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Old 01-24-2020, 09:37 PM   #11
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Scientific Specializations for Exploring Unknown Island

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Yes, but
[*]The best graduates from Caribbean institutions and even the best undergrads often got scholarships to study and train in the USA (Fulbright Program and so on), UK, France, Netherlands etc.
Ah, indeed. Denzel Rolle is meant to represent that kind of scholar, with an MSc degree from a university on the Bahamas or with a historical assciation with Nassau, before a scholarship to UT-Austin.

I'm open to either replacing someone in the preliminary group for one or more Caribbean locals. Where would peopke who are post-graduates and/or on a tenure track in 1995 havemgotten their degrees and what are my most glaring omissions?

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*]Scholars and scientists from the USA and other former colonial powers often made use of old collections and traditions relating to, and rich contacts in, former colonial territories to do fieldwork there or otherwise develop specific expertise.
I am assuming that all of the scientists and scholars in question have some experience or other connections with the Caribbean.

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*]For observational work of a preliminary character, such as this, it is actually more useful to have detailed local knowledge than to have a prodigious intellect and a profound grasp of analytical principles. An amateur butterfly-collector who has seen several thousand Antillean clearwings and can tell at a glance that that is not one might be more useful than the world's leading expert on the evolution of the Lepidoptera. You want someone who knows what bugs and stuff in the Caribbean look like and do in the wild so that he can tell what is worth collecting for the experts.
Good point.

Shackleford is meant to have an extensive background in oceanographic fieldwork in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, Rolle is Caribbean-born and specializes in Caribbean anthropology and Marty White is an expert in French-derived Caribbean Creoles.

Sullivan has a military background from the 7th SFG (A), which means he's a Spanish-speaker and has extensive training and experience in Latin American cultures, even before his university days.

Wehmeyer mostly studies Texan oilfields and Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean petrochemical resources.

What are the most glaring lacunae in my preliminary write-up and what do I need to add?
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Old 01-24-2020, 09:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: Scientific Specializations for Exploring Unknown Island

I suggest that a botanist is the most glaring omission, followed by an entomologist and and ornithologist. Rolle may be good enough a prehistorian and archaeologist.

One of the oil-exploration types can collect soil cores to send to a palaeobotanical lab when the party returns.
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Old 01-24-2020, 10:29 PM   #13
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Default Re: Scientific Specializations for Exploring Unknown Island

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Hi, everybody! Great to see you again!

I've been away for unpleasant health related reasons, but hope to avoid future episodes of ill health and enjoy many more years with you.
Really glad to see you back. :-)

I think one thing you'd try to bring along is someone whose word is unimpeachable. Perhaps someone political as well. Maybe combine the two. A war hero who served in the current administration. Someone not known for taking in or taking on bullsh*t. A witness to the weirdness if you will.

I think you'd also want a journalist or two as well and much for the same reasons at first, but afterward getting them to get the word out would be just as darn useful.
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Old 01-24-2020, 11:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: Scientific Specializations for Exploring Unknown Island

You might also want to bring a lawyer specialized in international law, because just whose territory that island is will be suddenly interesting to a bunch of people.
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Old 01-24-2020, 11:46 PM   #15
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You might also want to bring a lawyer specialized in international law, because just whose territory that island is will be suddenly interesting to a bunch of people.
Will the lawyer be able to do anything about it better on the island than in Houston?
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Old 01-25-2020, 12:02 AM   #16
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Will the lawyer be able to do anything about it better on the island than in Houston?
Hm. Dunno. Not a lawyer specializing in international law :)
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Old 01-25-2020, 12:45 AM   #17
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Hm. Dunno. Not a lawyer specializing in international law :)
I suppose that if necessary such a lawyer could be eaten by a tyrannosaur.
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Old 01-25-2020, 03:25 AM   #18
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I suppose that if necessary such a lawyer could be eaten by a tyrannosaur.
Ironically, as this is being worked out as background, I already know that of all the people who go in 1995, only Wehmeyer and three security personnel return.

Twenty three years later, about six months before the start of my campaign.

One is catatonic, one keeps screaming and crying and Wehmeyer, while seeming better than that at first glance, displays deeply concerning delusions, paranoid tendencies and even homicidal impulses.

The fourth character who returned is Teddy Smith (PC), a Rhodesian veteran of the Selous Scouts and the French Foreign Legion (2e REP). As play started, he had recently been certified by a team of specialists as 'apparently sane', but obviously deeply affected by by his ordeal.

Oddly, however, neither Wehmeyer nor Smith report having been absent for the full 23 years. Smith thinks he spent about two years in a sidereal world of perpetual twililight inhabited by terrible monsters and a race of aquatic intelligent beings. Wehmeyer recalls the same world, but reports, variously, that they were there for several days, a few months or 'a lifetime, in some ways'. Both were emaciated, disheveled, nearly naked and generally appeared like they had been through some very hard living in the past months or years, but neither appeared as much aged as twenty three years would dictate.

The rest of the expedition, scientists, scholars and security, were all killed in variously horrific ways.

There are numerous reasons I care about the names and backgrounds of dead NPCs.

First, versimilitude. Smith would know the people he was marooned with, even if they didn't make it back.

Second, some might have left friends, family or colleagues behind who might have questions for Mr. Smith, officially reported drowned in the same hurricane as the others of the expedition twenty three years ago.

Third, the universities and other institutions the scientific members of the expedition were associated with provide clues to where the billionaire Patron's tendrils of influence stretched in 1995 and suggest which universities he might retain connections with in the current era.
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Old 01-25-2020, 04:21 AM   #19
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I suggest that a botanist is the most glaring omission, followed by an entomologist and and ornithologist.
Yes, you are quite right. Hubert Caron was a sort of interdisciplinary biologist, studying biodiversity and fragile ecologies, which gives him a decent grounding in both flora and fauna, but obviously nowhere near the expertise and authority that a genuine specialist botanist, entomologist, ornithologist, etc. would bring.

My problem is that before I worked out the identities of anyone involved, I declared to Teddy Smith's player that the expedition had consisted of eight scientists slash scholars and eight security staff slash assistants, private security types with experience in odd scientific expeditions and some of them by now trained to assist scientists in the field with various tasks such as taking samples.

Maintaining that canonical size (determined by the capacity of the boat and seaplane used for the expedition) doesn't really give me enough spots to have all the specialists that would be needed. Especially as some posts are being filled based more on expertise on the paranormal and personal relationships than scientific credentials.

There was also a pilot and boat crew, of course. Those would be full-time employees of the billionaire, not contractors hired for this particular expedition, and so unlikely to fill dual roles as scientists as well. Most likely they were selected on the basis that they were good at their nautical or aeronautical professions, loyal, trustworthy and discreet.

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Rolle may be good enough a prehistorian and archaeologist.
Rolle was quite knowledgeable on some archeological and historical subjects, mostly related to the Caribbean. Marty White, while formally a linguist, also had a great deal of interest in history and archeology related to the African experience in the New World, slavery and the development of Afro-Caribbean creoles.

Additionally, Teddy Smith, while not university educated, is a very keen amateur archeologist, and had by this time spent nine years doing field work with similar (if usually smaller scale) expeditions. His interest is mostly in prehistoric African petroglyphs and ruins and his amateur status means he entertains some pretty wild, unscientific theories about their origins (The Sirius Mystery, Ancient Astronauts, Atlantic-spanning prehistoric civilizations complete with Atlantis, etc.), but he's well-versed in the practical aspects of archeological fieldwork.

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One of the oil-exploration types can collect soil cores to send to a palaeobotanical lab when the party returns.
Yes, I had imagined that this expedition was designed as merely the initial exploration, with much taking of samples, but returning fairly quickly to analyze what they find.

Those scientists 'recruited' to be part of the first contact group would be people our billionaire Patron knows and trusts. They'd sign an NDA, but more importantly, they could actually be relied on not to blab, grandstand or publish until authorized to reveal their findings.
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Old 01-25-2020, 05:03 AM   #20
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Default Re: Scientific Specializations for Exploring Unknown Island

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By GURPS skill:

Geography (Physical)
Naturalist
Botany (geographical specialization)
Zoology (geographical specialization)
Geology
Meteorology
Navigation (Sea)
Cartography
Quite right.

One might add Electronics Operation (Scientific) and Expert Skill (Oceanography or other relevant fields)

Also Archeology, Anthropology, Diagnosis, Forensics, History, Linguistics, Physiology and more because of the possibility there might be people on the island or at least some evidence of their visits to it.

What I'm trying to determine is what kind of background and education do scientists who have some of these skills have?

What real-world academic degree, obtained some time between 1955-1995, would each of the eight members of the scientific team need to have in order to cover a particular niche out of these skills?
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