Antonia has a bite; Crabb meets a new patient.
3rd September 2009.
- Lady Antonia deVore – a Heavily-armed Aristocrat.
- Doctor Hilary Crabb – an Army Surgeon.
- Professor Augustus Wyntermere * – a Backroom Boffin.
- Reverend Reginald Blackmore – a Turbulent Priest.
- Rodney Marsh – a Partially-reformed Thief.
- Mr Erasmus Rooke – the Boss.
- Inspector Smythe – of the Yard.
- Hawkins and Andrews – Ministry Agents.
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…
* 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.