Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

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keithcurtis
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Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

Postby keithcurtis » Thu May 07, 2015 1:57 am

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Interest | Rules | Rules Discussion | Pope | Enny | Brady | Pachmar

This is an early pulp setting, around 1910, give or take five to ten years. The characters are all members of or affiliated with the Venture Society, a gentlemen’s (and ladies’) club dedicated to pushing back the frontiers of human knowledge and exploration. It’s a big world with lots of dark and unknown quarters where one might find lost cities, strange races, bizarre artifacts and dark villainy.

This campaign uses the PbP system I am playtesting, called “Postal”. It’s very derivative of FATE and similar, and shouldn’t be that hard to learn. The system can be found here, and discussion about it can be found here. This is a playtest, so I welcome feedback on mechanics, or ideas to make it run better or more smoothly. Doubtless it will evolve as we play.

Campaign Background

The Venture Society
Found it 1810, by Charles and Abigail Venture, a husband and wife team of explorers and scientists, the Venture Society was set up to promote similar exploration and study of the fabulous world we live in. The main headquarters in in London, and is primarily used as a museum, but there is a private floor above the main museum used by members. Members are chosen through sponsorship of an existing member. Their duties and obligations are actually few, since the trust set up by the Ventures covers day-to-day expenditures. The club does sometimes sponsor expeditions, but this is usually through the patronage of retired members. The club area has meeting rooms, a gymnasium, a kitchen and dining area, drawing room, library and other amenities, plus sleeping chambers for occasional use. Club members have full usage of the main rooms. Each member also receives a ring bearing the VS crest upon it, guaranteeing them aid or succor from fellow members (or special attention from the club’s enemies).

Members are expected to render aid and favors to the Society at large in return. Wealthy members make donations, explorers lend or donate artifacts to the museum for display, scholars donate their expertise, etc. It’s an informal relationship, but it works. Very often, members are asked to make presentations or give lectures about their discoveries, inventions or achievements, as well.

The current president of the society is Sir Reginald Maybury, a 80 year old man, but still hale and hearty. He is a former adventurer himself, and a retired professor of archaeology, and former soldier (Colonel) of the Queen. The scholars and and explorers of the society call him Sir Reginald, former military types tend to call him Colonel Maybury, or just “The Colonel”.
Although the Venture Museum and Society Headquarters are in London, the Society has smaller establishments in Paris, New York and Rome. It also maintains offices in half a dozen other cities.
Members of the Society hail from all over the world, and although it still largely a man’s world (and a white man’s world at that) in the world at large, the Society is well-known for its egalitarian and cosmopolitan outlook. There are members of both sexes, and many races and nationalities.


The World of the Society
This is the state of the world at the time of the campaign. Although I don’t plan to adhere religiously to historical accuracy, this is a rough and ready guide. PCs (and their enemies) can always have the opportunity to have more cutting-edge or unique personal equipment than what is described below.

Communication
Telephones are available, but still rare in any but the homes of the affluent.Telegraph is the most likely way to get a long distance message somewhere quickly; there are no transatlantic calls. Radio is available, but not for broadcast. Most radio uses morse code, but the transmission of normal sound is beginning to catch on.

Transportation
Cars are also only owned by the wealthy, as the mass-produced Model T has only been out for a few years. They do exist, but not in mass production—this is still the age of the horse. Flight is still very experimental, and the airship and the balloon are the rule of the day, perhaps more so than in real-world history. The Panama Canal has not yet been built.

Warfare
Hand held automatic pistols and rifles exist. Tanks are just being invented. Hand grenades won’t be developed for a while yet, but dynamite is available. Cavalry is still a major player on the battlefield. The Great War and its rapid advances in general weaponry still lies in the future.

Media
Photography is widely available, but still not in casual use. The gramophone is common, and aficionados may have home cylinder recording capability. Moving pictures exist, and a few theaters have appeared. Films are silent and short. the kinetoscope and similar technologies are being outmoded. The typewriter has been invented, but is not yet commonplace.

Current Events
I will be intentionally vague on this point, partially to avoid the necessity of scrupulous research, and most;y because this is not really a feature of the source literature. Few pulps of the 20’s for instance would even give the reader an inkling that the worst world-wide depression in history was going on, other than occasional mention of bread lines or soup kitchens. Wilhelm is the Kaiser of Germany, Edward is the King of England. Roosevelt is the President of the US. Don’t worry about the exact year. It’s 1910-ish. Edward and Roosevelt are more colorful than George and Taft.
Colonialism is a going strong. The six major colonial powers are Great Britain, Russia, France, Germany, The United States and Japan. The latter two are only starting their colonial periods, and the protectorates and possessions of Great Britain are greater than the other five combined. Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and numerous other, primarily European, nations have many possessions as well.
English and French will make you understood in most places in the world.

Geography
This is where I will play the most fast and loose from our own world. The literature of the era is filled with tales of unexplored reaches of Africa, Asia, South America and the far seas. There are countless stories of lost continents, lost cities, bizarre (non-human?) tribes, isolated plateaus, and so forth. Consider the bulk of the Non Western (i.e. Europe, The US and Russia) to be fair game for unexplored areas.

Science
Assume the prevailing science theories of the time are accurate. Light is carried through space by the medium of the ether. Relativity is not how the universe works. Heredity is understood, but not modern genetics. No such thing as atomic power. Mars and Venus are likely candidates for life. Continents can sink or rise, but not drift.
At the same time, don’t feel hamstrung by those theories either. Life might be created by growing people in a vat. An “ether propellor” might some day take people through space. There might be materials out there with bizarre properties, like being light as cork but stronger than steel, or being able to defy gravity. Anything is possible, with a good enough SCIENCE! explanation.


NPCs

Dr. William Wallace MacGregor
Scots engineer and theoretical scientist. Particularly good at interpreting technical subjects for the general masses. Charming and folksy in front of an audience, but pompous in private.

Albert Swain
English Concierge of the London Society. Highly organized, adept at handling eccentric personalities, frighteningly efficient at remembering names and personal details. Always carries clipboard.

Professor Horace Witherspoon, (ret.)
Brilliant philologist. His published work deteriorated in later years, but after his (forced?) retirement, has shown a marked and insightful renaissance.

Lord Henry Ransdell*
One of the Society’s wealthiest members. Illegitimate (but adopted) son of the Earl of Drury. Larger than life, rugged and handsome adventurer type. Spends a lot of time in Africa, and is a favorite for Maybury’s successor.

Sir Reginald Maybury*
President of the Society, a 80 year old man, but still hale and hearty. He is a former adventurer himself, and a retired professor of archaeology, and former soldier (Colonel) of the Queen. The scholars and and explorers of the society call him Sir Reginald, former military types tend to call him Colonel Maybury, or just “The Colonel”.

Paulo Vitor
Retired Spanish Banker, living in Northern France. Father of Enrique Vitor Damo da Rosa (Enny).

Professora de Matematica Marsella Fuentes
Retired Spanish Professor of Mathematics, though she still publishes. Living in Northern France. Mother of Enrique Vitor Damo da Rosa (Enny).

S. Cavor
Obscure metallurgist. Possibly a crackpot. Hums incessently.

Nawab
Famous gatka guru who trained Pachmar Uttamjodh Singh.
Last edited by keithcurtis on Tue May 26, 2015 8:43 pm, edited 9 times in total.

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Re: Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

Postby Lord Foul » Thu May 07, 2015 11:06 am

Professor Eldritch Pope

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Born in rural England in 1870, Eldritch Pope was educated at an English public school and went on to study mathematics at Cambridge and various other sciences at Edinburgh and the relatively new Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since leaving university (actually storming out following some unpleasantness over an explosion in his laboratory) he has devoted his time and energies to the pursuit of science and technology, aided by a generous legacy left to him by a wealthy maiden aunt.

He has a generally poor view of the establishment's rather backward attitude to science, believing himself to be on the verge of some great breakthrough that will show them all his genius and earn him the worldwide reputation he so richly deserves. He joined the Venture Society in order to have the opportunities to get noticed for his great works, having been nominated by his old friend and former tutor at Edinburgh, Dr Joseph Bell.

Caucasian male around 40 years old. Dark hair cut fairly short, with no beard but a moustache with waxed tips. Usually wears a long black coat (with many pockets) over a waistcoat and striped shirt, and a black top hat. Cigar smoker. Carries a walking cane holding a concealed sword and a Mauser semi-automatic pistol in a shoulder holster.

When travelling, carries a variety of gadgets and tools in the pockets of his coat and with his normal accoutrements in a pair of Gladstone bags carried by his Indian Sikh manservant Pachmar.

Mental (4)
Genius inventor
Figure out how it works
I read something about that
I have just the device for that

Physical (3)
Highly durable
Fast healing
Nimble

Combat (2)
Crack shot
Fencing master

Social (1)
Speak many languages

Drawbacks (3)
Accident prone
Self-centered
Narcissist, craves fame

The Professor's house, near Weybridge, Surrey

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The Professor's car, a Reeves Sexto-Auto

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Inventory of Gadgets and Contraptions

Portable
Walking cane with concealed sword
Mauser semi-automatic pistol with ammunition
Small tin containing several pairs of earplugs
Very pistol with several different coloured flares
Collapsing telescope
Compass, sextant, charts of the South Seas
Bullseye lantern

Less Portable
Crate of brandy and a large box of cigars
Set of tools for miscellaneous inventing
Crate of dynamite
Lewis Gun with supply of ammunition
Engine supercharger
Last edited by Lord Foul on Thu May 28, 2015 2:37 pm, edited 13 times in total.
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Re: Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

Postby Ikoma » Thu May 07, 2015 12:00 pm

Pachmar Uttamjodh Singh

Born in the early 1880s in the Punjabi region of India, Uttamjodh is the fifth of nine children. With two older brothers, two older sisters, two younger brothers, two younger sisters, he was often overlooked. His family had been sikh farmers for generations and young Uttamjodh expected nothing more. But fate and life intervened. While every young man in his village studied gatka as a part of their physical education and in preparation for earning the right to wear the kirpan, the ritual dagger representing a sikh's willingness and desire to defend the faith at any moment, not every young man was called upon to use the art in so dramatic a fashion. At the age of 14, while taking a short cut from a watering hole for cattle with several other young boys, Uttamjodh was set upon by a baagh (tiger). Every other boy fled, leaving the cattle to die and to serve a distraction, thus saving their lives. But not Uttamdjoh. Instead, the young boy used the shaft of bamboo he had been using a walking stick and cattle prop to defend the herd and himself. Through coincidence and luck, with a helpful dose of talent and skill, young Uttamjodh killed the tiger and earned himself attention and renown. Within the month, the famous gatka guru Nawab had visited the village and pronounced that the boy must join him at his akhara where he continued to grow and develop, becoming a fearsome fighter indeed.

At the age of 20, while undertaking a day long meditation to bring his mind closer to god's, Uttamjodh had a vision of an Englishman with a waxed mustache. Understanding god's purpose for him, Uttamjodh realized he must follow this man, dedicating his life to serving a man and a culture he had not met. The guru was of course disappointed Uttamjodh would not be staying to continue his path as a warrior, but Uttamjodh has found plenty of opportunities to practice his forms in the wider world.

Uttamjodh is a reasonably tall man (6' 1") who is solidly built (260 lbs). His skin is only a shade or two darker than the typical European and he could pass for an Italian or any Mediterranean man. He has a thick bushy black beard of curly hair. He wears a turban of blue died cotton that adds several imposing inches to his height and covers his nearly waist-long black hair. He typically wears a deep blue double breasted suit with a yellow sash. The sash is actually a sword belt and Uttamjodh wears a 3 foot curved kirpan (sword) as often as local law allows. The only other constant (that would be easily seen) is an iron bracelet on his right arm. It's almost an inch wide with inset gold letters in gurmukhi. Uttamjodh is a man of quiet ritual and strength.

While his given name is Uttamjodh Singh, most people in the west call him Pachmar (as it's easier to pronounce) even those it's a title rather than a name - a direct consequence of his tiger killing as a young man. In fact, most people in the west think his name actually IS Pachmar.

Mental: 1
Eliminate the Impossible (Uttamjodh can see through slight of hand and other forms of misdirection)

Physical: 3
Acrobat (essentially the pre-parkour parkour, see Jackie Chan running up walls, etc.)
Yoga (increased personal healing recovery time)
Exalted Senses (not Daredevil, but able to use hearing/touch/smell to a much greater degree than normals)

Combat: 4
Gatka (Sikh martial art)
Pachmar (killed a tiger in hand to hand combat)
The Nihang Has No Fear (consuming a concoction of bhang turns him into a cold, emotionless warrior)
The World is my Weapon (almost anything can become a weapon in the hands of a trained warrior)

Social: 2
Invisible (he's not physically invisible of course, but a combination of skin color, dress, and mannerism let him blend into the background. he's seen but not registered.)
Trust of the Innocent (those who are not individuals of ill-intent just find him someone to unburden themselves to)

Drawbacks: 1
The Ten Prohibitions of Sikhim
Last edited by Ikoma on Mon May 11, 2015 3:27 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

Postby goatunit » Thu May 07, 2015 12:28 pm

Charles Williford Brady, "The Indiana Icarus"

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Charles was born on a farm in Wabash County, Indiana in 1883. He earned his first nickel as a street acrobat in Indianapolis, and soon made a living demonstrating the safety of a new model of bicycle for the Mount Holly Bicycle company by purposely crashing in entertaining ways with a traveling show. Addicted to the thrills of speed and danger, Charles stayed with the show when it was bought out by the Ringling Brothers and went on to perform many death-defying stunts with the circus for money and acclaim.

In late 1907, John Ringling himself consulted with Charles on the purchase of several Wright Model aircraft in the interest of starting an air show. It was a huge success early on, mostly involving planes racing against cars or daredevils leaping from planes into nets below. Tragedy struck in 1910, however, when Charles lost control of his Model EX and crashed into the bleachers at an exhibition, wounding 12 and killing three--including John's youngest nephew. In response to the negative publicity and personal heartache, the Ringling Brothers shuttered the fledgling program and let Charles cart off the busted plane in exchange for a modest sum.


Physical 3
Any Wreck You Walk Away From... (+2)
Exceptional Equilibrium

Mental 2
Mechanical Intuition
Spatial Awareness

Social 2
Carny Showmanship
Won't Stay Down

Combat 3
High Striker Strongman
Takes a Lickin' (+2)

Drawbacks 3
Can't Resist a Dare
Reckless
Sucker

Gear: Wright Model EX (2-seater plane), FN Browning 1910 pistol, box of La Confederacion Suiza Cuban cigars, Ronson Pist-O-Lighter, throw-out parachute, tool kit, Kodak No. 2 Brownie Box Camera (w/ five rolls of film, 8 exposures each), binoculars, journal and scrapbook.
Last edited by goatunit on Wed May 27, 2015 1:49 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

Postby tombombodil » Thu May 07, 2015 1:15 pm

Enrique Vitor Damo da Rosa (Enny to his friends)

(sorry if this is a little long)

Found a picture I liked! Not actually an old picture, but the clothes were period enough.

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Born in Salamanca Espana, Enny was the only child of the Banker Paulo Vitor and Professora de Matematica Marsella Fuentes. He was a bright, handsome lad who always had a way with people. Never the strongest or most responsible of sorts, Enny had to rely on his substantial wit and charm when confronted with ruffians or disgruntled elders; he was only ever a few quick words and an infectious smile away from (at least temporary) safety.

When he was 19 lazily skating through his university studies his Father became very I'll. The Doctor said it was a chronic and incurable condition, that while not lethal, would make life very difficult if not managed. On the doctors recommendation his parents (knowing Enny was more than capable of looking after himself) moved to the North of France where the cooler climate would aide in his Father's health.

Being rather short sighted (no matter how clever), with no pressure from his family to continue his studies Enny dropped out of college and started work for a gambling house where he used to relax after school. He was eventually scouted out and recruited by an arm of a crime family based in Madrid. Again being rather short sited, and drawn by the lure of wealth and the romance of the fast life Enny didn't hesitate to sign on.

His employers used his unparalleled skills at seduction, manipulation, and persuasion to settle many a score and secure many a prize. They taught him how to pick locks and hand cuffs, how to trap doors, and other such skulduggery to supplement his natural talents, and he picked this all up as quickly and effortlessly as if his roguishness was carved direct into his bones.

He was sold out by his employers (now near enough a second family) to cover their own when a huge deal went south and he was assigned 20 years in a Prison in Sevilla for his extensive involvement in numerous criminal enterprises. Here, after 5 years of confinement, the Society found him and offered to take him on as a sort of indentured professional with the promise of his slate being wiped clean in return for his services.

Physical (2)
Nimble
Handsome

Mental (2)
A Rogue's Talents
Streetwise

Social (4)
Skilled Negotiator
Charismatic
Fast Talker
Fits in anywhere

Combat (2)
Fisticuffs
Duck, dodge, and roll

Drawbacks (3)
Acts before he thinks
Soft-side
Claustrophobic
Last edited by tombombodil on Thu May 28, 2015 1:52 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

Postby keithcurtis » Mon May 11, 2015 2:47 pm

It occurs to me that play has started and we should move relevant discussion here. We can still keep character creation stuff in the Interest thread.

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Re: Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

Postby keithcurtis » Mon May 11, 2015 2:50 pm

Lord Foul wrote:Oh I can manage that. I'd struggle to do a whole half hour on real science though. I don't actually know anything about this stuff. All my ideas come from Wikipedia and Google. :D

Thank goodness for those. I'm glad that Al Gore created the Internet for those great RPG tools. I hear some folks have figured out how to use them for other stuff.

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Re: Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

Postby Lord Foul » Mon May 11, 2015 2:56 pm

Copied here to put it in the right place...

keithcurtis wrote:
Lord Foul wrote:Yes, now he asks, what is the symposium about? :eh:


The Society holds quarterly symposia on general principles, and these are usually mostly opportunities for members to present recent discoveries, inventions or exploits. They are arranged by mail or telegraph, with correspondence starting from the closing of the previous symposium. Members receive notification and all are invited to attend. Unless something unexpected happens, there are no extemporaneous presentations. Sometimes members request to be speakers, sometimes the director will be aware of their exploits or publishings and invite them. Presentations last from a half hour to an hour, usually interspersed with smoking, drinking, eating and talking. Some attend just for the social aspect of keeping in touch with other members.

The closest thing you can have to an “About” is the Keynote Speaker, who in this case is hear to present recent accomplishments in American engineering. MacGregor is actually from Scotland, but went to America to consult several years ago and has made a rather big name for himself there. MacGregor has a great and intuitive talent for presenting and explaining the works of others, in the opinion of many.

Because of the ad hoc nature of these symposia, they can vary greatly in size. This one is rather small, which probably reflects worse on MacGregor than Pope.

As for Professor Pope in particular, be creative. :)
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Re: Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

Postby Lord Foul » Mon May 11, 2015 2:56 pm

Lord Foul wrote:
keithcurtis wrote:As for Professor Pope in particular, be creative. :)

Thanks. I've rolled with the aviator hook and come up with a new application using Louis Renault's 1902 design for a centrifugal supercharger (on the basis that the French aren't as litigious as the Americans) to boost the power of aero engines.

There are a number of potential drawbacks and pitfalls to this idea, most in keeping with both the professor's first drawback and the pilot's nickname. :shifty:

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the other members find it all a bit far-fetched.
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Re: Tales of the Venture Society - OOC

Postby goatunit » Mon May 11, 2015 2:57 pm

Brady is a member of the society, but is happy to avoid any expectation that he should say something smart.


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