By PoCA favour to a friend
We meet the characters get a sense of their personalities and backgrounds. George Walker contacts Col. Neville "Never" Goodenough requesting help bidding on some items at the House of Ausperg auction house. The characters make an appearance at the House of Ausperg before the auction. There is also a visit (against Violet's wishes) to the British Museum, to research the items up for auction.
The Auction scenario was originally from The Asylum and is used here as a segue to the main campaign.
By PoCThe Beginning
The start of the campaign, proper. We learn about Dr. Smith's specialties and habits. The party attends Dr. Smith's presentation at the Challenger Trust Banquet Lecture. Smith's London house burns down and he and his manservant go missing. In a London hotel a man is murdered three times.
The party investigates the disappearances of Professor Smith by visiting his estate, the neighbouring town and grocer. They receive an urgent message summoning them to a secret meeting with Smith where they learn of the Sedefkar Simulacrum. They then begin preparations for their journey on the Simplon Orient Express. A terrible sight awaits them at the British Museum.
By PoCThe Langorous, restrained bidding goes normally...
Moretti instructs the ladies on proper auction etiquette and techniques. They practice bidding on cakes. Moretti meets with the deputy head of acquisitions at the British Museum to conduct further research. In the evening the party attends the auction at the House of Ausperg. There they meet several society types including Professor Julius Smith and his manservant. We also learn how much of a polyglot Professor Moretti truly is. During the auction there is a theft and a horrible murder!
By PoCShaven white zombie apes, you say...
The investigators look into the horrible murder at the House of Ausperg as the police arrive. The party discovers a collapsed wall in the vault of the auction house and find that the bronze head is missing.
By PoCTo dine, perchance to shop...
Taking the train from London, the investigators cross the channel to Calais and board the Orient Express rail coaches for Paris, and a research trip to the Bibliotheque National.
Staying at the Moulin Noir, the ladies embark on an epic shopping foray and visit the Eiffel Tower and other iconic places of interest. Meanwhile Mrs. Sunderland and the Colonel are ably assisted in the Library by some hired help. They and the Professor make a series of discoveries regarding a corrupt noble, the Comte Fenalik, who resided at Poissy and was seized by the Kings Guard on the eve of the French Revolution and incarcerated in Charenton. Rumour of despicable activities in the cellars of the house are discovered.
By train to Poissy. Violet, ever the thespian, performs a fan dance in the local town hall and makes a splash with the locals. Obtaining the address of the old estate of the Comte Fenalik they take a taxi to the house of the town Doctor, Christian Lorien and engage in dinner, wound a small child and stay the night. Scratching at the window and a hellish visage haunt the young girlâ€™s dreams...
By PoCAt the sign of the three balls
After breakfast and a discussion of Austria, the land of famous pizzas, the party visits The Gate Cemetery in search of evidence of "body snatchers and great hairless apes". They decide it would be more useful to investigate Herr Hunderprest's residence and gain entrance thanks to Mrs. Sunderland's skill with "unlocked" doors. Meanwhile, Professor Moretti inquires at a local pawn shop and gets in a fight at a nearby pub. Once reunited, the party finds something very unusual in the cellar. After returning to their hotel they receive an invitation to a lecture by Professor Smith.
By PoCChez Lorien
The Investigators excavate the entrance to the Comte de Fenalik's ruined cellars in the garden of the Doctor's house, and find many terrible things and horrific sights.
After not too thorough an investigation a piece of the fabled Sedefkar Simulacrum is recovered and transported to Paris by train.
Back at the Moulin Noir, recuperation and bathing follows and the travellers determine to embark on the Orient Express, after a traditional French poodle magic show and night at the opera to see the Italian diva Caterina Cavollaro.
By PoCStuff this?
Boarding the Orient Express proper for the first time, the party settle into their cabins and make their way to the saloon car for pink gin and nibbles. The Professor is introduced to Ms. Cavollaro who sings a fabulous aria for the car.
Disembarking in Lausanne they check in to the Moulin Vert and seek out the Wellington Brothers, taxidermists of note, who are in possession of an ancient scroll. Here they meet the Duc des Esseintes who has also expressed an interest in the scroll.
Mrs. Sunderland rents a boy, and takes a boat trip on Lake Geneva, while the group take a very long and tiring tour of Lausanne, before the Duc makes his excuses and leaves. Later the urchin reports the Duc was seen exiting the Taxidermie alone.
In the evening to Le Chat Noir for an auction for the scroll, however neither the Duc nor Mr Wellington appears, leaving the party in the tedious company of one Maximillian von Wurtheim – Grace is impressed.
Worried the party head to investigate the shop, where they find the bodies of William Wellington partly flayed on the floor and Edgar dead of a drug overdose in his bed.
Later during a trip to the Library, Grace stumbles upon a rare German text with extremely disturbing illustrations. She is struck by a sudden realisation that her friends are controlling her every move and whim and are not to be trusted. She heads to the hotel, gives Violet the slip and meets with Max von Wurtheim once more. Under his guidance she returns to the hotel to secure the funds they require to start the new life she craves together in the Exotic East, and a scuffle ensues with the cat-like Mrs. Sunderland. Grace flees once more empty handed and gives the Colonel and Violet the slip.
By PoCSmoked Herring
The party spend the night in Montreaux, and in the morning load their luggage and an unconscious Grace onto the Orient Express once more, heading for Milan. Violet and the Colonel are joined at breakfast by one Col. Herring and his ineffectual wife. The two Colonels get on like a house on fire, but a luncheon with them and Mrs. Sunderland does not go well when the Duc des Esseintes arrives demanding the scroll.
The singed party arrives in Milan, to find the mood in the Professor's home town strangely subdued. Unfortunately the Professor is too badly injured to enjoy his homecoming.
As Violet and Mrs. Sunderland explore the shops of Milan, Grace finally awakens, remembering "nothing".
By PoCGrace Under Pressure
Penniless, Grace goes to ground in a nearby hotel. Meanwhile the Professor and Mrs. Sunderland decide to attempt to recover the scroll alleged in the diary to be stored safely in Dream Lausanne, using the preparation recovered from Edgar's room.
By PoCA Death in the Family
A Dr. Fenton Winstanley is called to our heroes to help tend to their various wounds. Tragically, his considerable medical skills fail him when they are most needed, and disaster befalls the party.
Still coping with their bereavement, the party are lured into the streets of Milan by eerie singing, and learn that the Diva Caterina, due to sing in Aida at La Scala opera house, has vanished. Grace embarks upon a quest to ensnare the innocent Dr. Winstanley.
The following morning, the party, along with Dr. Winstanley, decides to visit Il Duomo, famous cathedral at the centre of Milan. Here they encounter Father Angelico, and learn more of the strange malady currently affecting the Milanese citizens. Dr. Winstanley strikes up a conversation with three costumiers from La Scala, who tell him of the mysterious curse affecting the famous opera house. The rest of the party are surprised by a clumsy lepidopterist.
A visit to La Scala follows – after swift talking from Violet, the party are admitted, but soon become lost in the confusing and somewhat surreal backstage area. Finally locating the costumiers, the group learn more of the curse, and of a costume dummy which may be of vital importance to the mission.
Leaving the opera house sooner than they expected, the grieving party decide to take Dr. Winstanley into their confidence, and tell him all that has happened to them thus far.
We also learn the best way to pronounce the word "murals", and discover a specialist web site for those who are big fans of Wookies.
By PoCSmutty for Some!
(This episode was recorded before a live studio audience. Well, two people eating a Chinese takeaway).
The ladies in the party go shopping for dresses, whilst the men go shopping for guns. Dr. Winstanley reveals his skill at cocktail creation, and the party enjoy a glass of Pimm's before a night at the opera. There is much discussion of ladies' monogloves throughout this episode.
Our heroes head to La Scala - Violet is very excited at the prospect of four hours in an opera house. Strange goings-on during the famous aria, a glimpse of a marble torso, and some skilful ignoring of sub-plots lead the party backstage, where they indulge in a spot of dressing up, before becoming involved in a fist fight. Whilst the elderly members of the group scuffle, Violet sneakily "acquires" the object of their quest.
Dr. Winstanley demonstrates how any time of the day can be "Pimms o'clock" whilst the rest of the party attend the funeral of a dear, departed friend.
By PoCAhhh... Venice!
The party board the uncharacteristically late Orient Express once more, bound for Venice. On the train they encounter the recently bereaved and rather upset Maria Stagliani and her maid. Upon their arrival at Venice, Maria is set upon by an unpleasant fascist gentleman, and the party come to her aid.
Staying at the Gritti Palace, the group enjoy a night in Venice and listen to the songs from the canals. In the morning, the Colonel tucks into a delicious plate of Parma kippers, before our heroes head to the hall of records in search of the mysterious Alvise Gremanci, who brought one of the pieces of the simulacrum to Venice.
An afternoonâ€™s searching (whilst Violet stares longingly at the nearby shops) proves fruitless, and our heroes pay a visit to Maria, only to be refused entry by her loyal maid. A meeting with her paramour Georgio later in the day reveals her tale of woe, and we learn of the fiery passion that burns within the heart of young Italian men (and exactly what the Colonel thinks of such matters).
An evening at the hotel is marred by a scream in the night and death on the canal.
By PoCBedhops & lockpicks
The party decide to head to the graveyard island in Venice, where they encounter an intermittently-accented gravedigger and uncover the headstone of Alvise Gremanci.
Mrs. Sunderland takes solace from her grief in alcohol, aided by Dr. Winstanley (apparently sponsored by the Pimm's corporation).
Led by clues from Alvise's gravestone, the group head to the famous Gremanci doll's house, where after some bartering with the aged Mr. Gremanci and a peculiar request from the Colonel, the party are invited to dinner by the slightly younger Sebastiano Gremanci.
At the dinner party, our heroes learn more about the history of the sorcerous Alvise, but are too distracted with their own social scheming to pay much attention. Grace gets Dr. Winstanley drunk for her own nefarious purposes, whilst Mrs. Sunderland manages to get drunk all by herself (despite Violet's best efforts).
An eventful dinner party leads to an eventful night, and there are some awkward silences over breakfast the following morning.
By PoCLondon, 1925.
A missing railway buff, a toy train set and the lingering smell of smoke in a small bedsit. There's something rum going on and the investigators will follow it through to the end of the line.
Full steam ahead!
[This was an additional recording originally made in 2012 as part of The Express Diaries fundraiser.]
By PoCAn arm or a leg?
Venice, 1925. During another sumptuous breakfast of Parma Kippers, the waiter tells the party alarming tales of the appearance of multi-limbed fish in the canals of Venice. The companions return to the Gremanci Doll Works and continue their investigations which are rewarded with a suggestion that one of the legs of the Simulacrum is attached to a statue in a palazzo in Venice. Meanwhile Dr. Winstanley seeks the opinion of some scientists on Violet's health following her watery immersion the previous day.
Maria Stagliani's maid visits the party after they return to their hotel and explains that Georgio hasn't turned up for an assignation with Maria. The party give the maid all possible assistance short of anything actually useful and Grace demonstrates that her diplomacy is as poor as her looks.
Following a short trip to the palazzo, Mrs. Sunderland again works her wonders with a locked door and Dr. Winstanley, Grace and Violet pit their wits against the automata in the clock tower.
By PoCA grave situation
Venice, 1925. Day dawns over the city of Venice and an awful stench pervades the air. After sampling the delights of Parma Kippers, the party attends the funeral of Maria Stagliani's father. During the ceremony, they hear scratching noises from within the bow-festooned coffin and many professional opinions are given as to the amount of air present in the heavy stone tomb in which the coffin is incarcerated. The party leaves the funeral by gondola but a fight breaks out with their treacherous gondolier and (following a botched roll) Violet falls in the stinking, greasy water of the Venetian canals. The party reaches the Gremanci Doll Works and the old storeroom packed with dolls. Mrs. Sunderland deftly unlocks the door to the accounts store and the Colonel and Violet search for clues.
By PoCThe longest day
Trieste, 1925. While Mrs. Sunderland and the Colonel bicker about the Duc des Esseintes and the fate of the Simulacrum, the Colonel is pushed bodily down the hotel corridor by an invisible assailant and he bursts into the door of an adjacent room. The door is opened by an incredibly ugly man: none other than Margrave Milos Vilinchek, a travelling gun salesman who quickly seizes a business opportunity by offering his new companions one of his array of fine weapons. That night, as Grace pores over the pages of the Winckelmann diary, a series of fantastic events take place: Grace's candle extinguishes and re-lights itself; flames on the fire turn blue and a wind whips up in their rooms. After another room change, there is a knock on the hotel room door and they find standing in front of them the ghost of Johann Winckelmann who tells them of some nearby caverns before leading them to an old building where they find a strange, golden medallion, in which the Colonel takes a keen interest. The following day, Mrs. Sunderland and Grace bundle the rest of the party onto a local train that takes them up to the caves. To Violet's dismay, a long walk lies ahead...
By PoCWhere the wind blows
Venice, 1925. After a short trip on the Orient Express, our band of travellers arrives in the windy city of Trieste. They take a taxi to the Moulin d'Or Hotel, where the Colonel, Grace and Violet are blown down the street by the violent wind, only narrowly missing the doors of the nearby Hotel Stupido. The following morning, they make for a local art history museum. Dr. Winstanley finds the tomb of Dr. Johann (Joachim) Winckelmann in a faux-classical temple in the museum garden. Dr. Winstanley fends off a Dido and Aeneas moment with Grace in the temple and instead returns with some curious rubbings.
By PoCHotel California
Trieste, 1925. Our brave group visits the local branch of the House of Ausperg in order to track down Dr. Winckelmann's collection of medallions, pausing en route only to note the passing of a tall, thin man whose hair is a shock of red with a single lock of black. Herr Ausperg reports that his famous auction house was indeed involved in the sale of Winckelmann's diary, to a member of the Termona family. The party visits Antoni Termona, who lends them the diary. After careful study, they manage to translate some of the diary's Greek text but there is one passage that, while apparently significant, still eludes them and yet seems strangely familiar to Grace Murphy...
That evening, while the Colonel stays in his room, the rest of the party enjoy the luxurious surroundings of the hotel restaurant. While they are eating, the hotel lights go out and the party in the restaurant are assailed by mysterious events. Dr. Winstanley, in a fit of pique, argues with the restaurant staff and the Colonel demonstrates his prowess with a pistol.
By PoCKeeping it in the Family
The remaining party members further discuss Mrs. Sunderland's recent alliances. Col. Goodenough is less than happy. The Orient Express pulls in to Constantinople, and the group experiences grevious trouble at the station, further confirming the Colonel's opinion of foreigners.
Two old friends await them in Constantinople – Amelia Scott, cousin of Violet's husband and (much to Col. Goodenough's displeasure) a modern woman, and Dr. Maximillian Calibré, fedora-wearing American archaeologist (whose resemblance to any person living or dead is entirely coincidental).
We get to know our new party members as the group checks into the Moulin d'Orange Grand. With their missing property returned, the party is now in possession of the complete Sedefkar Simulacrum.
Our heroes decide to drown their recent sorrows in copious amounts of alcohol, and old "hollow-legs" Calibré finds his fabled drinking skills desert him when he needs them most.
The next morning in the market, the party acquire a new ally, Feyar, thanks to the Colonel's stick, and head to the University library. Research there leads them to the famous Topkapi palace museum, where Amelia's silver tongue gains them access to the Sedefkar Scrolls, and a surprise that no one sees coming...
By PoCThe Hamper House of Horror
Trieste, 1925. The party head for the spectacular caves of the Grotti di Postumia, and secure the services of a local tour guide. Descending into the dank bowels of the Earth, the investigators are attacked by their guide and his disreputable colleagues who seek the Colonelâ€™s new medallion for some dark arcane purpose. They in turn are attacked by a gang of fez wearing Turks and a large fire fight ensues, during which several party members are wounded, heroically. They flee under cover of darkness and the noise of combat. After some time they find a foreboding hidden chamber containing a large subterranean lake. Suddenly they are accosted by some immense telepathic power which instructs them to leave the medallion and go, so after some quick bartering Mrs. Sunderland throws the medallion into the heart of the lake, much to the upset of the Colonel. Searching the piles of occult paraphernalia and discarded offerings around the lake they eventually stumble upon a leg of the simulacrum and free it from its covering of flowstone. They flee on foot and are followed by the guides who are once again ambushed by Turks allowing the party to escape. Hurrying towards the town a 3rd fight breaks out leaving both sides heavily wounded while Mrs. Sunderland and party slip off into a waiting taxi and safety. Back in Trieste, they make rapid plans to depart on the Orient Express, pack and board the train.
By PoCSaint Valentine's Day Massacre?
Yugoslavia, 1925. The party stay overnight in Oraszac. After breakfast, the Colonel receives a present and an awkward social situation from a new friend. After a discussion of dressings and dressing changes, the party is ready to go into the woods today, searching for the right arm of the Simulacrum.
Deep in the woods the group find a strange hut, wherein the Colonel expresses a previously unmentioned interest in tapestries. Milos displays his pulling power when he finds the item that the party seek, but the partyâ€™s triumph rapidly turns to horror when the inhabitants of the hut display their true nature.
Fleeing the scene, the Colonelâ€™s present only adds to our heroes troubles, and Violet is forced to face up to some unpleasantness.
Further tragedy awaits them upon their return to Oraszac, and they seek sanctuary in the church of Father Filopovic.
The following morning finds our group safe, if not necessarily sound, on board the Orient Express once more, bound for Sofia. Pursuit is never far behind but a ribbon of iron proves the groupâ€™s salvation, and Grace is finally free to complete her studies into arcane knowledge, learning the dark secrets and the terrible price of the mysterious Body Warping of Gorgoroth...
By PoCA Fourgon Conclusion
The players choose jelly baby homunculi in preparation for the final, dramatic episode of Horror on the Orient Express.
Mrs. Sunderland and Mary visit a certain Mr. Shakti who helps them out with their... problems, whilst the Colonel and Amelia say goodbye to old friends. Max goes shopping.
The party board a plane piloted by the dashing Max Von Richthofen, and renew an old (and unpleasant) acquaintance. Mrs. Sunderland makes good use of the on-board drinks cabinet. Surprised by a fowl attack at several thousand feet, the plane is forced to make an unusual manoeuvre, and the group soon find themselves once more upon the Orient Express.
Peculiar goings-on and a surprise appearance lead to an audience with the Jigsaw Prince. Mrs. Sunderland dabbles in arcane mysteries and our heroes have a final confrontation with two powerful enemies.
As the train and the drama hurtle towards their final, desperate conclusion, will the party be in time to save themselves and the world from the darkness and corruption of the terrible Sedefkar Simulacrum?