Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 45

The entry this week for Serial Setting 1 for Ubiquity details a spectacular phenomenon on the beautiful and deadly 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.

45) Undiscovered Geyser, Gretel Islet, interior

Much of Hansel and Gretel have been reworked into much-needed orchards, but certain stretches of the interior of each of the twin shattered islands have been left untouched by human hands. In one such section of the interior of Gretel, over the past decade conditions have been nearing perfection for a natural spectacle of great wonder and beauty to arise.

When conditions are right, the geyser projects a jet of steam and super-heated water reaching some 50 feet in the air. In most directions, this means that unless observers were within 10 or 20 yards, there would be no way to witness the eruption in action. Typically, the eruptions have come to occur once every 12 to 24 hours. Although the waters off the coast of the islet are regularly plied by fishermen, and during the harvest season many come to pick the orchards clean of their fruit, no one has ever seen the geyser.

That will change soon.

With several seasons of higher than average rainfall and several years of worsening storms, plus the truly big storms of earlier in the Decade, the water level and the pressure in the ground fissures have both been building. All it will take is another long wet season, and the Windlet Island Chain will see the power and fury of nature in action…. as well as be given a choice between nature and the demands of development.

When finally unleashed, the geyser will erupt two to four times per day, jetting close to 1000ft up, and the drifting spray will spill rainbows, raindrops, and a fine filigree of gold dust across the landscape suggesting a mother lode somewhere below worth millions.

Usual Suspects: Pavel Bouchard

Pavel is just one step removed from removal from the islands. An outspoken opponent of the Company, and one of the few with any sort of problem with the Administrator and his group of Managers, Bouchard is an idealist, with confused politics blurring anarchism, communism, and divine right  into a mixture that only sounds right when half-lit and resentful. Of course, that describes Bouchard’s condition on most nights.

Bouchard is in his mid-twenties and worked for the Company less than 6 months, before slipping away to become a disgruntled and very unsuccessful fisherman barely able to keep food on his table and clothes on his back. Balding, myopic, and prone to acne, with a strident whine in his voice that sets teeth on edge when he complains, but gives true voice to legitimate complaints, Bouchard missed his real calling. Instead of unskilled labour, he was born to rule the courtroom.

Once the geyser is discovered, and intimations of the fortune in golden wealth that must lie below spread like wildfire in tall grass, Bouchard will be galvanized into action and made into the voice of the little man forced to look at the mansion on the hill and wonder why he must scrabble to survive while the lord of the manor relaxes in paradise.

Rumours: Heard among the young and dumb, and in any bar full of washouts and malcontents

  • He was let go for incompetence and laziness
  • He has been exiled several times, but keeps crawling back
  • He was arrested earlier in the spring for setting a fire in the motor pool, but released inexplicably
  • He claims there is a massive cover-up going on and that untold secrets lie behind the Fence
  • He claims that the Company is smuggling immense wealth off the island while the people slave away
  • He claims the Company is in league with the Nazis and the FRC… somehow.
  • He was prevented at least twice from trying to go over the Fence, rather than through an entrance
  • He has his own still on either Hansel or Gretel with a potent moonshine that can peel paint

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