After stepping off the steamer in Casablanca, the party boarded Woodhouse’s plane for the ten hour flight to Luxor. When the plane got close to the city, everyone could see an ominous thunderstorm localized over Luxor. No such weather had been forecasted, and any level of rainfall was extremely rare in that part of the country. Flying through the storm proved as dangerous as it looked; the plane’s left engine was struck by lightning, though Woodhouse successfully landed it without further damage to plane or occupants.
As if the pouring rain wasn’t unwelcoming enough, the corrupt Luxor police met the party at the end of the runway, insisting that their papers were forgeries. The police (or someone manipulating them) clearly didn’t want the foreigners to enter the city, but some appropriate bribery convinced them to back off. They did, however, leave with a warning that they would not be so amiable if they caught the party a second time.
Things did not get better upon reaching Chicago House; Prof. Aaron Bollacher had apparently went on a murder spree just minutes before the party’s arrival, slaying three of his four interns, fellow professor Alex Jamison, and (ultimately) himself. Bollacher’s wife, Rose, was nowhere to be found, and it appeared that one intern, Jack Saul, had left prior to the killings.
The murder site was littered with occult clues. Bollacher anointed himself with myrrh prior to hanging himself, and some sort of incense was burned in the library fireplace. Bollacher cut off the fingers of his victims, using them to write a bloody message on the fireplace (“FLOODING NILE / AWAKEN OLD ONES”) and spell out a series of runes on the floor (“death by drowning”). Additionally, Jamison’s journal detailed how he and Bollacher explored a “new crypt” and brought back a strange keystone; the journal goes on to explain that removing the keystone was a terrible mistake, and the beginning of their misfortunes.
A letter found near Jamison’s corpse hinted at an affair between him and Rose Bollacher, and also indicated that the latter would meet him at the Winter Palace Hotel so they could leave Luxor for good. Ursula Downs leapt to action, taking the car they arrived in to the hotel. The others followed not too long after, as it became clear that the police were about to arrive and find them in an incriminating situation.
The Winter Palace Hotel, due to its close proximity to the Nile, was in danger of flooding from the rain and was subsequently evacuated; the only two people remaining were a desk clerk and Rose “Smith”, who was getting sauced in the hotel bar. After breaking the sad news ever so gently, Ursula urged Rose to return to Chicago House to help unravel the mystery. Soon after, however, several Egyptian men in ill-fitting suits showed up, demanding some statue that Rose had in her possession. When she would not relinquish it, the men attacked with long knives and a disregard for their own well-being.
While Ursula fought off the attackers in the bar, the rest of the party arrived at the hotel in two stolen police cars just in time to see more sinister figures enter the lobby. The investigators rushed inside, surprising two of the men before they had the opportunity to arm a time bomb at the front desk; the rest were easily taken care of after meeting up with Ursula and Rose. A note found on one of the attackers indicated that they needed to obtain the statue prior to the arrival of “C”; interrogating one of the men revealed that “C” is “Carslile” – an individual apparently opposed to the attackers, and a name that Rose only dimly recollected.
After ditching the cop cars, the investigators and Rose high-tailed it to the Ali Baba, a dingy but discrete hotel in the middle of the city. There, Rose showed the group the statue that Bollacher and Jamison found in the New Crypt. The statue itself depicted a squid-like being, and viewing it was mildly unsettling (especially for Ursula, who had a brief panic attack). Though Rose inexplicably did not wish to part with it, Charlie convinced her to do so.
As the session ended, Rose decided to stay at the hotel while the rest of the group headed off to investigate Medinet Habu and locate the mysterious New Crypt.