Monday, March 31, 2008

Truth And The Nile

Session Two: Welcome to the Jungle

Available: Maurice LeBec, Hank Scopio, Sir Alistair Montgomery, Chloe M

Called to the Society again, the party were brought up to speed on some missing members, two of the original founding members of AP, Reginald and Sarah, who had been searching for the True Source of the Nile. On Donald Fairfaxs information, the party were instructed to travel to the National History Museum in Cairo, retrieve an artifact, and then travel on to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, to pick up Reginald and Sarah's trail.

Arriving in Egypt the party questioned the museum curator, and noticed that some of the shadows in the exhibition hall were unexplainably "off", but the huge overhead skylight washed the room in harsh African sunlight, so further investigation proved pointless.

The following morning, the party boarded a zeppelin bound for Kigali with the required artifact, an ancient Egyptian urn. While relaxing on board, they noticed the headline on a newspaper: "History Museum Attacked. Priceless Artifacts Stolen" and discovered that robed attackers broke into the museum late last night and made off with random artifacts. Most interesting was that they came in through the skylight in the room that had contained the urn! Dun, dun, duuuuuunnnnnnn...

The discussions on the implications of this were cut short as robed assailants attacked the zeppelin, arriving on board via bi-plane. Getting up into the main body of the zeppelin, the party discovered two dead crew members on the walkway that circles the gasbags. Before they even had time to investigate, they were attacked by the robed figures, who flung knives across great distance with stunning force. One acrobatically enriched combat scene later and the attackers were defeated and revealed as (unsurprising to everyone at the table) gorillas!!

In Kigali, they spent some time investigating the disappearance of Reginald and Sarah. In fact, they spent longer than I had anticipated, but came up with lots of ways to track an impossible trail and they discovered that the missing members had been in the company of a pygmy tribe before they disappeared.

While investigating the hotel room Reginald and Sarah had been using, the group were quick to note a lack of any sign of a struggle or forced entry. Questioning the staff, they learned that the missing couple had gone to their room, but were not seen leaving. Only a single burn mark on the carpet hinted at anything unusual. Sir Alistair questioned the nature of the mark, and upon closer examination discovered it was created by a high energy electrical discharge. Stupidly, I made Ray role for this, but when he questioned it, he had the puzzle solved already, even naming his nemesis, Doctor Eternity, as being involved. I should have just thrown him one, if not two Fate Points straight away without a role and confirmed his suspicions, instead he wasted a bunch of Points on rerolls as he just kept rolling minus'!! Ah well. I learned for the future.

Resting over night, the party proceeded into the thick jungle in the morning light and followed Reginald and Sarah's trail toward the Source of the Nile. Before they knew it they were surrounded by a large tribe of pygmy's, bows and spears pointed at the adventurers. After leaving the team to sweat for a little bit, an English speaking voice told everyone to calm down.

A tall figure dressed entirely in purple, with a black domino mask stepped out into view to address the PCs. After some introductions, the Phantom admitted to having met Reginald and Sarah, as well as offering the assistance of some of the native people to safely return to Kigali. After expositing some plot, and answering all he could, regretted that he had other business to attend to for now and vanished into the jungle once more, taking the tribe with him.

Proceeding on to the temple, the party discovered evidence of movement all around the site, as well as evidence of recent movement into and out of the temple itself. Moving into the temple, they were tricked into a trap room. Behind a metal grate in the high ceiling, the imposing face of a bespectacled gorilla looked down on the group. "Give me the urn."

A Brief Tangent: This is the first, and so far only time that I have done something that I completely regret in hindsight. In my haste to wrap up the adventure for the night, as the investigating in Kigali went on far longer than I expected, I had the lead gorilla talk, and express his desire. Looking back, there was no need for him to speak. He could have grunted and groaned, pointed and flailed. The party already knew what he was after. Plus, having him talk made him just another villain, but in a primate suit. Leaving him with just the Language of the Primates would have added something unique to his character. Besides, nothing he actually ended up saying was vital or required.

The party refused to relinquish the urn, and the room began to flood quickly to drown the characters. I had planned on the Phantom showing up at the Last Possible Second to rescue the team, but instead they came up with a great escape plan of their own, and I decided to let them enjoy the fruits of their teamwork. Bursting into the upper room, the party found themselves in a cylindrical room with a domed ceiling, an unopened sarcophagus with a pedestal at the head and beyond that was a finely carved stone chair, upon which the head gorilla was awkwardly seated, surrounded by minions.

Combat wrapped up with the lead gorilla leaping for Hank, getting shot in the chest, crashing into the Unsteady Floor (a Sticky Aspect placed on the room by one of the PCs!) and falling through, into the Flooded Room below. Once things had settled, the body of the gorilla was nowhere to be found! This, of course, lead to chants of You Thought I was Dead, Not All Gorillas Are Poor Swimmers, and Hardly the Last Time We'll See Him from the players. Honestly, I was just writing him off as dead at the time. I was far too tired to be clever, but when my players did the work for me, I knew what had to be done. Oh yes! He will return!!

Only one thing remained. The urn, and the not-at-all-obviously-placed pedestal! Cracking open the sarcophagus first, they found an undisturbed Pharaoh's body, mummified in the traditional manner. Placing the urn on the pedestal, a mechanism activated, opening a small window in the ceiling allowing light to pass through some crystal directing it straight down on the pedestal. Originating from the urn, light shone out onto the cylindrical walls, showing a surprisingly detailed map of the eastern half of the African continent, the flow of the Nile, and the location of the temple. Sir Alistair took some photographs of the strange phenomenon, then, after some further investigations and questioning the GM about various factors, the urn was removed from the pedestal and the party made their way back to Kigali.

In this session, the players used Fate Points far more, and benefited from them as well. I messed up once or twice, as I pointed out above, but over all, I was once again happy with how things went. This game ran a little late, and I had to cut some content to get it done in the session, but the players had a blast, and everyone seemed pleased with the outcome. The urn is important to the overarching plot, while still being an interesting discussion point for that session. After mutated shrewmen and intelligent gorillas, I promised regular humans for session three, and almost lived up to that promise...

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