The Hand of Doom

Episode 2: Planes, Mole Machines and Automobiles

Having spent a few days recovering from burns, bruises and bullet grazes after their adventure on the doomed Zeppelin RAS Sheffield, Digger Flinders, Kurt von Gerbering and Santino “Sonny” Marconi are ready to discover the truth behind the mysterious amulet that they took from the body of the terrorist leader. Their search begins in the History department of the Universite de Geneve, where they look up Clarence Early, an old mate of Digger’s.

Clarence is very excited by the amulet, but can’t quite put his finger on its secrets. He directs the Centurions to seek out Professor Henry Snell of London University.

Resigning themselves to a long day, they return to their hotel, and prepare to head to Geneva Airport. On their way out, they are almost buried under tjank-you cards and letters from the grateful population if Geneva, and Sonny is grabbed in a fierce bearhug. When Kurt sees Sonny’s assailant kiss him on both cheeks, tears in his eyes, he lets his sabre slide back into its scabbard.

Sonny recognizes Antonio Quinto, the man whose baby Digger rescued from the zeppelin just as it was plunging beneath the cold, dark waters of Lake Geneva. Antonio insists that the three adventurers come to his house for a home-cooked meal, a few glasses of wine, and a proper thank-you from him and his wife, “Little Maria”.

As tired as they are, dozing a little perhaps, it takes the three a while to realize that Tony does not exactly live locally. After the seconf border crossing, they finally come to realize that Tony lives in Milano, and will still not take ‘no’ for an answer.

The feast is all that Tony promised, and more. His 30 or so brothers, cousins, parents, and his eight bambinos all are all proud to have the Centurions in their home, and it is the wee hours of the morning before Kurt, Sonny and Diger find themslves on the sofa in Tony’s small but tidy living room, bellies stuffed and heads swimming from the wine.

Tony has clearly had a few too many glasses as well, and he begins to sob softly as he tells of how his boss, Mr. Sforza, finest stonemason in all Italia, is about to be driven out of business by local organized crime, whose extortions has driven Mancini to bankruptcy. Tony, his skilled supervisor, will soon find himself out of work, his eight bambinos homeless, and Little Maria with another on the way.

Knowing a shakedown when he hears one, and having a few skills in that area himself, Sonny agrees to have a little chat with the mobsters when they come to Sforza’s the next day. Unfortunately, the weasel with the briefcase does not see reason, and suddenly Sforza’s office is ringing with the sounds of gunfire and flashing blades. Soon enough, the weasel and his two goons are down for the count, and the Centurions are on their way to speak with Andrea Mancini, the local Boss.

Apparently, Mancini had been having problems with the weasel as well, because he cheerfully accepts Sonny’s compromise, and even offers to fly the Centurions to London in his private floatplane. Soon, they are winging their way westward, grabbing a few hours of much-needed sleep.

In London, they are met at the docks by Doctor “Dash” Darling, who they hope can help with the mystery. Together, the four go to visit Professor Snell. All seems peaceful, as they wait for the slightly scatter-brained professor to gather his books and get to the truth. Snell is down the hall in a colleague’s office, looking for just that right fragment of information that will let him link the amulet definitively to one of two ancient gods, one Egyptian, one Mesopotamian. Suddenly, the professor is clubbed on the head, his books set ablaze, and Kurt is just able to snap off a shot at the black-robed figure slipping out the third storey window of the office.

The professor is bandaged up, the fire is doused, and Sonny spies a large black sedan screeching away from the building. A wild pursuit ensues, with chestnut carts and bullets flying, and thanks to Dash’s driving the Centurions finally catch up to the sedan in front of a large warehouse in the dock district. They are tempted to relax after Sonny drops the last fleeing villain, but suddenly concealed flamethrowers near the building start gushing liquid death, as an unnaturally loud voice from inside the warehouse taunts the Centurions.Thinking quickly, Kurt manages to disable one of the flamethrowers, and the pressure buildup soon causes a massive explosion and fire in the building.

Watching flaming timbers splash in the Thames, Dash’s eye is drawn to a speedboat darting away from the warehouse, and heading across the river. With cries for help coming from the warehouse, the four decide to split up, Dash and Sonny pursuing the fleeing man in the dark suit, Digger and Kurt looking for survivors in the smoking rubble. They find one live minion, who is so glad to be alive that he tells them all that they wish to know.

By the time that Sonny and Dash return, after following the figure to Waterloo station, and not being certain which train he had been on, they discover that the fleeing villain was none other than Aleister Crowley-mystic, occultist, writer, mountaneer, poet, yogi, and possible spy. Sometimes called “the wickedest man in the world”, Crowley is a member of something called the Ordo Templi Orientis, but more than this, the prisoner cannot tell them. All he knows is that Crowley has another warehouse in Dover.

A few hours later, the Centurions debark from their train in Dover, and their investigations soon reveal a gigantic warehouse, from which large trucks leave every ten ninutes or so, even this late at night. As Dash diverts the attention of one of the drivers, Diggger scampers up the side of a truck, and return, puzzled. Dirt. the trucks are filled with ordinary dirt!

It is easy enough to locate the warehouse, and soon enough, the Centurions are inside, trying to peer through the coal dust to determine what is going on. A line of a dozen or so trucks awaits their payloads, which are being loaded up my tractor-like machines with large moveable buckets on the front. They take their dirt from a huge pile, being added to steadily by even larger “bucket tractors.” And these are emerging from a hole in the floor of the warehouse. Just then, there is the frightful sound of giant tracks, like those on the newfangles “tanks” that the men remember from the War, almost drowned out by the puffing of several enormous steam engines, and into view heaves the biggest machine they have ever seen. Easily 30 metres long, 8 metres wide, with a rotating face made up of hundreds of sharp projections, the behemoth ponderously moves toward the hole, angles downward, and majestically eases its way down what appears to be a tunnel.

As the Centurions begin to consider ways to sabotage what is clearly an attempt to dig a hole into the Channel and flood all of Dover, they notice a second, smaller tunnel, this one with a narrow-guage set of tracks leading out of it, and curving off into the gloom of the warehouse. Their eyes were drawn to the track by an approaching light, and soon enough they can make out Crowley, on a small pump cart, being operated by two black-robed figures. Crowley pauses long enough to shout a few orders, then his cart disappears into the tunnel.

And then the players and GM look at the clock, realize that it’s 3AM, and call it a night.

Stay tuned!

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Episode 1-Flaming Terror

Our intrepid heroes-Santino “Sonny” Marconi, Digger Flinders, and Colonel Kurt von Gerbering-awake with a start to the sounds of alarm claxons and gunfire. Sonny grabs his favorite 1911; Kurt unsheathes his sabre, and Digger grabs his knife. They meet in the hall amidst the panicking passengers, as they clear the sleep from their heads and remember that they are on RAS Sheffield, a luxury zeppelin travelling from London to Istanbul carrying bureaucrats, businessmen, and three representatives of the Century Club, who are on their way to welcome the new Turkish government of Kemal Ataturk to the family of modern Europe.

Dispatching a machine gun-wielding fanatic in the dining lounge, the three adventurers make their way to the bridge. There, they discover the dead bodies of the pilots, and a black clad, masked technician whose last act is to try pulling a pistol on Sonny. Despite Kurt’s basic understanding of engineering, and Sonny’s piloting skills, they can see no purpose to the elaborate and mysterious device that the killer had just finished installing.

With nothing urgent in the cockpit, and the Sheffield flying straight and level above the majestic mountains, the guys decide to investigate the sound of gunfire that is still coming intermittently from aft and above.

The men reassure the passengers as they make their way to the rear of the gondola, seeking a way up into the zeppelin’s structure. Kurt gets a chance to display his swordsmanship as a masked minion ambushes the passing team.

Passing several more dead crewmen, the Centurions make their way up into the vast interior of the zepplin, and Kurt advances forward along the lower gangway, while Sonny and Digger move up to a higher level. There they stumble across a group of intruders. Sonny gets the drop on the lookout, and after hearing a shot ring out, Kurt is startled by two black-robed bodies hitting the gangway in front of him.

Realizing that the action is above him, Kurt, in true Kavallerie Kommando style, marches to the sound of the guns, and dashes up the next ladder. Meanwhile, Sonny’s .45 and Digger’s knife wear down the intruders. Digger receives several wounds, but keeps pushing forward, and Kurt arrives in time to put his sword to work. In a last, defiant gesture, the enemy leader whirls his sword over his head, turns his back on the centurions and presses a red button atop what is obviously a bomb, which his men have welded to the very structure of the zeppelin itself.

Through sheer will and determination, Kurt decides to risk all, and snips the correct wire, deactivating the bomb.

The Centurions go back below, and reassure the other passengers, who spontaneously begin to celebrate, causing many casualties among the vessel’s champagne supply. Their joy is only spoiled by the half-dozen or so bodies that remain in the halls and in the dining room. Digger and Kurt haul the bodies, and stash them in the stateroom that from which one minion had emerged earlier. A quick search of the room and bodies reveals that the minions bear tattoos which match amulets worn by their two leaders, and the room contains ammunition, spare clothing, a few grenades, and three parachutes.

Sonny has calculated the zeppelin’s position, and knows that they are in Switzerland, nearing Lake Geneva. As the lake comes into view, the mysterious device in the cockpit hums to life, and Sonny loses control of the vessel, which veers sharply right and begins to dive and accelerate. In a flash of intuition, Kurt realizes that they are standing in a giant guided missile, heading for the League of Nations headquarters, and containing over seven million cubic feet of hydrogen.

The centurions leap into action, Digger calming the passengers, while Sonny and Kurt dash back up into the zeppelin and begin manually shutting down the eight massive engines. With the engines off, the vessel begins to slow, but as they re-enter the gondola it is apparent that the zeppelin will not stop before it is over Geneva itself.

Kurt and Digger begin tying tables to mooring lines and shoving them through windows, to drag in the water and act as anchors. Kurt once again hurries topside, and begins slashing at the hydrogen cells, in order to release the gas and bring the ship down to the surface of the lake, and cutting open the skin of the zeppelin, to destroy its aerodynamic qualities and increase drag. As he finishes opening a large hole in the nose, he hears behind him the distinctive sound of a flare pistol being cocked. Before he can charge the heretofore-undiscovered leader of the intruders, the villain grins maniacally, screams a curse in an unknown language, and fires a flare directly into a venting hydrogen cell immediately above his head. A fireball instantly begins racing toward Kurt, who is burnt, but not badly enough to disrupt his perfect swan-dive through the rent nose.

Luckily for Kurt, the airship has nearly settled on the surface of the lake, and as the flames begin to consume it, the passengers leap wildly through the shattered windows, and into the lake, where rescue vessels have been approaching. Sonny takes one last look and follows the last of the passengers, and Digger is about to follow, when he hears the distinctive sound of a baby crying. With a curse, he whirls about and spots a white bassinet on a nearby table. Fashioning a makeshift sling from the turban of one of the intruders, he snatches up the baby, and leaps out a window, as the rushing waters of Lake Geneva begin to rush into the remains of the gondola.

Miraculously, the Centurions and all the passengers are able to escape the flaming wreckage, and are picked up by the rescue craft.

A couple of days recuperating, and the Centurions are ready to begin looking into who was behind the attempted terrorist act. They bring one of the amulets to a young graduate student at the University of Geneva, whom Digger knows, and who is something of an expert in the field of cults and occult iconography. There is something familiar about the amulet, but he cannot recall it, and recommends that the Centurions consult Professor Snell, at London University’s Institute of Classical Studies. Hopefully, Professor Snell will be able to reveal the secrets that this amulet might contain.

Find out next month, as the adventure continues!

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

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

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

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

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

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

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