The Adventures of Cormac Payne!

Adventure 1, Session 1

Amsterdam, 1932 (Day 1/2)

JUSTIN
You feel a jolt as your train comes to a slow stop, hearing the hiss of the engine as the brakes are engaged. Outside you see a busy train station in Amsterdam, Holland. There are storm clouds overhead but it doesn’t appear to be raining.

CHRISTIAN
FB messages, Obsidian Portal board?
Why am I in town?

JUSTIN
Make an IQ roll

CHRISTIAN
rolled 11…have 12 in IQ.
Unless there’s a modifier, should be a pass.

JUSTIN
ok, but it was a low pass. You have been sent by Fabian Volkmann to attend an auction in Amsterdam. Something about some African antiquities which he wants you to buy. Your contact is a fellow called Fisher, who is supposed to meet you at the train station.

CHRISTIAN
How am I supposed to recognize him?

JUSTIN
Fabian didn’t say
He contacted you by telegram

CHRISTIAN
Alright, I’ll scan the platform from my compartment as we stop.

JUSTIN
There are several other trains in the station, so there’s a lot of activity. There are several individuals, including baggage handlers, waiting at the platform staring at your train. Some passengers have already started to disembark.

CHRISTIAN
I’ll grab my suitcase and disembark.

JUSTIN
OK. As you disembark a tall man with a receding hairline wearing a pin-stripe suit comes up to you. “Mr. Payne?” he asks.

CHRISTIAN
“Yes?”

JUSTIN
“I’m Stephen Fisher. Our mutual friend told me to meet you here and see that you reach your hotel. Did you have any baggage?”

CHRISTIAN
“I’ve got it with me.”

JUSTIN
“Excellent! Did you want to grab a drink or head straight to the hotel?”

CHRISTIAN
“We’ll have a drink in the hotel bar.”

JUSTIN
“All right. Let’s go then.” You walk through the station out front to what appears to be a cab stand. He hails one and you both get in. “Hotel Europa”, he tells the driver.

CHRISTIAN
“So, what’s the news in Amsterdam?”

JUSTIN
“Well, there’s the conference and auction, but you already know about that. The tulips are blossoming, so everyone’s excited. Have you ever been to Amsterdam?”

CHRISTIAN
Have I?
Probably not, I’m guessing.
Or else I’d have the language.
“No, first time.”
“Are you local?”

JUSTIN
“No, I’m actually naval attache over at the American embassy. Fabian and I are old friends. Well, if you’re new here then you must see Rembrandt’s house!”

CHRISTIAN
“Hopefully. What can you tell me about the conference?”

JUSTIN
“Well, the conference is going today and the auction is tomorrow. Van Meer is receiving an award at the Amsterdam Museum for his charitable work over the years.”

CHRISTIAN
“Do you know any of the other parties likely to be bidding at the auction?”

JUSTIN
“They’ll be quite a few museums, private collectors, and of course other antique dealers like yourself I’m assuming.”
Your cab pulls up to the Hotel Europa.
Fisher pays the driver and gets out.

CHRISTIAN
I’ll get out and walk in with him.

JUSTIN
Unless you want to play it out, he books you in to a single room, 537.

CHRISTIAN
Works for me.

JUSTIN
“The conference starts in an hour. It’s at the Amsterdam Museum. I’ll meet you over there.”

CHRISTIAN
While we’re at the desk, I want to quickly glance at the guestbook.
Any recent names I recognize?

JUSTIN
Would that be an IQ roll?

CHRISTIAN
probably PER.

JUSTIN
OK, then make a roll

CHRISTIAN
Same thing for me.
5.
PER is 12.

JUSTIN
Well, you see Dr Vladimir Radichenko from the University of Leningrad on there. Haven’t seen him in a while.
No one else, though.

CHRISTIAN
Where do I know him from?

JUSTIN
IQ roll

CHRISTIAN
6

JUSTIN
Academic circles. You’ve met him a few times but never actually had the chance to work with him.
His specialty is actually Central Asia, so you’ve bonded over that.

CHRISTIAN
Okay, I’ll buy an English language newspaper and head up to the room to drop my things off.

JUSTIN
OK. The bellman shows up you there.

CHRISTIAN
I’ll tip the bellman, toss my suitcase in the room to unpack later, glance at the headlines, and then head down to send off a telegram.

JUSTIN
The only big news you see is the Germans put that fellow Hindenburg in charge.

CHRISTIAN
Okay.
Telegram is to Fabian.

JUSTIN
ok

CHRISTIAN
HERE. AT HOTEL EUROPA. MET FISHER. TALL MAN, RECEDING HAIRLINE?’

JUSTIN
ok, you send it off with no problems.

CHRISTIAN
After that, I’ll hail a cab to the museum if it’s too far to walk.

JUSTIN
All right. Make a perception roll.

CHRISTIAN
Actually, can the concierge provide me with a map?
That would be useful.

JUSTIN
I’m going to say yes, so you should have a +5 bonus navigating the city.

CHRISTIAN
Nice.
PER roll is 12.
Just hit it.

JUSTIN
Hmmm…
OK, just as the concierge is giving you your map, you here the doorman say, “Right this way Mr. Van Meer.”

CHRISTIAN
Do I recognize him?

JUSTIN
Make either an IQ or PER roll

CHRISTIAN
8.

JUSTIN
Yup, it’s him.

CHRISTIAN
who?

JUSTIN
Van Meer

CHRISTIAN
Does he have a first name?

JUSTIN
You think it’s Albert.

CHRISTIAN
“Mr. Van Meer, on your way to receive your award?”

JUSTIN
Van Meer turns. He’s an elderly fellow with a white handlebar mustache, a black coat, and a top hat.
“Yes, yes. And who are you?” he asks in a heavy accent (you believe it’s Dutch or maybe German).

CHRISTIAN
I’ll tip my hat.
And extend my hand
“Cormac Payne. Of Napolitano and Sons.”
“I was just on my way to the museum.”

JUSTIN
He shakes your hand. “It’s nice to meet you Mr. Payne. Would you like to share a cab?”

CHRISTIAN
“Certainly, it would be a pleasure.”

JUSTIN
The two of you get in and take off.

CHRISTIAN
“This is my first time in Amsterdam, so I’m glad to have the company.”

JUSTIN
“Well, I’m glad you’ve come to our fair city. Have you seen Rembrandt’s house yet?”

CHRISTIAN
“No, I hope to see it after the auction.”

JUSTIN
“Ah, you’re in for a treat. We had a very successful expedition this year.”
He opens his coat, revealing a small black statue.

CHRISTIAN
Is this an appraise antiques check, or is this recent folk art?

JUSTIN
I’d say appraise antiques

CHRISTIAN
or whatever it is…connoisseur (antiques).
11…hit it exactly, so very close.

JUSTIN
http://cdn.obsidianportal.com/assets/42844/Zim-bird.jpg

CHRISTIAN
Makes sense I suppose…what the hell do I know about Africa?

JUSTIN
Well, it’s probably African. Maybe South American.

CHRISTIAN
“Where did it come from exactly?”

JUSTIN
He looks at you and smiles. “Trade secrets, Mr. Payne.”

CHRISTIAN
“Well, can’t blame me for trying.”

JUSTIN
“In all honesty, we found it in the foothills of Algeria, but we don’t think it’s from the area.”

CHRISTIAN
“To me, it almost looks South American, but I’m certainly no Africa scholar.”

JUSTIN
“Yes, primitive artwork does have a certain uniformity to the untrained eye. But I think this will give us our first real breakthrough!”

CHRISTIAN
“Was it located with any artifacts that would date it?”

JUSTIN
Your cab pulls up to the Amsterdam Museum.

CHRISTIAN
I’ll open the door for him

JUSTIN
“Well, it has been a pleasure Mr. Payne. I do hope we have a chance to speak again.”

CHRISTIAN
Any answer to that last question?

JUSTIN
Nope

CHRISTIAN
Oh well. I’ll head in.
After paying the driver.

JUSTIN
That works. There’s a rather heavy crowd inside the museum.
Make a PER roll

CHRISTIAN
14.
No dice.
If there’s a program, I’ll grab one.

JUSTIN
OK. After what is probably just a few minutes, but feels like an eternity, Fisher comes up to you.

CHRISTIAN
“What have I missed?”

JUSTIN
“A lot of pretentious know-it-all’s talking about Africa like they’ve been there.”

CHRISTIAN
“Do you know any of them?”

JUSTIN
“This sort of crowd isn’t really my scene. I’ve found the best approach is to just shut up and nod.”

CHRISTIAN
“What crowd IS your scene then?”

JUSTIN
Make another PER roll

CHRISTIAN
17. Not even close.

JUSTIN
BONK! You feel yourself being roughly pushed out of the way.

CHRISTIAN
Okay, I’ll move out of the way.

JUSTIN
“Excuse moi!” a uniformed Frenchman says as he urgently moves towards the door.

CHRISTIAN
I’ll check my wallet and pockets as I watch him run out.
What uniform is he wearing?

JUSTIN
Make a perception roll and an IQ roll (seperately)

CHRISTIAN
8 and 10.

JUSTIN
So both passed?

CHRISTIAN
yep
They’re both at 12.

JUSTIN
He appears to be in the uniform of the Gendarmerie nationale. And yes, all your stuff is still there.

CHRISTIAN
“Wonder where he’s off to?”

JUSTIN
“Somebody probably told him about a cheese-making brothel.”

CHRISTIAN
“So, how did you end up in the naval attache racket?”

JUSTIN
Before Fisher can respond you hear a gavel being struck and calls for quiet.
An elderly fellow wearing a tuxedo is at a table near the front of the room.

CHRISTIAN
Van Meer?

JUSTIN
No

CHRISTIAN
If it’s quiet and everyone’s looking at the front of the room, I’ll scan the room and see if I recognize anyone else.

JUSTIN
“If we could have your attention, the conference on African Arts and Antiquities will now begin. Before we start, however, I have some rather sad news. We were going to begin our conference with an award for Professor Albert Van Meer, one of our leading contributors and benefactors. Unfortunately, I just received a telegram saying he will be unable to attend today’s conference, but hopes to see you all tomorrow at the auction.”
(Sorry for the delay on that one)
If you still want to scan, make a perception roll.

CHRISTIAN
(aside to Fisher) “That’s crazy, I rode over with Van Meer”
18…no luck.

JUSTIN
“Maybe something came up at the last minute?”

CHRISTIAN
“Maybe.”

JUSTIN
The conference (in Cliff Notes form) is several speakers talking about African archaeology, specifically how different European countries can pool their resources to create a better understanding of the continent.
Which is about as exciting as it sounds.

CHRISTIAN
“I can’t imagine Europeans pooling their resources would be any better for Africa than it’s been for the Middle East.”

JUSTIN
“Yes, I get the feeling that all we’re witnessing is just another formal conference to decide who gets to steal what.”

CHRISTIAN
“I suspect you’re right. I’m still wondering about Van Meer.”

JUSTIN
Unless you want to do anything specific, the conference runs for several hours, with many MANY MANY speeches about the need to work together, and then adjourns for the day.

CHRISTIAN
That cop you mentioned, was he French or Dutch?

JUSTIN
He looked French, wore a French uniform, and spoke French, but for all I know he was a very well-trained Oriental.

CHRISTIAN
“Seriously, what did you make of the French cop running out? Do you think it’s related to Van Meer’s disappearance?”

JUSTIN
“It might have been, although I can’t say how. I’m not even sure what a French gendarme would be doing here to begin with.”

CHRISTIAN
“Do you have any contacts in the city police that might know anything?”
“Or in diplomatic circles?”
“If there are French police in uniform here, there must be an international agreement of some sort.”

JUSTIN
“I can ask around but it will take some time. It looks like the conference is adjourning for the evening, so I will see what I can find out before tomorrow.”

CHRISTIAN
“Alright, I’ll be at the Hotel.”

JUSTIN
“OK. I will see you tomorrow.”

CHRISTIAN
I’m going to hail a cab back to the hotel.

JUSTIN
Is there anything in particular you planned on doing for the rest of the evening?

CHRISTIAN
Trying to chase down Radichenko, and maybe seeing if there was any scuttlebutt on either Van Meer’s change of plans or the auction.
Also unpacking and getting some info on Rembrandt’s house.
Maybe getting a Dutch phrasebook too.

JUSTIN
OK. You get back to the hotel and find a telegram from Fabian. “GLAD TO SEE TRIP WASN’T TOO HARSH. ASK FISHER WHEN HE WILL JUST GIVE UP AND BUY Toupée.”

CHRISTIAN
Well there’s some good news at least.

JUSTIN
It’s getting rather late by now. The concierge gets you a Dutch phrasebook (+2 on language rolls) and says he will find some information on Rembrand’ts house.

CHRISTIAN
I’ll leave a note for Radichenko, I suppose.
Saying we should have a drink.

JUSTIN
OK
Unless there’s anything else, we’ll just skip to tomorrow?

CHRISTIAN
Sounds good.

JUSTIN
OK, the next day you wake up with pouring rain outside.

CHRISTIAN
I’ll get up and buy an English language newspaper and have breakfast in the hotel restaurant.
What news?

JUSTIN
The big headline on the trial of some German called Otto Wacker for selling fake Van Gogh paintings. You’d think he burned the Vatican to the ground by the way some of these editorials are talking about him.

CHRISTIAN
Hmm.
If there’s no word from Fisher, I’ll head over to the museum early since I’ve never been there before the conference.

JUSTIN
The waiter also brings you a note from the front desk from Radichenko.

CHRISTIAN
Oh?

JUSTIN
Yes

CHRISTIAN
Is that the text of the note, or is there more?

JUSTIN
“Полюбите вашу идею. Препятствуйте нам встретить вверх для сегодни вечером пить.”
So it’s pretty cut-and-dry.

CHRISTIAN
I’ll leave him another note.

JUSTIN
OK

CHRISTIAN
“Согласен. 8 в отеле?”
And then head to the museum.

JUSTIN
(Isn’t Babelfish awesome!?!?)

CHRISTIAN
I’m using Google Translate
But yeah, it does help with this character.

JUSTIN
Either way… OK, you arrive at the museum to find a large crowd in front. Make a PER roll.

CHRISTIAN
7

JUSTIN
You see Fisher at the top of the stairs leading into the museum.

CHRISTIAN
I’ll walk up to him
“What’s going on?”
“This crowd can’t just be the auction.”

JUSTIN
You’re temporarily blinded by a photographer taking your picture.

CHRISTIAN
Once my vision clears, can I make out the photographer’s face?

JUSTIN
Yes

CHRISTIAN
Do I recognize him? Is it some random asshole?

JUSTIN
Just some random asshole with the press
He’s taking pictures of everyone.
“The crowd isn’t here for the auction. They’re here for Van Meer’s lecture on Zanj.”

CHRISTIAN
What the hell’s Zanj?"

JUSTIN
Make an IQ roll

CHRISTIAN
15.
“What the hell’s Zanj?”

JUSTIN
“Wait, so you came all this way and have no idea what Zanj is?”

CHRISTIAN
“It’s not ours to reason why, Stephen.”

JUSTIN
“Fair enough. Zanj is one of those legendary ‘lost cities’ you keep hearing about. Van Meer’s been searching for it for the past few years. I personally think it’s a load of bunk, and he’s just trying to drum up sales for some local bones he got from a witch doctor somewhere.”
“Speaking of which…”
Make a PER roll.

CHRISTIAN
6

JUSTIN
Pass?

CHRISTIAN
Yep.
PER is 12

JUSTIN
You see Van Meer getting out of a car and walking up to the museum.

CHRISTIAN
Okay.

JUSTIN
Fisher turns to you and says, “I’ve actually got to be going. I’d rather saw off my arm than spend another day listening to this drivel. I’ll send someone around to fetch you after the auction is over.”

CHRISTIAN
“Before you go, any word back from whoever you talked to last night?”
“I’m still wondering about that French cop.”

JUSTIN
“Not yet, but I’ll hopefully have something by this evening.”

CHRISTIAN
“Alright, I’ll see you later.”
Well, I should probably go sit in on this lecture.

JUSTIN
Make a PER roll.

CHRISTIAN
12.
Pass, but just barely.

JUSTIN
There’s some type of commotion going on.

CHRISTIAN
I’ll go take a look.

JUSTIN
Van Meer is slumped on the steps.

CHRISTIAN
Anyone shouting anything in particular?

JUSTIN
Some policemen are running up and people are starting to scream. Make another perception roll.

CHRISTIAN
9

JUSTIN
You see the photographer from earlier sliding off to the side. It looks like he’s slipping a pistol back in his pocket.

CHRISTIAN
“Murderer!” Running tackle

JUSTIN
OK. Do we have to roll for initiative?

CHRISTIAN
No, should go off stats

JUSTIN
Photographer’s PER is 10

CHRISTIAN
Not PER, DX etc.
Let me open to that section.

JUSTIN
Oh. His DEX is 11.

CHRISTIAN
What’s his speed?

JUSTIN
5.5

CHRISTIAN
Mine’s 5.75.

JUSTIN
OK then. You go first.

CHRISTIAN
Free action is yelling “Murderer!”
I’m going to move and attack.

JUSTIN
All right.
He’s two moves away.

CHRISTIAN
So it will take me two turns to get to him?

JUSTIN
Yes

CHRISTIAN
Then I’m just going to make a move.
I’m going to sprint.

JUSTIN
OK. You’re on slippery steps in a rainstorm.
So that’s DEX?

CHRISTIAN
hang on, checking rules.
Guess so.
Unless you see any rules on it.

JUSTIN
OK, roll.

CHRISTIAN
4
Nice.
But think it’s at -2.
Oh, that’s just move+attack.

JUSTIN
Yeah, you’re good so far. Screaming “Murderer!” you launch yourself down the steps at the man.

CHRISTIAN
I guess every round I sprint increases my speed by like 20%.

JUSTIN
Nice.

CHRISTIAN
But after 15 rounds it starts bleeding Fatigue Points.

JUSTIN
The man turns to look at you, then dives into the crowd.

CHRISTIAN
I don’t get a surprise round on him?
And why isn’t the crowd backing the hell away from him?

JUSTIN
Negative. It’s not like he was going to just hang out and go see the auction afterwards.
Isn’t each round a second? And aren’t you just one voice in a whole screaming crowd?

CHRISTIAN
I can roll to drown out the rest of them.

JUSTIN
OK. Just FYI I had him Move + Stealth and he passed

CHRISTIAN
Okay okay.

JUSTIN
If he had failed the crowd would have backed away or something.

CHRISTIAN
So my turn was a sprint, and his was move+stealth?

JUSTIN
Yes. Your turn again.

CHRISTIAN
Does he still have his camera with him?

JUSTIN
He had it when he jumped into the crowd.

CHRISTIAN
Free action “it’s the photographer!”

JUSTIN
OK

CHRISTIAN
I’m going to leap from the steps into the crowd to try to grab him.

JUSTIN
OK. Just FYI the steps we’re talking about are like at the Capitol or the Supreme Court, not a narrow staircase.

CHRISTIAN
Yeah, but the crowd’s lower on the steps than me, right?
How far away is he, roughly?

JUSTIN
The crowd extends all the way up to the door, but the man is lower than you right now. I’d say he’s about several yards away but you can’t see him at the moment.

CHRISTIAN
Hmm.

JUSTIN
It’s not like he can hide in there all day.

CHRISTIAN
PER to spot him then I guess.

JUSTIN
OK. You’re rolling against his Stealth roll, which was a 7.

CHRISTIAN
POW! 3.
Is there a crit confirmation, or is that a crit?

JUSTIN
That is a crit. You see him all right. He may be hidden from view, but you see all the people he’s bumping out of the way.
He’s moving down towards the street.

CHRISTIAN
Free action “He’s heading toward the street!”
I’m going to sprint around the crowd to try to head him off.

JUSTIN
OK. He’s currently one move ahead of you so just make one roll to get you down to the street.

CHRISTIAN
9.
Am I rolling against DX with that?

JUSTIN
Yes, DX

CHRISTIAN
Nice.

JUSTIN
So you should pass. You make it down to the street easily to find the man already in the middle of it. Two policemen are also approaching. There are several trolleys in the road.

CHRISTIAN
It’s going to suck when he’s some kind of Assassin’s Creed death machine.

JUSTIN
Or ancient Babylonian god. You haven’t ruled them out yet.

CHRISTIAN
Move and attack.
The attack’s going to be a slam.

JUSTIN
He’s got his pistol out and the policemen are drawing on him too.
Make your attack roll.

CHRISTIAN
In that case, I’m going to try for a grapple on the arm that has the pistol.
Let me figure out what I’m rolling.
grapple at -2 for specific location (arm).
Let me see if moving gives me any other penalties.

JUSTIN
DX
Books says -4 for hand, but I’ll go with arm being -2

CHRISTIAN
I was just going for the arm. That alone gives him -4 to DX with that arm, which will probably jack up his shooting long enough to get those cops in on the grapple.

JUSTIN
ok

CHRISTIAN
The attack’s at -4, but my posture is all out attack, and I’m going to make this a determined attack, which is +4.
So it should be at a net -2.
And my skill still drops to 9, because my adjusted skill can’t be higher than that for this attack.

JUSTIN
Go for it.

CHRISTIAN
Brawling at 9 or less then.
Actually, shit, one moment.
Oh, nm. I thought I might as well go for the hand itself if I’m losing points to drop to 9, but that would have cut me down even further, to 8.

JUSTIN
ok

CHRISTIAN
8…guess I should have gone for the hand…oh well, at least I’ve got his arm.

JUSTIN
So does he grapple to break free or how does this work?

CHRISTIAN
And all that really means is that he’s at -4 to shoot me, which is nothing if he pulls that same all-out attack trick.
Depends on whether he’s fighting to the death or just trying to get the hell away.
Let me check the actions on being grappled section.
It’s a ST contest to break free, but I have +5 against him since I’m using both hands. He’d have to do that to move anywhere.
He can still attack or all out attack.

JUSTIN
OK. He’s going to all-out attack. You see a flash of steel as he pulls out a knife with his free hand.

CHRISTIAN
But he’s limited to unarmed attacks or very close range melee weapons (daggers, etc.)
And, hey hey, it says he can’t attack with his grappled limb, so I’m not going to get shot in the stomach today!
So there’s that
So he’s readying a weapon?

JUSTIN
He’s going to quick-draw his knife and stab.

CHRISTIAN
You can ready a weapon in a grapple, but you need to make a DX roll to avoid dropping the weapon.

JUSTIN
Trying to figure out what the neg modifiers are.

CHRISTIAN
And then the quickdraw roll.

JUSTIN
This is with his other hand

CHRISTIAN
No, just talking about readying a weapon in a grapple.

JUSTIN
OK.

CHRISTIAN
Not using a grappled arm to do it.

JUSTIN
He rolled an 11 with a DX of 11.

CHRISTIAN
So DX roll to draw at whatever difficulty you call, then a quickdraw roll at whatever difficulty.
Then an attack.

JUSTIN
Both of his skills (quick-draw and knife) are at 12. He rolled a 10 and a 6.
Are you able to defend?

CHRISTIAN
Nope, all out attack.

JUSTIN
OK, so he stabs you. What do we roll?

CHRISTIAN
Let me check.

JUSTIN
Just saw that he should have had -4 for off-hand attack, but that was balanced by +4 all-out attack.

CHRISTIAN
Fair enough. At least I’ll have an easy time hitting him if I don’t die.
okay, found it
small knife, right?

JUSTIN
yeah, nothing fancy

CHRISTIAN
this was a stab, right?

JUSTIN
Yup

CHRISTIAN
thr-1 impaling
what’s his ST?

JUSTIN
DAMN! 5
It was thr 1d-1 and he rolled a 6.
This GURPS Character Assistant is pretty cool. Already had the calcs for me.

CHRISTIAN
So his ST is 13 or 14?

JUSTIN
It’s 11

CHRISTIAN
then it’s (1d-1)-1

JUSTIN
Where you seeing that?

CHRISTIAN
ST 11 thrust is 1d-1 and damage is thr-1.
So there should be two -1 modifiers

JUSTIN
OK, I’ll go with that. So 4.

CHRISTIAN
Okay, HP is now 7.
Where are those cops?
Whose lives I saved by immobilizing this asshole’s pistol?

JUSTIN
They’ve got their pistols drawn and are shouting at you.

CHRISTIAN
Oh, no problem, I’ll just take out my phrasebook and figure out what they’re saying.
That’s a free action, right?

JUSTIN
Unless your phrasebook was made by MCIA, I doubt it will help.

CHRISTIAN
Okay, let me look at what I can do here.

JUSTIN
Make a PER roll.

CHRISTIAN
10

JUSTIN
You hear a loud clanging sound and in your peripheral vision see a trolley bearing down on both of you.

CHRISTIAN
Nice

JUSTIN
And that’s all the time we have for tonight.

Comments

JDPalmer

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