Rippers : London

The Western Sun

The PCs finally reach Venice, and take ship for Cairo. They are met on board by Karl’s new character, who introduces himself and pays for upgrades to their cabins. He has been invited to join the Rippers, and was dispatched to join the team straight away, as his expertise in Egyptology would figure to be valuable.

In Alexandria, the Rippers find their way to the Alexandria Lodge, and search the extensive library there. The most important discovery is what was there, but is now gone: Muhammed himself was there with famous Cairo Lodge leader Alan Frazier, and one of Frazier’s maps from his personal collection, now missing as well. Luckily the librarian remembers the visit and Frazier’s collection quite well, and tells the Rippers that the missing map is that of the Saqqara Necropolis, in the desert south of Cairo. Alarmed, but armed with another lead, the Rippers head to Cairo.

In Cairo they track down the Lodge, and find that Frazier has not been seen in a few days, but that he had commissioned a caravan to Saqqara. The Rippers fanned out to gather supplies for the trip, and see what could be learned about Frazier and perhaps Muhamed. Not much was learned, but in the course of his searches, James came upon the Western Sun Cafe, a little joint reputed to be a tourist trap. Cole entered, and found he was the only man there. Not sure what to make of it, he ordered a drink, and was drugged and knocked out.

Shortly thereafter Rose, Cecila, and Karl’s manservant visit the Cafe. Celina and Karl’s manservant are knocked out quickly, but Rose manages to avoid the knockout drops and races for help.

The rest of the Rippers return to a deserted Cafe, but find a hidden basement where James, Celina, and Karl’s manservant are locked up. In an adjoining cell, a feral person, is chained. he acts viscious, very much like a vampire, and ultimately is killed for it after nearly biting Henry. They also find Alan Frazier – he tells them that Muhamed told him they would meet here, but never showed.

Just as Frazier was about to related details, a mysterious person known as The Scarab accosts the Rippers with aid from three mummies. All 4 are beaten in a tough fight. The Rippers clean up the mess and re-organize to head down to Saqqara to find an invisible pyramid.

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Alexandria

The captive shadow captured by James and Dr P. last week gives up his employer – Amir Sheikh Muhammed. Muhammed is a well known Egyptologist,with a reputation for crackpot theories. The PCs head to Egypt, after sending word to Dame Bettina that they are experiencing problems with delivery of her gem tomorrow morning.

They take a train to Venice, intending to take ship to Alexandria there. Italian officials hold up the PCs at the Italian border, citing incomplete paperwork. The Rippers realize the official has been bribed, and pay $10 to trump that bribe and go on. They try to learn who paid to stop them, and get only general information about an Englishman who paid to hold them up to miss their connection in Venice.

Shortly after train starts again, The Rippers are accosted by a conductor, who asks if any are officials or police. He explains that a passenger is dead. The corpse is in a compartment alone, and the entire compartment is like a deep freeze. The unsettled Rippers interview the dead man’s companions, who relate that the victim was accosted by some sort of horrible ghost. Searching for some connection, the Rippers learn that the men all gambled at a sinister club in Paris, and made a very public bet with each other that the last man still alive would get everybody else’s assets. While the interviews proceed, Dr P. and Henry go to the sleeping compartment where the travelers kept their luggage, checking to see if the men had anything in their possessions that might cause the haunting. One of them discovers a crudely made doll, and picks it up. The ghost appears immediately, causing the room temperature to plummet. The terrified Rippers shrink back – Dr. P actually has a heart attack. The ghost demands that the doll be destroyed, which Henry does by grinding it under his foot. The ghost lets out a shriek of release and triumph, and disappears, but the damage is done – Dr. P lays inert on the cabin floor, his eyes wide and staring, his face a rictus of pain and terror, his fist clutching his shirt front. Suddenly his features compose and he sits up. He gets calmly to his feet, says something to a dumbfounded Henry in a language Henry neither knows nor even recognizes, then exist the compartment, and walks off of the rail car, which is speeding over the tracks at nearly 90 kph.

Henry races back to the cabin, and the Rippers wring the story from one of the survivors – he created the doll and cast a ritual to summon the ghost of a voodoo sorcerer to kill his friends – simple greed. The thunderstruck Rippers then learn from James exactly what happened to Dr. P. He was hosting a demon, and the extreme trauma apparently gave it control of his now dead body!

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Paris Underground

The session opens with the Rippers reviving a captured thief,T J Raffles, also a well known cricket player. He is quite an agreeable fellow, and relates the plan to nick the Star of Svengali. He also explains how his associate, “Bunny” Manders was poised to take a handoff if the thing went tits up, and then they would meet up in Paris.

Satisfied with Raffle’s story, the Rippers split up, with James and Dr. P staying in London to do more research (and attend an important meeting) while Sister K, Henry, and Rose head to Paris.
James meets with the enigmatic Leona DuVall, who explains she was looking for him to warn him of the impending theft. She knows of it because she was the original contractor, but ultimately turned down the job. She was spooked because the contractor predicted the exposure of the Star approximately two weeks before the event.

Meanwhile in London, the three tourists attempt to crash a pre-arranged meeting between raffles and Bunny at the Notre Dame. Bunny scampers off, and the ensuing chase leads to his capture. With no more fortitude than Raffles, Bunny allows that he hid the Star in the tunnels below Paris, but can no longer get to it because the tunnels are haunted! He also reveals that the buyer of the stolen Star intends to take it to Egypt.

The tourists go to the spot in the tunnels indicated by Bunny, and sure enough, the ghost of a Templar Knight appears to Sister K, imploring her to release him by cleansing or destroying holy relics buried near by. These are found, but more ghosts of corrupted Templars attack, and are defeated only by Sister K’s divine power. The relics prove to be the quite famous, and quite corrupt. Sister K knows of the ritual needed to cleanse/destroy them, but needs resources of a Lodge Library.

Meanwhile, a search of the hiding place of the Star reveals that it has been taken! Their only lead now is in Egypt somewhere…..

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Bettina's Gem

Dame Bettina invites the Rippers for tea on a Friday afternoon, and tells a story of her greatest asset – the Star of Svengali, a large diamond that has been in her family for years. She has just had it appraised, and her bank refuses to accept it into their care until they update their insurance, and Bettina has heard a rumor that it has been targeted by thieves. She asks that the PCs watch it for her until she can return it to her Bank.

Dame Bettina tells James that the widow Duvall just had tea with Bettina yesterday.

Pierre Savignon is hard at work insinuating himself – Rose receives Roses via courier every day that week. He has also asked permission to call on Sunday afternoon. Rose has to run him down, because she must attend Wilhelm von Valkenberg’s At Home day that Sunday.

Celina plans to receive guests with her Grandfather on Sunday, and invites Henry to come around as well to sit with her.

Sister Katherine researches Sister Felicia Hallsman’s problem, and finds some ties to Egyptian Mythology. The London Library does not have the resources to provide additional info – the answers are most likely in the library in the Alexandria Lodge. Sister Katherine is also informed that henceforth she will have to pay a $10 per month subscription fee to use the London Lodge’s Library, as she has been there too much to be considered a guest any longer.

At about 5am Monday morning, Sister K is awaken by someone attempting to steal the Star of Svengali from around her neck. The thief snatched the Star and fled, but did not get far. Dr. P grabbed him in the kitchen, and Sister K, heedless of the danger to her chorts, looses a blast of divine retribution that nearly kills the thief. The Rippers quickly drag him back downstairs to the Lodge, and discover that he is none other than famous cricket player A J Raffles. Moreover, he does NOT have the Star!
Sister K and Rose retrace the chase, and discover that the kitchen door (which Dr. P. had closed) is open again! Rose finds some tracks in the damp ground of the alley, that lead to a blank wall at the end of the alley. The Star is gone!

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Rosslyn

Rose does not hear any further from Pierre, in spite of his promise to contact her for another get together.
Celina Banks learned of Henry’s meeting with Dr W. She was be quite miffed that her grandfather is treating her this way, and blames Henry for failing to find the spine to stand up to Dr. W.
James, talking to the Publican at the Ten bells, learns that a woman came in that day and was asking after him.
Dr P. read in the paper that Big Ben was damaged by lightning (in spite of numerous lightning rods), and would cease to keep time for nearly a month while repairs were affected.

The Rippers travel to Rosslyn in Scotland to follow up on information in Van Helsing’s notes. Although he is nowhere to be found, at least one local remembers his visit a week back.

The Rippers check out the old Chapel, securing access via a tour offered by the Freemasons.
They find the famous Apprentice column, and discover markings on the column identical to those in Van Helsing’s notes! They find that the symbols are switches that open a secret passage in the Chapel, and a host of cultists boil from the hidden chamber! The Rippers handle the cultists, and question them about Van Helsing’s presence in the Chapel. They affirm he was there, and Negotiated with him to exchange information for non-interference in their activities. He then left town.

The Rippers return to London, satisfied that the elder Van Helsing is traveling of his own volition, and not in any undue jeopardy.

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A Night at the Museum

The session opens with our heroes racing across the cemetery to intervene in whatever mayhem is taking place at the Natural History Museum. Rose arrives first on the scene, leaving behind Dr. P., who was hung up on a wrought iron fence. The scene was chaos: panicked people streaming out of the darkened museum, bloody victims in the street, unfortunates being hurled through windows by forces unknown!
Rose charges into the museum through one such broken window, and confronts a number of Egyptian mummies, shuffling around the special engagement Egyptology exhibit.

The rest of the team (except Sister K, who stopped to assist the injured near the entrance) charged into the musuem, to assist Rose or rescue more unfortunates. After a strange battle against reanimated bugs, the skeleton fo a T-Rex, and a stuffed and mounted sabertoothed Cat, our heroes prevailed, and assisted the bobbies in clearing the museum of the injured while a Rippers “cleanup” team went to work to spin the circumstances.

The next afternoon saw the Rippers staking out the statue of Lord Wellington in Hyde Park, intent on protecting Rose from any mishaps that might arise from her “appointment” with the alleged Pierre Savignon, the same man she and James discovered sleeping in a coffin and killed in a grubby little tunnel just days before.
Pierre looked quite the same when he arrived complete with a picnic lunch. He explained the multiple postponements of the “aapointment” by describing a family difficulty scenario involving his twin brother(!). No more details were forthcoming, as Rose was unwilling to press for details, and Pierre offered none.

Upon arriving back at the Ten Bells from the picnic, Rose and the Rippers were summoned to the London Lodge that afternoon for tea.
They attended forthwith, and were introduced for the first time to the famous Johan Van Helsing, son of the great Doctor himself. The younger Van Helsing swept in, assigned the team the task of finding the Elder Van Helsing, who had gone missing recently, provided access to the Elder’s papers, and left. The Rippers were quite taken aback, and not sure why they were picked, but took up the gauntlet.

Research and review of Van Helsing’s papers revealed some interesting perspective on the history of the organization, along with some clues to Van Helsing’s more recent research, which appeared to lead to Rosslyn in Scotland.

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Blood Ward at St Barts

Henry finally meets Dr Watson at the Afghan Veteran’s Society. Watson tells him in no uncertain terms that he is not good enough for Celina. He also charges Henry with seeing to it that Celina is protected at all times, leaving open a sliver of hope for a future with her if he proves himself.

Rose gets another message from Pierre(!!!). He again apologizes for the missed assignment, and begs for a final chance to take her out. Dumbfounded, then suspicious, she consults the other Rippers, and then agrees to meet Pierre for a picnic at Hyde Park on Saturday afternoon.

Sister K brings all of the Rippers in response to Father Smythers’ request for assistance at St Barts:

Smythers can’t tell them much, and situation is exacerbated because medical reports are missing. Everything he does tell them suggests Sister Felicia knows something. Symthers asks that the Rippers not engage her so as to avoid any conflict of interest issues.

The dead are all children, all appear in decent overall health. No post mortems have been performed – Rippers find out that thus far, no parents have consented to this.
Examination reveals no obvious signs of trauma or other life threatening injury, there are also no signs of lividity or other blood pooling.
Each child has a single small puncture under the right armpit. Puncture is positioned to draw from the brachial artery.

While Sister K and Dr P check out the bodies, James looks into the ward itself. He finds it closed, and dark. Has been closed for 2 days, furniture is covered in sheets. Room looks like it was hastily evacuated (some equipment and instruments, even drinking cups, still sit on sheet covered tables. Symthers had informed the Rippers that cleanup has not yet started.
The floors around several beds were scrubbed with something abrasive. Condition of the wood floor there indicates a a strong chemical was used too. Under one bed are some burn marks on the floor, accompanied by drops of paraffin (from candles). Under good light, that bed also reveals that the floor was marked (painted?) with dark liquid or paint, then washed off (but not completely).
James takes his findings to Sister K – she and Rose agree that research is required.

But James is not done! After an interview with one of the attending physicians, James suspects that the missing medical reports are in Sister Felicia’s office. With Henry’s help, he breaks into her office, and discovers an envelope stashed under a drawer.

The reports corroborate medical information supplied by Symthers and the physician: all were recovering from infectious diseases (Whooping Cough, Chicken Pox, Measles). All were in the recovery ward, and were considered past danger. All died suddenly overnight.
Some interesting non-medical facts also turned up….several children were from the same family, and ALL of the victims lived in Kensington. All of the families were fairly prominent old line families, long ensonced in that neighborhood.

Sure now of foul play, they retire to the London Lodge to borrow the library facilities. Research reveals that the marks on the floor are sigils related to a death ritual, apparently designed to reanimate dead ancestors. The reanimation ritual is very powerful, and will reanimate a LOT of dead ancestors.
The ritual requires the sacrifice of a descendant. It must be a live sacrifice. As an alternative, the ritual may be performed with the carefully prepared blood of innocent decendants of the dead to be reanimated instead of a live sacrifice.

This is all too much for Katherine, who goes to confront Sister Felicia. Felicia admits to taking steps to obscure events, but she has a different motive – she is the vessel for a child-killing demon, and she is afraid it is getting loose! shown the results of Sister K’s research, she in satisfied that her demon is still in check (for now).

With all pieces in place, the Rippers check out a large cemetary in Kensington, just across the street from the Natural History Museum, where some sort of gala is going on. They discover a ritual in progress, and crash it. They are just too late – the spell goes off, but something goes wrong. The dead of the cemetery don’t rise, but something is going horribly wrong at the Museum….

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White Chapel Ferals

A few days after the events of the previous session:

Henry is invited to the Afghan Expedition Society, a Gentlemen’s Club for Afghan veterans, by Dr. Watson. He misses the appointment due to events at the tenement (below).

Rose receives a message from Pierre! He apologizes for missing their appointment, and prays that she will forgive him and allow another chance to make it up. This post dates the searching of his apartment by some days.

Dr Punjar spots an article in the Times that describes the death of a bobby by lightning strike on a night with no thunderstorms.

Sister K notices an article in the same paper, mentioning that St Barts had to close their children’s ward to eradicate a strange blood disease that is killing patients. Coincidentally(?), she receives a communique from the director of St Barts, asking for her attendance.

The PCs comb White Chapel for werewolves, on instructions from the London lodge. Celina comes up with a potion she purchased (Fiend’s Blood) on a street corner. PCs realize only Rippers would have access to it.

Staking out the vendor’s corner, Celia endures being treated as a soiled dove, while James glances into a pub window, and spots a woman who is a ringer for Leona Duvall, but she is dressed as a common slattern. His attempts to confront her come to naught, and patrons describe her as “Molly”, a young new bit o crumpet.

The street vendor is a dead end, but other information leads to a tenement deep in the slums of White Chapel.

The tenement is old, and crumbling, and unoccupied by various squatter groups that teem in the adjacent dumps. The building is completely boarded up, and looks empty, but a local denizen tells PCs that there are inhabitants at night. Our heroes enter, and find evidence of a wolf pack’s presence.

Search of the lower floor leads to a claustrophobic tunnel chamber below the basement, housing a rotting old coffin. Rose and James open the coffin, to discover Pierre Savignon in repose there! After some surprise and dismay, Rose kills Pierre with help from James.

The wolf pack returns, but the Rippers are ready for them. They are handling the surprised group of men (wolfmen? Maybe not?), when they are flanked by a full werewolf. There are tense moments when James is forced to grapple with the killer, but some attacks strike home, and the werewolf flees by leaping out a second story window (the theme of villains escaping by leaping or falling from a great height continues).

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No Mask!

Rose is preparing to meet Pierre Savignon later that evening, when:

Celina Banks appears at the Lodge, proudly announcing that she has been admitted to the Rippers, and assigned to “The Cursed Lodge” at Spitalfields! She brings with her information about a series of bloody assaults in White Chapel, with directions that the PCs are to take action against it right away.

The trail leads to Pierre’s shop, where evidence of foul play is prevalent in his upstairs apartment. Predictably, he does not appear for his appointment with Rose.

========
Henry reads the opening chorus to the play, and in spite of some strange effects, elects to read further. He is frustrated to see that the last page of the play is missing – it has been torn out. He does, however, find the address of an obscure theatre in Charing Cross where the play is scheduled to be put on that very evening!

All of the Rippers except Rose attend, only to find they are the ONLY patrons in this tiny venue. At the end of the play, attendees are sucked into a portal of some sort, and encounter The King in Yellow himself.

The King offers a number of boons:

limitless riches
the ability to relive one regretted moment
a great truth
life eternal

Rippers need only drink the glass of liquid offered. The King will not allow the Rippers to leave until one drinks. Ultimately, Dr. Punjar does so, and all were transported back to the tiny theatre, except Dr. Punjar, who showed up somewhat later, looking haggard and shaken. He would not discuss his experience.

=========
Dr. Punjar also spent a bit of time on research, specifically Hydes. It turns out to be quite a time consuming task.

In the course of his research Dr. Punjar stumbles across reference to an method of bestowing immortality via grafting the Lymph glands of a vampire.

No new information on Hydes seems to be available.
=======

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The Bell Tower Battle

The heroes race to Spitalfields, hurrying to get to Christ Church and the summoning bell before Dr. Greenfield can work his nefarious plan.

They arrive on a dark empty street, to find a locked church. Knowing that the vicar lives elsewhere, they decide to pick the front door lock to gain access to the bell tower. While Henry works on the lock, the rest of the team fights off a gang of wolfmen who charged out of the darkness to stop them.

With the wolfmen defeated and entrance gained, our heroes climb to the top of the bell tower, where they hear soundas of metal pounding metal, and see blue flashes. At the end of an arduous climb, they are confronted by a huge creature they surmise is a Hyde. A battle ensues, the huge brute menacing Rose and James while Dr P, Sister K, and Henry climb feverishly to help to protect comrades and prevent the use of the Summoning Bell.

The battle ends abruptly when Henry managed to get a massive church bell to swing into the creature, knocking him (and Rose as well, almost) into the street far below. The long falls into the assembled crowd below fails to stop the beats, and he kills another in his rampaging escape from the scene.

While Sister K aids the wounded in the crowd, the rest of the Rippers retire to the Ten Bells, Dr P and Henry bringing the body of a wolfman in tow. Dr P and Henry begin to re-arrange the sleeping quarters into a makeshift lab which inadvertantly dislodges a loose brick which leads to the discovery of a false wall. The two Rippertech hobbyists are not distracted, and continue their work, intending to create an extract that will allow an imbiber to take on the qualities of a wolfman.

Meanwhile, James and Rose explore the area behind the false wall, and find what must be the empty chambers of the old Rippers Lodge. It is dusty, dark, and quite empty, but holds great possibility.

Later in the week, Henry Gale comes to visit, and the Rippers put on a dog and pony show the convinces him to contribute, raising the Lodge’s Resource level to 4 over all.

With this and Dame Bettina’s upport, the Lodge may now begin to look at expansion and improvement. The Lodge levels currently stand as follows:

IN: 2 ME: 2 RE: 4 FA: 3

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