Serial Setting 2 ~ Week 22

The Casting Shadows blog’s second Serial Setting appears in weekly installments and is scheduled for a 6-month run of which less than 1 month remains. This series is focused on providing basic details for heroic pulp adventures for the Ubiquity Roleplaying System as presented in Hollow Earth Expedition  and to a much lesser extent Leagues of Adventure. These ideas, set in a fictionalized and mysticized version of the Korean peninsula in 1936, present a community oppressed by faceless enemies and their own countrymen. It will additionally suggest routes, leads, and hooks for GMs to entice groups based elsewhere in the world to get involved. This series portrays characters and situations which are often grim, oppressive, and hopeless in hope that once characters from your campaigns are introduced, you can change that, or part of that, for those whose lives your players’ PCs encounter. This series also contains very strong suggestions of ways to enable the characters to travel either to or from the Hollow Earth (and even a small suggestion of how they might come to learn to do both), and so has quite a few touches of the unexplained and unexplored.

22 Breaking Ground –   Not in my backyard

The days of many opportunities for foreign experts to consult on major projects have already come to an end, due to a lack of further need, and growing political complications. Those still in action on the peninsula grow ever more special and connected as the world marches closer and closer toward war.

To our isolated and threat-filled community of Samhang, such a man had been sent to oversee the modernization of the factories, canneries, and fisheries in cooperation with the regional Overseer. Known as Daniel Winston Smith, but born under the name Allan Gale, an expert had been attached to the region for a number of years and had moved several projects in and around Samhang into their initial construction phases. For reasons typical of business in the area and the military anywhere most of these projects suffered endless delays and finally had to be relocated farther and farther outside the town limits.

Functional in Korean and fluent in Japanese, Smith was able to gain a good understanding of the social and political situation he found himself in, and it began to gnaw at him. While others grew fat working for corporations and universities in Seoul. Smith began to consider very different options. The more he tramped around the back country, and the deeper ties he made with the monks and other learned outsiders, the more certain he became that Samhang was sitting on top of a mystery fit to rock the world. Warring inside him were competing drives to foment rebellion to save the locals, or to pursue these mysteries to save himself.

As 1936 moved the occupation forces ever closer to their eventual insistence on the obliteration of native cultural identity, his presence and outlook was seen as being an obstacle to the further glory of the Emperor, and he was deported. Predictably, he has decided not to take this lying down.

About 15 miles up the coast from the Coils of the Dragon, a series of failed surveys for a new factory site had revealed a curious geological feature in the form of a closed network of caves with an underwater access point far enough out to sea to mitigate the danger of the region’s cruel rocky coastline. As it is small and goes nowhere of any particular use, the site was left alone and forgotten by everyone but Smith, who plans to use it to stage a small expedition into the heart of the greatest mystery he has ever known.

Daniel Winston Smith

Smith knows nothing about the Hollow Earth, the mines of precious ore, the rebel camps, or the smugglers whose threads all pass through the knot which is Samhang. He does, however suspect that somewhere in the mountains, a find of tremendous cultural and spiritual importance lies buried, waiting for him to find it. Together with his friends in scattered mountain monasteries unconnected to Samgakji Temple, he hopes to reveal it to the world, once it has worked its magic on his own soul.

Now in exile and back in the US, Smith has decided to book passage to Shanghai with some ‘capable men.’ He will conduct a similar recruitment and bullshit drive there. Once comfortable with his team of ‘archaeologists’ he intends to launch a secret expedition into the mountains north of Samhang to reveal once and for all, the mystery he suspects will reshape the course the future takes.

To make his landing, he has obtained diving gear and a small submersible craft. He intends to take his team undersea, into the submerged caverns, and up into the mountains from below….

Smith, under his real name, is wanted by the authorities in the US for an unexplained altercation in a Chicago Museum with a foreign gentleman who is also wanted for questioning.

He is just over 6ft tall, brown of hair and eye, and fit. Despite his outdoors-man’s life he is respected more for his brains and panache than brawn. He is an accomplished athlete and a passable marksman, but prefers to win his battles with whiskey or subterfuge.

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