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Flotsam and Jetsam - Chapter 4 play experience

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I just discovered that my writeup of my play group's experience last year with Chapter 4 of Flotsam & Jetsam, "On the Banks of the Ohio," was lost in my inbox and never made it to this forum.

For context, my group tends to play in shorter, 2.5-3 hour online sessions. It's a roleplay-heavy group and we always exceed the estimated number of sessions to complete a scenario.

Session 1:
Investigators meet up with Professor Peagram. Ask what he knows of the history of the area, Old Man Potts, etc. I mostly dodge to give them room to research. They are somewhat suspicious of Elle, I think because I gave her a slight accent, plus the inheritance originating with a distant cousin and Peagram's mother's death seem strange. They decide to conduct their research in the area, roll out by train with a car set up waiting for them in Louisville, arrive at 11 p.m. and drive to Potts' Tavern.

Session 2:
Get close to Patt's Tavern at 3 a.m. (drive through the night) and run into Mandias and his gang. After a stare down, the investigators claim they're just looking for Shawneetown and got lost; Mandias sends them back the way they came, and they never make it around his Packard blockade to Potts' Tavern proper. Stay in a hotel, grab coffee in a diner in the morning and talk to the waiter, who tells them the story of Potts' Tavern and just a bit about Flappy Flanagan. They head back out there around noon and let themselves in, Mabel being absent.

Session 3:
Searched the house and found the attic lookout post as well as the clues in the back parlor -- I also dated the map 1878 and had a marker on it for "Flanagan Place" so they knew it had been Flanagan's that long. We played online, and for the etching, I put it in the chat as "E S A U" which they pronounced like an acronym rather than a name. Their conclusion was that the Peagrams had cleaned up the house too much to find much for clues, so they searched the surrounding grounds, mostly to no avail (they did find the skull fragment, plus a decaying saddle in the collapsed stable). Next they took the path down to the river, and originally planned to follow the path up to the Flanagan place, but were intimidated by the "No Trespassing" sign. Instead, they split up, leaving one party member to watch the Flanagan place and Saline River from the attic lookout spot, while the others went into town. They looked into the Potts' Tavern Property records, then the Potts' death records, and then started asking about the Flanagan Place, which led the clerk to discuss the Towsons and Esau Richardson (the first time his name was uttered).

Session 4:
Two investigators gathered a bit of information on Flanagan and the Flanagan place, then headed out to the Gallatin Gleaner and learned the "Researching Southern Illinois" facts. They keyed in on Cave-in-Rock as something they'd need to investigate. (Given its prominence in the area history and its proximity to the Ohio River, it does seem like a location that could be fleshed out as an alternative sometimes-hiding spot for Esau.) The remaining investigator continued staking out the Flanagan Place. To keep things interesting, at one point I had the Icehouse Door open from the inside and someone start to step out--but then the sound of an arriving truck with a liquor delivery led Esau to retreat. The investigator also saw some movement in the trees, courtesy of the Mandias Gang.

When all three investigators re-met up, the one who did the stakeout immediately pointed out the discrepancy of the Towsons raising Esau "Richardson." Two investigators headed back into town and gained the Esau Richardson gossip for their troubles. The remaining one (different this time) stuck around to stake out the Flanagan place. This time I had someone drop off a meal at the ice box--open the door and set it inside. When the three met back up this time, they decided to stake out the Flanagan Place overnight. They were quite confident it was Esau Richardson in the ice box and that they'd solved Professor Peagram's conundrum. Though they were afraid to approach the place and risk upsetting Flanagan.

Session 5:
While keeping watch during the night, an investigator saw one of Mandias's gang leave the woods around 5 a.m. The others, including Mandias, then headed to Potts' Tavern to take it over. They were a bit surprised to discover the investigators' car there, but as they stormed the house, my investigators managed to Stealth away from them and lose them (including dropping off the 2nd story balcony and circling back around to re-enter from the rear). The Mandias gang hung out until Ray Dane arrived with the plane, dropped his dynamite (landing two hits!) and flew away--then they raced in. The Flanagan buildings were on fire and up in smoke, and Mandias and his goons started to pick through the remains when Esau rushed them and unleashed his fury. The investigators backpedaled, but Esau easily spotted one who drove over in the car and took off after him.

Session 6:

Staring down a major physical confrontation with Esau, one of the investigators determined discretion is the better part of valor and surrendered to Esau, saying he didn't know there was a Deep One in this part of the country. This took Esau by surprise and (with the help of an Extreme Charm roll) his curiosity outweighed his anger. The investigators made clear they had no association with the Mandias gang and answered all of Esau's questions as to his origins, with he in turn answering their few remaining questions, including telling the tale of Belle Gunness. Knowing his origins, he gathered up Jeremiah and Mabel and skipped town headed east, on a quest to reach Innsmouth.

I skipped the Belle Gunness coda, feeling this was a strong enough scenario and mini-campaign resolution on its own.

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