The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Lodovico Grimaldi, Lady of Glass]

Where in all of your character write ups will go.
MacynSnow
Posts: 2716
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Count Orlock, Grim]

Post by MacynSnow » Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:50 am

Yojimbo wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:07 am
MacynSnow wrote:
Tue Aug 07, 2018 7:16 pm
Count Orlock: he's a very nice build.From what i can see of your "Build Hierarchy" ,he ranks in the top 5,making him your world's version of El Diablo.....
I'm not sure what you mean by "build hierarchy."
"Build Hierachy" is a simple concept(i use it all the time for NPC's)...Take every NPC above PL 6 and have them "Fight" each other,treating them like they were PC's(Hero Points,the whole rigamaroll) and then "Rank" them by how long they lasted,how many other's they took out,etc.The Top 5 NPC's are basically that Setting's Dr.Doom,Lex Luthor,Red Skull,General Zod, add nauseum.That's what a "Build Hierachy" is...

Yojimbo
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Count Orlock, Grim]

Post by Yojimbo » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:06 am

MacynSnow wrote:
Wed Aug 08, 2018 2:50 am
"Build Hierachy" is a simple concept(i use it all the time for NPC's)...Take every NPC above PL 6 and have them "Fight" each other,treating them like they were PC's(Hero Points,the whole rigamaroll) and then "Rank" them by how long they lasted,how many other's they took out,etc.The Top 5 NPC's are basically that Setting's Dr.Doom,Lex Luthor,Red Skull,General Zod, add nauseum.That's what a "Build Hierachy" is...
Huh. Never thought of doing that. I just build NPCs to muck with the PCs generally, and they don't often have too much trouble dealing with them. The dice always do their thing, and numbers don't necessarily mean anything when the rubber hits the road.

Yojimbo
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Unspeakable Cults]

Post by Yojimbo » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:23 am

Unspeakable Cults

Some housecleaning:

As the last month of 1861 begins to draw to a close, snow lies heavy on the ground, painting the city of London with a fluffy white brush:

Baron Salazar’s ship is in dry dock, being repaired, the crew recovering from having mind control disks implanted on their spines.

Dr. Mechanix languishes in Newgate prison, awaiting trial. He only smiles enigmatically when questioned and refuses to cooperate with authorities.

A few weeks have passed since the assassination. Sienna Blackwood has returned to the continent, with the book she stole from the Hellfire Club for her mysterious patron. She plans to scout out Mechanix’ laboratory in Germany and see if she can find out who hired him. Blackwood Industries is in crisis mode, but Benedict and Albert, jr. are dealing with it.

The funerals of William and Albert are lavish, well attended affairs. Ambrose’s mother, Mary, is crushed by the loss of her husband, and also angry with Ambrose for not preventing his murder. Albert is survived only by his children, who are all a bit shell-shocked, even Sienna.

By the way, another Albert has just died. The Prince Consort, Queen Victoria’s husband, passed away on the 14th of December. The nation is in mourning, and the Queen in particular has taken it very badly.

In happier news, the wedding of Alexander Said and Elizabeth Holiday is fast approaching, and Blackwood’s friend is busy with the preparations, as well as his own search for a reputable profession in modern London. Catherine is showing increased awareness and mental acuity, but still does not speak. There is no apparent medical cause, and she may remain a mute her entire life. Word has come through the grapevine that Talos was briefly wanted for questioning regarding some assaults in the East End, but someone powerful has greased some palms and hushed the whole thing up.

Angel in the East End

A crisp December morning in London finds the blind angel Sammariach wandering the lanes of the East End. He awoke (if he even sleeps) that day to precognitive visions that compelled him to seek out this neighborhood at this time of day. The weak winter sun is warm against his cheeks; a bitter wind swirls around his coat; ice and snow crunch beneath his feet. He smells warm nuts – a street vendor is roasting peanuts on the corner.

As Sammariach crosses the street, he hears the ring of a shop door opening and smells a familiar scent – just as he recognizes it, he hears the voice of Professor Benjamin Vulcan. “I say, Sammariach, what brings you ‘round this neighborhood at such an early hour?”

Vulcan himself just exited an apothecary’s shop, and shifts a bag full of chemicals and ingredients under his arm. He agrees to accompany Sammariach as the angel wanders the streets. He stops to buy some peanuts and offers Sammariach some, but is nonplussed if the answer is “no.”

Sammariach is led by his visions to a certain alley, around a corner, up a back stair, to a door. The lock is simple, DC 20 to pick, and the door fragile, +5 Toughness Save. Beyond is a short hallway that has a peculiar coppery smell. Vulcan gags a little when he steps into the hallway, and Sammariach hears the professor lift the crinkly bag of peanuts up to his nose and mouth as a buffer against the smell.

The hall leads to a small room, and Sammariach smells a dead body there. He senses it hanging from the rafters. Vulcan describes the scene: the man is old, somewhere in his fifties or sixties, with a thick white beard stained by tobacco and crusted with old blood. There’s a noose around the man’s neck, biting deep into his throat, and he hangs two feet above the floorboards. Curiously, the man is missing his right eye, and there’s also a three foot span of wood thrust through his side and projecting out his back. Written in blood on the far wall, in letters four feet high, is a single word: DOOM.

“What the devil does this mean, Sammariach old boy?” Vulcan asks.

DC 25 Arcane Lore or Theology/Philosophy check: the man has been placed in such a way as to mimic the Norse god Odin or Wotan, who pierced his side and hung himself from the world tree for nine days to gain magical power. Odin was also a one-eyed god, who plucked one of his eyes out in order to gain wisdom. The Old Norse were bloody, violent people – but then, Vulcan concedes, so were the English.

Vulcan will be able to offer a few other opinions. Given the state of decomposition, and the lack of heat in the room, the body could be anything from three to five days old. Gather Information DC 20 in the neighborhood will identify the old man as Barry Crimpen, a roustabout and drunk who has been missing for almost a week. Most folks assumed he was dead, and few seem upset by the news.

Gather Information DC 20: The building is owned by a Julius Nickelby, who maintains a number of tenements in the East End. The apartment in question was leased to a Professor Wilkins, a foreign sounding fellow with white muttonchops, who kept odd hours. No one has seen him for some days.

At the Airport

Baron Eufracio Sisco Salazar is overseeing the repair of his ship. He doesn’t much like this bitter northern winter, the freeze that has come over the city of London in the last few weeks or so since Mechanix was arrested. His ship The Angelina returned to Heathrow after a few days hovering over the English Channel; the crew had been programmed to recover Mechanix when some of the heat from the assassinations had blown over.

Instead, they were found by Salazar, who then had to go about removing the mind control disks embedded in the base of their necks. The crew is still recovering – few of them are sleeping well, all complain of headaches, fuzzy vision, etc. Work on the damaged window and wall (out of which the Baron himself was thrown) thus proceeds slowly. Meanwhile, the cost of the berth at Heathrow for his ship is getting more expensive by the day, and there’s no new job in sight yet.

Salazar has been drowning his sorrows and/or problems at the local watering hole, a pub that services pilots and airmen called the “Drunken Griffon.” It’s filled nightly with the crews from Heathrow, and the night previous, an English crew just returned from touring the Scandanavian countries. Amid much beer and stronger drink, the Englishmen talk of aerial interference from the Aurora Borealis, which has been particularly strong and noticeable of late. There are also rumors of giants active in the mountains, and the trolls have been restless lately. In Trondheim, the crew lost two men to a troll attack on the airport, which caused considerable damage all around and destroyed a Norwegian airship. The tales of the English airmen were blood chilling in the cold, dark night, but in the weak wintry sunlight, while Salazar nurses a hangover, they seem much more remote.

While Salazar is contemplating what to have for breakfast, his first mate pokes his head into Salazar’s cabin and tells him there’s a man who wants to see him.

The gentleman who comes into your cabin is heavyset, with thick muttonchops and narrow octagonal steel glasses. His hair is black, with white at the temples, and his eyes are pale. He introduces himself as Dr. Henrik Solgard. He is need of a fast ship – not for himself, but there are certain things he needs recovered from his home in Norway, and he is willing to pay top dollar for them. He requires an airship to travel to Oslo to pick up some cargo, and to return in three days. It is very important that Salazar accomplish this in three days, and there is a sizable bonus for him if he can do it. Christmas, Salazar notes, is just around the corner.

The cargo? A few personal effects and two people.

Dr. Solgard will give you a cash deposit, but stipulate that you must leave immediately in order to return in time. He informs Salazar that the passengers will pay the balance.

The Note

A telegram is delivered to Ambrose Blackwood one chilly winter afternoon. The origin location of the telegram is listed as Copenhagen. The message reads:

S. Blackwood referred me to you. *stop*
Concerned about runestone uncovered in London Tower. *stop*
Request that you investigate. *stop*
Will arrive London soon with payment and information. *stop*
[signed] Thursday.

“S. Blackwood” almost certainly refers to Ambrose’s cousin, Sienna, who you may recall had been working for a mysterious patron somewhere on the Continent.

Intelligence Check DC 15 to recall the “runestone” mentioned. Otherwise a trip to the library to check the newspaper will probably be in order; Search DC 15.

There is an article in the London Times from about two weeks ago (apparently news travels slowly to the Continent) that mentions an old Viking stone found in the depths of the Tower of London. The article is fairly sparse, but apparently a Doctor Henrik Solgard, some sort of mystic and historian, was mucking about the tower and just sort of “stumbled” across this stone covered in ancient Norse runic script. Reading between the lines, this Solgard, whomever he might be, has some kind of standing with the queen. The current resting place of the runestone is Buckingham Palace. Solgard is researching and decoding the stone. He believes it is at least 1000 years old (which would put it around 900 AD), and thus older than the tower itself, which William the Conqueror built in 1078. If he can decipher it, Solgard claims he may be able to learn something about the Viking conquest of England.

There’s nothing in the article to suggest the apparent alarm of Mr. Thursday.

Points of investigation:

Buckingham Palace: Not going to be easy for Ambrose or anyone else to get in there. Albion might be able to help you, but he’ll only be inclined to do so if you have a really good reason. “Working for a client” is not enough, even considering the services Blackwood has rendered so far. However, if Blackwood comes to Albion with any solid information regarding the runestone, he will try to set something up, but it may take a few days.

Dr. Henrik Solgard: Arrived in London two years ago as part of the Prince of Norway’s entourage, stayed in the country as an attaché to the embassy. Six months ago, he provided a cure for the ailing Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter. During treatment, the doctor became a confidante of the queen, and a regular guest at the palace even after Beatrice recovered.

This is all public knowledge, that which can be gleaned with a few hours research at the library. Anything further regarding Solgard will have to be conducted at the embassy or the palace.

The runestone: Gather Information DC 25, in and around the Dark Quarter: There is a persistent belief that the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok, or someone among their retinue, brought an item known as the Hel Stone (that’s one ‘L’) to England sometime around 860 or 870. According to legend, the Hel Stone was last seen in York around 875 or so. It disappeared shortly thereafter. Supposedly, a young Christian knight named Wulfstan stole the stone and brought it back to London, where a bishop was said to have destroyed it through the power of God. There’s some that say that the stone was proof against destruction, however, and that Wulfstan and the bishop instead buried it somewhere in London. Those that believe the stone wasn’t destroyed, tend to place it beneath the Tower of London, and thus blame all the ghosts, hauntings, and horrors in the tower’s history on the old Viking stone.

Arcane Lore DC 35 (+2 to the roll if using the Arcaneum’s library or something similar): There’s not much on the “Hel Stone,” or even “Hell Stone.” What you do learn is that the Vikings who brought it over from Norway feared the thing almost as much as the English did, and some texts attribute Ivar, Halfdan, and Ubbe Ragnarsson’s invasion of England to a desire to remove the stone from Norway rather than revenge for their fallen father. The stone is said to be old, created by the gods, and vomited up from Nifleheim by the goddess of death herself. It’s said to be cold to the touch, and to grant those with magical bent extraordinary powers. But there’s a curse associated, details of which are sketchy, but clearly terrible enough that that three of the toughest Vikings to come out of Norway didn’t want to mess with it.

The embassy: The Norwegian Consulate is located at 25 Belgrave Square. Oddly enough, it’s across the square from the Stranger’s Club. It is a bright little building, with lots of light, colorful carpets and paintings, and a helpful and articulate staff who speak fluent English. Two attractive young Norwegian people, a man and a woman, are stationed at a desk in the foyer and welcome you when you arrive. They offer to help in any way they can. If you ask about Dr. Solgard, they regret to inform you that he has severed ties with the consulate. If pressed, they will call up to Konrad Omdahl, a senior member of the ambassador’s staff.

Mr. Omdahl arrives shortly, dressed in a neatly pressed blue suit with a yellow tie. He is tall, average looking, with a bulbous nose and gold wire-rim spectacles. He’s a friendly fellow, happy to help. He only knows Dr. Solgard tangentially, he says, having spent very little time with the man himself. Omdahl doesn’t appear to have a very high regard for Solgard, and asks what your interest in him is regarding – if you mention the runestone, he will nod knowingly.

Apparently while Solgard is a medical doctor, he also possesses a keen interest in archaeology and history. The entire time he was at the consulate, Solgard talked about the Viking conquest of England, and what treasures might still exist to be found, how much could be learned, etc. Very dreary and boring, in Omdahl’s eyes – and potentially broaching a touchy subject; as Omdahl is quick to mention, modern Norway is keen to get away from the stereotype of Vikings and giants and such nonsense (although the giants have been restless these past two years). Dr. Solgard is obsessed with the past, and spent as little time on his actual duties as possible. Now that he’s ensconced at the palace, his countrymen never see him.

If asked how Solgard ended up at the embassy, Omdahl will speculate – “He is quite well known in Oslo, you know. He travels in a gentleman’s circles, and someone felt his interest in the past should be indulged. So he came to England.” His final impression of Solgard is of a very odd man. Curiously uncaring of other people for one in the medical profession. Rather callous, actually. Omdahl recalls one night when a staff member came down with some sort of malady; they sent for Solgard rather than calling for a doctor outside the building, but Solgard couldn’t be roused. Refused to answer his door, even, just kept sleeping through the whole thing.

That’s probably all that can be learned in one day, running about London, so you’ll probably want to return home to cogitate, have some dinner, check in with Jane and Catherine and so on.

Back at the Ranch

When Ambrose returns home, he discovers a guest there waiting for him. His cousin Benedict is in the drawing room, bouncing Catherine on his knee, while Jane entertains. Aguillard stands near the back of the room, observing. He’s got a scowl on his face which he quickly erases when Ambrose enters. Jane flashes Ambrose a quick look of exasperation, but smiles at Benedict. She makes her excuses and prepares to leave, now that Ambrose is home.

Benedict sets Catherine down and ruffles her hair. “Ah, you’re home, Ambrose. Excellent. You don’t mind if I join you for dinner, do you?”

He apologizes for dropping by while you were out, but he wanted to talk to you, and waiting for you to return seemed the most expedient. He laughs self-deprecatingly, admitting that while he works banker’s hours, he knows your own profession demands more flexibility.

Ambrose will probably be obnoxious and demand to know what is up, rather than gentlemanly invite Benedict to dinner. But then Ambrose is not a terribly Victorian sort of fellow, is he?

At any rate, Benedict’s true purpose is to try to convince Ambrose to sell his shares in Blackwood Industries – preferably to Benedict himself, but to Albert, or one of the other cousins would be acceptable. Benedict knows that Ambrose has no true interest in the company, but Blackwood Industries is at a difficult juncture, and Benedict cannot afford dilettantes on the board of directors. He means no offense, but he will return anger with anger, and a raised voice with more anger. Benedict knows that Ambrose only cares about his stipend, and will be happy to make arrangements to ensure that his yearly income is not impeded in any way. He will not take “no” for an answer, but he is willing to depart and come back when Ambrose is willing to see reason.

Depending on how rude a jerk Ambrose becomes, Benedict might let loose with, “After all your braggadocio and swagger over your vaunted magical ability, you couldn’t keep your father or mine safe. You are a failure, Ambrose, and a disgrace to the Blackwood name. If you had any honor at all, you would sell me those shares and let the family move on without you.” And if Ambrose is being really difficult, Benedict will not hesitate to speculate on who actually hired Mechanix, and that maybe Ambrose allowed Mechanix to succeed in his assassination attempt.

In any case, Benedict will most likely leave in a huff.

Mr. Thursday, I presume?

The next day, just as Ambrose is preparing to go out, Aguillard announces more callers. Two foreign gentlemen enter the house. One is blond, blue eyed, with gold rimmed glasses, wearing a white suit and hat with red accents. He carries a dark black cane, with some kind of silvered design on the head, mostly hidden by his closed hand. A slight man, he walks with a pronounced limp, suggesting that the cane isn’t just for show. The other fellow is dark haired, with eyes an unnatural shade of green, and he wears a forest green overcoat and rumpled clothes. The tell-tale bulge of concealed weapons alter the cut of his coat.

The slight man introduces himself as Mr. Thursday, and his associate is Mr. Fafnir. Thursday sent a telegram ahead, suggesting some concerns. He asks if Ambrose was able to discover anything about the runestone, and will supply the DC 35 Viking Legend if Ambrose didn’t discover it himself. However, Thursday says, that is only one part of the runestone’s story. He produces the book that Sienna stole for him, a large hardcover bound in some scaled, leathery skin, and the legend Unaussprechlichen Kulten embossed across the cover. Large iron clasps bind the book closed.

Unaussprechlichen Kulten was originally published in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1839, by Friedrich Wilhelm von Junzt. A bad English translation appeared in 1845, issued by Bridewall in London. Even now, only twenty years or so since its publication, a copy of the original is exceedingly difficult to get. Most owners destroyed their volumes when von Junzt’s gruesome demise became public knowledge.

Thursday has known about the Hel Stone for some time, and in fact had been working on the problem for a few years. He recently hired Sienna Blackwood to locate a copy of Unaussprechlichen Kulten for him, because he knew that it contained information he needed. He does not think it coincidental that she furnished a copy for him at about the same time that Solgard uncovered the Hel Stone. There are greater powers at work, he believes, and it has come to him to arrange a defense against all that Solgard would unleash on the world.

In studying the book, Thursday learned some supplementary history that rounds out the old Viking legend a bit. Now, most of Unaussprechlichen Kulten (Unspeakable Cults in English) concerns other-dimensional beings known as “the Many-Angled Ones,” creatures of psychic energy or “other matter” which can possess solid beings and transform them into altered states. Many prehuman cultures worshipped the Many-Angled Ones as gods, and those cults have survived in places all around the world. One of those places was Dark Ages Scandanavia.

In the bloody pagan days of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, the Many-Angled Ones were worshipped as all-seeing Odin, mighty Thor, and cunning Loki. But their gods were much more than the primitive Europeans could have understood, and their story of Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, when the gods would die, and the world would be reborn in fire, was misunderstood and mixed-up. The true tale is that the gods would return one day and cleanse the Earth with fire, and it is humanity that will be undone.

The Hel Stone supposedly tells the correct version of the story, and working from obscure sources von Junzt was able to piece it together. According to Unspeakable Cults, the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok were members of the Odin Cult, intimately familiar with the blasphemous rites of the Many-Angled Ones, and quite knowledgeable of the power inherent in the stone itself. They brought it to England with them and used it against English wizards and magical defenses, utterly destroying them and paving the way for Norse conquest. The brother who made use of the stone the most, Ivar the Boneless, was stricken in consequence. He became an albino, lost the use of his legs, and had to be carried around on a stretcher.

The Hel Stone was successfully stolen by Wulfstan, although von Junzt suggests that Halfdan, growing weary of the horrors he participated in and more interested in Ireland, helped the Anglo-Saxon knight to abscond with the stone. Regardless, it was brought to London and buried, presumably for all time. Although the burial place was never recorded, von Junzt hazarded to guess it lay somewhere within the Tower of London, which leads Thursday to believe that Solgard has a copy of the book as well.

The powers of the stone are great, but not fully understood. The hieroglyphs carved into its surface are not Nordic runes, although they resemble them, but instead are fragments of the language used by the Many-Angled Ones themselves. Von Junzt believed that the hieroglyphs contain spells of the Many-Angled Ones, used primarily to decimate foes, but there is supposed to be a spell to open a doorway to their inhospitable dimension and allow them to enter our world. Thursday believes, or perhaps fears is the better word, it is this spell that Solgard will attempt to invoke. The sons of Ragnar Lodbrok shied away from doing this, but Solgard is a different sort of fellow.

Mr. Thursday needs your help to stop Dr. Solgard – the very world may hang in the balance.

The Second Body

Vulcan has been checking around, and this “Professor Wilkins” fellow has rented properties elsewhere in London. There’s one right in the Dark Quarter, and he tracks down Sammariach to go investigate.

It’s another rundown building with a three floor walk up. Trollish and elvish looking folks fill most of the building. Few of them look as though they are gainfully employed, and most wear several layers of rags and beg for a few pennies from the two of you. They all seem able to afford tobacco and alcohol, though, Vulcan notices with a disapproving sniff.

No one answers the door of Professor Wilkins’ apartment. DC 20 to Disable the lock, or +5 Toughness to resist being kicked apart.

There are five smallish rooms in the apartment, and the stove is cold. Most of the rooms are bare, lacking furniture or even wallpaper, but there are Nordic runes carved or burned into the walls at eye-height in every chamber. There is a musty, moldy, almost reptilian smell to the place, and the floorboards creak ominously under Sammariach’s feet.

In the largest room, what Vulcan and Sammariach take as the bedroom, they find another body. This one is a thin, pockmarked naked man who has iron manacles on his ankles and hands. There is a cage by his head, in which lies a cobra, cold with torpor but still alive, while the man’s head is swollen and black with venom. Numerous bite marks mar his forehead and cheeks. There is a small bowl near the cage, where some venom has congealed in the bottom. Again, the legend “DOOM” has been painted on the wall in blood, although there are no other wounds on the man’s body.

Arcane Lore DC 25/Theology & Philosophy DC 25: This room duplicates the punishment of Loki, the Norse god of evil, who was imprisoned beneath the earth, bound in chains, with a serpent dripping venom upon him. Loki’s thrashings as the venom struck him were said to be the cause of earthquakes.

Gather Information DC 25: The body is that of a Tom Palmer, a former cobbler, fallen on hard times. He’s a drunk and a beggar these days (or he was) with no one to mourn his passing, save for the bartenders at the Staff & Crown or Black Agnes’ place.

From his researches, Vulcan already knows that this building is owned by Abigail Crawford, a landlady for a good deal of property in the Dark Quarter. Her office is outside the quarter, and assuming she is questioned, her only recollection of him is, again, a foreign sounding fellow (accent unplaceable) with thick white muttonchops.

There are four more locations rented by Professor Wilkins, according to Vulcan’s search. Comparing them to a map of London reveals a shape – no, not a pentagram, but some kind of rune. Specifically:

Arcane Lore DC 25/Theology & Philosophy DC 25: Thurisaz: (TH: Thorn or a Giant.) Reactive force, directed force of destruction and defense, conflict. Instinctual will, vital eroticism, regenerative catalyst. A tendency toward change. Catharsis, purging, cleansing fire.

Sammariach and Vulcan can check the sites personally, but they will be as bare of substantial clues as the others. They are also scattered around London, so that the rune shape is several miles across. It will take most of the day to visit them. For the sake of completeness:

- North London: A garret apartment holds a young woman. She is naked, blond, and was apparently sexually assaulted before being strangled with a jeweled necklace. This is a reference to Freya, Norse goddess of beauty, who lay with four dwarves to earn her fabled necklace, the Brisingamen.
- South London: A basement apartment with a large oven contains the cremated remains of a healthy adult male. Examination of the bones shows that many of them were cut, and a cursory investigation of the room reveals a large sword, notched and dull from use. This is a bit obscure, but this death references Frey, the brother of Freya, who was said to be killed by a fire giant in the twilight of the gods.
- Northeast London: The corpse of another beggar or street person is found in the spacious parlor of a corner apartment, with heavy shades drawn across all the windows. The body is wrapped in a wolf pelt, while the right arm is shorn off just below the elbow. The man was apparently allowed to bleed to death, his other arm shackled to the wall. This recalls the war god Tyr, who gave his right hand to bind the demon wolf Fenris.
- Southeast London: This place used to be a stable, now converted (rather awkwardly) into flats. One of them is empty save for a huge, muscular, blacksmith-y fellow who has been crushed to death by the largest python you have ever seen. Meanwhile, the snake has choked to death on a large hammer. This scene recalls Thor, the Norse thunder god, and his death via the world-serpent, whom he also is supposed to kill.

All of the bodies are of anonymous street folk, all too common on the streets of London these days. None of the houses are owned by the same landlords. There is little to connect any of them, in fact.

Possible lines of investigation:

The snakes: The animals were not native to England. They had to come from somewhere (probably India).

“Professor Wilkins”: Sammariach and Vulcan have a name, a vague description, and an obsession with Norse mythology. These should help narrow the search a bit. Vulcan suggests talking to Crawford Tillinghast, Dean of Archaeology at King’s College, London, for advice.

Tillinghast can tell them that, to his knowledge, there are three Professor Wilkins-es living and working in London at present, but none of them are foreign born, and none of them specialize in mythology, Norse or otherwise. Chasing them down will take some time, but it will provide some negative proofs. It will take a day or two to locate these Wilkinsons and prove that they are not involved in the situation. They all have pretty airtight alibis.

The third Professor (Augustus) Wilkinson (Mathematics, Cambridge University) does mention something odd. He recently received a bill from the Hotel Beaumont in the Dark Quarter, but he has never stayed in that vicinity. He has his solicitor looking into the matter. Most curious.

A Cold Greeting

Baron Salazar arrives in Oslo, arriving in midafternoon. It has been a rough voyage, as the winter weather has buffeted The Angelina, and the repairs were never fully finished, so it’s a bit drafty. Everyone on the crew is wearing heavy furs against the cold. Still, they have made it to their destination in record time, although they need to leave almost immediately in order to be back in London and receive their bonus.

The Oslo aeroport is a sprawling complex about 19 miles northeast of Oslo proper at Gardarmoen, connected via rail and road to the city. There is a single terminal, with runways stretching parallel alongside it. Numerous ships move in and out of the area, all with their running lights burning brightly, as though it is midday here, it is already very dark out. Not true polar night, as Oslo isn’t far enough north for that, but certainly darker than it is in London right now. The Northern Lights glimmer up above, however, giving the ground below an eerie glow, which reflects off the thick layer of snow covering everything, creating a sort of shimmer or haze in the air.

Your engines are running hot, steam is pouring off the craft, and there’s a sort of mist enveloping The Angelina as it hoves into the Oslo aeroport.

The Angelina is directed to land at the end of the airstrip; naturally this is the point furthest from the Terminal. As the ship lands, a light snowfall begins. DC 15 Notice check to realize that there are no clouds overhead to obscure the Northern Lights…

The Dockmaster meets Salazar as the captain disembarks from his ship. He’s there to charge you docking fees, offer fuel or other supplies, find out what cargo you are bringing, etc. He has a few burly hands with him to help unload cargo and/or refuel your ship. A chill wind swirls around Salazar as he talks to the Dockmaster. He informs Salazar that anyone waiting to be picked up will be in the Terminal building.

It’s a long frigid walk, to the Terminal, but inside it is cozy and warm, with a number of fireplaces staggered strategically around the large room. There is a pub, a number of seating areas, and administrative desks and the like. Not too many people, however, just a few knots of folks having warm drinks, reading the paper, waiting for their airships, and so on.

As Salazar surveys the room, a massive man approaches. He is clad in a frock coat that covers him from neck to toe. He is incredibly ugly, with terrible burn scars, no ears, half a nose, and pale bloodshot eyes. His hair is an unkempt wig that looks made of squirrel. He introduces himself as Ivor Shandor, aide to Dr. Henrik Solgard. He has been expecting you.

Shandor informs Salazar that his companion, Gyrid Toov, is waiting with a few crates of cargo at the other end of the building. Shandor has a wagon on stand-by. He invites Salazar to come with him, or if Shandor gives the baron the creeps, Shandor will just ask for a description of the ship, so he can meet you there.

Salazar can wait with The Angelina or accompany Shandor and Toov, a tiny, dark woman wrapped up in thick furs so only her beady yellow eyes can be seen. They have a small wagon (sleigh, actually) drawn by a single shaggy pony. There are three bulky looking crates in the back. It will take them a few minutes to get to the ship, although they can certainly hurry the pony along, arriving in four rounds at best possible speed (considering weight of cargo, the snow, etc.).

If Salazar is with them, a DC 20 Notice check will spot the first giant before it casts its first ice ball into a parked airship. If he waits at the ship, it’s a DC 15 Notice check. While the giants are big, the darkness and swirling snow are helping them hide, while their natural appearance sort of blends in to the scenery, at least at first.

A successful Notice check will allow Salazar to see one of the mountains surrounding the aeroport begin to move… forcing the realization a moment later that there’s something large and alive out there in the dark, lurching towards the aeroport. A moment later, a huge ball of ice come sailing out of the dark to crash into an airship.

Jotun Attack

Three Jotun attack the aeroport, backed up by a small army (around twenty-five) of trolls. The giants move casually, almost leisurely, as they create balls of ice and heave them into buildings and airships. Most of the airships are grounded, crew lounging in them or resting at inns in town, so it will be a mad scramble to de-ice and get them into the air. As Salazar’s ship is the most recent arrival, he can probably escape cleanly if he wants. He just has to wait the four rounds while the sleigh hurries across the airstrip to the ship, then another four rounds to load the cargo onto the ship, and then they can cast off. In the meantime, the giants will have a field day. They may notice Salazar’s operation (the dark and the snow will help keep them hidden from the giants as well), in which case one of them will start lobbing ice balls. The trolls will rush into the buildings and start slaughtering people, but the local guards and the airship crews will spring into action to handle them. It will be a bloody fight, but the trolls will be defeated, beating a hasty retreat into the snow.

The giants are the real problem. It will be up to Salazar to deal with them, if he doesn’t want to just escape. Hopefully he has guns on the ship, or a daring, desperate plan…

Jotun, “Frost Giants”
Creatures of chaos, motivated primarily by avarice for gold and hatred of anything warm-blooded, the Jotuns reside primarily in the remote mountain fastnesses of Scandanavia. Recently, however, they have begun to raid human settlements.
PL: 9
Abilities: STR: 30 (+10) DEX: 12 (+1) CON: 30 (+10) INT: 8 (-1) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 8 (-1)
Skills: Bluff 8 (+7)
Handle Animal 8 (+7)
Intimidate 8 (+11)
Notice 8 (+10)
Survival 8 (+10)
Feats: All-Out Attack
Catch Attack 1 [Thrown]
Endurance 1
Hardy
Improved Grab
Power Attack
Powers: Cold Control 6 [Radius: 250 ft., DC 16, Range (Touch)]
Create Object 8 [8x 5’cubes; DC 18]
Environmental Control 6 [Distraction DC 5, Hamper Move 50%, Visibility; Range: 60 ft, Radius: 250 ft.]
Growth 10 [Permanent, Innate]
Combat: Attack +8 [Unarmed DC 25, Ice Boulder DC 23], Defense +8, Init +1
Saves: Toughness +10, Fortitude +10, Reflex +5, Will +6
Description: The frost giants stand about thirty feet tall, and look like ambulatory ice bergs. Although vaguely humanoid, with a trunk, four limbs, and a head, they appear as if they are made up of jagged, rough-shaped blocks of ice, with sheets of icicles where hair and beard might be. Their eyes glow a malevolent blue, and aside from their frightening stature which gives them considerable strength and durability, the giants also possess a variety of cold related abilities. They can exude extreme cold around them, to a radius of several hundred feet, and also create snow storms that obscure sight, slow down victims, and serve to distract them. Lastly, they can create rough-shaped objects out of ice, which they generally use to create boulders or balls of ice, which they then hurl with considerable accuracy. Giants have also been known to call up walls of ice, axes or swords of ice, and the like.

The Caper

It should be fairly clear to Blackwood and Thursday and friends that Solgard is the bad guy, but also that Solgard is protected by the Queen, and if he’s holed up in Buckingham Palace, there’s not much they can do about it. As always, there are options.

First, they can stake out Buckingham Palace and try to keep an eye out for Solgard’s comings and goings. This will be tricky, as he is basically gearing up for the big show and won’t be leaving until Shandor and Toov arrive. This may be advantageous, actually, as they will catch the whole crew at once and may stave off Armageddon. But where’s the fun in that?

Secondly, the heroes could attempt to go through proper channels. John Albion is still reluctant to give Blackwood access to the palace or the ear of the Queen based on such flimsy evidence (especially since so much of it comes from a foreign person), particularly given the current state of things. However, Prince Ohmand Okoye of Talantah may be more sympathetic. As a member of the Stranger’s Club, and a foreign royal, he has diplomatic powers that most club members lack. He can get the team into Buckingham Palace with a modicum of fuss – and the extraction of a future favor from Blackwood, for services rendered.

But most likely, the heroes will want to break into the palace, sneak around, grab Solgard, and recover the Hel Stone. They’ll be lucky to do one of those things; while Solgard and his library of evil are indeed ensconced in the palace, he has secreted the Hel Stone elsewhere in London (at the Beaumont Hotel).

Breaking into Buckingham Palace is about as easy as one might expect. Aside from the regular guards, servants, and ministers walking the halls pretty much 24/7, there are considerable esoteric protections as well. There is also the fact that a lavish state funeral has just happened, the royal family is in mourning, and the palace is chock full of visiting dignitaries, heads of state, and the like. Security is at an all-time high.

It is true that some portions of the palace are still undergoing renovations from the Guardians debacle at the beginning of the year, but these are not weak points, but rather the most heavily protected areas.

There are magical wards all over the buildings and grounds designed to keep out fae, spirits, and hostile wizards. It’s a DC 22 Will check to cast any spell of note, and a DC 30 Arcane Lore check to avoid setting off the alarms when you do.

Scattered amongst the normal human soldiers are the special unit of Saxe-Coburg werewolves, the 501st Lancers. They are the special bodyguard of the Prince Consort and now the Queen (and the Prince Consort’s children). They will defend to the death, and they are all a little out of sorts given the recent passing of their beloved Duke/Prince, and quite willing to take it out on anyone foolish enough to invade the sanctity of the palace.

And those are the protections that everyone knows about – there could be anything waiting in the palace for unsuspecting spies.

Solgard won’t be too hard to find. He’s enjoying his stay in the lap of luxury, and maintains a few rooms in the guest wing. There are enough occult texts and forbidden tomes in his room to lend credence to Blackwood’s tale.

If confronted, Solgard will call for help. If cornered, he will attack. If captured, he will remain tight-lipped. But he will claim, “What I have begun cannot be undone. I have set in motion events that cannot be stopped. Very soon, the Aesir will descend to Midgard and wipe clean the Earth of mongrel races and remake this corrupted world in their image.” Then he devolves into a babble of Old Norse or Icelandic mixed with something alien and uncomfortable to human ears.

If killed, Solgard will leave behind few clues as to his ultimate plan. Conspicuous in its absence from Solgard’s apartments is the Hel Stone.

As the Crow Flies

Salazar and The Angelina return to London without incident.

While Shandor and Toov are odd and unusual beings, and they give the crew and Salazar the creeps, they act as model passengers. When the ship lands, they offload their cargo, and Ivor pays Salazar with a sack full of Arabic silver minted in the 11th century. The amount is worth around £ 10,000. If Salazar questions the amount, or the origin of it, Shandor says it came from a horde of Viking silver, and that he was told by Dr. Solgard to pay Salazar handsomely. Shandor threw in a little extra for being so handy about getting them out of Oslo with the giants bearing down and all.

Into the Dark Quarter

Shandor and Toov head for the Dark Quarter, and the Hotel Beaumont, where a Professor Wilkinson has been staying recently. This is where the Hel Stone is ensconced. Shandor and Toov leave their rented wagon to be emptied by the staff and hurry up to Wilkinson’s room. It is late, quite dark and cold, when they arrive.

Sammariach and Vulcan arrive just in time to see two shady characters enter the hotel. Sammariach’s super-senses can probably detect the otherworldliness of the two occultists, but they can also check at the front desk and get confirmation that room 302 is being rented by Professor Amadeus Wilkinson.

Ivor will attack Sammariach and Vulcan, keeping them occupied, while Toov runs for the Hel Stone, grabs it, and flash steps away. While it may not take too long to deal with Ivor, it should be long enough for Toov to get away. She flees towards the heart of the city, the center of the Thurisaz rune carved into the city by Solgard’s rituals. As soon as she is clear, she cuts her own throat and bathes the stone in her own blood. It’s not the preferred method, but the cult is desperate at this point.

Red light envelops the body of Toov and the Hel Stone, and a huge red rimmed dimensional gateway opens in the heart of London. The Many-Angled Ones come through, costumed like the Aesir of Norse mythology. They immediately begin to attack the city, laying waste to civilians, property, landmarks, and defense as Scotland Yard, the Metropolitan Police, Dark Quarter, Strangers Club, and others mobilize. Royal airships take the sky to bombard the aliens. The British army mobilizes.

But it’s largely down to Blackwood, Sammariach, and their allies.

Othin, Thorr, and Logi are among the second wave through the gate, and they head directly for Buckingham Palace to cut the head off the Empire.

Aftermath
Anyone who survives will be a hero of London, if not the Empire, and may even receive a knighthood from a grateful queen. A lot depends on how successful the Many-Angled Ones are in their assault – how many die, what landmarks are destroyed, how quickly the heroes can take them down, etc.

Dr. Henrik Solgard
Henrik Solgard was once an ordinary country doctor, focused on his practice and his hobbies, which included an interest in history and archaeology. However, one day while making a house call on a farmer, his patient, a fellow collector, offered to show Solgard a mysterious object. The small carving of a dragonhead prow spoke to Solgard, and the doctor proceeded to murder the farmer, dismember him, and feed him to his own pigs. He absconded with the artifact, and so began a descent into madness, cruelty, and horror as an acolyte of the Many-Angled Ones.
PL: 13
Abilities: STR: 10 (-) DEX: 16 (+3) CON: 14 (+2) INT: 18 (+4) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 16 (+3)
Skills: Bluff 8 (+11)
Concentration 8 (+10)
Diplomacy 8 (+11)
Disguise 4 (+7)
Gather Information 4 (+7)
Knowledge: Arcane Lore 8 (+12)
Knowledge: History 4 (+8)
Knowledge: Life Sciences 4 (+8)
Knowledge: Nobility & Royalty 4 (+8)
Knowledge: Otherworlds 4 (+8)
Knowledge: Parapsychological Sciences 4 (+8)
Knowledge: Theology & Philosophy 4 (+8)
Medicine 8 (+10)
Notice 8 (+10)
Profession: Doctor 4 (+6)
Search 4 (+8)
Sense Motive 4 (+6)
Feats: Artificer
Benefit: Status 1
Connected
Contacts
Dedication: Many-Angled Ones
Improved Initiative 1
Power Attack
Ritualist
Powers: Astral Form 6 [20 miles]
Force Field 12
Magic 12 [Mystic Blast (Alternate Save: Will)]
  • AP: Confuse 12 [Burst Area]
  • AP: Drain 12 [Single Trait: Wisdom, Ranged]
  • AP: Emotion Control 12
  • AP: Mind Control 12
  • AP: Telepathy 8 [Sensory Link]
Combat: Attack +12 [Mystic Blast DC 27 (Will), Confuse DC 22, Drain DC 22, Emotion Control DC 22, Mind Control DC 22, Telepathy DC 18], Defense +12, Init +7
Saves: Toughness +12/+14, Fortitude +8, Reflex +8, Will +8
Description: Henrik Solgard is heavyset, with thick muttonchops and narrow octagonal steel glasses. His hair is black, with white at the temples, and his eyes are pale. He dresses richly, including flash jewelry, and takes himself very seriously. Although he presents the outward appearance of a kindly, grandfatherly sort of fellow, he is a twisted psychopath dedicated to the service of the Many-Angled Ones. He is an adept wizard, with a variety of mood and mind affecting spells at his disposal.

Ivor Shandor
Ivor Shandor was born into the cult of the Aesir, and the blasphemous rites of the cult have twisted his mind and body into a mockery of humanity. He found Henrik Solgard and indoctrinated him into the cult, serving as his mentor until the student surpassed the teacher. Content to play a catalytic role, Shandor has worked tirelessly to facilitate the manifestation of his gods on the mortal plane. He is a fanatic, more than willing to die for his cause.
PL: 10
Abilities: STR: 10 (-) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: 18 (+4) INT: 16 (+3) WIS: 20 (+5) CHR: 8 (-1)
Skills: Craft: Structural 8 (+11)
Diplomacy 4 (+3)
Disable Device 8 (+11)
Handle Animal 4 (+3)
Intimidate 8 (+7)
Knowledge: Arcane Lore 8 (+11)
Knowledge: Art 4 (+7)
Knowledge: Parapsychological Sciences 4 (+7)
Knowledge: Theology & Philosophy 4 (+7)
Notice 4 (+9)
Sense Motive 4 (+9)
Stealth 8 (+10)
Feats: Challenge: Improved Demoralize
Contacts
Dedication: Many-Angled Ones
Diehard
Endurance 1
Improved Initiative 1
Low Profile 1
Ritualist
Powers: Acid 10
Elongation 4 [50 ft.; Range Increment: 40 ft., +4 Escape & Grapple]
Immunity 49 [Lethal Physical Damage, Life Support, Nonlethal Physical Damage; Limited: Half Effect]
Mental Blast 10
Mind Shield 10
Protection 10
Combat: Attack +10 [Acid DC 25, Mind Blast DC 25], Defense +10, Init +6
Saves: Toughness +14, Fortitude +8, Reflex +6, Will +12
Description: Ivor Shandor is a massive man, thickly built, but with clearly more fat than muscle. He wears a frock coat that covers him from neck to toe. He is incredibly ugly, with terrible burn scars, no ears, half a nose, and pale bloodshot eyes. His hair is an unkempt wig that looks made of squirrel. Whatever strange rituals he has taken part in have altered his body into something inhuman. His body is incredibly resilient to damage, and he can stretch and expand his flesh like putty. His blood is acidic, and he can secrete it through pores in his palms to eat away at flesh, stone, or steel. Ivor’s alien psychology makes him hard to affect with mental attacks, nor can his mind be easily read by those with psychic abilities, while he himself can generate pulses of energy that attack the mind and erode the will.

Gyrid Toov
Gyrid Toov was a mousy, unprepossessing girl, the sixth daughter of an impoverished farmer. She went into the nunnery at a young age. She met Shandor soon after taking the habit, and the cultist easily corrupted her, converting her from Christianity to worship of the Aesir. She has long since left humanity behind, becoming something greater and lesser at the same time.
PL: 11
Abilities: STR: 34 (+12) DEX: 12 (+1) CON: 34 (+12) INT: 12 (+1) WIS: 10 (-) CHR: 8 (-1)
Skills: Knowledge: Arcane Lore 8 (+9)
Knowledge: Theology & Philosophy 8 (+9)
Notice 8
Ride 4 (+5)
Search 4 (+5)
Stealth 8 (+9)
Survival 4
Feats: All-Out Attack
Diehard
Improved Initiative 1
Power Attack
Ritualist
Withstand Damage
Powers: Absorption 12 [Energy; Healing; Limited (Magic)]
Flash Step [100 ft. as move action (Turnabout)]
Impervious Toughness 12
Super-Senses 6 [Darkvision, Detect Magic, Infravision, Low-light Vision]
Combat: Attack +10 [Unarmed DC 27], Defense +10, Init +5
Saves: Toughness +12, Fortitude +12, Reflex +6, Will +5
Description:
Toov is a small, slight woman with dark hair and yellow eyes. She covers herself with heavy furred clothes; a thick coat, a warm hat, mittens, boots. Beneath her furs her flesh is hard and scaly like a dragon’s, making her virtually invulnerable. Immensely strong, Toov can also absorb magical energy to heal herself, and is able to quickly jump through space via bursts of magical energy.

The Many-Angled Ones

Othin
All-Father Othin is a frightening, inhuman embodiment of knowledge and wisdom. It can take many shapes, but appears on Earth as a huge glowing orb composed of “other matter,” not fully capable of coalescing fully on the material plane. Othin is inscrutable, but apparently malevolent, and it will seek to cause as much damage and chaos as possible when it manifests on Earth.
PL: 14
Abilities: STR: 26 (+8) DEX: 10 (-) CON: 18 (+4) INT: 26 (+8) WIS: 26 (+8) CHR: 10 (-)
Skills: Concentration 8 (+16)
Intimidate 8 (+12)
Knowledge: Arcane Lore 8 (+16)
Knowledge: Life Science 8 (+16)
Knowledge: Theology & Philosophy 8 (+16)
Notice 8 (+16)
Sense Motive 8 (+16)
Feats: Eidetic Memory
Fearless
Improved Initiative 2
Jack-of-All-Trades
Move-by Action
Power Attack
Powers: Flight 4 [100 mph, 880 ft./rnd; Permanent, Innate]
Growth 8 [Permanent, Innate]
Insubstantial 4 [Incorporeal; Permanent, Innate]
Mental Blast 12
  • AP: Blast 16 [Affects Corporeal]
  • AP: Confuse 10 [Burst Area, Selective Attack]
  • AP: ESP 10 [All Types; Dimensional 3 (Any Dimension)]
  • AP: Mind Control 12 [Shapeable Area, Selective Attack]
  • AP: Telekinesis 12 [Shapeable Area, Damaging]
  • AP: Telepathy 12 [Omni-Directional Area, Selective Attack]
Protection 10
Super-Senses 45 [Cosmic Awareness, Counters Illusion (Vision), Counters Obscure (All, Vision), Darkvision, Detect Magic, Infravision, Low-Light Vision, Microscopic Vision 4, Penetrates Concealment (Vision), Radius (All), See Invisible, True Sight, Ultravision, X-Ray Vision]
Combat: Attack +12 [Mental Blast DC 27, Blast DC 31, Confuse DC 20, Mind Control DC 22, Telekinesis DC 27, Telepathy DC 22], Defense +12, Init +8
Saves: Toughness +14, Fortitude +8, Reflex +6, Will +12
Description: Othin appears as a massive glowing blue orb, about twenty-four feet in diameter. Strange patterns flash across the surface of the globe, and a shimmering disk of angry red light – the god’s terrible eye – glides around its circumference. Othin floats above the ground, observing, recording, analyzing its surroundings. The eye can see everything, not even the most cunning illusions can counter it. It is also from this point on the orb that attacks generate, usually a burning wave of psychic energy that can melt a human brain, or else a searing beam of light that can destroy almost anything. Othin has a variety of psychic attacks, and can seize control of a crowd of mortals or drive them insane. He can extend his senses outward almost anywhere, even into other dimensions, and he can mentally communicate with anyone (or everyone) on Earth simultaneously.

Thorr
The favored son of Othin in the old stories, and the defender of humanity against the giants, Thorr was one of the most popular gods of the Old Norse. Unlike Othin, Thorr is a physical being, a body fashioned and inhabited by a Many-Angled One in the image of the thunder god of the Vikings. He is a savage creature, capable of vast destruction and uncaring of who or what gets in the way.
PL: 12
Abilities: STR: 30 (+10) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: 30 (+10) INT: 12 (+1) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 12 (+1)
Skills: Climb 4 (+14)
Intimidate 12 (+13)
Knowledge: Arcane Lore 8 (+9)
Notice 8 (+10)
Sense Motive 8 (+10)
Survival 8 (+10)
Swim 4 (+14)
Feats: All-Out Attack
Challenge – Improved Demoralize
Defensive Strike
Improved Critical 1 [Strike 4]
Improved Grapple
Improved Initiative 1
Improved Sunder
Move-by Action
Power Attack
Withstand Damage
Powers: Impervious Toughness 10
Device 7: “Mjolnir,” Hard to Lose; Only Thorr Can Use
Blast 12 [Accurate (+2), Homing 1, Incurable, Split Attack 1, Affects
Insubstantial 2]
  • AP: Weather Control 7 [Mix-and-Match 4, Range: 70 ft., Radius: 500 ft., DC 17]
Strike 4 [Mighty, Incurable]
Immunity 5 [Electricity Damage]
Protection 4
Super-Strength 8 [Heavy Load 204.8 tons]
Combat: Attack +10 [Unarmed DC 25, Strike DC 29 (Crit 19-20); Blast +12, DC 27], Defense +10, Init +6
Saves: Toughness +14, Fortitude +10, Reflex +6, Will +8
Description: Thorr appears as a massive, bare-chested, blue-skinned man with wild blue-white hair and beard. Strange tattoos of lightning bolt like sigils writhe across his flesh, and he wears black bracers, belt, pants, and boots. His eyes crackle with electricity, and thunder rumbles when he opens his mouth. In his hand he carries a huge hammer made out of black iron, which flickers with electric light. It hits with a thunderous crash, or can be thrown and flies back to his hand after it connects. Thorr can use it to alter local weather patterns as well. He is superhumanly strong and durable, and immune to electrical attacks.

Logi
God of fire, mischief, and evil, Logi or Loki was a popular god among the Old Norse, not so much to worship as to tell entertaining stories about. The Many-Angled One embodying the archetype has decided to focus on the fiery aspect of Logi, and manifests as a living fireball that twirls around turning everything around it aflame.
PL: 13
Abilities: STR: 10 (-) DEX: 22 (+6) CON: 22 (+6) INT: 18 (+4) WIS: 18 (+4) CHR: 18 (+4)
Skills: Bluff 8 (+12)
Concentration 8 (+12)
Diplomacy 8 (+12)
Intimidate 8 (+12)
Knowledge: Arcane Lore 8 (+12)
Knowledge: Otherworlds 8 (+12)
Knowledge: Theology & Philosophy 8 (+12)
Notice 8 (+12)
Sense Motive 4 (+8)
Stealth 12 (+18)
Feats: Accurate Attack
Ambidexterity
Attractive 1
Challenge: Improved Taunt
Defensive Attack
Demonic Glare 2
Diehard
Fascinate [Intimidate]
Improved Trick
Move-by Action
Power Attack
Precise Shot 2
Redirect
Powers: Blast 12 [Affects Insubstantial 2]
  • AP: Fire Control 12
  • AP: Flash Step
Energy Aura 12
Flight 6 [500 mph, 4400 ft./rnd]
Force Field 8
Immunity 5 [Fire Damage]
Insubstantial 3 [Energy]
Combat: Attack +12 [Blast DC 27, Aura DC 27], Defense +12, Init +6
Saves: Toughness +6/+14, Fortitude +10, Reflex +10, Will +8
Description: A vaguely humanoid tower of flame, Logi can lift off the ground and skate through the air, or disappear and materialize a hundred feet away. Its body radiates heat around it, and can set things aflame just by standing close. Logi can project a sheet of flame from his hands, or control fires around it, including ones it has created. As living flame, it is immune to most attacks, but most especially fire. Even water doesn’t affect him, simply boiling away as it approaches the fiery body.

Aesir
The Aesir are the shocktroops of the Many Angled Ones. They are artificial constructions, not really alive, but composed of living matter and controlled by the all-encompassing intelligence of the Othin-creature. They exist to destroy and kill, and surge out of the gate in their hundreds to assault London.
PL: 11
Abilities: STR: 24 (+7) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: 24 (+7) INT: 12 (+1) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 14 (+2)
Skills: Climb 4 (+11)
Intimidate 8 (+10)
Notice 4 (+6)
Stealth 8 (+10)
Swim 4 (+11)
Feats: Accurate Attack
Defensive Attack
Defensive Strike
Diehard
Improved Critical 1
Improved Initiative 1
Power Attack
Equipment 7 [Longbow, Greataxe, Greatsword, Sword, Warhammer, Armor]
Combat: Attack +10 [Longbow DC 25, Greataxe DC 27 (Crit 19-20), Greatsword DC 27 (Crit 18-20), Sword DC 25 (Crit 18-20), Warhammer DC 25 (Crit 19-20)], Defense +10, Init +6
Saves: Toughness +7/+10, Fortitude +10, Reflex +6, Will +6
Description: The Aesir are humanoid in shape, but appear composed entirely of black iron from head to foot, as though encased in a suit of armor. Only the dim orange lights that flicker from the openings of their horned helms suggest anything exists inside those huge frames. Each one uses a different weapon, but its usually a huge, jagged sword, axe, or vicious looking hammer. All are also equipped with a longbow and quiver of arrows for long distance attacks. While not invulnerable, they are still exceedingly tough and more than a match for a human being.

Yojimbo
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Unspeakable Cults]

Post by Yojimbo » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:29 am

To anyone who reads all that - thank you. "Unspeakable Cults" was probably the most ambitious adventure I ever wrote. I had to juggle a lot of characters and a lot of set pieces. It worked out pretty well in execution, though. It was a lot of fun to run. Asgardian gods as Lovecraftian monsters, characters searching for clues in Buckingham Palace, fighting frost giants from an airship, trying to wrangle the weird cultists, then struggling to close the portal and keep the Aesir from invading Britain (and the Earth, one supposes).

In the final battle, Ambrose Blackwood and John Albion actually got sucked up into the portal. That necessitated the writing of the next adventure to get the boys home, but before that I was able to do a great moment where Blackwood's top hat fluttered to the ground and Horus did the classic "Nooooo!"

Like I said, it was a blast. :)

Hoid
Posts: 672
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:52 pm
Location: The Forever Tree

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Unspeakable Cults]

Post by Hoid » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:22 pm

...Cthulhu reimagined as a Viking. Yikes.

MacynSnow
Posts: 2716
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Unspeakable Cults]

Post by MacynSnow » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:10 pm

It was a great read as always.Whatever happened to Toov? I felt kinda sorry for her...

Yojimbo
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Unspeakable Cults]

Post by Yojimbo » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:32 pm

Hoid wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:22 pm
...Cthulhu reimagined as a Viking. Yikes.
Yeah, it was a fun mash-up!

Yojimbo
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Unspeakable Cults]

Post by Yojimbo » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:32 pm

MacynSnow wrote:
Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:10 pm
It was a great read as always.Whatever happened to Toov? I felt kinda sorry for her...
Well, she slit her throat, bled out, and opened a doorway to another universe full of things anathema to the human species. I wouldn't feel too sorry for her.

Yojimbo
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Into the Unknown]

Post by Yojimbo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:56 am

Into the Unknown

Transported through a tear in the fabric of dimensional space-time, Ambrose Blackwood and John Albion have to find their way back to Earth.

Taking Stock

Ambrose finds himself standing on a rocky promontory. The ground beneath his feet is devoid of vegetation. It looks like some kind of lava field; the rock is black and looks as though it melted and flowed across the landscape. Scattered around him are a dozen British soldiers in the green livery of riflemen, all in varying stages of distress.

John Albion is picking himself up off the lava field a dozen feet away. He has a gash on his cheek that bleeds profusely, but he looks more irritated than angry or even hurt.

The sky overhead is a deep, roiling blue with scattershot silver and red and swirls of a light blue that aren’t quite clouds and look more like bursts of flame.

Spread across the lava field beyond the British soldiers is the vast army of the Aesir, thousands of soldiers in neat ranks arrayed as far as the eye can see. Those that were pulled back through the portal with Blackwood and Albion are thrown across the landscape, looking as stunned and uncertain as giants in black spiky armor can look.

Wind ruffles Blackwood’s coat, causing him to glance behind him. He realizes that he is standing on the edge of a precipice. Jutting out from the cliff is a long spur of rock, almost like a causeway or bridge, but it terminates in the middle of space. Residual mystic energies suggest that the portal was located at the end of the causeway.

Risking a glance over the side of the cliff, Ambrose sees nothing below them, save a swirling vortex of volatile, magical energies. Violet light and diamond-like stars spin in a counter-clockwise swirl. At the center of the vortex is a black, yawning pit.

As Blackwood’s senses slowly acclimate to the alien world, he realizes that the Aesir are not three-dimensional beings. In their native reality, they appear multi-layered, not quite distinct, weird and fractal. Some of them look to have less dimensions, appearing flat or even as one-sided lines. Overhead a bright burst of red-gold flame draws Blackwood’s attention to Logi, who is sputtering and glowing and probably preparing to attack.

Hovering over the Aesir army is the immense blue globe of Othin. As Blackwood and Albion watch, Othin seems to dwindle, drawing back and up into the sky until it comes to nest in a circle of other blue globes, each with their own shiny red “pupil.” It’s then that you realize that the shimmering blue-ness overhead isn’t the sky, but rather the full expression of the Othin entity. The blue globe was just one of its eyes.

What do you do?

A fight would be short-lived. In its home plane, Othin is a PL X creature. Even if Blackwood and Albion somehow manage to defeat Logi and thousands of Aesir, Othin will squash them like bugs.

Their only real chance is to leap off the cliff into the maelstrom. DC 20 Arcane Lore check will suggest to Blackwood that the vortex is another gate, although where it leads is an open question. Still, “away from here” is better than “here” by a great margin.

Albion will try to motivate the soldiers, using his Leadership feet if necessary, but most of them are too far gone already. One of them is gouging his own eyes out, another kneels sobbing as his hair turns white before your eyes, and others lie in broken heaps. The Aesir surge forward and execute the wounded. Only about three of the soldiers are hale and hearty enough to go anywhere with Blackwood: Sgt. Drummond, Private Cook, and Corporal Moriarty.

They are PL 4 Soldiers armed with rifles and bayonets. Drummond has a sidearm, which he pulls off the lieutenant’s corpse before drawing back to where Albion and Blackwood stand.

Albion will not sound a retreat unless Blackwood assures him that the maelstrom is safe and/or their only option.

Into the Maelstrom

Othin roars as the humans plunge over the side, into the swirling vortex of energy.

Purple lightning flashes, burning images across your retinas. You feel yourself falling faster as you near the vortex, as if pulled by some powerful, unforgiving force. Light flashes again, and bolts of violet lightning reach out from the maelstrom and strike each of you. One by one, the five of you disappear. When the lightning strikes Blackwood, he feels energy suffuse his entire being, and for a split second, he can see the other side of the yawning pit – and it’s not pretty. It looks worse than the Many-Angled Ones, a miasma of souls burning away, roasted by perdition’s flame, tortured by fire and the cruel black barbs wielded by enormous, black and red skinned devils.

Then the lightning carries you away.

Land of the Dead

When Blackwood is aware of himself once more, he lies on his back. Above is a slate gray sky. Beneath is hard packed earth, sere brown grass, and the smell of damp, moldy things. When you pick yourself up and look around, you see you are on a hill. A straggly black barked tree, naked of leaves, stands a few feet away. Your companions are spread out around you. Albion is coming to, while the three soldiers are still a bit stunned and slack-jawed.

The ground slopes down to a cobblestone path. You can see regular shaped blocks of marbled black stone spread out as far as the eye can see. Obelisks of the same color, and larger structures that might be buildings, break up the monotony. Brown grass fields and hills, with twisted black trees, are the only other things you can see. Mushrooms and other fungus grow on tree trunks, the sides of buildings, between cobbles in the walkways.

The place is eerily quiet. No birdsong, no buzz of insects, no wind, no crinkling leaves. Just a heavy dullness, a quietness that seems to sap sound, absorbing even the noises you make. Everything is muffled, as if after a heavy snow.

However, everyone is alive and unharmed and there appears to be no immediate threat. You are free to explore.

A quick reconnaissance reveals that the regular shapes are tombs. Funerary images are emblazoned across the surfaces of each block; angels, skeletons, crosses, and other glyphs. There is writing, but in no language familiar to Earth. The paths wind around the hills and fields in meandering directions. There are a few low stone walls, a brackish pond choked with weeds, and everywhere the scent of mold and mildew and fungal things.

After about an hour of exploring, a light rain begins to fall, and you catch sight of the first living thing you’ve seen in this gray, grim realm.

You see a hunchbacked man limping along a path. He is broadly built, but short, with a massive hump of flesh over his back that almost doubles him over. His wizened, piggish face could be anywhere between thirty and sixty years of age, with close set, narrow eyes and a sallow complexion. When he smiles, his teeth are crooked and yellowed, but broad and flat like some kind of animal.

He’s dressed in a flowing yellow robe, faded almost white, spotted here and there by mold. His limbs are thick and stumpy, and he walks with a pronounced limp.

If approached, he is polite but scatter brained, easily distracted by nothing. He mutters to himself constantly, but seems amiable enough. He will answer questions to the best of his ability (which is not great):

“This is the cemetery of Lost Carcosa. Beyond the hills lies the lake of Hali. No one lives here any more. Only me, only me, and I have not much left to live.”

“Earth? I do not know that word. Where are you from, strangers?”

“The wind, I hear it on the wind. The name of loss and forgotten fears.”

“The rains come and the rains go, and so must I some day.”

He doesn’t know who built this place, or whether there are more gates to anywhere else. However, while you are talking to him, a DC 15 Notice check indicates a hill, almost lost in the rain, upon which stands an enormous stone arch that resembles the structures of Stonehenge. It looks to be about a half mile away.

The hunchback watches you go with a mildly curious look on his piggish face, but says nothing as you leave him.

When Blackwood and Albion are about a hundred feet away from the hunchback, they hear a loud cracking sound and a kind of half-roar, half-gurgle. Behind them, the hunchback is transforming. Thick horns like tusks erupt from his chest and back and shoulders, encircling his head. His body swells in size, thick muscles growing across his body, as scales cover his flesh, and a long winding tail uncoils behind him.

When it is finished, he stands about eighteen feet tall, scaled and porcine, with massive thick fingered hands with horny knuckles. The tusks encircling his chest look like a crown, or teeth, while atop the shoulders sits his human head, at his normal human size. The change takes about a round to occur, during which Blackwood and Albion can attack, ready an action, or start hustling towards the gate.

Tusk Man First Stage
PL: 12
Abilities: STR: 10/22 (-/+6) DEX: 10 (-) CON: 14/20 (+2/+5) INT: 12 (+1) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 10 (-)
Skills: Climb 4
Handle Animal 4
Intimidate 8 (+10)
Notice 8 (+10)
Survival 8 (+10)
Feats: All-Out attack
Endurance 1
Improved Grab
Improved Grapple
Improved Initiative 1
Improved Pin
Power Attack
Rage 1
Powers: Additional Limbs 1 [Tail]
Growth 6 [+12 STR, +6 CON, +1 size category]
Protection 8
Resurrection 2 [1 day]
Speed 2 [25 mph, 220 ft./rnd; Limited (Charge Only)]
Strike 4 [Mighty]
Super-Strength 2 [Heavy Load: 4.2k lbs]
Combat: Attack +10 [Unarmed DC 21, Strike DC 25], Defense +10, Init +4
Saves: Toughness +13, Fortitude +12, Reflex +6, Will +8
Description: A mousy looking hunchbacked man who transforms into a scaled, gigantic, tusked creature but retains his normal human head.

When defeated, Tusk Man collapses into himself and deflates into his human form. He lies gasping like a fish on a hook and expires.

The Gate

With Tusk Man defeated, Blackwood and Albion are free to reach the gate.

The gate stands atop a steep hill covered in brown grass. There is a foot thick round stone dais encircling the top of the hill, with the gate itself sitting in the middle of the dais. The gate is a stone arch, roughly fifteen feet tall and about sixteen feet wide. The arch is about three feet thick on a side, and it is inscribed with a dozen different sigils. Each is round, almost like a plate, with an abstract stylized symbol emblazoned on it.

The symbols are:

Lightning bolt
Flame
Tree
Wave
Coin
Crown
Heart
Star
Trident
Skull
Cross
Eye

Each of the sigils can be rotated, which causes them to glow. When three or more sigils are activated, a golden glow forms within the arch, opening up a doorway to another world.

Some experimentation will be necessary, as far as revealing which combinations lead to which world.

The Hallowed World

Whatever the first combination turns out to be, it will successfully open the gate. A swirling pattern of light and color forms within the arch, eerily similar to the one that brought Blackwood and Albion to Cemetery World, but distinct enough to suggest it leads somewhere different. Stepping into the light causes a dislocation of the senses and body, and a moment later Blackwood and Albion step out onto a snowy mountaintop.

Overhead is a dark sky lit only a huge silvery moon that looms closer than it should. There are no stars. The mountaintop is rocky, a frigid wind blows through Blackwood and Albion, and there is a foot of snow all around. Thrust into the snow at regular intervals are thick iron poles atop which glow orbs of blue flame. The lights lead down and around the slope of the mountain, and as the path winds around the cliffs, a massive hump of stone materializes out of the darkness, looming overhead. The blue lights lead straight to it, a massive Medieval keep in a central European style. There are torches on the walls and lights in the windows, suggesting someone is home.

The snow is piled high against the battlements, but it is cleared away from the front door – thick paneled wood banded in iron, a double door with a smaller door inset within the one on the right. There’s no knocker, but the door is locked. If Blackwood or Albion knock, the small door opens shortly.

A misshapen, twisted being with tufts of hair on his piebald head and piggish eyes smiles with jagged yellow teeth and invites you inside, out of the cold. Inside, the keep is actually rather cozy, with tapestries on the walls, lots of furniture and art everywhere. Most of the rooms along the main hall have big fireplaces which are lit and filling the air with warmth.

Noting the ragged appearance of the travelers, the misshapen doorman leads them directly to the dining room, insists they sit down, and directs more misshapen and weird looking people start bringing in plates of food and bottles of wine. They dodge any questions, but otherwise remain courteous and attentive. Almost obsequious.

The food is simple fare, but warm, and neither Blackwood nor Albion have eaten in many hours. If they want to check to see if the food is poisoned (and assuming they have a means to), they find that it’s clean.

Eventually, as dinner is winding down, an imposing figure in black formal clothes (including a long satin cape with a red lining, and a big red jeweled medal on his chest). He is unusually pale, and a red light glimmers in his dark eyes as the candles reflect off of them. He introduces himself as Count Ruthven, the local lord and magister. He welcomes you to his humble abode and offers you full if meager hospitality – rooms have been prepared, and you are welcome to rest here as long as you want.

Ruthven is, of course, a vampire. But he isn’t a bad person. While he feeds on blood, he isn’t prone to dining on guests, especially guests that he finds curious. He is aware of the Gate, and the fact that it recently opened. He assumes that the travelers are from off world, and he is curious as to their origins and intentions. He will be surprised and intrigued when he learns the travelers are from the “Sunlit Lands,” of which he has a morbid curiosity. If asked, he will freely share information on the traveler’s current location.

This is a land of eternal night, a land of beings that resemble the nightmares of humanity, but they all live relatively normal lives. Ruthven is a conscientious and well meaning ruler – and his nearest neighbors are a mad scientist who builds golems in his spare time, a clan of werewolves, and a wizard who has a pumpkin for a head.

Ruthven has no idea how the Gate works, and actually is interested in how much the travelers know. Still, he offers the travelers time to rest and recover from their recent ordeal. But if they want to go home, they will probably have to go back through the gate and try again.

Cemetary World Redux

Blackwood and Albion materialize on the hilltop beside the gate, back where they started. It’s possible that the cemetery world is some kind of hub or transit station for interdimensional travel. Cemetery world or Carcosa or whatever is unchanged. Rain still falls. The body of Tusk Man is nowhere to be seen.

There is a sound like thunder above, and if the characters look around or up, they will see Tusk Man flying overhead, enormous bat-like wings cracking in the sky. He notices the activation of the Gate at any case and comes crashing down on top of the characters, intending to crush them.

Tusk Man Second Stage
PL: 12
Abilities: STR: 10/30 (-/+10) DEX: 10 (-) CON: 14/24 (+2/+7) INT: 12 (+1) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 10 (-)
Skills: Climb 4
Handle Animal 4
Intimidate 8 (+10)
Notice 8 (+10)
Survival 8 (+10)
Feats: All-Out attack
Endurance 1
Improved Grab
Improved Initiative 1
Improved Pin
Power Attack
Rage 1
Powers: Additional Limbs 3 [Tail, Arms; Improved Grapple (Grapple +29/+31)]
Flight 2 [25 mph, 220 ft./rnd; Power Loss (Wings Bound)]
Growth 10 [+20 STR, +10 CON, +2 size categories]
Protection 8
Resurrection 2 [1 day]
Strike 4 [Mighty]
Super-Strength 2 [Heavy Load: 12.8 tons]
Combat: Attack +9 [Unarmed DC 25, Strike DC 29], Defense +9, Init +4
Saves: Toughness +15, Fortitude +14, Reflex +6, Will +8
Description: A scaled, gigantic, tusked creature, who retains his normal human head, tiny atop his enormous body. He has doubled in size, standing about 36 feet tall when fully erect, but his elongated spine curves for the most part, and he stands on hands and feet. He has developed three additional arms, arrayed along his torso, as well as enormous bat-like wings that allow him to fly.

When defeated, Tusk Man once more deflates into his other shape, that of the ugly hunchback, and expires. Blackwood and Albion are free to do whatever they want with the body, given the definite possibility that Tusk Man will find a way to come back.

Once Tusk Man is done, there’s not much else to do here but activate the gate once more. They can attempt to figure out the correct combination, but whatever they decide to do, the gate will take them on a “random” trip to another world.

Desert World

Once more, they appear atop a massive hill. This one is covered in fine grained, white sand that slopes down into a dune covered plain. Overhead is a bright, cloudless sky with two bright suns hanging high overhead.

Down the slope and across the windswept dunes lies a crumbling metropolis of stone, encircled by a mostly shattered wall. The buildings are all rounded, with corbel roofs, but no other details can really be seen from the current vantage.

As the travelers draw closer, they see more damage. It looks like some giant has crushed walls and buildings, scattering massive stones across the cobbled streets. Enormous statues decorate the city, showing reptilian figures with high-necked robes, weirdly shaped armor, and curved scepters and swords. A layer of sand covers everything, and piles of sand fill crevices and make miniature dunes in plazas, streets, and empty buildings.

An eerie silence hangs over everything. There doesn’t appear to be anything alive.

After only about twenty minutes picking their way through the streets, though, they will have the opportunity to notice observers. Opposed checks as the lizard folk attempt to ambush the travelers.

Savage Lizard Folk
PL: 5
Abilities: STR: 14 (+2) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: 10 (-) INT: 8 (-1) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 8 (-1)
Skills: Climb 4 (+6)
Notice 4 (+6)
Stealth 4 (+6)
Survival 4 (+6)
Feats: All-Out Attack
Power Attack
Track
Equipment 3 [Hand Axe, Longspear, Breastplate]
Powers: Protection 2
Super-Senses 2 [Low-light Vision, Scent]
Combat: Attack +5 [Unarmed DC 17, Hand Axe DC 18, Longspear DC 20], Defense +5, Init +2
Saves: Toughness +2/+6, Fortitude +4, Reflex +6, Will +4
Description: A degenerate race of reptilian humanoids, these savages are descended from the beings who built this now shattered civilization. Their numbers suggest some kind of food source, despite the quiet and emptiness of the city. The lizard folk wear armor and weapons that appear to be fashioned from some kind of large arthropod. Breastplates, shield, hand axes, and spears abound. The lizard folk are about the size of a human, well muscled and quick, covered in scales patterned to let them blend into the desert. They have lizard like heads and golden eyes. The males possess a crest that they can expand or allow to lie flat against the back of their heads; otherwise females are indistinguishable.

Some fifty or so lizard folk converge on the travelers, hoping to overwhelm them through sheer numbers. This may or may not work. If things look grim, then Sobek arrives to grab Blackwood and Albion and pull them out of there, landing on a nearby rooftop far from harm. Otherwise, Sobek will arrive within a round or two and leap into the fray to help Blackwood and Albion deal with the scourge. The lizard folk will break and run if they receive two/thirds casualties.

Sobek
A down on his luck Egyptian river god, Sobek has been stuck in this backwater desert world for a while now, with no one but the savage lizard men for company. His flying mount, Wyvern, is a better conversationalist. He is thus overjoyed to have someone to talk to, even if they are mammals, and will risk life and limb to assist the travelers. Sobek has his own concerns and reasons for wanting to get into the library, but he will play it cagey. If it comes out that Blackwood is friends with Horus, Sobek will be even more friendly and conciliatory, and will ask Blackwood to pass on his respects to his cousin the next time he sees him.
PL: 10
Abilities: STR: 18 (+4) DEX: 18 (+4) CON: 18 (+4) INT: 14 (+2) WIS: 16 (+3) CHR: 16 (+3)
Skills: Diplomacy 8 (+11)
Handle Animal 12 (+15)
Knowledge: History 4 (+6)
Notice 8 (+11)
Perform: Stringed Instruments 4 (+7)
Ride 12 (+16)
Feats: Accurate Attack
Defensive Attack
Improved Block 1
Improved Disarm 1
Improved Initiative 1
Inspire 1
Quick Draw 1
Takedown Attack 2
Weapon Bind
Weapon Break
Equipment 5 [Javelins: Strike 6 (Improved Critical 2; Penetrating; Extended Reach 2 (10 ft.), Incurable, Mighty, Thrown 2 (Range: 100 ft, Incr. 20 ft)), Warclub: Strike 6 (Mighty)]
Powers: Immunity 3 [Aging, Critical Heats, Disease, Environmental Condition: Heat, Poison]
Protection 6
Summon 6 [Heroic]
Super-Senses 1 [Communication Link (Mental: Wyvern)]
Combat: Attack +10 [Unarmed DC 19, Javelins DC 25, Warclub DC 25], Defense +10, Init +8
Saves: Toughness +10, Fortitude +8, Reflex +7, Will +7
Description: Sobek is a large, heavily muscled reptilian humanoid covered in black scales, with a crocodile head that nonetheless manages to evoke intelligence and humor despite having no lips. He wears nothing but a loincloth and weapon straps, with a brace of razor sharp javelins across his back. He wields a huge warclub that is basically a big rock bound to a tree branch via the sinews of a huge animal, and it hits as hard as it looks.
Wyvern
Also not local, Wyvern is the sidekick and associate of Sobek, a magical animal who can be summoned at will by the crocodile man. Smarter than most animals, Wyvern still lacks speech and hands, so his ability to manipulate his environment is minimal. He and Sobek look after one another.
PL: 5
Abilities: STR: 28 (+9) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: 24 (+7) INT: 10 (-) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 10 (-)
Skills: Notice 4 (+6)
Feats: None
Powers: Flight 4 [100 mph, 880 ft./rnd; Power Loss (Wings Bound)]
Growth 4 [Innate, Permanent]
Immunity [Aging, Disease, Poison]
Protection 3
Speed 1 [10 mph, 88 ft./rnd]
Strike 3 [Mighty]
Super-Senses 3 [Communication Link (Mental: Sobek), Extended 1 (Sight), Low-Light Vision]
Combat: Attack +4 [Unarmed DC 24, Strike DC 27], Defense +4, Init +2
Saves: Toughness +10, Fortitude +8, Reflex +5, Will +4
Description: A reptilian creature roughly the size of a horse, Wyvern looks like a dragon of some kind, with winged forelimbs and thick green scales across his entire body. He has a long tail, a rack of small and harmless horns, and an enormous jaw filled to the brim with sharp teeth.

Sobek is no wizard, but he is aware of the Gate. He just doesn’t know how to operate it. He came through to this world via a different way, but he’s explored around a good portion of the dead world and recognized the Gate for what it is.

However, Sobek knows of a great library at the heart of the city – which, by the way, is called Kai Domov – and the library may have the answers that Blackwood and Albion seek. There is a catch, naturally.

There’s a dragon that guards the library, a great stone beast created by the dead rulers of Kai Domov, the mage lords known as the Thanok Dun. The Thanok Dun were great wizards, and perhaps even crafted the Gate. Almost certainly there will be some information regarding the device somewhere in the library’s stacks.

The library is a campus of sorts, built around a huge round building with minaret spires ringing its roof. A dozen smaller buildings lead off from the main one, like legs off a spider. Mounds of wind-blown sand fill the empty spaces between.

As the travelers approach, the sand shifts and enormous stone lizard erupts out of a mound of sand. It attacks without mercy.

Stone Dragon
PL: 12
Attributes: STR 40 (+15) DEX 10 CON 40 (+15) INT 14 (+2) WIS 20 (+5) CHA 10 (-)
Skills: Intimidate 5 (+13)
Knowledge (Arcane Lore) 5 (+12)
Knowledge (History) 5 (+12)
Notice 8 (+13)
Search 4 (+9)
Sense Motive 8 (+13)
Feats: All-Out Attack
Improved Critical [Claw]
Power Attack
Takedown Attack 2
Powers: Growth 16 [Innate, Permanent]
Flame Blast 11 [Area (Cone), Range (Touch)]
Immunity 14 [Aging, Disease, Heat, Starvation & Thirst, Damage (Fire)]
Impervious Toughness 10
Super-Senses 5 [Darkvision, Scent, Detect Magic- Ranged]
Combat: Attack +10 [Unarmed DC 30, Blast DC 26], Defense +10, Init +0
Saves: Toughness +15, Fortitude +15, Reflex +3, Will +12
Description: The stone dragon is enormous, about a hundred feet long from nose to tail, and made out of several hundred thousand smaller stones, all contained together thanks to powerful magic that remains after thousands of years. It looks like a big lizard, with large dorsal spines and thick clawed feet. It moves slowly, cumbrously, but with power and purpose. Despite its impressive physicality, it largely relies upon its fiery breath to devastate foes.

Inside, the library is vast and badly organized. And in an alien tongue, as well. It will take some time to sift through the scrolls and tablets and books to find what you seek.

While the savage lizard folk have left the library untouched, that was largely because of the dragon. With it removed, they may begin to explore the recesses of the forgotten building, which will lead them into conflict with Blackwood, Albion, and Sobek.

Speaking of the alligator man, he splits off from the mammals and goes spelunking on his own. He’s just as baffled by the organizational system of the dead Thanok Dun, and he’s similarly cagey about what he’s looking for. It will take some extended Search checks to even find the section on dimensional physics, let alone the specific tome and or tomes related to the gate on the hill outside the city.

The travelers will find what they’re looking for just as the savage lizard folk begin to penetrate the building, sending in squads to recon.

Atop Sobek’s Wyvern, the travelers can easily escape and return to the gate. Sobek declines any invitation to join them, insisting he has unfinished business in this realm. He and Wyvern return to the library in order to continue his own search.

Cemetery World

A heavy downpour greets Blackwood and Albion on the hill upon their return to dead Carcosa.

There will be time to peruse the book, learn the ritual, and prepare. All it takes is attuning the Gate to one’s particular dimension via sacrificing a little bit of life force – symbolized by anointing at least three of the glyphs with blood. This will result in a -1 to the Toughness Save of whoever gives up their blood (although Blackwood and Albion can both Heal, I believe).

Once they have things figured out, Tusk Man comes out for his last round. If the travelers did something with his body last time, he’s had time to get around it and escape wherever they put him. And he has of course evolved.

Tusk Man Third Stage
PL: 12
Abilities: STR: 10/38 (-/+14) DEX: 10 (-) CON: 14/28 (+2/+9) INT: 12 (+1) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 10 (-)
Skills: Climb 4
Handle Animal 4
Intimidate 8 (+10)
Notice 8 (+10)
Survival 8 (+10)
Feats: All-Out attack
Endurance 1
Improved Grab
Power Attack
Powers: Additional Limbs 5 [25 Tentacles; Improved Grapple (Grapple +29/+31)]
Growth 14 [+28 STR, +14 CON, +3 size categories]
Protection 8
Resurrection 2 [1 day]
Super-Strength 4 [Heavy Load: 307.2 tons]
Combat: Attack +7 [Unarmed DC 29], Defense +7, Init +0
Saves: Toughness +17, Fortitude +16, Reflex +6, Will +8
Drawbacks: Vulnerable [Uncommon, Moderate: Headshots +50% to the DC; Head is tiny, hard to target, Defense +10]
Description: A huge amorphous, tentacled mass, Tusk Man still has a tiny human head in the middle of a ring of tiny tusks atop the center of the giant thing’s body. Tusk Man is slick and gross from some kind of mucous, and then there’s the rain adding to the general look. He also smells like industrial strength garbage, and he flows rather than walks. He has about two dozen ropey tentacles arranged across his uneven body, and he uses those to attack. He can also rip up tombs and throw them.

Once Tusk Man is put down again, he will begin to dissolve and retract once more. He’s cursed to follow an endless cycle, and he can never truly be killed. But the travelers will be departing soon, so he won’t be there problem any longer.

The ritual takes about 12 minutes to do, after which the gate opens up once more. When the travelers pass through, the journey takes longer than usual, but at last they are thrown out into a new world.

They fall into the middle of a ring of stones, on a cold wintry night. It doesn’t take long for Blackwood and Albion to recognize familiar stars, or to realize that they are lying within the circle of Stonehenge. Back on Earth, although underdressed for an English winter. It’s a long trek to a building with a fire, warm food, and a chance to return to London.

MacynSnow
Posts: 2716
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Into the Unknown]

Post by MacynSnow » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:55 am

This was a nice two-parter for Blackwood&Albion.Did you ever do a "Back at the Fort" game during their Artefact hunting in Cthullu-land?

Yojimbo
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Into the Unknown]

Post by Yojimbo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:07 pm

MacynSnow wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:55 am
This was a nice two-parter for Blackwood&Albion.Did you ever do a "Back at the Fort" game during their Artefact hunting in Cthullu-land?
Nope. Game time was beginning to be a premium; in fact, if I hadn't inadvertently "killed" Blackwood by getting him sucked into another dimension, "Unspeakable Cults" would probably have been the campaign wrapping adventure.

That said, I do have one more adventure to publish before FV wraps up, but we detour into Rome next.

Yojimbo
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Orlando Palladino, Juno Grimaldi]

Post by Yojimbo » Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:00 pm

Image

Orlando Palladino
Abandoned by his mother at an orphanage while still an infant, Orlando’s true parentage is unknown, although his mother did provide his first and last name. By the time he was five, he was adopted by Fiorenza Favazza, a high-ranking member of the Shadow Society. An inventor and gadgeteer, Favazza began training Orlando to become an assassin at an early age. The boy excelled at his studies, and rose through the ranks of the Shadow Society quickly. Always he hewed to the philosophy of the Society: freedom, liberty, and brotherhood for all. While he distrusts the Church of the Sacred One and its hierarchy, he remains a devout believer in God.

Adept with blades of all kinds, master of the wrist mounted crossbow that Favazza invented, Orlando has progressed to the upper echelon of the Society’s field agents. Recently, he participated in the Ritual of Shadow, which increased and expanded his natural abilities exponentially.
PL: 10
Abilities: STR: 18 (+4) DEX: 18 (+4) CON: 18 (+4) INT: 14 (+2) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 14 (+2)
Skills: Acrobatics 10 (+14)
Bluff 8 (+10)
Climb 6 (+10)
Craft: Chemical 4 (+6)
Diplomacy 4 (+6)
Disable Device 8 (+10)
Disguise 8 (+10/+12)
Escape Artist 4 (+8)
Gather Information 8 (+10)
Intimidate 8 (+10)
Knowledge: Streetwise 8 (+10)
Language 4 [English, French, Latin, Spanish]
Ride 4 (+8)
Search 4 (+6)
Sense Motive 8 (+10)
Sleight of Hand 4 (+8)
Stealth 8 (+12)
Feats: Accurate Attack
Acrobatic Bluff
Cat’s Feet
Connected
Contacts
Defensive Strike
Diehard
Eagle Eyes
Eyes on the Back of the Head
Finishing Blow
Hide in Plain Sight
Improved Initiative 1
Improved Trick
Power Attack
Quick Change 1
Quick Draw 1
Tiger Leap
Up the Wall
Equipment 6 [Burglar’s Kit, Disguise Kit, Night Vision Goggles, Rebreather; Assassin’s Tools, Grapple Claw, Stealth Armor]
Powers: Assassin’s Tools:
Throwing Knives: Blast 2 [Autofire 1, Accurate, Incurable, Mighty 4]
  • AP: Ensorcelled Daggers: Strike 4 [Affects Insubstantial 2, Incurable, Mighty, Split Attack, Thrown]
  • AP: Hidden Blade: Strike 4 [Alternate Save: Fortitude, Mighty, Subtle 1]
  • AP: Sabre: Strike 4 [Feats: Improved Block, Improved Crit 2, Improved Disarm, Improved Sunder; Mighty]
  • AP: Wrist Crossbow: Blast 4 [Penetrating, Fades (10 bolts), Accurate, Disguised, Improved Range]
Grapple Claw: Super-Movement 2 [Slow Fall, Swinging, Subtle 1]

Stealth Armor: Protection 4 [Subtle]

Combat: Attack +12 [Throwing Knives +14 DC 21, Ensorcelled Daggers DC 23, Hidden Blade DC 23, Sabre DC 23, Wrist Crossbow +10 DC 19, Unarmed DC 19], Defense +12, Init +8
Saves: Toughness +4/+8, Fortitude +6, Reflex +8, Will +6
Description: Orlando is of medium height and build, with short cropped dark hair, brown eyes, and a dark complexion. He is roguishly handsome, with a crooked nose that has been broken more than once and a lopsided grin. He keeps his face clean shaven, the better to add fake beards and the like, as he is a master of disguise. He favors a reversible scarlet great coat which is black on the inside, flipping over to black when on the prowl. A wide-brimmed black hat with a scarlet feather gives him a dandified air. He slips on a hooked nose black Carnival mask when prowling as well. Skilled and athletic, Orlando uses a variety of weapons to accomplish his missions. Lightweight armor plates sewn into his clothing help keep him alive, while a hand-held grapple device lets him swing from rooftop to rooftop, and even catch him if he slips off a tower. He keeps a seemingly endless supply of throwing daggers secreted in the folds and pockets of his clothes, and also keeps to hand a matched pair of silver plated, rune-etched daggers for dealing with supernatural foes. On his left wrist he wears a gauntlet with a retractable, poisoned blade that is about twelve inches long, and on his right wrist he wears a small crossbow equipped with ten armor-piercing bolts. His primary weapon is a superbly balanced sabre made from a super-strong alloy of Favazza’s design.

Under the Hood
I mentioned to the player of Blackwood one day that I'd been playing and rather enjoying Assasin's Creed II, particularly the Renaissance setting and the character of Ezio Auditore. My friend agreed, having played Brotherhood himself. He soon came back to me with a plan to do an "Assassins" sub-campaign within the steampunk setting we already had. It would take place in Rome, characters would be PL 8 (I think to more closely approximate the human level but cinematic heroics of the video games) and other than that I pretty much had free reign to make whatever I wanted. Of course, I first wanted a badass skillmonkey with a hidden blade and wrist-mounted crossbow.

Orlando's background was pretty much thrust upon me. I don't know if his mysterious birth was meant to turn out to be important somehow, but I was content to run him as an orphan, totally dedicated to his adoptive mother and her secret organization. I played him pretty much like Batman, albeit substantially more lethal, which is one of my favorite type of builds to play. The other character I built for the setting, Juno, is next in the queue, is my other favorite kind of build: a brick. I did the same thing when I built Owl and Wolf for Empire City, and Vulcan/Talos are the two builds combined in one character.

In due time we upgraded the campaign PL to 10, which didn't change much for Orlando except for a few numbers and maybe some extra feats. He was a lot of fun to play, especially when I'd fumble and he'd have to find some way to recover and save his sorry butt. I barely got to use all of his weapons, although the crossbow and sword got regular workouts.

In keeping with the general theme of AC: Brotherhood, the Catholic Church was the campaign's bad guy. For some reason we called it the Church of the Sacred One; I'm sure there was a point, but I honestly can't remember what it was. We fought a lot of Templars in full plate wielding chainswords, as well as the regular riff-raff of hired goons and soldiers. There was one memorable set piece atop a series of airships anchored in mid-air over the city, leaping from ship to ship at first and then ultimately having to find a way down without going splat. There was also some nonsense about an Italian royal family and the Shadow Society that Orlando worked for trying to get the royals on to the throne and running the country - the game shook out in many ways more like a Three Musketeers game thematically, with the whole king vs. cardinal dynamic. The GM was not a student of Italian history (not that I'm much of an expert), and I don't recall that plotline going very far.

If memory serves, Orlando and Juno were left on a cliffhanger, trapped in a cathedral while the soldiers of the pope massed outside... I don't think that will ever be resolved, but it was a fun mini-campaign while it lasted.
Last edited by Yojimbo on Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

Yojimbo
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Orlando Palladino, Juno Grimaldi]

Post by Yojimbo » Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:00 pm

Image

Juno Grimaldi
Born in 1759 into the powerful Doria family of Genoa, Juno led a sheltered, protected existence within the walls of her family’s villa. Betrothed at 12, she found herself married at 14 to one of the Grimaldis, Lodovico, a man in his early 30s who had studied medicine in Geneva and only recently returned to Genoa. Lodovico proved to be a strange man, filled with esoteric ideas, and despite his education, a dedication to alchemy and the pursuit of the Elixir of Life. The couple were happy enough for a time, although their first child was stillborn and the birth left Juno weak and sickly and, ultimately, barren. Lodovico threw himself into his research, and three years later, on Juno’s eighteenth birthday, he presented her with a potion that he believed was the fabled Elixir of Life.

Naively trusting her husband, Juno drank the potion. Her trust was rewarded, however, as she found herself transformed into a powerful, attractive, invulnerable Amazon. Overjoyed, the couple celebrated, and their one and only child was conceived shortly thereafter. Lodovico had spent much of his inheritance and a great deal of time creating the Elixir for Juno, and he intended to make it again for his own use. But something went wrong. Perhaps the ingredients weren’t pure enough the second time around, or perhaps Lodovico’s biochemistry had already been altered by years of alchemical experiments. Whatever the case, when he drank the liquid, he too was transformed, but into something frightening and horrible.

Lodovico’s mind snapped, and he tried to butcher their infant daughter Marina, convinced that her blood would cure him of his monstrous form. Juno found a reserve of inner strength that night, and with her physical abilities managed to defeat and drive off her husband. Marina was saved, but the villa was destroyed and many servants killed during the battle. Juno and her daughter went into hiding, while Lodovico fled to Rome and the protection of his uncle, a cardinal.

Juno and Lodovico have been at odds ever since. Though Juno has not aged a day since that eighteenth birthday, she has had to protect her daughter and her grandchildren from Lodovico’s madness. In recent years, as grandchildren have given her great grandchildren, and the family has begun to swell beyond Juno’s ability to personally protect them, she has sought out and allied herself with the Shadow Society. With them watching over her family, she can now concentrate on dealing with Lodovico.

Now that she has passed the Ritual of Shadows, Juno is stronger, tougher, making her more of a match for Lodovico.
PL: 10
Abilities: STR: 10/34 (-/+12) DEX: 14 (+2) CON: 14/34 (+2/12) INT: 10 (-) WIS: 14 (+2) CHR: 16 (+3)
Skills: Acrobatics 4 (+6)
Bluff 4 (+7)
Intimidate 8 (+11)
Knowledge: History 4
Language 4 [English, French, Greek, Latin]
Notice 8 (+10)
Stealth 12 (+14)
Feats: Accurate Attack
All-Out Attack
Improved Grab
Improved Grapple
Improved Initiative 1
Improved Pin
Jack-of-All-Trades
Luck 2
Power Attack
Ultimate Effort: Toughness
Powers: Enhanced STR 24
Enhanced CON 20
Immunity 4 [Aging, Disease, Poison, Starvation & Thirst]
Impervious Toughness 12
Leaping 2 [Running Jump: 110 ft., Standing Jump: 55 ft., High Jump: 27 ft.]
Speed 2 [25 mph, 220 ft./rnd]
Super-Strength 6 [Heavy Load 89.6 tons; Shockwave]
Combat: Attack +8 [Unarmed DC 27], Defense +8, Init +5
Saves: Toughness +12, Fortitude +12, Reflex +7, Will +8
Description: Tall and buxom, Juno has long black hair, olive skin, and cool violet eyes. She dresses conservatively in dark clothes, although she favors dresses cut for riding and other active pastimes. She often wears a veil and a top hat. Her alchemically enhanced body is muscular and slim, built athletically and powerfully, without scar or blemish. The Elixir of Life halted the aging process, and also made her immune to diseases and harmful chemicals, and she can also go long periods without eating or drinking. Her strength and durability are phenomenal, and at one time she only feared the explosive force of a bursting shell. Since partaking in the Ritual of Shadows, her strength and fortitude have increased exponentially. Now virtually invulnerable, she is also strong enough to lift a train engine with little effort.

Under the Hood
For Juno's background, I had much more free reign than I had for Orlando. I threw some Frankenstein and alchemy in there, an evil husband, and a family in trouble to explain why she turned to this secret society of assassins and anarchists for aid. At PL 8 initially (as Orlando was), Juno was still pretty capable against the rabble that the church sent against us. She got more fearsome after the Ritual of Shadows. I toyed briefly with giving her claws and some venom that would Fatigue or Nauseate foes, but ultimately I decided that didn't fit her concept. Juno was meant to be a straight up brick, like Luke Cage or Ben Grimm or Jennifer Walters - tougher than nails and solving every conceivable problem with a good right hook.

Most adventures, Orlando would sneak into the target area and then at a prearranged time or signal, Juno would smash through the wall and start busting heads. Simple but effective and very fun.

Despite that elaborate backstory I devised, none of it ever really came up in play. Beyond her daughter's name, the rest of her family was never defined. Her husband, who I thought would make a good recurring villain, never showed up once. Orlando's family (Favazza, some cousins and neighbors, at least) took far more precedence. It made a kind of sense, actually, that Juno would want her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren somewhere far from Rome and protected by the Shadow Society, while she carried out various jobs for the society in return.

Yojimbo
Posts: 658
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:31 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Orlando Palladino, Juno Grimaldi]

Post by Yojimbo » Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:18 am

The Steampunk Rome mini-campaign was a lot of fun. I only had two PCs in it during the duration, although I brainstormed a whole bunch of them. We'll get to them shortly, but first, since my GM never built Lodovico, I went ahead and made him myself. So he's next.

MacynSnow
Posts: 2716
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: The Multiverse in My Head: Fantastic Victoriana [Orlando Palladino, Juno Grimaldi]

Post by MacynSnow » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:31 pm

Yojimbo wrote:
Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:18 am
The Steampunk Rome mini-campaign was a lot of fun. I only had two PCs in it during the duration, although I brainstormed a whole bunch of them. We'll get to them shortly, but first, since my GM never built Lodovico, I went ahead and made him myself. So he's next.
I like how this Combo turned out for you.The whole Musketeer/Assassin's Creed/Victorian Steampunk combo turned out real well for Rome.
If i ever made a PC for this,he'd eithe be a Battlesuit(Ex-Templar or Cog trying to stop them) or a True Skillmonkey Musketeer(Royal Spy that constantly hits on Juno,despite the fact that she's an "Older Woman")

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