The Case of the Jade Dragon (an Untold Tale of the Ministry), episode 2

Cur­ruthers shoots a gang­ster; Pren­tiss uses his fists.

Played

22nd April 2010.

Dramatis Personae

Plot

Hav­ing secured the ware­house, the team decid­ed to try and get their pris­on­er and the crate back to the Min­istry. Pren­tiss head­ed out of Lime­house at speed to locate a cart big enough to trans­port a two-ton lump of jade, while Marsh began wrap­ping the corpses in chains. He then got Cur­ruthers to assist him in dump­ing the bod­ies in the riv­er. In the process, they dis­cov­ered that all the bod­ies, and their pris­on­er, sport­ed elab­o­rate and colour­ful tat­toos, most­ly of assort­ed mytho­log­i­cal crea­tures; Marsh had only seen designs like this on teapots. Lady Anto­nia main­tained a watch, while Marsh and Cur­ruthers attempt­ed to inter­ro­gate the pris­on­er, who turned out not to speak a word of Eng­lish.

Pren­tiss returned a fret­ful hour lat­er with a cart, a horse and their dri­ver, a man he said could be trust­ed. They man­aged to get the crate onto the cart, after dis­cov­er­ing a winch in the build­ing, and began the trek back to Shaftes­bury Avenue at a very slow pace (even a draft horse was hav­ing dif­fi­cul­ty with the weight). It was now about two o’clock in the morn­ing.

Things went well until they reached the edge of Lime­house, when they were sud­den­ly ambushed by sev­er­al large bands of gang­sters. Lady Anto­nia man­aged to give the team enough warn­ing to pre­pare weapons and a rather unequal bat­tle began as they cut and blast­ed their way through the tide of thugs. Pren­tiss fought with his new­ly-acquired boathook from on top of the cart but, when the dri­ver was knocked out, he jumped down to defend him. Spot­ting one of the gang lead­ers, a some­what brawny fel­low, mov­ing towards him, he put the hook aside and they engaged in hand-to-hand com­bat. Mean­while, Cur­ruthers was also look­ing for any sign of a leader and, spot­ting anoth­er like­ly can­di­date, a pirat­i­cal type with two exot­ic-look­ing knives in his belt, took a shot at him with lit­tle effect. Marsh decid­ed dis­cre­tion was the bet­ter part of val­our and hid under the tar­pau­lin, with the inten­tion of stay­ing with the cart if the bad guys won. Lady Anto­nia mount­ed the carthorse and tried to get it to move but, dis­cov­er­ing the press was too great, she used it as a shoot­ing plat­form.

Pren­tiss engaged in a swift exchange of blows with his oppo­nent, then put him down, break­ing his nose as a num­ber of the sur­round­ing gang­sters broke off their attack and fled, begin­ning a mass exo­dus. Cur­ruthers’ tar­get recov­ered from the impact of the shot and som­er­sault­ed over the inter­ven­ing crowd, stab­bing the Cap­tain quite bad­ly. Marsh attempt­ed to inter­vene but was unable to pen­e­trate the vil­lain’s tough hide. Lady Anto­nia found it too dif­fi­cult to assist and con­cen­trat­ed on clear­ing the thin­ning crowd ahead of the crows. It took Pren­tiss, who had stopped to check the dri­ver was still alive, hit­ting Rain with his boathook to bring him down.

Once the dust had set­tled, the orig­i­nal pris­on­er and Pren­tiss’ vic­tim had dis­ap­peared with the crowd. They decid­ed to con­cen­trate on get­ting their new pris­on­er and the crate to the Min­istry, where Rooke was very pleased to take charge of them.

Notes

The sto­ry con­tin­ued this week, as flight dis­rup­tion from the ash loft­ing from the Eyjaf­jal­la­jökull vol­cano ensured that the tourists remained in Japan.

It was anoth­er fight, arranged using the mook rules from Adamant Enter­tain­men­t’s Thrilling Tales. Rather than give a spe­cif­ic num­ber of oppo­nents, I decid­ed that the crowd would dis­perse after 30 of them were tak­en out (adjust­ing for the robust­ness of the play­ers’ defence) and that 1d4 of them would be able to attack each char­ac­ter in a round. It worked out in a fair­ly bal­anced fash­ion, but the two hench­men (also from Thrilling Tales) caused a few prob­lems. The fight fea­tured three jok­ers, lead­ing to some spec­tac­u­lar die-rolling (notably Pren­tiss’ KO of the first hench­man and the sec­ond hench­man’s fly­ing leap to attack Cur­ruthers). It also fea­tured the first use of anoth­er option­al rule from Thrilling Tales, sto­ry dec­la­ra­tions, which allow a char­ac­ter to spend a fate chip (ben­ny) and request that some­thing hap­pens: in this case, Pren­tiss was still car­ry­ing his boathook from the pre­vi­ous bat­tle, rather than hav­ing left it in the ware­house.