In this week’s session of Hollow Earth Expedition, one of the characters used his Weird Science talent. While others have had this in the past, it has rarely been used for anything other than understanding strange technology encountered. This was the first time someone actually built something with it.

Anton Vietch, a self-taught engineer and mechanic from Serbia, works with the Sky Rats in Shanghai. He was first established in his workshop playing with an experimental railgun he couldn’t get working right. At the end of this week’s session, he blew a style point and made a great roll to create the weapon.


Using a special battery and capacitor system, this magnetic accelerator fires 12mm ball bearings at speeds approaching 3000fps! This is the equivalent power of a .30 caliber rifle, but with astounding accuracy and range. However, the weapon is heavy at 28 lbs. and has a limited power source.


The batter is stored in the butt of the rifle, and the ball bearings a poured into a hopper on the left side (50 ball bearing can be stored.)

MK I COILGUN:   Str 3   Dam 7L   Rng 250′   Cap: 10**   Rate M   Spd M   cost ~$500

**The gun can fire at slower speeds and save its power pack, gaining a shot of CAP for every dice of damage sacrificed and halves the range. (ex. Tuning the rifle to Dam 3L would give Cap 14 and a Rng of 100′.) If the coilgun is tied to a car battery or other reliable electrical source, the rifle has a Cap of 50 and a Rate of A.

(I got the coilgun image off of the internet because I wanted something suitable retro, but plausible looking. This is apparently from the Fallout 4 video game, cribbed from — SCR)

The design and building of the rifle did highlight an issue I’d had with Ubiquity’s invention rules, which seem slap-dash and ill thought out. Due to the math behind the game, making stuff would be a major pain in the ass by the rules. You pick something in the Secrets of the Surface World book as a template — in this case, a Browning BAR, and “enhance” the thing, taking limitations to get the difficulty to build something to reasonable levels. To build the coilgun required a Craft or Science 5 in the end. He easily beat that with a smoking roll, but even with his Craft 6, this would have been a hard go.

One of these days, I’m going to take a crack at a simplified invention rules set for the game.