Thursday, 2 February 2012


Russian scientists probe Antarctic lake frozen for fifteen million years

This will end well, I’m sure...

Naturally it has me thinking of The Thing. And not just for the body horror ick factor, but the setting. The Arctic or Antarctic, the constantly frozen ends of the Earth.

Sir David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet showed its beauty and diversity, what a striking location it could be.

Go outside at the wrong time, or without the proper preparation, and you could die in minutes. Greg Rucka’s Whiteout (filmed starring Kate Beckinsale) gives a good basic grounding of its various dangers, dropping its exposition with a lecture to new arrivals about just how inhospitable the Antarctic is.

I’ve actually met an artist in residence for the British Antarctic Survey. One of his films visits a whaling port in South Georgia, where Shackleton found shelter, now long since abandoned to the seals. His lectures, and his time setting up an exhibition, had plenty of stories about his time, one memorable example being how different countries attempted to put their mark on the continent - “Argentina flew a pregnant woman to their base, the Belgrano, to give birth. The Chileans responded by flying in several couples to live, work, conceive and give birth there. And the British responded by opening a Post Office.”

150 people in the Antarctic feels like the setting for a Doctor Who episode in its own right. Neil Gaiman

So what would bring PCs to the blank white areas on the map? The exploration that set this post going would certainly work. If you were about to breach an environment undisturbed for fifteen million years, wouldn’t you want UNIT, or the ARC team from Primeval, or Global Frequency, or even Mulder And Scully on hand?

All kinds of classic adventures could be complicated by the location, from the deadly conditions outside to the resulting isolation to the strange international claims to the risk of breaking ice floes and chasms.

Wrap up warm, it’s going to be a chiller...

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