Our Hollow Earth Expedition campaign, titled Gorilla Ace! for the eponymous character has been chugging along nicely since we first started joking with the idea of a lead character who was a gorilla and a pilot. We are now nine “issues” into the campaign and it shows no signs of stopping…

Here’s a brief list of the adventures, which one might turn into seeds for your own pulp-style campaign:

1: “Gorilla Ace and the Island of Terror!”  It’s June 1936, and WWI fly ace Rowland Cabot and his wife Jackie Jin Dr. Robert Stanford, a wealthy and connected doctor track down his missing medical school mentor. What they find on Ferrnando Po is a ppantation of slaves beg used by the evil Dr. Wasserman of the SS Medical corps as human guinea pigs — blending man and animal. During their escape, Cabot is accidentally dosed with formula that turns him into a giant gorilla man!

2: “Gorilla Ace and the Sky Pirates!”   On their way to England from Fernando Po, the team encounters a strange air vessel (think the SHIELD helicarriers and you’re close) committing piracy in the Straits of Gibraltar. They aid the Royal Navy in tracking the vessel to it’s secret base in Morocco, where they attempt to board and destroy the ship. (They wound up capturing it and bringing it into port.)

3: “Gorilla Ace and Perils of Celebrity”.   Now world famous, the team travels to London, only to have attempt by Nazi agents to kidnap him for study right off their ocean liner while at a stop in Bordeaux. On arrival in London, they are the toast of the town, but have to watch for British Union of Fascist agents tracking their every move.

4: “Gorilla Ace and the Attack of the Radio Men!”   Large robots spouting socialist rhetoric attack a gathering of the London aristocrats — including King Edward VIII — requiring the team and the Special Branch to thwart the robotic monstrosities. They track the fantastical contraptions’ heat Ray eye to a Swiss optician and learn of the figure behind the Radio Men…the infamous former NKVD agent “the Phantom”, hunted by his Stalinist enemies, and MI5 alike. Ended with a cliffhanger attack using a bomb in a special television set communicator…

5: “Gorilla Ace and the Lair of the Phantom!”  Gorilla Ace and his team discover the radio frequency controlling the Radio Men and track it to a warehouse in the East India Dockyards. Mayhem ensues when they run into more robotic giants and mooks on “hoop cycles”, leading to a chase on the vehicles through the London Underground. Jackie discovers the lair and learns of the Phantom’s plans to attack the British aristocracy at the heart during a speech in Parliament by the king to commemorate the upcoming 1936 Summer Olympics. James Bond style raid by Gorilla Ace and the Special Branch and the Phantom escapes.

6: “Gorilla Ace and the Hampstead Horror!”  The team are approached by a famed physicist and occultist looking for the secret of the radium engines the Radio Men used and that Dex Vincetti — the team’s mechanic has cracked. Dex and his notes are snagged up by zombies, leading to a meeting with MI6 occultist and agent Aleister Crowley (the crazy music thing is mostly an act to cover his espionage activities.). In a raid on the physicist’s home, they have to rescue Dex and stop a group of rich, idiotic occultists using a small radium-powered engine to heighten their mystic powers and open a gate to another dimension! Strange Chthulu-like critters are stopped from entering our world when they — of course — reverse the polarity.

7: “Gorilla Ace and Murder on the R100!” The team is traveling home on the airship R100 when a member of the crew is found murdered and stuffed in a Canadian official’s car. The investigation turns up a missing bag of money from the cargo hold safe with $1 million Canadian missing. They have to stop the murderer (a ship radio operator) and the thief from escaping via parachute over Newfoundland coastline.  Ends with a chase through the interior of the ship and on the top of the hull.

8:  “Gorilla Ace at the National Air Races!”  September 1936 and the Gorilla Ace Flying Circus has entered into several of the contests.  Jackie Cabot flies the Women’s Air Derby from Los Angeles (Grand Central Airport in Glendale) to Cincinati (pot was $4000.)  There’s the 10 mile, 10 lap Thompson Cup speed races ($9000 that year.) and lastly, the Bendix Cup, a grueling 2300 mile endurance course with a $7000 pot at the end.)

9:  “Gorilla Ace and the Simian Menace!”  Gorilla Ace and company are attacked by real dogfighters while shooting the dogfighting stunts of the new Gorilla Ace! movie serials.  Their attackers chase them over the streets of Burbank and the 300 yard long, 100 yard wide fake African jungle for the aerial shots (while being filmed!), using their wits to outsmart their opponents.  (Wound up with all three bad guy planes down and GA!’s SEV3 destroyed.)   Later, after a wrap party at the Trocadero with other RKO stars like Fred Astair, Errol Flynn, and guys like Howard Hughes, they find their home ransacked, and at their hangar Dex and his notebooks are missing.  They find Dr. Stanford has been held hostage while thugs and LAPD detectives search his Laurel Canyon home for his notes on Gorilla Ace and his transformation.  They later have to get Dex and his notes back in a fight on top of a Los Angeles monument.  (Haven’t finished this one, yet, so don’t want to release spoilers…players read the blog.)

Still to come!

10:  “Gorilla Ace and the Thing from Inside the Earth!”  An earthquake unleashes an ancient horror on Los Angeles and only the Gorilla Ace Flying Circus can save the day!  The GAFC joins up with an elite group of scientists and inventors fighting weird dangers to the world.  (Will include Nikola Tesla, possibly an “Atomic Robo”-like character, Howard Hughes, Dr. Henry Jones Jr., and others…  Going for a 1930s Dr. Savage meets Buckaroo Banzai flavor.)

11:  “Gorilla Ace and the Werewolf of Manhattan!”…that’s all I have for it, so far.

12.  “Gorilla Ace over China!”  A mission to supply the American volunteers in China goes awry.  Possilby introducing a Jake Cutter-esque character.

As part of the upcoming Gorilla Ace! campaign, a race plane was required for one of the characters…created by one of the other characters.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Boy and Girls!  Premiering at the 1935 Bendix Cup, the #4 plane piloted by Mrs. Jackie Cabot:  the Vincetti Sportster 1!

17

VINCETTI SPORTSTER 1

Designed by Dex Vincetti and built by Vincetti and the Cabots with funding from Union Oil and Champion (the spark plug manufacturer), the S1 is a braced low-wing monoplane powered by a 1000hp Pratt & Whitney R1690 radial engine (bought used as salvage and tinkered with by Vincetti.)  The airframe is unusual for a racing airplane:  to save weight, the wings use spruce spars, the ailerons plywood, and the fuselage a combination of steel tubing and aluminum, covered with doped canvas.  She is 21′ in length, with a wing span of 26′, and a dead weight of 1500 lbs.

Size: 2   Def: 6   Struc: 6   Spd: 300 mph   Rng: 900 mi   Han: +2   Crew: 1   Pass: 1*  Cost: $6,000   Flaw:  Requires Maintenance before each flight (Mechanic vs. 2)

(The Vincetti Sportster 1 is portrayed by the Wedell-Williams #44…SCR)