The Temple Vampire, episode 1

Ant­o­nia has a bite; Crabb meets a new patient.


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.


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.