Sofia, 1925. Milos suffers an unfortunate mustard-gas relapse and returns to the hotel, whilst Violet becomes increasingly reliant on her all-too-regular morphine doses. Whilst the other (relatively) healthy members of the party visit the library, Violet keeps her cravings at bay by shopping for hats.
The Colonel, prompted by his visions and certain discoveries at the library, suggests a trip to the local caves, and is frustrated when his suggestion is not received enthusiastically by the younger party members. Whilst the rest of the group return to the Moulin de Violet, Colonel Goodenough persuades a local boatman to take him up the river where he happens upon a scene of terrible carnage, and recovers something that he thought was lost for good.
He fails to find the object of his quest, however, and rejoins the rest of the party at the hotel. Later that evening, Mrs. Sunderland also unexpectedly recovers something long-lost, as an old friend steps out of the past and into her bedroom.
The evening's surprises are not yet exhausted, however, as in an adjoining room Violet gains a new perspective on her recent misfortune, and in still another room Grace embraces her newly-acquired sorcerous power.
The following morning, a woman no-one has laid eyes on before enters the Moulin de Violet with a recommendation from Milos, and thus Mary Dawson joins the party as Mrs. Sunderland's new PA. She immediately ingratiates herself by skilfully (if mysteriously) making a cup of tea just the way Mrs. Sunderland likes it.
The reinvigorated party follow the Colonel's lead to the mysterious cave he discovered the previous evening. Whilst the rest of the party discuss porridge, Col. Goodenough re-enters the cave, but discovers nothing more.
By PoCMrs. Sunderland's Boys
Belgrade, 1925. Before the action starts, The Bradford Players take pains to make it quite clear that this episode is performed entirely clothed (but, of course, we only have their word for it).
Upon arriving at Belgrade, Mrs. Sunderland heads out to do some research, and sends a telegram informing the family of the victim on the train of her and her cats' fate. She makes the mistake of feeding the urchins, and (despite Neil advocating killing all of them) Mrs. Sunderland hires a large boy to protect her on the way back to the hotel.
The party (after arguing over the appropriate course of action and Mrs. Sunderland's Duc obsession) heads out to the museum to discuss with Dr. Milovan Todorovic about the statuary from whence he gets his pieces.
Dr. Todorovic, feeling uneasy about giving away his source, demands a permit first. Some quick thinking and quicker cash smoothes out the process, and permit in hand they return to Dr. Todorovic who directs them to Oraszac and the priest, Father Filopovic.
Information in hand, the groups attention turns once more to shopping, where they get new sticks, have their fortunes told with eggs, and haggle for a statue's arm. At the last minute the arm is stolen by a suspicious fez-wearing individual. A chase ensues. Body surfing is invented by Mrs. Sunderland, and the arm is retrieved, although it is not a piece of the simulacrum.
By PoCDarkest before the Dawn
Our heroes, minus one member, accompany Aktar on a stealthy trip into the Shunned Mosque. Aktar has time to regret his choice of companions on a short trip in a rowing boat.
Within the bowels of the Mosque, Mary further hones her skills with a sub-machine gun, whilst the Colonel displays the somewhat surprising ninja prowess of a one-eyed geriatric with a gammy leg. After a brief perusal of mysterious potions, the group are soon cunningly disguised amongst many cultists, and are once more betrayed and captured.
Our heroes witness the return of Makryat and the loss of the Simulacrum before they are re-united with a more-or-less complete old friend, and a much-less-complete even older one.
Despite Max's best efforts, our heroes are subjected to a long monologue as Makryat gloats at them in their cell, and they learn something of the dreadful fate that awaits them.
Events prove that it is always darkest before the dawn, however, and soon the party is once more contemplating a journey across Europe...
We also learn something of the Professor's taste in women (blue veined, mature, with a waxy coating).
By PoCHead Games
The episode starts in a familiar fashion – the party are graverobbing. They encounter the insane Companion of the Dead, who soon learns to regret sneaking up on the Colonel.
Within the grave of Garaznet our heroes discover a shocking sight, and soon find themselves betrayed, and held captive in a most unpleasant fashion by the Brothers of the Skin. In a fit of panic, Mrs. Sunderland reveals all. Help comes from an unexpected quarter, and the party flee to the Bosphorus, where they suffer a delayed reaction to the horrors they have just experienced.
Mrs. Sunderland shows her true feelings towards an old friend, whom no one else can see, whilst Mary Dawson becomes extremely tongue-tied. The now-rather-unstable group encounter Aktar, who has seen first-hand the terrible truth of the Brothers of the Skin, and agrees to help them enter the Shunned Mosque.
By PoCBlood, Sweat & Tears
After dinner, the party actually decide to follow up on a side-plot, though there is a brief pause whilst a broken Helen repairs herself. Max and Mary head to the library together to investigate "Garaznet: the thief" amongst the narrow and cozy stacks, whilst the other members of the group pay a visit to Sir Douglas Rutherford, the British ambassador, and learn of the disappearance of his son, James.
The staff of the embassy are gathered in the garden for questioning, and shocking events follow (the Colonel's seen worse in the war, mind you!).
Following a suggestion from the ambassador, the group decide to head to the baths to meet with the unfortunately (though accurately) named Beylab the Perspirer. The meeting is informative but soon takes a horrific turn and our heroes make a rapid exit from the bath house (some without even wearing towels!).
We also enjoy discussion of the excellence of German tentacles, and learn why Paul now wields ultimate authoritaaah as a Keeper. Discussions include the love glove, and the best way to conceal weaponry in a bath house.
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...
Mary reveals her secret to Milos, who secures her new official papers with some well-judged words, and lots of money. Violet goes shopping for drugs.
The party discusses what to do with the portions of the simulacrum, and a decision is reached. Re-boarding the Orient Express, the group head towards their final destination: Constantinople.
They are not fated to reach it without incident, however. Whilst renewing their acquaintance with the good Dr. Gaspari over an evening meal, tragedy strikes. A terrible battle follows leading to an unskilled but effective use of a machine gun. Mrs. Sunderland is forced to perform an unpleasant task.
The party barricade themselves within Mrs. Sunderland's cabin, unfortunately leaving some passengers to meet their end at the hands of their frightful nemesis. Mrs. Sunderland reveals some of her recent activities, and calls on the help of a powerful ally, to no avail. An idea by the Colonel and herbal delivery lead to a sanity-shaking melee in the corridor.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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".
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 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 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 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 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 PoCCreation of the Horror on the Orient Express characters used in play.
See also Chaosium's Horror on the Orient Express (2nd edition) campaign.
By PoCInvestigators from YSDC's version of the Horror on the Orient Express campaign.
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 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?