Case Study: Building a Sanctuary in a Post-Apocalyptic World – Or What to Tow Behind You

Yellow Dawn allows you to strip resources from abandoned buildings or move in and do them up to live in

Yellow Dawn contains a powerful system for scavenging resources from the vast sprawls of abandoned buildings in Dead Cities and structures found in the new Wilderness, the latter “usually” being free of the risk of Infected.  But the Primary Rulebook also contains a guide to taking possession of any abandoned structure, or even building one from scratch (page 122) with a view to making a permanent or semi-permanent home.

Once you’ve selected a vacant property you need to remove any “State of Decay”, clearing away debris and repairing cosmetic and structural damage. See page 122 of Primary Rulebook for this.

You can then go about adding furnishings, proving heating and power and being wary of acceptable levels of space for the number of occupants to avoid overcrowding and tension. Water supply is important. A garden can be used for growing food or even as a way of given characters a sense of purpose to increase COOL and remove Anxiety – all of this on page 123.

Take gardening a step further and you can build up an actual farm – either for the sole survival of residents or as a business. Bring in a technology specialist and a chemist and you can start fuel production – see page 124.

But be aware, all of this glorious effort can attract the wrong kind of attention. Vandalism, or worse, bandits who want to take over ownership. GMs should consult page 125 whenever characters build something nice – worse destroying or stealing – outside the protection of a Living City.

Case Study

The characters who formed the original play-test group for Yellow Dawn – way back in 2007!!! – quickly established a base of operations outside of the survivor settlement of New Boston.

They found an abandoned corporate business park including a 6 story office building. It was in a bad state of repair but they took root, spent weeks (out of game time) clearing up the mess of ten years decay and weathering.

Gradually, during the raft of small scenarios that followed, they re-plastered the interior, created a fortified area, installed good electrical generation, and installed a lab facility for developing bioware. They had bespoke living quarters on the top floor with each character infusing their own flavour as they found, acquired and purchased items that were less useful game-wise, but were interesting for showing the actual “person” behind the character.

They developed a farm, hired a manager and farm-hands – which led to issues later when characters began taking liberties with their lives.  They called the place Little Boston and it was a great launch pad for new scenarios in the area, and a repository for character equipment and a place to heal.  Eventually it all came to a close when one of the characters managed to conjure an avatar of Nyarlathotep on the roof of the building. Bad things happened after that…

New Materials

GMs and players should also consider the availability of mobile homes. Not just the traditional trailer park cabin on wheels but much more advanced and intelligently designed structures that have evolved from new materials and technologies.  Here’s one example,  designed by Stephanie Bellanger, Amaury Watine, François Gustin and David Dethoor, it’s the kind of thing characters could discover intact or decide to construct for themselves.

space ship house mobile home for the future - designers Stephanie Bellanger, Amaury Watine, François Gustin & David Dethoor

A mobile home for the future?

inside space ship house mobile home for the future - designers Stephanie Bellanger, Amaury Watine, François Gustin & David Dethoor

Sleeping on the edge of a Dead Zone

clever design space ship house mobile home for the future - designers Stephanie Bellanger, Amaury Watine, François Gustin & David Dethoor

Park up and fan out

Take this one step further and introduce a featureless void of creamy white carboplastic, but every surface contains lenses for a HTMD (Holographic Touch Matrix Display) – also known as Tangible Light, a technology invented by Ethan Carmichael just before the event known as Yellow Dawn slammed down across planet Earth (read the novel Edge for more detail). Seating, tables and even interface systems could be conjured on command – of course, all of this needs power. Just as a mobile home needs a vehicle of some kind – unless your characters are using horses.

Finally, the ultimate portable living module could be something based on the technology used by the Deep Space habitats run by Borgendrill, with Nanomech capable of forming and reforming into any shape or simple device required (read the novel The Black Lake for detail on Nanomech).  Nanomech has an advantage over HTMD as it requires less energy, is capable of absorbing energy from the sun and uses self-sustaining chemical processes to power some of its needs.

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CREDIT: Featured Hero Image – Erin Jenne, Princess Palace

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