Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cthulhu Gaslight: An Audience

Cast of Characters:
Thomas Roquefort, American, archaeologist and adventurer, recently arrived in London after an expedition to Egypt
Richard George Thomas Lumley, second son of the Earl of Scarbrough
Jasper Burnside, physician and in the last two years something of a hermit. It's common knowledge that he has lost someone close and there are rumours aplenty for those willing to listen (he's my character)

Last time...

London, November 11th 1890, Sunday

Based on the organs removed from the previous victims, Thomas predicts at least one more murder and thinks that the killer will take the intestines Then he has all the organs that were traditionally removed to be put into canopic jars. He does some research at his own library and at the British Library and takes Richard with him. Not that Richard is very useful, he just manages to look dashing while being bored to tears. Cat, who does her own research at the British Library, is much more useful.

Together they discover that Cat's father has been following the footsteps of a German archaeologist, Johannes Dümichen. Dümichen is an experts on inscriptions at temples and tombs and has been doing extensive work at Heliopolis (the ancient city of Iunu) and at Hermopolis. His writings have been published by the Egyptian League, unfortunately in German, which neither Cat or Richard read very well.

They find out that the inscription left at the crime scenes was originally used by a cult who worshiped Thoth as an enemy of Ra, with Anubis and Apep as co-conspirators. The cult stems from Hermopolis (or Unu, as it was then called). A certain book is mentioned in connection with that cult, the Book of Secrets.

Jasper takes a look at the last victim, Maggie Coler. He finds that her throat was cut and that she must have bled out in minutes, so the killer did not intend her to suffer. Her stomach has been removed with some measure of expertise at least and a sharp knife, possibly a scalpel has been used. The murder required some time and physical strength. Although it is not really mentioned in the file, Jasper can tell that Maggie has worked as a prostitute. To his surprise, she has never had an abortion, but she has given birth at least once.

When they all meet at the club, they receive an invitation: the Duke of Clarence has granted them an audience. There's no time to dress for the occasion (Richard gleefully notices that he's the only one properly dressed) and they make their way to St James's Palace where they meet Cat and Sir Jeffrey. While they wait to be received, they notice a variety of Egyptian artifacts, including a sarcophagus.

The Duke is sitting on a sofa when they are let into the room and he's in visibly bad shape: pale, shaking and looking much, much older than his 26 years. Judging from the smell in the room and the small bottle on the table, Jasper assumes that he's addicted to laudanum. The Duke is given a few drops from the bottle by a servant and the effect is striking, he begins to look much more like the young, energetic man he should be. But he is still confused, almost disoriented and Jasper judges that effect to be permanent.

When they ask about Dr Laydon and what the Duke told him, the Duke cannot remember, but is gently coaxed into giving Laydon his permission to tell them. The Duke starts talking about Egypt and about Cleopatra's Needle. He tells them that the Needle is said to be cursed and that six men died bringing it to London. Although he says that he doesn't believe in the curse, he still speaks about it as if it were fact. There's supposed to have been a warning, but now it is too late and the god's wrath will befall them. The duke becomes agitated, gets up from the sofa and promptly collapses. Richard catches him and looks into his eyes - for a moment he feels like he is looking into an abyss.


Here's Richard's version of things.

Nothing much actually happened this time, but we learned a lot of important things. The scene with the Duke was nothing like I expected and definitely not what Jasper expected. He's outraged that the Duke is in this condition, both as a doctor and as a subject to the Queen - the man is second in line of succession, after all.

Richard has been gloriously useless for another session and yes, I mean that as a compliment. The character has been hiding whatever he's good at very well and even though he has not done anything useful so far, the player manages to do nothing with a lot of style.

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