Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cthulhu Gaslight: Cops and Robbers

Characters:
Sven Tore Berglund - private detective
Harry 'The Pen' Standish - reporter
Stuart Dunbar - a Bobby

Stuart is walking his beat in the East End when he hears the sound of a Bobby's whistle and runs towards it. He finds his colleague Hugh kneeling next to a body of a well-groomed gentleman. The man is very much out of place here and has paid for it with his life. Someone stabbed him, but not without working him over before that. While Hugh goes to get Inspector Avery Shaw, Stuart gathers up the dead man's belongings and aims a kick at a street urching trying to steal something.

investigate further


The man has a letter, some old books and a ring on his finger Stuart can't take a look at before Shaw arrives and takes command. He orders the body to be taken away and tells Stuart to present himself at the station in two hours.

Stuart did read the letter and found out that the body is probably that of Clemens Wright, who worked for the antiquarian bookseller Anthony Morris and was on his way to deliver some seemingly rare books to a Mr Morgan.

Harry is at the Dravot's Head where he meets the street urchin Colin. Colin tells him about the murder and that the Powell Brothers may be involved, a notorious gang of thugs. When Harry is about to leave the pub, he runs into Sven.

Sven in investigating a case and has uncovered that a shipping company is smuggling weapons to Germany. He's in the company of one of the men who work at the company and Harry knows enough to ignore him for now.

At the station, Stuart meets Anythony Morris in Shaw's office. It seems that Morris has quite a lot of influence over Shaw, enough to demand that the case gets special treatment. Stuart is assigned to it and is told to make sure the book that was stolen is found again. It's called The Writings of the Black Man. He notices Morris ring and thinks it's similar to the one Wright was wearing.

He goes through Wright's belongings again and find a piece of paper in one of the books. It says: "E.L., Coborn Street" - right around the corner from where Wright was found.

He wants to take another look at the body. On his way to the morgue, he runs into Harry and Sven and they both tag along. Their cab stops across the street and they all see a little girl in a nightshirt walking away from the building. Unfortunately, this is not really unusual in the East End, she probably has nothing else to wear. When they enter, they find no-one there, but they do find bloody footprints that match the girl. A quick look outside by Sven shows that she's already gone.

They follow the footprints further into the building and discover that both the coroner and his helper have been brutally murdered. It looks as if their chest has been pushed open from within. Further searching reveals nothing that would give any hint to solve this crime. Stuart remembers that he has seen the girl before, she was in the crowd that had gathered around Wright's body.

After they have told wat has happened to Shaw and others have taken over that investigation, they proceed to Coborn Street where Edward Lovett's shop of odd and ends is located. Lovett is not happy to see them and it takes a bit of strongarming to make him talk. To be precise, someone already talked to him and used his fists generously. When Lovett refuses to say anything, Stuart wonders aloud how long it would shut the shop down if he had to come back with backup and search for stolen goods.

Lovett gives in and tells them that he wanted the stolen book and Wright agreed to get it for him. Morris is the one who beat him up because he assumes that Lovett has it, but he doesn't. He also tells them that both Wright and Morris work for the Leopold Society.

They leave and when they walk out onto the street, they hear a voice from the shadows. "He's going to die." Stuart has very little patience for this and grabs the man. He recognises Fireface, a well-known doomsayer with a burned face. Fireface speaks only in hints and rumours, but it becomes clear that the book contains a ritual that, if performed successfully, will mean a catastrophe for London.

The book is in the hands of the girl (her name is Audrey) and there will be three more victims. But Fireface doesn't elaborate any further than that.

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This was planned as an adventure for one evening, but of course it didn't work out that way. The characters were pre-made for us and we had our pick. I chose the bobby and I like him a lot. He's not the gentlest of men, but not as rough as many of his colleagues.

I think the Dravot's Head is becoming a fixture in our Gaslight adventures. I came up with it for the Cat and Dai adventures as a place for them to start their ventures in the East End and somehow it keeps turning up. I named it after Danny Dravot from Kipling's brilliant short story The Man Who Would Be King

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