The Introduction sets the scene: a fairly common occurrence in Victorian society, Reginald Cantwell, an ethusiast for all things Ancient Egyptian, has returned from a trip to Egypt and is holding an evening party to show off the treasures that he collected there. Chief of these is a mummy, which he proposes to unwrap as part of the proceedings. Pity some villains have other ideas... there is a brief outline to explain who is after Dr Cantwell's artefacts and why, and (nice touch) mentioning how some of the characters involved may already be known to our heroes is they have played certain other adventures before this one.
Act 1: A Mysterious Invitation gets the characters involved in a very direct manner - irrespective of who they are or if they number Reginald Cantwell amongst their acquaintances, they are invited to the aforementioned evening event. Just in case curiousity is not enough there is a Â£10 note (at least a couple of week's wages for even a professional man!) and a cryptic comment scrawled on the back of the invitation. Various avenues of research are offered for those who'd like to nose around a bit before actually turning up at Cantwell's house. In the event that any of your characters are wholly unsuited to being even unlikely dinner guests, they can be hired as security or wait staff instead.
Once the characters have made any inquiries they wish, move on to Act 2: Cantwell's Soiree. The description of the house is atmospheric and it should prove easy to paint the scene for your players. There are some delightful and well-described guests there for them to mingle with, as well as the display of artefacts to examine. As an added touch, many of the guests have adventure seeds supplied should you wish to weave them into your characters lives at a later date.
But this gentle socialising is not to last, as Act 3: The Fire, The Thieves and the Marylebone Mummy suggests. The villains are uncouth enough to begin their raid in the middle of dinner too! There is scope for some spectacular confusion and chaos as the characters attempt to come to grips with what is going on, and this leads into Act 4: The Chase is On!, which gives them the opportunity to deal with the thieves and the unanticipated results of their actions. There's a fine set-piece brawl, and a final confrontation with the mummy himself to wind up the festivities... but there is ample opportunity for loose ends to return to haunt the characters at a later date.
That's the great delight of this adventure, not just that it is finely-crafted in its own right but that scattered throughout are snippets to make it part of a greater whole, the ongoing saga of your heroes in Victoriana London.
Return to The Marylebone Mummy page.
Reviewed: 13 September 2009