Phoenix's Last Rise
In the 1960's, a mysterious man named Bruce Edward Morrow gathered a group of the world's leading industrialists into a secret group called the Council of Tomorrow. Somehow, he convinced them to work together and invest in creating an organization dedicated to the goal of rebuilding and protecting the human race after the inevitable apocalypse had occurred.
However, what Morrow could not foresee was the interference of another man, Krell, whose origin and purpose was as mysterious as his own. Krell's machinations introduced weapons against which Morrow could not prepare, weapons that would continue to twist the land and the survivors long after the bombs fell. Krell may not have been able to stop the plans of the Council of Tomorrow any more than the Council could prevent Armageddon, but he had plans of his own that would complicate matters greatly.
During the 1970's and 80's, many underground shelters were built by the CoT. Viable cryostasis technology was developed to allow volunteers to lay in slumber during the coming war and until after the fallout had settled and radiation levels had stabilized at tolerable levels. According to Morrow's plan, at that point the bunkers would open and the Project staff would emerge. These survivors would establish contact with Prime Base in Nevada, and coordinate with other Project teams scattered all across the country to explore the remains of the blighted world, contact any survivors and communities they found and begin rebuilding human society.
The vast majority of these facilities were known as "Boltholes," and had space enough for a platoon-sized unit and their necessary gear. As bunkers were completed and Project Members were recruited and trained, they were placed into cryostasis. This process started in the early 70's and continued up until right before the war, rather than have trained personnel growing old, being lost through attrition or more importantly, being free to spill the secrets of the project. The technology of the world advanced, and the sciences mastered by members of the CoT advanced even further and faster. When equipment stored with Project personnel was rendered obsolete, the bunkers were occasionally opened from the outside. Improved gear was left for those in stasis, along with documentation on how to use it.
These activities were coordinated from Prime Base, a massive bunker with food stores, hydroponics, generators and all the necessities to support several hundred personnel indefinitely outside of cryostasis. These men and women would be the observers to the last gasps of civilization, and the core of the mankind's revival after the cinders of the holocaust burned to ash. However, on the eve of destruction, the madman Krell sabotaged prime base. The bombing killed the Project's leadership, and damaged the base computers.
Topside, the fires of nuclear warfare raged, and laid waste to the world. Cities were consumed in blast and firestorm, with the only remnant of their existence being the occasional jagged spars of a skyscraper jutting out of the rubble like the shattered fingers of colossus. When the flames died, the fallout came with the black rains. This mixed with persistent biological weapons that Krell had developed in secret--evolutionary biocides that thrived in the radioactive maelstrom and mutated many of the surviving people and animals. This rapid evolution was beyond the ability of Morrow to predict or prepare for; these ravening mutants were intended to finish off whatever the bombs did not. The mutative biocide had another side effect: it turned a wasteland that would have been poisoned with radioactivity into something else entirely. Life began to flourish again in some places, but it was life like this world had never seen. Perhaps that had been Krell's intent all along, to twist our planet into something fit more for aliens than man.
Over the course of several months, the background radiation had cycled through enough half-lives to be within the tolerances of human life. The computers at Prime Base would have sent signals to wake up thousands of Project members across the United States, but the signal never came. For an untold number of years, the bunkers and boltholes remained closed. The cryostasis devices began to fail here and there, leaving personnel to die and their equipment to crumble beneath the ravages of time and aggressive mutated microbial strains that slowly wended their way into many of the bunkers. With the airwaves quiet, the Morrow Project and the last hope for the civilization of the old world had failed.
Until today. Something has caused a bolthole in the Shadow Over Valley to stir, drawing the attention of a few wandering locals. They investigate, hoping for salvage, but never knowing what they might find, only to encounter the rarest artifacts of them all...
The Phoenix rises for one final act.
Phoenix's Last Rise will be played using Hero System, 6th edition. Character creation guidelines can be found here.
Other features included in this campaign:
- Character Origin--Players can choose to be TMP personnel, or topsiders. TMP personnel can be either humans or autonomous robots. Topsiders can choose to be human survivalists, mutated humans, mutated animals or robots. If Player Characters are killed or otherwise retired from the story, new PCs can be Topsiders, or additional TMP members that are brought out of barely functional cryostasis units as reinforcements. Characters will have differing initial templates depending on their origin.
- Gear--All players will roll randomly on the salvage tables for their starting equipment. For Topsider characters, this represents a combination of the best gear they have managed to trade for or salvage or their most recent finds. For TMP characters, items on the salvage table represents what items they have been able to recover from their breached vault that has not completely broken down over time. All starting gear will be subject to maintenance rules. If a player wishes to purchase gear for their character (Topsider or TMP staff), then these items are not subject to maintenance rules. They are fairly pristine or well crafted, and will not break down over time but are subject to the normal rules applied to foci in 6E rules.
- Maintenance--Salvaged gear will need to be maintained. Appropriate skills reduce the amount of time that needs to be spent on maintenance. Depending on its condition, there is a chance that salvaged equipment will breakdown until repaired, suffer some kind of malady, or simply be reduced to scrap.
- Travel--Unless the characters start the game with salvaged vehicles or purchase them with character points, travel will be on foot. During periods of travel, the players will have to declare how much time will be devoted to such things as travelling, scrounging for food and water and for maintaining gear. Results from these choices and survival skill checks will affect long-term endurance penalties.
- Long-term endurance--The characters must be able to find or purchase food and water, and seek adequate shelter. Failure to do these things will result in various penalties that reflect starvation, dehydration and fatigue.
- Combat--Hit locations will be used. Impairing injuries will be used. Knockback will not normally be used, but may be appropriate depending on the situation.
- Heroic Action Points--To better reflect the gritty nature of the world, characters will not have free access to HAPs. If you would like to use them, invest in the Luck perk.
- Restricted Skills--Not all characters will be allowed to have every skill. Many skills will be restricted and are generally unavailable. However, each character will choose one of several "Background Perks" for free. Each background perk will open up several restricted skills for purchase, or allow a character to have certain special abilities. A character may have multiple background perks (or multiple levels in one perk, in some cases), but each one after the first will cost 5 points.
Instead of just setting out for a distant location and arriving X number of days later, a survival system will be used. This will require that the characters find enough food and water to sustain themselves, and get enough rest to prevent exhaustion. Time spent travelling is more than just moving from one place to another; one must forage for food and find shelter. Along the way, the characters can also scrounge the countryside or any ruins they come across in search of forgotten treasures. They can also spend idle time maintaining and repairing their equipment. If characters don't successfully forage for food, starvation will set in. If they push themselves too hard on the march, they will be exhausted, and may not want to face certain encounters based on their travel choices!
Places of Interest
- The Shadow-Over Valley
- TMP Bolthole Victor-Yankee-Zulu
- Blue Mount
- The Ash Barrens
- The Cinder
- The Morpheum
- Bastion Omega
- Bastion Alpha
- Rattle Farm
- Char Lot
- The Apparition Range
- Ghost Towns
- Silver City
Factions or Persons of Note
- Colonel Horatio Blackwind
- The River Barons
- The Shepherds
- Hubert Hoss and the Band of the Scanned
- Ark'hayngel Shel, Lady of the Pit
- The Cars with no Drivers
- Supreme Dragon
- The Squidge