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Masquerades & Massacres

Main Event: Aliens & Alienation - Downtime 1A - Plot Event: Espousals & Expeditions

Aliens & Alienation

Our first event ran on the 3rd-5th July 2009, at the Cottage and Lodge of the Goblin Combe Environment Centre near Bristol. It was a huge success, fully selling out, and everyone seemed to have lots of fun!

Friday night's main focus was a three-course banquet, followed by a player-initiated Vampyre Hunt.
Saturday began with a full breakfast, and was mainly filled with genteel Regency romance, except for the presence of two squabbling Faerie Princes, Robin Briarwolf and Robin Silvertongue, heirs to the Man with Thistledown Hair and claimants of the Land of Lost Hope. It also featured fencing, a duel with copious amounts of blood & near-death experiences that ended with one character having to perform battlefield surgery on themselves, and lots of sandwiches.
Saturday evening was a buffet supper and a relaxing country dance. The characters spent a fun couple of hours reeling to a local band (The Rum and Kidney Band), before being interupted by innumerable Xenomorphs. The more military characters locked down the compound, whilst the more fragile were shut inside the main hall. The guests survived, but only after striking several deals with daemons, loa, faeries, ghosts and other possibly malevolant powers...
Sunday was a morning of recovery. Following the fried breakfast, characters finalised their plans for the coming years, and several future marriages were announced.

Photos from the event are available on Facebook and on Flickr.

If you're interested in seeing the event from the point of view of one character, we heartily recommend Butterflies & Boarding Axes, a songfic written by Michelle Taylor, a.k.a. Lady Cerine Faulconer, originally posted to the Livejournal LRPDrabbles community.

If you want to read player's perspectives on the event, check out the Reviews or the Testimonials or the Froth on our Forum.

Main Event: Aliens & Alienation - Downtime 1A - Plot Event: Espousals & Expeditions

Downtime 1A

Politicians & Post

All characters at the event received a copy of the following letter:

Dear [Sir/Madam],
I am writing to you in response to certain recent events that occurred on the Marchioness Cornwallis’ Estate at Goblin’s Combe- my agents have reported that a party there was attacked by fell monstrous beasts from before the birth of civilisation. I have also received reports that the Marchioness Cornwallis, possibly with the aid of Mr Charles Eustace Featherstonehaugh, was responsible.
This is, clearly, a strange and terrifying occurrence and His Majesty’s Armed Forces will be doing all they can to investigate the attacks, punish those responsible, and ensure it cannot happen again.
The British Crown already has agents out searching for Marchioness Cornwallis. In addition, I shall be conducting an investigation into Mr Featherstonehaugh. Should you wish to present evidence to this trial, I would welcome your reports.
His Majesty’s Armed Forces will shortly begin preparation for an expedition to the Antarctic, supposedly the source of these monstrous beasts. Following several recommendations, the expedition shall be led by Commodore Earnest Hawke, survivor of the only previous journey to the Antarctic continent.
I would regard it as a personal favour if you did not publicise the Goblin’s Combe attacks. The public are in a restless mood already; riots and strikes are common. If they also heard news that Humanity was being assaulted by monsters, who knows what might occur? I feel it would be best to reveal all in half a dozen years, once the Antarctic Expedition returns: present them with tales of a great victory, parades for the heroes, and some sort of museum exhibition about the beasts & their place in our pre-history.
Thank you for your assistance in these matters.
I remain your honourable servant,
Arthur Wellesley,
Duke of Wellington,
Master of the Ordnance.

Faeries & Fiends

Rumours spread throughout High Society about the Party At Goblin’s Combe. Word quickly gets around that the party was visited by two rival Faerie princes, who caused havoc by unleashing insectile monsters on the party-goers.
The Marchioness Cornwallis is widely regarded as being in some way responsible for this, especially given her mysterious disappearance during the Party. She has not been seen since, despite the East India Company vigorously hunting her down. Rumour says she’s fled abroad…
The guests emerged from the Party changed- all of them have some shared secret; many of them are developing purple skin-tones; and a handful of them are deathly pale and constantly tired, shadows of their former selves.

Daemons & Demagogues

Meanwhile, the behaviour of the Lafayette Moreaux family at Goblin’s Combe has been widely condemned by religious authorities. This family, already held in suspicion by many after their possible magical manipulation of the lottery results, apparently fought the Faeries by summoning up and becoming possessed by beings they call the loa.
The precise nature of the loa has become subject to scrutiny and debate across the nation, culminating in the Church of England Archbishop of Canterbury and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin both denouncing the loa as being African Daemons corrupting the souls of our one-time brothers in America.
However many in High Society, enamoured with the social glamour of the Lafayette Moreaux, have ignored the warnings of their clergy. Miss Marie-Claire has become particularly famous, thanks partly to the support of Lady Mariah Fitzwilliam. Meanwhile Mr Jean-Phillipe has been supporting several newspapers financially, and so despite the religious condemnation news stories about the family paint them in a favourable light.

Trials & Teleportations

Mr Featherstonehaugh’s trial is conducted in secret, away from the public, in front of a panel of judges from all interested arms of the Government (civilian, military, Folflures and Cinque Dragownes). Many people from Goblin’s Combe are called to give evidence. Anyone who was at the Party who asks will find out:

  • Mr Featherstonehaugh does not appear to have been working in collusion with Marchioness Cornwallis. All the judges are convinced of this, after hearing the testimony of all the witnesses- especially that of Prinz Magnus.
  • Mr Featherstonehaugh exceeded his remit in attacking Dr George Bellamy. However Dr Bellamy has excused Mr Featherstonehaugh’s behaviour and speaks in his favour, so there is no charge to pursue.
  • Mr Featherstonehaugh was too quick to jump to conclusions and suspect the innocent, such as his accusation of Commodore Hawke’s guilt. However in the opinion of the Judges no actual crime was committed.
  • Mr Featherstonehaugh is not pursuing any claims against the Lafayette Moreaux for killing him, and they are not pursuing any claims against him for attacking them. Therefore there is nothing to pursue in that matter.
By the end of the trial Mr Featherstonehaugh is criticised by the civilian judges, most of the military and by the East India Company. His superiors in the Court of Folflures also apparently want to have some very serious words with him. Meanwhile the Lafayette Moreaux are being treated with hostility by the Court of Folflures, the Cinque Dragownes and all major religious organisations. And, finally, the East India Company and the Court of Folflures deeply mistrust each other. Battle lines seem to be being drawn, and each side gathers its allies…
However no-one takes any immediate action and Mr Featherstonehaugh is declared innocent. He vanishes, presumably into Faerie.

Love & Marriage

Since the Marriage Act 1753 (“Lord Hardwicke’s Act”), marriage has been tightly regulated. Marriage in England and Wales is only allowed in a Church of England church, after publishing of the banns. Different rules apply for Jews and Quakers, but not for Catholics. The key loop-hole is that Scotland is exempt from the Act: in Scotland, a couple can be married by any respectable civic authority.

Captain William & Mrs Bernadette Fairchild travel to Scotland for a low-key legal marriage- they already believe they are married, so this ceremony is a mere formality in their minds. Their families attend: Bernadette’s family is happy she has found a man to produce grandchildren with; William’s family is disappointed by the conversion to Catholicism but pleased he’s married into a rich family.

Mr Louis-Anton & Mrs Angelica Lafayette Moreaux have a very serious and sedate wedding in Scotland to fulfil the legal requirements and to try to appease Mr Kipling (who doesn’t really trust the first, very hurried, wedding). However the Archbishop condemning the Lafayette Moreaux means they can’t marry properly in a church, which Mr Kipling is Exceedingly Annoyed about.

Miss Ysabella Mae Gillespie marries Lieutenant-General Ivan Paskevich in St. Petersburg. The ceremony is held in the Kazan Cathedral, the great monument to the Russian army’s victory over Napoleon and Poland, and is attended by most of the leading Russian military figures and many members of the nobility- notably Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich Romanov, the tyrannical ruler of Poland and brother to the Tsar. Mrs Ysabella Paskevich is greeted warmly by the Russian academic establishment, who are fascinated by the information she has to offer…

The Hrabina Lowczy Serafina Tyszkiewicz and Mr Jasper Quintain get legally married in Scotland, before having a much larger Catholic wedding in Durham. This is a lavish party, attracting a good slice of the diplomatic class. The wedding is a deeply traditional Polish Catholic affair, conducted entirely in Latin, with Hrabia Regimentarz Wojciecz Ostrogski giving the bride away, Mrs Bernadette Fairchild as the Maid of Honour and Hrabina Naczelnik Irena Radziwill as the Bridesmaid. They are now the Lord and Countess Tyszkiewicz-Quintain.

A rather less traditional marriage ceremony takes place off the coast near Newcastle, on a flotilla of ships commanded by Hawke, Roth and Louis-Anton Lafayette Moreaux. Roth’s ship The Huntress is the centre of activites, with all the guests on board. The Huntress has been lavishly refurbished, covered in murals of strange creatures, with a simulated Lousinana-style swamp below decks (with crocodiles rather than alligators, but close enough) and a huge ziggurat-shaped cake fashioned by Mr Kipling in pride of place. As the ceremony begins Commodore Hawke crashes through a stained glass window, apparently fired from a cannon on board his ship. Then Miss Claudette-Louise Lafayette Moreaux, wearing what is widely said to be the finest (or at least the most expensive!) wedding dress of the year, is delivered from her brother’s ship. Taking advantage of the fact that Hardwicke’s Act only covers the mainland England and Wales, the marriage ceremony is officiated by Commander Roth. The Lafayette Moreaux then set off on a Grand Tour of Europe, along with their new spouses and Lady Mariah. The wedding and Tour are marred by the fact that Hawke is pale, withdrawn, tired and a mere shadow of the man he could be.

As spectacular as these weddings are, the wedding that is causing the most excitement in Society is the up-coming marriage of the formerly-disowned Prince George of Cumberland and Earl Ashford’s daughter Lady Cerine Faulconer. Rumour has it that Prince George’s father has said that he will officially welcome George back into the Royal Family at the ceremony itself- but not before!

Politics & Power

In the latest batch of elections, the Tories have retained power. However Lord Liverpool’s grasp over the Party seems to be failing, and Canning’s moderate Tories are increasingly popular. Wellington organises a compromise to preserve at least part of the status quo: Liverpool remains Prime Minister and Leader of the House of Lords, whilst Canning is Leader of the House of Commons.
Canning uses his new position to put pressure on Liverpool, modifying the up-coming motions to include a Marriage Act that will allow civil marriages (meaning that Catholics & Dissenters will be able to get married without a trip to Scotland).

Military & Magic

In between all the parties, the military is preparing for Commodore Earnest Hawke’s expedition to Antarctica. Ships have been gathered, cold weather supplies assembled and troops chosen. The plan is to sail to India, where the force will engage in training in the Himalayas and receive re-enforcements from the East India Company. Following the training they will sail south to Antarctica.
To aid such operations, Commodore Matthew Fallow has been leading the design of a new combined signals code allowing communication between Air, Sea and Land. There is some resistance to it among the broader military community, with each individual branch preferring to keep its own system and citing the difficulties of re-educating all their signallers. However the Antarctica Expedition has been designated a test-bed for the new system.
Captain Mary Barton is particularly enthusiastically championing the combined signals among the Aerial Corps, and will be leading the Aerial support for Commodore Hawke’s mission.
Commander Tristan Roth and Captain William Fairchild have performed some sort of ritual to attract the pirate Crimson Bill towards Commander Roth, allowing Roth to then fight (and hopefully defeat) him. As yet there has been no effect.
Lieutenant Alan Strangler has passed his Lieutenant’s exams and been officially commissioned in the Royal Navy. According to the paperwork, he’s been a Midshipman on Commodore Hawke’s ship for years.
Captain William Fairchild has apparently fallen ill. Despite this, he and Mrs Bernadette Fairchild devote their efforts to establishing a new English military magic college. They buy a small estate near Harrogate to use as both their family home and an educational establishment. Captain Fairchild wins round the military to the idea of having more magicians- Wellington is particularly enthusiastic- and most magical societies to the idea of having a formal school. Their initial plan of making all magicians trained at the school members of the Military or EIC proves controversial, but compromises are made (those wealthy enough to pay for their tuition skip the compulsory service). The college will soon be ready to launch, and apparently has already received more applications than they can cope with.
Hrabia Podstoli Baltazar Komorowski has been introduced to the Society of York Magicians by Captain William and Mrs Bernadette Fairchild.

Industry & Insanity Cinnamons

Operating out of Mechlenburg-Schwerin, Mr Kipling’s Cakes have spread rapidly across Germany and proved Exceedingly Popular. The Royal House of Battenberg is furious! With Investment from the Lafayette Moreaux, Mr Kipling is apparently next working on conquering the American markets... However he is also said to be Exceedingly Ill, possibly approaching his deathbed.
The recently discovered pigment Cobalt Blue has become hugely fashionable, with blue glassware being this seasons’ must-have in all smart residences.
Mr Jean-Phillipe Lafayette Moreaux is rising through the East India Company, and is majorly investing (along with the Hon. Benjamin FitzQuime) in the Trans-Atlantic tobacco trade.
The East India Company is manufacturing the Collier Pattern Revolver in large quantities. The first prototypes will be supplied to the Antarctic Expedition.

Main Event: Aliens & Alienation - Downtime 1A - Plot Event: Espousals & Expeditions

Espousals & Expeditions

On the 14th-16th May 2010 we ran a jam-packed plot weekend, set in the downtime between Aliens & Alienation and Pride & Predators, at Walesby Forest Scout Camp. It was split into two sections- most of the event took place in 1822, whilst some was based in 1823. There were two linears (one in Faerie and one in India) as well as a general social event.

Espousals (1822)

Most of the weekend was the Wedding of Lady Cerine Faulconer and Prince George of Cumblerland.
On Friday night the guests arrived, ate a soup-based supper, and met each other. There was a good mix of old and new faces.
On Saturday the guests awoke to discover than Robin Briarwolf, the Faerie best man, had abducted Lady Cerine. A group of players set out into Faerie, mercilessly cut him down and rescued Lady Cerine, but then fled as his brother, Robin Silvertongue, arrived to claim the Crown of Lost Hope.
Then, after a buffet lunch, the wedding occured. It was interrupted twice, but thankfully continued despite these interuptions, and the rest of the afternoon was filled with cake, champagne, croquet, kubb, charades and Blind Man's Bluff. Supper was roast chicken, with a selection of cakes for desert, and was followed by much plotting and scheming among the guests...
On Sunday the military held a court martial, the excitement from which sadly overwhelmed the elderly Bishop Stewart's heart. The party ended on a sombre mood, with such a distinguished death.

Expeditions (1823)

Following the Royal Wedding, the military expedition to Antarctica set forth. They stopped first in India to train in cold weather conditions in the Himalayas. On the way to their training they received word that Marchioness Cornwallis was hiding in a Thuggee Temple of Kali built into a volcano- some of the military tried to capture her but sadly she just escaped, and brave Captain Frampton died in the assault...

Main Event: Aliens & Alienation - Downtime 1A - Plot Event: Espousals & Expeditions

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