It’s a long time since I last did a proper game write-up, either as a player or as GM – the time and energy seldom coincide – but flybynightpress's Gin Lane game which I played in this weekend required some sort of communication with the other (London and other furrin parts) player group, so I thought I might as well go the whole hog and turn my letter into a game report.
No doubt in due course it’ll join the rest of the game write-ups in The Intelligencer, but in the meantime I felt the rare occasion noteworthy enough to post it here. For those of you not familiar with Gin Lane, there’s a brief background on the web site as well as more detailed information about the game.
My Lord Foppingham and Master ben Ezra,
No more than a few days since, Samuel Darkin and I were about some business regarding an curious artefact - of which more in due course - when our cab was interrupted in its progress by one of those fellows euphemistically referred to as "gentlemen of the road".
Our first knowledge of this was when our driver let out an expletive, occasioned no doubt by the highwayman's lackeys porting a recently-cut tree across the road in front of us. Without further ado, Mr. Darkin, a former military man, flung the door wide, stepped outside, and had loosed off a shot before the blackguard had completed the third word of the highwayman's traditional greeting. It met with some success, curtailing any further oration with a cry of pain, although the villain was not felled.
Preferring to ensure that the artefact was adequately guarded, as we immediately thought it might be the target of the attack, I remained strategically hidden in the cab, taking advantage of the brief intermission to draw my sword and pistol within the cramped quarters.
Meanwhile, the wounded man's followers advanced upon the cab, concentrating on Darkin as they plainly believed him to be alone. Their "leader" trailed them a little, by cause of the nick he had taken, but was plainly intent on following his business through. Waiting until they were close upon us, I used my tactical advantage to give one pause by discharging my barker in the close vicinity of his ear.
Momentarily outnumbered, Samuel ducked behind the horses, dived to the ground between them, and rolled to join me on the other side of the cab. Rising nimbly to his feet with sword in hand, the point carried away my deafened victim's hopes, leaving him no further threat to us, nor the vitality of the next generation.
Taking advantage of the cab's slight continued movement, I stepped around its rear to cross swords with the remaining footpads. Being more direct in his ways, Darkin took a different route. Stepping from the sod, to cab door, to the wheel, to the roof, he took another pace across the cab before descending boots first into the fray.
As matters chanced, we arrived more or less in tandem. Before a fearsome onslaught of blades and footwear the ne'er-do-wells were apprised that they could ne'er do well in this company, and with little further resistance they were off, their master leading the way.
So much as was within our powers, we set right the damage: which is to say that I dispatched the horse that was beyond rescue, ordered the cab driver forth from a thicket, and called upon the watch to remove the sorry miscreant who we apprehended crawling away from the scene, pending our complaint to the magistrate. Mr. Darkin saw to it that his incarceration would be sure until our return.
We completed our interrupted business - a consultation regarding our artefact - and then sought out the wounded man in his cell.
Assuring him that he was certainly condemned to a Tyburn jig if we placed our complaint before a magistrate, we offered to forego our duty if he could help us in tracing his master. We found him little concerned, though, as to dancing. Cut off in the flower of his youth, he lamented the loss of his orchids to such an extent that his only wish was to be carried off to eternal rest in the arms of Mother Geneva.
Having made arrangements for the deserving unfortunate, we departed for Cadgy Michael's, a den of thieves north of Smithfield that "Captain" Smith, the highwayman, was known to frequent. The proprietor of the establishment did not demur at our entry, and was good enough to require the presence of the "Captain" at our request.
The "Captain", face-to-face with his erstwhile victims, showed the courage one might expect from such a leader of men - always to the fore in hanging back. Sweating with fear, both at his immediate predicament and notably at the breach of trust we required of him, he told us he had been employed by Dogberry, a habitué of The Dog and Ferret; and charged with asking us if were members of a particular society, before delivering the bluntest of messages for "our old acquaintance Jack Church".
Having perused the most recent entries in the society journal, I expect that this news will contain little of genuine novelty for Mr. Church, but I hope that you will keep the gentleman informed nonetheless. I trust that other society members will also be alerted, since fore-warned is fore-armed.
Regarding our artefact of interest, we have determined it to be a Baphomet, or Bacon head, of ingenious design. Constructed of brass and leather, it gives the appearance of life without conscious will, and can most probably used by those familiar with such things to commune with spirits. By nature of its construction - with leathern musculature - it is likely to have a particular affinity for the dead, and might suffer haunting, and it is also likely to perish itself in due course. It has an affinity with Saturn and Binah, besides Dark, Age and Death. It has neither actively not passively yielded further clues to its master. Other information hints that it is the property of "ceremonial builders of the temple", who wish for the return of the Old Days.
Being loath to either use it or destroy it, we make it available to such in the society as may have an interest more competent than our own in such matters of Tiphareth. It was retrieved in the course of investigating the cause of more-than-natural lightning strikes that took place in June; the chamber in which the head was discovered had been the recipient of at least one such concussion, when through the actions of your servants the devilish blow was prevented from striking its original target. A cellar of thirteen curtained alcoves concealed the thing, where it rested, hooded, on a spike of rock upon an altar. I enclose the address of the warehouse beneath which the cellar lies on a separate leaf. The lightning had passed through warehouse and rock and all.
Your servant in the cause of Effectual Redress,