Serial Settings 1: Ubiquity ~ Week 37
The entry this week for Serial Setting 1 for Ubiquity adds an additional location to the beautiful, yet deadly Windlet Islands. The Serial Settings series of posts is intended to provide usable setting material for busy GMs. Series 1 is for those looking to run Daring Tales of Adventure or Hollow Earth Expedition.
37) Storm Shelters, Greater Windlet Island
The storms of 1934 brought with them an extraordinary amount of rain, which led to the destruction of many homes and outlying buildings. The sheer quantity and tenacity of mud on the islands cannot truly be pictured until it has been experienced, and even during the dry parts of the year the oppressive humidity of the interior can turn what should be solid land into a clinging soup, hungry for anything which dares walk across the pudding-like crust of its illusory surface.
Although there are many stalwart public buildings designed with storms in mind, with spacious areas included as a part of disaster prevention and relief efforts, the widespread damage experienced in ’34 convinced the Administrator and the leaders of the community to construct additional shelters in different locations across the island in order to minimize the required travel for those seeking shelter, and to provide more opportunities for safe haven to those caught out in the elements.
Unfortunately, the snakes and lizards seem to love them, and can represent a hazard to the health of those cleaning, restocking, or using them. One can never be too careful.
The shelters themselves are designed with 10 families in mind, and contain basic food and water as well as cooking and cleaning facilities. Some of the hardier residents, used to living without walls, and to getting wet when it rains, see this shelters as totally unnecessary, but many of those secretly appreciate the bathrooms.
It is an open rumour that Administrator Ghast and the design team for the shelters are mortified that to date the shelters have demonstrably saved no one, yet snakebite has claimed the lives of three children playing within their cool interiors this year alone. Ways are being sought to proof the shelters against such incursions, but everyone just shakes their heads and recognizes that the Island will have her due.
“Such things shape us,’” Faipa can often be heard to say. Indicating that the people of the islands, living under Mount Cairn, are always living in the shadow of death, yet are a blazing symbol of life and prosperity. “We grow despite the suffocating grip of her heat, despite the ripping teeth of her wild things, and despite the storms which seek to smash her…and us.”
A stop-gap measure put in place after the first death this year was to hire a team of teens to check the shelters at sunrise and sunset daily and ensure the shelters are free of inimical life. The team is supervised by a junior member of the Fence Guards. The teens treat the work as being not unlike a paper route, but with the added perk of getting paid to kill snakes.
Usual Suspects: Randy Phillips
Randy has just recently turned 20 and is very proud to have qualified for duty on the Fence. Born in Texas, he feels that he should be rougher and tougher than all the rest, so is of course – not. He is no slouch when it comes to handling himself in the wild, or handling his weapons, but he will probably never be the roughest and toughest anything, anywhere. He is growing up to be a nice-looking and loyal fellow, though, and most of the others like him.
He is not having the easiest time with the ‘Pack of Lizard Killers’ as he likes to call the officially named “Inspection Squad” as he is too close to them in age and temperament to be seen as a real leader, yet expects more respect from them. His blonde hair and bright, bright, wide-set blue eyes make him seem somewhat innocent and amplify the interplay of emotion across his face. The kids love to tease him and see his reaction. They are very fond of dropping dead snakes on him from perches in the trees.
Rumours: Heard mostly among the younger set
- Randy is afraid of snakes, and won’t inspect the shelters personally
- Randy kisses every snake he sees hoping one will transform into a girlfriend
- Randy is one of the better trackers, he can find you anywhere
- When he is truly startled, he screams and flinches like a kid
- Randy thinks men from Texas are, “a cut above the rest”
- Randy’s father, a welder for the Company, used to beat him, but that doesn’t happen now
- He passed up a chance for a scholarship at some school in Boston when he got the chance to work the Fence
- He drove a Company truck off the end of the pier when he was learning how to drive
Seek and thou shalt find!