Horror on the Orient Express Nouveau
The Blood Red Fez
Safely on the train en route to Paris, the party has a chance to peruse Dr. Smith’s diary. This begins the tale of the Blood Red Fez.
After dinner one Sunday evening sometime in the late spring in London in 1893 the PC’s get delivered a personal card with a plea to meet Smith late that evening. This is a particularly bad part of town.
When the PC’s arrive they find an unarmed and pacing Smith, they also glimpse a man at the far end of the street, wearing a hat shaped like a fez. He moves quickly out of sight and is gone.
Smith takes the party upstairs to see a man in the bed wearing only underwear and a red Fez. He is being tended by Dr. Hobbs of the Met. police.
The man on the bed looks ancient and withered but the doctors in the room confirm that the man is not old at all. He is in fact in his twenties.
Smith explains the situation and asks for the party to help him move the victim to a safer place and protect them from the men in fezzes.
After the party examines the Fez: the man dies, the Fez falls off, the room goes dark, and a monster attacks Dr. Hobbs.
After the monster is put down Smith tells the party to destroy the Fez but nothing works. Smith offers to handle the police and get help for the Dr. Hobbs.
He also takes possession of the Fez. He asks the party to meet him at the Oriental Club tomorrow.
The next day (Monday) since there are women investigators in the party, Smith takes them to a nearby cafe where they can talk.
Smith briefs them about Pook, Professor Demir, and the Cult of the Fez. He then asks the PC’s to take the Fez to Constantinople and explains why he cannot go (mentioning Selim Makyrat).
He suggests the Orient Express and tells them about his patron/ally Baron von Hofler who will meet them in Vienna to accompany them.
Since the train does not leave until Wednesday the party starts to investigate and research the Fez as well as the dead man Matthew Pook.
Their research at the British Museum leads to greater knowledge of the Fez.
Their investigations into the background of Matthew Pook, the victim, lead to his journal.
The journal mentions a break in at at a Fez collector’s home in London.
Investigating the Fez collector’s home, the party finds references to a stolen book called The Whispering Fez.
The party then returns to the Whitechapel garret they visited the previously and find references to an address in Shoreditch as well as several ferry passes from Constantinople to a place called Princes’ Islands. All within the past month.
Running low on time the party gets their tickets and boards the train to Paris and the Orient Express.
After dinner on the Calais-Chalons coach the party then boards the Orient Express proper at 10:30 PM. They are greeted by Henri Peeters. He is a rail-thin dark haired Belgian Conducteur. In the salon car is a middle aged Englishman dressed in formal wear with an opera cape flanked by a large imposing silent Turk. The oddly dressed Brit is speaking to another Englishman in rumpled lower class clothes. He introduces himself as Hieronymus Menkaph, a spiritualist and guru. He is very insulting to the party and attempts to get under their skin. The party also meets a female Scottish suffragette and reporter named Aileen MacGregor
Just after midnight a pair of shadow-like creatures is seen to roam the train. Some PC’s are injured while attempting to confront them. They vanish after dawn.
At breakfast the next day they see Menkaph wearing a Blood Red Fez sitting with a distraught young blonde english woman named Ellie Myers. A newlywed whose sick husband is also on the train. Menkaph hovers and leers over her while ordering her around. PC’s attempts to console her are rudely rebuffed by Menkaph. Mrs. Myers excuses herself to check on her husband and some of the PCs quickly follow, including the party doctor who offers to examine Mr. Myers.
However, when they knock on the door they are greeted by Menkaph who rudely dismisses them. At this point the PC’s attempt to force their way in which starts a fight. During the fight Menkaph mesmerizes a PC to shoot and kill another PC. Menkaph is killed and Kapok is mortally wounded. Henri arrives quickly and sees the results of the fight. He quickly dismisses a couple of Turks from another car that tried to involve themselves after the shooting started (one of whom is wearing a Blood Red Fez). While Henri is sorting things out the PC’s examine Mr. Myers who is quite ill and also wearing a Blood Red Fez. They also find a book called The Whispering Fez which they had found mention of in London as important to understanding the Fez.
Henri, never liking the rude leering Menkaph, quickly decides that the PC’s acted appropriately and keeps the PC’s from any legal problems on the train.
In the aftermath of the fight the PCs examine Mr. Myers who is afflicted with a Fez and catatonic like the victim in London. His wife is beside herself with fear and grief and is sedated by the PC doctor. The PC’s find a strange book called The Whispering Fez that they had heard of in the Myers’ berth.
One of the PC’s with the correct language skills begins reading the book searching for a way to remove the Fez. The PC’s now have two Fez’s in their possession and a third on the head of poor Mr. Myers.
That late afternoon the train stops in Vienna and picks up the PC’s contact Baron von Hofler, noted occultist and patron of their trip. He boards the train despite the protests of his daughter who surreptitiously follows him on board the train planning on drugging and kidnapping him to get him mental treatment.
Hofler is grudgingly impressed with the PC’s progress and interrupts the PCs reading to start examining the book himself. He “convinces” a PC to don the Fez to gain more insight. That PC learns a spell to resist the decay of the Fez and casts it on himself and Mr Myers.That evening when the train stops in Budapest around 11 PM he incapacitates one PC and kills the one wearing the Fez. He steals the Fez and the book and flees the train at Budapest. The PC’s, having met his daughter earlier, find out what he has done and agree to work with her to chase him down and stop him. They convince poor Henri to stop the train and disembark. Making their way on foot to the train station Hofler’s daughter contacts the band of gypsies she hired and together they chase down and stop Hofler. They retrieve the Fez and book and turn him over to his daughter. They then manage to re-board the train in Nis after Hofler’s daughter impersonated her father long enough to stop the train from leaving Nis until they could board.