The Madness of Angels, episode 4

April spies a spir­it; Dr Pleas­ant meets an eccentric.


27th Janu­ary 2011.

Dramatis Personae

  • Cap­tain Ben­son Cur­ruth­ersa Mil­it­ary Police­man.
  • Doc­tor Zephaniah Pleas­anta Sin­is­ter Sur­geon.
  • Miss April Sharpea Self-taught Invent­or.
  • Jack Pren­tiss – a Dodgy Ped­es­tri­an.
  • Mr Erasmus Rooke – the Boss.
  • Sir Colin Mor­timer – an Eccent­ric Archi­tect.
  • Hende­r­son – a Ded­ic­ated Crypto­lo­gist.
  • Lord Aber­gavenny – an Irrit­able Noble.
  • Wil­li­am Body – a Tim­id Work­man.
  • Charlie Body – anoth­er Tim­id Work­man.
  • The Chief Ver­ger of St Paul’s Cathed­ral.
  • The Dis­traught Vicar of St Nini­an’s Church.
  • Sev­er­al Mem­bers of Staff at the Cap­it­oline Club.
  • Lewis – an Unsuc­cess­ful Burg­lar.
  • The Corpse of Mar­tin Geffey.
  • A Young Con­stable.
  • Two Ath­let­ic Bob­bies.


Fol­low­ing the exam­in­a­tion of Mar­tin Geffey’s body, the her­oes reas­sembled at the Min­istry. It was late, but before turn­ing in for the night, Cur­ruth­ers wrote out his report of the day’s events, while Lady Ant­o­nia and Dr Pleas­ant both made attempts to decipher some of the Dean’s books.

The fol­low­ing morn­ing, Cur­ruth­ers led the charge to the break­fast table where news was spread­ing of the sud­den col­lapses of St Ninian’s and St Colstan’s churches in North and South East Lon­don, respect­ively. Rumours were also cir­cu­lat­ing of paranor­mal events at the Cathed­ral. Accord­ingly, they decided to pay a vis­it to St Paul’s, paus­ing to deliv­er Greenfield’s enciphered diary to Mr Hende­r­son, a some­what unusu­al, but very tal­en­ted, individual.

Arriv­ing, they found the build­ing empty, with staff, wor­ship­pers and onlook­ers sur­round­ing it in a big circle. They were hailed by the Chief Ver­ger, who explained about strange fig­ures in the aisles, mys­ter­i­ous shrieks and whis­per­ing in the gal­ler­ies and odd lights under the dome. They decided to enter and, des­pite their efforts to avoid notice, were cheered on by the crowds.

As they entered, they became aware that the build­ing was much dark­er than it should have been. It was also cold and, as they left the porch, the main door shut with a loud bang. Pren­tiss and Miss Sharpe were some­what shaken by this, but decided to press on. They were greeted by odd noises, but were unable to trace the source and, advan­cing to the space under the dome, they caught a glimpse of a faint fig­ure just bey­ond the range of their torch­light. Miss Sharpe turned on her Detecter­onatron and saw a demon­ic face scream­ing in the smoke, bear­ing a sim­il­ar­ity to the face she had seen the morn­ing before in the roof. They became aware of a shak­ing in the floor and dust began to fall from the arches. A brief attempt to invest­ig­ate the upper levels was thwarted by the sud­den appear­ance of a huge crack across the floor and they decided dis­cre­tion was the great­er part of valour, res­ist­ing the urge to flee out­right as a sud­den cack­ling eman­ated from the air around them.

As they emerged from the South Door, they were hailed by the Chief Ver­ger, who imme­di­ately intro­duced them to the Bodys. The work­men had finally emerged from hid­ing and were des­per­ate to relate their tale of uncov­er­ing a stone block bear­ing a carving of a Green Man. Not long after­wards, a num­ber of odd events had occurred, cul­min­at­ing in the appear­ance of a ghostly fig­ure in the cav­ity with­in the wall. They had fled, although Gef­fey had attemp­ted to face down the entity before chas­ing after them. They had seen him col­lapse in the alley behind them and had assumed he’d been attacked and killed, hence their hiding.

Return­ing to the Min­istry, Cur­ruth­ers sought out Mr Rooke, ask­ing him about the Cap­it­oline Club. Rooke expan­ded a little on the estab­lish­ment, explain­ing its status as a gentleman’s club, and told him that his Min­istry status wouldn’t get him in. Cur­ruth­ers and Pren­tiss decided to try any­way and, after briefly call­ing in on Hende­r­son and get­ting the impres­sion he did not want to be dis­turbed, they headed for Kens­ing­ton. They were invited into the lobby and were shown to a side room, where they were met by the Pres­id­ent of the Club, a cur­mudgeonly noble known as Lord Aber­gavenny. He flatly refused to help them, so they left, circ­ling around to the rear of the build­ing, where they debated for­cing an entry.

The oth­er three her­oes opted for lib­rary research. After a brief and unsuc­cess­ful invest­ig­a­tion of pos­sible rituals that might pre­vent the col­lapse of St Paul’s, Pleas­ant joined Miss Sharpe in examin­ing the his­tory of Green Man carvings. They dis­covered that they were com­mon in medi­ev­al churches and were appar­ently placed by pro­fes­sion­al masons. The­or­ies con­nec­ted them to a pagan under­ground and they may have had some ritu­al pur­pose: either pro­tect­ing the build­ing from venge­ful loc­al spir­its or pos­sibly bind­ing the church with the power of those same spir­its. Inter­est­ingly, they dis­covered that Chris­toph­er Wren flatly refused to include such carvings in any of his build­ings, regard­ing them as pagan abom­in­a­tions (a not uncom­mon opin­ion in the after­math of the Com­mon­wealth). Lady Ant­o­nia invest­ig­ated Wren’s career and the build­ing of the cathed­ral, unearth­ing his con­nec­tions to Isaac New­ton and to a more mys­tic­al intel­lec­tu­al tradition.

Miss Sharpe and Pleas­ant then vis­ited the site of the col­lapse of St Ninian’s, one of Wren’s oth­er Lon­don churches. Talk­ing to the vicar, they found out that the build­ing had no his­tory of instabil­ity, but were then approached by a some­what crazed indi­vidu­al who informed them that Wren had been up to no good, using “occult prac­tices” to shore up imprac­tic­al designs. Des­pite his intro­du­cing him­self as Sir Colin Mor­timer of the Imper­i­al Insti­tute of Archi­tects, Pleas­ant dis­missed him as “odd”.


This game was a lot of fun from my point of view, des­pite the lack of actu­al action. For some reas­on, I was finally able to over-emphas­ise the pecu­li­ar­it­ies of some of the NPC’s (Mor­timer and Hende­r­son espe­cially), which seemed to go down well. I intend to try this more often, it’s fre­quently offered as a way to make ses­sions more memorable.

On the down­side I didn’t get as far through the invest­ig­a­tion as I would have liked. This led to some com­prom­ises in the effort to fin­ish the story the next week.