1879: The Expendables

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ChrisDDickey
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:26 pm

Shortly after I returned to my seat, Smyth and Miss Withakay both left the room. Smyth returned and smoothly passed notes to McFly and myself, asking for our assistance in the library. Excusing myself, I found the old expedition assembled, and Smyth quickly brought us up to speed. Apparently, certain government officials had reason to believe that somebody was going to try to steal some important papers entrusted to the care of Lord Bruce sometime during the evening. Smyth had been tasked by someone in authority to see to it that did not happen. And it apparently just had.

We went to the ladies morning room and I got a much more careful look at the scene. I retrieved the pearl I had spotted earlier, and sure enough it was a cheap faux pearl button. We think it likely that it might have been dropped by (one of) the persons who demolished the desk and stole the papers, but other than the pearl being cheap and faux, there was nothing to tell whether it came from a man or woman's outfit. We all quickly compared the observations we had made. 
  • The desk had been blown up. There was no gunpowder residue. Nobody had heard an explosion. The explosion had been perfectly applied. The explosion and the debris were contained in a perfect circle centered on the desk. The desk was utterly and completely destroyed, and many of the papers that were left behind (all unimportant) were very damaged, thus it seems not unlikely that the demolitionist knew exactly where in the desk the papers were being kept, that implies that there may have been some inside knowledge at play. 
  • McFly was positive that despite the lack of residue, the explosive device must have been physical, rather than magical. The expertness with which the demolition force was made and applied, combined with the noise muting shield suggests a Brassman, working with a Mage. 
We also combined our knowledge of the people of the party to come up with a list of suspects:
  • Christina and Wilferd Carnalls, human, out of date clothing, very unhappy about rabbit hole and especially the British only administering of it. Want other governments involved. 
  • Milford Blult, elf, trying, but clothing not up to snuff.
  • Lauretta Connor - elf, very fancy, showy clothing. Clearly husband hunting. 
  • Jonathan Jephcots - Human - appropriate clothing. 
  • Lord George Fitsgerald, human, big game hunter, wonderful fellow, interested in my pictures and stories. Some of clothes a bit worn.  Political aspersions.
  • Lord Gilbert Morrissey, Snark, excellent clothes.  In House of Lords, eclipsed and influence falling since LGF. 
  • Ossie Watson, human, faux pearl. 
  • Whites, human couple - newlyweds, Smyth noticed Annabell snuck off in 2nd coarse.  Benjamin, is military officer, over the moon in love. Says wife Anabelle is scatterbrained, but thinks it is adorable. 
  • O'Callaghans, Clarence human, Delphine is troll. Smyth noticed Delphine obviously nervous anytime rabbit hole related topics are mentioned. 
Only three of these have clothing that is likely to contain a Faux Pearl button: Milford Blult, Lord George Fitsgerald, Ossie Watson. 

Only three people we know of who are mages are Erika, her date Lord Sters, and Lady Augustas Ladies Maid. We considered the Ladies Maid as a suspect, but I did not see it. It is one of the most trusted positions in the household, and she would not need to destroy the desk at a banquet. She could  have quietly opened the desk at any time, copied the papers, and quietly replaced them. Since we think each of the three known mages are unlikely, we are looking for more mages. 

Smyth informs us that Major White is, of course, not a naval officer, nor wearing landship or engineering ribbons, so he is unlikely to have brassman experience. We have no information that any of the guests are skilled Brassmen. 
Lord Bruce is pro-magic and pro rabbit hole, Bruce might be trying to bolster Morrissey career. 

Smyth walked in on Annabelle White in the library, riffling papers. She pulled out a notebook and said  "Ah Ha, what do you know".
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Slimcreeper
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by Slimcreeper » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:10 am

A mystery!

LexiLiegh
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by LexiLiegh » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:08 pm

Who is grabbing me? Oh! It's the maid. She looks angry, is it because of the mark? Uhg, I really don't have time for this. I know, kiss her! That always throws people off for some reason. I'm not sure why. She makes some vague threats, but they are somewhat lacking at first. Why doesn't she believe that I am curious? It really is all it was. Wait, what about the mark? It can do things, and that tone. Can I turn that against her? I am not sure, she is kind of scary now.

Oh gods, what is McFly doing? Why is the troll lady crying? I have to get her out of here. Let's get her calmed down. Wait, who is this guy that followed us out? Delphine's husband? Why is he saying this weird stuff? Is he hitting on me, with his wife right there? Just disengage.

Wait, did he just bad mouth Lord Sters? That can not stand. Well, maybe this will teach him? (as she stuns him doing half his health in a blow).

Who is that guy with the shiny aura? Jeffcott, and Fitzgerald are friends? Well Jeffcott is a mage.


OOC: Coming soon! "Tryst" By Erik Uh. A steamy tale of a young girl promised adventure and experience by a stern Lady's Maid...(not really, but it has been determined that Erika is an avid fan and writer of trashy romance novels.
Last edited by LexiLiegh on Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Minion of GMAndi

Hey all, if you really enjoy these journals come check us out live or recorded. www.twitch.tv/gamemasterandij

Be warned, we are rated A+, for Andi(she trained me). We are also very educational.

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

Post by Psitanium » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:25 pm

Back in the dining room, I was served lamb, which did not have any eyes when it arrived on my plate. This was at least an improvement over the last course. The folks around me began discussing religion and magic, two subjects I am deeply familiar with but thought it was better not to discuss. However, Rachel coaxed me to join this lively debate. Seeing as this was a social engagement and I was being asked to be sociable, I reluctantly engaged. Everything seemed to go well. I mentioned the oddity of magic being real, having no magical inclination myself, and inquired whether anyone at the table felt changed by the experience. I had a lively discussion on the possibilities of fish doing a riverdance on the table, which seemed to upset a few people. While I had everyone’s attention, I subtly suggested that magic can be used with the correct focal point, such as a pearl button. This did not produce any further evidence to solve our mystery, sadly. However there were subtle clues in the mystery of whether I should be allowed to speak in public and those clues pointed squarely to “no”. And so I slunk back in my seat and enjoyed the seemingly normal cake that was placed in front of me.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Feb 24, 2020 7:45 am

From the Journal of Lord Bentley Bootle. 
Most of this section is stuff I learned later on, when we finally had a chance to compare notes in detail. I include here the stuff my comrades learned, because this is when they learned it, even though I did not hear it until later. 

Smyth talked with Annabel White, who he determined was secretly (even from her husband apparently) an Investigative Journalist, using the pen name A.O. Black. She thought there was a story here somewhere, but apparently had a different thread than we had. She apparently had some inkling that Lady Bruce was the real brains behind Lord Bruce's success, and thought there might be some sort of Scandal attached to such a revelation. I am not certain how she thought the headlines "Wife suspected of being cleverer than her Husband, read the shocking details" was going to sell many papers. Smyth got her to compare notes with him, but I am not certain he got any useful information. She did opine that Morrissey might feel that a Bruce scandal might elevate his own fortunes. 

I found the diner interminable. It was impossible to have a quiet word with anybody, or to engage in conversation with anybody more than a few seats away. At one time I was reduced to passing secret notes like a schoolboy. Normally at these things, I appreciate the banquet, and loath the dancing. At this one I could not wait for the dancing to start, if for no other reason than that then one is somewhat free to ignore the dancing sometimes, and huddle up with the persons one wants to converse with. 

Milford Blult happened to be seated not far from me, and I could see that not only were his pearl buttons cheap, but there were ill-sown as well, as he was missing a faux pearl button on his inside shirt. I engaged him in conversation and found him disarming, a good conversationalist, and, other than his wardrobe, nothing suspicious about him at all. In conversation he evidenced mild interest in things magical, but displayed no startling insights. He displayed no interest in things mechanical. Still I slipped a note to Smyth asking Miss Withakay to assense his aura. Miss Withakay eventually reported Milford Blult shows no sign of being magically active, but that both the troll Delphine O'Callaghans and the socialite Lauretta Connor, while untrained seem to have the potential to be mages. She also said that the lovely and young Julia Bruce has the potential to wield priestly magic! However as all three appear totally raw and untrained it seems impossible for them to have cast any useful spells. She did report that Jonathan Jephcots seems to be a fully trained mage, and thus he has to go to the top of our short list of more probably suspects. 

Others observed that neither Fitsgerld nor Ossie Watson were missing pearls, nor were mages. Smyth observed that Ossie Watson had calluses on her hands, and that there was something odd about the way her skirt lay, (as if she might have something concealed). Thus she has to go to the head of the list of suspected Brassmen. 

Due to the fact that Miss Withakay set off a ward on the desk mere minutes before the desk was destroyed and robbed, The Maid (whom is a mage) suspected Erika of being the thief, and confronted her. Irika was vague about her methods, but seems to have pulled off some sort of Arcane Muttering to befuddle her mind. It is somewhat amazing that she had not been accused already by this point. I can only speculate that Lord Sterns reputation protected her beyond all credulance. 

Meanwhile the dinner conversation near the head of the table was going very well, I had a lovely conversation with Miss Julia about nature photography, and it turns out that if I am at the west pavilion rose garden at the botanical next Thursday afternoon we might run into each other. Lower down the table the conversation was going abysmally. McFly raved gibberish and caused embarrassment and confusion, driving Delphine O'Caliagan to tears. Her husband Clarence revealed himself to be a rakish jerk. Meanwhile, Wilferd Carnalls was raving about dead people walking (I assume he was talking about dispatches from the Samsuit). I was glad I was not sitting near those mortifying scenes.

So our list of suspects becomes more defined. The evidence seems to point to Erika Withakay as being the rouge mage, but giving her the benefit of the doubt, then Jonathan Jephcots is the only known mage we have not tentatively cleared. If he is the guilty one, then Lord George Fitsgerald might be (one of) his accomplice(s), since they were seen leaving and reentering the banquet together. Ossie Watson is our chief (only) suspect for being the thieves brassman. She is wearing faux pearl's, but while she is apparently not missing any, she might have lost the pearl from an inconspicuous place. Milford Blult is our only suspect that seems to be missing a faux pearl button. 

At this point, my best guess was a team of Jephcots and Watson. Mage and Brassman. Miss Watson having concealed pockets in her skirts that might have once carried a bomb, and might now be carrying stolen letters.  But how to test my Hypothesis?

Note: ToDo. I know we said we were going to jump ahead to the the dance, but I thought of one more thing to talk about during the banquet. During the last course of the Banquet, bring conversation around my amazement of the clever design of the shutter of my camera, that can be adjusted to operate in such precise, subsecond increments. See if anybody (especially Bluit) evidences a brassmans knowledge or interest in such clever clockwork.

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

Post by Psitanium » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:22 pm

After dinner, we were forced into enjoying a period of dancing in the ballroom, a fine activity to do on a full stomach. Just when I thought I had become the biggest embarrassment of the night, spell woman and photo hunter attempted some plans to look up a lady’s dress. Granted, she was a suspect in our continuing investigation, but it was also verifiably hilarious. By the end, the hunter and the lady laid on the floor in a somewhat compromising position atop a pool of expensive champagne. Taking this as a sign, I subtly examined the underside of her skirt, to see of anything questionable was being smuggled. Unfortunately, all I could see was layer upon layer of ruffled fabric. In retrospect, this would have been very creepy if anyone was paying attention to me. Of course, they were not. Trying to deflect attention, I sidled up to the band and asked them to play something at the highest tempo they knew. My attempts at getting eyes off our team were in vein, as our suspects started to spread out from the ballroom. The rest of the team seemed to be keeping a close eye on our most likely suspects, so I saw my opportunity to move away from these high society shenanigans.
My first stop, the coat closet to retrieve my grenade-laden top hat. My second, the carriages once more to investigate potential evidence under the seats, behind the doors, or atop the horses. However, as I passed through the grand hall, the sound of broken glass hit my ears in the direction of the terrace. Normally, I am the cause of broken glass, so the notion that someone else had destroyed valuable drinking crystal was far too intriguing to pass up further investigation. I turned on my heels and headed toward the marble terrace immediately.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by ChrisDDickey » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:02 pm

Lord Bentley's journal continued. 
In order to test Milford Blutt's interest in and knowledge of Brassment, I bent the conversation at my table towards Brassmen by talking about my camera's marvelous new shutter. Blutt commented that nowadays Brassmen can do things that seem magical. He seemed more interested in Magic than Brass. He did say he had seem wonders of Brass, but refused to elaborate upon it. At the  time I adjudged his comments as 70% suspicious. 

After the banquet, some of us got a chance to do a hurried comparing of observations. Annabelle White told Smyth that Jephcots & Fritsgerald were disheveled. when they came back together, and that she suspects gross indecency. She also confirmed Smyth's own observations that Ossie Watson is not moving right, but is moving as if she is carrying a great weight. Also that there is something wrong with her hands. 

The ball started, and it was delightful. I danced with Lady Bruce on the third dance of the evening, right after she danced with her father. She accepted dances with me two additional times just within the first hour of the dance (I know that such an aggressive schedule is greatly daring, but I feel that one must occasionally throw caution to the wind in such things).

I had been discretely watching Ossie, and agreed that she carried herself as if she was encumbered with a great weight. I imagined she might be carrying many stone of burglary tools. After showing enough focused attention to Lady Julia to clearly signal my regard, I made sure to start working though the list of other women that etiquette demanded I dance with: My cousin Winnifred, the daughters of my mothers friends, etc. I also approached Miss Watson, and she agreed to a sedate dance. She hid it well, but I could tell that she was moving very heavily, and with much more mass than apparent. Near the end of the dance, Miss Withakay swayed up, and seemed to accidentally spill champagne on the lower dress. Erika then tried to daub the gown, but Ozzie dexterously fended her help off, and Erika did not so much as get a single hand upon it. I moved behind Miss Watson, then pretended to slip on the spilled champagne, and grabbed Miss Watsons shoulders, then on my way to the floor "accidentally" kicked her legs out from under her, and pulled her down on top of me. 

Having her land on top of me was quite painful and left remarkable bruises. At the time, I had no idea what I was feeling. She weighed a whole lot, and it was iron. It was not loose tools, but instead felt like a single object, but it also did not feel like she was wearing plate armor. Whatever it was was nobby and very, very heavy. 

Milford Blult was right there, and helped her up, and smoothed over the spectacle. The two of them then left the ballroom together. Annable White followed them. I apologize to all present, and then stayed well back and followed Mrs White. They went through the gallery, great hall and conservatory, and out onto the terrace,and started to descend to the Marble Terrace. I noticed the Maid following them as well. By the time we reached the Terrace by way of the conservatory, Smyth was already there, passing out drinks to the few people taking the air. I started to circle around down a side stairway to attempt to follow them from the side, when Annabell made a grab at one of them. 

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

Post by Psitanium » Thu Mar 12, 2020 8:26 pm

My excitement was so palpable upon reaching the doors to the terrace that I spun on my heels, put my hand atop my hat and glided backwards through the door, just as someone was opening it from the opposite side. This was truly an impressive display. It was as if I was walking upon the moon, as I imagine moon people move this way daily.
Spell lady had a determined look on her face, prompting me to ask about the plan. Upon hearing that there was none, I noticed the maid she was staring at moving toward the garden and pursued. However, the action soon moved to the side garden as our lead suspects took a hurried pace away from the estate. We converged upon them in a similar fashion to those bipedal lizards, proving that we have indeed learned something during our adventures abroad. Trolldier headed the man off and punched him as is his custom. The lady proved more difficult however, revealing she kept some arachnid marital aids underneath her dress. The clockwork scorpions that emerged were very upset and began shooting at spell lady. Surprisingly, she was not scorpion-proof and found herself flat on the ground.
This was my chance. I had waited all night for the moment I could deploy the Electric Bugaboo and this was that moment. I flipped over my hat, pulled the grenade pin inside and tossed it towards the scorpion queen. This proved more effective than I ever imagined. Watching the sparks tingle over the scorpions and sending her into a completely unconscious state was what I call a rousing success. Of course, that was literally my only hat trick, which left me with no real combat abilities to speak of. Good thing the scorpions barely noticed me, as photo hunter dragged their mistress toward the garden fountain. This gave me plenty of time to recover my hat. What good fortune that all the parts from the bugaboo were still inside. A quick bodge up and I fashioned myself a device I can only refer to as a “laser enema”. Aforementioned laser enema would find it’s forever home shoved in the backside of one of the scorpions, at which point it activated to great effect. I did notice that the scorpion moved away from me at a hasty pace after that encounter. Perhaps I cleared a blockage.
Of course, now I had pulled off my hat trick twice and there was no way I could do it a third time. It was around this time I notice the trolldier broke a wheelbarrow over the top of the other metallic arachnid and one of the handles was just lying there, tempting me. Suddenly, an idea struck to take up improvisational golf. No matter how fast my enema scorpion ran, it would not stop me from shouting “Five” as I punted it into the side of the fountain. The trolldier finished it off quickly, since I had loosened the top... and the back... and the side.
With that nasty business out of the way, we could get back to the task at hand of... recovering some documents I think. But more importantly, I placed my special hat back on my head. Perhaps I was too quick to judge such a fashion accessory. A certain top hat proved quite useful this evening.

ChrisDDickey
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by ChrisDDickey » Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:40 pm

Lord Bentley's journal, continued. 
We followed the couple deeper into the back garden. It was rather comical, them walking hastily, some two or three of us creeping along after them, and several more people not bothering to creep, but just openly following them. They were walking away from the house, and I was hoping that they would they would get far enough away that when the inevitable fight started, it would attract less attention. Allas, they had pistols, which were clearly heard for quite some distance (though fortunately the shots were muted by the music in the ballroom itself). 

Anyway, I get ahead of myself. We herded them some small distance away from the house, towards the back wall, when they started attempting to angle around to the side. I abandoned stealth to run and put myself solidly between them and the house. Private Smyth confronted them and demanded the return of the stolen papers. Blult tried to talk his way out of it, but Miss Watson decided to deploy two very remarkable machines. Beneath her skirts she had been hiding two brass scorpions, each the size of a medium sized dog. On their tails were mounted pistols. They were autonomous, in that they fought independently of their mistresses direct control. I find myself in complete agreement with Blult's comment of earlier in the evening, the things they are doing in Brass these days are more akin to magic than to any science I can understand. The sensory and control apparatus of such tiny automations seems miraculous to say the very least. 

Watson, Blult, and the two atomontons all fired their pistols, sorely wounding Erika. Erika cast her Thumping spell upon them, and McFly threw a hat at them, which exploded with lightning (don't ask - I have no idea, it is just the sort of thing that McFly does. ). Smyth and I resorted to bare handed fisticuffs, and soon the two living opponents were down, unconscious, but otherwise unhurt. The automotones were still active, and still shooting at Erika. Rather than bother trying to punch brass, I rushed over and picked up the unconscious body of Ozzie Watson, which focused their attention upon myself (amazing programming for such tiny machines). I got shot twice as I dragged her into the garden fountain and around behind the central pillar that held a statue of a cherub. I had hopes that the automotones would attempt to follow me into the fountain, which would mess up their guts. Unfortunately the, by that time sole remaining automotone, shot at me, but missed and hit Miss Watson. Smyth and McFly had beat one to death with a wheelbarrow, and were hard at work on the second . The automonton's were totally ignoring them in their frantic attack upon me. 

By the time Smyth finished beating the last brass contraption to scrap, I had managed to shake off most of the damage that had been done to me, though I still had a wound that needed a bandage, and my shirt would require serious attention to salvage. We (not having any firearms) had fought in relative quite, but the bad guys and their mechanical servators had fired a total of 7 pistol shots. 
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:17 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Andrew1879
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Re: 1879: The Expendables

Post by Andrew1879 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 7:33 pm

Beat it to death with a wheelbarrow?

BWAHAHA

Reminds me of the time I let a mist lynx loose aboard a private jet with a Shadowrun team. The thing kept going desolid, moving through the deck between the passenger compartment and the cargo hold. The decker, who had hidden in the galley, clocked it from behind with a fire extinguisher.

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