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Journey to the Centre of Arcanum - CYOA

Discussion in 'Choose Your Own Adventure Land' started by ironyuri, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Serpent in the Staglands Torment: Tides of Numenera
    Yeah, you guys are nuts. If you want a haughty imperialist soldier then at least make it the gnome. o_O
     
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  2. Baltika9 Arcane

    Baltika9
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    :troll:

    On a more serious note, how about a Half-Ogre Officer: a highly distinguished and completely despised war hero. Proved himself a surprisingly cunning tactician on the battlefield despite his kind's commonly lowly intellect, enthusiastic scholar, always seen with a book and, as expected, a competent fighter.

    His promotions and accolades stemmed purely from these traits, as each and every single peer and colleague hates his guts. But not for his lineage, or out of envy for his abilities, oh no. The hatred is due to his views on this world: all the puny, inferior races oppressed his kind and completely destroyed their culture, driving his kind into the brutish and degenerate state they are in now.
    The irony of his half-blood is utterly lost on him, however, he does hold an unhealthy contempt of both his mother and father and their degenerate ways.

    From this stems his contempt of any and all who deny the, to him obvious superiority, of all ogres. And while it did not diminish his battlefield performance, eventually his "comrades", or as he prefers to call them, "manboons", made enough "evidence" to discredit him completely.

    His Commanding Officer, as a last recognition to his unquestionably heroic service, brought to his attention the upcoming expedition, and while he laughs at the very notion of this degenerate imbecile's success, sadly, even beings of his superior breeding are subject to the indignities of life.
    And so, faced with a choice between starvation and the expedition, he cleaned his monocle, put on his top hat and accepted.

    His name? Why, is it not obvious?
     
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  3. bminorkey Liturgist

    bminorkey
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    This is fantastic. Looking forward.

    Character: a debased, terrible, rapacious Half-Ogre mineral prospector and former Career Officer enlisting with the intention of capitalizing on business and property opportunities tied to the journey. The Arcanum Daniel Plainview, put differently. His shrewd eye for business and sheer force of personality made him a small fortune. Possibly one of the sponsors for the ordeal.
     
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  4. rogozhin Cipher

    rogozhin
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    It has to be the Gnomish Career Officer. Everything else just sounds BSB in comparison. Especially that lolcleve shit.
     
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  5. oscar Tacticular Staff

    oscar
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    Not a fighter, a gentlemanly gun-slinger.
     
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  6. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    This will be win.
     
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  7. Gondolin Arcane

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    People, this is Tarant, not Cumbria. Captains in the Tarantian army are not gentlemen or nobles, but rabble taught to use cowardly firearms. Therefore, our Human Career Officer is a "gentleman" of the proletariat. Better make him a reasonably honest guy who had grown around the Boil and the factories quarter and still has contacts there.
     
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  8. oscar Tacticular Staff

    oscar
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    Er, Tarant is based of 19th-century Britain which was still pretty big on class and aristocracy. Disregard Sharpe, this guy is going to be of decent wealth and social standing.
     
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  9. Gondolin Arcane

    Gondolin
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    After ten years in the military, an aristocrat wouldn't be a captain (unless he was incredibly incompetent) because he wouldn't start as a grunt in the first place. An aristocrat would go to the Military College, come out a Second Lieutenant and start from there. Ten years after graduation he would probably be a major or lieutenant-colonel, jockeying for full colonel, depending on his family's connections.
     
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  10. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    the background can be reworked as required for race, the human career officer was intended to be a grunt who worked his way up from the ranks during the first Cumbria-Tarant war. You can see in my first post some of the background to give yourselves ideas based on what happened at the end of the original Arcanum, but yes, anyway, presumably the human would be more like Sharpe. grotsnik's gnome idea would be a corrupt military college graduate relying heavily on jewish gnomish nepotism.
     
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  11. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    Go for nepotism!
     
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  12. Mother Russia Andhaira Dumbfuck Queued

    Andhaira
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    Codex 2013
    Human Warrior-Demonologist specializing in the Summoning and Fire schools of sorcery.
     
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  13. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    Hmm, how about a half-orc anarchist?
     
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  14. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    Or maybe a sympathetic jew(gnome) who's participating in the unionist movement who gets busted by the guards and is only now just getting out of prison, a hardened criminal rather than a reformed son of a well to do businessman.
     
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  15. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    Alright, I've tallied up the votes and grotsnik 's Gnomish career officer wins outright with 6 votes, however, if I count the votes for race and career separately then a human career officer wins (human receiving more votes overall as racial choice) and career officer receiving the overall highest number of votes.

    For the sake of fairness, I'm going with the outright winner: Gnomish career officer. Update to follow.

     
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  16. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    The decline of banal shit boring has been halted for great justice :obviously:
     
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  17. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

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    Hooray!
     
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  18. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    Prologue

    You are seated on a hard wooden chair, in the Caladon style (in vogue with the Tarantian middle classes), in the cramped but elegant entry hall of #42 Kensington Broadway. It is just after eleven in the morning on the 18th Vendémiaire, 1893.
    Donn Throgg was, only weeks ago, elected to the Industrial Council, and Tarantian politics are in an uproar as the old guard, under the influence of the waning Gilbert Bates and embattled leadership of Edward Willoughsby, face off against an increasingly powerful liberal opposition, helped in no small part by an increasingly educated Tarantian middle class, whimsically given to pet causes célèbres. The Kingdom of Cumbria, ruled by their King Maximilian some time ago succeeded in asserting its control over Blackroot and halting the juggernaut of Tarantian economic expansion. The Kingdom of Caladon continues to prosper under the guidance of the Farad dynasty, their repudiation of Tarant during negotiations pertaining to their membership of the Industrial Council was a great embarrassment to Willoughsby, even more embarrassing is the fact that moderate Caladonian policies have ensured a balance between magick and technology which has attracted many of Arcanum’s greatest minds to that city.


    This may not be a political golden age for Tarant, but in the sciences and cultural fields, it remains the primary centre of scientific learning in Arcanum, though its rivals are close on its heels. That’s the precise reason you’re sitting in this rather uncomfortable chair. You glance over the late edition of the Tarantian that you picked up yesterday evening, just to be certain you've got the details right: “Professor Johannes Brockenlid has promised fame and fortune to the dauntless explorer who accompanies him!”


    You sneeze uncomfortably, pull a small sterling silver case from inside the left breast of your crushed velvet smoking jacket and from within take another pinch of snuff. That should put your nose right, at least that’s what the family physician has been telling you for years. ‘What in the hells am I doing here? Dauntless?! Kerlin’s nares! I should never have agreed to this... if only I’d the constitution for sherry.” It’s been some time since you saw the back of the last sod enter the Professor’s study for his interview, a spritely elf clad in blue robes... a filthy magicker. If not for the liberal lickspittles that have gained sway on the industrial council, your second cousin (thrice removed),one Gottfried Kleinmann Sr., would have passed a motion banning mages from Tarant altogether.


    Your pocket-watch tells you that you’ve been sitting here at least a half hour. ‘An outrage! An absolute bloody outrage! To keep me waiting while he invites the sharp-ear in ahead of me! Doesn’t he know who I am?’ The large oaken door opens with a long, low creaking sound. The elf stands in the doorway, while the Professor pays his respects, “And you say you’ll be contactable at the Bridesdale for the rest of the week? Very good, very good. I’ll be honest, son, I can’t promise I’ll have need of the services of a hydromancer, er... water mage where I’m going, but if I change my mind I’ll be certain to send a runner to the inn. Good day.”


    The elf makes a hasty depature and the study door is closed before you can climb out of your seat. You huff in exasperation and rest your hands on your portly belly, your little legs dangle just off the ground. ‘How insulting. This buffoon cannot even provide furniture fit for a gnome! When my uncle hears of thi-’ The door opens again and the Professor invites you in.


    “Sit down, sir, sit down. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, I am the good Professor Johannes Brockenlid. If you so desire, we may bypass the formalities and you may simply call me Johannes.” Brockenlid bows slightly and then, moving behind his imposing stone desk, motions for you to sit (this time in a squat chair provided for the more diminutive guest). You puff out your chest, tilting your bulbous nose up the perfect sixty degrees your father always told you gave a gnome the right air, ‘A pleasure, Professor Brockenlid. You may address me as Lieutenant-Colonel Kleinmann, commanding officer of the 92nd Tarant Rifles. I am named for my father, Elias Kleinmann II, of the Tarant branch of the Kleinmann family. We are, Professor, a very old and exceedingly powerful Gnomish dynasty.’


    You think you notice a slight smirk under the Professor’s beard, you make note of it. Don’t you have a cousin on the Tarant University board of directors who might defrock this imbecile if he keeps up with such affrontery? “I can see that you are, how should I put it, an especially important gnome. Pray tell, what brings such an integral cog from Tarant’s military machine to my door?”


    ‘Is that not blatantly obvious, Brockenlid? This confounded expedition you’ve publicised! I wish... completely, er... of my own volition to,’ you grit your teeth, ‘to accompany you and see the expedition through to success! Such a feat would bring with it great honour, not only for my company and the Military College, but to the Kleinmann name. I can assure you that I bring with me considerably financial and, more importantly, political, support, Professor.’
    By Kerlin, why did you make that bet? To admit it would be for your family to lose face... to back out now would be to lose face among your peers at the Club. If humility were one of your virtues you might consider selling yourself short, but you’d die before letting that happen.


    ‘Since graduating from the Tarant Military College some ten odd years ago, I have made a name for myself in the 92nd Rifles. When I was placed in command, due in large part to my competence and natural aptitude for leading other men, I was given a rabble. I turned this rabble, in ten short years into the most well disciplined company in the entire army.’
    Regularly drilling the men in full gear, with lashings for those layabouts who, when the sun was at its height, fell to the ground feigning exhaustion worked wonders on the discipline of the men.


    ‘Furthermore, Professor, I do not wish to brag but I am... so they say in the 92nd, an astounding marksman. I hold the great honour of having been victor in more pistol duels than any other officer at the Military College. What’s more, I have dabbled, as one does at leisure, in the fine art of gunsmithing.’
    A blatant lie. At least you were telling the truth about the duels... no one ever bothered to investigate why your opponents were shot in the back while making their ten paces, so why admit to it now?


    The Professor seems to be listening attentively, stroking his beard with one hand and rapping his knuckles across the cold, hard surface of the desk with the other. After some time, he speaks, “Well... Well! You make a fine case... a fine case! A man, or should I say, gnome of your qualities, both social and military is a rare find, sir! Certainly, you are the most promising candidate I have had in my office today, and believe me, they began arriving well before the appointed time this morning! Droves of crackpots, hedge wizards and scallawags looking for a quick road to wealth and fame, but you, sir, you are a gnome of quality! Of eduction, erudition, and most importantly, you have a background in the military. Velorien knows what horrors we may face on this journey-” You blanch somewhat, and sneeze uncontrollably (another pinch of snuff ought to do it) “-what wonders we might see, what discoveries we might make... or quite possibly, what grisly ends we may meet.”
    The Professor looks at an old, dusty tome laying open on his desk for a short while, then wistfully gazing out the window he continues, “I’ve just realised, Lieutenant-Colonel, that I have explained not a single thing to you as of yet! Forgive me for my excitement. You see, I discovered this tome after decades of research, in fact, uncovering this single edition, has been the labour of my unfortunately, shortened lifespan. Were I a gnome, or a dwarf... or even an elf! Oh, what I could do with a thousand years! But where was I? Yes... You see, this tome was thought lost, mentioned only in passing by others less dedicated to the field of Geomancy. I, sir, am devoted to the scientific study of the earth, and long had I believed that there may be a way to chart a passage to the centre of our world. They laughed at me, for years my colleagues and peers thought me a fool. But this,” he pats the book with an open palm, “this is my vindication. The Mysterium Orbis. This tome points to the location of a passage deep into the earth, deeper even than the caverns of the dwarves, into a system of caves as yet uncharted. A passage into the earth, which, if I have translated the ancient tongue correctly, leads by ways, to the very core of Arcanum! This is the expedition I endeavour to undertake. I know not what perils await, yet in the twilight of my life I am driven to make a final, grand contribution to science and knowledge. This shall be my magnum opus. I shall chart the route to the centre of the world, and all of Arcanum shall benefit from the knowledge thereof. Think of the possibilities! Undiscovered medicinal plants, unheard of and fantastical species of beast, ores and minerals surpassing the quality and value of our pedestrian golds and silvers! So, Lieutenant-Colonel, that is my dream. My ambition. I must finish the interviews with the remaining candidates, but as of this moment I am willing to offer you a place on my team. As an experienced military man, you would be in charge of our protection, provisions and would necessarily assume a role of leadership and consultation. If you accept my offer, you may, in the mean time, make whatever preparations you deem necessary. How am I to contact you when we are ready to finalise our arrangements?”


    You sit silent, open-mouthed for a few moments. The sheer amount of information and the Professor’s enthusiasm overwhelms you, without thinking you reply in the affirmative, ‘Certainly Professor! It would be my honour, and the honour of the Kleinmann family to accompany you on this expedition. I must, however, inform you, that I will not tolerate layabouts, ruffians, or the lackadaisical behaviour of the lower classes on the team! Least of all, half breeds, they would only bring us to rack and ruin.’ Your face reddens at the thought of that muckraker Donn Throgg and the rest of his half-breed brethren. ‘If required, I may be contacted via the administrative secretary at the Military College, Professor. I shall now retire. Good day, sir.’


    This ridiculous expedition can’t possibly succeed, the man has obviously been swimming in the Tarant canals. He’s a loon. The expedition won’t succeed, but when the gents at the Wellington made their bets, they said nothing about returning successfully... only that you’d never convince the Professor you were the right one for the job, and that if you did, you wouldn’t return alive. All you’ve got to do is foil the expedition and return to make good on the bet. There’s a hefty sum in it, and either way, it’ll be good for the family name.
    “Good day, Lieutenant-Colonel. You shall hear from me this evening.”


    You quickly exit the Professor’s home, storming down Kensington Broadway you barge into a shabbily attired man (or rather, the shins of a man) in Tarantian uniform. ‘What in the hells do you think you’re doing? Assaulting an officer, sir! I’ll have you lashed you bloody fool! I-’ You notice that the man wears the epaulettes of a Second Lieutenant, but his features and countenance give him the swarthy look of a half-orc. ‘What in blazes! What kind filth are they raising from the ranks nowadays?!” The ‘officer’ grunts at you, salutes and makes his apologies, before pressing on toward the Professor’s house.

    You have been chosen to accompany the Professor and may make some preparations before he contacts you this evening, do you:
    A) Make a bee-line for the Wellington Gentleman’s Club. You can make good on the bet, and make a tidy sum.
    B) Return to the Military College. The Major will likely want to be involved in this venture somehow, and what better way to confirm your upcoming application for promotion to Colonel.
    C) Go to your Father’s estate on the other side of Kensington Park. Your personal funds are running short and you might be able to tap him for more.
    D) Head to the Docks district, you know of a man in a warehouse off Mulligan Bone Alley. Your second cousin Moshe recommends him highly as a procurer of Half-Ogre servants and bodyguards. Perhaps now is the time to invest, the Professor can’t argue with you bringing a man-servant after all.
    E) Pay a visit to Anton Fassbender, Gnomish gunsmith and maker of fine pistols. He’s done rather a lot of work for your family over the years. A new pistol would be just the thing to go with your promotion to Colonel when it’s confirmed.
    Given the size of Tarant and ease of transit (underground railcars) you may choose TWO (2) options.




    [​IMG]

    Character sheet:
    Name: ELIAS KLEINMANN
    Race: GNOME
    Background: CAREER OFFICER (MILITARY COLLEGE)
    Skills: FIREARMS (JOURNEYMAN); PERSUASION (JOURNEYMAN); GAMBLING (EXPERT); HAGGLE (APPRENTICE); GUNSMITHY (APPRENTICE)
    Stats: ST: 8 CN: 6 DX: 12 BE: 8 IN: 12 WP: 10 PE: 10 CH: 9
    Fate Points: 0
     
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  19. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    Clearly, all we have to do is pickpocket the hapless professor of his tome, and then lead the expedition ourselves! No scholar shall take precedence in the annals of history-

    :rage:
     
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  20. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    E
     
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  21. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri

    Had the pick gone to the Human Officer, who was a little bit "Richard Sharpe", we'd have started with a fate point. The Jack-Of-All-Trades would also have started with a fate point. the way I plan to use fate points, while I don't want to reveal too much, will be similar to Arcanum and similar to root's LPs. They will be acquired not necessarily by performing simply heroic acts, but by accomplishing "fate" changing acts. So in the original game you could get a fate point either for persuading Donn Throgg to escape the factory strike, OR by killing Throgg yourself.

    On another note, the changes to the world of Arcanum that I've projected/extrapolated will become more apparent as time goes on. I made some slight alterations from the original post, removing Caladon from the Unified Kingdom (presume the Persuasion master quest was not successfully completed). I will try to stick closely to the setting as far as the lore goes, but I won't let that constrain me, if possible.

    Edit-I also know that his stats don't necessarily match the ability to acquire those skills, (gambling expert requires a minimum of 15 INT in Arcanum, as I recall). The skills at journey level reflect about three points invested, that is, in between apprentice and expert. I'm not going to use dice rolls or other determinants in combat encounters if there are any, but I'll try to factor in skill and stats to what you decide to do. If Kleinmann tries to lift a boulder by himself, he'll probably fail. As a gnome, he cannot stand up in melee by himself, so I wouldn't throw him into melee with his CN and ST as they are, for example. I'll try to telegraph points at which skills increase through use or training. I will also telegraph when fate points are acquired.

    Unlike root's LPs, I won't use fate points automatically to resolve difficult or dangerous encounters. I'll include fate point use in votes for specific contextual actions when appropriate, so, if for example you are in a situation which you might not otherwise survive, that can possibly be resolved with a fate point (but not always directly). Spending a fate point to kill a giant beast won't always work, you might be able to shoot a beast in the eye and blind it allowing you to escape or retreat, but the beast may still block your path, as an example.
     
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  22. grotsnik Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    grotsnik
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    Dem risen-from-the-ranks officers need to be taught their place, what!

    [​IMG]

    I'm going with D. Elias sounds like he could benefit from some lumbering half-ogre muscle to suffer his insults and carry out his devious bidding.
     
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  23. Major_Blackhart Codexia Lord Sodom Patron

    Major_Blackhart
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    Hmm, have you decided what technological level you're going for?
    I mean with regards to guns anyway. Turn of the century stuff like this?
    [​IMG]
    and this
    [​IMG]
    and these
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Or are you still gonna go stereotypical revolvers and muzzle loading type stuff?
    Alot can happen in a few years technologically.
     
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  24. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

    Tigranes
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    D or E seem to be obvious choices. We are going to be down there a long time, probably, and C (petty cash) is hardly useful, though I imagine there would be more to that option than just $. A and B are longer-term benefits, again of winning the bet or later promotion in the military. Hardly a huge deal, if we come out of the expedition with key findings. So what we need is something that gives an edge down there, and that's D or E.

    I'd say D for now, just for the exponential possibilities of having a second body to command.
     
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  25. ironyuri Guest

    ironyuri
    As regards the development of technology, I'm not quite sure yet. Arcanum had flintlocks, revolvers, muzzle loading rifles, breech loading rifles, repeater rifles, elephant guns, shutguns and so on. Presumably technology has advanced, but at the moment I'd learn towards automatic and semi-automatic being the cutting edge, still in early development, so the Borchardt c 93 appeals to me, while the Mauser is perhaps too advanced. While I'd say the Luger Parabellum would be the prototype-phase of current technology in the world. I decided to set this in an Arcanum in which Arronax did not raise Vendigroth from the wastes, particularly because of the problems that would pose for level and development of technology (submarines and steampunk). Thanks for bringing it up though, I hadn't thought that far ahead. I think therefore, something along these lines would be available through high end dealers.

    Edit: I removed some images so as not to clutter. I'lll try to put some thought into what kind of weaponry developments or advances there have been in the next day or two, and judge whether WWI style semi-automatics would be worthwhile. It's a power increase, but, then, firearms won't necessarily be the be all and end all of the adventure.
     
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