We had a break to test play The Zugspitze Maneuver while one of the regulars was out on work travel, and took up our Hollow Earth Expedition campaign against tonight. We had ended on a cliffhanger — the party’s airship, USS Los Angeles having followed the massive German LZ-128 into the lensing effect of the Northern Polar Entrance, only to be tossed and twisted as they made the transition into the Inner World…could the decade-old airship — not the most robust of vehicles — survive the forces?

In short: yes. After a tumultuous passage, the crew of Los Angeles set about finding their position, gaining altitude from the snow-capped mountains below, and looking for their opposition. They quickly find the German ship three miles off their starboard bow, similarly drifting on the winds and conducting repairs. The Soviet semi-rigid had followed them through the entrance, but looked to have crashed five miles away in the mountains. After radioing to Deutschland, LZ-128, the learned that the ship was captained by Earnst Lehman — the most famed airship captain in DELAG (the Zeppelin cruise line) and that the mission commander is an Oberststurmbannfuhrer named George Werner — the same Werner that had led the Gestapo expedition to Tibet, and whom was assumed dead in a plane crash with the other Nazi survivors after they left India. Himler himself had promoted and tapped Werner to lead the new expedition, which had opened the entrance thanks to a civilian guest…Aaron Gould, David’s brother!

The two airships formed an alliance and after speaking with Amon about the possibilities of finding fuel — the Germans use blau gas, a form of propane and hydrogen that is similar enough to coal gas to easily distill; and Los Angeles gasoline, but her engines can easily be converted back to blau gas — they decide to risk going to Hyperborea, home of the “white vril” — the albino-like vril from the north — who live in Walhalla. After a day’s travel at half speed to conserve fuel, the airships find the massive, city carved out of a mountain.

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Walhalla (1896) by Max Brüchner

They are immediately intercepted by a dozen of what appear to be hawkpeople…but they are women in armor, their wings part of some kind of rocket or jet pack they use to fly: the Valkyrie! Led by Mist, they demand to know what the ships are, and their intentions. (The size of the vessels, and their lack of knowing they are lighter-than-air craft, make the twin dirigibles highly intimidating…) Admiral Byrd and Dr. Gould manage to convince them of their non-beligerancy, and to be allowed to seek harbor at the mountain hall.

After some complex maneuvering to use a huge lightning rod as a mooring mast, they put Byrd and the party over the side, and from Deutschland, Werner and two of his archeologists, Herman Wirth and Wolram Sievers — both “experts” in Thule mythology. These men are fervent anti-Semites, who are desperate to find a way to access the Hollow Earth without the Gould brothers, and who cannot bear the thought that these targets of Nazi racial hatred are closer to the Aryan perfection than they are!

Led through giant mythic halls of the city that are like something straight out of Thor, and surrounded by hugely tall, beautifully Nordic looking, armored and armed warriors (men and women) who are part Marvel extra/part SCA, they are brought before King Woden and his queen, and questioned. Along the way, they reveal that they were the rebels that were killed by Emperor Mot’s people; lost to the ocean! He is wondering why they shouldn’t just turn them over to the Emperor to curry some favor.

The party convinces the king to listen to their petition to open relations between Hyperborea and both Germany and the United States. They could work together against Atlantis, but Woden is cautious there — while he and his warriors would welcome a fight with Mot, and believe they would win…the time is not yet right. However, if they could forge an alliance with the mermen and hawkmen once more, he would consider it. Along the way, they find out that the dwarves that live deep in the mountain can make the blau gas for the airships. they are dangerous, treacherous creatures, but they know their place.

After, an offer of dinner and debauchery has the combined landing party back on Deutchland to carefully pick people to represent the mission. They decide on the scientific contingent (including the party), the admiral and Werner. They also meet David’s brother, safe and sound, and under the protection of Captain Lehmann. Gus manages to convince Werner to release the brother Gould under a promise from the admiral that he will be returned when they attempt to transit out of the Inner World. Werner, meanwhile, starts to cultivate Gus with his personal, signed copy of Mein Kampf and a Nazi party lapel pin. Gus, ever the optimist about his nation, takes the gifts…where might this lead?

We ended there for the night, with a new faction introduced, new technology, and hopefully some interesting character development. They have yet to figure out how long they have been gone, but it’s been a while.

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