Campaign Notes: Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?
by, 08-17-2009 at 06:15 PM (2557 Views)
Campaign: Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?
- For 3-4 Players
- 12-16 sessions, divided into 3 parts, 3-4 hrs/session
- 1 hour for character creation
Setting: Alt-Historic, Britain during the reign of HM Queen Victoria, London and Whitecastle, Golden Age Steampunk
Themes: Gothic Occult Horror; Mystery; Spiritualism; Hermeticism; Secret Societies; The Eternal Balance
Literary Influences: Joyce Carol Oates' The Winterthurn Mysteries; Charles Palliser's The Quincunx; Avram Davidson's The Adventures of Dr. Eszterhazy; Alan Moore's From Hell; Michael Moorcock's Oswald Bastable Series; Arthur Machen's The Great God Pan
- 3-pp of handouts (supplied by GM) – per player
- 1-p rules quick-reference sheet (supplied by GM) – per player
- Victoriana 2e Player's Guide Preview PDF – (hard copy supplied by GM)
- 1-p map of England, 1-p map of London, circa 1867 (supplied by GM)
- 10 d6 dice of one color; 10 additional d6 dice of a second color – per player
- 2 decks of tarot cards (supplied by GM)
- 1 set of "fate stones" (supplied by GM)
- Pencil and paper –per player
This is a sprawling home-brew campaign, with ample opportunity for players to explore side-adventures that may arise in play, and, if true to plan, will eventually segue into and out of several of Cubicle 7's shorter published adventures. Characters may be created by the players, as is always encouraged, or players may use pre-generated PCs supplied by the GM.
Part 1: The Three Charms of Polly Charms
The home-brew adventure kicks off in 1867 with our characters unknown to one another; each is drawn to a recent review published in The Daily Intelligencer, a London society-rag:New Interesting Little Scientific Exhibit!—April 23, 1867—We found our curiosity well repaid for having traveled south to visit a little scientific exhibit at the old Gold-Beaters' Arcade in Brighton where we saw the already famous Miss Polly Charms, the young lady who fell into a profound sleep over thirty years ago and has not since awakened. In fact, she slept entirely through the raging cannon-shot of the Siege of Paris. The beautiful tragic Miss Charms has not seemingly aged a day, and in her condition of deep mesmerism she is said to be able to understand questions put to her by means of the principle of animal magnetism, to foretell events personal and public, and to answer all questions put to her without waking up; also for a small sum in addition to the small price of admission, she sings deeply affecting songs in French.Depending on the players' individual visions of their characters (i.e., their goals, social class, occuption, etc.), our protagonists may each hold different motivations for their setting out one crisp September morning, by train or perhaps via the public and newly-popular "sky-rail gondolas" to the seaside arcades of Brighton, with an eye to querying Miss Polly Charms, somnambulant prophetess extraordinaire.
Of no mean fortitude, our intrepid adventurers nevertheless may find need to pool their talents as a party--and steele themselves if prepared to gaze long upon the figure sleeping in the adult-sized cradle, or draw back the curtain behind the curtain, the hooded lids guarding the secret dreams of Polly Charms.
Part 2: Little Lamb, Who Made Thee?
Spiritualism has penetrated each and every echelon of Victorian society. Mediums, clairvoyants, seers, and card-readers of all social stripes are known to devise and host elaborate gatherings where they may ply their esoteric trade and profit from their clients' potent concoctions of curiosity mixed with a raw need for consolation, or other such pangful motivations in seeking a glimpse beyond the veil of grief. Many mediums have established international reputations and become wealthy by hiring out their services to public spectacles, fashionable salons, as well as to private more intimate gatherings.
Unbeknownst to our protagonists, one Lord Edgar Montrose Highgate, a well-esteemed philanthropist and collector of artefacts, was ensconced among the many souls seated in rapt attention, and was shocked--as were all--to witness the grotesque denouement to the performance given by Miss Polly Charms and her handlers. Later, upon ruminating on the tangle of events that unspooled before his eyes that fated evening, Lord Highgate found himself impressed by certain competencies exhibited by our adventurers, also in attendance. Impervious to any memory of the event's trauma, the cries, the confused din, or the wild shouts for the bucket brigade, he has since taken to conjuring a different memory altogether; an old memory, its taste underneath his tongue like a penny gone to rust. "Ah, my dear Anna... I believe we have found those for whom we have long searched...Perhaps you shall be proud of your Papa, yet."
The following morning, even before The Daily Intelligencer had been unfolded from its silver tray, the inevitably garish detailing of Deaths by Fire at the Brighton Arcades! left yet un-ciphered, the Lord Highgate had already summoned his personal assistant, the elderly gnome, Duncan, and had tasked him with the time-sensitive labor of sleuthing certain unknown identities and their unknown whereabouts, so that invitations may be extended to them on behalf of himself and the Lady Highgate.
"Duncan?" Asks Lord Highgate, before clearing his throat of copper.
"Yes, m' Lord."
"We do understand the importance of their attendance, and the discretion with which it must be assured, do we not?"
"Of course, m' Lord. Assured."
Feeling confident in his servant, his friend, who had never failed him (or his father before him), Lord Highgate turns to the window behind his great oak desk and exhales. Patches of sunlight are now visible, just barely, climbing the trellised gardens of Eaton Square. He speaks without tone, as if under his breath, "The Equinox approaches. You see now that her belly hangs low as a sow's, gravid. Such ripeness will not be delayed.. Go now, Duncan. Prepare the invitations for her honored midwifes."
Arriving by Royal Post approximately three weeks subsequent to the incidents which led to the complete ruination of the Brighton Arcades Theater, a series of burgundy wax-sealed invitations have made their way, one-by-one, to our unsuspecting adventurers' homes. In impeccable gnomish calligraphy, each one reads:
You are cordially invited to Tea And Séance
The latter conducted by the esteemed Dr. Emil Novotony
For the pleasure of his Lord and Lady Edgar Montrose Highgate and guestsPart 3: The Order of SparrowsAt Highgate Manor, Eaton Square, Belgravia
Midday through Evening, Saturday, October 26
Upon arrival, please repair to the southern entrance
[example to be written]