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.

Description written by the player, Leslie McBride.

You see a shop that you could swear hadn't been there before, but it doesn't look new. The glass in the door bears the words "C. Yarborough, Fine and Rare Manuscripts". You push the door open to the tinkle of a bell. A middle-aged woman looks up and smiles at you, like you're her best customer, then goes back to soft dickering with a resident of the city's Chinatown. Everywhere there are books -- on shelves, in boxes, on the floor. You pick one up, open the cover. "The Modern Prometheus" is written in a fine hand. You put it down quickly.

Name: Chrismon Yarborough

Status:  Active

First Appearance:  Pieces of Time

Player Character Associates:  The Silver Ghost, Darcy Aisling

NPC Associates:  Tim Stokes, Le Brouillard

Age: Middle. Don’t ask for anything more specific. 😉

Appearance: 5’5″, stocky. Short grey hair, blue eyes shading down to grey.

Occupation: Seller, appraiser, translator of books, scrolls, etc.

Marital Status: Apparently single, but doesn’t seek out relationships

Parents/Siblings/Children: None known

Languages Spoken: fluent, English and French; smattering of others, enough to trade in, she says.

Gifts: Sees the threads of time. Not prophecy per se, but can make educated guesses. Tends to be able to look at a person and see who they really are.

The Shadow

Cover of a 1938 Shadow Magazine

The Shadow, as depicted in a 1938 magazine cover.

From Wikipedia:

The Shadow is a collection of serialized dramas, originally in 1930s pulp novels, and then in a wide variety of media. Details of the title character have varied across various media, but he is generally depicted as a crime-fighting vigilante with psychic powers posing as a "wealthy, young man about town". One of the most famous adventure heroes of the twentieth century, The Shadow has been featured on the radio, in a long-running pulp magazine series, in comic books, comic strips, television, serials, video games, and at least five motion pictures. The radio drama is well-remembered for those episodes voiced by Orson Welles.

[...]

The introduction from The Shadow radio program "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!" spoken by actor Frank Readick Jr., has earned a place in the American idiom. These words were accompanied by an ominous laugh and a musical theme, Camille Saint-Saëns' Le Rouet d'Omphale ("Omphale's Spinning Wheel", composed in 1872). At the end of each episode The Shadow reminded listeners that, "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit. Crime does not pay... The Shadow knows!"

No pulp adventure game would be complete without an appearance from one of the archetypal pulp adventure heroes, The Shadow, and he has made a number of them within the world of the Chamber.

For the depiction of the Shadow in the Chamber game, I have drawn most upon Walter Gibson’s novels, and to a lesser extent on the radio show, the 1970s and 1989-92 DC Comics series (but not the Howard Chaykin one, ick!), the early 1990s Dark Horse Comics series, and the 1994 film starring Alec Baldwin in the title role.  Jerry Goldsmith’s brilliant soundtrack has become one of the foundations of background music for any Chamber play session.

The Shadow has appeared in the following adventures:

Daughter of Famine

 

Madeline Kane Williams.  Art by Casandra Ciocian.

Madeline Kane Williams. Art by Casandra Ciocian.

The daughter of Stephen Williams, adopted by Robert Kane. She is a fan of The Shadow and an aspiring writer (not without talent, either). She has a strong drive to help those weaker than herself, whether it be rescuing a cat or taking on a bully tormenting her handicapped cousin. She may well end up following in her adoptive father’s footsteps, much to his consternation.

Appeared in the following adventures:

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.