Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 50

The entry this week for Serial Setting 1 for Ubiquity details a curious and missing artifact believed to have been taken from the beautiful and deadly Windlet Islands by pirates or other unscrupulous men in times past. It carries a clue to the greater mysteries and even greater treasures which may still rest there. 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. To review the entire series check out the Serial Settings Archive Page. This series will end with Week 52, followed by a few posts to offer statistics, NPCs, and additional plot hooks.

50) The Knife of the Missing Link, Rondell Winters Collection, Chicago

Before control over the Isles was obtained by the Gast family, and long before any permanent and sustainable settlements were established, it is known that a few other expeditions met terrible ends there. While most vessels managed to get away from the islands with a sufficient number of crewmen aboard for the voyage, few managed to make it to port, as a variety of the islands lethal wildlife and vegetation took their toll on crewmen little suspecting they had transported death aboard in a fruit sack. The inimical nature of the island toward human life, while startling now, was worse before Gast Procurement took great measures to tame it.

Until 5 years ago, there was no public awareness of any artifacts having been removed from the islands, but a research student for a certain Chicago University, when hired to inspect the estate of the late Rondell Winters, an industrialist with a suspected family history of piracy and privateering, set a chain of events in motion which changed all of that for good. Within the vast collection of artifacts great and small, the student; one Whitaker Scott, found many items known to have been stolen and thought lost to the underground collectors’ market forever. One piece was a curious stone item – a stone knife – which eluded real identification until a friend of Scott’s, Lester Grant, a geologist beginning to specialize in volcanic activity in the Pacific, noted similarities in the stone with samples he had received from a research project on Greater Windlet. Grant unfortunately, fully aware of the significance of the find, died in a fire at his apartment less than two days later. Arson was suspected as was insurance fraud by his landlord. As the landlord also perished in the fire, seemingly by accident while setting the blaze, the investigation went no further.

Scott, an indifferent student at best, did not properly file most of his research, and turned in a barely readable, and highly incomplete report, which experts are only now trying to recreate properly.  The collection of artifacts, once released, was of little interest to the public, and only minor interest to the Academic Community until a photograph of the stone knife appeared in the brochure for the State run auction of remaining and unclaimed pieces. Authorities had attempted to return stolen items to the last known verified owners, and when that was complete, decided to auction off the rest. The photograph revealed a significance to an image carved into the stone blade which Scott’s bland description had diluted to triviality, “Knife, black volcanic stone (type pending), 12″ in length, double-edged, broken tip, etched figure holding a bowl on blade.”  The figure was no ordinary figure… unless figures where you come from resemble aquatic men with fins and gills.

Concerted efforts by various academics saw the piece identified as a fake and it soon dropped from sight and out of the newspapers, but those in the know are still interested in seeking other strange remnants once a part of the Rondell Winters collection possibly missed by Scott in his haste and incompetence. The knife, although roundly denounced as a sham piece, garners the greatest interest and its current location is hotly sought by many collectors both legitimate and not so legitimate. Interest in the Windlet Isles, and how this knife came to be made of stone from Mount Cairn, is also of growing importance to such groups… and their less obvious supporters. No one talks about the figure carved upon the blade, but certainly this too is of interest.

As the year progresses, several universities, and a large number of private collectors, are trying to fund and assemble a group to go into the interior of Greater Windlet to search for more artifacts, or the place where the knife was found. Gast Procurement, as usual, has formally stated no liability for any accidents which may occur, and strongly cautions teams to reconsider before making the trek. Any who are not dissuaded, will be asked to make all payments up front, and will not be allowed to enter the interior without formally updating their wills.

2 Responses to “Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 50”
  1. anarkeith says:

    Just starting to explore your serial setting seeds. Cool stuff. Thanks for sharing!

    I pick up stuff for my games wherever I can find it, reskin it, and run it. I can’t think of a time my players said, “Oh, this is ‘The Tomb of the Significant Other’ by T.M. Copyright, isn’t it?” Having stuff like yours online is priceless. I appreciate it.

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