The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [On the Trail of the Pumpkin King]

Where in all of your character write ups will go.
Jabroniville
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Beorhtric Warwick, Caliban]

Post by Jabroniville » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:01 am

Liking the Victorian-themed stuff. Very strange, but appropriately so- it captures the "flavor" of that kind of stuff. The dark story of Beorhtric is fun- kind of an irresponsible douche screwed by his own stupidity, unleashing a great evil upon the world. Caliban being a time-tossed character is a great twist.

I like how they're inspired by modern heroes, but you'd never be able to tell if you hadn't explained it. I was looking for links to the Morlock Caliban from Marvel, looked at the powers, and STILL didn't make the "Beast" connection until you'd pointed it out!

I had read the John Albion origin story earlier, I promise :).

Yojimbo
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Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Beorhtric Warwick, Caliban]

Post by Yojimbo » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:28 pm

Jabroniville wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:01 am
Liking the Victorian-themed stuff. Very strange, but appropriately so- it captures the "flavor" of that kind of stuff. The dark story of Beorhtric is fun- kind of an irresponsible douche screwed by his own stupidity, unleashing a great evil upon the world. Caliban being a time-tossed character is a great twist.
Thanks! I try to provide hooks for each character, although that doesn't always work.
I like how they're inspired by modern heroes, but you'd never be able to tell if you hadn't explained it. I was looking for links to the Morlock Caliban from Marvel, looked at the powers, and STILL didn't make the "Beast" connection until you'd pointed it out!
There are plenty of people, like yourself, who are doing accurate conversions of beloved characters. I prefer to put my own spin on them. It's often more transparent than not, but I often start with the power set or niche rather than the origin, in part to avoid being too slavish to the source material.

Yojimbo
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The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by Yojimbo » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:42 am

Doctor Helmut Schmidt, aka Baron Wilfrid Von Zeno
Baron Wilfrid Von Zeno is West German aristocrat. Brilliant and intellectually curious, he studied anatomy and the sciences, but couldn’t resist the allure of black market magic tomes. His researches into the reanimation of dead tissue bordered on the necromantic, which alerted the Teutonic Knights to his activities. Von Zeno fled Westphalia under a cloud of suspicion. He entered England under an assumed name, using his medical background as cover. As “Helmut Schmidt,” he found employ as the personal physician of Beorhtric Warwick, who seemed more interested in Von Zeno’s alchemical knowledge than any of his other skills. Von Zeno soon hired Caliban as his assistant, and the two served Warwick well enough.

When Warwick died, Von Zeno found his chance. He had continued his necromantic researches and knew just how to bring the asinine English nobleman back to life – and completely under Von Zeno’s control. Now he directs Warwick in whichever way he wishes, while having the run of the Warwick family home and its coffers. He can live like a person of his breeding once more, but he can also continue his work without fear of government intercession in his activities. So long as he is circumspect, at least. Even then, he has the perfect scapegoat in Warwick, and he can just as easily become someone else as continued to be Doctor Helmut Schmidt.
PL: 12
Abilities: STR: 10 (-) DEX: 10 (-) CON: 10 (-) INT: 24 (+7) WIS: 16 (+3) CHR: 14 (+2)
Skills: Bluff 8 (+10)
Craft: Chemical 4 (+11)
Craft: Electronic 4 (+11)
Craft: Mechanical 4 (+11)
Craft: Mystical 4 (+11)
Diplomacy 4 (+6)
Knowledge: Arcane Lore 4 (+11)
Knowledge: Earth Sciences 8 (+15)
Knowledge: Life Sciences 8 (+15)
Knowledge: Physical Sciences 8 (+15)
Knowledge: Technology 8 (+15)
Medicine 12 (+15)
Notice 4 (+7)
Sense Motive 8 (+11)
Feats: Artificer
Defensive Roll 2
Eidetic Memory
Genius 1
Improvised Tools
Inventor
Low Profile 1
Precise Shot 2
Ritualist
Tough 2
Powers: “Body Armor” Device 2 [Hard to Lose]
Protection 4 [Impervious, Subtle 1]

“Chemical Gun” Device 8 [Easy to Lose]
“Chemical Trap” Snare 12 [Regenerating]
  • AP: “Acid Globules” Acid 12 [Ranged]
  • AP: “Chemical Bomb” Blast 12 [Burst Area]
  • AP: “Flare Burst” Dazzle 12 [Visual]
  • AP: “Toxic Needles” Paralyze 12 [Ranged]
Immunity 10 [Common Descriptor (Chemicals)]
Combat: Attack +10 [Acid DC 27, Blast DC 27, Snare DC 22, Dazzle DC 22, Paralyze DC 22, Unarmed DC 15], Defense +12, Init +0
Saves: Toughness +2/+8, Fortitude +8, Reflex +4, Will +8
Description: Thin and ghostly pale, with cold blue eyes and neatly trimmed blonde hair, Von Zeno wears artfully tailored suits beneath which he hides a suit of state of the art and practically invisible body armor of his own invention. He speaks English with only a faint accent, and has become an accomplished dissembler during his enforced exile. With enough time, Von Zeno can theoretically invent just about any necessary device, but he keeps a powerful gun on his person at all times. It fires tiny capsules filled with chemicals rather than bullets, all of which unleash a variety of effects. Thick cables as proportionally strong as spider’s silk can entrap a target, or he can freeze someone in place using needles soaked in a paralytic toxin. Explosive chemical capsules can erupt with enough force to fell a tank or in a burst of light bright enough to temporarily blind someone, depending on the chemical mixture, and Von Zeno even has capsules loaded with a particularly virulent acid compound which rapidly reduces its targets to mush.

Under the Hood
I needed a twisted scientist-wizard to give Warwick a second lease on life, and leaned into the Zemo emulation. He comes out a little more Doom-like, I think, with the combination of science acumen and mystical (necromantic) bent. He's currently content to have Warwick and Caliban at his beck and call, but that can't hold forever.

Yojimbo
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The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by Yojimbo » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:47 am

Elijah Stark, the Gunslinger
An American bounty hunter, Elijah Stark gained the ability to summon a pair of supernatural revolvers after a chance encounter with the Devil. After Elijah gained the upper hand, the Devil cursed him, promising Elijah that he would “forever after carry death with him wherever he goes,” and that his descendents would likewise be afflicted. Elijah walks a lonely road, careful never to let anyone get too close to him. Born in the southern United States, Elijah cannot bring himself to fight for a cause he does not believe in, nor can he bring himself to take up arms against his kin. So he has entered a voluntary exile, working in Europe for the time being.
PL: 10
Abilities: STR: 14 (+2) DEX: 18 (+4) CON: 18 (+4) INT: 12 (+1) WIS: 18 (+4) CHR: 14 (+2)
Skills: Climb 4 (+6)
Gather Information 4 (+6)
Handle Animal 4 (+6)
Intimidate 4 (+6)
Investigate 4 (+5)
Notice 4 (+8)
Ride 4 (+8)
Stealth 4 (+8)
Survival 4 (+8)
Swim 4 (+6)
Feats: Accurate Attack
Defensive Roll 4
Evasion 1
Improved Aim
Improved Critical 1 [Blast]
Improved Initiative 1
Power Attack
Precise Shot 2
Ranged Pin
Track
Uncanny Dodge 2 [Hearing]
Powers: “Ghost Guns,” Blast 10 [Autofire 1; Accurate 1, Affects Insubstantial 2, Homing 1, Incurable, Ricochet 1, Split Attack 1]
  • AP: Blast 10 [Alternate Save (Will), Accurate 1, Affects Insubstantial 2, Homing 1, Split Attack 1]
Combat: Attack +8 [Unarmed +3], Ghost Guns +10 [Blast +10], Defense +12, Init +8
Saves: Toughness +4/+8, Fortitude +8, Reflex +6, Will +10
Description: Tall, raw-boned and rangy, Elijah looks ten years older than he really is. His dark hair is shot with gray and recedes from his high forehead, but he grows it down past his shoulders. His eyes are a cold black, and he always seems to have a five o’clock shadow. Elijah is always clad in a long, battered black duster, black ten-gallon hat, and dark clothes. He doesn’t wear any pistols, but can summon the Ghost Guns with a thought, a pair of translucent blue Colt Navy revolvers that can unleash bullets like a gatling gun, and even affect ghosts. When he doesn’t wish to kill his quarry, Elijah can fire psychic bullets that stun and paralyze.

Under the Hood
I have a fondness for the phrase "ghost guns" and keep trying to come up with characters who could use it. This is one of them. Stark is basically the token American running around in England, sort of like whathisface in Penny Dreadful. Stark's existence also alludes to the unpleasant war going on back in the states (it was 1861 at the start of the campaign, although we did get to the start of 1862 before things petered out).

Jabroniville
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Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by Jabroniville » Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:28 am

"Ghost Guns" is a pretty good name. "Spectral Guns" would be pretty cool, too. Von Zeno gives me an "Arnim Zola" bent, based off of his scientific acumen, but I guess the original Zemo was an inventor, too.

Yojimbo
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Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by Yojimbo » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:17 pm

Jabroniville wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:28 am
"Ghost Guns" is a pretty good name. "Spectral Guns" would be pretty cool, too. Von Zeno gives me an "Arnim Zola" bent, based off of his scientific acumen, but I guess the original Zemo was an inventor, too.
The original Baron Zemo gave Simon Williams his second act and sicced him on the Avengers. Thus I went with Zemo for my science-wizard template.

MacynSnow
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Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by MacynSnow » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:00 pm

I love the idea of Helmut(the name is just Awesome for one, and i have a deep love for "Mad" Scientists and Inventors for another),especially if he becomes the Main Villian for someone like Stark(love the Ghost Rider-like link btw),who he'd make an intresting foil for....

Yojimbo
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Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by Yojimbo » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:21 am

MacynSnow wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:00 pm
I love the idea of Helmut(the name is just Awesome for one, and i have a deep love for "Mad" Scientists and Inventors for another),especially if he becomes the Main Villian for someone like Stark(love the Ghost Rider-like link btw),who he'd make an intresting foil for....
Yeah, the whole setting is really geared toward the Blackwood Detective Agency and the ancillary characters. Stark would only ever be an NPC if he ever showed up at all - I don't think I made room for him, although many other previously posted characters at least appeared in the series, even if they didn't end up doing much.

I'm glad you like Schmidt, I think he has potential. Bringing zombies (especially super strong zombies) to the British Isles could constitute a fun adventure. Speaking of zombies, I think I'll be posting the adventure "The Matter of France" next.

MacynSnow
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Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by MacynSnow » Tue Jul 03, 2018 4:12 am

Oohh,can't wait to see how bad France got it(especially if you took into account both their rather Bloody History and all those Catacombs underneath the City itself....)

Jabroniville
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Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 8:05 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by Jabroniville » Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:41 am

Yojimbo wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:17 pm
Jabroniville wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:28 am
"Ghost Guns" is a pretty good name. "Spectral Guns" would be pretty cool, too. Von Zeno gives me an "Arnim Zola" bent, based off of his scientific acumen, but I guess the original Zemo was an inventor, too.
The original Baron Zemo gave Simon Williams his second act and sicced him on the Avengers. Thus I went with Zemo for my science-wizard template.
oh, OK, I forgot about that. I don't recall seeing Zemo II doing much sciencing.

MacynSnow
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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by MacynSnow » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:08 am

Jabroniville wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 6:41 am
Yojimbo wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:17 pm
Jabroniville wrote:
Mon Jul 02, 2018 10:28 am
"Ghost Guns" is a pretty good name. "Spectral Guns" would be pretty cool, too. Von Zeno gives me an "Arnim Zola" bent, based off of his scientific acumen, but I guess the original Zemo was an inventor, too.
The original Baron Zemo gave Simon Williams his second act and sicced him on the Avengers. Thus I went with Zemo for my science-wizard template.
oh, OK, I forgot about that. I don't recall seeing Zemo II doing much sciencing.
He was more of the "Adventerous Son" type of Person.Sure,he was plenty Smart,but couldn't make anything Original like his Dad could.When i think of "Pulp-Era" Villians,the Zemo's always come to mind first,THEN Arim Zola and The Red Skull....

MorganBravestone
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Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by MorganBravestone » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:42 pm

Yojimbo wrote:
Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:13 pm
Thanks! It's hard to tell. I can see people are reading it, but its not generating much in reactions.
If it helps at all, I definitely read this thread semi-regularly and I enjoy it thoroughly, but I tend not to post very much unless I feel like I have something to contribute. I don't mean to annoy you by "lurking", but I would much rather only post when I feel it necessary, rather than clog up your thread with an endless repetition of "Good post as always, keep it up" or words to that effect.

Yojimbo
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Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Doctor Helmut Schmidt, Elijah Stark]

Post by Yojimbo » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:09 pm

MorganBravestone wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:42 pm
If it helps at all, I definitely read this thread semi-regularly and I enjoy it thoroughly, but I tend not to post very much unless I feel like I have something to contribute. I don't mean to annoy you by "lurking", but I would much rather only post when I feel it necessary, rather than clog up your thread with an endless repetition of "Good post as always, keep it up" or words to that effect.
I don't mind lurking, I was just teasing Jab about clicking on the thread and not reading it. If you're reading it and getting something out of it, even if you don't respond, I still appreciate it.

Yojimbo
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Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [The Matter of France]

Post by Yojimbo » Wed Jul 04, 2018 2:21 pm

The Matter of France

Blackwood and Samariach are having lunch at the Strangers Club. The dining room is large, filled with dark oak paneling and big, sturdy tables. Lots of carvings and decoration, done in a variety of styles that seem to document the many ages the house has stood on this spot (and perhaps, how old the Strangers Club actually is).

The food is excellent, and other club members are scattered about the tables. Prince Ohmand Okoye, of the African nation of Talantah, is there, dressed in a Victorian suit adorned with orichalcum jewelry and finery, the riches of his powerful country. John Albion is eating with him, and the two appear to be discussing affairs or state; you can hear India and Afghanistan mentioned a few times. A handful of other notorious folks are scattered about, including a gentleman in safari dress, a pale woman in pants and suit jacket, and a lot of older folks with graying hair and interesting scars.

As you are finishing up, the Clockwork Man suddenly drifts through the wall near you. He’s a big android of ancient manufacture, made of articulated bronze plates, with an almost featureless face dominated by two glowing amber crystal eyes and a slit for a mouth. He wears a purple tunic and hooded cape, and floats about six inches off the floor in the direction of John Albion and the prince. There are sputters of indignation from club members as the Clockwork Man drifts through tables, although he maneuvers around people, making a beeline for Albion.

The two of them confer for a moment, the Clockwork Man’s toneless voice pitched too low for Blackwood to hear (although Samariach will hear about France, Sir Edward Whitesun, and the Brotherhood of Steam). Albion’s handsome face becomes more alarmed as their discussion goes on. At last, Albion stands, puts a hand on the Clockwork Man’s shoulder, and thanks him. Then Albion puts his napkin on the table, excuses himself from the prince, and scans the room. His eyes alight on Blackwood and Samariach, and he heads straight for them.

“Glad to see you gentlemen here. I have a bit of a problem that you might be able to help me with.

“It appears that one of our club members has disappeared. Sir Edward Whitesun to be precise. He was looking into one of your old enemies for us – the Brotherhood of Steam.

“You’ll recall the whole Guardians debacle, Blackwood, as you were instrumental in it. The Brotherhood of Steam was using enslaved elementals to power the huge metal robots they sold to the city as a defense force. When they were discovered, the Brotherhood lost favor with the Queen. Some of their number were imprisoned, their cathedral and most of their machinery were impounded, and those who could fled the city. It was Whitesun’s belief that the Brotherhood’s leadership escaped to France. He took it upon himself to look into the matter. Unfortunately, he has since disappeared.

“Sir Edward is a friend of mine, and a distant cousin of the royal family. His ultimate fate cannot remain a mystery. Would you gentlemen be willing to find him, or at least discover what happened to him?

“Excellent. I shall arrange transport across the channel for you and any companions you wish to involve. Gather whatever you shall need and return to the Club around 6 o’clock. I shall have more information for you then.”

Blackwood and Samariach have a few hours to prepare, chase down some compatriots to bring on the mission, etc.

Across the Channel

Albion has a carriage waiting for you in front of the Stranger’s Club, and leaps inside almost as soon as you pull up. “My thanks again, chaps, for agreeing to look into this little problem.

“Sir Edward Whitesun is a well respected member of our community. He fought for Her Majesty in the Crimean, and encountered strange things in the Orient. Much of it he still doesn’t speak openly about, but I have read his accounts, and I assure you that there are few men more capable of going into France on their own and returning in one piece. But something happened over there. We’ve lost contact with him.

“He was sending messages to us through Rouen. His last communication said he was getting close to whatever the Brotherhood was planning. We haven’t heard anything since—that was three weeks ago. This morning, we received a telegram from Le Havre. Whitesun’s ring turned up in a card game last night. One of our agents recognized it, passed along word.

“We’re sending you straight to Le Havre. Meet up with our agent, Reynald Harfleur. Find out what happened to Whitesun.”

Albion smiles. “And if you have the opportunity to give the Brotherhood of Steam a hard time, then by all means, feel free.”

Albion sends the four of you to New Haven by rail, a trip of a few hours. In New Haven, you board a steamship that travels across the channel in another few hours, depositing you at the coastal city of Le Havre, at the mouth of the Seine.

Historically, Le Havre has been the entrance port for ships heading inland to Paris. That was before the rise of the undead. Now Le Havre is a fortified city. It has the look of a frontier town, a besieged city, which is pretty much what it is. A huge seawall encircles the bay, continuing around the city proper. Heavy cannon and other artillery are located along the walls, all pointing landward. Smoke rises from the city towers, as the forges work all day and night, and flames flicker in the depths of the night. Gaslight lamps keep the city lit. The shadow of airships block the starlight overhead.

The port is busy, ships moving in and out of the port constantly. Unloading materiel, loading up refugees, continuously in flux.

From the port, a cab ferries you into the city. It’s a gloomy, soot-stained place, even darker than London. The streets are clogged with refugees, poor people in rags, covered in sores and bandages. Moving through the crowds in well armed bands are troops of mercenaries, armed to the teeth with heavy rifles, guns, swords, axes, and the like, clad in scraps of armor and surcoats that identify their mercenary orders. Occasionally you catch sight of Chevaliers in heavy armor, adorned with crosses, carrying huge and unwieldy looking two handed swords.

The Chevaliers are the frontline in the Catholic Church’s crusade against the living dead—there aren’t many of them in Le Havre, but there are supposed to be thousands of them spread across France, smiting evil.

The cab brings you to the Hotel Le Jeune, a building with four floors, gargoyles, crosses, and gas lamps. It is about 10:00 pm when you arrive, but the restaurant is still open and serving dinner for anyone who wants it. At midnight, there is a knock at Blackwood’s door (or else Reynald finds you in the bar if you’re still up). Reynald is a slight, dark, thin mustached and nervous looking French man who speaks English with hardly an accent.

“Greetings gentlemen. Msr. Albion asked me to contact you. I met Sir Edward three months ago. A good man, for an Englisher—I beg your pardon—and good with a gun. Fearless. He went over the wall, but sent back regular communiqués until recently. Yesterday, I was in the Monaco, a gambling establishment on the Seine, and saw a rough looking mercenary put up Whitesun’s ring as collateral. I made inquiries. The mercenary in question is a Spaniard named Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar. He is staying at the Monaco, and I believe he still has the ring.”

The Monaco is still hopping late in the evening. You can head over there right now, or wait for the morning.

You have some trouble hailing a cab, but eventually get one after walking a few blocks. Refugees clutch at your coat tails, beggers accost you, and mercenaries size you up. The Monaco is a Greek-style building, that might have once been someone’s estate or a post office or something. Now it has drunks draped across its steps, and a hulking man with clockwork parts guarding the door. He gives you a once over, the gears in his shoulders clik-clakking as he does, then gives you a nod. As you pass through the door, you hear cannon fire from the walls. Repelling an attack, taking potshots, or something worse?

Inside, you find a large open room, filled with gambling tables. Poker, faro, baccarat, craps, and all manner of games of chance. Women in abbreviated outfits hang off the arms of men; some of the women look like they were probably on the streets just yesterday, and others have the glazed eyes and pale complexions of drug addicts or drunks. Mercenaries of all kinds are thick on the floor, behaving rudely, drinking, gambling, snorting strange substances, etc.

DC 15 Gather Information check points you in the direction of Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar. He is at a poker table, with a pile of coins in front of him. He’s a big guy with a bright red frock coat, a brace of pistols, and long black hair. A wicked scar winds its way up the side of his left cheek. He’s unimpressed by Blackwood and friends, and doesn’t care for it if his game is interrupted.

De Vivar is a PL 6 mercenary type, hard nosed and difficult to intimidate, and he’s surrounded by his cronies in his mercenary band, all wearing the same red frock coats. However, he can easily be swayed by money to tell what he knows.

He has never heard of Whitesun. He picked up the ring, a gold band with a large diamond encircled by electrum, in Rouen from a pawnbroker named Fournier. That was two weeks ago. He thought the ring might win him some favor with a widow back in Spain, but he is willing to part with it for a princely sum.

Next stop, Rouen?

River Trip

It’s not hard to find a ship heading down river. There is a string of forts along the Seine, ferrying soldiers, mercenaries, and madmen into central France. You find passage on a ship called Le Petit Peregrine. It’s a heavily fortified craft, sporting a dozen guns (six to each side of the ship) and it keeps a squad of marines on board armed with rifles and boarding axes. The captain is Martin Moreau.

No one is willing to pilot an airship over France. The dangers of a crash landing are too high, while the undead tend to avoid running water. Most travel through the country is by boat, on rivers and other active waterways.

For the first twenty miles or so along the river, Le Petit Peregrine maneuvers through a series of locks, each of which is heavily fortified with high, thick walls, cannon, and soldiers. But by the second day, the ship has passed into the Wastelands. These are the most dangerous parts of France, overrun with ghouls, zombies, and worse. You can see villages and farmhouses from the deck; fields overgrown, buildings collapsing, machinery rusting. You see nothing moving, not even animals. The day is overcast—in fact every day seems to be overcast—but the undead appear to avoid the daylight regardless.

At night, the captain of the ship maneuvers the ship into the middle of the river and weighs anchor. The marines patrol all night, keeping all eyes on the banks. You spend a restless night aboard the ship, but the living dead do appear to keep away from the river. Nothing disturbs the ship.

In the middle of the second day, the ship reaches Ruoen. Like Le Havre, it’s a fortified city with huge walls. Massive cannons ring the walls. The river runs through the middle of the city, and there’s a complicated lock that needs to be navigated in order to get in and out of the city’s harbor, which is cramped and filled with other craft. Mercenaries, French soldiers, and Chevaliers clog the streets, which are narrow and twisting. Almost no horses, but rats, cats, and dogs are everywhere. The poor and destitute are everywhere as well, begging for handouts, hoping to buy passage on a ship heading west.

DC 15 Gather Information check will point you in the general direction of Fournier’s shop. Captain Moreau is taking four hours to unload supplies and then he’s moving on up the river.

Fournier’s shop is located off the Rue Saint Julien. It’s a tiny, cramped little place, filled with small trinkets and knick knacks and such. Clearly a pawn shop. There’s a middle aged man with pince-nez glasses at the counter, going over a ledger when you come in. This is Msr. Fournier, proprietor. He seems entirely unconcerned about the legions of undead outside the city walls, going about business as usual.

Fournier does not recall Whitesun at all, although if Blackwood shows him the ring, Fournier recognizes it. A very desperate man sold that to him, a little over two weeks ago. But he often gets desperate people in his shop, so he paid him no mind. Fournier says that the ring was promptly purchased within a day or two by a Spanish mercenary.

Fournier hasn’t much else to tell Blackwood. If they aren’t there to buy anything, he kindly asks them to leave, returning to his ledger without waiting for them to go.

Outside on the Rue Saint Julien, the sky is turning red as the sun begins to go down. There’s only a few hours left to make it back to the harbor and rejoin the ship. Or will the characters remain in Ruoen and ask around for Whitesun?

Notice Check DC 20: A quartet of mercenaries in long red coats amble down the street, walking in the direction of Blackwood and friends. Like most mercs, these men are armed. You see swords and axes, pistols and rifles. And it’s very obvious they are looking right at you as they approach.

La Guardia Roja
The four on the ground approach the group, drawing pistols and blunderbusses first and then going for their swords and axes to close quickly. Two snipers are kept in reserve, perched on rooftops along the street, and they will try to pick off the targets while they are engaged in parley or unaware of their presence. The snipers are using cover (+7 to Stealth checks to keep from being noticed).
PL: 6
Abilities: STR: 16 (+3) DEX: 16 (+3) CON: 14 (+2) INT: 12 (+1) WIS: 16 (+3) CHR: 12 (+1)
Skills: Climb 4 (+7)
Handle Animal 4 (+5)
Notice 4 (+7)
Profession: Mercenary 4 (+7)
Ride 4 (+7)
Survival 4 (+7)
Swim 4 (+7)
Feats: Improved Aim
Improved Block 1
Improved Initiative 1
Power Attack
Precise Shot 1
Quick Draw 1
Equipment 12 [Battleaxe, Claymore, Heavy Pistol, Saber, Sawed-off Shotgun, Sniper Rifle, Sword, Tactical Vest]
Powers: None
Combat: Attack +8 [Battleaxe +6, Claymore +6 (19-20), Heavy Pistol +4, Saber +5 (19-20), Sawed-Off Shotgun +4/+6/+7, Sniper Rifle +5 (19-20, 250 ft. range), Sword +6 (19-20)], Defense +8, Init +7
Saves: Toughness +2/+6, Fortitude +6, Reflex +7, Will +7
Description: Hard-bitten men and women wearing armor, and armed with various archaic weapons, but also sporting large baroque looking pistols and blunderbusses. They all wear long red coats, although the rest of their clothing is varied and idiosyncratic.

When the dust has cleared, presumably there’s someone alive to be interrogated by Blackwood. The leader is a rat faced man with a scraggly goatee and yellow teeth. His name is Esteban, and all he knows is that the Red Guard was contracted to wipe out the three of you. They were given your descriptions, told to stake out Fournier’s, and paid handsomely. The contract came by courier, from upriver.

There’s still time to catch Le Petit Peregrine. Alternatively, the characters may wish to stay in Ruoen and poke around. They won’t find much, although the local authorities will be very interested in the shoot-out. Killing the hungry dead is lauded, but the living, not so much.

If they do stay in the city, there’s another ship heading east in the morning called Martel. The captain is a pox faced, white bearded old cobber with a peg leg who pretends to be deaf whenever he doesn’t want to talk to you. Which is often. But the ship is going in the direction you want to go, and follows much the same protocol as the Peregrine did; i.e. weighing anchor at night in the middle of the river. Marines patrol the decks through all watches of the night. Etc.

Upriver

During the day, the countryside looks quiet and empty. You occasionally spot towns, docks, even cities; all lie in ruins. Not a living thing can be spotted. All is quiet, save for the rushing of the river beneath the boat, the creak of wood under your feet, the rumble of the steam engine. The sailors all have haunted, desperate looks, and if you interview any of them, you learn that a good portion of them are on the ship because it gives them an opportunity to search for relatives at the few stops along the river.

Two days from Ruoen, the ship stops at Val-de-Reuil.

Val-de-Reuil is a fortified village, hardly more than a waystop along the river. High palisades bound the town. Beyond the palisades are the ruins of the larger city, still filled with the hungry dead, whose moans and cries can be heard through the night. Torches are lit along the walls and crossbowmen and riflemen stand beneath them all night. Gunshots are heard occasionally, but none of the dead can climb up the oiled timbers of the walls.

No one in Val-de-Reuil has heard of Whitesun or seen the ring (the ring never made it this far). However, a DC 20 Gather Information check does inform Blackwood and friends that a strange Englishman passed through here with a band of cutthroats and killers a little over two weeks previous. They continued upriver, but no one has seen any of them return. A DC 25 Gather Information check suggests that the Englishman spoke in hushed tones of Paris, but even the person who shares this information with Blackwood doesn’t believe it. No one would be crazy enough to go into Paris.

In the morning, the cargo delivered, supplies and water taken on, the post collected, the ship continues on its way.

A day from Val-de-Reuil, and approaching Fort Vernon: in the afternoon, as the sun is waning, there is a cry from the top deck. The sailor on watch, Aguillard by name, swears that he saw a child run into a farmhouse. It’s still daylight; the dead do not move about during the day. Aguillard begs the captain to come ashore and at least let him go look around. DC 15 Sense Motive says Aguillard believes he saw what he saw; furthermore, he feels compelled to look into it.

It will take some convincing. The captain is sympathetic, but is reluctant to endanger his ship or his crew. While they confer, shadows grow longer. The marines start to get antsy; the crew appears split, with some siding with Aguillard, and the rest urging the captain to restart the engine and be gone from this place.

Blackwood and friends may volunteer to investigate themselves, but unless they want to swim (… of course, Horus can fly, but he is reluctant to show that off just yet), the captain isn’t bringing the ship to the riverbank. They might convince him (DC 25 Diplomacy check) or force the issue.

Aguillard wishes to go with the characters if they disembark; it’s up to them whether he comes or not. He will stay on the ship if they insist, just relieved that someone is going to look.

Ashore, the riverbank is overgrown with reeds and grasses. The ancient dock that once stood here has splintered, but there is still a rough path that leads up the bank towards the remnants of a small village. Roughly a dozen buildings, all in various states of disrepair, run along the river bank and straddle the road that parallels the river here. The largest building appears to have been an inn. There is still a flipped over carriage in the road in front of the inn, as well as the bleached bones of four horses.

If anyone has Track, it takes a DC 15 Survival check to find the tracks of the little girl. Otherwise, they will have to Search the buildings; DC 15 to find some sign of her passage. She’s hiding under the floorboards of one of the houses, in a hollow that she apparently dug out herself. She’s about eight years old, with dirt matted hair, torn clothes, and a permanently shell-shocked expression. Mute, but alive, she doesn’t respond to French or English but will try to run from the characters. If cornered, she will collapse in a heap, so damaged she cannot even cry.

By the time the characters find the girl and collect her, the sun is beginning to set. The captain may or may not have pulled his ship away from the shore, but hasn’t left completely, remaining anchored out in the middle of the river. Naturally, the hungry dead, sensing the activity and fresh blood of the living, will begin to materialize.

The Hungry Dead
PL:
8
Abilities: STR: 10 (-) DEX: 20 (+5) CON: - (-) INT: - (-) WIS: 10 (-) CHR: - (-)
Skills: Notice 8
Feats: All-Out Attack
Improved Initiative 1
Power Attack
Powers: Immunity 30 [Fortitude Saves]
Protection 8
Regeneration 17 [Recovery Bonus +9, Resurrection 8 (1 round)]
Strike 8 [Alternate Save: Fortitude, Poison]
Super-Senses 2 [Detect 2 (Living)]
Combat: Attack +8 [Strike +8], Defense +8, Init +9
Saves: Toughness +8, Fortitude Immune, Reflex +11, Will +8
Description: The Hungry Dead are the animate corpses of human beings. They appear in all stages of decay, from the newly dead to walking skeletons with a few pounds of flesh and scraps of clothes hanging from their bodies. They are mindless, savage predators, consumed with a lust for the flesh and blood of the living. They can sense living beings in their proximity, and will attack anything moving, moving far more quickly than one would assume. Their bony claws and sharpened teeth inflict grievous wounds, while they themselves cannot be felled by deadly force unless their brains are targeted or their heads destroyed (in the case of the more skeletal dead).

Four to six hungry dead will materialize (dig themselves out of their burrows) in the town center and attack the characters as they exit the house. The child, at least, will hang limply in the arms of whomever is carrying her, not interfering at all during the melee.

Heart of Darkness

After the characters defeat the zombies, the ship will swing in to pick them up. Marines have guns at the ready. The child is taken by Aguillard and the ship’s doctor examines her. The child is surprisingly healthy, albeit malnourished, and completely shell-shocked. It’s impossible to tell how long she’s been alone in the French countryside.

The crew treats Blackwood and his companions with new respect following the incident.

The next stop is the final one, the last bastion of human civilization along the Seine:

Fort Vernon
Once a mid-sized city called Vernon, the town has contracted into the size of a fortress. Beyond its walls lay the ruins of the city, overrun with the hungry dead. Within is another kind of chaos. The men who live here, who are stationed here, live on the edge of darkness. And the strain has long since broken them. The soldiers of Fort Vernon are a cruel, wicked, violent lot. They size up any newcomers and prey on anyone they deem weak. Women in particular get short shrift; rape and murder are all too common here.

Refugees and mercenary bands occasionally come through the gates of Fort Vernon, seeking aid or payment for bounties. Refugees are almost universally enslaved by the soldiers, while mercenaries are often picked over, pressed into service, or sent on their merry way, depending upon the Duke’s whim.

Duke Vernon rules the fort with an iron fist. His men fear him more than the darkness outside their walls. Vernon believes that they all live in the End Times, but that Christ has forsaken humanity and that the Devil will soon come to take them all. Since their fates are sealed, they might as well enjoy themselves while their brief lives last.

The fort consists of several barracks, an armory, a citadel, and a few dozen ramshackle buildings that house supplies, slaves, blacksmith, and services, including a public house that serves watered down drinks.

At present, in the center of the main square there is a Chevalier in tattered tunic and torn armor, arms and head encased in stocks. This is Sir Henri Lafayette. After some harsh pronouncements and a drawn sword that killed two of Vernon’s men, the Duke has devised a suitable punishment for the knight.

Across from the stocks are several iron cages. Hungry dead huddle deep within the cages, moaning and trying to avoid the sunlight as it falls upon their pale, maggoty flesh. Soldiers take potshots at the dead, using crossbows and pistols, or simply taunt them with spears and pointed sticks.

The ship docks and begins to unload cargo. Blackwood and his companions are free to disembark and explore, but the captain warns them not to wander too far. His own men will stay on the ship, and after taking on post and other cargo, will begin the trip back to Le Havre in the morning.

DC 20 Gather Information check informs Blackwood that Whitesun did indeed come through Fort Vernon. He hired a ship and a crew and continued east on the river. He has not been seen since. There are currently no other ships at the dock.

It is midafternoon when the ship arrives in Fort Vernon, and a feast is being planned in the evening. Soldiers are setting up tables in the square. Others are erecting fencing posts and stringing barbed wire. Smoke billows from the chimneys over the kitchens. The celebration is apparently in honor of Duke Vernon, although the soldiers are vague about the exact reason, and the peasants are reluctant to talk to anyone.

As the sun sets, several things happen. The Duke comes out of the citadel and glides to the main table set up in the square. He’s a large man, wearing heavy armor, with a longsword at one hip and a huge pistol on the other. Stoutly built and middle aged, he is balding, with ginger hair and long mustaches. His surcoat is a dark green.

Soldiers and townsfolk converge on the square, some with platters of food and others carrying jugs of wine or beer.

And lastly, the hungry dead begin to stir in their cages, climbing to their feet as the sun dips below the horizon.

Vernon stands with a raised goblet in hand. He addresses the crowd loudly and in French. “We celebrate another cursed day alive in this blighted land. In defiance of God and the Devil and all the hordes of Hell.” He points at the center of the square where the Chevalier lies in chains. “This traitor, this blind servant of that idiot God, who dared raise his blade against my men – let him test his faith against the Hungry Dead. Release the executioners, and let the evening’s entertainment commence!”

He sits down and drains his cup.

Soldiers with pronged lances hurry to the cages and, using the pronged devices, begin to maneuver them towards the fence. The cages, it appears, have casters on the bottom, and they rattle over the cobblestones. The dead stir inside, hissing and snapping and clawing at their captors.

The cages are driven up to the fence, a gate is opened up, and the cages shoved inside. Servers begin laying out the food and drink. The pronged lances are maneuvered to unlatch the cages, and a half dozen hungry dead spill into the square. The Chevalier stirs, his cracked lips splitting as he begins to pray. At first the dead mill around the cages, sniffing the air. Some lurch towards the fence, but it doesn’t take long for them to notice the meal staked out in the center of the square for them. They lope towards the Chevalier.

Whether Blackwood acts or not, the entertainment is destined to be disrupted.

A split second after the dead charge the Chevalier, the alarm echoes from the walls. A cannon goes off. A huge boulder, a fragment of a house, comes sailing over the wall and crashes into the roof of one of the barracks.

The soldiers around the tables spring to their feat and rush to the walls. Duke Vernon stays to see his prisoner killed. He will order Blackwood to stop if he interferes (PL 8; +8 Atk, +8 Def; Sword: Strike 4 [Mighty], Pistol: Blast 8), and will head to the walls once the Chevalier is dead – if he himself isn’t dead.

The Fort walls are about twenty feet high, made primarily of tree trunks treated with tar and bound together with hemp ropes. Stairs lead up to a platform/walkway at the fifteen foot mark, reinforced with wooden pillars to bear the weight of the artillery. Torches are placed along the wall about ten feet apart, illuminating the walls and penetrating a little bit beyond the edge of the walls.

Culverin x 8: Blast 8 [Area Burst; Action (Full), Crew Required]
A large brass colored cannon covered in gears and pipes and firing a large cannonball that explodes upon impact. Manned by two soldiers each.

Gatling Gun x 10: Blast 8 [Autofire; Action (Full), Crew Required]
A large, brass colored machine gun covered in gears and pipes and firing a couple hundred rounds a minute. Manned by two soldiers each.

Soldiers are functionally identical to the Guardia Roja.

Arrayed against them are a thousand or so of the Hungry Dead, massing in the city streets beyond the fortress’s walls, as well as four Colossal Dead. Hidden in the darkness is a Master Vampire, directing the attack.

Colossal Dead
PL: 11
Abilities:
STR: 34 (+12) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: - (-) INT: - (-) WIS: 10 (-) CHR: - (-)
Skills: Notice 8
Feats: All-Out Attack
Improved Initiative 1
Power Attack
Powers: Growth 8 [Innate, Permanent]
Immunity 30 [Fortitude Saves]
Protection 10 [Impervious]
Regeneration 17 [Recovery Bonus 9, Resurrection 8 (1 round)]
Super-Senses 2 [Detect 2 (Living)]
Super-Strength 2 [Heavy Load 22.4 tons]
Combat: Attack +8 [Unarmed +12], Defense +8, Init +6
Saves: Toughness +14, Fortitude Immune, Reflex +8, Will +8
Description: Immense undead creatures, obviously manufactured. They stand about sixteen feet tall, and bulge with necrotic muscle which make them capable of tremendous feats of strength. Otherwise functionally identical to the Hungry Dead, although their attacks do not fester. The Colossal Dead typically grapple their foes, incapacitate them, then jam them into their huge maws.

Master Vampire
PL: 10
Abilities: STR: 30 (+10) DEX: 18 (+4) CON: - (-) INT: 12 (+1) WIS: 16 (+3) CHR: 14 (+2)
Skills: Bluff 4 (+6)
Diplomacy 8 (+10)
Gather Information 4 (+6)
Intimidate 8 (+10)
Knowledge: Arcane Lore 4 (+5)
Notice 8 (+11)
Search 4 (+5)
Sense Motive 4 (+7)
Stealth 8 (+12)
Feats: Animal Empathy
Fascinate [Diplomacy]
Fearless
Improved Pin
Power Attack
Sneak Attack 2
Startle
Powers: Animal Control 8 [Burst Area; Limited: Bats, Rats, & Wolves]
Drain 1 [Constitution]
Flight 2 [25 mph, 220 ft./rnd]
Immunity 30 [Fortitude Saves]
Insubstantial 2 [Gaseous]
Protection 10 [Impervious; Limited: Blessed & Silver Weapons]
Regeneration 14 [Recovery Bonus 9, Resurrection 5 (1/20 minutes; not when staked or beheaded)]
Super-Movement 2 [Wall Crawling (full speed)]
Super-Senses 2 [Darkvision]
Combat: Attack +10 [Unarmed +10], Defense +10, Init +4
Saves: Toughness +10, Fortitude Immune, Reflex +6, Will +6
Drawbacks & Complications: Weakness [Common, Minor: Dependence on Blood],
Weakness [Common, Moderate: Holy Symbols, dazed for one round by losing opposed CHA check], Weakness [Very Common, Major: Sunlight, per round, destroyed after 10 rounds]
Description: Tall, spare, and thin, the Master Vampire wears dark clothing, wrapped around his gaunt body. His eyes are black and empty, his body hairless, and he has huge bat-like ears and a mouth that brims with sharpened teeth. Enormous black bat wings erupt from his back. Superhumanly strong, and capable of recovering from virtually any injury, the vampire can also become mist, control vermin or wolves in his immediate vicinity, and climb walls like a spider.

The Colossal Dead batter the gate doors, attempting to knock them down. They lob huge boulders torn from Vernon’s homes. Meanwhile, the masses of Hungry Dead attempt to scale the walls, climbing clumsily over one another, sinking their claws into the wood. The Master Vampire directs the attack from the darkness, but will abandon the fight if it becomes hopeless. The soldiers use the heavy guns on the giants, and try to sweep the rest of the dead back with rifles, grenades, and pikes.

The fight will go on for hours, less if Blackwood and his friends don’t participate, as the dead will overrun the walls without the heroes there to check them. If Blackwood, Horus and Samariach can defeat the giants, then the soldiers can focus on the Hungry Dead, which they’re good at, and the fight will be contained.

The Morning After

Duke Vernon will survive, florid faced and angry, unless Blackwood and his allies do something about him. He is survived by his right hand, Captain Lupin, a wolf-faced man in furs and leathers who wields a rifle bearing an ax head. Lupin is no less cruel and avaricious as Vernon, though he lacks the duke’s religious convictions, and will simply be grateful to the heroes for helping out. Vernon will be less pleased with them, particularly if they interfered with his “justice.”

The troops will be concerned with repairing any damage to the walls. A squad of soldiers with flame throwers will torch the corpses outside the walls, sending a sheet of greasy smoke into the air that darkens the sky. DC 20 Notice check spots a big airship flying by to the north in the general direction of Paris. A roll of 25 or better notes the gear shaped logo of the Brotherhood of Steam on the fuselage.

In the morning, two ships approach the Vernon docks. One, the King Louis, is loaded with grain and vegetables and is sail powered. The captain is not interested in going east, and will not entertain the notion longer than a second before ordering Blackwood off his ship as a mental patient with a death wish.

The River Runner is more amenable to Blackwood’s request. The ship is steam powered and crewed by a mix of French and German sailors. The captain, Krueger by name, has a big brass cybernetic arm. Krueger is of course an agent of the Brotherhood, and has Blackwood’s description. He may even be the guy who hired La Guardia Roja to attack them. Krueger appears avaricious, willing to take on the Strangers for a good deal of gold, although he balks at taking them into Paris proper. He will get them to within a mile or so of the walls and then they’re on their own.

The trip to Paris is uneventful, except when they’re a few hours from the drop off point. At that point the marines and sailors pull guns on the Strangers and try to take them into custody. Stats are identical to La Guardia Roja; there are fifteen crew members plus Krueger.

The ship is mostly automated, assuming the crew is wiped out.

The River Seine winds around the outskirts of Paris before diving right through it. The River Runner puts along, but it is slow going, as here the river is clogged with the remnants of other ships; masts and prows still jut from the shallows, and the banks are thick with the detritus of those who tried to flee Paris years ago.

The fields around the city are overrun with vegetation, the villages that dot the hills are mere ruins, covered in vines and crumbling apart. You pass through what remains of Neuilly, Puteaux, St. Cloud, and Boulogne as you approach Paris proper. All are ruined. You see nothing living, do not even hear frogs or insects, just the lapping of the water against the banks.

The sky is again, overcast and dreary, and a soft drizzle begins to fall as you round the bend by Hillancourt. You finally get a glimpse of Paris proper. The walls are crumbling her as well, soot stained and blackened. The streets are filled with abandoned carriages and the corpses of horses, picked clean by the hungry dead. Still daylight, you can safely assume that he dead are slumbering for now, yet tales of the Paris catacombs and their millions fill you with dread. Yet you can see signs of activity – from your vantage on the deck of the River Runner you make out Notre Dame Cathedral. Its bronze sheathed roof and flying buttresses, as well as the black clouds orbiting it, fed by dozens of chimneys, suggest that you’ve found the Brotherhood of Steam. Moored at the steeple appears to be the airship you saw the other day.

Further inside the city, approximately where the Tuileries used to be, you see an enormous black tower climbing into the sky. Its apex is obscured by clouds or smoke that seems to blend with the clouds overhead.

Though he cannot see it, the tower fills Sammariach with a Nameless Dread.

Closer examination of the tower through a telescope or other device suggests that it is fashioned from some sort of black stone, although too cunningly cut to identify individual blocks. Its sides are decorated and carved with long, fluted details, and it is a moment before the viewer realizes that the designs resemble bones. Ribs, long bones, spinal columns, etc. A sickly greenish glow shimmers off the surface of the rock.

The River Runner must stop at the edge of the city. The mouth of the Seine is here completely blocked, with the corpses of several ships blocking the way. The wood is rotten and the metal corroded; the way could be cleared in a few hours. Or you could disembark and take to the streets…

An abandoned rail line encircles the city. In fact, there’s a rusting train not far from the river. Buildings are crumbling, overgrown with weeds and covered in bird shit. The streets are clogged with carriages, detritus, and skeletal remains. The bones are picked clean of flesh, and show signs of gnawing. The streets wind haphazardly, punctuated by plazas and climbing stairs, stagnant fountains and pitted statues.

As Blackwood and his companions draw closer to Notre Dame, they see signs of street cleaning. Carriages righted, stone blocks moved, even weeding done and roads swept. DC 15 Notice check indicates the sounds of clanking footsteps drawing closer.

Sentinel
The newest invention from the Brotherhood of Steam, the Sentinel is a human-sized mechanical soldier. But while the Brotherhood abandoned their use of enslaved elementals, they continue to make use of the same basic principal. Each Sentinel is powered by an undead body, and the necromantic energies that power the Hungry Dead. For the most part, the Brotherhood has managed to eliminate the overriding hunger the undead seem to possess, but that has also blunted their poisonous bite. Like the Guardians, the Sentinels are programmed to do the bidding of the Brotherhood, and so far nothing has made the dead question their programming.
PL: 10
Abilities: STR: 10 (-) DEX: 20 (+5) CON: - (-) INT: - (-) WIS: 10 (-) CHR: - (-)
Skills: Climb 4
Notice 8
Feats: All-Out Attack
Improved Initiative 1
Power Attack
Teamwork 1
Powers: Blast 8 [Autofire]
Immunity 30 [Fortitude Saves]
Protection 10 [Impervious]
Regeneration 17 [Recovery Bonus +9, Resurrection 8 (1 round)]
Strike 10
Super-Senses 2 [Detect 2 (Living)]
Combat: Attack +10 [Blast +8, Strike +10], Defense +10, Init +9
Saves: Toughness +10, Fortitude Immune, Reflex +8, Will +8
Description: Human-sized and covered in brass plates sealed with thick nickel plated rivets, the Sentinel is a mockery of a living man. A brass mask covers the face, imprinted with blank eyes and a friendly smile. While their claws are sheathed in bronze, they still swing their powerful fists with bone-crushing power, and the Brotherhood has also equipped each Sentinel with a chest-mounted 30mm automatic cannon. They make excellent soldiers, as they are tireless, can sense living foes in their proximity, and rise back up after they have been “killed” (unless their armored heads are destroyed).

Four Sentinels come plodding around the nearest corner with military precision. They turn smartly, aim their barrel chests, and open fire. It will not be immediately apparent that the Sentinels are reprogrammed Hungry Dead, at least and until one of them rises back up from being destroyed.

The Sentinels patrol the streets around the cathedral. They clear debris, repair damage, and protect the Brotherhood from the Hungry Dead. As the Sentinels are themselves dead, the Hungry Dead tend to ignore them, to their detriment. The number of patrols increase as Blackwood gets closer to the cathedral, although the standard number is four. Ranged around the cathedral are about two dozen fixed Sentinels, with another sixteen endlessly marching around in squads of four.

The Cathedral

The grounds of the cathedral have been cleared completely, including all vegetation. There isn’t much in the way of cover on the approach to the front door. The cathedral itself is in good repair, with the modifications of the Brotherhood in evidence. Black smoke pumps from chimneys, darkening the sky, and the large airship is moored from the top of the steeple.

Around fifty Brothers staff the cathedral, commanded by Bishop Steel.

The inside of the cathedral has been heavily modified. The nave functions as the barracks for the Brothers, with partitioned rooms that feature two bunks, footlockers, and assorted equipment. The Choir Ambulatory and Choir areas have become the workshop, where the Brothers work around the clock transforming Hungry Dead into Sentinels. The catacombs beneath the cathedral serve to confine the Hungry Dead until they are needed, as well as store the hundreds of Sentinels the Brotherhood has manufactured but not yet activated. Living prisoners are kept in the Cathedral Treasury/Chapter House area. Whitesun and the surviving members of his team (three other mercenaries) are imprisoned here. All of them are wounded, one of the mercenaries critically so.

The Bishop rooms in the south tower, where he also keeps his tools, equipment, and other devices he is tinkering with at present. During the day, Bishop Steel will be on the floor, directing the Brothers and checking their work. In the evening he retires to his chambers to work on his own projects and rest. It takes him about three rounds to get into his armor if he’s in his rooms. During the day he wears the armor constantly.

Brother of Steam
The ranks of the Brotherhood of Steam are made up largely of scientists with guns. Amoral, inquisitive, and mercenary, the Brothers are dedicated to expanding the boundaries of science. They have no qualms about experimenting upon living things, or themselves on occasion, and resent the weaknesses of the English people which have forced the Brotherhood to go underground and retreat to France of all places. Still, the wasteland that was once France presents interesting possibilities.
PL: 7
Abilities: STR: 12 (+1) DEX: 10 (-) CON: 12 (+1) INT: 16 (+3) WIS: 12 (+1) CHR: 10 (-)
Skills: Craft: Electronic 4 (+7)
Craft: Mechanical 4 (+7)
Craft: Mystical 4 (+7)
Knowledge: Physical Science 4 (+7)
Knowledge: Technology 4 (+7)
Notice 4 (+5)
Survival 4 (+5)
Feats: Inventor
Equipment 11 [Assault Rifle, Flamethrower, Heavy Pistol, Morningstar, Plate Mail]
Powers: None
Combat: Attack +6 [Assault Rifle +5, Flamethrower +7, Heavy Pistol +4, Morningstar +4], Defense +6, Init +0
Saves: Toughness +1/+6, Fortitude +4, Reflex +3, Will +5
Description: Encased head to toe in flexible steam-powered plate mail, the Brothers are virtually indistinguishable from one another. They wear white surcoats imprinted with the symbol of the Holy Gear. The Brothers are armed with automatic rifles and pistols and carry heavy morningstars. About one in four is also armed with a flamethrower, useful against the hordes of the dead.

Bishop Steel
On of the three highest ranking members of the Brotherhood, Bishop Steel has relocated the Brotherhood’s primary operations to Paris. It was his plan to begin using the Hungry Dead as substitutes for the elementals once used to power the Brotherhood’s machines. Still, he hates Paris, hates being hundreds of miles from civilization and the creature comforts he is used to. He resents Blackwood and Vulcan, and the loss of the Brotherhood’s most favored status in the British Empire.

Over the past few months, Bishop Steel has observed the black tower at the center of the city grow larger. Its existence makes him nervous, as does the fact that it appears to be growing stronger with each passing day. He is not quite ready to regret his plan to use France’s dead to rebuild the Brotherhood’s fortunes, but he is beginning to wonder how long the project can remain viable.
PL: 14
Abilities: STR: 10/34 (-/+12) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: 18 (+4) INT: 22 (+6) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 16 (+3)
Skills: Bluff 8 (+11)
Craft: Electronic 4 (+10)
Craft: Mechanical 4 (+10)
Craft: Mystical 4 (+10)
Diplomacy 8 (+11)
Disable Device 4 (+10)
Knowledge: Physical Science 4 (+10)
Knowledge: Technology 4 (+10)
Knowledge: Theology & Philosophy 4 (+10)
Notice 4 (+6)
Sense Motive 4 (+6)
Feats: All-Out Attack
Eidetic Memory
Improved Initiative 1
Improved Trick
Inventor
Power Attack
Powers: Device 19: Battle Armor; Hard to Lose
Blast 8 [Autofire]
  • AP: Blast 8 [Burst Area]
  • AP: Blast 8 [Line Area]
Enhanced STR 24
Flight 3 [50 mph, 440 ft./rnd]
Protection 12 [Impervious]
Super-Senses 9 [Blindsight: Radar, Darkvision, Radar]
Super-Strength 3 [11.2 tons]
Combat: Attack +12 [Blast +8, Unarmed +12], Defense +12, Init +6
Saves: Toughness +4/+16, Fortitude +8, Reflex +6, Will +8
Description: Around fifty, Bishop Steel is in excellent shape for a man his age. He has steel gray eyes and a balding head of silver hair. He wears the white and bronze surcoat of the Brotherhood, usually over his black steel armor. His battle armor is a segmented suit of powered plate mail, which augments his strength and protects him from harm. The armor is also equipped with a gatling gun, a grenade launcher, and electrical gun. The armor possesses antigravity pods which extend out on wing-like projections and allow the Bishop to fly. Lastly, the armor is equipped with an advanced radar targeting system.

Aftermath
If Bishop Steel is killed, the rest of the Brotherhood will scatter. Some will attempt to climb the steeple to get to the airship and escape. Others will activate the dormant Sentinels and set them on the rampage. Escaping with Whitesun and the mercenaries will be tricky, but not impossible. Blackwood can attempt to get back to the ship, or steal the Brotherhoods airship and get out of France that way.

MacynSnow
Posts: 3062
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [The Matter of France]

Post by MacynSnow » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:11 pm

Ok "The Matter Of France" was an AWESOME adventure.Pure,Steam-Powered & Pulpy Goodness right there.I keep picturing my 'Jack The Hero' Expy Mr.Hero being involved in all this.I'd love to have played in this.Why don't you try a game of it here?

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