They Came from Beyond
The end of the world came early. 187 days early, to be exact.
June 17, 2012 started out like any normal day. The first hint that something was amiss came on the radio, the television, the internet. The news reported on attacks in Eastern Europe, bombings in major cities, or so it seemed. Nuclear or biological weapons were suspected. The aggressors? Muslim extremists or maybe the Russians.
Soon we had reports of attacks in Western Europe, as well, and it seemed that the entire eastern hemisphere was embroiled. Americans went about their daily business, but under a pall of fear. Surely, we were safe on this side of the Atlantic. Our leaders reassured us that there had been no threats, no unusual chatter amongst terrorist groups.
Shortly before noon America’s easternmost cities fell victim to the same fate as the Old World. Objects struck the major cities of the Eastern Seaboard. The impacts seemed small, tests for radioactivity were negative but the mass exodus of panicked refugees expected by officials never materialized. The attacks were, without a doubt, intelligently controlled and suspected to involve biological or chemical weapons. The few refugees that trickled out of the cities were quarantined.
Major cities in the rest of the country began evacuation procedures, spontaneously and by the order of local government. These measures were of little use. Massive traffic jams, rioting, looting and fires left the urban denizens trapped in the cities as the mysterious weapons fell, moving westward.
A few refugees who slipped the cordon told the world that crystals, the size of office buildings, had fallen and that all around them people began to act strangely, as if possessed and sharing one mind. In the following days satellite imagery confirmed these unbelievable claims.
Many of America’s political, business and military leaders were lost to the strange attack upon our largest cities; the president and members of Congress, the Pentagon’s top generals. The banking and financial world crumbled. The cities held our largest seaports, airports and news organizations.
Shipping ground, nearly, to a halt. The cost of petroleum, food and other necessities sky-rocketed, riots broke out. Power was rationed to conserve precious fuel. Misinformation spread like wildfire. Rules of secession named Hillary Clinton America’s president, and when she suspended elections in the face of disaster, the threat of civil war loomed.
In some communities the ultra-religious, a growing segment following the attacks, proclaimed that God had punished the cities and their denizens. It was, they said, a modern version of Sodom and Gomorrah, and in order to avoid further punishment sinners must be purged from the earth. Starvation, disease and violence ravaged the world.
The Walking Dead?
The cities that were attacked that day are still filled with people, people under some strange influence. They move in groups, some as small as a half dozen, some as large as several hundred. They seem to be connected and communicate by an instant and undetectable means. They do not speak or use technology, though they do make use of simple tools. They gather food and capture the uninfected.
Due to years of conditioning by popular culture the affected were dubbed “zombies”, they were said to eat their captured victims and be unkillable. Often unwashed, covered in untreated injuries and on the verge of starvation, they appeared to be walking corpses. These rumors are no longer considered credible. They are living people, and are susceptible to the same wounds as normal men and women.
The infected cities are surrounded by an undetectable zone, within this zone some powerful influence is exerted on the minds of most people. Only a small percentage of mankind is immune to this influence. They are said to exhibit strange abilities and are looked at with a combination of suspicion and respect. While almost completely stripped of food, the infected cities are treasure troves of gasoline, ammunition and other valuable items. Only the immune may scavenge there and while dangerous, it can offer great rewards.
Contrary to expectations, the population of the infected cities is growing instead of shrinking as hordes of zombies raid nearby communities and take captives to add to their numbers.
Gainesville, Florida succumbed to the same fate as most American cities; a decent into lawlessness, followed, after a time, by rebuilding. As before the attacks, the University plays a key role in Gainesville society. Most of its remaining and newly arrived inhabitants have gathered around the campus.
The University was to some degree self-sufficient, having its own power plant and water treatment facilities. These facilities still operate though at reduce capacity and most residents have electricity and running water for a few hours a day. Healthcare is dispensed at Shands, though stocks of medicine are low. The motor pool keeps a small fleet of vehicle operating. Food is produced via the various agricultural and livestock areas. Junked cars have been arranged in a makeshift wall providing a modicum of security. Century Tower is staffed 24 hours a day by a sniper-spotter team equipped with a walkie-talkie.
Sheriff Sadie Darnell acts as the Swamp’s chief executive and her laws are enforced by her deputies. The Swamp is a welcoming place but crime is little tolerated. The ultimate punishment, banishment in this case, is meted out for what, in the past, would be considered minor offenses.
Outside of campus, Gainesville residents have gathered in walled communities or on ranches, for safety and to ease sharing of resources. Relations are good with the community of Alachua, though 441 is too dangerous a route to travel, due to the presence of the New World Kingdom of God’s compound. The Kingdom is a violent cult, led by Pastor Terry Jones, which is has settled in an abandoned battery plant and declared a Holy War against Gainesville. Also a threat, are raids by the twisted inbred mutants of Hawthorne. While Gainesville has fought with the horse clans of Ocala in the past, today they enjoy fragile truce.
Characters will be 3rd level. Most characters attained their first level before the apocalypse and their second and third afterwards. All character options from d20 Modern are allowed as well as those from d20 Apocalypse. A few from d20 Future and Urban Arcana will be allowed as well. Psionic options are available. All characters have psionic ability though for most of you it may be latent.
Characters will be built with a 28 point Point-buy system. Please build your characters with an eye towards a specific advanced class, as they will be available at 4th level. We’ve already have two players express an in the Telepath class and one Battlemind. You will receive 50+(2*W) trade units. Where W equals wealth bonus from occupation.
From d20 Future:
the Scavenger occupation may be taken, but a character with this occupation must be no older than 21 at the start of the campaign.
Feats- [Ability] Plus, Action Boost, Jack of All Trades and Ultra Immune System.
Advanced Classes- Engineer, Explorer, Helix Warrior and Xenophile.
From Urban Arcana, all psionics material.
SRD’s can be found online here www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/msrd