Tuesday, August 14, 2012

"Goliath Awaits" As A Mutant Future Setting

In 1939, a German U-boat sank the luxury passenger ship, USS Goliath. More than 40 years later, the rusting hulk is discovered 1,000 feet below on the ocean floor, teetering on an active volcanic fault. Oceanographers are sent down to assess the wreck, and they are stunned to discover more than 300 survivors and their descendants still alive, living in an air bubble trapped by the ship’s hull! And thus begins Goliath Awaits, a 1981 made-for-TV movie starring Mark Harmon, Christopher Lee, Emma Samms, and Frank Gorshin.

After sinking and discovering they hadn’t perished, the underwater survivors harnessed the power of the volcano, giving them heat and energy. They were also able to create an air and water filtration system and, over the years, established an underwater utopian society based on the 1930’s European societal class system, ruled by the ship’s captain and policed by his crew. However, the captain enjoys ruling his own underwater kingdom and has no interest in allowing a rescue of the passengers.

Ignoring the preposterous science that allows 300+ people to live and thrive in an underwater shipwreck for 40 years, Goliath Awaits posits a very interesting scenario: What kind of society would develop if a group of people were to suddenly find themselves cut off from the outside world? But the gonzo science that makes this movie possible also makes it an interesting setting for Mutant Future.

Picture it: A group of adventuring mutants somehow discovers an Ancient shipwreck resting on the ocean floor. Upon investigating, they find descendants of the original survivors who have managed to live and thrive in this “bubble community” for thousands of years. What kind of society would have developed? What kind of gonzo science would have made this possible? Would the survivors be untouched by mutation (a “pocket Ancient civilization), or would this community be even more mutated than “normal”? What gods would they worship? Would they demand rescue to the surface? Or would they attack the PCs as “unclean outsiders”?

The movie is an interesting concept that, as you can see, leads to an intriguing thought experiment for Mutant Future. How would an isolated pocket of Ancient society deal with the sudden introduction of “What The World Is Now?” And how would the PCs react to the discovery of a technology-rich Ancient society?

Goliath Awaits in not commercially available, but you should be able to find copies if you have “unofficial channels.” I believe the film is also available on YouTube.


  1. Wow! I had completely forgotten about this movie. Christopher Lee played a very believable villain IIRC.
    It's the reverse of the typical "advanced people in a vault confronted with a new barbaric world".
    More along the lines of Metamorphosis-Alpha, were you can start primitive, but encounter advanced tech.

    1. Bingo. Rather than a "undiscovered bomb shelter housing an Ancient society," this setting is 1. unexpected, 2. allows for a 'barely functional' society, 3. could also be mutated as well, 4. allow for bizarre cobbled together new Ancient gonzo tech (which allowed them to survive.

  2. That's great - I will be checking those "unofficial channels"!

  3. I loved this movie as a kid. The scene where the scuba-diver is exploring the wreck and glimpses a face peering out of one of portholes was both extremely cool and unnerving.

  4. There is another film that would work for Mutant Future staring another horror icon called War-Gods of the Deep from 1965 staring Vincient Price. The plot concerns the discovery of a lost city beneath the sea off the coast of Cornwall. Price is the captain overseeing a group of sailors who have lived there for more than a century where the peculiar mix of gases has allowed them to extend their lifespan.
    These two could be combined to form mega campaign. Awesome reminder of all things Mutant Future

  5. Thanks for this post, because I saw this flick as a wee one, but could never remember the name. (I always confused it with Beyond The Poseidon Adventure.)

    You've done me a kindness.

  6. Check out -The Watch Below- by James White. A novel with a similar concept plus aliens.