Horror on the Orient Express

Lausanne, Part 1

The group exited the train into the pale pre-dawn light of Lausanne, 6:45am. Taking only a few essentials, the rest of your luggage continued on to await you in Milan. You were all here to find a certain Edgar Wellington, author of a letter found at the Lorien house that referenced a certain Sedefkar scroll. But first thing’s first: breakfast. You found a small cafe near the station where you dined on crunchy croissants, invigorating coffee, and soothing warm milk sprinkled with chocolate, all of which you enjoyed while reading the newspaper. Jean-Claude the porter advised you to take a room at Le Castille, a very respectable hotel nearby. After heading over there and making the necessary arrangements, the group went in search of Rue St. Etienne to meet this Edgar Wellington. Encounters with the locals proved that the inhabitants of Lausanne are not as inviting as the scenery, and your requests for directions were met with curt responses and cold expressions.

Arriving at Edgar’s home, you read the sign above the door and find that he is a taxidermist. Ringing the bell, Edgar admitted you inside, into a room with a blazing fire keeping things uncomfortably hot. The products of his trade were strewn about the room, animals of all sorts in various poses. Edgar was a bald-headed Englishman with a nasal voice, and he generously invited you all to tea, seeming very personable. For a moment you discussed pleasantries, recent news about England, but soon the conversation turned to the letter, the scroll, and things Sedefkar. Just then Edgar’s brother William entered the room and joined you. Edgar introduces him, saying “please be patient with William, he is mute, a wound from the war.” William sits down and stares at you, as if to say “please continue” in the most unnerving way possible. Returning to the matter of the scroll, Edgar revealed that:

-He acquired the scroll from a Raoul Malon, a Frenchman, who traded it for rations and cigarettes.
-The scroll is a confusing mixture of Turkish words written in Arabic letters, which he has been unable to translate.
-The scroll refers to an artifact known as the Sedefkar Simulacrum, a human-sized statue either made or found in the rubble of Byzantium.
-The last owner of the simulacrum was a certain French nobleman, Comte Fenalik, who lsot it after arrest and imprisonment just prior to the French Revolution. All trace of it has since vanished.

Edgar was ready to sell the scroll, as his research had hit a dead end, and he mentions a price of 250 pounds. Then the bell rang, and Edgar went to answer it, leaving you with William. Taking out a notebook, William began to communicate in writing, with phrases like “A fine day today” and “Welcome to Lausanne.” 10 minutes later Edgar returned with a large Frenchman, who he introduced as “my old friend, the Duc des Esseintes.” He was rotund, middle-aged man with dark hair, waxed mustache, and good grooming. Edgar described him as an amateur Occultist, who also was interested in purchasing the scroll. The Duc expressed a wish to see the scroll, but Edgar replied that he must retrieve it from a bank vault and suggests that they all meet at the “7:30 Club,” an informal discussion group they have that meets at a nearby cafe. But before he leaves, he asks the Duc politely if he had time to give you all a tour of the city. “Yes, yes, dear chap, of course, I do,” the Duc replied in a swarthy Swiss-French accent.

The tour showcased all the breathtaking scenery of Lausanne. The Duc pointed out a handless statue near the main cathedral that he names “Otho of Grandson,” a man killed in a judicial duel in 1398. He showed you the Cantonal Museum and Library, which was very impressive, though no Bibliotheque Nationale. Finally he lead you to Le Chat Noir, the cafe where the meeting would take place that night, before bidding you farewell as he had a business appointment.

[Things are a little fuzzy for me at this point, did you guys follow him? I think you did.]

At 7:30, only one person shows up to the meeting, one Maximillian von Wurtheim. He was a dashing conversationalist, blond hair, blue eyes, six feet tall, though unfortunately he had forgotten his money. “Ach! My friends, I am sorry, I have left my wallet at home, would you be so kind?” Neither the Duc nor Edgar show up. [I am also very confused about this conversation, though I know I played Max as a drunk, though not much of that was acting]

Sensing something amiss, you all decided to return to Edgar’s home, and found the door slightly ajar, though within all was dark. Turning on the light, you make your way upstairs where you find William in the kitchen, dead, stab wounds about his belly and back, a bloody knife beside him. The most horrific thing though, was that his shirt had been ripped open at the front and a large flap of skin cut from his chest. His face was set in an expression of horror.

Edgar’s body you found cold and dead upon his bed. The doctor suspected a drug overdose, finding a needlemark on his left arm, probably made by Edgar, but also one on his right, suggesting a second party was involved. You suspected the Duc. Around the room, you found various clues:

-An empty morphine bottle, and on the floor, an empty syringe.
-A scroll underneath the bed, which is an obvious forgery.
-A receipt for sealing wax and parchment.
-A green bottle containing what looked like muddy water, though light revealed tiny silvery particles floating in the fluid.
-A diary, mostly chronicling Edgar’s insomnia and pain, but also describing a dream drug that allowed Edgar to visit Lausanne in his dreams, and how anything he clutched in his hands as he slept would go into the dream with him.

The priest decided that delay was foolish, and decided to see where this dream drug would take him. Taking a small sip, he had time to say “that tastes awful,” before falling to the floor in heavy slumber. The doctor confirmed that it was only a deep sleep, before the others followed suit.

The Orient Express - Paris to Lausanne
Paris, Lausanne, Orient Express.

Boarding the Orient-Express, you were amazed by the large crowd that had gathered to see of Caterina Cavollaro, the Italian soprano who is famous throughout Europe. Boarding the train, you relax into the splendor and sumptuousness that the Orient-Express is famous for. A luxurious meal awaited, followed by drinks in the salon car, where you happened to make the acquaintance of the diva herself. She was enchanted by the cultured and diverse air of your group, comprised of a professor, doctor, priest, former cop, and a student. So enchanted, in fact, that she insisted on booking rooms for you at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele for when you arrive in Milan, and obtained promises from all of you that you would attend one of her performances.

At about 2:00 am, the diva departed for a moment and then returned wearing a silver gown, her eyes darkened with mascara, a silver ankh hanging about her neck. She first told the assembled people of her first experiences at the opera, and how she since she was 5 she had wanted to become a singer. Then she began to sing an aria from Aida, a beautiful, haunting song that set your hearts at ease and, for a moment, your minds at peace.

Not long after she finished, to thunderous applause, Signorina Cavollaro took her leave, and the rest of you decided to catch what little sleep you could before arriving in Lausanne.

Events of Paris

After arriving in Paris and finding suitable lodgings, providing fine Continental breakfasts, you began your search at the most likely place to find historical documents, Le Bibliotheque Nationale. Rebuking the offers of a young French grad student who wished to work with you for a modest fee (after all, what do professors need of grad students?), you found numerous references to an incident in the time of pre-Revolutionary France. After attending an opportune lecture given by the history department of the Sorbonne, the group headed to Le Bibliotheque du Arsenal and finds records of a certain Comte Fenalik who once lived in the town of Poissy and was last known to have been locked up at the Charenton Asylum. Luckily, this asylum still existed, and by the simple bribe of good food and drink, you found out about recent events that may have been linked to this Fenalik. In the interests of your research, young Ferencz and Prof. von Breisgau had themselves admitted by the Swedish doctor, that they may rest and relax their nerves. Receiving numerous baths, massages, foot treatments, and therapy sessions during the day, they find out that the inmates speak of a horror during the nights, a horror that comes to visit the two investigators. A horrid visage awakens them from slumber, questioning them in Ancient Latin, Greek, and an old dialect of French, as to their purpose. The investigators wisely answer the figure, who then disappears from their locked room, as if he had never been there.

Upon exiting the asylum, more rattled than upon entrance despite all the massages, the group decided to venture towards Poissy and seek out the remains of the manor of Comte Fenalik. Arriving there, they found it occupied by a young doctor and his family, all of which were suffering from strange maladies related to their left arm. A search of the attic recovered an old plan of the grounds, with which the group was able to find their way to the old cellar of the Comte. Horrific sites and numerous skeletons awaited them, and underneath a strange, oozing thorn-bush, the arm of a statue. The first piece of the Sedefkar Simulacrum. As it was retrieved, a strange mist fell across the group, but within moments, it was gone.

Returning back to their lodgings in Paris, the group readied themselves for their next leg of the journey and boarded the Orient Express.

Events of London

In the Beginning

At the beginning of our adventure, you all found yourselves in London, England, where you attended the famous Challenger Foundation. This was at the invitation of Professor Smith, who the next day contacted you by means of a disturbing note. Rushing to his aide, you found a badly burned Prof. Smith lying on a bed in a cheap quarter of London. He revealed to you that he had been on the trail of an ancient artifact, the Sedefkar Simulacrum, a statue of great antiquity, the segments of which have been scattered across Europe. However, other forces seem bent on finding the artifact as well, for they attacked the Professor and burned down his house. He beseeches you to take up his work and find the statue before hands with darker intent seize upon it. Collapsing into exhaustion, his manservant Beddows endows you with a sizable stipend and suggests that you take the Simplon-Orient Express, as its numerous stops throughout Europe should provide a convenient means of transportation in this endeavor.

The group expressed its disapproval at leaving the Professor in the state is in, but they were interrupted by what seemed like thousands of small motes of fire, which burst into the room. “They’ve found me!” the Professor shrieked on the other wall of flames, and you all fled from the horrific site.

The Doom Train
The next day, after a fine continental breakfast, upon perusal of the paper you found some interesting notes about a man who had apparently died three times in one night, as well as some interesting news about a local train enthusiast who had gone missing amidst strange circumstances. Investigation revealed a link between the apparently dead man, one Mehmet Makryat, and the disappeared man, a Henry Stanley, who had recently purchased a model train set from the aforementioned. This eventually led you to the train set, which was in the basement of the London Trainspotters Association. A very congenial man, Arthur Butters, allowed you to examine the train. After turning it on, to your astonishment a real train burst through the walls of the basement, filling the room with smoke. Passengers in old garb exited the train and began quickly asking questions, when suddenly they all turned upon Fernando de Castillo, the Spanish occultist who had volunteered to set the train in motion, and seizing him pulled him onto the train. You watched, hesitant as to whether you should follow, when the train departed and in the window you could see the screaming faces of Henry Stanley and Fernando.

Summoning the train once more, this time Prof. von Breisgau led the charge, swinging his cane left and right. Once aboard the train, it departed, and the passengers faces turned grim and eery. Seizing Fernando, you watch in horror as one of the fiends presses its lips to his and seemed to suck the very life force from his body. You thought yourselves done for, when at the other end of the car a man appeared and yelled for you to run through. Evading their clutching hands, you reached safety in the other car, to find this man, Randolph Alexis. Trapped in this dimension for over 40 years, and quite insane, you follow him by a compartment filled with the gnawed-upon remains of his son. But this barely prepares you for the sight of a recreated train-set constructed from offal and intestines. Between you, you are able to figure out how to conjure the spell accurately, but the undead passengers had by that time broken through the door and were attacking from all sides, some even climbing through the windows. Young Ferencz Horvath assisted Randolph in moving a heart around the track, simulating the circuit of the train, while the Professor and the retired policeman held the attackers at bay. Finally, the spell is completed, and the train finds itself back on the track in England, though an occupied track! With only seconds to spare, the group leaps from the train, but not before Prof. von Breisgau stabs Randolph with his swordcane, hoping to prevent any further dastardly deeds. But it seems that this was not enough, for after their terrific jump, the group sees the insane old coot running off in the other direction. Prof. von Breisgau swears vengeance, and you all return to the safety of your hotel, Henry Stanley in tow.
Professor Smith

Your friend Professor Smith and his trusty manservant Beddows.Prof smith

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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