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 Post subject: The Search for the Niger
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:08 am
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Location: Sonthofen / Germany
While searching for informations for the design of a new pseudo-historical
setting in a fictional colonial country in West Africa in the Victorian Age I
also found a Wikipedia page describing the African Association's quest to
discover and map the Niger:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Association

The story of this search for the elusive river is one of a string of almost
unbelievably bad luck killing almost all of the explorers sent out by the Af-
rican Association and ending in a truly bizarre way:
Quote:
The most bizarre story of the African Association was that of Henry Nicholls
in 1804. Kryza writes, "Having failed in assaults from the north (Tripoli), the
east (Cairo), and the west (Gambia), the membership now proposed that an
effort be made from the south. The site chosen from which to strike inland
was a British trading post in the Gulf of Guinea". In the cruelest of ironies, the
river mouth that emptied into the Gulf, from whence Nicholls was to set out in
search of the Niger, was precisely the end of the Niger itself—only the Europe-
ans did not know it yet. The starting point of the expedition was in fact its des-
tination.

And even this expedition failed because the chosen explorer died of Malaria ...

I think I will try to use something like this series of desasters in my setting,
and I thought this extreme example of exploration gone wrong might perhaps
give others some ideas for their campaigns, too. :twisted:


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 12:49 pm 
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Location: The Maze of Peril
The problem with drawing on real world examples for role-playing games is that no-one would believe them ...

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:50 pm 
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Colonies should be full of stuff like this!

2001 Nights has some other great examples of ways to make a colony/expedition fail - usually down to unanticipated physical phenomena in the environment, such as long-term disease, symbiotic fungi, astrophysical alignments raining down death on the planet, etc. There was an old anime made of it called "Space Fantasia" which summarises the core story, and there's a new one called "TO" which has two of the stories from the books in full.

Space Fantasia (part 1): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jftzZJpzz1M (all 6 parts should be online).

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