In today's preview of Dime Adventures, our upcoming pulp alternate history roleplaying game, we take a look at Antarctica, a continent of unexplored lands and hidden terrors
The mother of all blank spots on the map, Antarctica has been known to the outside world for less than a century. At first glance, a frozen wasteland filled with endless ice piled upon endless ice, the southernmost continent yet holds many mysteries left to be uncovered by daring explorers and their ilk.
But Antarctica is also an ancient continent, with a forgotten history buried beneath its mundane-seeming ice. Dark things dwell in the forgotten crevices of the world, and distant Antarctica has the darkest of all.
The Dominion Mountains have yet to be glimpsed by human eyes. They are an enigma, a mystery yet to be solved. There have been many strange reports of disappearances, lights in the sky, unexplained auras and harrowing sightings, over the years, surrounding Antarctica, and the Dominion Mountains lay at the heart of these strange encounters. What humans would discover there if and when they finally make it to the Dominion Mountains would shake even the bravest of souls.
These twin volcanoes stand on Ross Island and continuously ooze magma from their many crevices into the sea below. Where the magma meets the sea, great amounts of steam and other gases are released, making it truly a land of fire and ice. This presents a hazard to would-be travelers. These volcanoes also have one of the only standing magma lakes in the world.
The Ross Sea is a frigid and largely untouched wilderness, pristine in its beauty but deadly in its natural fickleness. As one gets closer to the continent, the sea gives way to ice. The Ross Ice Shelf stretches across endless miles of ocean. Those few foolhardy explorers who have journeyed to the ice shelf and lived to tell the tale have brought back rumors and mad ramblings of things buried deep in the ice—barely visible as the sunlight filters down through it. They speak of massive and unknowable bodies, unreachable by human hands deep under the ice cover. They gibber about going mad at the mere sight of these primordial frozen behemoths.
This British island off the coast of Antarctica were recently home to a number of small whaling settlements. From the late 1800s until recently, these settlements served as seasonal bases for a few hardy whalers and sealers who trolled the local waters looking to make it rich.
More recently, however, the settlements have been left abandoned, their doors ajar and their equipment ruined. The abandonment appears to be sudden—in some buildings, food has been left on the table and personal affects left untouched in their places about the rooms. The British navy ship that reported the abandoned settlements also reported that the ships were left on the dock—untouched. And that no people, or bodies for that matter, were to be found anywhere on the island. The cause of the whalers' sudden disappearance remains a mystery.
No human being has yet set foot at the South Pole. It is a hypothetical point on the continent, a milestone in human progress that has yet to be reached. And despite the failure of the British-funded Discovery Expedition to reach the pole (1901-1904), it is only a matter of time before human beings push to the most remote and southernmost point on the planet and claim the prize.
The Discovery Expedition came to an end under mysterious circumstances. When the expedition left the last civilized base in South America and made its way to the southern continent, it would at first send back regular messages. However, as the expedition continued, the messages became more erratic and began to contain strange content. The explorers spoke of seeing mysterious auras on the horizon, finding evidence of unexplained formations in the ice, and even of the curious and tragic loss of several members of the expedition. The last communication sent back never made it. The Discovery's messenger ship was found drifting in the ocean with no crew on board. On the ship was a sealed communique that contained only a short message asking for aid, a list of dead expedition members and some ramblings about the auras.
In fact, the True Form Foundation is publicly offering a grand prize of $100,000 to the first expedition to successfully reach the South Pole and return again with proof of their accomplishment. This prize has stood open for three years now, and the strange failure of the Discovery Expedition has left the door open for other groups to try their hands.
This is the largest peninsula in Antarctica, sticking out from the main landmass and extending northward. Of all the lands on the Antarctic continent, this one has seen the most human exploration, with a number of expeditions to the peninsula and a few lonely seasonal research stations still remaining along its coast. The few who live in these research stations are a haggard and largely mad lot, working away at their scientific research that consumes them enough to bring them to the ends of the earth.
Dime Adventures is our upcoming pulp alternate history RPG. Its Kickstarter is scheduled to begin January 10th. In the meantime, you can sign up to be notified when the Kickstarter is ready.