Wednesday, 30 October 2019

The Casebook of Sheraton Howell: Part X The First Case III

The police had, of course, been called but no trace of the young woman could be found. It appeared that she had been ill for a number of weeks since arriving at the Gilliat’s several months previous, but had recovered enough for an evening’s walk. Clues were sparse as the girl knew no-one else and had largely not engaged with anyone other than the family since arriving.

Several weeks passed with no further developments up until the body of the family dog was found outside their summerhouse, an empty husk, bled dry from a viscous tear to the throat. We took this as a warning but could not see why, we were no closer to apprehending a suspect. It was, however, the poor animal’s corpse that was to lead us to our first real clue in the case. The police, though largely ineffectual in the case (as we had also been), had maintained a light presence in the vicinity of the residence as the family had political connections.

A young woman had been seen, apparently leaping down from the high boundary wall of the Gilliat property by a patrolling constable. He spotted the woman and called after her; she ignored him and he gave chase but she evaded him, evidently with some ease owing to her, and I quote ’bouncing around the alley like a great big bloody frog’. We were lead to believe that she was oddly adept at acrobatics and cleared a six foot high wall in a single leap. At the time we thought it preposterous. The constable had provided a reasonably good description of the woman, no doubt aided by the bright moon and clear skies we were experiencing (a rare occurrence I assure you). The woman appeared to be fair haired and unkempt, quite slight of build but certainly not short, apparently in her twenties. This on its own would have been of little use in our search were it not for an occurrence but an hour later. A constable some distance from the earlier scene had intervened in what he thought was a ‘bobtail heaving a cove’ (namely, a woman engaged in selling her services attempting to rob a ‘gentleman’). Now this is not an uncommon occurrence and it would never have come to our attention were it not for the fact that the constable had been hurled across the street by the woman with such force that his arm and several ribs had broken. He managed to regain sufficient composure to sound his whistle, bringing a nearby constable to his immediate aid. At this point the woman vanished into the night, apparently climbing directly up the side of a building to do so. Between them the constables provided a reasonable description and it was this that had caught Howell’s attention. The situation had clearly registered as unusual, even for policemen who had no doubt witnessed many peculiarities, so the description of her bounding ‘like Spring Heeled Jack himself’ in addition to a more general description, strongly suggested that this was the same woman confronted at the Gilliat’s home. One of the constables also stated that the woman had screamed something at him and although he did not understand it he believed it had been French that she had spoken.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

A little something for Halloween

Some photos of the most recent packs, a couple of conversions from the Professors and Gentlemen packs and two of the Vampire lords. All painted by the very talented Bugsda.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

The Casebook of Sheraton Howell: Part IX The First Case II

Perhaps by working through the sequence of events that we experienced on that fateful ‘First Case’ (in terms of our involvement with the vampire) we might identify some connection or clue as to what was currently going on? I still shuddered thinking about that night when we first saw for ourselves that such creatures as vampires truly existed, beyond the wit of science or the grace of God. But, our failure to revisit the events of that night were, as Howell was intimating, very likely hindering our ability to draw any satisfactory conclusions from that night.

I brought out my notes and we sat around the fireplace as the chill of the night set in.
‘It started with a visit from the distraught Mrs Gilliat did it not?’ I asked, as I could see Howell was already racing ahead in his mind.

‘That is correct James’. Her poorly niece had failed to return from an evening constitutional and her chaperone had been found in a state of confusion, entirely unaware of the proceeding hour. ‘What does that tell us?’
‘Well, our new friends have informed us that some of these creatures have the power to confound the senses and minds of others. We might assume that the one we encountered in this case had just such an ability’.
‘My summation also, James. Let us start from the beginning and dissect the events of that case’.

First glimpse of the Vampire Queens

More deadly than the male of the species, the Vampire Queens and Ladies, each characterised by their different strengths and traits.

We present to you; The Innocent, The Ancient, The Seductress and The  Arrogant Blood Queen.

These will be cast up and ready to buy in early November along with the second pack of Gypsies and the first pack of London  characters.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Searching catacombs of Victorian London

A recent game using the Fistful of Lead rules and their excellent Tales of Horror supplement.
Various groups of Vampire Hunters are searching the catacombs and underground passages of London searching for a missing Heiress believed to have been abducted by the Vampire Master of Limehouse....

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The Casebook of Sheraton Howell: Part VIII The First Case

Howell looked tired. His finely groomed moustache was, as always, finely groomed, yet several day's growth of stubble clung to his sharp face. He wore an old smoking jacket with a large scorch mark on the left breast where he had apparently placed a still lit pipe, concentrating on some matter that had shut out more rational thought. He was agitated and could not remain still. He had heard that the city's 'Premier' consulting detective (Europe's?) often took to scratching at a violin as an act of concentration, but Howell would, in his own words, 'be damned if he had the time to decipher tadpoles on a page just for the pleasure of recreating the sound of a rusty gate'. This would have, however, been preferable (at least in Whittle's mind) to Howell's preferred relaxation technique of throwing knives at a heavy wooden board that had replaced the mirror above the fireplace. In fairness his aim had improved as the cluster of nicks near the centre of the board suggested.

'James, I cannot help but think these events are connected. My recent trip to Amsterdam, for that is where I have been, simply reinforced the gravity of the situation we face." Howell stooped to pick up a cricket bag lying by a pail of coal, pulling out a stout wooden stake." Our new friends have provided us with a few new tools".

"That would have been damned useful in our, well, 'First Case' with those things" I added.

"Indeed it would have, James, indeed it would have." Howell paused, looking around for his pipe, "I have been thinking about that night. It may be useful to go over it again, after all, we have barely spoken of it."

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

The Casebook of Sheraton Howell: Part VII A Name of No Small Means

It has been two days since the unusual occurrence at the coroner's inquest. I visited the park the girl had been found in, only to find that it was in the process of being dug over and replanted by the grounds keepers. Apparently there had been a complaint over its unkempt state, crime scene be damned! A generous donation towards the wellbeing of the foreman and his lads provided a name at the park authority.

After an hour or so of enquiries, the 'name' was tracked down, and  following a further display of generosity, the source of the complaint identified. The eyes of the individual so offended by the condition of the shrubbery belonged to an elderly Member of Parliament of no small means. I will share his name only privately until such times as the fog clears on this matter. It may be nothing at all, but I will certainly raise it when I meet with Howell this evening. It will be interesting just to find out where exactly he has been.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

The Casebook of Sheraton Howell: Part VI An Unusual Occurrence II

Although I was aware that with my newly acquired insight into the matter I was looking for evidence of the Undead (as an acquaintance of Professor Van Helsing refers to them) everywhere, I could not help but consider that this was such an occasion. Howell would have no doubt immediately removed the body for further examination, throwing the officers a shilling to enjoy the hospitality of the venue (though this would have been barely enough for three pints of beer in that establishment). No such contempt for procedure could be shown by an appointed coroner, however, I must have the patience to await the conclusion of the inquest for the day. At least that was what I anticipated; mere minutes later, just as the inquest was about to commence, a number of policemen entered the premises, ushering everyone out.

Naturally I challenged their apparent leader, an inspector in civilian clothing named Barnes. He provided documentation declaring the inquest postponed until further notice and furthermore, the body was to be removed by his men. He spoke little and would not engage me in discussion of the matter. There was very little I could do in such circumstances, but I did accost the youngest of their number, one Constable Ferry, to ask where they were from (my work with Howell and in inquests leads me to know many police officials, by face, if not by name). 'Arcadia Branch' he replied, before a burly sergeant clipped him across the ear, ending any further conversation.

Notes have been made and passed to Howell. We are to meet on Friday to discuss the case further.