1879: The Expendables

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ChrisDDickey
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:55 pm

The journal of Lord Bentley Bootle, Day 27 out of Caracas.  

We examined the doors, and decided that the French expedition probably opened the door on the left, and it lead to the direction that would be more towards the center of the pyramid, so we attempted to open that door. It was extremely difficult to shift, much more difficult than the door we had opened on the upper level. As soon as we could squeeze most of us through, we found there was a very large animal dead here. It looks as if the animal had been slain in a fight, and that the French had probably left his door open, but that the fighting animals had accidentally pushed it shut. It took a great deal of effort to drag this Carcass out of the way, and to get the door open enough that Smyth could shimmy through. The carcass was several days old and starting to rot, but it looked to have been a two horned dinosaur roughly the size and shape of a Rhinoceros (but clearly not a rhinoceros). 

A bit down this hallway we came upon a trap, which we disarmed. The hallway ended in a T junction, we took the left hand fork. A bit later we came upon what appeared to be the site of a large explosion. The floor and roof were damaged, and the right hand wall (which was composed of stone more than a foot thick) had a large hole completely blown though it. It looked as if this hole had been blown in the wall within the last several weeks, about the time the French expedition would have been here. 

Looking through the hole, we could see a very large chamber, maybe 30 feet high, and 75 feet across. On the far side of the room, there was another, even larger hole that sunlight streamed into the room thorough. Within the room was what appeared to be a burial chamber. A large and impressive sarcophagus, and to one side a group of several more, less impressive sarcophagi. A number of stone boxes (which, when we eventually opened one reveled objects of art, such as feathered masks, and a very nice statue of a jaguar, made of gold, etc. ) 

Overlaying all the burial chamber is a thick layer of plants and vines, thickest in the areas where the sunlight can shine though the hole in the outer wall. All the plants seem invasive, not native to South America. However none of the plants seem to be much older than 9 months. Grazing upon the vines are many birds, small animals, and more of those very large insects, as well as another of the large two horned herbivores the size of a rino. This one is alive and well, and looks very dangerous. It is green and brown in color, and has a frill around it's neck. We treat it with great caution in our explorations and give it as wide a birth as the chamber allows. 

In the center of the chamber is a large circular shimmer in the air. It is maybe 15 foot wide and is opaque on both sides. I once saw the Rabbit Hole, in the year between when it formed and when it opened, and it did not look very much like this thing does (other than being a circle standing in the air). I personally have not seen the RH since it opened, but the descriptions I have read don't seem to match very closely ether. Withakay says that there is something wrong with the circle. It is in flux somehow, possibly unstable. She says that it looks as if the effect became damaged in some way when the French expedition caused the explosion that tumbled down the wall. 

I climbed out of the hole in the outer wall, and found that it exits on the west side of the first level up, on the side opposite where we entered the pyramid. When climbing back in, I took a fall that could have ended up quite nasty, but with luck and a quick spell by Withakay resulted only in minor bruising. 

Timeline of interest: At an undetermined time, but probably more than a few years ago, a large hole somehow developed in the burial chamber of this pyramid to the outside. This would have allowed airborne soil to start accumulating within the burial chamber, but there is no sign of any actual plants that are more than a few months old.  Two years ago the Rabbit Hole developed. 1 year ago, the Rabbit hole opened. Locals say they don't recall seeing this pyramid prior to the last year or two. About 9 months ago (give or take) alien plants started growing here. It is probable that wild animals have been using the "gate" since the plants started growing. About two months ago we were dispatched from London. A team was dispatched from Paris probably a bit earlier. About the time the French would have arrived, there was an explosion that cracked open a wall. The explosion probably damaged or in some way made less stable the "gate". 

Theory: The pyramid was built here, in South America. At some time in the long past, it disappeared (don't know how or why). At some point, don't know how, when, or why, the outer wall was damaged. but whereever the pyramid was, it was not conducive to plant growth. Sometime after the Rabbit Hole was formed, but before 9 months ago, this pyramid reappeared. Sometime around 9 months ago, a gate opened between this burial chamber and some other world. Only animals that can fly or climb up the wall have gotten out.
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Sat Sep 21, 2019 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Andrew1879
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by Andrew1879 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:41 pm

Hm. Handy that the French destabilized the portal, don't have to deal with the party discovering a new world...

LexiLiegh
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by LexiLiegh » Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:57 pm

Atlas, Step Expedition
Written and Illustrated by Erica Withakay
<encrypted(21)> A bihorned creatures carcass was discovered wedging the next door shut. It was slightly decomposed and had the appearance of scavengers according to the big game hunter. In the hall there was another pressure plate leading to another trap, slits in the wall. The rest of the trigger mechanism was a plant based rope, supple but coated with resin. It is certainly from a plant on the other side of this rabbit hole.

The wall has been collapsed into the chamber for the rabbit hole. This one is a large prism, multi faceted and has a shimmer to it. The pattern to it is broken, likely by the French breaching this chamber improperly.

There was also a living bihorned creature in the chamber. It is also littered with chests and coffins. <illustration of bihorned creature in the chamber(10)>

There was a mechanism in one of the chests containing gold baubles, animal feather masks that were decayed, and a golden jaguar statue.
Minion of GMAndi

ChrisDDickey
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:43 pm

The journal of Lord Bentley Bootle, Day 29 out of Caracas.  

It has been a slow two days, much of it spent waiting for wounded comrades to heal.To start with, Smyth suddenly came down with sever abdominal cramps, and has hardly said or done anything except moan piteously. I fear he might have eaten something bad.

Examining the shimmering "gate" more closely, it's lower edge is 2 to 3 feet off of the ground. Both sides look identical, and is mostly opaque. Can only see things in this room though it as a very dim outline. It shimmers like a prism in wavering light, but there is not a set or even pattern to it. 

Erica went to examine the treasure box on the South wall. The Bi-horn snorted and started pawing the ground in clear warning, but Erica decided to ignore it, so it charged. McFly threw his deploy-able shield in front of her, and starts shooting it with his ray gun. Erica casts various spells at it. I ran to stand in front of the gate and started shouting to make noise. I fired my pistols a few times without even trying to hit it, just trying to be the loudest, most annoying thing in the room. The bi-horn charged me and fortunately missed, unfortunately it's charge did not carry it into the gate like I had hoped. I punched it in the snout, and dropped and rolled under the gate. It lowered it's head and charged directly at me, The top of it's head entered the gate area, and the horn and top of the head disappeared from our view, but the lower head was outside of it. The edge of the gate seemed to slice the head open like a sharp knife, the thing died, which caused the head to drop, slicing it's head like a wedge, parts of the head and brain, including both horns are missing, which totally and completely ruins it as a trophy. We drag it out away from the gate. 

Erica and McFly continue their examination of the treasure box near the south wall. They clear the vegetation off of it, and Erica discovers that it has a trap. She manages to harmlessly trigger the trap while the box is still closed, and when they do open the box discover that a bunch of darts had fired into the lid. This box was full of clothes and beads. Clothes are in pretty poor condition, but might be of interest to a museum. The beads are nice, some are made of gold. I am informed that the style seems to be Mayan. 

They repeat the process with the box near the East wall. Again they find a trap, and again they attempt to open it without exposing themselves, but this time they mess up badly, and both of them are struck by several darts each in the hands or face. At first they seem to have suffered little damage, but it quickly becomes clear that they have both been poisoned. They try to power though it, but before too long they both just lie down and just suffer until the poison wears off, which was not until the following morning. 

In the meantime, I had caught a very huge dragonfly, 7 inches long if an inch. I tie the end of some cord that I carry around it's body (damaging it slightly), and toss it through the gate, and pay out slack. I try to feel what is happening by the twitches of the cord in my hand. The huge dragonfly seems to manage to fly about 10 feet dragging the weight of the cord, but then lands. From the angle of the cord, it appears that the ground might be at approximately the same level on the far side of the gate as on this side. This of course is assuming that the dragonfly landed on the ground (for all we know the gate is high up in the air and the dragonfly landed in a tree), in any case, I think I have demonstrated that there seems to be something that can support the weight of a dragonfly within 10 feet of the other side of the gate. After about 10 seconds I tried to pull the dragonfly back using the cord, but when I tried that, the cord cut at the interface of the gate. I am not 100% certain if the gate unstable gate "fluxed" in such a way as to cut whatever was in the gate at that moment, or if the gate is such that things can't to part-way though and then back out. So far, between the bi-horn and the dragonfly, it seems that it might be the "no backing out" is the situation. I plan on getting some long poles to use as probes and do some more tests later, but when Erica and McFly became poisoned I decided to curtail my experiments with the gate. No sense in stirring up trouble when I am the only one healthy. Later on, I noticed a small flying dinosaur (like the ones that attacked the Queen Elisabeth's Crown Jewels, but small) fly out of the gate (from the side opposite where the 2 horn died), and after flying around the chamber a few times, flew out the hole in the side and out of the pyramid. 

I looked in the box that the two had opened, and it was full of gold, gems and other valuable things. 

I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning vegetation off of stuff (the remaining treasure boxes, all three sarcophagus, the doors I found to the chamber, etc), and took about 20 photographs of various interesting stuff, I measured stuff. I did brass rubbing of dozens of etchings. I explored a tiny bit further in the hallway we used to enter this chamber, but only to the corner. 

Eventually I got around to gutting, boning, and skinning the Bihorn. I hated to do it in such an enclosed space where we will be camping, but it was just too big to haul much farther than the hallway. The hide seems to be thicker and tougher than crocodile hide, though perhaps not as good looking, and I am hoping that McFly can make me a nice hide shield. I roasted the liver, heart, and of course kidneys for dinner, but all the others were much to nauseous to eat. I cut many fine steaks for future meals.

In the morning Erica and McFly were much better, but Smyth was still unwell. McFly and I improvised a claw arrangement to lift the lid off of the last stone box while we could stand safely far away. The claw broke, but not until the lid was off. We found the remains of some armor, mostly leather with some small metal plates. There was a very fine obsidian dagger, and another dagger and a short sword. 

The 2nd thing we did that day was to take the lid off of the central main sarcophagus. There was some discussion as to whether or not we wanted to do this, and McFly reminded us of all the stories published in the "Ripping Yarns" penny dreadfuls about mummies rampaging around. Erica pointed out that these stories had only been published in penny dreadfuls, not in the Times or any other reliable publications. I pointed out that in the penny dreadfulls it was always only Egyptian mummies that rampaged around killing everybody, it was never ever a Mayan mummy. I mean the very idea that a genuine Mayan mummy would rampage about was ridiculous. I am not certain which of these two arguments convinced McFly, but he soon got with the program and rigged a pulley system, so we were able to lift the lid off from a safe distance away. Once it was up and no traps manifested themselves, I went over to push the lid to the side as it was lowered gently to the floor. 

I looked into the sarcophagus, and saw a mummy with a gold staff. Erica pulled on her magic goggles, looked in, and told us that we needed to hurriedly put the lid back on. I pointed out that the mummy had a very nice gold staff that would look very nice in the British Museum accompanied by a photo of us, it's discoverers. Erica said that the mummy was shiny. I said that the mummy was not shiny, the gold staff was shiny. Erica said that while it seemed like a very nice gold staff that was shiny in one very common and pedestrian way, it was not shiny in a very specific and important way, but that the mummy was shiny in that exact and important, and very, very troubling way. About that time the mummy sat up and started to climb out of the sarcophagus. We all got the distinct impression that the mummy was about to rampage about in the exact manner in which the Times of London has never reported a Mayan mummy rampaging before, so we started shooting it. 

The mummy hit me with it's golden staff. I had never been hit with a staff worth that much money before. It hurt. A lot. After the mummy hit me a second time, the mummy hit Erica, who also did not seem to enjoy the experience or feel honored to be struck with such a valuable weapon. Erica cast a spell which caused all the nearby vegetation to entangle the mummy so that it could not get at us, and I blew the mummies head off. 

McFly took the golden staff and moved the important parts from his iron shocking pole to it, creating a solid gold shocking pole. I am afraid that the poor man thinks that people who see this pole will think, "there is a very dangerous Weird Scientist with a very shiny weapon I had better not mess with", and not think "Blimey, that guy is walking around with a kings ransom in his hand, hey you 5, lets slit his throat and take that solid gold scepter from him"! I may have a word about the advisability of walking around with a solid gold pole in his hand, and the unlikelihood of this leading to a long an peaceful life. I think I may even utter the words "uneasy lies the head that wears the crown", which phrase, of course, would not be it's original context, but possibly appropriate to this context as well.

So after fighting the mummy, we figured it was time for breakfast. We all felt much better after breakfast, but Erica was still wounded. Since we are in no particular hurry, we decided to wait another 24 hours for all the wounds to heal. 

After breakfast I climbed up the pyramid to tell our guide, who is maintaining our camp on the 6th level, that we are OK, and show him the hole on the first level that he can go to, yell into here if there is anything he needs to tell us. He and I also went into the jungle to cut some wooden poles to use to probe through the gate. I warn him that we will hopefully explore something deeper in the pyramid, and that I will be leaving this journal and the photography plates that have already been exposed with him, and that should we not return in 6 days, the British Consulate in Caracas will eventually pay him for the journal and the plates. I include a cover letter to the consul mentioning both Lord Hastings and my parents.

I spend most of the balance of the day training to increase my strength. I plan on doing this for several hours every day for a while.

LexiLiegh
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by LexiLiegh » Fri Sep 27, 2019 7:57 am

Atlas, Step Expedition
Written and Illustrated by Erica Withakay
<encrypted(17)> Traps are everywhere within the Temple. Each of the chests had what was likely once lethal poison darts. In their current state they merely cause nausea, induce vomiting, and a severe weakening of the body for about a day.

The Prism instability seems to cause it to randomly cut objects that travel through our side of the portal. It is uncertain if this goes both ways, or what lies on the other side of this Prism. It is a dangerous gamble to go through, and the odds are most likely not in your favor at the moment.

The main sarcophagus held a creature that should have been dead, however when viewed through the Aether still had a pattern. Shortly after opening the sarcophagus and the photo shoot, the creature stood up and began swinging a staff. It is quite proficient with it, and is highly resilient to the arcane arts. Guns seemed to work quite well against it however.
Minion of GMAndi

Slimcreeper
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by Slimcreeper » Fri Sep 27, 2019 3:25 pm

I’d pay two pennies for this dreadful! Excellent!

Psitanium
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Re: 1879: The Expendables - McFly's Journal

Post by Psitanium » Fri Sep 27, 2019 11:01 pm

The most capable melee fighter among us, a troll with military experience, decided to take a personal day while the rest of us checked the boxes and sarcophagi in this room. This could have been quite beneficial. Ancient ruins often contain valuable treasures that could be sold for useful materials. Unfortunately, the two-horned beast I have now dubbed “Rhinocer-Dos”, decided to stop chewing it’s party weeds and turned it’s ire toward us. Since the troll was apparently taking a sunbath, this was going to be a 3-on-1 fight. I found this quite unfair. Still, I deployed the Honeycomb as usual. The Rhinocer-Dos tried to ram through it and failed, although it’s attempt was admirable. I would need to do some repairs on the Honeycomb after two sharp horns had passed through it. I hit it with the FOSE, which it did not appreciate. While the spell lady kept it busy, the photo hunter had a clever idea and stood in front of the magic doorway. And with the agility of a bull fighter, he led the Rhinocer-Dos halfway into a different plane of existence. It did not appreciate this either, or at least I imagine that would be it’s reaction were it responsive at all. A good piece of news, however, we have even better leather for shields now.

Spell lady and I cautiously opened the boxes in the room. However, we were not cautious enough and were hit with a dart trap. I felt wibbly, wobbly, but also timey and whimy. After finding a comfortable spot to fall down, I threw on my Stranger Wings and witnessed a spectrum of colors previously beyond comprehension. The troll had returned from picking flowers or something (I did not ask nor care) and I regaled him with tales of the expansive nature of the Universe. He was unimpressed. I threw up in his general direction. He remained unimpressed.

In the morning, I woke to a terrible migraine and the realization that the Universe is probably quite boring. Most of it is just a vacuum and I can build a vacuum. Stupid Universe! The troll was already missing, probably to wash his armor in a stream or something. With luck, the night’s vomit incident would not affect our non-existent relationship. I try not to judge others, but anyone who holds a grudge after getting covered in bile by a relative stranger would not survive a day in Ireland.

For some unknown reason, the others insisted on opening more of the boxes. This time, we were smarter, as if the last round of poison darts had opened our third eye. We devised a box-opening claw device, which worked exactly once. Luckily, that was the last of these boxes. It held no notable items, except archeological pieces someone back in London might appreciate. I, however, did not see the magical beans I needed. How would I get my golden goose back from that giant now? Correction, how would I steal the golden goose a second time now? Perhaps I was still feeling the effects of that dart.
And so, we pressed on to the sarcophagi. I cautioned my team against this, as I had heard tales of these burial chambers containing mummies. They assured me mummies were only native to Egypt and no known species existed in South America. They opened the first sarcophagus while I pushed on it, unemphatically, with my staff.
The troll was taking an awfully long time washing up. I started to wonder if he got smart and simply left for Flow Rider again. Perhaps I would have joined him if we were on speaking terms.
Right around the time of my pondering, the lid slid over to reveal a golden staff. This would be cause for celebration, were the staff not held by a mummy. If this mummy were not as active as my imagination, I would have used this opportunity to berate my comrades for believing the Mayans were not as obsessed with the undead as the Egyptians. However, more fighting was underway. Strange how the troll has missed all the fighting. Perhaps he has a monster-smacking quota that shall not be exceeded. It immediately attacked the hunter, as it did not want it’s picture taken. The undead are notably camera shy, as documented in the novel “Post-Life Etiquette for the Pre-Dead Explorer”. I should really lend him a copy upon our return. Spell lady was able to immobilize it with vines, giving the hunter time enough to aerate a portion of it’s head.
Something in this pyramid must have a memory-wiping effect as the team immediately sought to open another sarcophagus. Before they could go kicking another can of hornets (reminder to start plans for Can of Hornets), I suggested working on an improved opening system. Specifically, I wanted to rig a pulley system that lifted the lid straight up. If we encountered another mummy, letting go of the rope would slam the lid back down on it’s head. This would prove quite detrimental to it’s health, were it not already dead. Perhaps the troll will return from his extended bath by then. He did smell horrible at last I saw him. That might have been partially my fault.

Psitanium
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Re: 1879: The Expendables - McFly's Journal

Post by Psitanium » Thu Oct 03, 2019 6:54 pm

With the party back in full force, we attempted to open the next sarcophagus. I failed to convince my party that I could build a suitable lid-lifting system and they impulsively went with the troll lifting it by hand. This did not end well. The lady mummy that inevitably resided in the sarcophagus assisted the troll in lifting the lid and proceeded to smack a golden staff over his head. The troll then became infatuated with the mummy, which I can understand. I had a May-December romance once upon a time, but never engaged in a Bronze Age-Steel Age romance. But how would I explain it to my parents or those bats? Perhaps the civilized world is not so civilized after all.
For a moment, I thought I might have to fight the troll for her attention, but what luck, another female mummy burst forth from the remaining sarcophagus. She likes long walks on the beach, ruling over the proletariat and archery. Unfortunately, the archery part was most relevant here and she began turning our hunter into a pincushion. But the hunter can give as good as he gets and shot quite a few holes in our hopeless undead romantics. The troll’s infatuation was cut short after his crush was killed off and he took out his frustrations on the archer. By this point, I had dove headfirst into an open sarcophagus and deployed the Honeycomb a second time. My first attempt left much to be desired as did throwing my hide shield which now sat sadly on the ground.

With the mummies dispatched, we took a better look at the shiny weapons they held. Worth note was the bowstring. It appeared to have a similar effect as my FOSE, although this string appears stronger than my gun. That makes me envious and also angry and also sad. I shall call this feeling “sangrious”. Spell lady recovered my hide shield, which she refers to as the “Croc of Aegis”. I hate that this is far catchier than “Rock of Crocodiles” and cannot get it out of my head now. I must rename it for future iterations, while taking all the credit in the process. Putting it on the list. For now, I’ll refer to it as the “ROC” for brand recognition.
I again took the opportunity to reiterate how much better this unboxing would have gone were I given the opportunity to build my lid-lifter. No one cared.
We attempted to patch up the hunter, but those nasty arrows had done a number on him. Despite all logic and reason, we resigned to split the party, with spell lady, guide and myself heading into the jungle to look for medicinal plants. We found her magical root thing quickly and rapidly moved back to the temple. I fell climbing down the hole and now know how the hunter felt. The falling part, not the arrows part, obviously. “Walk it off!” they say. I sprained an ankle, I can’t walk it off. That actually makes it worse. It’s times like these I wish someone in our party had proper medical training. I would build a doctor, but lack the necessary experience, skills and facilities to do so... yet.

LexiLiegh
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by LexiLiegh » Thu Oct 03, 2019 11:39 pm

Atlas, Step Expedition
Written and Illustrated by Erica Withakay
<encrypted(5)>
Each of the remaining Sarcophagi contained another mummified being. One held what looked to be a woman with a scepter<illustrated(9)>. The scepter holds a pattern that attaches itself to a person struck by it. Merely touching it to the person seems to have no effect. This one did not seem as resistant to magical attacks as the first one had.

The third Sarcophagus opened on its own accord, containing another woman with a bow. It was accurate and could shoot near 70 yards with the bow. The string had something woven into its being, similar to what is inside the Fires of Saint Elmo, our expeditions ‘Scientists’ gun.

The medicinal herbs documented earlier in this Atlas seem to have staved off fever and infection. It does not look like they aided in the recovery of the injured, but they did not hinder it either.
Minion of GMAndi

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Andrew1879
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by Andrew1879 » Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:17 pm

So if he makes another one, it'll be a New ROC?

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