A little something from the ongoing Hollow Earth Exepdition game. The Ahnenerbe has had a bit of help reverse engineering a Vril flying saucer they captured in the Hollow Earth three years ago, and now it is harassing our party…

nazi_ufo_01Developed from a Vril flying saucer returned with the Deutschland mission, the Schwarze Sonne project reverse engineered the Vril technology using available technologies. The repulsor technology is a bit crude and is powered by a pair of Maybach V-12 engines. These flyer saucers are capable of carrying 12 men and have a minimal crew of two — a pilot and an engineer. The standard operating crew includes a second pilot, who also acts as a gunner, a radio and radar operator, and four gunners for the Solothurn turrets on the underside. It is armed with a turret topside carrying a pair of Spandau 7.92mm machine guns, and four turreted 20mm machine guns for ground assault.

SIZE: 8   DEF: 6   STR: 14   SPD: 200   CEIL: 20,000   RNG: 1000   HAN: 0   CREW: 8   PASS: 4 WEAPONRY:  dual Spandaus in turret — Dam: 5L   Rng: 250’   Cap: 250   Rate A   SPD: A; 4 Solothurn 20mm in turrets — Dam 6L   Rng: 500’   Cap: 100   Rate: A   SPD: A

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The return of our Hollow Earth Expedition campaign included one of the players wanting to trade out his character, the French cat-burglar/actor for something new. He was leaning toward a character in the classy gentleman spy, John Steed vein but left it to me to build it.

Our adventure coming up was how there was a lost island, possibly a bit of the Hollow Earth that got “stuck” to the Surface World in the South China Sea. I figured we needed someone who was familiar with the lifeforms and might have a direct connection to the mission. Hence this character was born:

Aristotle Strange

Screen Shot 2019-03-20 at 20.45.07Ari Strange started his life as a philosopher and thinker in the ancient city of Molad, one of the apeman cities arrayed against the Emperor Mot. When the Interior World emerged in 1933, he was deposited in Hong Kong, where his ability to speak and reason earned him study by MI-13, the United Kingdom’s secret science intelligence agency. He was eventually recruited to aid the British with the leftover problems from the emergence of the “ghost world” and has become one of their most skilled, if least secret, agents in the East.

He is incredibly dapper, always well dressed in town, and he prefers a safari suit in the field. He rarely uses guns, preferring one of his custom-made gadget-laden umbrellas. His bowler hat is steel-lined so it can be used as a bludgeoning weapon or shield. He is frequently assigned to missions with two Special Branch officers who have been seconded to MI-13 — Sergeants Thicket and Tweed. Tweed acts as driver for the Bentley 6.5 litre “Green Train” car that MI-13 has issued to the large not-so-secret agent.

Archetype: Spy     Motivation: Knowledge     Nationality: British     Age: 40-45?

Place of Birth: Molad, the Interior World     Date of Birth: June or July, 1889

Ht: 5’11”     Wt: 370 lbs     Hair: Black     Eyes: Brown

ATTRIBUTES: Body: 3   Dexterity: 2   Strength: 4  Charisma: 2   Intelligence: 3   Willpower: 2

Secondary Attributes:  Size: 0   Move: 6   Perception: 5   Initiative: 5   Defense: 5   Stun: 3 Health: 5   Style 5

Resources & Talents: Animal Presence: Use Body for intimidation base, Natural Advantage: Climb (x2 move when climbing), Prehensile Feet, Rank 2: Special Officer, MI-13 (equiv. Lieutenant); Skill Mastery, Academics; Strong: +1 strength at creation

Flaws:  Code of Honor: 1 style pt. when he does the right thing; Curiosity: 1 style pt when it gets him into trouble, Obligation: MI-13, Weird Appearance: -2 social tests with new people.

Languages: Ophiri (native); Ancient Greek, Cantonese, English, Spanish

Skills: Academics 3/6, Athletics 2/ 6, Brawl 2/6, Bureaucracy 2/5, Firearms 1/3, Intimidation 2/5, Investigation 2/5, Larceny 1/3, Linguistics 3/6, Melee 1/5, Science (Biology) 1/4, Stealth 2/4, Survival 3/6

Weaponry: Sword Umbrella   DAM: 2L,  Attack Rating: 7L (Has a small whiskey flask in handle); Shotgun Umbrella (12 gauge): DAM: 4L, Attack Rating: 5L, Rng: 25’, Cap: 1, Rate: 1, Spd: S; Steel-Lined Bowler DAM: 1N, Attack Rating: 6N   Range (thrown): 20’ (Can be used as a shield for Armor 1)

Gadgets: Umbrella with gas spray: Range 10 (Test BODY 3 or fall unconscious for successes x minutes), Umbrella with camera (Can take up to 20 pictures (35mm cartridges), Smith Brothers wristwatch with compass, Belt with secret money pouch (5 gold sovereigns)

Note: I pulled the image off the interwebz at Traditional Games, but there was no citation for the artist who created it. No infringement is intended and as soon as I find a citation I’ll post it.

We finished the mini-campaign we were playing in Tales from the Loop two weeks ago and swung back onto our Hollow Earth Expedition game. The characters were investigating reports of a strange, lost island in the South China Sea near the Philippines, and had been tracking down the crew of a freighter that had escaped in Hong Kong. They found them in the recently closed Peak Hotel — a massive art deco pile from the turn of the century that was closed only a few weeks earlier. In the interim, it was being used by the British government to hold the crew of the Den Wu and question them as to what they had found.

Our characters slipped into the hotel — abandoned and a bit creepy — during a massive thunderstorm. After a bit of sneaking about, they were discovered by the members of British Intelligence, and specifically a group stood up in 1933, after the Hollow Earth Expedition by Admiral Bird and the characters (and with the help of the Ahnenerbe in the airship Deutschland).

MILITARY INTELLIGENCE 13

Known as the “Weird Boys” or the Scientific Intelligence, MI-13 is under the authority of the Home Office. Led by the Chief, MI-13 General Aubrey Milton, and his Deputy Chief, Dr. Trevor Ansom — the man who discovered the White Apes of the Congo, the service hires its people from an eclectic mix of scientists and explorers, soldiers and spies, and mystics. Unlike their other secret services cousins, MI-5 and MI-6, the Weird Boys are not headquartered in London, but in a large country house near Oxford University. Their major stations are Hong Kong, Calcutta, Jerusalem in the Palestinian Mandate, Toronto, and Sydney.

Small teams are sent to investigate sightings of strange creatures possibly related to the “ghost world”, as the emerged Hollow Earth was called, strange events that cannot be explained by current science, and advanced research being conducted by other countries that have recovered some of the technological marvels of the Atlanteans. They have a friendly rivalry with the American Office of Scientific Investigations, but their dealings with the paranormal division of the NKVD have been more violent. Of great concern is the rapid development of repulsion technology by the Ahnenerbe division of the Gestapo, which has been reverse engineering Atlantean flying saucers.

One of the least “secret” of their agents an apeman who had been deposited by the emerging Hollow Earth in Hong Kong — a philosopher named Artistotle who has since adopted the name Aristotle Strange. He has actively immersed himself into the culture of his adoptive Britain.

My love of the Eaglemoss Battlestar Galactica  line continues with the arrival in March of the Viper MK VII. As with the other fighters in the set, it’s about 8-9 inches long (so not to scale with the MK II, but roughly the same size as the old Art Asylum/Diamond Select version) and the detailing is fantastic, and much closer to screen correct than the older AA version. This one is carrying the call sign for Apollo with the tail number 2276NC. Like the MK II, the cockpit is dark plastic, so you don’t have an interior cockpit modeled, unlike the Art Asylum models of the early 2000s.

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As with all the Eaglemoss models, it comes with a short booklet that has an interview with the designers of the spacecraft, as well as Ronald Moore.IMG_0634

It’s a handsome thing, but is it worth it? If you’re a BSG fan, abso-frakin’-lutely.

Look what followed me home…

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This early to mid-90s era Interarms Walther PPK had been sitting neglected at the local neighborhood gun store for months. I had been considering the Glock 42 next to it — a pre-owned but never fired piece, but the historian in me was drawn to this treasure, and I beat the guy down to $300. Hit the range and dropped 100 rounds through it. No jams, one failure to fire from a dry and dirty firing pin that was quickly remedied.

It’s about the same size as the Glock 42, but about twice the weight. Still, that fixed barrel: it’s a tack driver.

Massive bout of the fly for the kiddo and wife at the same time. Student teaching at a local high school while teaching a new class I’ve never taught before at community college. Once of the hardest schedules I’ve had since the military life…

But I’ve gotten frocked as a secondary teacher and the job search in on. I’m slowly transitioning into the summer writing and editing season and art queries for Gateway to the East, the sourcebook to 1930s Istanbul for Fate and Ubiquity in in the offing. We’re hoping for our usual late summer release — here’s to hoping we don’t get buried by a massive number of coold Kickstarters this year. They murdered the launch of Sky Pirates of the Mediterranean, which is our first flop for Black Campbell Entertainmentand seriously made me rethink a bunch of our release schedule, as well as question why I was doing any of this. (While, strangely, the stuff we pulled turned into Airships of the Pulp Era, which sold well enough to almost cover the disaster that was Sky Pirates.

I’ve been widening our gaming group’s selection of play, and my wee daughter requested and has started playing Dungeons & Dragons with me GMing. My Eaglemoss addiction has spread from the Battlestar Galactica line to the stunningly beautiful John Eaves designs for the Federation starships of Star Trek: Discovery. So there will be a few reviews on those coming.

January brought my latest shipment from Eaglemoss’ new Battlestar Galactica model run: the original show’s Cylon Baseship. Like the rest of the models from this series, the detail is extraordinary for the size.

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The model is about 8″ in diameter and they didn’t skimp on the detailing on the inside of the twin hull sections. The semas are well hidden on the inside portions of the saucers. Here it is in comparison with the new Galactica.

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I continue to be quite pleased with the work on this series — enough so I picked up a few of the small Star Trek pieces (not as good, but not bad). As with the rest, it comes with a 14-page booklet on the design, filming, etc. of the ship.

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The unit price on these is $54 or so, depending on where you look. If you’re a BSG fan looking to show your love (and annoy your roommates or significant others) on your shelves or mantlepieces, it’s definitely worth the price.

Side note: The Star Trek: Discovery line of ships is larger than the 3″ ships that Eaglemoss did for their main Trek line and they look great!