Tag Archives: Sofia

Other times, other Expresses II

We’re looking here at more brave, insane or intrepid individuals who have lovingly recorded their experience of running or playing Horror on the Orient Express.

Clicking any of the links below will reveal spoilers.

Bret Kramer’s blog post Memories of the Orient Express  on his blog, Tomes in Progress,  is indeed just that. He reminiscences about running the campaign through a nostalgic haze of 20-odd years, and casts a dispassionate eye over the foibles of players, Keepers and writers alike.  He also has a ton of other Keeper aids and hand-outs, and is one of the movers behind the long awaited Masks of Nyarlothoptep Companion.

Call of of Cthulhu, or Constantinople or Bust is an endearing diary version of one gang’s train journey, told in diary format by the different characters and complete with appropriately movie star photographs of the cast. I particularly like a photograph they unearthed for the Sofia  scenario. Thank you Simon, for your brave sacrifice. We fellow soldiers in the Trenches of Horror salute you. 

Simon's Eyeball [Cthulhu or Bust]

Simon’s Eyeball [Source: Constantinople or Bust]

Another 1920s version by Leonard Bottleman starts in the single calm narrative voice of Franklin Meyers, as a recap to the now scattered investigators.  However by the time the team reach Belgrade, different narrators, and a strong hint of panic, emerge. The story includes the maps and characters from the scenarios  as an aid to the reader, and as always I am in awe of how so many Keepers found so many ingenious ways to plug plot holes and keep things moving and entertaining.

Some Keepers have cleverly translated the campaign out of its 1920s roots.

Gaslight diary sets the story in 1890, and was played as a World of Darkness campaign and recorded by Derek Morton. The account is The Diary of Tweeney Sodd  and it’s a note perfect rattling easy Victorian pastiche, but its writers have used white writing on black background rendering the entire story into squint-o-vision. Copy and paste, readers, to enjoy such gems as: “I am not sure what was going on but Nigel had brought his shotgun with him.”

Yellow Dawn Session notes is a cyberpunk take on the Express by the seriously talented and deeply weird David J. Rodgers. It takes the Express to a sanity stretching Sofia. It also features a very classy image of the head of the Sedefkar Simulacrum.

Head of the Sedefkar Simulacrum Statue – image by sirylok

Head of the Sedefkar Simulacrum Statue – image by sirylok

So the train steams ever onward into new worlds of fantasy and imagination.

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Omelette aux Truffes

I am currently working on the Traveler’s Companion, a booklet for players. 1920s tourist information for  the Balkans has proven difficult to come by in English, especially with my 25% Library Use. The  area was beyond the itinerary of all but the most  ambitious Western European travelers and Baedekers shed no light for me. I trawled through some earlier material indexed at archive.org and found Through Savage Europe, the adventures of Harry De Windt, the intrepid correspondent for the Westminster Gazette and his trusty “bioscope artist”, the redoubtable Mr Mackenzie. Although published in 1907, well before our 1920s setting, this little volume gave me a lovely vignette of the Orient Express, as our weary and paprika-stained travelers climb aboard just outside of Sofia.  It evokes the train as a rolling Shangri-La and perfectly captures the wonder contemporary travelers felt towards the Express.

 Through Savage Europe, Harry De Windt, 1907 p. 195

Through Savage Europe, Harry De Windt, 1907 p. 196

Through Savage Europe, Harry De Windt, 1907, p. 196

Through Savage Europe, Harry De Windt, 1907, p. 197

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