Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Mythos Expeditions

I probably oughtn't say too much about this here, but since Pelgrane's been spreading the word on Facebook I suppose I can talk a little about my contribution to Mythos Expeditions.

Expeditions, for those not familiar with the product, are 'a collection of adventures designed to be run as a stand alone with new rules tailored for expeditions or as part of the Armitage Files campaign setting in the core rules.' My contribution is Lost on a Sea of Dreams, about a trip to Bermuda to assist William Beebe. Again, I can't tell you much about the scenario, but I can tell you that when Beebe was in Bermuda he didn't get on at all well with the scientists already in place at the Biological Research Station, now known as BIOS.

The BRS had been in operation for over twenty years by the time Beebe showed up in 1928. It had been established by Harvard and New York University academics who realized early on how useful Bermuda could be for oceanic research; it probably helped that the climate is exceptionally pleasant year-round. For that matter the island was a major staging post for Prohibition blockade runners throughout the 1920s and early 1930s, a fact which can't have escaped the scientists' notice. It must have been quite pleasant to get a secondment out to a bucolic sub-tropical island, where the booze flowed freely and there was valuable work to be done.

But the established academics viewed a chancer like Beebe - who had no actual scientific credentials, and a reputation for being fast and loose with the facts as well as with women - with grave suspicion. "To tie up with such an explorer and exploiter would certainly kill our chances [of getting a cash grant from the Rockerfeller Trust]," said Professor Mark, one of the BSR's top people, and Dr Wheeler, the then director, took statements like that very seriously. It was the Great Depression, and the BSR had a significant cash flow problem; without grant money from the British Government and charitable donations from institutions like the Rockerfeller, the BSR was sunk.

The end result was a kind of 'live and let live' truce between Beebe and the BSR. Beebe was told not to use the BSR's name in any of his publicity or reports, and for its part the BSR pretended Beebe didn't exist. Beebe was given Nonesuch Island to use as his staging post, which suited BSR very nicely as it meant he wouldn't be using its facilities. No doubt when Beebe finally left the island eleven years later, the academics of the BSR breathed a quiet sigh of relief.

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