No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

Further Steampunk reminiscence

OK, I have been inundated by numerous (i.e. two) requests for more information.
3126 aka Captain Willoughby (deceased)

To provide some background, I was playing 3126... formerly known as Captain Willoughby, a British naval officer involved in Arctic exploration. On my ill-fated (oh, how I love that hyphenated word) voyage to reach furthest north (in a race with Fridtjof Nansen), difficulties led to the death of the entire expedition. Willoughby's body passed through the vibratory barrier that attended Symmes' Hole, which separates our universe from numerous parallel dimension and prevent living matter to cross. In the universe beyond, The Others repaired Willoughby's body, resulting in the origin of 3126, The Others' emissary to humankind. The Others wished to share their wisdom and knowledge with mankind, and I was sent to help remove the barrier that separated our dimensions. 3126 was a sort of 'cyborg' running on an energy source
Some five years or so after Willoughby's presumed death, 3126 walked out of the North and was discovered by Danish sailors. Transferred to the Admiralty, the Royal Navy undertook some rather destructive examinations of the unusual technology used to repair the dead body of Captain Willoughby. These examinations damaged the power coupling that allowed 3126 to recharge his batteries (as it were). Fearful that he would be completely dismantled, 3126 effected his escape (killing a few people in the process - and resulting in the injuries seen in the picture) and made it to the Symposium of Lady Eleanor Werner, where he hoped to make contact with inventors and scientists who might repair his energy linkage and/or aid him in his quest to establish closer contact between humanity and the others. See, you're already bored and the game hasn't even started.

Our hostess was delayed somewhat, owing, I understand, to a foiled kidnapping attempt. Be that as it may, the symposium started without her presence. Although not part of the official program, several curious parties asked me my story and I related the three most salient points of my story to nearly all of the attendees. Namely 1) that Symmes Hole existed 2) that the Others lives beyond it and desired intellectual intercourse with humanity and 3) my energy linkage required repair. My story was greeted with at least polite interest, but there were no immediate and extravagant offers of aid.
3126 next contacted Baron von Claus, not only because his base of operations is well known to be in the Arctic regions, but because his renown as a toymaker offered some possibility that he might be able to repair my energy linkage. He related the interesting information that he too was in contact with another dimension, although it appeared that The Others and 'his Others' were not the same entities. His lived in a plane or dimension known as Agartha. Claus seemed generally interested in helping, but not acutely so. Therefore I sought out other avenues.
Sensing a fellow explorer (indeed, with somewhat matching arm injuries), 3126 approached Dickie Broughton, but found him full more of hot air than help.
The Irishwoman Miss Mernagh represented herself as an inventrix of some skill, and she was keen to examine and perhaps effect repairs upon 3126. Although she was assiduous in palpating 3126's manly corpus, even the aid of Lady Werner's workshop led to no positive result. She and her illusionist brother were later mixed up in some sort of skullduggery, but it paled in comparison to the importance of establishing contact with The Others, and 3126 took little notice.
Seeking further aid, 3126 attempted to 'mingle' at the 'tea party'. Unfortunately, Capitain Willoughby's brain had suffered a great deal of irreparable harm before The Others effected their repairs, and social intercourse was decidedly not 3126's strong suit. At one point he asked a socialite friend of Lady Werner whether she considered herself a parasite. To another person having difficulty remembering 3126's moniker, he suggested that it might be easier to remember as it is a sum of two perfect fifth powers.
Although he no longer metabolized chemicals, 3126 ingested an apricot and cheese sandwich at the insistence of Mr. Mernagh. 3126 found that it afforded an agreeable sensation.
3126 had several heart-to-heart conversations with Boilerplate, who, being entirely mechanical, felt some kinship with the partly mechanical 3126. I believe 3126 nearly managed to convert Boilerplate to worship of The Others, and also helped allay Boilerplate's fears about being 'upgraded'. We had a long conversation on the continuity of identity. 3126 explained that The Others existed without warfare, which concerned Boilerplate since he felt that his very existence was to carry out warfare. Nevertheless, I think 3126 convinced him that The Others greatest desire was for entities to fulfill themselves. The Others would fulfill Boilerplate, 3126 assured him.
3126 was very impressed with [neoMorgan]'s ability to bend spoons. Clearly, he was able to alter vibrations; if only he could be brought to the barrier at Symmes' Hole, he would be able to effect communication between the dimensions. Other allies for this plan were also sought, with some success.
The demonstration of the interdimensional whatsit was exceedingly exciting for 3126. Although the pilot was clearly an idiot, the gentlewomen in charge of theory and engineering were of rare intellect. Sadly, although the diminutive theorist seemed eager to investigate the dimension of The Others, Charlotte (aka Charlie) was exceedingly suspicious.
There were clearly some shenanigans occurring related to the balance of powers between various nations. However, nationalism, like all social conventions, are imaginary. Thus, 3126 took little notice.
Baron von Claus allowed that he would be returning to the North Pole, near the region of the Symmes' Hole, via his dirigible. However, it seemed the timetable was rather dilatory, with stops in London and Paris on the way. The team in charge of the interdimensional whatsit were more ambivalent, and it seemed their navigator was unavailable making translation to the Symmes' Hole problematic. Therefore 3126 ultimately prevailed upon Boilerplate, who marshalled forces of the US Armed Forces to transport himself, [neoMorgan], [vadenalim], and myself to Symmes' Hole. The travails of our adventure were almost too much for us [indeed, although no one has noticed, [vadenalim] perished and has been replaced by a reptoid impostor] but we made contact with The Others.
They related the disturbing news that some sort of primal Chaos was due to destroy the universe unless the harmonics of our universe could be suitable reversed. [neoMorgan] was given better instructions, but it became clear that the interdimensional whatsit was the sole means of salvation. The Others also instructed us in how to transform a radio into a means of communicating directly with The Others in a more useful fashion. Somehow these instructions were somewhat garbled in translation, but ultimately a communication device was constructed from an ancient jade hand. As one does.
Although a mysterious German mystic told me all was well, I felt I could do nothing other than carry out the commands of The Others. And yet, the caretakers of the interdimensional whatsit seemed impervious to my pleas. Indeed, they soon pulled weapons on us. 3126 is somewhat unused to weapons, and Boilerplate is nigh-invulnerable. I understand that our refusal to leap back from drawn weapons increased the paranoia and suspicion on the other side exponentially. Ultimately, the messages emanating from a jade hand were deemed just trustworthy enough to put into practice. After an abortive transit, the interdimensional whatsit was programmed with the appropriate inversion of the universal harmonic and sent off on its mission.
Fortunately, it was successful. The universe was saved from Chaos, as was the universe of The Others. However, Agartha, the realm of Baron von Claus' friends [who, I later gather, were no friends of humanity], was destroyed.
This was accomplished with about 1 minute remaining in the game, so I basked in a job well done for 60 seconds and then joined in the acclamation for richardabecker upon the end of the game.

For the compleatist, most of the character submission:
I. What is your character’s name?

Captain Jarrett Anton Willoughby (deceased)
aka Three One Two Six (3126)

[3126 will call himself 3126, but will readily respond to ‘Captain Willoughby’]

II. Describe your character:
a) Species (human, Being From Another World, spirit, etc.): Human – modified by alien technology
b) Gender: Male
c) Nationality: British
d) Age: 40
e) Appearance and noticeable mannerisms, if they differ greatly from your own: We’ll see how costuming goes, but 3126 is a human who suffered great physical trauma and was fixed with various non-biological parts by an alien intelligence.

f) Religious background, if it is significant to the character’s conception: Originally bland C of E. Now a servant of The Others.

g) Special awards and recognition from society (medals, orders of knighthood, etc.): Commander Willoughby was awarded a posthumous promotion to Captain after his loss in the Arctic.
h) Marital status: Married to Lady Alicia Willoughby (daughter of the 11th Earl of Lindsey), though they have been separated for the years since Willoughby’s disappearance and death. [This could easily be changed to the female PC of your choice.]

III. Assuming all Player Characters are broadly competent, and allowing for reasonable limitations, what extraordinary but normal things (Olympic-level athletics, master detective work, brilliant scientific thought, genius-level engineering, etc.) can your character do? (Note: Keep in mind that you need not assume our story is a bildungsroman—your character can start out as powerful as seems appropriate to you and to your Host.)

Despite his somewhat broken nature, 3126 retains his arctic explorer stamina and can withstand various kinds of privation better than most.
The repair work done on his body has made 3126 significantly stronger than an average human, but not to a superhuman level, and not necessarily in all muscles. He may have a crushing kung-fu grip, but various other muscle groups are human-normal.

IV. What superhuman things can your character do (magical, super-scientific, etc.), if any?

The repair work done on his brain has resulted in a significant upgrade, at least so far as mechanical kinds of computation are concerned. 3126 would be considered a calculating prodigy.
The repair work done on his body has made him immune to hunger, thirst or sleepiness. For etiquette’s sake, he can eat and drink, but he does not require it.

V. Are any of the things your character can do focused in objects/places (rayguns, amulets, special laboratories, etc.)?

His life is dependent on the mechanisms installed by the Others. But they aren’t really usable by anyone else. Well, okay, a superscientist could probably install them in others. Obviously, removing them from me would result in my death (or maybe only disability in the case of an arm or an eye).
One of the most interesting portions of his modification (at least to British scientists) is that his source of energy is a high density, rapidly rotating fly-wheel encased in his chest, which stores mechanical energy. 3126 can draw energy from most any rotating mechanism, from a hand-crank to a locomotive engine, with a suitable coupling. A full ‘charge’ of the fly-wheel will last several days of normal operation. The mechanical linkages on the fly-wheel, the vacuum system that reduces loss to friction, and particularly the ultradense material from which the flywheel is made are all based on Other technology and are significantly superior to any (well-known) feats of ordinary human engineering. They would be worth a fortune to industrialists, engineers or military organizations.
However, 3126 has been (until recently) the subject of much study and experimentation in a British government laboratory. The external linkage to the flywheel has been removed, so that he cannot easily charge himself. The linkage is presumably in the hands of the government, and 3126 needs a replacement before his internal energy store runs down.

VI. How well-known are your character’s abilities and actions? To no one? To a trusted aide? To a few? To local fame? To national fame? To vast fame?

As an arctic explorer, Captain Willoughby would be well-known to any student of exploration. Despite the changes that have affected Willoughby, knowledgeable explorers would recognize 3126 as the former Willoughby and be exceedingly surprised to see him among the living. The average cosmopolitan person would probably recall Willoughby’s name among those like Nansen, Franklin, etc., but would not likely recognize 3126 as Willoughby.
Willoughby took part (as a junior member) in the British Arctic Expedition of 1875-1876, which brought back the first definitive record of the Symmes Hole (though it does not precisely match the description presented by Symmes). Later exploration on behalf of the Admiralty took him to other polar regions and established that the Hole does not cover the entire polar region, but that there are several significant openings into the inner earth, while navigable sea passages exist between the holes that can lead one toward the pole. On the expedition of 1883 that he commanded, Willoughby reached the new Farthest North mark (travelling by surface) of 84° 43′ 22″ N (though that mark has since been broken, and airships taking the easy way have probably visited the pole). The following year, in a race with Nansen, Willoghby’s final expedition made use of the Arctic current to move his ice-bound ship further north still. That expedition never returned, and no sign of the ship was ever seen again. Recently (assuming that the date of the game is around 1890, this would be some six years after his disappearance) Willoughby walked out of the ice of Greenland to a Danish station on the coast. His return has been kept a state secret, particularly because of the peculiar technology involved in his repair. If it were to become better known, certainly his return from death would make the news.

VII. Is your character’s reputation good, bad or various shades in between? (Note that while all Player Characters can reasonably expect to interact in the evening, that doesn’t mean their reputation won’t affect who they spend the most time with or have the most comfortable interactions with.)

His historical reputation is quite good. Recently, however, the few people who have spent much time with him find his behavior quite peculiar, and his fixation on The Others suggests that his mind may have snapped, out on the ice.

VIII. What kind of material resources does your character have (wealth/credit rating, estates)? How are they normally equipped? Do they have any notable servants or trusted aides?

3126 has very little. Then again, his needs are simple.

IX. Is your character openly or secretly part of any notable organization of any sort?

3126 is an acolyte of The Others. He speaks of them quite openly, but The Others are not a household name. 3126 believes that they are a superintelligent race of beings that live inside the earth, who have sent him as an emissary to mankind.

Captain Willoughby is ostensibly a member of the British Navy. His file is still marked deceased, but the file has been reopened and he is currently ‘assigned’ to a government research laboratory, where he is (or was, until recently) the object of experimentation.

X. What are your character’s physical, mental and moral weaknesses? (Note: A flawed character is much more interesting than one which is flawless, and being flawless is rarely an acceptable flaw in itself—except in comedy.)

Though strong, 3126 is not particularly fast or dexterous.
3126 also does not relate very well in human society any longer.

XI. Regarding your character’s demeanor and first impression on others, up to this point in their life: Do other people like your character? Fear your character? Worship your character? Laugh at your character?

Currently, 3126’s demeanor inspires a certain amount of fear and disquiet in people who converse with him. Scientists may be fascinated, but there remains an undercurrent of alienness.

XII. What dangerous mistakes has your character recently made, if any? Do they even know it? (Story hooks.)

Going to the arctic in the first place, I suppose. Chasing the unknown at all costs. Also the escape from confinement, resulting in the deaths of five men. See below.

XIII. What situations have arisen that have provoked your character to take action to make them right, if any? (Story hooks.)

The removal of his power linkage requires him to come up with a suitable replacement. Presumably a super-scientist would be able to fashion a substitute that could be installed, or find some other workaround to directly introduce energy to 3126’s flywheel. Although The Others have given 3126 other goals to work towards, he will have to solve the problem of his energy supply quite soon, and hopefully the event that forms the scene of the game will allow the opportunity to mingle with scientists of sufficient caliber to effect these repairs.

The Others have commanded 3126 to bring the good news to mankind. The Others are a super-advanced civilization of beings of pure thought who live in a dimension that can be accessed from one of the holes in the Earth’s North. 3126 is to tell people of the marvels that The Others have achieved, and to offer the friendship of The Others. He is to bring interested parties to the hole in the North and there a group of humans must fully open the passageway that exists between the two worlds. There is a barrier both physical and metaphysical that blocks the way, and it must be overcome from both sides. The Others will do what they can from their side, while humanity must lower the barrier from its.

[Although 3126 is convinced that The Others mean to share technological and metaphysical wonders with mankind, in their quest to help perfect all intelligent life in the cosmos… the truth may be something quite different.]

XIV. If your character is designed to be antagonistic or villainous, what have they done—or plan to do—that will provoke opposition from others? (Story hooks.)

3126 has escaped from what amounted to incarceration (for study) by the British Admiralty and other scientific ‘top men’ in Britain. The poking and prodding was starting to get more extreme, and after the removal of the energy linkage, 3126 feared that he would be dismantled, without ever having accomplished anything for The Others. Unfortunately, his escape left five men dead, as well as a great many unanswered questions about how 3126 managed the escape. These deaths have not been made public, nor has Captain Willoughby’s return to Britain. British authorities would like to quietly recapture him.

XV. What old problems exist in your character’s background that might reemerge in their life? (Note: Possibilities include old enemies, long-lost uncles with fortunes, spouses declared dead but now returned from desert islands, a past life lost due to amnesia, etc.)

I could very well be the spouse declared dead for someone else. Should his wife be present, 3126 has very little interest in the ceremonial ties and obligations codified under the social rubric of ‘marriage’. However, if she is eager to help him in his quest, he is quite content with a strong association with her.

XVII. What (values, ideas, dreams, ideals, objects) would your character be willing to live for/devote themselves ceaselessly to?

The pursuit of mathematical certainty
The exploration of the universe
The fostering of all intelligent life

XVIIb. Which outranks the other (the what or the who)? Does your character know, or would they shock themselves?

The Others have convinced 3126 that they, too, stand for the What. However, 3126 has gathered suspicions that they may not be strictly truthful. He had been told that he was unable to kill, but the events of the Lab showed that he could. Has he been told he can’t kill, but programmed so that he can? If The Others suddenly require him to do something contradicting his ideals, will he be able to subvert their programming. He does not know.

XXI. Does your character have a trusting personality toward those they are close to? Or are they closed off, two-faced, manipulative or paranoid?

3126 is initially trusting of those who seem to have parallel goals. But when goals begin to diverge, 3126 must follow the path of The Others, which may require manipulation (not that 3126 is very good at it).

XXII. Does your character fear death? What do they think will happen to them when they die?

Death is the cessation of interaction with the universe, and the loss of all will and power. 3126 experienced it for some time. There’s nothing particularly frightening about the complete cessation of agency, but there is no need to hurry to reach thermodynamic equilibrium. There is more yet to explore.

XXIII. Does your character have a sense of humor about themselves, or do they take themselves too seriously, or somewhere in between?

3126 is quite humor impaired.

XXV. Does your character have unrealistic expectations of love, or reasonably balanced hopes, or bitter dashed dreams? Or perhaps your character is completely uninterested?

3126 has a love of all life, particularly those that can display higher intellectual functions. However, 3126 has little interest in the acts of physical love.

XXVI. Does your character regard other people in an egalitarian manner, or do they perceive the universe in an absolute pecking order of better and worse, top to bottom, superior and inferior?

3126 is no longer blinded by the idiocy of the social order. Gender, race, wealth and other accidents of birth are meaningless. However, 3126 is something of a snob when it comes to intellect & holding the right ideals, such as the fact that gender, race, and wealth are meaningless to a person’s inherent value.

XXIX. If your character were the central focus of a work of fiction, what genre would that work be considered—besides Steampunk? Comedy, horror, tragedy, fantasy, drama, science fiction, melodrama, bedroom farce, space fantasy, allegory, religious parable, pornography, etc., etc.? (Note: Multiple genres may be appropriate, but try to select no more than 2-3.)

Science fiction, horror, utopian/dystopian allegory

C. Would you be disappointed to learn that your Host is terrible at writing puzzles and has no intention of creating a game focused on puzzle solving?

I’m deeply sorry for your disability, but it does not affect how much I hope to enjoy your game.
Tags: larp

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