The game prep did indeed lead to a fantastic session last night. The characters — Jack McMahon and Hannibal Drake have been tracking a lost Illuminati “treasure” they got a lead on through a journal sent by Jack’s uncle, now deceased, in London. They had been working with a Special Brank officer that was murdered by an Ariel Smythe — the lover of dead Uncle Mike, who claimed he was a British Union of Fascist agent. They were able to decipher some of the notes from teh journal and ascertain that the treasure was “safe in the house of the President.” Indicators led to Stratford Hall, the former seat of the Lee family. Violence and adventure ensued — see the older game report posts for more — but Ariel is kidnapped by German agents.

In the end of the previous session, the amateur historian and secretary of the society preserving the house pointed out that while Richard Hall was president of the Congressional Congress at the time, the president in the 1784 note that led them there, penned by Benjamin Franklin, held another hint to the location…Ben Franklin, following his stint as ambassador to France, was President of Pennsylvania!

With this information in hand, they raced back to Washington to link up with their private detective ally, Tom Steele, who was questioning other masonic brothers about the situation…until their tire blew out (was shot out) and their Chevy truck spun off the road, upside down, into a frozen pond!

The game started crisply: they both had 4N from the cold water, and within a few turns, Jack was in trouble with a series of bad rolls we interpreted as shock and Jack’s muscles seizing from the cold. They surface to a hail of gunfire from the shoreline, and returning fire is difficult from swimming in heavy clothing, darkness, the cold, and ammo going faulty from the water. Jack’s borrowed Luger is particularly having trouble, but Hannibal’s new S&W M1917 in .455 Webley is having a few failures, too.

They barely get to shore, to find Ariel has knocked out one of her captors — she looks to have been roughed up — and they escape in the Nazi’s Packard 120 (which had a heater!) In Washington, they find out the masons have explored the Franklin option — his house in Franklin Court is gone and there’s nothing in Independence Hall. Ariel slips off to help Jack recover by getting him a warm bath and is not there, once the Secret service turn up.

The characters are taken to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for a meeting with the president (a 32 Grand Master of the Order of DeMolay) and Joe Kennedy, among others. The president will make sure the charges in Manhattan and the ones in Maryland from their fight on the train go away…but they are now on Uncle Sam’s dime: find the treasure before the Nazis. While going over their evidence with the Brain Trust, they realize there is one house of Franklin’s still standing: 36 Craven Street in London, right in the shadow of Charing Cross Station! They also find out the Special Branch cop was on the up and up…but not Ariel. She is working with the Germans.

Ariel knows it, too. When they get back to the hotel, she drugs Jack to find out what he knows, but a judicious use of style points meant jack simply passes out under questioning. Ariel and the Nazis abscond. There’s not a moment to loose. While Steele heads to Philadelphia to check out the leads there (the player is going to absent for a while), Jack and Drake get hold of a Lockheed Electra and an army major pilot and do something only a dozen or so people have: a transatlantic flight from Nova Scotia to Ireland, then on to London. Lucky tests get them there with little effort.

In London, they find out 36 Craven is now an apartment…they can’t gain access easily. they hit the record office and ascertain that there is one spot, centered in a pentagram-like area of sewers, access tunnels, and flood water sluices, located between the Black and Red Lines of the Underground, that has been untouched by the continuous improvements of the area since the Embankment…

That night, they get in through an access door in the Charing Cross station and find a massive “well cap” — part of the flood drainage system that was built in 1775, if the bricks are to be believed. After some work, they get a secret door to open into the interior, which sounds like it had lower pressur than outside.

And that’s when a bunch of East-Ender sounding men led by a gent with a posh accent turn up.

Overall, play was fast, a little less action heavy, and the presidential cameo went over very well. I’m looking forward to the final episode of the adventure next week.

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