[D20 CoC] Beyond the Mountains of Madness Campaign - Prologue

jdeleski

First Post
A Benefactor

During the intermission, while you are eating dinner and casually chatting, an elderly gentleman with white hair and an angular face walks up to your table, extends his hand, and says "Hello, I looked over at your table and noticed that the four of you seem to be fit and tanned and I've deduced that you are all explorers and will be soon traveling to the far south. My name is John Rockefeller and it's a pleasure to meet you!

If you don't mind, I'd like to discuss with you your plans for the expedition. I'm considering whether to provide support to Mr. Starkweather and I'm not one to invest money without first investigating each opportunity. You have my word that I'll keep any comments of yours in the strictest of confidence.


After introductions are made, he asks with a wry smile "So gentlemen, if you don't mind my asking, how well do you feel this expedition is being organized? And, if you had your way, what suggestions would you make to our fearless leader?"

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Job (the tortured one).
 

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Morpheus

Exploring Ptolus
Martin looks up at Mr. Rockefeller and then stands and extends his hand.
"Mr. Rockefeller, it is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance. I have followed your business leadership for some time and I find you a gentleman of the finest quality."
 
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taitzu52

First Post
"Mr. Rockefeller," says Jim, nearly shooting up to his feet, "Poole. James Poole. I'm a geological surveyor, surely I'm not the first prospector you've met in your day. Heheh." he goes on, chuckling at his own joke. "I myself am curious as to what mineral deposits exist in the untapped wastes of the South Polar region. Surely you and Mr. Starkwether would have much to discuss." He purposefully withholds his opinions on the trip's organization, still being fairly ignorant of the logistical facts. He subtly leans to the side, to follow Professor Moore's movements, eager to talk to him once more.
 

jdeleski

First Post
Another Team Member

As you're relaxing and chatting, enjoying the intermission, you see a man of medium size and build and dark hair coming towards your table. Although he carries himself with the grace and confidence of youth, his face is deeply lined. He smiles and reaches out to shake hands, grasping yours in a strong and callused grip, saying "Hello, I'm Peter Sykes. I'm pleased to meet you."

After introductions are completed and you've eased past the small talk, you learn that Peter is one of the polar guides on the expedition, a seasoned veteran brought in by James Starkweather and Dr. Moore to assist in organizing and coordinating the expedition.

Peter's eyes light up when he learns that you will all be teammates of his, eagerly asking questions regarding your backgrounds and expertise.

He shares a story of how he first met Dr. Moore 10 years earlier during the summer, teaming up with him on a trip to the Arctic. "He's a cautious man, Dr. Moore, and sometimes a real pain in the keister! But if anyone will make sure that we're fully supplied on this trip, it will be him."

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Job (the tortured one).

Bibliography Reference 6.
 

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jdeleski

First Post
James and Camille Finish Their First Dance

Concluding the first interaction between James Starkweather and Camille Bardier...
jdeleski said:
James Starkweather, looking puzzled, watched the woman turn to depart, then called out to her. "Miss? One moment please."
Taokan said:
Turning around, Camille bobbed a half-wobbly curtsy in Starkweather's general direction. "I'm terribly sorry, but I don't have the time to talk right now. I must hurry and finish some things up before the speeches are over, and as I said, I can meet you later, after the fundraiser. Good Evening." Finally escaping from the the honored M. Starkweather, the supposed Mrs. Lockhart started the search for the other members of the expedition.
James Starkweather stared after the strange woman for a few moments, shrugged, and then turned back to his companions. "Now where was I? Oh yes! The tribal chieftain! Well, once I gave him the photograph..."

OOC - Taokan, where will Camille be searching in the room? Will she stay for James Starkweather's address? If so, as you wander around, you'll notice that there are a number of tables in the middle of the room that have open seats with untouched dinners.

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Job (the tortured one).
 
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jdeleski

First Post
John D

Morpheus said:
Martin looks up at Mr. Rockefeller and then stands and extends his hand.
"Mr. Rockefeller, it is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance. I have followed your business leadership for some time and I find you a gentleman of the finest quality."
John Rockefeller locks grips and eyes with Martin for a full five seconds, then smiles and says "Obviously my biographers are doing a good job, Mr. LeBlanc! Not everyone shares that opinion, I'm afraid. In the oil business, lives and livelihoods are at stake every day and decisions are not always well received. I expect you'll find that the same is true in your upcoming expedition."

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Job (the tortured one).
 

jdeleski

First Post
John D (cont'd)

taitzu52 said:
"Mr. Rockefeller," says Jim, nearly shooting up to his feet, "Poole. James Poole. I'm a geological surveyor, surely I'm not the first prospector you've met in your day. Heheh." he goes on, chuckling at his own joke. "I myself am curious as to what mineral deposits exist in the untapped wastes of the South Polar region. Surely you and Mr. Starkwether would have much to discuss."
Mr. Rockefeller chuckles and says "No, you're right, I've certainly met my share, Mr. Poole, but I'm of the opinion that everyone is a prospector and is looking for something. Most people don't go as far as the Antarctic in their search, but those that do...are very special indeed. James has already briefed me on the potential that exists under the ice, but I'll be very interested to read your reports. Be sure to stop by and see me upon your return."

taitzu52 said:
He purposefully withholds his opinions on the trip's organization, still being fairly ignorant of the logistical facts. He subtly leans to the side, to follow Professor Moore's movements, eager to talk to him once more.
Professor Moore remains in the front of the room, seated at his table.
 

jdeleski

First Post
James Starkweather Steps Up

After you have finished dining on your choice of roast duck with orange sauce, Beef Wellington, or broiled salmon filet, all accompanied by tender asparagus with almonds and a helping of thin slices of garlic-spiced potatoes, the serving staff then delivers flaming Bananas Foster and offers you either a wonderfully-fragrant coffee, potent tea, or a citrus tonic. While sipping your beverage, you hear the tapping of a crystal glass over the PA system, “Ting, ting, ting…”.

You see that Dr. Moore is standing once again at the microphone and the conversations begin quieting down.

Dr. Moore begins: “It is now my great honor to present to you an individual who has left large and deep footprints in the annals of exploration. After earning the rank of Captain during the Great War for his valiant action and leadership, he established himself as the premier safari guide in Africa. His expeditions discovered large numbers of important artifacts that are being studied by archeologists even today. He later led successful expeditions to the Australian desert, and to the Himalayan Plateau which he wrote of in his published book “Survival at the World’s Roof”. After returning for a period of time to his work in Africa, he once again answered the call and led teams to the North Pole and to the jungles of Costa Rica. And now, to our great benefit, he has agreed to lead our expedition to the Antarctic. I am proud and honored to present to you tonight, Captain James Starkweather."

James Starkweather rises from his chair to a loud standing ovation and briskly strides up to the platform, pausing with a broad smile to vigorously shake Dr. Moore’s hand. After the two exchange a few words and laugh together, he turns and steps up to the podium. The applause continues as he raises his hands to the audience, saying “Thank you,” and he waits. After the applause continues on for another ten seconds or so, he laughs and again raises his hands, saying “Thank you,” and he waits. This time, the audience begins quieting down and returning to their seats.

OOC - If you have any actions that you'd like to take prior to the start of this speech, be sure to let me know in a post. If you do not state otherwise, I assume that everyone is seated at their table and that Camille has found an empty seat in the middle of the ballroom.

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Job (the tortured one).
 
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Bobitron

Explorer
jdeleski said:
After introductions are made, he asks with a wry smile "So gentlemen, if you don't mind my asking, how well do you feel this expedition is being organized? And, if you had your way, what suggestions would you make to our fearless leader?"

VIttorio shakes the man's hand respectfully. "Sir, I have nothing negative to report about the organization. It appears that Mr. Starkweather and Dr. Moore have done all with an attention to detail missing in many expeditions, and an open ear to the opinions of the team members. While I have not been dealing directly with Dr. Moore, Mr. Starkweather has been a consumate professional. I would heartily give my recommendation to the funding of the expedition, even if I were not partaking in it."

At Mr. Sykes arrives, Vittorio recognizes in his weathered face another professional. Shaking his hand with vigor, he greets the guide warmly. "Pleased to meet you, sir. Have you met Mr. Guerini? He is a guide, as well. Experienced men like you should find plenty to discuss," he said with a smile.

He bows slightly to Rockefeller and returns to his seat as Dr. Moore begins to speak.
 


Taokan

First Post
As it turned out, Camille didn't have much time to scan the room either case. Roughly six minutes after leaving Mr. Starkweather's company, the signal to sit down for the next speech was tapped out on a glass. Mentally shrugging her shoulders, she sat down in the nearest available empty seat and started munching on the uneaten dinner resting in front of her.

Perhaps there was still time before she made a subtle exit to hear another speech or two. If the rest of the speeches were about airplanes as well, she could be persuaded to at least pay some sort of attention to the speaker. Thought there was some irony in a half-heard tidbit from a previous speech. "...And the pay is terrible!” That figured. It wasn't like she was doing this for the money anyway...
 

jdeleski

First Post
James Starkweather's Opening

“Good Evening!”, said James Starkweather begins with a smile, "Good evening and welcome. Thank you for such a warm reception."

Gesturing towards Dr. Moore, who is now seated at his table in the front, he says "And thank you, Professor Moore, for your extremely kind words. I couldn’t think of a better leader, or a more distinguished colleague, or a more loyal friend, to accompany me—and to help lead our team—on this expedition.”

Spreading his arms wide and looking out into the audience, he continues “And to all of you, my guests, it is indeed a great pleasure, and a humbling experience, for me to be here in such grand company. Tonight I am surrounded by leaders. Each of you have earned titles, and respect, and in some cases fame, in the conquest of new frontiers. Each of you has planted your flag in new territory, whether in business, or in science, or on a snow-covered mountaintop. You have each confronted the challenge of the unknown and have overcome it. Our expedition, with your help, will do likewise.

"Many of my expedition team are here tonight. To you, my team members, I'd like to now take a few moments and extend my warm welcome and hospitality. You've earned it! And," He winks and laughs, "you'd better enjoy it because this is as warm as it gets considering where we're headed! And to all of you who will not be joining us on this journey, but will instead remain behind in this warm... comfortable... pleasant... did I say warm?... city of New York, I urge you to take some time to chat with these individuals. They are truly the best of the best. And they have remarkable tales to tell.

"And now that the introductions are out of the way," he says with a grin, "it's time for me to provide a bit of information. Tonight I will first answer a question--the question as far as I'm concerned. Second, I will describe the challenge. Not just any challenge, but what I consider to be the major challenge of this journey."

First, the question. The question, very simply, is “Why?”. Any discussion of the Antarctic problem, except perhaps in scientific circles, soon comes up hard on the question: “…but what’s the use of it? What’s the value of snow and ice so many miles away?” It is sometimes difficult to answer that question, and it's not because the answer is necessarily lacking in logic or conviction, but more often it is that the asking mind has not turned its thought in that direction. As is natural in our own crowded affairs, we see things narrowly, especially in a matter such as this, in trite, personal and commercial terms of worth. Antarctica, a vast wonderland laid out on a giant scale, in which littleness has no place, cannot be judged or appraised according to limited values. When I speak to certain businessmen, they often reply “But where’s the money in it? Where’s the profit?”

"Candidly, at this moment the Antarctic is sleeping, so far as we can calculate its value to modern civilization. No one, except God, can tell how long it will remain sleeping. However, even with the little we do know of Antarctica, we know of vast treasures. Now, for example, in summertime, the southern continents waters swarm with Norwegian whalers who annually harvest a revenue of $15 million from their catch. On the continent itself, immense beds of coal were hinted at by Shackleton’s discoveries. Scott found copper. Economic minerals were found by Mawson’s party at Adelie Land, and Scott’s Northern Party found titanium. And these treasures pale in comparison to those that will reward the diligent scientist and observer who will add precious pieces of knowledge to the puzzle that we consider to be our world. Our expedition in the coming months will address all of these areas. And more!"

We will also seek to travel back to the campsight and last resting place of our colleagues from Miskatonic University, led by professor Charles Lake, some two years ago. We intend to confirm their amazing discoveries and to map and climb the Miskatonic Mountain range, reported to be the highest peaks in the world. Once we've reached those peaks, we will continue further. We will continue beyond the mountains. Beyond those mountains where we intend to perform an aerial survey of the lands on the far side of that range, into uncharted territory that has never before seen by the human eye. To uncover the secrets…

Starkweather stops midsentence. He stands staring towards the rear of the room; towards something, or someone, that has arrested his attention.

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Bibliography Reference 5.
 
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taitzu52

First Post
Jim, smiling along though the whole speech, nodding his head in agreement, suddenly spots Starkweather's concern. He eases himself back in his chair, and turns his shoulders to look back at what has caught the explorer's attention.
 

jdeleski

First Post
The Curious Guest

taitzu52 said:
Jim, smiling along though the whole speech, nodding his head in agreement, suddenly spots Starkweather's concern. He eases himself back in his chair, and turns his shoulders to look back at what has caught the explorer's attention.

At the start of James Starkweather's speech, numerous guests continued returning to their seats through the rear doors, many of whom you assume were visiting the washrooms.

You turn and look to where James Starkweather's vision is focused, and you notice one lone guest who is late getting back to his seat and seems a little odd. This slightly pudgy, grey-haired individual, while dressed in a suit, is disheveled and is shambling towards the front of the room.

OOC - Starkweather noticed him when he was approximately at point X on the attached diagram. You get a better look at this individual when he is approximately at point Y.
Paco, James, Vittorio, and Martin are seated at table 35, and Camille is seated at table 14.



James recovers himself and says “Lawrence? Lawrence, you look ill. Are you OK?”

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Job (the tortured one).
 

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The Shaman

First Post
Paco politely nods and smiles as Mr. Rockefeller is introduced. He vaguely recalls a connection between the name and West Indian Oil Company, something overheard perhaps in Santiago or Valparaiso – he remains blissfully ignorant of the unimaginable wealth of the man before him, however, dismissing the connection as coincidence. He focuses instead on the broiled salmon – despite long hours in the cannery, the mountaineer never lost his taste for the flaky pink flesh.

The introduction of Peters Sykes gets Paco’s full attention. The Chilean introduces himself immediately to the man, noting the weathered man’s countenance. Mucho gusto, Señor Sykes,” he says earnestly, gripping the guide’s hand firmly. After Sykes is seated, Paco says “I am very interested in your experiences, señor. Are you as familiar with airplanes and motor sleds as Doctor Moore?” He smiles broadly. “My own experience is limited to llamas and dogs, I am afraid...”

After learning more about Sykes’ background – where he’s climbed, with whom – Paco is pleased at last to hear Starkweather introduced. He studies the man closely, his curiosity piqued by the man, his expedition, and the strong feelings he seems to arouse in others. The mountaineer continues to watch the expedition leader even after Starkweather’s abrupt pause.
 

Morpheus

Exploring Ptolus
Martin turns around and looks at the individual that is the cause of the disturbance.

OOC: Could we be any further back from the stage? ;)
 

jdeleski

First Post
taitzu52 said:
Jim, smiling along though the whole speech, nodding his head in agreement, suddenly spots Starkweather's concern. He eases himself back in his chair, and turns his shoulders to look back at what has caught the explorer's attention.
Morpheus said:
Martin turns around and looks at the individual that is the cause of the disturbance.
Result of Jim's observation
[sblock]Successful Spot Hidden roll: The individual who is making his way to the stage area is carrying something in his hand, but you are unable to determine what it is.[/sblock]
Result of Martin's observation
[sblock]Very Successful Spot Hidden roll: See the personal message that I sent.[/sblock]
 

Taokan

First Post
Drawn into the speech despite herself, Camille listens intently, occasionally shaking her head or making various sounds of agreement. She was paying enough attention that as soon as it was noticed that Starkweather's attention had wavered, Camille shifted around in her seat to see the problem.
 

Morpheus

Exploring Ptolus
Martin jumps from his seat-knocking his chair over. He starts to run towards the strange individual making his way towards the stage.
"He's got a gun!"
 

The Shaman

First Post
Paco doesn’t see the man at first, but the journalist – Martin? – leaping up from the table, shouting about a gun, snaps the mountaineer’s reverie.

Growing up among the working class of Valdivia, the Chilean encountered his fair share of tough characters. While never a troublemaker himself, living and working among fishermen and the cannery workers exposed him to a rough-and-tumble crowd.

The powerful mountaineer doesn’t hesitate, leaping from his seat and following Martin, his calloused hands balled into fists.
 

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