Dreams Can Come True
The adventure starts shortly
after you drop off to sleep after a long day. Your sleep drifts from deep
slumber to a disturbing dream and this happens to both of you. The dream starts
with a brilliant flash and you start awake instantly. You see your hotel bathed
in flames, the south facing wall has been ripped open and you see debris
scattered all about. you feel no heat from the flames and walk around in a
dispassionate manner looking at the scene. among the debris you see a child's doll,
half it's face burned away, but the vivid blue ribbon is very distinctive. You
walk further and see a twisted piece of metal, burned and obviously part of a
large piece. You get close enough to read "-H.S. Empres-".
You see the fire is spreading and that the
You wake with the nagging feeling time is ticking, but you don't know what to do, the feeling that time is of the essence is almost palpable. It's only at night as you went to sleep early, checking the clock, you only slept for about an hour or so. You certainly feel the fatigue. Everyone roll Vigor, anyone failing suffers a level of Fatigue.
If no one mentions the strange dream (NPC) will and you realize you aren't the only one that had their sleep disturbed. Taking the lift down to the lobby and ask at the front desk. The receptionist finds the shipping schedule and departing in 45 minutes is the Ether Flyer R.M.S. Empress of India from the main High Port
Roll Notice, on a success, as the
receptionist looks though the shipping schedule, you spot something familiar. Looking
through the schedule you spot the emblem from the dream. It is from the
Should the heroes choose to investigate, the hotel has cabs on standby at all hours and one is called forward immediately. You urge the driver to hurry as you feel in your bones time is still critical. You arrive at the high port at with the Empress due to lift in 23 Minutes.
A roll of Knowledge: Mars will know Sabeus is a major ship building city. Renowned for large ship construction. HM Government has been trying to find a way to stop those large ship yards from producing ships for the Oenotrians. However, the photo of the fleetfoot showed a very small ship probably less than a hundred tons.
When you arrive in the port, as the Empress of India is close to departure and a family consisting of parents and two young girls are hurrying aboard, the father clearly displeased at being the last to board. However, it is the doll that one of the girls is carrying that stuns the heroes as it is clearly the one from the dream with the vivid blue ribbon, but fully intact.
In addition to the family boarding, the heroes see stevedores making their last checks as they seal the ship as the characters make rush up the boarding ramp. When they first approach and make their request, one of the stevedores snorts "And who might you be gov'nor? His lordship is a might busy at the mo."
It will take a Persuasion roll to convince the workers to notify the bridge that they wish to speak with the captain. As you wait, you see a few relatives are on hand watching love ones depart, but given the lateness of hour, the docks are nowhere near as crowded as during the day. But still nowhere near silent either.
Furthermore, as you wait, roll Smarts, a success will recall that as you think back to the listing in the paper about the courier from Sabeus that it arrived two days ago and the scheduled departure date is in three days.
Assuming a successful Persuasion roll, after several minutes, the Officer of the Day and starts off with admonishing the stevedores. "Here now you shirkers! Ship's due to depart in 20 minutes and you've yet to secure all the portside hatches. Lively now. Lively."
When he turns to the heroes, he seems civil, but only just and if anyone asks to speak to the captain, he replies. "Good sir there is no chance to speak with the captain. He's on the bridge and we are sealing the ship."
After listening to anything the heroes say, especially any comments regarding danger to the ship the OOD takes out his pocket watch. "Ship departs in 18 minutes and- What did you say? Danger what sort of danger?"
At this point, a Smarts roll will realize that mentioning a prophetic dream is a bad idea, the heroes can try something along the following: "Just a little while ago my friend and I was sitting in a low dive soaking up the atmosphere when I happened to overhear a conversation between two natives. It appears that a ship has been taken over by fanatic Oenotrians and will attempt to ram you shortly after you take off!"
However, in response, the OOD's jaw drops, then he chuckles. "And I can well imagine what you were drinking in this "dive." Sir I don't have time for nonsense. These wogs are always fancying some devilment when in their cups. I suggest you as a proper gentleman frequent a better class of establishment. Good evening to you sirs." And he turns to continue berating the stevedores.
No longer willing to take the heroes seriously, the OOD bids them good evening and begins barking as he walks away. "You there reef in those lines! Lively now. LIVELY!"
If they press the point the OOD snarls. "Once the ship is sealed. I *AM* in command of the lifting crew! Now off with you lot before I call the constable!" If the heroes refuse to depart, the
OOD smiles. "Tis rare that I get to speak to so profound a fool." He whistles sharply and several stevedores approach. "Last warning sir or my men here will have to show you the exit."
If the heroes back off, the OOD nods once then calls off his men, they return to the tasks at hand to get the ship ready to depart. If not, there are as many stevedores as characters plus the OOD, but a fight will draw constables that will take the side of the OOD and will require a Persuasion roll to avoid detention. A Smarts roll figures out that stopping the Empress from lifting is not an option, but that perhaps they will have more luck stopping the Fleetfoot's departure.
The quickest way to find the ship you want is to check with the port master's office where you find theSabean courier is docked nearly a mile from here. As the time is now 9:45", you have fifteen minutes to run or take your cab a mile. If the cab is available, you run back to your cab and tell him what slip you need to get to. He spurs his mount and takes off. Otherwise, you will have to make three Vigor rolls with each failure resulting in a level of Fatigue.
If the heroes do take a cab, this being night, the passageways aren't kept open as completely as they are during the day, about halfway there, you run into a roadblock of Ruumet Brher that the cab cannot get past. You look at your pocket watch and see that it is . The heroes have no choice but to run, which will require two Vigor rolls with each failure resulting in a level of Fatigue.
Regardless of Fatigue state, you reach the slip by and in time to hear the signs of a struggle, but before you can board, the ship lumbers clumsily away from the dock, the ripping the mooring lines as it staggers into the air. You are close enough that since you are already at a dead run that you can try to leap aboard. Since the ship ripped the mooring lines instead of casting off, the ship is trailing the lines. Leaping directly onto the ship requires a Raise on an Agility roll, but a regular success will grab a line which, but you will also have to make a climb roll to reach the deck. If anyone fails the climb roll, anyone on deck can save that character with a Strength roll to pull them to safety. If all these attempts fail, that character falls 30 feet and suffers 3d6 damage.
As you make your desperate leaps, the ship wobbles as the crew steers for the Empress of India that you can see rising in the distance. As soon as you reach the deck, you can see that there are four Martians at the turncrank, one at the helm and one at the trimsman station. There are at least a dozen dead or dying Martians scattered about the deck."
Unless you succeed with a Stealth roll, as soon as the helmsman spots any of you, he jerks the controls and the ship pitches sharply. If you attempt to shoot, first you have to succeed with an Agility roll and if you do, you have a -2 penalty to hit.
Despite any gunfire, the turncranks turn feverishly trying to gain speed before the ether flyer is too high to catch. As the Fleetfoot continues to bear down on the Empress of India, you catch a glimpse of the other ship frantically trying to steer out of the way.
The most obvious target for the heroes is the trimsman, but the Fleetfoot in well known for its ability to remain in gross trim, thus even with the trimsman down, the ship is semi stable. However, a Smarts roll will figure out that if two of the turncranks are disabled, the noticeably and will be unable to catch the Ether Flyer. If the helmsman of the Fleetfoot goes down due to the heroes, the trimsman will immediately take over.
If the heroes disable both the helmsman and the trimsman or two of the four turncranks, either despite the helmsman's frantic steering or the turncrank's frantic efforts, the Empress begins to thunder past. If either of these occur, The sound of the Empress as she thunders past and her wash will hammer the small screw galley. For a moment the bulk of the Empress blocks out the stars and what happens next depends on who of the hijackers is still where. If the helmsman and trimsman are disabled, the wash causes the tiny Fleetfoot to immediately go out of control.
Everyone must make an Agility roll with anyone failing getting thrown to the deck and will be pinned in place by centrifugal force until they can succeed with a Strength and Agility roll in the same round. Any character that makes the initial Agility roll or both of the recovery tests will be able to act on the following round. Any character capable of action will only have five rounds to keep the Fleetfoot from a violent crash. It will take an Agility roll to reach the helm which at the very least, leaves four rounds to reestablish control of the Fleetfoot. Each round after round two imposes a -2 penalty to the Piloting roll, thus if a hero makes the initial Agility roll to keep his or her feet, then succeeds on round one with the second Agility roll, their roll on round two is without penalty. Regardless of cause for delay, on round three the penalty is -2, round four -4, and a last possible second intervention on round five is at -6. In addition, the lack of a trimsman is an additional -2 to the Piloting roll, thus to avoid any penalty, it will take at least two heroes.
If the heroes reestablish control on round two, the Fleetfoot does not crash. On round three the Fleetfoot sets down very hard with everyone sustaining 2d6 of damage, but an Agility roll will reduce the damage by one d6, with a Raise negating all damage. On round four, the Fleetfoot crashes and the damage is 4d6 with the same saving roll as above. Round five will result in a horrific crash that has the potential to be fatal as the impact will do 6d6 with no save allowed.
Disabling the turncranks will cause the Martian helmsman and trimsman to choose to crash the Fleetfoot to atone for their failure. They will deliberately put the screw galley into a dive in an attempt to kill everyone aboard. The net result is the same as above, but with the added complication of any surviving turncranks that succeed with their own Agility rolls actively blocking the heroes attempt to prevent the crash. In addition, any hero that reaches the helm or trim station will have to defeat that Martian before they can take control of that position.
Assuming the heroes gain control of the Fleetfoot, when they do, they look out on the crowded city and spot an open field. and unless they got control on round two, the ship is going down regardless of what you do, you will just have to make the best of the crash. If the ship does crash, whoever is at the helm at the last second gets the ship upright just before there is a bone crushing impact and everything goes dark.
It's some undefined time before you start back awake. And the movement HURTS! You manage to work your eyes open and see you are in a hospital. You manage to croak out and the nurse comes running, then several more nurses and then doctors arrive. One of doctors introduces himself as Doctor Winston Philby who beams "Oh BRAVO! You gave us quite a scare you did."
The obvious first questions the heroes will have are likely to be:
What happened to the crew of the galley? Did any survive? What about the brigands? And did the Empress of India make it alright?
Dr Philby will respond with:
"Docked safely or totally destroyed" based on what happened. "Not a one, the impact was quite severe and as most were already badly wounded, they never had a chance. Too bad about the crew anyway as I expect Army Intelligence would have liked to talk to one of the brigands too, come to that". "She signaled the port master and the admiralty on reaching orbit. Well done and pin a medal on those stalwarts that saved us."
As you are speaking, there is a
slight commotion in the hallway and the medical staff parts like the
Admiral Cushing turns to his aide, who steps forward with a small case. "The Empress signaled we should 'pin a medal' on you however, I think we can go a step further than that."
Admiral Cushing reaches into the case and with great pomp pins something on your hospital gowns. "The Governor-General and I signaled earth and with great pride, I present you each with a Knighthood in the Imperial Order of the Crown Colonies, with a rank of Knights of the IOCC, (Honorific: KIOCC) For Conspicuous gallantry."
After he pins you, Admiral Cushing beams to each of you in turn. "Greetings Sir (name) and Dame (Name, if applicable)."
If by chance the heroes were unbelievably successful and brought the Fleetfoot in safely, they are swarmed at the dock and met by men in dark suits of Scotland Yard. After extensive questioning and medical treatment if needed, the admiral mentioned above appears and the dialog follows normally from there.
Should anyone mention anything about why they might have all had the same dream, have all the characters roll Notice. Anyone that succeeds will spot an item in an older paper way back in minor local events dated the day after the crash.
"Tragic fire in noted scientist's lab. It is with a heavy heart we report on the unfortunate death by misadventure of Doctor Jeremy Wiggins in his home laboratory located in Sytis Major. Doctor Wiggin's assistant Jamison Flanders who survived the accident badly burned stated that at the time of the fire, the Doctor was attempting the first full power test of his oneirological generator. Unfortunately, all of his notes and equipment were lost in the fire and with Flanders passing away from his injuries, no one will ever know the nature of the experiment. The only aspect of Wiggin's research available is limited to the fact that oneirology is the study of dreams."
In addition to the knighthood, the heroes also receive all medical expenses paid by the White Star line. In addition, White Star credits you with a voucher good for a round trip between Earth and Mars first class of course OR it can be used for five first class round trips on a ocean going ship back on Earth. And finally, first hand interviews will be worth £10 each to individual interviewed by a very interested newspaper media.