Monday, July 13, 2015

A Death in the Library

Being the thrilling conclusion of the Finding Franklin adventure

Last time, our heroes made their way into a secret library, where they encountered the Wizard. He commanded them to surrender, or die. Our story continues:

While the Wizard was conversing with Rufus and the doctor, Snake began to sneak through the room. She was able to creep up right next to the Wizard. Just as he threatened Rufus, she grasped the Wizard and put her knife to his throat.

But it was too late. The Wizard snapped his fingers; smoke and an acrid stench rose from the ground. Once the smoke cleared, two demonic figures stood in the room, fangs dripping with saliva and claws ready to strike. Our heroes were momentarily stunned, their mouths open in astonishment.

The Wizard used the distraction to spin away from Snake's grip. He turned, faced her, and began to chant an incantation. Meanwhile, the demons leaped upon Rufus and McCoy and began to rend their flesh.

The Wizard's movement snapped Snake out of her shock. Seeing her enemy preparing to cast some hex on her, she pulled out her revolving pistol and fired. The ball slammed into the Wizard's shoulder. He stumbled back against one of the shelves. Books rained down on him. Snake fired again. This time, the Wizard collapsed to the floor.

"I guess your magic is no match for modern technology." she quipped.

Despite suffering a couple of severe wounds, Rufus managed to finish off the demon attacking him.The doctor, also wounded, was being pressed back by the other beastly figure. Rufus and Snake turned on it. A hail of bullets dropped it.

The doctor tended to the party's wounds, then checked on the Wizard. He was still alive, barely.

"Can he talk?" Rufus asked.

"I can try to revive him." McCoy stated. He proceeded to work, and in a few minutes, the Wizard began to come to. The doctor asked where Franklin was being held, but the Wizard refused to speak. Then Snake spoke up: "Gentlemen, look at this!"

Rufus and McCoy looked at a letter and map that she held.

"Where did you find those?" Rufus asked.

"Courtesy of the Wizard himself. At least his pocket." she answered.

"I can't make heads nor tails of it," Rufus complained.

"Clearly in some kind of code," stated the doctor. "I could decipher it but it will take time. We should take this back to headquarters."

"What about him?" asked Rufus.

"Leave him, I guess." said the doctor.

"I don't much fancy an angry wizard looking to avenge himself against us."

This led to a spirited debate. After a time, the doctor walked into the laboratory then returned with a syringe. He injected the Wizard with it.

"That should solve our problem," the doctor stated.

With the Wizard defeated and papers in hand, our heroes sneaked out of the house, made their way out of Philadelphia, and returned to headquarters.

The End 
(of this adventure. There will be more to come, however.)

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Wizard

Being the Fourth Episode of the Finding Franklin Adventure

Last time, our heroes encountered Molly and her cohorts in the cellar before finding and opening a secret door.

They encounter the room and find themselves in a large laboratory. There are vials and containers filled with steaming fluids. Complicated gadgetry, buzzing with electricity, line the walls. There are several tables with a white sheet covering lumpy objects. The stench of death fills the room.

The doctor goes to one of the tables and lifts the sheet. It is a body, ashen white and beginning to decay. McCoy begins to examine it when suddenly, its eyes open. Its hand lunges for the doctor but he backs away. The corpse gets off the table and begins to shamble toward the doctor. He fends it off with his sword cane.

Two more corpses come to life and begin to advance. Snake pulls out her revolving pistol (which she un-jammed after defeating the rats) and blasts away. Her shot nearly blows the head off one of the creatures. It falls.

Rufus uses his cane and bludgeons the next one to a pulp. The doctor then dispatches the last.

At the far end of the room is a door. They head to it, listen, and then open it. They enter a small library. There is a man at a desk at the far end. The party raises their weapons.

"So, you made it," says the man. "Pity that all your efforts shall go to waste."

"Are you the Wizard?" the doctor asks.

"Indeed, I am. And meeting me spells your doom. Unless?"

"Unless what?" responded the doctor.

"Surrender to me and serve the Master. That way, I shall spare your pitiful lives for as long as you are useful to the Master."

Rufus shouts, "We will never serve King George!"

The Wizard bursts into a sinister, ominous laugh. "King George? That buffoon? He is no master. No, he is merely a pawn that serves my Master, who is true power on earth."

"Who is your master?" asks the doctor.

"Join me, and find out," states the Wizard.

"Never!" yells Rufus. "Liberty or death!"

"Then you shall DIE!"

Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


Being the Third Episode of the Finding Franklin Adventure

Last time, our heroes headed to the upstairs of Ben Franklin's home. They defeated a bronze automaton and discovered a strange item that looks like a doorknob.

Having explored the upstairs, the party heads downstairs. In the kitchen, they find doors to the cellar. Snake listens at the door and hears a shuffling sound.

"Something's down there," she announces. Dr. McCoy and Rufus prepare their weapons. Snake flings open the doors and the party rushes into the cellar. Looking around, they see a hideous sight. There are four rats scurrying around, looking for food. But these are no ordinary rats - they are as big as a dog!

"Those are not natural," states the doctor. "They appear to be the result of some bizarre biological experiment!"

"Nevertheless, they are poor animals. Let's leave them be." responds Snake.

At the moment, noticing the party, the four giant rats rush up the stairs at the party. Rufus, at the head of the party, bears the brunt of the attack. Swinging his heavy cane like a mace, he manages to keep them at bay, and even wounds one with an overhand smash.

The doctor rushes in, his sword cane stabbing at the beasts. Snake, however, hesitates.

"We need your help, lassie," yells Rufus.

Snake responds, draws a bead with her revolving pistol, and pulls the trigger. Nothing!

"It's jammed!"

"We still need you!" Rufus hollers as his cane incapacitates one the rats.

Snake pulls out her other pistol and fires. Her shot hits and the rat falls dead. The doctor skewers another rat. There is only one left. Frightened by the loss of its comrades, it flees, finding a place to hide among the boxes in the cellar.

"Right, let's go finish it off." Rufus says as he begins to stride toward the rat's hideaway.

"Wait," said Snake, as she grasps his arm. "I don't think it's going to try to hurt anyone anymore. Just let it be."

Rufus scowls at her feminine sentimentality, which is at odds with the toughness she has shown so far.

"She is probably right," replies the doctor. "Even animals learn to avoid deadly danger. We should be fine."

"Yes, let's leave Molly alone," adds Snake.

"Molly?" ask Rufus and McCoy in unison.

"That's what I named her," states Snake.

Rufus rolls his eyes but yields. They begin searching the room for some sign of the "Wizard" but there is no one, or nothing else in the cellar.

Finally, Snake lets out an "aha!"

Rufus and the doctor turn. Snake is pointing to one of the walls. Faintly visible is the line of a doorway. There is no way to open it, though.

"The knob we found upstairs!" exclaims McCoy.

Snake takes it out.

"But how does it fit into the door?" asks the doctor.

"I guess we just have to try it out," states Snake. She begins to manipulate the knob in the region of the door where one would expect it to go. After a few minutes, there is a distinct click and the knob fits into a hole that was not visible to the eye. With a twist of her wrist, Snake turns the knob. The door creaks open.

Find out what's on the other side, next time!

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Bronze Man

Being the Second Episode of the Finding Franklin Adventure

Last time, our party captured and interrogated a British officer inside Ben Franklin's home. They learned that another man is in the house - his name is "The Wizard."

The party binds and gags the officer and stuffs him in a closet. They proceed to search the first floor for clues to Franklin's disappearance but are unsuccessful. They do find a couple of canes that appear useful. One is a sword cane and the other is a heavy cane with a large brass knob, which appears like it could be used as a mace.

After some debate, our heroes decide to explore the upper floors first. On the second floor, they find a number of closed doors. Rufus reaches for the first doorknob but feels a prick of electricity. He recoils from the minor shock. The doctor investigates the door and finds that it has been booby-trapped with an electrified field.

"Thanks goodness you did not grasp that knob, Rufus." the doctor declares.


"You would have been electrocuted."

As McCoy examines the knob, he mutters "It appears that Franklin's experiments with electricity have yielded some fruit."

Fortunately, the doctor is able to deactivate the trap (along with others similarly rigged). There are no enemies on the second floor. A thorough search reveals no clues but in a workshop that Franklin must have used for tinkering they find an unusual pistol. It has four barrels that revolve when the trigger is pulled. Snake takes this item and loads it up.

As they proceed to the third floor they are startled by a sentry at the top of the stairs. The figure, however, does not move. Then they notice that it is made of bronze. An unusual statue. The doctor approaches and begins to examine it. Suddenly, its eyes open! Startled, the doctor begins to back away. The thing's arm swings at the doctor. It does a grazing blow that knocks McCoy against the wall.

Snake draws a bead with her pistol and fires. The bullet penetrates the bronze torso. There is the sound of rending machinery. Yet the thing still moves. It turns on Snake and swings its fist. She ducks under the blow and leaps to the top of the stairs behind the thing. Rufus rushes up and clubs the automaton's head with his heavy cane. Part of the bronze skull caves in. Snake fires again. The shot penetrates and knocks the thing off its feet. It tumbles down the stairs, breaking into pieces, and then lies still at the bottom.

"Another experiment, it appears," states the doctor.

The part reaches the third floor and searches the rooms. They find a number of bedrooms. In one, Snake reaches into a fireplace and feels something. She pulls the item out. It appears to be a doorknob. There is a triangular shaft with a heavy crystal knob. Strange marking are carved into the crystal.

"This appears to be useful," states Snake.

"Perhaps," says Rufus, "but for what?"

Find out next time!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Finding Franklin

Being the First Adventure of a Colonial Gothic-ish adventure
Episode 1 of "Finding Franklin"

The year is 1778.
The British control Philadelphia and the Continental Army is in tatters.
Even worse, word arrived that Ben Franklin is missing!

Major Benjamin Tallmadge, head of intelligence of the George Washington's army, has sent for 3 agents who have rendered valuable service to the Patriot cause. Their mission: sneak into enemy-held Philadelphia, break into Ben Franklin's home, and search for clues to his disappearance.

The 3 agents are:

  • Rufus MacLoud - the soldier. He has extensive experience fighting both the British and the natives. Skilled with the tomahawk and musket.
  • Snake - the female rogue. Her past is mysterious but she excels at stealth and picking locks.
  • Dr. McCoy - A learned and capable physician. He can tend to wounds and his base scientific knowledge should come in handy.
The party sneaks into Philadelphia without incident and make contact with agents in the city. They learn that Franklin's house is unoccupied but that the British guard the house. The party decides to sneak in on the night of the new moon. That evening, they learn that 2 men entered the house; no one saw them leave.

After midnight, the party sets off. They manage to climb the wall surrounding the home and enter the back yard. From here they sneak to the house and open one of the windows. Snake makes it in, but McCoy slips and falls as he tries to climb in. From around the corner of the house, they hear footsteps and a voice call out "who's there?"

Rufus and McCoy dive for the bushes just as the sentry turns the corner, musket leveled. "Come out," he calls, "I know you're around here." He is looking around but is unsure of where the agents are. Then, he spots McCoy. He advances, again commanding "Come out!" McCoy steps out of the bushes, hands raised. The sentry approaches, passing Rufus's hiding spot. Rufus readies his tomahawk, creeps out of the bushes and come up behind the sentry. He steps on a twig. Crack.

The sentry hears the sound and turns quickly. Rufus, however, grabs the sentry's musket and rips it from his hands. Then, Dr. McCoy pulls out his dagger and clubs the sentry on the back of the head with the pommel. The sentry collapses.

The Doctor and Rufus bind and gag the sentry and hide him in the bushes. Then they climb into the window and, with Snake, find themselves in the dining room. From the adjacent room, they hear the sounds of a man snoring. Snake peeks in. On a sofa is a British officer, asleep. He wears a sword and a pistol is on a table next to him.

Snake sneaks up on him, Very carefully, she takes his sword from the scabbard. She places her dagger at his throat, and then puts her hand over his mouth.

The officer wakes and begins to struggle, but Snake presses the point of the dagger into his throat and whispers a threat. He grows still.

She begins to interrogate him. He does not know anything about Franklin's disappearance. He is just here to guard someone interested in Franklin's research.

"Where is he now?" Snake asks.

At first he refuses to talk, but Snake presses the dagger a little deeper. "Where is he?" she demands.

"In the cellar," the officer finally admits.

"Who is he?" she asks.

The officer doesn't know much, but he tells her "They call him 'The Wizard.'"