Holmes. Watson and Moriarty

By Thunk

The Origins of Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is known as one of the greatest minds of the 1850 juncture. Only a fool would think the Lodge of the Ascended hasn't played a part in Holmes' story.

During the 1820's, the Ascended started to implement a mind-enhancing programme in England. They would select promising young men in boarding schools and give them a special drug derived from cocaine, secretly diluted in their four o'clock tea. The tests went awfully wrong for the majority of the subjects. Those who didn't die of embolism turned into raving madmen and were sent to Dr Seward's lunatic asylum.

The only subject who survived the treatment with his mind intact was the young Sherlock Holmes. The Ascended scientist in charge of the project, a Professor James Moriarty, discovered that Holmes intellectual capacities could be augmented with an injection of cocaine. Satisfied with this result, he let the young man go on with his life while keeping an eye on him. The Lodge secretly oriented Holmes' life, making sure he would become some sort of investigator that could be turned into a useful tool later on. They even recruited his older brother Mycroft into the Pledged in order to get a better grip on Holmes. The Ascended took great care never to reveal themselves for fear that the usual Wheel smokescreen would be transparent to the uber-smart detective.

A Great Career

Many years later, Sherlock Holmes has built a solid reputation as a problem solver and conspiracy buster. His friend and sidekick John Watson has been publishing stories about the many cases they have solved together over the years. They've been working more and more often for Her Majesty's government, finding stolen documents and unmasking foreign spies. Without knowing anything about the war waged in the shadows by cross-time factions, Holmes and Watson managed to foil many a operation against the Lodge. A crisis in the ancestral Ascended homeland of Bohemia was prevented when they stopped Hand agent Irene Adler. They also recovered the plans of the Bruce-Partington submarine, stolen by the legendary Captain Nemo to help in the conception of his Nautilus - the dreaded ship that would later become the spearhead of the Jammer campaigns in 1850.

The Napoleon of Crime

Perhaps their greatest adversary was a rogue transformed spider who had turned against the Unspoken Name and Mr X, a man named James Moriarty. The professor had been in charge of various successful operations in the 1850 juncture, and as such had earned the Unspoken Name's trust. But one day he was caught in one of Mr X's endless schemes. The Ascended of 1850 were still too powerful and organized, even with the departure of Kinoshita, and the Chameleon was trying to play the Families against each other. Moriarty's criminal organization made the Web of the Spider too self-sufficient in 1850, and it was easy to convince the Victorian Jackals that the Professor was treading on their toes. A bloody gang war erupted and Moriarty was fingered as the agressor by a crafty disinformation campaign. Every Ascended family was deceived by Mr X's scheme, even the Web of the Spider itself.

The Unspoken Name (on X's advice) acknowledged the Spider's abilities and decided not to sign his death warrant. There might still be a use for such a criminal genius. Moriarty was cast away from his Family and forbidden to interfere with Lodge operations. To prevent him from amassing too much power and influence in the 19th century, Mr X ordered his men at Club Diogenes, the Wheel headquarters, to watch him closely. The Pledged soon realized that Moriarty's mind was more than a match for them. The transformed spider's criminal operations were almost always successful, except occasionally, when one man got involved. This agent wasn't even Pledged, he was a mere dupe named Sherlock Holmes.

So by an ironic twist of fate, the old spider and his creation faced each other. They played a real-life chess game for several years, earning each other's respect over time. In the end Moriarty was cornered into a checkmate and felt he couldn't win against Holmes' superhuman mind. Rather than simply kill him, he decided to capture the detective in order to analyze his mental capacities using modern techniques from the 1996 juncture.

The professor paid a visit to Holmes in his home of Baker Street and threatened to destroy the great detective. Holmes was no fool, he knew that Moriarty had the determination and the power to have him assassinated. A couple of attempts on his life convinced him he should flee with Watson to the Continent. That was exactly what Moriarty wanted him to do: move away from the Ascended center of power, to a place where he could more easily kidnap him. He followed Holmes and Watson to Switzerland and, at Reichenbach Falls, he set a trap for his nemesis. They fought a quick but violent fight, and both men fell into the deep gorge. Their bodies were never found. Watson, who had arrived too late on the scene, assumed that his dear friend was dead.

The Great Hiatus

There was a Netherworld portal under the waterfall. Moriarty had purposedly set his trap near it because he knew Mr X's men were also on his trail. The plan was that both should fall into the portal and appear into a very turbulent part of the River Alph. There, some of Moriarty's most trusted thugs would fish them out and take them to a Netherworld hideout. Unfortunately, the mercenaries were killed on the way by a Pledged Gold Team sent by Mr X. And so Moriarty and Holmes were swept away to one of the many places through time where the River Alph flows.

The dire enemies found themselves stranded in a savage realm called Pellucidar. They had to trust each other to survive its dinosaurs and vile ape-men, and almost became friends during the long months they spent together, trying to get back to civilization. How they succeeded, it is not said, but when they finally returned to Earth, they agreed that their newfound friendship had to cease, since the two men hadn't been able to reach a common ground regarding the Ascended. The mastermind argued that the 20th century Lodge deprived humanity of its freedom to chose a future, while the detective saw the conspiracy as the main force behind the age of progress: the fate of mankind couldn't be handed over to a bunch of anarchists and devil worshippers.

New Cards

Moriarty went back to what was left of his criminal underground and managed to contact the Dragons. At first the Prof was surprised at Moriarty's request but, after some checking, she agreed to share ressources to fight the Ascended in 1850 Europe. She is reported to have told Kar Fai "When one of the greatest brains in history asks if he can work with us, I usually say yes. It's not like there are too many of us anyway."

Holmes took advantage of his death's announcement, and spent more than three years visiting the junctures and the Netherworld, learning as much as he could about the tyrants who would destroy his world of progress. When he felt ready, he went back to 221b Baker Street, staged a huge surprise to his friend Watson, and renewed with his life.

Watson was of course pleased to greet his not-so-dead friend, even if the Great Detective was more than a bit changed. The doctor, however, was confronted with a moral dilemna. He knew his friend was fighting for the Empire and Her British Majesty, but he had become a Dragon while Holmes was gone. Looking for an occupation where his skills would be of use, John Watson had worked as a forensic examiner in the London coroner's office With Holmes dead, Watson was nothing more than a disposable tool for the Lodge. When a Lotus sect released a vicious demon in the Limehouse's sewers, the Lodge sent a couple of horribly disfigured corpses to Watson, instead of having them disposed of as they usually do in such instances. They knew that the determined doctor would investigate, and they hoped he would find the demon's lair before he got killed. They could always send in Liquidators if he failed. Watson, certainly not fit to battle supernatural creatures, would have died in a Lotus ambush if a young Chinese monk hadn't come to his rescue. Together, they escaped from the clutches of an entire squad of Fire Thorns. This monk was actually Zheng Yi Quan, the leader of the 1850 Dragons. He and Watson became fast friends and worked together on several cases in London and elsewhen. In time, John Watson became a regular member of the Dragons.

He is now the head of a small western Dragon cell that tries to deal with the various threats that appear in London (somehow, London seems to be a nexus of occult activity, just as Hong Kong is in the Far East and also a small town called Boca del Infierno in the New World). He tries to hide his subversive activities from Holmes, who never appeared to understand his associate's new allegiances.

Sherlock Holmes, Ascended Pawn

"My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram, or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation."

Probably the greatest (and best advertised) detective ever, Sherlock Holmes lives for the intellectual challenge as much as the sense of justice. Cold and moody, he has little patience for mondanities and social activities in general. He is a gentleman, though, and knows perfectly well how to behave in social occasions.

He keeps his new knowledge about the Secret War for himself. He has a clear understanding of the big picture, but he prefers not to reveal it to anyone else, even to his brother Mycroft (whose loyalties he strongly supects) or to Watson.

Attributes: Bod 6 Chi 0 (Fu 2) Mnd 12 (Cha 7) Ref 7

Skills: Martial Arts 14, Guns 12, Detective 20, Deceit 11, Info/Secret War 13, Info/Chemistry 15

Fu Schtick: Bite of the Dragon (This isn't proper kung fu, but rather reflects Holmes' skills at boxing and fencing)/ Make a Martial Arts strike at +2 Damage

Unique Schtick: The 7% Solution/ Holmes' superhuman intellect is linked to the presence of cocaine in his bloodstream. His system seems to somehow produce it, but only when his mind is stimulated by an analysis or problem of some kind. While in this state, he has the opportunity to reroll once every failed Mind-based check. When his mind is at rest, Holmes falls into slight manic depression and needs an injection to function normally.

Weapons: Punch (7), Kick (8), Sword-cane (10)

Doctor John Watson, Torn Dragon

"Splendid, Holmes! You have got it!"

A former military surgeon, Watson served in India during the Second Afghan War. He was wounded at the battle of Maiwand and returned to London after a long recovery. He met Holmes through a common friend while both gentlemen were looking for a roommate. Watson knows perfectly well that the people the Lodge sends them to battle aren't real criminals and that some of them are perfectly honourable. That thought makes him very uncomfortable, but he cannot think of leaving his friend or telling him he covertly works for one of the Lodge ennemies. For the time being, Watson remains Holmes' faithful assistant and, as his chronicler, the source of the legend.

Attributes: Bod 7, Chi 0 (For 4), Mnd 8, Ref 7

Skills: Martial Arts 12, Guns 13, Detective 10, Medicine 14, Info/Secret War 9

Gun schtick: Signature weapon. Watson never parted from his old service revolver. He still wears it whenever the situation calls for some firepower.

Unique Schtick: Catalyst/y asking the right -or the wrong- question, Watson can put his fellow investigators on the right track, adding +2 AV to a Detective or Police check. This schtick works once per scene.

Weapons: Punch (8), Kick (9), Signature Webley (13/2/6)

Professor James Moriarty, Rogue Transformed Spider and Criminal Mastermind

"This is not danger. It is inevitable destruction. You stand in the way not merely of an individual but of a mighty organization, the full extent of which you, with all your cleverness, have been unable to realize. You must stand clear, Mr. Holmes, or be trodden under foot."

Born and raised as a true but somewhat idealistic Ascended, James Moriarty is probably the most intellectually capable Lodge member of the nineteenth century. A great mathematician, he was doubtlessly destined to become the center of the Web. Unfortunately, the opening of the Netherworld and the dominance of the 1996 Lodge put the 1850 Web under the authority of Clara Duvall and her 20th century Web. He nonetheless worked hard to increase the power of the Spiders by creating a network of criminals all over Europe. When Mr X used him as a scapegoat in an attempt to weaken the 1850 Lodge, Moriarty took most of his underworld organization with him. Since then, he has taken to fighting the Ascended from the future. He hates the thought of a corrupted conspiracy more motivated by its own survival than by the welfare of humanity. And if the whole Lodge must be destroyed to free the future, so be it.

He secretly coordinates most of the Dragon operations in 1850. He works closely with the Prof and regularly meets her in the Junkyard. Zheng Yi Quan, the official head of the ninetheeth century Dragons, often defers to the Spider's planning abilities. For obvious reasons, Moriarty's prominent position among the Silver Dragons has been kept secret to Doctor Watson and to most Dragon operatives as well.

Attributes: Bod 6, Chi 7, Mnd 7 (Int 11), Ref 5 (Spd 8)

Skills: Martial Arts 14, Guns 9, Leadership 14, Info/Crime 18, Info/Science 12, Fix-It 12, Drive 10, Info/Lodge organization 10

Transformed animal Schticks: Leap, Web x2, Scuttle, Tingle x2, Predator, Latency

Weapons: Punch (7), Kick (8), Weighted cane (10)


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