Meat Lightning: Campaign Creation, Part 1

2009 Jun 29

The Stormchaser (formerly HMS Investigator) is a decommissioned and officially condemned 118-foot ice-strengthened merchant barque formerly of Her Majesty Queen Victoria’s Royal Navy. While searching for remnants of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition in 1853, she became frozen in the arctic Canadian waters near Lancaster Sound. Only a small fraction of the crew survived the long nine months of being frozen in until the summer thaw broke the Investigator free. The ship limped home to England barely held together, having narrowly escaped being crushed and sunk by the expanding ice. The arctic death of Captain Warren and unproven rumors of cannibalism among the few survivors led to the decommissioning of the ship and its illegal sale into private hands, despite being condemned. According to official navy records, the HMS Investigator was intentionally sunk in the North Sea in 1855.

Did you eat the bodies of your dead crewmates in order to survive?
Did you kill any of them in order to eat them?
Did you kill Captain Warren?
Did you eat Captain Warren?

The decommissioned Investigator was sold, as is, to a research group led by Dr. Francis Caldwell and secretly funded by the Royal Society for the Improvement of Natural Knowledge. Caldwell had conducted pioneering work in the scientific study of animal magnetism and had sought to expand his research to include the magnetic field of the earth itself. Consequently, he hoped that the newly renamed Stormchaser would ferry himself, a handful of assistants, and a deviously ingenious magnetic engine of his own devising to the arctic, as close to the magnetic north pole as the weather and ice would allow. However, Caldwell could find no proper crew in England willing to sail north on a “cursed” ship whose true identity was readily apparently to any able British seaman. In the end, Caldwell was forced to make grand promises to the Investigator‘s survivors so that they would return to their former posts and scrounge for the rest by hiring foreigners and ne’er-do-wells with no knowledge of the ship’s history.

Do you know that the ship is cursed?
What has Francis Caldwell promised you, that you would make this journey?
What do you hope to find or escape from out in the arctic?
Who will miss you while you are gone?

In October of 1857, the Stormchaser is frozen in for the winter 20 miles off the east coast of Boothia Peninsula, where Sir John Ross discovered the magnetic north pole in 1829. On November 12, Dr. Caldwell is in the midst of preparing to sledge his magnetic engine over the ice — and eventually all the way to the magnetic pole — when mutiny erupts. A dozen of the Stormchaser‘s crewmen are secretly servants of the archon Asmodeus and have been charged with destroying Dr. Caldwell’s machine and killing all other members of the expedition.

Which side do you initially take in the mutiny, Caldwell’s or the mutineers?
Whose side are you really on?
Who leads the pro-Caldwell forces defending the good doctor and his infernal machine?

Okay, that character now begins their first mission. Your objectives are:
1. Protect the doctor and his machine.
2. Capture, kill, or drive off the mutineers.


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