Saturday Seed ~ 174 (Leagues of Adventure)

This Saturday continues the celebration of Ubiquity by planting a seed for the Victorian Steampulp game by Triple Ace, Leagues of Adventure. More exploration, discovery, invention, camaraderie and wonder than you might believe are packed neatly between the covers of this game.

The seed
A dear old friend and mentor seems to have finally gone out of his mind and has declared a personal war on London. The characters and those around them are faced with the choice of standing with him in his mad crusade, standing against him, or doing nothing and risking the consequences and repercussions of their inaction.

Planting the seed
This is a seed suitable for when the characters are in England or within a short period of travel away. Overheard bits of conversation, letters, and some disturbing items in the newspaper reveal that something is not right with their old friend and mentor. This seed will work with established or new characters.

The details

An expert in steam and a pioneer in automata, the mentor has always been a highly opinionated visionary who could not tolerate inefficiency in systems. Now it seems his ire is directed at the government and he wishes to begin his adjustment of the system with a few sharp raps with a hammer. To that effect he is building a giant, walking, steam-powered warrior to ride into the city of London to knock some sense into the powers that be. While there may be some reasonable connection between this and reality, it is not immediately obvious. 

Recently, he issued a grand proclamation demanding change and threatening his use of the warrior should his demands not be met. As a former lecturer in the sciences who preferred to initiate freshmen into the wonders of the natural and the constructed, he is well-known to generations of graduates in a wide range of fields. His introductory course on Natural Science is legendary, and his exams considered a right of passage. He recently retired with many accolades and warm-hearted tributes from students past and present. That now, he is once again in the public eye, but as a madman, is heart-breaking.

Other colleagues who have tried to get into to see him have been turned away by the staff. More insistent visitors found that the grounds have been guarded against intrusion by ingenious security devices which toss intruders unceremoniously back outside the walls. and far more lethal packs of huge, steam-powered guard dogs have been spotted by those so tossed. It is felt that outside of family, only beloved former students, might have a chance of getting through to him.

If his demands are not met, he fully seems to intend manning his colossal 50ft man of steel and steam and marching it straight to Parliament.

What is going on

The rumors are true and the time is closer than people expect. Unless stopped, the warrior, armed with a military-grade cannon on the left shoulder and a wrecking ball for a right hand will stalk through the green and pleasant country side before descending on London and smashing it to pieces. Whatever his demands might be in your campaign, they are as sympathetic as they are impossible. Most are lucid, but there are a few (cake and milk in schools, mandatory dental care, registration and licensing for musicians, etc) which indicate that not all is right in his head.

If you have an ongoing campaign, you may be able to tie his demands into it at some logical level, or you may choose, as I would, to have him simply be suffering from deleterious mental effects as a result of age and genetics. Alternately, there are always brain parasites to consider.

Meeting force with force may be what is required in the end if the characters cannot glean what has set him off, and what can calm him down. Socially and personally, force should be the absolute last resort. Of course, the clock is ticking all the while. Without notice he may actually follow through on his threats leaving the military little choice but to resist madness with a good shelling.

In focus, this seed is mostly about the awkwardness of handling such a situation and the wide-open choices and utter lack of certainty which come when dealing with beloved role-models and madness.


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