Yellow Dawn Session Notes 9th March ¦ Aigues-Mortes and the Star of Eternal Life #1

A New Character Group

Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by British Science Fiction & Dark Fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. It also has three novels set within it: Dog Eat Dog, The Black Lake and The Social Club.

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BEGIN 15th Feb YD +10 (ten years after Yellow Dawn happened).

This is a brand new character group for the players.

Storm Winter: a Native American Indian who had been travelling through Europe ten years earlier when the shit hit the fan with Yellow Dawn.  With an innate “body-builder” physique, he’s survived by providing protection and security to people who have needed his help.  Over the decade he’s drifted south, seeking warmer climes, hating the frozen and prolonged winters that savage survivors.  Finding himself in coastal region in the South of France, he migrated to the former medieval crusader fort of Aigues-Mortes.

Bela: once a Hungarian engineer in the UTOC Civil Defence Force, he fell sick like the majority of his platoon when the 1st pathogen struck. But unlike the 70% who died horribly over the next few days, he went into a coma and then woke up… changed.  The military personnel who survived Yellow Dawn had Bela locked up and seemed ready to perform some brutal experimentation on him, in order to try to understand what the heck was happening to the global population of the planet.  Several of his former battle colleagues got him out: recognising the human that was inside of the “monster” being caged in the penal block.  Since then Bela has survived lynch mobs and all the terrors of waking up to be no longer quite human.  Hounded, harassed and hated, his life followed the path of many Changed – suffering the abusive terminology and prejudice reserved for what survivors were calling ORCS.  Drifting south, he made his way to Aigues-Mortes and got stuck there.

aigues-mortes South of France medieval crusader fort used in post-apocalyptic setting of Yellow Dawn

Aigues-Mortes, fortified survivor settlement in South of France

Canal Gate Market is situation bottom left, outside the high walled enclosure of the settlement, squeezed in between the canals and amongst the trees (long since chopped down for firewood by early survivors). It’s a landscape of mud and filth and desperate people.

Aigues-Mortes

Within the high medieval walls, survivors are wealthy, successful, political creatures that do whatever they can to ensure their lives remain comfortable and well-supplied with the resources they need.

Winter and Bela do not have such a privileged existence. They live outside the fortified walls.  Always at the risk of any Infected that might stumble into the area – although 10 years after the Infection first showed itself in the screaming, shrieking, biting, flesh-tearing victims that sprinted through populated areas… Aigues-Mortes has done what it can to clear as much of the risk from the surrounding land as it can. There is no Dead Zone. Just the odd cluster of scavenged buildings and lots and lots of wildly growing foliage.

Both Bela and Winter have survived outside the walls for several years.  Bela works for Anitole, a weaponsmith and blacksmith, at the Canal Gate Market. Winter works for Gaiyan, a former boxer, now a greasy, filthy, overweight shadow of the man he used to be, who lives and works out of a carbo plastic hut on the edge of the canal, next to the market, providing bodyguards and security for the market and merchants who need such people.  He always has a cold, unlit, saliva drenched stub of a cigar in his flabby mouth.  Winter walks around the Market ensuring the daily influx of desperate survivors who arrive at the area – and get washed back by the armed militia on the gates of Aigues-Mortes – don’t become a nuisance as their desperation turns them to theft and violence.

It is a grim life for both Bela and Winter. They never make enough money to buy proper food and are often starving.  Winter, best friends with Bela, sleeps on the floor of the market stall, huddled next to the warmth of the idling forge.  Bela rarely feels the cold but appreciate the companionship of his friend.  Besides, neither of them could afford to pay for anywhere to stay.

Life is a struggle.

Water is three times normal price due to difficulty of supply; the local area is very salty.

Outside the walls, people don’t give anything away for free.  And the market area is “controlled” by a criminal gang under the rule of Herriot. His Somalian right-hand thug has an acute dislike for Bela – and the other two Changed – two woman who live and work in the scavenged debris heaps.   Both Bela and Winter have discussed killing the Somalian many times because of his sneering, aggressive taunts towards Bela.

One day, Bela is told by his boss that a young “wealthy” couple have come to Aigues-Mortes to sell a large stash of scavenged metal. They don’t have the metal with them… too fearful of travelling with it. But they sell it to the boss for a low price, on the agreement that the boss will have to go and collect it himself.  The boss sends Bela. And talks to Winter’s boss – who agrees to send Winter with Bela.  This means neither Bela or Winter get paid any extra as it is considered part of their job.

They hike 30 miles, part way along the Interlink and then turn off along a badly overgrown horse trail.

Sleeping one night in the ruined shell of an old farmhouse they discover how hard it is to be comfortable; it’s a grim night. The next day, cold and thirsty, they push on to their destination.

They arrive in A_______, a small wealthy settlement of about 40 survivors, and discover a strange funeral taking place. They are mostly welcomed by the residents who are delighted to have strangers to talk to – and new stories to listen to, although Bela and Winter have very little fun stuff to discuss due to their lives being so grim back in Aigues Mortes – so they talk about who they used to be. But this pleases the residents of A_____ no end.

Strange things occur later that night, with the recently buried body seemingly coming back to life to exact revenge on employees who betrayed his final dying wish; the son and daughter of the dead man compete with others to find a missing piece of jewelry, the star of eternal life.  There is the servant, the corrupt lawyer, and a mysterious Egyptian gentleman who arrives in a jeep in the early evening, claiming the Star belongs to him.

It transpires the dead man wasn’t dead at all but had been so convinced he was dying – and would be resurrected – that he went into a comatose state. And then woke up in his own tomb.

Bela and Winter are involved in capturing the lawyer – who murdered the Egyptian and tried to flee with the Star.

The son and daughter are grateful. As is the settlement of A_____.   All the locals give Bela and Winter a little food or something for their return journey. It’s a token gesture but one that means a great deal to both of them because it is at least some small reward for what they have done.  They received nothing but a handshake and some gratitude from Marcus and Claire (the wealthy son and daughter who return to Marseilles).

Ironically, they get to drive back with the jeep (and the lawyer) allowing them to transport the stash of scavenged metal back to Aigues-Mortes quickly and safely.  They also stop at the ruined farmhouse and spend a day and a night there, doing some asset stripping, gathering metal and other raw components that Bela might be able to use later.

Returning to Aigues-Mortes, both Bela and Winter experience an overwhelming despondency. They don’t want to exist like this. The lawyer departs, with the jeep (as agreed, to return to Marseilles to carry out his side of the bargain that led to him not being strung up for killing the Egyptian or trying to steal the Star). And so the daily grind of life in the market starts to sap away their strength. Literally, Bela’s character loses a point of 1 STR due to not being able to afford a proper diet every day.

ramparts of aigues-mortes South of France medieval crusader fort used in post-apocalyptic setting of Yellow Dawn

Ramparts of Aigues-Mortes

Both characters (and the players) experience the hunger of desperation and the craving to break out of the negative cycle. To do something before they waste away and die here.

But they’re also aware of the trap they’re in. Because they don’t have the skills to really survive out beyond Aigues-Mortes. Their bad night in the ruined farm-house made them acutely aware of how unprepared and unskilled they are.  They could leave Aigues-Mortes, and they could conceivably find enough food and water to survive… but they would never generate an income and they would fade into the filthy peasant things that you find on roadsides along the interlink.

They have no money to really go far or get equipment. So they’re faced with the prospect of turning to crime – or finding some kind of lucky break. Or risking a Dead City run.

Interesting days ahead.

RESUME:

6th April YD+10. Aigues-Mortes market. Two new characters (Chris and Tony) should come online at this session. Meanwhile, Winter has spent several weeks waiting for Bela to finish making a crossbow from some of the scavenged resources they found at the ruined farmhouse, but he keeps making mistakes.Time drags by. They are becoming desperate.

Cash: notes written down and up to date.
Raw Components: 21 KG
Specialised Components: 1KG.
{kept in an unsecured location within Anetole’s market stall}

GM NOTES:
All rank rolls done and up to date; including occupation rep rolls for Bela and Winter.

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David J Rodger – DATA

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