King of Clubs Restricted Files - Background of the Piper Estate
Compiled by Alfred "Goth" Robie
21 November 1890
In the weeks following my adventure at the Piper Estate, I pieced together this background from Baring House records, police reports, and a visit to the ruins of the Estate - in which the "secret" library yielded several interesting tomes. AR
In the 14th century, Spanish missionaries to North Africa discovered an ancient altar, dagger, and book which were reported to have summoning powers – thought to be relics from Atlantis. The monks brought them home, at great expense and bloodshed. Eventually, they discovered that the rumors were true – summoning a beast which uncontrollably attacked them. By the time the creature was killed, only six of the order was still alive and the monastery was in ruins. Those six took the altar and dumped it at sea. The ceremonial book and dagger were lost in time.
The altar was recovered in early 1841 by an English ex-navy officer, explorer, and treasure hunter who was looking for Spanish gold off the coast – James Walford. He returned with the altar which was stored in the attic of his London home at 6 Bacons Lane, Highgate. In 1860, Walford stumbled across a mi-go in the attic – poking about the altar. He managed to trap the creature, taking a book in its possession. Having secured the creature in cold-forged bonds, he took the book to his library, where he died of a brain hemorrhage. After the coroner left, the housekeeper put the forgotten book on a shelf where it remains today.
Shortly afterwards, rumors began of the haunting of the mansion by Walford – nick-named the Commodore – and strange voices and whisperings were heard when all was quiet in the house.
In 1861, the house was bought by Colonel and Mrs. Piper. Shortly thereafter, Col. Piper began a long-term affair with Miss St. John, eventually siring six children with her. Unbeknownst to all parties, Col. Piper’s affair and “secret family” were due to the influence of the mi-go who needed six “children of the sign” to activate the altar. Miss St. John was known to Mrs. Piper although the two never met. Miss St. John died in childbirth of their last offspring in 1867. The children were split up and given over to the care of a local orphanage. Each child was marked by the Elder Sign as a birthmark.
In March 1890, Col. Piper discovered and opened the ancient book while reading one night, and promptly died of a brain hemorrhage. The death was suspicious, but no official investigation took place.
Mrs. Leonora Piper still lives in the house – now doubly haunted by the ghosts of both the Commodore and the Colonel. They still manifest themselves primarily as voices, whispers when one is alone.
It is now October 1890. The Thieves Guild in London is run by the cabal of the Haunting Hand and its proprietor, Rufus Gladstone. He is using the alias Mr. Hyde. He has long been in possession of the dagger – a family heirloom. One day, he brought it to Leonora for a reading – and the dagger glowed with eldritch light. Realizing that something in the house was the cause (Leonora did not cause the dagger to glow at the local pub), Gladstone befriended her and searched the house secretly – eventually discovering the ancient summoning altar and the mi-go, still bound in the attic.
It is not the altar that gives Leonora her “powers”. Her visions are provided by the mi-go attempting to control weak minds nearby to free it from its bonds. Leonora is compelled by the mi-go to only give readings at her house. Leonora has long employed servants to help her with mechanical devices in the attic and basement which allow her to “enhance” her show, although she does have minor talents of her own.
Recently, Rufus began reconstructing the summoning altar – using images flashed into his mind from the mi-go. Gladstone believes that he can control the “hunter” that is summoned by the ritual – gaining unlimited personal power. He also went about finding and gathering children of the Elder Sign for the ritual. The one piece of information that he is missing is the actual summoning ritual which is in the ancient book in the library. Leonora will “reveal” this tome during her séance with Guy Greville tonight.
In order to gather the children of the Elder Sign – all of which are thieves in London - Gladstone needed to eliminate several competing cabals. To do this, he has employed the fishy-smelling Creeper to kill key opponents while leaving those characters “marked” with the elder sign alive to participate in the summoning. The Creeper is still around – lurking in the shadows. Since he is of a child-like mind – he gets taken over by the mi-go tonight on his first visit to the mansion!
Leonora’s insistence on the London Occult Society’s presence is that strong, supernatural minds are needed to summon the spirit of Guy who Leonora believes is the source of the killings in London. Gladstone is against the idea. He has hired the police and his thugs to keep anyone from entering or escaping. They have orders to detain any guests who want to get out. Gladstone has not informed his minions of the arrival of the players, although he has left clues around the house for the “children” to find. They must come of their own free will.