Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by sci-fi & dark fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. Learn more…
Dead City Runs, Scavenging and the Infected
I’ve got a small, secondary group I’m acting GM for, several folks who are getting into Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur. It’s been a very interesting experience for me because one of the chaps has never even played an RPG before; so I’ve had the opportunity to watch him totally get into the concept, something that is almost impossible to really explain to anybody who has never done tabletop RPG before. Pens, paper, dice… and the raw energy of the human imagination.
It’s also been a little nerve-wracking for me because I’ve had to “sell the world” to them, build up the layers that creates the fabric of Yellow Dawn and bring about suspension of disbelief in a very short period of time.
Thankfully, I feel like I’ve achieved this: they’re certainly enjoying the short (1 hour) sessions I’m running every couple of days.
As players new to the world of Yellow Dawn, I feel the best way to introduce folks to the darker horror aspect of the world is to start them off utterly broke and desperate, and have them join the CRC (City Recovery Corps) to do some scavenging. Ostensibly to earn some ready cash, but in truth it allows a GM to describe the concept of a Living City – where life seems to continue almost as if billions of people didn’t die ten years earlier; and then the journey outwards, out through the Infection Free Zone, past the toast-towers (flame-throwers) into the Dead Zone, through the Rural Support Zone and then into the true Wilderness. Finally to reach the claustrophobic and sweaty terror of a Dead City.
The folks have been experiencing the Infected first hand. And it’s been bloody and horrible. I’ve also been able to weave in some of the more subtle Lovecraftian aspects of the world, through the Influence of Hastur.
However, I think if I had stuck to the rules as they were written (killing Zeds; risk of Zeds appearing on a street; chance of zed-surges from loud noises) then I reckon the game would have been over pretty quick. Their characters are fairly ordinary people. Not hardened fighters. Just survivors thrown into this horrible situation. Not to say that I’ve been making it easy for them, not at all (you can listen to their exploits via a podcast that’s coming out soon), but being a GM is all about the importance of balance. Delivering a great story, a tough challenge that isn’t always utterly impossible to beat.
The characters have just crawled through an abandoned apartment into a bedroom and shut the door – with two members of their original team (NPCs) now outside, screaming horribly, mindless and freshly Infected, and I can see the genuine fear on the players faces. They want to stay there. They don’t want to get up and face those “things” again. But the characters have signed contracts. They are CRC now and they have to scavenge and recover a minimum of 500 KG.
I know they can probably do it, but the players are locked in a world painted by their imaginations and what they’re experiencing is palpable and unpleasant.
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YELLOW DAWN – THE AGE OF HASTUR: The Earth has been ravaged by viral pathogens, the death of billions observed by the orbital colonies and deep-space habitats that were largely unaffected by the Outbreak. Terrified of infection, nobody came to help. Less than 30 percent survived the first few weeks. Then came the 2nd Wave of infection, spreading steadily outwards from the impact points, and that was when the horror really began…
This book is crammed with everything you will need to create characters, run scenarios and experience horror and adventure in the fictional world of David J Rodger.
FEATURES: Narrative examples of key themes • The Influence of Hastur • Medical theories on the Infection • Zombie surges • Dead Cities • Wilderness survival • Comprehensive scavenging system and how to repair or build things with resources • Backgrounds and motivations of government bodies and corporations • Computer hacking and drug abuse • High-tech immortality options • Non-human characters • Enhancements through cyberware and bioware • Weaponry, equipment and armour • Complete character generation and development system • Complex political, corporate and quasi-religious tensions • Schools of Elemental Magick, occultism, demonology, and the alien horrors of the Outer Chaos – the Cthulhu Mythos. Purchase or Preview via LULU.