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Victorian Mutants & Masterminds 3e Game Log #1

Victorian Mutants & Masterminds 3e Game Log #1

My gaming group that also does the “Talislanta game”, some of the same folk just started to play a M&M 3e game (I find the 3e character creation stuff to be poorly laid out, but otherwise so far like the changes in the system from 3e) set in a Steampunk Victorian England setting. There are “auto-mechanicals” (robots), lots of airships, fairy magic/tech, dinosaurs, and lots of Imperialism, and tomb robbing. Right up my alley. My character is “Rosie Ramses” (AKA Rosamund Smythe Penfold... nobody calls her that), I’ve detailed her origins a bit earlier on this blog and will continue to drop in fun bits of her past during my the gamelogs. She’s a good fighter - ranged - Bolos, boomerang, but also has a T-Rex tooth dagger for in close brawling. She’s lucky more than she’s agile, or skilled, and she’s very much a fish out of water, in the civilized world of London, where the game is set, starting at least. She’s lived pretty much only on Digs in Egypt, adventuring through the wilds of South America, and the outback, dreamtime of Australia.

Rosie’s Guidebook To The Wild Creatures Of London And Beyond 

Chapter One: The Auto Mechanicals of Doom.

After a few weeks now being in London, I was getting an itch to be out investigating strange phenomenon and partaking in my native country’s dream questing rituals. But it seems that Londoners at least, if not all Britons, are very disorganized in their dream questing and have little in the way of adventure in their lives. I need more field time. But am not quite ready to blend in the way I need to. I am learning to be a “Proper Lady”, first. This may take some time.

 So once again I was studying and cataloguing the various trophy room in the Kerberos club, where I’ve had my quarters these past weeks. I’m pretty sure ther is a Smythe penfold estate where I should be setting up camp, but the more individualistic adventurers of “the Club” are much more “my people” than some dreary servants and cousins who want me in corsets (damnable invention that may look smart, seems to be a raptor trap for women folk. I tear mine off at every opportunity) and other “finery.” Even when I was Queen of El Dorado I wore no such finery. There must be a magic in this manner of elaborate dress, a ritual, that I’m missing. 

These are the things I was pondering while keenly inspecting vials of blood belonging to people with vaguely familiar surnames of Flamel, Dee, Erasmus and so on. I was about to ask on one of the servants where the books on European Alchemy might be held, when I heard a terror of screams about there being no playing cards available in the drawing room. Earlier I had watched a walrus moustachioed (and bodied) man take apart a very large rifle in record time, upon one of those strange ball and stick oracle tables. I’m still not quite sure how to read those Oracles which seem to be read in pairs of two or four ball and stick readers.

A few of my more recent companions happened to be in the room, and as happened last week with those Black Eyed & Long Haired Demons from Liverpool who we quietly slew before they ate the hearts and minds of all the young maids of London. It will be at least a century ere they have the strength to incarnate and try their soul sucking Scarab Music again. The four of us make quite a formidable team. 

There’s The Lady aka Lady Penelope, is what’s called a “Mourner” she slays the Undead as they come to their Un-life. No woman can move in corsets the way she does, and her petticoats are always immaculate. I need to learn those enchantments as I’m a mess and not much of a “Lady” most of the time, while we adventure.

She is my silent mentor, as she teaches through example, and I spend much of my time studying her ofr those intricacies of “comportment” that continue to elude me, with my upbringing in deserts,jungles, pyramids, temples and underground caverns. She may very well be the most deadly of us all, though she has little time for the delicacies of detection. The Lady knows who needs slaying, (and who does not) and does so with grace and aplomb.

There is also The monstrous seeming, but articulate Promethean, Oswald Amadeus, who bares a striking resemblance to a bust I once saw of the poet Byron. He also talks as if he were, the poet, but much more than that, he seems to have the body of a stone killer and the mind of a keen gentleman of the court.

A strange and strong man to have at your side, or more oft, at your back keeping you from being overwhelmed by whatever minions are thronging towards you as you listen to their evil Lord’s monologue. I enjoy honing my medical skills restitching his dead poet’s face back upon his skull every few days. This is the kind of work I was born to.

Our third fellow is a vampire named McCauley (oh so many of whom I have killed, and loved, yes oft, killed and loved the same vampire during my time in the Andes, and especially upon the Plains of El Dorado, high above the Amazon, where Vampires rule the night, and Dinosaurs, the day)  This fellow, of obvious Irish extraction, which I think he plays up a bit much, but I’ve never understood this whole caste system they have here in these Northern Isles, it seems to be rather a glass ceilinged system at best. there seems to be very little lateral movement available. And only Gilt, can move you (and then only on the face of it) upwards.

There seem to be no caste rewards for bravery, or knowledge. Either way, he is a very effective spy, and scout with his abilities to walk like the spider, and move without footsteps. He tracks near as well as I do myself, but with no training whatsoever, merely a keen nose, and a knowledge of the nooks and crannies of the labyrinthine streets of London.

These are my fellows now (whether they know it or not, I have already bonded myself to them with the blood ritual of the Jaguar people.) Especially McCauley, who has knowingly drank of my blood, unlike the others. 

At any rate, as usual, dear Kerbereans, it is taking me forever to get to my tale of derring do. We found that someone had perhaps made off with Oswald’s Auto-Mechanical servants, as well as various items belonging to those of us living at the club. stranger still all the playing cards in the drawing room, the only clue to which we had were some “chads” from said cards, that were littered about the floor of the Drawing room, or was it the Atlantis room. Either way, the Vampire quickly surmised that maybe someone had “re-programmed” or hypnotized the mechanical men into stealing these item, or perhaps their programming had gone askew, as they seemed to take items for dressing to go to the opera, as well as tickets that Oswald held, for himself, and The Lady, both of whom seemed quite keen on this Opera Business. 

Which from what I surmised is some sort of melodrama recreated in song and colourful costume. Much like the Mayan ritual of the Moon, except with fake ribbons of red silk as the blood that flows freely down the steps of the pyramid during the Moon Dance. 

The four of us studied all the various movements of Oswald’s servants, who had been doing various things like taking the Giant Un-man’s laundry to be done and so on, for many weeks, and went unnoticed all of the day whilst stealing finery and opera tickets, and destroying playing cards. They also took the Queen of the Street Urchins’ Dolly. I fear that the robots had better return that item, before hell is paid upon them. Maeve is an angry little 11 year old and has been for much longer than I can say.

The Vampire and I tracked the mechanical men to the Thames where we encountered one, who seemed to be carrying a tea set to some unknown destination. It was hard to see in the pea soup Londoners call air. London smells fouler than the inside of a T-Rex, and is often less inviting. As McCauley made to guide the metal man back to the club, it all of a sudden spewed out playing cards in a funnel that reminded me of an Ayauasca ritual. 

It’s chilling hypnotic eyes, I swear glowed orange for a second, and it reached it’s mechanical hands for the Vampire’s throat. I quickly tied it up with my trusty Bolas, and McCauley decapitated it, keeping the head as a trophy and a clue perhaps as to why these man created beings are suddenly trying to harm folk, when apparently they are “programmed without such instincts”. Having lived in so many different cults, and tribes, I think not even a creation of man, than assumes a mannish for can forego the occasional need for violence and killing. Maybe these mechanical beings have finally eaten their own hearts, was my Outback thinking. 

Meanwhile The Lady Penelope, and Oswald went to the shoppe where Oswald had purchased his automatons, to see about why they have started to run amok, mayhap there is a warranty? Or some button that needs to be pushed. The sales clerk was of that class that values only commerce, and the hypnosis of the new and exciting. He merely passed on that they neede to go the the manufacturer to complain of problems with the units. He knew nothing of what he was selling really. Just a product in his eyes. At least that’s how he put it. 

Even such as a salesman can have canny plans under his simple taking of your coin. This one I know nought of his motive, yet I remain suspicious. We arrived as they were leaving (one convenience I love in London are the coaches, oft so well driven, and more convenient in the crowded city, which often overwhelms me when I walk amongst the throngs of folk that are innumerably larger and stinkier than any city I have been a part of) with the head of the metal thing in tow. The salesman was aghast that anyone would harm his product in such a way, and treated us with much contempt. I need to see about creating a ritual to capture the energy that these Londoners put into their thin veneer of manners and self loathing. there is much power to be found therein.

He directed us to the factory, so off we went. the menfolk did most of the talking at the factory, where the metal servants were shinier, more silver, and almost magically and eerily human with the expressions their mechanical faces attained listening to our un-simple requests.  eventually we put all our name cards and the head of the servant killed, upon a silver tray and brought to Ada Lovelace, a woman of chilling import who was even more aghast at the decapitated head, than the clerk back  at the shoppe. There was a genuine sadness and fury that we had slain one of her creations. Her babies, perhaps. 

I recalled that time in the outback when the army of dream zombies came to the Big Rock, and we had to kill them but not without the cost of some of our souls, but that’s another story. Once we made her understand the truth of our encounters and confusion, she made nice with the offer of reparations, but made us very aware that she would deal with any sort of outbreaks of robot violence, etc in house and that we should not try to involve ourselves in “Her Business”. An evil queen if I ever met one, and I have on at least 3 continents. There is much more to this woman who has more than a whiff of Faerie about her.

Of course, being adventurers and perhaps psychopathic in our need to be detectives of a sort, we immediately took action to discover what more there was to this auto-mechanical uprising. we had discovered the existence from Miss Lovelace, as well as through other sources, open only to the Vampire, that a former employee known as Marley, was the likeliest suspect in any sort of reprogramming scandal.

He had been dismissed from Lovelace’s corporation, and seen doing various sneaky things, also rumoured to be a “needler”, a machine that uses some synthetic alchemy to give the user vision quests, and also to communicate psychically  to another person hooked up to such a machine, as well as translating your dream time into another form, such as the written word. such a machine is highly intriguing to myself who has spent more time in Dreamtime or Mayan trance than pretty much any other aristocratic young lady in London. I want one. 

First place we needed to investigate though was this Opera event, titled Rigoletto, and like most opera was in the original Italian, which is a joy for me to hear. One of the nicer sounding European tongues. Once we were seated, we saw pretty quickly that some automechanicals (we later discovered that they weren’t the ones that actually belonged to Oswald) were indeed dressed in stolen finery from the club, one of The Lady’s gowns, some primitively applied makeup, and Oswald’s giant tuxedo, top hat and cane.

Somehow the mechanicals had made it to “their” box (we got tickets through the club for seats nearby, all of us but McCauley who was searching the underworld of London for an address of that Marley), but were discovered and being asked to leave by the ushers, when one of them spewed cards in their Ayauascan manner and promptly decapitated the usher, sending his head flying into the orchestra pit. 

Of course panic ensued and London folk, unaccustomed to such events  (seemed even more like a Mayan Moon festival to me) ran for the exits... the lady robot also made for an exit, and The Lady and I followed her, the Lady wisely kept me from hog tie-ing the mockery of London ladyhood (the creatures have no gender) so as we could follow it to whatever it’s destination might be.

The thing made it’s way to the roof, and started bounding over roof tops and towards the east of the city. I kept up with it and the Lady for a roof top or two, until the leaps outstretched my own athletic abilities, and luck. I crawled down a drainpipe and back to the street in front of the theatre where our coaches were parked, my eyes keenly trained up, at the silhouettes of ladies bounding across the London rooftops.

Eventually I lost sight of them, but was almost immediately was surprised to see a black  coach much like the one we arrived in, from the club, with “the Lady Mechanical” atop it like a hitchhiking monkey in a stolen dress, much shredded and un-pretty. “her” makeup looked even more like the Clownfish, as she hung on the top of the carriage, not noticing The Lady Penelope, who had leapt and was hanging on to the back of the same carriage, with nary a hair, let alone a skirt or petticoat out of place.

She somehow looked not out of place hanging on to the back of the coach, much as you see beggar children doing on the streets, when they want to travel a bit of distance to escape the coppers, or just want a ride across town. They call it “bumper shining”. It seems a nice way to travel London, but again I digress.

I jumped into the carriage I arrived in, driven by a wild looking Londoner, by the name of Hobbs. He seems to only have this one name, though sometimes he gets to use the honorific “Mister”, many call him Mr. Hobbs. I prefer Hobbs, and he responds to it fondly, so I leapt in and commanded, in my best “Queen of The Mountain Lizard Folk” tone: (and hopefully in English, sometimes I forget) “Follow that Coach, Hobbs!’ To wit, he answered in a bit of a cheeky tone, “Do you mean the one with Our Lady Penelope” hanging on to the back of, Miss?”

I answered him with my own cheeky tone, “That’s the very one, my good man, try to catch us up to them, if you please.” And, he did just that. We sped off in pursuit, and Hobbs kept a respectful distance, I doubt they knew we were on their scent. Old Hobbs here looks the part as well. He’s followed many a carriage.

I leaned out the window, my boomerang at the ready, but I never had a chance to toss, as we quickly caught up to the Auto-mechanical; we saw it or her, maybe, as it chooses to dress as such get run over and nearly destroyed by a large blacker than our black horse and carriage, carriage. Some other Auto mechanicals gathered up their broken comrade and put him in the carriage. they sped off the direction they came barreling over the lady robot, from, east. I caught up with The Lady Penelope while the carriage was being unloaded of it’s wounded cargo.

The Lady espied a skylight for us to climb to, so as to investigate this broken robot abduction. The lady leapt gracefully as the Jaguar, and using less breath it seemed, she landed as if in a pose for a portrait, with the full moon at her back above the wood. I sweated, climbed up a trellis, tearing the last few bits of dress that I had left below the knee. I hope I can afford all the nice clothing I seem to destroy. Maybe I can see someone at the Kerberos club, for some garments like My Lady has, that seem never to get dirty, or rip? It makes me wistful for when I was just a wee girl first in Egypt, for a few weeks, everyone worried about my getting dirty, but I was in such obvious bliss, that after that I was just another collector of relics from the sand.

Hobbs was waiting for the word, for us to jump back in the carriage, he seemed ready, as did his horses, that he never stops whispering to. It’s english, but some kind of high pitched dialect that I have a hard time catching all of. This troubles me, but excites me, all the same, and it’s been ages since it took me more than a day to figure out a language. What fun we were having!

I finally reached the window. I think The lady had already seen all she needed to, but stayed with me, as I sussed it out. A big warehouse space filled in the centre by a cage of broken ones. A Cage? Why would these “not  programmed for violence, no free will” auto-mechanicals need a cage. The deactivated ones packaged up for sale in the same building, need not cages. Do they now have some sort of free will, or perhaps they’ve been corrupted. They use Fey magic, to animate these creatures.

There must be a heavy price to be paid later. Always check the fine print when dealing with Fairies, has been my motto. Fairies, UGGGH! Creepy buggers mostly. At any rate, there were far too many men and machines for the two of us to take on, nor was taht an option really. We have as much info as we might have, while getting strangled by all those mechanical men... We beat a retreat back to the Opera, where we met up again with Oswald, who had dispatched the crazed Auto-Mechanical, dressed in his now ruined Tuxedo. He seemed genuinely sad about the tuxedo. We filled him in on what we saw, and he had the same questions as us. 

“Why cages?”  The mystery was deepening, but we had few clues as to where to go next when Quaid McCauley, our Vampire, returned from the seediest bars he’d been to yet in London, and found us the address of Marley, who may have been the villain who reprogrammed these servants into killers. 

We made haste for the squalid tenement where Marley was supposedly holed up, using some sort of telepathic drug machine, that I’d been dying to see in action since I first heard about it, eavesdropping at the Kerberos Club. We found his machine, and saw that it had been disconnected, but definitely used recently. Some of the - were definitely being drawn to the building, we quickly found out, it seemed like there were dozens of them, going to and from the building, eventually we tracked them to Marley himself, wracked within withdrawl, he had the shakes and looked like a typical Opium, or other heavy drug user.

We found out that he had indeed used the telepath machine with an auto-mechanical, and the results, well they were bad. They have all his madness, and they have their own servant mode.

Sometimes they puke up cards and it’s Evil robot time, as they try to kill anyone near their creator, whose more insane thoughts they have bouncing through their whatever it is that auto-mechanicals have inside them, wires, I’m guessing? We first try to keep the creatures out of the building, while I with my shamanistic experience, and medical skills, was trying to get through to, and to get Marley out of the building, and into our Hobbs’ care as we speed off to the sanctity of the Kerberos club.

I found out much of what I’ve detailed above, as well that Marley thinks he can stop the creatures, by accessing their “standby” state visa vie his Drug chair, with all the fakir needles in the back. I’ve done some strange rituals in my time, but these city folk are intense, in theirs. I’ll take the Outback baby scorpion nesting ritual over that chair any day. He just needs to have someone to die in that chair. 

We also needed not only a person to kill in the chair but a robot, “alive” to hook up to the chair. Both seemed tall orders, well the former, not so much. I knew just the right guy for the job.

Then of course more villains showed up. The big man we had taken for a hunchback showed up, it turned out his Hump was actually some sort of mechanical lung apparatus, rather inelegant compared to some of the breathing equipment I’d seen in South America, but it seemed London liked its metal monstrosities to look the part. And this man “Mr. Speak,” he called himself filled that bill, he also had we quickly noted, a mechanical arm, that seemed to be a lightning rod of some sort as well. Lucky for us girls, that Oswald stepped in front of us and absorbed the electricity that shot forth very much in the proverbial “bolt” form. 

He smiled at the energy that had given him life in his new body, those many years ago coursing harmlessly through him. Speak was not happy about this and they fought a pitched battle into the hallway where Oswald left Speak, struggling under angry auto-mechanicals and their strangling hands. Oswald then  grabbed frail Marley and leapt down the three stories to our waiting carriage. We got Marley in, the Lady carried me down as she rappelled down the stone building with me as if I were a mere package, a gift for a friend. 

We had managed to get Marley out and ostensibly we meant to take him away to keep him safe from the robots, Speak, and his men, and ourselves safe from them. We underestimated their ranks, abilities, and determination. Only one directive pushed them, get to save, serve Marley, their god, themselves. Thus began one of the grandest chases I’ve ever been on, whether the Amazon, The Sahara, or the Martian landscape some call the Outback. 

Everyone wanted poor Marley, who just wanted to see what a mechanical saw. Poor bastard.

Tally Ho, was my thought, I yearned to scream it, but thought that, here I am in London, I need to be a lady. I was able to knock back a few with my trusty boomerangs, as that blacker than our black horse and carriage, carriage came barreling up behind us, Speak somewhat recovered from being stampeded, and armed with the biggest shotgun I’ve seen since that time I was in Tasmania hunting Tiger Poachers. I threw a true shot with my bolas and tied up his weapon, as Oswald leapt across to deal with mr. speak, up close. 

That’s when Special Branch turned up, or at least when I saw them joining in the chase. The Mechanical men were attacking anyone in their way, but were after us. We were their target. Through various bits of good and bad luck the various carriages save ours ended up hobbled and overwhelmed by the seeming dozens of them, that were pouring down the thoroughfare towards us. I stayed guarding Marley, giving cover with my boomerangs, whist Oswald made a truce of mutual need to kill the the glimflashy (that means “angry”, I’ve learned some slang from Hobbs!) Robots, they would make a Last Stand next to each other, slaying wave after wave of mechanical strangler, until, they or the robots were exhausted, dead. I almost swear I saw Oswald Amadeus cross his gnarled murderer’s fingers behind his back.

He may have done. I realized after some minutes of being dazzled by their mutual prowess at destroying expensive man sized toys, that, Oswald meant to take out Speak. I thought he would slice the half man’s throat, but he instead surprised me and merely rendered Mr Speak into the Dreamtime with a well timed bump on the old glass jaw. some sort of male confederacy, rather than chivalry. “You fight well, I must fight you again.” I’ve heard it all before. Boys and their “I meant wells”. It makes me melancholy.

We managed to make at least for enough time to whisk Marley back to his chair,to get the drug, and not have to fight more waves of mechanicals. I figured they were lost in the fog, but they were coming. As I was checking my bolas for the eighth or ninth time, the old Vampire Irishman showed up with the Soma, the drug that helped the machine get you to that telepathic part of the Dreamtime.

He took the drug, started the machine, and once he got going to the robot, (that we’d managed to subdue with my bolas, I’d forgot to mention that, at the end of the chase) on the other end. I slit his throat with my ruby encrusted pearl handled T-Rex Dagger. like slicing butter on a warm afternoon, it was, and needed to be.

The robots “read” the death throes, and went into their “sleep” mode, which was an awkward dance pose, that one would have to be an automaton, to be able to maintain for more than a few seconds. As this was happening, (and the others were paying attention to that, and making our next move, which was getting the hell out of there before Special Branch made it there.) I did a quick mayan blood ritual, that hopefully put his soul at peace, and far away from the Auto-Mechanical dreamtime, he has no doubt now created. I also made a warding, and a smudge of as much of the room as I could before we absconded back to the Kerberos club and into a nice warm bath. 

These “Bath Tubs” are  perhaps the most civilized things I’ve discovered since my return to civilization.

On the morn we went once again to Ada Lovelace and gave her the information she needed to know about what we had done. We surmised from this trip, where she was entertaining the Minister from the Dept. of War, that the mechanicals are being put to a more human use than serving the rich, even, fighting the wars of the wealthy. Ada herself confirmed this, with something that approached but was not a smile. 

Unsurprising, but I sense that we shall run afoul of this eerie woman, and her mechanical children, sooner than later. Well, I hope I have entertained you with my report. I'm sure others will have their facts straighter, and their penmanship, better. 


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