Tuesday, November 10, 2020


Original recipe next to very mild conversion.

"We're not sure about the new guy."
25mm Ouvre-boĆ®te (MegaMiniatures OOP), Cheap Chinese knock-off of Bandai "Gouf" (Rhode Island Novelty Company "Battle Space Robot"), Reaper Bones 77047 Goldar the Barbarian
Number Appearing: Never more than 4, usually just one, probably no more than a dozen exist at all

Size:  Ten feet tall and bullet-proof

Armor:  Nth generation self-repairing variable-albedo laminate

Resilience: That which does not kill them makes them stronger.

Intelligence:  Artificial

Communication:  Abrupt and lacking in tact.

Disposition:  Militant

Violence:  In spades.  Also *with* spades.

Enemies:  All who hinder the completion of their mission.

Aims:  Return the Crown Princess to the Capitol for Coronation.  There are unforeseen transportation issues.

Peculiarities:  Might be sort of dead.  Doesn't slow them down much.

Treasure:  Owed a budget-annihilating level of back pay.
Format cheerfully swiped from They Stalk the Underworld

Children are told ridiculous tales for their amusement about silly creatures known as the Mreen (one of the quirkier aspects is that the word "Mreen" is always capitalized).  Absurd constructs with necks of leather and jars for heads, a bizarre code of honor (including an annual requirement for cake), and what seems, at first glance, to be a decided lack of critical thinking skills.  Many of the tales are about a Mreen named Privet Shmucktelly and his hilarious misunderstandings and mishaps with assorted magical tools ("Privet Shmucktelly and the box of Grid Squares" is a perennial favorite).  These aren't like those creatures of legend.  They are the self-same creatures - older, possibly wiser, and definitely free of tale-tellers' distortions.  They are the surviving(?) Marine Contingent of the Imperial Cruiser Pandora, and they have been on duty for a very long time.

On the Island of Knossos, there is only one suitable place for boats to make landfall, inside a natural harbor on the southern side.  On the wall of the harbor is a message, carved in the stone of the cliff in characters a yard high and a hand deep, and rendered with precision that would not be credible if it were not also demonstrable.  The characters are readable to any scholar, over four hundred years old, and don't make much sense.  They are a distance, a direction, a date in the near future, and twelve words that most scholars assume to be names.  They are directions to find where the escape pod containing the Crown Princess will make landfall due to orbital decay.  That's when the trouble starts.  As Presumptive Empress, the Crown Princess can override any and all military orders and directives.

The Marines are trapped in their suits due to a Coronation Directive.  The suit AI is to keep them on duty until they can deliver their charge to the place of coronation or are relieved by an appropriately sized force of body guards.  The previous record for being under Coronation Directive is 273 hours.  Pandora's Leathernecks have been on duty for over 423 years.  Between their advanced age, suit AI, nanotech repairs to their failing bodies, and the fact that nobody has opened a suit in centuries, even the Marines aren't entirely certain if they're still alive in a strictly biological sense.  It doesn't matter.  What does matter are the factors that hamstring their mission: namely the need to barracks lawyer the suit AI to get anything done, and reliance on field expedient power supplies.  The first is what's kept them from building an empire and starting a space program (Coronation Directive is intended to be a short term emergency protocol).  The second is why they ride in wagons or on boats and whack hostiles with shovels instead of accelerated particles.  It's also why they sometimes take up causes with locals that can get them necessary supplies.

The outlaw Sergei d'Gisbourne was judged to be dangerous enough to require several Mreen for his extraction from Quaker Tower.  He ended up leaving through an arrow slit - involuntarily.