Illuminations- Bookhounds of London

Season 2, episode 3

Our tale this week began with all the players being turned into cats. They find themselves in the company of a beautiful Egyptian woman. She leads them through the streets of London to just outside of the British Museum.

She speaks to them telepathically and lets them know she needs their help. ‘A bad man is going to try to steal a sacrificial knife from one of the Egyptian exhibits. If he should get it, something very bad could happen.’

After some discussion with her along the lines of ’where the hell are my thumbs? and exactly why us?, our feline heroes bound off through an open window and begin making their way through the museum.

Sure enough, one of the security guards is trying to steal an old Egyptian knife that had once been used in the funeral rites of several great Pharohs! They begin dashing about around the watchman…tripping him…pouncing on him…doing everything they can to keep him from his appointed task.

And suddenly…they turn back into people!

By this time other security guards arrive and the players begin to paint a very vivid picture of what the evil night watchman was up to. They are so convincing that the police show up and cart the watchman off to jail. Well…back to jail to be more precise. Once a crook, always a crook!

On their way home, they notice a group of African men outside the museum. The men pursue them for a ways, but are eventually scared off.

Who were the men? To what purpose was the knife to be used?

Season2, episode 2

Our story begins with music. Lots and lots of German beer hall music. Never ending oom-pah music. The music has been coming from the basement…where the submarine is…and it’s been keeping Nigel up all night.

And it doesn’t stop during the day either.

Our booksellers delay the opening of their store to discuss this matter. Also, to discuss the crazy cat lady who sits outside the shop with a sign that says ‘The end is nigh!’, surrounded by cats.

At one point during the discussion the oom-pah stops, and the fiddle music starts up again. Petunia goes to the corner of the store where the fiddle playing ghost appears, and watches the young ghost as he tries to play a classical piece of music. She gets the impression that he desperately needs to complete this piece of music…correctly…and in tune. Sadly, his fiddle has been damaged, and no matter how well he plays, it will never sound the way it should.

The booksellers decide that they will hire some laborers to either cut down, or dig out the prow of the submarine. Petunia knows a couple of ex-pats who are musicians, and day laborers. They have all the equipment needed…oh…and turns out Andy “Blue Jacket” Barnes also has a fiddle he’s not currently using. Convenient!

Nigel heads off to the library to do some research on German submarines. What he finds out is rather shocking- there could be up to 30 corpses stuck under their store!

At some point during all of this they receive 3 separate visitors: Reginald Biggs- who would like to do some digging in their basement, as well as review the book they captured from the Nazis, Sir Anthony Whitechapel- who inquires about using the store after hours to host a meeting of his friends (Violet and Petunia send him on his way), and Miss Florence Hamilton Beech- who simply wants to know if they’ve noticed all the cats in the neighborhood.

Mr. Biggs reviews the mathematics book and discovers that there are also formulas in it related to the conversion of carbon dioxide to oxygen, and the recycling of waste to water. His efforts to dig around the prow get nowhere.

Petunia and the fiddler have another interaction. This time, she presents the fiddle from ‘Blue Jacket’ and when the ghost reaches out to it, the fiddle and the ghost both disappear. It appears the the Fiddler is at rest finally!

The group remembers that the other ghost they had seen was a clergyman and they deduce that he wants to perform last rites for his fellow sailors.

They also wonder if it’s possible anyone is alive down there. Taking a book of morse code, they rap on the hull of the ship. The conversation goes as follows:

Who are you?
Who are you?
British shop keepers
What are you doing in the ocean?
Is everything ok on your boat?
Where is Violet?

At that point, the ghost of Dr. Fassbender appears and becomes quite violent. Angus takes his cross from around his neck, and punches it through the apparition…causing his hand to cake over with frost!

They head back upstairs, and the old cat lady is still out there. Nigel starts to come unglued and confronts her.

“What do you know about all of this?”, he demands. The old lady simply sits there, but the cat that is rubbing against his leg begins to talk to him telepathically.

“Give them what they want, and they will go away.”
“But one of them wants Ms. McCourt dead!”
“Well, they won’t pass on until they get what they want.”

When Nigel again looks at the cat lady…she is indeed…a cat lady. Or rather, a bunch of cats in the shape of an old lady. This sends him off the edge and he runs back into the store.

They decide then and there, that they will perform the last rights for the sailors. Nigel is so shaken that they send him back to his room to recover. He won’t participate in the ritual.

As the ritual is performed, a sense of peace floods their basement. Right up to the point where Dr. Fassbenders ghost shows up and comes screaming towards them! The ghostly priest intercedes and there is a huge explosion of ectoplasmic energies!

Nigel…..awakens….in the broom closet where he had stashed Nessie, the store cat. Actually, he awakwes AS Nessie. The others awaken outside in the alley…also…in the form of cats!

Season 2, episode 1
Miss McCourt, your furnace is full of Nazis!

And so we return to Illuminations!
Our story resumes with Miss Florence Hamilton-Beech paying a visit to Violets lovely bookstore. Florence of course is full of herself, and is eventually escorted out by Angus.

A new ‘regular’ customer, a Dr. Reginald Biggs, a noted geologist, is there at the time as well. He notes the lovely violin music the store is playing, and also notes the crazy cat lady outside of the store.

Violets older sister, Petunia, is also there. Petunia is down on her luck, out of money, and in need of employment. Violet, being a good sister, has offered her a position in the store. Violet also hears the music…as does everyone else in the store.

Angus checks the radio, and finds it’s not even on! Nigel seems rather oblivious to everything.

Petunia tracks down the source of the music- a young man playing an american style fiddle. But, he’s trying to play classical music on it and she knows he’ll never hit the notes he wants to on that instrument. As she approaches him…the young man disappears! This is very unsettling!

That night, when everyone has left, Angus is up in his room, studying. He hears the distant sounds of singing so goes downstairs to investigate. In the main store, he can still hear the music and it sounds like a large group of people singing..from the cellar.

Angus heads down to the cellar and smells beer, and can clearly hear a bunch of people singing German drinking songs! As he approaches the large metal object sticking out of the floor that nobody will tell him about..the music stops.

The next day, Dr. Biggs is heading back to Illuminations. He’s been studying the recent earthquakes and is mysteriously drawn to the store. On his way, he sees the crazy cat lady again. She tells him that demons have been loosed upon the earth. She’s certain of it. He follows her for a while as she wanders around the neighborhood. At any given time at least a dozen cats are following as well.

Interestingly, the store cat, Nessie, has been behaving strangely as well. She won’t leave Angus’ side at all!

Dr. Biggs returns to the store as Nigel, Angus, Petunia and Violet are discussing the very real possibility of ghosts!

Angus also tells them he saw what he thinks was some kind of military priest in the basement. The apparation seemed to be terrified of something, and disappeared before he could talk to it. Biggs mentions the crazy cat lady and at the very moment…they hear the violin music again.

Biggs, Violet, and Petunia head to the corner of the store where the young man had been previously. They see him again. He’s a young man, dressed in a German navy uniform. Violet tries talking to him in German, and he explains that he can’t get the right sound out of his fiddle…because of the big gash in the back of it. As he says that…he peers over his shoulder…looks terrified…and disappears.

Later in the evening…they are all in the cellar..inspecting what they now recognize as the prow of a German U-Boat sticking out of the cellar floor, when the other ghost makes his appearance in the bookstore.

He’s an officer of some type, and is paging through a text on the proper way to give last rites. It’s obvious to Angus that he’s some kind of military clergy. As they approach him…he too looks terrified for a moment…drops the book he’s reading and disappears!

What can all of this mean? Is the submarine full of dead sailors? How did they die…are they really dead?

So many questions!

Illuminations Part 2

A very interesting evening.

Our booksellers began by deciding on what they were doing in the day in between the last session and the start of this one. They wanted to track down two of the other people at the auction that day- an older gentleman who they think was Bradley Wakefields driver, and another man in a trenchcoat who nobody seemed to know.

Ethan was quite flustered that the auciton house wouldn’t simply hand over the identities. Private auction, invitation only maam. So they asked the auciton house to deliver a letter of inquiry to the older gentleman under the ruse of offering to sell him one of the books. The house agreed, and had the letter couriered to him.
Naturally, they tail him. They’re expecting based on his clothing and age, he’s going to be in the poor part of town. To their surprise….the letter gets delivered to Scotland Yard where a clerk signs for it, than disappears into the bowels of the building with it. Well…they weren’t expecting that! Now the paranoia begins to set in at the table- why was Scotland Yard there and why were they bidding on this stuff? Oh wait…Oscar wasn’t bidding…he opened every auction with a very low bid…than bailed out to see who would bid on it didn’t he? Oh snap!

The next day…the twin Germans show up. Violet rebuffs their efforts to leave Hitler’s sketchbook and tells them to come back tomorrow and she will decide if she’ll let them see the books they won at auction.
Meanwhile, Nigel is continuing to go over the books to verify their authenticity…and it’s starting to cost him. As he loses more Stability he begins to feel as if he’s on the pitching deck of a ship. He spends the rest of the game trying not to be seasick.

Later, the thugs and Sir Anthony Whitechapel show up asking about the Germans, the books and so on. After some discussion Whitechapel offers to have his employer come by the next evening to discuss the books…and how potentially dangerous they may be.

Now they are in a froth of paranoia. What the hell did they buy? And why is Scotland Yard, some creepy Germans, and a guy who they think is a British spy so interested in the stuff???? Now they’re starting to fear for their safety (Whitechapel repeatedly referred to the Germans as ‘those book burners’) and begin discussing hiding the books around London.

Thinking this is now some kind of international espionage incidient…they go back to the books looking for clues or codes.

Ethans character has cryptology and previously, she had deciphered a code on one of the sketchbooks as being a date far in the future. It was a sketch of a shaggy, hairy man at the wheel (a triangle shaped wheel that looked like a masonic symbol) of a ship. She goes back to that page…to find that the writing has changed and the date has advanced another 500 years closer to their time (so it had been 2/15/3013 now it was 2/15/2565 or something). She suffers some Stability loss from that. She closes the book.. She opens the book back to that page…it’s moved up another 10 years. More Stability loss.

They switch their attention to the ships logs. This time they notice that the lattitude/longitude in the entries at the end of the logs just don’t make sense. So they look at the ships maps.

And here is where the shit got real.

They figured out that the latitude/longitude were different spots on the map at the same time. And the only way that it worked, was if you folded the map so the two points would touch. (like in Dune- folding space and time to travel great distances!). They start to work through this and find that the last notation in the ships log is in Thailand. But when they do the folding map trick, it matches up to where the ship was found wrecked on the shores of England (ie the last ‘jump’ Wakefield made was from Thailand to England).
Now things are falling into place. Of Course…Wakefiled was a secret agent working on this for the Royal Navy! Impossible…he was an idiot. No..that was just a good cover for him! We need to get rid of these books or those Germans are going to kill us!

All that…while they were all getting slowly more seasick.

Illuminations Part 1
The Auction

Our bookhounds are invited to an auction at the Bonham Auction House. The auction is for a number of items found in the shipwreck of the ‘Dearest Cherie’. The featured items are the ship’s wheel, various sketchbooks by the ships crew, the ships log books, and the ships map folio.
The other notable attendees are:
Miss Florence Hamilton-Beech- owner of the Apokrypha Bookshop
A mysterious man in a trenchcoat.
A dirty old man.
A pair of Germans, identical twins actually.
The auction kicks off with some of the crewmans uniforms being sold off and than the real action begins. The dirty old man bids on every item but wins none of them. Miss Hamilton-Beech also doesn’t win any of the items. The Germans win the ships wheel, and the players come away with the rest.
The auction finishes, and the players return to Illuminations with their new treasures.
What they discovered:
The map folio had your common navigation maps…and than a hand drawn set of maps a star chart (with stars that don’t exist as far as the players know), a map of two cities seperated by a river, a map of a forest, and a map of some mountains (all hand drawn…poorly)
-The ships log was more of a romantic narrative than a log…and the last pages are the ramblins of a madman..all about stars and odd dolphin sightings
-The sketchbooks were from various crewman and Bradford himself. These too all slowly became more insane as they progressed.

But now they have many questions. Do they want to keep these things or try to sell them. Who was the guy in the trench coat? And if the books and maps were this weird, than what was so important about the ships wheel and why were the Germans interested in it?

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.


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