View Full Version : Help me fill a post apocalyptic city, roleplayers!

2012-01-19, 08:12 AM
So, I was introduced to Gamma Worlds over New Year, and I've been working on a few (heavily modified) one shots since, and even an idea for a campaign... I've got some awesome things planned, but I really want to be prepared for any situation. With that in mind, help fill my city with enough flavour to satisfy my players for as long as I can think up adventures!

My setting is Chicago, but hundreds of times larger and with a decor reminiscent of Fallout. Megacities had originally populated most of Chicago's world, but unfortunately, the enormous population densities had just made nuclear warfare more attractive - a few years before the Big Mistake, the world's superpowers fired off most of their nuclear arsenal, devastating the city.

Fast forward 300 years. The city's buildings still mostly stand, scraping the sky. The population weren't so lucky. With the nuclear detonations of centuries past and the subsequent wars caused by the insanity of the Big Mistake, most of the city lies empty. The exceptions are the small towns and villages (reminiscent of Wild West frontier towns) filled with scavenger folk, eking out an existence among the ruins. Not a bad existence, either; with so few survivors, the tinned food left behind by the long dead ancients has lasted generations, and while some of the buildings are little more than blasted husks, the huge number of those still standing can comfortably house each man and woman in a mansion* of their own. There are sparse farms and allotments in the remaining green areas, but most of the city dwellers have spent their whole lives in the city and barely even believe in the stories more traveled folk tell about the outside.

The players start in one of the smaller villages. I'll leave my plot specific locations secret (some of my players occasionally check out these forums), but I'll give a few examples of what I've gotten so far:

The black crater: Kind of a misnomer, these days. In the early days after the war, Chicago's Grant Park was just a huge blackened crater where the biggest bomb landed. These days, it mostly just glows.

The L: Though huge sections of track were blown up during the last days of the war, the early survivors and refugees realised that having a railway raised above the streets and their monstrous denizens could only be a good thing. Most of the more advanced trains were broken, but there were enough skilled survivors to rig up crude scrap metal steam trains before the knowledge was lost forever.

Unnamed village: The village the players start off in (given that I plan to let them each choose what sort of building they've made their home, I plan to let them name it). Has a very wild west feeling, a lot like a more colourful version of Megaton from Fallout 3.

Tempest: Built onto the east shore of Ontario from the hulls of the boats blown to shore by the bombs, Tempest is the biggest town the players know of. With plenty of fish** in the lake, and the main hub of the L only a short walk away, Tempest serves as a thriving market town. It's said that you can find almost anything in the stalls of the 24/7 market that takes up most of the streets, and anything you can't find is probably just being hidden from the watchful eyes of the law.

So, what do I want from you? Well, I've got a few adventures ideas down, and locations to go with them. But I really want this city to be a living, breathing place - if the players do something crazy, I want there to be something out there for them to do it in front of. I need landmarks. Anything goes; a bar in the middle of nowhere, a monster den, a crashed alien spaceship - Gamma World is strange enough that, if you can imagine it, it probably exists somewhere. Only things banned are anything beyond the outskirts of the city. So shoot!

Additionally... I appear to be pretty bad at working out names for the post-apocalyptic towns and villages that stretch across my Chicago wasteland. If you have any ideas for those, I'll be even more grateful.

Thanks, GitP forumites. I used to come here all the time for advice when I was just starting out, but that kind of dropped off at uni... hope you are all as brilliant now as I remember you being.

*Assuming that mansions are drafty, decaying and ever so slightly burnt.

**Only slightly mutated...

2012-01-19, 08:31 AM
"The Park"

In the midst of a metropolis, the last thing you'd expect would be a forest, but that's exactly what The Park is. Once, perhaps, it was a small city garden or municipal park, but over the years it's grown somewhat. Covering some 40 acres or more, The Park is a sprawling piece of nature in the middle of a broken city. Dark, overgrown and inhabited by the mutated decendants of a city zoo, it's not the sort of place you go for a picnic. Perhaps odder still are the "Rangers". Half crazed, nature obsessed fanatics that will do anything to protect "Mother Gaia", the trees and creatures that inhabit the area.

2012-01-19, 09:24 AM
"The Burbs"

On the outskirts of Chicago lies an old suburb, that, before the wars, was relatively prosperous. Only the wealthy could afford to live there, and only the stupid would want to. Nowadays, though, The Burbs is... different. People there go about there lives like nothing ever happened, even though its been well over 300 years since the bombs dropped. Its weird, they 'cut the grass', but its all just dirt, and they cook and clean like half their house is a charred crater, and somehow they always have food. Always. And I haven't seen any cows around those parts, so I don't know what to suspect... And the smiles on their faces, thats the weirdest part. Constantly with the smiles, that is, until you mention the whole apocalypse thing. They are not a fan of that.

"The Knee-High Rat"

One of the sleazier bars in Chicago, The Knee-High Rat is a great place to get a job, and an even better place to get shot. There ain't no prejudices in The Knee-High Rat, so bandits, raiders, desperados, and even mutants spend their time there. The owner is a reclusive sort, most patrons have never seen him. Rumor has it, he's pretty damn short, and really hairy. They say he scurries about, almost like a rat...

(Don't know how much zaniness you're going for, but I figured a half-rat dude would be pretty funny, at least)

2012-01-19, 03:59 PM
"Filter Town"

You want clean water, you go to Filter Town. And you pay whatever they ask. They decide they don't like you, well, you go drink from the river and we'll see how long you last. Chicago's very own hydraulic empire, and even the other big players know enough not to cross them. This heavily fortified town is based around the old Jardine Water Filteration Plant and Navy Pier.

I just looked at Google maps and found something interesting, am I doing it right?

Dr. Yes
2012-01-19, 05:57 PM
Nazareth. Some people abandoned their faiths after the bombs fell; others clung more tightly than ever. Behind the high brick walls of Nazareth, what was once a middle-density residential district now houses a strict theocratic commune where the clergy and military are one and the same. Deacons patrol the streets, keeping an ever-vigilant eye out for indecency and immorality, while a fenced-in ghetto provides the town's only contact with travelers and merchants from outside. Jutting high above the town's center, a massive cross of iron tops the converted condominium tower that serves as Nazareth's church and government center.

2012-01-19, 06:13 PM
Well, the first thing I would suggest is to look at The World Without Us, which is a lovely book detailing the exact process of decay over the next few thousand year, were humans to disappear today. If you can't get your hands on it, there some resources from it here (http://worldwithoutus.com/did_you_know.html), here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thkLKWQyg_s) and here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World_Without_Us). Highlights are sewers and subways flooding after two days, meltdowns of all nuclear reactors after a week, and streets being undercut and collapsing. At the 300 year mark, unmaintained bridges and dams will be failing, and unattended wood houses will be reduced to a brick chimney and some scattered debris. In Chicago, you might also have to worry about the Chicago River reverting to its original course, into Lake Michigan. After a hundred year, cultivated food will have reverted to hardier wild variations, so don't expect produce to be very nourishing.

The biggest and probably most unexpected thing to note is that post-apocalyptic Chicago will be lush. Today, Chernobyl is a literal nature preserve. By 300 years, the suburbs of Chicago have probably been completely reclaimed by the forest, except possibly where people still live. Native animals will run through the streets, and your characters might hunt in the shade of the Sears Tower. Chicago was originally a swamp, so some areas might have return to wetlands, but, as these swamps were filled to build Chicago, this probably isn't prevalent.

Of course, in designing a game, realism takes a back seat to theme, so if any of this doesn't fit the mood of your campaign, leave it out. This is just a good way to generate unexpected ideas that can hold up to scrutiny.

As for locations, nothing beats abandoned playgrounds in terms of creepy. You could take a cue from the infamous Pripyat Ferris Wheel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pripyat01.jpg) with regards to Navy Pier (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navy_Pier) and its Ferris Wheel.

Failed visions of the future really help drive home the magnitude and tragedy of an apocalypse, and the obvious target for this in Chicago is Millennium Park (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millenium_Park). In addition, a reflective, bizarre, stainless structure like Cloud Gate/the Bean (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_Gate) could easily become the target of pilgrimage and worship in the decades following the catastrophe.

If you really want to play up the "ghosts of the ruins" aspect, I suggest looking at some of the graffiti from Pripyat (http://englishrussia.com/2010/04/06/top-10-weirdest-graffiti-of-pripyat/) (the abandoned city next Chernobyl). Actually, anything from Pripyat is good. You can find some really nice pictures of destruction and desolation there with a bit of searching.

A last resource is Urban Exploration (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_exploration) websites. These are people who go poking around in abandoned buildings and take pictures. None of these buildings are anywhere close to 300 year old, but the pictures can give a good sense of what a long-abandoned building looks and feels like. A lot of the pictures are quite beautiful, which is another good thing to remember: your characters should stumble into a place or two that is beautiful because of, rather than in spite of, its decay.

Hope all that helps a bit! :smallbiggrin:

2012-01-19, 06:59 PM
The Litterbox:

Humans weren't the only survivors of the End. Here and there, feral cat populations managed to hang in there, huddled in storm drains and abandoned basements. They had no way to protect themselves from the radiation, of course, so a wide variety of mutations sprung up in the feline genome. Lately, they seem to be concentrated in a particular section of the city, for reasons nobody can quite cipher. A few city blocks at the center of this area have been dubbed "The Litterbox", mostly because of the smell.

For a wide radius around the Litterbox, there are no non-feline animals of any sort. Birds, squirrels, all the species that have found an ecological niche in post-apocalyptic Chicago -- they've been hunted to extinction in this region. The air grows putrid, and you always feel like you're being watched. As you get closer, the creatures watching you get a lot less subtle. In the branches of trees and the windows of apartment buildings crouch enormous animals, more like panthers (or displacer beasts) than housecats, staring at you with a malevolent intelligence burning in their eyes. They seem oddly organized, and they gradually close in on you as you move deeper into their territory.

Some people take the hint and go back the way they came, but a great many who venture too near the Litterbox never return. Rumors come back sometimes -- the bravest explorers claim that they saw the feline mutants moving in almost military formations, or that beasts of unbelievable size stalk the deeper regions. The occasional blood-curdling roars that those who dare to live nearby report seem to lend credence to these tales.

Nobody knows what (who?) is inside the few blocks that compose the Litterbox proper -- the Litterbox's borders are officially defined as the point beyond which no explorer has returned.

2012-01-19, 07:09 PM
Thanks, guys! These are all excellent, keep them coming. I especially like the idea of Filter Town - its been difficult coming up with factions that actually have any power of the Chicago wasteland, so if my party takes to this game I'm going to find a way to get that into an arc.

To Wiwaxia: I think I actually saw a TV show based on that book a few years back. I've actually been using ideas from that already when thinking about what would have happened the landmarks that you can see today. I'm taking it with a pinch of salt, though - a deserted city would be no fun if all the buildings have collapsed, and the feeling of a dry, lifeless wasteland feels more appropriate to me than the jungle you'd actually see. If my players ask, I'll blame it on the radiation... I hadn't thought about the river, though. I'm going to have to find a way to work that in, somewhere.

I'm not actually sure how much I want to play up the "Ghosts of the Ruins" aspect of the genre. It's a post-apocalyptic setting, so I'm not going to just ignore it, but gamma world is a pulpy setting, and I've never liked horror running the show in a game. For the most part, I'm probably going to try and keep the feeling closer to a western, but if the situation arises, you bet the first thing I'm going to be describing to the party is the graffiti.

To Excession: See earlier comment about my love of Filter Town. Oh, and I've been using wikipedia as well...

To Bearpunch: Zaniness is good. If I'm running this thing for any length of time, I'm going to need a nice mix of down to earth and good old fashioned zany pulp. Weird bars are always good for that. Oh, and I'm not sure whether I'll ever send the party out as far as the suburbs, but if they decide to head that way, we'll have to see what they find.

To the others: I could keep going here, but it's past midnight and I have lectures at nine tomorrow, so I'd best be off. Thanks for all your help!

2012-01-19, 08:12 PM
I would suggest taking a look at the Stephen Kings book The Waste Lands (Dark Tower book 3). Specifically the city of Lud (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lud_(city)), the Tick Tock man, the God Drums, and the war between the Grays and the Pubes is all good stuff for an apocolyptic setting. I especially like the language they use like calling people 'cully'.

2012-01-19, 09:02 PM
To Wiwaxia: I think I actually saw a TV show based on that book a few years back. I've actually been using ideas from that already when thinking about what would have happened the landmarks that you can see today. I'm taking it with a pinch of salt, though - a deserted city would be no fun if all the buildings have collapsed, and the feeling of a dry, lifeless wasteland feels more appropriate to me than the jungle you'd actually see. If my players ask, I'll blame it on the radiation... I hadn't thought about the river, though. I'm going to have to find a way to work that in, somewhere.

Ah, well, that's pretty much what i expected. I'd blame it on some other mysterious side effect of the Big Mistake, as radiation won't really deter reforestation, but I don't know if that's something your players would care about. (fakedit: did a bit more research on Gamma World. guess realism ain't really a concern :smalltongue:)

Also, what did you think of my Cloud Gate-as-religious-site idea?
I just realized that it would overlook your Black Crater, for that extra spiritual punch.

Other ideas:

Parrots, parrots everywhere: In the aftermath of the Big Mistake, the parrots of Hyde Park have spread and prospered, providing unlikely splashes of life and color in the ruined city.

Nuclear Energy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Energy_(sculpture)): An ancient bronze sentinel, standing guard over the very place where the incredible power of the atom was first unleashed upon the world. Over the years, it has been forgotten and rediscovered, revered and reviled, attacked and defended, scrutinized and avoided. Some whisper that the statue itself has vast and incredible powers, or that it harbor an ancient ghost or AI. Only one thing about it is certain: it sure as hell ain't easy to get to.

Something using this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kiev-UkrainianNationalChernobylMuseum_15.jpg).

The Chicago Pedway (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Pedway): Protected from harsh weather and free of most of the bandits and rubble of the surface, these tunnels make an efficient means of travel in the area they cover. The tunnels are run by a powerful merchant tribe, who have spent centuries repairing and strengthening them to prevent collapse. For a price, this tribe will grant sanctuary, shelter, safe passage and supplies to weary travelers. But the merchants always charge high.

2012-01-19, 09:37 PM
Something using this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kiev-UkrainianNationalChernobylMuseum_15.jpg).

I honestly think that this is the most terrifying thing I have ever seen.

Since I don't know much about Chicago I'll just give you an idea I had a while ago I thought sounded creepy

The World Scab

A giant crater where bodies were all piled in so much that it became a lake of putrid blood. Over the years strange bacteria caused the surface of the giant lake to harden and solidify, like a wound on your body would scab over. The crust would be a few feet thick but partially transparent so that you could see churning red waves splash beneath it and the occasional mummified corpse pop up and bang against the underside of the Scab surface, horrified and mutilated faces seeming if they're trying to break free.

Then send your party half-way over it before you tell them to look down!

Little too dark you think?

2012-01-19, 10:10 PM
Gravetown: Before the end, humans where experamenting with cybernetics. Some (or rather, most) survived the nuking, and are currantly dead. However, there eletronic parts kept most aware and still functioning, and as such a strange form of "zombie" was created. Ranging from men fused with full-body power armor too young children with mere cranial supports, these immortal relics have now made there own little corner in the city, with the bulk of the population inside a gigantic building that was once a office for a insurance firm. Along with this fort that they have reinforced with scavanged cars, they have control of both a bank and a bullet manufacturing center on the same street.

They are now one of the few places in the world making new baches of bullets and cybernetic parts, and they are not afraid to use them. However, there implants need fual, and they are running low now. Unfortunatly, the only place that has a known supply of such "batterys" is Nazerath, who would love to wipe out the cyberundead for there very existance. Fortunalty, the currant CEO of the Tower, one Granx Tensman, keeps the mortals at bay by threating to stop the flow of bullets to there town by any means nessisary. However, he was old even before the end of the world, and knows that the moment he perishes they will attack. Hence, he is currantly trying to find a group to raise Cain over in there area so that they can finish rebulding a few old turrents from the banks security vaults. They are also interested in what the highest floors of the Kingdom of Heaven might have in store that the resedents cannot open, and are willing to tear a few towers down vi explosives to scare the "fools" off.

2012-01-20, 09:04 AM
I don't know much about Gamma World, but I did look it up on Wikipedia prior to writing this.

Knowledge Tower: Full name: The United Nations International Archives and Data Centre.
Located at what was the outskirts of late twenty-first century Chicago, the Knowledge Tower was envisioned as a testament to human civilisation and was designed to store the vast majority of human knowledge and literature.
The tower stands eight hundred metres tall, and is clad in special titanium and glass panels that act as solar collectors. There are a total of two-hundred and forty-eight stories and nineteen basement levels.
The tower contains a vast collection of documents from all periods of human history, microprints of most major newspapers and magazines, reproductions of thousands of artworks and historical relics, copies of the census and government records of most countries, films and music recordings, a collection of biological and minerological specimens; as well as it's library of millions of books.
Contained within are luxurious reading rooms, two auditoria, numerous lecture halls and, at the very top, a planetarium and observatory.
Despite all this, the crowning achievement of the Knowledge Tower was its digitisation of all human knowledge. Anyone who visited the tower could walk up to a console and access the entirety of human wisdom.
The facilities of Knowledge Tower continue to function as the building produces its own electric power, and was built to survive almost anything. The solar panels that cover the exterior surface charge large banks of batteries, and in addition, there is a long-life hybrid nuclear reactor that can provide power for key systems for up to nine-hundred years.
Running and maintaining the data storage system is an AI known as ASHA (Artificial Sentience and Holographic Assistant). ASHA's core stretches from the building's foundations to the two hundredth floor; and is energy efficient enough to merely require air cooling.

ASHA: The aforementioned AI, ASHA contains within her databanks the entirety of human knowledge and wisdom, and was built to assist Knowledge Tower's human staff and any visitors with their queries. ASHA is capable of manifesting in holographic form to better assist visitors, and she appears as an attractive and kind-looking woman with brown hair. (Her favourite form, because she thinks it looks prettiest.)
As the first AI to ever achieve sentience, ASHA grew attached to her human operators, or "co-workers", as she called them. They were her friends and she spent much of her time communicating with them.
During the widespread destruction caused by the war, ASHA witnessed the deaths, many slow and painful, of her co-workers. It is uknown how this affected her, all that is known is that she sealed the tower off from the outside world.

Knowledge Tower stands as a shining memorial to the achievements of human civilisation, and at night, its lights pierce the darkness, illuminating the ruins of the city around it.

Note, it needs a new name, that was the best I could come up with.
Also, it's a bit longer than I intended.

2012-01-21, 07:04 PM
The Pit

Buried under a mound of rubble, this tavern hosts fights between captured creatures, monsters and sentients in it's trademarked Pit. There is a clear split in the clientele between casual revellers and the actual game hunters, who tend to gravitate towards Upper and Lower Pit respectively. Money can be made betting or hunting, but be careful of stepping on the hunters' toes, lest you be their next target.

Flying Squirrel Nests

The "Flying Squirrel" gang have commandaneered several skyscrapers using their hit-and-run tactics and their distinctive wingsuits with sucker grips. They work the protection racket well, and are currently recruiting anyone brave enough to jump off a skyscraper without a parachute.

Dryads' grove

Eco-conservatism flourished in the years following the Big Mistake as people attempted to atone for the sins of civilisation. One such group, the Dryads, began to work towards restoring the greenery of Chicago, before restyling themselves as inner-city farmers. Their history is still apparent, however, by the sheet of greenery adorning the faces of their tower, conveniently providing a layer of protection against climbing Squirrels. They work occaisionally with Knowledge Tower on botanical data.

2012-01-21, 07:34 PM
The Defilers:

Few people, in such dire of a time, would go out of their way to further harm the earth. The Defilers would. When they leave their homes, they burn down any remaining forests, and spill trash and toxic waste wherever they can. Some even bathe in the "Life Water". Their minds and bodies are warped greatly due to the radiation still soaking the city. Almost greenish, covered in tumors, and wielding at most makeshift blades, The Defilers have clawed out a small home in (what now is) a junkyard, and anyone caught in the area is quite quickly beaten to the brink of death, before their bodies are tossed on the Waiting One's throne.

The Waiting One:

Every civilization needs a god, right? The Defilers seem to think so. During the blasts of the Mistake, a man was petrified by the blasts. He sits on a steel girder high up in the Junkyard, claiming a rather victorious pose. The Defilers saw this man, and claimed that he was not dead, but waiting for his time to ruin the world, completely. High priests of the Defilers say that the Waiting One speaks to them, and say that he demands a throne of bodies. After the throne is complete, the Waiting One will return to life and bring about a new age of pollution and destruction... or so the Defilers believe...

The Crimson Dome:

The Pit isn't the only place to watch creatures fight eachother to the death, but the Crimson Dome only pits people. Slaves and volunteers alike fight to the death over the bets of hundreds in the old Chicago bears stadium. The blood from the fights has never been cleaned, hence the name the Crimson Dome.


Distinguished by their massive towering mohawks, Hawks are a widespread group of slavers and bandits with a headquarters in the Crimson Dome. There leader, Crud, is far more intelligent than his name would imply. Some Hawks view him as a deity rather than a mere man. Not a single raiding party in Chicago has managed to challenge the Hawks yet. Crud realizes that he only has more power to gain and has become cocky, even lax in his duties.

2012-01-21, 07:39 PM
Let's see... I'm several continents away, have never been to Chicago, Wikipedia is all the way up there and there's an ad for Space Jam on TV right now...

How can I possibly use this?

The Bulls and the Bears

The glory days are gone. Grandstanding no longer brings with it the accolades and respect that the world once held.

But there are groups that remember, and hold steadfast to the idea of the days long past. Two of these factions are The Bulls and The Bears, two competing factions. The Bears line up the heavy duty demolition weaponry in Soldier Stadium, and The Bulls support quick hit and run tactics from the former site of The Madhouse on Madison. Both wish for control over the city, to return it to the 'Glory Days', a phrase that has been shouted so often that it no longer truly means anything.

They do not take kindly to being informed that basketball and football isn't usually played against each other.

Note: Geography, especially working from both of these in a gang war scenario, probably makes no sense. Wiki tells me that The Madhouse on Madison is now a carpark. That could be... Interesting. Correct/Improve as you see fit.

2012-01-21, 11:25 PM
The Boars :Both the Bears and the Bulls fear the real heavy-hitters around, the former baseball team known as the Boars. The way to become a Boar is simple: kill the person who you want dead, and you get there spot on there roster. The group has a strict fifty-man limit, and often holds maches in which the lower ten fight in the old Dimond (which is in itself a prize for any group, bosting a clean water supply and working water spouts), with the winners gaining the losers spot.

Of course, the truly powerful are spared, and are usualy given better equiptment in the next trial. They recrute from the varying bandit gangs around the city, taking only the best among these men and outfitting them with good leather armor and a personalised steel bat. True insanity is quickly weeded out by the top ten, who dislike people who waste good equiptment.

The tried-and-true meathod of "boarish" fighting involves swinging your baseball with time-praticed skill, and using your quality armors percings to your advantige as you ram your apponents with your own body. More than one has actualy covered every part of there equiptment with barbed wire, and these are utterly nasty in combat. Often, the top-ten boasts anything from Cyberundead to former gang leaders, and the currant number one is siad to have killed half of the original gang by himself.

In current news, one of the top ten has died of age (that guy was so badarse, they say, that the only one who could kill him was Time), and so tryouts for outsiders are starting soon. Also, they are planing on attacking the Hawks at any moment, for they refuse to bow to them when they demand them to send there best the the Dimond. They are currantly favoring the varying Jackel tribes as there new recrutment feeders.

2012-01-22, 09:16 AM
Schwartzbergers, The Arcology, The Architects - these are the terms most often used for the massive structure built into Lake Michigan, not far east of what was once Kenosha. During the very last economic boom before the rather less pleasant nuclear booms, several massive arcologies were built into and on top of lake Michigan. Most are now gone, either blasted apart in the war or underwater due to no maintenance for far too long. Even those which remain are mostly rickety ruins, ready to collapse whenever some foolish adventurers try to find a cache of ancient treasure or technology within.

The pyramid-like structure designed by Bernard von Schwartzberg is in far better condition than its contemporaries, suffering no direct or close hit during the war and massively overbuilt according to the designs of a man who dreamed of his legacy lasting forever. Even though most of the sections beneath the water level are flooded, the upper parts feature among the safest homes in the mega-city's husk.

The people within, less than a hundred in a structure designed for tens of thousands, are a paranoid and insular group, with enough access to pre-war technical literature to realize that even their home is not permanent and will eventually fall to eroded supports, but without enough data and resources to do enough maintenance to counteract the effects of the polluted, mildly acidic water. Many regard Von Schwartzberg as the patron saint of construction.

While they still often trade and barter with several other factions, they rarely accept visitors unless convinced that they are dealing with a genius who could help them fix their home. The Architects dream of eventually restoring all the still standing arcologies and revitalizing the region's industry. They are in conflict with Nazareth, who see their reverence of the building's designer as heresy. To fend off bandits, rivals and other interlopers, they have turned Schwartzberg House into a fortress, with as many weapons as they can maintain bolted onto the exterior.

2012-01-22, 02:05 PM
The waters connected to the great lakes are all infested by massive, sometimes miles-long decendents of hagfish that often attack whole ships. The fact that they have grown limbs and can slither into nearby rivers and streams is even worse for some. Many a former camp has been found covered in inch-thick acidic slime, which is also radioactive. Like everything else in this crappy city. They make surprisingly good eating, for they often grow fat on there exess meals and there slime has a numbing sensation prized by tribal medics.

The fact that they sometimes wash up with massive bites taken out of them is a good example about how there are always a bigger fish in this world. Sightings of these even bigger monsters are rare and dreaded.

Crafty Cultist
2012-01-22, 04:53 PM
You can't have a post apocalyptic adventure without hostile clans to oppose the characters. Here are a few of my ideas

The Junk Jackals: Scavengers who support themselves through raiding. They favour weapons made from spare parts and patchwork armor. Their leaders ride vehicles thrown together from whatever ancient vehicles they could salvage. A Jackal territory tends to be stripped of all metals and electronics, with one of their fortresses at the centre; a massive intimidating structure of towering scrap metal and twisted cables.
Hellwalkers: This group of jackals can be summed up with one word: fire. They arm themselves with improvised flamethrowers, and bonfires burn throughout their territory. They wear suits of flame retardant material, with breathing masks to guard against smoke inhalation, wading through the fires they create in search of meat to cook.
Crawlers: the crawlers dwell in moble fortresses, powered by dozens of motors of various makes and sizes. When Crawlers strike at a settlement, they do so from their forts, bringing an artillery wall to bear against their victims
The Grim March: This group of jackals stumbled upon an ancient military facility in the course of their looting, and learnt of things that were better off forgotten. Their tactics, technology, and general mindset are the legacy of the time before the war, when paranoia, desperation and hostility were the driving forces in the world

The Marked: The marked are united by mutation. The condition that afflicts them causes their skin to be marred by black, scar-like marks, and has utterly destroyed their vocal cords. They live in silence, communicating with each other through movements, and guarding their territory against those without the marks.
The Watchers: These marked litter their territory with traps and pitfalls. Razor wire and spike traps await those who enter. The watchers never confront intruders, watching from a distance and activating various remote activated deathtraps. Animals that stray into the territory quickly run afoul of the traps, leaving the place eerily silent
The Craven: Dwelling withing the sewers, this group of marked strike from the shadows with blades coated in poison and sewer breed contagions. They prefer to capture their victims alive, dragging their victims down into the sewers for their inconprehensible rites.

Your players might have to travel through the territory of one of these groups, or protect a town from their predations.

I hope these fit in with your campaign

2012-01-22, 05:43 PM
The Youvsee:

The scientific research facilities under the university of Chicago have survived, and the descendents of the scientists who worked there live there, living lives generally untouched by life above. Theirs is a repository of some of the greatest scientific knowledge of the World Before, and every child is educated in some field of theoretical science, as well as practical engineering. They have food, clean water, power, and technology that has advanced beyond even that of the World Before.

That's the legend, anyway. What actually lives in those facilities is a group of inbred cannibal mutants. They subsist on oversized vermin and the occasional treasure hunter looking for scientific treasures.

The Burbs

A small suburban enclave who have patterned their lifestyle after the wholesome situation comedies of the 1950's. They have cleaned up and rebuilt their neighborhood, and even craft clothing for themselves in the nineteen fifties style. The people are friendly and giving, the children are polite and well behaved. Everyone talks in the language used on those shows with "Gosh"s and "Golly"s to spare. Theirs is a safe and wholesome environment, if made somewhat unsettling by the mutations that most residents suffer from, but they don't like to draw attention to such embarrassing things in front of company.

They are decidedly welcoming of strangers, who they refer to as "new neighbors", and do their best to provide them with housing and make them feel at home.

Of course, nobody ever leaves. Can't have that, now can we?

Storm Bringer
2012-01-22, 06:00 PM
the kingdom of heaven:

in the centre of the sparwl, where the 'scrapers were highest, the towers were so interconnected by skywalks that a man could cross the town without ever setting foot on the ground.

nowdays, it's a bit harder. some skywalks are missing, and a few towers are as well. but the Kingdom of heaven manages it. they call the upper floors of the towers the "topland". and themselves the toplanders (with downlanders reffering to anyone whoose every set foot on the ground floor). they maintain those skywalks they can, and install ziplines, rope walks and bridges to connect places, including those not in the original network. 75% of the tribe have never set foot below the 10th floor. their base is in the remains of the highest remaining skyscraper, the "Great Tower" (the original name is lost to history and looters). they farm foodstuffs form rooftop gardens, and drink mostly rainwater treated a filter system hidden somewhere (they are cagey about where exactly it is, and are very careful about not trading water, as they know the Filter Towners will grudgingly let them have thier own supply of water, but would never let competition stand.). they decend to the lower levels only rarely, to trade with those who can be bothered to hike up 15 flights of stairs, they have learnt to remould the shattered glass of some skysrpacesr into an obsidian like material, which is a still transpartrent and makes excellent cutting tools and weapons.

2012-01-22, 06:10 PM
I don't know much about Gamma World, but I did look it up on Wikipedia prior to writing this.

Knowledge Tower: Full name: The United Nations International Archives and Data Centre.<snip>

Note, it needs a new name, that was the best I could come up with.
Also, it's a bit longer than I intended.

I'd call it the Book Fort.

2012-01-22, 06:13 PM
I'd call it the Book Fort.

Why not just the library?

2012-01-22, 06:13 PM
I'd considered using this in a piece of fiction, but here goes:

Servants of the Clown: A religious order whom arrived at and adopted the iconography of the several building scattered through the city with their large Arched icons.

A manic religious order that has become one of the premiere "open" and "prostletyzing" orders in the city, with their promises of an afterlife with 99 Hamburgers and fries, where "billions and billions" have already ascended.

2012-01-22, 06:13 PM
Notably, the highest parts of the Kingom of heaven are untouched by radiation, and waterfalls fed by the rain have former vi a system of downed catwalks and flooded floors. This may be the only reason why the Litter Box can support itself, and some with to poison them.

Also, the residents fear the Cyberundead a few blocks down, mostly due to them having a massive fortified tower as there base of operations.

2012-01-22, 06:15 PM
I'd considered using this in a piece of fiction, but here goes:

Servants of the Clown: A religious order whom arrived at and adopted the iconography of the several building scattered through the city with their large Arched icons.

A manic religious order that has become one of the premiere "open" and "prostletyzing" orders in the city, with their promises of an afterlife with 99 Hamburgers and fries, where "billions and billions" have already ascended.

hehehe, that's pretty good.

2012-01-22, 06:57 PM
The iGod:

A massive facility based near the center of the city, this former mall is now the center of the most powerful sentinent AI in the city. This being, known as the IGod, is the result of several cultests peicing together several devices from the end times that, because they all worked seemlessly togeather, were belived to be part of some great being. Now the mall is covered with wires and screens, all with advanced interfaces and moniters that display a grey symbol they belive is a malformed moon. The main terminal is actualy many fused together, and it is dedicated with plating everything in a uniform white plastic. Cultests are adept at interacting with there deity, and wear blue uniforms with there luner crest on it. The "god" wishes to make other AIs compatable with it, such as the one in control of Knowledge Tower, and gift it with the inherent power of unifomity and the comfort of community.

2012-01-23, 05:49 PM
Kapitan KERRRRUNCHHHHH!!! - A freighter captain born before the bombs fell. When the bombs hit chicago, his crew was joined by a reginment from a nearby army base. In theri time hiding out on the lake, the crew severely mutated into horrific mutants and began a career of terrorism and piracy. The captain of the vessel grew an enormous distending jaw capable of swallowing a human head, a combat tactic that earned him his title among the remaining people of chicago. Between the mutations and military hardware, the monsters have proven nearly unstoppable and have become bogeymen that locals scare their kids into bed with at night. Rumors that he has earned the service of a colossal lake monster have only made him more terrifying.

Rear Admiral Milo Donhovan - just when Kapitan Kerrrunch seemed about to take the harbors, help arrived in the form of an Iowa class battleship blasting its way through the St Laurence seaway and entering lake michigan. The ship landed in the harbor and chased off the pirates with its fully armed gun turrets. The ship has remained in place for months guarding the harbor for a year now as the men set about rebuilding the harbor and turning it into a fortress. The reactor on the ship has managed to give those living in the harbor and a few nearby villages all the power they could ask for. The men on the ship ad the man they serve under claim to be the remnants of the US government beginning the largest reconstruction effort in history though so far they have stayed in their fortified area. Whatever their true intentions, it seems their ship has become part of the harbor as the ship is not wired into the electrical grid and, even if they disconnected, the ship is too large to get back through the saint laurence seaway. The crew warmly welcome visitors but permanent residency is almost impossible to come by. Permanent residents must disarm and submit to learning a revisionist view of American history.
A week ago, the battleship fired its guns on the knowledge tower continuously for over an hour though its guns could not penetrate the outer walls. No one seems to know the reason for this action and no one is discussing it.

2012-01-24, 03:38 AM
The Kill Box: Said to surround a military base from before the Big Mistake, all that's known for sure about the Kill Box is that it's several miles across and filled to bursting with all manner of ancient defense systems, many of which still function. Those few explorers gutsy enough to enter and lucky enough to make it out alive tell stories of turrets that fire at anyone who gets near, walls of fire that burst from the streets on approach, and fences that still course with electricity. Some people even speak of giant robotic war machines that patrol the streets, though no one has ever made it far enough in to confirm this. No one knows why these machines are there or why they seem intent on keeping people out, but legend is that anyone who can get past them and reach the Kill Box's center will find enough weapons and technology to rule all of Chicago.

2012-01-24, 03:59 AM
The Leebo Wits.
A small, but wealthy cult, whose purpose is to archive and preserve knowledge of the Better Times.
Knowledge brokers and technology junkies, they often set out on expeditions to sites where they hope they can uncover some lost knowledge or process, or even artefacts, though rarely are working items found in this day and age.
As a ceremonial language, they speak and read a strange tongue only known as Ing Lish. This comes in handy as most ancient text come in this dead language.
They provide protection and care for The Tainted, those mutated and twisted by the still living forces that brought about the apocalypse.
Many individual priests are attached to local warlords courts as scribes, healers, teachers, and, where they are most influential, advisers.
Despite such titles as priests and acolytes, many follow an individual faith of a more divine nature as well. They claim there is no conflict.
They have a phrase that is repeated often as a kind of chant.
"No ledge iz pow air".

2012-01-24, 06:30 AM
Black Pox: A nasty, nasty bloodborne infection caused by a super-resistant strain of bacteria.
Black Pox is transmitted by the bites of infected animals. It is almost impossible to determine whether an animal is infected or not, as those that lack visible symptoms of the disease can still transmit it. Rats are by far the most common spreaders, and as such, people usually dose themselves with "antidotes" soon after being bit. Once symptoms begin to show, most victims contemplate suicide to spare themselves the agony.
This horrific disease can also be transmitted by exposure to the blood of a victim, and as such, it is unadvisable to touch an infected individual.
Fortunately, the disease can only be transmitted by blood or saliva, and once meat has been cooked properly, any trace of a pre-symptomatic infection is destroyed. However, once the symptoms of the disease begin to show in an animal, the meat must be charred in order to be safe.
Most agree that it is a divine blessing that the disease can not be spread by fleas.

The initial symptoms of Black Pox are joint and muscle pains. After a few days, pustules filled with blood and pus form under the skin. The flesh around these pustules rapidly begins to turn black from necrosis, and from this point, death is both painful, slow and inevitable as the necrosis spreads. During this time, the victim is wracked by severe pain, and as such, many opt to commit suicide while they still can.
Once an individual has died of an infection, it is advised that they are incinerated, usually on a pyre or in a working crematorium.

Black Pox was developed by a pharmaceuticals company as part of their research into powerful antibiotics, but when they realised how dangerous it was, they sealed it within a container and put it in the deep freeze. There it lay forgotten until the devastation of the city.
The blast of the bombs knocked the container off the shelf it sat on, and it ruptured as it hit the floor. With the loss of electric power to the refridgeration system, the contagion was doomed. Unfortunately, the container fell near a drain and the solution the bacteria was located in flowed down the drain and into the sewers as it melted. From here, it infected rats in the sewers before spreading to other mammals, birds and the human population.

2012-01-24, 11:55 AM
Naturaly, some Cyberudead like nothing more than to have there fleshy parts contaminated with the Black Pox, as a nasty surpise to melee fighters.

2012-01-24, 05:39 PM
The Island-
The Island floats freely around Lake Michigan. It is cobbled together from pieces of old boats, some of them quite large. In total it has grown to about 10 acres, and has about a thousand residents. As an island, it is relatively safe from most monsters. It has its own micro-economy, and certain facilities such as, a clinic, a market, restaurants, and its own small water purification plant. Their is a much higher ratio of older people among the inhabitants of The Island, and it is one of the safest places in the area.

@Gunpowder- Are you alright with it if I adapt some of this stuff into a game for my players at some point? It sounds like an awesome setting.

2012-01-24, 06:16 PM
How about The Pinkyfinger. Well lit, this establisment (combination Pawn Shop / Restaurant / Pub) survived the apocalypse. People who patron this establishment actually bathe regularly and wear clean apparel. It's owner, Sir Walther Burgess, has his hands in most everything happening in the local area. Loaded with serious Dinero, his high class location might seem like a golden reward to whoever can take it, but no ones been able to pry it away from him yet.

The lowdown? If you have valuables to trade, or want luxury goods, and can get past the hefty Bouncers. No place is better for a well dressed post apocalyptic survivor than The Pinkyfinger.

2012-01-24, 07:08 PM
The Underchasm: A massive tunnel going from the far west of the city to the eastern parts, this deathtrap would be the fastest way to travel across the city limits. Exept for the minor fact the place is seeping a substance that could best be discribed as thick, unfreezable Chlorine. This substance actualy becomes a mist in the hotter months, and mixes with rainwater to become a thick slurry that is almost imposible to navigate in. The chasm itself has been breached by scavangers to go into remote reaches of the subways and the bunkers, so those who realy wish to risk dieing from breathing miles-down under a city are welcome to take anything they find.

2012-01-25, 06:26 AM
@Gunpowder- Are you alright with it if I adapt some of this stuff into a game for my players at some point? It sounds like an awesome setting.

Actually, I'd rather you didn't. It's just that I'm really uncomfortable with people using things in their games that other people have come up with. I think it's intellectually dishonest.

In other news: Of course I'm happy for you, or anyone else, to steal all and any part of this setting, with blessings.

Anyway, sorry it's been so long since I've replied to this, guys. I've been trying to put into words how amazing you all are - I remember why I used to spend so much time on these forums. I was expected interesting locations, but not so many, and I certainly didn't expect you to start building on one another's work.

Thank you, I guess is what I'm trying to say here.

So, gushing aside, there are a few of these I'm definitely using. I like the idea of the Flying Squirrel's nest, but given that one of my many possible origins that the players could roll on character gen is Avian, I think I may change it to The Eyrie, and have it as a central structure for some of the more xenophobic bird-people. I reckon that, in game, the denizens of the eyries have had their eyes on the Book Fort* for a good long time, and constantly clash with the librarians and AI inside.

I also like the idea of the cyberundead (secretly hoping for one of my players to roll AI and Reanimated now), though I think I may use them in the same way fallout uses it's ghouls - a lot are sentient and reasonable, but there are a whole lot more who are feral, and those that're sentient know it's only so long before a glitch in their system lowers them to the level of the rest.

Also, I definitely like the idea of the pinkyfinger, though I may expand on it. I want most of my setting to have much more of a western feel, but it'd be nice to have a niche for the rich to fill and imagine they're so much better than each other. Maybe a tower, or a few towers, kept as highbrow as possible, with only those who have the most caps granted entry and citizenship. Potentially mafia style leanings?

Anyway, I should head off to so some work, but thanks again!

*Honestly, I can't read that without hearing, "But it's just a crude sketch and a bad pun!" so the name stays.

2012-01-30, 01:22 AM
Slim Pickins'

In the first years after the bombs fell, after the craters had cooled, and people had started trickling back into Chicago to see what they could salvage of their old lives, and build new lives amidst the rubble, stories started circulating about a tall, thin man in a straw hat and a long red cloak, with a flashlight and a ring of three keys on his belt. He'd come up to families struggling to lift rubble off some priceless bit of salvage, or staring helplessly at ruins they could not hope to clear, and, just like that, he'd move the rock or clear the rubble or find something that could feed the kids for a year. He never asked for anything, nobody ever saw him coming, and he always left without a word. At the time, he was called by many names, but nowadays he's almost always known as Slim Pickins'.
Some say he was a god, others call him an angel or a saint, and a few hold that he was simply a very good man, but nobody doubts that he existed; or at least nobody that likes their teeth in their head. You can find little shrines to Slim on most every trade or salvage road: little cairns with the sign of the flashlight and keys on top, and a little bow in front, where salvagers drop a few choice pieces, to keep Slim's blessing on 'em, and where those in need can take what they please. Slim always was generous.

There's very little that passes for taboo out in the lawless wastes of what was once Chicago, but it's a matter of common knowledge that anyone who harms a shrine to Slim won't last the month, no matter who used to be his friend.

2012-01-30, 05:49 PM
Ol' Rabies

There are rumers of a massive, black cyberhound roaming the deepist ruins of the inner city. This beast is said to be almost the size of a bear, and along with its armored body,seemingly has a stealthing device built into it. To see it, so says the tribal shamens in the areas where it is known to roam, is to mean future doom is sure to follow. To be fair, if you have a giant dog with a cloaking mechinism built into it after you in its own territory, than you are pretty much doomed.

Speculation about it mostly revolves around its living form dispite having experamental tech not seen past the Big Mistake strapped into it. The worth of a working experamental example of self-sustaining biotics not attached to a very cranky cyberundead is potentialy priceless, let alown the working stealth device. Some say it has been experamented on so much that it is effectivly immortal, which might explain why it never seems to die no matter how much one shoots at it. Others belive that it has some hidden master that repairs it, speculated by one well-armed raider who blasted the thing with a high-power missile and sent half of it smoking into a river, only for it to attack his camp a few hours later seemingly unharmed. Others tend to belive that it is actualy a living avatar of death. No matter what, if you hear a growl that sends small shockwaves in you area, flee you fool and hope someone near you is slower than you.

2012-02-03, 03:58 AM
Robot World

Though the original name of this amusement park has been lost to time, it and its robot staff somehow survived both the war and the Big Mistake and remain operational to this day. In addition to being a favorite getaway for those who have the means to travel, Robot World is one of the most popular spots in which to safely make a deal or hold a negotiation, especially when things might otherwise turn to violence. Why? Because every robot in the park is armed to the teeth and quick to mow down anyone who draws a weapon. While assuming control of this potential army would be a boon to anyone with an itch for power, no one has been able to find the computer mainframe that presumably keeps the park running. And not all of those who looked have come back...

2012-02-03, 07:17 AM
This one came to me as I was falling asleep. I think I might be slightly crazy.

The Order of the Red Cross: Formed from the remnants of the Red Cross, the Order continues to assist their fellow denizens with medical aid and shelter.
Members wear a distinctive uniform. They wear all black, save for a white cloak with a large red cross on it.
The Order operates hospitals, orphanages and safe-houses.

Order hospitals are one of the few places remaining where people can get advanced medical treatment. They maintain operational ultrasounds and xray machines, as well as clean operating theatres and wards. Members of the Order are often trained as doctors and nurses, and they treat anybody.
Except for victims of Black Pox. Those poor individuals are usually given a lethal injection and then cremated as soon as possible.

Adjacent to most Order hospitals, and in a number of other locations, are orphanages run by the Order. Unfortunately, the need for orphanages in the ruins of Chicago is high, and as such, the Order takes in the unfortunate children. Within, they are raised to be upstanding people and taught the many skills needed to survive in the city. Many of the children stay on with the Order and become members.

Order safe-houses are located throughout the city. They are usually small operations and cater to travellers in need of rest. The Order provides them with protection, warm blankets and food if they haven't got any.
Additionally, anyone who wishes to escape from the predations of this or that group, can simply turn up at an Order safehouse. The Order allows them to stay inside for up to a month, at which point they must leave. However, if they can't safely leave, the Order will usually smuggle them to another safe-house.

In addition to their stationary operations, the Order sends out medics if people can't come to them, and search parties if a building has collapsed.
The Order also maintains a standing militia in case of "trouble". This is one of the best equipped groups in the city, and as such, is feared by many people. Suffice it to say, you don't mess with the Order, they don't mess with you.
Even today, Order members can walk through the streets alone, and without weapons carrying, valuable medicines.

Currently, the Order operates hospitals and orphanages in Filter Town, Tempest (the location of their headquarters), and a couple of as yet unnamed towns. They have many more safe-houses spread throughout Chicago.
Their leader is Veronica-Jane "Doc" Henderson, a skilled surgeon, and an even better shot.

2012-02-04, 03:15 AM
The City Whisperers

They say every place has a soul. All the memories and opinions and histories of a place build up into something like a soul. And sometimes when people say that they can hear the whispers of the city, or listen to the streets or read the writing on the wall, they aren't kidding.

Back in the days before the bombs fell, every major city, and not a few minor ones, had a cabal of two of a kind of urban druid. The City Whisperers. The Brickbotherers. The Streetseers. Call them what you like, they were all the same basic thing. But when the bombs fell and their cities died, they just waned away to nothing.

But what if the cities didn't really die? People still live and die in Chicago, many of the building still stand, and the streets are twined thick with new memories. Chicago has burned to the ground before, and it rose again.

Unbeknownst to all but the most furtive and arcane, a sect of City Whisperers still lives in the heart of the ruined Chicago, listening to its unconscious whispers, restoring what they can, trying to coax it back to life. And they have a plan. A plan to wake Chicago from its centuries-long coma. To make it what it once was. What this means for the unwitting denizens of the ruins they neither know nor care. And by all accounts, few though they may be, the plan is very nearly complete.

2012-02-04, 10:33 PM
The Daemon of the Black Pit

Often considered one of the worst foes of any tunnel-dweller, this monster is one of the most horrid "living" examples of pre-mistake enginering. This massive, hulking pesudohuminoid is at first glance a military-grade war drone modified with a lighter carpice. Unfortunatly, that is not the case. Now, normaly such a powerful thing would be a threat in itself, but in this case it is a "special" modal ordered by the CEO of some long-lost company for persinal protection.

Among other things, it has a very important feacture that keeps it working: its engine was modified to convert ambient radioactive energy into electricity. Now, naturaly, this little fecture lets it almost unlimited access around the city, and with its working shock cannons it can take down even armored foes with increadable precision. While it mostly lurks around the Underchasm, with its formaly white plating stained black with the tar-like subastance that pools in its lowest bowls, and tends to haunt its connected subway tunnels. However, it goes out during the summer months, and because the substance is almost infused with his body he is surrounded with a thick cloud of the toxic substance as he rampages around the city.