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Flying Monkeys on the Orient Express

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This is an expansion of the campaign log about Lord Beresford's Travellers in Tibet. Our heroes have boarded the Orient Express to Constantinople to escort Mr and Mrs Gideon to visit her family.


On their second night on the train, the Orient Express came under attack from ‘le train Fantôme’, a ghost-train full of zombies with a reputation for eating the brains of all the passengers in the trains they attack. Complication: when the front buffers are in contact with the PCs’ train, a powerful Sleep spell strikes down all who fail to win a Contest of Will. (The spell is rolled separately for each, so that a good roll by le train Fantôme won’t take all the resistance out!)

The PCs fought as best they could, coming up with the idea of uncoupling the carriages of the Express as they cleared them – or as the zombies got too close, whichever came first! – so that le Fantôme would be slowed by having to push them and the lighter Express could get away. Unfortunately, the Fantome has some mechanism by which it can derail carriages ‘dumped’ like this, but each time they managed it they broke the contact and woke everyone up, giving them a chance to herd most of the passengers further forward. Realising they were eventually going to run out of carriages, the PCs chose a moment when the four decent fighters of the party all managed to stay awake to make a stand in the restaurant car. They made a hasty barricade of chairs and defended it with weapons purloined from the baggage car. Soon it was a fierce hand-to-hand battle with the zombies, who are slow, but seemed indestructible and in overwhelming numbers.

Meanwhile, the new PC had been left up in the forward carriage with the Gideons – the ‘old’ PCs don’t know how adventurous she is yet and she didn’t volunteer for a zombie-fight: combat is not her forte! The carriage was crowded with people moving forward away from the zombies, who suddenly screamed and ran in the opposite direction. Swift (the new PC) stepped out of her sleeper cabin with knife in hand to see what the problem was. Winged monkeys with red fur, flying down the corridor. And because she stood her ground the first one began to attack her, venom glinting on its claws…

In the next session, the four fighters brawled with the zombies over their barricade, coming up with the idea of smashing the windows and throwing them out. A viable tactic, considering how difficult the zombies were to 'kill', but they were still being overwhelmed and gradually worn down. Two strangers joined in the fight - one Christina's player's new character (she's being retired now that she's married and pregnant), one a random passenger played by a former player who was up for the week visiting. Swift was already in trouble - on her own, fighting against four of the flying monkeys and one had made a good hit, its venom staggering and weakening her - when two gargoyles and a Chinaman joined the party! Her last recollection was of a nice acrobatic dodge around the gargoyle in the corridor, only to meet the Chinaman's karate kick. The characters in the main battle were growing more desperate, so the train staff came to the rescue. One of them shouted "It's ready, messieures and mesdames, run now for your lives!", and led the way out of the carriage. The players decided to trust him and legged it. As they ran past the kitchen door, they saw that its handle was tied to a firehose which looped around a tableleg and led out to the exit door, so the door could be opened from outside. Sadly, the new PC chose that moment to make a critical fail roll against his Gluttony disadvantage. He couldn't bear to leave his roast turkey and that superb bottle of wine, and delayed just long enough for the zombies to smash down the barricade. Then he discovered that his Fat disadvantage made him slower than the zombies (NB: we're playing 3rd Edition rules, in which the extra weight counts as Encumbrance - that doesn't happen in 4th Edition), and he was chased down by them. Very slowly. With the rest of the PCs clear of the carriage, the train crew used the uncoupling tool to separate them, and pulled the hose to open the kitchen door. They'd blown out all naked flames in there before turning on the gas-taps. When the gas escaped into the dining-car and met the flames of the gas-lamps, the result was a massive explosion which scorched those zombies it didn't destroy completely, but more importantly the restaurant-car jumped the tracks and the rest of the train ran into it, blocking the line and stopping le train Fantôme while the remants of the Express ran off into the distance.

Relieved, the PCs returned to their carriage.Where they found an unconscious Swift, but no Christina...

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