Operatives of CROSSBOW

Operation Sepulchre Hand
Weirdcon '15

In which Milton consults an old friend, Georgie makes a new enemy, and Gordy fails to make a connection

Location: McBride Manse
Primary Mission:
Secondary Mission:

Associated Intelligence Files

Briefing

Incoming Black Box signal

Sender ident: Excalibur

__

Report

View
Operation Derivative Innovation
The Dresen File

In which our heroes go to the wolves.

Location: Leipzig Zoo, Germany
Primary Mission: Locate and neutralise any supernatural presence
Secondary Mission: Locate the abducted civilians and retrieve if possible

Associated Intelligence Files

  1. The Codex
  2. Gregori Abramovich
  3. The Abramovich File
  4. Demons
  5. Ninjas

Briefing

Incoming Black Box signal

Sender ident: Excalibur

Recent reports from the CROSS-STITCH German field office in Dresden have included worrying mentions of creatures similar to the goblins encountered during Operation Valorous Chime active in the city of Dresden, concurrent with a rash of disappearances by persons visiting the zoo.

Zoo officials and the Dresden police have agreed to allow your team access to the zoo out of hours to investigate. Track down any supernatural occurrences, prevent further disappearances and eliminate any significant threat while remaining alert for any connection to Abramovich and the Codex.

Report

The team deployed at the zoo and soon confronted cultists and goblins riding wolves. The goblins and their wargs proved to be human cultists and zoo wolves possessed by some supernatural force, the former voluntarily. Infiltrating an antique underground lair, they confronted and – barely – subdued a force of larger goblins and a demon, rescuing most of the captives before they could be sacrificed.

Gordy got handy with a sword, Georgie got beat up bad, and Elliot started talking to his imaginary friend.

View
Operation Fatal Secondment
Locate and Reconaissance: Uganda

In which the team face ninjas and dragons and gods, oh my!

Location: Lake Victoria, Uganda
Primary Mission: Locate the site of Abramovich’s 1898 expedition on the shore of Lake Victoria. Uncover and breach the second vault mentioned in Abramovich’s report and recover any artefacts from within
Secondary mission: Complete the mission with minimal costs.

Associated Intelligence Files

  1. The Codex
  2. Gregori Abramovich
  3. British East Africa Company
    1. William McKinnon

Briefing

Extract from the Abramovich File:

Disaster! For the past six days a large detachment of troops attached to McKinnon’s British East Africa Company have been engaged in manoeuvres near the shore of the lake, and it has become apparent that the purpose of these manoeuvres is to remove us from the dig site, by fear if possible and by force if necessary.

We have already sent away all we can of the finds, which by now must be safely, if that is the word, in German East Africa, or else taken or sunk within Lake Victoria. Were the dig complete we would gladly go, but we hold out for the single purpose of concealing the second vault, that the British crows shall not profit from the works of a Russian bear. God willing, I will yet return and discover what lies within the second vault.

Results of partial decoding of the Abramovich Codex by Dr Eliot Milton:

The Codex is of apparent pre-Dynastic Egyptian origin, but in fact details much older rites than any previously recorded. The majority of the text is both enciphered and written in a corrupted or possibly primeval dialect of the pre-Dynastic language of the southern Nile region, although certain hieroglyphic sections resemble much more recent scripts.

The Codex tells of a War in Heaven, fought between the brother gods of a primordial Ogdoad. Of these gods, four were slain in the War and their bodies falling became the Earth and everything on it. The account concludes with a quatrain which can be loosely rendered into verse as follows:

Four gods in the heavens,
Four gods in the grave,
Three gods yet to fall
For the power they crave.

The later section of the Codex appears to describe detailed rites for the summoning of certain spirits in the form of the Egyptian gods, but the cipher for those sections eludes decryption as yet.

Incoming Black Box signal

Sender ident: Excalibur

Analysis of Abramovich file and transactions of the British East Africa Company at the time suggests that the expeditionary force dispatched by William McKinnon were only successful in ransacking the primary vault already explored by Abramovich. Letters from a mysterious sponsor report considerable anger at the failure to recover any notable artefacts.

Stirrup Base will provide you with transport and logistical assistance to seek out the original dig sight on the Ugandan shore of Lake Victoria. Coordinates of the site are fairly certain and lie within the suburbs of Jinja, the second city of Uganda.

Based on the presence of a hostile force in St Petersburg, suggest that you anticipate resistance.

Priority mission: Locate and open the unexplored vault.

Urgent: Funds will be released for the purchase of land and dig licenses, but please take all necessary steps to minimise costs.

Report

Part 1
The team traveled to Cairo and researched the history of the Abramovich expedition, building up a satellite image map and a painstaking model of the dig. This led them to an island in Lake Victoria and an abandoned complex of buildings.

They quickly located the first vault, and used a ritual casting to locate the second.

They camped out overnight, but towards dawn they heard a noise from the shore, and Georgie discovered a group of ninjas attempting to sabotage their boat.

Part… others
The team disabled the ninjas. In the morning they met another group of archaeologists, led by Sir Charles Foster-Foulks and his wife, Lady Stephanie, who offered support (including manpower to clear the entrance.)

They entered the vault, a web of traps, and discovered a room full of eggs which hatched into small, vicious dragons. Locking these in, they explored further, leaving the Foster-Foulks party at the entrance. Further in they uncovered a temple, where Milt found a golden falcon. Continuing, they discovered a shrine with a distinctly un-Egyptian god-statue, guarding a hidden tomb.

They removed the contents of the tomb – a sarcophagus and a chalice – to HQ, but one of the statue’s swords was taken.

View
Operation Valorous Chime
The St Petersburg Caper

In which Gordy wields a sword, Georgie battles goblins, and Milton works on his spelling.

Location: The Imperial Museum, St Petersburg
Primary Mission: Locate and retrieve Ambramovich’s dig report from el-Amarna, 1898
Secondary Mission: Avoid all mention of CROSSBOW, the Codex, Abramovich or anything else within CROSSBOW’s remit
Optional Mission: Locate Ransome papers within archive

Associated Intelligence Files

  1. The Codex
  2. Gregori Abramovich
  3. The Abramovich File
  4. Demons
  5. Ninjas

Briefing

Incoming Black Box signal

Sender ident: Excalibur

Archive search based on your last mission report has garnered result. Expect delivery of information on Abramovich Codex and Drs Ileana and Stepan Kropotkin within twenty four hours.

Analysis indicates that Codex decryption in reasonable time frame unlikely without access to previous research notes describing context of manuscript.

Priority mission: Travel to Russia and retrieve original dig notes from archive of Imperial Museum, St Petersburg.

Caution: Relations with current Russian administration poor; avoid disruption and all mention of Abramovich, Kropotkin or Codex.

Official purpose of mission: to access papers belonging to author Arthur Ransome for historical record.

Report

The team drop into the Imperial Museum, St Petersburg, the run-down remnant of a once-proud institution left to rot after the fall of the Tsar. They present themselves as members of the Arthur Ransome Trust and are given access to the stacks. They realise that the place is almost empty and go to work.

Milton finds a reference for the Abramovich file in the card catalogue – Gordy was horrified to discover there was no electronic archive, or even database, that he could hack – and Georgie sets off to find B3R7 while Milton and Gordy learn more about their country’s literary heritage. She avoids guards and librarians in the basement, but the sub-basement is deserted, allowing her to slip around to a different staircase and descend to the second sub-basement (level B3) unobserved.

This is where it gets complicated.

In the third basement, Georgie is attacked by a goblin and some kind of monstrous hound. She tasers them and seeks out R7, a room full of shelves and boxes. It is here that she is attacked by a ninja.

While Georgie handily dispatches her opponent, Gordy and Milton rush to her rescue and are ambushed by two more ninja. Milton evades a series of deadly attacks, but Gordy is less fortunate (and doesn’t have an evasion stunt), and takes a brutal slash to the arm which causes him to scream like a little girl (a fact which has rapidly become scuttlebutt in the intelligence community, much to his chagrin.)

Georgie joins, and quickly concludes the fight with the brand of excessive violence that has become her calling card. The team retrieve the sizable Abramovich File from the storeroom and prepare to leave, but are ambushed by another ninja and a pair of goblins.

While Georgie and a sword-wielding Gordy wade into the fray, Milton identifies a background noise of chanting. Leaving Georgie to finish the last goblin, the boys rush to the B3 stacks and find some sort of freaking wizard attempting to summon a demon.

The team leap into action. Gordy cold cocks the wizard with the hilt of his sword, while Elliot engages in a bit of a magey duel, attempting to muster a bit of magical brouhaha to counter the summoning before it can be completed and the demon – which is pretty big – crush them like ants. A combination of bravura magical improvisation, serious head trauma and a little light tasering from Georgie leaves the wizard unconscious and the demon being dragged back into whatever hell it came from in a vortex which usefully serves to clear up the goblin bodies.

Leaving the dead ninjas for the Russians to puzzle over, the team departs with a bleeding Gordy and an unconscious demonologist.

The team’s reputation is intact, but they may have done irreparable harm to the good name of the Arthur Ransome Trust. On the up side, they have not only the Abramovich files, but also a wizard to question.

View
Operation Sacred Gamble
The Ambassador's Reception

In which Georgie works the party, Milton talks about the weather, and Gordy goes to the dogs

Location: The Hotel Royale, Vienna
Main Objective: Secure the package from ‘Stork’
Secondary Objective: Don’t spoil the party

Associated Intelligence Files

  1. The Codex
  2. The Cypher Key
  3. The Doctors Kropotkin
  4. General Vladimirev
  5. ‘The Buyer’

The Pavis team were inserted into a fundraiser for the relief of prisoners of conscience, organised by a group of business interests from the former USSR, mostly linked to General Valentin Dmitriev, retired Russian Minister of Culture, UN Ambassador and noted expert on North African cultural antiquities. Their mission was to make contact with an asset known as ‘Stork’, exchange code-phrases and receive a ‘package’.

Gordy entered the ball room first and flagged those who seemed to match the description of Stork (tall and thin). The team spread out and worked the room, agreeing that yes, holding political prisoners was wrong and all that. Milton struck gold first time, as he dropped the code into a conversation about humanitarian air drops:

“But the weather can be inclement at those altitude.”
“Yes; but the deliveries have to be made.”

Stork introduces herself as Dr Ileana Kropotkin. Gordy heads off an over-nosy waitress allowing Georgie and Milt to spirit the good Doctor into a side passage for a quick confab. She explains that she and her husband came to hand over the Codex, a book discovered in the Mountains of the Moon by her grandfather’s expedition in 1932, and the Cypher Key, a complex set of punched bone strips used, in theory, to decode it. Ileana and her husband had worked on the Codex for most of their lives. General Dmitriev was their sponsor, but recently declared his intention to sell the Codex and the Key into what she suspects to be ‘the wrong hands’.

With Gordy and Milt running interference, Georgie stole a staff uniform and infiltrated the General’s private meeting. While Gordy used a dog-whistle app to aggravate a guard dog and create a distraction, she swapped the codex for a phone book, and the team exited with both the book and the Cypher Key, earning a solid from the Kropotkins.

Later reports indicated that the meeting might later have turned ugly.

Behind the Scenes

This was a shortish session due to illness and exhaustion, but proved a good test of the Roll20 platform.

The team set their own vague objectives, around which I improvised. It was their choice to go for a personal contact rather than their more trad safe-crack and artefact snatch.

The dice were in a whimsical mood, and the team pretty much walked this one.

View
Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.