Episode 8 – Greasing the Wheels

 

After the long flight from Manila and the subsequent scouting flights, the Macao Clipper’s fuel situation has become grim. Unless an additional fuel source can be located, the great plane will just be a fancy but very inefficient boat. Fortunately, their bitter adversary Sak-Tel-Ay, the High Sky Priest of Home Dalmora has accidentally provided them an answer. During their Rite of Forbearance, Monaghan found a pool of oil in the jungle. Having three oilfield engineers and four mechanics among the humans, it should be a simple matter to tap into all their combined years of experience and knowledge into tapping the oil deposit and then refining it, however crudely, into usable gasoline.

 

However, as the castaways have already learned the hard way, any expedition into the jungle is fraught with peril and requires careful preparation. Depending on their previous encounters and interactions with the residents, obtaining the assistance to mount their proposed expedition may be difficult or easy. High Chief Aako-Hris-Am is already convinced of the advantage the flying boat provides as a means to confront the Grik, the master carpenter Polmak-Trey-Ar is still grateful for the human’s assistance in harvesting the stand of Teak, the master smithy Jon-Mak-An has benefitted from the human’s knowledge to learn to cast cannon, and if worst comes to worst, the deal-maker Rem-Kel-Ah is always available to smooth the wheels of commerce for a small fee of course.

 

Convincing any of the above notables is a test of Willpower + Influence / Persuasion with the difficulty based on the individual. Aako-Hris-Am is only an AVERAGE (7) task, but his support is limited to, the still valuable, offer of a platoon of the Davao Guard. If the PCs manage to fail, they will have to hire guards and this task is a HARD (55) Complex Action of Willpower + Influence / Persuasion with each roll taking a day. Each day’s effort finds 1d4+1 guards and on reaching the threshold, the humans have found all the guards that are willing to go. The first Botch results in no one hired that day, while the second Botch will end the search.

 

Polmak-Trey-Ar is also an AVERAGE (7) difficulty and will provide beasts of burden, drivers, laborers, and, if needed, will cover expenses for up to twenty guards. In exchange, he will want the PCs to build him the waterwheel lumber mill that he has heard them mention. This is a FORMIDABLE (75) Complex Action of Intelligence + Craft with each roll taking a week. If the PCs roll a Botch, this is treated as per the standard rules. If the PC should roll a second Botch, the project can continue, but all work up until that point is lost.

 

Getting Jon-Mak-An to assist is a HARD (11) Willpower + Influence / Persuasion roll as while the smith has benefitted from the tail-less ones, he has not risked his life with them as has Polmak and does not have the defense of the city as his responsibility like Aako. If the PCs succeed in their roll, he will provide beasts of burden with drivers, and, if needed, will cover expenses for up to ten guards. He will want the humans to give him ten percent of the well’s output in addition to them building him an oil-fired blast furnace for his shop to allow him to begin working with iron. This is a FORMIDABLE (75) Complex Action of Intelligence + Craft with each roll taking a week. If the PC should roll a second Botch, the project can continue, but all work up until that point is lost.

 

Coming to an agreement with Rem-Kel-Ah will pit the negotiations skill of a single PC in the form of an Opposed Roll using Intelligence + Influence / Barter versus Rem’s same skill. If the PC wins the roll, Rem will make all the necessary arrangements for beasts of burden, drivers, laborers, and, if needed, up to twenty guards for a ten percent take of anything produced by the well. If Rem wins, then he will want twenty-five percent of the output and if the PC happens to Botch the roll, he won’t settle for less than fifty percent.

 

Designing a simple drilling rig is a HARD (55) Complex Action of Intelligence + Craft with each roll representing a one day time increment. Creating twenty kilometers pipeline out of the ubiquitous and enormous local bamboo is another HARD (55) Complex Action using the same skills. If a PC should roll a second Botch on either task, the project can continue, but all work up until that point is lost.

 

Once the rig is ready and the expedition is outfitted, the trek through the jungle is delayed by the slow brontosaurus-like dinosaurs that the Lemurians use as beasts of burden and will take a day and a half to reach the drill site twenty kilometers into the jungle. Fortunately the caravan does not encounter in problems during the first day. Roughly halfway through the second day’s travel, everyone has to roll against a FORMIDABLE (15) Alertness + Perception / Sight to spot a pack of twelve Slithkas before they can attack. If the roll succeeds, the PC or NPC has their normal Initiative and may take any action they want. On a failed roll, the only action allowed is a Dodge or other defensive actions. On a Botch, that character is rooted in place by shock and only has their Innate Defense. Run the combat as normal, but if combat should last more than ten Combat Turns, the pack dinosaurs will panic. Requiring a FORMIDABLE (15) Willpower + Animal Handling roll to regain control of the terrified creature. Failing this roll means the brontosaur runs off and an entire day is lost recapturing the creature and repacking all the equipment the animal was carrying.

 

After reaching the drill site, it takes a HARD (11) Intelligence + Perception / Tactics roll to locate a defensible position. Building a shelter is a HARD (55) Complex Action with each roll taking 30 minutes. This structure is going to be essentially permanent as a small group of workers will man the drill rig and tend to the draft animals.

 

There are several abundant sources of food in the jungle available the PCs. Hunting is a HARD (55) Complex Action of Intelligence + Perception / Tracking with each roll taking 30 minutes. Success allows a standard attack roll. Failure spooks the target and scares it away. A Botch encounters a hungry dinosaur. Gathering edible plants or fishing is an AVERAGE (35) Complex Action of Intelligence + Survival with each roll taking 30 minutes. While water is everywhere, purifying the water to make it drinkable is a HARD (55) Complex Action of Intelligence with each roll taking 30 minutes.

 

A success in hunting, fishing or gathering obtains 2-5 pounds of food. An Extraordinary Success will locate 3-18 pounds. A success while looking for water will find enough for everyone to drink if it is purified, while an Extraordinary Success locates a source clean enough not to require any further treatment.

 

 

Choosing the best location for the drilling rig is a HARD (11) Intelligence + Scientific Expertise / Geology roll, while assembling the rig is an AVERAGE (35) Complex Action of Intelligence + Craft with each roll taking one day. As before, if a PC should roll a second Botch, the project can continue, but all work up until that point is lost.

 

The oil is very close to the surface and only an EASY (15) Complex Action of Intelligence + Mechanical Engineering with each roll taking one day to reach the deposit. As with all the other previous construction rolls, if a PC should roll a second Botch, the project can continue, but all work up until that point is lost.

 

After the oil is tapped, the most tedious part of the job is laying the pipeline back to Davao. While the process is simple, but slow and in a given day, no more than five kilometers of pipe can be constructed. Thus under the best of circumstances, the pipeline will take four days to build. Each segment of the bamboo pipeline is an EASY (15) Complex Action using Intelligence + Mechanical Engineering with each roll taking four hours with the standard penalty for a Second Botch.

 

Therefore, even under the best of circumstances with no problems encountered, it will take two days to reach the site, an average of five to build the rig, two to drill, and four more to build the pipeline for a total of thirteen days for the project. Each day, on a roll of 1 on a d6 the activity draws the attention of some of the local wildlife or some other event.

 

If an encounter for the day is indicated, roll on the following table

 

Encounter Table

Roll

Result

1

Feral Grik (6)

2

Heavy rain (Lose d4 hours work)

3

Accident (Random worker injured for 2d2 Wounds)

4

Accident (No one is hurt, but lose 2d2 hours of work)

5

Mantok (1)

6

Slithkas (6)

 

 

Once the pipeline reaches Davao, High Chief Aako will see to it that the rig stays manned and defended against attack to ensure a steady supply of the new power source. This allows the citizens of the city to concentrate on how to defend against the Grik.


Feral Grik

Agility: d8, Strength: d10, Vitality: d10, Alertness: d8, Intelligence: d2, Willpower: d6; Life Points 20; Initiative d8 + d8

Traits: Tough as Nails (Major)

Skills: Athletics d6 / Dodge d8 / Jumping d8 / Running d10, Covert d6 / Stealth d10, Discipline d6, Melee Weapon Combat d6 / Claws d10 / Teeth d8, Perception d6 / Smell d8 / Tracking d8, Survival d6 / Jungle d10

Description: The aboriginal stock that gave rise to the apex-predator the Grik.

 

Slithkas

Agility: d10, Strength: d6, Vitality: d8, Alertness: d10, Intelligence: d2, Willpower: d8; Life Points 16; Initiative d10 + d10

Traits: Fightin’ Type (Major)

Skills: Athletics d6 / Dodge d10 / Running d10, Covert d6 / Stealth d10, Discipline d6 Concentration d8, Melee Weapon Combat d6 / Claws d10 / Teeth d10, Perception d6 / Tracking d8, Survival d6 / Jungle d8

Description: A swift bipedal 8’ hunter that is one of the many carnivores in the raptor genus.   

 

Mantok

Agility: d6, Strength: d10, Vitality: d12+d2, Alertness: d6, Intelligence: d2, Willpower: d6; Life Points 24; Initiative d6 + d10

Traits: Tough as Nails (Major)

Skills: Athletics d6 / Dodge d8 / Jumping d8 / Running d10, Covert d6 / Stealth d10, Discipline d6, Melee Weapon Combat d6 / Teeth d8, Perception d6 / Smell d8 / Tracking d8, Survival d6 / Jungle d10, Unarmed Combat d6 / Brawling d10

Description: A slower and more powerfully built predator, roughly 9’ long with a large ‘sail’ in the middle of its back.