Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Smoke and Mirrors

This scenario wraps up the first part of the new series, taking the heroes to London and the heart of the Cabal's territory.


Recently a troupe of entertainer-adventurers discovered a cache of ancient Egyptian scrolls from the fabled Library of Alexandria, hidden in a secret chamber beneath the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania. In doing so they also met and earned the respect of two holy warriors, the brothers ibn Ibrahim, who recommended an Egyptologist to help with translating those texts. After all, they know him to be a man of honor who is part of the Royal Society in London. Of course, nothing is ever quite so easy as it seems.

Adventure Synopsis
This adventure begins when the PCs arrive in London and head to the home of the Allen family. Along the way they can learn of others who are interested in their business, including the local ravens. All the while, a notorious London smog settles in over the city. At the Allens' home they find that Sir Kenneth has been kidnapped, leaving behind his daughter, Lady Katherine, along with an unpleasant surprise. A ransom note instructs them to bring the scrolls to a pier down by the river. They are also invited to a production at the New Globe Theater, where they can learn more about the greater conflict in which they've become involved, and might be confronted by enemies posing as local constables. Once they're ready, they can meet the agents of the Cabal and make their move. While a full-on battle against that organization is not advisable at this time, they can put themselves in a place for doing so in the future.

For the Gun Master
For once the nature of this business is pretty straightforward; the Cabal is using Sir Kenneth as leverage to obtain the scrolls from the Library of Alexandria. Rescuing him should prove a daunting task, but also gives the heroes to take the measure of the Cabal and its operatives in London—information that should be important when the time for a larger confrontation arrives in the future. Of course, the Cabal has a contingency plan in place, too—something that may only become apparent later.

Involving the Heroes
This adventure assumes that the PCs participated in the events of the scenario “Lead or Gold,” and possibly “Fortune and Glory” and “Truth or Consequences” before that. If that is not the case, then the GM may need to devise another means of introducing them to this business. For example, they could be traveling to London by steamship and can intervene when Cabal agents try to steal the scrolls from Lady Katherine, who is delivering them to her father.

Scene 1—The Big City
Given that London boasts some six million inhabitants, it should be about the biggest city that the heroes have ever visited. It also boasts the newest and best of technological innovations. For that reason, the PCs might also want to do some shopping while they're in town—especially for those who've been doing a lot of traveling with little chance for a break. 

This scenario assumes that the PCs arrive by ship, and thus begin making their way from the banks of the River Thames deeper into the rest of the city; as they do so, a couple of events take place that help to set an ominous mood. Refer to the map below for a rough layout of the city. 

The Smog
For one thing, a thicker-than-normal London smog begins to settle in over the city. This combination of natural fog and smoke from innumerable coal fires reduces visibility to half of a city block or less, creating an eerie atmosphere in which the PCs can hear other people coming long before actually seeing them. This can both help and hinder the characters, helping to conceal their own movements while also making it more difficult to notice those of their enemies.

At the same time, the PCs should also make notice checks opposed by the Stealth efforts of a few different ravens that are watching them. Such birds are not unusual in London—in fact, they are a regular sight at the Tower of London—but these ones in particular are act as spies and messengers for Small Raven, who shall be introduced below. They fly away rather than fight if attacked, but return again later to continue spying.

These birds are smarter than most, known to collect shiny objects and even to use simple tools in order to acquire food or other desired items.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6(A), Spirit d4, Strength d4-3, Vigor d4
Skills: Athletics d4, Fighting d4, Notice d6, Stealth d6, Survival d6
Pace: 8, Parry: 4, Toughness: 2
Special Abilities
  • Bite: d4 Damage.
  • Size -3: Ravens are large for birds, but pretty small in general.

Scene 2—The Egyptologists
The Allens' home lies on the edge of town, out where there's enough room to have a bit of a yard; refer to the map above for the following location descriptions. The house has a main entry (1) from which doors lead into the parlor (2) and dining room (3), while stairs lead to the basement and upper level. There's also a kitchen (4) with a well-stocked pantry (5), and quarters for Bartholomew the butler (6). On the second story there are numerous bedrooms (7), of which one is occupied by Lady Katherine, along with the master bedroom (8), which Sir Kenneth occupies. The chief feature of the basement (9) is the coal-fed furnace, and stairs that lead out into the back yard.

The Scene of the Crime
When the PCs arrive they find that the front door of the house has been forced open; this should be the first sign of trouble for them. From there they can easily find Lady Katherine, along with Bartholomew the butler, in the dining room. In fact, she has pulled him up onto the table; he has been rendered unconscious because of his wounds, while she has been poisoned and might succumb to it if not given medical assistance. Finally, a pair of poisonous snakes—asps, in fact—have been let loose in the room, and lash out at newcomers, possibly catching them off-guard.

Poisonous Snakes (2): Refer to page 188 of Savage Worlds for stats.

The Facts of the Matter
As long as the PCs can dispatch the two serpents, then they should also make Heal checks to assist the lady and butler. From them they can learn the following details.
  • Lady Katherine was out shopping at the time when the kidnappers first arrived.
  • Bartholomew was home then. The kidnappers arrived at the door dressed in the garb of local constables, and insisted that they had orders to arrest Sir Kenneth. When he refused, they used their billy clubs and pushed their way into the house.
  • He was knocked unconscious during the ensuing scuffle; when he recovered, Sir Kenneth was gone. Lady Katherine returned at that point, but both were surprised—and attacked—by the asps that had been left behind.
  • They were both bitten; he fell unconscious again, because of his previous wounds, but she was able to pull him up onto the table.
Both Bartholomew and Lady Katherine thank the PCs for their aid. What is more, she agrees to help them decipher the scrolls, to the best of her ability—“Although my father is the real expert.” At the same time, anyone who looks around the room can find the ransom note left behind by the Cabal mercenaries, stuck into a bit of woodwork with a knife.

The Ransom Note
The note reads as follows.

If you wish to see Sir Kenneth again, then bring the scrolls to the south bank of the Thames between
the Westminster Street Bridge and the King's Arms Stairs at midnight tonight.
Failure to cooperate will result in his death.

There is no signature. If the PCs haven't come to suspect it already, though, then they should have an idea of the enemy they face.

The Ravens, Again
Not long thereafter, two ravens alight on the windowsill outside; one of them taps at the glass with its beak, and then both wait. A moment later another bird, this one bigger and with, perhaps, a keener eye, also lands. Flanked by the other two, then, it flutters into the room and lands on the table. It surveys the PCs for a time, and then with a squawk speaks one word: “Greetings.”
This newcomer is the spirit of Small Raven, an Indian boy who was killed trying to steal back some of his tribe's prized relics from a collector. Now he uses this raven as his host, and has come to London via the Winding Way on behalf of the Black Stars—a special branch of the United States Marshals dedicated to investigating strange events and occult practitioners. The other ravens follow his commands, and have been monitoring the heroes' movements for him.
Communicating with Small Raven should be a bit of a challenge, since the bird cannot speak more than a few words at a time. Even so, by answering yes-or-no questions and muttering short answers he can provide a good deal of information, including the following details.
  • It is indeed agents of the Cabal who have kidnapped Sir Kenneth.
  • Small Raven has come as an agent of the Black Stars, via a path that he calls the Winding Way. They are interested in the Cabal, and consider it to be a threat to American interests.
  • The Black Stars are aware of the heroes' activities—he suspects through magical means, but he doesn't know just how—and would like to meet with them as soon as possible.
  • He knows of an entrance to the Winding Way in London.
Finally, it should be noted that any character who has the Ghost Sight Edge can see, when looking at the raven, the spectral image of an Indian boy who is missing his right hand, that seems to hover around his host. He is unable to communicate through words, but might be able to use gestures more effectively than the bird.

The Handbill
Once Small Raven has communicated, to the best of his ability, what he wants the PCs to know, one of his fellow birds flies back out the window, and then returns a few minutes later clutching a rolled-up piece of paper in its talons. This is a handbill advertising a play, Macbeth, which is being performed at the New Globe Theater over the course of this month. If asked about the Theater or those whom the PCs might meet there, Small Raven squawks the word “Friends.”

Small Raven
For more information about this bird and the spirit that possesses it, refer to the following supplement.

Scene 3—Friend or Foe?
Although the PCs don't have a lot of information with which to work, they should have a few possible directions in which to head next; each of these likely situations is detailed below.

The New Globe Theater
As long as they do go to the theater, the PCs find that it is bustling for the performance. Given the layout of the theater, they can find a place to stand where they can watch the stage along with the rest of the attendees. Once the play starts, the lights go down, followed by flickering along with the roll of artificial thunder. Then the three actors playing witches come out on stage for the opening scene.

First Witch: When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain?

Second Witch: When the hurlyburly's done, when the battle's lost and won.

Third Witch: That will be ere the set of sun.

While that is happening, Zerelda Williams approaches the PCs and introduces herself by saying, “Methinks the hurlyburly will be done, this time, ere the rising of the sun.” Then she bows. “Zerelda Williams, at your service.” This should give the heroes an inkling that she knows of their business, even if it isn't too reassuring to them. They are soon joined, however, by an American who discreetly shows them his US Marshal's badge, whom Zerelda introduces as Marshal Gareth Hildebrand, Jr. Together, the two of them can relate the following information.
  • The acting company that runs the New Globe Theater is led by members of the Invisible College who are working to combat the Cabal's takeover of that organization.
  • To that end they are working together with the Black Stars, who recognize the Cabal as a threat to American interests, too.
  • For that reason Marshal Hildebrand, Jr. came to London to work as a liaison between the two groups.
  • He traveled via the Winding Way, led and assisted by Small Raven.
  • Working together these allies have learned that the Cabal's local base of operations is a merchant ship that lies at anchor on the Thames, the Indomitable.
  • They suspect that the kidnappers took Sir Kenneth there.
After sharing these details, Marshal Hildebrand and Miss Williams offer to aid the PCs as much as they are able. While not willing to engage in an all-out attack against the Cabal at this time, they will help provide equipment for some kind of effort to rescue Sir Kenneth. Williams is pleased to assist any action that harms the Cabal, while Hildebrand asks that the Black Stars be given a chance to study the scrolls from the Library of Alexandria, too.
The help that they can provide could include the following: access to rare equipment, such as dynamite; preparation of disguises; use of magical Powers; and possibly other things at the GM's discretion. Hildebrand will accompany the PCs if they want to have a look at the Indomitable, as detailed below. Finally, Williams offers to help the PCs make their escaped, as long as they can find their way back to the theater, and even goes so far as to show them the entrance to the Winding Way from the preparation area beneath the stage.

For more information about the New Globe Theater and the women who run it, refer to the following supplement.

The Indomitable
If the PCs want to take a look at the Cabal's base of operations—and especially if they decide to storm it—then refer to the maps below for the following location descriptions. 

This three-masted vessel rides at anchor with its sails furled. While a bit of a relic, given the advent of steam-powered travel, it is not such an unusual sight on the Thames. The Indomitable has an open main deck (1) with passages heading fore and aft, short stairways leading up onto the fore- and sterncastles, and hatches with ladders leading belowdecks. There is also a broad hatchway that opens into the decks below, for loading and unloading cargo. Toward the aft there is a companionway (2) flanked by small personal cabins, two each for the lieutenants of the mercenary and occultist leaders. Those two individuals, in turn, are quartered in the divided main cabin (3 and 4). In the bow there are quarters for the lower-ranking occultists (5), with access to a small open area at the front of the ship (6). The forecastle is a raised area in the bow (7), while the sterncastle (8), aft, is where the captain and helmsman would be stationed while the ship is under way. The middle deck consists of two sections, with sprawling quarters for the mercenaries (9) and a room in which the occultists can practice their magical rituals (10). Below that is the cargo hold (11), which is filled with crates, barrels and sacks of foodstuffs, equipment and other supplies, along with the galley (12) in which food is prepared. 

The Opposition
The following Cabal agents are present aboard the Indomitable.
  • They are led by a Heroic-rank occultist, Lord Roger FitzMorgan, and a Veteran mercenary, Captain Raymond Moore (areas 3 and 4).
  • Those two, in turn, are assisted by two Veteran occultists and two Seasoned occultists, respectively (area 2).
  • There are six Novice occultists in area 5, and twenty Novice mercenaries in area 9.
  • At any given time, pairs of mercenaries are stationed on the sterncastle (7) and forecastle (8).
  • Finally, it should be noted that Sir Kenneth is imprisoned in the cargo hold (11), shackled and chained to the mainmast.

The Cabal and the Invisible College
Refer to the following supplements for more information about these two organizations and their members.

Scene 4—Fight or Flight
Detailed here are suggestions for some of the more likely events that might occur as the heroes move forward with their plans.

Delivering the Ransom
Perhaps the most direct means of approaching this situation is to visit the location mentioned in the ransom note at the time specified. This is a pier some eight feet long and twenty feet wide that just out into the Thames. True to their word, the Cabal sends two rowboats to the rendezvous; the one that pulls up to the dock is crewed by two Novice mercenaries and a Veteran occultist, while the one that lingers further out on the water is crewed by two more Novice mercenaries and their Seasoned lieutenant. The latter boat also holds the shackled and blindfolded Sir Kenneth. The occultist insists that the PCs hand over the scrolls before they bring Sir Kenneth to the pier. As long as the PCs cooperate, they remain true to their word.

If the PCs choose not to cooperate, on the other hand, then things take a turn. This is likely to require some adjudication on the part of the GM, since it's never possible to predict all of the PCs' decisions. It's important to keep in mind here that neither side of the rift in the Invisible College commands the full weight of government authority, and so the PCs should shy away from wholesale destruction as they are fighting their battles.

Making an Exit
Unless they want to make this into a final confrontation with the Cabal, it's in their best interest to rescue Sir Kenneth and then depart. As mentioned above, the production company at the New Globe Theater has offered a good means of escaping, via the Winding Way and back to American soil. (For his part, Marshal Hildebrand advocates strongly for this proposal, since his organization would like a chance to sit down and discuss the heroes' discoveries with them.

As long as they can rescue Sir Kenneth and make their escape, the PCs have won an important victory. They have seen just how dangerous a foe the Cabal can be, and that many other brave individuals are interested in seeing them defeated. While this might not feel like a complete victory, they have won an important battle in a much bigger war.

Further Adventures
Detailed below are a few of the possibilities for business in which the PCs can become entangled.
  • As mentioned above, the Black Stars have lots of questions about their recent activities—as well as potential use of their services.
  • They could encounter all manner of things if they venture into the Winding Way, including other places, times and possibilities.
  • There is also the question of what lore the scrolls contain.
  • Finally, they've become embroiled in a conflict even larger than they know. The agents of the Cabal are certain to seek revenge against them, and that is only the start of escalation that could eventually explode around the world.

Presented here are stats for Sir Kenneth and Lady Katherine Allen.

Sir Kenneth Allen
One of the most renowned scholars in the field of Egyptology, Sir Kenneth is also a widower who takes great delight in the fact that his daughter is following in his footsteps. While he has performed considerable field work of his own in the past, age and easy living now make that harder for him than it once was. Even so, his mind is as sharp as ever.
Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d10, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Academics d10, Athletics d4, Common Knowledge d8, Fighting d4, Language d10, Notice d8, Persuasion d8, Research d10, Riding d4, Shooting d4, Stealth d4, Survival d4
Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Toughness: 5
Edges: Rich, Scholar (Academics)
Hindrances: Curious
Gear: None.

Lady Katherine Allen
Although she's lived a comfortable life as part of a well-respected family, Lady Katherine is no debutante. In fact, she has accompanied her father on some of his expeditions in the field. Some say this is because she lacks a mother's influence, but the truth is that she is just as fascinated by the secrets of ancient history as her father.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Academics d8, Athletics d4, Common Knowledge d8, Fighting d4, Healing d4, Language d8, Notice d8, Occult d4, Persuasion d6, Research d8, Riding d4, Shooting d4, Stealth d4, Survival d4, Thievery d4
Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Toughness: 5
Edges: Attractive, Rich
Hindrances: Curious
Gear: Knife (Damage Str+d4).

Appendix—Ransom Note
This item can be printed and given to the players; it is the ransom note left behind by the Cabal agents.

If you wish to see Sir Kenneth again, then bring the scrolls to the south bank of the Thames between
the Westminster Street Bridge and the King's Arms Stairs at midnight tonight.
Failure to cooperate will result in his death.

Appendix—The Handbill
This item can be printed and given to the players; it is the advertisement for that evening's performance of Macbeth at the New Globe Theater.

The Tragedy of Macbeth

By William Shakespeare

Performed each night of the month
Excluding Sundays
Curtain rises just after sunset
At the New Globe Theater
On the City Road, at Old Street

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Lead or Gold

Here's the next scenario in the series on which I've been working, for use with the Savage Worlds RPG using the setting book for The Sixth Gun.


The north coast of Africa has seen plenty of conflict over the past centuries, what with the spread of Islam and resulting religious conflicts, rise of the corsairs and efforts to suppress them, and the like. The particular troubles with which this scenario deals, however, are rooted in an even older conflict, one that erupted between Roman generals almost two millennia ago. While that business resulted from love and betrayal, wealth and power are now at stake—if anyone is so bold as to claim them.

Adventure Synopsis
This adventure begins when the PCs discover evidence of a lost treasure located near the city of Algiers. It is related to the English sorcerer known as Prospero, who fought against the witch Sycorax on a remote Mediterranean island. She had been exiled there by the corsairs who ruled the city—and who, in turn, were trying to claim the cache of relics and lore for themselves. Prospero defeated her and claimed some of her knowledge, which he passed on to another agent of the Invisible College in Algiers. While the two men were able to communicate via pigeon-carried messages, other business prevented them from delving further into the matter. 

Following the hints in the letter leads the across the Mediterranean Sea to that fabled city, from the harbor, through its streets, and then out into the desert beyond. Along the way they'll encounter parties from both sides of the growing conflict. Once they reach their destination, in the tomb known as the Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania, a final puzzle remains for them to solve in order to discover what they seek.

For the Gun Master
The Royal Mausoleum was believed to house the remains of King Juba and Queen Cleopatra Selene, the latter of whom was the daughter of the famous Egyptian monarch who had dalliances with Julius Caesar and Marc Antony. She received from her mother a precious gift of scrolls taken from the library of Alexadria before it was ravaged by fire. Those, then, contain valuable and powerful lore long since lost to humankind—until now. In truth, the scrolls lie buried in a hidden chamber beneath the Royal Mausoleum, waiting to be reclaimed. 

The heroes are not the only ones who have an inkling about this prize, however. Members of the Invisible College—the occult branch of the Royal Society—have long know that Algiers conceals a valuable secret. Some of those agents come from a faction of that organization that has exploited the fear of witchcraft to find, study, steal from, and then eradicate practitioners of other arcane traditions. Others belong to the more accepting majority, those who wish to learn about other traditions so as to share their learning with all. Some of the prior, then, allied themselves with the Cabal, and have been scouring Algiers for evidence of the treasure. In doing so they've attracted the attention of the brothers ibn Ibrahim, warriors who seek to protect the secret. Now it's only a matter of time before this simmering conflict erupts.

Involving the Heroes
This scenario assumes that the PCs participated in the events of the adventure “Fortune and Glory,” at the end of which they found a curious letter. If that is not the case, then the GM may need to devise an alternate means of letting the party make that discovery.

Scene 1—The Letter
Among the late Prospero's other possessions is a letter that reads as follows.

My Fellow Prospero,
I have made a Discovery regarding the History of the Witch whom you defeated there on your Island.
She was part of a Coven active in the City of her Origin, and among other wicked Schemes they sought
a valuable Treasure that was hidden in this Vicinity.
Although I am unable to send you the Object which I've found that I believe is a clue to its
Whereabouts, know this. A Mole in the City points at the End of the Day to the Place in which I have concealed it.
Your Servant,

This letter should raise some questions for the heroes. To that end, an Academics check (or a Common Knowledge check at -2) recognizes that “the Witch” refers to Sycorax, who is mentioned in The Tempest; a raise reveals that “the City of her Origin” is Algiers. The fact that the letter was sent from Prospero to Prospero should seem odd, too. Finally, an Occult check identifies the sigil combining an I and a C as that of the Invisible College.

Prisoners from the Unfathomable
As long as the PCs defeated, but did not kill, one of the occultists sent by the Cabal to Prospero's Island, then the PCs can question them, too. With a successful Persuasion or Intimidation effort, they can convince that individual to reveal the following details.
  • Prospero” was a codename used by agents serving the Invisible College, an off-shoot of the Royal Society that dealt with occult matters.
  • It was founded during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when an impressive group of writers and artists, explorers and natural philosophers were gathered in her court.
  • The Cabal agents were sent to this island after the PCs (another group of investigators) found a map leading to it, in the hope of acquiring whatever they might find.
Of course, this also leaves the question of what the PCs might want to do with any surviving prisoners, as well as with the ship that they may have captured. Whatever the case, the survivors insist that the PCs had better beware—“The Cabal has agents everywhere, and eventually they will settle the score, once and for all.”

Scene 2—City of the Corsairs
The voyage across the Mediterranean can be fraught with peril or relatively uneventful, depending on the desires of the players and the needs of the campaign. It can be a good chance for the GM to add one or more Interludes, as detailed on page 130 of the Savage Worlds rulebook.

The Lay of the Land
Once the PCs arrive in the harbor, they can head ashore and do some exploring. When they do, refer to the map above. The main features are the natural island, now developed (1) that forms part of the harbor, along with the man-made mole (2) that connects it to shore. In the center of the city is a huge open bazaar (3), from which broad roads lead out to six city gates (4-9). Overlooking all of this is the citadel from which the Dey rules Algiers (10).

Encounters in Town
Detailed below are just a few of the encounters that the PCs might have as they explore Algiers.
  • The first impression that the city makes should be noteworthy, especially for characters who've come all the way from America. For example: the clothing is exotic, with many people wearing flowing robes, headcloths, fezzes, or turbans; various foreign languages, especially Arabic; unfamiliar foods and other smells; etc.
  • At some point—especially when dramatically appropriate—there is a call to prayer, when the voices of the muezzins call out from the various mosques, and all faithful Muslims pause to face toward Mecca (eastward), kneel and pray.
  • That gives the PCs their first opportunity to notice the Cabal agents who are watching them. Although they are disguised as locals, these occultists, mercenaries and thieves don't participate in the call to prayer; instead, they look for other outsiders who also are not doing so. They should make Notice checks opposed by the PCs' Stealth efforts, and vice versa, to determine who recognizes whom first.
  • At another point a beggar calls out to the party, asking the characters for alms. This is something of a test, since giving charity is an important tenet of the local faith. What is more, more than a few of the beggars are spies for the ibn Ibrahim brothers, warriors dedicated to protecting their fellows from the exploitation by outsiders.
  • Shortly thereafter the PCs have a chance to recognize said ibn Ibrahim brothers, Ali and Omar. Once again, they should make Notice checks, but this time they're unopposed. This is because the brothers don't worry about being seen; instead, they're direct and open with anyone who approaches them. They consider themselves to be guardians of the local people, protecting them from being exploited by outsiders. As long as the PCs can convince them of their good intentions, the brothers do not hinder them. Accomplishing this requires the use of Persuasion, with the brothers starting out as Neutral; as always, the GM should apply bonuses or penalties for good or bad reasoning and roleplaying.
Of course, the biggest question in the PCs' minds should be about the mole that is mentioned in the letter.

Interested Parties
Use the following stats for the various other groups involved in this adventure.

Ali ibn Ibrahim al-Saji and Omar ibn Ibrahim al-Jari
These two men have dedicated themselves to serving Allah and protecting the people of Algiers, along with the secret that is hidden outside that city. They are honorable and brave, and respect those who demonstrate similar qualities. For those who seek to exploit their charges, they are unrelenting enemies. They are brothers not by blood, but by creed.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d4, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Athletics d4, Boating d4, Common Knowledge d4, Fighting d8, Language d4, Notice d6, Persuasion d4, Riding d4, Shooting d8, Stealth d4, Survival d6
Pace: 6, Parry: 6, Toughness: 5
Edges: Frenzy
Hindrances: Vow
Gear: Desert clothing, scimitar (Damage d8+d6), Colt Peacemaker (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6+1, RoF 1).

Despite their ragged appearances, these individuals beg not so much because they need to, but rather because they serve the brothers Ibrahim as spies, choosing to play the part because most people pay little real attention to someone in such a position. In this way they garner all kinds of information.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d4
Skills: Common Knowledge d6, Fighting d6, Language d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Stealth d8, Thievery d8
Pace: 6, Parry: 5, Toughness: 4
Edges: Alertness
Hindrances: Poverty
Gear: Ragged clothing, knife (Damage d4+d6).

Cabal Mercenary (Novice): Refer to the supplement The Cabal for stats.

Thief (Novice): Refer to the supplement The Cabal for stats.

Occultist (Seasoned): Refer to the supplement The Cabal for stats.

The Mole
Once the PCs recognize the the mention of a “Mole” in the letter refers to the wall in the harbor, they should be able to determine where to look. “At the end of the day” is a reference to how the sun sets in the west; therefore, the tip of the mole that points west is what they should seek. There it consists of a tumble of rocks rising up out of the lapping waves; refer to the map above for details. Area A is where the water is too deep to stand, and thus requires a Swimming check to move. Area B should be treated as Difficult Ground, and requires an Athletics check to traverse. Area C is still Difficult but does not require a check. Area D, finally, is level ground. 

Amid the tumble of rocks there is one that is curiously rectangular; what is more, it is crudely engraved with the following symbol.

This contains, of course, the items referred to in the letter, but it takes Strength checks at -2 to move the chest and then to pry open its lid. Inside they find a wax-sealed cylinder along with four small stone tablets, one larger than the rest, that are engraved with the following markings. 

Inside the sealed scroll tube, then, is an old piece of paper on which is written the following message.

To find what was saved from the great fire, here is where you should inquire:
Look thirteen leagues to the west, in a place where to find their rest.
If you would set this knowledge free, then Julius Caesar holds the key.
Find the solution to find what was saved.

These items provide no fewer than three clues to find the treasure. Two of them will become critical later, but one is of more immediate importance. “Thirteen leagues to the west” is a reference to the fabled Royal Mausoleum of Mauretania, which lies forty miles out along the coast—s
omething that the heroes can confirm with an Academics check, or by asking around town. Of course, the latter option is more likely to attract unwanted attention to them.

The Cabal's First Move
It is while the heroes are exploring the mole that the agents of the Cabal strike, trying to ambush them and steal their prize. Refer to the “Interested Parties” section above to find stats for them.

Scene 3—The Sands of Time
The heroes can procure whatever supplies they need for the trip, including hiring camels, before setting out across the desert. The forty-mile trip, then, could present numerous challenges and opportunities, including those listed below.
  • If they are traveling during the day, then the heroes may face difficulties from the heat; refer to page 128 of Savage Worlds for details.
  • Those who didn't lay in a supply of water face the hazard of thirst, too (page 129).
  • They could run afoul of a poisonous snake (page 188), too.
As always, the GM should adjust the number of encounters as needed.

Time for an Interlude?
The trek, since it should take a number of hours, could also be a good time for the GM to use the Interludes mechanic; refer to page 130 in Savage Worlds for details.

The Mausoleum
This circular structure (refer to the front page for an image) is roughly 180 feet in diameter, and is built from local stone. At ground level it is ringed by 64 column in the ancient style; above that, a tiered roof rises to form something akin to a flattened dome. Clearly time has treated it roughly, since weather and looters have removed pieces here and there. 

Inside the main entrance (A) there is a circular tunnel (B) that runs more than three quarters of the structure's circumference. Along the outside wall there is a series of Roman numerals written in chalk, ranging from I to LXIV (one for each of the exterior columns). The one marked XX can be pressed inward—it is the only whole number solution to the math problem from the larger tablet—and opens a secret door (C) in the wall opposite (Notice check at -4 to spot). At the end of the tunnel is the actual tomb (D), which contains two sarcophagi that have long since been looted of all contents. As soon as the secret door is opened, a swarm of black wasps erupts to attack the people who did so.

Wasp Swarm: Refer to page 189 in Savage Worlds for stats.

Inside the secret door is a spiral staircase that leads down into a hidden chamber (E). It has a vaulted ceiling with pieces of crystal embedded in it; an Academics, Boating or Survival check identifies them as representing the stars in the northern night sky. What is more, some of them—the brightest stars—can be pressed inward like buttons. Most of them trigger dart traps (Shooting 1d6; damage 2d6), but one opens the secret trapdoor in the floor. 

This is where the third and final clue comes into play. The line “Julius Caesar holds the key” is a reference to the play Julius Shakespeare by William Shakespeare; Act III, Scene 1, line 30 of that play reads “I am constant as the northern star.” Pressing the crystal that represents Polaris opens the trapdoor. That chamber, then, is ten feet deep; it contains dozens of scrolls—ones that were indeed taken from the Library of Alexandria before it was destroyed by fire.

Scene 4—Onslaught, Again
Once the heroes have found the scrolls, they need to make sure that they keep them. This is because the Cabal agents make another move against them; how the situation develops depends largely on what precautions, if any, the heroes have taken to guard their backs. For their part, the Cabal agents send their thieves ahead first to scout and, if possible, catch anyone off-guard. After that the occultist uses Boost/Lower Trait to enhance the mercenaries, and then Armor on themselves, before using Bolt to lash out at dangerous enemies. The mercenaries try to storm the mausoleum, but fall back if necessary. They are under stringent orders to acquire the prize, however, and so are willing to fight to the death.

If the heroes can find the scrolls and fight off the Cabal agents, then they score a major victory against the forces of evil. While they don't profit directly from the acquisition—at least not yet—they do gain a bargaining chip that allows them to become important players on the stage of international occult intrigue. They've also become embroiled in a much larger conflict that is only going to get bigger.

Further Adventures
Detailed below are a few of the possibilities for business in which the PCs can become entangled.
  • The heroes need to find someone to translate the scrolls if they want to learn their contents; the brothers Ibrahim can even recommend someone, British Egyptologist Sir Kenneth Allan.
  • Of course, the Cabal is not a group to take defeat lightly, and will want to settle the score—and to take the relics and lore that the heroes have discovered.
  • There is also a lengthy voyage by sea they need to make if they wish to head for England or even back to America; there are all kinds of troubles that could arise during such a journey.

Appendix—The Scrolls
Many of the scrolls from the hidden cache are prayers and spells from the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. They can provide characters with access to the following powers.
  • Properly inscribing the Eye of Horus on items acts like Arcane Protection.
  • Calling up the spirit of a deceased individual functions in a manner similar to Divination.
  • Invoking the judgment of no less than Amun-Ra acts like the Smite power.
  • Finally, proper preparation of a dead body—including the removal of vital organs, treatment of the remaining flesh with special materials, and then wrapping the whole thing in bandages and charms—creates a mummy in a manner similar to that for the Zombie Power.
As always, the GM should feel to add or remove Powers from this list depending on the desires of the players and the needs of the campaign.