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[Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

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  • [Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

    My group has officially abandoned «campaign style» gaming. Instead we will favor one-shot games that must be finished in 4-6 hours.

    My proposal is to run a 1910 Pulp + Weird Science (not Cthulhu horror) one shot in an alternate-historical Montreal. Mostly in the Ville de Maisonneuve district. In 1910 it was still a city that rivaled with Montreal and had not yet been absorbed. It was a great era of prosperity just before WWI.

    For the alternate-history part I'll be using de Ville de Maisonneuve expansion plan that would have been built if the city had not gone bankrupt because of WWI. The Duchesne had great ambitions for their town. It included a large botanical garden, a large exposition hall, an amusent park and several parks, «healthy» homes (sun, light and yards) for workers and a tramway to transport them to work.

    PCs will be members of prominent families of that era. All are part of the local elite and are used to travel abroad by boat.

    The Viau own a cookie factory. A bit of historical research revealed that behind the male frontman owner it was in fact a matriarcal business run by the grand-mother, her daughters and grand-daughters!

    The Duchesne are old French aristocracy, involved in politics (mayor) and construction of large projects for the city of Maisonneuve.

    The Vickers are Americans that own a ship and train construction yard.
    marc c (also know as shesheyan on other forums)

  • #2
    Re: [Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

    City Hall

    Public Market and Community Center

    Public Bath

    Viau Delivery Truck

    Canadian Vickers Yard
    marc c (also know as shesheyan on other forums)


    • #3
      Re: [Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

      ONE-SHOT #1: Into the Violet Vale
      (loosely based on the Violet Vale by Monte Cook for Numenera)

      On June 2nd 1910 both Vivianne Viau (PC1) and her good friend Claudius Dufresne (PC2) receive a message from Alphonse Robidas (npc) a friend and botanist at the Maisonneuve (Montreal) Botanical Garden. He is inviting them to be the first to see a new variety of African Violet.

      On the morning of June 3rd, a Saturday, Vivianne and Claudius enjoy a brunch at the botanical garden's restaurant before walking to greenhouse A1 were Alphonse is waiting for them. After the main course Vivianne wants Claudius to try her new recipe for a Viau cookie but he claims he is not hungry. Disappointed Vivianne puts the cookies back in a metal box and puts it in her purse. (this was an unexpected scene and pure role play gold).

      Vivianne and Claudius reach the greenhouse. As they open the double doors to enter the greenhouse they see Alphonse near a beautiful and oversized African violet plant. The petals are 6" each. The center part of the petals are pink and seem illuminated.

      Alphonse (npc) touches one of the petals with a finger. He feels strange and light-headed. Vivianne watches in horror as Alphonse slowly dissolves and disappears. Claudius run towards the location of Alphonse. The notebook Alphonse was holding falls on the ground. Vivianne approaches the violet carefully. She picks up the notebook from the floor.

      From the notes Vivianne learn that Alphonse received the seeds by sea mail. They were sent by Lord John Ingram, a Canadian adventurer who is currently mapping the inner continent of Africa. Claudius, looking around for clues, finds a beautiful mahogany wooden box with floral carvings on the exterior. Inside the cover of the box in a bas-relief sculpture of a valley filled with hundreds of flowers that look like African violets.

      Scared of the flower Vivianne attempts to cover it with her scarf but the air displacement sends hundreds of pollen particules in the air. Vivianne avoids them but Claudius is not so lucky and breaths in several of them and he dissolves and slowly disappears out of thin air.

      Left alone Vivianne can see that she is surrounded by hundreds of floating pollen particules. By sheer force of will she manages to reach the doors unharmed. She inserts two brooms in the door handles to prevent anyone to open the doors from the outside. She turns around and walk directly into the pollen cloud.


      Claudius appears out of thin air and quickly finds Alphonse who is terrorized and is holding on his gardening pruner like his life depends on it. They are in a valley filled with gigantic African Violets. The sky is a strange purple-bleu and the landscape keeps changing. One minute there are near a large flower bed the next minute the same flower bed is 200 years aways. It's very dizzying. By comparing watches Claudius and Alphonse deduct that time goes much faster in the valley. Alphonse claims he was here 25 minutes while Claudius says Alphonse was gone only 5 minutes. Not sure what to do they decide not to move from their location for now. Suddenly after another 25 minutes Vivianne appears near them. They exchange info and decide to try walking towards what appears to be the North.

      They soon discover that despite their best skill and concentration they can't follow a strait path. The terrain keeps changing and they themselves are constantly teleported from one location to the other by leaps of 10 to 100 yards. It's very frustrating. They also see a flying humanoid insect with four arms (Bakwanee) that seems to be trying to reach them but he is also teleported constantly. On the horizon they also see a large construction made entirely of what appears to be polished stainless steel with no windows or doors. The building is also shifting location randomly. One minute it appears 1 mile away the other it's barely 100 years away.


      At some point there is a confrontation between the Bakwanee and the group. It's obviously famished and wants to eat the PCs. Vivianne somehow understand this (communication roll of 18 on 3d6). She takes out half the cookies she made and throws them at the Bakwanee! The creature picks up the cookies and flies away to eat this delicacy!


      Cries from afar can be heard. «Bwana! bwana! over here!» Another stranger is trapped inside the violet valley. It is a black man wearing a loin cloth and holding a lance. The poor man has suffered from severe malnutrition. After much trial and error the 3 french Canadians manage to reach M'dala Mobaco (npc) who claims to be a member of Lord John Ingram's expedition team. One minute he was walking in the jungle the next he was lost in this strange valley. M'dala managed to survive by eating roots and insects. But three days ago the insect-man appeared and has been trying to eat him.

      M’dala is standing a in 60’ wide circle were nothing grows. The ground is mostly made of dark grey rock pebbles. «Come see, come see» says M’dala. At the center of the circle there is a cylindrical stainless steel hole 15’ wide. A staircase made of the same material descends to the bottom of the cylinder.

      The floor at the bottom of the cylinder is also stainless steel like. Claudius, using his engineering focus, examines the curved surface of the cylinder. After a while glowing letters and images appear in the stainless steel wall.

      The insect humanoid returns. He dives from above to attack. Vivianne takes out her pistol from her purse and manages to hit the carapace creature with a double 5. Using a stunt, the player chooses to bypass the Armor rating (3) of the Bakwanee and inflicts 7 damage. Embolden M’dala throws his spear and also hurts the creature (6-3 armor = 3). thinking these foes are too dangerous the Bakwanee flies away.

 After more manipulation of the images and letters (investigation rolls) Claudius manages to bring forth the image of a large cube. He puts his finger on the image of the cube. The ground shakes for a few seconds and the stainless steel like building they have seen before appear over the cylindrical hole. It slowly descends. As it descends an opening is revealed at the bottom of the cube. It aligns perfectly with the cylinder. 

Once the cube has landing the cylinder is illuminated by light coming from inside the cube. The 3 friends and M’dala climb the stairs and enter the cube.



      The inside of the cube is exactly the same size as the outside but the walls are completely transparent. The characters can see the violet valley despite the fact that there are no windows. The air is fresh and cool. Floating in the middle of the space a square plateforme of 25’ x25’ can be seen 50’ above head. There is no staircase. Upon closer inspection of the floor Vivianne finds what appears to be stair steps in the floor pattern. She decides to step on the first. The stair rises from the ground slowly. She steps towards the second and it rises to contact her feet above the first step. Now understanding how this device works she «walks» to the plateforme. The others follow.

      In the middle of the plateforme a glass panel of 3’x1’ is floating three feet above ground. three luminous circles are displayed on its surface. Claudius decides to try to decipher their meaning. As soon as he touches the left most circle his finger glows bleu. He feels a tingling sensation in his body. An 3’’ wide and 6’’ high image appears above the circle. On it a representation of what appear to be a planet with continents similar to Earth are displayed.

Claudius touches the second circle. An image appears above the circle but this time the characters can see strange symbols arranged in rows. But soon the symbols change to recognizable Arab numbers. Claudius deduces that the rows represent a year, day and a time. He types 1910, June 3rd, 12 noon. The third circle pin points a location on Earth. A glowing green rectangle appears below the three circles. Looking at Vivianne, Claudius presses the rectangle.



      The characters and M’dala appear 100 feet in front of the A1 Greenhouse. Releaved to be back in the time and location the characters decide the most set fire to the greenhouse to burn the plant, pollen and seeds.

Since Vivianne blocked the front doors with broom stick Alphonse tells them that it can be entered through the back door. Mixing a few chemicals taken from the greenhouse’s storage room the set fire to the structure of forged iron and glass. Once they are certain the building will burn down the ground they run to the head office to call the firefighters. By the time there arrive everything is burned down to the ground…


      Lucklily, Alphonse doesn’t get into too much trouble because Claudius is the brother of the town Mayor. They manage to convince the authorities it was an accident. They are off the hook.


      Vivianne takes M’dala at the Viau residence. After a hot meal and talking with the Viau matriarch she offers M’dala a position as a gardener and land keeper. Owing is life to the characters M’dala is grateful but longs for his homeland and family. He hopes he can make enough money to return home one day.

      THE END
      Last edited by marc c; 8th April 2019, 04:28 AM.
      marc c (also know as shesheyan on other forums)


      • #4
        Re: [Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

        The second adventure went very well. It was loosely be based on The Vortex by Monte Cook, another Numenera product. The weird science style of Numenera is a perfect fit for my campaign.

        Game #2

        What started as an invitation to a week of relaxation and hunting at the Robidas family hunting lodge on Mont Tremblant turned into a weird adventure.

        The heroes rescued two children who were kidnapped by a recluse community of Catholic monks who lost their faith and workship a spinning vortex of light. In the process they visited a space station on the verge of falling into the Sun, save the AI of the station by downloading its data into an escape pod. Then return to Earth, with the children, inside the second escape pod. All that in 24 hours.

        The rest of the week's vacation time was spend recuperating for this extraordinary adventure. Claudius and Vivianne are not sure they will accept other invitations by the botanist. He seems to attract strange phenomenons... :-D

        The characters reached Level 2.
        Last edited by marc c; 8th April 2019, 04:29 AM.
        marc c (also know as shesheyan on other forums)


        • #5
          Re: [Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

          Another fun game last Friday. Game #3 is loosely based on Monte Cook's Viral Transmission for Numenera

          During character creation we decided it would be fun for the characters to have Power Talents. Viviane has healing powers and Claudius has telekinesis powers. Instead of deciding before hand the origin of the powers I asked the players to let me reflect on it. After two sessions under the belt I felt it was time to come up with the story of the power's origin. I wanted to find an idea that would reflect the French origin of the characters. The following is what I came up with.

          Game #3 - Part One • Power Origin Story

          At the end of August, Vivianne and Claudius receive an invitation to a ceremony for the reopening of the green house that burned down during session #1. The invitation is from the director of the botanical garden, Friar Marie-Victorin (who is a renowned French-Canadian botanist). After the ceremony their friend, Alphonse Robindas, introduces them to the director. The players learn that the friar is very curious about the events of the last two sessions. In private, in the friar's office, they learn that he is part of a faction within the Catholic church that believes that science is good and should be used to explore and explain God's creation. The Order of Charlemagne are in direct opposition to the Opus Dei. The Pope acts as mediator between the church's various factions.

          They also learn that in the year 789 Charlemagne, King of the Francs, was defeated in the Pyrenees Mountains by the Lombards. He lost his supplies and all his men but for a hundred. Trying to return to the kingdom they got lost in the mountains. Dying of hunger and thirst the men were almost ready to turn on each other to survive. Only Charlemagne's strong will kept them going. At the end of a very grueling day Charlemagne discovered a mysterious fountain of clear blue water that pooled in a circular well made a mirror-like metal. He ordered is weakest men to drink from the water. They were rejuvenated and their battles wounds were healed! Everyone drank from the well. They had so much energy that they march without fatigue or sleep for 14 days and returned home. Afterwards Charlemagne sent men in the mountains to find the metal well but they could not locate it.

          The hundred men did not live longer but they always had plenty of energy even in their old age. It's only after two generations that descendants of these men started showing what looked like supernatural powers. Many of them were captured, branded possessed by the Devil and burned at the stake by the Inquisition.

          The friar Marie-Victorin believes Viviane's burgeoning healing powers and Claudius' telekinesis powers can be explained by that story. The lore collected by the Order indicates that the well was an extra-terrestrial artifact. God's creation is much larger than the Church would have us believe. The Order of Charlemagne is tasked with finding and helping the descendants of Charlemagne's men. Shaken but happy to finally discover the origin of their strange powers Viviane and Claudius accept to become members of the order.

          To be continued...
          Last edited by marc c; 9th April 2019, 06:30 AM.
          marc c (also know as shesheyan on other forums)


          • #6
            Re: [Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

            Game #3 continued

            Two weeks after meeting Friar Marie Victorin, the characters are summoned to the botanical garden once again. The friar tells them that something is not normal in the Mont St-Bruno region. A contact in the region sent a message two days ago. Scientist who live at the top of the mountain in a weather station did not come down last month to buy supplies. A second relief team, who was waiting for them in the village of Saint-Bruno, decided to climb the mountain, with the supplies, and relieve them. No one came back... The friar asks the characters to go to St-Bruno to investigated.

            Vivianne, Claudius and M'dala drive to Mont St-Bruno. A local forest ranger called Robert Bodin agrees to be their guide for the trip to the mountain weather station.

            The first part of the ascension is easy. But after 20 minutes of climbing the slops is steeper and Claudius that the forest is unnaturally quiet. He spots a fox 100 feet away. Half of the fox's head is covered by green and glowing gelatinous substance. A second fox comes out of the woods behind the heroes. The second fox is also afflicted by the glowing substance. The foxes advance slowly towards the three companions. As they advance the fox seem to coordinate by making screech like sounds. It looks more and more like an ambush. Vivianne throws a few cookies at one foxes but it ignores them. Claudius fires his pistol and hit the fox in front of the group. M'dala throws his javelin at the fox behind them but misses. A melee ensues. Robert fires his shotgun and hits. During the combat Vivianne notices the green substance has on tentacle the enters the fox's left ear, another enters the corner of right eye and a final one enters at the base of the skull.

            Both foxes are killed quickly. The green gelatinous substances fall of the foxes and slowly creeps towards the heroes. M'dala uses his javelin to strike the glowing substances several time. Yellow blood oozes from the creatures. They are dead.

            Claudius' acute perception is useful once again. He detects a strange creature watching them hidden 5 feet inside the woods. It is also made of glowing green gelatinous substance. It is about 7 feet tall, has two short legs and two long arms the reach the ground. It has no head. The creature understand it has been detected. It flees in the woods and emits very loud screeching sounds. The heroes assume it is a warning signal.

            At this point the group is very worried about the survival of the scientists. Guns in hand they march forward with a sense of urgency. Soon they arrive at the mid-point of the climb. St-Bruno is a failed volcano formation. In the middle of the four peaks they discover a tranquil lake. The adventurers march around the lake to reach the trail to goest to the weather station. At the base of the trail they are attacked by two brown bears also controlled by the green substance. The bears flee up the trail after loosing half their Health. Vivianne uses power points to heal Claudius who has hurt badly by a bear claw. He will survive. [here the players are worried because they fear the green substance my be transmitted by contact but it is not so. It is not a disease. The a parasite... but I don't tell the players, leaving them to worry Claudius might turn...]

            The trail to the weather station is steeper but it is clear of enemies. As they arrive on the plateau were the station is built the characters discover a strange scene.

            All the scientist are working together to build a wooden tower. It is now 50 feet high but Claudius (engineering focus) tells them it is built to be much higher. Giant gelatinous tentacles emerge from a large bolder at base of the tower. They are intertwined with the structure up to the top. The tentacles end in thousands of vertical filaments that oscillate. But the movement is not produced by the wind. They follow a repeating rythme. 

The scientists all have the green goo on their heads. Their eyes are lifeless. They walk like automatons. At the bottom of the tower stands the gorilla-like green creature they saw earlier with the foxes. It screeches as they arrive on the plateau. 

Several things happen at once. The scientist stopped what they are doing, grab improvised weapons (hammer, saw, axe, etc) and advance slowly towards the heroes. The two bears confronted earlier come out of the woods. A slim and tall humanoid creature looking like a green gelatinous elf without face features emerges from the base of the tower.

            The characters decide to rush the large gorilla-like creature thinking it might be controlling the scientists. They think if they kill it the scientists fill be free.

            A grand melee erupts. The characters shoot at the green gorilla and are very lucky as it dies on round two of combat. When attacked by humans the heroes try to dodge their blows and inflict non lethal damage. The bears becomes the special project of Robert the forest ranger and M’dala the african warrior. 

Now that the green gorilla is dead Claudius uses his telekinesis power to topple the tower by removing key supports. 

The green elf is trapped inside the fallen wooden logs but it manages opens an invisible door and steps inside the bolder. Soon the bolder starts to vibrate. The ground shakes and suddenly the bolder lift off the ground at supersonic speed and disappears in the sky!

            The green slime falls off the head of all the controlled humans and animals. The characters kill all the parasites and burn the remains.

            The scientist are very grateful. They don’t understand the science behind what happened. One is upset that the heroes didn’t keep at least one specimen for scientific research.

            Once everyone is calm they walk slowly down the slope and towards the village of St-Bruno. The weather station will be closed for the near future. The characters return home, leaving the scientist in the competent hands of Robert Bodin until transportation can be arranged for them.

            Last edited by marc c; 21st May 2019, 12:53 PM.
            marc c (also know as shesheyan on other forums)


            • #7
              Re: [Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

              Well, for once, no crazy botanist was involved.
              Great job with "The Green Goo from Outer Space" it's a nice pulp adventure.
              Thomas Trolljaeger
              Du plomb dans le virtuel
              Caution, contains french gibberish and nonsense.


              • #8
                Re: [Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

                Originally posted by Thomas Trolljaeger View Post
                Well, for once, no crazy botanist was involved.
                Great job with "The Green Goo from Outer Space" it's a nice pulp adventure.
                Thank you! Glad you liked it.

                It's a loose adaptation of Viral Transmission by Monte Cook (Numenera). I simplified it a lot to fit my 4-hour session budget. Also, I removed the viral aspect because I didn't want an epidemic. The location is completely different.

                [très bon résumé de The Expense RPG sur ton blogue. Merci!]
                Last edited by marc c; 9th April 2019, 07:19 AM.
                marc c (also know as shesheyan on other forums)


                • #9
                  Re: [Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

                  Very nice.

                  I will do my dev-pitchy duty and note the Modern AGE Companion (currently in layout) will come with two different systems for making tech and similar items, and one system for, well, blowing things up, which may be relevant to your interests.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Malcolm View Post
                    Re: [Modern AGE] 1910 Pulp Weird Science One Shots

                    Very nice.

                    I will do my dev-pitchy duty and note the Modern AGE Companion (currently in layout) will come with two different systems for making tech and similar items, and one system for, well, blowing things up, which may be relevant to your interests.
                    Good to know. I'm looking forward to it.
                    marc c (also know as shesheyan on other forums)


                    • #11
                      Finally managed to play another session of Modern AGE. It was cancelled and pushed back several times. As I was going through my campaign notes I noticed I made no mention of natives. Here is a first step in redressing this omission. This one-shot was inspired by one of the very useful adventure hooks mentioned in the description of the Craterlings.

                      Game #4

                      THE CAVE
                      Claudius and Vivianne are asked to investigate the very recent disappearance of three archeologists who discovered what look like Native American paintings in a cave on the slop of Mont-Royal in the city of Montreal. When they arrive they join forces with police detective Gilles Jobidon. He is aware of the Order of Charlemagne. He is glad to have help in this very weird case. As usual, Mogaba their trusted body guard and chauffeur is with them.

                      The paintings on the wall tells the tale of a horrible insect-like creature that fell from the sky inside a rock. Many Saint Lawrence Iroquoians, who lived in the Hochelaga settlement at the foot of the mountain, were killed and eaten by the creature before they managed to corner it in the cave and block it exit with large rocks.

                      At the back of the cave there is a tunnel. A manual laborer tells the tale of the archeologist. Excited by the find they removed the rocks blocking the tunnel access and descended in the bowels of the earth with oil lamps. The laborer stayed in the cavern waiting their return, but after 5 minutes the man heard horrible screeching and the frightened screams of the archeologists. The laborer ran to the nearest police station asking for help.

                      Claudius, Vivianne, Mogaba and detective Jobidon decide to go down the tunnel and attempt a rescue. Armed with guns and melee weapons they follow in the footsteps of the archeologists.

                      The oil lamps reveal a natural tunnel. Soon the hear the sound of running water. Later they arrive at a large carvern. An underground river cuts the cavern in two. In the middle of the river there is a large rocky island. Cries for help can be heard.

                      The heroes manage to reach the island by jumping on a series rocks. Claudius is almost lost when he slips and falls in the water but he was tied to the waist with a rope. Mogaba and the detective pull him to the surface.

                      The island is covered is water snake bones and fish remains. Something has been surviving down here for several hundred years. As they progress on the island towards the cries for help the heroes are attacked by two Craterlings. The four feet tall tick-like insects jump from the top of a large rock into their midst. They deliver vicious attacks with their sharp legs. The combat last 6 rounds before the creatures are defeated. Using her healing powers Vivianne cures the injured. 

Not long after they find one of the three archeologists. The two Craterlings had started eating his flesh when they were interrupted by arrival of the heroes on the island. He is severely wounded. He reveals that the two other archeologists were taken by a very large creature below the surface of the island. Vivianne applies bandages to the wounded man. They convince him to wait for them while they try to rescue his friends.

                      Following the trail left be the alien insect they arrive at the entrance of a tunnel that goes further down into the earth. At the end of the tunnel they find a large cave. A giant eight foot tall Craterling is nursing freshly hatched younglings. They are eating one of the archeologists. He is dead. The third archeologists is unconscious between the legs of the creature.

                      Vivianne uses her empathic special power to try to convince the creature to let go the archeologists still alive. The alien’s mind is so strange that she cannot determine if the creature is afraid or on the verge of attacking. Claudius is afraid for Vivianne’s life. She is slowly walking towards to creature while communicating with it. He moves rapidly towards her to stop her progress. The Craterling hive mother fears for her children. She charges forward and attacks.

                      An epic fight erupts. It takes all the heroes resilience to kill the relentless creature. Claudius is dying at the end of the fight. Vivianne uses her last power points to rescue him. The third archeologist survived his ordeal by remaining prone during the fight. Horrified the archeologists are sworn to secrecy. They readily agree.

                      Back on the surface, journalists are waiting at the entrance of the cave. Detective Jobidon feeds them a cover story. The «official» story is that the archeologists made a great discovery about the Saint Lawrence Iroquoians but were attacked by a rabid black bear. Luckily, thanks to the help of Claudius Duchesne and Vivianne Viau, who were hunting on the mountain, they were able to quickly rescue two of the archeologists. Sadly one of them was killed by the bear.

 The bear was killed and fell into the underground river.


                      Post game ramble : The two characters are finally starting to come into focus for the players. Vivianne, is a willing hero, femme extraordinaire. She wants to push back at the limits imposed on her by the times. Claudius is the reluctant hero who does what he does out of duty and also because he loves Vivianne and wants to protect her.
                      Last edited by marc c; 26th October 2019, 01:22 PM.
                      marc c (also know as shesheyan on other forums)