Rigid Air

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Details

Front Cover

Pages: 44-55

Author(s): Marion Anderson, Phil Anderson

Artist(s): Chris Johnston, Gustaf Bjørksten, Martin Trengrove

Setting: 1920s

Appears in: Fearful Passages

Summary

Wherein the investigators travel by dirigible, and encounter a passenger whose motive is far beyond getting from here to there.

Investigators are named as executors in the will of Robert Douglas, a friend of past years who drifted out of contact after a botched Arctic voyage. He died in British Colombia in a wilderness accident, but his wife is suspicious of the circumstances and asks the Investigators to look into the case. They soon discover a trail of death haunting that fateful expedition.

Links

Spoilers - Keepers Eyes Only

Players should not read any further.

Synopsis

One of the investigators is contacted by a Canadian solicitor. They are named as executor of the estate of Robert Douglas, whose body was found by a glacial lake, dead from a fall or by drowning. Douglas had known the Investigator in earlier years, but drifted out of old friendships in late 1921 after an unsuccessful attempt to reach the North Magnetic Pole by air.

In truth, the dirigible Bellinghausen successfully reached the North Magnetic Pole, but reported a failure to the world. Their real purpose in the expedition was not to perform research, as claimed, but to open a dimensional gate. Rather than the expected dramatic intrusion from inhuman beings, only a strange crystal emerged. It was concealed by the disappointed occultists and largely forgotten. Over time, though, it grew into a monstrous dho-spawn and mentally enslaved the expedition, Sheridan Moore. It has gradually manipulated him to bring it to each of the remaining expedition members, enslaving them also. Now it uses Moore's airship, renamed the Terra Nova, to prowl through the Americas as it tracks down the last of those present at its emergence: the unfortunate hired crewmen.

The Investigators must track down the last of the crew, Chester Whittle, then seek out and destroy the airship to end its threat. If they don't, the dho-spawn will kill Whittle too, then return through the dimensional gate with its stolen knowledge. There is no way to save the enslaved officers; they are now bound to the creature, and will die if its psychic tendrils are withdrawn.

References

Player Handouts:

  1. Letter to Douglas
  2. Marked Shakespeare passages
  3. Coroner's report
  4. Whittle's story

Locations: Nelson, British Colombia; Seattle; aboard the Terra Nova (possibly)

Creatures: Dho-Spawn, dho-spawn puppets

Tomes and Artifacts: None

Campaigns / Scenarios: None

Comments

  • Contains background information on airship travel during the 1920s and beyond, including broad scientific and engineering descriptions.
  • List of notable airships of the 1920s
  • Diagram of the Terra Nova airship
  • Description of the logging town of Nelson
  • Images of dho-spawn-infested airship

Keeper Comments

Unlike some others in the supplement, this scenario is not designed for use between adventures, and does not have any hooks to deploy during travel.

Any number of Investigators could take part, though it might be hard to explain why a whole gang descend on the sleepy town of Nelson. However, one or two could handle the will-reading during a quiet point in an ongoing campaign, with the rest joining in for research and to take down the dho-spawn.

While there's no way to find out anything about the dho-spawn, it doesn't actually pose a threat to anything except Whipple. If it's allowed to kill him, it'll disappear again.

The un-parasitised Captain Moore, whose Mythos scheming started all the trouble, offers a useful potential plot hook for further adventures.

The scenario doesn't allow any way for the crew to be saved; the dho-spawn will kill them when it rips out its tendrils, and it's impossible to kill it fast enough to prevent this violent escape. It's largely immaterial and so tendrils can't readily be severed. Experienced Investigators might possess magical weapons or spells that would allow such tactics and potentially save the crew, as well as making the combat easier.