Tuesday, 18 May 2010

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

Curruthers shoots a gangster; Prentiss uses his fists.


22nd April 2010.

Dramatis Personae
Lady Antonia deVore - a Heavily-armed Aristocrat.
Captain Benson Curruthers - a Military Policeman.
Jack Prentiss - a Dodgy Pedestrian.
Rodney Marsh - a Partially-reformed Thief.
A Herculean Pugilist.
A Murderous Acrobat.
A Horde of Gangsters.


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.


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.

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