A Troubled Childhood

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Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by supermooboo » Sun Mar 27, 2022 9:17 am

“It’s impossible to be good at everything unless you bring a friend or two.” ~ Alvin the Charismatic Baker

We still had a few loose ends to take care of in the room. “Worrysome was the heavy carbine. There was the one with a weird bolt weapon that attempted to activate a strange mechanism, but that turned out to be mostly a dud. And honestly it was Cusa who did the work on that one. It was a close call with the high rate of fire rifle however. The person had a way of aiming for just the right spot and it started to look a bit nasty there for a second. Well for a moment. Just a wee second really.” I realized I should probably be taking threats for what they were and decided to get a little serious. I’ve developed my own unique form of close ranged fighting since losing my arm. Won’t say it’s anything special. It really just involves pistol work and a swift series of kicks and headbutts as a follow up in rapid succession. Typically the series of blows is enough to end even the most above average ilk and this gunman was no exception. “I can still hear the sound of their shins cracking after my boots hit home. Just the price of messing with the Great Alvin Baker!”

The conflict quickly moved to a close following these final exchanges which allowed Bernhard to finish the work on the engine so we could get out of there. “Well not immediately. Made sure to loot the spoils of our toil first! That carbine had given me far too much trouble to leave in the hand of these hired goons. The googles we found were also a nice touch. I’ve been looking for a new pair for a while.” We quickly made our exit back through the tunnels and to an exit streetside where we could vanish into the night. It was a long day and with both Cusa’s welcome home party and the Drop Off for the Society tomorrow I had a big day planned. There was also the matter of Ms. Hannehman although I didn’t learn more about that until the next morning.

Come morning we decided to drop off the various items we had retrieved in the previous for Ms. Hannehman. We felt that dropping off the items at her lawyers office would be the safest drop point considering her house had already been compromised once. Upon arrival we were quickly ushered in and introduced to a new problem (and a new coworker). The individual in question introduced himself as a scientist of Natural Philosophy named Hastings. Elvish but conversation confirmed of the not snobbish sort. Red hair and clearly dressed well above the station of anyone I typically keep company with. Yet not one to stand on ceremony about it. “Needless to say I took a quick liking to the fellow and ended up exchanging thoughts on mechanics and other topics of creation I was familiar with. Seems quite handy with machines. Not really in the practical sense but in a book smart way that I tend to avoid. He answered some questions about some of the contraptions I have run across in my travels like this Weird Science poison sack. Had a dislike for the thing though. Something about ruining his ‘pure mechanical constructs’ whatever that means. Sounds like a load of bull to me but I’m not really one to judge. Smart guy, really. Oh and I should mention that he was there with Ms. Nesbit. Ms. Hanehman had been kidnapped.”

The heart of the matter was that Ms. Hanehman had received a telegram from Hut to meet up about the wrongdoings done to her. She did so and has since gone missing. Her last known whereabouts were at the Welsh Elephant. “We found this out by investigating her house. Hastings apparently has a thing for the telegram. Made quick work of the device and found out the last couple messages put out on the thing. Pretty impressive. Again, smart guy.” We made our way to the Welsh Elephant and I quickly made my way towards tracing where the trouble of the matter was. “For one the restaurant was closed for a death in the family. I could smell foul play though. I moved around back and sure enough there was signs that someone had broken in the back to gain access to the main area. Now I may not be one for danger at the moment but as I’ve said before I have a nose for trouble. It’s going to take a lot more than that to trick Alvin Baker.” Going inside with Hastings confirmed that Hut had clearly used this place as a front for a fake meeting with Hanehman. I would say it was clever of them but honestly Hastings was able to find a slip with an address written on it. “How daft is that! Clearly Hanehman was not lying that she was the brains of the outfit. Well at least idiots are straightforward to deal with.”

The next problem was that the address was in Eeling several miles away. And I mean it would be one thing if Cusa did not have obligations right here in the evening. This worked in my favor because I also had business at night and the party was the perfect excuse to explain away my desire for haste. “We ended up booking a car to make our way. Honestly this was new to me. Never had the shillings much less the pounds to afford this before. Really strange what a lucky break does for a guy. I really have more money than I’ve ever known these days. Best to count my lucky stars while I still do suppose.” Anyway we made our way to the address to find out it was in the rich part of town. “Okay I was a bit shocked. I was expecting a shady sort. I mean that’s where I would take someone after I kidnapped them. Certainly not a bloody mansion! And definitely not my own house. I was starting to wonder if these lot really were idiots. Well either way this got complicated fast. You can’t force your way into money. I’ve learned that the hard way more than once.”

Joined:Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Mar 27, 2022 11:05 pm

Note: With one exception I always had phenomenal dice rolls this session, including a 26 to convince somebody to accept an invitation to a party and 5 straight awareness rolls in the teens. The one roll that was not well above step was the roll to spot two hidden goblins before coming in range of their ambush.

Cusa continues his story.

I turned into a pidgin and did a recon of the house. The garden was surrounded by an 8 foot brick wall (with broken glass on top). There were three gates, a main carriage gate (wrought iron) onto Clifford Road, a garden gate into a field to the north, and a back gate to a small passage to the south, these were both wooden with iron reinforcement and locks. The caretaker's cottage had signs of use, but we were unable to identify any of the people we saw as being the caretaker. The carriage house had no signs of recent use, no ruts or manure pile. I checked the chimneys, but none of the fireplaces below them were in use. 

I saw 3 men patrolling the grounds, a large sturdy ork, a human with a broken arm, and a red haired human. I checked the chimneys, but none seemed to be in current use. I checked all the windows of the house and spied Miss Haunaman in a small first floor bedroom. She seemed very grumpy and was dressed in a very infantilizing dress. I also caught a glimpse of a dwarf sized person inside the house. 

Checking out the gates in more detail, I was ambushed (in my pidgin form mind you) by two creatures that appeared to be dwarfs, dressed fairly normally, but with teeth like a shark! They attacked me with agricultural flails and did much damage before I managed to fly away. 

After I reported what I had observed, Hastings (weird scientist) pulled out a device that would render up to 5 people psychically invisible. Even after a quick healing spell from Rowen, I volunteered to guard the exit as the rest went in to rescue miss Haunaman. They invisibly climbed the wall and holding hands to keep track of each other, walked right past the patrol. Below the window I found, they scaled the shear wall of the building (using ivy and a rope). 

Arriving outside the window they saw that she was talking to a very bizarre woman. Miss Haunaman later told us that she was called Queen Pretty, and was queen of this clan of goblins. This was the first time I had ever seen a goblin (or rather earlier in the day when they had attacked me was the first time). Goblins like I said, look a whole lot like dwarves, but with teeth serrated like a bear trap and magical powers and an innate ability to be hard to spot when they want to be. Anyway, Bernhard and Alvin, after climbing to the window saw Haunaman talking to what looked like a very weird dwarf woman, with serrated teeth and an extra arm growing out from under her normal left arm, and and extra leg. Both limbs were sized for a human adult male, so were very large for her. I did not see her myself, but I am told she looked (and walked) very weird. Alvin and Bernhard could not help commenting on this bizarre creature to each other, and she apparently heard them through the glass (though could not see them), and went to the window to open it up. As soon as she did Alvin grappled her. Bernhardt suggested Haunaman slide down the rope, which she did. During the fight, Bernhard fell from the windowsill and broke one of his legs, and Alvin threw himself and the queen out of the window, but managed to land with her on bottom. She meanwhile was yelling in some strange language none of us could understand and that made the hairs on our necks stand on end. Hastings made Haunaman invisible, and they all ran (or limped) to the place we had climbed over the wall. As they were climbing over the wall I would see about a half dozen of these "goblins" near the front gate spraying paint around, so they apparently had a plan of action for invisible intruders all prepared (just like they had a plan for handling too inquizitive pigeons). Once everyone was over the wall we limped back to the steam coach and drove away!

Hastings, In addition to his device that turns people invisible, also revealed an electricity gun (stun) and a bottle of spelling salts that heals people (heal).

After a quick roll call in the coach to make sure everybody (still invisible) was present, and the coach was moving, I asked Haunaman if she wanted to get the constabulary involved in her kidnapping. She said she did not want to cause a scandal involving her firm. I personally felt that being kidnapped is much, much less of a scandal than kidnapping somebody, and that maybe accusing her partners of scandal might be a good tactic. But she was already involved in one scandal and did not want to add being kidnapped to it. Besides, she told us that her partners were already paying for their transgressions. It was Mr Hutts leg and arm that Queen Pretty was now wearing!

She told us the story from the beginning. She told us about receiving the telegram from Mr Grace, that Grace was willing to sell out Hutt, and to meet him at the Welsh Elephant. But when arrived it was not Mr Grace that was there, but Mr Hutt and Mr Head (the large Ork we saw patrolling) and a few others. There was a fight, in which Hanuman did quite well for such a small person, but she was vastly outnumbered and outmassed. She seemed quite put out, as if in her former form, she would have expected to defeat 4 adult males quite easily. 

She said that after the fight, Hutt and Head delivered her to the manor where Queen Pretty and the clan of Goblins were, and that the queen had said that the kidnapping was much earlier than had been agreed upon and that to move up the schedule would cost Mr Hutt and arm and a leg. Now I am sure that all of you know that something costing and "arm and a leg" is a common expression, meaning a  lot of money. Well let me warn you all that Fey are a very literal people, and when Hutt very unwisely agreed to pay an "arm and a leg" without nailing down exactly what she meant by that, she quite litterally took his arm and leg off and somehow attached them to her own body. Hauniman did not say exactly  how ether the removal or the attachment was done, but she gave the impression that Hutt crawled off to get a ride to a hospital, but that he would probably survive. Anyway, she seemed to think that Hutt was well repaid for all of his perfidy. 

When asked about Hutts deal with the goblins, she seemed to think that it was fairly straightforward, that the goblins had agreed to hold her in servitude for a good long while without killing her or letting her go. I personally was beginning to strongly suspect that there might  be much, much more to the situation than that. We warned Haunimann not to meet anybody alone, and to have guards with her constantly. She seemed very frustrated  by that advice. I invited her to attend my welcome home party at the magic society, and she reluctantly accepted. 

Alvin Baker said he did not have any party clothes, so asked to be dropped off at a tailor. I learned later that this was a ruse to quietly hire a horse for the night, as he had some quiet errands he wished to run later in the evening that he wished nobody else to know about. 

600 + 600 + 0 + 200 = 1400 + Journal
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Sun Apr 24, 2022 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Joined:Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by supermooboo » Sun Apr 24, 2022 5:47 pm

"An Arm and a Leg you say? Unfortunately I can only keep half that bargain." ~ Alvin the One Armed Baker"

With our arrival at the estate where Hanehman was being held we needed a plan of action. Cusa first proposed he could scout as a pigeon. He returned with valuable information on the location of Ms. Hanehman and the best area of entry. She was on the top floor accessible by a window. There was ivy growing on the sides of the house so a bit of rope and some climbing efforts could reach there. With this new info Hastings, our new weird scientist friend, proposed turning us invisible. We agreed and Cusa, staying behind as watch, proceeded into the back entrance unnoticed. “Eh, invisible? I’ll admit I was worried. It’s not easy hiding the Great Baker after all. But it turns out this science stuff is quite good. Only thing was that we had to be touching our equipment for it to be invisible so there was a matter of the dangling rope to deal with.”

We made our way to our climbing point. On the way we spotted a group of bizarre dwarfs. “Well no. No dwarf looks like that. An insult that is really. An’ I’ll give it to anyone who says otherwise. These were deformed creatures in the shape of dwarves. Jagged teeth like a shark who needs to go to the dentist. And that’s not even the worst part of ‘em.” At the time I just figured they were dwarves but as Bernhard and I set up our rope and climbed up to the window I quickly changed my mind. Inside was a mockery of human given shape. “3 arms and 3 legs! Not to mention those arms were the size of an adult human and fit onto the shape of a dwarf. And the way they speak though those grating teeth. Against my better judgment I ended up giving a remark in disbelief. Bernhard joined me in this unfortunately. The creature overheard this, and thank the heavens for Hastings' science because despite this they still did not see us. Bernhard whispered and motioned a quick plan. I got it. They open the window, we make ‘em regret their life choices.”

This was not the original plan Bernhard had in mind. When the creature opened the door I grappled onto it hoping Bernhard would follow up but after a few words of warning to Hanehman he fell backwards off the window ciel. “Ouch, that looks like it hurts. There’s a trick to falling you see. Here let me show you how it’s done.” With the many armed, many legged figure still in my grapple I pushed them back into the room to allow Ms.Hahnemann room to descend down the rope. Turns out all those arms and legs were good for something however. “I’ve tussled with my fair share. Never met someone who could still give it to me while I had them in a hold like that. Maybe I should give it a go and call myself the Three Armed Baker? Nah, that would be stupid. Nobody would go for that.” Anyway, Hanehman managed to climb down but the commotion was starting to cause an alarm in the building. I didn’t have much time left so I decided to take a shortcut down the rope. “This is how it’s done Bernhard.” Still grappling , I jumped out of the window positioning the thing below me. “And what a thunk it made. I was fine, mostly, but I can’t say the same about the other guy. Still alive though. Surprising strength these things have. I’m still not exactly sure what they are to be honest.”

At this point Hastings turned Hanehman invisible and we made our escape. “There was a lot going on behind me but I was focused on getting out of there. I wanted some time to think about what I just saw.” After a comical scene where a group of invisible people tried to get into a car without stepping on each other (Hanehman in the front) we made our escape, rather cleanly I might add. “Turns out those things were calling themselves Goblins, and the nasty armed one was named Queen Pretty. Not much in the way of taste, but regardless, no one had an explanation of what those things were other than perhaps some kind of new being from the rabbit hole. Well at least Hutt got what was coming to him. Turns out the price for speeding up things was an arm and a leg. Literally. The extra limbs on Queen Pretty were Hutt’s very own. It seems these Goblins aren’t ones to speak in riddles at least.” With the questions mounting of what exactly was the plan and the events to unfurl next we decided that nothing will be solved now that can’t be solved in the morning. Cusa still had his party to think about and mine my own. Cusa proposed to Hanehman that she join us at the party so we could ensure her safety. She agreed and said she just needed to stop by her house to change and freshen up. As for myself, I needed some preparations of my own. I got out early in one of the many boojum districts on the way and secured some clothes and a horse. The night is young and this Baker is going to have a long night.

Joined:Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Apr 25, 2022 1:14 am

Old Cusa continues his Story.

My welcome home party was a resounding success. All my friends were there. There was an abundance of food and drinks from cultures all over the world. Mrs Aulakh, the landlady, was the life of the party. She demonstrated dances from her youth in Pakistan. Bernhardt really hit it off with the band of brothers from India, who had joined the guild after I went to the Gruv, and whose names I never caught. Bernhardt later confided to me that he never could decide if there were three of them or more. Alvin talked about clockwork with Allet from Lapland, and I met several new people, including one Clario Santarossa (Italian practitioner of Benandanti secret society).

I did not notice him leave, but I learned later that Alvin Baker made excuses that he was feeling poorly and was going to his room and left very early. Rather than go to his room he got his rented horse and rode to Bethnal Green, there he apparently met with a gang boss named Scantly and delivered a bag with a canister of dinosaur pituitary glands! When he returned to his horse he was approached by a person who claimed to be a Police Inspector who questioned him and made vaguely threatening comments. This set Alvin in something of a confused panic, and he went back in to talk to the gang boss a 2nd time, which did no good and looked very sketchy. 

Meanwhile, PC Campbell showed up at my party, and asked to speak to us about the Bang Snuff case. I was pretty tippsy by then, and that is when we discovered that Alvin was not there, and was not answering the pounding upon his door. None of us had a clue how much trouble for Alvin it would be that he was missing. 

The next morning we all met up at Hanuman's, and learned that her court case would be heard the coming Friday, and that she was hopeful she would not need our services after then. Before we left Miss Nesbitt (Hanuman's secretary, and secretly the person who was Alvin's contact with the gang in the Gruv) interrogated Alvin, who reportedly reported his meeting with Scantly. She was concerned about the police knowing about the dropoff, and was very worried about all the loose ends. I was still totally clueless. Clearly both Alvin and the Police were much better informed than Rowan, Barnhart and myself.

AP:350 + 300 + 100 = 750 (+100 to Alvin)  + journal
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Sun May 08, 2022 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Joined:Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by supermooboo » Sun May 08, 2022 5:53 pm

“Shit” ~ Alvin Baker

Not much to say about the predicament I find myself in.

“It’s a simple story heard anywhere. Kid grows up worse for wear. It’s not even about the part of town being particularly bad, it’s not like I grew up in the slums or anything. Well, for different definitions of slum I guess. The Baker’s have always struggled to get by and that’s a reality that hasn’t changed even as I am now a successful associate of a famous firm. Because life doesn’t give a shit about your average Joe. And you can wash the shit off a man, but there’s no removing the stains. Shit stains like the average dreg who’s just trying to make a way in this world don’t have much of a chance.”

A liquid stain covers the next part of text and Alvin has crossed out a bunch of text making it illegible. Deciding better on going into the details. Alvin continues differently.

“People might look at my life and think I was given a chance, but this was a false chance. I had to risk everything and for what! I lost an arm, my future at a close, my only choice between what’s right and what I have to do. That’s no choice. That’s life. A one way street with many paths that all end up at the same place.”

So now I find myself with the Yard, the Society, and even my own Associates on my back. The deal for the Society having been successful but the police having pretty much only me as a suspect. “It’s bullshit! All bullshit! It wasn’t me who did that. It wasn’t me. That person who did that is not me.”

I don’t have many options, but there is one thing I can control. I’m going to see if I can get out of this. Well at least I can comfort myself in knowing that success or not I’m still on the same one way street.

Joined:Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by ChrisDDickey » Tue May 10, 2022 9:50 am

Old Cusa nears the end of his story. 

The morning after the party we met with Ms Hauniman again. We discussed what we might say in Mr Hanuman's court appearance. We agreed that she would testify that Grace and Hutt had stolen certain items of her property, but that we would not mention our activities in getting them back. We again kicked around reporting the kidnapping to the police, but decided it was too late Though we did drop an anonymous note to the Welsh Elephant identifying the people who had broken into their establishment while they were absent as Mr. Hutt, Mr Head (We used their full names and addresses), and the occupant of the caretakers cottage at 122 Cliffield Rd, Ealing.
We agreed to investigate the false and slanderous depictions of Hanuman published in Small's Society Paper under the byline of Ms. Milstead. One of the stories included a photograph of a young girl that it identified as Hanuman, doing childish things. The girl in the photo was a somewhat likeness of Hanuman, but not exact. We advised her to have a professional photographer take some photographs so that she could submit copies to the court along with the newspaper photographs to show that the girl in the newspaper was an imposter hired for the sole purpose of slandering Hanuman. 

After that meeting, we went to a pub and there Alvin confessed to us his recent misdeeds that I have already recounted to you. Helping Mrs Nesbit smuggle the Dinosaur glands, delivering them to Scantly in Bethnal Green, etc. He told us that he had been recruited into the Hesperian Society in the Gruv by a barber called "The Butcher" who arranged for the Society to pay for his clockwork arm in exchange for Alvin joining them and doing them some favors! He seemed quite nervous about crossing them as he felt them to be both vicious and powerful. He did not trust the police, thinking they had probably been infiltrated by the society. We discussed that maybe he could be a double agent in the Society by arranging to smuggle glands from the Gruv to London in wild animal cages.

We went to talk to PC Campbell, and Alvin said that he had ridden to Bethnal Green the night before in order to investigate the Bang Snuff trade like Campbell had asked us to. When the guy claiming to be a police inspector had talked to him, he had no way to know whether he was a real inspector or not, or even if he was, if he was honest or not. So he had not told him anything, prefuring to report to Campbell or some other known person, and he certainly did not want to be seen talking to police just outside of the gang headquarters! We all reiterated our desire to shut down the Bang Snuff trade. We said that he would try to infiltrate the smuggler ring, but asked him to not put that in his reports as we wanted as few people as possible to know. 

PC Campbell suggested we also try to track the London side. They think that one of the distribution points is going to be run by a gang called the Florists, run out of a flower shop in Wapping. But the police don't want the Florist, they want his supplier, The chemist or alchemist who makes the Bang Snuff. They don't need us to arrest him, they want a location and proof. So we need to try that while still in London.

We went to the newspaper offices of Small's Society Paper and asked to speak with Ms. Milstead. The receptionist tried to put us off, but I hypnotized her. She admitted that Ms. Milstead had not come in that day. She said that Milstead had exchanged many telegrams with Mr. Grace. The telegrams mention "their arrangement". The receptionist seemed to think that they were sweet on each other. The two frequently met at Mabel's coffee shop nearby for coffee. I suggested that it was strange that Milstead had not sent a message that she would not be coming in, and volunteered to check on her to make sure she was OK. She gave us the address. 

At her flat, we rang the buzzer and a man on the intercom told us to go away. While Rowen and myself talked to the man who refused to let us talk to Milstead, Bernhardt and Alven went around the back and found an unlocked door. They entered the hallway and (walking right past the doorway that we were waiting at), climbed the stairs and broke down the door to Milstead's flat. Unfortunately one of her downstairs neighbors (a thin elderly man with glasses in the flat on the left) got a good look at us, which worried us when we heard the sounds of the commotion upstairs. 

Upon breaking down the door, Alvin and Bernhardt found quite a sight. Actually there was nothing particularly unusual about Ms Milstead, nor the half packed luggage (other than that the receptionist had obviously not been aware that Milstead was leaving on a trip), The 12 year old girl with a superficial resemblance to Hanuman seemed quite ordinary as well. Even the large menacing Snark was sadly not as uncommon of our typical experiences as one could hope. They were fairly surprised to find a very angry leopard. 

Notes: Finish the Society paper. Look into importing wild animals. Investigate the Florist. 
AP 600 + 600 + 100 + 500 special = 1800 + Journal

Joined:Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by supermooboo » Sun May 22, 2022 7:42 am

“My secret? Lot’s of passive verbs. What’s a passive verb? Hell if I know.” ~ Alvin the Studied Baker

Well shit. I ended up coming clean to the group today. It was not a pleasant experience. And if anyone asks it wasn’t me. By the way, lot’s of passing the blame and well I ended up dancing around the issue quite a bit. At the end of the day it was obvious and I’m pretty sure everyone knew the full story. Bernhard surprised me the most in this encounter. The big oaf has a bigger heart than I thought. But enough with this sappy crap, I was in deep after “someone” made the drop off of the illicit drug for the Society and now I’m slightly less so. Overall it could be a lot worse.

After my lunch chat with the group we decided to make way to PC Campbell so I give him the story we decided on. I ended up telling him I was undercover trying to uncover more details for the case. He bought that, sort of, and said he would believe it more if I brought him a location of where the alchemist that is manufacturing the stuff is. Something about some pansy named “The Florist” who operates a fence of some sort with a flower shop as a front. Well it shouldn’t be too hard to shake down someone who spends all their day pruning flowers so I can’t complain about my task too much. But before we do that the group still has the issue of Ms. Hannehman’s case to wrap up.

Tying up loose ends for our day job we decided to go to The Small’s Society Paper which was credited for all the false images of Ms. Hanehman in the paper. When we got there we Cusa did some shady stuff with a pocket watch again and “politely convinced” the receptionist to give us more info on the whereabouts of Ms. Milstead, the journalist from the articles. We were informed that she has not come into work and is very late. Out of concern (and probably whatever Cusa was doing with that watch), the receptionist asked us to go check on her at home down the street. “Geez and this group questions my morals? Talk about a double standard here.”

Making our way to the address we arrived at the door which was locked. Immediately the group asked me if I could break in. “Honestly now that’s just discrimination. Look toward old Alvin to do the shady stuff huh? I mean I absolutely can do it but come on!” I instead suggested that we simply knock instead. “Seemed like a wise course of action. Best not to over complicate these things.” We were met by a voice that refused to let us in. The group was starting to get suspicious so Bernhard and myself did a run around of the back door which was fortunately open. We made our way to the apartment in question and upon realizing something nasty was up, me and Bernhard planned a bit of strategy.

“These plans between the two of us always seem to have something go horribly wrong. Last time it was the strange goblin fellow and well this time had something even stranger.” Bernhard began on the door and realizing that it was stuck and time was of the essence I gave it a good kick. “And what a kick that was aye! Should have seen the faces on the group inside when I kicked in the door.Well sort of. Did you know leopards don’t scare easy? Also did you know that some people keep leopards as pets? Yeah, I kid you not. This guy had a bloody cat the size of me with him. You have not tasted surprise until you get jumped by a leopard in the middle of London.” Bernhard and myself were now facing down death. But I wasn’t too worried. “Funny, after facing down the creatures of the Gruv somehow these deadly Earth creatures seem cute almost. Bring it on I say!”

Joined:Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by ChrisDDickey » Tue May 24, 2022 10:48 pm

Old Cusa concludes the story he is telling his drinking buddies..

Rowen and I heard a huge fight breaking out upstairs, with men cursing and women and girls shrieking, and (though I did not identify it at the time) a leopard roar. Hoping to get the old man to open the front door, I knocked on the window and yelled to him to summon the police. When he did not, I followed Rowen around to the back door. There we saw the old man come out and blow upon a whistle. We rushed up the stairs, where we saw Alvin and Bernhard squaring off against the largest snark I had ever seen. A woman and a girl cowered in the corner next to a leopard who had just raked his claws upon Alvin's back. I crooned a "befriend the beast" spell to the large cat and got it friendly to all of us. Rowen performed a blessing upon Bernhardt. The Snark retreated to the bedroom followed by Alvin, with Bernhard covering. I went over to the now friendly leopard and the females, and made sure that they were all OK. I noticed they both had trunks that were all packed and ready to close up, but also noted that it did not look like the young girl had been living in the flat for long, though she might have stayed for a few nights. 

I had not even finished introducing myself to Miss Milstead when the Snark, realizing that 4 to one odds were too much, burst back through the front room out into the hall, and started to tangle with Rowen trying to get down the stairs. I stepped up behind him and clawed him. He backed away down the stairs, with me following, and as soon as he entered the back garden I cast Entangle upon him, causing the garden plants to seize him and hold him in place while I quickly interrogated him and the ladies. The woman of course was Miss Milstead. The girl turned out to be named Alice Grace, niece of the engineering partner. She seemed to be recently orphaned and that her uncle had told her she was to be sent to live with some cousins in Austra that very day. She had been the girl playing at being a childlike Marseille Haunniman. 

We knew that we did not have long before the police showed up. I quickly determined that neither the girl nor the woman felt they had been kidnapped by the Huge Snark, and I think he was just there to make sure they both got on the train to the coast on time. We got his name, and that he could be contacted through Scantily in Inverness. This was, of course, before Scantly was sent to Darkmoor prison.  We let him go as soon as the binding spell had run its course and he left with his leopard "Mr Kittens". I think Alvin was sorry to see Mr Kittens go, as he was starting to fancy having a Leopard himself. When the police arrived we explained that Miss Milstead's newspaper was concerned that she had not shown up to work that day, and asked us to check up on her. The large unfriendly man who answered our knock would not let us talk to Miss Milstead and we were very concerned that she was being held under duress. Miss Milstead, seeing which way the wind was blowing more or less backed up our story. 

We brought the two to Miss Hanuman. I personally think that Miss Milstead, if she had played her cards right and claimed that any false claims that young Alice Grace was really Marselle Haunniman that had appeared in her paper under her byline were the result of her being lied to by Mr Grace, but Milstead seemed to think her local reputation was probably unsalvagable and that she would be better off starting over in a new city. Apparently Mr Grace had already paid her to leave the country and given her tickets for her and his niece to Austria. Milstead extracted another 100 pounds from Hanuman in exchange for a signed statement that the articles and photographs that had appeared in the paper were not the genuine Hauniman, but rather Alice Grace, niece of Mr Grace, and we escorted the two of them to the train station in time to catch the train that would take them to their boat. Young Miss Grace was kind enough to send us a letter when they safely arrived in Austria. 

This pretty much wrapped up the Hauniman case. The engineering firm of Hahnemann, Grace & Hutt suffered a Serious Scandal from all of that, but Hahnemann ended up pretty firmly in control and over time was able to rebuild their reputation. She suffered a moderate scandal personally, but frankly most of that was just from having the ill grace to allow herself to be affected by the Rabbit Hole in a physically visible way, I mean if she had had the ill grace to allow the rabbit hole to turn her into a snark, well  that would have been worse since that would be something that she would not have been able to grow out of within a few years. Her scandal was somewhat offset by her newfound notoriety as a talented young genius. Years later I heard that when she was finally beset by old age she made several trips to the Gruv and back hoping that maybe the rabbit hole would once again knock a few decades of age off of her. 

Grace blamed the loss of his limbs on a railway accident and suffered from a Moderate Scandal because of his 'carelessness with the trains' (railway accidents with serious personal consequences seem to be moderate scandals, making bad bargains with Fey where they take an arm and a leg as payment for services rendered would have been a much more serious scandal). Hutt and Grace also suffered from personal Serious Scandals for mischaracterizing her condition, which allowed Hahnemann to keep them in line and working hard for years to come. 

With the Hanuman case wrapping up, We patched ourselves up and did a quick investigation of "The Florist" in Wapping. His shop was in a neighborhood that was safe and busy during the day, but rough after dark. Alvin went in and made vague inquiries and hints about buying something other than flowers, and was told to be at a certain warehouse at 11 that night. The rest of the team went to the meet and met two dwarves, an elf, and a human. The dwarf that was the mouthpiece said his name was James Ducal, but talked as if he was not really in charge. The elf seemed to be a magic user of some sort, and gave his name as Florian Davis, He had something magic on his belt. At one tense part of the negotiation, the elf pulled a hidden rapier, so the magic thing might have been an invisible sheath or an astral pocket of some sort. The party eventually decided that it was probably the elf that was in charge, and that the Elf felt contempt for his companions and sense of possession of the product. The party gave some sort of story that Alvin (whom the others had heard of by reputation, and recognized because of his arm) was arranging the buy on behalf of a corrupt churchman, who wanted to deal bang snuff out of his church! Frankly, I would have thought that it would have been easier to disguise the fact that Rowen was a churchman than to work the presence of a churchman into a drug deal. Anyway it worked, they purchased 5 doses of snuff for 5 pounds with an understanding that if they liked it they would buy about 100 doses every few months. For some reason they had a rat inside the bag of drugs. Personally I would have worried that the rat would eat the drugs, maybe it was an exquisitely trained guard rat. Anyway, the deal was completed and everybody left. 

I had turned myself into a pidgin and had been eavesdropping on a windowsill. I followed them when they left and caught a cab. The elf and the dwarf who had not spoken got out of the cab carrying the case of drugs and entered a different warehouse a mile or so away. Lights went on upstairs, and I checked out a few windows until I spotted the alchemical lab with the jar of dinosaur glands and the mystical symbols. In the morning we reported the address to PC Campbell, and he thanked us for our information and told us he would keep the place under discreet surveillance. 

We still had a few more days until Haunimans trial, which we wished to attend even though everything seemed well in hand, so we spent the time setting up a new company. We had a bit of a discussion on the name of the company, I favored "Ft Alice Exotic Animals import/export company". Alvin Baker favored "8th Wonder Gruv Exports", which is what we decided upon after it was pointed out that we could export things other than animals under that name.We wanted it to start out as just a sideline and part time thing that shared some of our existing resources..The mailing and telegraph addresses and front office functions were shared with the Faraday firm (for example the postal address just had a "suite E" appended). We made arrangements for part of our existing expenses on staff (receptionist, clerical, accounting) and facilities (one filing cabinet)  to be paid from our new company, depending upon how much time they spent working on which company's projects. 

We eventually built a small barn on a farm one of us had acquired just outside of Ft Alice. Inside we would have a number of sturdy cages of various sizes and a secure "run" outside for exercise and training. We also made arrangements to acquire a large steel traveling cage (with a smuggling compartment). We eventually hired a part time stable hand for morning and evening feedings.

While we were still in London we engaged the main Faraday office for articles of incorporation, licenses, permits, etc.  Brief on relevant import/export and transshipment laws, regulations, and paperwork that will need to be filed on periodic and per shipment basis.  A large bulk of our startup expenses were spent on the paperwork.

Also in London we made a contact at the Regents park zoo, and with all the exotic animal dealers based in London.I also contacted the Hyde Park Stables, and tried to convince them that having a half dozen buffs and Harpies available to rent would make them even more the the height of fashion than they already were, and attempted to plant the idea that someday they might want to have hunchbeak or Sihrstuulah as well.

We talked about setting up personal correspondence with all the world's major zoos, circuses and freak shows that we could manage, but in the end settled on regular advertising in the two biggest zoological magazines, one focusing on zoos themselves, and the other with a more scientific zoological bent. 

Our basic business model was that we let everybody who travels though fort Alice know that we bought live exotic animals, and let all zoos and other interested parties on Earth know that we sold exotic animals, that we take custom orders plus whatever we happen to have in stock.

AP 1000 + 800 + 1000 + 200 = 3000 + Journal raised to 200)Adventure total 14,380 + 9 journals at 200 = 16,180.18 pounds. minus lifestyle.    £1/8s x 2 = £2/16s = £15/4s Minus £10/8s for investment in the new company gives £4/16s Profit.


130 karma.
Skill Knacks learned:   Long Range Casting Skill: Spellcasting Rank: 6 (1300 AP) 
Increase Cha 2nd time (1300 AP)
Spell "Honour Permits No Lie", Base Spell: Force the Truth (jm) 1300 AP

Spell: "Tracking" Base Spell Find (novice), 800 AP

Learn two new free skills at rank 2, First Impression and Winning Smile (500, 500 AP).
Hypnotize Journeyman Optional Skill 4 -> 5  Spend 1300 AP

Safe Path (Magic  Spend 2100 AP
Willforce Journeyman Core Skill 3 -> 5  Spend 2100 AP\Wood Skin Novice Core Skill 5 -> 6  Spend 1300 AP
Summon Profession Prof Skill 5 -> 6  Spend 1300 AP
Durability Novice Core Skill 5 -> 6  Spend 1300 AP

Equestrian Novice Skill 1 -> 2  Spend 300 AP
Animal Talk Novice Core Skill 2 -> 3  Spend 300 AP
Animal Handling Initiate Optional Skill 2 -> 3  Spend 300 AP 
(new total 115)

Joined:Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by supermooboo » Wed May 25, 2022 6:08 am

“It doesn’t matter what it is, cat, dog, bird, leopard. Everyone needs someone or something to fall back on.” Alvin the Animal Loving Baker

So there I was staring down this leopard and the first thing I couldn't help but think was, “wow what a fine cat that is.” Now sure it’s got teeth and claws but so does the house tabby! “Speaking from first hand experience of course. I got a nasty scar around the area that Cusa calls the ‘clavicle’ or some such nonsense. Not sure why he bothers, calling it the neck area is more than enough for me.” But yeah “Mr. Kittens” was straightforward enough to deal with. Cusa sang some kind of song that he called his “leopard song” and the kitten turned docile on us! “Not the first time I’ve seen Cusa use his magic on animals. Makes a guy jealous does it. Some of us still have to do it the good ole fashion way you know!” Which is what I did. Making good of Cusa’s spell to get close to the cat I used my winning smile (that never seems to work on the ladies strangely) to win over Mr. Kittens. This turned out to be helpful for backing our large Snark friend into a corner. Oh yeah I forgot to mention he was still there as well.

This Snark who was easily the largest Snark I’ve seen decided to seek cover in a nearby room. “Bernhard told me about this after, but apparently the guy was some kind of sneak thief. He liked to hide and get the drop on people. Not sure how someone of that size would think such a tactic was a good idea but I guess to each their own.” Needless to say the oversized man with a penchant for hiding found his plans quickly thwarted. His new plan, which he adopted after his first fell through, was to flee out the back door. “Strange thing he did on the way out. He punched Father Rowan. Right square in the nose. It was a real mess. When I heard about it afterwards I was shocked. What kind of guy do you have to be to punch a man of the cloth in the face like that? There’s some things you just don’t do and that’s one of them. Now don’t go accusing Alvin of being god fearing or nothing, but I’ve seen the power of prayer. It’s not something you can look at and think that there ain’t something to all this religious stuff, believer or not.” He got what was coming to him though. Cusa used an entangle spell to wrap up the fight along with the Snark in one quick go. “Oh and I learned all of this after the fact because I was busy looking after Mr. Kittens in the other room. Look, it was an important job. Nice as the leopard was, it was still a dangerous animal. Best not to leave it alone in a room with a child.”

“And it was at this moment that I realized I was missing something important in my life.” Here this gentleman was wrapped up at our mercy and one of the first things on his mind was getting his cat back. The cat was also pretty pissed with its owner in trouble but I managed to settle it down. “How great is that? A man and his cat. Now look I understand that I have been saying ‘cat’ a lot despite the fact it was a leopard, see dangerous animal, but keep this in mind. People like us don’t exactly live safe lives. It’s one thing if you don’t take your animal companion with you, but if you want to find utility outside your homestead then you need something with a bit more teeth and claws. Like say a leopard.” It makes a shocking amount of sense. Now I’m not out here to steal another man’s shtick, so leopard is off the table, but maybe some Gruv creature? I was thinking a Chesire, but I’m not so sure. I’d want something a bit hardier. I’ll have to think on it.
I feel like I’ve gotten off track. Long story short we managed to secure what we needed for Ms. Hanehman. Ms. Milstead alongside the Hanehman look-alike Alice gave us all the confessions we needed to prove Grace and Hutt of falsifying the news and libel. We got paid almost immediately following our job well done and I walked away 18 pounds richer. Not bad. Turns out I was going to need every penny of it though. “I’ve collected more money than I’ve seen in one place at this point. Problem is a guy like me that came from almost nothing has no clue what to do with all those pounds. I talked to some of the gentlemen in my party and it turns out people with money are supposed to show it off. Something about signaling to the world that you are ‘somebody’ or something. Well, nobody ever accused the great Alvin Baker of not being showy! I’ll show them!”

Joined:Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: A Troubled Childhood

Post by supermooboo » Wed May 25, 2022 6:07 pm

10£ 8s “The 8th Wonder Gruv Exports”

So the gang decided to start a company. We’ve made some offhand comments about this in the past but Cusa pushed that we actually go forward with it while we had the chance to establish contacts in London. Basically it’s a company that captures exotic animals in the Gruv and exports them back to London. We buy other people’s captures mostly, but occasionally the gang captures a few animals out in the field and we get paid out personally that way. I wasn’t involved in the purchasing of the land or legal discussions. I know that we bought a farm space outside of Ft. Alice to put our exports and some cages that matched the specifications that Bernhard and he worked out (never mind the secret compartment for smuggling). That said, I've gone to the farm, tested some of the cage designs, and proven that the space will function properly with live animals. The space needs more work that only more time and money will fix. I would call it functional currently.

Reason for my lack of involvement being I was busy procuring the initial inventory to sell off to the exotic animal traders we made a deal with while in London. As part of the new partnership we promised to deliver some “exotic Gruv animals” within a “frank and timely” manner. It was definitely a time crunch, but this delivery would function as a show of good faith to our new partners and in return they would vouch for our services and spread the word. The zoo was also willing to play if we could produce quality enough animals. In the future we would be sourcing most of our products from other people, but the short notice immediate need wasn’t something that could be filled so easily. The proceeds from this first sale would go towards paying for the various expenses of upkeep for the business and go a long way in proving if the business model could at least break even. Turns out we can do that at least, but after we pay everyone and everything there isn’t exactly a lot of money to go around to the owners. There definitely needs to be more work on that front. I have an idea but more on that later.

So I had a lot on my plate and not a lot of time to make the magic happen. I wanted to start with buffs and harpies since those were already domesticated to a large degree, and their capture and training is a well documented process. Turns out that trapping an animal alive is a lot of work. One thing to shoot a beast dead, another to shoot a beast alive. A lot harder that is. Top it off with the fact that you have to train the animal to trust you after and suddenly it starts to become a bad idea to harm the creature at all. The trick is to learn its habits and construct a trap that lures it unknowingly (or with minimal prodding) into a cage. Doing this requires careful research of the animal in question and isn’t something that I would have been able to do on short notice had I not already been in the know about Wild Animals in the Gruv. It also requires a small team. I mean look I’m not saying I can’t do it myself (I can) but with the time crunch we were on to get this done I ended up bringing along everyone in the gang who wasn’t busy with setting up other aspects of the business at the time. Fortunately buffs and harpies are fairly common in the Gruv and even though we’ve colonized a good chunk of land, the vast majority of the Gruv is still wild. Finding these creatures was thus straightforward. This isn’t the first wrangling job the gangs took on either so we all knew what to do and how to do it. I’ve gotten a lot better at coordinating these kinds of hunts now though. I suppose you might say I have a knack (or two) for it now. If we ever do this again in the future (which we most certainly will) I think it will be a lot easier now.

Oh and on that note I’ve been compiling all this info on Gruv animals and their capture for publication in a “bestiary.” We currently offer this document for a separate fee alongside our catalog that we send out to our customers. As mentioned the bestiary comes at a premium and information is purchased on a creature by creature basis. I’ve heard it’s well received with our customers. Never hurts to know more about what you are buying! To help grow the information in the bestiary I made sure to put out a notice that the 8th Wonder pays extra for solid information on creatures in addition to the payment for the captures. In time I imagine the 8th Wonder Bestiary will be quite the hot commodity. Lady Jennings has also expressed some interest in this. The creature information side gig I worked out is turning out to be a decent source of side income for our business. Still not rolling in the money like I thought I’d be but maybe that will change in time? Oh and did I mention how overjoyed I am to finally have a stable to store my horses? No more paying stable fees for this Baker!

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