Episode 7: The Fi(ctio)nal Problem
Sensing that Professor X, warden of the Land of Fiction, has not told her everything about Javert’s impossible intrusion into Reality, Penelope decides to investigate further, joining forces with none other than Fiction’s greatest sleuth, Sherlock Holmes himself! But who could be the Evil Mastermind behind this meta-mystery? Well, Professor Moriarty, of course!
This episode concluded our “Trilogy of the Impossible”. Although it started and ended in the Land of Fiction, the main action took place in 1891 London, with Sherlock Holmes and Lady Penelope tracking down Professor Moriarty… who had taken control of the Torchwood Institute by pretending to be a stranded Time Lord eager to put his fantastic technological know-how at Her Majesty’s service! But of course, all this was just the first step to his Grand Plan of World Domination, starting with the British Empire…
Luckily for History as we (more or less) know it, after some investigation and a dramatic confrontation in the secret basements of the British Museum, Lady Penelope and Sherlock Holmes managed to thwart the so-called Napoleon of Crime’s dark designs and bring him back (cursing and threatening) to the Land of Fiction he should never have left in the first place, with order restored in Reality as in Fiction…
This episode gave me the wonderful opportunity of playing Sherlock Holmes himself and Moriarty, too. As some of you might know, the “reality status” of Holmes in the Whoniverse is a somewhat tangled issue: to cut a long story short, he was supposed to have been a perfectly real character before being transformed into a fictional one… Why and how this unique transition came to be is explored in several "extended canon" and "not-so-canon" stories… but instead of trying to reinvest these in my campaign, I chose to devise my own interpretation and explanation of these unique events – a suitably timey-wimey backstory now only known to the Doctor (since he was heavily involved in the process), involving both Holmes and his nemesis Moriarty... as well as a few other key characters!
But since Penelope has not yet heard said backstory, I won’t go into further detail here – for now. She will definitely ask the Doctor for the Full Story next time she visits Lungbarrow. For now, suffice it to say that Holmes and Moriarty’s status as “exiles from reality” played an essential role in last evening’s episode, defining both Moriary’s motives and his very special relationship with Reality as we know it.
“The Fi(ctio)nal Problem” was a joy to run and gave us quite a few memorable moments, including a very moving scene (just between the dénouement and the epilogue) where Holmes played the violin in the TARDIS. The game was afoot and Holmes’ famous quote about the Impossible and the Improbable was, of course, put to great effect!