The Last Kingdom - PnP - TLK - ZS - GM - Bas
Game Type: Zombie Story
Game Summary: At the beginning of the dead uprising, survivors banded together and successfully blockaded a section of the city of Rochester. The new city they formed, New Rochester, was a good choice for survivors to seek refuge. Well manned and organized by brilliant minds, and only having to focus on defending three sides with the ocean on the fourth. Zombies are a threat when scavenging for supplies, but have not shown themselves in threatening numbers for a while, leaving the main disputes between humans, bickering over virtue and vice.
Game Setting: In The Return of Man, although there are still plenty of zombies around, they have not faded out. Most survivors left in the United States have made base camps for the most part. The days of people living the nomadic style are over, unless they like taking risks. The Last Kingdom takes place in a city on the East Coast, where a civilization of sorts has sprung up. The landscape is mainly urban, with a rural section to the North where most of the farming is done. There is a port to the East, with ships that run missions for supplies.
Climate: TLK starts in the middle of spring/summer where the farms are running strong and the weather is nice and smooth.� Weather patterns are typically normal, but hurricane season is coming soon, which is perhaps the only threat still greater feared than zombies.
Plot Drive: The main interaction in TLK will be of a social sort, dealing with the various personalities in the city. There will be combat taking place within the city if situations arise, but at the beginning your only direct zombie contact will be people who die within the town or those who go out scavenging by land or boat.
Player Dynamics: Unless your back story shows you to be a recent arrival to the city, you will have an existing relationship with some or all of the characters, even if just in passing.� Also, depending on which group you ally yourself with, if you are a loner, or with your own ragtag group your starting relation with others in the city will be affected.� The choices include but are not limited to Hughes's military faction, miscellaneous raider groups (leaving these open for a player to step into command possibly), prostitution/drugs/gambling parties (Peter Ross's realm), Lowachee's lowlifes, Franklin's religious zealots, etc.
Cultural Information: The people in this city are varied and diverse, the place stylizes itself as the rebirth of America after the zombie apocalypse with its melting pot. Rebirth for sure, because racial tensions and civil rights issues definitely arise from time to time. How the city deals with these problems could be its making or breaking. All sorts live here, from greasy pimps with prostitutes to holy rollers with piety. Even with the collapse of the greater world, a money/barter system is still in effect; a staple of any organized society.
Ambience: The event started a year and a half ago by most peoples' count, but New Rochester has been kept in good condition other than the few zombie break ins or battles that have broken out in the streets. Some buildings are riddled with bullet holes, but for the most part New Rochester appears to be a regular city. The farms to the North are gated and lush with vegetation in the spring. Except for the seedier parts of the city, the streets are clean. All abandoned cars were pushed to secure barricades and litter and trash were picked up. So, the city is clean. Occasionally on a particularly windy day when the air flows East, the smell of rot and decay will fill the streets. The citizens of New Rochester usually stay inside then.� In the center of New Rochester there is the Burning Pile, where the bodies of the dead are brought to turn to ash and dust.� The citizens gather there on July 28th for the memorial of The Rising of the dead.
Game BackstoryNew Rochester is what those within its walls called it. Outsiders who know of it called it The Kingdom. It was originally part of a different city, walled and sectioned off to be near impenetrable without incredible force or an invitation inside. The dead had begun to rise for no discernible reason one day, there was no viral outbreak, dead bodies just got up off the ground and went after the living. A mother had killed her abusive husband after finding him molesting their child, only to have him rise again and claim their lives. Gangsters did their usual drive bys only to find their target walking around again. Cemeteries were soon emptied of their occupants by their own hand. Survivors had slowly gathered under the guidance of former Navy Captain John Howard Hughes, who wasn't completely stable before the outbreak after dealing with a breakdown when his wife left him and his son, but he had unquestionable leadership capabilities and a sound plan to bring people together. It didn't hurt that at the start of The Rising he had a couple of dozen military friends already within the city, who helped run one of the local VFWs. He also helped run the local National Guard, giving more valuable minds and resources to him.
At first Rochester was in chaos as many of the cities all over the world were. While Hughes never thought zombies would be real, he had always fancied himself a survivalist expert and had always thrown ideas around in his head on what he would do if the dead ever rose, or if aliens invaded. He organized military friends and his students in the RotC, clearing the local neighborhoods of zombies and setting up perimeters. They stretched their borders far and wide, stopping when they found spots that could be defended and blocked the easiest. Even though Hughes had always frowned upon parts of society like the drug dealers and the pimps, the red light district and downtown were relatively close to their base of operations. The criminals proved to be an invaluable source in adding to their manpower and firepower. The gangs gathered under the banner of a man imprisoned at the time, David Lowachee, who was serving a triple life sentence for three murders. To gain their guns Hughes helped break him out with military grade explosives.
A religious zealot named Franklin Bretz, Hughes pastor before the apocalypse, attached himself to Hughes's side with all the charm and grace of a TV evangelist. Franklin claimed that God had chosen Captain Hughes as a divine ruler in the new world. Some bought into it, looking desperately for hope, while others scoffed at the idea. Soon he sat aside his military title of Captain and began calling himself King. Many in the streets whispered that it was truly Bretz who held the reigns to the city, since Hughes seemed to listen to him closely. While in truth Hughes did have technical authority over the city, it was a tenuous alliance with the criminals and raider groups who had joined up that really formed a coalition of sorts. No one questioned Hughes because the ordinary folk, the highest in numbers, followed Hughes for what he had done to build New Rochester. Some say that mystique is slipping.
Those who scoffed at the idea of a divinely chosen ruler had their doubts put into question as they heard stories from refugees and on the radio of all the other strongholds and cities that had held out slowly fell. Besides contact with ragtag groups and small armies of raiders, it seemed as if New Rochester was the last city that stood against the undead on an organizational level. There were still survivors out there that banded together in small forts, but nothing massive. Over time everyone found out that you did not become a zombie by infection, all you had to do was die with your brain intact to come back. This was answered with big brother-like patrols and eyes in the sky, checking in on citizens if anyone had fallen ill or passed so an axe could be put through their skull.
King Hughes had his way for the most part and was given his respect as the man who built the resistance town for what it was, but tension slowly built as it does in any society. When the average person looked at him, they saw a large, powerful man who had long ago lost the hair on his head and always wore a stoic expression. The only time he ever gave away his emotion was in anger, when he would start grinding his teeth. Hughes had always been a brooding, humorless man with a strong sense of justice. In a perfect world of his, the law would be obeyed and people would be punished Old Testament style for their crimes. Whoring, gambling, cheating, and theft were grievous things to him. Yet he knew that human's were born to sin and especially in such trying times, he could not be as strict as he wanted. The King turned a blind eye to the victimless crimes for now, but when there was loss or harm involved, swift and brutal punishment followed. Hell, he still had the prison manned that he broke Lowachee out of for those who committed crimes against new Rochester. He was not a kind man, no one would ever love his rule, but he was just.
In allowing for more freedom in New Rochester than he would have cared for, others gained power. Peter Ross, a small man with big ambitions, had been a bartender in a red light district strip club before, but afterward he slowly became the purveyor of pleasures in the city, and had one of the most coveted safe houses in the city. Katelyn Downs gained supporters largely from women, minorities, and those with alternative lifestyles, since they began to be more oppressed when the 'new society' began. Derrick Delaney held great influence, if only for his agricultural knowledge that helped keep fresh food on the way so the city didn't have to dip into reserves. He treated everyone like family unless they gave him cause to act otherwise, so not often was a bad word said of him. There were also various raider groups, tired men and women who wanted a place with food and sex. There was a minority that stood behind Dexter Thompson, who had actually been mayor of the larger city before everything went to shit. These men and others were what made up the power structure that had formed inside the city, uneasy alliances and barely held trust filled the streets like a house of cards ready to come tumbling down.
When newcomers first arrive in the city they are met personally by Hughes himself. He gives them a grand speech about how they can still live on with relatively normal lives. Here in New Rochester family, religion, government, and business still continue. It is here, he says, that humanity can still lay claim to civilization. All the surrounding cities and fortifications have been falling and it looks as if the dead have set their sights on The Kingdom. Rumors of the largest mob of undead ever circulate the area, and they may be headed straight for New Rochester. Rumors also swirl from whispered lines over the radio up North that a Russian battleship is slowly making its way down the coast, ravaging whatever supplies it can. Could the walls withstand thousands of the dead, or would the city tear itself apart on the inside before they even got there?
John Howard Hughes
Along with various other raider leaders/unannounced characters . . .
I loved Sean's use of a better type of concept thread, so I cleaned this up a little bit. Now keep in mind it is not cleaned up 100% to where I want it and is still in progress, but tell me, what is it that you would like to see more of said within this post to make you devote time to actually creating a character for it? Keep in mind though, I am going to wait until after/during Sean runs The Hard Road Ahead so this will be the second game held under the new rules (if enough people are interested).
When/if this concept goes through, there will be information available that is not in the concept here. I do not want to lay out an actual 'map' of the city, but certainly a general descriptor of the districts and notable land structures. After looking at the 2011 zombie safehouse link that was posted, I am going to incorporate at least 2 of those designs in this game alone.
Bottom-line I want this game to be one about the characters. If you are a player who mainly just wants to have a fun action game, don't come here. I want people to come into this game who will attempt to immerse themselves within the world on a level where they at least care a little about their character and would be bothered if they die. Still plenty of room for action with raiding, scavenging, and disputes.