JD-76 (aka "JD" aka "Virgil Caine")

Brain in a Jar



D 3d8; N 3d10; Q 3d8; St –; V 3d8
C 3d6; K 3d8; M 2d8; Sm 3d10; Sp 3d10


Artillery 2d6 Scrutinize 3d6 Search 3d6
Trackin’ 4d6 Shootin’: Pistols, Carbines 3d8 Speed Load 3d8
Demolition 2d8 Professional:Pilot 3d8 Animal Wrangin’ 3d8
Persuasion 2d8 Overawe 2d8 Drivin’:Ornithopter, Apparatus 5d10
Fightin’:Brawlin’ 3d10 Horse Ridin’ 3d10 Sneak 3d10
Swimmin’ 3d10 Teamster 3d10 Scroungin’ 3d10
Streetwise 3d10 Survival:Woods 3d10 Tinkerin’ 3d10
Guts 2d10

Derived Traits

Pace:—-; Size: 2; Wind: 18

Hindrances & Edges

Loco 3 (Manic Depression Brave
Loco 3 (Major Phobia: Fire) Sense o’ Direction
Loco 5 (Split Personality)
Loyal (Friends)
Obligation (Confederacy)—Virgil

Special Notes

JD-76 requires a 4-oz piece of Ghost Rock to power the special “suspension fluid” in which he sits for one week. Without this, he begins to deteriorate at a rate of 1 die of Cognition per hour.


JD was given an apparatus with which to move and be more independent. It is equipped with a lens for sight, phonograph speakers for sound, and articulated “spider” legs for mobility. It lifts his canister approximately 4’ high and is balanced to provide the brain inside maximum comfort.

Durability Passenger Pace Turn Travel Fuel Reliability Modifier Hand
20/4 15 3 15 mph 1 19 +0 Flush
Roll Hit Location Armor Modifier Notes
1-5 Legs 0 -3
5-7 Sensory Rig 0 -1 Hits lens on a 5, Speaker on a 7
8-10 Fuel chamber 4 -1 Enclosed
11-20 Canister 4 +2 Main component



Minor Malfunction Major Malfunction Catastrophe
Articulation falls away. All Drivin’ rolls made at -2 until repaired Articulation falls away and walking unbalanced. All Drivin’ rolls made at -4 until repaired Leg collapses. Apparatus falls and cannot move until repaired.

Sensory Rig

Minor Malfunction Major Malfunction Catastrophe
Sensory apparatus damaged. -2 to all sensory-based rolls until repaired with Onerous (7) tinkerin’ roll. Sensory apparatus damaged. -4 to all sensory-based rolls until repaired with Hard tinkerin’ roll. Sensory apparatus destroyed. JD is blind/deaf/mute.

Fuel chamber

Minor Malfunction Major Malfunction Catastrophe
Boiler loses pressures—moves at up to 1/2 Pace. Requires Fair (5) tinkerin’ roll to get moving again. Boiler ruptured. Smoke pours out and apparatus moves at up to 1/4 Pace. Requires a Hard (9) tinkerin’ to repair. The fuel boiler explodes, doing 5d10 points of damage


Minor Malfunction Major Malfunction Catastrophe
Synapses are not firing. -2 to all Drivin’ rolls and sensory-based rolls. Requires a Onerous (7) tinkerin’ roll to fix. Synapses are shorting out. -4 to all Drivin rolls and sensory-based rolls. Requires a Hard (9) tinkerin’ roll to fix. JD loses all control of the apparatus. It begins running at double pace (30) in a random direction until it hits an obstacle, doing 3d6 damage to itself and to the obstacle.

JD-76 is the codename for a secret Confederate government project that literally fell into Geraldine Keeler’s backyard one night during an electrical storm.

“JD” was, essentially, a self-propelled ornithopter designed for short-distance surveillance and reconnaissance. The ornithopter was self-propelled by a miraculously preserved human brain in a mechanized canister that controlled the clockwork ornithopter mechanism. jD-76 was struck by lightning that night and crash landed in Miss Keeler’s back yard. The ’thopter went up in flames, but the canister containing his brain was intact.

Geraldine found the canister, removed the dynamite connected to a malfunctioning self-destruct device connected to it, and began to discover the depths to which the Confederacy would sink to gain a technological advantage in the war.

JD is essentially a brain suspended in a strange chemical fluid connected to state-of-the-art electric “actuators” that allow him to manipulate mechanical apparatuses outside of his canister. He was also equipped with electrodes connected to certain synapses that would administer electric shocks if he tried to buck his programming or reveal Confederate mission parameters.

In talking with JD—which was made possible with a special telephony rig hooked into the canister—Geraldine learned that he didn’t know who he was before he was in the canister. He had trouble remembering his previous life. If he tried really hard, he could remember trains and fire.

Later, Geraldine was visited by a woman calling herself “Miss Lavern Stefano” and her cousin “Max.” They claimed to be curious strangers, but proved to be Confederate spies, coming back to claim JD. Word was gotten to nearby Fort 51 and a squad of Union troops arrived, led by intelligence officer Captain Lucius Dalworthington, who captured “Miss Lavern”—who he recognized as Miss Josephine Devereaux. The other Confederates were escorted to the Arizona border. JD was taken back to Fort 51 with Captain Dalworthington so that the Union could keep him safe and so that they could hopefully discover more about him.

About a month later, Captain Dalworthington returned and reported that the scientists at Fort 51 were not making much progress with JD and proposed bringing Geraldine back with him to coax the depressed brain into cooperation. Geraldine, dismayed that JD may be in distress and that the Union was not able to help, agreed.

At Fort 51, she met the lead scientist that studied JD, Dr. Theodore Stranghoener, for whom the two took a mutual instant dislike. He was resentful of being replaced by an “amateur tinkerer in petticoats” and she didn’t like his haughty attitude. She later learned, by studying his “sanitized” notes, that Stranghoener was not doing a very thorough job with JD—either that, or he was hiding his real lab notes. She later managed to acquire the actual lab notes, translate them from Stranghoener’s native German, and was appalled to find that the scientist would apply electric shocks to JD to “motivate” him to cooperate, as his depression would keep him from responding to questioning.

Geraldine began to form a theory that she could remove the electrodes connected to JD and thus the need for negative “motivation.” This may ease his anxiety and depression and allow him to feel more at ease. It was the only humane thing to do. There was a risk however—the longer the brain was out of the strange “suspension component”, the more risk there was of JD losing cognition.

Also during this time, Geraldine made a breakthrough with JD’s memory of his former self. He began to remember his own name—Virgil Caine—and his old personality began to manifest itself. Unfortunately, it manifested itself in such a way as half the time Geraldine was talking to “JD,” a compliant, friendly personality who only wants to help, and the other half other she was talking to “Virgil,” a cantankerous Confederate who is far more likely to be defiant.

Nevertheless, she does learn more of Virgil’s tragic story. He was apparently from a farm outside of Knoxville, Tennessee. He has a wife, Iris, and lost his brother, Levon, to a “Yankee bullet.” He fought in Danville, Virginia, for the Confederates during the raid by Union General Stoneman on the railyards there, in 1865. He apparently was an ornithopter pilot who went down in flames. That’s his last clear memory—and probably why both he and JD fear fire so much. He vaguely remembers ice, trains, a great deal of main, the face of a main with wild hair and a mad gleam in his eyes, and Miss Josephine, who apparently showed him kindness. He also remembers the smell of salt. And the feel of electricity coursing through him, of course.

Virgil is worried about his wife, and nephew Paul, who was his brother, Levon’s son. He hasn’t seen them in over a decade and they probably think he’s dead. In many ways—he is. This feeds into his melancholia.

While at Fort 51, Geraldine worked with “Mr. Eddington,” the head of research and development, to design and build an apparatus for JD to move around with. It is made up of articulated, spider-like legs, a sensory rig, a fuel chamber, and JD’s canister. JD can essentially drive the apparatus like vehicle to get around.

Previous to Geraldine’s arrival at the Fort, JD was treated as a device, a test subject. He was kept in a metal locker when not “in use” and referred to in notes as “Subject 2783.” Now, he is referred usually as “JD” (or “Virgil” when that personality is dominant) and is no longer kept in a locked cabinet. He is in the care of Mr. Eddington. JD, much to Virgil’s consternation, has already turned over his mission parameters to Union intelligence, so he is given free rein of the Fort. While covered in his canister, he doesn’t give people such a fright and most people assume he’s simply a fancy automaton that Mr. Eddington devised.

Union intelligence has determined that Mrs. Iris Caine does still live in Knoxville with her nephew, Paul. Virgil hasn’t figured out what he wants to do with that information yet.

JD-76 (aka "JD" aka "Virgil Caine")

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