We picked up our Hollow Earth Expedition game in San Francisco. The party had arrived from India aboard USS Macon, the States’ premiere aerial aircraft carrier, and landed at Moffett Airfield. Waiting for them was another senior officer, Dr. Lancaster, of the Office of Scientific Investigations — the new organization that Zelansky (the team’s “leader”) works for — and some FBI guys to protect them while they are in the States. Also here is a gaggle of press here to record the joyful reunion of aviation legend Wiley Post and his wife and daughter, who had been brought to California courtesy of his friend and famed American humorist, Will Rogers.

We got a couple of tidbits about the OSI during this scene, and the organization could be useful for those looking for a group that could provide characters with a mission to attack. (This group was created for our particular campaign, but could be tweaked for any setting…)


OFFICE OF SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATIONS

Created in 1934, the OSI was a response to the return of the Byrd Expedition from the Hollow Earth and the subsequent appearance of the “the Second Earth”, Atlantia, which “phased” through the Earth to form a new planet, following Earth at about 20º behind our world. The office was created under the War Department, and pulls personnel from the military and civilian sectors. The Director of the OSI is Rear Admiral Richard Byrd, and there are several “projects” that are studying scientific and archeological or technological artifacts related to the Atlantia and the ancients that had constructed the “Hollow Earth” (what is now thought to have been a pocket dimension created inside the planet for purposes unknown.)

These projects use code-names from various US cities for communications.

ATLANTA: This is a field research group led by Dr. Edmund Zelansky that is investigating phenomenon left over from Atlantia’s passage through the Earth, mostly in the Pacific and Asia. BOSTON: This is a project set up in Huntingdon Park, California on the site of the Goodyear airship plant. They are researching flight-orineted technologies taken from the Atlantean flying saucers recovered during the Byrd Expedition. CHARLESTOWN: This is a Manhattan-based project headed by Nikola Tesla to research electrical and telluric-based weapons and communications systems. DENVER: This is a biomedical project researching the various life forms that were returned from the Hollow Earth, and the biological markers of certain people that seem to be able to activate and control Atlantean technology. EASTON: The counter-espionage division of OSI. Most of the personnel are pulled from the FBI or Naval Intelligence.

The OSI has a smaller budget than the military, but is still adequate to keep scientists and field agents active, as well as operate a small fleet of airplanes and the former naval airship Los Angeles. The headquarters of OSI are in Washington, DC, with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago.


The characters were taken by bus into San Francsico, 20 minutes away, where they were put up in the Fairmont Hotel in Nob Hill. Despite the FBI’s requests that they all stay at the hotel, the characters — minus Post — headed out to see the sights. Post and his family stayed at the hotel to enjoy a meal with the Rogers, Will and his wife.

First stop: Chinatown, only a few blocks away. The characters found the place very like Shanghai, save cleaner and with more run down buildings. The addition of cowboys to the landscape was startling. (Remember, San Fran was a port town, but most of California was still very much a Western place.) Cointreau was looking to try out his studies of tantric “magic” he had picked up in Shianking. They quickly found a brothel of sufficient quality for the actor. The others grabbed a small meal in a local restaurant, then headed to the Tenderloin and the nightclubs. Before they leave the neighborhood, however, Pin-Lee sees a fox, of all things, standing in the middle of the road, apparently completely unnoticed by everyone but him. The fox is staring at him, then disappears into the crowd.

Post, meanwhile, finished his meal with his family and returned to his room. He noted the FBI had changed shifts while they were gone, and a giant of a man was keeping them safe. Before he could settle in to get reacquainted with his wife, Agent Parker, called him into Zelansky’s room to speak with him. Inside, he found three miscreants ransacking the room and stealing the scientists’ notes and the books and artifacts he’d brought back from Tibet. The giant man proceeded to slam Post against the wall and show him a photograph of a young woman, asking “Is this the woman in Shianking?” He confirmed that the woman, Olga Markova, was Queen Morana of Shianking. This seemed to agitate the “FBI guy” who tells him to keep his mouth shut and walk. Post, however, noticed the .38 snubnose on the man’s belt and quickly snatches it away, Holding the men at bay, he attempted to exit the room, but Parker lunged and Post shot him dead center in the chest. It put the man on his keister…but didn’t kill him!

Post back out of the room to find another FBI agent (he assumes) shooting at him. Thus begins a foot chase through the hotel, with the second agent blasting .38s at Post in the grand stairwell to the lobby. Post escapes the hotel and jumps onto a passing cable car, jumping out on the other side. He is spotted by the bad guys, who have exited the Fairmont, and rush to pile into a ’34 Oldsmobile. Post beats feet — he’s shot a guy and he’s a former convict who served a year for armed robbery…this could go badly.

He runs into the group returning from the Tenderloin, drunk and singing Irish songs in Chinese. Before he can explain what’s happening, the Olds comes around the corner and tries to run them all down. The team dives into an alley nearby, and the thugs from the Oldsmobile jump out of the car to chase them. In the ensuing fight, Veitch (their mechanic) tries to brain the gunman of the mooks with a trash can, but misses. “Irish” O’Bannon, their pilot and Pin-Lee, their Chinese fighter and Shanghai movie stunt man, punch the guys lights out and chase off the others. They find Zelansky’s stuff in the back seat floor well in pillow cases. They grab up the unconscious gunman and hop into the Olds to get out of the area as they faintly hear approaching sirens.

What to do? Zelansky wants to get to Moffett Field and protect his data, but Pin-Le wants to collect Cointreau. He’s on his own, and who knows what might be happening. They drive to Chinatown, where O’Bannon and Pin-Lee go looking for the actor. Post, Veitch, and Zelansky, meanwhile, dump the gunman into the trunk of the car, drawing attention but no action from bystanders — but this is Chinatown. No one is talking to the cops here. Pin-Lee learns they sent Cointreau to another place that could handle his unusual requests. It turns out to be in a tight alley that the Old almost can’t fit in.

The brothel is run by a staggeringly beautiful Chinese woman with gold eyes. Cointreau is here, in the back. She completely entrances Veitch and Pin-Lee, but O’Bannon’s got a job to do and barrels past, dragging Veitch with him…and right into the middle of four Chinese hatchtmen. Pin-Lee finds himself in a hell of a kung fu fight with the woman, who he suddenly realizes has little golden foxes embroidered on her red qipo — could she be a huli jing? One of the fox spirits he dad told stories about. Maybe he should have listened to his father more!

Outside, post and Zelansky are attacked by eight hatchetmen with various martial arts implements. Post guns the Old and rolls over a few of their assailants, but two get onto the roof. Zelansky puts a .38 through the roof (and the man’s sensitive areas). Post almost get hit by a weird chain weapon with a metal hand/claw. He throws it in reverse and runs down a few more bad guys. Again, forward, then back until they are out of opponents. A four ton Oldsmobile is a hell of a weapon. (The framing on the scene was every time the characters in the brothel were looking to ward the door, the Olds was smoking tires in direction or the other. It amused the hell out of them.)

O’Bannon and Veitch take on the hatchetmen and drop them in a vicious but short martial arts fight, then with Pin-Lee face off against the woman, who easily knocks O’Bannon on his ass. Realizing all of her mooks are down, she tells them she’ll “see them later”, and races off, turning into a fox! on the way out. They search the brothel, but Cointreau is no longer here. A few admit to having seen him, but no one saw him leave. They throw one of the still living hatchetmen in the trunk with the angry gunman, who has been getting thrown around the trunk during the fray.)

They take the Olds to Moffett Field and spend an hour in shore patrol custody when they arrive with crazy stories, no ID (it’s lost somewhere in Tibet), and a couple of hostages in the trunk of their stolen car. Dr. Lancaster finally shows up to intervene. The FBI are interrogating their prisoners. They’re not being kittens about it, either; the man mountain Post shot and his friends killed their two agents. They learn that the attack on the Fairmont was composed of a few dock workers who were hired by “Parker” – actually a Soviet agent named Dmitri Denisovitch. The Chinese assailant didn’t say much, but they did learn he is part of the On Yik Tong.

With not much to go on, the group is finally released and heads back to San Francisco to find out where their friend is. They take time to stop at a gun store and strap up…

That’s where we left it for the night, with the start of my version of Big Trouble in Little China, 1936. With Cointreau playing Miaow Yin.


Ming Yao

Archetype: Huli Jing     Motivation: Mischief     Health: 5

ATTRIBUTES: Body: 2  Dexterity: 4  Strength: 3  Charisma: 6  Intelligence: 2  Will: 3

SECONDARY ATTRIBUTE: Size: 0 Move: 7  Perception: 7  Initiative: 6  Defense: 6  Stun: 3

SKILLS: Acrobatics 8, Athletics 4 (Running 5), Con 10, Linguistics 6, Martial Arts (Fox form Kung Fu) 8, Performance 10, Stealth 8, Streetwise 6, Survival 4

RESOURCES:

TALENTS: Attractive, Captivate, Charismatic, Feeds on Breath: (contested WILL test to steal Health), Nigh Immortal (Can take damage to -10), Shapechanging (She can change from fox form to human; she can look like anyone female) , Skill Mastery (Performance)

FLAWS: Curious, Impulsive, Lustful, Vow

LANGUAGES: Cantonese, Mandarin, Tibetan, English

WEAPONS: Claws — Dam: 1L


 

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