Session Summary #5 -- "The Temple of Set" Back to Campaign
The Temple of Set
Deadlands Session Summary #5 (Group A): The Temple of Set

Deadlands 1936: Session #5 (Group A) -- The Temple of Set

After the last adventure, Peter Linten, curator of the Egyptian Museum of Cairo, organized a rescue team to dive into the Nile to try to rescue the presumably trapped archaeologist, Miss Arcadia. When they got there, they found no sign of Arcadia, but managed to recover several treasures from the ruins of the Shrine of Thoth. The British Museum took most of these artifacts, leaving the Egyptian Museum a few minor items, photographs and plaster casts, infuriating Mr. Linten at yet another example of British imperialist attitudes toward Egypt.

He sent Salla on a mission to investigate the dwelling of Assad, the cultist of Set. Salla discovered some trinkets and books, and also a map showing the location of a Temple of Set. He was in the process of bringing it back to meet with Salla in a bazaar, when he was ambushed by cultists of Set. Miss Arcadia (who had somehow escaped) was present, at the bequest of her benefactor, Anubis, while Nigel Killborn and Mr. Girond were also present, following leads on Nazi activity in the area. Hiram Warcroft was also present, shopping in the bazaar, accompanied by a former French Foreign Legionnaire (who gave his name as "Wilson Pierre") assisting him in his work in Egypt. Salla was savagely attacked by a swordsman, but a couple of mysterious cloaked people came to his aid, taking down the attacker with a thrown knife. Nigel took shots at the other cultists, though tragically shooting an innocent bystander in the process -- but still succeeding in winnowing down the numbers of the scimitar-wielding villains. Girond sprung into action, taking down several cultists, while Miss Arcadia rushed out and dragged Salla to safety, getting him out of the way of stampeding pack animals scared by the gunfire.

Mr. Linten was at a nearby cafe, having a drink, when all this commotion began. He made his way toward the scene, witnessing Mr. Pierre's cutting down of one of the swordsman, and Mr. Warcroft's encounter with yet another thug. (In a strange display, Warcroft demanded answers of the thug, but the thug turned tail and ran. Warcroft held up one hand, and a shimmering, barely visible stream of spirits -- or was it just a mirage? -- seemed to issue forth, striking the thug with terrible force, such that the fleeing swordsman shriveled up on the spot, and turned to dust, before Mr. Linten's very eyes.)

At last, the battle ended, with all of the swordsmen dispatched, and our heroes regrouped, traveling to the museum to discuss what had just happened. While in the presence of Mr. Warcroft, Sallah displayed an amazing feat of recuperation. What seemed to be significant wounds proved to be mere scratches, after a few moments of rest. In the meantime, Mr. Warcroft was, in typical fashion when wounded people are nearby (a nervous habit of his, perhaps) playing a few hands of solitaire.

Sallah revealed that he had acquired some books and a map -- the map apparently showing the location of the entrance to a temple of Set hidden in the catacombes underneath the city of Alexandria, and the book describing a dark ritual designed to bring Set to the material world and to bind his power to do the bidding of the high priest of his cult. As it so happens, the ritual is to happen that very night. The heroes wasted no time making preparations, using their various resources to acquire equipment and weapons to make a daring raid on this temple of Set. Mr. Linten was dubious about this map, and held it over a flame. Sure enough, some more characters formed ... a skull near the "entrance" shown on the map, and another, secret entrance to the temple.

By the time the heroes drove back to Alexandria, it had already grown dark. They split up into three groups to try to approach the temple. Hiram Warcroft and Nigel Killborn attempted a stealthy approach, sneaking along the opposite side of the street of a "curio shop" where the entrance was located. Peter Linten and Mr. Pierre headed down a back alley, hoping to find an unguarded back entrance. Salla, Arcadia and Mr. Girond took a more direct approach, trying their best to disguise themselves as cultists of Set, going right up to the entrance. Alas, though Salla was wonderfully prepared in his disguise, and even spoke the appropriate language, he failed to impress the guards, who set upon him. One of them struck Salla a grievous wound, though Salla heroically cleft his way through his attackers. Arcadia transformed to her "Anubis" form and took cover, preparing to lob bolts of energy ... but was distracted by Mr. Girond, who was totally unprepared for this. Even more of a surprise came when Mr. Linten, hearing the disturbance, sent Mr. Pierre to "investigate", giving himself the privacy he needed to call upon the powers of Bast and transform into a cat form. Mr. Pierre arrived just in time to see a large jackal-headed creature, which he understandably assumed must be a monster.

Meanwhile, there was no response from Warcroft and Killborn -- They had the misfortune of sneaking right past a sentry, and had been bludgeoned and dragged off while no one was watching.

Although the guards were defeated, there followed a tense standoff between Arcadia and Mr. Pierre, which Salla, despite being wounded, settled by grabbing Arcadia and rushing with her into the curio shop, where Mr. Linten had already slipped in and discovered the trap door leading to the catacombes. Linten, Salla and Arcadia rushed down into the catacombes, while the two Frenchmen rushed after, uncertain what to make of all this strangeness.

As they worked their way through the ruinous catacombes, Killborn and Warcroft found themselves chained up in a cell, near some interrogation equipment, stripped of everything save the manacles holding them fast to the wall. The situation seemed hopeless indeed, but Warcroft, as per usual, showed himself to be amazingly resourceful, pushing the bounds of believability. In the darkness, he somehow got free of his shackles, procured a lock pick (He claimed to Killborn that it had been hidden in his hair) and used it to free Killborn. He then amazingly produced his sword by pulling it out of his mouth -- a mindboggling feat, in the eyes of the inspector. When the two prisoners made too much noise, the guard opened the door to yell at them, and they quickly moved back to pretend to be still chained. They then worked out a plan -- they made more noise, and positioned themselves to overpower the guard when he would shout at them again. Sure enough, he opened the door, leaned in ... but as the two men attempted their attack, they slipped on the refuse on the floor. In the ensuing chaos, they at last managed to nonetheless bludgeon their guard senseless and drag him in, but not without alerting the Nazis and their henchmen outside.

In a desperate battle against seemingly impossible odds, the two men took on a couple of German guards who came to apprehend the "defenseless" prisoners, and relieved them of their guns, though both prisoners got wounded in the process (Killborn particularly badly). Outside, a couple of henchmen struggled with a woman apparently intended to be the sacrifice for the ritual, and dragged her off, while more German guards exchanged fire with the prisoners. Even though Mr. Warcroft had been apparently relieved of his collection of Egyptian tarot cards, a few mysteriously appeared in his hand one moment, and then he attempted a trick shot at a German guard holding a sub-machine gun. It turned out to be a most disastrous trick shot indeed, as it went wild, then ricocheted impossibly around the room, narrowly missing Warcroft and Killborn several times, and then shot out and hit the guard in the mouth, lodging itself in his brainpan. The guard, still spraying bullets, fell down to the ground, quite dead.

When the smoke finally cleared, the prisoners took care of the first order of business ... stealing pants from the guards they'd just shot!

Meanwhile, the other heroes had been working their way down into the temple of Set, coming to the apparent subterranean entrance. A couple of German guards at the end of a long corridor broke off their cigarette break to rush down in the direction of some sounds of gunfire. Linten, in the form of a large cat, bolted down the tunnel in the direction that he had seen the guards, but neglected to check for traps. He stepped on a pressure plate, and three large sharply-tipped poles thrust out of the ceiling, impaling him. Miraculously, he somehow survived. Salla caught up to him, helped drag him back, and then used the time-honored method of probing with a ten-foot pole first before proceeding. He discovered a second trap, then deduced that the area that the guards had run down was probably trap-free. (Fortunately, he was proven correct.)

The heroes hurried down the corridor, finding an intersection with a short passage leading into the sanctuary of the temple of Set. There, they saw several German officers, guards and lackeys, as well as a sorcerer preparing for the conjuration of Set. An exchange of gunfire ensued, which Girond attemped to bring to a stop by tossing a stick of lit dynamite into the room. Well before the dynamite could go off, one of the guards tossed it back! Meanwhile, some lackeys started closing the heavy stone door, trying to seal off the chamber against attack. Salla engaged in a superheroic feat of throwing himself at the stick of dynamite, and in one swift action, scooping up some water from a flooded section of the passage and dousing the stick of dynamite, while most of the others fled or dove for cover. Mr. Pierre showed himself to be quite the trick shot in taking on several villains, but the door was at last sealed.

Meanwhile, Killborn and Warcroft had acquired two pairs of pants, which they donned, and rushed, barefooted, after the retreating guards and their screaming, struggling captive. Thus followed a heroic exchange in which, taking considerable wounds of their own (and Killborn being briefly knocked out, but reviving again) they succeeded in taking out the cultists, and rescuing the damsel (at least from this particular fate). They then rushed back with her the way they came (away from the ceremonial chamber, and the firefight going on there), looking for some alternate means of escape. Mr. Pierre, seeing the fight with the guards, rushed after them, joining them in their attempt to find a way out, while Mr. Girond planted the rest of his dynamite outside the door to the ceremonial chamber, and those with him attempted to get a head start on getting out of the temple before Girond so much as struck the match to light the explosives.

A strange wind blew through the chamber, bringing with it an unnatural chill. Warcroft, Killborn, Pierre and the would-be victim found that several chambers were just dead ends, offering no escape, but they discovered a large and ornately decorated door, obviously a very important part of this temple. Mr. Pierre endeavored to open the door by putting his hand into a recessed place where a lever was visible, but doing so caused stonework to close around his hand, holding him in place as the door slowly started to open. Warcroft and Killborn heard noises in the crypt chamber they had just vacated, and Killborn headed back to investigate ... coming face to face with a couple of mummies that had pulled themselves out of their sarcophagi. Warcroft rushed back with the formerly captive woman to check on Killborn, and together they attempted to fight the mummies. Killborn, serious-minded as ever, could rationalize that these mummies were just more cultists in bandaged wrappings. However, when he found himself unable to strike a killing blow ... even when he blew the head off of a mummy (and the head promptly reformed from dust) ... he found himself unable to come up with a good rationalization for the obviously supernatural occurrence.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pierre, still stuck at the door, was most alarmed to find that several skeletons had risen from a tomb chamber nearby, and where lumbering toward him. His attempts to shoot at them with his off hand proved nearly futile, as the best he could do was to nick off pieces of bone, and knock up clouds of dust.

At last, Warcroft reasoned that if there is a vulnerable place on an animated mummy ... it must be the heart, which is the only organ left in a body mummified in Egyptian fashion. Sure enough, a thrust through the heart reduced the mummy to dust, and the other one was taken out in short (but still dramatic) order. Killborn, Warcroft and their screaming companion then fled back toward Pierre ... only to behold a most strange sight: this stone portal that Pierre had opened was some sort of gateway to another realm ... the realm of the Egyptian gods. Through it, they saw a strange depiction of reality, a land where the sky was made of stars painted upon the body of a blue-skinned, giant woman (Nut), and Horus drove the "sun-chariot". This was a bit too much for Killborn. He just focused on shooting the heads off of the skeletons lumbering toward Pierre, leaving them to fumble around blindly.

Pierre finally managed to get his hand free, and to close the door, but just then, the catacombes shook with an explosion of several sticks of dynamite outside the door to the ceremonial chamber. Stone blocks began to fall from the ceiling, narrowly missing our heroes several times ... but curiously enough managing to fall on several stumbling and blinded skeletons. Warcroft pleaded with Killborn to open the door again, and Killborn, in a bit of a dazed state at this point and not wholly convinced of reality (Perhaps, after all, this was just a drug-induced haze, courtesy of a German interrogator...) complied, his hand getting locked in place as the door started opening again.

At the other side of the temple of Set, the other heroes -- Linten, Salla, Arcadia and Girond -- rushed back down to see if the explosion had taken out the ritual. As they rushed past the entrance to the chamber, they saw that, yes, indeed, the Nazis and cultists had been taken out. Girond promptly dove into the room, checking the dead German officers for any papers that might be useful to his employers. Linten rushed in to search for treasure that might be claimed for the Egyptian Museum, without any pesky British curators to lay claim to it. Arcadia and Salla, however, heard the voices of Killborn and the others, and rushed down the corridor toward them.

In the crypt room, several cracks appeared, letting in light, as a secret tunnel leading back up to the surface revealed itself, as the shaking and cracking stonework caused a hidden door to fall away. At last, the stonework holding Killborn in place let him go. Not wanting to take his chances in some bizarre Egyptian land of the gods, he and Pierre rushed for the escape tunnel opened up in the crypt room, taking the rescued woman with them. Girond found the papers he wanted, and not wanting to risk spending any longer down there with large stone blocks crashing down left and right, rushed back out, and saw the others making their escape, and climbed up after them.

Arcadia and Salla, however, as they turned the corner, saw the portal to the "land of the gods", and saw Warcroft there, enacting a ritual of supplicance, asking for permission to pass into the other world. Favor truly smiled upon him, for despite his lack of proper training, he miraculously managed to do this ritual perfectly, and to please the Egyptian deities (particularly Thoth). As Thoth beckoned for Warcroft to come over, Horus' sun chariot could be seen to dip down. Salla and Arcadia simply couldn't pass this up, and gave up pursuing their escaping friends, to bolt for the portal, while it was still open.

Meanwhile, back in the ceremonial chamber, ignoring large stones falling left and right and crushing the dead bodies of Nazis and cultists, Peter Linten worked his way through the rubble to the back of the chamber, where he found and opened a secret door, leading into a cache filled with marvelous treasures of Egyptian antiquity. "At last!" he crowed triumphantly, ecstatic that he had finally found these treasures, and that neither Warcroft nor anyone else could take them from him.

Just then, the entrance to the ceremonial chamber collapsed, sealing Linten in the room.

At a street front back above-ground, four men and one bewildered woman staggered out of a concealed passageway, finding themselves outside of the catacombes and back to the streets of Alexandria, even as the temple was collapsing behind and below them. Killborn had escaped with his sanity (barely) and little else save for a pistol and a pair of pants stolen from a German guard ... but at least he could be satisfied that he had defeated the Nazis, whatever their insane plan was! Girond had tucked within his coat a treasure trove of papers extracted from the German guards, which could be put to use by his superiors in the French government. (Viva la France!) And Pierre ... well, he got the girl!

With stones crashing down around them, Arcadia, Salla and Warcroft stepped out of the mundane world, and into a strange part of what some would call the Hunting Grounds ... a realm dominated by the entities that the Egyptians came to know as their gods. Anubis, Thoth, Horus and so many more were present -- even Bast, who looked not the least bit pleased at this turn of events.

Back in the temple, as Mr. Linten looked for a way out, stonework still collapsing around him, and torches slowly guttering out, the hands on the pocket watch of a dead German officer came together. Midnight. In the center of the chamber, red mists coalesced about an unnatural glow rising from the floor, as a second portal opened up to the realm of the gods. In a moment, before Linten towered Set, God of Chaos, several times larger than any mortal man -- easily as tall as the statue of Bast in her shrine under Alexandria. His body was that of a muscular Egyptian man, but withered and warped, neither alive nor dead, with snakes writhing about his open ribcage, and his head the skull of some unidenfitied beast. As Mr. Linten entertained notions of turning himself into a cat and finding some hole he could squeeze into (taking bits of treasure, of course, and making multiple trips), Set focused his baleful eyes upon the priest of Bast, and reached a massive, bony hand down toward him.

And, off in the realm of the gods, Arcadia, Salla and Warcroft, in awe of their surroundings, paid their respects to the ancient deities, and stepped onto the chariot of Horus. With the falcon-headed god pulling his reins and bidding the sun-chariot to rise upward and onward, the three heroes embarked on a journey more bizarre and wonderful than any they had imagined possible before.

Thus ends the Deadlands: 1936 campaign, on a dramatic -- if weird -- note, as at least some of our heroes live happily ever after!

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