A Game of "Watch the World Die"
[This example run was compiled from an open online AP (actual play) playtest on story-games.com.]
[game Rules can be found here.]
- A series of superstorms strikes the eastern seaboard of the United States, destroying many major bridges and ports, and causing damage totalling in the billions of dollars.
- Continual pummeling from the weather renders thousands of square miles of eastern US forests and lowlands into filthy saltwater swamps.
- Over the weeks, availability of potable water becomes a serious issue; thousands of people die of dehydration, their homes, towns and reservoirs shattered and flooded with undrinkable water.
- Persistent violent weather makes it impossible for medical aid to reach many affected areas, and supplies must be stretched even thinner when an emergency aid shipment from the UK is lost at sea off the coast of Providence. Thousands more die due to lack of medical care and antibiotics.
- The US president declares Martial Law to be in force throughout the affected areas.
- A strange, unidentified species of parasite appears to be breeding in the salt water. It attacks victims of dehydration, leeching off what water it can through osmosis, and its effects on victims cause extreme behaviour, including rage, madness, self-mutilation, and extreme violence.
- In heavily-affected areas, it becomes almost impossible for people to find access to potable water. A tense standoff takes place in Florida between infected civilians and military forces guarding the water supply to a nuclear power station.
- Massive evacuations from the eastern seaboard push an ever-increasing population of desperate survivors and diseased stragglers westward and northward into Canada.
- A bizarre form of NeoCalvinism grows in popularity as the frightened US populace seeks divine explanations for worldly events. The sect proclaims the end times have arrived, the future is already written, and America is being punished for its sins as foretold by the quatrains of Nostradamus.
- Shortly before New Year's Eve 2020, a conflict develops in Florida between military personnel and civilians who are told there's no room for them in the transport vehicles heading North. During the altercation, an explosion damages a vital conduit for the nuclear station, which, already undermanned, becomes unstable, causing a massive radiation leak.
- When the evacuees arrive at their destinations in Canada in early 2021, medical personnel find that many of these individuals are carrying the saltwater parasite. In those who were exposed to significant doses of radiation, the parasite has begun rapid mutation, branching out into a number of sub-species which begin to spread like wildfire in the cramped, overly-packed shelters.
- Another year of brutal winter storms smashes the embattled eastern US, further stretching the already-scant resources of millions beyond the point of tolerance. Reports of increasingly violent crime begin to include mysterious disappearances and warnings of suspected cannibalism in areas.
- Peculiar, never-before-seen amphibian lifeforms are reported in and around the swamplands of Florida. The creatures seem to a type of omnivorous mudfish, roughly the size of a common housecat. They exit the water in swarms of a hundred or more, and appear to be totally unafraid of humans. The press dubs them "Killer Skippers".
- With International backing, Mexico and Canada shut down their US borders in an attempt to stem the tide of refugees. Interstate highways, trains, and all forms of transportation across the USA are now under Martial control. Flights into and out of the US are heavily controlled to prevent further spread of the rapidly mutating parasite. A failed attempt to establish a containment zone along Florida's Gulf Coast results in the spread of the Killer Skippers.
- Texas secedes citing the Federal Government's inability to deal with the ongoing crisis. The New Republic of Texas immediately creates the JJEL Militia ("Judge Jury Executioner League") and hundreds of Texan citizens join. The migrating hordes of displaced East Coasters (aka "Parasitics") quickly learn to avoid the New Republic.
- A mass program of mandatory testing for parasite antibodies is instituted, and those testing positive - whether currently infected or not - are forcibly removed to FEMA "treatment centers", a euphemism for concentration camps.
- Protests against the internments turn violent and rioting breaks out in several major cities.
- The UN delivers life-saving desalination equipment into several areas desperate for water, saving many lives.
- Infected refugees fleeing the US spread new strains of mutating saltwater parasites into Central and South America.
- As the mutating saltwater parasite is exposed to new fauna in Central and South America, it becomes more virulent and unpredictable. Scientists theorize the parasite has undergone such an accelerated "evolution" that it will soon become self aware.
- Further investigation determines the parasites have a rudimentary form of communication with each other using a high frequency signal. This begins to interrupt traditional systems that use that part of the spectrum including military/governments, aviation, shortwave, and maritime sea-to-shore services.
- The Neo Calvinist movement develops a splinter group, a sect proclaiming that the parasites are a physical form of the holy spirit, and that those possessed by them are participating in the rapture and Second Coming. Infected begin to flock to these services, and even those in the rage stage somehow calm down during them. Radio equipment reveals the parasites in these meetings escalate their level of communication dramatically.
- The New Republic of Texas begins stockpiling food and rationing water.
- Governments in Central and South America institute harsh measures in a desperate attempt to stop the parasite from spreading. Areas of land are burned or firebombed, and infected are forcibly quarantined or shot on sight.
- Protests from farmers and indigenous people forced off their land break out.
- A particular subspecies of high-frequency-emitting electroparasite known as "Poenell's Neuroradialis" gains an environmental advantage over its rival alleles by means of sheer population (now being found in the bloodstreams of a third of the world's population). This strain has adapted to live within the nervous systems of human beings, and can spread via water or the exchange of bodily fluids. The epidemic of infection is known as "The Poens" which leads inevitably to the new word for the infected: the "Poened".
- A focused effort by the world's leading pharmaceutical companies to combat the "The Poens" reveals the only known neutralizing agent (note: not a cure) involves biomedical nanoparticles injected into the host. These nanoparticles require a rare radioactive isotope of hydrogen called Tritium.
- In a mad dash to meet the sudden need for this rare isotope, the world's governments begin a program of extracting Tritium from spent nuclear fuel. A mishap while transporting spent rods at the Heysham Power Station located in Lancashire, England results in cascading failures and a meltdown of the reactor.
- Over-reaction to the meltdown in England results in the curtailment and lock down of several nuclear facilities throughout Europe. Grid instability results in rolling brownouts and blackouts cascading across Europe starting in the UK and extending from Poland in the north-east, to the Benelux countries and France in the west, through to Portugal, Spain and Morocco in the south-west, and across to Greece and the Balkans in the south-east.
- Cellular, satellite, and telephone networks across Europe experience failures due to power outages.
- Islamic nations, thus far reasonably well-isolated from the chaos going on in the West, begin to be affected by their first wave of infectees. The reaction among certain extremist sects is Jihad, leading to a rash of brutal guerrilla attacks against Western bases and personnel. Spurred on by early successes, these reactionary groups propagate into neighboring countries and gain political power. US forces, already spread thin across the globe, are drawn into a series of losing battles throughout the Middle East, their military dominance unsettled.
- The government in Central America establishes a military perimeter along the Mexican border, and throughout the Caribbean, along the firebombed areas from the events beginning in 2012. Refugees and migrants from the United States are refused altogether, whether infected or not.
- The New Republic of Texas claims that the Central Americans are blocking their access to vital resources, such as water and remaining farmland. After continued refusals, the Texans break through the Wall, introducing two busloads of the infected... the Central Americans retaliate, and relations break down completely, developing into a chaotic war of guerilla attacks and terrorism along what was once the Mexican border.
- On both sides of the Wall, tensions mount, as anyone perceived to be "from the other side" becomes a target for abuse, terror, and murder. People perceived as being "on the wrong side" are often denied shelter or access to shelter or medicine. On October 26, 2022, the Southerners make a public spectacle of throwing 26 American citizens off the wall and then flaming their bodies. The event is captured on a handheld camera and circulated internationally.
- As the rioting and looting persists, armed citizens groups throughout Europe begin appearing, armed with blackmarket weapons and bound by oaths to protect their communities with extreme prejudice. The groups rally under a red banner featuring white wings on a black skull; they call themselves "Angels of Judgment".
- Throughout the United States, especially in war-torn areas like the New Republic of Texas and what remains of Florida, survivalists begin burying food and supply caches in droves. With demand spurred by a popular series on the DISCOVERY network and well-positioned product placement deals, department stores and supermarkets begin modifying their offerings to feature complete prepared "Survival Pax" manufactured by companies from Omaha Steaks to Ralston Purina.
- As Europe struggles with infrastructure issues and Middle Eastern Islamic nations increase the intensity of their military actions against the West, Russia uses the opportunity to quietly mobilize its military and "annex" several bordering countries establishing the NUSSR ("New Union of Soviet Socialist Republics").
- The superstorms that previously plagued the Eastern Seaboard now hits Europe, causing massive property damage. Numerous European countries are thrown into complete anarchy.
- Surviving European policymakers meet up in The Hague. These policymakers claim that the decaying security situation (codeword for rioting) requires that "restoring order and stability" must take precedence over "persevering an antiquated and obsolete idea of humanity". These policymakers decide to infect the entire European population with Poenell's Neuroradialis, in the hopes that a hivemind consciousness would not only stop the rioting, but also present a unified front against the Jihadists and the NUSSR.
- The Angels of Judgment opposes the the plan to forcibly infect the civilian population. However, the Angels are not capable enough to fight off the initial wave of parasites, and they flee into exile in the NUSSR. Most Europeans are infected by Poenell's Neuroradialis, bringing an end to instability in the region (and also an end to any non-infected humans that did not flee with the Angels).