Adventures

Tomorrow Shock

Dates:  early April 1937

Player Characters: Tom Simons, The Silver Ghost

NPCs: Davidon, Needles Duncan, Catwoman Alvarez, Quentin

Location: San Francisco

Synopsis

Tipped off by the Shadow or his agents, Tom Simons and the Silver Ghost enter a San Francisco warehouse where they discover Davidon, attempting to raise funds to build a new Crystal Ship from two notorious San Francisco gangsters.  The heroes foil the plan by starting a firefight.  In the chaos, Duncan and Alvarez escape; Davidon is caught, and the Silver Ghost uses his hypnotic powers to ensure Davidon will not be able to even think about building another time machine.

Elements of Note

This adventure featured the return of the villain Davidon (first seen in The Crystal Ship). His punishment at the end turns out to be the first step on his road to eventual redemption.

This adventure also introduced Needles Duncan and Catwoman Alvarez.  While Needles didn’t last long in the world of the Chamber, Alvarez has, although in a considerably less villainous role than was originally conceived.

Limited Edition

Dates: ca. September 30, 1937

Location: San Francisco

Player Characters: Kelly Casale, The Silver Ghost

NPCs: Lucas Freeman, Darcy Simonsen, Peter Carpenter, Adrian DeVos

Synopsis

Newly arrived in San Francisco, Kelly Casale auditions for a job as featured singer at the Shangri-La Club. The owner, Robert Kane, seems a bit mysterious, but unusually kind and amenable, for a nightclub operator. After a frightening vision brought on by a basket in her dressing room, Kelly performs her first show, then joins bandleader Lucas Freeman to look for Pablo, a member of the band who didn’t show.

They find Pablo’s body in his apartment. He has been strangled in a fashion eerily similar to an incident that had happened in the club some months before (the source of Kelly’s earlier vision). Unnerved by the discovery, they share their supernatural secrets with one another, then agree to tell Robert Kane what’s happened. Lucas thinks Kane knows someone who might be able to help.

Kelly tells Kane about Pablo — and her psychic gift — the following morning. Kane tells her he’ll mention it to a friend who works for the FBI, and also gives her the card of one Daniel Evans, who may be able to help her master the psychometry — which for all her life, Kelly has known only as a source of trouble. Later, Kelly and Lucas agree to investigate Pablo’s murder themselves. A chain of clues leads them to a gallery where strange paintings, evocative of the Great War, are being exhibited. They learn that only one person — Adrian DeVos — has bought any of them. They agree to search out DeVos after the evening’s show.

Meanwhile, after receiving the information about Pablo’s murder from Kelly, the Silver Ghost is doing his own investigations. He also tracks down DeVos through the paintings, takes them, and then contacts DeVos, telling him to surrender himself if he wants the paintings back.

After the night’s show, Kelly is accosted by Peter Carpenter. In the midst of spouting his admiration, DeVos arrives, pulls Carpenter aside, and orders him to take DeVos’ place at that night’s meeting. Kelly overhears this, and after DeVos is gone, draws a full confession from Carpenter: some days before, he had joked that DeVos couldn’t commit 200 killings, each different. DeVos took it literally and has killed five so far, including Pablo.

Kelly and Lucas go with Carpenter to the meeting. The Silver Ghost — and DeVos, in hiding — are already there. In the confrontation that follows, DeVos kills Carpenter, and the Silver Ghost kills DeVos. On the Silver Ghost’s advice, Kelly and Lucas leave before the police arrive.

Back at the Club, Lucas and Kelly tell Robert Kane (who was not around when they left, but has come back) what happened. A little later, Lucas reveals he’s falling for Kelly.

Elements of Note

Before she leaves for the fateful meeting, Kelly sees the Daughter of Death, although she doesn’t yet recognize who she really is. Kelly tells no one of this encounter yet.

GM’s Comments

This was my first attempt at running a game entirely by IM chat. It was also my first experience with running two characters through different parts of the scenario at different times — the Silver Ghost’s investigations were done independently of the chat sessions where all the other action took place.

Dates:

Location: San Francisco

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost, John Philmore

NPCs: Eric Blume, Sarah Markstein, Johann Klemp

Synopsis

With help from his friend John Philmore, The Silver Ghost investigates the death of his cousin, Sarah Markstein. She had been in love with Eric Blume, an attache at the German Consulate. Another attache, Johann Klemp, a Nazi fanatic, learned of the affair and killed Markstein in front of her lover Blume. The Silver Ghost exacts a penalty via hypnotic suggestion that drives Klemp to suicide.

Elements of Note

This adventure introduced the Marksteins, Robert Kane’s aunt and uncle, long time residents of San Francisco with whom Robert stays for a time until he establishes a home of his own.

GM’s Comments

I remember few details of this adventure, but what I do remember is where much of it was played — in a hotel bar during a science fiction convention in San Jose. If you don’t need much in the way of props, map grids, etc., a hotel bar is actually a very comfortable and congenial place for gaming.

Dates: August 30-September 1, 1936

Location: Garberville, California

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost

NPCs: Rena Anders, Moira Johnston, William Kraven, Brent Armaville

Synopsis

A young archaeologist named Moira Johnston, while exploring a wilderness area of Northern California, stumbles upon the underground temple which houses the soul of the demon Kraven, who had sought the life of Rena Anders. The demon possesses Johnston’s body and goes hunting for Rena again, first killing her father, Swenson Anders.

Kraven succeeds in kidnapping Rena, but she is rescued by the Silver Ghost and his new associate, Brent Armaville. When the Silver Ghost hypnotizes Kraven’s host, Johnston’s mind takes control just long enough to keep Kraven in the temple chamber while Brent caves it in.

The Silver Ghost, Brent, and Rena retrieve the temple’s sacrificial slab, the base of which is revealed to be one of twelve pieces of black granite, that when assembled, form a gate to the realm of Shamballa.

The Temple. This is an oddly shaped room, apparently burrowed from the earth and then paneled in dark polished redwood. In each niche is a post, atop which a fitfully burning oil lamp sits. The center of the room is dominated by a platform, atop which is a pedestal roughly the size of a twin bed. The top of the pedestal is slightly gabled, like a roof, and in its [flat] top are several grooves, allowing liquid to be carried from the pedestal's top to reservoirs at its head and foot. The reservoirs are empty now but are coated with a blackened, dry crust (of blood). The pedestal has four iron rings in its corners, to which bits of torn rope are still tied. The aura of evil about this place is palpable -- and it doesn't take a sensitive to feel the psychic energy pooling about the place.
– from the GM's notes

Elements of Note

This adventure re-introduced the concept of the black granite gateways to Shamballa. How it is that part of a gateway to such a benevolent realm ended up in such an evil place has never been explained …

GM’s Comments

This is another adventure of which I remember little, and the notes I have on it are contradictory: some were written in preparation for the adventure, others were written based on my memory of the game, some years later. The details I’ve presented here are an amalgam of the two. Also, the description of the temple was written for the adventure Hunt of the Mind-Killer but not actually used until this adventure.

Deadly D’Auban

Dates: August 12-14, 1936

Location: San Francisco

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost

NPCs: Brent Armaville, Stephen Trenary, Renee D’Auban

Synopsis

A bomb at the front of a crowded department store kills socialite Monique D’Auban, fiancee of young businessman Stephen Trenary. Investigating, the Silver Ghost discovers that the bomber is Trenary’s brother Brent Armaville – the brothers were orphaned at a very early age, but Trenary was adopted while the elder Brent was left behind and grew up in the orphanage. Armaville was convinced to construct the bombs by Renee D’Auban, Monique’s sister, who had originally engaged to Stephen. Renee and Brent are both imprisoned, but Brent is freed after a short sentence and a good word from the Silver Ghost. Over several encounters with him Brent recognizes the voice of his wartime buddy, Robert Kane. He offers his service to the Silver Ghost.

Elements of Note

Introducing the second of the Silver Ghost’s principal agents, Brent Armaville. Brent is nondescript (except for a prison tattoo), and very quiet — except when he is blowing things up, which he does with exceptional skill.

Dates: June 18-19, 1936

Location: San Francisco

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost, Max Ericson, The Lotus Avenger

NPCs: Janet Rutherford, William Rutherford, Francis Gable, Mariko Tashimori

Synopsis

Janet Rutherford steals – in the midst of a party – the Rubies of Rani, a necklace of great value belonging to her brother, William. She is pursued by the Silver Ghost and his companions and forced to return the jewels. They are promptly stolen again, by Francis Gable, William Rutherford’s private secretary. Under hypnosis, he reveals who blackmailed him to steal them: a woman named Mariko Tashimori, apparently the sister of Japanese spy Kendo Tashimori (killed in an earlier adventure). Mariko, who is a kitsune (a Japanese fox-spirit) desired the jewels because she believed they had magical value. Mariko is captured, but escapes.

Elements of Note

The first appearance of Mariko Tashimori, another of the long-standing NPC fixtures in the Chamber. In this, her first appearance, she is a pretty straightforward villain, but that will come to change, quite a bit.

GM’s Comments

Many of the details of this adventure escape me, but one image does stick in my mind: the chase of Rutherford to retrieve the jewels. The Silver Ghost managed to leap onto the top of Rutherford’s car, and stuck there through a wild chase across San Francisco. Truly a quintessential pulp image!

Dates: August 20-21, 1936

Location: San Francisco

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost, Mason Adams, Marlene Mendelson

NPCs: Roger Entman, Dana Gibson, Janet Rutherford, Donovan Martin, Evan Sabre

Synopsis

During a performance of Robert’s Kane’s magic show, gangster Janet Rutherford is shot down. It appears that FBI agent Roger Entman was her killer; it was known that she had just broken off a love-affair with him. Investigation by Robert Kane and his new-found colleagues Mason Adams and Marlene Mendelson reveals that Rutherford had broken off her affair and was ending her career in crime because she had discovered that she was pregnant.

If you are reading this, then I am either on my way back to Perth — or dead. My thanks for your love and encouragement. My operations have been dismantled, though I’m afraid someone — I’m not sure who — is taking them over. They’re pretty damn ruthless — I haven’t seen anything like it in over a year, up to that Bloodletter business. That reminds me. If I am, in fact, dead from unnatural causes, do me a favor, and show this letter to the Silver Ghost, if you can find him — or it. Try a magician named Kane — they seem to have some connection….I’m sorry we had to call it off, dear. You’ve got prospects. They’ll only get knackered if you hang around me. Again, all my love. — Rutherford. 

– text of a note from Janet Rutherford to Roger Entman

Further, her death was at the hands of a professional killer hired by none other than Evan Sabre. The Silver Ghost and several others chase Sabre down and kill him in the midst of a blazing warehouse.

Elements of Note

This adventure marked the death of Janet Rutherford, but it was far from her last appearance in the game. The character of Roger Entman went on to become one of the Silver Ghost’s principal allies.

GM’s Comments

This was the sole adventure of player characters Mason Adams and Marlene Mendelson. I think the two players in question found role-playing in the Star Wars universe a bit more fun than the world of the 1930s.

Dates: December 20 and 21, 1938

Location: San Francisco

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

NPCs: Sherman Koop, Dorothy Lacey, Kinsey Loo, Dominique Rouen

Guest NPC: Tim Stokes

Synopsis

Darcy and Chrismon attend a speech by the British Ambassador, who is shot dead on the podium, felled by a sniper. Pursuing the sniper into the street, they discover that someone has lifted their wallets, then left them in the street to be discovered. Darcy picks hers up and gets a visionary clue, and a name: “Maya.” She also meets a woman from the British Consulate, Dorothy Lacey.

They begin researching Maya and also call in Robert Kane. There seems to be no obvious connection to the term, significant in Hindu mysticism, and an assassination. The three agree to pursue more research separately, and meet the next day.

Darcy learns that the assassinated Ambassador had a number of personal enemies, including a brother-in-law, Dominique Rouen. Chrismon gathers more about the concepts and personification of Maya, and Robert turns up some information about an up-and-comer in the San Francisco underworld, “Shermy the Shot.”

They meet for lunch and share what they admit are pretty sketchy leads. As they get ready to leave the restaurant, Chrismon picks up a message from one Sherman Koop, requesting a meeting with herself and Darcy. She calls him back and they settle on a meeting at Chrismon’s shop, a few hours later.

There’s time for a bit more investigation before the meeting. Robert learns that Sherman Koop is almost certainly “Shermy the Shot,” and is a trained sniper. He is also a smuggler, and one of his contacts is a man named Kinsey Loo. Chrismon goes back to her shop, where her clerk, a student of the paranormal named Tim Stokes, gives her a card from Sherman Koop. Chrismon gives Tim the rest of the day off, to get him out of any potential harm’s way. Darcy learns of the existence of an esoteric secret society called the “Order of Maya,” and that Dominique Rouen is a member. Another of Darcy’s contacts confirms Sherman Koop’s identity and practice as a smuggler.

The time for the meeting arrives. Darcy, Chrismon and Robert quickly compare notes, then Robert finds a place to hide. Sherman Koop arrives. He confirms that he killed the Ambassador, and that he could have killed Darcy and Chrismon as well, but chose not to. He claims to be a member of the Order of Maya and wants them to join as well. They agree to attend a meeting and Koop tells them he will be back that evening to escort them there.

Koop returns, and takes Chrismon and Darcy, blindfolded, to the meeting. Robert surreptitiously follows. They are taken to a house in the Marina district, quite possibly a diplomatic residence. Darcy and Chrismon are taken to an upstairs room. When their blindfolds are removed they see three veiled figures, seated around a statue of a goddess that looks like something out of Darcy’s vision of the day before.

It is revealed that this gathering is one part of the Order of Maya, a group that seeks to take over the world. Koop, still a candidate for full membership, recommended trying to get Darcy and Chrismon to join. Meanwhile, Robert dons the guise of the Silver Ghost and sneaks into the house.

When Darcy and Chrismon show no interest in joining the Order, one of the veiled figures picks up a sword and prepares to kill them. Darcy opens fire with a gun from her purse.

A general firefight erupts. Of the three veiled members, one — Dorothy Lacey, the consular assistant — is killed; one, Dominique Rouen, is wounded; and the third, Kinsey Loo, escapes. Sherman Koop is also wounded. The trio of heroes quickly searches the house before the police arrive, but find no further clues to the Order of Maya.

Elements of Note

This adventure introduced the Order of Maya, a global, quasi-mystical organization whose goals are nothing less than to take over the world. Having been foiled once by our heroes, they will no doubt be looking for payback.

GM’s Comments

This game marked the end of a series that was played entirely by instant message chat. Subsequent games have been played either over a message board forum, or by a combination of message board and IM chat.

This adventure was also an effort to address some complaints that had been made by the players, and was an attempt to give each of the characters a chance to make significant contributions to the action, as well as making the danger and the risk to the characters a bit greater.

Dates: May 22, 1936

Location: San Francisco

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost, The Lotus Avenger, Max Ericson

NPCs: Janet Rutherford, Kendo Tashimori

Synopsis

The Silver Ghost, the Lotus Avenger, and Max Ericson are caught up in a battle between two San Francisco gangsters who are also spies: Kendo Tashimori (spying for the Japanese) and Janet Rutherford (watching the Japanese spies on behalf of the Australians). Tashimori tries to kill Rutherford, who had acquired information on his activities and was trying to pass it on to the authorities. The method of his attempt – a bomb in the middle of a crowded restaurant – draws the attention of the Silver Ghost and his companions, who track down Tashimori and kill him in a shootout.

Elements of Note

The first appearance of Janet Rutherford, sometime gangster, sometime spy, and (after her death) spirit contact for the Silver Ghost.

GM’s Comments

Again, this is an adventure of which I remember little. However, it appears that I reprised the opening element of it for an adventure that took place two and a half game years (and at least twelve actual years) later: an attack on a diplomat at the Garden Court of the Palace Hotel. In this adventure, the Australian Consul was killed by a bomb; in “The Maya Mystery,” the British Ambassador was felled by a sniper. It wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, but it does seem telling of how certain things stick in your mind, even when you might not be aware of them.

Dates: May 3, 1936

Location: San Francisco

Player Characters: The Silver Ghost, The Lotus Avenger, Max Ericson

NPCs: Anna DuCoing, Daniel Evans, Felicity Hagen, Karl Graven, Guiliana Romanova

Synopsis

Long ago, the house on Divisadero Street was the home of Karl Graven, a man who made his money in the Gold Rush and spent it in dozens of depraved fashions. He was killed by three of his servants, whom he had abused. One inherited the house, and bequeathed it to her granddaughter, Felicity Hagen — who knew nothing of how her grandmother got the place.

Background

(from the GM’s notes)

During a seance in Felicity Hagen’s house, the spirit of Karl Graven manifests, possessing the medium, Daniel Evans. The Silver Ghost, the Lotus Avenger and Major Max Ericson have to work together to save Evans and Hagen, and put the malevolent ghost to rest.

GM’s Comments

Another short adventure, and one which, nearly twenty years on, I have little memory of. Sadly, as with many of the early adventures, I have my notes on how the adventure was prepared and set up, but nothing of how it actually played out once we all got to the table.