Saturday Seed ~ 103 (Leagues of Adventure)

This week’s seed is for the totally brand new this week setting for Ubiquity by the prolific creators at Triple Ace Games, Leagues of Adventure. Of course, your steampunk/Victorian game of choice may find this seed suitable as well, with a few alterations here or there. With a little work, some dastardly competitors, a mix of charitable, troubled, or insidious locals in each port of call, and the internal war to compete with grace, honesty, and good manners this seed could easily be expanded into a full on plot for a story or a short campaign.

The seed
The winter was long and uneventful. Many folk of good character and curious spirit have grown bored. The heads of several illustrious, and some not-so-illustrious societies have joined to charge their members with a great and stirring task requiring total commitment, ingenuity, bravery, and guile in hope that it may liven up this season, and perhaps the next. The first to travel to Oak Island, Nova Scotia, Canada by unconventional means of their own devising or commissioning, will set the tone for a grand race of invention, exploration, and trickery!

Planting the seed
Planting the seed is easy if the characters are actively looking for something to do, require fame or resources, have a grudge to settle with a rival, or are new members of an Adventuring Society. Once the race is announced, anyone who is anyone, or wants to be someone will participate. Better yet, this race offers something a little different.

The Details
The race, awfully referred to as the Spring Innovation Tour – a title voted on in committee has been unofficially been dubbed the Spring Piracy Tour. Hardly an improvement. The race involves participants designing a new form of transportation or having one designed, which is to convey them from the starting point in London, on a shake-down run to Paris, and from there on to Oak Island. The first crew to reach Oak Island and set up a functional drilling tool capable of sensitive exploration of the site wins the first leg of the race. The Judges will assume control of the drilling machine to determine if it functions, then urge the contestants to continue the race.

The prize for winning the first leg is the ability to select a deserted Caribbean island of their choice as the destination for the second leg of the race. The challenge on this leg is first to arrive and then to bury a treasure map given them by the judges in a devious pirate trap of their own devising. The first to set up their trap wins.

The winner gets to select one of the pirate traps of their competitors, and assign the others to the remaining traps. The third leg involves working to defeat the traps and retrieve the map. The fourth leg begins as soon as the map is recovered. With map in hand, the crew must race to the next destination, the peak of Mount Cairn on Greater Windlet Island, trek down into the jungle interior and spend a night on what has been described as the most inhospitable place on the globe. Survivors must then trek back up to the top of the ostensibly extinct volcano, have a well-protected and heavily armed lunch with the owner of the island, Sir John Gast aboard his dirigible Chronos, before proceeding with the next leg of the race.

The next leg of the race is to plot a course from Greater Windlet to Shanghai in three stages. The first stage the contestants must travel roughly 1/3 the distance (as geography allows) and at the end of this stage must trade conveyances with one of the surviving crews. The second stage is the next third of the distance while operating the other team’s conveyance. In the final stage the contestants switch back to their own conveyance, and complete the run to Shanghai. The first team to Shanghai wins an all-expenses-paid return trip to London by the top conventional means, regardless of what happens in the last leg of the race.

The last leg of the race involves taking on an entirely new crew, training them, and getting from Shanghai to Hobart, Tasmania with them. The race ends in Hobart with a nice victory dinner, and the presentation of the title ‘Innovator of the Year’ to the winning members, an excellent cash award, a bronze plaque for the trophy room of the Society in which they are members, and the opportunity to speak about the voyage before a select group of esteemed Academics from some of the finest universities in Europe later that fall.

What is going on
Basically, contest was designed for honest enjoyment, but has been suborned by some unscrupulous characters with ulterior motives.

The Oak Island leg has been perverted from the joy of racing against time and tide for the thrill of potential discovery, to separating the inventors from their drilling machine as soon as possible and getting the teams back out on the second leg of the race as soon as humanly and mechanically possible. During the race, the villains will do their best to plumb the depths of the island to search for Captain Kidd’s buried treasure.

The odds of surviving on Greater Windlet are astronomically low, but this leg is the result of some groups seeking ways, means, and courage to subdue the island, while others are simply seeking a way to finish off the contestants to liberate their now-proven inventions. While the Gast family will not permit such thievery if they are present, their resources on Greater Windlet at this time are extremely limited.

Shanghai, haven of pirates and broken rules is another area where contestants will need to defend themselves and their property from gangs hired to kill them and take their stuff.

In Hobart, the conspirators will settle for sabotage, and promises of luxury berths on the finest modes of sea and air transportation available – hoping the inventions will be abandoned in the former penal colony.

If run with a certain devil-may-care attitude, it should be possible to pass all of this danger and violence off as mere circumstance, to savour the revelation of treachery for another time. Alternately, it may be more satisfying to have a great showdown in London, with some road-weary and highly vexed PCs made all the more dangerous by their victories on the pirate seas!


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