Yellow Dawn Session Notes 7th April: Unpleasant Business, Dying Time Is Here

The team walk into a terrible trap. No way out. Survival is a fading hope.

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.
  • Samir – North African, non-Muslim, late 30s, good looking and very charming. Dresses in shabby scavenger suits but can be known to dress smart when the occasion calls for it. Highly intelligent he seems to thrive on making contacts and influencing people.

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RESUME 5th June @ 10 P.M.

Team are in their apartment making final prep for doing a raid on sewers where this gang hang out. Samir is there, drinking a fine bottle of wine.

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Team are in the apartment. Smell of new leather in the air – as all of them have purchased long armoured coats. It looks like a Matrix convention. Jean is admiring the concussion pistol grenade he acquired at a licensed weapons outlet. Winter is sharpening his katana. Fifi observes quietly, hiding her emotions.  Brendan returns, after weeks of being wrapped up in an alcoholic stupor – and more recently, locked away in a urban retreat for one of the schools of elemental magick.

Aaron and Samir are also there.  The place isn’t really big enough for everyone. But they’re not staying long.

They are joined by a new body. Young, lean, good looking and quick; Franco works for the Russian crime boss Stipo – he is there to ensure the team deliver what Stipo wants, the young card player back, alive and unharmed from the kidnappers (Skyline gang) and for this not to happen again. Interpret that how you like – is the message from Stipo to the team via Franco.

The plan is to take out surface guards and gain control of the gang’s facility – which includes a furnace driven lift pulley system, both for the freight elevator that descends 60 metres into tunnels, and for the ascend to the main tower – a 500 metre orbital relay tower (no longer in use). All of this sits just inside the Dead Zone. There is a gangplank stretched between the compound wall and the boundary of the Living City. Normally this would be considered a major breach hazard – risk of Infected getting in, but the area is one of the roughest zones in the Living City. Official patrols don’t go near. The locals here have up to now supported the Skyline gang. However, Franco has heard rumbles on the grapevine that the new modus operandi of the Skyline gang is turning support against them.

Aaron stays behind to monitor comms and arrange help if required. Samir stays with Aaron as physical backup, especially as the young kid is going to be plugged deep into cyberspace with his new Cyberdeck.

Franco arranges transport to take the team to the Boundary with the Dead Zone and within walking distance of the Skyline Compound. What follows is a successful assault. Jean proves his courage by leaping a significant gap, with a 60 metre drop, to grab an elevator cable and descend to the roof of the car. However he is captured.

The rest of the team go down (Winter and Brendan, with Franco hiding on the roof), with Fifi remaining up top to cover the control room for the elevator / furnace and pulley system.

Which… is exactly what Fifi wants.

Winter, Brendan and Franco actually manage to get the kidnapped boy back. They have him in the elevator car.  But Fifi is on the video link from above, and reveals that she is not Fifi, but one of the Serpent People from the Merkenson Estate – imitating Fifi since she was consumed whole by Yig.  The Serpent People have been observing the team, aware that the team were eventually planning to launch a massive assault on their sacred temple and dig site 100 miles north of Montpellier.

This is the perfect moment for the Serpent People to stop that from happening.

Fifi cuts the power to the elevator, trapping them down there.

At the same time, Brendan unties the boy only to discover the kid is a monster. Literally. Fast and deadly, the kid undergoes a shocking metamorphosis and chews into Brendan’s torso, knocking him down and leaving him bleeding and unconscious. The kid whirls around and attacks Winter but gets a katana slicing up through his groin and nearly cutting him in half.  Brendan makes a remarkably quick recovery. The team are trapped. And worse… Fifi has now opened the heavy shutters that sealed the underground tunnel from the larger sewer system. A sewer system that runs beneath the Dead Zone and contains Infected. These Infected are now entering the tunnels. The Skyline gang go into panic mode. It is mayhem.

Winter and Brendan climb up onto the roof of the elevator car, but they’re stuck 60 metres down.  It is a tense and desperate situation.

Made worse when Brendan succumbs to the monster’s bite and transforms into a monster himself. He bites into Winter’s neck before Winter runs Brendan through with his Katana blade and severs his spine.

It is now Winter and Franco.

On top of an elevator.

Stuck at the bottom of a shaft, with dozens of Infected in the tunnels beyond.

Winter begins to change. Franco shoots him in the head, dropping the big guy temporarily stunned. Franco leans down with the gun and blows Winter’s brains out.

Franco considers his fate. Doomed, surely. Until… the elevator car begins to rise.  There is an Infected within it.  The doors roll open and energy, like liquid fire rolls in and consumes the Infected until it is charred and inanimate.

In walks a tall figure dressed all in black.

Franco doesn’t recall what happened next, but this is the story he faithfully tells Stipo. It is a similar story that Fifi (or whatever the thing that is imitating her) tells the thing that is imitating Fifi’s mother.  The characters are dead.  Ibsen hears the same thing.  The story is solid.

But that’s not quite how it happened…

Fifi did plan to trap the characters down there and open the shutters to the sewers… but before she had a chance… that was when a shadowy figure, which had been following the team from the air and came fluttering down into the compound, slipped into the control room and caught the Fifi thing in a dazzling hypnotic stare.

The elevator was brought back up before it even reached the bottom of the shaft. Brendan and Winter may have been puzzled but probably pleased to see the familiar, black clad figure of their patriarch Baron Toten Reich, until the man removed the black leather mask concealing the void where a face should have been. Twin bright suns glared from that void.  Nobody could look away. Nobody could stop the sense of falling, descending, going down an elevator into danger…

Winter has a vague memory of a previous life.  Something about a friend telling him he was in the most mortal danger from one of the worst monsters to roam the planet. A monster that wanted to use Winter as a host. And if that had happened it would have been a disaster.

Likewise, Brendan knows that the beefy man with North American First Nation features who travels with him is a close friend – but neither of them can quite remember how they met.

It feels like a long  time ago.

Samir and Aaron think their friends are dead.

Samir melts away into counter-extortion and shadowy political games.

Aaron starts working for the Blade – and eventually gets enough for a new leg.

Franco decides that Stipo is unpredictable and not worth the risk, so takes the brave move of fleeing Montpellier with a few thousand copper pieces. He’s going to try his luck in the New Wilderness.

Brendan and Winter are far, far away. Sometimes, memories of their old life surfaces in dreams but these melt from their grasp when they wake.

Jean is the only real victim. He was caught in the mayhem when Toten Reich, one of the Great Magi, opened the shutters sealing the tunnels from the Dead Zone sewers. However, Jean’s death leaves an epic memory – of a man who found courage and excelled at it.

 

 

RESUME – NONE

This campaign group has ended. 

 

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.

<> Jean (Thomas David Parker), killed by Infected in tunnels beneath Montpellier Dead Zone.

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THAT’S A WRAP!  THOUGHTS FROM DAVID J RODGER

This session is a landmark.  It fits this point in the life path of the YELLOW DAWN game. Currently on the second edition (version 2.5) I am now 3 months and roughly 50% into the overhaul as I work on a new 3rd edition. This character group have been around for a few years. A significant set of characters.  With Winter and Bela starting off in the grit and muddy market place outside Aigues-Mortes, eventually working their way to a position where they had enough money and influence to live inside the walls of that fortified survivor settlement. Both characters were run by two players who have been with Yellow Dawn since the beginning; Oivind Hoveland who joined early 2008 after I launched the second edition, and Hagen Landsem who in his game-breaking way, created the situation where Yellow Dawn was given birth. The Happy Flat, early 2006.

This session marks the end of the story arc of this group of characters, and the end of us using the second edition of Yellow Dawn. I’ll be looking to create a new character group using the 3rd edition rules, as they currently stand (lots of printed out sheets of paper with no formatting or design). I’m past the halfway point of the rewrite and feel I have enough done to be able to start thorough play testing.  Watch this space for updates and a new story of post-apocalyptic survival, adventure and horror.

 

Want to know more about Living Cities, Dead Zones and the Infection?

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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Read previous session notes – click

David J Rodger – DATA

 

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2 thoughts on “Yellow Dawn Session Notes 7th April: Unpleasant Business, Dying Time Is Here

  1. Wow, epic session. Gutted I missed it. A little confused but if I understand it, Totenreich has constructed a set of memories that make ‘Fifi’ and Franco think the characters are dead, Winter and Brendan have had their memories wiped. Aaron and Samir think Fifi is alive and normal but that B, W & J are dead. Jean actually is dead.

    Ibsen is a monster
    Fifi is a monster
    TotenReich is a monster

    And the next session will be run on new rules :)

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