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06 September 2016 @ 12:00 pm
[CoC: HotOE] The Clocktower and the Wedding  
Dramatis Personae
  • Demir Sadik, Turkish Revolutionary/Field Medic
  • Gianni Abbadelli, Italian Vatican Parapsychologist
  • Luc Durand, French Professor of Linguistics
  • Rosaline St. Clair, American Antiquities Dealer
  • Valentina Durnovo, Russian Countess/Gentlewoman
The hotel staff were surprisingly surly and the papers were uninformative, with the exception of some notes about unrest overnight. When the investigators left the hotel to try to find the Palazzo Rezzoniani, they saw that the water in the canals was black and stank like something was rotting in it.

As they left the hotel, Maria Stagliani's maid breathlessly ran up and handed them a note, saying that her mistress was being held captive in her own home by Alberto Rossini, who planned to marry her against her will, and she begged the party's aid in rescuing her and her mistress. They instantly agreed and told the maid to hurry back before she raised suspicions, since she had slipped out under the pretext of an appointment, and when she left, Demir immediately suggested that they kill all the fascists and hurl their bodies into the canal.

The note is from Maria and asks that the party contact Giorgio, so that's what the investigators did. He was at the bar where he usually hung out with some fresh bruises and scrapes on his face, and when asked, he said that the fascists came on him the previous night but he led them on a merry chase and managed to escape. When told what had happened to Maria, he leapt up and seemed ready to storm the Stagliani estate immediately, but the investigators managed to convince him to round up some of his student friends so that together they could take the fight to the fascist scum. Giorgio said that he would need until that evening to gather them, and the professor suggested they meet back at the cafe then.

The other people at the cafe didn't know exactly where the Palazzo Rezzoniani was, but they did know the general neighborhood, and when the investigators arrived at the neighborhood they were able to get directions to the Palazzo. The building had great doors with winged lion motifs carved on the canal side and a sign advertising tours, and when the party followed that sign, they found the house of the caretaker Nonno Fideli, who indeed offered to let them into the palazzo but explained that while he would be happy to answer questions, the tour was self-guided. He told the party that they were free to enter any area that wasn't unlocked and to ask him if they had any questions and then opened the door.

The clocktower was one of those locked doors, and after Gianni's lockpicks failed to open it, Demir set his shoulder to the door as the professor went to speak to Fideli and ask him about the magnificent door carving of the winged lion. The inside of the clocktower was dim, but Demir fought down the nervousness he now felt in dark places and turned on his torch, quickly ascending the flights of stairs and breaking open the lock on the trapdoor and entering the clocktower with the statues.

There were eight of them: Death, an angel, a soldier, a Turk, an assassin, a winged lion, a rustic lass, and a rustic lad. Only a few of them had exposed legs, and after a close call when the clockwork started to move at the quarter-hour as soon as Demir crossed the room, he took out a knife and scraped the guilding on the statues' legs, quickly finding that the Turk's leg looked very strange in the torchlight.

While Demir was doing this, the professor, the countess, and Gianni were climbing up the palazzo, trying to find a good vantage point to see the next parade of statues on the clocktower. On the third floor, they found another locked door and Gianni set to it with his picks, but he overbalanced when the picks caught and fell backward into the other two, sending all of them tumbling down the stairs. Bruised and limping, they gave up and descended back to the courtyard.

Demir tried to remove the leg using some tools left behind by workmen, but it was too skillfully attached, and eventually he gave up, picked up a hammer and chisel, and smashed it out. This threw the delicate clockwork out of balance, and the statues began madly whirling about, the weapons in their hands seemingly aimed directly at Demir as he ran across the room toward the trapdoor. He managed to avoid the assassin's sword, but the angel's trumpet caught him a blow on the head, though fortunately not one that seriously injured him, and after that he slipped through the trapdoor and down the stairs. He showed Rosaline the leg and then slipped off to avoid Nonno Fideli, who was growing agitated by the noise coming from above.

The investigators--minus Demir, who smashed a window and slipped out a side away from the main door--went to talk to Nonno Fideli, who asked them where their servant had gone until the countess "swooned," allowing them to slip away under the excuse of getting her medical attention. They then went back to their hotel, where they met up with Demir, applied first aid to their various wounds, made sure that their luggage was stored at the train station, and waited for the evening.

At the bar, Giorgio was waiting for them with a half-dozen of his friends, and he suggested storming the front door, and fighting a grand battle for freedom and glory with the fascists. Demir was not a fan of this plan and instead suggested killing everything and throwing their bodies into the canal, which seemed to unnerve Giorgio a bit. After some deliberation, the investigators decided that Rosaline and the countess would attempt to enter through the front door and see Maria with the goal of throwing a rope down from the balcony and allowing the others to sneak in. This didn't work, partially because neither of the two women spoke Italian, and partially because the fascists guarding the door were not interested in allowing anyone in regardless of their excuses. The two made their exit and went around the corner, and the next thing the two fascists saw was a small army of enraged students and Demir running at them.

When the fascists had been beaten and tied up, the group tried the front door, which wasn't locked. There was a dining room to the right from which the sounds of raucous, somewhat-forced laughter were coming. Consulting among themselves, the investigators decided to coat themselves in canal sludge and burst in as though they were vengeful ghosts, the spirit of La Serenissima coming to avenge herself on those who would dare to usurp her ancient glories. And it worked--the fascists ran screaming into the night, and while the countess and professor went to get the escape gondola and make sure that it was ready, Gianni and the students entered the dining room and began to laugh and joke, closing the doors behind them.

Demir and Giorgio rushed up the stairs and quickly overpowered the fascists guarding Maria, and just as Maria and Giorgio were reunited, Alberto Rossini and a priest ascended the stairs as well. Rossini sputtered and demanded to know what was going to, Giorgio yelled, the priest goggled, and Demir snuck around and tried to choke Rossini out. Rossini noticed, but by the Demir was next to him and he managed to overpower the fascist, tie him up, and drag him into a closet after revealing him of his weapons. Since there was already a priest there, and the priest had already been paid, and the threat to Giorgio and Maria would not end without drastic measures...the investigators attended a a wedding, acting as witnesses. Demir then suggested that the happy couple take a honeymoon away from Venice immediately.

On the way back to the hotel, the investigators saw police running to and fro and fires burning in the distance, but they were not directly accosted, and they made it back to their hotel and went to sleep, awakening very early to catch the train. At breakfast, the hotel staff urged them to leave Venice and seemed relieved that they were planning on doing just that. There were no newspapers available and no one knew why.

Leaving was uneventful, though the investigators met Giorgio and Maria at the train station. They were going east toward Milan, and the group bid them good luck and happiness and then boarded the Orient Express. As they settled in and met in the lounge, the professor pulled out The Devil's Simulare and, translating the Latin for the benefit of his companions, he began reading the story of a group of Frankish knights in Constantinople in 1204--the year of the Fourth Crusade.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that if automata show up in an RPG scenario they will come to life and try to kill the PCs.  photo emot-awesomelon.gif Also Cthulhu Dark Ages!  photo peanut.001.gif I am excite!

Demir's player mentioned that we had been a bit too cautious throughout the adventure so far and that maybe a bit more vim and vigor would be appropriate, and mutantur agreed. mutantur did not necessarily agree that the right approach to solving Maria and Giorgio's difficulties was to murder everyone and hurl their bodies into the canals, pointing out that it went against the somewhat light-hearted romantic comedy tone of the scenario. And in the end, we were decisive and no one had to be hurled into the canal, and hopefully Maria and Giorgio aren't murdered by a vengeful Rossini after the fascists seize power.

Still, we did better than the Yog-Sothoth.com version of HotOE. There, the PCs decided that Maria should be happy to marry a man of Rossini's social standing and power, and when they heard she was being held they ignored it, stole the leg, and skipped town under cover of night. So we may be indecisive sometimes, but at least we don't make bad decisions!
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Axe of the Blood God podcast