Valley of the Sun - Deadlands

The Trail begins here...
The Flood
We gonna need a bigger boat afore The Flood!
Deja Vu all over again...

So the player-characters are exploring by boat (!) dangerous territories years after a cataclysm that altered the very world. They fight foes both human and otherwise in their adventures. How TOTALLY UNLIKE any RPG campaign I have ever been in before! :D

Drunken History mebbe?
TallaDodgeCity Nights?

Just wondering how my cousin wound up in the splash picture on the lower right. If you’ve seen “Talladega Nights” you’ll know who I mean. But by the weirdest coincidence, he has also played the archetypical mad scientist Nicholai Tesla in the “Drunken History” series so he COULD have been there…

Journal entry of Prof. Oglethorpe

Prof. Mordecai Erasmus Oglethorpe, the 10th day of May in the year 1879, somewhere in Nevada territory on a Denver Pacific westbound train:

I am filled with hopeful anticipation as I travel west toward an enclave of intellectuals and visionaries, the collective known as the Collegium. A number of colleagues and acquaintances have migrated there to further our knowledge of the substance known colloquially as “ghost rock”. Following the theoretical perspectives presented by Professor James Clerk Maxwell at a lecture sponsored by the University of Glasgow, I have conducted scholarly inquiry into the nature of ghost rock. In order to pass the time as this locomotive chugs across the seemingly endless plains, I will endeavor to organize my thoughts on the theories.

It is theorized that an atom is a body which cannot be cut in two. A molecule is the smallest possible portion of a particular substance. No one has ever seen or handled a single molecule. Molecular science, therefore, is one of those branches of study which deal with things invisible and imperceptible by our senses, and which cannot be subjected to direct experiment.

For millennia, the mind of man has perplexed itself with many hard questions. Is space infinite, and if so in what sense? Is the material world infinite in extent, and are all places within that extent equally full of matter? Do atoms exist, or is matter infinitely divisible?

The discussion of questions of this kind has been going on ever since men began to reason, and to each of us, as soon as we obtain the use of our faculties, the same old questions arise as fresh as ever. They form as essential a part of the science of the nineteenth century of our era, as of that of the fifth century before it.

We do not know much about the science organisation of Thrace twenty-two centuries ago, or of the machinery then employed for diffusing an interest in physical research. There were men, however, in those days, who devoted their lives to the pursuit of knowledge with an ardour worthy of the most distinguished members of the Royal Society; and the lectures in which Democritus explained the atomic theory to his fellow-citizens of Abdera realised, not in golden opinions only, but in golden talents, a sum hardly equalled even in America with all of its bountiful resources.

To another very eminent philosopher, Anaxagoras, best known to the world as the teacher of Socrates, we are indebted for the most important service to the atomic theory, which, after its statement by Democritus, remained to be done. Anaxagoras, in fact, stated a theory which so exactly contradicts the atomic theory of Democritus that the truth or falsehood of the one theory implies the falsehood or truth of the other. The question of the existence or non-existence of atoms cannot be presented with greater clearness than in the alternative theories of these two philosophers.

I will continue these musings in the morning…

Professor Oglethorpe's Journal
Musings on the molecular potential of ghost rock

Prof. Mordecai Erasmus Oglethorpe, the 16th day of May in the year 1879, continuing my travels on the Denver Pacific rails:

I have recently received correspondence from a brilliant medical researcher I met at the Glasgow conference. The intriguing theories he outlined in our discussions provided ample inspiration for me to take my work on ghost rock applications in exciting new directions. The subject of Maxwell’s lecture on the nature of molecules provided a key for my epiphany.

Take any portion of matter, say a drop of water, and observe its properties. Like every other portion of matter we have ever seen, it is divisible. Divide it in two, each portion appears to retain all the properties of the original drop, and among others that of being divisible. The parts are similar to the whole in every respect except in absolute size.

Now go on repeating the process of division till the separate portions of water are so small that we can no longer perceive or handle them. Still we have no doubt that the sub-division might be carried further, if our senses were more acute and our instruments more delicate. Thus far all are agreed, but now the question arises, Can this sub-division be repeated forever?

According to Democritus and the atomic school, we must answer in the negative. After a certain number of sub-divisions, the drop would be divided into a number of parts each of which is incapable of further sub-division. We should thus, in imagination, arrive at the atom, which, as its name literally signifies, cannot be cut in two. This is the atomic doctrine of Democritus, Epicurus, and Lucretius, and, I may add, of this author.

According to Anaxagoras, on the other hand, the parts into which the drop is divided, are in all respects similar to the whole drop, the mere size of a body counting for nothing as regards the nature of its substance. Hence if the whole drop is divisible, so are its parts down to the minutest sub-divisions, and that without end.

The essence of the doctrine of Anaxagoras is that the parts of a body are in all respects similar to the whole. It was therefore called the doctrine of Homoiomereia. Anaxagoras did not of course assert this of the parts of organised bodies such as men and animals, but he maintained that those inorganic substances which appear to us homogeneous are really so, and that the universal experience of mankind testifies that every material body, without exception, is divisible.

The doctrine of atoms and that of homogeneity are thus in direct contradiction.

But we must now go on to molecules. Molecule is a modern word. It does not occur in Johnson’s Dictionary. The ideas it embodies are those belonging to modern chemistry.

A drop of water, to return to our former example, may be divided into a certain number, and no more, of portions similar to each other. Each of these the modern chemist calls a molecule of water. But it is by no means an atom, for it contains two different substances, oxygen and hydrogen, and by a certain process the molecule may be actually divided into two parts, one consisting of oxygen and the other of hydrogen. According to the received doctrine, in each molecule of water there are two molecules of hydrogen and one of oxygen. Whether these are or are not ultimate atoms I shall not attempt to decide.

We now see what a molecule is, as distinguished from an atom. The results of some recent work conducted by Victor and another brilliant young scientist suggest the properties of ghost rock transcend such distinctions. The macro-level, measureable, and generally visible applications are already well known and recognizable characteristics such as vastly increased fuel efficiency or augmentation of detonation force. The truly revolutionary properties of ghost rock lies in what appears to be a sort of fusion with whatever material-organic or inorganic-to which it is applied or combined. This fusion is posited to occur not only at the macro level, but at the molecular and possibly even the atomic level, suggesting ghost rock has the potential to fundamentally change an object (perhaps even organic cells).

If such postulations hold true, the potential applications are truly staggering…and would bode well for my young colleague’s endeavors.

The Professor in the Collegium

Prof. Mordecai Erasmus Oglethorpe, the 9th day of July in the year 1879, developing research partnerships in the Collegium:

I must remark on the simultaneously fortuitous and tragic circumstances of my current environs. Tragic in that dangers abound in both the natural environment and manmade settlements, and the inhabitants often fall victim to any number of deadly incidents. Fortuitous in that there are abundant opportunities to provide assistance to the doctors and medical staff in treating those grievously wounded, thus allowing scholarly progress and insight into potential future beneficial applications of ghost rock technology.

Key to these medical and biological applications are the properties of ghost rock at the molecular level. Briefly, a molecule of a substance is a small body such that if, on the one hand, a number of similar molecules were assembled together they would form a mass of that substance, while on the other hand, if any portion of this molecule were removed, it would no longer be able, along with an assemblage of other molecules similarly treated, to make up a mass of the original substance.

Every substance, simple or compound, has its own molecule. If this molecule be divided, its parts are molecules of a different substance or substances from that of which the whole is a molecule. An atom, if there is such a thing, must be a molecule of an elementary substance. Since, therefore, every molecule is not an atom, but every atom is a molecule, I shall use the word molecule as the more general term.

It is not my intention to expound on the doctrines of modern chemistry with respect to the molecules of different substances. It is not the special but the universal interest of molecular science which encourages me to pursue this course of inquiry. Considering the passion of myself and other researcher, it is not because we happen to be chemists or physicists or specialists of any kind that we are attracted towards this centre of all material existence, but because we all belong to a race endowed with faculties which urge us on to search deep and ever deeper into the nature of things.

We find that now, as in the days of the earliest physical speculations, all physical researches appear to converge towards the same point, and every inquirer, as he looks forward into the dim region towards which the path of discovery is leading him, sees, each according to his sight, the vision of the same quest. One may see the atom as a material point, invested and surrounded by potential forces. Another sees no garment of force, but only the bare and utter hardness of mere impenetrability.

But though many a speculator, as he has seen the vision recede before him into the innermost sanctuary of the inconceivably little, has had to confess that the quest was not for him, and though philosophers in every age have been exhorting each other to direct their minds to some more useful and attainable aim, each generation, from the earliest dawn of science to the present time, has contributed a due proportion of its ablest intellects to the quest of the ultimate atom.

The old atomic theory, as described by Lucretius and revived in modern times, asserts that the molecules of all bodies are in motion, even when the body itself appears to be at rest. These motions of molecules are in the case of solid bodies confined within so narrow a range that even with our best microscopes we cannot detect that they alter their places at all. In liquids and gases, however, the molecules are not confined within any definite limits, but work their way through the whole mass, even when that mass is not disturbed by any visible motion.

This process of diffusion, as it is called, which goes on in gases and liquids and even in some solids, can be subjected to experiment, and forms one of the most convincing proofs of the motion of molecules. In my recent work, this property of diffusion is hypothesized to facilitate the spread of the ghost rock infused rejuvenation.

This past week, an unfortunate prospector was brought into the Collegium’s medical facility after suffering extensive injuries from a ghost rock explosion. Despite the heroic efforts of the very skilled physicians, the burns and internal organ damage were too severe and the poor soul was slowly dying in excruciating pain. As a last resort, the surgeon and I calibrated my apparatus in an attempt to replicate young Victor’s process. While undeniably a success, the rejuvenation of such massive damage was quite…dramatic.

Welcome to the Weird West!

Our newly formed gang survived an Indian attack and got to meet the famous Rail Barron Darius Hellstromme and editor of the Tombstone Epitaph Lacy O’Malley. They had their first creature encounter with a few Tunnel Critter Young’uns. What adventure lies ahead? Ride on to find out!

Writings by Wang
part 1 (translated)

Honored Uncle,
After concluding business in Denver, per your agent’s instructions I boarded the Denver-Pacific line for what I thought was my return to Shan Fan. It was soon apparent to me that more was in store for me than just a pleasant train ride. The appearance of various personages of the “West” were not untoward, a cowgirl who introduced herself as Dakota Jo, saddle in hand, and traildust all over her clothes, and a man clad in black, carrying guns in well-worn holsters. He introduced himself only as “Macloud” but I am sure he goes by other names on some Wanted posters. I was surprised to see one of the indigenous people riding a rail car, since I had previously thought they had an abhorrence to them, but she shyly introduced herself as Kimi whose name means “butterfly” in the language of her people. I guessed that perhaps this was a message to me that she was on a quest, for do not butterflies travel thousands of miles in migration?

The last occupants who “happened” to be in my train car were the most curious and dangerous, I am sure. The older gentleman referred to himself as a Professor and extolled mightily on the virtues of what he assured me was the greatest scientific breakthrough of our time, the black mineral which I shall call “demon rock”. The last passenger in our car was a young woman from the far East of North America who called herself “Mattie” and has creamy green eyes, that remind me of my lovely betrothed Miao Yin back in China. Even though she appears to be an exotic beauty, I was certain this “Mattie” was quite more than she appeared. And I was soon proven right.

Dear Diary
by Thomas McCloud
GOOD LORD!!! What have I gotten myself into! Got on a train and find some rather weird fella’s who always seem to sit near to me. Some nutty professor with a gizmo like arm shooting some kind of lightning from his hand and spouting a language I never heard of. A porcelain skinned lady who cast witch like magic from playing cards ( talk about a loaded deck! ), a china-man who is slippery than a fish. A bounty hunter who eats a lot of sugar, and an indian girl!!?? On top of that, my train blew up and being attacked by war hungry Indians. I was able to fight them off without any trouble and passengers thanked me and hopefully spread my name across the lands. Found a horse, loaded up my saddle and the weird bunch asked me to stay and protect them, so with a generous heart I said “sure”. ( real thought, better to keep my meat-shields close by just incase anymore trouble arises =) Diary, you are the best companion ever, I know you’ll listen as I jot down my feelings and knowing you are the only one who trully understands me. After this bad event, I know for certain this was the worst of it and will be smooth sailing from here on out! Hugs and kisses, Your’s trully, Thomas XXXoooxxOOOxxXX
Quotes 7/10/16

(While discussing the details of the train ride)
Bentley – You can carry arms on this train…
Risa – I have two arms! (announced proudly)
Burke – … I can fix that
Dan – You’d be the armless bandit!

(Mattie regales about her interest in a deck of playing cards)
Barry/Prof. Morty – I heard that playing cards was quite dangerous in the west…
Risa/Mattie – well, actually… about that… (continues into a detailed story about how her playing cards may or may not have gotten her into trouble a few times in the past)

Risa/Mattie – I’m perfectly normal!
Entire Group – um … yeeeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhh…

Burke/Dakota Jo – (in response to Mattie trying out Dakota’s word ‘sugar’) Go get your own damn thing… suga’

(… Dan’s character’s name is Wang… I think we all know what’s about to happen here…)
Burke – If you put any effort in what so ever, you’ll definitely beat wang

Dan/Wang – Wang needs cleaning… Wang feels dirty

Evee – I think everyone’s gotten in their beating wang jokes

(Here’s the quotes for this week! Enjoy! Evee)


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