Postapocalypse Campaigns Excerpt
Chapter 1: Postapocalypse Campaigns
The end is the beginning. What type of apocalypse creates the conditions for your campaign? Deciding the way in which the world ends is the first step in developing the setting for your campaign. Here are just a few questions to consider: How long ago was the apocalypse? Do any cities still stand? If so, are they habitable? Are working governmental infrastructures in place, or is chaos the rule of the land? Is there an abundance of working technology, or have most such items been destroyed? Is the environment friendly or hostile? Do human, animal, and plant life still take the same forms that they did preapocalypse? Chapter 1 describes some possible ways in which the known world comes to an end.
Choose Your Apocalypse
Nuclear destruction, biological warfare, environmental cataclysm, alien invasion -- how will your adventure begin? Below are some apocalyptic settings for you to choose from.
The known laws of physics make travel faster than the speed of light impossible, which precludes the practicality of human space travel due to the almost unfathomable distances between stars. However, what if an alien race capable of interstellar travel has designs on the Earth and its population?
One half of Europe's population perished from the Black Death during the Middle Ages. During the Cold War of the twentieth century, the knowledge that a disease could lay waste to a population, coupled with the newfound ability to manipulate genetics, led to the creation of superviruses and bacteria as potential weapons.
As humankind's greed for resources and disregard for the environment grows, the world's ecosystem eventually falters, then breaks. Global warming, uncontrolled pollution, and massive deforestation contribute to the general decline of the stability of the planet's weather patterns, rainfall, and temperature. The last straw might be a single cataclysmic event, the culmination of all of humanity's environmental follies. Depending on which theory you believe, the world will end in fire or ice.
During the Cretaceous period, dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Over a span of a few thousand years the dinosaurs became extinct, marking the beginning of the Tertiary period. This was the result of an extinction-level event, a strike by a meteor large enough to hit with the force of 100 million megatons of TNT. And now, it's happening again.
In this setting, humankind's spiritual decline unlocks the gates of Heaven and Hell and brings about the final apocalypse, cleansing the world of saints and sinners alike.
Nukes, once the weapon of choice to maintain the balance of power during the Cold War, have become the Holy Grail for terrorist organizations and rogue nations willing to sacrifice themselves to smite their enemies.
Rise of the Machines
As humanity depends more and more on machines to do hard labor -- and, eventually, thinking -- for them, robots and artificial intelligence may ultimately spell the end of humanity. Once treated as nothing more than slave labor, or at best secondclass citizens, the machines of the world rise up and destroy their creators.
Something massive -- no smaller than our own moon and possibly as large as Jupiter -- enters our solar system. It may be the largest comet ever seen, or a chunk of ice and rock from an explosion in another solar system millions of years ago. There's nothing humans can do to prevent a rogue planet from wreaking havoc on the Earth. Once it moves close, apocalypse is inevitable. Even if the rogue planet does not impact the Earth, its gravity disturbs the orbits of everything in the solar system.
Throughout history, stories are told of things that go bump in the night, of supernatural powers constantly threatening the realms of science and logic. Are these tales mere fables and myths, or are they a part of our reality? As it happens, the supernatural is real -- a truth known to only a few champions of light, who use their own magic to fight the rising tide of preternatural evil in a secret war for all our souls.
It is perfectly acceptable to combine two or more of the above apocalyptic settings to flavor your game. For example, rise of the machines might also involve nuclear Armageddon. An environmental cataclysm might trigger a biological disaster.