Adventures

Dates: December 1936

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost

NPCs: Hei Lian, Jen-Sha Yung, Pang Ko, Roger Entman

Location: San Francisco

Synopsis

The Silver Ghost investigates reports of a new Chinatown tong, operating under the name of “Black Lotus.”  He discovers that this new tong is led by Hei Lian, a Chinese aristocrat and opium addict who had been kidnapped from the 19th Century and held prisoner by a mad scientist and time traveler (see The Crystal Ship adventure). After being returned to her own time, Hei Lian had overcome her addiction and learned the powers of sorcery, extending her own lifespan.  Her organization in San Francisco was battling the trade in opium and other narcotics, largely controlled by the Silk Noose tong.

Hei Lian, her lieutenant Pang Ko (outcast from the Silk Noose and taken in by the Black Lotus), and the Silver Ghost work together to strike a major blow against the Silk Noose.  Their leader, Jen-Sha Yung, is arrested and eventually deported back to China.

GM’s Comments

This adventure marked the return of Hei Lian, who has become a fixture in the world of the Chamber, a valuable ally to the Silver Ghost and other PCs in the game.

Dates: ca. September 28, 1938

Location: San Francisco

Player Characters: Darcy Aisling, Chrismon Yarborough, The Silver Ghost

NPCs: Taylor Forest, Norman White, Marie Laval, Hemet

Synopsis

The Silver Ghost is summoned to the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose by Taylor Forest, who was doing some research at the museum.  The Silver Ghost calls in Chrismon and Darcy to help in the investigation. When they arrive, Taylor explains that about two weeks prior, the assistant curator of the museum disappeared, along with one of the mummies in the museum collection.  Tonight, Taylor found the lead curator murdered and another mummy missing — but she was struck from behind before she could summon help.  When she came to, she found the curator’s body gone and the assistant curator’s decomposing body in its place.

The trio investigate both curators’ offices and discover that the assistant curator had become obsessed with the worship of the ancient Egyptian god of evil, Set, and stole the first mummy, that of Hem-Sutekh, a high priest of Set.  The curator, Norman White, had become suspicious of his assistant’s behavior and attempted to cancel an airline booking his assistant had made, from San Francisco to Cairo.  They also discover that the second mummy which was stolen was Hem-Sutekh’s consort, Lady Sekh-tot.  They go to the airport, where they find the dead — but somehow animated — body of Norman White trying to get the two stolen mummies — plus a drugged and sleeping sculptor named Sandra Lacy — onto an airplane.  In the ensuing fight White’s body is destroyed, the Silver Ghost is injured, and the mummies and living person are rescued and returned to where they belong.

Late that evening, the investigators return to the museum, having learned from deciphered journals that Hem-Sutekh’s will had taken over the curators and that the evil high priest was attempting to bring both himself and his consort back to life by having new bodies created for them.  The will of Hem-Sutekh first tries to possess Taylor, then succeeds in subverting Chrismon’s will.  The investigators go to a warehouse elsewhere in San Jose, where the bodies of the pair are hidden.  There they find a makeshift Egyptian temple, and are called upon by another sculptor, Marie Laval, who claims she was summoned here to sculpt a statue in marble.  Soon after, another Egyptian named Hemet arrives, armed with knowledge of old ways and the Eye of Horus for protection.  The Silver Ghost, Darcy and Hemet drive the spirit of Hem-Sutekh out of Chrismon’s mind and the warehouse.  They then chase down the next body Hem-Sutekh possesses, and eventually drive the evil spirit on to his destiny in the next world.

GMs comments

It has been well over ten years since this adventure was played (in a series of instant message chat sessions), and I have read the transcript plenty of times since then.  But it was only just now, reading it over to write the synopsis, that I realized I had created a major plot (or perhaps more accurately, continuity) hole!  I had stated clearly that the bodies of Hem-Sutekh and his Lady Sekh-tot had been returned to the museum after being taken to San Francisco Airport.  But then I said those same bodies had been hidden in a San Jose warehouse.  Hmm….

Either the players never caught this, or they were too kind to question me and just rolled with it.  I’m not sure I want to know which!

Dates: November 1936

Player Characters:  The Silver Ghost

NPCs:  Janet Rutherford, Marilyn Davis, Roger Entman

Location:  San Francisco

Synopsis

The ghost of Janet Rutherford has become Robert Kane’s mediumistic contact (or spirit guide). She tells him she has found the spirit of the child who died unborn when she was murdered, and asks for help to ensure that child’s safety.  The Silver Ghost follows Janet’s clues, which lead him to Marilyn Davis, a bookkeeper forced into prostitution by the desperate circumstances of the Depression.  The Silver Ghost rescues her, offers her work keeping the books at the soon-to-open Shangri-La Club, and also introduces her to Roger Entman (telling him secretly how he came to find her and of the spiritual identity of her child). Roger, moved by the story, falls in love with Marilyn and soon marries her.

 

Dates: October 1936

Player Characters:  The Silver Ghost, Tom Simons

NPCs: Roger Entman, Mariko Tashimori, Marina DeValera, The Ancient Kitsune

Location: San Francisco / Japan

Synopsis

The Silver Ghost, Tom Simons, and Roger Entman travel to Japan, where they hunt down and slay the Ancient Kitsune, freeing Mariko Tashimori from the shapeshifter’s curse (or so it appears, at the time).  They also find a large treasure which the Ancient Kitsune had amassed over several hundred years.  Robert Kane uses his share to purchase and open a nightclub.

 

Dates:  Early May, 1938

Player Characters:  The Silver Ghost, Darcy Aisling, Chrismon Yarborough

NPCs: Mariko Tashimori-Simons, Alberto Darlington, Maria Darlington, Colin Christian, Angela Hall, Roger Entman

Location: San Francisco

Synopsis

Darcy Aisling, Robert Kane and Mariko Tashimori-Simons meet as they are going to Chrismon Yarborough’s bookstore.  Arriving there, they find the place has been burglarized.  They offer their help to clean up and determine what’s been lost; they discover that books related to lycanthropy have been taken.  Further investigation takes them to the hospital room of Alberto Darlington.  Darlington is a werewolf hunter, assisted by his sister Maria, and was attacked by his quarry.  They also meet Colin Christian, a young man who is smitten with Maria and burglarized Chrismon’s shop, stealing books in a misguided attempt to help.

Robert, Darcy and Chrismon take over Darlington’s investigation, with Robert and Colin going to Golden Gate Park and Darcy and Chrismon going to a flophouse on Van Ness Avenue, where they meet Angela Hall — who transforms into a werewolf and flees out a window right in front of them.  They pursue her to Golden Gate Park, where she is intercepted by the others.  She is knocked unconscious, then sedated with help from Roger Entman (who had been summoned by Robert earlier).

Later, when Angela has recovered her human form, she tells her story; the characters offer hope for an eventual cure for her.

GMs Comments

This was the first of a series of adventures featuring the trio of PCs The Silver Ghost, Darcy Aisling and Chrismon Yarborough.  These were all played via instant message chat.

 

Dates:  January 31 – February 2, 1939

Player Characters:  Chrismon Yarborough

NPCs:  Tim Stokes, Halford Marsden, Matthew Livingston, Lily Skyler

Location:  San Francisco

Synopsis

After a brief encounter with a strange person who calls herself an Immortal, Chrismon meets Halford Marsden, who has come to San Francisco in search of a vampire who claims to be a descendant of Count Dracula.  This vampire, Lily Skyler, was for some time quite benevolent, but has turned toward evil, and her servant Matthew Livingston summoned Marsden in fear for his own and others’ lives.

While Marsden works to seal off Skyler’s sanctuaries, Chrismon and Livingston summon Skyler with the intent of keeping her distracted.  Livingston offers up his blood, and while Skyler is taking it, Chrismon attacks, immobilizing her long enough that the morning sunlight can destroy her completely.

GM’s Comments

Almost a decade prior, I killed off a PC whose player had left the group (see notes on Madeline Will Ever Remember.)  In that case, the killing off happened “offstage.”  In this case, Lily Skyler is actually killed by another of the players.

I do sometimes question the ethics of doing this.  In the end, I look to many pen-and-paper role-playing games, quite a few of which have mechanics for PCs to be taken over by the GM — West End Games’ Star Wars RPG and Deadlands come to mind immediately.  At this time, the Chamber was more of a freeform game, so GM fiat took the place of game mechanics — and at the time, I saw no reason to believe the player would come back to question what had happened.

We actually had a brief renewal of acquaintance with Lily’s player, during which I confessed what I had done; she seemed a little surprised but not especially upset.  Not long after, we had another break with her (over completely unrelated issues); this one seems to be permanent.

Dates: May 5-6, 1937

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost, John “Phoenix” Philmore

NPCs: Stephen Williams, Madeline Williams, Lydia Malone

Location: San Francisco

Synopsis

The Silver Ghost investigates an apparent break-in at the office of his late associate Tom Simons, and discovers that it is being haunted by the ghost of Stephen Williams, one of the gangsters killed in the shoot-out of Needles Duncan’s warehouse hideout.  The Silver Ghost discovers that Williams had a daughter, who survived the shootout, and Williams’s spirit is desperate that she be looked after.

The Silver Ghost and John “Phoenix” Philmore, with help from a mysterious woman named Lydia Malone (who was Williams’ lover, and had been conspiring with him to overthrow Duncan), find Madeline at an orphanage.  They jointly adopt her, and the Silver Ghost (in his identity as Robert Kane) brings her to live with him.

Elements of Note

This is the first appearance of Madeline, who becomes here a part of Robert Kane’s growing family.

GM’s Comments

When Tom Simons killed Stephen Williams, a member of Needles Duncan's gang, he didn't even know the man's name....let alone that he had a lover who had convinced him to try and topple the gang.  He didn't know that the lover was also a vampire.

And he certainly didn't know that Williams had a daughter....

As mentioned in the comments on The Touch of Needles, this adventure was originally written with the intent of being an object lesson for the player of Tom Simons.  But we had a falling out with him before this adventure could be played.  With it being extremely unlikely that we’d ever play with him again (and indeed, we’ve not seen him in the twenty years since then), I chose to kill the character of Tom Simons “off screen” and play this adventure out anyway.  It turned out to be a good choice, as Madeline has become an intriguing character in her own right!

Dates: May 3-4, 1937

Player Characters: Tom Simons, The Silver Ghost

NPCs: Needles Duncan

Location: San Francisco

Synopsis

Injured by Tom Simons (in Tomorrow Shock), the gangster Needles Duncan vowed revenge.  The first step of his campaign of retribution was the murder of one of Simons’ associate investigators, which revealed just how much Duncan had been able to learn about Simons’ identity and operations.

Incensed by the murder, Simons enlists the help of the Silver Ghost and heads straight for Duncan’s warehouse hideout, where he proceeds to kill Duncan and (despite his companion’s effort to moderate things) almost everyone else he can find.

GM’s Comments

I was actually shocked and rather upset by the level of brutality shown by the character of Tom Simons in this adventure.  I wrote the follow-on adventure, Madeline Will Ever Remember, as a direct response to that, in hopes of enlightening’s Tom’s player. But in a classic “best laid plans” moment, we had a falling-out with him before that adventure could ever get played.

Dates: April 16-17, 1937

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost

NPCs: Hei Lian, Marlena Fan, Wu Feng-Ying

Location: San Francisco

Synopsis

After being decimated by the Black Lotus Tong (in Black Lotus For An Old Friend), the remnants of the Silk Noose Tong have decided to disband, but not before going out quite literally with a bang: they intend to fill their White Lotus Restaurant with as many San Francisco notables as they can, then blowing it up.  Their draw is a famous and stunningly beautiful Chinese performer from Shanghai, Marlena Fan.

The Silk Noose’s plot is foiled, and the kidnapped Miss Fan rescued, by the Silver Ghost and the Black Lotus.

 

Ravensward Renewed

Dates: April 20-22, 1938

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost

NPCs: Evan Sabre, Sir Geoffrey Ravensward, Antonio Montoya, Arthur Styles

Location: San Francisco, San Mateo

Synopsis

The Silver Ghost finds himself investigating two distinct and apparently unrelated mysteries: a series of apparently random killings of women across all nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area; and the disappearance of a young archaeologist, Artemis Ravensward, from a hospital where she had just awakened from a deep coma.

While the Silver Ghost is staking out a dance contest in San Mateo (a city located in the county of the same name, the only one which had not yet had a killing), the two mysteries converge in a quite unexpected way. The killer, a deluded adherent of ancient Aztec religion named Antonio Montoya, is being stalked by none other than Artemis Ravensward.  The Silver Ghost captures and subdues Montoya before Ravensward can kill him.  Turning his attention to Ravensward, he discovers that she is not what she seems: while her body is that of the young archaeologist, her mind is that of the dead Evan Sabre, who possessed her comatose (and, in fact, soulless) body in an attempt to do some good on earth in recompense for the evil he had done while alive.

The Silver Ghost insists that Sabre cannot keep Ravensward’s body, despite his noble intentions, and convinces him to return to the spirit world.  When Sabre is gone, the Silver Ghost returns the young Ravensward’s body — now dead — to her grieving father, Sir Geoffrey Ravensward.

Elements of Note

This was the last (to date) appearance of Evan Sabre in the world of the Chamber.  Odds are it will, in fact, be the last, unless I can come up with a really clever way of bringing him back yet one more time…