After some thought, I have decided to venture into the realm of...systemless gaming.
The story I would like to open is going to be an authentic, realistic (and, for those very reasons, as you will see) politically incorrect tale of adventure and discovery.
In the Year of Our Lord 1798, with the Revolutionary War a regrettably settled matter, and most of Africa and the Americas already divvied up, the British Crown is looking for new lands to explore. There is a sense that the great Age of Exploration is now drawing to a close, as most of the blanks on maps of the world are now filled in, more or less.
For many young men, signing up for this voyage carries a particular sense of urgency. The trip may well be among the last chances a European lad has to see uncharted parts of the globe and perhaps rise to greatness, unencumbered by European social strata and peerage. Only in distant lands could a cutpurse escaped from jail or the son of a blacksmith become a lord! The chance to bash some heads, bring the light of civilization to savages, and sow some wild oats with exotic, dark women along the way is also a definite and powerful motivator!
The ship sailed from London, and made excellent time the first three weeks of the voyage. As boredom began to set in, some began to question their choice, but there was still a sense of anticipation and imminent adventure. A couple fistfights did little to quell the enthusiasm--the men at arms on board promptly broke up the imbroglios, but the ship's captain said, "boys will be boys..."
On the second day of the fourth week, the ship's barometer began to drop precipitously. As it plunged below 29 inches of mercury, the wind rose...as did the seas. The skies darkened, and as the sun went down, a most thorough and tenebrous darkness descended...
For three days, even hardcore skeptics found religion as assidious prayers were prayed and even rough men huddled together. The ship tossed and turned, and anyone even remotely susceptible to seasickness was in a state of utter misery.
After the third day, the barometer rose and the skies cleared. The seas calmed, giving the sickened relief. And ahead was an uncharted land, verdant with flora...and promise.
This sim has innumerable characters, to wit:
Master of Expedition: Terrance Rothschild. He is the one who paid for all this. What he didn't tell anyone was that he was embroiled in a financial scandal due to break a week after the ship sailed, one that would have resulted in him being put in irons were he still in London.
Ship's Captain: (open) The Captain is master of the ship, and an independent contractor hired by Terrance.
Skilled Tradesmen: Masons, carpenters, farmers, farriers, miners...pretty much anyone who has a skill.
Men at Arms: Fighting men and mercenaries
Ship's Naturalist: A scientist along for his own adventure, as well as to help site any new colony or handle any scientific questions that arise. (His skills will be quite in demand)
Ne'er-do-Wells: Those who hired on as ship hands. Don't ask them where their money came from. Some are wanted by the Crown. Needless to say, these folk may well disappear as soon as the ship reaches shore.