Friday, 29 July 2016

Boilerplate - History's Mechanical Marvel for Weird War 1

Boilerplate was built by Professor Archibald Campion in the 1880s and unveiled at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The robot's notable adventures include an expedition to the Antarctic, during which it saved the lives of the team members by singlehandedly moving ice floes, clearing a path for the ship to sail out.

Designed for the self-proclaimed purpose of "preventing the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations," Boilerplate charged into combat during the Spanish–American War and the Boxer Rebellion. Campion and his robot also circled the planet with the U.S. Navy, make silent movies, and hobnobbed with the likes of Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla

Despite General Pershing's disappointment with Boilerplate's performance during the punitive expedition against Pancho Villa, he requisitioned the mechanical soldier for a special sabotage mission against what was thought to be only one cannon.

Boilerplate covertly travelled to the forest of Coucy near Laon, where it successfully spiked one of what turned out to be three cannons. Before the metal man’s work was discovered, the Germans attempted to fire the sabotaged weapon, resulting in an explosion that killed most of its 17-man crew.

When the American First Army became official on August 10, 1918, Boilerplate was attached to Pershing’s staff and functioning in a variety of roles. The metal soldier participated in the St. Mihiel campaign in September and was to take part in the Meuse-Argonne campaign in October.

On October 2, 1918, General Pershing ordered the U.S. 77th Division to advance through the Argonne forest--"no matter what our casualties are."

A mixed battalion of about 550 men under Major Whittlesey proceeded toward the Charlevaux Valley, encountering light resistance. They reached a defensible position by evening and dug in for the night. In the dense forest and incessant rain, German units managed to encircle the U.S. force and effectivly cut them off from any relief. In the following days, Pershing had the 50th Aero Squadron attempt an air-drop of supplies. The mission ended in failure: the planes were either shot down, or their packages captured or lost.

By October 5, the "Lost Battalion," as it was being called by the press, was without food or water. The next day, Pershing had Boilerplate loaded with as much supplies as it could carry. Its mission was to break through the German lines, pinpoint the exact location of the American troops, and deliver the supplies. The metal man returned after its successful mission, then, on October 7, participated in an assault that relieved the Lost Battalion.

During that action, Boilerplate vanished without a trace.

Weather and terrain made it easy to lose track of the soldier next to you, so the absence of the mechanical man was not noticed until that evening. It was initially thought that Boilerplate was destroyed by a German artillery shell; however, even a direct hit would have left fragments, and in the weeks to come no pieces of the mechanical soldier were found.

Many have speculated about Boilerplate's fate.

Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d4, Spirit d4, Strength d12, Vigor d12
Skills: Climbing d6, Fighting d8, Notice d6, Shooting d6
Pace: 6; Parry: 5; Toughness: 14 (4)
Special Abilities:
Armor (+4): Boilerplate is heavily armoured.
Construct: +2 to recover from Shaken; No additional damage from called shots;
Immune to poison and disease.
Large: Attackers gain a +1 bonus when attacking Boilerplate.
Lumbering: Boilerplate has a run die of d4.
Size +2: Boilerplate is huge.

Slam: Str+d8.

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