Yellow Dawn Session Notes 30th September: Into The Dead Zone

 

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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THE CHARACTERS:

 

  • Winter – built like a young Arnold Schwarzenegger with North American First Nation features. An expert in martial arts and wilderness survival.
  • Brendan – slim, awkward in appearance, with dark hair and untrusting blue eyes; he wears black clothing and carries an air of suppressed pain around with him. Scars, like energy burns, to parts of his face hint at his meddling with metaphysical powers. A road mage.
  • Bela – tall, bulky, a victim of the 1st wave that left him Changed at the molecular level. Called an ‘Orc’ by those wishing to insult.
  • Aaron – 16 years old, tall, willowy, good-looking, quick-witted and intelligent, he was only 6 when Yellow Dawn happened. His survival is a bit of a mystery. Good with his hands and fixing things, his movement is limited by a gammy leg, fixed into a leg-brace.
  • Jean – tall, good-looking man, early 30s with classic southern French features; lean and muscular with a long mane of dark hair and blue eyes. Wears a beaten up leather jacket and leather trousers and boots that belong on a fashion parade, not the wilderness.
  • Fifi – French girl, 22 years old, dark hair that could do with a comb, teeth a little too big for her mouth and a flat, wide nose, hardly a looker, but with an incredible aura, sense of presence and razor-sharp intellect she is quite the character.  Dresses down, an artist, but anyone who gets to know her quickly discovers she comes from money and power.

 

RESUME 20th May @ 5pm,

The Living City of Montpelier. Everyone is in Samir’s rented apartment.

 

[][][]

The team arrive in Montpellier and make their way to the apartment of Samir, their compadre who took part in Libya and then vanished on some kind of “secret mission” for Deraloux – the Captain of the Watch at Montpellier.

Samir has a new friend. A 22 year-old girl called Fifi, some kind of artist – she’s never been out of Montpellier since Day Zero. The furthest she has got is exploring some of the abandoned buildings in the clearance sectors: former parts of the Dead Zone being steadily reclaimed by work crews as the Infection Boundary is pushed back.

Everyone gets to meet her.

She manages to persuade them to undertake a Dead City Run; basically a scavenging mission into the heart of Montpellier’s Dead Zone. The caveat is that she gets the team a boat, so they can travel in by the canals.

Fifi smiles, gets up and tells the boys to meet her at the docks at 10 in the morning.  She leaves them drinking and catching up with Samir.

Samir knows Fifi through her mother, who is the Chief of Police here and has been a major contact in his mission for Deraloux (in Aigues-Mortes).  Because of who she is, Fifi is able to bluff her way into the police boat yard, pick locks and then persuade a cop – on fear of his job – to help cover the fact she is borrowing a patrol boat.  He even takes it out onto the canal system and moors it up for her.

Next morning the team discover their ride is a police patrol boat.

Some more persuasion and bluffing takes place to get the boat out through the IFZ gates that protect the canal way. Then, abruptly, they’re in the Dead Zone.

Using the boat.  Although relatively safer than travelling in by foot, the issue is that for 10 years everyone else has had the same idea – so the areas around the canal have been heavily scavenged, unless you travel really far in.

So the initial glimpse of Dead Zone is a bit underwhelming – just vast swathes of heavily scavenged buildings, so intensely asset stripped that in some places nature has started to grow back (vines, creepers and clumps of weeds) signalling a distinct absence of Infected here – by the canal.

After 3 miles things start to change.

The signs of visible scavenging become less obvious. The side streets leading away from canal side start to look more like they did 10 years ago when an entire population went into panic mode as 70% of the world died in days.  Rusting cars block roads and debris is everywhere.  A decade of weathering is starting to show…

And then they spot their first Infected.

In fact, the team manage to generate a Zed Surge on the sides of the canal. Frightening and full-on, both Fifi and Jean start to display symptoms of some kind of hallucinatory effect – early signs of the Influence of Hastur on their minds.

The surge starts to spill off the side of the canal into the water and suddenly the boat and the occupants are at risk. Until they speed off.

The team find a warehouse, untouched, a self-storage facility. It is vast. Sneaking off the boat there is a profound moment for Fifi and Aaron as this is their first time stepping into Dead Zone proper. The mood is tense.  Aaron refuses to come with them; he remains on the boat and takes it into the middle of the wide canal, leaving the inflatable tied up on the side of the canal so the others can  get back when needed (although there are five of them out there and the inflatable can only carry four).

Getting into the warehouse they are immediately attacked by an Infected security guard that was attracted by the noise they made securing the door.  Thankfully, Winter heard it coming and stood by the door where it came charging through – one blow from his katana into the chest cavity killed it instantly.  Relief, but Fifi, Jean and Bela left disturbed at the close proximity to such a thing.

Rather than going through the slow, methodical process of asset stripping (literally taking everything from every room, including wall tiles, floor boards, taps and fittings), they begin to artifact hunt – which entails moving quickly through every room just looking for things of value to take away.

After 90 minutes they have covered 12 BS (out of a total building size of 32) and have found a few things.

Their plan is to focus on this building and then get out, get back into the Living City, as the experience of the Dead Zone has been much more traumatic than anyone realised. The horror will be if the Influence of Hastur (DOM) starts to warp their reality. They may find that the canal they’ve been using to move around in no longer has water in it – many a scavenger has perished in a Dead Zone from such an undocumented fate.

horror of the Influence of Hastur in a Dead Zone where a canal suddenly changes to become empty

Moving around the Dead Zone just became a lot harder

 

RESUME 21st May YD+10, @ 12.30

Everyone except Aaron in the warehouse. Aaron on the boat. Brendan back in Montpellier sleeping off a hangover.

 

 

GM NOTES:

<> All C’s should get a rank roll for (30th Sep’14)

<> Samir has the apartment, paid for by Deraloux, until end of May YD+10

<> All C’s should get a rank roll for last session (23rd Sep ’14)

<> DJR papers include notes on +to Brendan’s COOL for killing Hardstrom and +to FIRST CONTACT with Deraloux.
<> Baron Toten Reich has talked to Bela about his “progress” after seeing him coming in (flying) recent night,
<> All money up to date

<> Brendan has the gore-smeared cerebral codexes for Tengo Gin and Magnus Hardstrom in his pocket.

<> Aigues Mortes, most kit locked away in a cell controlled by Deraloux (before they headed out on their op against Hardstrom).

<>Aigues-Mortes: Armstrong is friendly but firm, takes a like to Aaron, says, I run this place, I keep the rules and break legs.
<> In Celeste: Bela has some raw components and specialised components he scavenged on the way to Prudence.
<> Bela has a special ops gel suit, although armour is wrecked over heart and right thigh.
<> Brendan has an assault rife with 24 rounds remaining.
<> Winter and Samir have acquired a large number of firearms and ammunition, plus heavy weaponry, from Mohammed’s camp and the gasses mercs at Bino Bit compound (these are written on DJR paper notes).
<> NOTE: Samir is not with them. He is acting as comms liaison for Aigues-Mortes captain of the watch.

IN THE MORGUE:

<> Chris Langford (Dominic), killed by a creature From Beyond at Cereford Grandir near Soubere, 20 miles from Aigues-Mortes. 13th May YD+10.

 

Want to know more about Dead Zones and Dead Cities?

If you want to read more about Dead Zones and the Infection, I would strongly suggest you read Dog Eat Dog. Alternatively, if you’re interested in the cosmic horror that has followed the event known as Yellow Dawn, read The Black Lake – which the Guardian called “Atmospheric & Creepy”.  Or, if you like the idea of the claustrophobia of living inside of a post-apocalyptic version of London surrounded by Infection, then read The Social Club.

 

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4 thoughts on “Yellow Dawn Session Notes 30th September: Into The Dead Zone

  1. Sounds like a tense trip. Good illustration of when to spring the reality-warping influence of Hastur on the hapless players. Reminds me of the scene in the Social Club where the main protagonist gets a wierd vision (nice example of show not tell btw). Evocotive picture – where was it taken?

  2. Hi Rob. It felt like a good place to drop it in. These two failed COOL checks at the essential moment so decided they would start to suffer. Really good way of cranking up the tension and demonstrating that this is not a zombie experience but something much, much worse. The images are just things I found on Google search for Montpellier, France. I’ve been there but did not take any photos of the canals.

    • This is one of the attractions of the backdrop to Yellow Dawn – it’s soooo much more than a mere zombie apocalypse. BTW bile weed; great concept and very nasty. Does not bode well for the future of humanity…

      • Bile Weed, yeah I remember dreaming that up back in… 2008? I really need to start implementing it in some short stories to show how the Infection can mutate and evolve into new horors.

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