XCIV Publishing Presents...

J. Womack, Editor

T HE Æ THERGRAPH
JUNE 1, 1884 VICTORIAN SCIENCE FICTION FICTION FANZINE VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

Inside This Issue:

♦ Clive’s Register ♦ Verne’s Armory ♦ Automatons: Rules for GASLIGHT ♦ Sports Results ♦ And much, much more!

Page 1

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

First Issue of The Æthergraph
J Womack

Welcome to The Æthergraph, a new fanzine dedicated to celebrating Victorian Science Fiction (also known as VSF). While it will focus on wargaming in a VSF setting, there will also be articles and items relating to Victorian history (both real and alternate) and roleplaying. I’m hoping to also be able to include some artwork from time to time, as I have a few artistic friends (hint, hint, Eli!). Plus photos of my own work in miniatures, terrain, conversions, and so on. So what, you may ask, is Victorian Science Fiction? If you read Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Arthur Conan Doyle, or H.G. Wells, then you know something about VSF. Stories set in the midto late-1800s, during the reign of her Majesty, Queen Victoria (God Bless Her!), and frequently set in some area of the British Empire, although this is not set in stone. Indeed, many of the best tales are not in the Empire, but on other planets entirely! A certain disregard Martian Sanwar on Muktar [Photo from Forge World] for the laws of physics is pretty much required, as the stories are often filled with or even centered around one or more bizarre advanced technologies. Remote, even mythical, regions of the Earth are yet to be explored. Mars and Venus are inhabited (usually), and much more interesting than our universe’s boring, sterile planets. So look for weird science, dinosaurs, aliens, steam-powered spacecraft, lots and lots of brass, and rivets everywhere! Don’t stop to count them...
Next question that comes to mind is this: “what will I find in The Aethergraph?” Well, quite a lot, I think. If you are a follower of my VSF blog, Victoria’s Boys in Red, a lot of the material in The Æthergraph will be brought from there, at least for the first few issues. Familiar articles like Reginald’s Regiments of Renown, the Royal Xenological Society, and Clive’s Register of Prominent Persons will be re-printed here. I’m also looking to create some new feature articles, such as Popular Mechanicks and Verne’s Armory Quarterly—see the first installment of Verne’s on the facing page. Naturally, all of these articles are incorporated into the VSF Universe that my friends and I game within, but there is no limit there! I would be happy to publish ideas from your universes. Just drop me a note at aethergraph@gmail.com. So far as rules are concerned, I play mostly GASLIGHT, personally, but any rules set is fair game. I have also played in games using The Sword and the Flame, Valor Flesh and Steel, modified GW rules, and When Dreadnaughts Ruled the Skies. I look forward to several new rules, including When the Navy Walked, which I just received and hope to review soon. I think—I hope—that this fanzine will spark more interest in a subject that interests me more and more as the years pass. It’s an extremely fertile playground for my imagination, and even some imagi-nations. Anything can happen here in VSF, and I like that.

Aethergraph Transmission Focusing Array

Editor’s Corner
J Womack

Kaor! Greetings! This is my little spot to talk to you directly, to let you in on what is going on behind the scenes of this fine publication. It took a lot longer to put this together than I originally hoped. I think we might be on a quarterly schedule, though. Submissions from readers would help with that... Speaking of, I’ll be posting some submissions guidelines later in this issue, so if you have any ideas that you think just must be included in future issues, send them to me! I’d love to have some artwork, house rules, product reviews, or even fiction. A little about me: I have been a gamer for more years than I care to think about. I started with D&D in a red box, and it all grew from there. Warhammer 40K (Rogue Trader) got me interested in miniatures wargaming when it was first released back in the 80s. I first got interested in VSF after reading Peshawar Lancers by Steve M. Stirling. I have always liked alternate history, and wargaming. VSF combines them both., so it was like a match made in Heaven, as they say. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. -J aethergraph@gmail.com

THE AETHERGRAPH

Page 2

Sport
Skyrunner Season Starts!
This week at Victoria Landing Skyrunner Course, the local favorite Victoria Landing Blues raced against stiff competition from the H’reskung Reds, the H’reskung Yellows and the Ikline Greens. The Greens got off to a good lead, but were slowed by damage from the Red ship’s bow gun. After one circuit, the Reds held a narrow lead over the Blues, the Yellows were in striking distance in third, and the Greens, plagued by more mechanical difficulty, were a distant fourth. The second circuit saw the Blues board and capture the closing Yellows and knock loose the rudder on the Red scudder! The brutal one-two combination allowed the Blue scudder to swoop into the lead, which they maintained through the final circuit. Final Standings: B(2:3), R(3), G(3:5), Y(DNF) rugby football.

J Womack

The honor of the Queen’s regiment was upheld, as they trounced the Texicans in a rough-but-clean match. The star of the game was Private Regan King. He scored three tries in the match. On the second, King received a dropkick from fellow Welshman Nigel Davies after a lineout. With only two yards to cross the tryline, King scored easily. The final score was 38 to 10 in favor of the 63rd. The Texican players, honest sporting lads, hosted the men of the Regimental team to a round of beers at the local afterwards, which led to an impromptu rematch in the street outside!

63rd Foot Trounces Texicans
The Blues celebrate victory!
Photo courtesy brigadegames.com. Miniatures by Robert N. Charrette.

Leading up to the celebrations of the independence of their nation from Mexico, the Texican Legation’s troops challenged HM 63rd Reg’t. to a game of
J Womack

Verne’s Armory Quarterly
Black Smoke Projector
Yet another fiendish creation of Doctor Otto Maton, the black smoke projector was originally developed to please the Emperor of Nippon while Maton sought refuge from the European powers in that remote island nation. According to confidential sources, Maton has developed and improved upon his original devilish design since escaping to Mars. How it Works: The bell-shaped focusing array at the end of the weapon’s barrel creates a capsule of rapidly degenerating ions which surrounds and compresses a thick, black , gaseous vapor. These ions deteriorate in a predictable manner unless they strike an object that is in contact with the ground, at which time they all instantly discharge their electrical potential through whatever it was they struck. Range to target is set by the focusing array. For longer range shots, the array creates a thicker layer of ions, and a thinner layer for shorter shots. Once the ions degenerate totally or are discharged as described above, the vapor encased within the capsule is released. An opaque black cloud bursts forth, approximately 30 or 35 yards in diameter. The cloud is Matoxin, a potent nerve toxin that kills within seconds of exposure. Matoxin takes effect when inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through moist tissue (eyes, nose, et cetera) and even skin if left in extended contact. Defensive Measures: Goggles and some sort of breathing filters are sufficient for protection during short periods of exposure to Matoxin. Gun crewmen and others expecting

“The cloud is Matoxin, a potent nerve toxin... “
extended contact with Matoxin typically wear more complete methods of protection, including heavy gloves, respirators and thick, head-to-toe clothing. History: The Empire of Nippon has used the black smoke projector on three occasions during their conquest of the Kingdom of Korea. The Nipponese also had a group of specially equipped troops who operated within the cloud of Matoxin with special protective gear. These troops, known as Smoke Stalkers, had an intense demoralizing effect on the poorly equipped and trained Koreans.

Maton’s Minions firing a smoke projector.

Game Effects:
[GASLIGHT] Range SRM ROF Radius Reload?

48”

N/A

1

4”

N

No Saving Roll. Minimal protective gear (which increases the point cost of troops by 1 each) will preserve models in the blast radius for 1 turn. Extreme protective gear, such as that worn by Masked Minions, Smoke Stalkers, Æthermarines, etc., will preserve models indefinitely in the smoke. Such gear costs an additional 2 points per model. A cloud of black smoke lasts until a die roll of 15+, made at each subsequent activation of the gun. The cloud blocks line of sight.

Page 3

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1
J Womack

Clive’s Register of Prominent Persons:
LORD SIR GERALD BLYTHINGHAM, KCB, FIRST EARL MONS OLYMPUS, VICEROY OF THE CROWN COLONY OF MARS

Early Life Lord Sir Gerald Blythingham, KCB, First Earl of Mons Olympus, began his rise to the viceregal throne began at the family seat in rural Hertfordshire. Blythingham’s greatgrandfather had made a mint of money in the American slave trade in the last century, and purchased both an estate and respectability for his son and heir, Gerald’s grandfather. As a boy, Gerald enjoyed the outdoors and often played at soldiers with his three elder brothers. His mother’s favorite, Gerald’s future was troubling for his father. As the brothers grew up and went off to find suitable careers in the Army, Navy and Church, young Gerald was sent to Rugby, where, despite a talent for languages and sport, he was, academically speaking, rather disappointing. After managing to squeak out a diploma, Gerald attended university at Cambridge. His talent for learning languages helped young Blythingham to gain respectable grades in his degree field, and he left Cambridge able to converse fluently in no less than six languages. Gerald’s father determined that the place to put his youngest son was in the Foreign Office, where he could usefully work for the Empire as a translator and minor diplomatic functionary. Gerald proved a crafty bureaucratic manipulator, however, and rose to a position of prominence following his involvement in the Bongolesian Crisis of 1862.

tions led to his appointment as Undersecretary of Martian Affairs to the Foreign Minister. His position required relocation to the Crown Colony in 1871, and Sir Gerald arrived on Mars aboard HMES Victory on March 9th of that year. The first viceroy of the Crown Colony of Mars was Sir Hiram Thickheed, KCCM. His rule was a noble start, until he perished suddenly during the awful Martian lungfever epidemic that swept Victoria Landing eight
Sir Gerald Blythingham, KCB

“[He] rose to a position of prominence during the Bongolesian Crisis of 1862.”

mate King of Bongolesia, or the scientists would be tortured, killed, cooked and devoured. Naturally, the Foreign Office refused to be a party to any sort of anti-royal revolutionary nonsense. But what to do about the captured scientists? Enters into the picture one Mister Gerald Blythingham, assistant to the British Ambassador to the court of His Majesty Umomo IV, King of Bongolesia. Mister Blythingham used a great deal of initiative when he hired a group of European soldiers of fortune to form a rescue party. The rescue party succeeded in their mission, and Blythingham trumpeted his successful venture to every journalist he could find. The exciting tale spread through the press like wildfire. Before long, his name was widely known across Britain.

years ago. Under Sir Hiram’s visionary leadership, the tiny colonial outpost at Victoria Landing grew into a thriving colonial town, aetherfield and fort. His funeral services were held in Victoria Landing, and virtually every British subject in the Crown Colony attended, from the highest to the lowest. Although he had only been on the Red Planet for five years, Sir Gerald had used his remarkable facility with languages to rise to the post of Senior Secretary to the Viceroy. At the time of Sir Hiram’s death, he was the highest ranking politician on Mars. Sir Gerald immediately took the reins of power. His new position was later confirmed by Her Majesty.

Viceroy Blythingham
Since becoming Viceroy, Sir Gerald has overseen the expansion of the Crown Colony on three fronts, bringing additional Martian city-states into alliance and under the control of the British. His diplomatic triumph in the establishment of a British administration for the vitally important city of
(Continued on page 9)

The Crisis Parliament to Mars
A team of British botanists were exploring the mountainous highlands of Bongolesia, an obscure African nation. While there, a fierce tribe of cannibalistic natives captured the expedition and held them for ransom. The kidnappers demanded that the British government provide the tribe with arms and assistance in overthrowing the legitiUsing the fame generated by his handling of the Crisis and his subsequent knighthood, Sir Gerald was returned as the Tory MP for the rotten borough of Gothchicksarehot in the 1864 General Elections. Six years of backbench obscurity, party loyalty and unethical machina-

THE AETHERGRAPH

Page 4

Battle of Paquime Walls
(24-26 December 1866)
The Battle of Paquime Walls is the most famous battle of the entire Maximillian War fought between the Republic of Texas and The Empire of Mexico. It took place over the course of three days in the early winter of 1866-67. A battalion of the Republic’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment had been assigned patrol duties in northern Mexico, scouting for Imperial Mexican camps. After weeks of fruitless searching, the battalion was in the process of re-grouping to return to the main body of the army, when a large force of Imperial Mexican Dragoons discovered them. Outnumbered three to one, the Texican forces quickly reversed directions and attempted to throw off their pursuers before returning to the safety of the main Texican army. However, they were unable to break contact with the pursuing Mexican forces, and, after a chase lasting for four days, the Texican cavalrymen were forced to make a stand in a ruined Indian village. On December 24th, 1866, the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Cavalry Regiment (Goliad Rifles) totaling 331 men and officers, arrived at the ruins of Paquime Walls. The senior officer present for the Texicans was Major Owen Resnick of the Goliad Rifles. Upon reaching the supposed safety of the ruined town, the Texicans were surrounded by approximately 900 men of the 2nd Campeche Dragoons under the command of Colonel Joaquin Maria Joselito de Paz y Gutierrez. The afternoon and evening of the 24th were spent exchanging sporadic gunfire and driving off three assault waves against the walls of the town. Soldiers in the town began to wonder if this would be a second Alamo. Major Resnick was killed by gunfire during an attempted assault shortly after midnight on Christmas Day. Captain Ike Fannin, a relative of Colonel James Fannin of the Alamo, assumed command following Resnick’s death. Taking stock of his rather desperate situation, Fannin realized his command was in perilously low spirit, and so he decided that a hot meal in celebration of Christmas Day would help to restore morale. Fannin detailed six men to prepare a Christmas Feast - made from the majority of the remaining food - for all the troops, saying “A few Mexicans aren’t going to spoil this blessed day for us, are they boys? Of course not! Once they smell our Christmas Dinner, while they're out on short commons, they’ll be surrendering to us, if only for a good hot meal!” The famous Paquime Christmas Dinner was, in fact, interrupted by an assault by the Mexican dragoons, who had indeed decided that they too wanted a Christmas Feast. Captain Fannin was wounded in the attack, but his life was saved by one of the cooks, a recent immigrant from Poland, Private Ripkowski. After driving off the assault, rather than seeking medical treatment for his wound, Fannin calmly righted the makeshift table and ordered more food to be served to the men. The Imperial troops waited out the remainder of the day, only occasionally making random shots into the Texican camp area. Unknown to the Texican command, these Imperial troops were at the end of their logistical train, and were short on supplies as well. The dragoons, in chasing the Texican cavalry, were forced to advance too quickly to keep in contact with their own supply trains in order to maintain contact with the Texican forces as they withdrew. One outcome of this pell-mell chase across the deserts of northern Mexico was that the Mexicans lacked any sort of artillery support, which would have quickly made the Texican positions in the ruins untenable. In addition, the fierce resistance of the Texican troops in the face of repeated assaults was highly demoralizing to the conscripted soldiers of Imperial Mexico. By the morning of the December 26, 1866, Texican ammunition supplies were almost completely exhausted. When all the remaining men were reduced to no more than three rounds each, Fannin ordered his soldiers to fix their Bowie bayonets. He led the majority of his remaining men in a daring sally from the town, supported by rifle fire from the sharpshooters stationed on the walls. The Texican advance was so stealthy that they were a mere twenty yards from the Imperial camp when the alarm was raised.
Jim Stewart

In twenty minutes of brutal close quarters fighting, the Texicans forced the demoralized Imperial troops to withdraw from the field in disorder. Captain Fannin wisely ordered a hasty retreat from Paquime Walls before additional Imperial forces could arrive and annihilate what remained of his valiant little army. After three days of hard riding, the Goliad Rifles made contact with the main body of the Texican Expeditionary Force in northern Mexico. The Aftermath At the battle’s end, only 134 men and 4 officers of the battered 2nd Battalion remained alive, and virtually all were wounded in some fashion. Mexican casualties of the battle were not accurately recorded as a result of the widespread muster-pay corruption of the Imperial Army. Estimates generally place the total number of Mexican casualties between 475 and 500. Colonel Paz y Gutierrez survived the battle, but was arrested, tried and executed for incompetence of command for his failure at Paquime Walls. Captain Fannin, later claimed the colonel had done “all that was possible with under-supplied troops, against a fortified position, in the face of determined resistance without artillery support.” Captain Ike Fannin (Class of ’58), 1st Lieutenant Octavio Rodriguez, and Private Stash “RIP” Ripkowski, received the Lone Star Cross for valor. Lt. Rodriguez was the first man of color to be awarded an LSC. They also received promotions to Major, Captain and Sergeant, respectively. Twelve Houston Stars are awarded to other members of the 2nd Battalion, eight of them posthumously.

Page 5

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

RULES FOR AUTOMATONS IN GASLIGHT
By J Womack

Automatons are, essentially, Victorian Science Fiction’s version of robots. The term robot was coined by a Czech artist in the 1930s. They are not suits of armor, nor are they vehicles. Automatons are purely mechanickal devices controlled by Babbage Engine brains and complex programs rather than receiving direction from a living being. They can be found either in units (lesser automatons) or as individuals (greater automatons). Automatons may fly, walk, roll, or swim, as the builder sees fit.

Automaton Weaknesses
Water: The Automaton’s Natural Foe
Automatons are made of metal, with intricate parts and delicate tolerances. As such, they should not cross water obstacles anywhere except over a bridge. The water entering their systems will cause all sorts of faults. Any automaton which moves through water has their Sustain roll reduced by -5 for the rest of the game or until Repaired.

Automaton Strengths
Morale, Emotion, and Other Human Frailties
Automatons are not living creatures. As such, they do not know fear. A unit of automatons will automatically pass all Morale tests. Equally, no Morale bonus will affect the emotionless machine. This does not hold true for a Programmer or Automaton Master attached to the unit. They will test as the extraordinary and unique individuals they are. Automatons are completely immune to gas attacks which affect the breathing of a living creature (Maton’s Black Smoke Projector, for instance), and require no oxygen to function (unless necessary for combustion for Power). Acid, flame, and other damaging clouds will affect automatons normally.

Malfunctions
Automatons are machines that have been programmed to perform certain tasks. It can be assumed that the original programmer knew his business fairly well, and foresaw most possibilities for decision making on the battlefield. However, no programming is perfect, and a limited set of options can sometimes cause conflicts in programming. In addition, the Babbage Engines used for brains in these mechanickal devices are very delicate. Dust, excess oil, or even insects (bugs!) can easily interfere with the working of the brain and cause a malfunction. The delicate, experimental and temperamental nature of mechanickal technology is modeled in GASLIGHT by requiring a Sustain roll every turn for an automaton, just as for the fantastic steam contraptions piloted by men and women and Martians and Venusians and Selenites and... well, you get the picture. When a Babbage Programmer (a new Skill) is near a unit of automatons or an individual automaton, the automaton(s) in question can subtract 2 from their Sustain rolls. If an Automaton Master (another new Skill, for Major Heroes) is nearby (again, within 3"), then they will subtract 4 from their Sustain roll instead. These bonuses do not stack, so having both a Programmer and an Automaton Master near a unit will not mean a -6 bonus to the Sustain roll, only a -4 for the Master. If an automaton fails its Sustain roll, a 'bug' or malfunction has cropped up, and a d10 roll on the Automaton Bug Chart is needed.

Tireless and Tough
Automatons, being mechanickal devices, never tire. They may wear out, they may run out of fuel, and they may randomly malfunction, but they never get weary. Also, being metal, they are rather tough. Trying to cut one with a sword is often a losing proposition, and you certainly would not want to punch one with a fist.

Left: An early unobtainite skiff approaches the flying island kingdom of Laputa through the mists.

THE AETHERGRAPH

Page 6

AUTOMATON BUG CHART
Die Roll
1-4 5-6 7-8

Effect
Freeze. Automaton (or unit) does nothing for one turn. Slip a (Mental) Gear. Automaton (or unit) does nothing for 1d3 turns. Run Wild. Automaton (or unit) moves at full speed in random direction for d3+1 turns. They ignore all other models. If they leave the play table, they are gone for the duration of the game. They may be collected for later in campaign games. Shoot Everything. Automaton (or unit) will remain in place and fire any missile weapons at nearest model directly in front of it, regardless of friend or foe. If two objects are equally near, randomly determine which is attacked. Berserker. Automaton (or unit members) moves towards and melee attacks nearest model, regardless of friend or foe. If two objects are equally near (i.e., in base contact), randomly determine which is attacked.

9

10

New Skills
Babbage Programmer
A Babbage Programmer has been trained to input a complex series of instructions into the Babbage Engine brain of an automaton that determines how it will act and react. As such, he can redirect a nearby automaton that has a programming error. Babbage Programmers can also perform minor battlefield Repairs on automatons suffering from the effects of immersion in water or other damages. An automaton-using army without an Automaton Master must have at least one individual with this skill. Rules: When standing within 3” of an automaton or unit of automatons, those automatons will subtract 2 from their Sustain rolls. Babbage Programmers also have the ability to Repair an automaton (but not any other mechanickal contraptions).

Sustain roll needed. In addition, an Automaton Master can Repair any automaton that is suffering from the effects of water, a ‘bug’, or any other damage.

Her Majesty’s Troops Fighting Automatons

Automaton Master
Like a Babbage Programmer, an Automaton Master can re-program an automaton's Babbage Engine brain, and make Repairs on a faulty automaton. The difference between the two is mainly in the degree to which the Master can control her mechanical minions due to familiarity with the devices she built them, after all! All automaton-using armies should have someone with this skill. Rules: When standing within 3” of an automaton or a unit of automatons, those automatons will subtract 4 from any

Page 7

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

DESIGNING AN AUTOMATON
House Rules for GASLIGHT
By J Womack

There are nine steps in the design of an automaton: category, speed, brain, skills, armor, weapons, power source, options, and cost. Most of the functions and items in the design process will entail the use of Power. Power, as any good mad scientist can tell you, is everything. The more options an Automaton Master puts on her Deathbot, the more Power it will need. Keep track of the amount of Power your automaton demands.

Step 3: Brains!
Every automaton has a Babbage Engine brain which operates the programs which tell the automaton what to do. These are complex arrangements of gears, pulleys, levers, and cables, whirring and clicking as they calculate. Larger brains are more robust (improving Sustain) and can run more skills, but need more Power and may be a bigger target (reducing Save).
Brain Base Sustain 12 14 16 18 Skills 2 3 4 5 Category Either Either Either Greater Power 0 1 2 4 Save Modifier +1 -1

Step One: Category
There are two options you may choose from here: lesser automatons and greater automatons. A lesser automaton must operate as part of a unit (at least two automatons) and has a maximum Power of 7. They are smaller and usually not as heavily armed or armored as their bigger cousins, but tend to be faster and more numerous. A greater automaton may operate as an individual, and has no limitation on how much Power it can use. However, they are much more expensive and generally slower, due to increased weight of the larger machine. Phil decides that he needs a large, powerful machine to extort money from the local potentates. He chooses a greater automaton.
Tiny Small Average Grand

Phil chooses a Grand Babbage Engine brain for his automaton. He wants to avoid the embarrassment of his mechanickal marvel forgetting where it was going in the midst of a battle.

Step Four: Skills
An automaton is only as useful as it is programmed to be. The more skills, the better the automaton’s performance is likely to be. You will need a Skill program for each of the following functions if you wish your automaton to be able to perform that function. Some skills are complex and require more than one slot. Skill Babbage Programmer Repair Scuffle Shoot Soar Steam Skill Slots 2 2 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 Level 8 8 7 9 +2 / program
(Continued on page 10)

Step Two: Speed
The Speed characteristic of an automaton is figured out by allocating an amount of Power and multiplying that by the mode factor. There are three modes of mobility: Soar (flying), Steam (legs, wheels or tracks), and Swim (water). An automaton may have more than one mode. Mode Soar Steam Swim Factor (by Class) Lesser x4 x3 x1 Greater x2 x2 x .5

The Royal Phil-harmonic War-maton, a greater automaton, has 6 Power allocated to Steam, giving it a Speed of 12 (6 Power x 2 = 12). Phil’s automaton now moves as fast as a horse.

Swim Tunnel Upgrade

THE AETHERGRAPH
(Continued from page 6)

Page 8

Step Six: Weapons
It may safely be assumed that any automaton with a Scuffle attribute has some tool, claw, pincer, or appendage suitable for melee combat. Additionally, if an automaton has a Shoot score, it may be considered to have some weapon equivalent to a pistol (even if it is called a Histrionic Gastronomer, the stats are the same). Bigger, heavier weapons may also be mounted. Lesser automatons may carry weapons as large and powerful as a bolt action rifle. Greater automatons could be armed with light artillery, or anything lesser. Some weapons will require electricity—keep this in mind when adding Optional Equipment. The Royal Phil-harmonic Automaton is armed with an exotic weapon: a sonic cannon! This is fine, since the Phil-harmonic is a greater automaton. A lesser automaton would be limited to a very loud radio.

Shoot allows the operation of ranged weapons, either installed or hand held. Scuffle allows the automaton to engage in melee combat. Steam, Swim and/or Soar are needed for each type of locomotion chosen previously. Repair allows the automaton to repair other mechanickal devices, including automatons, but not itself. Babbage Programmer is exactly the same as described in a previous article, again with the exception that the automaton cannot re-program or repair itself. Tunnel allows a suitably equipped automaton to travel underground, gaining a Burrow Speed 1/2 that of it’s normal highest Speed. Upgrade is an improved (though more complex) program, which gives an improved attribute (Shoot, Scuffle or Repair). Upgrade can be purchased multiple times. With a Grand Brain, Phil can choose up to five skills. He chooses Steam, Shoot, Scuffle, Upgrade (Shoot), and Upgrade (Shoot) again. The Philharmonic now has a Shoot attribute of 13 (9 +2 +2), a Scuffle attribute of 7, and the ability to walk.

Step Seven: Power Sources
There are four common sources of power for automatons in my GASLIGHT universe: primary batteries, clockwork, handwavium reactors and coal or oil fired steam. Primary batteries are large jars of acid with reagent metals in them, generating an electrical current from chemical energy. Clockwork utilizes mechanical energy stored in wound springs and gears. Handwavium reactors utilize the incredible mineral handwavium, which gives off a huge amount of heat when bathed in certain solutions. The heat is used to provide steam. Traditional steam power uses either coal or oil to heat a boiler for steam. Power Source Primary Battery Duration Air Required? N N N Y Provide Electricity? Y N N N Notes

Step Five: Armored Skin
The metal skin of an automaton can be made of many materials, from soft to extremely hard. The heavier the outer shell, the harder it is to harm the automaton. The level of armor purchased will determine the base Save attribute for the automaton. However, heavier armor does come at a price: reduced Speed. Armor Level NONE LIGHT MEDIUM HEAVY Speed Modifier +2 -1 -3

Base Save 4 9 11 14

D3+2

-1 Save -1 Speed -

Clockwork Unlimited Handwavium Phil is turning the Phil-harmonic into a massive engine of destruction. Only Heavy armor plating of the finest steel will do! The Phil-harmonic has a Save of 13 (Base 14 - 1 for the Grand Brain). Speed is reduced to Steam 9 (Base of 12 –3 for Heavy armor). Steam Unlimited Unlimited

Notes: Handwavium reactors, due to their great weight, reduce Speed by 1. Clockwork’s additional complexity and delicacy reduce Save by 1.

Phil chooses to use conventional steam power for his automaton, preferring tried and true methods to fancy (and difficult to obtain fuel for) handwavium reactors. The Royal Phil-harmonic can’t operate in æther, and needs a generator to power the sonic cannon.
(Continued on page 9)

Page 9

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

(Continued from page 8)

Step Eight: Optional Equipment
The final step in creating your very own automaton is to choose the Optional Equipment. Excavation Equipment. Required for Tunnel. Ignore terrain while underground. +2 Power. Fine Manipulators. Required for Repair or Babbage Programmer skills. A collection of tools and/or fully functional hands to do delicate work. +1 Power. Flight Equipment. Required for Soar attribute. Requires electricity. Ignore terrain when flying. +2 Power. Generator. Adds electricity to Power sources other than primary batteries. +2 Power. Searchlight. Requires electricity. Reduces penalties for darkness. +1 Power. Seaworthy. Automaton is sealed against water. Ignore effects of water. +2 Power. Self-Destruct. Automaton may destroy itself in blinding flash. Lesser automatons explode like grenades, greater automatons like Medium Artillery (GASLIGHT, p. 25). Strong grip. The pincers on this automaton are especially strong and sharp. When attacking a vehicle, they have a Scuffle SRM of –5 rather than –10 as normal. +1 Power. Phil adds a generator to power the sonic cannon, but decides that’s enough for now. British Armored Steam Automaton, Mk. I, on factory floor during construction.

Available At Last!
Æther-Ready Goggles
Eminently Suited for Elegant Travelers These fine instruments will protect your eyes from the luminiferous æther, the strong sunlight found in the æther, and even from brief pulses of super-luminous æthergraph waves! When properly adjusted, the polarized lenses adhere tightly to one’s face, protecting delicate eye tissues from the desiccating effects of the æther. At a mere £4, no finer goggle can be had. Made of the finest burlwood walnut, copper, India rubber, and glass polarized using the Kimric Smythe Patent method, these goggles will provide years of service to those fortunate enough to obtain them. Available from Neverwas Haul, Etsy.
[Used with permission]

Step Nine: Point Cost
Automatons cost points equal to three times their Power requirement, plus the cost of any special weapons. The Royal Phil-harmonic needs 12 Power (6 for Speed, 4 for Brain, 2 for Generator). That makes it cost 36 points. Adding the sonic cannon (for 7 points) brings the total cost to 43 points for one automaton. Clive’s Register
(Continued from page 3)

H’reskung, on the slopes of Mons Olympus was rewarded with a peerage, and he was made the first Earl Mons Olympus. His arms are described thus: gules, a chevron argent over a deathray displayed, argent.

Lord Blythingham’s rule has recently been marked with a smear of corruption and nepotism. His son-in-law, Mr. Percival H. Windsome, was caught selling passage aboard royal ships and pocketing the fee. Windsome’s subsequent conviction for embezzlement has been the nadir of Sir Gerald’s tenure in the office. Meanwhile, Mr.

Windsome has been transported to the Venus Penal Colony, where he is currently serving out his six year sentence working as an accountant in the warden’s office.

THE AETHERGRAPH

Page 10

First to the Æther
By J Womack

1 The weather seemed right. A warm summer day in the south of England, with barely a glimmer of wind to stir the grass. Not a cloud in the sky. And the barometer in the weather shack of the field promised that the clear skies would hold for at least another twelve hours. So be it, thought Robert. “We go today,” he quietly announced to the small crowd of technicians, engineers, newspapermen and busybodies. This short announcement prompted a flurry of activity. A dozen men ran to each of the huge winches around the field. Each winch was fed by two thousand fathoms of hempen cable, the end of which was fixed to a stout iron ring in the hull of the massive vessel anchored in the midst of the field. And what a vessel it was! The first of her kind, a long, cigar shaped balloon. The idea was French in origin, those mad Montgolfier brothers. A huge envelope of canvas, filled with thin rubber bladders containing hydrogen gas rather than hot air. The elongated cigar shape had been proposed by a zoologist studying fish, as being “better able to cleave through a liquid medium such as this æther you propose to sail through.” The fins had been one of Gunther’s ideas as well, as were the reinforcing ribs for strength along the body of the gasbag. Below the giant gasbag was slung a small but strongly-built cabin, just large enough for a four man crew, a small steam engine, oxygen cylinders and the æther propeller. The æther propeller had been Robert’s fascination (some might say obsession) for four years. He had sunk thousands of guineas into realizing its construction and that of the massive airship that bobbed gently on the field before the crowd. Robert walked quickly to the small cabin that served as changing room, office, and weather station for the experiment. “Robert! I say, Robert!” exclaimed a voice from just inside the shack. “It’s definitely on for today then, is it?” asked Reginald Horatio Deering, Robert’s closest friend and fellow æther enthusiast. “Yes, Reg, it’s on. Today, we make history, old boy! History! Our names will be remembered for as long as man still looks out to the stars and the other planets. The first men into the æther! By God! I may not come back!” Reginald’s shocked look must have registered in Robert’s pre-occupied mind. “Just joking, old boy! We haven’t any food or water aboard, you know. Good Heavens, we’ll only have one bottle of champagne! Can’t make even a rough go of it without those things, you know.”

Reginald’s startled look of panic subsided. Farnham Robert Goslingen had a nasty habit of pushing things beyond their safe limits. While at times this produced fantastic results such as the æther propeller, it had also produced some astonishingly dangerous failures. Robert had burnt his carriage house to the ground one afternoon while developing the æther propeller. The two friends barely escaped with their lives, and the first design was completely destroyed. They lost six month’s work and three thousand pounds in an hour. “Good, Robert. Can’t wait to board her and lift off. Ever so much better than that crazy aeronautical exhibition when we were children, don’t you think?” “That tired old bit of rag and wicker had nothing on the Lady Eloise, did it Reg?” “No, it didn’t. I can’t believe your parents allowed us to clamber on board that flying disaster. Hah! Do you remember the look on your father’s face when you cut the mooring rope?” “No, but I remember yours! Staring, aghast, at me, as if I had gone stark raving mad!” laughed Robert. “Thought you had done, Robert! Still, what freedom! Floating over the county, like two birds we were. Well, at least until we realized the gasbag was leaking hydrogen like a basket does water and the balloon was falling like a stone…” wheezed Reginald. Both friends grinned at each other just as they had when they were excitable schoolboys together at Rugby. “Well, old friend, are you ready for one more adventure with me?” asked Robert. “Just you try and keep me from it, Robert. You know, I put a lot of myself into that ship, too.” Reginald was an engineer by training, and inordinately fond of building things. “Lady Eloise is nearly as much my child as she is yours.” “I know, Reg, and you did a beautiful job building her. Really. No one else could have done it. No one else would have done it but you,” allowed Robert. “But…” “Yes? Something wrong with her? What is it?” demanded Reginald. “Well, did you have to paint her blue? And such a blue! Robin’s egg ain’t in it, I tell you!” laughed Robert. Reginald’s face soured a bit, for a moment. “Yes, it had to be blue. Mother insisted on it, as you very well know. And without her backing, father would never have paid for the canvas. And then where would we be? Can’t we just get bundled up and on with it?” To Be Continued...

The Æthergraph XCIV Publishing J Womack, Editor Email: aethergraph@gmail.com

Submission Guidelines
1. All text submissions should be typed in an easy to read font. MS Word 2003 format is best. Artwork would be best in either .BMP or .JPG file formats. Original artwork only, please! Submit your work to the editor (me, J Womack) by email at aethergraph@gmail.com. 2. Submissions will be selected for publication based on quality, style and length. The editor will contact you if your submission has been selected prior to publication to be sure there is no conflicting publication or other issues. 3. All original submissions selected for publication become the sole property of The Æthergraph and XCIV Publishing unless used under license or arrangements have been made in writing prior to receipt of publication consent. 4. At this time, XCIV Publishing can not pay for submissions. We do this for love, not money.

WANTED
Mechanickal genius seeks devoted minions with no national loyalties who are willing to follow orders without question. Must look good in mask, helmet , and long coat. Compensation care provided. Interested individuals may inquire by loudly proclaiming “MATON IS A GENIUS!” at noon in front of the Britannia Fountain on Friday. You will be investigated thoroughly and either contacted for an interview or killed as an informant. commensurate with

individual experience and abilities. Medical

Diary of a Texican on Venus
04 October 1871

Gny. Sgt. S. Cox, RTMC

NO MARTIANS NEED APPLY

Mini Review
Black Hat Miniatures
18mm Martian Empires Black Hat Miniatures is the UK-based maker of a couple of lines of pewter figures. In particular, they make the excellent 18mm Martian Empires line. I own about 200 of these minis. The poses are good, the casting is clean. There is a good selection of packs available as well. My personal favorites are the Askaris with Guns, but the Imperial Martians and other packs are very good as well. I do not own any of the Tribals, but have heard good reports on them as well from others. In the US, you can buy them from Scale Creep Miniatures, and they are a pleasure to do business with. Each pack costs $5, with 8 infantry and 3-4 cavalry per pack.

This morning we departed Houston in the newly commissioned RTS Santa Fe (an armed merchant æther flyer we recently purchased from the British). “We” means me and a company of Marine Sappers attached to the 3rd Battalion, 2nd Regiment of Foot in the Republic Army Those pukes are better known as "Black Legs" to us Marines. Our final destination is the Veiled Planet—you know, Venus— where our primary mission is to build an advance base in the swamp and marsh of that miserable planet. After training in the swamps around Anahuac in July and August, I can’t imagine Venus being any worse. Not a wink of decent sleep for two months since the mosquitoes and gators kept us up during the night…. My men are all volunteers, like all Marines, and they are itching for a good adventure. Their spirits will remain high just as long as I keep my commanding officer away from them. Subaltern Fredrick A. Griggs is fresh from the Academy in Galveston, and a real by-the-book officer. Not a bad kid, but if I ever catch him leaving that d—ed book (The Correct Manner of a Republic Officer in the Field) lying around, I swear I’ll either use it for kindling my campfire or let Private Jones have it for personal hygiene in the head. Lord knows that poor lad could use some help in that department. It’s a sergeant’s life, training up new officers and Marines. Nothing new there. I expect even old Caesar’s sergeants did the same, way back in Roman times. The Santa Fe herself is something new, though. Being a Gunnery Sergeant in the Republic Marine Corps, I have been on board more than a few vessels at sea, but nothing prepared me for this kind of voyage. This hulk is noisier than a hail storm on a tin roof, hotter than a Sonoran summer, and shakier than a Chinese whaler. She’s an amazing ship, but to tell the truth, I’ll be glad to put my feet back on solid ground. Well, I must end this log entry as I am going topside to see the Earth from the stars. Everyone’s seen the Photostats, of course, but to see that with my own eyes… well, that ‘s worth the two year tour of duty by itself, never mind the extra pay my missus will get. When I was a boy, no one had ever thought of flying over the Earth, much less to another planet. By the time my sons get to be my age, who knows? Maybe we’ll be off to another star? Gunnery Sergeant Seamus Cox, of the Republic of Texas Marine Corps, kept a diary of his adventures in the new colony on Venus. It was printed in 1882 as “Diary of a Texican on Venus.”

XCIV Publishing
Disclaimer: All material not original to this publication remains the sole property of the author, sculptor or photographer unless such copyright has been transferred to the editor. Care has been taken to establish permission to use items from the internet, and no challenge to ownership is intended in cases where no response has been given. If you own any of the images used in this publication and wish to have your image removed from it, please contact J. Womack at aethergraph.gmail.com. All original material copyrights are claimed.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful