Slow Boat

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Details

Front Cover

Pages: 65-78

Author(s): Peter F. Jeffrey and Mark Morrison

Artist(s): Chris Johnston, Gustaf Bjørksten, Martin Trengrove

Setting: 1920s, optionally 1890s

Appears in: Fearful Passages

Summary

The investigators are summoned by a millionaire, concerned about his missing daughter, who disappeared shortly after discovering a mummified corpse. Suspicion rests on her paramour, a professional psychic, but the truth is far stranger.

Links

Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Synopsis

Wherein investigators float down an English canal, and into a distant future where necromancers hold sway in splendor and squalor.

In a terrible distant future, two necromancers pass the time experimenting with ancient grimoires. In one such experiment, Thathmuor created a vortex opening the way between his time and a 20th century canal tunnel, sending undead servants through to investigate. The undead collapsed on arrival, but the occultist Raven and the missing Aline blundered into the gateway and were dragged into the future, to be captured.

The necromancer plans to experiment on turning them into liches and sending them back to their time, wondering if they will be able to withstand the journey better. Raven, however, knows more of the supernatural than acquaintances may believe, and played on his occult knowledge to bluff the necromancer, and eventually struck a bargain to exchange Aline for some of his supposed acolytes. Raven was sent back with an artefact that will reopen the gate, and now hopes to find suitable dupes to sacrifice. Not only does he want to rescue Aline, but he is under suspicion of her murder after the disappearance. With all his former investigative associates long dead or insane from their experiences, he's desperate. Luckily, at this point Aline's father sends the Investigators to talk to him.

Raven is very willing to offer the Investigators room on his boat, and to show them both the canals and the mummy they discovered, now in a museum in Oxford. He will try to persuade the Investigators to come with him to the tunnel where he says Aline vanished, hoping to keep them in the dark about the true events so he retains control of the situation. If unsuccessful, more corpses will be discovered; he will eventually come to them and spill the beans, hoping they can defeat the necromancer together and save Aline.

If the Investigators are deceived, or persuaded to help, they will enter the gate and encounter a nightmarish dying landscape full of undead slaves. Confronting the necromancer, they will probably be captured. However, Raven has laid plans for a magical distraction, helping the rival necromancer breach Thathmuor's tower and begin a battle that allows them to escape. Aline is already undead, and begs them to give her a peaceful end. With luck, though, they can escape back to their own time.

References

Player Handouts:

  1. Mummified body afloat in Oxford canal!
  2. Statement about Aline McClusky (discovery of the mummy)

Locations: London, the Northamptonshire waterways, possibly Oxford, possibly Banbury, the future

Creatures: Liches (zombies), necromancers, reptilian humanoid thing

Tomes and Artifacts: A copy of Nameless Cults on Raven's canal boat; an Elder Sign; a hand of glory; Raven's unpublished memoirs (Mythos tome); magical magic-point 'eggs'

Campaigns / Scenarios: None

Comments

  • Contains a brief overview of canals and canal boats in the UK and elsewhere.
  • Recommended reading (Zothique)
  • Notes on arriving in England
  • Diagram of canal boat
  • Map of Northamptonshire waterways
  • Landscape of Zothique
  • Otherworld waterways
  • List of new spells: Reanimate Liche, Indent Liche, Liquefy Liche Essence, Temporal Vortex, Petrify Nether Limbs, Human Shrub, Ineffable Comprehension, Scrying Mirror, Subdue Person

Keeper Comments

"Keepers will note that little needs changing to set this adventure in the 1890s."