COC: Seeking Baron Hauptmann

Joyce is in the hospital for a week, and then heals for another 12 weeks. During that time, both she and Endeavour conduct library research to learn about the Romanian Baron Hauptmann. Billy instead wanders the countryside looking for work, but finds none due to his lack of language skills. The local farmers believe him to be an American soldier, now wandering as a bum. During his time in the country, Billy steals a pie to keep going, but later purchases another and gives it to the farmer from whom he stole it. When he returns to Vienna, he lands a job with the pawn shop, and makes $10 over the next few weeks.

Endeavour’s Viennese paramour Alexia Parovich does most of library research. She learns that the retainer they seek does seem to be connected to Baron Hauptmann, as both are connected to Deva in Romania. Deva is 50 miles southeast of Cluj-Napoca in Romania and Cluj-Napoca is 150 miles east of Budapest, Hungary. She also tells them that Castle Hauptmann is 2 miles south of Deva. Between she and Joyce, they discover the known history of the Hauptmann family.

Alexia adds, “The area of Romania where Cluj-Napoca and Deva are located is called Transylvania. Wasn’t there a novel based there?” Endeavour rereads Stoker’s Dracula (1897) for clues.

The party also sends cables off to their patron, Jonathan Putnam. The first reads:

Off to Romania. Grisly murder. Sword stolen. Need info on boy, Hauptman, Cornwallis. What is mark spoken of in letter? What is Brotherhood?

The response reads:

Ask Felix about boy. Brotherhood of Beast is suspected group. Good luck! Please report on local partridge population.

The party sends another wire:

Many partridges. Good hunting. Where Felix? Funds low. More available?

Jonathan replies:

Use rest of auction funds. I have received goods. Get sword if possible. Felix location unknown.

Unfortunately, Endeavour has gambled away all of the remaining auction funds. Billy is very upset with him and dogs him relentlessly thereafter, saying that Endeavour has stolen food from the mouth of Billy’s son. After Endeavour finds a $10 chip in his pocket, Billy tackles him for it and the two roll around on the floor briefly, before Endeavour manages to extract himself, maintaining his control over the chip. Fortunately, Alexia gives Endeavour another $40 when he asks, which helps him purchase the train and bus tickets to Deva for himself.

The party takes the train to Budapest ($20 each) and the bus to Cluj-Napoca ($5 each). The party continues by bus for a brief space, but then is forced to seek a stagecoach because of the poor quality of the roads. Joyce shows a little leg and manages to get them aboard a coach to Deva.

The town is small and impoverished, with Castle Hauptmann rotting on the hill above it. The townspeople won’t talk about the Baron or the Castle. Endeavour’s inner monologue upon arrival is as follows:

“I stared at the local populace. Sunken cheeks and furtive glances. The place seemed like we’d traveled 50 years into the past. I glanced at Billy, maintaining my distance from the surly fellow, as we headed towards the inn. One of the things I noticed was how small the people were. Must be all the inbreeding from years of not knowing anyone but their brothers and cousins.”

The party hires a translator named Sveja Kropotnik, a local youth on leave from Cluj-Napoca College for the summer. He speaks passable English. The party then interviews a number of people. The local priest is most useful, and Joyce uses her Latin to research the parish records. Endeavour finds wolf tracks near the outhouse in the morning, and they track it a short distance before losing it. It does, however, seem to be heading for the castle. They hire a local hunter, Alexei Petrovich, to pursue the beast, but he returns a short time later returning their money and saying he will have nothing to do with the evil beast. They then visit a local gypsy camp and witness a horrific assault by an invisible monster. Joyce believes that it was a star vampire, mentioned by a medieval sorcerer Ludwig Prinn in his cursed book De Vermis Mysteriis

The party meet a Hungarian student named John Kopeche, who is hunting in the region. They try to hire him and an argument about the evils of capitalism arises between John and Billy. John avoids them thereafter.

At the end of the evening, the party is becoming convinced that the Baron may be a vampire or some sort of immortal. Having exhausted their searches in the town, they resolve to visit the castle itself.

About lostdelights

An old gamer flying his freak flag, I've been playing table-top role-playing games since 1978. I've been building my own system (Journeyman) since 1981.
This entry was posted in Call of Cthulhu, Session Summaries. Bookmark the permalink.

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