Friday, January 25, 2013

Motherland -- A Game I'll Probably Never Run

Title: Motherland

Genre: Modern Post-Apocalyptic Action

Inspiration: Larry Niven's "Inconstant Moon," Afterburn by Red 5 Comics, and, to a lesser extent, Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson.

Scenario: On December 16th, 2013, the sun erupts in a colossal solar flare. The entire eastern hemisphere is killed off nearly instantly, from Morocco to Japan. Every satellite in orbit is destroyed, and gigantic storms cover the entire planet, making travel into the dead zone nearly impossible. In April, the weather finally quiets down, and the surviving population of the New World begins to take the first its first steps into the graveyard of the Old World.

The Mission: The Russian Federation, or what remains of it, has mourned its dead. Now it is time to exercise some control over its sovereign territory. Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin, formerly Permanent Representative to the United Nations and now acting President, needs money to keep up any pretense of a functioning government. You have been chosen to travel to the Moscow to retrieve treasures from the Kremlin Armory -- the Russian imperial regalia, the Fabergé eggs, and the Russian Diamand Fund. Your country needs these to act as collateral for loans to keep the government running so that resettlement may begin. Otherwise, the Yankees or the Brazilians will simply move in and claim the place for their own.

You will travel on one of the Russian Navy's surviving submarines to Kaliningrad. There, you will acquire an airplane for the flight to Moscow. You should expect to encounter treasure hunters -- there are rumors that the Louvre has already been looted -- and possibly foreign government forces. You will do what is necessary to complete your mission.

The Team: You are are a Russian citizen, most likely a current or former member of the armed forces. Because you were out of the country, you happened to escape the flare that killed your compatriots, your friends, and your family. Many volunteered for this mission, but you were chosen because you have essential skills over and above your combat training. Perhaps you are a survival specialist, a qualified medic, a mechanic, or a communications expert. You have been outfitted with the best weapons and equipment your country can provide for you, and you will not let your people down.

What to Expect: Travel in the worst winter Russia has ever known. Encounters with unknown hostile forces. Tactical decisions on whether to engage or avoid said hostile forces. Guns, guns, and more guns. Wondering whether you will bleed or freeze to death first.

What not to Expect: Backup.

I envisioned this scenario as a one-shot, mostly to play with the GURPS firearms rules. I suppose it could be made into an ongoing game. It avoids what I think is one of the pitfalls of the post-apocalypse genre, in which the PCs simply become a roaming psycho killer gang, because there's no one to stop them. With this setup, only half the world was destroyed, so if the PCs go crazy, there's still a mostly-intact civilization back in the Americas to step on them.

I'll probably never get to run this, though. I think the guns-guns-guns aspect would really only appeal to one member of my gaming group.

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