Resurgam – The Lost Pearl of Plymouth – Raiders of the Lost Pearl

resurgam poster

We had an invite to the VIP launch of the live interactive game taking place across Plymouth in September 2013 – Resurgam – The Lost Pearl of Plymouth. We sent our writer Wendy Evans to take a look at this exciting new game. Over to Wendy…

A lost artefact furnished with supernatural powers. An ancient curse. Brave adventurers on a journey of discovery, fighting the forces of evil as they attempt to return what is lost to its rightful place. We even have a Doctor Jones! This is not Raiders of the Lost Ark though. Our Doctor Jones is called Cara, not Indy…. and you could be the only one who can help her save the day! Wendy Evans seeks the truth about the lost Pearl…

Resurgam The Lost Pearl of Plymouth - EnteranceA balmy summers day in Plymouth, and I find myself outside the museum along with a crowd of others, including photographers, journalists and cameramen! We are all waiting to find out more about an interactive event coming to Plymouth this September that promises to be a new type of adventure. The only knowledge I have is that the event is called Resurgam, it is Plymouth based, and mixes history, digital technology and theatre. Along with everyone else, I am keen to find out more! A poster on the museum door tells us about the new exhibit in the museum, the Pearl of Plymouth Armillary Sphere. It has been donated by Dr Cara Jones, a lecturer in marine science at Plymouth University. The poster asks us to ring a mobile number, which we dutifully do. The answerphone message asks us to knock on the door five times for admission, and give the password, Pearl, when asked. The knocks echo loudly throughout the empty museum within, and shortly after, the door creeps open …

strange sea beasts emerged from inside the museumWe are greeted by a mysterious woman in black, who asks us for the password. Once this is given, she beckons us all in and the door closes loudly behind us. Our greeter introduces herself. Her name is Margaret Smith, and we guess by her attire and her deathly pale countenance, she is not of this world – well, not any more … Sniffing us one by one, she explains it is to check if we have been “infected”.

Inside the interior doors, we see strange creatures pressing up against the glass. Green, scaly faces and opaque eyes send a shiver down my spine, and I wonder what will await me once I enter the museums interior! These creatures, Margaret explained, are sea demons, eager to give us “the mark”. The suspicion we held that Margaret was not of this world is confirmed, when she begins to tell us her tales of Blitz torn Plymouth. She takes us back to a time when the sky was filled with fire and smoke, and you covered your ears to drown out the sound of bombs raining down and the screams of the dying. One night in March 1941 a particularly vicious bomb attack saw the roof of St Andrews Church blown off like paper in the wind. That night, she nailed a sign to the church door. It simply said “Resurgam” – meaning “I shall rise again”. Now, she told us, thanks to Dr Jones, this prophecy was coming true. Today, a new Resurgam was beginning.  Swinging the interior doors open she bid us enter and begin our journey, “Sail North” she warned us, and wished us luck in our quest, before vanishing once again ….

The Drake Armillary Sphere

On our guard, we entered the museum, and headed North as Margaret had urged us. Keen to avoid the clutches of the demons milling around, we hastily made our way to the Port & Place gallery. Once inside, we discovered a new exhibit   was taking centre stage. The magnificent Pearl of Plymouth Armillary Sphere grabbed our attention from its casing.  The card displayed with the sphere told us something of its history. Originally it had belonged to Sir Francis Drake. He had discovered the sphere on his  voyage of circumnavigation (1577-80). The centre of the sphere was empty, but originally it had housed a magnificent glowing pearl, similar in size to a crystal ball. We would find out more about the missing pearl later, and its significance in the game … The sphere and pearl originated from the lost city of Atlantis and together they are an ancient energy source, keeping the balance between land and sea. It had been donated to the museum by Dr Cara Jones, a lecturer in Marine Science at Plymouth University. She had inherited the sphere from her grandmother, and though we did not yet know it, we would shortly be meeting her to find more about the history of the Pearl, and what devastation the separation of pearl and sphere might unleash on our city …

Talking amongst ourselves, we wondered what would happen next. The sea creatures, which until now had disappeared, began resurfacing from behind pillars, and started making their way towards us. Suddenly, they were startled by the sound of someone new entering the gallery. Whereas they had no fear of we humans, this newcomer was another not of this earth. The demons fled from the room as we came face to face with none other than … Sir Walter Raleigh!!

ghost of Sir Walter Raleigh appearedRaleigh told us of another legend; that of Drake’s Drum. In a time of great need, the drum would sound and signal his return. At that moment, we became aware of a sound, distant at first, but slowly building until there was no mistake – the thud, thud, thud of the drum echoed around the museum; Raleigh informed us that this heralded a new time, a time when the Order of the Pearl would rise again …  Raleigh motioned us to follow him through the museum to the upper gallery. As he opened the door, we found the room barren, apart from a group of objects upon the floor, and a solitary display case in its centre. Within the case was the Drake Cup, which had been brought to the museum today for a strange ritual….  Looking at the objects on the floor, we saw various objects linked to Plymouths seafaring history. A compass, a map, and a flag which we would later learn bore the crest of the Order of the Pearl were some of the items. Candles marked the points of the compass and strange symbols were written on a scroll. These, we would find out soon, were Atlantean.

Resurgam The Lost Pearl of Plymouth

Raleigh bid us farewell, and as he left, we were suddenly plunged into darkness. The room remained in darkness for several moments. Even though we all knew this was really a game, there was still a sense of fear as we waited for power to be restored. A solitary light came on in the cabinet of the Drake Cup, casting an eerie light around the room. Suddenly, the enigmatic Dr Cara Jones breezed into the room. She welcomed us all and thanked us for coming, before kneeling on the floor with the objects spread in front of her. As she lit the candles, she began to tell us more about the mysterious pearl. Ten years previously, she had inherited the sphere that used to house the Pearl from her Grandmother, Betsy. Her family line went right back to Drake himself, and the sphere had been passed down through the generations. The same sphere was depicted on the Drake Cup that was displayed before us.

Cara walked over to a portrait of Elizabeth the First, telling us how Drake had brought the pearl to her as a gift to add to her collection. But the pearls luminosity weakened when away from the sea, and she ordered Drake to return it to Plymouth and guard it. This was when the Order of the Pearl had been founded, its members charged with the pearls protection. Legend tells that many of the order would take the pearl with them on their seafaring voyages; Cook, Darwin and Scott among them. The Pearl was famed as a talisman, and those who guarded the pearl were in return protected whilst at sea.

Resurgam The Lost Pearl of Plymouth - Sea Monsters Are Out There

Watch out for the Sea Monsters during the game!

Cara then told us more about the magical element of the pearl. Long before Drake had discovered it, it had a history. Cara’s research had discovered the source of the pearl could be traced to the long lost city of Atlantis. An ancient energy source, the pearl controlled the fine balance between land and sea. All was well until the time of the Blitz. Nancy Astor, who, as a guardian of the pearl and member of the Order, had taken the pearl from the sphere and hidden it in an attempt to keep it from falling into enemy hands. However the separation of pearl and sphere had shifted the balance between land and sea. Ever since, sea levels had been slowly rising. More sinister still, the sea demons we had encountered had been appearing on land with increasing frequency. The demons carried a nasty strain of infection that was being passed on to modern day seafarers – not just sailors, but swimmers and surfers too. After infection, those struck down would find a black mark emerge on their wrists. This was the mark of Mergor, an ocean beast whose world domination was only one step away – with the seas constantly rising, it was only a matter of time before the land was covered by the sea, and he could rule over all. With its position by the sea, Plymouth would be first in line to be submerged. If balance was not restored, and soon, Plymouth itself might befall the same fate as the doomed Atlantis!

Cara explained the only way to defeat Mergor, and stop Plymouth suffering the same fate as Atlantis, was to find and return the pearl to its rightful place within the sphere. This is something she could not do alone. She would need the help of those in Plymouth, along with those who had been in the Order of the Pearl. As all those in the Order had passed this life long ago, we needed to perform a ritual to bring back the spirits of the dead …

ancient seaworn scroll found with the pearl

Cara read from an ancient scroll, asking us to repeat after her the motto of the Order. “Orbes novos per casus” we chanted. With that, there was a loud bang, and the drum again sounded from within the museum. Cara informed us that this meant the ritual had been successful. The members of the Order would rise again …

September 21st is the big day. Plymouth will be teeming with spirits of the earth and demons of the sea in an epic battle between good and evil. Are you brave enough to join Cara Jones in her quest to regain the pearl? All you need is courage, comfortable, functional clothing (you may need to run from those sea demons!) and a smart device. As I mentioned before, as well as the assistance (and hindrance!) from your supernatural companions, you will need the aid of modern technology. This is given in the form of an “app” suitable for android devices or iOS. You can download this onto your phone/device before the event, in fact this is advised, so that you can familiarise yourself with it before you play. If, like me, you are a bit of a technophobe, don’t worry! If you are playing with friends or family, as long as one of you has the app on their device, it’s not a problem. You can even be teamed up with others on the day if you are going along on your own; as long as one person in the group has access to the app, you are all good to go ..

Resurgam The Lost Pearl of Plymouth the game

The game lasts approximately three hours, with participants following clues on the app and interacting with supernatural beings in an attempt to find the pearl. The action comes to a fantastic climax when you join fellow gamers at the end of the quest on board a spooky “ghost ship”. Whilst on board, you can partake in a dram or two from the bar. Drinks are not included in the price, so revellers who wish to partake will need to take a small pouch of doubloons or pieces of eight – I am reliably informed that pounds sterling will be accepted too! Live bands will bring the event to a spectacular end whilst you celebrate your victory against the sea demons – or drown your sorrows, depending on whether the  winds of fortune have been on your side!

So, are you up for the challenge? Yes? Well, tickets are on sale now, and going fast! Simply visit the website, and book your tickets online. Priced at just £15 each, this enables you to take part in the game, download the app, and enjoy the fun packed finale on the ghost ship. What are you waiting for? Head over to the website now, and grab your tickets! Fortune favours the brave!!

Find out more about this fantastic game on the Resurgam:

Website : www.resurgamthegame.co.uk / Facebook: www.facebook.com/resurgamthegame/
Dr Cara Jones: www.plymouth.ac.uk/staff/cjones8  and http://thepearlofplymouth.wordpress.com

Article by Wendy Evans | To contact Wendy who is available to hire for writing projects please email: wlevans@hotmail.co.uk, Twitter: www.twitter.com/wevanswrites | Photos copyright Resugram – Thank you for permission to use them for this article 🙂

X