Friday, July 29, 2016

The Secret Origin of Hiroshima Overdrive

A Tale from the Lost Journals of the Hyperion Society

The man known today as "Hiroshima Overdrive" was born Hoshi Overton in the year 1900 in Hiroshima, Japan. He was the son of an American medical doctor and his Japanese wife.

His family moved to London, England, in 1912.

Overton joined the British army in July 1917 and served in World War I as a stretcher bearer. It was during the war that Hoshi became involved in the Battle of Cambrai. Despite receiving a serious wound that cost him his right eye, Hoshi was instrumental in the rescue of nearly a dozen wounded soldiers from the battlefield in the face of enemy gunfire. For his bravery, Hoshi was awarded the Military Medal for valor and the Wound Stripe.

After the war, Overton attended Cambridge College and earned degrees in engineering, electronics, and physics.

Overton moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in 1932 to live his dream of becoming a real life cowboy and rancher.

Hoshi was tending to his cattle one day in 1933 when he experienced an unusual seizure. He blacked out and fell off his horse. When he awoke he was a changed man with a new identity. His life had a new purpose. He was suddenly obsessed with ancient artifacts and the mythology of Atlantis.

He immediately found, without searching or research, a mysterious mountain cave near his home. Within the cave were strange artifacts which were not of native origin and appeared to be incredibly ancient. Using the pseudonym "Hiroshima Overdrive" he immediately began his global search for additional artifacts of so-called "Atlantean" origin. He has also waged a one-man war against the Nazi Thule-Gesellschaft and its top agents Doctor Vortex and the young prodigy Mädchen Gegner. His exploits earned him an invitation to the elite Hyperion Society the following year.

Unknown to most is that "Hiroshima Overdrive" is, in truth, the identity of 80-year-old Hoshi Overton, a time traveler from the future.

In Hoshi's original timeline, he continued to live the life of a quiet rancher and eccentric inventor. In 1940 Hoshi refused an offer to work on a top secret military project for the U.S. government. Hoshi's ranch was seized in 1942 and for a while Hoshi lived in exile.

Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Hoshi was contracted by the Japanese Self Defense Force to design advanced weaponry for use in the defense against the mysterious megafauna that plagued the island. It was during this period that he gained the nickname "Hiroshima Overdrive" for his timeless efforts in fighting for the safety of Japan.

Hoshi spent many months studying and exploring the mysterious Bonin Islands where, with Overton's help, the JSDF task force had managed to exile and contain the giant monsters. There he discovered the underwater ruins of an ancient civilization and recovered strange artifacts he called "power crystals".

Hoshi finally returned to the United States in 1962. He regained possession of his ranch and laboratory and continued his research into the strange power crystals.

In 1975, Doctor Hoshi Overton published an academic paper on his theories regarding psychic time travel utilizing these strange power crystals. Overton was ostracized by much of the mainstream scientific community. The following year Hoshi met Doctor Mädchen Gegner. Doctor Gegner was an expert on the power crystals and was likewise ostracized for her work.

For five years the pair collaborated on creating the Prometheus Engine. The Prometheus Engine would allow one to transmit their mind back to an earlier point in their lives. One could re-live their entire life with the the knowledge and experience of their older selves. The only drawback was that the journey was a one-way trip. The act of sending one's mind back reset time to that point and erased the future.

In 1980, Hoshi discovered that Gegner was a member of a secret Neo-Nazi cabal. It was her intention to use the Prometheus Engine to travel back to 1933 to prevent the fall of Nazi Germany in World War 2. Hoshi confronted Gegner about her duplicity. During the confrontation, Gegner attempted to use the Prometheus Engine. Overton tried to stop her. In the ensuing struggle, both minds were simultaneously sent back to 1933.

The 80-year-old Hoshi woke in his 33-year-old body knowing that, somewhere in the world, Gegner was waking in her 17-year-old body.

Hoshi pledged his life to stopping Doctor Gegner. He knew that her first task would be to locate more power crystals and build a new Prometheus Engine. With such a device, she could ensure that any defeat could be reset and undone. Hoshi immediately began his search for the crystals so that he could stop her. He began using the eccentric pseudonym "Hiroshima Overdrive" to mask his efforts in hunting her down.

By 1936. Hiroshima Overdrive, nee Hoshi Overton, is a globetrotting inventor, explorer, and adventurer often described as "The Man of Tomorrow" for his private technological innovations which he refuses to share, sell, or mass-produce. His actions have brought him into conflict with Gegner's close ally Doctor Vortex and the other members of the Thule-Gesellschaft.

His invitation into the Hyperion Society provided an excellent platform for his mission to stop Doctor Gegner and her Nazi allies!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

"The Temple in the Lake" - Escape from the Hollow Earth, Chapter 3

Jack Flash woke from a deep slumber. He had slept well. In fact, he couldn't remember sleeping that well in over 300+ years.

He was lying on a mat in a hut suspended from the boughs of a tree hundreds of feet off the ground. He got up and went outside to look around. The perpetual noonday sun of this strange world filtered through the jungle canopy far overhead. There were dozens of other tree-huts connected by bridges made of braided vines creating an entire village. He could hear people working and going about their daily chores. Captain Bennet and Reginald the navigator were hoisting salvaged airship parts into the village using ropes and pulleys. The other members of his expedition were nowhere to be seen.

Jack was startled by a bright flash from far away. Suddenly the jungle trees were rocked by a whooshing shock wave. Every jungle bird cried out in alarm as they took flight. The jungle came suddenly alive by calls and roars as millions of leaves were shaken from their branches. Jack was subsequently startled by the deafening boom that arrived two seconds later which caused further panic and alarm among the jungle's denizens.

The villagers were likewise frightened and confused by the occurrence.

Jack feared for his companions and waited nervously for their return.

A cry rose up among the lookouts a few hours later as Jack's companions entered the outskirts of the village.  Roald Amundsen and Hiroshima Overdrive had returned with Cedric Justice and his manservant Panda. Bodak Danger and an unknown woman were carried wounded unconscious upon makeshift travois. Both had suffered gunshot wounds and everyone looked as if they had survived a great cataclysm.

Jack helped hoist everyone up into the village before he asked the Japanese inventor Hiroshima Overdrive what had happened.

Hiroshima explained how they met Edith Odinsdottir. She warned of the arrival of their old foe Doctor Vortex who was leading a platoon of German scouts in search of a lost Atlantean city. They made haste to intercept the Germans and encountered them removing a large crystal emanating some unfathomable power from a tower in the center of the city. With the help of some savage ape-men they made an attempt to stop the Germans. Bodak Danger and Edith Odinsdottir were wounded in the process. The Germans were thwarted when the ape-men intentionally damaged the crystal. The crystal exploded and destroyed much of the city.

Hiroshima explained, "It was an explosion as great as that which destroyed the city of my birth!"

Jack replied, "The what did you say?"

"Oh, right! That hasn't happened yet!"

Jack dismissed the statement as another of Overdrive's mysterious prophetic statements and continued, "So tell me, how did you possibly survive?"

"Luckily, Danger-san had earlier thrown a stick of dynamite at some Germans. That explosion created a large crater. I was unable to carry the unconscious bodies of Danger-san and Odinsdottir-san to safety so I quickly rolled the crystal into the pit of the crater. With Amundsen-san's help I moved their bodies behind some heavy cover. "

Overdrive-san continued, "The crater channeled the explosion up and out in a cone. We were spared from much of its worst effects, though we must certainly rest and recuperate from our ordeal!"

"What about Doctor Vortex?" asked Jack.

"He fled and no doubt survived. I have feeling we will see him again."

(cue theme music)


Cedric Justice, noted scholar and literary historian,
has embarked upon an expedition to
the North Pole to find the fabled island
known as Ultima Thule.

With him are three famous associates
of the world reknown Hyperion Society - 
Bodak Danger, the Welshman with fists of stone!
Jack Flash, myserious and ageless Englishman!
Hiroshima Overdrive, Japanese inventor and adventurer!

They have found themselves stranded in 
a mysterious inside-out world of perpetual noontime
filled with deadly jungles, giant dinosaurs, and savage beast-men.

There they met famous Norweigian explorer Roald Amundsen 
and fellow Hyperion associate -
Edith Odinsdottir, beautiful Icelandic psychic and occultist!

Their paths once more crossed with evil Nazi Doctor Vortex
who came to this world searching for Atlantean artifacts of power.
They managed to thwart his schemes in a lost city
by destroying the Atlantean Power Crystal
but in the process managed to destroy much of the city itself!


The party rested and recuperated after their ordeal at the lost city. When they awoke they found their wounds to have miraculously healed! Overdrive speculated that some property of this strange world promoted health and regeneration. Afterwards the party met to discuss their plans for escape.

Captain Bennet and Reginald were to make another trip back to the crash site and recover as much of the downed airship as they could. Bodak would accompany them.

Cedric Justice convened a meeting with Roald Amundsen and the rest of the expedition to get a sense of their surroundings and discuss next steps. Roald drew a primitive map of the surroundings on vellum made of some unknown animal skin. In one direction lay the ocean. In another direction lay a great mountain range. In a third direction was a river. Across the river was jungle. He indicated a great cliff over which the river became a waterfall. At the foot of the waterfall was  a lake surrounded by swampy lowlands that drained into the ocean. Roald explained that there were no directions in this world. No compasses worked and the perpetual noontime offered no rising or setting by which one might navigate. Orientation relied on landmarks and memory and it was incredibly easy to become lost.

Cedric asked about ruins or signs of civilization. Roald explained that except for the Lost City, now destroyed, there was the ruins of a temple in the lake at the base of the waterfall. He heard stories of ruins in the jungle on the far side of the river but that land belonged to the cannibals. There were also tales of a flying city on the far side of the mountains. He gave Cedric a knowing look and said that he might find what he was looking for there. Cedric cleared his throat in embarrassment, "Ahem, quite. Well, I suggest we go there. It represents our best opportunity to find artifacts and treasure."

Edith was suspicious of Cedric's motives. She used her powers of telepathy to read Cedric's mind. There she found no duplicity or ill intent though he was harboring a secret agenda. That agenda pertained to something called "Amrita", a term she did not recognize. Edith was satisfied that no betrayal was imminent and kept her worries to herself.

The rest of the team agreed. Roald assigned to them one of the natives to serve as a guide. The native, whose name was Utuk, would lead them to the waterfall and wherever else they may wish to go.

The expedition prepared themselves for the journey. After one additional rest they set out with Utuk leading the way. Bodak Danger stayed behind to help the recovery of the airship wreckage.

They trudged through the jungle for many hours. They followed a path cut by Utuk's crude machete.

At one point a dragonfly of unusual size descended upon Hiroshima Overdrive and attempted to land on his face. Hiroshima shooed it away but the giant insect persisted. Edith fell to the ground and fired her pistol up at the assailant, destroying it and spraying both her and Overdrive with purplish insect blood. The gunshot of her pistol echoed loudly through the jungle sending every resting bird to flight. The danger seemed to abate and the party continued on their trek.

Jack Flash, having had some experience with jungle survival, followed closely behind. Panda kept pace but Cedric began to falter from the heat and exhaustion. Soon too did Hiroshima Overdrive and Edith Odinsdottir succumb to the elements and, despite the protestations of Utuk, the team decided to rest.

GM Notes - Survival
I required each PC to make Survival skill checks vs. Difficulty 2. A success indicated you held your own. Extra successes allowed you to pull the weight of another member of the party. If there weren't enough successes to go around, someone would become exhausted and take one point of non-lethal damage.

Hiroshima Overdrive, Edith Odinsdottir, and Jack Flash made idle conversation while they rested.

Overdrive asked Flash, "Furashu-san, it is strange, but may I inquire to your age?"

Jack Flash replied, "Maybe. Why do you ask?"

Overdrive replied, "Because when I first met you, you look exactly like you do now."

Jack said, "That's probable. When did you meet me? I don't recall ever having met you before, in person I mean."

Overdrive said, "Oh, it was when you met President Nixon."

Jack looked confused, "President Who? I'm afraid I've never met a President Nixon."

Overdrive lowered his cowboy hat over his face and returned to his rest, "You will."


During the rest Cedric could be observed poring over notes and maps and books while Panda massaged his employer's feet. Chief among Cedric's tomes were three books: Mary Shelly's Frankenstein; the ship's log of Captain Robert Walton; and his own journal. Among these were loose letters, papers, and maps. Cedric would consult the novel, check the ship's log, shuffle through a letter, then scribble in his notebook.

Jack Flash finally asked, "Cedric, it seems like you are looking for something specific. What exactly are you looking for?"

Cedric blushed, "Oh, Yes. I have not revealed all of my intentions to you. I apologize for this. But the truth of the matter is so unbelievable that it is akin to fantasy. I was afraid that were I to tell you my true goal for this expedition, you would surely laugh at me and call me madman!"

Hiroshima Overdrive lifted his cowboy hat and looked askance at the literary scholar, "Mister Justice. He is an immortal. She is a gun-toting telepath. I am a one-eyed time-travelling Japanese cowboy from the future. We are fighting Nazis and dinosaurs in an inside-out world. Whatever it is you have to say will likely be the LEAST unbelievable thing I'll hear today!"

Cedric blanched, "I see your point. Yes, well, are you familiar with Mary Shelly's novel, Frankenstein?" He held up the book. "Well, as it happened, I recently came into possession of some items found in an iron box buried underneath the former home of Mary Shelley. The items included this packet of letters, journals, ship’s logs, and a folio of ancient maps.

"The letters were written by Captain Robert Walton in 1740 and were delivered to his sister, Margaret Saville, in England. That's right, THE Captain Walton from the novel! He was REAL!"

The rest of the expedition stared back with dumb incomprehension. Only Hiroshima Overdrive remembered the novel well enough to recognize the name.

"In 1740, Captain Walton led an expedition in an attempt to reach the north pole. His mission failed when his ship became trapped by pack ice. He was eventually able to free his ship and, facing a mutinous crew, was forced to turn back.

"Walton’s letters recounted the tale of sighting a mysterious giant figure crossing the ice. Later, they found another man travelling across on the ice. They correctly deduced that the other figure was chasing this man, so they took him on board. Walton recorded the fugitive's story.

"The traveler was identified as Victor Frankenstein. Walton's letters essentially followed the novel as written by Mary Shelley. However, the letters deviate from the novel in that they recount how Victor Frankenstein said he studied the secret notes of Conrad Dippel on immortality and the reanimation of dead tissue."

At the mention of Dippel's name, Jack Flash asked, "Did you say Conrad Dippel?"

Cedric replied, "Yes, why?"

"I remember him!"

"That can hardly be possible. Herr Dippel died in 1734."

"Yes, of course." Flash let the matter drop.

"Well, as it happened, Dippel’s secret notes were derived from an ancient Greek text written by Pythias - THE Pythias!"

When the other travelers looked back in confusion, Cedric explained, "Pythias was a Greek explorer who traveled to the north pole in 325 BC. He was the first to report the discovery of a land he called 'Ultima Thule'. Pythias described Ultima Thule as a strange land 'Beyond the Mist'. Pythias brought back samples of advanced ancient technology, including an oil called the 'Elixir of Life', which the Indians call 'Amrita'.

"Dippel’s notes describe how he obtained this very rare magical substance and how he used it to reanimate the dead. His notes also included formula for a potion of immortality. Towards the end of his life, Dippel had only three measures of the Elixir left. He traded two of the measures for the use of Castle Frankenstein as a laboratory. He had planned to use the last for his own immortality. Unfortunately, the last measure was stolen and Dippel died of a stroke in 1734.

"Captain Walton's letters tell how Doctor Frankenstein inherited the two remaining measures of Elixir of Life as well as Dippel’s notes and journals. Frankenstein used the first measure to create a living homunculus of flesh. He planned on using the second to secure his own immortality. The homunculus, however, stole the second measure and demanded the doctor create a companion. The doctor reconsidered his decision and destroyed his work on the companion and, in retaliation, the creature destroyed the last measure of the Elixir and killed Frankenstein’s family.

"Distraught at the loss of his loved ones, Doctor Frankenstein traveled north. Using Dippel's notes and the writings of Pythias, he sought the Amira, the legendary source of the Elixir of Life, in Ultima Thule.

"The creature gave chase in an attempt to stop him.

"Captain Walton's ship found Doctor Frankenstein in 1740. He was taken aboard and Doctor Frankenstein recounted his version of the tale. Captain Walton recorded the story in his letters which were eventually delivered to Margaret Saville.

"Mary Shelley learned of Victor Frankenstein during her visit to the castle in 1814. She did research and learned of the letters, which she later acquired from Mrs. Saville.

"It was this version that was later altered and novelized by Mary Shelly. Victor Frankenstein died on the ship and his body was taken away by the creature as described at the end of the novel.

"I recently acquired a locked chest from the estate of Mrs. Shelly and found the letters and maps within. It was thus that I conceived my own expedition into the Arctic to find the fabled Ultima Thule. Subsequently I contacted you all and engaged your services. And here we are.

"I was prepared for a frozen ruin on a lost island in the Artic. Never in my most vivid fever dreams would I have anticipated such a fantastic place such as this! But my hope remains that we might find the Amrita, which is why I am interested in the forthcoming ruin. Mister Amundsen feels it might hold a clue towards its location."

Cedric finished his story but saw that the others had fallen asleep. He shrugged and returned to his studies.


After the rest the party resumed their journey. The dense jungle undergrowth obscured their vision and the undulating terrain made travel difficult. After hours of travel the terrain began to flatten but the foliage was no less dense. Utuk stopped the party with a hand signal. He stared about nervously.

Edith Odinsdottir was the first to spot them. Four saurian predators known as velociraptors had stalked them through the jungle. They suddenly lunged at the party from the dense foliage. Edith opened fire with her sub-machine gun, stunning it! Another leaped onto Utuk. A third sprang at Jack Flash. The fourth attacked Hiroshima Overdrive in the rear.

Jack Flash slew one velociraptor with his sword cane before dispatching the one attacking Utuk.

Hiroshima Overdrive fired his electric rifle at his reptilian assailant but missed. Edith opened fire and Jack Flash moved back to assist. The beast was eventually killed.

The stunned velociraptor recovered its senses and fled into the jungle. Utuk used his machete to finish off the remaining creatures as they lay bleeding on the forest floor.

After another rest, the expedition continued and eventually reached the edge of a vast cliff. The terrain fell away below revealing an expansive swampy lowland. A few miles to the left could be seen a wide waterfall. The waterfall was as wide as Victoria Falls in Africa and at least a two hundred feet tall. In the middle of the waterfall rose a natural tower of rock that pierced the sky like a needle. At the pinnacle of the rock was a metallic pylon that gleamed in the noon-day sun.The tower reached nearly five hundred feet into the sky and jutted out from the waterfall like the prow of a viking long-ship.

At the base of the waterfall was a large lake two miles across. The waterfall churned into white water and mist where it fell into the lake but the lake itself appeared clear and placid. At the center of the lake was a domed rotunda supported by columns Stairs at the base of the rotunda led directly into the water. An elongated diamond-shape floated in mid-air, hovering directly over the top of the rotunda. This, too, was metal and gleamed in the sun. Four equally spaced obelisks emerged from the water a few hundred feet out from the rotunda. Some of the obelisks were cracked and one was broken, yet its chunks remained in mid-air as if suspended by invisible wires.

Utuk pointed at the rotunda in the lake, indicated the travelers' destination, then pointed to the right at a narrow ravine that provided steep access to the valley floor below.

The expedition made their way down the ravine as carefully as they could but Hiroshima Overdrive and Edith Odinsdottir both injured themselves during the descent.

GM Notes - The Climb Down
Everyone had to make Difficulty 2 Athletics checks to climb down. One could apply bonus successes from a complementary Difficulty 2 Acrobatics or Survival skill check as extra dice for the Atheltics skill check. 

The expedition eventually made it to the edge of the lake. Hiroshima Overdrive immediately began designing and constructing a large raft, employing Utuk and Jack Flash in the acquisition of building materials. Hiroshima Overdrive, not content with a mere makeshift raft, designed what amounted to an over-sized Egyptian reed boat.

Meanwhile Edith Odinsdottir, being a superstition person, set about hunting an appropriate offering to sacrifice over the bow of their vessel. She successfully located and caught an small bipedal dinosaur the size of a chicken. She carried it back to the vessel and killed it, spilling its blood onto the raft's prow while reciting a prayer of blessing to the Old Norse Gods.

Thus they set out onto the lake. The water was clear and deep and they could see large dark shapes swimming far below. Suddenly the bulky form of a long-necked plesiosaur rose from the water in front of the vessel. It sniffed curiously at the spilled blood on the prow and began chomping at the boat. This caused great disruption as the front of the boat began to sink.

Edith, Jack, and Hiroshima opened fire at the beast in an attempt to scare it away. This only served to anger the dinosaur as it snatched Edith up in its jaws and flung her out into the lake. A few more jolts from Hiroshima's electric rifle forced the creature to flee and Edith swam safely back to the boat.

The group managed to get their damaged reed boat to the steps at the base of the rotunda. They climbed the marble steps and passed through the tall columns. At the center of the rotunda was a five-feet wide waist-high stone pedestal. The top of the pedestal was ornately inlaid with intricate designs arranged in concentric circles around a central diamond set in a trapezoid. A wide flat causeway led a thousand feet across the lake towards the waterfall where it disappeared into a structure built into the base of the cliff. The structure resembled a solid isosceles trapezoid. The way led into a similarly-shaped dark tunnel built into the structure.

The expedition crossed the causeway to approach the tunnel but were forced to stop by a section that had long ago collapsed creating a ten-foot wide gap. A pile of rubble lay below, rising from the lake like an island. The party was forced to either jump across the gap or climb down. Jack Flash made it across with his typical adroitness. Edith slipped and fell but was caught by Hiroshima.

The tunnel at the base of the waterfall terminated in what were once heavy orichalcum doors. The doors were blown inward as if blasted with explosive force. Several skeletons lay scattered about just inside the doors. A close inspection of the skeletons showed that they were humanoid but possessed strange fish-like skulls and other piscine features. Utuk nervously decided to stay outside.

The room inside was round and at least a hundred feet in diameter. The ceiling was a domed rotunda. The disk at the apex of the dome began to glow softly, dimly illuminating the entire room. The walls were adorned with bas relief frescoes. The frescoes told a story.

The frescoes depicted tall human-like figures. Each figure was thin and twice as tall as a man. They possessed elongated skulls and almond-shaped eyes. Each wore variations of robes and togas and stood in stiff formal poses in profile like ancient Egyptian or Aztec figures.

They story the frescoes told was of the building of a great civilization with cities and technologies powered by large crystals. The story told of the coming of a comet and the civilization's impending destruction. The figures then constructed a giant hollow sphere with a sun at its center and transferred their great civilization into the sphere. Along the interior of the sphere were set various pylon shapes. Figures would enter the pylons in the old world and emerge from pylons inside the hollow sphere.

At the center of the room was a raised column-shaped pedestal with a flat top. At the center of the top was an empty hole about two inches wide and twelve inches deep that appeared to have once held something like a peg.

Spaced equidistantly around the room were three isosceles trapezoids set into the wall, each twice the size of a man and made of orichalcum. One was located across from the entrance and the other two were located to the left and right.

Edith stood next to the trapezoid to the left. Jack Flash took the one across from the entrance. Hiroshima Overdrive took the one to the right. They touched each trapezoid in unison.

The trapezoid Overdrive touched elicited no response. Edith felt a slight tingling as if the metal responded to her telepathy but nothing else happened. When Jack touched his trapezoid a large diamond shaped aperture suddenly appeared revealing a passage beyond!

When Jack Flash removed his hand the aperture disappeared only to reappear the instant he resumed contact with the metal surface. He held the aperture open while his companions entered.

The passage was ten feet wide and at least a hundred feet long with a ceiling of at least fifty feet. There was no apparent exit but another metallic trapezoid was located on the far wall near the ceiling. As they moved down the hall the floor rose beneath their feet, creating shallow ascending steps. By the time they reached the far end they were near the ceiling.

Hiroshima Overdrive asked Jack to stop. He took out a pen knife and pricked Jack's finger. He drew a small amount of blood and touched it to the far trapezoid. In confirmation of his hypothesis, a diamond-shaped aperture appeared allowing safe passage.

The room beyond was shaped like a keyhole. The near section of the room was rectangular, fifty feet wide and a hundred feet long with a fifty foot ceiling. Four golden statues resembling the figures from the frescoes, stood in stiff formal poses atop tall plinths of marble, two on each side. The far end of the room was round. The floor of the far end of the room was elevated from the rectangular portion of the room by twenty feet, creating a platform. As Jack Flash approached the far end of the room more stairs emerged from the floor. Unlike the hallway stairs, these stairs were steep and necessitated climbing on all fours.

Edith inspected the golden statues. She realized she could sense a telepathic presence emanating from them. It was not the mind of a living being. It was more like the electric buzz of a high tension power line. She reached out with her mind in an attempt to communicate. To her surprise she received a response in the form of an idea, the conceptual equivalent of "GREETINGS!". The idea was transmitted directly into her mind and was as loud and powerful as a siren or foghorn at close range.

She once again reached out telepathically. She asked the statue, "What is your purpose?"

The response was a flood of images and concepts. She inhaled sharply and staggered backwards. Her nose began to bleed. Her brain was overtaken by a simple message, "INFORMATION!"

Her companions paused in their ascent of the stairs to inquire about her well being. She wiped the blood from nose and nodded that she was okay. She looked at the statues and whispered tiredly, "Noted. Maybe later."

GM Notes - Consulting the Oracles
To consult the oracle statues, Edith has to make more successes on her Intelligence check than on her Willpower check. Each net success grants her one answer. Each net loss costs her one non-lethal Health. Since she was down to one Health, she decided to hold off for later.

The raised round area of the room was another rotunda. Another marble pillar or table stood in the center of the room. The light at the apex of the dome was bright, creating a glowing column that illuminated the table. The walls of the room were cast in shadow and darkness. The top of the table contained four glowing crystal shards placed into a grid 81 niches. Each shard was a different color - red, green, blue, and yellow.

Hiroshima Overdrive studied the table with his good eye. He scratched his scruffy chin and touched one of the crystals.

To his surprise, the dark walls of the rotunda were replaced with a vision of the surrounding landscape with a vantage corresponding to the metallic pylon at the top of the stone tower overlooking the waterfall. He gently removed a crystal and placed it in a different niche.

The blue sky darkened as clouds billowed out of nothingness around the pylon. The trees of the jungle were lashed by high winds and rain started to fall. He replaced the crystal to its original niche and the weather returned to sunny and warm.

Edith ascended the stairs with Cedric and Panda.

Professor Overdrive looked at Jack Flash with a mischievous grin. He picked up all four crystals and rearranged them into a random pattern. The room flashed. Everyone was overcome by spasms of pain before falling to the floor. The room went dark.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"The Lost City" - Escape from the Hollow Earth, Chapter 2


Edith Odinsdottir was held captive on a German U-Boat. She wasn't sure exactly why they Germans captured her. The last thing she remembered was traveling to London at the request of the literary historian Cedric Justice. He was planning some kind of expedition and had invited her to participate. She was walking down the street when some men in suits grabbed her and threw a bag over her head. They must have injected her with something because she lost consciousness soon thereafter.

When she regained consciousness, she was sitting in a metal chair with her hands tied behind her back. She was gagged and the bag still covered her head.

The bag was removed to reveal a cramped compartment lined with pipes and knobs. She sat at a small metal table bolted to the floor. On the table was a strange shallow open-faced round box with a flat bottom. Within the box was a ball bearing made of yellowish metal about the the size of a large marble. The ball rolled around as the U-Boat rocked with the waves. A German officer pointed a pistol at her. The cramped compartment was dimly illuminated. Its corners were cloaked in darkness and shadow.

Another German officer entered the compartment. He wore a long black leather trenchcoat. Over his uniform he wore a metal breastplate covered with intricately carved symbols. His craggy face was a relief map of wrinkles and scars. Edith recognized him immediately.

"Doctor Vortex" she sneered.

Doctor Wolfgang Vortex was a high ranking member of the Thule Society who scoured the world searching for occult artifacts to further the Nazi cause. Odinsdottir had clashed with him on several occasions on her own quest to protect the world from those same artifacts.

Doctor Vortex smiled in response, ""Ja... und zhis time ze advantage is mine, fraulein Odinsdottir!"

"What do you want from me?"

"Vee are in need ov your special gifts, fraulein. If du cooperate vit us, no harm vill come zu you. All I ask ov du iz to concentrate on this little metal ball."

"What if I refuse?"

"Zen I must invorm do zat vee haff located your zeecret laboratory in zee hills northvest of Rekyavik. Mein agents haff procured its contents. All your precious artivacts and curios. All your books. All your notes. Cooperate and zhey vill be returned zum du. Du hast mein vord ov honor. Resist and du vill never see zhem again. Zhink of it. Years ov research. A lifetime ov vork. Gone. Vee do not vant zat, now do vee?"

Edith clenched her teeth, "You fiend!"

Her secret study represented her life work. More importantly, that was where she kept the Khohn Aan Artifact, a statue that greatly magnified the powers of a telepath. With it, a psychic could read the thoughts of anyone on Earth! No doubt Vortex was unaware of its power else he would have mentioned it. If the Nazis ever figured out how to use it, it would mean their domination of the world!

She knew she could never trust the word of Doctor Vortex but at the moment she had no choice but to play along.

She struggled to get out of her chair but strong hands forced her back down. The Luger was shoved firmly into her shoulder blade. She winced and glared at Doctor Vortex.

"Fine! Have it your way!"

Doctor Vortex smiled, "Gut, gut.  Now zimply stare at the ball before you und concentrate. Zhat iz all I ask."

Edith's lips contorted from frustration but she ultimately complied. She looked at the ball. She could feel it calling to her. Reaching out to her mind. She reached out to it and made a telepathic connection.

Despite the movement of the U-boat through the ocean, the metal ball slowly came to a stop. It then began to roll against the motion of the boat. It came to a stop as if indicating a direction.

Doctor Vortex stood and shouted orders in German. Finally, he addressed Odindottir, "Danke, Fraulein. Du hast shown us ze vay."

(cue theme music)


Cedric Justice, noted scholar and literary historian,
has embarked upon an expedition to
the North Pole to find the fabled island
known as Ultima Thule.

With him are three famous associates
of the world reknown Hyperion Society - 
Bodak Danger, the Welshman with fists of stone!
Jack Flash, myserious and ageless Englishman!
Hiroshima Overdrive, Japanese inventor and adventurer!

Racing against a Nazi U-Boat, the expedition
reached the North Pole, only to be transported
to a strange inside-out world of perpetual noontime
filled with deadly jungles, giant dinosaurs, and savage beast-men.

After their airship, the Hyperion, crashed they
followed a trail to a native village where they met
famous Norweigian explorer Roald Amundsen.
They were soon interrupted by the arrival 
of a fellow Hyperion associate -
Edith Odinsdottir, beautiful Icelandic psychic and occultist!

Days later, Edith Odinsdottir was standing inside a hut situated in the treetops of a gigantic jungle filled with prehistoric beasts. She was recounting to her fellow associates from the Hyperion Society how the U-Boat on which she was held captive passed through some kind of strange anomaly. Soon afterwards the U-boat stopped and much of its complement of German soldiers disembarked. She had learned that they were looking for something called an Atlantean Crystal of Power and that she had led them right to it. She also overhead Doctor Vortex giving the order to kill her as soon they left. Edith turned the tables and managed to escape the skeleton crew. She was able to make her way into the jungle but she became lost. She was eventually found by these native scouts and brought here.

Edith was surprised and grateful that she had encountered associates of the Hyperion Society in this strange world. She beseeched their help in stopping Doctor Vortex from taking whatever artifact he was looking for.

Roald looked confused, "Who are these... 'Nazis'? I recall reading some news about a small organization in Germany, but surely they can pose no threat."

Hiroshima Overdrive quickly explained the current nature of the Nazi party in 1936. Roald was appalled. He replied, "Then they msut be stopped! The Crystal of Power should never fall into the hands of such madmen!"

Cedric looked pensive. He considered this a distraction from his own expedition. After a moment of thought he stood and proclaimed, "Yes! We should stop them at once!"

Bodak Danger and Hiroshima Overdrive likewise stood and pledged their support. The rest of the expedition, including Jack Flash, Captain Bennet, and Reginald the co-pilot, were exhausted and sleeping in another hut. Attempts to rouse them proved fruitless and it was decided that they would be left behind on this venture.

Roald Amundsen told the others that the "City of Smooth Stone" lay about six leagues from the village. He explained that the natives would not go near the city for it was forbidden. They would travel alone. The small expedition soon set out through the jungle led by Roald.

It was difficult to tell time in this world. The sun shone a constant noon. No watches worked. After what felt like an eternity of hiking they crossed a ridge. Below them they could see a wide flat valley. Ancient stone towers and structures rose above the jungle canopy of the valley. The extent of the structures indicated a city at least a league across. In the distance one could see the ocean curving up and disappearing into the hazy sky.

Roald was silent throughout most of the journey. His responses to questions about the Crystal of Power and its capabilities were noncomittal. He would provide a vague answer then change the subject. Roald made it clear that he withheld many secrets and preferred to keep his knowledge to himself.

The party descended into the valley and soon found themselves walking among cyclopean ruins. The architecture of the structures were a strange amalgam of many cultures - Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek, Mesoamerican, Asian. It was as if this architectural style was the inspiration for them all.

As they traveled through the ruins Jack Flash noticed the movment of many oberservers. Some were in the shadows of windows. Some were on the rooftops. Some lurking behind columns. He told his companions but they could not see their followers.

Roald instructed them to ignore the followers. They were the ape-men who lived in the ruins of the city. They would do no the party no harm.

Shortly thereafter they were surrounded by dozens of brutish ape-men. Each carried clubs and rocks. They hooted and grunted in a display of defensive bravado.

Roald stepped forward and held his palm up. He said, "UNGAWA! TAND KREGA!"

The words seemed to resonate with power and authority. Even the members of the expedition could feel it.

The ape-men stopped and slowly backed away. They allowed Roald and the others to pass but followed a short distance behind.

Roald said that he has learned some of the language of the ancients who lived in the city. He explained that it was a magic language that could control lesser minds. He dismissed any other questions about the language, the ape-men, or the city. "There is no time. We must continue with stealth."

A tall tower stood at the center of the ruined city. The tower was covered with a yellowish metal that no one could identify. Roald called it "Orichalcum". He said it was the ancient mystical metal of the Atlanteans. A wide plaza surrounded the tower. Roads radiated out from the plaza like the spokes of a wheel. Bodak could glimpse human activity and hear German voices in the plaza. The party stealthily made their way from ruin to ruin in their approach.

From behind a ruined wall they saw a wide ring of twelve German soldiers at the base of the tower. They were watching the surrounding ruins for signs of attack. Doctor Vortex was closely inspecting the work of four soldiers as they carried a large crystal out of the entrance at the base of the tower. The crystal was at least three meters tall and a meter across. It glowed with a strange energy and emitted a slowly pulsating electric hum that caused mild pain in the teeth. The bearers carried the crystal slowly and deliberately as Doctor Vortext berated them.

Roald told the others he had a plan and to make ready to attack at his signal. They nodded and he left. He quickly disappeared amid the ruins.

A few moments later came Roald's mighty war cry, "MANGANI! BAR! BUNDOLO!"

The hooting and howling ape-men were swarming over the roof-tops and into the plaza. The German guards immediately opened fire at the onrushing attack.

Edith took cover on the roof of one of the nearby buildings and began firing a rifle at the German soldiers.

Hiroshima Overdrive lit the fuse of a stick of dynamite and threw it into the midst of some nearby soldiers. It exploded into a crater that littered the plaza with falling dirt and debris.

Bodak taunted the Germans before taking cover behind a partially collapsed wall.

Cedric was not accustomed to fighting so he and Panda hid behind some rubble.

Doctor Vortex saw Edith and shouted, "Du!" He pulled out his Luger and shot the psychic through the arm.

Most of the Germans were occupied fighting the ape-men but a few broke off to charge the party behind their cover. Bodak unleashed some devastating punches as the Germans moved into the ruined building.

GM Note - Too Many NPCs
Honestly, I completely forgot about Cedric, Panda, and Roald during the fight. I preferred to concentrate on the player characters, so the three NPCs got zero "screen time" during this fight. 

As for the twelve Germans plus Doctor Vortex, I had three of the Germans plus Doctor Vortex fight the three player characters at a time. The rest were "occupied" fighting ape-men. When one German would die, I would replace him with one of the "ape-men" Germans. 

Hiroshima Overdrive charged up his capacitor and fired his electric rifle at the remaining Germans.

Edith clambered down from the roof and grabbed one of the unconscious Germans' submachine gun. She sprayed several of the Germans down in a rain of gunfire.

Doctor Vortex was unable to get a shot off against any of the party. He saw many of his guards being killed by the combination of ape-men and gunfire so he changed strategy. He stood up straight and shouted in the same powerful language Roald had used, "UNGAWA!"

The ape-men suddenly froze. They were held transfixed by his words of power. Doctor Vortex pointed at the members of the expedition and shouted, "BUNDOLO TARMANGANI TAND-YO!"

At his command the ape-men charged Bodak Danger, Hiroshima Overdrive, and Edith Odinsdottir. The trio did their best to fight off the onslaught of both Germans and ape-men but soon both Bodak and Edith had fallen! Only Hiroshima Overdrive remained.

Roald rushed forth and shouted, "UNGAWA! TAND BUNDOLO YO! YUTO LITO DAN!"

The ape-men once more halted their attack before turning towards the German soldiers carrying the Crystal of Power. The four German soldiers quailed under the assault. They quickly dropped the crystal and ran. The ape-men surrounded the crystal. They began beating it with heavy rocks and chunks of masonry.

Vortex shouted in frustration, "Nein!" and once more attempted to use his commanding voice, "UNGAWA! UNGAWA!" But it was too late. The crystal had been cracked!

Vortex shouted, "Du vools! Du hast doomed us all!

Roald smiled at the Nazi officer.

Vortex ran after the four fleeing bearers. He quickly disappeared into the ruins. 

The crystal continued to crack as fractures multiplied and spread across its surface. The pulsating thrum began to grow louder and louder until it was nearly unbearable. Light began to shine brightly from the cracks.

Overdrive immediately saw to the needs of his injured and fallen comrades. Roald shouted orders to the ape-men who scattered into the city. He then shouted at Overdrive, "Leave them! There's no time! When that crystal breaks it will destroy this entire city! 

Cedric and Panda ran up to join Overdrive. He shouted back, "I'm not leaving them!"

Roald joined him, "So be it!"

Hiroshima Overdrive looked around desperately. He said, "Wait, I might have a plan!"

Moments later, the ruins of the ancient Atlantean city was devastated by a sudden explosion of reddish-purple light and energy and lightning!


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"The Flight of the Icarus" - Escape from the Hollow Earth, Chapter 1

The patrons of London's Victoria and Albert Museum were startled by the sudden explosion of smoke bombs within the gallery!

There were shouts and screams and the sound of combat in the murky gloom. The smoke began to clear and revealed a tableau of carnage. Two guards lay dead by the door. They had been cut down by the sword-wielding masked thieves that made their escape via the exit. The thieves wore the dark close-fitting costumes of the mysterious assassins of Japan.

Four assassins guarded the escape of their leader and one other. The leader wore a white costume while his dark-clad companion carried a large Chinese urn. The urn was a centerpiece of the museum's exhibit of treasures from the orient. The leader and his companion entered a waiting car and sped away.

Elizabeth Xu, the curator of the exhibition, cried, "They've stolen the remains of Emperor Soong! Somebody stop them!"

The four remaining thieves looked menacing and held their swords ready and waited for their getaway car to arrive.

A tall bearded Welshman stepped forward and approached one of the waiting thieves. He declared in his distinctive accent, "Lights out, gents!" He curled his thick muscular hands into large club-like fists and delivered a powerful blow to the startled thief. The Welshman was none other than famed explorer Bodak Danger.

A well-dressed thin Englishman likewise approached the thieves. The man was a gentleman and somewhat a dandy in his grey pin-striped suit and long flowing hair. He withdrew a concealed pistol and shot one of the thieves. The Englishman pointed his pistol at the others and quipped, "Surrender or face the consequences."  Unbeknownst to the thief, the decadent Englishman he faced was the legendary immortal Jack Flash!

A third man, a slight Japanese fellow wearing an eye-patch, withdrew a contraption from a valise against the wall and donned it like a knapsack. Attached to the boxy apparatus via a thick rubber-coated cable was a complicated metal tube adorned with glass disks and terminating in a polished chrome orb. The Japanese man in the eye-patch vigorously began spinning a small hand-crank attached to the apparatus. The cranking made a whirring sounds in an ever increasing pitch. The cranking caused glass tubes of incandescent gas placed on the apparatus to begin to glow. The device began to spark and pop and emit the smell of ozone.

The Japanese man wearing the electric device stepped forward and let fly an arc of flashing electricity towards one of the thieves. The thief jerked and fell unconscious. The Japanese man was renowned inventor, scientist, and adventurer Hiroshima Overdrive!

The remaining thief put up a brave resistance. He slashed his sword across Bodak Danger's arm, cutting his suit and causing a bloody mess!

Jack Flash stepped forward and effortlessly ran the blade of his sword-cane through the final thief as the getaway car pulled up in front of the museum exit.

Jack Flash rushed the car and pulled the driver out. Hiroshima Overdrive managed to climb into the back seat as Jack Flash sped off. Bodak Danger ran to catch up and barely managed to grab hold of the back of the fleeing vehicle. Bodak then climbed onto the roof of the car as it sped off in chase of the other thieves.

Jack Flash managed to pull up alongside and slam into the other car. Bodak reached out and grabbed the roof of the opposite vehicle and transferred himself from one car to the other. Bodak climbed over to the driver side and smashed his fist through the window in an attempt to grab the driver. His attempt failed and he caught his sleeve on the broken glass. The driver retaliated by firing his revolver through the ceiling. His shots narrowly missed the Welshman.

Hiroshima was taking aim with his pistol at the tires of the other car when Jack Flash thew open the driver door. Jack suddenly and without hesitation let go of the wheel and leaped onto the passenger door of the other car. Hiroshima shot the tire out of the other car as his own car began to careen dangerously into traffic. Hiroshima shouted in alarm and climbed into the driver seat. He struggled to regain control of the vehicle as it veered left and right through the busy London traffic.

Hiroshima's shot caused the tire of the fleeing vehicle to burst and the driver was forced to slow to a stop.

The driver of the stopped vehicle got out and leveled his pistol at Bodak. The driver was an Italian man with slicked back hair and a thin mustache. Bodak slid off the car and withdrew a shotgun from his long leather overcoat. Bodak managed to get off his shot first. The driver sprawled dead onto the rainy pavement.

The leader of the thieves climbed out of the car and drew his curved sword. Jack Flash held his own sword-cane at the ready. The two clashed but it was Jack's superior swordplay that won out. The leader of the thieves slid off Jack's bloody blade and slumped to the wet street.

The remaining thief still clutched the urn in the back seat of the stopped car. Bodak ripped open the door and Jack Flash ordered the thief to surrender. The thief withdrew a small pill from a hidden pouch and bit down. His mouth frothed and his eyes rolled back into his head as the thief died from the suicide pill.

Hiroshima managed to regain control of his own vehicle and threaded the oncoming traffic of the one-way street to rejoin the other two. They loaded the stolen urn into the car and returned to the museum.

There Elizabeth Xu asked them if there was any way she could thank them for their fine work.

"Well," said Bodak with a lascivious grin, "I'm sure we could think of way or two..."

"Nonsense," interrupted Jack, "It's all in a day's work for the Hyperion Society!"

(cue theme music)

The next day, Jack Flash, Bodak Danger, and Hiroshima Overdrive simultaneously arrive at an elegant London flat. All three men carried invitations. They were each invited to the home of noted literary historian and fellow Hyperion Society associate Cedric Justice.

They are greeted at the door by a young Chinese man-servant wearing a traditional silk robe. As t hey enter they notice a parked car across the street occupied by two Italian men. One of the men is reading a paper while the other is watching the flat.

The Chinese boy escorted the men upstairs to the study. The study was filled with books, mostly fiction. A nearby desk was covered in papers, notebooks, journals, and old maps. Several leather-upholstered chairs were arranged around the desk.

There they met Cedric Justice, a tall burly man with a bookish demeanor and scholarly round glasses. Despite his imposing size Cedric was friendly and affable. He greeted each of his visitors and offered them tea, coffee, or scotch which he directed the Chinese boy, whose name was Panda, to prepare.

After pleasantries, Cedric got down to business.

"Gentlemen, I have made the discovery of a lifetime! I have learned that much of what was once thought as legend and fiction is, in fact, truth! I have discovered the location of the mythical land Pytheas called “Ultima Thule” - the “Land Beyond the Mists” hidden in the far north.

"The Germans believe that Thule was once the home of a great civilization, populated by a race of giant supermen, linked into the Cosmos through magical powers. They had psychic and technological energies far exceeding the technical achievements of the 20th century.

"Even now as we speak, the Germans are actively searching for this place. But they do not have the map! I do!

"Gentlemen, I wish to mount an expedition to find this land and return to the world with its secrets and its treasures BEFORE the Germans! To that end I have secured the services of the airship 'Icarus' and its crew. I have supplied provisions for a six month expedition into the arctic.

"If you choose to join me on this expedition, I will pay you each £10,000 plus an equal share in 60 percent of the value of the treasures recovered."

The three men thought about this proposal then accepted the offer.

"Excellent! Excellent! Then we shall meet at the airfield tomorrow at dawn. Please make all preparations you deem necessary."

There was a buzzing at the door. Panda answered the door and soon returned upstairs carrying a package about the size of a shoe box wrapped in plain brown paper. He explained that it was delivered by an Italian gentleman.

Jack Flash grabbed the package and listened to it. He heard a ticking sound. It was a bomb!

There was some urgent debate over the proper course of action. Did they throw the bomb out the window into the street? Should they immediately evacuate the building? Hiroshima Overdrive took the package and opened it. Within were several sticks of dynamite attached to an alarm clock. He brandished his trusty Swiss army knife and went to work. The other men looked on with moistened brows as the Japanese inventor quickly deactivated the bomb!

The expedition gathered on an airfield outside London on the following morning. The group consisted of Cedric Justice, Panda, Jack Flash, Bodak Danger, and Hiroshima Overdrive. There they met the three-man crew of the Icarus: the Englishmen Captain Bennett, Reginald the co-pilot and navigator; and Johannson the Swedish ship's mate and cook . The assembled group loaded the airship with supplies and set off on a north-easterly course through foggy English skies.

The airship gondola was about the size of a lorry or bus. The inside was packed with food and equipment leaving little room for walking about. There were six fold-out cots along the wall for sleeping and two small benches for the passengers. The pilot and navigator occupied the only proper seats in the cockpit.

Their route took them to Longyearbyen on the island of Spitsbergen north of Norway. There they resupplied and refueled before continuing north.

The stopover in Longyearbyen was uneventful. Cedric learned from the locals that a German U-boat stopped there to resupply only a week previous. Crew members from the U-boat reported that they were likewise searching for the legendary island of Ultima Thule.

The Icarus took off and flew north. It was summer in the arctic and the sun rolled low around the horizon without ever setting. The Icarus flew over uncounted miles of unbroken ice marred only by the occasional iceberg jutting up like a mountain. Hiroshima Overdrive inquired if he might be allowed to pilot the airship. Captain Bennet obliged. Overdrive was soon joined in the cockpit by Bodak Danger. Thus the pair piloted the airship for several hours.

At one point Hiroshima Overdrive noticed a large flying shape like a giant bat. He asked Bodak to confirm but the Welshman saw nothing.

Bodak calculated that they were nearing the location indicated by Justice's directions. Bodak reported that the compass was beginning to drift. Hiroshima tried to compensate but the compass began to swing wildly. Soon the compass was spinning like no one on board had ever seen!

To everyone's surprise the sun began to dim as the Icarus was engulfed in a strange glowing fog that mysteriously appeared in the clear summer sky! The Icarus began to spin and tumble. Captain Bennet took the helm but it was too late. The Icarus careened wildly! The craft's altimeter spun down indicating a rapid descent. The altimeter read 300 feet, 200 feet, 100 feet, 50 feet. Captain Bennet shouted, "Brace for impact!"

The crew and passengers prepared themselves for a crash that never occurred.

The altimeter began spinning out of control and everyone was overcome by a strange vertigo and a sense of endless falling before passing into unconsciousness.

The crew and passengers of the Icarus woke up in a clearing surrounded by jungle. They were sprawled amidst the strewn wreckage and cargo of the airship. They were remarkably unhurt. It was strangely hot at humid. The sounds of jungle animals could be heard all around. The sun burned bright directly overhead. The peculiar heat and humidity along with the jungle locale and the orientation of the sun overhead could only make sense if the crew were somehow transported to the equator. The thick cane-like grass of the clearing was six feet high but had been knocked down near the area of the airship crash.

Beyond the clearing was a jungle composed of towering trees taller than any other seen by man. Impossibly tall mountains rose in one direction. In all other directions the horizon curved upwards and disappeared into the hazy sky. Opposite the mountains was more hills and jungles. In another direction one could see the grey-green surface of an ocean rising into the sky.

The airship was destroyed. The craft had disintegrated and its engines were irreparable. The crew and passengers began gathering up the scattered supplies. Hiroshima Overdrive collected machine parts in hopes to salvage something.

Jack Flash noticed what appeared to be an aircraft near the edge of the clearing. He moved through the grass. The plane appeared to have been there for over a year and was covered in grass and weeds. It had a single wing and strange engine arrangement with both a standard propeller and a rear-facing pusher type propeller.

As he examined the plane, a herd of large beasts entered the clearing. The beasts were the size of hippopotamuses but their heads bore a large bony frill protecting the neck. Two long horns protruded from above their eyes and a third horn emerged from its nose like a rhinoceros. He knew it immediately as a triceratops from earth's prehistory!

The herd of triceratops filled the clearing as they began to eat on the tall cane. The dinosaurs seemed unafraid of man but made threatening defensive movements whenever anyone came too near. Reginald became nervous and aimed his rifle at a beast. Hiroshima Overdrive calmed the navigator and convinced him to lower his weapon.

Jack Flash moved back across the clearing to rejoin the others but was interrupted by the sound of panicked triceratops at the edge of the clearing. The panic spread through the herd and the large creatures began to flee. He immediately spotted the source of the commotion. A large bipedal saurian emerged from the jungle chasing the triceratops across the clearing. It was a tyrannosaurus rex!

The panicked herd stampeded and crushed everything in its way. Much of the salvaged equipment and food was trampled into the ground under their flight. Everyone was able to dodge the rushing triceratops and take cover amid the remaining clumps of tall grass as the tyrannosaur drew near. Reginald, already frightened by the triceratops, panicked and fled into the brush.

Mister Johannson helped Bodak Danger and jack Flash flail their arms in an attempt to draw the beast's attention from the others while Hiroshima Overdrive began cranking up his electrical contraption. The Tyrannosaur charged forward and chomped down upon the hapless Johannson. The Swede was crushed by the monster's mighty jaws.

Jack Flash ran under the monstrous predator and slashed at its belly with his sword-cane. Bodak Danger fired his shotgun at the beast. Hiroshima Overdrive managed to let one sparking electrical arc fly at the gargantuan reptile only to draw its ire. Hiroshima was grievously injured by the tyrannosaur's bite.

Jack Flash managed to run up onto the back of the saurian and stabbed it once again with his sword while Bodak fired another blast from his shotgun. The king of the dinosaurs put up a brave fight but was eventually done in by the heroic adventurers.

A closer inspection of the airplane by Hiroshima Overdrive revealed it to be a Latham 47 flying boat. The growth on the plane along with its general state of decomposition and disrepair indicated that it had been sitting in the clearing for just over two years. The plane was missing its fuel tank and one of its floats. The wings were damaged and the engine was useless. The explorers found the pilot's log but could not read the Norwegian writing within.

Jack Flash looked around the edge of the clearing and found old trail markers cut into some of the trees. The surviving members of the expedition gathered what equipment they could carry and set off on the trail.

The expedition followed the trail markers through the jungle for what felt like hours. Despite the perceived passage of time the sun still shone directly overhead as if it were noon. Bodak checked his watch but noticed that it behaved erratically. The seconds would stall then count backwards then speed forward only to count backwards again. Jack Flash checked his compass but saw that it spun uselessly.

Passage through the jungle was difficult. The expedition had come equipped for a polar trip. They carried no machetes and the overgrown flora slowed their progress. Suddenly Reginald was carried aloft in the coiling strands of a strangling vine. The vine wound around Reginald's neck and arms and was quickly choking him to death. Bodak Danger and Jack Flash rushed to the co-pilot's aid. They were eventually able to cut and tear him loose from the cable-like vines.

No one could tell exactly how long they trekked through the jungle. The expedition was at the brink of exhaustion when they encountered a band of native hunters. The natives had brown skin and wore clothing made of reptilian leather. They carried machetes made of metal and spears with metal heads. The natives were wary and curious but otherwise peaceful. The natives attempted to communicate using several unknown languages including what sounded like a strange pidgin dialect of Norwegian!

The natives led the expedition to their village which was hidden away in a narrow valley. The village consisted of several structures built in the canopy of the incredibly tall jungle trees. Each tree was connected by rope bridges made of woven vines. The expedition was surprised to also see components of parachute cloth and the skins of balloons and zeppelins integrated into the village's construction. Indeed they were shocked when the wicker basket of a balloon was lowered via a complicated pulley system. They were ushered into the basket and hoisted aloft as if in an elevator. A plaque on the inside the basket read, "Andree’s Polar Expedition 1897"

The expedition was taken to a large tree hut where they were allowed to rest. They were given some water and food. Every native that attended to them was mesmerized by their modern equipment.

Suddenly in walked a tall tan-skinned man of European descent! He had a beard and shaggy hair and wore an old jump suit augmented and patched with pieces of reptilian leather and skins. He was recognized immediately. It was famed explorer and associate of the Hyperion Society Roald Amundsen!

Roald was accompanied by the village chieftain. The chieftain was a portly native wearing a robe made of jingling bits of metal woven together by copper wire. Roald exchanged introductions with the members of the expedition and served as translator between them and the natives. The chief was able to converse with the newcomers in a pidgin dialect of English mixed with some Norwegian.

The expedition were to be the guests of the village and a feast of roast boar was set out for them. Roald listened to the tales of the crew and passengers of the Icarus while he ate before explaining his own circumstance. Roald said that he had discovered the anomaly near the pole many years ago but was threatened by a mysterious organization to never reveal what he encountered. He learned that the name of the mysterious organization was Terra Arcanum. He was further warned to never attempt to explore the anomaly further.

Fellow polar explorer Umberto Nobile attempted to fly over the pole in 1928 using the airship Italia. The airship crashed and an international search and rescue mission was undertaken. Roald used the cover of the search and rescue mission to return to the anomaly. He and his two crewmen entered the anomaly and they crashed. He found himself here in this strange inner world. His two crewmen were subsequently killed by dinosaurs but he has managed to survive with the help of these friendly natives.

Amundsen further explained the strange new world they found themselves in. He told them about the perpetual noonday sun. There had been no night since he arrived. The strange concave horizon, indicating an inverted world occupying the inner shell surrounding the aforementioned constant sun. The presence of dinosaurs, beast men, ancient ruins, and even pirates and vikings!

When he was done, he turned his attention to his guests.

"So tell me," inquired Amundsen, "What is the world of 1930 like? What have I missed?"

Jack Flash replied, "1930? Sir, the year is 1936. Eight years have elapsed since you went missing!"

Amundsen's eyes widened, "Impossible! By my own admittedly imperfect reckoning it has been only two years! How can this be?"

Hiroshima Overdrive suggested, "Ah! Perhaps this world does not obey the same rules of time as our world."

Amundsen mulled this over, "This is evident. So. I have told you my story. What about yourselves? What brings you to this strange place?"

Cedric Justice explained that they were here searching for treasure and knowledge. He wondered if there were any cities or ruins or any other evidence of an advanced civilization. Roald eyed him warily but remained silent.

The chief's eyes grew wide, "You speak of city of smooth stone!" The chief ran his hands along his coat of metal bits and bobs. "Much smooth stone! Very dangerous! Not go place!"

Roald cleared his throat and reluctantly explained that there was indeed evidence of a once-advanced civilization but that their cities now all lay in ruins and were occupied by dangerous hostile natives. Cedric asked if he could speak with Roald privately. Upon completion of the feast the two excused themselves to discuss private matters.

The rest of the expedition were able to rest and they fell into a deep restful sleep. Their rest was interrupted some unknown hours later by the arrival of native scouts. The scouts reported that they had found another stranger from the Outer World - a pale-skinned woman!

The woman walked in. She had the smooth pale complexion of someone from a Nordic country. She wore the long black leather coat of a German military officer over a black leather waistcoat and black jodhpurs. She had raven hair and piercing light blue eyes that chilled the souls of anyone that looked into them. She was immediately recognized by the other members of the Hyperion Society.

She was the famed psychic occultist Edith Odinsdottir of Iceland.

"Gentlemen, there are Nazis afoot and they must be stopped at all costs!"


GMs Notes - En Media Res
I decided to start the game en media res in order to get straight to the action. I wanted to grab the players attention right from the start as well as allow them to become familiar with the new rules system.

I really like the simplicity and ease-of-use of the Ubiquity system. It is very user friendly and intuitive. My players grokked it right away. 

My only complaints on the game so far:

1) There are no stats for ninjas. Admittedly, they post-date the pulp genre, not becoming popular until You Only Live Twice in the sixties, but they would make great  opponents for a game featuring the Japanese Empire. At least have some Arab hashishins or other masked killer equivalents. 

2) For a game called Hollow Earth Expeditions, almost all of the pre-written adventures take place on the surface world. There are one or two introductory adventures written to GET you to the Hollow Earth but only one takes place entirely within the Hollow Earth and its intended for native characters. I really wish there were more adventures written for people stranded in the Hollow Earth. I have written up a campaign outline with several locales but I'm keeping the details loose. I will mostly improvise as we go since those tend to be our funnest games anyway.