The Tavistock Expeditions is a follow-on campaign from Lord Beresford's Travellers, but seventy years on. Starting in 1934, it is 'dieselpunk' rather than the steampunk of the Travellers - but with the same addition of magic and some psychic powers (though the only ones which have manifested so far are those of the mediums).
The Tavistock FoundationEdit
Eccentric millionairess Dorothy Tavistock is deeply into spiritualism and the occult. She learned that the German government has set up an Office of Occult Affairs (the SS-Ahnenerbe*) to seek out items of arcane power to bring new powers to their growing totalitarian State. Convinced that the National Socialists are not people who should be trusted with such power, she decided that Britain needs something similar. She failed to persuade the Government of this, so she set up the Tavistock Foundation to “arm Britain with the mystical powers of past ages” using her industrialist husband’s money and contributions from similar “right-minded clear-thinking folk” who subscribe to her magazine, Voices From Beyond.
(*Yes, I know the SS-Ahnenerbe wasn't founded till 1936, but I want it in the campaign!)
She had the sense to hire a professional to oversee things: Professor Brian Dalgetty, Professor of Archaeology at Bristol University and former Under-Curator of Archaeology at the British Museum. Under his guidance, most of the Foundation’s plans are for serious archaeology, if for a kooky aim: digs at Glastonbury and Cadbury Castle to look for Arthurian relics, in Bath to seek out the Roman ‘Idol of the Waters’, and so on. (Geophys hasn’t yet been invented: they use psychic diviners instead.) Dalgetty’s pledge to properly record and make available for scientific research all their finds except for items of significant magical power attracted world-wide Press attention, and boosted the Foundation’s membership and circulation of the magazine, which will be useful to meet the Foundation’s expenses.
He is also recruiting teams of globetrotting archaeological troubleshooters: the PCs are the first of those teams. The Tavistock Expeditions will respond to rumours of artifacts and go to the wild places to find the great relics of the world.
Mrs Isadora Stanley: Widow of a planter in Kenya, one of the rich set in Happy Valley. She was taught to fly an aeroplane there by one of the other planters, and always had an interest in archaeology, a former profession of her husband’s when he was in Mesopotamia. After her husband’s tragic death in a motorcar accident, she had to sell the estate to meet his obligations, but was fortunate enough to be hired by one of his former colleagues to fly their expedition to various remote archaeological sites.
When that employment came to an end, Mrs. Stanley was again fortunate, this time meeting Professor Dalgetty, another former colleague of her husband in Mesopotamia. For the benefit of an old friend’s unemployed widow, he was prepared to set aside his prejudice against women in hazardous situations and include her in the Tavistock Expeditions party as the official archaeologist.
Most of the party have already noticed that Mrs Stanley drinks more than is ladylike, but it has not yet apparently affected her behaviour. Her penchant for antique jewellery is also quite noticeable.
Donald Urquhart: Scion of a good Scots family with an extensive estate near Kirkintilloch, but his grandfather Laurie (veteran of the Beresford expeditions in the 1860s) prefers to live in England, so both Donald and his father have been brought up in Surrey and great-uncle Robert lives on and administers the estate.
Donald is the party’s mechanical talent, and also enjoys driving:
"My Alvis Crested Eagle saloon is a beauty and lovely to drive. I suggest we stop at our family estate, outside Kirkintilloch. There'll be room for everyone and it's a beautiful place. It belongs to my grandfather, Laurie, but he prefers to live in England, so my great-uncle, Robert, lives there."
Dr Kohath Ramsbottom: The party’s doctor and magician, from working-class Yorkshire stock but earned his medical degree at Edinburgh Medical School. As well as his ‘mundane’ medical skills, Dr Ramsbottom is a very talented magician with a natural talent for healing – a real catch for the party.
He is also the party’s ‘official’ driver, an accomplished motor-vehicle driver, though others are more enthusiastic about their driving and he has so far let Donald and Isadora do the driving since they have their own cars.
He is also a dour, humourless man, “who looks like a member of the fundamentalist wing of the Methodist Church” (though he is not Methodist). Not yet seen to laugh by the rest of the party.
Willie Cranston: A sailor, who shipped out as a junior hand at 13 years old and has kicked around most of the world’s oceans. Highlight of his career so far is time spent in the South Seas as a pearl diver – although outclassed by the locals who had been doing it since boyhood and their rival Mermen, he was still good enough to earn a living at it for some years.
Willie is in the party to handle all their water-transport, and is also a medium, which may help significantly in their investigations.
Albert Cavendish: Albert is officially the party’s aeroplane pilot, but as a shy man he may find it hard to assert that when Mrs. Stanley heads for the controls. He learned to fly in his days with the University Officer Training School, after which he served in the RAF Reserve but was never called up for active service. (All the party are too young to have served in the Great War.)
Haggart McFluffer: A Scots animal wrangler, of rough manners and a bit of an outsider in this company, since the rest are well-educated, widely-travelled, or both.
What have they done so far? Edit
So far the campaign has investigated:
What are they doing now?
Find out over at The Current Tavistock Expedition.