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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Gamemaster: Mark Clark
Lord Redmond "Kipper" Herring (Matt Ruane): Wealthy traveler and all-around annoying person Clive Wentworth (Jeff Boyle): Lord Herring's manservant and keeper Sir Evan Wesley (Ken Megill): Ethership Captain with an inner-ear problem Nahloujie (Martian NPC): Guide and source of local color David Hannay (Steve Whitmore): Intrepid reporter and photography buff Aurora Nottingham (April Frusher-Boyle): Actress/Singer/Model/Carpenter Dr. Jonathan Kensington (Jon Bahls) Surgeon and Inventor The Honorable Walter Q. Harrison (Mike Brandes) Trigger-Happy Colonial Officer
After several weeks, our heroes finally arrived at the city of Gorklimsk. When they reached the dock, Mr. Melville, the Sgt. Major, Mr. Hyde and Mr. Jones set out for the high docks, intent on booking immediate passage for Syrtis Major. Mr. Hannay and Miss Nottingham went out shopping. Lord Herring and Wentworth were just about to leave the ship as well when they were approached by a young European. He introduced himself as the Honorable Walter Q. Harrison of the British Colonial Office, and said he was looking for Major McGrath. Upon being told that the Major was missing, he expressed some surprise, but soon recovered and asked Lord Herring if they could talk in private.
Accompanied by Wentworth, they went to Lord Herring's cabin, where Harrison told them that there had been a coup in Karkarham, resulting in a change in policy by that government that was hostile to British interests. Prince Samaam, the gentleman who had sold his automobile to Lord Herring, had escaped Karkarham for parts unknown. As he is the best hope for reestablishing British influence in Karkarham (he is known to sympathize with British imperial aims), Harrison has been told to find him and bring him to the city of Niront. Harrison then asked for Lord Herring's help, which Herring was only too happy to give.
They then resolved to begin the search immediately. It was well known that the Prince had served as a common canal sailor in his youth, and Lord Herring remembered that the Prince had told him in conversation about the ship "Pride of Dahlat." Wentworth set out for the office of the harbormaster to see what information he could obtain. After the use of some money to loosen the tongues of the officials there, Wentworth learned that the ship in question had not sailed in over ten years, and its present whereabouts, as well as those of the crew, were unknown. Wentworth was told that the best place to look for more answers was the Rutting Gashant, a tavern near the docks.
Meanwhile, Herring and Harrison were walking the docks, looking for the ship and questioning sailors. As is usual when Lord Herring is about, they managed to attract a great deal of attention to themselves when Lord Herring was the victim of a pickpocket attempt. When a small child tried to take Herring's money, Harrison whipped out his rather large revolver and fired in the air. The child dropped the purse, and everyone at first looked at them and then looked away. The shot also attracted the attention of Wentworth, who joined the pair.
They then went to the Rutting Gashant, where, after surviving a few encounters with some obnoxious pirate imitators, they learned that the Pride of Dahlat had been based out of Syrtis Minor, a city some 600 miles to the East. Returning to the boat, they found a Martian waiting for them. Nahloujie was his name, and he had been sent by the British Counsel to serve as a guide for Mr. Harrison. After chatting with him briefly, they sent him off to arrange passage on a cloudship to Syrtis Minor.
Lord Herring then went to his cabin, though no one is really sure why, and the rest of the party went off to spread the rumor that Lord Herring wanted to sell his automobile, and that the Corgi wanted canal crewmen. While out, they encountered Sir Wesley, who recognized Harrison from their trip out to Mars. They then returned yet again to the ship, where they met Dr. Kensington, who was hired by Lord Herring to look after his stump. The next day the group set out for Syrtis Minor. Their cloudship took two days to make the journey.
After landing, they sent Nahloujie out to make inquiries. At the same time, they set out to look around. Lord Herring made offers to small children to find the captain of the Pride of Dahlat, which resulted in them finding out where he lived. They went there, found a robbery in progress, fought off the robbers, and managed to find out from the captain before he died that the Prince was in Olonia. They slipped out the back just as the civil guard came in the front. Can they escape from the city? Why is the Prince in Olonia? Tune in next week for: "Olonia City of Sanity and Light?"
The excitement of the confrontation in the Captain's dwelling soon turned to boredom when the players managed to return to their hotel. After Dr. Kensington tended to their wounds, the players were stunned to realize that the authorities were actually looking for them. After all, all they had done was break down a door in broad daylight, kill several people, and run from the town guard. I mean, that's not a crime, is it!? The characters were saved from public embarrassment by Wentworth, who noticed the use of the ritual bribery gesture by the hotel's manager. The exchange of a sum of money obtained for them silence and the penthouse rooms of the hotel, to which they moved with some haste.
The group sent Nahloujie out to find out how they could leave the city of Syrtis Minor for their destination, Olonia. Upon his return, Nahloujie told them the first ship to leave would be in two days, and it would take them to Surukaan there were no flights going directly to Olonia. The players, though tense at the delay, resolved to wait things out.
The delay and potential of enforced confinement seems to have unhinged Mr. Hannay's mind (such as it is). The first sign of his derangement came when he insisted on going out into the city, come what may. It was only the insistence of the more sober and rational party members (i.e. not Lord Herring or Sir Evan) that his departure from the hotel would lead to not only to his death but also to the deaths of the rest of the party that kept him inside. Miss Nottingham then invited Mr. Hannay to accompany her to lunch, but he turned her down and retreated to his room. After inquiries, it turned out that only Dr. Kensington was willing to accompany her. They went down to the hotel dining room and had a very nice meal.
The rest of the day passed without incident, and as the morning dawned, it seemed that our heroes would wait out their time without incident. Of course, this could not and would not be. A new spirit of conviviality seemed to animate Mr. Hannay, and he accompanied Wentworth and Mr. Harrison to lunch in a private dining room. They then stayed on to play a bit of poker. The poker game was cut short by Mr. Harrison's demonstration of a little fancy shuffling, which led to Mr. Hannay proposing to play whist instead. They passed several hours at play, and then decided to go back to their rooms for a nap.
Meanwhile, Lord Herring and Sir Evan had spent the morning at pranks and escapades. After some experiments with dropping wet towels on passerbys from their windows, they decided to play a few jokes on Mr. Hannay. They snuck into his room, sharpened all his pencils down to very short nubs, and then emptied the gunpowder from all his ammunition. The pair then returned to their room and spent some time constructing a small explosive device. After bribing a small child to deliver the explosive to Mr. Hannay, they started to play darts. This attracted the attention of Dr. Kensington, who immediately went to their room, believing that if there were any people on Mars who could not be trusted with something sharp, these two were they.
Naturally, Mr. Hannay was none too pleased when he returned to his room. Through an act of mental cognition that no doubt made smoke come out his ears, he deduced that Lord Herring was responsible. Cocking his shotgun, he walked out into the hall and knocked on the door of Lord Herring's room. Wentworth heard the sound of the shotgun being cocked, and reached Mr. Hannay's back just as the knock rang out. Sir Evan opened the door, and Mr. Hannay leveled his shotgun at Lord Herring. As there was no gunpowder in his shotgun shells, nothing happened when he pulled the trigger. Lord Herring then taunted Mr. Hannay to fire again, which he did, and again nothing happened. As Mr. Hannay grew more frustrated, he decided to draw his pistol, at which Lord Herring took offense. Lord Herring flung the darts in his hand, which pierced Mr. Hannay's hand and caused him to drop his gun. Rather a loud and prolonged argument then ensued, which only ended when Mr. Hannay was persuaded to return to his room, where he spent the rest of the afternoon learning card tricks from Mr. Harrison.
Aside from a rather interesting exchange between Lord Herring and Wentworth (neither of whose lapels will ever be the same), the rest of the time before departure passed without incident. The party disguised themselves as very short Martians and traveled to the city high docks, where they boarded a commercial cloudship for the journey to Surukaan. They arrived at that city without incident, and then chartered a screw galley to take them to Olonia. As they approached Olonia, they saw that the swamps that surrounded the city were caused by a large number of craters in the ground, possibly asteroid strikes, that had destroyed the canals and allowed the water to leak out. Olonia itself was a small city, built on the ruins of old Olonia, serving as a base for hunters and trappers who worked the swamp. Searching the town and making inquiries led to their hiring of Spivan One-Eye, a former trapper, as their guide.
The trip out to where the Prince presumably was proved rather trying for Mr. Hannay. He was first pushed into the swamp by Lord Herring and Sir Evan, which did little to improve his disposition, and he was then seized by a Knoe Shoshu and dragged from the boat. Surprisingly, it was Sir Evan and Lord Herring who rescued Mr. Hannay by killing the beast, but as Mr. Hannay was unconscious from the Knoe Shoshu's bite at the time, he didn't know it. That evening, the group camped on a small island in the middle of the swamp, and they dried out Mr. Hannay's possessions.
The next day brought them to the dock at the Prince's hideout not long after Mr. Hannay regained consciousness. As they headed up the path towards his hut, they were seized by living plants and held fast, except for Lord Herring, who managed to break free and run forward straight into the arms of the Prince! The Prince's followers then freed those trapped by the vine, though the juice they used to free the party caused some rather enthusiastic technicolor yawns. When they finally got back to the dock, they found that Spivan One-Eye was dead and that Nahloujie was gone, along with Spivan's boat. Where did he go? What was he planning? Will our heroes ever make it out of this swamp? Tune in next issue for: "The Prince and the Pumpkinhead."
The Honorable Walter Q. Harrison drying Mr. Hannay's bullets by the fire (only minor injuries, of course).
Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:51:04 EDT