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Question about Horror on the orient express - Attention Spoiler inside


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A premise, English is not my native language, so there may be some mistakes, I still hope the text is good enough to be understandable.

Our group played Horror on the Orient Express a couple of years ago, alongside with Reign of Terror. A great adventure, from London to Constantinople and back, we managed to complete the feat, although clearly not with the same characters we started with. However, there is one thing that has always left me doubtful, something that I continue to consider a plot hole, a fairly big mistake in an adventure that otherwise works like a masterful clockwork. At the beginning of the adventure the group is sent to seek and destroy the Sedefkar Simulacrum by their supposed friends, Julius Smith and Beddows, although it’s all a staging and they are being manipulated by Mehmet Makryat. During the adventure Mehmet Makryat will continue the deception by sending support or telegrams; a big plot twist should be the one in which, ideally in Constantinople, the players discover the truth. Our keeper has tried to keep the deception for a long time, I think he has also changed something here and there, but as far as I'm concerned the facade was completely lost in Trieste.

In London we were told that “Paris was where the statue was dismembered. The owner was a noble, Comte Fenalik, who lost it just prior to the French Revolution "and" Napoleon’s soldiers carried a piece into Venice when they invaded that city. Another fragment made its way to Trieste at the same time. Its fate is unknown. Look up Johann Winckelmann at the museum there. "

In Trieste the group is surprised to discover that Winckelmann was murdered in 1768 (none of the players know enough about the history to know the father of modern archeology or even the exact date of his death). The other players didn't have any problems with that situation, but at this point I realized that I didn't have allies in London, but someone who hadn't told me everything or who at least was keeping a lot of things hidden from me. Julius Smith is a member at the Oriental Club, a professor of the University of London, His specialties are European languages and archeology, he cannot but know that the father of modern archeology died and when. The fact is that Winckelmann died in 1768, 21 years before Count Fenalik lost the simulacrum at the outbreak of the French Revolution and almost thirty years before the piece of the simulacrum we should be looking for arrives in Trieste with the Napoleonic soldiers. Absolutely nothing that Winckelmann may have done or left written in Trieste can lead us to the simulacrum. But then why should we “Look up Johann Winckelmann”?

The trail on Winckelmann is not useless because those who have played the adventure know that the leg of the simulacrum is in Postojna, in the lair of the lloigors, and that the Ithaqua medallion, which Winckelmann had hidden in Trieste, is the object to be exchanged with the lloigors to get the leg and get out of the caves alive. But none of this is told to us by Smith in London.


So I see only two possibilities: Smith has no idea who Winckelmann is and when he died or is too stupid to realize that, based on the timeline, investigating Winckelmann in Trieste to try to find the simulacrum is perfectly useless. Or Smith knows exactly where the simulacrum is, in the claws of the lloigors, and he knows that in order to obtain information on those creatures and deal with them we must investigate Winckelmann, but he has taken great care to not share this valuable information with us.

What is your opinion about it? Is it a plot hole or not?

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