Back in the fall of 2012 I had hit a gaming slump. My three and a half year long D&D 3.5/4e Ravenloft/Planescape campaign had come to an end and I didn't have anything else on the "menu". Up until that point I was running a weekly Tuesday night game, but we had just concluded 30 levels, and finished our last battle with Orcus. We kicked around a couple of other campaign ideas, but in the end, after losing two of our players who wanted to take a break, the "Monster Squad" (that's what we called ourselves) went into retirement.
What was a desperate-to-game Game Master to do? I gave the D&D Next playtest a brief try, but it wasn't the same... I just needed a break from the traditional dungeon crawl.
That spring I had gotten my hands on the Savage Worlds Deluxe hardback and fell head over heels. I initially picked up the book to run some pulpy games. I'm a big fan of the tabletop game Crimson Skies, and thought I could try an RPG version. But there were so many amazing Steampunk and Victorian titles on the market, I couldn't resist! First I picked up Rippers, and then Space 1889 and Realms of Cthulhu. Toss in a few Deadlands books and I had everything I needed for a crazy romp arose time and space in old-timey dirigibles.
Incidentally, around the same time that I started thinking about the setting that would come to be called "Clockwork", I started watching Doctor Who for the first time, starting (obviously) with the 9th Doctor. I loved the idea that nothing was supernatural in Doctor Who, everything had some kind of scientific basis - even if it was far fetched! Well that's what I wanted to do with Clockwork. Victorian Steampunk, a hybrid of Rippers and Space 1889 with dashes of home-brewed goodness, where even the supernatural was entirely natural… just misunderstood.
So I grabbed a few players, tossed some character ideas around, and we took the first autogyro to London!
Just a couple of more things before we move forward. First, you may recognize some of these characters if you read my Savage Worlds tales from earlier this year. We had a second "season" of Clockwork that ran late last year and into this year. Second, this was written two years ago, and I think my game summaries have improved (maybe a little) since then, but this doesn't do much good just sitting on my Macbook's hard drive.
Even if only Craig, Mel, Randy, and Frank give this a read… it's worth posting!
Session 1 - An Unusual Happenstance in Essex County
December 1st, 1897
- Lady Selene Eva Thana - Eternal Noble - played by Melinda
- Inspector Robinson Gray - Idiot Savant Investigator - played by Randy
- Nigel Loring - Hunter/Adventurer/Explorer - played by Craig
- Fangzhi - Wudang Initiate - played by Frank
Miss Elsie Morrow (servant girl of Lady Selene), Timmy Chadwick (servant boy of Lady Selene), Bernie (the wayward day laborer), Tor & Horrace the Rippers.
When Timmy returned, however, he was completely terrified. He had been followed by a trio of strange day laborers. When Lady Selene noticed that one of the laborers was still outside the house, she approached the man, Bernie, and started questioning him. As the rest of the party started searching outside, they realized that some other blokes were trying to “visit” the house. Robinson, after deftly jumping a hedge and seeing a weird woman in the distance wearing pants making odd eye contact, heard a sound from behind him, so he jumped back and ran right into a stranger sniping him with a poisoned crossbow. Robinson non-skillfully stealth'd into a bush to not be seen, and after Lady Selene heard his cries, the vampiress came to the inspector’s aid... after biting poor Bernie’s neck. Nigel found another guy staking out the joint on the north end of the building, so he chased that man down.
Between the main house and the guest house Lady Selene and Robinson tried taking down the crossbow wielding sniper. Robinson was able to trip up the gent, and eventually his baton and the Lady’s steel dagger took the bastard down. Fangzhi eventually managed to jump the hedge as well (after failing repeatedly) just in time to take on the second brigand, but by that point with the first brigand unconscious, the second gave up hope of victory.
The brigands were part of a cell of Rippers, a secret society of monster hunters. Lady Selene convinced them that she was not a threat, and that they should leave her alone (they had been after her in the first place due to her vampiric traits), and after feasting on the most injured Ripper (with his permission of course), Lady Selene ordered her maid to finish dinner. Once the wine was brought out, and Robinson had his magnifying glass, he realized that to further inspect the Jeweled Slate of Corvo, the full faculties of a college would be needed.
None this week
Robinson: “Sure, it gets you out of all kind of pickles!”
“Wow, everyone can jump that hedgerow!” - Except for Frank!