The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars is now available!The original publication of Canal Priests Of Mars cut slightly over a third of author Marcus L. Rowland's manuscript to fit GDW's adventure format. The Complete Canal Priests Of Mars restores the cut material, features all new artwork by Paul Daly, and adds many useful player handouts. Enjoy the "author's cut" of a classic Space 1889 adventure, or experience it for the first time!
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When the clocks of Syrtis Major strike three o'clock in the afternoon, the servants, soldiers, and citizens of the Empire engage in a tradition that has marked the British around the worlds of our system as eccentrics they sit down to drink tea. In Syrtis Major, one of the most popular places to practice this highly civilized activity is the Bradley House.
Six days a week, between the hours of 3:00 to 5:00 PM, many members of the better classes of English society, as well as members of the colonial bureaucracy, senior military officers and those Martians and non-Englishmen who are either trying to imitate the British or interact with them, gather to sip teas from around the known worlds and to nibble delicately upon pastries, sweets, and small sandwiches and other baked goods, and perhaps most importantly, to engage in a thousand quiet conversations that seem to accomplish more work and close more deals than do all the other hours in the business day.
The Bradley House of Syrtis Major opened its doors four years ago, and has been a popular and posh spot for taking one's tea ever since. With five different salons to entertain their clientele, and the largest selection of tea and foodstuffs on Mars, Bradley House has held it's position as one of the finest tea salons in all the Empire. The decor is varied within each individual tea room, from the soft and feminine Princess Room, where many unescourted ladies take their tea, to the darker panelled and more masculine Club Room which is the epitome of the Victorian Men's Club, for the gentleman who wishes to take his repast away from the presence of the fairer sex (thus enabling him to enjoy a good cigar or pipe with his tea); to the Victoria and Albert Porches where couples and groups gather to socialize and to observe the goings on of the city around them and the well maintained tea house grounds. Of course, the final room is known as the Imperial Room. Located on the building's second floor, the Imperial gives a wide overview of the city, thanks in no small part to its three-wall window and glass ceiling which allows for the unobstructed view of the cloudships and other aerial vessels that ply the skyways over Syrtis Major. From here, one can look out upon the Residency and the Syrtis Major Cathedral, and in many areas of the city, see the Union Jack fluttering in the winds. Many a Cloud Captain and Naval officer has taken his tea in the Imperial so as to feel that one step closer to the skies that they have come to call their home.
The Bradley House is run and owned by Mr. & Mrs. Theodore and Elanor Bradley, husband and wife merchant speculators from the West Counties of England. Theodore is the son of the Late Sir Hugh Bradley, the tea magnate. Sir Hugh made the Bradley family fortune speculating in tea and opium shipments to and from China during the 1840's. At the forefront of the so-called Opium War, Sir Hugh was able to seize upon several lucrative contracts involving exclusive rights to certain tea blends. Upon his passing 12 years ago, Theodore became the majority shareholder and defacto owner of the South China Tea Company. Since that time, Theodore has invested wisely, gambled only rarely, and moved to diversify the company's holdings. The Bradley House is one example of his diversification. Over the last several years, Theodore and Elanor have travelled all across the Earth and to Venus and Mars as well, establishing a Bradley House in every corner of the Empire. Plans are now being made to open a Bradley House on Mercury, should the size of the British colony there ever increase to the point where such a business could thrive. With their exquisite decor and furnishings, as well as receiving the benefits of the most modern technologies that Theodore can afford to supply, each Bradley House is able to proudly boast that it provides the exact same quality service and facilities as the first and best known Bradley House, that in London, England. In Syrtis Major the Bradley House advertises itself as a small piece of England on this harsh red planet. As a consequence, Bradley House is the focal point for the afternoon social circles of the higher echelons of Syrtis Major society (Social Levels 4+ would frequent such an establishment for Europeans; Canal Martians of Social Level 4+ would also attend if they were attempting to deal with Europeans during the tea time).
Somewhat overlooked but still vital to all aspects of Bradley House is Elanor Bradley. The daughter of Norman Braithwaite, a prominent member of the HBTC Board of Governors, Elanor is possessed of an acute business sense, as well as a most able and charming wit. She is at once the perfect hostess for the most illustrious tea house on Mars, and an able partner in Theodore's other dealings. She uses her position as the mostly overlooked spouse to advantage in their business deals, and she has learned that many weaknesses in business rivals can be discovered by sharing a pot of tea with the wife and/or daughter of their opposite number in a particular negotiation. Elanor possesses a sharp mind and is not afraid to use it, either in conjunction with Theodore or independently.
Of course, when persons of the calibre who patronize Bradley House gather, their conversation is inevitably more profound than that of the lower social castes. Business and political anecdotes are exchanged, and personal information regarding the lives of many of Syrtis Major's finer citizens are passed to and fro. As such, Bradley House is also a subtle yet intense hotbed of political intrigue. Many non-English tea guests to Bradley House attend the afternoon session for reasons that have little to do with the quality of the wares served. German, French, Belgian, Russian, and even Japanese officials from the various embassies attend the tea house in the hopes of overhearing that vital tidbit of information that will give their nation an advantage, however slim, in dealing with England. As well, the large number of patrons coming and going on a daily basis make the Bradley House ideal for the agents of many nations to pick up or drop off information concerning their covert activities. One of the waiters on the staff is actually an agent in the employ of Germany, while another is a Fenian sympathizer who passes information concerning British military activities to Colonel O'Reilly (see TRMGS #1)! Both of these NPCs are briefly detailed at the end of this article. The native Martians as well are not immune from this sort of skulduggery, as Ground Cleansers, Worm Priests, and the Oenotrians have found it useful to maintain ears within Bradley House amongst the staff of the largely ignored native busboys
The Bradley House can easily fit into your Space: 1889 game, be it on Mars or anywhere else. It could be placed in another city if you do not use Syrtis Major, or it could even be the original Bradley House back in Jolly Olde England itself. Wherever you place it, one could easily find British Generals stopping by for a spot, or perhaps the dashing Burnaby (in the city on a temporary layover) is being brought to the Imperial Room by the local Naval Garrison Commander. At the table next to you, the local official of the HBTC could be trying to persuade a Canal Martian Merchant Prince to make certain trade arrangements that are supposed to be profitable for both of them. In a more sinister vein, that rather pretty and frail looking young lady and her rather empty-headed brother may very well be German Agents dropping off information for onward transmission to the embassy (via the waiter) or they could be picking up new orders (wrapped up in their napkins of course) directing them to commit some new anti-British scheme on behalf of Baron Von Gruber. If you are completely outlandish, you could have Prince Edward (heir to the British Throne) and his retinue stop in for a lark and to mingle with the "common folk". Or perhaps the Duke of Clarence is here to make a quiet rendezvous away from the press and the ever watchful eyes of the Queen. Anything can happen here and anyone may show up.
As a final note, remember that tea time was something that was nearly sacred to the Victorian English. Everyone from the Queen to the most common labourer took time out for tea, and throughout the Empire, such habits were passed on to the native peoples and the other members of the colonial establishment. Tea time was the focus of many people's lives, regardless of social station, and Space: 1889 players should become tea lovers too (or at least their characters should!). Whether your character is there for the tea or for the tidbits, Bradley House is an interesting and fun place to spend a couple of hours. So sit back, relax, enjoy the fine foods, and oh try not to slurp your tea.
Age 44; 2 x Merchant Career; Motives:Mercantile, Responsible
Age 37; Merchant, Dilettante Traveler; Motives: Wise, Love
Michael the Waiter (Wolfgang Krueger)
Age 27; Army, Foreign Office Agent; Motives: Steady, Ruthless
Colleen the Tea Cake Girl (Fenian Spy)
Age 20; Personal Servant; Motives: Love, Hatred
Kasraddic Magalenthrix (Martian Busboy/Spy)
Age 30; 2 x Thief Career; Motives: Liar, Hatred
Note: The details of these characters have been deliberately left vague in order that
the Gamemaster may modify their skills and backgrounds so as to suit his or her own campaign.
Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:48:33 EDT