the planet. The characters find the other passengers, including the two imperial officers (and the dispatches) have already left in the remaining lifeboats. Facing a terrible crash, Goldie 5000 takes over the helm and manages to do quite well, given the circumstances, and the party survives the crash mostly unharmed.

Of course, that only leaves them in the middle of the Martian desert, with few supplies. Luckily Alexander’s navigational gear survived, and he is able to plot a course towards the nearest canal. Along the way, Ana relates to the group her desire to become a successful journalist, and hope that one day she will get paid decently for a story!

The desert travel is harsh, and Alexander does not have much luck hunting (although he does have some canned rations), so the party arrives at the canal fatigued, only to come upon a caravan being attacked by soldiers.

Sir Malcolm recognises the attackers as Shastapsh cavalry, a city that has recently broken from British control in a bloody revolt, and now threatens to join the Oenotrian Empire, whom the British are in war against. He is not as sure about the other banner, on the caravan, but thinks it is that of Thoth, the next city along the canal, which the British are trying to negotiate a treaty with.

The characters decide to help the caravan, attacking the cavalry from the advantage of the ridge along the top of the canal, who flee once they realise they are outgunned. Inside the caravan is Princess Aramaranda of Thoth, and her advisor/intepreter Kalamir. Kalamir informs the characters that the Princess has a barge at the nearby city of Thoth-en-more (the characters do not reveal that they speak Koline), and, after burying the dead, the group heads off .

About half way back, however, the cavalry return, this time with increased numbers, and have managed to catch the characters at a prime ambush site. Their leader demands the red devils (what Martians call humans) hand over the Princess, and she won’t be harmed. There some confusion over the translations, and the party suspects that Kalamir may be in on the arrangement. At that point the characters reveal that several of them do in fact speak Koline; the Princess is confused, but Stubbornly continues to be Loyal to Kalamir.

Taking a chance, Goldie 5000, attempts to make a break for it, but the cavalry takes aim at the Gashants pulling the wagon; as the shots ring out, Goldie 5000 decides trying to outrun them in a Chase may prove too difficult; two of the beasts are killed, effectively stopping the caravan in its tracks. The attackers obviously want the Princess alive, but the fate of the characters is not so assured.

Meanwhile, in a bold move, Alexander and Sir Malcolm have leaped aboard the caravan; Sir Malcolm draws his pistol and holds it to the Princess’s head, threatening to kill her if they are pursued. He puts on such as convincing show, that the enemy back down, and the party is able to escape with their lives.

This gives Professor Brown an opportunity to use is Mind Delving Device (MDD) and interrogate Kalamir. The party learn that he did indeed know about the attacks, with Shastapsh planning to ‘rescue’ the Princess and blame the attack on the British (which Kalamir had thought even more fortuitious when the party showed up).

Princess Aramaranda is difficult to sway, as Kalamir is her cousin, but is convinced enough to keep Kalamir restrained for the rest of the journey. Once back in Thoth, the Prince welcomes the party and thanks them for saving his daughter. He offers them hospitality until he can arrange for their travel back to British territory.

The characters earned 3 experience points each.

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Monkey Business

Characters: Alexander Hawke, Ana Craev, Beth Brunell, Goldie 5000, Kinya Higsbothan

After the encounter in Libya, Ana attempts to sell the story and her photos; they do get published, under the title “Desert Zombies”, but she doesn’t get paid much.

The characters are then contacted by Lindy Windfield, a deputy curator for the Museum of Natural History. He offers the characters L. 1,000 each if they can find the missing French explorer, Dominic Fabian, who was lost searching for a secret tunnel at Ape Hill. They are to meet up with a French search party at the Royal Hotel in Morocco.

At the hotel, the search party is no where to be found, however Alex, Ana and Goldie meet up with two other Society members: Kinya, a short woman whom they have heard is an excellent mechanic, and Beth, a dilettante with a monkey companion and many crates of equipment.

Checking the embassy, the French search party is nowhere to be found, and the word on the street is that they left a day ago. The characters also learn that Ape Hill is widely believed to be cursed, but do manage to find one guide, Riwan Sayid, who is willing to take them.

On the way Kinya, who reveals she is from Coober Pedy, Australia, tells of her dreams to travel between worlds, whilst another night, Goldie 5000 reveals the tale of it’s relationship (?) with Program A92 prior to the rogue Oceanus taking it away.

The party is ambushed by more native raiders, who seem quite active in this region of the world, but manage to drive them off.

After the battle, Kinya is repairing Goldie 5000 and notices a disconnected circuit, from a long time ago (not the battle damage); Goldie 5000 becomes quite defensive and tells everyone not to touch it.

They also think about scouting further ahead, and Beth reveals that her crates contain a Glider that she has invented, but it needs some way to launch. Kinya thinks she can jury-rig up something with Goldie 5000’s jump pack, but it only has two units of fuel left, so they decide to wait until later.

Analysing the fuel, Beth recognises it as coming from a factory in Belgium that she knows quite well. They “supplied” some of the parts for her Glider, as well as chemicals for some Sleep Gas she has also invented.

The characters catch up with the French rescue party, led my Horace Ermanguile. He warns them to follow his orders explicitly and stay out of the way, otherwise he will sue both them and the Museum. The French also have a local guide, who keeps to himself, away from the characters.

That night, Ana and Goldie 5000 decide to have a look around the French camp. They notice Horace speaking in a tent to the guide and get close enough to hear:

When we get to the site I want to see how you open it — providing you wish to live, of course. If you think those interlopers can help you, just remember — without my antidote, you will choke to death within a day. Ah, I see the sleeping draught is taking effect. Good night, Dom.

The guide has been knocked out, and the pair decide to explore closer to the French troops. They are caught at the next tent.

Meanwhile, Beth gets one of the guards to fetch Horace, while distracting the other, who Kinya attempts to sneak up on. She makes a bit too much noise and is discovered, the guards raising their rifles and calling for backup.

The guard over the characters is doubled for the night, and in the morning they are told off by Ermanguile and told to leave, while the French continue the search.

Undismayed, the characters search off in a different direction. Looking for clues, Alex finds some strange markings, just as the French party — who seem to know exactly where they are going — disappear.

Searching the apparent dead end, Ana discovers a narrow crevice cut into the wall; she is about to stick her hand in when she has a better idea and sticks Goldie 5000’s in instead. A scything blade hidden within the crevice slices Goldie’s finger clean off, and it is lost. By this time Sayid has left.

Taking a bit more care, a secret door is eventually opened to find the remains of the original expedition seemingly executed — all except Dominic Fabian. At this point, Alexander remembers what Ana and Goldie told him they overheard and, putting it together words out “Dom” is likely Dominic Fabian — unfortunately no one is really interested in hearing ideas from the Mean, Outsider, wildman and the rest ignore him.

Sneaking inside, the characters surprise Ermanguile and the French soldiers, just as they are about to kill Dominic. Alexander rushes forward two-fisted, followed by Goldie 5000, while Beth throws a vial of her Sleep Gas and Kinya lobs some home made explosives she had concocted up. Ana runs away.

Finally defeating the soldiers and rescuing Dominic, he explains that instead of a secret tunnel, he found this chamber, which contains a large sarcophagus-like box firmly anchored to a daise. Dominic thinks it could be Vulcan in origin.

The characters are about to celebrate their victory when Sayid turns up with a troop of at least twenty of the Sultan’s troops. The characters cede the find to the Sultan (not having much choice) and they return to the city where a feast is put on to honor them.

They each get gifted a ruby pendant, recognizable in Morocco as a symbol of the Sultan’s favor (treat as Connections: Sultan of Morocco), in addition to the L. 1,000 each from the museum for rescuing Dominic.

Characters get 3 Experience Points each.

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Fort Oublié
Elephants in the desert

Characters: Alexander Hawke, Ana Craev, Goldie 5000, Professor Emmit L. Brown, Sir Malcolm Ravenscroft

The action starts with the explorer’s in the middle of the Libyan desert, just outside Fort Oublié.

Their mounts and guides have been killed, and they are under attack again by native raiders. It is a far cry from brandy and cigars in the study three weeks ago when Professor Bottoms asked them to travel and retrieve the Scroll of Anubis, which had been found after it’s recent theft from the Museum of Cairo.

Not wanting to face the approaching hordes, the party decides to run for the walls of the fort, and the chase was on! Sir Malcolm took a bad hit in the leg and Ms Ana Craev almost got caught in a sand dune, but under cover of fire from the others they managed to make it to the walls, where a rope was waiting.

Unfortunately, getting to the top, the poor reporter was attacked by a mindless mutated soldier, his skin bright red and muscular bulk bulging out of his tattered uniform. Goldie 5000 used up one of the precious units of fuel in the jump pack to reach the top and strike down the mutant, while Ana made a yellow retreat to the corner of the wall. The rest of the party hurried up, with the American, Alexander Hawke, covering the rear.

Atop they were attacked by several more mutated soldiers, and also found that several dead bodies had been propped up around the wall. Professor Brown was pretty sure that they had been affected by the same mutagen as the ones that attacked, but had not survived the transformation.

Patching themselves up best they can (a few were injured), Ana took photographs of the mutated bodies.

Exploring, the group then made their way to the stables; it was dark inside, but despite being wary of what they might find, Goldie’s curiosity got the better of her and she entered, only to find it was a group of camels — not affected by the mutagen, but it looked like they hadn’t been looked after in several days.

Moving around the stables into the next section, the group were attacked by another crazed legionnaire on a mutated horse! Ana fled, and Hawke, carrying the candle, rushed forward and drew his two kukri in dual-wielding fury. The horse and rider were taken down, with a second behind entering the fray. The horses were exceedingly tough, and by the time they were finished, the flames had spread into the straw. Hawke rummaged through the pockets of the rider as the others rushed to the well.

A valiant effort to save the building was in vain, however the team did manage to evacuate the camels and prevent the fire from spreading.

The door to the final building was locked, but Ana and Goldie showed their skills and got it open. Inside was the final crazed legionnaire, this one the captain. He took down both Sir Malcolm and Hawke, and wounded most of the others before final succumbing to the odds.

From his records the characters were able to uncover the following snippets:

Winter once commandeered an old, elaborate scroll case from 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.

The French couple who arrived a week ago, the Bourgeois, asked to examine the scroll upon their arrival. Winter permitted it, and was incensed when a pile of blood-red sand spilled out after Monsieur Bourgeois opened the case. Apparently, the scroll in the case had been sealed for preservation.

Captain Winter ordered Mr. Bourgeois to hand over the contents, and as he grabbed the scroll case, he was struck from behind.

When he awoke, the visitors were gone with a quarter of his charges, the scroll case, and 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 believes 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.

The party also found a broken corner of the scroll case amid a pile of dry, dusty sand (no longer red), but were unable to decipher the markings apart from confirming they looked Egyptian. Ana took more photographs of the hieroglyphics.

By morning the raiders had left, and the party were able to sneak off with the camels. Both Hawke and Sir Malcolm were badly injured, and it was touch and go on the way back to civilization, with Sir Malcolm losing his arm.

Once back at an Explorer’s Society outpost they sent the photographs off to Professor Bottoms, and put the injured into hospital. The Society has come through with some special funding to get Sir Malcolm a mechanical replacement, while Hawke eventually recovered.

Professor Bottoms has replied and confirmed the glyphs are in fact Martian, and he has a mission for you to take the artefact there when you are next available. There are also rumours of a white woman being held hostage in Kenya, and a French search party looking for a missing explorer in Morocco.

Characters got 3 Experience Points each, and Sir Malcolm and Professor Brown both get 1 Experience Point for their background write ups. Unfortunately, however, Sir Malcolm now has the quality “Mechanical arm”, and Hawke has “Weak gut”.

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Hyde Park Horror
Initial character creation

Characters: Goldie 5000, Professor Brown, Sir Malcolm Ravenscroft

Professor Alfred Bottoms has called the characters to London, regarding some issue in Libya, but when they arrive he asks them to look into an issue for Inspector Reginald Fox, of Scotland Yard.

There have been several reports of pedestrians being attacked while walking through Hyde Park by a strange frog-like creature wielding a trident and net. Tracking down the leads with some Investigation by the Professor of the scene of the crime points to all the victims coming from one of several government buildings in the area.

Some Streetwise contacts from Sir Malcolm and the characters determine they all worked at Kensington Palace. As the rumors of the attacks spread, they seem to get wilder with each retelling. The characters use Persuasion to get a uniform from the Palace, but only manage to get a single one.

Goldie 5000 is chosen as the bait, while the others hide in the bushes. When Goldie is attacked, they surprise the frog creature, but it leaps away and dives into the lake.

Using their contacts in Section X, the characters obtain several experimental diving suits, and follow the creature through a tunnel to the river Thames, where they discover a parked submersible.

Entering (the occupants were not expecting to be followed), they find several frog-like diving suits of foreign origin. Moving further into the sub they encounter the occupants, a small force of Beligian soldiers.

In an epic battle, the heroes defeat the captain, Siaak Theodore, although Goldie is badly damaged (and later will need repair). The Professor uses his device to read the foreigner’s mind and learns the Belgians planned to impersonate some of the Palace staff and steal valuable artworks; in fact two more of the staff have been captured and were being held in another locked room on the vessel.

The heroes hand the infiltrators, and their vehicle, over to the authorities.

For their trouble, they receive a commendation from the Royal Court (3 favors each, for the major prize) and £1,000 as a reward (£333 each). Characters got 1 Experience Point each.

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