Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 32

The entry this week for Serial Setting 1 for Ubiquity adds still another entry point into the lives of the residents of the mysterious Windlet Islands. The Serial Settings series of posts is intended to provide usable setting material for busy GMs. Series 1 is for those looking to run Daring Tales of Adventure or Hollow Earth Expedition.

32) The Stone, Fire, and Flesh Challenge, The House of Stars, Windlet Settlement, Greater Windlet Island

If one wishes to be called an adult in the fledgling society of these dangerous islands, numerous challenges await to let you test your mettle. Simply walking to work can lead to a fatal poisoning by a wide variety of venomous creatures, but more than that there is mastering the surf, the rocks, the fish, the sharks, the lore of the jungle, and beating the heat. Any one of these is a task fit for Hercules.

These are not enough for some.

Almost 5 years ago, the idea was planted to hold a public competition to test and put on display the traits of survival and ingenuity which made settlement on these islands possible in the first place. The idea took form in the annual competition now called the Stone, Fire, and Flesh Challenge.

The challenge begins and ends on the docks. Contestants must compete with only the clothes on their backs and their choice of:

  • a sharp rock
  • a tinder box
  • a partner

The rules are simple:

  • Survive
  • Take a dugout canoe from the docks, out past the reef and circle the island, returning with a full catch of fish, cleaned and gutted.
  • Set the fish to dry, protect them from scavengers
  • Race to the top of Mount Cairn up the protected roadway, then down through the jungle off the road and outside the protective fence.
  • Camp one full night somewhere between the summit and the base of Mount Cairn collecting materials for an improvised hunt the following day
  • Report to the check point at the base of Mount Cairn after dawn, and devise a hunting implement from the materials collected the day before.
  • Hunt in the interior
  • Return to the docks with your prey and scavenged greens and water before sunset
  • Cook and eat your prey, and/or fish. You must be able to feed two additional people
  • Night swim race from the shore to the reef and back in four laps, for the best time
  • Sunrise race down the beach and back in four laps, for the best time.
The winner(s) will have completed the time sensitive portions of the competition with the overall best times, while being able to produce the largest yield of food and potable water, without dying.

Usual Suspects: Paolo Gianni

Paolo, a deckhand on a freighter that ported last year, missed the competition by a day. Entranced by the idea and intoxicated by the challenge, he took his leave from the vessel and has stayed the year through, waiting for his chance to test himself.

In his early twenties, tall, blonde, and made entirely of muscle supported by bone like steel, trimmed with acres of blinding white teeth, Paolo is seen as something of a threat by the older competitors. Not only does he have all the physical tools he needs, he has also taken a keen interest in all the survival arts practiced on the islands; and those who practice them.

Rumours: heard primarily among the women of the islands, and competitors

  • Paolo has been running marathons since he could run, and was born underwater
  • Paolo was heard to say that the best tasting shark is one you kill yourself
  • He runs, swims, and fishes every day, and studies with anyone who will have him
  • He applied several times to be a Fence Guard but was rejected, no one will say why
  • He serves as a volunteer on the fire and disaster squads
  • He gets work as a day laborer from various Company concerns when he can
  • He lives off the land and the sea
  • He cannot read


All will be revealed!

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