Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On this Day: 1930

I'm a day late with this post, as this post pertains to the happenings of the night of the 31st of March, but I only learned of it today, and it was too cool a story to pass on, or indeed wait another year.

Vintage Wings of Canada is an organisation that is involved in many aspects of vintage aviation, and they are funding the search for a lesser known part of Canadian history, the lost dirigible, the HMCD Samuel de Champlain.

In her purpose built hangar in Cape Breton
I'll not recount the whole story here, go read it for yourself. What I will do here is to expand upon the completely wonderful gaming opportunities for gaming the crew members of the RCNRAS (Royal Canadian Navy Rigid Airship Service), and the missions that they and they alone could accomplish, whether it is search and rescue missions in the Great White North, or on missions to destroy enemy submarines in North American shipping lanes. Both types of missions that will take the crew off the beaten track and into wilderness, where the mythos runs free. Exactly the type of place you want to get your Investigators. Isolated and beyond immediate aid, where you can scare them witless.

Over Montreal in 1929
The storm that brought down the Samuel de Champlain was clearly the work of local cultists of  Ithaqua, working their storm magic to cover their rituals, and ensure secrecy. Once you have the crew down, you have two options for the game you want to run, either you continue with the grounded crew, now stranded in the midst of what ever terrible mythos entity that put them there, either accidentally, or on purpose, and they have to use their wits and skills to triumph, or escape. The second option is to play the rescue mission. Searching for the remains of the Samuel de Champlain, this time through the use of more conventional aircraft and means, which I musty admit is less cool that being the crew of an airship, which is why the first option would be my preferred route.

The possibilities for Pulp gaming on an airship are of course too many to list. From Indiana Jones style fights and flights by airship, to of course, the other possible reason she was brought down over James Bay, night attack by byakhees!
Samuel de Champlain weathercocks magnificently from her mooring ship HMCS Joseph Mufferaw in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in July of 1929. The Royal Canadian Navy had invested millions of dollars in infrastructure (support ships and bases) to create the RCNRAS (Royal Canadian Navy Rigid Airship Service) as a weapon to both deter and counter submarine threats in the shipping lanes to North America. HMCD Samuel de Champlain along with a planned four more Los Angeles class dirigibles (HMCD Louis Cyr, HMCD Georges Vezina, HMCD Daniel McGrew and HMCD Laura Secord) would be based from two newly built facilities at HMCS North Forchu on Cape Breton Island and HMCS Toutlegang on Anticosti Island. After the loss of the airship, the RCNRAS was disbanded and the Joseph Mufferaw (Big Joe to her crew) was placed back in RCN service as an oil tanker. Ironically, ten years later she would be sunk by a German U-Boat on the Grand Banks Photo: RCNRAS Archives.

She even had her own Mooring ship. How wonderful it that? This opens up even greater possibilities for government funded expeditions on the scale of the Mountains of Madness campaign. This game just writes itself. I'm so inspired, I think I'm going to have to actually write this up as a scenario.

Disclaimer: Yes, I am fully aware of the date this story was published, and also that the date of the disappearance. I was initially taken in, but this so needs to have been a thing, and lets face it, who amongst us is going to let a little truth get in the way of a good story?

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