Adventure Log

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 11 Jun 2009 01:48

December 6

Obtained a copy of the missing chapters to the Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket

December 5

Elder Thing Mural

December 2

Obtained the Dyer Text from Professor Meyer.

September 28

Disaster with the Dogs! The sounds from the dog pen in hold #5 rise higher and higher to a fevered pitch, punctuated by vicious barks and growls. Everyone hearing recognizes the change in the sound: the dogs are fighting. It sounds as if they are at each others' throats!

Moments later, a crewman sounds the alarm. Pulaski and Fiskarson race up the ladder from their quarters in the aft. Off duty sailors trail behind, curious to see what's going on and get more than they bargained for. When the entrance to the hold is flung open, Pulaski curses viciously and Fiskarson lets loose a small cry. The scene below is horrible.

The dog crates are attached to the bulkhead in rows, supported by steel frames. The dogs live in them, but the doors have been removed; the animals are restrained only by thick leather straps that are long enough so that the dogs can move around a bit. Some of the huskies have pulled off of their tethers. Many of them are out of their cages, snarling and barking at the tops of
their lungs, eyes wide, fangs exposed as they rage. The sound is incredible; so is the smell. Two dogs claw and tear at each other in the center of the hold; two others race frantically around and around, snapping and biting at their comrades. Others, unable to attack, snap and lunge at anything that comes near.

The dogs bear long vicious scratches along their sides. Some have huge chunks of skin and flesh hanging from their flanks; smears of blood and tufts of fur are everywhere, and the beasts are matted and dark with gore. Four of the dogs already lie dead in darkening pools on the deck, their throats ripped out. Others, still in their cages, tear at themselves convulsively. All the animals are covered with traces of crimson. The sharp tang of blood mingles with fear and musk in a thick repugnant wave.

Officer Turlow and a handful of others arrive a moment later. Turlow looks darkly into the hold. He asks what is wrong with the beasts, but no one knows. Other onlookers murmur in appalled fascination as they watch.
"Look-they've got rabies."
"It's Starkers' curse, I tell ya!"
"Shut up-look who's listening!"

"Those beasts are either diseased or they're not," Turlow says, "but they are certainly killing one another down there. The killers have got to be put down, for their own sake, and for the sake of the crew and the other dogs. Do you want to do it? Or should I?
Fiskarson searches for words. Pulaski just looks disgusted and angry. "I'll do it," Pulaski drawls. "Get me a gun. And some help cleaning up down there afterwards."

The massacre is brief and unpleasant. All the remaining dogs bark and howl as the echoes of each shot thunder in the hold. Pulaski fires six times from the top of the ladder, killing five dogs. Only once does he miss his mark; the wounded husky screams loudly before a second shot silences it.

As soon as the shooting is over, Fiskarson jumps into the hold, heedless of his own safety, to reassure the remaining animals. "Get Olaf," he shouts, but Olaf Snabjom is already there, and follows him down along with Nanook, Harmon, and MacAlister. In minutes the frantic dogs grow quieter. They are returned to their cages with little difficulty. A party of seamen, appointed by the first mate Turlow, arrive with mops and buckets as Pulaski finishes his grisly job. They are uneasy about the work, scared of the dogs and of catching some disease.

Cleaning up the pen is very unpleasant. The air is thick with the reek of fatal wounds. The bodies of the dead dogs are put onto canvas tarps and hauled up out of the hold to be thrown over the side. The smears of blood and bile are then swabbed up and rinsed away. Everyone is unhappy about touching the mess, and fearful of catching some illness. Throughout the process the surviving dogs are extremely noisy and agitated.

MacAlister examines the dogs revealing that two of the survivors (Mama-san and Picardy by name) are in great distress. Their
muscles twitch incessantly, they cannot stand, and their breath and heartbeat are incredibly rapid. Tremors come and go in waves, and the poor beasts can do little more than whine and snap impotently at anyone who comes near. He knows that these are not the symptoms of illness but of some sort of drug or poison — Strychnine. The beasts are in tremendous pain. Nothing can be done to ease their torment. It would be a mercy to kill the animals.

MacAlister and Greene look for clues in what the dogs were fed that morning. Two hours later they call everyone together for their results. The dogs, MacAlister explains, were poisoned with strychnine. He found traces of powdered strychnine in some of the dogs' food dishes. The powder was also found in the most recently opened box of pemmican, the one that was used to feed the dogs.

Greene follows with "The amount of strychnine found on the remaining pemmican blocks in the poisoned box constitutes a lethal dose. Each of the portions I examined, if consumed, would have killed any dog - or any man - on this ship. Had this box been carried onto the ice and opened there, it is likely that several of us would have died. Only sheerest fortune has spared us today."

The contents of two other pemmican crates were examined, finding no contamination in either. He takes, he says, little comfort in that. "We have at this time no way of knowing when the poison was placed in the food, or how many other crates have been affected. It could have been done before we left New York; it may equally have been done only yesterday. Two things, however, are clear. "Firstly, the poisoning was not done during the manufacturing process. The strychnine, in powdered form, was added to the wrapped packages, not mixed into them.”

"Secondly, the presence of strychnine powder in our most important supplies means that someone, somewhere, wishes us all to die. I find I cannot ignore the fact that, if the deed was not performed in New York, then we have a would-be murderer aboard this vessel, one who could strike again at any moment."

Moore thanks Dr. Greene and MacAlister for their work. Later he asks several expedition members to talk with him privately. "I have a rather difficult task in mind for you all, if you would be so kind. I would like you to go through the holds and inspect the rest of the expedition's gear. Looking for trouble, you know. It may be that our boy had more things in mind than poison. "Mister Turlow is here to lend you assistance, get you into and out of the holds, and so forth, but it would be best if the inspections were kept quiet. Do your work, don't talk about what you find to the others, merely bring the results to Mister Starkweather, Mister Turlow, or myself. We don't, after all know who the troublemakers are, and if they are aboard I'd rather they weren't put on their guard any more than necessary. "Work in groups, and take your time – several pairs of eyes see things that one pair will not. We have ten days or so before we reach port.


September 25

The return of fair weather raises the explorers spirits, but the Gabrielle's crew does not seem to share the mood. Off-duty sailors watch the scientists with impassive faces, or huddle in comers conversing in low tones before moving elsewhere. Groups of crewmen are seen carrying covered parcels about the ship, deliberately avoiding expedition members; the ship's officers say nothing when questions are asked.

On the evening of September 24th, about an hour after sunset, the ship's engines go suddenly quiet. A moment later the ship's horn blasts three times. Scientists and explorers rush to the deck to see what is going on. The Gabrielle' s external spotlights are all trained on the ship's bow. There, brilliantly lit in the glare of the lamps, a figure appears in a swirl of water and strides toward the bridge. The man is elaborately costumed in a fanciful frogged coat and lots of ribbons and gold and silver leaf, his long green wig pulled back in an ancient-looking tarred braid. He turns to a crewman standing nearby. "Ho, Shellback! Permission to come aboard, in His Majesty's name?" and is told in response "Why, 'tis Davy Jones himself! Welcome aboard, Sir!"

Read more about The Crossing the Line Ceremony

Unfortunately King Neptune's party is a marvelous distraction and a perfect opportunity for sabotage! Someone damages the ship's refrigeration system which vents ammonia into the food storage. The damage is discovered when Coates, one of the ship's messboys, comes coughing up from the hold to raise the alarm. The throat-catching reek of ammonia is suddenly powerful all over the ship.

Dinnertime passes during the uproar. The crew, Starkweather, and several expedition members spend several hours cleaning out the reefer hold. The odor of ammonia in the room is overpowering; even with dampened cloths over their faces, volunteers have to race into the room and out again, holding their breaths and blinking through tears as they grab whatever they can and haul it to safety. Crews scrub down the walls and floor in brief shifts, to lessen the smell, but nothing can be done about the food. There is nowhere else to keep it cold. Whatever is not thrown overboard must be consumed quickly before it spoils. Of the twelve tons offood in the refrigerator, almost a fourth is tainted by ammonia. Anything that was unsealed or exposed to air must be thrown over the side. Even the several crates of chicken eggs on board are ruined-so strongly do they smell and taste of ammonia that they cannot be eaten. Most of what remains, alas, is pemmican.

Starkweather and the Captain argue about turning back.

"Mister Starkweather- we are four days out from Panama City. Australia is a good two weeks away. We cannot repair the machinery in the middle of the ocean, we do not have the materials to do so. Your supplies will spoil, sir! They will rot, and be worthless to you, before we can possibly arrive!"

Starkweather scowls blackly. "We shall not turn back, Captain!" he snaps. "We have lost too much time already!
She is several days ahead of us - we shall not lose another day! We shall buy more supplies, if need be-now press on!"

Down in the hold, where crew and volunteers can hear, the workers look at one another.
"He's crazy," says one.
"He's gone off his nut," says another.
"He's bloody starkers!"
A third laughs bitterly.


September 21-24

On September 21st the ship steams south into the Pacific Ocean. By noon there is no sign of land.

Hours after the Gabrielle pushes into the Pacific the weather begins to turn. The sea becomes rough and choppy beneath swirls of changing cloud. The wind gusts and changes quadrants uneasily every hour. It does not rain, but the threat hangs overhead, as though a storm might suddenly rise up out of nowhere. The ship plows ahead in the freshening sea at a steady eleven knots. Every few seconds the bow slams into a new wave, sending a distant thrum through the hull and tossing spray high into the air. The motion of the deck is much stronger than before, and acquires a distinct pitching motion that sends scientists with weak stomachs, like Professor Albemarle, running for the lee rail. The dogs redouble their cries; they do not like the rougher seas. Classes continue as before, but the ship's tossing takes away much of the holiday atmosphere. Anyone spending time outside is quickly soaked to the skin by warm salt spray, and lessons that were previously offered on the foredeck now move into one of the lounges. Things improve after two days of rough seas. By noon on the 24th, the gusts of wind lessen and then disappear, and the surface of the ocean smooths to a near calm.


September 12-19

It takes a week to sail from New York City to the Panama Canal. As the Gabrielle pushes southward, past Florida and into the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, the weather changes. Gone are the sudden cold squalls of the north Atlantic; now the air is heavy with moisture, warm and opressive, and the rain when it comes every couple of days is soft and clean. All in all, it is an idyllic life. The only ones who do not seem to appreciate it are the dogs. At least once an hour they moan and howl loudly. Their cries echo weirdly throughout the ship, seeming lost and very sad.

The ship rounds the eastern end of Cuba on September 15th. Thick green palm fronded jungle slides by in silence beyond the rocks, seemingly almost close enough to touch. AU. S. four-stacker destroyer salutes from a distance. Gabrielle responds with a triple blast of its steam whistle. That night, the radio announces that Lexington's Tallahassee has arrived in Panama. The news is received by Starkweather in angry silence. Gabrielle spends three more days and nights crossing the Caribbean Sea. Swirls of clouds mottle the heavens, dropping brief but frequent rain. Sunrises and sunsets are bursts and explosions of vaporous gold, and hints of lilies and distant spice hang in the air, beneath the ever-present tang of the sea. The ship arrives at Colon on the morning of September 19, 1933. See the Panama Canal map for a look at the Canal and its sights.

The whole Canal … was one long astonishment. I had not dreamed it was so beautiful. I'd expected a man-made thing … scarred and mutilated. How different it proved to be! the entire Zone is a garden that looks as if it might have been a garden always.
- R. Halliburton, New Worlds To Conquer, 1929

Through The Canal


September 11

Headed southward at last. After years of anticipation and months of preparation. The moon on the water; the breezes whispering adventure ahead; then the storm, the water boiling; and above the wind the calm sound of the ships bell striking the hour … the wind slackens again to a whisper and the barely audible chug-chug of the engines feeding man 's deep yearning for mobility, carrying us to a new place, where wealth and fame and power count for nothing…
- R. E. Byrd, Journal, October 13, 1928.

Because of — or possibly despite — everyone's continuing nervous vigilance, no further incidents interfere with the expedition's preparations for departure. All the crew and party members all gather together on board ship for the first time on the morning of September 11th, 1933, and the Gabrielle sets sail at last, early that afternoon. The skies are covered with high thin clouds; the sea is choppy; a number of small boats tum out to watch as the ship salutes the Statue of Liberty, and continues alone south into the Atlantic.

To the members of the Starkweather-Moore Expedition, the sensation is one of strange freedom. At last the journey is under way; their troubles are behind them and adventure lies ahead. Despite the many mysteries surrounding the past few days, excitement fills the air.

Afterward it is hard to say who popped the first cork, but an hour after departure as soon as the ship has passed the five-mile limit-the entire group is crowded into the officer's mess. Champagne flows freely. Starkweather and Moore both toast the future and the expedition's good fortune, grinning ear to ear.

Moore expects everyone on the expedition to become as familiar as possible with the facts of life in the Antarctic before arrival. He has asked a number of the expedition's experts to lecture or give lessons in their areas of expertise during the voyage. Classes At Sea begin at once and continue throughout the trip.


September 9-10

Within, Manhattan's towers block off and hide away the city 's sweeping vistas and poetic allusions, and New York's grandeur dissolves into a democratic swarm. From among the crowds and smoke, even the Statue of Liberty takes on a mocking cast, as though a she had planned the contrast. Liberty stumbles before fleeting time and onrushing fate. People are starving and others on their way down to starvation. But a few percent
of the crowd have wealth enough or talent enough to force their way. For them, this is heaven, and the nightclubs, theaters, department stores, bookshops, and restaurants are an endless playground. And cheap, buddy.

Morning papers run with the headlines "Fire in Polar Ship", "Dock Blaze Kills 3" and "Antarctic Expedition Threatened". While the hands of fate have spared the Gabrielle from significant damage, some other cargo items were destroyed, notably the tents, spare airplane motors, and wooden skis for the planes.

Hendrickson is there hero of the hour after rushing into the inferno of the warehouse to save an injured stevedore. Sheffield demonstrates to Starkweather that he has the "right stuff" and "stood up when the chips were down". Starkweather's friendship manifests in many ways, ranging from the occasional good word and hearty slap on the back.

Jerry Polk, a known miscreant, was captured escaping the scene and under police interrogation admitted to setting the blaze. His story is that five days ago Polk was approached by a red-headed man called Doyle. Doyle paid him $100 when Jerry agreed to set fire to the warehouses of the SME. He was to receive an additional $200, to be picked up the following noon beneath a bridge in Central Park. Naturally the police investigate Jerry's story although no one shows up at the bridge…

Other happenings include a Meeting with Nicholas Roerich
Investigation of the Pym Manuscript with Frank Boseley
Additional information regarding the Barsmeier-Falken Expedition


September 8

Breakfasting on the morning of the 8th, Professor Moore asks at least a few of the expedition members to attend the funeral of Commander Douglas with Starkweather and himself. ("It's important for the expedition and its members to pay proper tribute to the man.")

The memorial ceremony at St. Brigit Cemetery is brief and sparsely attended. Along with Starkweather, Moore, and the others are Philip Douglas (the
Commander's brother), Gerald Brackman, two older men with the look of the sea about them, and a journalist named Gary Hawkes. Detective Hansen also attends the ceremony and asks a few questions.

Philip Douglas has no explanation for his brother's murder. The surviving younger brother is a simple man of forty-six, thin-faced and deliberate, who is genuinely sorrowed by the death.

An evening edition paper runs with the "CAPTAIN CONFESSES HORROR TALE PRIOR TO DEATH!!!" headline written by Gary Hawkes. The article quotes Philip and some other expedition members. Starkweather is furious.

By the evening of September 8th, several hours after Commander Douglas' funeral. Everything that can be done has been done. Except for a few details, the expedition is ready to sail. Professor Moore makes the announcement to the assembled expedition at dinner. "Ladies and gentlemen, we sail tomorrow with the afternoon tide. Everything is aboard but your personal things, some fuel, and a few last-minute additions to the provisions list. Thank you all for a job well done. "Everyone will move aboard ship tonight, immediately after you are done here. First Officer Turlow has your cabin assignments, so as soon as you are packed and your bags are stowed on shipboard, you are free to enjoy a last night on the town. "Again, congratulations and thanks for your hard work. We are ready to sail, despite a lot of trouble, and that is because of each of you. "Try not to stay out too late, " he smiles, "and I shall see you all aboard."

Later that night there is Arson at the Gabrielle. Three men die and some fuel and cargo is destroyed. Lexington's Tallahassee departs early. Starkweather is furious.


September 7

In the aftermath of Douglas' murder security on ship and at the pier is improved. Security increases at the hotel and on the pier. Moore asks the members of the expedition to sign in and out at the desk whenever they leave the hotel, and two burly stevedores join the watchman at the ship. No one but cargo loaders, the crew, and the members of the expedition are allowed on board or on the pier. Dock passes are now always asked for.

Captain Owen is announced to be joining the expedition. He is an experienced captain in his mid 50's who is know to be a strict but fair captain.

MacAlister notices someone being abducted by Acacia Lexington's house. He does not interfere and returns to the hotel and relates the story. Later he and some other expedition members investigate the abandoned warehouse.


September 6

With the opening of the Empire State Building two years before, New York City and its towering lower Manhattan skyline became the emblematic capital of the world. Now, despite a deepening Great Depression and bread lines that continue to lengthen, New York's financial power and glittering night life make it the goal of the most talented and the most ambitious people in the United States. In the early morning the river fog shrouds Manhattan's towers, and the venting steam from radiator boilers drifts up like dreams along each city block. In the thousands, they are shimmering presentiments of skyscrapers yet to come, of fortunes yet to be made and of honors yet to be bestowed. Slowly the subways and elevated rail lines rumble alive. It is a new day, and the city smiles and will take a look at what you bring. But be quick about it, bub, there's a million people right behind you.

Famed Sea Captain Murdered

Detective J.J. Hansen of the NYPD, Battery Precinct, interviews various expedition members. He explains that Douglas was identified by his personal effects and the two missing fingers he had lost to frostbite. The sea captain had nearly twenty dollars on him when he was pulled from the water, so robbery was not the motive. They have only a vague description of the man seen running from the area-large framed, probably strong, in a hat and overcoat. Douglas' brother, who lives in New York, has been notified.

In the hotel room of Commander Douglas is found a Letter to Philip and some other notes

On the evening of the 6th, Kurt is has a second warning slipped under his door.


September 3-5

The Boeings arrive in New Jersey by rail. The planes are inspected, assembled, test flown, then disassembled for stowage on the Gabrielle. Nanook and the other pilots familiarize themselves with the planes and their capabilities.

Acacia Lexington announces she is heading to Antarctica on September 10th. Starkweather responds by advancing the SME schedule to leave the 9th.

News articles begin to appear discussing some of the delays and snafus surrounding the SME and the violent tendencies of the members.

In the evening of September 5th, Commander JB Douglas is murdered on the waterfront.


September 1-2

It is September, 1933. The New Deal passed during the spring, but swarms of unemployed workmen still haunt the streets. Artist and philanthropist Nicholas Roerich is to host a $100-a-plate charity dinner for drought-stricken Chinese in two weeks, while thousands starve in New York State alone. Just down 34th Street the new Empire State Building looms. A couple of months ago Primo Camera knocked out Jack Sharkey here in New York City, in six rounds to take the heavyweight title. The New York Giants lead the National League. Monopoly is a popular new parlor game. The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice is preparing its "friend of the court" brief for the upcoming trial United States v. One Book Entitled "Ulysses. " Prohibition will be repealed soon. … And tied up on the north side of Pier 74 along the Hudson River shore of New York City is the SS Gabrielle, her stern to the city, her bow to the open sea.



For the last several months, the Starkweather-Moore Expedition has been in the news. Newspapers and radios feature occasional coverage about Starkweather and his plans. Equipment and supplies have been trickling into the expedition warehouses for weeks. Now the final days are at hand. The ship is docked, the last supplies are purchased, and the various members of the party arrive singly or in groups at the expedition's ad-hoc headquarters, the Amherst Hotel. Many of the expedition members have never met each other. Some, indeed, have never even met Starkweather or Moore before their arrival in New York. Recruitment has been accomplished by telephone or by telegram.



Illustrations (click to enlarge)

by michielkmichielk 20 Jul 2009 04:07

Shrouded Figure


As they sail closer to the South Pole, Arthur Gordon Pym and Dirk Peters (the large, halfbreed indian) see a large, shrouded figure of pure white. Nu-Nu was a captured native, forced to come along. This is the last part of the narrative.

March 22d.-The darkness had materially increased, relieved only by the glare of the water thrown back from the white curtain before us. Many gigantic and pallidly white birds flew continuously now from beyond the veil, and their scream was the eternal Tekeli-li! as they retreated from our vision. Hereupon Nu-Nu stirred in the bottom of the boat; but upon touching him we found his spirit departed. And now we rushed into the embraces of the cataract, where a chasm threw itself open to receive us. But there arose in our pathway a shrouded human figure, very far larger in its proportions than any dweller among men. And the hue of the skin of the figure was of the perfect whiteness of the snow.

Jules Verne's map from "An Antarctic Mystery"


While Edgar Allen Poe's story is not suplemented with a map, Jules Verne's sequel does. Of note are Bennet's Isle, and Tsalal, located near the South Pole in what should be land.

Nicholas Roerich paintings

Since Dyer so often refers to Nicholas Roerich's paintings to describe the Mountains of Madness, it's worth to have a look at a few of them. The last one leaves litlle doubt that he read Dyer's report after all.



Dramatis Personae

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 11 Jun 2009 01:09

James Starkweather


World-famous explorer and wilderness guide, one of the leaders of the newly formed Starkweather-Moore Antarctic Expedition of 1933. Starkweather intends to explore the unknown lands beyond the Miskatonic Mountains.

William Moore


Geologist and professor at Miskatonic University, one of the leaders of the newly formed Starkweather-Moore Antarctic Expedition of 1933.

Percy Lake

Biologist and explorer on the Miskatonic University Expedition of 1930, he uncovered remains of many new plant species in the foothills of the Miskatonic Mountains before being killed in a sudden storm along with his entire party.

Paul Danforth

Pilot and graduate student on the 1930 Miskatonic University Expedition. The experience left him hospitalized.

William Dyer

Geologist and expedition leader on the Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition of 1930. He is on leave of absence from the University and his current location is not known.

J.B. Douglas


At fifty years old, Commander Douglas is an experienced captain. He captained the Arkham, notably on the expedition to Antarctica in 1931. He retired from active service in 1932. Known as J.B. to his friends he is quiet and forthright.

Arthur McTighe


Arthur McTighe is a tall angular fellow in his early thirties with a shock of black hair. He is an intense person who seems somewhat anxious.

Frank Pabodie


Frank Pabodie is a short stocky man with a broad square face and a bristling white moustache. He looks much older than he did only a few years before.

Kurt Hendriksen


About 30, Kurt Hendriksen is a tall, blond, Norwegian with a curled moustache. He's curious, and cheerful, often whistling music by Edvard Grieg. A paleontologist who likes to work in the field, Kurt has studied mammoths in the Far North. He is convinced that they also existed in the Antarctic, and is determined to prove it! If he succeeds, he can save his tarnished reputation, so he's pretty motivated.

Jack Sheffield


Jack is a likeable guy in his mid 20s, a bit taller than average, with auburn hair, blue-grey eyes, an attractive, slightly uneven, honest face, and an excellent memory. He’s a writer from San Francisco and a Berkeley graduate with a degree in Liberal Arts. He enjoys the outdoors and is a boxing enthusiast. He is a reporter for The San Francisco Call-Bulletin and does free-lance work too, but is covering the expedition for Colliers, a high-circulation American magazine. He detests yellow journalism.

Jeff Harman


Jeff was born in Colorado in 1903, near the Utah border, up in the Unita mountains. When Jeff was six years old, the paleontologist Earl Douglass discovered the Douglass Quarry, the largest deposit of dinosaur fossils ever found. When Jeff was forteen, he began acting as a local guide for paleontogists venturing into the quarry for excavations, and archaeologists exploring the Native American ruins. In 1921, he was invited by one of the archaeologists he had worked with to South America, for an expedition into the Andes, which cemented his reputation as a mountain guide for scientific expeditions. He has served as an expedition advisor/route planner for expeditions all over North America, several trips into the Andes, and an expedition into Tibet in 1930. In addition, as an avid climber, he has undertaken a personal goal to reach the top of the highest peak on each continent. In 1932, he joined the team for the second successful climb to the summit of McKinley, and has also scaled Kilimanjaro in Africa, Kosciuszko in Australia, Elbrus in Europe, and Aconcagua in South America. Now he hopes to be the first at summit in the tallest peak in the Miskatonic range.

Sir Doctor Edmund MacAlister FRS


Edmund is a thin fellow in his early 40's with thinning ginger hair and spectacles. He walks with a noticeable limp in his right leg. He's currently a professor at St Andrews in his home country of Scotland and is also a member of the Royal Society. His most significant publication was a paper in 1927 comparing the rock strata, fossil records, and evidence of ancient chemical processes in Africa and South America to support the theory that the two were once linked. He remains interested in the theory of continental drift and has published several more papers on the subject. He's generally know to his colleagues as being a hard worker, but perhaps a little overly focused on the academic life. Having turned down a position on the ill fated Miskatonic expedition due to other obligations, he's about curious both what happened before and what there is to find on the undiscovered continent.

Nanook Anyu


Nanook is a 32 year old Eskimo from Alaska. Even though his name means "polar bear" he is as thin as a rail. (He was named after his father who was a big bear of a man.) Growing up in the Alaskan wilderness near a small settlement, Nanook in many ways grew up with a foot in two worlds. His family traded with and maintained close relations with the local Eskimo tribes, so Nanook learned much of the tradition and culture of the Eskimo peoples. He also was a part of the local settlement, getting a formal education in its school and being exposed to the culture and news of the wider world. As a teen, Nanook discovered a love and talent for machinery, soon becoming the go to mechanic in the area for cars, snowmobiles, planes and other machinery. In 1920, Nanook met Prof. John Brown of the San Diego State University and started accompanying him on his research trips into the Alaskan wilderness. In 1924, Nanook moved to San Diego and while the University would not permit an Eskimo to enroll, Nanook was able to gain an informal education in Mechanical Engineering with the help of Prof. Brown. Currently Nanook runs a business specializing in designing and building snow tractors and other heavy equipment. It was through Prof. Brown's contacts that Nanook (with his faithful Malamute Suka) was selected a Arctic expert and mechanic for the Starkweather-Moore Expedition.



Suka is a 28-year old Alaskan Malamute (four in human years). He likes long runs in the snow, the occasional snack of whale blubber, and is very proud of his singing abilities. Others generally consider him very friendly, if a bit of a mooch. He's joining the Starkweather-Moore Expedition as a specialist in sled-based cargo and personnel transportation. That and to keep his best friend Nanook company… and maybe to play with some penguins.



by RPGWikiRPGWiki 24 Jul 2009 02:02

Expedition members who attend the daily, nearly one-to-one classes held aboard the Gabrielle gain familiarity in useful, perhaps life-saving

Instructor Class Skill / Emphasis
Sykes Clothes and Equipment Polar Survival (Gear)
Sorensen Skis and Showshoes Polar Survival (Movement, Safety)
Greene Antarctic Medicine Detection and treatment of frostbite, hypothermia, etc.
Miles Aircraft Maintenance Operation and care of airplanes and heavy machinery in extreme cold
Albemarle Meteorology Antarctic Weather, storm behavior, freezing conditions
Gilmore The Drill Rig Operation of the Pabodie ice drill
Hendriksen Fossils & Frozen Remains Paleontology


Through The Canal

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 21 Jul 2009 23:28

The lush green shores of Panama close in on either side of the Gabrielle, studded here and there with buildings and gray fortifications. The city of Colon, where the Canal enters the Caribbean, seems small and sleepy at the edge of the jungle. Fishing boats float in the waters of the bay, and the grim guns and walls of the forts on either side seem out of place.

The Captain holds the vessel offshore for most of an hour inside the breakwater in the still depths of Colon Bay, as the Canal pilot is brought aboard in a small customs launch flying the American flag. The pilot, a tall black-skinned Jamaican in his thirties named Quentin, inspects the ship's documents and proceeds to the bridge, where he remains throughout the crossing.

Passing through the Gatun Locks takes almost an hour. The ship's engines idle, and off-duty crewmen lounge on the rail, watching as the gargantuan water gates approach. There are two sets of these, each set a hundred fifty feet wide, looming seventy feet above the water. A long wharf thrusts out between them hundreds of feet into the channel, decorated along its length with rails and overhead power lines for the squat electric "mule engines" used to pull vessels through the locks. Small stout tugs urge the ship into the gaping steel mouth, then the gates close, and there are shouts from the crew; lines are tossed to men on the pier.

Great tow cables are secured to a squat, powerful-looking black locomotive waiting to one side of the deep concrete channel. When the inner gates open and the water of the lake swirls by, the locomotive thrums and roars and surges forward along steep crooked tracks, holding Gabrielle steady against the current and drawing her along. When the gates close behind, the engine rests, only to surge forward again when the water has risen and the next set of doors opens.

It takes fifteen minutes to raise the ship thirty feet above the level of the sea, before she can slide forward a thousand feet into the next basin of the lock. The doors behind her close, and the water rises again. The process is repeated three times.

Afterwards the ship is released with a whistle into Lake Gaton. Aday's slow measured progress follows through the lake's still waters, surrounded by thick jungles, passing other ocean-going giants headed for the Atlantic. Brightly colored birds flash in the dense foliage, alligators sun themselves in great numbers on the shore, and the heavy sweet smell of decaying plants is strong in the fitful breeze. Signs of man are few: here the thin tall tower of a radio transmitter, there the fort-like clearing of the Canal Zone Penitentiary.

At last the Culebra Cut comes into view, a huge deep slice carved through the surrounding hills. These hills mark the continental divide. The rough-cut rocky walls ghost past for miles, festooned with vines and clinging shrubs, seemingly inches away on either side.

As the edge of the Cut nears, the ship enters another set of locks. This time she descends once, crosses Miraflores lake, only a mile end to end, and is lowered again through the final two locks toward the sea. Roads and houses are visible in increasing numbers. Pleasure craft dot the edges of the expanse of water, and blackhaired children wave at the Gabrielle as she passes. The jungle is cut back, replaced by stretches of green open lawn and careful swaths of brilliant flowers . When the ship moves at last out of the channel and slips into Balboa Bay, Those on the upper decks catch glimpses of the curve of Panama City to the south and the dark restless expanse of the Pacific beyond.

Gabrielle anchors for the night in Balboa Bay. The lights of the military reservation and the town beyond glimmer brightly over the water, red tiled roofs surrounded by careful lawns and trees. Panama City is much larger than Colon. Mr. Starkweather is eager to move out at first light; there is no time, he says, for liberty. Small ferry craft come alongside during the evening, with fresh fruit and fresh water, and a few luxuries for sale. Those who wish can purchase souvenirs, cigars, candy, clothing and a few other items from the grinning locals. The following morning, a cargo barge brings quantities of fresh tropical fruits aboard to supplement the vessel's larder. These are lowered into the #4 hold


The Ceremony

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 21 Jul 2009 23:20

These ancient and boisterous ceremonies are primarily a crew's party. Those who have crossed the Line (of the Equator) are called "shellbacks." These Sons of Neptune compose the cast for the ceremony, which (in ships of the merchant marine) can be somewhat crude and rough. Aboard the Gabrielle, with "civilians" (and possibly ladies) present, it will be moderated slightly. Starkweather, Moore. the captain, most of the officers and sailors, anyone with previous Antarctic experience, and persons
born in the southern hemisphere have already crossed the Line.

The eldest and most dignified member of the (non-officer) crew is selected as Neptunus Rex; his first assistant is Davy Jones. Her Highness Amphitrite is a good looking young seaman, dressed in seaweed and rope yams. Other members of the Court are the Royal Scribe, the evil-looking Royal Barbers, the equally villainous Royal Doctor and Royal Dentist, the Royal Baby (the fattest member of the crew), the Royal Navigator, Neptune's Officer of the Day, the Judge, two Attorneys, the Devil, Sea Nymphs (to attend Queen Amphitrite), the Royal Police, elc.. and the Bears, who have the task of rounding up the "uninitiated" and generally manhandling them.

The night before the ship crosses the Line, Davy Jones will appear on board with a message to the captain from His Majesty, Neptunus Rex. Summonses, folded up in the form of a subpoena, are distributed to the lubbers aboard. Each will be accused of amusing "crimes" to fit their profession, nationality, personality, or background. Examples include "daring to operate flying vehicles over My seas without License," "not partaking of sufficient Social Lubricant in Mixed Company," "wearing a tie while engaged in Honest Work," or "being absolutely unfamiliar with nautical Ways and Customs."

King Neptune's Court

On the next day, the shellbacks will have erected the Court on the main deck aft. At eleven thirty, the navigator reports that the ship is "on the Line," and Davy Jones appears again. Jones reports (through an officer) to the captain that Neptunus Rex and Party have been sighted ahead. The Flag of Neptune. bearing a trident, is raised when Neptune and Court appear on deck (from the fo'c's'le, where they have been preparing). "Shellbacks" not part of the Royal Party gather to watch the festivities. Neptune and his Court proceed slowly aft, with much mock courtesy and court procedure. The long-bearded King Neptune himself is encrusted with barnacles. wears a crown and carries a trident. Upon meeting Davy Jones, Neptune booms forth with, "Well, well, what a fine ship and what a cargo of landlubbers'" A ship's officer salutes and reports with much dignity that the captain awaits the Royal Party.

The Royal Party is escorted to the throne, and ascends. After bestowing awards on a few distinguished veteran seafarers ("Stoker Carlsson! Step forward! In recognition of your many years of service in my domain, I award you the Order of the Royal Conch! Officer of the Day, give Stoker Carlsson his conch and a beer!"), Neptune gives a short speech about this voyage to the edge of my great world-ocean." Initiation then commences, with officers first. The Bears have the duty of rounding up any shirking landlubbers. The Gabrielle. being of Swedish registry like the stoker, bottles of beer will be passed out in celebration to the spectators and to newly initiated shellbacks. The actual initiation ceremonies could be uncomfortable for the easily embarrassed. They begin with the landlubbers crawling through a canvas tunnel filled with slimy seaweed and other cold nasty things, while the tube is pummeled by the Bears with pieces of old fire hose. to emerge in the midst of the Court. One by one, the lubbers will be seated in a chair at the edge of a canvas tank of sea water. A shaved head from the barber, some pokings and proddings from the doctor, a drop in tht dousing tank (of the "throw the ball at the trigger" variety), and some small electric shocks received from the Devil's pitchfork, constitute the most memorable features.

Afterwards, the new shellbacks receive their certificates, resembling a diploma signed by the captain, Neptune. and Davy Jones.


News Clippings

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 10 Jun 2009 00:58


Cargo Holds

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 17 Jun 2009 02:18

The holds have no hatches in their bulkheads. To get from one hold to the next, one must go up on deck, and descend into the next hold.
Down to the tween deck, this is accomplished on a vertical ladder; from the tween deck to each lower hold a single ladder, encased in a 40" diameter metal tube, descends. During the voyage, all cargo hatches are in place-to the tween deck and further down to the lower hold. The cargo hatches are constructed of heavy beams, lumber, and tarpautins, and are nearly as sturdy as the deck surrounding them.

Empty, each tween deck is essentially a compartment separate from the main hold below; the sturdy wood of the floor hatch acts as a solid load-bearing floor and can't be moved without the cargo winches on deck.

There are no lights permanently placed in the holds; instead, cluster lights on long extension cords are used. A cluster light is a 18" diameter reflector, covered by a sturdy grille on the front, and containing four 200 watt electric lamps. Hooks on the back of the lights allow them to be hung from the overhead in the holds. Sixteen cluster lights are available.

The refrigerated hold ("reefer space") has no deck hatch; it is loaded and unloaded through a 12-foot-wide hatch set in the bulkhead leading to the #4 tween deck. Besides the food to be used by the expedition once in Antarctica, the reefer space also contains 'ordinary' food for both the ship's crew and the explorers while at sea. The reefer is divided into a freezer and a large cooler.

After being loaded for the voyage to Antarctica, the Gabrielle s holds are still mostly empty. They contain as follows:

Number 1-tween-deck

holds the heavy equipment of the expedition: snow tractors, generators, and the ice melting apparatus. The #1 lower hold is almost entirely empty, and contains only the oxygen tanks, carefully stowed and covered with dunnage.

Number 2-tween-deck

contains one of the Boeing aircraft (the Shackleton), with the wings removed beyond the engine nacelles, and the nose removed forward of the cockpit. It is securely lashed to the deck, with the top of its rudder just brushing the 12' high overhead. The two wing crates are each 29' long and 15' wide, and are lying flat on the deck, one on each side of the plane. The propellers and engines have also been removed, and are stowed in large crates secured along the bulkheads, along with the nose and two spare crated engines and propellers. In the lower hold, three layers of 55 gallon drums stand on end; the layers are separated by 1" x 6" dunnage boards. The drums contain gasoline, lubricants, and (in one) industrial alcohol.

The expedition's Fairchild monoplane (the R. F. Scott) is perched on the top layer of gasoline drums, with its wings folded back, and held down by heavy cables, hooks, chains and ropes. Only some of the drums on the top layer can be opened (by unscrewing their filler caps) without using the ship's cranes.

Number 3-tween-deck hold

stores most of the expedition's camping and sledding supplies. Sleds, tents, tools, lamps, and rope are strapped onto pallets or lashed out of the way. While the hatch cover over the opening to the lower hold is in place, nothing has been loaded on it. The #3 lower hold contains the heavy prefabricated wooden ramp to be used in unloading the ship alongside the Ross Ice Shelf.

Number 4-tween-deck and lower deck

each contain another Boeing (the Enderby and the Weddell), with their propellers, engines, and outer wing sections removed and stowed. Against the aft port wall of the tween deck, a small but very sturdy wooden room eight feet square has been built; it is surrounded by bags of cement. A heavy padlock secures the door; the first mate has the only key. Within, on a bed of sand, rests the boxes of dynamite.

Number 5-tween deck

are the dogs and a supply of wood to build the base camp (lower hold).


SS Gabrielle

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 11 Jun 2009 19:42

This oil-burning steamer, launched in 1913 in Scotland, was built for operations in Arctic waters and has a hull of Swedish wrought iron an inch and a quarter thick (although she not an icebreaker).

Gabrielle has five decks, used by passengers and crew. From top down, these are the bridge deck, the boat deck, the main deck, the tween deck, and the engine (or cargo) deck. Passengers and crew aboard the Gabrielle, when they are not on deck, will spend most of their time in one of three living areas:

  • the forecastle,
  • the aftercastle,
  • and the superstructure.

The forecastle is a small cluster of cabins on the main deck in the far forward portion of the ship, just behind the bow. Normally these cabins are used only by the crew, generally the ship's regular seamen and quartermasters. The cabins in the aftercastle are normally reserved for the engineering crewmen and any ship's specialists, such as carpenters, who bunk aboard. These take up space on both the main and tween decks at the far stemward portion of the ship, directly above the ship's propellers. The captain, the ship's officers, and any passengers normally sleep in the superstructure, three decks tall, that rises off of the main deck amidships. The superstructure is directly above the ship's engines. The ship's bridge is on the highest deck, and looks forward toward the ship's bow. Cabins in the forecastle and aftercastle are spare and cramped, and have no windows or portholes. Most cabins have multiple occupants who sleep in narrow bunk beds. Cabin doors have slitted vents, but there are no other conduits or means of circulating air or cooling the rooms. When needed, heating of all cabins is accomplished by means of steam radiators bolted securely to the floor or wall. The remainder of the ship is given over to cargo holds. There are five of these, numbered 1 to 5 from the bow to the stem. Holds 1, 2, and 3 are forward of the bridge, while 4 and 5 are toward the stem. A large refrigerated compartment (the "reefer hold") lies immediately forward of hold 4, above the ship's main fuel tank.

length 440 feet
beam 45 feet
depth, keel to main deck 39 feet
draft, light ship 10 feet
draft, loaded ship 26 feet
register tons 7,500
light ship 4,550 tons
loaded ship 13,350 tons
deadweight 8,800 tons
- crew, stores 40 tons
- fuel oil 1,690 tons
- fresh water 160 tons
- cargo 6,910 tons
no. of holds 5 + reefer space
hatches 5 (each 45 feet long x 25 feet wide)
cargo booms 6 x 1 ton capacity
6 x 10 ton capacity
2 x 30 ton capacity (forward end of #2 hold)
loading speed 25 tons per gang hour (18-man 'gang') for cargo items under 1 ton apiece (1 gang per hatch usually)
reciprocating steam engine, top speed 12 knots
uses 0.14 ton of fuel per nautical mile at 11 knots
maximum cruising range about 12,000 miles
master and 4 deck officers
chief engineer and 4 engineer officers
ship's physician
radio operator, carpenter, boatswain, storekeeper
3 quartermasters, 9 seamen
15 engine room crew (oilers, firemen, wipers, water tenders)
1 chief steward, 5 other stewards (cooks, messboys, laundrymen, etc.)
line gun
18 life rings with water lights, flares and rockets
4 life rafts
4 lifeboats, 25 person capacity each; 2 of these are motorboats with a 6 knot top speed
The ship has a network of fire hoses powered by independent seawater pumps
There are 14 CO2-charged hand fire extinguishers, mostly amidships.
Sand buckets are liberally deployed in crew areas


September 1-2

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 11 Jun 2009 01:54

The first few days of September are busy for everyone. Supplies must be checked and stowed, and in some cases sent back or re-ordered. Personal stores must be laid in, clothing prepared, and all the last minute medical minutiae performed for a group of men who will be weeks from hospitals for many months. The investigators have a lot of free time, but they have many duties as well.

New York Route Map Detail Map
newyork.jpg routemap.png LocalNewYork.jpg


The Boeing 247

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 16 Jun 2009 20:15

This very advanced all-metal monoplane, designed as a 12 passenger airliner, has all the most modern features: air conditioning and cabin heating, sound proofing, radio, a de-icing system for the wings and tail, variable pitch three-bladed propellers, engine superchargers, flaps, and retractable landing gear. The first flight by a Model 247 was on February 8.1933. The hinged nose allows access to a luggage compartment.

Some modifications have been made to the aircraft of the Starkweather-Moore Expedition, as follows: retractable ski landing gear, oxygen breathing apparatus, extra radio equipment, gyrocompass, radio direction finder, artificial horizon, an eight-gallon fresh water tank, extra fuel tanks, lightweight folding seats, wider doors (to fit cargo and fuel drums). motion picture camera rack and optically flat window. and electric engine heaters.

The engines are two Pratt & Whitney "Wasp" SIHI-G nine cylinder air-cooled radials, 550 HP each. Features include inertia (hand cranked) and electric (battery) starters, engine fire extinguishers, and a 12-gallon oil tank fitted in each engine nacelle. Each engine uses 25 gallons of gasoline per hour at 'cruise' setting, 35 gallons per hour at full power. Total fuel capacity is 770 gallons: 220 gallons in the wing tanks, and 550 gallons in auxiliary tanks built into the fuselage. Engine overhauls are needed after 300 hours of operation. The Model 247 can climb with one engine shut down, up to 6,000 feet altitude, depending on load.

Starkweather-Moore configuration:

empty weight 11,000 lbs. (no fuel, oil, cargo or passengers; includes seats, radios, etc.)
maximum gross weight 17,000 lbs.
emergency overload 19,500 lbs. (cannot take off at high altitudes at this weight)
each crew/passenger 200 lbs. including clothing, worn equipment, etc., for planning purposes
emergency supplies 100 Lbs. per person aboard each passenger seat. 10 lbs. (12 aboard; could be tossed out in emergency)
gasoline, per gallon six lbs.; 4620 lbs. when all tanks filled
lube oil, per gallon 7.5 lbs.; 180 lbs. fully loaded
radio set 150 lbs.(could be tossed out in emergency)
husky sled dog 90 lbs.
dog sled 100 lbs.
oxygen tank 20 lbs.; 80 cubic feet of oxygen. good for 16 man-hours of work
cruise speed 170 miles per hour
max speed 200 miles per hour
stall speed 60 miles per hour, flaps down
ceiling 25,400', assuming not above max total weight limit
range up to 2600 miles, depending on fuel amount carried
takeoff/landing 900' at maximum gross; as little as 600' light; 1200' landing on skis
wingspan 74' (12.3" in scale)
length 51' 7" (8.6" in scale)
height 12' 2" standing on landing gear
On a typical cargo flight
empty plane 11,000 lbs.
two pilots 400 lbs.
emergency supplies 200 lbs.
lube oil 180 lbs.
fuel 770 gallons; 4620 lbs.; 2600 miles range (to destination and back, plus reserve)
cargo or passengers 1590 lbs.; five passengers with SM emergency supplies plus hand sled, or 260 gallons fuel, or nine dogs + sled + 680 lbs. supplies


Expedition Plans

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 16 Jun 2009 01:26

The plans and documents related to the expedition are located here.

Clothing and Gear
Cargo Manifest
The Boeing 247



by RPGWikiRPGWiki 11 Jun 2009 20:12

Polar Map
Clothing and Gear


Clothing And Gear

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 11 Jun 2009 20:13

Atypical Antarctic ensemble can weigh anywhere between 10 and 20 pounds. The parka is the most widely used single style of garment, typically of reindeer skin if you can afford it.

Parkas are fur-lined coats that fit snugly about the hips and have a flap under the crotch that buttons in front. The hood is deep and can protect the face somewhat from cold air, but additional protection is required if there is more than minimal wind. The armpits are cut very large so that it is easy to draw the arms inside the coat without unbuttoning it.

Pants are also fur lined, but are generally softer and not as thick as the parka coats, since the legs are less sensitive to cold.

Byrd states that reindeer hide is the best available material for the making of cold weather clothing. His 1929 expedition brought along the skins of fifty young reindeer for the purpose of making and repairing clothing and sleeping bags.

The ice of one's breath is the greatest source of frostbite aside from stiff wind. Masks and other protective gear can be devised to keep the rime of breath from the face . One popular mask has a funnel-like tube over the mouth which is used to expel the breath. Ice which forms on the tube can be brushed away with gloved hands and stays away from the face.

The feet are the most endangered part of the body. Moisture is the greatest source of danger. A recommended boot is the finnesko, entirely covered with fur. Several layers of felt are padded on the bottom, and over them is laid a matting of saennegrass (or siennagrass). This grass absorbs the perspiration and helps to keep the feet dry. When the shoe is removed the saennegrass can be lifted out, the rime brushed off, and the boot itself kept free of damp.

The problem of boots continues with sizing. Cold boots should be big enough to include three to five pairs of thick stockings, plus felt and saennegrass. Thus the boot must be taller and also have an extra-wide throat to admit the muffled foot. Byrd recommends men's boots be of U.S. size 14 at a minimum.

Arctic boots have thick rubber soles at least 0.5 inches thick and a reinforced heel. Pucker thongs at the back of the heel and up the rear can be used to adjust the boot to different thicknesses of socks.

Windproof garments (shirts, parkas, pants, mittens, socks, and sleeve protectors) are a necessary complement to the furs. Good ones can be made from aircraft silk and worn over the fur clothes to provide extra protection.

Sleeping bags are fur-lined, possibly of reindeer, and are covered with aircraft silk. They come in many styles. Reindeer again seems to be lightest and warmest, but apparently tends to shed and get up the nose. Roughly I in 20 people have an adverse reaction to reindeer fur, though this will rarely be more than an itchy nose and a need to sneeze when exposed to the shedding fur.

Each member of the Starkweather-Moore Expedition is provided the following items of cold-weather clothing. Final fittings and alterations of these items, where needed, will take place in New York prior to departure or on the voyage south. Each expedition member is expected to care for his or her own clothing, including the repair and/or replacement of items damaged over the summer. Materials and tools used for repairing damaged clothing items are carried in expedition stores.

The clothing listed below is primarily for work outside in the deep cold. When indoors, on a ship, or in huts and aircraft, any warm clothing will suffice. Expedition members are encouraged to bring along a good supply of their own clothing for this purpose. These garments are warmest when new. Clothing loses some of its warmth after it is washed, so wherever possible new garments should be used for extended sled journeys or outside excursions.

2 Parkas, fur-lined
2 Pants, fur-lined
4 Singlets, heavy cotton
4 Shirts, cotton or flannel
2 Underpants
6 Sweaters, woolen
4 Combination undersuits, flannel
3 Cardigans, woolen
6 Pr. mountaineer's stockings
18 Pr. heavy woolen socks
4 Pr. sleeping socks, felt
1 Pr. mukluks (slippers)
1 Pr. mountaineer's boots, leather
2 Pr. ski boots, leather
1 Pr. ski boots, felt

2 Pr. finnesko boots
1 Pr. crampons, for finnesko
2 Pr. boot soles, felt
2 Pr. gloves, woolen
1 Pr. gloves, kidskin
2 Pr. mittens, fur-lined leather
2 Pr. mitts, wolfskin
1 Waist belt, heavy leather
1 Harness belt, leather
1 Muffler, mohair or silk
2 Pr. trousers, windproof silk
1 Jumper, hooded, windproof silk
1 Hood, windproof silk
2 Pr. mitts, windproof silk
1 Jumper, hoodless, windproof silk


Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 09 Jun 2009 22:51

View What the World knows
View Dr. Dyer's Final Report

In September of 1930, researchers from Arkham's Miskatonic University set sail for the Antarctic continent on a bold venture of exploration and discovery. The Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition, privately funded with support from the Nathaniel Pickman Foundation, left Boston Harbor in two ships. Two months later they landed in Antarctica near Ross Island: twenty men, fifty-five dogs, and five large Domier aeroplanes were set upon the ice. Their mission was to survey a geologic history of the Earth's last frontier, to chart from the air where no human foot had stepped, and to determine at last, once and for all, whether Antarctica was indeed one land mass or several. In much of this they were successful.

From November of 1930 until mid-January of 1931, the expedition achieved goal after goal, milestone after milestone. Their results were broadcast daily to the world, via the waiting ships and the great listening station at Kingsport Head. Thousands of square miles of previously unexplored terrain were overflown and mapped. Sled teams and aerial explorations led by Professors Dyer and Lake took core samples from scattered spots over nearly a quarter of the continent. Advanced lightweight drilling apparatus, designed and operated by Doctor Pabodie, enabled the teams to extract core samples from deep within the ice, as well as the ancient exposed rocks of that frigid land.

However, history does not remember the Miskatonic Expedition for its successes but for its final tragic failure.

The end of the expedition came just as the team seemed on the brink of their most spectacular triumph. On January 23rd, a large aerial party, led by the biologist Professor Lake, broke through into an unbelievable treasure-trove of ancient bones and fossils in a series of caverns at the foot of a hitherto-unknown mountain range. For two days they explored the caves, bringing up specimen after specimen in a fantastic palimpsest of earthly history. Some of the specimens uncovered by Lake's teams were utterly unlike any living things that have ever been studied by science-and they had been preserved, through some freak combination of the cold and the terrain, to such an extent that even tissue had remained intact after millions of years.

Lake's initial reports were seized upon by the scientific world. The photographs and samples he collected promised to lead to whole new fields of biological knowledge. The transcriptions broadcast of his first crude dissections have been copied untold times, and are available in every library of science worthy of the name. He would, it is certain, have gone on to report still greater marvels of science-but even heroic efforts must end, and Lake and the others chose at last to rest, after nearly two days of frantic activity.

They were never heard from again.

On the afternoon of January 24th, a tremendous Antarctic gale swept the campsite, killing every man in Lake's party and scattering his samples, notes and equipment beyond recovery. A rescue mission the following day found only silence, useless scraps of machinery, and a few pathetic remains of the tragedy. None of the men at Lake's camp ever returned home. The remainder of the expedition retreated north a few days later.


Summary report

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 11 Jun 2009 11:01

Summary Report on the Miskatonic University Expedition to Antarctica, 1930-31

By William Dyer, Ph.D

The report praises Lake's work again and again, but carefully turns aside from sensationalism. The "Pre-Cambrian footprints" referred to in the newspaper accounts of the day are identified as the fossilized imprints of some incredibly ancient form of sea-dwelling plant life, similar to the more recent well-preserved specimens found by Lake's party in the fossil cave. These are discussed at length, and the remaining evidence catalogued; the specimens are identified from Lake's notes and drawings as a large thick-bodied plant similar to kelp. (Lake's description of the specimens as "animals" with "internal organs" is chalked up to scientific error resulting from over-excitement. lack of rest. and possible "snow craze"; his soapstone "carvings" are likewise dismissed as unusual water-shaped soapstone fragments.) No physical specimens were brought north; the ones excavated by Lake were reportedly lost when the blizzard destroyed the camp.

The remainder of fossil finds, bones, and imprints of a wide variety of plant and animal species are well represented in the collection and the report. These paint a fascinating biological history of the Antarctic continent, confirming the notion that Antarctica was once a warm and verdant land and lending substantial support to evidence of continental drift.

Dyer is at a loss to explain the disaster at the camp, though his sorrow and regret very clear. He concludes from the state of the remains that the men of the party would almost certainly have died from the blizzard in any case, but lays the blame for the destruction of the dogs and dispersal of the evidence upon a person or persons unknown-possibly the student George Gedney, who ran amok during the hours of the storm. The terrible desolation, the cold and dismal conditions, the thin unhealthy air, and the hours of overwork are cited as contributing factors.

He discusses the anomalous mountain range in some detail, confirming Lake's broadcast opinion that the great peaks are of Archaean slate and other very primal crumpled strata unchanged for at least a hundred million years. He discusses without analysis the odd clinging cubical formations on the mountainsides, hypothesizes that the cave mouths indicate dissolved calcareous veins, and expresses his concern that a model for the preservation of such relatively soft stone in peaks of such great height has not been made.

Of the lands beyond the higher peaks he says little, describing them only as "a lofty and immense super-plateau as ancient and unchanging as the mountains themselves- twenty thousand feet in elevation, with grotesque rock formations showing through a thin glacial layer and with low gradual foothills between the general plateau surface and the sheer precipices of the highest peaks."



by RPGWikiRPGWiki 09 Jun 2009 22:38

A New Beginning

In 1933, a new expedition is forming, intent upon a return to the forbidding Antarctic plateau and Lake's campsite. British world explorer James Starkweather and American geologist William Moore have joined forces to attack the Antarctic. The two men have experience with harsh environments, both having traveled in the Himalayas, and Starkweather on the Arctic ice cap as well. Their stated goal is to return to the high, cold interior of the Antarctic continent and to finish the work that Lake and the others began three years ago.

The two are gathering a team of scientists and technical experts which they believe will allow them to succeed despite the dangers. Like the Miskatonic University Antarctic Expedition, the SME plans to use aircraft to move swiftly from place to place.

The goals of the Starkweather-Moore expedition are summarized in the attached interview with the two expedition leaders.

Recent Updates

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Intrepid Explorers

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 10 Jun 2009 00:54

The Arkham Advertiser, May 30, 1933

Intrepid Explorers Ready Expedition (cont. from p.l) "We're going back," Starkweather said. "The job's not done. We're going back, and we're going to finish what was started and bring the whole lot out to the world. It will be a grand adventure and a glorious page in scientific history!" Professor Moore, sitting quietly to one side, was less passionate but just as determined. "A lot has changed in the past three years," he insisted. "We have technology now that did not exist three years ago. The aeroplanes are better, brand new Boeing craft, sturdier and safer than before. Professor Pabodie's drills have been improved. And we have Lake's own broadcasts to draw upon. We can plan ahead, with better materials and a knowledge of the region that none of them had when they prepared for their voyage. Yes, I am optimistic. Quite optimistic. We will succeed in our goals." When asked what those goals were, the two men looked briefly at one another before Starkweather answered, leaning forward intently.

"Leapfrog, gentlemen!" he smiled. "We shall leapfrog across the continent. A base on the Ross Ice Shelf; another at the South Pole. One at Lake's old campsite, if we can find it; and, gentlemen, we plan to cross over those fantastic mountains described by Dyer and Lake, and plant our instruments and our flag right on top of the high plateau! Imagine it! Like a landing strip atop Everest! "We'll have the finest equipment, and skilled men. Geologists-paleontologists we've got Professor Albemarle from Oberlin, he wants to study weather. Glaciologists, perhaps another biologist or two; the team's not all made up yet, of course. We're not leaving for another five months!" "It is important," added Moore, "to try to find Professor Lake's camp and bring home whatever we can from the caverns he discovered. The prospect of a wholly new kind of life, a different taxonomy, is extremely exciting. It would be a shame if, having found it once, we were unable to do so again." The two explorers plan to land thirty men on the southern continent, half again more than the Miskatonic Expedition. The expedition is privately funded and owes no allegiance to any school or institution.


Antartcica Or Bust

by RPGWikiRPGWiki 09 Jun 2009 23:07

Renowned Adventurer Sets His Sights on the Bottom of the World

New York (AP}-World famous explorer James Starkweather announced today that he would lead a party of scientists and explorers into uncharted parts of the Antarctic continent this fall . Starkweather, accompanied by geologist William Moore of Miskatonic University in Arkham, Massachusetts, intends to continue along the trail first blazed by the ill-fated Miskatonic University Expedition of 1930-31. The Starkweather-Moore Expedition will set sail in September from New York City . Like their predecessors, they intend to use long-range aircraft to explore further into the South Polar wilderness than has ever been done before. "This is not about the South Pole," Starkweather explained this morning, in a prepared speech in his hotel in New York. "Many people have been to the Pole. We're going to go places where no one has ever been, see and do things that no one alive has seen." The expedition intends to spend only three months in Antarctica. Extensive use of aeroplanes for surveying and transport, according to Starkweather, will allow the party to chart and cover territory in hours that would have taken weeks to cross on the ground.

One goal of the expedition is to find the campsite and last resting place of the twelve men, led by Professor Charles Lake, who first discovered the Miskatonic Range, and who were killed there by an unexpected storm. The mapping and climbing of the mountains in that range and an aerial survey of the lands on the far side are also important goals. "The peaks are tremendous," Starkweather explained. "The tallest mountains in the world! It's my job to conquer those heights, and bring home their secrets for all mankind. "We have the finest equipment money can buy. We cannot help but succeed." Starkweather, 43, is a veteran of the Great War. He has led expeditions into the wilderness on four continents, and was present on the trans-polar flight of the airship ltalia, whose crash near the end of its voyage on the North Polar ice cap received worldwide attention. Moore, 39, a full Professor of Geology, is also the holder of the Smythe Chair of Paleontology at Miskatonic University. He has extensive field experience in harsh climates and has taken part in expeditions to both the Arctic and the Himalayan Plateau.


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