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Re: 1879: The Expendables
Posted: Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:10 pm
1000 APs for the adventure journal. Well done.
1879: The Expendables
Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:09 pm
I'll just leave my weird scientist's up-to-date journal here. I know this is kind of an info dump, but I just realized we had this convenient forum. Yippee!
Dr. Ferris McFly’s
Fantastic Beasts and
How to Avoid Them
I received a letter from a Rupert Hastings asking me to dinner. Probably trying to get investors for a soap franchise. Still, very hungry, so worth pursuing.
Hastings implored me to join an expedition to the Americas, landing someplace named Flow Rider. While I have many irons in the fire, most have likely melted while I was away. Therefore, an all-expenses paid vacation sounds like a worthwhile venture. Dinner was a bit bland, made significantly better due to being free. This airship I’m boarding will surely have better meals that are also free. I did question the word “treason”, but everything should be fine. I signed his contract.
I have boarded the HMS Elizabeth Crown Jewel, an airship that flies on... wishes? Not sure yet. Aerodynamics is not my specialty. Accommodations are outstanding, except that I share them with other members of my party. This may be a sort of psychological experiment by the Crown. Perhaps the real expedition is in the mind? This is why I rarely trust government types. Luckily, I found a secluded room where I can be as antisocial as I care.
The ship has been attacked by giant bats. This brings back some troublesome memories of falling into a cave when I was but a boy, only to be surrounded by bats. They swore to help avenge my parents murder, but broke that promise when they realized my parents were still alive. I will never trust bats again. Seeing one shot down gave me a certain level of catharsis. This particular bat had a very long, hard nose. Reminds me of an ornithopter I was building back in Ireland. Notably this is much uglier.
A late night scavenging run has proved fruitful. It is amazing the perfectly good components that are simply lying around behind barred doors and guarded rooms. I shall begin work on new projects when we reach this My Hammy, Flow Rider.
My Hammy has a surprising lack of pork. However, the temperature is so high, I may be smoked and barbecued myself by the time we leave.
I tried to rent a bicycle shop from a very irate shopkeep. Surprisingly, he had no interest in renting his shop out for free. So, I did the logical thing of breaking in at night. Work on the “Honeycomb” prototype deployable shield went well enough, but field testing is necessary. Unsuspecting volunteers may need to be procured.
A far cry from the airship, we boarded a flightless ship called the Nuestra Senora de la Santisima Trinidad. We now head to an even hotter and more uncomfortable area of the world below the Equator. Perhaps I will succumb to heat exhaustion before we arrive. How fortuitous that would be!
Arrived in Carapace. Regretfully, I remain conscious. The party wanted to make sure we had rations and supplies. I left them to all that technical tripe. Meanwhile, I found myself busy scrounging through the back alleys of the town and looking for useful books in the library. There was a children’s book about death and dinosaurs. I checked it out permanently.
Now deep in the jungle, we secured a boat to travel down river. The mosquitos have been brutal, but my team has proven surprisingly useful. The handsy lady tried to rub weeds on me. I declined. Instead, I fashioned another lovely device to stun flying insects. Attached to the front of the boat, I believe it should be sufficient for a few days of round-the-clock use. I have dubbed this new invention “Goldblum’s Revenge” after an old colleague we lost to electrocution when he tried to swat a fly near a transformer. Justice has now been served.
The trip down river has become a bit tedious. Several days have passed now and my hair has started to mold in odd ways. It now stands straight up on the top and drapes down the back. No amount of coaxing can force it back to it’s original shape. However, the time has allowed me to improve upon my Goldblum’s Revenge model so it can be a portable staff. This should prove useful in my war on small flying insects.
Crocodile mating rituals are proving quite dangerous when in the proximity of our boat. Keeping the scaly critters from our very vulnerable position has proven difficult. Luckily, the naked lady has been working on stunning them and the hunter is making bright flashes with gunpowder. I also have an electrified staff now, so that helps.
I have been thrown into the water twice by crocodiles. The first time, they grabbed my staff and tossed me like a rag into the drink. For some reason they had an aversion to being stunned. I scrambled back onto the boat, but they knocked me back in while I was catching my breath. Luckily my troll compatriot was able to fish me out. I attempted revenge by shooting my energy gun (known in certain circles as The Fires of St. Elmo, or FOSE for short), but it is quite hot now, likely due to the water logging. Maybe it’s a water gun now. Unfortunately, my staff now lies at the bottom of the river. I will rebuild it, better than before. Of this I swear upon the memory of Goldblum himself!
Once the beasts were thwarted and my clothes were dry, we took a group photograph with one of the defeated beasts, before turning it into dinner. I then set about repairing and rebuilding my poor inventions. Apparently, FOSE had undergone a heating malfunction after being submerged in water. I was able to fix that problem for the future. Additionally, I realized I could improve it’s intensity by smoothing out the focusing crystal. Now if I could only shoot my way out of a paper bag, this could prove quite lethal indeed.
Then I turned my attention to yet another stun staff. Having lost the component to build a pole, I opted to make a stunning device that could affix to any long cylinder available. This new mobile shock device (coined Goldblum’s Legacy) should prove useful against insects and possibly large insectoid species bent on world domination. Although I have never seen such things, this is the first time I have been to South America, so I am keeping an open mind.
Finally, I started work on a portable smoker, useful for long-term food preservation. This was suggested by the rest of the expedition and I felt it was the least I could do as they have basically saved my life continuously since our arrival. It also seems practical for survival, which I am partial to doing. Work has now begun on The 16th Candle.
Re: 1879: The Expendables
Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 6:49 pm
Atlas, Step Expedition
<illustration of root(8), a flower(8), and a leaf(9), with identifications of them>
Root is turnip like, and can be eaten raw. It is more flavorful if boiled and served with other things. <illustration of upper plant(7)>
Flower is similar in taste to Honeysuckle, It is a sweet treat, and adds great flavor.<illustration of flower(15)>
Leaf is similar to dandelions. They make for a decent salad to have with other things.
<Illustration of tree(7)> This tree is poisonous. All parts of it are vile to ingest. <detailed illustration of flowers and berries.> The flowers, berries, and bark are deadly to ingest. I am unsure, and unwilling to test, if they merely irritate or are more harmful to mere touch. Recommend to avoid at all costs.
<previous map filled in better(5)>
<map of village, marking apothecary and inn(18)>
I am informed there is a village South East of where the village we stayed in is.
There is a bipedal lizard, low to the ground and long. They are capable of climbing trees, and hanging upside down from branches. I have observed them to gather nocturnally.
<illustration of Valerian root(8) and another plant(15)> Valerian root seems to be a mild sedative and can function to help stave off infection. [plant] has an effect to reduce fevers.
1879: The Expendables - McFly's Journal
Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 8:08 pm
We finally arrived in a rural town, presumably free of crocodiles. I set about getting more information on other creatures that might try to eat me. The locals told me of large cats, venomous snakes and some strange upright lizards. I feel like I should have been crafting more armor and less earthenware cooking devices on my voyage. Oh well.
Further into the day, I set about finding a pole for my stunning staff. The locals directed me to a darkened room that smelled of grain alcohol and sadness. In the middle of the room, under dim red lights, there was a woman dancing with the aforementioned pole, although I could not tell which one was more satisfied with their life up to that point. She was surrounded by men staring awkwardly at the pole, affirming it’s desirability. I was able to trade the lady my original Goldblum’s Revenge bug stunner for her pole. I feel that this trade was mutually beneficial. She seemed far happier with the idea of avoiding tropical diseases than dancing with an inanimate object. I, however, prize my inanimate objects, as they do not require socialization. This pole shall be my new best friend. I quickly affixed Goldblum’s Legacy to the top.
Later that night, I attempted to memorize our map. However, thoughts of my earlier encounter in the dark corners of this sin-laden town distracted me. I came back to it in the morning and, with the help of our mud-covered exhibitionist, was able to turn the map right-side up. This helped immensely.
To my dismay, we set out to the jungle yet again. Our nights were relatively uneventful, until I awoke one morning to the knowledge that one of those bipedal lizards had been sniffing my tent. I am now down one pair of pants, which were unsalvageable and have likely been reclaimed by the jungle itself. All my pants are brown, which was unintentional but strangely fortuitous. I shall try to craft my own clothes in the future, so I can assure they are stain-resistant and hand-washable. Microbial protection will also be a priority.
Re: 1879: The Expendables
Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:02 pm
What an intriguing outlook on life this person has. Amusing references to Batman and The Fly. More amusing that McFly totally missed what was actually going on so many times. Living very deep in their head. I await the next installment.
Re: 1879: The Expendables
Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:30 pm
Well, his backstory is that he got run out of Ireland when one of his experiments went sideways. But I've committed myself to infusing his story with as many '80s references as possible. It was the first thing that came to mind when I originally saw Weird Scientist as a character class and I'm pretty much all in at this point.
Re: 1879: The Expendables
Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:43 pm
So fun to read this!
Re: 1879: The Expendables
Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 5:19 am
Lord Bentley's Journal Entry, day 19 out of Caracas
As expected, we reached the mighty Orinoco river early the morning after my last journal entry, and mid-morning two days later we arrived at the village of Caicara del Orinoco, where we spent the rest of the day and a night. We paid off the boatman that we had hired, our understanding is that he is going to attempt to poll a cargo back upstream towards Caracas, or maybe his might find a cargo here to take further downstream, his plans seem fluid. Some of us were hard pressed to get all of our business done in less than one day, but we are all eager to press forward as quickly as we may.
The village did not have an inn or anything, but we were allowed to pitch our tents on the village green and make use of the local services. My first stop was with a laundress where I arranged to borrow some trousers and get my entire kit laundered, I then took myself to the local bathing stream that the locals assured me was safe (I learned that the trick is to bathe in clear shallow water, not deep enough for a crocodile to sneak up on you unseen - and to keep a weather eye out, as they will be attempting to, you just have to spot them before they get close).
Once I had bathed, I followed my nose downstream to some tanners, where I did some bartering with the animal hides I had collected so far. I had talked to Dr McFly, and discussed with him the possibility of him making us some hide shields. He had expressed an interest in both having a shield and in making them, and I would not mind carrying a shield around for when it might be useful. I traded much of our raw crocodile hides for some tanned crocodile hides, enough for McFly to make several fine shields. I traded most of the rest of our raw Croc hide for the remainder to be tanned and worked. When I pass through this village again on our way back I look forward to receiving two fine belts, a pistol belt with two holsters, two bandoleer, and a hat-band, all made with Crocodile skin. I was surprised to find a cobbler who convinced me that he could make a fine pair of proper hiking boots! Alas I could not work out a barter for that work, but a price was agreed upon and I will need to part with a modest amount of coin on our way back through here.
Our guide, who was one of the few present whom knew enough of our languages to allow easy conversation spent some time talking to local hunters about news of the trail ahead, then spent the rest of the day translating for us. I was introduced to a lovely local beverage called Chicha. It was very cooling in the heat of the afternoon. Before I passed out in a drunken stupor, I learned in conversation with my new drinking buddies (with our guide translating) that the pyramid that is at our destination seems to have suddenly appeared about 3 years ago. The rumors that have filtered up from that area is that while the area is not very close to any villages, it is not untraveled, and that natives are encountering an ancient looking structure where none had ever been encountered before. Most curious, and one starts to see why this area might be of interest to a person such as Lord Hastings.
When I was awoken (before dawn!) to start our march South, the others mentioned the results of their researches: . McFly managed to scrounge some metal somehow. Miss Withakay obtained some valuable information about the local flora, which roots and leaves are edible and which are poisonous and stuff like that. They also reported that the locals had lately been seeing some curious bipedal lizards. A low 18 inches from the ground, but long. They mentioned them when questioned about dangerous fauna.
We have been marching South for a few days now, and at times the night watch have reported seeing packs of these small bipedal lizards checking out our camp. They are small, only about 30 or 40 pounds each, but seem to hunt in packs. As yet they have made no overtly hostile actions, merely displaying curiosity. I don't recall every seeing or hearing of anything quite like them. They seem small enough that I might be able to carry a few specimines out, maybe one or two for the trophy room at the manor, and perhaps the British Museum of Natural History might be interested in some.
Re: 1879: The Expendables
Posted: Thu Jul 25, 2019 3:43 pm
Oh dear, swarm hunters. Those lizards are going to be far more trouble than Lord Bentley expects. Quite amused with this story, and intrigued to see where it is going.
Re: 1879: The Expendables
Posted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:36 pm
Lord Bentley's journal. Day 20 out of Caracas
We continue our march South. The bipeds are growing steadily more bold. Some were spotted in tree's, they apparently use the claws on their short front arms to help them climb (much like a human will use his hands to climb trees). We have never seen more than 4 at any one time. They seem to use predatory pack behavior. At least two members of the group swear that their skin changes color very rapidly, faster than they would think even a chameleon would be able to. Erica reports that she has several times examined these creatures using Astral Sight, and she thinks that the color change might be magic.
In the early afternoon, Erica reported that she had spotted something shiny some way off the trail. We followed her to a small clearing where we found 3 dead bodies. The bodies skin, clothing, and equipment were all European. The bodies looked as if they were killed a few days (possibly weeks) previously while standing back to back in a defensive huddle. They had only hand weapons (2 machetes, and a pistol) and one had a satchel that contained two maps, some papers and a journal written in French, but there was no other luggage or equipment. We speculated if that meant that there were survivors who took all the luggage with them when they left (but we doubt that is the case, as the maps would have been invaluable to any survivors - unless the only survivors were their native bearers who ether did not need or could not read European style maps). The alternative explanation is that they were travelling without equipment. but that would mean that they previously had to abandon everything except the weapons they had in hand. Ether speculation is very troubling.
The French had clearly been fighting more than one creature (they were back to back, as if they had been surrounded) and had been killed by claw attacks. Some of the wounds were made by very large claws. I looked around for tracks, and other than the human and scavenger tracks (the bodies were moderately well gnawed), I found several tracks of the bipedal reptiles. It looked to me as if the bipeds had probably been attacking the French, but it was not definitive as they had also been among the creatures eating the bodies. I also found a few very large tracks that looked very much like the biped tracks, but were 3 or 4 times larger than the bipeds! I took a photo of that print.
Erica took a ring from one of the fingers, and said that it was the shiny thing that she had seen. When Private Smyth observed that the ring was so small and muddy to have shined brightly enough to be seen so far away, Erica said that it was much shinier in Astral Space. Erica called the ring a "puzzle ring" and said that it could come apart into 5 smaller rings.
One of the maps in the satchel was crude, as crude as the one the British government had provided us. The other was much nicer, and showed the route to the step pyramid much clearer. The obvious conclusion was that this expedition had already been to the pyramid, mapping the route as they traveled, and these men had been killed on their way back from it. Erica, looking at the map, says that it is an excellent map, and clearly shows the exact location of the pyramid, wherein before all we knew was upon which mountain's slopes it was said to be located. With this map showing both the route and the location, she hopes that we can cut days off of our travel. We might arrive within 6 days of good travel, give or take.
I attempted to read the papers, but while I speak French, I don't read it. I was able to puzzle out a few words here and there, enough to give me a bit of the gist, but not very much. If I am reading them correctly these 3 were members of an expedition of 5 sent out much like we were, except by the French government.
We hurried away as we did not wish to camp too near that place. We found a good camping site as dusk fell, and hurried though our evening chores. With the Bipeds getting bolder, nobody wanted to go off alone to do any hunting or foraging. We gathered firewood as a group, from near the camp. After nightfall Dr McFly and myself set up a photo trap. We setup my camera, with the flash pan stuck into the mud next to it, in a location that it could be seen from the camp, but focusing upon a spot a few feet away that could not be seen from the camp. McFly improvised a trigger, such that when a line was disturbed, the camera would click and the flash would go off. We baited the trigger with a scrap of meat. Erica made a snare trap on the other side of camp. The Bipeds avoided the snare, but during the first watch the photo trap went off. Alas I will not be able to see if we got a good photo of the lizard (if it was even a Biped that took our bait) until I get the plate developed when next we are in civilization.
McFly and myself had the first watch and it was exhausting. We needed to be constantly alert, as the Bipeds had been getting bolder and bolder by the hour. If you let yourself get distracted into focusing on one, the others would inch closer. It was necessary to be constantly scanning every direction at once. Before the watch was half over McFly and I were sitting back to back, weapons in hand, turning our heads from side to side so that there was never a direction that was unobserved for more than second or two. The necessary alertness was draining, and when we finally awoke and briefed Erica and Smythe for their watch, we both fell into an exhausted slumber instantly, despite the danger we both felt.
I don't know how long Erica and Smythe stood watch before deciding that the creatures were now so bold that not only did they need to be dealt with soon, but that they could best be dealt with now. The creatures were no longer hiding behind trees, but had slowly inched into the clearing. The decided that with all 4 creatures now visible all the time, the time to deal with them was now. They got the rest of us up and prepared, then Erica unleashed a spell of some sort upon them, which was the signal for the rest of us to unload upon them. Erica knocked two of them out and damaged a third, which Smyth finished off. McFly and Myself killed the 4th. They never so much as had a chance to move from the (much too close) spots that they had inched forwards to.
We waited a dozen seconds or two to see if our blast of fury would provoke a response from any that might of still been hiding in the woods. Then we carefully went forward and slit their throats or pithed them. A group of 4 of us carried the carcasses several hundred yards away from camp, where our guide and I quickly hung, bled, and gutted them. We then carried the carcasses to a different location, far from both the camp and the blood and guts, and hung them high enough that scavengers could not get at them, for the rest of the night.
As soon as it was light enough, I photographed our specimens (including one group photo), then carefully skinned them and did my field expedients to preserve the hides. I plan on carrying all 4 skins and heads, and one skeleton back to Britain. Each night I will leave the bones on an ant hill until they are clean. I am hoping that with one just set of bones a skilled taxidermist can still fake up a wooden frame to make full specimen mounts of the remaining 3 hides and skulls.
[this paragraph would have detailed measurements of the 4 specimens, as well as notes of things noticed during the gutting. How many were male/female, Were they cold blooded? Egg layers? Any unusual or unexplained organs, Etc. It would end with...] The meat of these bipedal reptiles is tasty, somewhat reminiscent of chicken.