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Queen Victoria and the Zeppelin Pirates:

A Fantastic Victorian Adventure

by James L. Cambias

The sound of the wind howling outside across the Irish countryside made Lord Sylvester Neck shiver and edge his chair closer to the roaring fire. "Beastly night, this. Makes one glad to be indoors, eh?"

"I've seen it colder than this," said the celebrated American traveller Silas Shoat. "There was one time up in Alaska I recall --"

"Alaska?" Professor Hawkwood snorted. "Positively tropical compared to Tibet. Once in the passes above Kathmandu I --"

The butler's quiet voice cut through the bellowing of the two great rival explorers. "I beg your pardon, My Lord, but there is a person at the front door."

"A person? At this time of night? Who is it, Connolly? Did he give a name?"

"Yes, My Lord. It is a young lady at the door, and she says --" Connolly's normal invincible composure seemed a little strained. "She says that she is Queen Victoria."

Chapter 1: The Doubtful Guest

The player characters are spending a few weeks before Christmas in the Irish countryside of County Tipperary. If any of the party are English noblemen, then the characters are staying at a country manor belonging to his family. Otherwise the adventurers have rented a house for the season.

Just before midnight on one particularly bad night in early December, a beautiful young woman shows up at the door, claiming to be Queen Victoria. She does not in the least resemble the Queen -- the woman is tall, red-haired, extremely beautiful and approximately 25 years old. She is wearing an expensive mauve silk dress that is torn and muddy. (If the characters manage to examine her clothing carefully they can find maker's labels indicating that everything was bought in Paris. All her underclothes are initialed V.S.) Curiously, the hair at her temples appears to have been shaved away recently, and is just starting to grow back.

"Queen Victoria" claims to have been kept a prisoner somewhere in London, then was taken by train to Holyhead, where her captors put her on a boat to Ireland. In Dublin they put her into another train under guard, but when the guard fell asleep she was able to leap from the moving carriage. She wandered across the snowy fields until she saw the lights of the manor house.

Her memories of London sound completely mad -- she says she was kept locked up for several days after awakening in her present form. The walls of the room were all covered with mirrors. Mr. Punch brought her sausages and meat pies every afternoon. There was one small window, and through it she could see an enormous portrait of General Gordon.

A careful observer may note several peculiarities about the young woman. She seems impervious to cold, and actively dislikes being near the fireplace. Her movements combine grace and clumsiness in a strange manner -- her deliberate motions are awkward and hesitant, but her unconscious actions are smooth and sure. It is as if she becomes clumsy only when she is thinking about what she is doing.

The girl is completely helpless at ordinary tasks. She cannot dress herself, and even opening a window is beyond her. But she has a fantastic knowledge of British and European political affairs, knows more about the Royal Family and Court life than any of the player characters, and can vividly describe events that happened decades ago. She speaks with a trace of a German accent, and tends to refer to herself as "we."

Early the next morning, Constable Flaherty, the village policeman, arrives on his bicycle with important news. The police have been alerted to be on the lookout for an escaped madwoman in the vicinity. The escapee is Victoria Smith, who was being taken to a private institution in County Cork by train. She is described as a tall, good-looking red-haired woman, 26 years of age, last seen wearing a mauve dress. Miss Smith is not dangerous, but she does suffer from the delusion that she is Her Majesty the Queen. Anyone with any information concerning her should contact Doctor Jones at the Victoria Hotel in Cork.

The truth is that the young woman is indeed Queen Victoria -- or at least she has Queen Victoria's mind. A trio of villains have used electric science to pull off this dastardly plot. Queen Victoria's mind is now in the body of the beautiful international spy Virtue Slade, while Virtue's mind is in the Queen's body. Virtue's partners in crime are the anarchist inventor Sigismund Hartmann and the degenerate millionaire Titus W. Blotter.

Each of the villains has a different reason for participating in the plot. Virtue Slade, as Victoria, can learn all the British Government's vital secrets, and once back in her own body can sell them to foreign powers. Titus W. Blotter is financing the project so that Virtue-as-Victoria can give him a title and valuable government contracts. Sigismund Hartmann hopes the entire incident will make the Queen appear to have gone mad, as a step towards destroying England's monarchy and paving the way for an anarchist revolution.

Everything Victoria says is true, and the story about the escaped madwoman is entirely false. The "private madhouse" she was being taken to in County Cork is a house owned by Blotter. "Doctor Jones" is Sigismund Hartmann. Only the player characters stand in their way.

Chapter 2: God Save the Queen

The adventurers may try to make some inquiries about the Queen, to see if there is any way to confirm Victoria/Virtue's story. Individuals with good enough social connections, or a background in government service can get hold of Colonel Moleskine, an old friend who lives in Ireland. Moleskine recently had a letter from his cousin Lucretia, who is one of Her Majesty's ladies-in-waiting. According to Lucretia, the Queen had a strange sort of fainting spell just over a week ago, as she was riding in her carriage from Windsor Castle to the railway station to go to Scotland. For an hour or so she seemed disoriented, but then recovered wonderfully. Up at Balmoral she has been remarkably jolly and sociable, spending a great deal of time reviewing the Government dispatches and her old journals. But the doctors are concerned because she complains of the cold, and still has fits of absent-mindedness.

Meanwhile, Titus W. Blotter and Sigismund Hartmann are desperate to recover Victoria-as-Virtue. Blotter has brought in an army of "private detectives" -- actually thugs from London and Leeds. His men are combing the entire area, offering a reward of £1000 for the safe return of "Victoria Smith."

If the player characters believe the official story and contact "Doctor Jones" about his patient, Blotter and Hartmann will descend on them with a gang of toughs. Initially, of course, the two men are quite polite, and Blotter has a cheque made out for the reward.

But the adventurers may notice some disturbing elements. "Doctor Jones" has an unmistakeable German accent. Neither man can supply any details about their patient's family or history. Their "private detectives" are a sinister-looking lot. And if the characters display any reluctance to hand her over, or demand to see some credentials, Titus Blotter is quick to make threats.

If the player characters nevertheless decide to hand Victoria-as-Virtue over to Blotter and Hartmann, the gamemaster may as well allow the villains to succeed in their plots. Within the year, Titus W. Blotter is made an earl, Great Britain suffers a series of diplomatic reversals because the Continental powers have Virtue Slade's secrets, Prince Edward becomes Regent after the Queen is declared insane, and agitation by Socialists and Anarchists becomes more common. The characters won't know anything is wrong, but the players should be aware that history has changed as a result of their actions.

But if the adventurers behave like gentlemen and decline to hand a helpless young lady over to a pair of obvious blackguards like Blotter and Hartmann, they must face the implacable hostility of the two villains. Blotter won't rest until he can recover Victoria-as-Virtue. His men lay seige to the house, waiting along the roads to waylay the party if they try to leave, and trying to drive the adventurers from the place by setting fire to an outbuilding one night. While the stalwart player characters can probably win any one fight against Blotter's thugs, it should be clear that he can always hire more men and continue to harass them.

Escape is the only course that will end the assaults. The party must defeat or avoid the thugs watching the roads, and somehow contrive to reach Cork or Dublin to take ship to England. The gamemaster can include at least one exciting chase scene, either on horseback across the snowy Irish countryside, or aboard the speeding train to Dublin.

Chapter 3: The Zeppelin Pirates

There are two obstacles in the way if the adventurers try to reach England by boat from Cork or Dublin. Titus W. Blotter's men are watching the ports, and will try to stop the party by force. But they are only common ruffians.

The second problem is more serious. For weeks now the news has been full of reports concerning the notorious Zeppelin Pirates. Using a stolen airship, the pirates prey on shipping in the English Channel and Irish Sea. Their standard method is to hover over a vessel and threaten to sink it with bombs. Pirates descend to the deck by a ladder and remove all the passengers' cash and valuables, as well as the ship's safe. Despite patrols by Royal Navy airships, the Zeppelin Pirates remain at large.

(Clever gamemasters may wish to build up the Zeppelin Pirates in advance, mentioning their activities in passing as part of the news of the day. Suitably public-spirited player characters may decide to go after the Pirates themselves, before encountering Victoria-as-Virtue in Ireland. The gamemaster can split this section off and run it as a separate adventure.)

Sure enough, as the adventurers are sitting idly aboard the packet-boat on the way to England, the sound of a Hotchkiss gun shatters the quiet air, and the Zeppelin Pirates appear overhead. "Heave to and prepare to be boarded!" the raiders demand. "Give up the swag peaceful-like and you won't be sunk!"

The airship Jolly Roger is a semi-rigid dirigible of 25 tons (Hull Size 3, for Sky Galleons of Mars players). It is powered by an advanced oil-fired steam turbine engine, giving it a speed of 30 knots (Speed 6). The Jolly Roger carries 10.5 tons of fuel, enough for 7 days' cruising. It is armed with a 3-lb Hotchkiss Rotating Cannon, firing forward, and a bomb rack. It has space for 1 ton of cargo at Very High altitude, adding 5 tons or 2 passengers at High, and 12 tons or 5 passengers at Medium. In Castle Falkenstein terms, the pirate airship is a Large craft with 60 wounds. The Jolly Roger carries a crew of 7 (Captain, Pilot, Trimsman, Signalman, Engineer, Rigger and Gunner). Normally the boarding parties sent to loot ships consist of Captain Byng (the Pirate King), the Signalman (Frederick Young), and the Rigger (Alf Mortice). The Jolly Roger remains under the command of the pilot, Mr. Scapular. All of the pirates are armed with cutlasses and pistols.

The passengers gather on deck, shivering in the cold wind off the Irish Sea. The pirate boarding party makes its way through the crowd, filling a large sack with loot. The player characters must give up all their cash and jewelry. Individuals may try to hide specific items; for gentlemen it is a difficult task, but for ladies only moderate. (The gamemaster should modify the difficulty by the size of the object. Concealing a ring is simple; hiding a Maxim gun is impossible.)

But there is trouble when the boarding party reaches the player characters. As Frederick and Alf go efficiently about the work of filling the sack, Captain Byng (the Pirate King) is struck by Victoria-as-Virtue's beauty and regal bearing.

"Stove me scuppers! What a beauty!" he cries. "Methinks we'll be taking a fair captive this time, me hearties! Mr. Scapular! Send down the breeches-buoy for a prize cargo!"

If the player characters try to resist, they risk provoking the Zeppelin Pirates into sinking the packet. But if they let him take Victoria-as-Virtue captive, then who knows what may become of her? Quick-thinking player character may volunteer to accompany Victoria, possibly by claiming to be her servants or guardians. The Pirate King won't take more than two other captives besides Victoria.

Chapter 4: The Pirate King

Once aboard the airship, the captives are locked in the cargo hold. Their hands and feet are securely tied, but they are given blankets to guard against the extreme cold at high altitude. By peering through the tiny window in the cargo door, the adventurers can see the land below. The Jolly Roger flies nearly due south, skirting the coast of Wales and eventually making landfall at the Cornish peninsula. Under cover of darkness the pirate airship lands somewhere in Cornwall.

The pirates have established a base in the shell of an abandoned abbey church on Wendron Moor, about five miles west of Falmouth in Cornwall. The roofless church makes a perfect dirigible hangar, and they use sheets of painted canvas to disguise it from the air. As a further protection against meddlesome outsiders, Captain Byng (the Pirate King) and his men have put out the story that the abbey is haunted.

The pirates make use of the abbey crypt for living quarters. The crypt is a large, cross-shaped room with low vaulted ceilings and a damp floor paved with the tombs of long-dead monks. The main chamber is where the pirates live, sleeping in hammocks slung from hooks that once supported lamps. A small wood stove provides heat.

One of the side chambers is the pirate treasure-vault, fitted with a stout new Chubb combination lock. They have done well for themselves -- the vault holds cash and valuables worth nearly £50,000. The pirates intend to keep up their depredations until they have accumulated enough to give each of them £10,000 in loot, with anything left over going to the Captain.

The other side chamber was unused, but is hurriedly fixed up as a cell for the captives. A crude partition of scrap lumber keeps the prisoners inside, but just about anyone could break it down -- creating a lot of noise in the process. The captives have blankets to sleep on, but the floor is very hard and chilly. From the cell the characters can hear everything going on in the main chamber.

Once the airship is secured and the prisoners are locked into their crude cell, a loud debate breaks out among the pirates as to what to do with the captives. Mr. Barbour, the ship's Trimsman, is opposed to the whole notion of holding anyone. "It's too dangerous. They might tell where we're hiding out."

But Captain Byng (the Pirate King) insists he can ransom off the captives. "We'd scarcely be proper pirates if we didn't carry off a fair prisoner for ransom, now would we? Arrgh! And be smitten by her charms as well?"

"You realize, of course, that what you've just said is completely insane?" Barbour replies.

"Aye, Mister Barbecue, so it is. And so is this!" cries Byng (the Pirate King) as he drives his cutlass through the hapless Trimsman. "Anybody else have any objections to behaving like proper pirates? Arrgh! Young Fred, you're now Trimsman and second mate of the Jolly Roger. Mr. Scapular! Stow that carcass under one of these tombstones, and put in a bottle of rum for poor Barbecue's ghost."

"I believe he was a Congregationalist, sir," puts in Scapular mildly. "He was against drinking."

"Shiver me timbers! Had I known that I'd have run him through long ago!"

The player characters must somehow escape the clutches of the Zeppelin Pirates, but it won't be easy. The crypt has no windows, and any attempt to break through the cell partition will wake up the whole crew. The pirates are careful to search the prisoners for weapons, taking anything more deadly than a penknife (although lady characters may keep their hatpins). At mealtime young Frederick passes plates of food to the prisoners under the door of the partition.

The characters can try to reason with the pirates, although the death of poor Barbour has made the rest of the crew reluctant to openly oppose the Pirate King. Young Frederick has mistakenly apprenticed himself to Captain Byng (the Pirate King), and though he cannot betray his master, he does wish to see the pirates stopped.

If Victoria-as-Virtue is a player character, she may be able to win over Captain Byng (the Pirate King) to her side. The man is half in love with her already, and his slight case of insanity makes him more likely than most to believe her story. If either Victoria or one of the other adventurers can convince the Zeppelin Pirates to help, the buccaneers will do their best to get the Queen's mind back into her body, for although they are wicked pirates, they are all still loyal subjects of Her Majesty.

The only time escape is really feasible is when the pirates leave their base to go off raiding again over the Channel. They cannot leave the prisoners behind, so the player characters are locked up in the hold again for the voyage. This time, however, they are not tied up.

The adventurers can either try to take over the airship by force, attempt to sabotage the dirigible in flight, or find some way to get safely to the ground and warn the authorities. At the very least the characters may try to get a message out, telling where the pirates have their base.

Major-General Sir Arthur Stanley is in charge of the British effort to capture the Zeppelin Pirates. He has established his headquarters in a small hotel in the seaside resort of Torquay. From there he is organizing a network of coastal observers, plotting reports of airship sightings, and feuding with his counterparts in the Royal Navy. Once General Stanley learns the location of the pirate base he can send in a force of police, and call in a navy aerial gunboat.

Chapter 5: The Curious Sofa

Once the player characters have either evaded, escaped, defeated or recruited the Zeppelin Pirates, they can proceed to London to see if they can find where Victoria-as-Virtue was held captive, in order to learn who is behind the plot.

Victoria recalls that from her window she could see an enormous portrait of General Gordon painted on a brick wall. Unimaginative adventurers can simply comb London until they find it, while clever ones may think of consulting with people in the advertising business to find what products use Gordon in ad illustrations, and proceed from there.

The giant face of General Gordon is an advertisement for Tenon's Patent Celluloid Collars ("A Gentleman's Collar For All Climates"). The ad is painted on the side of a low-class music-hall in the Whitechapel district of London. Victoria-as-Virtue was imprisoned in the house next door, which is actually a bordello, owned by Titus W. Blotter. Naturally, the characters won't know the true nature of the house until they try to get inside.

Note that Whitechapel is an area notorious for its poverty and endemic crime. A party of upper-class adventurers is liable to stick out like a sore thumb in this part of town. Characters who are masters of disguise may be able to blend in, but others are going to attract attention. Depending on the size, demeanor and armament level of the party, this attention can take several different forms. A small, helpless-looking group is the perfect prey for pickpockets and cutpurses. A larger but not obviously threatening party attracts all kinds of beggars. The arrival of a well-armed group sets off the usual reaction to a police raid -- the street empties, houses are locked and shuttered, and criminals begin scurrying away through back doors and cellar tunnels.

The bordello is a four-story brick townhouse, with a small garden in back. It was once evidently a fairly respectable home, but now is entirely given over to licentiousness and vice. Titus W. Blotter owns it, but only a careful search of tax records can uncover that fact.

The ground floor contains kitchens and some servants' quarters, now used by the nobblers (thugs) on hand to deal with troublesome customers. It is very untidy and littered with beer bottles. At any given time there are at least two nobblers on the ground floor, usually in the servants' dining room. They have clubs and knives, and one of them carries a pistol. The kitchen is still used for meals, and is stocked entirely with meat pies from Blotter's factory. The girls in the bordello do their own cooking.

The first floor has the parlors and dining-room. "Clients" pick out their girls in the front parlor, and the other rooms are used for gambling and other indecent entertainments. The front door is guarded by another nobbler, a huge imposing ex-boxer who carries no weapons but his fists. Callers who give the correct password are let in politely; others are rudely told to "shove off." The password is "the pieman sent me."

The second floor of the bordello consists of large, comfortable bedrooms which are used by the place's star attractions. These rooms get cleaned from time to time. There are four bedrooms on the second floor, but only two of them are used by working girls. The front bedroom is the garishly-decorated bedroom of Miss Annie, the madame of the establishment. Annie has an old pepperbox revolver for self-defense, but in a police raid she limits herself to shouting abuse at the officers. The room just behind Annie's is the mirrored room in which Victoria-as-Virtue was imprisoned. It is used only for special clients with unusual tastes; it is completely soundproof, and the mirrored walls conceal cabinets holding all manner of apparatus best left undescribed.

The third floor has six smaller bedrooms, used by the less popular girls. During the day about half these rooms have "clients" in them; at night all of them do. Any kind of disturbance will scare the girls and their "clients," who will naturally suspect a police raid. The stairway and corridors are likely to be jammed with men and women in various stages of undress, some of them in strange costumes. The "clients" are mostly interested in getting out, but will fight if cornered. None of them has anything more deadly than a walking-stick.

The fourth floor used to be more little rooms like the third floor, but has recently been refitted as a laboratory for the anarchist inventor Sigismund Hartmann. The entire floor is now a single room, filled with all manner of electrical apparatus and scientific equipment.

Hartmann has his living quarters in the lab, and if there is a disturbance downstairs he can defend himself using his Mind Control Ray (reliability 2). If that fails, Hartmann tries to get away using his Personal Conveyor to fly off over the rooftops.

If the stalwart adventurers are able to capture Hartmann alive, it is not hard to make him talk. He has come to loathe Titus W. Blotter, and would enjoy getting him into trouble. Now that the Mind Transfer Device has been successfully tested on a human, Hartmann doesn't really care about Queen Victoria anymore. He plans to use it on the Kaiser or the Tsar instead.

The Mind Transfer Device requires an Etherics knowledge of 41, and has a Reliability modifier of 5. The completed Device is a bulky mass of wires, coils, fuses, and strange parabolic reflectors. At least one subject must be seated in the machine, wired up with electrodes. The other subject must pass through the focus of two beams. Gunnery skill (Infernal Weaponry) is used to aim the beams.

There are modifiers to the Reliability of the device based on what minds are being switched. If the subjects are of the same species and sex there is no penalty. Switching male and female minds reduces the Reliability roll by 1. Switching the minds of two species of mammal reduces the roll by 2. Switching a mammal's mind and the mind of a different class of animal (such as reptiles or insects, or of Terran creatures and Martians) reduces it by 3.

When a mind transfer fails, roll against the machine's unmodified Reliability to see if anything happens to the subjects. If the second roll fails, then each subject loses 1d6 points of Intellect. Anyone whose Intellect is reduced to zero dies.

According to Hartmann, the Mind Transfer Device has a range of no more than 10 yards -- when the evil conspirators made the initial switch at Windsor it was concealed inside a pie-wagon parked on the road. Since the Device weighs close to a ton and is very delicate, the adventurers will have quite a time getting it close enough to Queen Victoria to switch her mind back again!

Even if the adventurers manage to win Hartmann over to their side, they still must worry about Titus W. Blotter. A raid on the bordello will not go unavenged. Blotter knows who the player characters are, and can send his men out against them. Any character who has a permanent residence in London presents a perfect target. Blotter's goons break into the place one night and set it afire. If he learns that Hartmann has betrayed him, Blotter will be especially eager to get revenge on the anarchist.

Chapter 6: The Once and Future Queen

The Queen has gone north, to spend Christmas at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The newspapers also report that the industrialist Mr. Titus W. Blotter has been summoned to Balmoral, where he is to be knighted. It is said that he is getting the contract to supply sausages to the Army. Blotter's Imperishable Meat Pies now bear the slogan "By Appointment to H.M. the Queen."

Balmoral Castle stands on the River Dee in Scotland, just outside the tiny village of Crathie. North are the Grampian Mountains and Mount Morven. Castle Abergeldie, an older castle used as a royal hunting lodge, is on the other side of the village. Pretty much the entire village is employed in the Queen's service, and there are no accomodations available for outsiders. Aberdeen is the nearest big city and railroad, 40 miles downriver. Balmoral is a hard day's ride from Aberdeen, especially in the winter when the roads are blocked by snow.

Getting to Aberdeen from London takes a full twenty-four hours -- the "Flying Scotsman" train overnight to Edinburgh, and then the Highland Express up the coast. If the adventurers have gained the support of the Zeppelin Pirates, they can make the trip by air, although it is actually faster to go by train. (In the Space: 1889 universe the fastest ways to travel are ether-flyers and trains.) Some of Titus W. Blotter's thugs may get on the train and try to interfere with the player characters during the trip.

Needless to say, security at Balmoral is tight. There are police, soldiers of the Highland Regiment, and the Queen's personal Sikh guards watching over her. For a band of private citizens, getting access to the Queen is nearly impossible.

If the player characters have defeated the Zeppelin Pirates, then General Stanley can certainly arrange for them to meet the Queen, who will express the Nation's gratitude for their efforts. Characters who have accomplished feats of note in the past may have useful connections in the British government. Conversely, if they have joined or recruited the Pirates, then they can make a daring airborne raid on the castle. However they accomplish it, the adventurers and Victoria-as-Virtue should reach Balmoral just before the Queen is to make Titus W. Blotter a knight.

Characters who get to Balmoral by invitation can speak with various members of the Queen's household. Just about anyone can tell them that the Queen has been acting unusual. Her physician, Dr. John Reith, finds her to be in perfect health, and very energetic. But she has memory lapses (quite unusual) and complains of the cold. The last is very unusual, as normally the Queen loves cold weather, and her attendants have to keep bundled up even indoors.

When the adventurers have devised their plan and begin the operation to get Queen Victoria in range of the Mind Transfer Device, things are likely to start moving quickly. Sigismund Hartmann will take the opportunity to escape; Titus W. Blotter will be trying to prevent the switch, by violent means if necessary. The climax can either be a tense covert operation in the corridors and rooftops of Balmoral Castle, or a public battle and dramatic confrontation before the entire Court, depending on the preferences of the gamemaster and the players.

Chapter 7: Gamemastering Notes

This adventure puts a lot of the initiative in the hands of the players, and the gamemaster must be willing to improvise. For example, the characters might try to get in touch with the Prince of Wales, who is currently vacationing in the south of France. Or they might decide to wait in London and ambush the Queen with the mind-transfer device when she returns from Scotland. Or they may convince Victoria that she is better off young and healthy again, and concentrate on getting her recognized as Queen instead of switching minds.

One decision which the gamemaster must make at the outset is whether or not to make Victoria-as-Virtue a player character. Since much of the adventure revolves around her, she makes a great character, and otherwise tends to become just another mindless NPC to be dragged along. On the other hand, Victoria as a player character removes some of the mystery from the beginning of the adventure. And if the party succeeds in switching her mind back to her proper body, Victoria will not be able to go adventuring any more. Obviously, in an ongoing campaign Victoria is best left as an NPC, but for a one-shot mini-campaign one of the players can run Victoria-as-Virtue. If the party fails to get Victoria's mind switched back into her body, then she may join the group as a continuing character.

If Queen Victoria's mind does get returned to her proper body, she is naturally very grateful to the player characters, and will reward them appropriately. She may single out individuals who were especially brave, or those who believed her from the beginning. However, the Queen and the Government agree that word of the affair must not reach the general public, for fear of undermining confidence in the monarchy. Everyone will be sworn to the strictest secrecy.

Virtue Slade (in her own body)

Str: 2 Fisticuffs 1, Throwing 1, Close Combat 2

End: 2 Mountaineering 1

Agl: 4 Stealth 3, Marksmanship 3, Crime 3 (Forgery)

Int: 5 Observation 5

Chr: 6 Eloquence 6, Linguistics 2 (French, Italian), Theatrics 2, Bargaining 1

Soc: 2 Riding 2, Leadership 1, Medicine 1

Motives: Greed, Adventure

Abilities: Charisma [GR], Comeliness [GD], Courage [GD], Perception [GD], Marksmanship [GD], Fisticuffs [PR]

Goals: To be independent and secure (Personal); to get rich and avoid prison (Professional); to find a man who truly loves her (Romantic).

Virtue Slade is a beautiful adventuress and international spy. She has a habit of taking lovers with access to sensitive information, and then persuades or blackmails them into giving her secrets which she then sells to the highest bidder abroad. Virtue fell in with Blotter and Hartmann recently while hiding out from the police. She agreed to be the guinea-pig for the mind-transfer project in order to learn some of England's most carefully-guarded secrets. Virtue is a tall, extremely good-looking woman with reddish-brown hair and blue eyes.

Queen Victoria (in her own body)

Str: 1

End: 1

Agl: 1

Int: 4 Observation 4

Chr: 5 Eloquence 4, Linguistics 4 (German, French, Hindi, Parhooni), Theatrics 1

Soc: 7 Riding 4, Leadership 6

Motives: Leader, Wisdom

Abilities: Connections [EXT], Exchequer [EXT], Command [EXC], Education [GD], Athletics [PR], Fisticuffs [PR], Perception [PR], Physique [PR].

Goals: To be a good Queen (Personal); to keep Britain secure and powerful (Professional); to be true to the memory of her dear Albert (Romantic).

Victoria is Queen of England and Empress of India, the revered symbol of British stability and order. Now in her seventies, she is plump, white-haired and has trouble getting around on her own. Her shrewd judgement and deep fund of common sense are unimpaired, and the Queen has lately started taking more of an interest in the running of her great Empire. The one great love of her life was Prince Albert, and she honors his memory constantly.


Str: 2 Fisticuffs 1, Throwing 1, Close Combat 1

End: 2 Mountaineering 1

Agl: 4 Stealth 2

Int: 4 Observation 4

Chr: 5 Eloquence 4, Linguistics 4 (German, French, Hindi, Parhooni), Theatrics 1

Soc: (?) Riding 4, Leadership 6

Motives: Leader, Revenge

Abilities: Command [GR], Education [GD], Charisma [GD], Comeliness [GD], Fisticuffs [PR]

Goals: To recover her own body and punish those responsible.

Queen Victoria adjusted quickly to the mind transfer, and with her own strong will and knowledge coupled with Virtue Slade's ravishing good looks she is a formidable woman indeed. Her goal is simple: to recover her rightful body and make sure that everyone involved in the plot is punished very severely. The only conspirator for whom Victoria is likely to have any mercy is Virtue Slade -- sharing bodies does create a bond.

Titus W. Blotter

Str: 5 Fisticuffs 4, Throwing 2

End: 2 Mountaineering 1

Agl: 3 Stealth 2

Int: 6 Observation 5

Chr: 1

Soc: 4 Riding 3

Motives: Greed, Lust

Abilities: Exchequer [EXC], Connections [GD], Fisticuffs [GD], Perception [GD], Charisma [PR], Social Graces [PR]

Goals: To become rich and powerful enough to make people like him (Personal); to gain complete control over the British sausage and meat-pie industry (Professional); to find a woman who will satisfy his depraved desires (Romantic)

Titus W. Blotter is a rich industrialist, with interests in meat-packing, soap, patent medicines and shoes. His most well-known product is Blotter's Imperishable Meat Pies, which do not spoil because they contain almost no organic matter and are laced with arsenic and lead. Blotter is an extremely unpleasant man -- all his interactions with other people are based on threats, bullying, intimidation or bribery. He finds it very difficult to believe in the existence of finer sentiments because he has none himself. In person Mr. Blotter is a large, imposing man with a black beard and heavy eyebrows. He is usually wrapped in an enormous fur coat, and carries a weighted cane.

Captain Horace Byng, the Aerial Pirate King

Str: 5 Fisticuffs 4, Throwing 2, Trimsman 3, Close Combat (Sword) 4

End: 3 Wilderness Travel (Mapping) 4, Swimming 1

Agl: 3 Stealth 0, Mechanics 1

Int: 4 Observation 3, Gunnery [MLC] 2

Chr: 5 Eloquence 6

Soc: 2 Riding (Horse) 1, Leadership 2, Pilot (Zeppelin) 3

Motivations: Madness, Ambition

Abilities: Charisma [GR], Courage [GD], Fencing [GD], Marksmanship [GD], Physique [GD], Zeppelin Piloting [GD], Connections [PR], Stealth [PR]

Goals: To enter Society (Social); to loot ships and avoid capture (Professional); to marry a daughter of the aristocracy (Romantic).

Horace Byng was formerly an ordinary engineer's mate in the Royal Navy, assigned to airship duty at the Royal Balloon Works. An accidental fall from an airborne dirigible ended his career, leaving him with a broken leg and a fractured skull. Upon recovering, he declared himself King of the Aerial Pirates, and managed to pull off the daring daylight theft of the Royal Navy's newest airship, which he renamed the Jolly Roger. Byng is a burly, heavyset man who walks with a limp. He seldom speaks in anything but a shout, and tries to sound like a proper pirate -- peppering his speech with bellows of "shiver me timbers" and "arrrgh!" And like a proper pirate, he is capable of killing without hesitation. Despite his madness he is still quite intelligent, and has managed to attract a loyal band of followers.

Frederick Young

Str: 4 Fisticuffs 4, Throwing 3, Trimsman 2,

Close Combat (Edged) 2

End: 3 Wilderness Travel (Mapping) 2, Swimming 1

Agl: 5 Stealth 4

Int: 2 Observation 2

Chr: 5 Eloquence 4, Linguistics 2 (French, Italian)

Soc: 2 Riding (Horse) 1, Piloting (Dirigible) 2

Motives: Duty, Honesty

Abilities: Athletics [GR], Courage [GD], Fisticuffs [GD], Stealth [GD], Zeppelin Piloting [GD], Connections [PR]

Goals: To follow the dictates of his sense of duty (Social); to finish his indenture and then eradicate the Zeppelin Pirates (Professional); to find True Love (Romantic).

Frederick Young is a distant relation of Captain Byng (the Pirate King). His parents, unaware of the Captain's insanity, sent Frederick to him to be trained as an airship pilot, and even agreed to a formal apprenticeship. So Frederick is bound to serve as a loyal airship pirate until his twenty-first birthday. Young Fred is a sturdy lad whose good looks and curly hair do not detract one whit from his manly bearing.

Sigismund Hartmann

Str: 2 Fisticuffs 1, Throwing 1, Close Combat 1 (Edged)

End: 4 Wilderness Travel 3 (Mountaineering)

Agl: 5 Stealth 4, Crime 2 (Pick Locks), Mechanics 4 (Electricity)

Int: 6 Observation 5, Engineering 4 (Explosives),

Science 6 (Physics)

Chr: 1 Eloquence 1, Theatrics 1,

Linguistics 3 (English, French, Russian)

Soc: 3 Riding 2 (Horse), Pilot 2 (Ether Flyer)

Motives: Hatred, Driven

Abilities: Tinkering [EXT], Education [GD], Perception [GD], Stealth [GD], Charisma [PR], Connections [PR]

Goals: To make the world tremble at his genius (Personal); to smash all governments (Professional); to regain his lost love Lili (Romantic).

Research Areas: Etherics 41, Flight 8, Combustion 20, Precision Machinery 20, Biochemistry 12

Inventions: Lightning-Cannon, Mind Control Ray, Mind Transfer Device, Detonite, Personal Conveyor.

Sigismund Hartmann is a tragic example of a great scientific mind turned to evil. Born in the unsettled Balkan provinces of Austria-Hungary, he got a good education and was well on his way to becoming one of Central Europe's leading scientists. But he fell in with a group of anarchist intellectuals, and began to believe in their destructive ideas. He fell in love with a young woman revolutionary named Lili, only to see her killed in a police raid. Hartmann vowed revenge on the world, and has turned his powerful mind to the destruction of all governments everywhere. Sigismund Hartmann is a slender, melancholy man in shabby clothes, with a pointed beard and a mane of dark hair.

Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:53:30 EDT

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