Saturday Seed ~ 107 (Leagues of Adventure)

This week’s seed is for the exciting new release by TAG for Ubiquity, Leagues of Adventure. It is a campaign-starter seed, that would best be run for characters of  intellectual and social dispositions as opposed to the physical.

The seed
The characters are recruited for their various specialties, connections, memberships, and so on. Assistance is recruited from characters of status both low and high. The reason? Their help is recruited, or volunteered by their betters, to assist in a large-scale convention to display the wondrous inventions, concoctions, and theories of the end of the 19th Century.  Things do not go according to plan… a word which obviously does not mean what we all think it does.

Planting the seed
Near the beginning of a campaign, this sort of scenario can help players get a sense of their social weight, duties, and connections naturally. Navigating the various social aspects of this scenario can bring the conditions and realities of status and perception to light in a clear and demonstrable way while character concepts are still forming. Planting this seed is as easy as having the characters be requested, persuaded, expected, or sent to assist by those people with the ties to approach them on one or more of these levels. They will be selected for what they can do, who they know, or how they can handle the people who will be involved in each aspect of the convention from organizers, to demonstrators, to visitors. Conditions on service will vary across the social spectrum of the characters, but it should be enticing enough to make assisting palatable to all (introductions, invitations, or even something so low-class as payment…)

The Details

The convention will take place on the grounds of an estate a short trip outside the city. Exhibits will be set up and their performance will be tested over several days for safety and consistency before the convention opens to the public. It will truly be a massive and lavishly appointed event with highly trained staff in all aspects of the operation. Large, lit, 4-faced clocks, all regularly synchronized to a grand master clock in the central courtyard of the estate, are distributed on lamp posts everywhere on the grounds so that one has but to turn one’s head to ascertain the correct time.

A rail spur has been laid from the main line to a station newly built on the grounds. An array of mooring towers for airships have been constructed, an enormous airfield has been prepared, and bus and private car services have been carefully arranged and scheduled so that attendance for any class of visitor is not a problem.

The host is the highly respected, and even more highly decorated Admiral Honorius Griffin Cistern. His service to society both in and out of the navy has been exemplary. Sadly, the esteemed gentleman is quite ill, often comatose, and most arrangements are being seen to by his son Isaac, and his personal secretary Gilbert Robichaud. The convention is frequently referred to by these men as “The Admiral’s Dream.” Listeners can clearly hear the capital letters.

Final installation and testing of the exhibits concludes 1 week before the event will be opened to the general public. A few highly placed individuals will be granted access to the grounds before that date, of course. It should go without saying. Exhibitors will be lodged on the grounds of the estate itself in luxurious accommodations, while many of those assisting during operational hours will be taken care of in a lovely hotel in town. Those who must work outside of the display hours will be quartered on the estate as befits their role and status.

Obviously, this scene is ripe for the picking in the eyes of nefarious men. Depending on how you want to use the set-up, you might even have several attempts at theft, kidnapping, espionage, and sabotage take place while preparations are being laid. The characters, and other participants can take different roles in foiling these events, as befits the campaign you wish to build.

What is going on

The whole set up from start to finish has been coordinated by a mastermind, and implemented through the faultlessly loyal secretary Robichaud. His goal is to destroy the reputation of Admiral H.G. Cistern, and make off with the best minds and most innovative inventions of this period of booming discovery and design. Robichaud has been compromised in all manner of ways from physical threats on his family to blackmail linked to him against prominent members of the government.

Depending on how you wish to go with the seed, this can be a defacto scene element with the campaign starting as the tattered ribbons wave aimlessly over the emptied fair grounds, or as the defining scene at the end of the first story. Does the plan succeed as a foundation of the campaign, or does its success lie in the hands of the players to fork one way or the other? That choice depends on you.

The plan is timed to the second, and the clocks are in place to facilitate this, but also to pump out large quantities of a sleeping and paralytic vapor (with no severe side-effects other than a splitting headache). When those not working for the villain regain consciousness none of the key exhibits are left, the Admiral, his son, and Robichaud are all gone, with a film of the Admiral laughing maniacally projecting against the side of the manor house.

What will the characters do? How will they recover the exhibits and uncover the plot? How will you shape the adventure?


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