Savage 1600s

002 His Cold, Dead Hand

Arrival at Devyses

The journey on foot from Manchester to Devyses has taken 3 weeks. It is Saturday, late afternoon, that the Town comes into view. They have stayed at Inns most nights. During the journey Clara has been studying the Crone’s Bone but fails to understand the runes. Harry Pike has been studying it too and he is the now carrying the box. [GM:Very high exploding Smarts Roll]. This item lets you cast a special spell of Fortune.

They chat with a friendly pedlar, one Ebanezer Bay and learn something about local affairs.

  • The town’s most notorious ex-inhabitant was Roger Simeon, the Necromancer, executed 3 years earlier for Grave-robbing and Foul Black Arts. His house is still deserted, rumoured haunted, noises and lights seen.
  • Rumour that Simeon’s Ghost is somehow back as in the last several months, two bodies have been dug up from the churchyard. There is concern that a young girl (12) who just died and will be buried tomorrow, might also be grave-robbed. The locals are all too afraid of Simeon’s Ghost to stand watch.

Following goodman Bay’s recommendation, they head to the guest hous of the Widow Bracknell who “keeps a good table and clean bedding, changed Winter and Summer”. Bay cheerfully admits to getting some form of kickback for referrals.

They stay at the Inn, 1 shilling per person per night [GM:must remember to check reasonableness of prices].

The Widow describes the hanging of Simeon as she was there. As he twitched the hempen jig, his severed wrist burst open. at the same time, 3 miles away, his drunken betrayer was throttled in his bed. Simeon had paid a jailor to cut off his hand the night beforenhe was hanged.

She also tells them about Edward Potter’s daughter Beatrice who has just died yesterday from a sickly cough, despite the best efforts of “poor Dr Swann”. The girl is to be buried tomorrow.

The adventurers decide to get Mr Potter to hire them to stand guard over the churchyard for the next few nights to prevent the snatching of his daughter’s body. Harry Pike convinces Potter to hire them.

In the local pub “the Crowned Head” they gather more info, mainly from Ned Fox, the jailor who cut off the handnof Simeon. The prisoner begged him and gave him gold in payment. Ned chopped off the hand. Simeon bled a lot so Ned fetched Dr Swann. Swann stiched up the wrist.

The Necromancer’s books were also in the cell and were burnt after the hanging.

Next morning, while the rest of the town is at church, they wander through the drizzle to Potterne Wharf, a hamlet south of the town to search Simeon’s abandoned house.

Here they are attacked by Simeon’s severed hand. To their horror, it appears that non-magical blows only make it Shaken, and don’t do any real damage. Masashige is forced to cast a spell to enchant his own blade. Clara manages to Shake it by shooting it, Ezekial and Harry manage to pin it in the kitchen sink while Masa finally skewars and kills it with his temporarily enchanted blade.

001 The Doctor is in

In the Year of Our Lord 1601, on the 3rd day of May, Dr Dee gathered a group of adventurers and sent them off in search of a stolen book.
He has reason to believe that Roger Simeon, a Necromancer, executed 3 years earlier, had the book. He has learned that Simeon’s cottage, on the outskirts of Devises in Wiltshire, is still unoccupied, due to rumours of a haunting. The book may still be there.

Dee explains that the angel Uriel has made contact with him in his dream state. Something terrible is happening soon and Dee may be able to do something to prevent it, but only if he can work out what and where it is. The lost book may hold vital information.
[Historical Note:Dee really did spend his life trying to talk to Angels. He also had one of the biggest libraries in Europe, at his home, Mortlake (near Richmond on Thames). He returned from a few years travelling in Europe to find it had been ransacked and many books stolen in 1583]

We got introductions and short back-story from each of the players.
Clara is Dee’s niece and protege.
Howland owes Dee a favour for helping him track the Necromancer Volodya Putin (too late to save his family)
Masashige has consulted with Dee quite a bit. Dee is his main contact in England.
Harry Pike has done some unsavoury jobs for Dee, while Dee was in London (getting hold of bodies for research and providing muscle). Pike is hired, mainly to act as bodyguard to Clara.
[GM:The PCs are starting as Seasoned, so all had 4 extra Advances]

They decided to travel on foot from Manchester to Devises, about a 10-day journey. They stayed at Inns most nights.

On the 6th evening, they were still an hour from a warm bed when they came across a few gypsies at a crossroads in a wood. [GM:An excuse to try out the Savage Worlds system]

As the PCs approached the gypsy caravan, they saw a crone sitting on the back steps with a basket of fruit on her lap and a few scruffy men loitering “too nonchalantly” nearby.

Ezekial Howland, not fond of gypsies as his old enemy Clee is one, loaded his crossbow and this seemed to trigger the action. [GM:They would have tried to ambush anyway but I got to claim they were provoked]

We dealt out cards for initiative and there were a flurry of shots from 2 of the gypsies and the old woman, and the other 3 of them moved in with swords.

There was surprise from Ian (playing Ezekial) that there is no equivalent of the 5 foot step or “shift” from D&D that could get him out of melee without risking a strike from any adjacent ally. Also not happy to learn that ranged weapons larger than a pistol can’t be used while in melee.

They made short work of the gypsies but the crone turned out to be a Wild Card, and a witch with a curse power. However, the witch fumbled her curse attempt and the roll on the backlash table took away her powers for 24 hours!

Clara Dee, scholar and markswoman, killed 2 of them. Masashige, the reformed ninja-in-exile, hacked down one, Harry Pike another and Ezekial Howland shot the other. The crone had a lot of luck at first. Pike and Masa just couldn’t hit her. She was fending them off with her fruit basket! When she finally was run through, Harry smashed her bones with his maul, partly out of frustration, partly to prevent her evil magic from bringing her back.

Clara and Harry searched the caravan. Clara found an ornate box, tied with a red ribbon. There was some magic on the ribbon when she undid it but her Spirit roll was high enough to resist it [GM:I intended to have her attack the other PCs with her sword, getting a Spirit roll each round until she shook off the effect]. The box contained the shoulder blade of a horse, carved with glyphs. Probably used to tell the future. Harry rolled double 1 on his search so trggered an acid trap which very nearly burned his hand off. Fortunately Clara is a skilled healer and they should start the next episode without any major injuries.

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