PLAGUE WORLD - CAMPAIGN IN BRIEF
In the not too distant future, Earth is subjected to an alien invasion. Terrible insectlike creatures from another world, the spanthi, arrive in a vast fleet of massive, genetically engineered, biologically based space ships and attack all the nations of the world. Their weapons easily neutralize Earth's crude satellite defenses and knock out the world's global communication system. Billions of biological nanites are released into the atmosphere. These creatures destroy the Internet, chew through vast numbers of advanced technological components, pollute and ruin vehicle fuel of all kinds, and unleash dozens of lethal diseases that target only humanity.
This initial onslaught lasts several years. The spanthi are in no hurry. Indeed, most of their number are in cryogenic sleep, with only a skeleton crew operating their weapons. The spanthi seek to colonize humanity's homeworld, not simply subjugate it. Once Earth's ability to strike beyond its own atmosphere is eliminated, the alien fleet is content to attack humanity's infrastructure from a safe distance. The aliens' weaponry tears down much of humanity's technology, but does little to harm the planet's environment. In fact, many of the viruses and bacteria they release are designed to clean up the poisons humanity has dumped into the world's air and water.
More and more spanthi begin making scouting missions and landing troops in areas ready for conquest. A few spanthi are defeated and a little of their technology falls into human hands, but the trend of the war is clear. Humanity cannot win without resorting to weapons so terrible they may make the planet uninhabitable.
As the governments of Earth begin to fail, a few visionaries realize that the use of atomic weapons and biological agents against the invaders will soon become inevitable. Fearing the holocaust such warfare will bring, these visionaries use cryogenic suspension technology taken from the spanthi to create Rip Van teams--groups of experts cryogenically frozen and hidden in bunkers, ready for revival when the war is over. Rip Van teams are equipped with the training and gear to either rebuild society, or fight a guerilla war against victorious spanthi overlords.
In some ways, these fears prove unfounded. The spanthi, well aware of Earth's weapons, take steps to neutralize humanity. In addition to the nanite weapons they use to destroy human technology, the spanthi seed the most advanced nations with retroviruses and mutagenic viruses. These materials mutate Earth's creatures into monstrosities, creating widespread panic and chaos. This attack on the very DNA of the Earth could not be overcome with bombs or poisons, and as a result only a few nuclear weapons are ever launched against the spanthi. Riots break out worldwide. Cities burn. Governments collapse. The spanthi proclaim victory.
The victory, such as it was, turned out to be short-lived. As the spanthi land their ships and begin mopping up the remaining cells of human resistance, they fall victim to mass mutation as well. Their own biological weapons have mutated in the Earth's biosphere, and the spanthi are no longer immune to their effects. On top of that, the biologically based technology of the spanthi begins to sicken, mutate, and die. Within weeks, most spanthi warships, vehicles, medical supplies, and gear are useless. Only a few wire-and-battery devices are immune to the biological weapons, and the spanthi have too few of these to overcome the hundreds of millions of surviving humans.
The war deteriorates to one of small squads of infantry attacking each other with increasingly primitive weapons. The physically frail spanthi, in desperation, genetically modify themselves into armored killing machines. The process works, but it also saps the great intellect of the spanthi. A few trueblood aliens avoid this intellectual degeneration, but most of the alien forces slowly become reavers--mindless eating and killing machines.
A single spanthi mothership avoids becoming infected and remains in orbit around Earth. Lacking the fuel and resources to leave the solar system, the ship's crew has no choice but to watch the degeneration of the spanthi stranded on the ground. For as long as communication remains possible, the mothership advises the ever-shrinking number of thinking spanthi, but it cannot give them a sufficient advantage to overcome the human defenders. As decades pass, the shipboard spanthi die off, leaving only automated systems aboard the mothership. Within a hundred years, the alien vessel is a derelict, silently orbiting the world it came to conquer.
The lone spanthi mothership manages to stay aloft for three hundred years until its orbit decays and it disintegrates and burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. Because the cryogenic systems were set to detect when the last of the spanthi fleet had left orbit, that event triggered the reawakening of the Rip Van teams.
The teams have slept through centuries of war and, eventually, progress. While a few teams were awakened early as a result of malfunctions, most aren't brought into the world until the war they sought to outlive is long since over.
Earth has weathered three hundred years of starvation, feudalism, barbarism, warfare, and collapse. New societies have begun to develop, though most are limited to Iron Age technology No old governments remain, but a few modern strongholds take the names and symbols of ancient nations. The spanthi remain one of the greatest known threats; their primitive descendants have bred profusely and now form omnivorous hordes that can denude vast areas of land. Even the most carefully stocked and guarded bunkers are generally little more than caves now, their ammo and fuel long since spent. The once-proud cities of humankind are twisted spires of metal jutting out from dangerous wildernesses. Disease, mutation, vermin, and clouds of poisonous nanoweapons bring plagues upon the land, and humanity's existence is threatened once again.
ROLE OF THE HEROES
In a typical Plague World campaign, the heroes are members of a Rip Van team emerging from cold sleep after three hundred years. In most cases, the Rip Van teams entered suspended animation after the spanthi attacked, but before the full extent of the oncoming disaster had become clear.
The mission of the Rip Van teams is to restore order, give aid to the remaining legitimate government, and fight any remaining spanthi. Of course, the world situation makes at least some of those goals impossible, but the heroes are still the last vestiges of real civilization. They face a world plunged back into primitivism, one in which only they have the education and means to affect a real change in how the new nations that arise shall be formed.
Independance Day (Movie), The Morrow Project (RPG), Alien (Movies), Planet of the Apes (Movies)
Locations. Possible sites are Ancient Roadways, Dead Cities, Abandoned Shopping Malls, Military Bases, Scientific Reseach labs, Walled Towns and Forests.