The Temple Vampire, episode 1

Anto­nia has a bite; Crabb meets a new patient.

Played

3rd Sep­tem­ber 2009.

Dramatis Personae

  • Lady Anto­nia deVorea Heav­i­ly-armed Aris­to­crat.
  • Doc­tor Hilary Crabb – an Army Sur­geon.
  • Pro­fes­sor Augus­tus Wyn­ter­mere * – a Back­room Bof­fin.
  • Rev­erend Regi­nald Black­more – a Tur­bu­lent Priest.
  • Rod­ney Marsha Par­tial­ly-reformed Thief.
  • Mr Eras­mus Rooke – the Boss.
  • Inspec­tor Smythe – of the Yard.
  • Hawkins and Andrews – Min­istry Agents.

Plot

In mid-Octo­ber of 1886, six ner­vous fig­ures picked their way del­i­cate­ly along a feed­er tun­nel in the sew­ers under Fleet Street, illu­mi­nat­ed by the gal­van­ic torch­es pro­vid­ed by the Quar­ter­mas­ter’s Depart­ment. As they peered through the gloom, they were ambushed by rat-men from a hole in the wall and a vicious melee broke out. Although few of them were skilled in the hand-to-hand com­bat required by the enclosed space (flam­ma­ble gas­es and the vol­ume of gun­shots ensured firearms could not be used), the team won out, inspired by the exam­ple of the Rev­erend Black­more and his holy sword. Lady Anto­nia had been bad­ly injured, but Doc­tor Crabb was able to tend to her wounds and ensure she was not infect­ed.

Leav­ing Hawkins and Andrews to watch the lair, the rest of the team returned to the Min­istry to be debriefed by Mr Rooke. They were intro­duced to Pro­fes­sor Wyn­ter­mere, a Quar­ter­mas­ter’s Depart­ment offi­cer assigned to field-test new equip­ment and quick­ly giv­en anoth­er assign­ment, inves­ti­gat­ing the mur­der of Simon Barch­ester, a stock­bro­ker from the City.

Arriv­ing at Scot­land Yard, they were shown to the col­d­room in the cel­lar, where the body was laid out. It was instant­ly clear why they had been called in: the body was of a man appar­ent­ly over a hun­dred years old. Barch­ester was known to be around 40. While Pro­fes­sor Wyn­ter­mere ques­tioned the Inspec­tor, Doc­tor Crabb began to exam­ine the corpse…

Notes

* All events involv­ing Pro­fes­sor Wyn­ter­bot­tom were ret­conned from the fol­low­ing ses­sion.

This was the first ses­sion of a Sav­age Worlds mini-cam­paign record­ing the exploits of a group of Vic­to­ri­an mon­ster-hunters work­ing for the mys­te­ri­ous Min­istry of Blades. The prin­ci­ple aim of this ses­sion was to get the play­ers famil­iar with the sys­tem and the set­ting.

The idea of start­ing the sto­ry in media res is seen fre­quent­ly in movies and tele­vi­sion and I thought it would work well to side­step the usu­al intro­duc­tion scene. In my expe­ri­ence, such scenes are often quite tedious and usu­al­ly result in one char­ac­ter try­ing too hard to make an impres­sion while one of the oth­ers takes an instant dis­like to them, which can affect the rest of the game. Drop­ping the char­ac­ters straight into a fight had the effect of instant­ly estab­lish­ing them as a team rather than a group of com­pet­ing indi­vid­u­als, while get­ting the core rules intro­duc­tion (anoth­er ten­sion killer) out of the way. Per­son­al­i­ty estab­lish­ment fol­lowed in the brief­ing and ini­tial inves­ti­ga­tion of the unfor­tu­nate vic­tim.