Adventure ideas for campaign based in the Antarctic





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    Adventure ideas for campaign based in the Antarctic

    I'm planning to start a d20 Modern campaign based in the Antarctic. It'll also contain elements from d20 CoC and possibly d20 WoD and will be loosely based on the film The Thing.

    i.e. a small research crew working in the Antarctic that stumbles across all kinds of nastiness and has to deal with the results.

    Given the central conceit, what adventures would you suggest I hurl at them to avoid a "monster of the week" scenario?

    Many thanks!

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Waylander View Post
    I'm planning to start a d20 Modern campaign based in the Antarctic. It'll also contain elements from d20 CoC and possibly d20 WoD and will be loosely based on the film The Thing.

    i.e. a small research crew working in the Antarctic that stumbles across all kinds of nastiness and has to deal with the results.

    Given the central conceit, what adventures would you suggest I hurl at them to avoid a "monster of the week" scenario?

    Many thanks!
    Seeing as how you mentioned CoC, I'd look towards H.P. Lovecraft's "At The Mountains of Madness" for inspiration.

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    Perhaps the obligatory Nazi secret base with weird experiments going on (monsters and aliens)?
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    Well, in order to avoid "monster of the week", how about a previously unknown civilization that lives on the continent.

    Something like a primitive culture/civilization of either Nenanderthals (my first choice due to their hardiness) or primitive modern man. 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, a group of these people set out from South Africa or the southern tip of South America (during the summer of course). - I'm not sure of their motivation though. - They find themselves trapped in ice as winter approaches and have to head further south (inland) in order to find shelter. They find a tunnel through the ice (created by a volcanic fumarole) that leads them underneath the ice sheet. Underneath the ice sheet, and also underground in complex cave networks (think the Underdark), they find an alien but thriving ecosystem: underground and under-ice lakes warmed by geothermal/volcanic heat, full of strange fish and creatures; a thriving moss/lichen vegetation flora, some that even glow and provide light; and possibly, animal life which has become extinct throughout the rest of the world - rare marsupials and maybe even anklysaurs (would make great beasts of burden for this culture).

    Going with the Cthulu feel, have the civilization be a little more like Morlocks. Also perhaps under the control of some "Elder God" (like an Aboleth or something). (Or maybe two civilizations, one primitive but relatively normal, and one Morlock-like subjugated by and venerating an "Elder God".)

    Not to suggest the campiness, but the old "Land of the Lost" series might have the type of feel you're looking for in a long term campaign. Maybe the characters are somehow cut-off from returning to modern civilization and they must learn to survive in this strange world while trying to find a way back home.


    Another idea, kind of going the "AVP" route, there are ruins of a much older Cthulu/Alien-esque civilization buried under the ice or underground in the Mountains. Possibly inhabited by primitive humans, possibly inhabited by modern but alien humans, or just inhabited by aliens themselves.


    Just remember, Antarctica is bigger than both Australia and Europe. That's a lot of real estate, with 97% buried under ice. There could be an entire civilization under the ice, or in cave networks in the underground/mountains, that could survive undetected for centuries. Also, with Antarctica once connected to Africa and Australia while a part of the super continent Gondwana. It once had a flourishing ecology with temperate forrests dominated by ferns and dinosaurs, and then now-extinct marsupials while still connected to Australia. Anything from that past should be fair game.


    Anyways, just some ideas to knock around that may help you get the ball rolling.
    Last edited by El Mahdi; Thursday, 2nd April, 2009 at 01:56 AM.

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    The environment needs to be a key factor in just about everything. Power goes out in a building which forces characters outside to fix the electricity. Wind batters the buildings and makes crazy eerie sounds. Think about horror movies and how the music gets terribly ominous only to be broken by a cat leaping out, but then apply that to something to do with the weather.

    That was what stood out for me most. Lots of skill based non-combat encounters at first, slowly building to The Thing,

  • #6
    Some really good ideas - many thanks!

    Zil - I do have a collection of Lovecraft's work and so will take a look into "At The Mountains of Madness"

    Mercutio01 - I agree that initially it will be a slow progression from "normality" where scary events turn out to be mundane but that progressively become more sinister!

    El Mahdi - I think it could go either way as you suggest; from the initial premise depending on what my prlayers respond to I could easily imagine going down either an AvP route or a Lost World - not sure how I'd combine both!

    Tharkun - I like the idea but I suspect that would be based on what time I set it in. I had presumed modern era . . . although it could be a long abondoned laboratory that was investigating the sinister events.

    I've also managed to buy but not yet receive (it's in the post) Call of Cthulhu d20 Nocturnum which hopefully will supply additional ideas.

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    Whatever direction you decide to go, sounds like it will be a fun campaign.


    Cheers and Good Gaming.

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    Some ships in the 18th and 19th century would go pretty far south to get into the 'westerlies' (about 40-50 degrees South latitude). Might be interesting to find one frozen in a glacier... who knows what sort of evil and sinister things the sailors resorted to with their ship frozen in for the winter?

  • #9
    Quote Originally Posted by El Mahdi View Post
    Whatever direction you decide to go, sounds like it will be a fun campaign.

    Cheers and Good Gaming.
    Thanks El Mahdi - I hope so

    Quote Originally Posted by Dedekind View Post
    Some ships in the 18th and 19th century would go pretty far south to get into the 'westerlies' (about 40-50 degrees South latitude). Might be interesting to find one frozen in a glacier... who knows what sort of evil and sinister things the sailors resorted to with their ship frozen in for the winter?
    That's a really great idea! I'm hoping to have several adventures that have relatively mundane beginnings . . .

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    Two words: dire penguins!
    But seriously, this wiki article Geology of Antarctica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia has a map of the landmass beneath the ice. I would have a fissure open in the ice that allowed the investigators access the world deep beneath the ice, and play up the feeling of all the ice constantly pressing down upon this chamber.

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