The brave men of Saunderson Investigations find themselves once again gathered in the London office. Philip Murphy (thief), Paul Cook (Physics Professor) and Rev. Calvin Reed are joined have been joined by the brother of their late comrade, Thomas Richardson, Patrick Richardson. Col. Marsden has been called away indefinitely (player is working for an NGO in Afghanistan). They are approached by a Lord Sedgewick, as his daughter Felicity had gone missing. She had been missing for just under two weeks. He had tried the police but his daughter was 20 and he felt that they had put it on the back burner. Previous to this he had been forced to retrieve his daughter from a commune in Soho after she had refused to come home after a house party. When asked about the members of the commune, he was unhelpful believing them to be communists or some such left wing nonsense.
The group head to Soho and find a shabby townhouse in a crappy part of town. Ringing the bell brings no answer. Philip and Patrick check round the back and after some discussion decide to pick the lock of the back door. This fails horribly. Patrick takes over and crashes through the door. Still there appears to be no sign of life. They check the rooms on the ground floor starting with the lounge. In there they find it set up almost like a church. On the mantelpiece are three carved angels. They also find a photo taped to the wall of a skyscraper. Checking the next floor they find it abandoned . The third floor reveals a young woman, sobbing hysterically. In her hand is clutched a note and there's a bag by the mattress she's lying on. They are unable to calm her so bring in their colleagues. Rev Reed calms her down using his calm pastoral style. The church of Celestrial knowledge have up sticks without her. She struggled to get the money on time that she needed. Professor Cook reads the note:
This is a special invite that I am sending only to those who show the most serious devotion to the cause of the angels. We are travelling to the New World to New York to start a new commune at the feet of the angels. A chapter of our order operates there, they have a centre on West 81st Street. We want you to be part of this noble effort. Prepare yourself to have contact with our winged friends, blessed sister. We will meet back at the commune on the 27th of this month, that gives you ten days to secure the funds needed to get you to the new world and help us set up a centre to communicate peacably with our Celestrial guardians.
In their holy name be praised
They have an idea now of where to go. After a brief discussion they decide to take Alyssia with them. They felt that she may give them an in with the New York church. They quickly head back to their offices and arrange travel. Saunderson Investigations has a New York office that can support them while in Manhattan. Rev. Reed has an idea though if Alice got a letter then maybe so did Felicity!
They head to the Sedgwick homestead to check through her room. Felicity's room is a strange mix of a child's and a young women's. Beside books on fairies and among a doll's house can be found Flapper dresses and make-up. Checking through the wardrobe they find a book called Genesis of Angels which Reed pockets for later. They search on and find correspondence between Michael and Celest (Felicity's angel name). Michael mentions a prison and a building called the Spirit of Progress Building with an address near the Singer Building.
The four men travel to New York with Alyssia in tow. On the ship Rev. Reed reads the Genesis of Angels. He finds a florid history of a race of angels who came to New York. The so called Lords of Manhattan were jealous of them and imprisoned them in New York. They want to get free but need help from those attuned to the Celestrial. The others study the ships library and add to their knowledge on natural history and anthropology.
In New York they head to the New York City branch of Saunderson Investigations. There Luicelle, the super helpful secretary, helps them settle in. They also meet Jim Murdoch, a man who knows a lot of people. They ask him to sort them out with weapons. They also show him the picture from the commune in Soho and he confirms their thinking that it's the Spirit of Progress Building.
Their next stop is the Spirit of Progress Building. Most of the building serves as cheap office space for start-up companies but there is an observation floor that is available for tourists. They their $5 dollars and ride to the top. The lobby at the top is decked out in black marble. There are doors at the corners of three walls north, east and west with the bank of elevators forming the south wall. On the non-elevator walls there are big golden panels with carvings of the Manhattan skyline and angels cast above the city. To one side of the northern wall is plaque that says "Angels over us by Colin Sayid, paid for by the Men who Made Manhattan." There is a logo of three capital Ms with the the tallest in bronze, the second in silver and the smallest in gold. The symbol is also embossed on a plate in the centre of the floor that looks like it maybe hinged. They also check the views from outside. There is a trapdoor labelled fire escape. They leave and are decided to visit the commune en masse tomorrow but in the meantime Patrick will observe it tonight just on the off chance.
At 10:00 Patrick observes three men go into the church of Celestrial Knowledge that look a bit beat up. Then at 11:30 Patrick feels a wave of extreme pressure, that makes him physically sick. The Rev and Dr. Cook in the Saunderson building feel a brief moment of pressure. Philip is on the tiles with Lucielle and doesn't feel anything.
The next day the team saddle up to go meet a cult. Patrick is still feeling rough. They bring Alyssia with them. The church is on the top three floors of an unassuming building on west 181st. They are buzzed up to the first of the churches floors and are met by Melody. Alyssia goes off to join the friends who left her behind. Melody turns to deal with the team. She offers them a counselling session of $10 or full membership for $400. The Rev. Having read Genesis of Angels thinks he maybe best placed to speak to the counsellor. He meets with Castiel, his counsellor. He drops in that he has read Genesis of the Angels. Castiel rushes out and returns with another man. The man questions Calvin about the book and decides he is serious. He introduces himself as the Metatron, the leader of the church. He tells Calvin that he has to swear off his friends and renounce all he has in order to join. Calvin agrees and goes out to his friends and says his goodbyes, all watched by Castiel.
Patrick, Paul and Philip take their illeratative selves off in shock at their friends actions. But they come to realise that he is maybe acting as a Trojan horse. They go and talk to Jim about the Men who Made Manhattan. Jim is able to tell them it's a a gentleman's club near Wall Street made up of Manhattan's elite business men. Philip and Patrick decide to play the club a visit. They are stopped at the door by one of the butlers. He refuses them entry. They decide to try the back and are stopped in the kitchens. They are able to convince them that they are reporters here to do a story but without credentials can't prove it. The butler dealing with them agrees to let them return if they can bring credentials. They immediately head to Jim to see if he can sort out some credentials for them. He agrees but has a bit to do on one of his own cases, a grave robbing of a Fredrick Bourne.
Paul heads over to keep watch on the church to ensure that they can see the comings and goings to the church. He settles himself at a small coffee shop opposite.
Calvin spends the day in mediation with the other church members. At one stage he tries to sneak up to the top floor to look at the Metatron's room but is caught and pleads ignorance. They are given a thin stew for dinner and that night gather on the roof for a service. The Metatron speaks to the assembled church members and whips them into a frenzy. He speaks to his followers about freeing the angels and how they will bring the angels to New York to purify the land. He unveils a device which he says will call the angels to them in two nights time. He states that the summoning machine was once broken but their lord provided the German to fix it and so in two days they can call the angels to them. But he promises to give them a taste and switches the machine on. Calvin feels an extreme build up of pressure which makes him sick but he's not the only one as other followers are sick and suffer nose bleeds. Observing outside Paul Cook feels the pressure build up but his constitution holds strong, blaming it on bad coffee.
The next day Patrick and Philip return with credentials to the club and get a guided tour. Paul is able to get the name of a member and enters as their guest. He immediately checks out a small museum on the 7th floor. There are memorials to members and staff who died in various conflicts and momentos of the clubs history. One entry catches his eye however. A photo of a group of the members in front of the Spirit of Progress Building and half of a wooden pole. The entry is labeled "They gave their lives to protect the skies". Beside the pole is a sign that says "May we never see the other half again". Patrick and Philip continue their tour but are stopped from looking at the top floor as it's only for the committee of the club. They however meet Paul and pretend to want to interview him for the article in private. The butler is persuaded to go about his duties. The trio sneak to the top floor and find the club minutes but also find a locked cupboard containing secret minutes. Around 1908 there is an entry that relates to creatures attacking builders working on skyscrapers. Initially they tried to hunt them but they couldn't kill them. So they came up with a plan. They would build a prison at the top of a skyscraper, the Spirit of Progress Building. They then dragged these creatures into the cells using wooden poles. The committee used the advice of a Saul Berkiwitz. He advised them to place a ward over Manhattan to stop further incursions. Three keys were required to operate the mechanism. These keys were hidden in the Wall Street underground. Armed with this info, the investigators skip out of the building and go to see Saul.
Meanwhile Calvin is trying to feign interest in meditation for the second day in a row. He manages during the afternoon session to get into the Metatron's room and sees the machine from the night before. Seeing the opportunity to kill two birds he tries to lift it above his head and dash his head in. Unfortunately it proves heavier than appearances and he struggles to hoist it and manages to make enough noise to wake the Metatron. He tries to bring it down on to the cult leaders head but he rolls to avoid it. The Metatron screams for Michael to help. Both men try to stop Calvin but he manages to escape to the roof. Calvin runs to try and jump to the next building but a poor diet and days of mediation took its toil and he hangs onto the lip of the next building. He desperately tries to hold on but feels him slipping. Suddenly a hand clamps onto his wrist. He looks into Castiel face and he says "I have you, brother".
Saul Berkiwitz shop is found in the ghetto. It looks grimey and extremely shabby. They go inside and look around. There is nothing remarkable about the occult store and none of the objects would suggest anything special. Saul is a born business man and tries to sell them trinkets. It's not till one of them mentions the ward that he becomes serious. They level with the shopkeeper and he opens up. He had been in contact with a customer who had said that he had been visited by someone who had given him the design for the summoning device. Saul recognised the angels as Harrowers, an angels of the Tick Tock Man. He helped the Men Who Made Manhattan design the prison and then worked the ward into the fabric of Manhattan. He followed the customers details and found the device. The customers body was recovered from the Hudson. The problem is that in 1920 a bomb in Wall Street has broken the ward. He is also aware that the device has been stolen. The three decide that based on this they should go to Wall Street and ensure the keys are still there. Saul is able to give them a key to get into the Wall Street vault.
The next day they head down to the Wall Street subway station. On the platform they see a door with the 3 Ms logo on it. Using Saul's key they find a series of corridors that lead to a combination safe, the whole way along they feel they are being watched. Typing in 1908 opens the box but the keys are gone. They don't have long to ponder this as they are soon joined by a rat. And another one. And another 2 or 3 thousand! This sea of rodents are controlled by man-rats. The investigators manage to escape them but not before one jumps them at the door. They drag him through and question him. Norris the man rat, tells them that 5 men came a couple of days ago and took the key. They killed two of them but the others got away. In a moment of sadism the investigators shoot Norris. When they get back on the platform they realise Norris's body has gone.
The three believe that the Spirit of Progress is their next stop. Just as they are about to get on the elevator to get to the top, they hear a click of a gun cocking. They turn to see church members holding them at gun point. They ride to the top at gunpoint. The doors open and they are met by the entire church in their Sunday best. Among them they recognise Alyssia and Felicity. They also see Calvin bound and gagged. The Metatron addresses one of his members, "Castiel go tell Michael to hurry". The member rushes outside and climbs a ladder to the roof. The Metatron squeals with delight "Brothers and sisters, now is our time, let's release the blessed ones". He and two others take out keys and turn them in the locks. The friezes slide across. Melody steps forward towards the cells, "Celestrial ones please come out and meet us?". A straggled form leaps from the cells, slamming the young woman to the ground. It's willowy limbs pin her while two tentacles weaver back and forth. It rips out Melody's throat with its needle like teeth. The other young women scream, Patrick looks like he's about to collapse but holds it together. Other Harrowers have made their way out and start circling the group. One of the other cultists tries to push Alyssia towards a Harrower but it jumps on him instead. The room turns into a blood bath. The Metatron just sits among it all laughing hysterically. Our heroes stop to grab their guns. They dodge through the maelstrom to Calvin and release him. They task Patrick with making a play for Felicity while they take down Michael and the machine and open the fire escape. Patrick darts through and is able to secure Felicity but decides not to rescue another girl, huddled with her. Philip sets to work on the lock on the fire escape while Calvin and Paul take shots at Michael. Philip opens the lock as Patrick joins the others with their charge. A perfect shot from Calvin finishes him off and as he falls he takes the machine with him (he rolled a 001, he deserved a treat). The investigators make a break for it with the the Harrowers now coming after them. They charge along the fire escape and Patrick shoulder charges the door. Inside they try to find a way down with Patrick, Calvin and Felicity out in front. A Harrower catches up with Paul and Philip but a bullet from Philip puts it off. The three in front again force their way through a door to find another elevator. Another two Harrowers catch up with Dr. Cook and Philip Murphy, another two shots slow them but the the third catches Dr. Cook with its tentacles. The shot removes most of his jaw and he falls unconscious. Philip Murphy is able to hoist him over his shoulder and runs on. Calvin Reed sees the Harrower again about to strike and takes aim. A perfect shot causes it to fall back. They manage to get into the lift and hit ground floor. As the lift descends, shock sets in.
The doors open and they find themselves facing a wall of guns. The guns are held by possible mob types and heavies. Saul pushes his way to the front and is able to talk them out of firing. Medical attention is found for Dr. Cook. Saul explains that after their meeting he went to see the 3 Ms and convinced them to help. Now however they want to talk to the investigators. Saul takes them outside and they meet with John Rockerfeller Jr., the current chairperson. He thanks the investigators for destroying the summoning machine but doesn't thank them for not stopping the Harrowers from being released. He has had to bring in other measures. He also states that there is a major problem now with those who dwell below, that they're now up in arms and demanding blood. He wants them to leave New York immediately. They have been booked on a ship that will leave that night. He ends by telling them they are no longer welcome in New York. Dr Cooks treatment would continue on board ship.
I really enjoyed this one as did my investigators. They did a great except for the death of Norris, which was needless and was a bit cruel and letting the cultist die on top of the building. Still thinking about how to handle the reprocussions of at least Norris. I really didn't see them bringing Alyssia/Alice to New York. It was like they decided she was too safe so decided to endanger her!
Might give them a break next session with one of Paranoia just to shift things around a bit and let them loose a bit with little consequences!