Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

Going To Seed...

I spent the day on a training course which took me to Wakehurst Place in Surrey, one of the sites belonging to the Royal Botanic Gardens. What's notable about Wakehurst, apart from some very nice gardens, is the Millennium Seed Bank Project, which aims to obtain and safeguard the seeds of 24,000 plant species, and is well on its way to achieving that goal. It's an international project that involves seed hunters from all over the world shipping their seeds to Wakehurst, where they are very carefully screened then slowly chilled and dried to extend their dormant period to hundreds of years, then stored in a huge underground bunker.

Visitors to the park can visit the grounds and see quite a lot of the operation from the outside, all of the labs are glass sided, but I was with a technician's group and got to see some of the behind the scenes stuff including some of the vaults. It's an absolutely amazing project which has already helped to reintroduce several species that were extinct in the wild, and will probably do so many more times. It's set up so that any medical etc. discoveries that result from it will benefit the countries that provide the seeds, with all seeds remaining the property of the supplying country. If it wasn't for the fact that I have a brown thumb I'd love to be involved.

But as one does I started to think about the RPG possibilities....

The biggest problem they have is that a lot of the seeds come in with contaminants; fungus and other parasites, insects, the occasional lizard, etc. Bear in mind that the whole laboratory complex is a sealed quarantine zone. I don't think that the place is set up to automatically lock down if someone hits a panic button, but that needn't stop anyone from putting that into a game. Say something like The Andromeda Strain, only with some sort of evil fungus spore, might be a possibility. Or something that isn't actually a seed might be mistaken for one - think Alien. Or a plant might have some unexpected capabilities - think Triffids. Or something might come in inside one of the sacks of seeds - think Snakes in a Laboratory...

If none of those appeal, how about magical seeds, or interesting adventures collecting the seeds and getting them back to Britain? It's a wonderful plot generator for any sort of modern-day RPG, and there's a lot of information about it on line.
Tags: rpg, science

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