Welcome back to DECK OF FRIDAYS, our weekly feature here at FATE SF. We make a draw from the Deck of Fate, RPG Inspiration Cards, or another Aspect-generative randomizer. Then we do something interesting with it, using the Aspect as inspiration for a campaign or scenario seed, a situation, scene, location, NPC, thingie, etc.
This week's draw from the Deck of Fate is a card with the Aspect: The Wrong Tools. Today's Deck of Fridays is a scenario seed.
The Wrong Tools
Your tools and engineering manuals are state of the art - for 1906, that is. That's usually a good thing; it's when you're living, after all. You're good enough that the Baltimore Gun Club often hires you and your mates as the first set of hands and eyes to examine their strange treasures. Enigmatic machines harvested from the still unmapped corners of the globe, and even, reportedly, from inside the Hollow Earth itself.
But today you face a truly strange enigma. Inside the airship hanger lurks the largest land ironclad you have ever seen. It has enormous treads. Some are broken. It has as many main guns as a dreadnought. A few are clearly damaged.
How did the Gun Club even get it here? And where did they get it?
The thing seems excessively hot.
And it talks.
The ironclad seems quite cagey. It keeps asking if you belong to something called the "North American Combine."
That sounds like a motorized tractor factory to you.
And it won't tell you anything more about itself than its name: Mark Four. So it must be some kind of robot. But it seems way too big to be a robot. Perhaps there are pilots inside and this is all some kind of trick?
The machine has only one demand: to be repaired. Fix its treads. Clear the jam in something it calls its "missile bay."
Then let it go on its way.
The machine says you have 24 hours. If you refuse to help it, the leviathan says it will be forced to "self-destruct". There will be something it calls "fallout", which it promises will wipe out the Eastern Seaboard.
That doesn't sound too good...