Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Ministry of Blades: The Werewolves of Highgate

Curruthers scores a bullseye; Antonia takes the charge.

Played

21st October 2010.

Dramatis Personae

Lady Antonia deVore - a Heavily-armed Aristocrat.
Captain Benson Curruthers - a Military Policeman.
Jack Prentiss - a Dodgy Pedestrian.
Miss April Sharpe - a Self-taught Inventor.
A Bloodthirsty Werewolf.
An Unfortunate Wolfman.

Plot

As the leaves began to fall in the autumn of 1888, London was gripped by the lurid tales of the exploits of Jack the Ripper. The Ministry, suspecting a supernatural involvement, assigned its best agents to the case.

Captain Curruthers's team meanwhile, was assigned to investigate an apparently unrelated series of attacks in North London. Taking place on the nights around the full moon in late August, the assaults had been bloody but not yet fatal. They were centered on Highgate Cemetery and were reportedly carried out by a “large man-like beast”. Judging that a lycanthrope was involved, the team, excluding Marsh, who was suffering from an unknown malady, and Miss Spit, currently assigned to work with the REG's Psychical Research Team, went loaded for wolf.

Arriving at the South Gate of the cemetery not long after nightfall, Currruthers and Lady Antonia began scouring the mud for unusual tracks, while Prentiss warmed up for a fight and Miss Sharpe fiddled with her latest equipment. Curruthers discovered the fresh prints of a large dog leading into the cemetery and, on further investigation, noticed that there were no front paw prints - the creature walked upright like a man! Now convinced that their target was a werewolf, the team ensured their weapons were loaded with silver bullets and pressed on into the dark graveyard.

Despite the fog, the tracks were easy to follow and led straight to the far corner of the enclosure, as yet unused for burials. As the silver fog snaked between the bushes, they spotted a powerfully-built humanoid figure ahead of them. As it raised its muzzle to sniff the air, it became obvious it was not human, and Curruthers fired a single bullet. The figure fell and, as they drew closer to the body expecting it to rise and attack them, it became clear that he had pulled off an amazing shot, hitting it between the eyes with a single shot from thirty paces - in the dark.

Unfortunately, they did not have long to congratulate each other on their immediate success, as a snarling sound preceded a rushing attack from the bushes to one side. Lady Antonia was clawed from behind and stumbled, saved from a mortal wound only by her heavy coat, as the attacker rushed on towards Curruthers. More shots were fired, and shrugged off, before they were able to surround it. Miss Sharpe finally got her Orgonator working and opened fire, catching the beast in a crossfire with Curruthers and Lady Antonia. It continued to fight, finally going down only when Curruthers hit it in the back of the head from near point-blank range with his pistol.

Both werewolves had reverted to human form upon death and, while one of them was naked in the traditional manner, the second wore a wolfskin as a headdress. The team decided to take both corpses back for further examination.

Notes

As before, this arc began with a simple fight unrelated to the rest of the story. In part, this was necessitated by the award and expenditure of experience at the beginning of the evening and it also provided an opportunity for us all to refamiliarise ourselves with the rules before we got in with the main plot.

There were two kinds of beasts involved here: the first was a wolfman, the victim of a werewolf attack, while the second was an actual werewolf, a human that actively seeks to become a wolf using magic. Rippers often provides different levels of monster like this, and it's handy when you want to have a boss and one or more minions.

Curruthers’ perfect shot was the result of an excessively high damage role - the lesson of this being that you should never get to attached to a villain in this game. Both sides spent large numbers of bennies to aid their survival during the fight and, for the first time, I finally felt able to try and actively kill the characters (and that I didn't have to pull my punches).

3 comments:

  1. Hi there!

    This sounds like a lot of fun! I dream of one day running a game set in the Victorian era. A few questions / comments came to mind:

    1. Do you use any kind of resources for Victorian London? (Books, maps, etc...) Personally I feel like I'd have to do a fair amount of reading up to be able to present a convincing atmosphere. Or perhaps ones culturally ingrained British instincts can carry it far enough?

    2. Do you use the "Rippertech" system? It's an interesting idea, but actually one thing that put me off the setting a bit.

    3. I know what you mean about being able to really try to kill PCs in Savage Worlds - those Wild Cards can be pretty hard to hurt!

    4. Nice to see a Weird scientist in there... It's the perfect setting for them. (They don't fit at all in the fantasy campaign I'm running at the moment.)

    Gretings from Berlin :)
    Gavin

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  2. Ben's playing a Weird Scientist in my Savage Eberron game -- an artificer in terms of the setting -- but he didn't get to do much in the first game. We'll see what happens in the sequel!

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  3. Hi Gavin,

    Long time no see! Hope Berlin is ok?

    Setting-wise, I'm mostly riffing off what I know as a history buff, steampunk enthusiast and fan of the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Gothic horror. Bill's been quite helpful too! I do have a few books of appropriate source material - GURPS Steampunk, Rippers itself, Space 1889, For Faerie, Queen and Country and most notably the White Wolf Victorian Age games, but they're not referenced that often. The internet is the most useful resource - there's loads of material out there.

    I keep meaning to do some props, but I haven't gotten around to it. Certainly most of the scenes are more atmosphere than detail. This is not a game based on authenticity!

    The Ministry game is using the basic Rippers rules, but not the setting itself (too cinematic) or the Rippertech rules (definitely not appropriate!).

    Weird Science was definitely an element from the start, my original team had the 19th century equivalent of Bond gadgets, April Sharpe is giving us a few new ideas and, of course, we had "Mr Chester" (from Croatia) in the last story. Most of that stuff is inspired by Deadlands.

    Jon

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