The Ubiquity proofs are in and it looks great! So without further ado, The Queen of the Orient, a sourcebook for 1930s Shanghai, is now live as an ebook and (for Ubiquity) print on demand book from DriveThruRPG! The physical book is $19.99 and includes the ebook and accompanying map downloads; the ebook and map are $9.99.

The Fate proofs should be here tomorrow, and unless there is a serious issue, we should see the Fate version up for print tomorrow night.

cover small

A note on the map — there’s no print version right now because the size of the thing is not supported by DriveThruRPG’s POD service — it’s a whopping 86×55″! You could possibly find a local shop that could print the thing as a poster.

The Queen of the Orient features information on the history of the city and the three municipal entities — the International Settlement, the French Concession, and the native City Government of Greater Shanghai. There is information on the infamous Green Gang (Qing Bang) that ran much of the crime in “the most dangerous city in the world”, as well as their opponents: the yakuza, the Triads, and  the Shanghai Municipal Police.

Crime is a close cousin of espionage, and Shanghai was a hot-bed of that. Chinese communists and Soviet allies, the Nationalist government of the Republic of China, British intelligence, the Japanese kempaitai were all active in the city. Everything you need to create a living, breathing Shanghai for your 1903 pulp game is here.

Here are the links for the Fate version and the Ubiquity version.

 

 

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The Hollow Earth Expedition game continued tonight with the characters, having escaped the underground lair of the “hungry ghost” Dai Pan and the arrival of Morana, the “Queen of Shambala.” She had made off with a finger from Anton Veitch, who has Atlantean blood and can activate their ancient technology. Following this the characters had used the gate in Dai Pan’s lair to pass through to the eye of Shambala, which was being unloaded from the airship Macon at nearby Moffett Air Field. The group was arrested by the shore patrol until the FBI and Dr. Lancaster of the Office of Scientific Investigations could come get them released. Veitch, missing his finger was admitted to the naval hospital. (Recap here…)

We opened the night with Zelansky and Lancaster talking about the situation. The local FBI office and SFPD were incensed over the fire in Chinatown that consumed three buildings and left dozens of Chinese gangsters (the On Yik Tong) dead. They were seen with another gang (the 17 Tigers) attacking the place and many of those gangsters are now missing. J. Edgar Hoover and RADM Byrd have cut a deal allowing the team to remain free and to cover up the incident under the guise of gang violence. The local FBI agent in charge had wanted to deport his team and hand O’Bannon over to the British. (Both the British and Irish have arrest warrants on him. He is protected in Shanghai only because the Sky Rats are agents of the Republic of China.) They are told to lie low and that evening they are put on a train to Los Angeles.

On arrive in that city, they are picked up by the OSI’s “Boston Project”, which Lancaster heads up, and given nice apartments in a new motel in Bunker Hill, the Ocean View (which it does not have…) It is the residence for the unmarried men of the project. The characters minus Wiley Post, who is not an OSI contractor and was staying with his wife (and the player was out for the evening), were taken to the Goodyear Airship Factor in Huntingdon Park. A separate building on the property, far from the airship sheds and company offices is the home of the Boston Project, and the facility they use is hidden under the grounds. After a security briefing and signing agreements to keep their mouths shut, they are finally showed the new home of the Eye of Shambala.

Lab B is where the scientists will be studying the Atlantean artifact. But next door in Lab C is where the fun stuff is — one of the Atlantean flying saucers, and the OSI reverse engineered version using “telluric countergravity” and gas-powered turbofan (jet) engines. The designer in Zebulon Edward Koenig, last seen in our other HEX campaign, a long lost associate of Nikola Tesla. He had stopped an invasion from the Hollow Earth in 1908 using Tesla’s telluric cannon, which destroyed miles of the Siberian forest, but had been sucked into the vortex created and deposited in the Hollow Earth. He had escaped with U.S.S. Los Angeles at the end of the last campaign, and now, which his daughter Erha, is working for OSI.

In addition to the saucer were a few prototypes of Erha’s “minifighter”, made by Curtiss: the XM-01 “Dogfish.” (The gearhead players really loved these things, as I thought they might…) We’re finally getting more super-science in the game: flying saucers, mini-fighters, and they think they’ve figured out how to use telluric energy (the earth’s electromagnetic field) to create antigravity, as well as a weapon (similar to the one Tesla and Koenig used to save the world in 1908.) Veitch was also interested in starting work on robots.

After their visit to the facility, the group returned to the Ocean View in time to join Post in his trip to the Burbank Airport, to see his new airplane provided by his sponsor Texaco. A new Lockheed Electra 10D with upgraded R-1340 Wasp engines. The plane is perfect for some of the ideas he had to push the boundaries of aviation. While there, they are approached by Mark Hooper, a stunt coordinator for MGM that knows Post. He needs pilots for a new film about to start filming. The movie is a love story set against the fight between an Italian sky pirate gang and a fictionalized version of the Sky Rats. Having O’Bannon and Veitch immediately got them an offer, and Cointreau parlayed this into getting a audition with the casting director.

With an excellent series of rolls, Cointreau found himself bumping Mischa Auer for the part of Moroni, the Italian gang leader and rival for the hear of Sophia, played by Merle Oberon. The lead, Cary Grant, is playing “Sky Captain” — obviously patterned on “Captain Joe” Porter, and there’s even a character that is obviously a take on O’Bannon himself, played by David Niven. There’s a young plucky mechanic who is comic relief played by Mickey Rooney (this drives Veitch nuts!) The story takes massive liberties with the final battle the Sky Rats fought against the Cavallieri del’Aria (Knights of the Air), an Italian sky pirate band the Foreign Volunteer Force took down for the Yugoslavian government in 1931. The asistant director of photography doing the aerial battles is a Dave Morelli, whose father supposedly told him stories of the Sky Rats and pirates…he’s thrilled to be working with them.

There followed a montage of vignettes: Cointreau doing well in his work, seducing Oberon only to be discovered in the act by her boyfriend, famed director Alexander Korda. Korda has complained to Mr. Mayer and it looks like Sky Rats! might be the Frenchman’s first and last Hollywood movie! Veitch has been getting close to Erha, while aiding in their work on the saucers and the Eye of Shambala. Zelansky has finally gotten the group paid well for their work, but the government has put their pay into an annuity (which is subject to the new 50% tax on their wealth bracket…thanks, FDR!) O’Bannon and Post are filming aerobatics, including a wing-walking scene where Pin-Li, posing as a David Niven’s character, jumps from one plane to the other to pull the “enemy pilot” out of the cockpit and take over. (There’s another pilot hidden in the plane…PIn-Li can’t fly.)

Finally, Cointreau goes to watch the aerial shoot during a break in his filming, only to find the boys are already up. Veitch is at the Boston Project, but Post and O’Bannon are flying Curtiss Jennies dolled up to look like the Aero A.12s the FVF had flown in the campaign against the Knights of the Air. The “emeny” planes, a Jenny made up to look like an Aeromarine AS, and a Curtiss R3C racing seaplane painted red to play the Macchi M.39 of the villain, Moroni, are joined by the film plane with ADP Morelli in it. The grip on site at the Burbank Airport says they were called in early for the shoot…and moments later Hooper and the other pilots arrive. What they hell is going on? That’s not the routine!

That’s because Morelli is the son of Andrea Morelli, the wingman to Marco Pasquale — the commander of the Cavallieri and a man that O’Bannon had shot down five years ago! O’Bannon remembers the battle — their battered Aero A.12s against the new, nimble Macchi M.71 seaplanes, and Pasquale’s M.39 racing plane that had been armed. It was twice as fast as they, just as maneuverable, and armed with twin .30 machineguns. In that fight, O’Bannon had shot down Morelli’s father, but Pasquale had taken his plane out. Captain Joe had managed to kill Pasquale’s plane by using the slower Aero to pull the faster Macchi in tight, then had rammed the tail of the racing plane to defeat the sky pirate.

It’s the battle that they are supposed to be reenacting.

The “bad guys” has actual bullets in their guns and Post and O’Bannon find themselves using their superior flying skills to try and outfly their opponents. O’Bannon leads the R3C into the canyons north of Los Angeles and manages to get that pilot to damage the plane badly. He then uses Captain Joe’s tactic, out-turning the R3C until the racing plane has to slow down lest it overshoot him…then rams the plane, sending it careening into the neighborhood below.

Post tangles with the “bad guy” Jenny, lopping them to get behind, then just under them before the observer shoots, taking their own tail apart. He then gets under them and nudges the plane into an uncontrolled roll toward the ground. (Post’s player was out for the night and Veitch’s player was rolling for him.) To keep the Zelansky and Cointreau players involved, they were rolling for the bad guys.

Cointreau knows the boys are in trouble and calls the Boston Project, getting contected to Veitch. He tells them about the dogfight and urges him to get out there to help.  He convinces Erha to loan him a Dogfish and together they fly out in the motorcycle-cum-airplanes to the rescue. Veitch arrives just as the plane Post flipped is returning to the fight, and strafes it with the Dogfish’s twin .30s, taking it down. Meanwhile, O’Bannon comes up on the “camera plane” with Morelli and uses his propeller to shred the tail, then follow the damaged craft down to land in the streets. He and PIn-Li were leaping out to face Morelli and his Mafia buddy as Veitch and Erha were closing in the Dogfish.

That’s where we ended for the night.

The Hollywood interlude was fun and focused on the strengths of the characters — Zelansky’s science and bureaucracy, Veitch’s invention, O’Bannon and Post’s piloting skills, and Cointreau’s attempts to break into the Hollywood scene. It also allowed us to do a playtest of the new dogfighting rules  for Ubiquity that will be in the Sky Pirates of the Mediterranean sourcebook we’re working on at Black Campbell Entertainment. I wanted something that was both simpler than the rules in the Secrets of the Surface World sourcebook, and captured the elements of a dogfight better: the jockeying for position that is key to setting up a shot, and how quickly that can be overturned.

Originally, when I started working on this adventure, I had thought to pull it back a bit after the sorcery and kung fu antics of the last few episodes. Instead, we went for more pulp goodness, just with airplanes, that allowed us to delve into the history of the O’Bannon character, which we hadn’t really done yet. The next session I decided not to pull back, again — I had wanted to do something with the Dust Bowl and Okies. Instead, I’m doubling down on our new villainess, Morana.

I’ve been browsing through the Tales From the  Loop book, and been doing observations and student teaching…there was a definite ’80s (and current) kid stereotype missing:

SPAZ

There’s just so much to do, and you’re really excited to do it all! Sometimes, tht means you enthusiasm gets ahead of your brain, or your body. Sometimes you don’t pick up on the social queues you should, but what’s next?

Key Skills: Move, Lead, Investigate

Iconic Item: Choose one or make up your own — Old bicycle, distinctive hat, toy robot (It’s more than means the eye!)

Problem: Choose one or make up your own — I have a habit of engaging my mouth before my brain. I have trouble concentrating for long. I tend to run into or hit people by accident.

Drive: Choose one or make up your own — I get excited about things really easily! I just want people to like me.

Pride: Choose one or make up your own — I climb like a monkey! Everybody likes me!

Relationship to other kids: Choose one for each kid or make one of your own — I’m in love with him/her. I think they are my best friend, even though they treat me badly. She/he takes pity on me. We are best friends.

Relationship to NPCs: choose two or make up your own — My best friend is keeping these little machines in his garage and won’t tell anybody…not even me! I heard the school bullies talking about who they wanted to beat up. My favorite teacher is suddenly in the hospital and no one knows what’s wrong with him/her.

Anchors: Choose one or make up your own — Mother/father, School nurse, the toy store owner.

Names: Come on…just pick one.

Update: Interestingly, this post seems to be causing some consternation over the word usage. (It’s big taboo in the UK.) However, it’s period appropriate for the ’80s. Moreover, it points out that all of the archetypes in the game as boxes into which a character has been dumped by their peers/society/whatever. Watch The Goonies or The Breakfast Club and even though the characters show they are more than their labels…they also occasionally embrace them as a badge of honor.

Something that will be making an appearance soon in our Hollow Earth Expedition game is a “mini-fighter” that is being developed by the Office of Scientific Investigations “Boston Project”and built by the nearby Curtiss-Wright.

I needed something dieselpunkish and spotted this on DeviantArt by Leonard M Grion:

IMG_0263.JPG

An innovative design that came out of the Office of Scientific Investigations’ Boston Project, the Dogfish was created by a refugee of the Hollow Earth, Erha Koenig. This ultralight is powered by an Allison V-12 motor positioned behind an open cockpit that provides more of a motorcycle-like position in the aircraft. The idea was that small, nimble aircraft could outmaneuver the enemy planes, while being inexpensive and less of a financial loss in combat. Armed with a pair of Browning .30 caliber machineguns, the Dogfish had a center of gravity and lift that were balanced in the middle of the craft. Difficult and somewhat terrifying to fly, and with a limited ceiling due to the smaller wingspan, only a few prototypes were created.

dogfissh.jpeg

Our Hollow Earth Campaign continued with the charaters teaming up with a gang called the 17 Tigers, led by a sorcerer Runyi Shen, to rescue Marcel “the Fox” Cointreau and defeat the “hungry ghost” Dai Pan. To do so, Veitch cobbled together an “electroforce” pistol out of the Atlantean crystal Zelansky carries, a battery and a length of pipe and coils. The idea is the electroforce may disperse whatever the incorporeal creature is. It was a nice bit of pulp spitballing by the players that I encouraged.

The gang sets off to the laundry the On Yik Tong uses as a front, and this led to a massive chop socky action sequence that involved swords, cleavers, press irons, moving clothing racks, and explosive cleaning products…leading to the defeat of the On Yik and the burning down of the laundry. While the building was buring around their ears, the heroes found the secret hatch that led them down deep under the city’s infrastructure to the same “dragon door” that Cointreau had been led through. Veitch finds it fascinating. It feels strange and when he touches it, he fall right through, while the others have to force it.

On the other side, Veitch finds the door is also a gate like the Eye of Shambala, and suddenly blue-gi’ed monks are spilling through. Superimposed, his friends come through the door and this led to a massive dozens of martial artists right on top of each other fight. O’Bannon, armed with Veitch’s pistol manages to kill the ghost in the midst of the fight, while Zelansky got off to the side and documented the whole thing with his camera.   Pin-Li got to show his stuff against multiple mooks, and Veitch escaped the fray only to be caught by the fox spirits. Things look grim for the young man when Cointreau, who escaped from the clutches of Dai Pan’s minions, shows up.

In the midst of the fight, Morana, the self-proclaimed Queen of Shambala steps through, disabling all the fighters in earshot with a simple “STOP!” (Atlantean Power Word!) She then found Veitch, intimidated Cointreau into cutting off his pinky. “I need him…but only a little.” she took the finger and put it in a metal vial hung around her neck, before retreating. Zelansky understands: she has just enough that with her ability to amplify psychic and spiritual energy, she can now use Atlantean technology!

The crew escaped the rest of the On Yik by using this new portal to go through the Eye of Shambala, currently being lowered from the airship Macon in the Moffett airship shed. Injured and shaken, the heroes were being taken to the naval hospital when we knocked off for the night.

This week was an interesting exercise in “winging that mo’…” I had a lot of interesting tidbits on Chinatown, names, gang affiliations, and other information all set to go for the game this week…and promptly forgot my laptop that I had plugged in to recharge when I went to the session. It happens. I couldn’t get my phone to talk to iCloud properly, and I didn’t back the adventure up anyway, so what do you do in a situation like this?

Roll with it. I knew the broad strokes. I knew villain names. I had posted the baddies for the adventure on this blog, so I had access to stats, etc. I set to “improvisation” and ran the adventure. I knew that the first scene would be catching up with the character that was taken captive last week, since the player had been absent. We covered Cointreau’s — the French actor and sometimes cat burglar — attempt to find a willing prostitute to try his new mystic Tantric knowledge on…only to find nothing was happening. Disappointed, he got the madam of the house to sent him to “someone that might be able to help….” This was the brothel at which the characters had had their big fight set piece last week when they wen to save him, only to find him gone without a trace.

What we see is that the huli jing, Ming Yao, had coaxed his desire to learn what he’s calling “sex magic” from Cointreau. She recognized the techniques as being old…and offered to take him to someone that could help him. He agreed to this, the player realizing that this would speed the plot. He was taken through a secret trap door down a series of steps that led under the building, under the city’s infrastructure, to a cave system that had wooden foot paths constructed (in an earthquake zone, no less…) She led him to an ornate dragon gate: a red lacquered door surrounded by dragon motifs, and through that into a great hall, like a temple.

Here they met Dai Pan, the leader of the On Yik Tong — slavers, smugglers, and murderers all. Pan has three of these fox spirits at his beck and call, and at some point Cointreau realized that the man didn’t walk. He glided. He didn’t sense him when he was close and at one point, while Dai Pan was convincing him to remain so that they could return him to his mistress, the woman that showed him this was all possible (Morana!), he casually reached out and poked Pan. To find his hand went right through him. He has been here for a long time, guarding the 7th Gate, and now there may be the opportunity to finally have his curse lifted so he might live again, or finally pass beyond.

The rest of the team, meanwhile, goes to Chinatown to try and find out where their friend is. They don’t have to look long before they are directed to the Chinese Consolidated Benevolence Society or “Six Companies” — the cabal of gang leaders who keep the peace in Chinatown since the Tong Wars of the last decade. There, the president of the Six Companies, “Uncle Dave” Pei will tell them their friend is most likely in the hands of the On Yik Tong, a restive bunch of slavers, if their fight last night in one of their brothels is anything to go by. He tells them where they can find the On Yik, but before they can go far, they are attacked outside of the Six Companies, and we had a good chop socky fight sequence, with plenty of fisticuffs and a bit of gun play by O’Bannon and Post. The fight was meant to be difficult, with a dozen opponents, but the boys were blowing through them quickly. We were also starting to run late, so I let the fight close out with the appearance of a rival gang, the 17 Tigers, led by a very American Chinese guy named Eddie Wang.

With Cointreau separated from the group, but the focus on them for much of the night, I gave the player the task of rolling for the bad guys, so that he was engaged and having fun. This technique has been successful for me when it’s neccessary to split the party. Give the player control of the actions of the bad guys is also a nice way of keeping them in the mix, but I recommend this only if your group is adult enough not to get honked off at their companion, should he kick the crap out of their characters.

Their friend isn’t the only one in danger…perhaps the whole world. They know a man who can give them the skinny and help them if they are planning on going up again Dai Pan and the On Yik. He takes them to the Egg Fu Yung Import Store, run by his mother and “Uncle” Runyi Shen, an old man (we went for the inevitable Egg Shen comparison) who has been here for a long time, since before the city was born, protecting the 7th gate from Dai Pan, a “hungry ghost” that exists between worlds, a creature made of dreams.

In this portion, Veitch and Zelansky realized that the ghost might be susceptible to an electrical attack, much like the electroforce cannon Tesla made for the OSI. Can Veitch make something like that? Vetich rolled his Science with the aid of Zelansky and got six successes — with his Weird Science trait, he certainly can. He started putting together a electroforce pistol that would use the crystal that Zelansky took from the tulku in Tibet. (They were using it to identify the new Dalai Lama, but it also responds to Veitch — he’s got Atlantean blood!) He biffed the roll to build it due to the short time, but I decided that he had a working prototype with a highly limited capacity and range…and if he botches a roll, “something will happen.”

We jumped back to Cointreau, who slipped out of bed from his night with three of the fox spirits. He cases the joint, looking for valuables and intelligence on this Dai Pan, only to see some of the gang removing the desiccated body of a young woman that Pan had fed off of. He stumbled into the main chamber that he had arrived in and realized, he’d never looked back at the dragon gate. On this side, he can see the orichalcum, eye-shaped frame of a gate like the Eye of Shambala. And Dai Pan is talking to someone through it, even though it is closed. In front of the gate, they’ve place a four-armed statute of a goddess (Durga, but he didn’t know that) and Pan is talking to a disembodied female voice that they are hearing in their heads, not with their ears…Cointreau is hearing it in French; it’s Morana, the Queen of Shambala. She is telling Pan, once they come to rescue Cointreau, as they will — these mercenaries are a tight group; they will not let one of their number be taken — he should take special pains to keep the “boy” (Veitch, Cointreau realizes) alive…he is hers. If she gets him, Pan will get what he wants.

At this point, Cointreau was discovered by a guard, and Pan — who had known he was there the whole time — tells him “You’re not supposed to be up yet…” and advanced on him. Scene close.

We ended for the night there, with a rescue attempt being put together hastily, Cointreau torn between returning to Morana and her “skills” to learn her “sex magic”, and the form Empress-Consort of Atlantis laying a trap for the crew.

For improvising on the fly, it ran smoothly and quickly. Everyone had a good time and the players are starting to really get into the characters and how to start developing their own shticks for the game. Veitch is doing more inventing, O’Bannon is moving toward kung fu stuff like Pin-Li, Post is moving toward being the gun bunny, Cointreau wants sex magic, and Zelansky is getting into his leader role more. (The player suggested an excellent use of the character’s Guardian trait by kicking over a fruit stand to slow their attackers during the street fight, and hence give a +2 defense to the others.)

Overall, it’s nice to rescue a night from potential failure due to not having your prep. Key is to know what you wanted to do, if you have a more story-driven game. If you are a sandbox-style GM, this probably wouldn’t have phased you in the least. Letting the players take the lead is always a good idea, no matter how much you prepared for the night.

The gaming gang will have a new baddie this week. In keeping with the Chinese mystical themes, and the Big Trouble in Little China vibe we’ve been running, I created the head of the On Yik Tong — Dai Pan. Slaver, smuggler of Chinese to the United States, gang lord, and guardian of the 7th Gate to the “Underworld” (an Atlantean gate like the eye of Shambala or the First Gate in Shambala, itself), he is an ancient thing, a ghost left to guard the gate. He wiles his time away sucking the life out of pretty girls and causing mayhem as he sees fit.

Dai Pan

Archetype: “Hungry Ghost”     Motivation: Power     Health: 8**     Style: 5

ATTRIBUTES: Body: 0 (he has no physical form)   Dexterity: 2   Strength: 2   Charisma: 4   Intelligence: 4   Will: 4

SECONARDY ATTRIBUTES: Size: 1   Move: 4   Perception: 8   Initiative: 6   Defense: 6*    Stun: 4

SKILLS: Academics (History 8, Religion 8 ); Acrobatics 4, Athletics: 4, Con 6, Diplomacy 6, Focus 7, Intimidation 8, Investigation 5, Linguistics 8, Science (Chemistry) 6,  Sorcery (Alchemy 6, Enchantment 7, Necromancy 6)

RESOURCES: Followers 3: On Yik Tong, Refuge 3: Underground maze and Pun Yee Curio Shop; Wealth 3

TALENTS: Charismatic, Chinese Black Magic (Magical Aptitude), Incorporeal (Cannot be injured with physical attacks, but is susceptible to energy weapons), Iron Will, Vampiric (If he occupies the same space as a character, he can attack with a contested WILL check to drain Health from his target and add it to his [if injured.] )

FLAWS: Dream Form, Hedonist, Inscrutable, Obligation, Power Mad

LANGUAGES: Mandarin (native); Cantonese, English, Tibetan

WEAPON: Does need one and couldn’t hold it if he did.

* His defense is based on his Defense and Will, but only energy weapons, sorcery, and psychic abilities can do him harm.

** His Health is a produce of his Intelligence and Charisma.

One thing I see a lot of in game design is a lack of comprehension of firearms and how they do damage. Usually, the thought is “bigger number must mean bigger damage.” You’ll hear this echoed even in the gunnerati out there. (“If it doesn’t start with four and end in five, it’s not enough.”) Bullet punch a hole in things, and bigger holes can mean more bleeding, but they also drop a lot of their energy in a target on the way through creating a “temporary wound cavity. This is the idea behind the “hollow point” or from as they would be called in the 1930s, “dum-dums”; the hole in the front of the bullet acts as a brake, making the bullet fold outward and dropping more hydrostatic energy into the surrounding flesh.

And this means the energy of the bullet is more important than the cross-section (or the “caliber”, for the uninitiated.) That means small and fast bullets can deliver a lot of energy, on par or more than a slower, heavier bullet. (There are years and years of arguing about this going on, right now, on pretty much every gun-related board online.) Fast tends to mean flatter trajectories and more accuracy and well as higher energy; slower, heavier bullets punch a bigger wound channel and it is thought have more “felt energy”, what is sometimes and erroneously called “knockdown power.”

Hollow Earth Expedition gets a lot right in their desire to make weapons stats simple. Statistically, you need about two and a half hits with a pistol to incapacitate a person, and their 3L damage for just about every pistol is about right. Light pistols, which used weaker cartridges like .25 and .32, usually have 2L. If we are kind, and say the break point between 2L and 3L is about 200 ft-lbs. of energy, most of the damage ratings are correct. However, the problem comes when pistols get over 3L in damage. Most of the rifles in Ubiquity get 4L damage for cartridges delivering 1600-3000 ft-lbs. of energy. This is in keeping with the statistical 2 rounds to incapacitation for most rifle rounds. However, even taking the “accuracy as part of the damage” into account, there’s no way a .357 magnum’s 500ish ft-lbs. of energy is doing 5L. This is a case of non-shooters thinking “magnum” means you can shoot through the core of the planet.

So here’s a few suggested corrections you can completely ignore, if you so desire, for the guns of Hollow Earth Expedition.

The Webleys! I own two, and have had another. They’re superb pistols: robust, accurate, but they shoot a 262gr bullet at roughly the speed of smell. (Seriously, if you pay attention, you can see the damned bullet heading downrange.) They’re punching about 250-300 ft-lbs. of energy, depending on the load. That’s still gonna hurt, but it’s not 4L for the .455 round. The Webley’s do 3L. No other changes needed.

S&W .357 Magnum. NO! The muzzle energy is about 500 ft-lbs. for the original loads. That’s still double the usual .38 special, and yes it’s accurate. 4L for damage is much more realistic. And on that note — another round that was designed to increase penetration trough the heavy car hulls of the period was the .38 Super. It used bullets about the same weight as the 9mm Luger, but moving at 1400fps (about the same as the .357 magnum) and had a very flat trajectory. It’s such of straight shooter it is more popular than 9mm in competition shooting. The stats on the weapon on pg. 98 of the Secrets of the Surface World are wrong: Damage: 4L  STR: 2   Rng: 50′   Cap: 8(m)   Rate: M   Speed: A is correct. Alternately, to account for the flat trajectory and full-metal round-nose bullets, you could give it a Dam 3L but a Rng 75′, which would also work well.

So, by this thinking, shouldn’t the Mauser Broonhandles on pg. 98 have a damage of 4L, Scott? Well, figuring the accuracy into damage (which is why the .38 Super get a boost; their use of full metal round-nose bullets often meant they zipped right through the target without the addition of dropping energy into the surrounding tissue) the answer is a resounding NO. Seriously, shoot one. It’s an ergonomic disaster. The range of 75′ listed is the other reason to give the Mauser a 3L; it’s taken into account the accuracy of the weapon in the range stat. This should also be applied to the Mauser 712.

On the same note, the Tokarev TT-30 used a smoking .30 round moving at similar speeds to the .38 Super, but again with FMJ rounds meaning they zipped right through their target. The TT-30 in pg. 110 of SotSW should read: Damage: 3L   Str: 2   Rng: 75′   Cap: 8(m)   Rate: M   Speed: A

Things get worse in the military section of the book. The Lee-Enfield rifle is given an anemic 3L damage…for a rifle pushing 3000 ft-lbs of energy and which was extremely accurate. I know. I own one. Damage for this and the Lewis gun (which also used the .303 British round) should be 4L, as should the Hotchkiss M1914 and other French rifles. The Japanese Nambu rifles were terrible on accuracy and deserve their 3L for that reason, but their rage should be 100′. The Arasaka deserves a 4L. All of the Russian and US rifles deserve a 4L and 100′ range. PPD-34 damage is correct, but range should be 100′.