Setting Overview

It was the waning years of the 21st Century, or the early years of the 22nd, when it happened. What it was, no one truly knows. What’s been pieced together is that it didn’t seem to start in only one place. In North America there are three cities connected with the downfall; Boston, Vancouver, and Santa Fe. Other cities involved worldwide were Geneva, Beijing, Barcelona, Moscow, and Dubai.

From these locations, and likely others, a vibration rolled out through the skin of the world, and in its wake all of the Earth went strange. According to reports that followed, there was no singular thread to the changes that occurred, but those are near-impossible to obtain these days.

It is the year 132 or the New Era (N.E.), a counting from the first foundation of the Coalition of Free Peoples (CFP). In North America, the American Coalition of Free Peoples (ACFP) is headquartered in Anchorage, in the former state of Alaska. Outlying provinces of the ACFP include the Manitoba Territory, the Dakota League, and the Great Plains Cooperative.

In addition to ACFP provinces, there also exist smaller independent populations connected to the ACFP through merchant connections; Willamette Collective, the Three Sisters, Arivada, and also the Aztlan Corporation based out of Mexico City.

The Idea

A post-apocalyptic world, twisted by the circumstances of its downfall into something often unrecognizable. It is a wild and half-mad place with ghosts of the ancient past returned alongside visions of potential futures now lost, with shadows of exotic creatures drifting from alien landscapes.

This campaign is inspired by RPG campaign settings similar to Rifts, Torg, Deadlands, and Gammarauders, as well as video games such as Fallout, Bioshock, and Dishonored. It is an Earth of mixed worlds, science gone mad, and jury-rigged steampunk smeared in blood and grime. Genetically engineered attempts at super-soldiers shamble alongside and against jack-booted automatons, hurling .30-06 rounds between pulses of super-heated air.

Theme and Tone
The overall theme of this campaign will be an emphasis on survival and alien horror, and strange science. Players will be required to search for both answers and supplies, with both ammunition and food being scarce. In addition, physics and other forces will work differently in different areas, and seemingly magical effects will sweep across the land, bringing their own dangers alongside predators both natural and unnatural. Militant human factions combat against the invasion of exotic peoples and species, while they bring plague and poisons of their own.

To run this system, I will be using the GUMSHOE game system. Its emphasis on mystery and horror adds an element of depth to the survival concepts of the campaign, while its discarding of the accoutrements of attribute and class draws focus more on natural development of character, rather than mechanical.

GUMSHOE also, as a game mechanic, works more as a toolbox at its core than as a rigid mechanic. Every version of the GUMSHOE rules makes modifications to fit the settings, which will be done here as well. Much of the system is gathered from Night’s Black Agents and Mutant City Blues, with additions such as Gear Degradation and a Ability list focused on how the setting will work.

In addition, using Mutant City Blues, there will be a Species List Option which will include a Species Creation guideline. These will be created under fairly strict rules, using points from the character’s own Build Points, and will come with a built-in detriment chosen from a short list.

Broken Earth