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1.0 The Blood-Dimmed Tide
The worldbook for this collection, Goodbye Piccadilly..., introduced various types of catastrophe and ways of using them in role playing games. These adventures and outlines are set against very different disasters.
They are not connected, but can be set in the same world, or in different worlds if the Psychic Idealiser (see Worldbook section 4) is available. All work best if the adventurers are British and live in London.
Each can be played in a few hours, or extended indefinitely. All are set in the period between 1900 and the First World War; with the exception of the first the exact dates are unimportant. They can be run in any order, but it is possible to combine the plots of adventures 1 and 2 as described in 2.0-2.3 below. The outlines can also be slotted into such a campaign if desired; the mystery of adventure 2 takes several months to unfold, and they can be run at any time.
Because of the size and scope of these adventures minor NPCs are not described in great detail; they have average characteristics of 3 or 4, and skills appropriate to their jobs or ranks. All characters and organisations mentioned are imaginary, unless stated otherwise. Maps and charts are only provided for key locations; many details are entirely imaginary or are based on limited (and possibly inaccurate) information. Referees are strongly advised to obtain suitable maps and photographs to supplement the illustrations provided, and modify details where I have made mistakes. Wherever possible sources are mentioned, but it should be remembered that they often contradict each other; for example, the sketch maps in various newspapers and books used for the first adventure differed in many details from the official Ordnance Survey maps of the area. A map showing the general layout of London is very useful; see the maps in Cthulhu By Gaslight (Chaosium Inc) and GURPS Horror (Steve Jackson Games). Specific maps in the large scale Ordnance Survey series published by Alan Godfrey may be useful, but are not essential:
All the adventures are written for groups of 3-6 characters; more are usually more trouble than they are worth, smaller groups may lack some of the skills needed for success. It is assumed that the characters are British, and preferably live in or near London; if not, some modifications may be needed.
Many thanks to all the playtesters (especially the Intuition games room crowd), to Megan C. Robertson for data on the Siege of Sidney Street and ergotism, to many other users of the Cix rpg_uk conference for general advice and support, and to all the others who helped to make these adventures immense fun to write and run. The titles of Adventure 2 and scenario 2.C were suggested by Alan Varney; variations on the title of section 2.7 were suggested by several people.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned...
Yeats - The Second Coming
This adventure is set in 1911. Anarchists have shot the Home Secretary and now roam the streets, killing, looting, and proclaiming bloody revolution. The adventurers are about to be trapped in the heart of darkness; Stepney, the most wretched corner of the East End of London. They need not know each other before the adventure begins; all that is necessary is that they are passengers on the same train, bound from the East Coast for London's Fenchurch Street station. It is convenient if they are in the same compartment of the train, but it is not essential.
Adventure 2 begins with a reason for adventurers to visit the coast; if you want to run both of them with the same characters, use its introduction first, and the trip to the coast described there, then run this adventure before running adventure 2. They may eventually be surprised to learn that the trip wasn't just a red herring to get them onto the train!
FF5-AD01.GIF FF5-AD02.GIF FF5-AD03.GIF and FF5-AD04.GIF are maps and plans; if possible the first of these should be supplemented by a much more detailed map, since it only shows a few of the several hundred roads in the area, and simplifies many details. FF5-AD05.GIF illustrates some of the government forces in this confrontation.
Wargamers may be interested in the game "Riot - Revolting People from Watt Tyler to Watts" (Irregular Miniatures) which can be used to simulate the tactics of the rioters, army, and police on a large scale which is outside the scope of this scenario. Appendix 1.D is a short scenario by the author of Riot which makes use of this background and the Riot rules. GURPS Scarlet Pimpernel (Steve Jackson Games) may give some useful ideas for adventures against a revolutionary background.
It's early evening on Wednesday, January 3rd 1911. Your train from the East coast to London seems to be running a little late, possibly because it's snowing, but it's picking up speed as it passes through the suburbs, so with luck you'll get home in good time.
As the train passes into a more built-up area you notice the light of a large fire, off to the right of the train; a fire, and what might almost be the flash of gunfire. Could a fireworks factory be alight?
Somewhere ahead you hear a crash, and the brakes of the train start to squeal. There's a violent lurch, and another, and another crash. A feeling of falling. Then everything goes black...
This adventure assumes a different outcome to the Siege of Sidney Street, a fight between the police, army, and anarchists that in our world ended with the death of the anarchists. See section 1.C for details of the real incident.
In this world a stray ricochet hit Churchill while he was visiting the scene. The anarchists have more popular support than in our world. Sympathisers in the crowd surrounding the besieging soldiers and police were led by Peter Piatkow, the notorious "Peter The Painter"; emboldened by Churchill's apparent death they attacked the rear ranks, seized more weapons, and began a gun battle that ended with the soldiers and police retreating. The anarchists now control parts of Whitechapel and Stepney (FF5-AD01.GIF ); the region is initially bounded to the North by Whitechapel Road and the Mile End Road, to the South by the Thames, to the East by the Grand Union Canal and to the West by Tower Bridge and Mansell Street. It includes docks and warehouses, two breweries and several pubs, shops, offices, schools, churches, synagogues, factories, two railway goods depots, and thousands of homes. Shops and bonded stores at some of the warehouses contain firearms and explosives, which are captured by the anarchists on the first day. By the end of the first day there are barricades across all roads leading into the area, and a railway bridge has been dynamited (with catastrophic results for the adventurers) but the sheer number of routes means that most are held by token forces; the anarchists can bring up reinforcements in response to attacks, but a small party can probably get through, if only by climbing over walls and going through buildings. The police and army have the area surrounded, but a hail of stones and occasional bullets has made them reluctant to move in; they are awaiting orders. They are also unable to watch all approaches at all times.
Churchill has been captured by the anarchists; he is injured and unconscious, but isn't dead. Nobody outside the area knows this; the anarchists plan to use him as their trump card if they have to negotiate. The Prime Minister and Cabinet believe that Churchill is dead.
The anarchists retain control of a gradually-contracting area for several days; there are numerous running battles with the police and army, and the anarchists are eventually wiped out by the forces of authority. Churchill dies in the final hours of the uprising; the anarchist leaders go down in a last act of destruction. Whole streets are gutted by fire and artillery shot. Subsequently there is a backlash against anarchy, and the British government becomes intolerant of all political troublemakers; the Irish rebellion is brutally suppressed, thousands of political refugees are deported to Russia where they are imprisoned by the Tsar, and Britain allies with the Italian fascists and Germany during the Second World War, eventually falling into the American zone of control after the war. By 1998 Britain is once again a prosperous nation, but nobody ever mentions the war. The adventurers may be able to affect these later events if they intervene, but nothing will stop the bloodshed completely.
The train has been derailed, stranding the adventurers near the heart of an armed insurrection. The remainder of this adventure consists of a timetable for the uprising, descriptions of some key locations, encounters, and details of the likely consequences of actions the adventurers might take. They may choose to do nothing, apart from survive the experience; don't try to push them into activities they'd prefer to avoid. Throughout the adventure try to emphasise the poverty of the area and everyone the adventurers meet there, the cold miserable conditions, and the danger. Keep things fast, tense, and confusing, a nightmare trip through the darkening heart of the metropolis.
Note: Although this scenario is loosely based on a real event, it should be emphasised that this is a work of fiction, and that many details have been invented for it. Real names are used, but descriptions and motives are greatly simplified. Some were inspired by a genuine desire for freedom in their native lands, others based their actions on political, religious or ethnic theories, or on greed. It is likely that some were in the pay of Germany or Russia, as informants and agents provocateurs. Some may have been on the British payroll! Nobody mentioned at any point in the adventure was ever found guilty of any crime in a British court. There is even some reason to doubt that Peter Piatkow was 'Peter the Painter'; this identification has never been entirely confirmed and is disputed by some authorities.
Special thanks to Megan C. Robertson for the photograph of the Scots Guards at Sidney Street (part of FF5-AD05.GIF), to all those who have put up with various unworkable versions of this adventure at conventions over several years, and to users of the Usenet alternative history newsgroups and Cix what-if conference for their ideas.
January 1911 Sun
Throughout the period of this adventure the sun rises at about 7.30 AM and sets at about 4.00 PM, the Moon is in its first quarter. The weather is cold with occasional sleet and snow showers, the nights are overcast.
The timetable shows events as they will occur without intervention by adventurers. Some possibilities for actions that will change events are discussed in later sections. The referee should feel to modify this timetable in any way desired; nothing shown after noon on Wednesday January 3rd is real history.
Tuesday January 2nd
Wednesday January 3rd
Thursday January 4th
Friday January 5th
Saturday January 6th
Sunday January 7th
The anarchists piled rubble and railway sleepers on the track to block it, but failed to give any warning to the approaching train; the engine and first four carriages (including the carriage(s) occupied by the adventurers) have been derailed and crashed off the viaduct and into Brook Street, killing most of their occupants. The other carriages and the guard's van are derailed but are still on the viaduct. The carriage the adventurers occupy is on its side; the only way to get out is to climb up the seats or luggage racks and out of the door. It's dark, and the adventurers are trapped under corpses and the bodies of the badly injured as they come round.
Fortunately none of the adventurers are badly injured, although they are all bruised and shaken - if they are unusually well equipped or competent the referee may wish to add extra handicaps such as broken ribs, reducing effective BODY, but this is NOT recommended. Everyone else in their compartment is dead or unconscious. Any hand luggage they had with them is buried under the passengers; any bulky luggage, such as trunks, is in the guard's van, which is still on the viaduct. Gun cases etc. will fall into one or another of these categories.
The adventurers might think it a good idea to stay in the train, but it seems to be shifting slightly, as though likely to fall further. There are also ominous creaking noises, the intermittent noise of distant shots (from further East, and not aimed at the train), and a smell of smoke, as well as a faint whiff of gas. After ten minutes the carriages will catch fire from the burning coals spilled by the engine. The fire can be beaten out easily if the adventurers get to it quickly. Once it gets to the carriages extinguishing it will be difficult and dangerous, because gas is leaking from a street lamp that has been shattered by the train; it can't be turned off, short of digging under the wreck to find the main valve, and a few minutes after the fire reaches the carriages it will ignite and explode:
Explosion, radius 20ft, Effect 15, A:I, B:C, C:K
The carriage occupied by the adventurers is on top of most of the debris and is relatively intact. The others are upside down and crushed; there don't seem to be any survivors. The mangled wreckage is lying in a dark cobbled street below a high viaduct, and has smashed into the front of two shops. Miraculously none of the other buildings are damaged, but the buildings will catch fire if the train burns. Any attempt to climb back up to the tracks at this point will achieve nothing except to bring down falling wreckage:
Falling wreckage, Effect 1D6, Damage A:B B:F C:I/C
As the dust settles a few of the braver locals come out to take a look and help rescue passengers; some also loot valuables from the bodies under the concealment of the night. The adventurers should find out what has happened; basically, that there was a gun battle "In Sidney Street, up towards Whitechapel", and that anarchists overran the police and troops and now control the area. More questioning will reveal that some important police official was shot, and that sparked the riot; nobody is entirely sure what is going on. Repeat variations on this story, some accurate and others completely wrong, whenever the adventurers question NPCs.
The locals can tell the adventurers that they are in Stepney, but don't explain exactly where they are; maps should only be shown to them if they find one in a looted shop, or know the area. This isn't an area "gentlefolk" are likely to know, but detectives, criminals, and others with an interest in the seamier side of London may legitimately claim familiarity.
Don't give the adventurers time to get too comfortable; if they seem to be determined to stay near the wreck once the immediate emergency seems to be over, a "careless" match or spark will set off the gas, and the fireball that follows will engulf some of the survivors and bystanders, preferably not the adventurers, and demolish nearby buildings. The flames lick up to the remainder of the train, poised precariously on the edge of the viaduct above the street, and burning debris starts to rain down on the street below. If the adventurers want to fight the renewed blaze they should be rewarded at the end of the adventure.
Wherever the adventurers go they should see evidence of the continuing fight between the anarchists and the authorities; currently the anarchists have complete control of the area, and are defending it vigorously against attack. Anarchist patrols roam the street, and dead policemen can be found at various locations; usually they have been shot, but some have been hung from lamp-posts. Everywhere there is the distant rattle of shots, with flashes of gunfire as the perimeter is approached. Near the perimeter stray shots occasionally whistle by; they are spent rounds, striking randomly as though at skill 3:
Stray bullets, Effect 3, A:F, B:F, C:I/C.
By now the adventurers should be very tired, reflected as reduced BODY etc.; you don't survive a train crash and its aftermath without considerable wear and tear.
The anarchists see the advantages of retaining a large civilian population in the area; if everyone else leaves, the government forces can move in and needn't worry about killing innocent bystanders. Accordingly the adventurers and local residents won't be allowed to leave; if they approach any roadblock they will be turned back at gunpoint, if they try to force a way through they will be shot as capitalist saboteurs. Meanwhile the roadblocks are under intermittent fire from the authorities.
If the adventurers head East they'll find the bridge where Commercial Road East crosses the Grand Union Canal, where the road is blocked by a tram and mounds of furniture. The roadblock is under heavy fire from further down the road.
As they draw near there is a fusillade of shots (attacking anyone stupid enough to stay in the line of fire with skill 3), and violent fighting starts at the barricade. Horses leap through a gap, their riders police armed with batons and soldiers with swords, and try to clear out the anarchists behind the barrier. Anyone else in the way will also be attacked (truncheon or sword, skill 6). As the horses charge windows shatter on both sides of the street, and they and their riders go down under a withering barrage of fire. There should be no opportunity for the adventurers to get out while the barrier is down; as the last horses retreat the anarchists rush to shoot the downed horses and their riders and close the gaps, and anyone else who tries to get near will probably be shot in the confusion. Anyone trying to get past this barricade will be shot as described above.
Despite the anarchist road blocks, it is possible to get out this way if the adventurers move quickly; break into a house or shop further west, go through to the back, and climb out over alley walls until the canal is reached. The bridges are currently held by the anarchists, but there are numerous points where it is possible to cross by walking across moored barges or lock gates, at a slight risk (12 on 2D6) of coming under fire from anarchists or the army. Don't suggest this unless the adventurers try it; the anarchists will close this route next day, by opening locks and cutting barges free. Another escape route in this direction is the railway; the embankment and viaducts that carry it are climbable at many points, although anyone on the tracks is potentially visible from surrounding buildings and may come under fire. Note that routes up to the track are next to invisible, given the lack of street lights; the adventurers will only find one if they look for it.
It's likely that they will try to find somewhere to wait out the night, and attempt to leave the area in the morning. If they persist in trying to leave, let them find an unguarded route after two or three dangerous encounters; once out they will probably be picked up by the army or police for questioning, but unless they have been looting or appear to be anarchists they have nothing to worry about. After an hour or so of questions they will be allowed - in fact encouraged - to leave the area.
If the adventurers decide to hole up for the night they may choose to sleep in one of the looted shops, or try to find someone that will take them in for the night. Sleeping in a shop is dangerous; there is broken glass everywhere, the owner may return ready to deal with intruders, or more looters may arrive. Anyone on the streets this night is likely to be armed and dangerous.
If the adventurers start knocking on doors they should eventually encounter Mrs. Levy, who lets rooms.
After the adventurers have been turned away from shelter several times, they notice a discreet card in the front window of a house saying "rooms to let"; if someone knocks an old lady eventually arrives, and grudgingly admits that she can let two rooms for the night, but wants no "goings on" in her household - keep up a long complaining monologue while explaining this, and whatever else she says as you play her.
Mrs. Levy is a generic Little Old Lady; her rooms are scrubbed scrupulously clean; anyone entering the house has to leave coats, boots, etc. in the hall, stand on newspaper if dirty or bleeding, and will be generally bullied, intimidated, and whined at ("I'm not one to complain, but I normally rent my rooms to a better class of clientele...") until they are in their rooms. She speaks accented English, Yiddish, and Russian.
Mrs. Levy charges 2/- a night for each of the two rooms she has to let, and won't haggle. Each has a single bed, an armchair, a table, and two chairs, and is lit by an oil lamp. Baths are 2d extra, and are taken in a hip bath in the kitchen; anyone wanting one will have to bring in coal from the back yard and wait half an hour for the water to heat because her son is away and her back won't let her lift things. She wasn't expecting company and has little food in the house; some black rye bread, cheese, pickled herrings, chicken soup, a little gefilte fish, and noodles. Meals are 3d extra.
Mrs. Levy knows exactly what's happening (or so she thinks); there's a pogrom going on, just like the old days in Russia, and the "students" are fighting the police, who want to burn the synagogues. She knows that her son is involved with the "students" but obviously won't discuss that aspect of the affair with strangers.
Mrs. Levy's son Reuben is a shop assistant turned anarchist; he will return to the house with four comrades (all generic anarchists) at three the following morning, expecting to give them rooms for the night; he has a key, and they will come in to the adventurers' rooms unannounced. Mrs. Levy does not approve of her son's politics, and will be awakened by the noise and descend from her bedroom to harangue everyone, especially her son, until the anarchists leave quietly, or until the adventurers and anarchists come to an amicable arrangement. For example, the adventurers might move into one room and let the anarchists use the other.
With Mrs. Levy's "help" it should be possible to resolve the situation peacefully; it might even be possible to convince the inexperienced anarchists that the adventurers are sympathetic to their cause. If so, the adventurers will learn more about the causes of the conflict, but from an anarchist viewpoint; the police and army moved into Stepney to suppress a legitimate political demonstration, and opened fire on revolutionary brothers without provocation. One of the capitalist oppressors, the Home Secretary, was shot by his own men, and the forces of oppression then fired on an innocent crowd without provocation. Naturally the forces of the people are fighting this tyranny, and eventually justice should prevail and the outmoded state will be swept away.
If asked, the anarchists can name the Home Secretary and their glorious leader Peter Piatkow (Peter the Painter). If any adventurers have anarchist sympathies they will be enthralled by news of the rebellion; others will probably be less enthusiastic.
If the adventurers want a fight the anarchists will be happy to oblige. Mrs. Levy won't retreat, but will do her best to out-shout everyone else present and make them stop. Miraculously no shots, blows, etc. will hit her unless they are deliberately aimed at her. If her son is hurt she will grab the nearest weapon (a gun, poker, etc.) and turn on whoever hurt him. Fortunately her skills are Brawling and Melee Weapon 3, Marksman 2, and she is unlikely to succeed in hurting anyone, although in the close confines of this house a miss might have unforseen consequences.
Assuming that this ends peacefully, the adventurers will need to make plans for the morning; if it ends in a fight, they will either have to retreat or end up surrounded by corpses and the wounded.
In the morning Mrs. Levy will insist that the adventurers leave; she doesn't want more trouble, and the anarchists will probably know that suspicious strangers have stayed at her house. She doesn't have any suggestions as to where they might go, apart from directing them towards the closest route out of the area.
If the adventurers want to stay in the area they'll have to find different lodgings; there are enough greedy landlords and landladies to ensure that they will eventually succeed, but there should always be a hint of danger, a possibility that the adventurers will encounter more trouble.
Unless the adventurers escaped immediately after the crash, they are probably still in the area the following morning, in Mrs. Levy's house or some other refuge. Whatever they decide to do, the timetable in section 1.3 describes events that might affect their plans. Feel free to change the timetable for extra drama; for example, if the adventurers go to see what's happening on the waterfront, this is probably a good moment for the anarchists to start firing their field gun across the Thames, and for HMS Pathfinder to retaliate. If they try to join the evacuation, the boat before them is the one that's attacked by anarchists. As always, keep things moving, and keep the adventurers under continual pressure.
By dawn there are dozens of posters and proclamations on the streets, pasted to advertising boards and nailed to telegraph posts and trees. They announce the formation of a "People's Provisional Revolutionary Council" under the leadership of Peter Piatkow; the adventurers know the name, since he has been wanted by the police for several weeks. The "Council" has declared martial law and urges all citizens to "resist the oppressive forces of Capitalism". Reading between the lines it's obvious that anyone caugh failing to cooperate or aiding the government forces will be treated as an enemy of the revolution. The penalties are not spelt out, but an occasional corpse hung from a lamppost, labelled "Enemy of the People - Looter" or "Enemy of the People - Reactionary Spy" should give adventurers the idea.
This section summarises some activities that the adventurers might like to try, and some situations that the referee might want to use against them. If the referee wants to involve the adventurers more closely in the main events of the insurrection, several activities include opportunities to steer them towards Sidney Street and a confrontation with the anarchists. It should be obvious that adventurers may choose to do something else; if so, use the information below and the timetable above to determine its likely consequences and complications.
The adventurers come across a group of armed anarchists who are in the process of beating a policeman or soldier to death. The anarchists have guns but are currently using them as clubs, and outnumber the adventurers. What are they going to do? If they take a hand they will earn the enmity of the anarchists, and may end up in serious trouble; see "Enemies of the people", below. If they do nothing can they live with their consciences?
There are numerous targets for looting in the area controlled by the anarchists; the biggest, and the most heavily defended, is the Royal Mint, illustrated by FF5-AD03.GIF, right at the West edge of the area. See section 1.3 above for events involving the Mint; the wall damage described is on the Cartwright Street side of the complex, which is guarded by police and troops and surrounded by high spiked metal railings. Looters have to get past the fence and at least 20-30 well-armed men, with more reinforcements rapidly arriving from the Tower of London; they will also have to get past the anarchists, or join their attack, in order to get inside. The main targets are the refinery and the mint itself. The refinery currently contains three tons of gold (approximately £380,000), six tons of silver (£53,000), and twenty tons of coinage bronze (£8,800 but probably impossible to sell). Most of this metal is locked in strongrooms; the remainder is in the refinery in slowly cooling furnaces. All the metal is alloyed to some degree to improve its hardness, and can easily be identified as coinage metal if analysed.
The main mint building was in use for a production run of sovereigns when the riots started, and these coins are now packed in small crates awaiting shipment when the emergency ends. There are eighty small crates, each containing £1000 in sovereigns and weighing approximately 25lb, locked in a strongroom in the mint building. These are the only 1911 sovereigns minted so far; if they are stolen the mint will make a tiny change to the dies used to stamp these coins, and circulate comparison photographs to every bank in Britain. Another strongroom contains 20,000 sovereign blanks, plain gold disks that haven't yet been through the presses. A large combination-locked safe in the office of the Superintendent of the Mint contains dies for the sovereign, half sovereign, silver, and copper coins. They would be moderately valuable to a coiner (coin forger) but most forged coins are let down by the quality of the metal, not the stamping process. Adventurers who are familiar with the mechanics of forging paper currency, where the quality of the plate is all-important, may have other expectations.
If the adventurers somehow take advantage of this opportunity, they then have the problem of keeping their ill-gotten gains and getting them out of the area. This should not be easy, since they will have to get past the anarchists and the army and police. Hiding the loot and hoping to recover it afterwards may seem a better idea, but there will be a house-to-house search for hidden anarchists and looted goods as the area is recaptured. If the adventurers come up with a particularly clever scheme they should be allowed to get away with it, but they will then have the problem of recovering and disposing of their windfall.
Overall, this should be extremely difficult and dangerous, with a very good chance that characters will be killed getting in or escaping. If the Mint is looted there will be a determined hunt for the thieves; by now the police are using fingerprints and a wide range of forensic evidence, so even if the adventurers initially succeed, there may be problems weeks or years later. Any NPCs involved in the caper should prove untrustworthy; think "Reservoir Dogs" and "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" and you shouldn't go far wrong.
Lesser targets include banks, pawnbrokers, jeweller's shops, post offices, gunsmiths, and the like. Unfortunately most of the richer pickings are on the main roads, and are the most likely to be looted before the adventurers get to them.
Don't bother to describe these premises unless the adventurers go looking for them; if they start looking, they should find them easily. The table following should be used to generate details; roll 2D6 to determine if the building is looted or not; if it has not been looted, roll again to see if it is guarded; guards are typically 1-3 watchmen with cudgels, 1-3 large dogs, or both. Finally, roll for the contents if it has not been looted. Add 1 to all dice rolls if the premises are on a major road.
4 Banks *
4 Gunsmiths *
4 Post Offices
2D6 x £100 as jewels etc.
2D6 x £500 in currency
1D6 x £50 as silver etc.
20 + 1D6 x 5 weapons
2D6 x £50 as stamps etc.
* If looted, these premises are now in use by the anarchists; the banks are needed for their telephones, the gunsmiths for their weapons and workshops. All four post offices have been commandeered by the anarchists, since they contain the local telephone switchboards, but their safes (containing a little money, stamps and postal orders) haven't yet been opened. Each building contains 10+2D6 anarchists.
Even though these targets are less risky than the Mint, any loot taken from them may be identifiable; simply carrying a handful of necklaces or half-a-dozen revolvers may make characters targets. The anarchists won't be sympathetic to any looters they catch; see "Enemies of the People", below, for their response.
One last target should be mentioned; the Tower of London is just West of the area occupied by the anarchists, and the adventurers may feel that it might be possible to get at its treasures in the confusion of the uprising. Unfortunately it is in use as a military headquarters, and although the influx of personnel has caused some disruption, the vaults are guarded by the Yeomen of the Guard (the Beefeaters) who will shoot anyone who tries to break in. They are all skilled soldiers, and should be more than a match for any force the adventurers can reasonably assemble.
If the adventurers have escaped from the area they may think that the events in Stepney are likely to distract the authorities, and give them a chance to commit crimes elesewhere. They are wrong. Police in all parts of London, and in all major cities, are on the alert for further anarchist activities; all police leave has been cancelled, and troops are ready to move if needed. If anything, the police response to crimes is faster than usual.
Some or all of the adventurers are arrested by a large group of armed anarchists, searched (but not very well; only the most obvious weapons will be confiscated) and marched to the local police station and law court, which happens to be a few hundred yards south-east of Sidney Street; if you are using FF5-AD01.GIF it's at the top of the "P" of "STEPNEY" on the main map, roughly 150 yards SE of the lower end of Sidney Street on the smaller area map. The court is now under anarchist control, and the adventurers are to be "tried" for crimes against the revolution. This may be a simple case of mistaken identity, or may arise from their activities prior to arrest; for example, if they have attempted to escape from the area, have been looting, rescued a policeman, etc. It may happen even if the adventurers have been actively helping the revolutionary cause. The anarchists want to do things "fairly", so there will be a judge - a minor anarchist leader, not one of those named below - and a jury of twelve anarchists. There will even be a defence counsel, but since he's also an anarchist he won't be much help.
Begin with the end of the previous trial - the prisoner is taken out of the court and a minute or two later a shot is heard - then put the adventurers in the dock. Unless they have a cunning plan, or want to fight their way out, this should be handled purely by role-playing. Possible escape routes include bribery (of a guard or the "judge"), brilliant revolutionary rhetoric which convinces the anarchists that the adventurers are innocent, counter-charges against one of the anarchist guards or the "judge" himself, etc.
If the adventurers are found guilty they are to be taken out and shot. But try to give them a few chances to escape; for example, one of the guards might be standing too close with a loaded gun in his hands, one of the guards might be someone they have aided earlier, and so on. If some of the adventurers weren't caught, those who remain free might pull off a daring rescue. But if all else fails, and the adventurers don't seem to be able to come up with anything, shoot them. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.
If the adventurers escape it's easy enough to chase them towards Sidney Street and the headquarters of the anarchists, where Churchill is being held. If the adventurers are using a detailed map you may need to add some extra groups of anarchists to chase them in the right direction; if not, just chase them West and North, dodging into side streets, until they shake off pursuit in a quiet side road. There is a detailed description of the scene at Sidney Street in section 1.7
The London Hospital (which is held by the army) is inaccessible from inside the area; the anarchists and the army will both fire on anyone trying to cross the lines. The only other hospital in the area is the East London Hospital (for children), off Brook Street to the North of Shadwell Basin. In this crisis it is taking in patients of all ages from all over the area, and is frantically busy and understaffed. Victims of the train crash will be taken there, but only the seriously wounded will be allowed to stay. Anaesthetics and dressings are in short supply, and neighbouring houses are in use as extra wards. Any doctor, nurse, or first-aider offering medical services can expect to spend the next few days with little or no sleep, treating hundreds of gunshot wounds, cuts, and burns. Periodically the wards are visited by gangs of anarchists, searching for wounded policemen and soldiers; any found are taken away for "trial" (as described above) and executed.
There are also several doctor's surgeries in the area, all equally busy, and emergency clinics in schools and workhouses around the area. All are periodically raided by the anarchists.
If adventurers are helping at any of these points, there is an excellent opportunity to involve them in the main events of this scenario. Churchill is seriously wounded and possibly dying, and the anarchists realise his potential value as a hostage. They don't have a doctor of their own - the doctor normally based at the surgery they are using as an HQ fled with the retreating troops - and have decided to find one elsewhere. Don't tell the adventurers concerned why they are wanted; just take them at gunpoint. See section 1.7 below for details of their base.
Some adventurers may want to help in other ways; for example, there is no fire station in the besieged area, and many buildings will burn before the anarchists are dislodged. Organising bucket brigades and substitutes for the other emergency services might be the perfect job for a man of action. Unfortunately it may also bring adventurers to the notice of the anarchists, who are drafting men to help fortify their defences. Anyone they conscript is given a shovel or pickaxe and told to start demolishing a house or shop; the rubble and timbers are used to reinforce their barricades. Anyone trying to get away will be shot. Much of this work is along the Northern perimeter of the area, and should also take the adventurers near to Sidney Street.
Adventurers may wish to go hunting for the anarchists and their leaders, stealthily or by the simple expedient of shooting every anarchist they encounter.
Going in fighting is a remarkably stupid idea. There are hundreds of anarchists (for the purposes of this adventure there are always more somewhere nearby), and all of them are armed. They have popular support, and are aided by a vast network of sympathisers, some of them little more than children, who will report any suspicious activities. Near their headquarters there are snipers in prepared positions on roofs and at upper-storey windows, waiting to attack anyone who seems hostile. If the adventurers insist on trying this, give them one or two warnings, in the form of near misses, then kill them.
A better move might be to set up a trap somewhere, and lure the anarchist leaders into it. For instance, the adventurers might pose as members of another revolutionary organisation, such as the Fenians, and arrange a meeting on "neutral" territory mined with explosives or covered by snipers. But the anarchists will check any meeting place thoroughly before the arrival of Piatkow or any of his lieutenants, and will spot any obvious trap. If they detect anything they will gun down the adventurers and (if necessary) fight their way out.
Another approach is to infiltrate the anarchist organisation, pretending to be loyal to the cause, then assassinate the leaders. Unfortunately this is an expected tactic in revolutionary politics, and won't be easy in the time scale of this scenario. See 1.6.6 below for ways of joining the revolution. If adventurers are pretending to fight for the anarchist cause they will need to learn a little about its politics; a couple of hours talking to any of the anarchists will give them enough of the background and rhetoric to pass as new converts, but there is a danger that adventurers (and especially any NPCs accompanying them) really will be convinced. Anarchy and Bolshevik politics address genuine problems, especially amongst the poor.
For NPCs a roll of MIND versus MIND will suffice; if an NPC fails the roll, they have been converted by the rhetoric of the person talking to them. On a 12 they are now totally committed to the cause and will unhesitatingly betray the adventurers; on a lower result they will be obstructive or argumentative, or simply desert the adventurers. The referee shouldn't tell adventurers that their associates have had a change of heart; let it become obvious by their actions.
For adventurers exposure to anarchist rhetoric may lead to an almost subliminal change in attitude, which the referee should simulate as a change in the way things are described. For example, adventurers who don't think this way might notice a little girl in passing; those who have been exposed to this point of view will also notice that she seems to be thin and pale, probably a result of poverty. Don't make this too overt, or compel adventurers to do or think anything; they are simply noticing things a little differently, and may wish to act accordingly.
One way to get to the anarchist headquarters is to be taken prisoner; ordinary prisoners face trial (as in 1.6.3 above) but anyone who claims to have information about government plans or appears to be a senior police or army officer will be taken for interrogation. See 1.7 below for details of their treatment.
One last possibility is that the adventurers will escape to join the government forces; acting as scouts or spies for the army and police, signing on as special constables, etc. Reserves and those on leave in the London area were called up soon after the incident began; adventurers on leave from the army, or with reserve commissions, will be ordered to rejoin their regiments (which just happen to be amongst those besieging Stepney), those with Naval experience will be recalled to duty and assigned to HMS Pathfinder. Aeronauts might be asked to use their balloons or airships to replace the City of Cardiff after it is destroyed.
So far this section has assumed that the adventurers are neutral or hostile to the goals of the anarchists, but it's possible that some or all of them share their revolutionary aims. One way to help is to join the people's defences against the capitalist oppressors, by volunteering to man the barricades; another is to seek a more important role on the staff of the leaders of the revolution. Both have some drawbacks...
If adventurers choose to man the barricades they face hours of boredom, mixed with occasional moments of stark terror. The perimeter of the area is too large for any one barricade to face a constant onslaught; instead the army makes probing attacks on randomly-selected barriers, looking for those that are poorly defended, following up with cavalry or armoured cars as weak points are spotted. A typical barricade is described in section 1.4 above; a wall of furniture, carts, timber, and rubble, guarded from behind and from the buildings to either side. For a frontal attack the soldiers must cross wide streets to get to the barricades, but they will soon think of attacking from one side, and of attacking the firing points in the buildings that flank the barricades. They may also try using grenades or fire to destroy the barricades.
Once a barricade has been forced the soldiers will generally chase the defenders; a well-set trap may make this an expensive mistake, but they will soon learn to consolidate their gains before pursuing the anarchists. Nevertheless, anyone who looks even remotely like an anarchist is fair game for them, and any soldiers or police in range will strike first and ask questions afterwards.
Section 1.3 describes some of the attacks the army and marines will attempt; at least one should come straight at the adventurers, even if this is not specifically described. As the defensive perimeter contracts some of the anarchists will be pulled off the barricades and assigned to protect their headquarters in Sidney Street, described below. Those who do well should be assigned to work with Piatkow or his lieutenants.
If the adventurers don't do a good job of defending their positions they should be arrested by their leaders and sent for trial as saboteurs. See 1.6.3 above.
Active attempts to join the leadership of the revolution will be treated with great suspicion, even if characters have a previous history of revolutionary activities which might be known to the anarchists. Simply walking to their headquarters and saying "Hello old boy, I'm an anarchist and I'd like to join in" may not be a wise move - anyone trying it is likely to be assigned to the barricades under armed guard. Even adventurers with previous revolutionary experience are unlikely to be known personally to the anarchists, who will assume that strangers may be impostors - possibly disguised police - or lunatics. If adventurers do have reason to know the anarchists, such as a background in Latvian Bolshevik revolutionary politics, it is safe to assume that there are numerous splinter factions, each distrusting the next to some extent. The leaders of the uprising are also jealous of their positions, and won't readily give an outsider much authority. Attaining a position of trust should be difficult but not impossible; retaining that trust will require constant revolutionary fervour in the struggle against the Capitalist Oppressors. This might mean that adventurers are ordered to command a barricade or a firing squad, hang some policemen, or organise a raid on a capitalist stronghold, such as one of the banks that hasn't yet been looted. Adventurers who have joined the revolution intending to betray it must get their hands very dirty before they have a crack at the leaders.
Once the adventurers reach this exalted status, they should gradually discover that their leaders are not entirely sure what to do; they never expected to get this far this soon, and they have no idea how to consolidate their gains into permanent control of even this small part of London. And in fact there is no way to do it; sooner or later the government will use enough force to crush the revolution. Piatkow and his henchmen intend to fight on as long as they can, then die as martyrs to the cause; their followers are generally unaware that they expect defeat, and wouldn't necessarily believe adventurers who claimed that they were heading for disaster. They won't follow adventurers who try to take over from the existing leadership; Piatkow leads mainly by charisma and reputation, and no outsider can possibly take his place. Unfortunately Piatkow lacks vision in some respects, and won't approve plans that could end the revolt peacefully. He wants the confrontation to be as bloody as possible, in the hope that it will destabilise the state.
If adventurers take this path, they should be moving towards a confrontation with the anarchist leadership as their defences finally crack, and the "Capitalist Oppressors" move in on Sidney Street. Try to ensure that they are swept up in the evacuation described in 1.8 below, with no real chance to escape before the gasworks is reached.
If adventurers have joined the revolution in order to betray it, their first chance to do so should coincide with the collapse of the defences, and they will be caught up in the evacuation before they have a chance to take any action.
The anarchists have set up their headquarters in the doctor's house at 102 Sidney Street, with more men in 98 and 100 Sidney Street and in houses along Hawkins Street. The North end of Sidney Street is thoroughly blocked, as described above. See FF5-AD02.GIF for a map of the immediate area and plans of these buildings.
The doctor's house consists of a surgery, dispensary, and waiting room with living quarters above. Piatkow's office is on the first (US 2nd) floor, the doctor's former living room; he sleeps on the floor above, and his rooms are always guarded by at least three men. The top floor is used by the guards, with rifles covering Sidney Street, Hawkins Street, and the houses and alleys behind. Even if Piatkow goes out his rooms will be guarded; there should always be at least twice as many anarchists as there are adventurers in this house, additional to Piatkow and two or three personal bodyguards.
Churchill is on the couch in the dispensary; he has a skull fracture and is in a coma (critical wound) but has been given first aid and is stable. He is in no immediate danger, although attempts to move him carelessly may cause further injury; if so, another First Aid or Doctor roll (Difficulty 6) should be made to stabilise him again, or he will eventually die. He is guarded at all times by two anarchists, and has been handcuffed to the couch. Since Piatkow wants to keep him in reserve for negotiations, his men have been instructed to keep everyone out of the surgery. Adventurers who are working with Piatkow will soon find out that he is a prisoner, of course, other visitors to the building should simply see that the surgery blinds are closed and the doors are guarded.
There are twenty more anarchists in 98 and 100 Sidney Street, and another twenty in the first two houses of Hawkins Street, with guards at the front and back windows and at the ends of the block. These are Piatkow's "headquarters company", used as a mobile strike force as needed. They even have motor transport; a battered delivery van, seating two in the cab and up to ten (uncomfortably) in the back, and two stolen taxis, each seating six (eight or ten if people ride on the running board). They are parked in the alley behind the surgery; the keys are held by anarchists who know how to drive. There are also several bicycles in the yard behind the surgery. Boys too young to fight use them to relay messages to and from the barricades. A printer's office on Jubilee Street produces Piatkow's leaflets and posters.
The remaining captured field gun is in the yard of the brewery off Raven Row, West of Sidney Street, and its horses are stabled there. The gun and ammunition limber have been covered with tarpaulins to keep off the rain; this incidentally camouflages them from the air, although that is not the intention. There are only two anarchists on guard here most of the time; Piatkow doesn't initially think that it will be useful, and doesn't want to waste men looking after it. The guards are older men with military experience and know how to fire the gun.
Piatkow's office has two large tables supporting a telephone, maps of the area, a typewriter, a samovar stewing strong Russian tea, and piles of papers. The maps have been flagged to show the points where barricades and ambushes have been prepared, and resources such as food stores, gunsmiths, and telephone exchanges. The details marked include the positions chosen for defences if the initial barriers fall; if adventurers don't visit Piatkow until after this has happened, they show his next lines of defence. The maps would be extremely useful to the government or anyone planning a raid into the area; naturally they are covered if any outsider is allowed into the office. The papers are orders to Piatkow's men, proclamations from the "People's Revolutionary Council", and a draft manifesto cribbed heavily from Marx. None of them will tell adventurers anything they didn't already know.
Earlier sections have suggested some reasons for adventurers to visit the headquarters. It is also possible that they might go there in other roles; for example, as negotiators, as reporters, or even as prisoners. Naturally all of the above will be searched before they are allowed anywhere near Piatkow; any weapons will be confiscated, and if they have approached under a flag of truce they will be regarded as assassins and sent for "trial" (see 1.6.3 above) without a chance to see him. Visitors who avoid this fate will be taken to Sidney Street blindfold, so that they won't know where he is based, but interior details (such as medical prints on the walls and a waiting room downstairs) make it obvious that his HQ is above a doctor's surgery.
Piatkow has some slight interest in negotiating with the government, and adventurers with a suitable background might be asked to take on this role if they can contact the authorities. Unfortunately the government has no intention of letting the anarchists get away with anything; while a temporary ceasefire might be useful, anything more is out of the question, and negotiators won't be allowed to give even the appearance of agreeing to any other demands.
Naturally Piatkow has a list of demands for the release of prisoners, various laws he wishes to see removed from the statute book, and so forth. He doesn't for a moment expect that the government will agree to them, but it suits him to be seen as the victim of an oppressive state that won't listen to his "legitimate" demands. If adventurers visit under a flag of truce, he treats them with exaggerated courtesy, and may even concede a few small points (such as allowing some of the wounded to leave the area) if he is promised supplies or an extended ceasefire. He won't under any circumstances agree to surrender, and won't admit that Churchill is still alive, or that he knows anything about his fate, unless it becomes absolutely essential, as described in 1.3 above.
Piatkow craves publicity for his cause, and will naturally find a little time to talk to any reporters who approach his headquarters. He has several typed manifestos ready; they call for the abolition of Capital, the arrest of various government and police officials, and war against the Tsar. They describe the Sidney Street incident as a police assault on innocent refugees who "naturally protected themselves against these government assassins"; this naturally glosses over the question of why "innocent refugees" would be equipped with guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Reporters should gradually realise that Piatkow is sincere, ruthless, and determined to make no concessions to the authorities. They may even guess that he plans to use his own death as propaganda, but naturally he will never say so. At most any interview should last just a few minutes; Piatkow is a busy man with a revolution to run, and doesn't have the time or inclination to answer a lot of awkward questions.
Prisoners might be bought here for questioning under exceptional circumstances, but they are more likely to be taken to the court (see 1.6.3) the anarchists are running. Prisoners who say that they have important information, or who appear to be important in other ways, will be bought here for interrogation; Piatkow doesn't use "sophisticated" forms of torture, but isn't above having someone beaten to a pulp to extract information. Anyone beaten this way will automatically take one Injury. Since prisoners aren't expected to survive, the anarchists won't bother to conceal the fact that Churchill is alive.
Anyone the anarchists question will be locked in the dispensary (which has barred windows and a stout door) between interrogation sessions. The anarchists won't think of removing the room's contents first, although prisoners will be left handcuffed. The dispensary contains a wide range of chemicals and first aid materials, including acids and a bottle of ether that could be used to knock out guards. With Science skill mixing an incendiary compound is Difficulty 5, a simple (but dangerously unstable) explosive is Difficulty 6. Making either takes a minimum of 20-30 minutes. Add 2 to the Difficulty if the mixer is handcuffed. Use any relevant skill such as Thief, Actor (escapologist / magician / strong man), or Mechanic to get free at Difficulty 7.
Phosphorus incendiary paste, ignites spontaneously 2+1D6 minutes after mixed:
Effect 6+1 per round, A:F, B:I, C:I
Effect 8, Radius 1ft, A:I, B:I, C:C/K
If prisoners don't escape a second interrogation will add another Injury, a third makes the wounds Critical. Any stories used to stop the interrogation must satisfy Piatkow and his colleagues; unconvincing lies won't be believed.
If the adventurers have done nothing to change events, Piatkow decides to move his field gun south of the London Hospital on Sunday morning, to defend Sidney Street from a feared attack from the South, and sends an ultimatum to the government, revealing that Churchill is still alive. Unfortunately the gun is spotted, and reported as threatening the hospital. At 1.15 PM on Sunday January 7th armoured cars race past the headquarters, and attack the gun in Philpott Street. As they return anarchists in the upper part of the house fire on the cars; they return fire, and more anarchists are killed. Even if the adventurers are in positions of authority and order the men not to fire, someone will disobey. Churchill survives. Anyone standing in the surgery, waiting room, or dispensary will be hit by 1-3 machine gun bullets if the shutters are open, or by bullet splinters and fragments of wood and glass if the shutters have been closed.
Machine gun - Effect 11 - A:F, B:I, C:C/K
Splinters etc. - Effect 1D6 - A:F, B:F, C:I
Piatkow survives this attack unscathed (even if he was downstairs at the time) but decides to move his headquarters. If the adventurers don't intervene Churchill is hit; optionally, Piatkow has one of his followers shoot Churchill before they leave. Since troops are closing in from the West and South he orders an evacuation to the East, with a convoy of vehicles (the taxis and van, and a few bicycles) moving out at 5.30 PM. Any prisoners will be taken with them as hostages; if Churchill is still alive but still a prisoner he will also be taken. If adventurers have been trying to get close to Piatkow in order to kill him this sudden evacuation should spoil their plans; he is always surrounded by armed men, and there is never a clear line of fire.
As troops close in from the North and South, Piatkow's tiny force is squeezed out to the East, forced to change course again and again as more troops close in; some of the rear guard are killed as they cover the rest. The anarchists abandon the taxis, setting them on fire as another road block, and continue on foot and bicycle with any wounded (including Churchill if he has survived) in the van. Nearing the Grand Union Canal, which some of the anarchists hope to use as an escape route, more soldiers appear ahead; there should be enough to make it impossible to continue, with more troops and police visible behind, and approaching from other directions. The running fight moves into a side street, (the West side of the gasworks in FF5-AD04.GIF), but more troops and police are approaching from the North, so Piatkow orders the surviving anarchists into the gasworks. As the last anarchists enter they close the gates, and retreat into the grounds.
The gasworks is a huge chemical plant which converts coal into heating and lighting gas, coke (a fuel used in furnaces), and various chemical by-products. Huge steel gasometers (storage tanks) tower a hundred feet or more into the sky; they are surrounded by frameworks of girders, with steel stairways to the top. There are NO SMOKING signs everywhere. It's filthy, with coal dust, tar, grit and other noxious substances coating every surface.
Here the anarchists fight their final battle with the forces of the establishment. Even if the adventurers have been helping, there is no hope of escape; there are troops and police all around the walls, and waiting on the far side of the canal. Only the danger of an explosion stops them firing; the factory is surrounded by hundreds of houses and two schools, one of them in use as a hospital. The anarchists position themselves behind walls and coal piles as the soldiers batter at the gates then use one of the armoured cars to pull them down, entering with drawn swords and bayonets.
Meanwhile, unless the adventurers have done something to stop him, Piatkow and his lieutenants start to climb the largest gasometer; if Churchill is still alive one of them carries him as a shield. Any prisoners will also be forced to climb ahead of the anarchists, then made to kneel on top of the gasometer. Loyal followers of Piatkow may accompany him if they wish.
There's vicious fighting on the ground; any adventurers staying down there will have to think very fast to stay alive long enough to surrender. There is no obvious escape route, although really generous referees may wish to allow adventurers to escape by going down manholes into the drains; these lead to the canal, but the opening can be seen by soldiers on the bank. If the adventurers hide for several hours they will be able to escape, although they will have to swim through polluted water and will have problems getting away without being spotted afterwards. None of the NPC anarchists want to escape this way.
Once Piatkow reaches the top of the gasometer he uses a rifle and bayonet to hack a hole in the sheet metal, shouting "I'm going to make sure we're never forgotten, comrades", then pulls matches from his pocket and prepares to light the escaping gas.
If adventurers are with Piatkow this is their last chance to escape; if they do nothing he shouts something in Russian, and lights the gas. An appropriate phrase is "Smat'ryoo men'ya, 'mama, na ver'zhiny mir" (literally "look at me, Mama, at the summit of the Earth"). A huge jet of flame rushes upwards from the hole, but doesn't set off the main tank. Piatkow's lieutenants start to fire into the metal, making more holes. The gasometer explodes four minutes later. This is not survivable. A gigantic fireball roars hundreds of feet into the sky, and everyone in the neighbourhood is cut, bruised, and deafened.
Once the gas is lit the anarchists have no further interest in any prisoners. If adventurers start to flee at the moment Piatkow lights the flame they will just have time to reach ground level. There is even just enough time to carry Churchill if he is alive at this point. If the adventurers stay in the open they will die, but there is a deep moat of water around the base of the gasometer, used to keep it gas tight (anyone trying to save time by diving from the summit will die; there are too many girders in the way). There are also several deep open-topped water tanks for fire-fighting, one of them near the gasometer. If the adventurers are underwater or hide behind one of these tanks during the explosion they will survive it, although huge pieces of steel sheet and other wreckage will shower down; each adventurer will be "attacked" by 1-3 pieces of wreckage attacking with "Skill" 3:
Falling wreckage, Effect 6, A:F, B:I, C:C/K
These pools and tanks don't connect to the drainage system, and the water is foul and stagnant, and very strongly acidic; if adventurers try to stay under cover they will soon have serious eye irritation and will require medical treatment. The sheds and other buildings on the site don't give adequate blast protection, anyone using them as cover will take 1-6 attacks as above. Anyone outside the site but within a couple of blocks is deafened and takes 0-1 attacks as above.
The lull following the explosion gives any survivors a brief chance to flee or get their stories straight before the authorities finally close in. Clearing up all the complications that follow will take weeks, or forever if the adventurers were aiding the anarchists; the authorities have long memories.
As well as the usual Bonus points for good role playing, amusing the referee, etc., the following specific points may be rewarded. Be reasonably generous, this is a very dangerous scenario!
Helped to rescue survivors of the train crash
Stopped the train catching fire
Helped fight fires later
Recovered Churchill's corpse
Prevent an oppressive government over-reaction
Negotiate a truce
Capture one or more of his lieutenants
Kill one of his lieutenants
Remember that players may select other goals; for example, they may want to loot or aid the Anarchist cause. If so, ignore the above and award points according to their success or failure in these goals.
There are rewards of several hundred pounds for the arrest of Piatkow and his associates, which will also be given if it can be proved that he is killed. Anyone rescuing Churchill is probably going to get other rewards according to their status; a gentleman might be knighted, a working class hero would get a few hundred pounds from a newspaper's patriotic fund.
The political climate after the insurrection is strongly polarised, with the working classes (especially immigrants, refugees, and left-wing politics) feared and distrusted by the establishment. Both sides could find work for adventurers, from discreet investigation of a trade union official or right-wing politician to blackmail and black operations.
Alternatively, there's a real need for peacemakers who might be able to restore some confidence in the fabric of society and prevent the eventual rise of fascism in Britain. If Churchill died this should be very difficult; if Churchill was saved by the adventurers, and can be persuaded to speak in favour of moderation, his voice may just be enough to save the day. But after this incident Churchill will have no great love for anarchists, and ingenious arguments will be needed to enlist his help. The idea that the government should be charitable in its victory may help; there's a lot of propaganda mileage to be gained from such gestures.
If the adventurers betrayed the anarchists, or did anything to thwart their plans, the survivors will remember them. Eventually some form of retribution will be arranged. If the adventurers helped the anarchists they will inevitably be hunted by the police, probably for the rest of their lives.
On a lighter note, souvenirs of the "London Commune" will eventually be worth a fortune; Piatkow's posters and handbills, revolutionary arm-bands, and authenticated weapons used by Piatkow and his lieutenants will be worth hundreds to thousands of pounds by the 1990s. Anyone spotting their potential early enough can put aside a small fortune for their old age. Some of the most interesting souvenirs will naturally be in the hands of Piatkow's surviving sympathisers and relatives of those killed in the fighting; getting them won't be easy.
If you are using the Psychic Idealiser, all of the adventurers "arrive" in this new world on day 2 of the insurrection, with no memories carried over from the brains they are invading. All of them are in difficult or dangerous situations at different locations around the area, with nothing to tell them how they got here, what their goals initially were, where the other adventurers are, and so forth. All have deep bruises and other partially-cured wounds. They have no memories of the train crash, or of the rights and wrongs of the insurrection; optionally very vague memories do gradually return. At least one should be wearing a red armband, but are they supporting the revolution, or preparing to betray it?
Their problems don't end when the anarchists are crushed; the reason why the adventurers were travelling together should turn out to be unusually difficult or dangerous. For example, they might be travelling back to London after visiting the coast (see Adventure 2 below), and now have no memory of their interest in missing ships...
Peter Piatkow (alias 'Peter the Painter', anarchist)
BODY , MIND , SOUL , Actor (disguise) , Brawling , Business , Linguist (English, German, Russian) , Marksman , Melee weapon (knife) , Military arms (explosives) , Psychology , Stealth , Thief 
Equipment: two Mauser automatic pistols (big handgun), 4 hand grenades, 6 sticks of dynamite, red armband.
Quote: "You are obviously a class enemy. There can be only one punishment..."
Notes: Piatkow is probably the most notorious of the London anarchists of this period, but it has never been conclusively proved that he was connected with the events that led up to the Siege of Sidney Street (or even that Piatkow and 'Peter the Painter' were the same man). For the purposes of this adventure, however, he is engaged in every form of skulduggery in furtherance of the Anarchist cause. He is the spider at the centre of the anarchist web, always accompanied by several bodyguards; getting anywhere near to him should be very difficult. A good role model is Che Guevara. He is in his thirties.
Fritz Svaars (Anarchist, henchman of Piatkow)
William Sokoloff alias 'Joseph' (anarchist, henchman of Piatkow)
Jacob Peters (anarchist, henchman of Piatkow)
BODY , MIND , SOUL , Brawling , Linguist (English, German) , Marksman , Melee weapon (knife) , Thief 
Equipment: Mauser automatic pistol, 2 sticks dynamite, knife, red armband.
Quote: "Shoot them!"
Notes: All three are busy leading their comrades in the cause of anarchy, and have no time for sophisticated dialectic or philosophical debate in an increasingly desperate situation. They have a long history of violent crime. They are all in their mid-twenties or early thirties. Svaars and Sokolov both have numerous half-healed cuts and splinters, injuries from fragments of glass and wood during the initial siege. Sokolov has lost a finger from his left hand, and keeps that arm in a sling; he also has a 4-shot .38 pistol (as Derringer) concealed in the sling.
BODY , MIND , SOUL , Brawling , Marksman , Melee weapon (knives) 
Equipment: shotgun (medium), knives, 20 rounds ammunition, red armband.
Quote: "Capitalist swine!"
Notes: These are cannon-fodder, mostly aged 16-30, who should be (ab)used as circumstances dictate. They will usually be encountered in groups, not on their own. A few have extra skills such as Military Arms, Thief, etc. Questioning them about the anarchist plans will achieve nothing; they trust their leaders (any of the four above) and won't betray the cause. In any case they know nothing useful, they just assume that everything is proceeding according to plan.
Typical Soldier / Marine
BODY , MIND , SOUL , Brawling , Marksman , Melee weapon (bayonet) , Military Weapons  Riding  (Cavalry only)
Equipment: Rifle (large), bayonet. Officers carry revolvers, not rifles. Marines add cutlasses. Gunners etc. will accompany appropriate weapons. Cavalry carry sabres and revolvers.
Quote: (officer/sergeant) "Fix bayonets and at them!"; (enlisted man) "Here we go again."
Notes: Despite the fact that most of the soldiers and marines come from working class backgrounds, their sympathies are with the government and especially the King. Attempts to subvert them or incite a mutiny will get nowhere, and anyone making such an attempt will faces assault or worst.
Cavalry Horse / Police horse
BODY , MIND , SOUL 
Brawling ; Kick, Effect 8, Damage A:B, B:F, C:I/C
Wounds: B[ ] F[ ] I[ ] I[ ] C[ ]
Note: These are horses trained for combat and riot situations, and have better Brawling skill than a normal riding horse.
Police (equipped for riot work)
BODY , MIND , SOUL , Brawling , Melee weapons , Riding  (mounted police only)
Equipment: Shotgun or revolver, truncheon, handcuffs; mounted police carry long lead-loaded riot sticks, not truncheons.
Quote: "Get them!"
Winston Spencer Churchill (born 1874)
BODY , MIND , SOUL , Actor (oratory) , Artist (painter, writer) , Brawling , Business , Marksman , Melee Weapon , Military Arms , Riding , Scholar (history, military history, politics) 
Quote: "Let the place burn..."
Notes: Probably the greatest British politician of the twentieth century, at this point the 37-year-old Churchill has been through several wars as a soldier, covered the Boer war as a journalist, and is already Home Secretary, the government minister responsible for law and order. The statistics above reflect this stage of his career. Churchill isn't a particularly nice person; his ruthlessness and ambition are already strongly developed. Later, if he survives, he will be exactly the right person for the job of bringing Britain through the Second World War.
See FF5-AD05.GIF for illustrations of the troops, vehicles and vessels described in this adventure.
Charron Armoured Car BODY
Speed (off road)
28 MPH (45 KPH)
19 MPH (30 KPH)
Manufactured by Charron-Girardot et Voigts of France, this car was considerably ahead of its time. It was fully armoured (6 mm nickel/steel plates resistant to large-calibre bullets), and armed with a Hotchkiss machine gun (as Gatling) mounted on a 360 degree traverse turret. Wooden wheels were protected by steel plates; the tyres were stuffed with solid material and continued to work if punctured. It carried portable U-shaped tracks for crossing trenches and two headlights for night operations.
In our world the Royal Navy did run the first British armoured cars, but not until the Great War, when semi-armoured Rolls Royce Silver Shadows were used with desert forces. The Charron and earlier prototypes appear to have been in production well before the war; for the purposes of this adventure three were on trial in Britain when the insurrection began. The illustration may show a later model.
HMS Pathfinder (Light "scout" cruiser) BODY
10 x 12 lb guns (damage as howitzer shell)
8 x 3 lb cannon (damage as mortar shell)
Various machine guns (as Gatling), rifles, etc.
5 lifeboats (BODY 10)
2 motor launches (BODY 12)
Captain's gig (BODY 10)
Notes: HMS Pathfinder was built in 1904 by the Cammel Laird yards. All areas controlled by the anarchists are in range of her guns, and ammunition is effectively unlimited, but only the waterfront can be observed for accurate fire.
The statistics given are based on her capabilities at the start of the First World War, after a major refit, and may differ in detail from her true capabilities in 1911. In the real world she was the first British warship to be sunk by a German U-boat, on September 5th 1914, with the loss of most of her officers and crew. The illustration shows her at the start of the war.
City of Cardiff (Airship) BODY
20,000 cubic ft / 566 cubic metres
96 ft / 29.3 metres
19.3 ft / 5.9 metres
10.5 hours (longest recorded flight)
Notes: The Willows II, aka City of Cardiff, was the first of three very similar semi-rigid airships built by E.T. Willows of Cardiff, a balloon manufacturer, between 1910 and 1912 (the Willows I, built in 1905, was a much smaller craft). She was the first British airship to cross the Channel, and could carry a crew of 2 or 3 in an open framework under the main hull.
She was primarily an experimental craft and an advertisement for her makers, but could have been used for observation as described.
At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries several million political and religious refugees fled Russia for Europe. Many settled in Britain, often living in conditions of appalling crowding and poverty, which fanned the flames of left-wing and anarchist politics. Most of their labour was sweated, with minimal wages paid for many hours of work. A loosely-organised International Anarchist movement was one result, and it came to be centred on London. This led to the accumulation of huge quantities of illegally-imported weapons in Britain, some of which were used in a series of violent crimes.
23rd January 1909: The Tottenham Outrage
Paul Hefeld and Jacob Lepidus (or Lapidus), Latvian Bolshevik refugees, attempted to steal the payroll of a rubber factory in Tottenham, London. They killed two, including a child, and injured 21 others including seven policemen, in a six-mile chase which involved the hijacking of a tram. When they were cornered Lepidus committed suicide, Hefeld was shot by the police, dying of meningitis two weeks later. This incident led to a general climate of fear of all left-wing political organisations and anarchists.
16th December 1910: The Houndsditch Murders
Anarchists belonging to a group allegedly led by Peter Piatkow (alias Peter the Painter) attempted to burgle a jeweller's shop in Houndsditch, in the City of London. They were discovered by the police and a furious gun battle began, in which three policemen were killed. One of the gang, George Gardstein, was critically wounded and died the next day. Papers found on and around his body confirmed that he was an anarchist, also active in the Latvian Bolshevik movement. Several suspects were named or described by the police.
January 2nd-3rd 1911: The Siege of Sidney Street
On Monday January 2nd an informant told the police that some of the gang were staying at 100 Sidney Street in Stepney, a four-storey boarding house built in 1900 which was part of a row of terraced houses (to protect the informant, the discovery was later reported by The Times as the result of careful detective work, involving many plain-clothes officers disguised as boot-blacks, beggars, etc.). FF5-AD01.GIF is a map of the general area with nearby streets inset to a larger scale. The house was a strong brick building with limited access from the front and rear. FF5-AD02.GIF shows the layout of the ground floor; the upper floors would have been similar (Details of the adjoining doctor's surgery have been invented for the purposes of this adventure). Just after midnight on January 3rd twelve detectives led by Detective Inspector Frederick Wensley took up positions around the house, with 200 men forming a perimeter around the block. So began one of the strangest incidents in the history of British law enforcement.
By 3 a.m. the house was completely surrounded. FF5-AD02.GIF shows the eventual positions taken up by the police and army. Most of the police were armed, but their weapons were poor-quality small-calibre rifles and revolvers. Wensley and other officers persuaded the tenants of the lower rooms to evacuate quietly, and tricked one of the suspects, Betsy Gershon, into coming downstairs; she was arrested. Two men remained in her second floor (U.S. 3rd floor) room; Fritz Svaars and William Sokoloff (alias 'Joseph'). The police decided that there was no way to take them unawares via the stairs; anyone trying would undoubtedly be killed.
At 7 a.m. a brass band hired to publicise the opening of a new bakery started playing in nearby Jubilee Street; the police ask them to stop, but music continued for the next hour. It also started to snow. Meanwhile, at about 7.30 the police attempted to begin a dialogue with the anarchists, and tried to attract their attention by throwing stones at their window. They replied by firing half a dozen shots at the police, injuring one man, Detective Sergeant Leeson. It soon became obvious that they were armed with Mauser automatic pistols, greatly superior to the weapons available to the police. While evacuating D.S. Leeson, D.I. Wensley came under fire and was pinned down on a roof for nearly half an hour; a local doctor was grazed by a bullet, but wasn't seriously hurt.
At about 8.30 the police requested reinforcements, troops from the Tower of London. The Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, was telephoned at home and asked to approve the order; he immediately authorised the police to use whatever force was necessary, then proceeded to the Home Office, later deciding to go to Stepney and see the siege for himself.
At 10.00 twenty members of the Scots Guard, led by Lt. Ross, arrived. FF5-AD05.GIF shows some of the guards in the street. Three took up positions in a brewery on Richardson Street, overlooking the house, and began rapid rifle fire into the flat. The anarchists moved downstairs, where they come under fire from more soldiers who were now in the houses across the road. Between 11.00 and noon sixty police armed with revolvers arrived, and a local gunsmith provided shotguns and ammunition. Large crowds of spectators were repeatedly moved back out of range of stray bullets, but at least two people were grazed and more had narrow escapes. At one point a postman insisted on delivering mail to most of the houses in the street, omitting only no. 100 and the doctor's surgery next door.
At noon Churchill arrived, and started to watch from the doorway of a nearby warehouse on the corner of Lindley Street and Sidney Street. He was jeered at by some members of the crowd, who blamed these events on the Liberal government's unrestricted immigration policy. Various plans for breaking in were discussed; at his suggestion the police tried to locate sheets of steel plate, to be used as mobile shields for assaults via the stairs or roof, and telephoned to the Army barracks at St. John's Wood, requesting artillery support.
At about 1 p.m. a fire started on the second floor; firing continued from both sides. By 1.30 the roof was also ablaze, and neighbouring houses are evacuated. Churchill ordered the Fire Brigade to stay out and let the building burn. Eventually the upper floors collapsed; the police and soldiers continued to fire until it was clear that there were no survivors. The artillery unit arrived on the scene shortly after the fire brigade moved in. Firemen set to work to extinguish the blaze and recover the bodies of the anarchists. A little later five firemen were caught by the collapse of a falling wall; one was killed. Fortunately there were fireproof partition walls between the houses on this block, and the blaze did not spread further. At about 8 p.m. the second body was found.
In the aftermath of the siege several more members of the gang were arrested and brought to trial; eventually two, Yourka Duboff and Jacob Peters, were charged with the Houndsditch murders, but acquitted on the Judge's instructions since there was insufficient evidence. Ultimately nobody was convicted of any offence related to the incident. Piatkow was never located or arrested; later evidence suggested that he had little to do with these crimes. Jacob Peters subsequently returned to Russia; in the wake of the Revolution he became an important Communist Party official, and was responsible for thousands of deaths in the Stalinist purges of the 1920s and 30s, but was himself eventually arrested and sent to Siberia, where he died.
Some unanswered questions remain; for example, it is unclear why it was possible to trick Betsy Gershon into leaving the room, but impossible to use this opportunity to get into the flat and capture the anarchists before they were ready to fight back. It has been suggested that the police were either over-cautious or deliberately let the situation escalate to ensure that the anarchists would be killed, as revenge for the deaths of the police they had murdered.
Although there is little evidence of strong popular support for the anarchists in Britain, if Churchill had been hit by a stray bullet things might have gone very differently...
The Houndsditch Murders and the Siege of Sidney Street by Donald Rumbelow (1973, revised 1978)
The Times (January 4th 1911)
Everyman's Encyclopaedia (1948)
The Four Just Men by Edgar Wallace (1901) is a crime novel whose background was based on the refugee problem that eventually led to the siege of Sidney Street.
This section provides a brief scenario and unit details for the game "Riot", written by Matthew Hartley and published by Irregular Miniatures, 69a Acomb Road, Holgate, York, YO2 4EP. It is published with the permission of the author.
The Outbreak scenario described here covers the events in the immediate vicinity of Sidney Street from 12.35 on Wednesday 3rd until about 16.00 the same day. It is a solo play scenario with the player controlling the police and the soldiers, and the game mechanics controlling the Anarchists.
The game area is a square 60cm by 60cm (assuming 1/300 scale figures). The road layout should be set out as shown in FF5-AD01.GIF of Sidney Street and surrounding area. All roads shown should be 25mm wide except Mile End which is 50mm wide.
The Security Forces
The Security forces have the following resources:
At least two bases of Police and one of Guards must begin the game in Sidney street with one base in contact with the Lyncher mob. The other bases may be placed anywhere else in the game area but not next to a mob. The Artillery arrive travelling west along the Mile End road after four turns.
The Security forces have 10 turns to defeat the mob of Lynchers.
Police Brutality may not be used.
The Anarchists have the following resources:
The Mob of Lynchers are the Anarchists proper. They must begin play in Sidney Street with at least one base in contact with a security force base. The mob's target is the security forces.
The Mobs of Looters are small groups of opportunists making the best out of the situation. These four mobs should be placed randomly around the area.
Riot Unit Classifications For Further Games
Reproducing the entire Siege of Sidney Street scenario using Riot is rather beyond the scope of the game. However players may wish to experiment reproducing various scenes from the scenario. The Outbreak scenario described above covers the events in the immediate vicinity of Sidney Street from 12.35 on Wednesday 3rd until about 16.00 the same day. However, the various attempts to force barricades, the Marine actions and the final fighting are all suitable for wargaming.
In Riot terms, the forces are categorised as follows:
|Unit||Classification in Riot terms|
|Police on Wed. 3rd.||Non Missile-armed infantry (although the police had firearms, they were of poor quality and the police seemed unwilling to make full use of them).|
|Soldiers / Marines||Missile-armed Infantry|
|Police after Wed. 3rd.||Missile-armed Infantry|
|Field Guns (army)||Artillery|
|HMS Pathfinder||Moves (on water only!) as a Transport unit. Fires as an Artillery unit.|
|Airship "City of Cardiff"||No effect. Since it was used for spotting duties only it is not counted as a viable base for the game. The crew of a crashed airship count as Non Missile-armed Infantry.|
|Field Gun (Anarchist)||Lyncher base with a barricade and a target of the barricade. This reflects the inability of the gun crews to inflict any serious damage on their targets.|
Police Brutality may be used only on days after the 3rd Jan.
New Rule - Barricades
Barricades can only be manned by Lyncher bases. Each barricade covers the entire width of a street. Lynchers manning a barricade must have the barricade as their target (thus preventing them leaving it except as the result of combat). Lynchers defending a barricade gain a +2 modifier in combat.
Security forces (or newsteams) may not move through a barricade, unless as a combat result. This movement will not remove the barricade. Security forces may remove barricades at a cost of 1 Action Point for each 25mm section removed (at 1/300 scale)
A series of mysterious incidents and a crackpot theory attract the attention of the adventurers, and lead to a desperate struggle to save London and all that the Nation holds dear. Again...
A setting in 1910-11 is assumed, so that this adventure can be run after The Blood-Dimmed Tide. Any year is suitable provided that you can obtain an astronomical calendar, as in 2.3 below.
If you are running adventures 1 and 2 with the same characters, use the introduction and opening scenes that follow to get the characters to visit the coast, then run adventure 1 before running the remainder of this adventure. Careful pacing is needed to ensure that characters return to London as planned.
Since by its nature this adventure is somewhat episodic, it is possible to run other adventures between episodes, with the events described here going on as unfinished business, more or less in the background until they become urgent.
04_THMS.GIF, 05_THMS.GIF, FF5-AD06.GIF, FF5-AD07.GIF and FF5-AD09.GIF are maps and plans that may be useful; FF5-AD08.GIF shows the nature of the catastrophe. The maps and plans from Adventure 1 may also be useful.
Choose an adventurer with an upper middle-class or lower upper-class British background and read the following:
"It isn't often that you think about your relatives; somehow they only seem to come to your attention when they're in trouble, dead, or both. But it's the festive season, your uncle Geoffrey's sixtieth birthday is on January 2nd, and he's invited you for a long weekend. You've heard a fairly reliable rumour that he's to be knighted in the New Years Honours list. Better toddle along to Margate; you like him and your aunt anyway, the mansion is comfortable, and he has an excellent cook and a marvellous wine cellar. You might even be able to wangle invitations for a few friends..."
No one would have believed, in the last years of the reign of King Edward VII, that England was being watched from afar by eyes alien and inimical, but lacking any normal intelligence...London is about to be attacked by an extremely unlikely monster; a giant lobster which is invulnerable to most normal weapons. The adventurers must piece together the clues to work out what it is, and how to destroy it before it is too late.
[H.G.Wells - The Ruins of London - 1912]
The chain of events which leads to the attack is somewhat bizarre; referees are advised to read this section carefully before running the adventure.
In August 1908 the Channel ferry Empire Star, en route from Boulogne to Dover, was delayed several hours by a breakdown. One of the passengers, later identified by passport as a Herr Johann Schmitz of Bavaria, became increasingly disturbed as night fell, and ran amok on the passenger deck shortly after moonrise. Although he was unarmed he somehow injured several seamen, and bit the throat out of a luckless passenger.
Fortunately one of the first class passengers was a diplomatic courier armed with a revolver, and used his gun and a knife from the buffet to drive the maniac back to the rail, where he jumped into the sea to avoid capture. Schmitz was never seen again, and it is assumed that he drowned. His passport was later found to be a forgery. Gradually the mystery was forgotten.
Schmitz was a werewolf, and vulnerable to silver. The passengers were lucky; the knife had a silver handle, and Schmitz was unable to approach it. If the courier relied on the gun alone, Schmitz would have torn his throat out.
Schmitz sank quickly, weighted down by gold coins in his money belt, and lacked the human wit to remove it. He drowned when the moon set, and his body eventually rested on the sea floor, where it was consumed by dogfish, crabs, and other scavengers. All of them were exposed to lycanthropy. While most were unaffected, one lobster somehow contracted the disease and is now a devastatingly powerful monster at the full moon; for the rest of the month it is an apparently normal lobster.
Lycanthropy is a disease of the body and mind; the mind influences the body, and turns it into whatever the victim fears most. For human victims this is usually some form of ravening beast, a wolf-man, bear-man, or something of the sort. Lobsters have no imagination, and are generally the most powerful creatures in their ecological niche; they fear larger lobsters more than any other foe. At the full moon the creature simply became a larger lobster, at first only a little bigger than the norm, but as the months passed it grew to gigantic proportions.
If a rationale is needed for this, readers are referred to the "scientific" background for Forgotten Futures IV. Lycanthropes gain their powers and draw their extra body mass from the strange phenomenon Carnacki and other scholars describe as "the Aeiirii form of semi-materialisation". This is best described as an energy field which mimics solid matter, powered by the rotation of the Earth in the magnetosphere. In cases of lycanthropy the motion of the moon through the magnetosphere also lends power.
Lycanthropes are vulnerable to silver, but are otherwise almost immune from harm at the full moon, since their extraordinary metabolism rapidly repairs injuries. If you are using the FF4 background they are also blocked by pentacles (especially the Carnacki electrical model) and powerful electrical interference.
At other times of the month the lobster is unusually tough, and can survive conditions (such as fresh water) that would kill a normal lobster, but is not invulnerable. In its giant form its supercharged metabolism sustains it, and stops its exoskeleton from collapsing under the weight of hundreds of tons of flesh. It repairs damage almost instantly. Unfortunately it needs vast quantities of food to sustain this peak, which is why it will attack ships, whales, and (eventually) London. Once the moon sets the lobster rapidly shrinks to its normal size.
As the adventure begins it is large enough to destroy small ships or devastate part of a city, transforms to its gigantic form for a few hours on two or three nights a month around the full moon, and is moving up the Thames estuary towards London. The timetable below shows incidents which the adventurers can learn about or see for themselves; events in 1911 are described in detail in later sections, and in the timetable below are continued for some time after it is hoped that adventurers will deal with the matter.
You are strongly advised to watch a few monster movies (especially Them, The Quatermass Experiment, and The Beast from 2000 Fathoms) and the earlier parts of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea to get the correct mood; begin with an atmosphere of mystery, gradually turning to fear, and avoid any temptation to play the adventure for laughs. A giant monster with claws longer than an omnibus should be frightening, regardless of its nature, and will be if presented seriously. If adventurers make guesses which come close to the truth do nothing to confirm them; in play-testing players jokingly suggested that they were dealing with a were-lobster early in the scenario, and were greatly surprised when they eventually learned that it was true. Above all else, referees should NEVER refer to this creature by any silly name; for example, Lobzilla is RIGHT OUT!
Some details of various locations have been invented for this adventure, if I wasn't able to obtain real details; for example, Southend Pier is real but didn't necessarily have precisely the shops etc. shown in this adventure in 1911.
All dates are on the night of the full moon unless marked [*] to show the night before or [**] for the night after. The British sinkings to December 1910 are shown on FF5-AD06.GIF; the full story is shown on FF5-AD07.GIF.
Tue Aug 11
Mon May 23
Tue Jun 21
Thu Jly 21
Fri Aug 19
Sun Sep 18
Mon Sep 19
Tue Oct 18
Wed Nov 15
Thu Nov 16
Fri Dec 16
Sat Dec 17
Thu Jan 13
Sat Jan 15
Sat Feb 12
Sun Feb 13
Mon Feb 14
Mon Mar 14
Tue Apr 12
Wed Apr 13
Thu Apr 14
Sat May 11
Sun May 12
Mon May 13
Fri Jun 10
Sat Jun 11
Sun Jun 12
Sat Jly 9
Sun Jly 10
Mon Jly 11
Maniac runs amok aboard ferry "Empire Star"
Yawl "Juvenal" (French) sunk
Fishing smack "Jolie Annette" (French) sunk
Fishing smack "Anne-Marie" (French) sunk
Yacht "Rene Descartes" (French) sunk
Brig "Matilda" (British) sunk
Brig "Katharine III" (British) sunk **
Steam trawler "Eleanor Rose" (British) sunk
Coaster "Camelot" (British) sunk *
Collier "Eliza Martin" (British) sunk
Tanker "Oriental Star" (British) sunk *
Whale attacked (corpse drifts ashore Dec 30) **
Tug "Sea Challenger" (British) sunk in estuary *
Yacht "Beatrice" (British) sunk in estuary. **
Steamer "Brentford" (British) sunk off Southend *
Southend Pier destroyed - "submarine" glimpsed
Cottages on Canvey Island destroyed **
Barges in Northfleet harbour destroyed
Attack on Millwall Docks - monster seen *
Attack on Royal Naval Academy at Greenwich
Attack on Stepney, Royal Mint & Tower of London **
House of Lords destroyed *
Westminster Abbey destroyed
St. Thomas' hospital destroyed **
Hammersmith Bridge damaged *
Battersea Power Station attacked
Barges and steamers destroyed **
London Bridge destroyed *
Waterloo Station destroyed
Scotland Yard destroyed **
Uncle Geoffrey's birthday is on Tuesday January 2nd; those attending the party are invited to stay from Friday to Wednesday morning. This ties in well with the adventurers' other commitments.
Geoffrey (his surname is the same as the adventurer initially invited) is a well-preserved sixty, and is moderately rich; his company publishes magazines, books, and local newspapers for several towns along the South-East coast, with printing works in Margate, Hastings, and Ipswich. He is about to be knighted for services to the Liberal party and charity. His house is a large rambling Georgian mansion, with plenty of room for his family and friends, their servants, etc. Despite poor weather the weekend is pleasant, and as expected the food and drink are excellent.
Adventurers who feel compelled to start some sort of intrigue here should be discouraged; for example, the adventurer initially invited isn't in line to inherit much, since Geoffrey has a wife, children, and grandchildren and is on good terms with all of them. Plans to murder everyone else in line to inherit will founder on the fact that the residue of Geoffrey's will leaves small amounts to his nieces and nephews and the rest to charity. In any case he's an affable and harmless old gentleman, liked by everyone who knows him, including the character initially invited. If more details are needed, the others at the house include:
As already mentioned, this should be a quiet weekend without any problems, but if someone insists on starting trouble don't be afraid to follow through with whatever reaction seems appropriate. Margate has a small police force, but Scotland Yard can be called on for help if needed; a country house murder will not go undetected or unpunished. Anyone looking for trouble that isn't there should find some, though probably not what they expect; for example, all of the housemaids are engaged or married, their menfolk will not take kindly to sexual harassment. Geoffrey wants a happy birthday celebration, and anyone who causes problems will be asked to leave; if necessary Russell and Atkins (a former boxer) will help with the eviction.
Nothing significant happens until Sunday, December 31st, when the weather improves. The children come back from a walk saying that there's a dead whale on the beach. After lunch most of the adults go to see for themselves.
Currently Margate beach is in poor shape; the sand is mottled with oily muck. Don't comment on this directly, someone should slip on the oil.
The corpse is a beaked whale, about 25 ft long. It has obviously been decomposing for some time; it is bloated and smells foul, and hundreds of seagulls vie for a chance to snatch a tasty morsel. The cause of death seems obvious; there are deep gashes in its flesh, and broken ribs protrude from the blubber. Uncle Geoffrey guesses that it was run over by a ship and gashed by the propellers. He is mistaken; it was attacked by the lobster during its last metamorphosis in December. There is no way to determine this from the wounds.
If psychic characters are allowed, a Difficulty 6 roll will result in a feeling that the whale was attacked from below, not run over by a ship. There is an impression of intense pain then dark oblivion. Any attempt to summon the whale's soul at a seance should fail. Spirit guides etc. should have no idea what happened to the whale or the vessels mentioned below; their attention was elsewhere, and if the adventurers try to extract more information some ineffable but apparently VERY powerful spiritual presence will strongly "suggest" that they must _earn_ supernatural help by their deeds; the current situation is a test, to be solved unaided by the Other Side. See earlier collections, especially FF3, for other suggestions on making supernatural help less useful than might be expected.
A photographer from the Margate, Ramsgate and Whitstable Courier (owned by Geoffrey) is on the scene, and the corpse is being measured by council officials who are trying to work out how to dispose of it. Things are complicated by the fact that beached whales (including dead ones) are Crown property, which mean that the local Coroner or the Lord Lieutenant, both of whom are away on holiday, should deal with the matter. None of those present are familiar with the law, or entirely sure what to do. A small crowd of onlookers make (un)helpful suggestions. Amongst them is an elderly bearded man who is passing out printed handbills. They read:
Can anyone doubt that these lights are produced by the airships or submarines of some nation hostile to Britain, which seeks to disrupt our channel trade? Airships with the capabilities of the prototypes manufactured by Zeppelin, for example, could lower powerful grapnels to destroy coastal vessels, but it seems more likely that a submarine of the type currently under development by several nations (including France and Germany) is ramming them. The crews of their victims would be killed or imprisoned to prevent identification of the attacker. The light of the full moon would help to identify suitable targets, with a searchlight used for greater accuracy in the final attack.
To prevent further losses it is imperative that the coastal patrol must be strengthened, and that funds should be made available for the development of aerial mines, underwater searchlights, and other defences against these new weapons.
I have taken the unusual step of printing this pamphlet because the press will not take this matter seriously, and because I feel it merits wider attention. If you agree please write to your Member of Parliament, to the Navy, and to the press.
Adventurers who talk to Ffoulkes will discover that he seems to be somewhat obsessive on this matter, and convinced that either the French ("Bloody Frogs") or the Germans ("Fiendish Huns") are responsible, although he doesn't completely rule out other nationalities. He won't talk to foreigners, of course. He has ample documentation of the sinkings (those he's aware of) in his cottage, and if adventurers show an interest he will invite them round for afternoon tea. He has a map showing the positions of these wrecks (ff5-ad06.gif), and newspaper clippings for each sinking. There are various interesting points of similarity in the reports; all occurred on the night of the full moon, or one night earlier or later. All happened in clear weather. There were no survivors, and no bodies were found; just fragments of drifting wood, lifebelts, and other buoyant materials. There were no signs of explosions or fire. Two of the reports say that the crew of nearby ships heard mechanical noises (actually the claws of the lobster ripping into the hull) and saw dim lights in the direction of the wreck (actually the lights were used by the crews of the ships, trying to see what was attacking them underwater). As should be obvious from the map, the distance between the sinkings has gradually increased; less obviously, the size of the ships sunk has increased each month. Ffoulkes can't explain these points, except to speculate that an attacker based somewhere West of the Strait of Dover might gradually be increasing its range and destructive capabilities in successive months. France has harbours and naval bases in that direction, of course.
Ffoulkes is convinced that a submarine or airship is responsible; he thinks a submarine is most likely, because the last ship was big and only two miles from shore when sunk. An airship would probably have been seen. Since the sinkings occurred around the time of the full moon they have happened on nights when there has been an unusually high tide; this might have helped to conceal a submarine. Nothing has happened around the new moon, when tides are even higher, but he won't let that spoil a good theory; "obviously" the attackers need the moonlight to find their targets.
Although Ffoulkes is an obvious crackpot, contact with him should leave the adventurers alert to the possibility of problems at sea around the next full moon. There shouldn't appear to be any great urgency; it's still two weeks away. Since most businesses and libraries will be shut down until Tuesday or Wednesday, when the adventurers plan to return to London, it should seem a good idea wait and check into the incidents using the resources of Lloyd's Register of Shipping and the national press. Uncle Geoffrey could make enquiries, of course, but he's already published most of the stories the adventurers have seen, and there simply isn't much more in the files of the newspapers he owns. If the adventurers request his help he'll send notes to the editors of these papers, and they will eventually get back to the adventurers with the results described in 2.5 below.
Uncle Geoffrey is knighted on New Years Day; the telegram arrives just before lunch, and is the signal for general rejoicing. Dozens of visitors come to the mansion to offer their congratulations; there is a party in the evening, and a long luncheon party stretching into the evening to mark his birthday on Tuesday.
If the adventurers try to get information from the local paper in Margate on Monday or Wednesday they'll find the office open, and the staff busy preparing the Thursday edition of the paper. Naturally the lead story is the Honours list in general and uncle Geoffrey's knighthood in particular. If asked to help they are reasonably obliging. They can confirm Ffoulke's list of sinkings, but don't really have anything to add to it; none of the ships concerned were based locally, and the details came from press agencies, other newspapers along the coast, and the national papers. They are prepared to request more information, if the adventurers are willing to pay agency fees (several guineas per enquiry). Enquiries take several hours, even by telegraph. See 2.5 below for the information that might be obtained.
If you are running Adventure 1 and this scenario together, the adventurers must now return to London to deal with business of one sort or another. They may also wish to return to London to continue enquiries into the sinkings, of course. Unfortunately the return journey will be interrupted, and the next few days will probably drive all thoughts of Margate from their minds. If this occurs it's reasonable to have uncle Geoffrey remind them of the situation, by sending a message about the French sinkings described below.
If you are not running adventure 1 at this point the adventurers will probably carry on with enquiries around Margate and along the coast, or return to London to pursue the matter there. In either event the results will eventually be much the same.
Adventurers may want to pursue several obvious lines of enquiry, summed up below as question and answer with appropriate sources. This information can be found at any time.
Source: Meteorological office (London), British or French government, Trinity House.
Dover Coroner's Court today heard statements describing the deaths of Brian Davis, 22, a Dover seaman, and Johann Schmitz of Bavaria.
Captain Angus Tompkins (45) stated that at 5.34 PM on August 11th, while midway between Calais and Dover, the ferry Empire Star suffered a mechanical failure which jammed the rudder and left her unable to steer a straight course. On the advice of the Chief Engineer, and in view of the clear weather and the fact that it was to be a moonlit evening, he decided to hoist warning lights, anchor, and await repairs before proceeding to Dover. In the event repairs proved difficult, and continued into the evening.
At 8.45 PM a seaman reported a disturbance in the first class passenger lounge; Captain Tompkins went down to investigate and saw "A maniac struggling with several stewards and passengers. He seemed to be immensely strong. One steward, who I later learned was Davis, was on the deck and appeared to be badly injured."
He continued "As I entered the saloon one of the passengers drew a revolver and fired two shots in the air. I recognised him as Lieutenant Barton, a diplomatic courier from the British Embassy in Paris, who is a regular passenger. The maniac turned and leapt at Barton, who fired two more shots at him, but only seemed to wound him. Barton fell back against the buffet and grabbed a knife. For some reason the maniac seemed to be more frightened of it than of the gun, and Barton drove him back out of the galley and towards the rail, while everyone else got out of the way. We thought that the madman would surrender, but he just climbed the rail and dived over the side. That was the last we saw of him, although we lowered a lifeboat to look for him. When I went back into the saloon Davis was dead. His throat was torn open, and there was nothing we could have done to save him."
|Lieutenant Barton confirmed this account, adding that he was sure that he had hit the madman with both shots, and would have expected either to stop him. He was armed with a .32 service revolver, required for his duties as courier.|
Doctor Carson gave evidence that Davis had bled to death; since the arteries of his throat were severed he could not have been saved. From the volume of blood on the deck near the railing it was virtually certain that his assailant was also mortally wounded, and undoubtedly died within minutes of entering the sea.
Detective Sergeant Ransom of the Dover police reported that the madman was travelling under the name of Herr Johann Schmitz of Bavaria. His passport, which remained aboard the ship with his luggage, identified him as an industrial chemist. However, all attempts to trace Schmitz's movement before he boarded the ferry had failed, and the Bavarian police had no record of the address, or of the passport itself. It was likely that it was forged. There were no other papers. A search of his baggage discovered a German Walther 9mm automatic pistol, an unmarked leather bag containing 250 gold Napoleons (worth approximately fifteen shillings apiece), and four phials of a chemical which was analysed as an aconite derivative. Doctor Carson was recalled to the stand and gave evidence that similar chemicals were sometimes prescribed as a calmative for heart and respiratory conditions, but were unlikely to have any effect on mania.
The Coroner recorded a verdict of Murder in the case of Davis, and Lawful Killing in the case of Schmitz, adding that Lieutenant Barton had attempted to warn Schmitz, and had only fired on him in self-defence. He congratulated Lieutenant Barton on averting more deaths. He directed that efforts should be made to find Schmitz's body, and to establish his real identity and trace his movements prior to boarding the ferry. The court adjourned at 4.30 PM.
If the adventurers trace Barton, currently assigned to duties at Sandhurst, they'll learn that he still has the knife; he kept it as a souvenir of the incident. It's a silver fruit knife with a 4" blade, and completely unremarkable. If he's asked searching questions about Schmitz's condition he'll eventually remember that his teeth seemed to be abnormally long, and his hands and face hairy - "but of course the poor chap could have simply been ugly, I never saw him before the attack." The passport photograph shows him clean-shaven with a normal jaw, but it has genuine stamps going back two years before the attack.
Aconite is better known as wolfsbane; it's a calmative, which slows down heartbeat and respiration without depressing the brain. Wolfsbane is traditionally associated with werewolves, although there is no evidence of any real connection between the drug and lycanthropy. In fact Schmitz used it because he believed it delayed the transformation, but the drug doesn't actually work.
The knife and wolfsbane, and the coincidence of the full moon, should seem suggestive if the adventurers suspect lycanthropy, but are hardly conclusive evidence of anything.
Scientists and engineers may want to think about building submarines, or submarine detectors, to track down the mysterious attacker, or special weapons to destroy it. This isn't something that can be done overnight; see scientific projects, Rules section 1.3.3, and use the following Difficulties:
Depth charge: Radius 5 ft, Effect 15, A:I, B:C, C:K
Underwater Mine: Radius 5 ft, Effect 25, A:I, B:C, C:K
In other words, adventurers are welcome to try to build their own equipment, but there is little or no chance of success in the time-span of this adventure. Existing military equipment is available if adventurers have the right connections. Any other equipment the players suggest can be developed using these rules, but the referee should consider scientific plausibility (as understood in 1911) and the long-term effects on a campaign and its history. For example, developing SONAR or depth charges at this stage would have a huge effect on subsequent military history, as would anti-submarine airships etc.
One possibility should be mentioned; two of the FF3 adventures assumed a Secret Service background, and are set at roughly the same time as this scenario. If the same characters are used they presumably still have access to Secret Service records and resources. In the real world these were negligible prior to the Great War; Britain's intelligence agencies barely existed, although they had somehow acquired a formidable reputation based on fiction and the "fact" that their (largely non-existent) operations and agents were superbly "concealed". Ignore this minor detail; since these characters will have worked for the Secret Service in at least one highly melodramatic adventure, the activities of the organisation should be part of the background, and appropriately melodramatic. There will be 1911 equivalents of Q and M, an armoury of concealed weapons, a massive filing system with dossiers on everyone who is anyone in Europe, and so forth. Naturally this organisation will be appropriately concerned about the missing ships, but it does have other fish to fry in the Balkans, Russia, India, etc. Once adventurers bring the matter to higher authorities they will be told to carry on dealing with it, and report back if they need any help. Help will be limited to hand weapons, information, etc., and only the latter will be much use when things get tough. Despite any reputation the adventurers may have, any suggestion of monsters or lycanthropy will be regarded as a bad joke at best, insanity at worst. Once the monster attacks the outskirts of London attitudes may change, but this won't happen for months.
Research apart, there isn't much to be done before the full moon. At this stage the mystery isn't attracting any official attention; if anything, Ffoulkes' activities have alienated the establishment and made the government less inclined to look into it. Adventurers have reason to suspect that another ship will be sunk somewhere in or near the Thames estuary; they may have unravelled the lycanthropy clue, but if not it really doesn't make much difference at this stage.
Wreckage from both ships drifts ashore over the next few days, but no bodies are found, and the locations where they were sunk aren't initially known. The steel hull of the Sea Challenger is eventually traced by bubbles of leaking oil and found by divers SE of Foulness Island (the name Foulness is Scandinavian, and translates as Stormy Point); there is a huge gash below the waterline, about three feet wide by fifteen long, and the funnel has been crushed by some immense force. If adventurers are already hard at work, leave it to them to organise the search for the hull, otherwise the Navy finds it.
If the adventurers are trying to trap a large submarine or sea monster at this stage they're out of luck; after each attack the lobster reverted to its normal size and is following a rich trail of mud, muck and sewage into the mouth of the Thames, towards Southend and Canvey Island. It somehow avoids lobster pots, fishing nets, and other obstacles, and is far too small and quiet to register on any detector or trap the adventurers may have invented.
The weather in the run-up to the full moon is cloudy, with heavy rain on the night of Sunday February 12th, when the steamer "Brentford", bound from London to Hastings carrying a cargo of tinned corned beef, vanishes more or less where Ffoulkes predicted, in the deep-water channel between Southend and Sheppey. For once all the crewmen survive, their lifeboats reaching Southend in the early hours of the morning; they all tell exactly the same story:
"We were just passing North of Sheerness, at eleven forty-five PM, when the whole ship shook and I heard something tear through the hold. I rushed out on deck to see what it was, and there was a huge cigar-shaped metal thing ripping into the side of the ship, about fifty foot long and ten wide with a sharp point at the front. It pulled out and rammed us again, and the ship started to sink, so the captain told us to run out the lifeboats and get clear before she went down. It was all over in about five minutes".
Use the same words, and as close as possible the same delivery, for each person telling the story; the Captain's account differs only at the end of the penultimate sentence, which is "so I told the crew to run out...". They tell this story to the press, the Navy, and anyone else who listens.
In fact this is a case of insurance fraud; the Brentford was barely seaworthy and needed major repairs which her owners couldn't afford. When they saw the stories about Ffoulke's theory they bribed the crew to put in to Northfleet, unload the cargo and all portable equipment, then sail on to Sheerness, scuttle her, and claim that they were attacked. Clues include the sailors' identical stories (with details that have obviously been rehearsed, such as the precise time the ship was rammed; some of the seamen don't have watches), and the fact that her insured value was raised a week ago. When she is found a few days later divers will learn she has an intact hull and open scuttles. Nobody ever said that fraudsters have to be bright... However, it will take some time to crack the deception, and meanwhile more reporters and excited sightseers converge on Southend as the news spreads. Ffoulkes hastily recalculates his figures to take account of the incident, "proving" that the there will be another attack even nearer to Southend the next night. Amazingly, and for entirely the wrong reasons, he will be correct.
Next night (the 13th) is unseasonably mild, and the seafront and pleasure pier (FF5-AD09.GIF) at Southend are busy with onlookers. Establish what adventurers are doing, if they are in Southend. There are various band stands, public buildings, and hotels along the promenade, all with a good view of the sea, and telescopes at intervals on the promenade railings. But several hundred people are on the pier, which offers the best vantage point. The penny-in-the-slot telescopes along the sea front and pier are doing a brisk trade, while searchlights on the sea-front and pier sweep across the sea. Everyone seems to be expecting something to happen, but nobody seriously thinks that a submarine will attack vessels in the full glare of these lights; things like that simply don't happen in Britain. Normally the pier is closed at this time of year, but with so many unexpected visitors Southend Borough Council has opened it and is doing a roaring trade in admissions, food, and sweets. Many of the sightseers are from the wealthier stata of society, those most able to find time to sight-see, leavened with members of the working classes from the immediate area.
The adventurers may have their own ideas about the wisdom of congregating so many people near water under these circumstances, especially if players are familiar with films such as Orca, Jaws, etc.; unfortunately the town fathers of Southend want to maximise their profits, and it's obvious that the best way to do so is to keep the pier open. If adventurers try to do something about it they should run into problems; attempts to contact the mayor and other officials will be rebuffed, the police will move along anyone who tries to block access to the pier or sea-front, and so forth.
As the tide rises in the evening the pier is a glittering jewel reflected in the sea. Searchlights at the pier head sweep out to sea, following the steady procession of ships that move across the horizon. The night is initially cloudy but gradually clears, bathing the pier and town in pure white moonlight, before clouding over again. The water is slate-grey and opaque, clouded by the rich sediments of the Thames.
The pier is the longest in the world, at a mile and a half, approximately 20 ft wide, with a narrow-gauge electric railway along the left side (looking out to sea), supported on hundreds of cast iron pillars and beams. It is garishly illuminated with hundreds of coloured bulbs. At intervals there are seats, glass-walled shelters, vending machines selling sweets, and telescopes. It ends with a diagonal landing stage holding shops, cafes, a pub, a lifeboat station, an amusement arcade, the terminus for the railway, and moorings for several boats. Two paddle steamers are moored there, the Whitstable Belle and the Pride of Herne Bay. The Pride of Herne Bay has been taken out of service for the winter; her boiler is cold, and it would take at least 20 minutes to raise steam pressure. She is also padlocked to her moorings. The Whitstable Belle is the ferry to Margate, Whitstable and Herne Bay, leaving at seven and ten PM, and has a crew of five aboard. She can hold sixty passengers.
At approximately 9.45 PM the monster strikes the pier about 100 yards from the seaward landing stage. It walks along the sea floor until it is stopped by the pier supports, then tries to break through the barrier. Supporting columns snap like twigs, and the whole pier shudders. For a moment the top of the creature protrudes from the water, seemingly a rounded armour-plated "hull" consisting of wide overlapping plates, then submerges again. Witnesses will think that they have seen the metal hull of some form of submarine. The shaking continues, then about 50 ft of the pier collapses into the water, as the remaining supports give way under the extra load. Several sightseers go down with it. Assume that no adventurers are standing on this section.
As it hits the water the pier's electric railway and lights short-circuit, taking out the supply to the rest of the pier, several hundred yards of sea-front lights, four hotels, and dozens of houses. In the darkness the victims are pulled under by the monster; it realises that it has found food, and starts to demolish more of the pier, continuing towards the jetty, which has approximately 250 people on it. There is a certain amount of panic.
If any of the adventurers are on this section they have twenty rounds to do something before it collapses. Unfortunately the Whitstable Belle can hold 75 people at most, and will list and sink if seriously overloaded. The Pride of Herne Bay could hold another eighty, but can't move under her own power. Everyone on the pier wants to get aboard the Belle. The referee should note any heroic or cowardly actions that occur.
Suitably heroic actions might include fending off panicking crowds and making sure that women and children get aboard first, breaking the Pride's locks and passing a tow rope to the Belle, which will let both ships get clear with 155 passengers, or forcing the lifeboat station doors and launching the boat, which holds another twenty fully loaded. The warning beacon is on a separate pylon, and adventurers may guess, correctly, that it won't collapse if the pier goes down; ten people could climb into the supporting structure. There isn't time to build a raft; all the wooden parts of the pier are bolted firmly in place. Any attempt to fight this attack under these conditions is futile; the adventurers are unlikely to have suitable weapons and can't see what is destroying the pier. Anyone who states that he or she is going down with the pier, to leave more room for women and children aboard the boats, is also acting heroically! If the adventurers are on a boat out at sea they will see the lights go off and can come to the rescue. They shouldn't reach the pier before it collapses, but might rescue victims from the water.
Cowardly actions might include trying to force a way aboard the Belle and persuade the captain to cast off before she is fully loaded, trampling the elderly and infirm under foot, disguising oneself as a woman to get aboard, and all the other ploys used in disaster movies. If the adventurers are on a boat out at sea they might steer away from the pier, not towards it.
All boats must be clear of the pier at least one round before it starts to collapse, or they will be sunk by falling debris. If they stay in the deep water around the pier once the last swimmers go down they will be attacked; the paddle steamers have BODY 40, the lifeboat BODY 20. Boats heading East out to sea or across the estuary towards Sheppey will be safe, apart from normal nautical hazards; steamers heading towards Southend will eventually run aground on the mud flats, but are otherwise in no danger, and the lifeboat can reach the shore without running aground. Boats heading West may be attacked once the monster has finished with the jetty.
Eventually the jetty collapses; the West half first (with the East taking on a pronounced list), then the East two rounds later, and finally the lifeboat station. The warning beacon doesn't collapse. Anyone who is still aboard the pier at this point ends up in the water, with some floating debris and a hundred or so other people. In the darkness it's easy to get lost and swim out to sea. Swimming ashore from here is Difficulty 6, Difficulty 8 if the swimmer is trying to life-save someone or encumbered in any way. Subtract 2 from Difficulty if the adventurer has been behaving heroically. Swimming to the nearest surviving part of the pier is Difficulty 4 (or 6 if towing someone), and it's then possible to climb into the structure and wait for rescue. Any failure means that the rules for drowning should be used each round until a successful roll is made. Any failure on a 12, or any failure by a character who has been acting in a cowardly manner, means that the swimmer has been pulled under by the monster, and is dead. Don't bother to roll any dice, and DON'T explain what happened; just tell the player to prepare a new character. Some identifiable portion of the body eventually drifts ashore.
As the remaining screams gradually die away the sky starts to clear again, the moonlight eventually revealing a tangle of twisted girders and timbers, drifting spars and planks, and a few floating corpses and body parts. A red trail of blood and churned mud leads off to the West, but gradually fades from view.
If the adventurers are in the area but not on the pier and have access to a boat they can follow the trail, but the creature is moving faster than most boats of the day, at 15-20 MPH. Observers in an airship or aeroplane will see very little before the lights go out; the water is cloudy, and reflected light from the pier and town make it impossible to see anything underwater. Once the lights go out a flare or searchlights will reveal an indistinct black shape moving underwater; it's impossible to determine much more than its length, roughly 75-100ft. Once it has eaten its fill it goes deeper, below observation depth, and shrinks as the moon sets. Bombs dropped from the air could do the creature minor damage first, but are more likely to end up embedded in the mud; despite its size it is Difficulty 8 to hit underwater.
The following morning the low tide reveals a dark scene of destruction; twisted wreckage, and the remains of a few bodies that weren't swept out to sea. Most of the damaged girders have simply snapped, as though smashed with immense force; a few have bright gouge marks, where something has removed the surface layer of rust and barnacles. The marks are deep U-shaped scratches, made by something with a rasp-like surface at least six inches wide and several feet long. Some of these marks are in pairs, on opposite sides of girders that are a foot wide, but this won't be apparent until the wreckage is raised from the mud. Once this is known Ffoulkes talks of hydraulic grabs; try not to use the word "claws" until the players mention it.
During the day the contingent of reporters in Southend is reinforced, and more sightseers arrive. Marines and the fire brigade and coastguard recover the remaining bodies and sift the wreckage for trapped victims; no survivors will be found. The first suspicions of the Brentford story should be voiced, if not by the adventurers then by the press or the police. Now that one of the mysterious attacks has taken place so publicly, there is intense interest in every aspect of the matter, and it won't be long before there is a serious search for the wreck, with a view to finding more clues. What will be found is described above. Adventurers with access to aircraft can speed the search, since the wreck is visible from the air at low tide in daylight. Warships take up stations along the estuary, but don't find anything suspicious. If they were involved in any way, the adventurers spend the day answering questions from the police, coroner, Naval Intelligence, and other interested parties. Everything they saw or did is examined in minute detail. Alternatively, try to involve them in the search for the Brentford and other clues.
Ffoulkes examines his maps and makes more calculations, deciding that the next likely target is Sheerness, a port and oil depot on the Isle of Sheppey, and that the attack will take place on the night of the 14th. "Obviously" the attacks are leading up to an attempt to destroy London's overseas trade; possibly evil foreign financiers are behind the plot. He's convincing, but happens to be wrong.
The adventurers' activities may take them to any part of the Thames Estuary, or elsewhere entirely. Only one other location is important in February; Canvey Island.
Canvey Island has an area of 7 square miles and a population of about 2500. It is primarily agricultural, with holiday cottages along its coast; there is a rail bridge from the mainland, and it is otherwise only accessible by ferry. There is no particular reason why it should be considered a target for attack, but if adventurers decide to go there they will be able to find accommodation near the station, a boarding house that usually serves summer visitors. It's a dump but cheap, and they will be the only guests.
At 9.30 pm on February 14th the monster transforms in a rock pool on the beach at Canvey, in water only two feet deep. It can't submerge once it has reached its full gigantic size. Confused, it wanders inland and destroys a dozen cottages before returning to the sea. The cottages are smashed to matchwood and any occupants killed; fortunately only three are occupied at this time of year. It also eats three cows and two horses. This happens two miles from the boarding house; the islanders hear rumbling and crashing noises, but by the time they realise where they are coming from the monster is long gone. Oil lamps and candles upset by the catastrophe quickly start a fire in one of the the occupied cottages; the flames finally attract rescuers, too late to see much.
If the adventurers are on the island, they should be given a chance to get to the scene in time to see the back of the creature disappearing underwater, dimly lit by the moon (through thin cloud) and the flames of the burning cottage; again, it looks like a streamlined armoured hull submerging. It is also spotted by residents rushing to the rescue. If the adventurers are in the vicinity in a boat or aircraft they encounter the same problems as in the Southend attack; it is too dark, and the water is too cloudy, to see much more than a vague shape.
Anyone looking for clues will find them in plenty the next day, on the beach and in the fields between the cottages; deep holes, pressed two to three feet into sand and soil, at intervals of six to eight feet, in two parallel tracks about forty feet apart. The start and end of the tracks has been washed away by the high tide. The shape of the holes is odd; a double conical imprint, like the roots of a tooth. Between these tracks something has scythed through bushes and the trunks of small trees; larger trees are smashed flat or uprooted. There are blood stains and some incomplete corpses in the occupied cottages, and dismembered animal parts in the fields. Detectives examining the tracks are baffled; they are like nothing known. Various theories are aired, including the idea that they might be the impressions left by grapnels lowered by an airship, but it seems unlikely.
News quickly reaches London and Southend, where Ffoulkes is still holding forth to journalists. He can't explain the incident; he's so wedded to his theory that he dismisses it as coincidence, losing a lot of credibility with the press. Later he realises that he needs to take account of this problem, and suggests that the marks might have been left by pitons used to drag a submarine across the island; why anyone would want to do this, why they would dismember people and animals, and why no other tracks would be left by the hull aren't explained. Various odd theories are aired, including the idea that the tracks might be left by a walking war machine, of the type described by Mr. H.G. Wells (thunder.gif) but presumably built by a hostile government.
If the adventurers weren't on Canvey Island they can visit the scene afterwards. They should still have no clear idea of the cause of these disasters. But they, and everyone else, will probably guess that they can expect more trouble at the next full moon. At this stage in play-testing adventurers were starting to think about giant lobsters more seriously, and had already learned that the square-cube relationship, which relates the size of an animal to its mass, should make them impossible. See Appendix 2.B for details.
By now the adventurers should know that the disasters are caused by something large and extraordinarily powerful, primarily aquatic but capable of acting on land as well as underwater. If they were at Southend or on Canvey Island they may have briefly seen the creature, and may suspect that it is a giant lobster, or something else with many legs. They may also suspect that lycanthropy is involved. They have no real evidence, apart from the fact that people have been killed and part or all of the body is missing.
Naval attempts to deal with the problem are focused on mines, anti-submarine netting and booms, and underwater sound location. None of these will be effective against the creature in its normally-sized form.
Ffoulkes is still sure that Sheppey is going to be attacked; alternatively, Tilbury and Gravesend docks are very busy, and shipping there might be the target. He hedges his bets by suggesting all three in different newspaper articles. The water at all of these ports, and at numerous docks along the river as far as Tower Bridge, is deep enough for liners and large freighters, so it might just be deep enough for a submarine.
Anyone diving in to take a closer look won't come out again. If the adventurers have invented a shark cage which is supposed to allow a diver to see what's happening, the creature cracks it with its claws and crushes the occupant instantly. Optionally allow 1-3 rounds for the occupant to scream a little first.
Eventually the screams stop, and the water stirs sluggishly as something slowly moves out of the docks and back to the main channel of the Thames, its appetite sated for the moment. The next night is cloudy again, and nothing happens.
From this the adventurers should learn that the threat still exists, and is moving towards London. They should have more proof that the creature is in some way actvated by the full moon, and is a monster rather than a machine.
At this stage in playtesting the adventurers were leaving boats containing sheep, drums of cyanide-based insecticide, and explosives moored where they thought the monster might attack. They hadn't yet thought of using silver.
Ffoulkes now changes tack again, claiming that the monster must have been bred or given some drug to reach its enormous size. He points out that the Germans discovered genetics and are reputedly Europe's most advanced chemists. He concedes that it doesn't seem to be under intelligent control, but guesses that it was released to divert attention from some other nefarious plan. He can't explain the mysterious shrinking claw.
The next night the monster makes another attack on land, against the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. Naturally the college is guarded with artillery after the events of the previous night, but unless the adventurers have suggested it the troops will not be armed with silver weapons. As it rampages around the college it suddenly stops, then retreats from the building it is attacking and moves off in another direction. The building contains the college's main dining hall, set out with thousands of pieces of silverware. It continues the attack, taking horses from the college stables and victims trapped in the ruins, until it is stopped or has eaten its fill, or until the moon is starting to set, then retreats to the river. A warship is on hand (use the statistics for HMS Pathfinder, see Adventure 1), but can't get a clear shot at the creature without endangering the College or buildings beyond it.
If the adventurers have already prepared silver artillery shells, elephant gun ammunition, etc. this is an ideal time to use it; if conventional ammunition is all that's available, enough shots should temporarily "kill" the creature, but it will soon start to recover unless something is done to stop it. Anyone looking at its wounds will see them gradually close and heal; broken fragments of shell knit together seamlessly, and new shell grows to replace any blown away completely. Eventually it starts to move again, retreating to the river if it isn't stopped. If the adventurers don't take a hand this will happen, and several soldiers will be killed as it escapes. One option is to tip the college silver into its wounds; as it goes in the wounds bubble, and healing halts or is reversed. There is enough silver in the college to guarantee that the lobster will be killed, if all of it is used against the creature. But if the adventurers don't suggest using it, nobody else will.
If the creature isn't killed at Greenwich it comes ashore at Stepney, near Tower Bridge, the following night. If this adventure is used in the same campaign as adventure 1, any remaining anarchist sympathisers will assume that military responses, or any preparations aimed at destroying the creature, are in fact another act of "state aggression", and do their utmost to impede them. This continues until the creature is actually destroying warehouses along the waterfront. It carries on West towards the Tower of London and the Royal Mint, and attacks the latter; use the plan in Adventure 1 if needed. It trashes some buildings but leave others intact; the refinery, containing several tons of silver, is left strictly alone. If adventurers seem unusually unwilling to take a hint, it can depart via the Tower of London, demolishing state apartments but leaving the Treasure House completely unscathed.
|Weather (roll 2D6)||+1 September-October,|
|Clear - bright moon|
Cloudy at first, moonlit later
Cloudy - no moon all night - no monster
|West London (Hammersmith, Kew, etc.)|
Central London (Chelsea, Westminster, Kennington)
East London (Stepney, Greenwich, etc.)
A Thames tributary or canal
|Boats, barges, ships|
Church, school, or other historic building
Station, hospital, or government offices
Utility (factory, gasworks, power station, etc.)
|Collateral damage (2D6)|
Commercial buildings, shops, etc.
Government buildings etc.
|Military Response (2D6)|
|Warship available (East London only)|
Troops are on hand with artillery etc.
Troops are on hand with small arms.
Troops arrive late.
Use maps of London to generate more specific locations. Any combination of results that seems nonsensical (eg a canal with a warship present) should be rerolled.
Give adventurers Bonus points for heroism, determining the nature of the monster, predicting its next target, and working out any means of destroying it. Some specific points that might be rewarded:
Made no trouble at Uncle Geoffrey's party
Helped to rescue survivors of Southend Pier
Helped to defend any of the targets described
Caused problems at Uncle Geoffrey's party
Found out about the Empire Star incident
Deduced that Lycanthropy might be involved
Deduced that a giant lobster might be involved *
* before the Milwall attack only
Suggested the use of silver weapons
Suggested the use of electric pentacles etc *
* only if they work!
Any act of selfless heroism
Any act of abject cowardice
-1 to -3
Depending on their role in the monster's defeat the adventurers might get more tangible rewards; possibly a large financial reward from Lloyds and other insurers, military promotion, medals, etc. Opportunities for looting etc. also exist, although they have not been detailed above; any adventurer setting out to make money by this means should encounter problems (see adventure 1 section 1.6.2 for suggestions), but should be rewarded for any successes.
If the remains of the creature are captured they will shrink into a normally sized lobster; a dead lobster if it has been killed with silver. The adventurers, or some dispassionate scientist or criminal mastermind, might try to culture whatever disease causes lycanthropy, with a view to identifying sufferers, or curing (or causing) the disease. At this time there is no effective way to culture viruses except by growing them in animal hosts. What would a rat or a guinea pig be like as a lycanthrope? If the disease can be controlled or cured there are some obvious possibilities; for example, the lobster regenerated limbs etc. as it transformed, which could be a boon to amputees.
If experimental techniques are poor the scientist or an associate might be infected; see An American Werewolf in London and other films on this theme. This also applies if someone was bitten by the lobster (or injured and splashed with its blood) but somehow escaped death, for example if it was biting them as it died. The disease has Effect 6, and must overcome the victim's BODY on three successive moonlit nights to take effect; on the third night the first transformation occurs. Darkened rooms will stop the change, but even a tiny glimmer of light through a moth hole in a curtain will trigger it. Since lycanthropy causes its victims to take on the form that they fear the most, and since most of those at risk will have seen an extraordinarily fearsome giant lobster, this is the most likely result.
Herr Johann Schmitz of Bavaria is a loose end; if the adventurers don't find out about him before the monster is destroyed, the press will unearth the story much later, when it is known that the monster was a were-lobster. Unravelling his extremely cold trail will be a job for skilled detectives and/or supernatural investigators, who will be competing with half of the world's press and should remember that Schmitz must have caught the disease from another lycanthrope...
After this incident the government will set up a permanent joint services military unit to look out for unusual threats of this kind; Ffoulkes will be offered a post writing game plans for attacks by increasingly unlikely foreign foes, and other natural and supernatural disasters, and may ultimately prove to be genuinely useful. A good model for such an organisation is UNIT, the military organisation in TV's Dr. Who.
See section 1.11 if you are running this adventure in conjunction with adventure 1. Afterwards London is a mess, but the adventurers might want to reap the rewards of defeating the creature. However, there is no need to make life easy for them; optionally this was simply the first of a large number of lobsters that ate Schmitz's corpse, or it laid eggs after it was infected, and many more monsters are about to emerge from the sea. If they decide to stay put, but you want to take the campaign elsewhere, use the options suggested in worldbook section 4.2; Dr. Plokta or some other dimensional traveller will eventually build a new machine, and trigger the adventurers' departure as it activates.
Uncle Geoffrey (Publisher, aged 60)
BODY , MIND , SOUL , Business , Scholar (local history, local geography, local politics, local news, local personalities) 
Equipment: Cigars, matches, pocket watch, small notebook & pencil
Quote: "He's a good businessman, but is it a good business?"
Notes: Uncle Geoffrey owns various publishing and printing businesses, and has an interest in many other companies in the area. He is active in the Liberal party and is about to be knighted for services to the party and to local charities. He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of this corner of England, especially the coastal towns where his business interests are concentrated. He is honest.
Uncle Geoffrey is best used as a source of area knowledge. His political contacts shouldn't be over-used; he might be prepared to call in an occasional small favour for the benefit of his niece/nephew, but knows that favours have their price and won't pull strings if there is any reasonable alternative.
Captain Alistair Ffoulkes (RN Retrd., aged 58)
BODY , MIND , SOUL , Artist (writer) , Business , Military Arms 
Equipment: None relevant
Quote: "You can never trust the Frog or the Hun..."
Notes: Ffoulkes is obsessed with the idea that Britain is vulnerable to foreign plots of all sorts, and to the French and Germans in particular. He also suspects the Anarchists (especially if part of this adventure is run after Adventure 1), Fenians, Yellow Peril, etc. He resigned from the Navy when defence funding was cut after the Boer war; when the naval budget was increased they wouldn't take him back.
He is a crank; no plot is too wild for his lurid imagination. His cottage is littered with maps of the coast, newspaper cuttings (almost all irrelevant), page upon page of near-illegible notes, piles of sensationalist fiction, and a small printing press for handbills (he doesn't entirely trust commercial printers). In the 1990s he would probably be an obsessive conspiracy theorist. He won't talk to adventurers who seem to be foreigners. He has written three novels, all published but unsuccessful, and is working on a fourth.
For illustration see FF5-AD08.GIF
BODY , MIND [-], SOUL [-], Brawling 
2 x Claws, BODY , Effect , A:I, B:C, C:K1,21Anyone seized by the claws or jaws (on a B or C result) must overcome their Effect to get free; if the roll fails damage is repeated the next round.
2 x Antennae, BODY , Effect , A:F, B:F, C:I4
8 x Legs, BODY , no attacks 2
Jaws, BODY , Effect , A:I, B:C, C:K 1,2
Tail, BODY  Effect , A:F, B:I, C:C/K 2
Torso, BODY , no attacks 3
2 x Eyes, BODY , no attacks 4
Notes: The monster lobster is approximately 75ft long and 30ft wide with two huge claws, eight walking legs, powerful jaws, and two long whiplike antennae. The body ends in a fanlike tail approximately 5 ft wide, which has sharp saw-like spiked edges. It has a decentralised nervous system, and all of the attacks described above can be used simultaneously by reflex action.
The BODY of various limbs etc. is given separately; all attacks other than explosives must target one or another part of the creature. Most areas have armour reducing the Effect of all attacks, EXCEPT for attacks made with silver or silver-plated weapons, which do not lose any Effect.
Any damage, other than that caused by silver, which overcomes the BODY of part or all of the creature for a C or K result is assumed to have knocked out that part for the current night ONLY. It will immediately head back to water if it loses 2 or more legs, a claw, or an eye, or if its body is damaged. Even a K result to the body does not instantly kill it; it appears to be dead but slowly regenerates, recovering a number of minutes after death equivalent to the Effect of the weapon (eg, 20 minutes after a hit from an Effect 20 artillery shell). To onlookers wounds appear to bubble and slowly close, cracked chitin gradually repairs itself, and so forth. Lesser damage is simply shrugged off; wounds briefly appear then close by themselves.
Wounds made by solid silver or silver-plated weapons do not regenerate immediately; if its body is killed by silver it will immediately die, limbs don't grow back, etc. If it eats silver (at least several pounds of the metal or silver salts, such as silver nitrate) it will be poisoned:
Silver poisoning: Effect 5+1 per round, A:F, B:I, C:K, continuing for a round per pound of metal consumed plus another ten roundsThe poison attacks the creature as a whole, against BODY . If silver is put into a wound the Effect is 10+1 per round, and the speed of regeneration is halved. This is additional to any other damage caused by weapons.
For example, if it is somehow forced to eat 20 lb of silver salts it will eventually be exposed to poison with Effect 25. Silver and silver salts in contact with the creature's body have the same effect, but are considerably slower, Effect 5+1 per minute. Somehow the creature can sense the presence of large quantities of silver, and will give it a wide berth; for example, if it were to attack the Royal Mint (see Adventure 1) it could break through the outer wall, but would turn away from the metal refinery.
If you are using the Carnaki background the lobster can't enter a pentacle, or make a direct attack on anyone inside one, but it can easily push things (such as houses) into a pentacle to destroy it. Since it is unintelligent any attack of this nature is likely to be collateral damage, caused accidentally as it destroys something near the pentacle. Electrical interference from a powerful radio transmitter will drive the creature back, but doesn't actually harm it. It simply finds the effect unpleasant. If it can't retreat its armour slowly softens; reduce the Effect loss by one point per round, until the armour does not impede attacks; at this point it will retreat to the water and rapidly shrink, since its connection to the Aeiirii forces is disrupted.
The monster's behaviour is governed mainly by hunger, and an instinct to attack anything that threatens it. It is also attracted to bright lights, including searchlights etc., and has an extremely keen sense of smell, in water or on land. Its sight is poor out of the water
A useful prop for this adventure is a plastic lobster; these are sold in various sizes, and one about a foot long is scaled correctly for use with 25mm figures. Try to find one that represents a live specimen (black with coloured stripes) or is easy to paint; lobsters are only pink when cooked!
If adventurers need to be told about the "impossibility" of giant lobsters (or any other sort of monster animal) you may need to mention this relationship. Basically, if the size of a creature is increased, the cross-section area of limbs etc. rises by the square of the increase but the mass rises by the cube.
For example, a mouse magnified ten-fold would have legs a hundred times as thick, but would weigh a thousand times as much; its legs would collapse under the weight of its body. It would need legs that were proportionally thicker to compensate.
A 1lb lobster magnified a hundred-fold, as described in this adventure, has legs and muscles with ten thousand times the cross section area of the original, but weighs a million times as much, about 450 tons. On land the chitin exoskeleton of its legs and body would break under the weight, its muscles and tendons would snap trying to move so much weight, and so forth. Many other aspects of biology are governed by this relationship; the area of respiratory surfaces (lungs, gills, etc.) rises by the square while mass is cubed, so a giant lobster or mouse would suffocate. Similar effects would stop most internal organs working unless there were drastic modifications.
In nature animals slowly evolve these changes, and size increases over hundreds of generations; the abrupt change of size described above doesn't allow for changes in the shape or physiology of the animal. There are also limits on the top size of different types of animal, related to the strength of the materials in their body and the efficiency of the respiratory system and other organs; even in the sea, where much of the weight of an animal is supported by the water around it, the largest arthropods known to palaeontologists were about six foot long, and most were much smaller. In 1911 the largest known are giant crabs, with legs up to 2 ft long.
For the purposes of this adventure lycanthropy supercharges muscles and the strength of body materials, sustains all vital processes, and repairs any damage caused by excessive size, allowing animals to exceed the normal limits allowed by this relationship.
This section provides a brief scenario and unit details for the game "Trash Tokyo", written by John Wilson and published by WilsonClan Games, 15 Crowshaw Street, Derby DE24 8DY (from July 1998), e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. It is published with the permission of the author.
London, 1911. Shipping around the Thames has been disrupted by attacks by an unknown force. Coastal towns have been terrorised by an unseen enemy. Only when the pier at Southend was destroyed was the culprit revealed - a giant lobster!
Now, sightings have been made along the Thames Estuary of a strange, submerged vessel making its way upriver. It can only be the lobster! With London in grave danger, the government acts ...
|Score||0 - 10||11 - 20||21 - 40||41 - 80||81+|
|Result||Congratulations! Knighthoods all round, chaps.||Well done! I'm sure we can put in a good word for you when it comes to the next round of Honours.||A good job. But, we didn't expect anything less from a man of your obvious calibre.||Are you really cut out for this thing, old boy? Perhaps you might benefit from being posted to another regiment? Hmm?||Oh dear. Perhaps you would care to take some leave? And please, close the door on your way out. There's a good chap.|
To complicate matters, no evacuation of the city has been carried out. Consequently, the banks of the Thames are lined with sightseers. Place 12 stands of Civilians anywhere along the banks of the river. The Civilians will be controlled by the Civilian Reaction Table.
If the Were-Lobster can be lured into Battersea Power Station, its regenerative abilities will be nullified. Not only that, but it will also lose 1d6 Damage Points per turn that it remains there. Once it is reduced to 0 Damage Points, it may be automatically destroyed by any unit that is within one move of its last position. Otherwise, it vanishes without a trace ...
MV: 5 (GROUND)
Damage Points: 0
MV: 20 (WATER)
Damage Points: 5
This collection was originally planned to have five adventures; unfortunately disk space ran out first. What follows are three outlines for adventures that should be capable of sustaining several hours of play. Since they are in outline form many details must be prepared or improvised by the referee. They can be set in any part of London, and at any time; for example, they could be fitted into the months between the episodes of adventure 2.
After a late party at one of the richer adventurers' homes they wake to hear a strange noise; a rhythmic thumping sound, coming from the street and seemingly getting louder by the second. A huge crowd is dancing in the street; all seem to be in near-perfect step, although no music can be heard. Many seem to have a strange glazed expression, as though locked into some sort of trance.
The disaster is a form of dancing mania, affecting thousands of victims in the area. A granary and mill supplying London's bakers has suffered a bad infestation of ergot (Claviceps purpurea), a fungus which contaminates grain with a mixture of chemicals including LSD. This causes ergotism, a form of compulsive behaviour including repetitive spasmodic movements, hallucinations, suggestibility, etc. Affected grains seem to be blackened, but this is easily missed, and the contamination is almost impossible to spot once the grain is milled. Several tons arrived in London last night, and were supplied to most of the bakeries in the immediate area. It has been in the human food chain since the early hours of the morning. A loaf is in the adventurer's house (a maid went to buy bread first thing in the morning, and she and any other servants are already out in the street dancing), and if the adventurers have breakfast they will also be affected. The toxin has Effect 1+1 per 10 minutes, rising to Effect 7 then slowly wearing off. Roll Effect against BODY, the results are as follows:
The dancing was initially triggered by a gypsy fiddler playing outside a bakery a few hundred yards away; somehow the gay Irish jig compelled the sufferers to dance, and thousands of people are in near-perfect step, repeating near-identical spasming movements over and over again. He's still fiddling, afraid to stop in case the crowd blame him. The dancers are in perfect step but awkward; think of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" crossed with a folk dance group such as "Riverdance" and you'll have the idea. But some people shouldn't dance for hours on end; there have already been several strokes and heart attacks, and more will die as the day goes on. Near the centre of the disturbance the vibration of hundreds of dancers has shattered windows and collapsed sewers and gas pipes; there will eventually be fires and explosions. The dancers will ultimately collapse exhausted, remembering little of their strange behaviour. Afterwards their skin is unusually sensitive to touch and to bright light, but this effect is masked by nausea and general fatigue. The mania affects people in all walks of life, including members of the emergency services, so the official response to the problem is delayed and confused.
Unless something is done the remainder of the shipment will reach bakeries over a much bigger area tomorrow; most of central London will be affected, and another Great Fire will sweep across the capital as order breaks down. Once the immediate crisis is averted, the mismanagement that caused the disaster must be rooted out, if it wasn't a deliberate act of sabotage.
Meanwhile the street musician who started the dancing thinks that he has a magic violin, and is believed by many of those initially caught up in the dance. Ergotism has persistent flashback effects in many cases, and hundreds of victims have been left sufficiently disturbed to be susceptible to his music; he and some cronies plan to take advantage of their state to block the streets with hundreds of dancers, and start a violent looting spree under cover of the disturbance.
If you are using this scenario in a parallel worlds campaign the adventurers arrive in their new bodies while they are preparing breakfast before setting out to find the cause of the disturbance. They know what's going on, but have no special insight into the cause. Give them a slim chance to notice that the servants must have eaten before they vanished, but don't make it too obvious.
Three months ago a new volcano emerged from the sea East of Iceland, rapidly erupting to a height of several hundred feet. Scientists were amazed by the speed of the eruption, and feared that it might eventually explode. They were right to worry.
At 5.15 AM today seismographs at the Geological Museum and other research stations detected an enormous explosion, even larger than Krakatoa. Now all telegraph links to Iceland and the Orkneys seem to be out of action. At 7.30 a ship en route from Norway to Iceland sent a Mayday wireless signal reporting a gigantic tidal wave sweeping SSE towards Norway, Denmark, and Northern Europe. From the ship's position scientists estimate that the wave is moving at about 100 MPH, and will hit Northern Scotland at 10.30 AM and sweep along Britain's East and West coasts. Unfortunately the shape of the coasts bordering the North Sea will funnel the full fury of the wave towards the Straits of Dover and the mouth of the Thames. Nobody is sure how high it will be at that point, but everyone will know at about 4.00 PM...
As the adventure begins news of the explosion is in the early editions of the morning papers, and many people have even heard the boom in Britain without realising what caused it; it sounds like distant artillery. The tidal wave is mentioned in the stop press of later editions. Few realise the significance of an explosion nearly a thousand miles away, or dream that it could possibly affect London.
Give the adventurers some reason to know that the wave is coming, a few hours to panic, and problems getting to high ground. As the day goes on the wave hits Scotland, Norway, etc., and devastates coastal communities; there is widespread panic, with hundreds of thousands heading for higher ground, and law and order break down as they flee. There are ample opportunities for looting and other crimes. How high the wave will be when it reaches the Thames Estuary is left for the discretion of the referee, but in disaster stories it always pays to think big.
Dealing with the disaster and the aftermath shouldn't be simple, and kind referees may wish to add to the adventurers' problems by adding disease, another anarchist insurrection, and other complications. Afterwards large chunks of London must be rebuilt.
If you are running this adventure in conjunction with Adventure 2, the tidal wave doesn't occur at the full moon, so the lobster is in its small form. It is swept out of the Thames and into some other body of water, such as a stream or an ornamental pond in a park some distance from the river; at full moon it will set off across country to return to the Thames, the only body of water large enough for it.
If you are using this adventure in a parallel worlds campaign the adventurers jump in as their new hosts are in mid-evacuation, and initially have little idea of the situation. Memories slowly return as the tidal wave gets closer. Afterwards most of the adventurers are homeless, or have other problems caused by the disaster.
As an alternative, the whole story of the explosion and tidal wave could be an elaborate hoax prepared by some criminal mastermind with access to the telegraph system and a marine wireless transmitter. He plans to force an evacuation of London, then use the opportunity to rob the Bank of England, Hatton Garden, and other treasure houses. Unfortunately things get well out of hand, and hundreds die in the panic. Use the villain of your choice or wait for Forgotten Futures VI, which will contain several.
The spiritualist churches have always been minority religions, hovering somewhere between the crackpot cults and the fringes of orthodox worship. Until now...
Two months ago the Church of Eternal Life, one of the independent spiritualist organisations, began to produce results. The principal medium of the church, Charles Foyle, has given conclusive proof of telepathy, summoned audible and visible presences from the Beyond, and on several occasions has levitated before a crowd of several hundred witnesses, outdoors in broad daylight. He appears to offer conclusive proof that there is an afterlife, and that it is paradise. Unusually, there seems to be no down-side to what he claims; it appears that everyone who dies ends up in heaven, cured of all evil deeds and thoughts, regardless of their sins. There is also a millennial aspect to his creed; the human world will end soon, there have already been signs in plenty. Examples he might quote include a breakdown in law and order (if you ran adventure 1), sea monsters (adventure 2), etc.
Not surprisingly, this has aroused a good deal of interest, especially amongst the more credulous sections of society. Not all the results are pleasant; there has been a significant rise in suicides, and in infanticide and murders of the aged and infirm ("He/She will go to a better place"). Foyle frequently warns his followers that these actions are sinful, but his doctrine, a deeply confusing mish-mash of warmed-over spiritualist jargon, contains nothing to deter such sins.
Foyle is possessed by a demon, or whatever malevolent supernatural entity is appropriate to your campaign; if your campaign does not contain such entities, the possessor is an alien using psionic technology that is allowing him to produce these effects, and is fuelled by the life-force of his followers. His powers are genuine, except where he claims to bring news of the afterlife. The aim is to turn his church into a death cult that encourages suicide and ritual murder. If enough people die their combined souls (or psionic force) will open the way for his master to manifest on Earth. Think BIG on this one; for example, if you are using the Carnacki background (FF4) for this adventure, he is attempting to open a gateway for the Hog or some other major ab-natural entity. Once the gateway is open this creature will use its power to kill more and more people, their deaths feeding further destruction. When it has enough power it plans to drag the Earth into whatever dark domain it inhabits, to dine on the souls of humanity at its leisure. If an alien, it needs the life-force of the human race to fuel some incomprehensible alien weapon, and fire the next shot in a war that has lasted millennia.
The adventurers should hear about Foyle, initially as an odd rumour of an unusually accurate medium, then later as the amazingly powerful psychic he appears to be. Anyone with any trace of the Medium skill gets a very bad feeling in his presence, although there appears to be nothing to justify it; since he is not in himself a demon, he can handle crucifixes and other religious objects with little more than mild discomfort, and his conversation and beliefs appear to be all sweetness and light.
Exposing him for what he really is and stopping him should be very difficult; he certainly won't make any public slips, and jealously guards his privacy. There is damning proof of his real allegiance in a hidden room in his house, but it is protected by magic (or psionic) traps, and he will instantly know if it is disturbed. He will then try to kill the adventurers. He isn't immortal or invulnerable, but has powerful protection, from his own powers to an army of followers, some of whom are magically controlled (or hypnotised). Optionally an exorcism might work, but getting him to hold still for it should be very difficult.
For an unusual plot twist, Foyle might admit his crimes but claim to have benevolent reasons for doing all this; the afterlife is uniformly horrible, but his powers open the gateway to some form of transcendent alternative. He will provide apparently convincing proof, which the adventurers may accept or reject.
In a parallel worlds campaign the adventurers arrive when Foyle's followers are in the process of reaping their harvest of souls, a few hours before the gateway opens. In those few hours they must kill Foyle and stop the ritual killings, or it will be too late.
If this is combined with the other adventures in this collection, Foyle's master might be responsible for some or all of the disasters described; they were less successful attempts to harvest souls "tuned" to an appropriate mental state. This time it thinks it will get things right...
As usual, a plaintive plea for money. At present Forgotten Futures registrations do little more than cover the expense of duplicating and distributing disks; they certainly don't pay for the work and time that goes into these collections. This is one of many reasons why they are usually late; I'm a lazy writer, and have no real incentive to give them priority when writing in other areas pays more and is considerably easier. If more people register I will be more motivated, and able to give this work the attention it deserves.
The benefits of registration include early access to these collections (which will from now on be distributed to registered users some time before they are released to the general public), and the satisfaction of helping to ensure that there will be more of them.
Think about it, and enjoy the game.
Marcus L. Rowland - April 1998