The Northern California campaign started out as a game session from PentaCon in 2002 or 2003 where I literally made up campaign notes on scratch paper while we were playing. When I got back home, I did up this really great map, and this campaign setting was born. I have run it for the last three years consecutively at GaryCon, and in 2017 Jeff Dee sat in on the game for a short while, and I learned to my surprise that he had done some of the artwork for the original Gamma World back in the TSR days, and of course is still illustrating science fantasy, most notably DCC’s Mutant Futures! Anyway, here are my campaign notes, along with a downloadable copy of my map so you too can enjoy some Gamma World or Mutant Futures games set in NoCal!
NoCal Vehicle Guide
Languages – Pacific Northwest English, California English, Spanish, Cantonese, Chinook Wawa, Multiple First Nation languages, French Cascadia Pacific dialects.
Country folks, farmers, hippies, dope smokers, and wilderness survivalists all inhabit the two towns here in the Cascadia Jungles. They are guarded, as well as optimistic about mutants and bots, and will trade with mutants and bots fairly, and with respect, so long as they are respected. The Cascadia government aims to foster Independence, and connections with the Pacific Northwest. Town meetings often feature initiatives supporting environmentalism, bioregionalism, privacy, civil liberties and freedom, with increased regional integration, and trade and enhanced production with local food networks. Cascadia imports very little, and in fact exports agriculture, weapons, and tech recovered from ruins of the ancients.
Anchor Bay – PSH, Population: 552
Sea Ranch – PSH, Population: 416
State of Jefferson
Alright, this is an enclave composed of Right-Wing and Radical Republicans, Anarchists, Survival Militias, and Evil Hippies that were kicked out of Cascadia because of their preference for using violence instead of peace to resolve problems, this resulted in their exile a bit further South.
On November 27, 1941, a group of young men gained national media attention when brandishing hunting rifles for dramatic effect, they stopped traffic on U.S. route 99 south of Yreka, the county seat of Siskiyou County, and handed out copies of a Proclamation of Independence, stating that the State of Jefferson was in “patriotic rebellion against the States of California and Oregon” and would continue to “secede every Thursday until further notice.”
The state split movement ended quickly, though not before Del Norte County District Attorney John Leon Childs (1863–1953) of Crescent City was inaugurated as the Governor of the State of Jefferson on December 4, 1941.
The first blow was the death of Mayor Gable on December 2, followed by the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7 and that ended the first succession. Those in favor of splitting the state, focused their efforts on the war effort instead and killing Japs, which crippled the movement for about three decades.
In 2458 A.D. The State of Jefferson once again succeeded from the United States on the very first Thursday of the New Year, and was, for a time occupied by hostile Federal Troops. When the Apocalypse occurred, most of the troops were recalled to the big cities, and the remaining troops were forced out of the State of Jefferson by the Jeffersonian Militias. They have been free to loot, salvage, steal, and raid, ever since…
The Crime rate in the State of Jefferson is very high, especially robberies, and burglaries, and the murder rate is second only to the Oakland Free Zone in all of what remains of California. Jeffersonians are distrustful of outsiders, and each other, for that matter, …and clan feuds erupt that sometimes lasts for several generations. They often refuse to trade with outsiders, and almost every Jeffersonian knows which family, clan, or company he, or she, is loyal to. They are fiercely independent, nepotism runs unchecked, and the dissidents from the northern counties who seceded from the Golden State are “a bunch of Bible-thumpin’, gun-totin’, wild-eyed pistol-wavers who supported the old Confederacy.” …and that’s how two of their supporters describes them. In their view, a good Mutant is a Dead Mutant, and a good Bot is a dead Bot. They used to feel that way about Mexicans here too, but a lot of Mexicans moved in and settled peaceably and with a proper respect for the Republic, so them previous sentiments have been suppressed, …well mostly. Welcome to the State of Jefferson…
Ukiah – PSH, Population: 27,066 (Regional Capitol)
Cloverdale – PSH: Population: 361
Clearlake Oaks – PSH, Population: 135
Healdsburg – PSH, Population: 2,173
Windsor – PSH, Population: 61,312
Santa Rosa – PSH, Population: 3,838
Always powered by hospitality, as well as some of the best wines in the world the Napa Valley remains an oasis in a State mired in death and violence, The neutral Napa Valley is a popular location for concerts, plays, theater, political gatherings, to conduct treaty negotiations, and to resolve trade disputes. There is an annual festival, The Wine Festival, and trade delegations from every enclave in NoCal is welcome to attend under a flag of truce for the duration of the two week festival. Each delegation is responsible for providing a security detail to enforce the peace for the entire duration of the festival plus three days. This is a very popular assignment, and each enclave has its own method for picking security detail representatives. It is a highly sought after job which conveys honor and prestige to the members selected for the security detail, and they are paid with some of the finest wine and spirits in the known world, exactly twenty-four hours prior to the end of their annual two-month long duty shift.
The Estates and Vineyards are run by a council composed of the owners, who have banded together to provide security in the Napa Valley. Each Estate has it’s own power broadcast station, some even have functioning AI’s, and they share responsibility in providing peace and law each maintaining a private security team. They also often hire temporary mercenary companies of the highest caliber to support their agriculture, governance, and trade goals, as well as fielding the Napa Militia Guard composed of local volunteers if the region is threatened.
Sonoma – Mixed, Humans, Mutants, Bots, Population: 959
Novato – Mixed, Humans, Mutants, Bots, Population: 8,964
Napa – Mixed, Humans, Mutants, Bots, Population: 25,304
Travis – Ruins, Radioactive Salt Flats, Some underground military installations. Formerly Travis Air Force Base. Nuked during the Apocalpyse, the main base was wiped out, however plenty of secret research and development facilities are reputed to be in nearby locations, including a replica of the Umbrella Corporation NEST facility that was originally located on the outskirts of Raccoon City. There was also rumored ro be several ICBM silo farms located with 100 Km of Travis AFB, and a subterranean rail link that connects with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory located in the hills just west of Concord..
Languages – California English, Valleyspeak, Spanish Dialects, Mexicano, Chinese, Japanese Dialects, Russian Dialects
Outlaw Bikers and Mutants
During the Apocalypse, San Francisco simply vanished. The San Andreas Fault plates slid and split all the way down the California Coast as well as into the Central Valley, San Francisco (which had also been nuked) dropped more than 400 meters putting it well below sea level, and the Pacific ocean rushed in filling the stills smoking radioactive crater(s) and flooding a good portion of the Central Valley as well. Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and Mountain view survived but suffered from terrible earthquakes. The Port of Oakland is gone, but all of Oakland on high ground, as well as Berkeley survived too. Sausalito, San Rafael, and Richmond didn’t make it, they were unexpectedly and rapidly submerged with only a very few survivors outliving the ordeal. The dominant authority after the Apocalypse was the San Francisco Chapter of the Hell’s Angels Biker gang. They welcome anyone and everyone, s…o long as they can follow the code.
To follow the code, first you have to own a Harley Davidson. Could be an old Street Bike, or one of the newfangled Hover Bikes. You have to ride… a lot! The club comes first, as this is your new life! How to leave the Hell’s Angels? You don’t leave! The final step in the process will see you made into a Fully Patched Member. You will only reach this stage after a vote, where you must receive a unanimous vote from the other Hells Angels members. It is the several years of evaluations during the recruitment process which will determine whether or not you receive the votes required. In addition to the voting there may also be other requirements made of the Prospect in order to become a fully patched member, however due to the secrecy of all of the club chapters, the exact requirements can’t be confirmed. Pretty sure there is some murder, mayhem, liquor, drugs, women, mutants, bots, androids, cyborgs, and tattoos involved though…
The Hell’s Angels Motto is: “Angels forever, forever angels, When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets!”
The Hell’s Angels have a long list of Biker Gang enemies
The Sons of Silence
The Rock Machine
The Road Rats
The Black Pistons
The Iron Order
They also welcome Mutants, and mutant animals, and trade with them, and provide shelter. The Hell’s Angels strongholds in the Oakland Highlands form the core of a great trading city. Almost all the survivors from the Bay area gathered here after the Apocalypse.
Rules in Oakland? There are no rules except respect the Angels! On the downside, It’s a good idea to come packing. Heavy artillery …if you have it, because you’ll often need it. On the plus side you can find anything here, drugs, money, weapons, explosives, bombs, ancient tech, women, men, and mutants of every stripe are available for sale. Just be careful what you look at… and remember if they think they can take it, they’ll probably try… so be ready for anything.
Concord – Mutants, just a mutant slum with plenty of drugs, cybernetic implants, and underworld figures, …also mercenaries for hire. Population: 78,006
Berkeley – Mixed, Mutants, Humans, Bots, Lots of outlaws, psychos, liberals, and druggies, a few hippies are still around too, along with some scientists of questionable moral character.. Population: 1,431
Oakland Free Zone – Mixed, Mutants, Humans, Bots, Lots of Outlaws. HQ for the Hell’s Angels. Plenty of open markets of Ill repute, bars, nightclubs, strip joints, casinos, gun dealers, knife dealers, ancient tech dealers, explosives dealers, traders, merchants, mutants, slaves, servants, drug dealers, pimps, panderers, and scyophants. Population: 48,473
Farallon – Mixed, Mutants, Humans, & Bots. This is a secret High Tech Enclave with self-sufficent permanent power (A working fusion plant) and scientists dedicated to secretly and peacefully rebuilding California, concealed beneath a primitive tech mixed village of PSH and Mutants. Trades high tech and sometimes share information and intelligence with the Silicon Valley enclaves. Also operates half a dozen working satellites including three spy satellites, one weather satellite, one space defense missile platform, and one deep space observatory. Also has a manned space station somewhere in low Earth orbit, and the means to regularly dock with it. Population: 946
Hayward – Mixed, Mutants, Humans, Bots, Lots of Outlaw Bikers. A famous motorcycle racing stadium fitted out like an ancient arena. Teams represented different groups of financial backers and sometimes compete for the services of particularly skilled riders for the races on custom fitted bikes. Lots of gambling and wagering on the results of races. Population: 2,899 (more during race events and during the week long annual championship race)
Of course Silicon valley is still all about AI, Tech, Robots, Cyborgs, and Manufacturing. The Enclaves here support and protect these groups fiercely, and with some prejudice. In the areas of NoCal, Silicon valley ranks #1 when it comes to quality of life, as determined by the pre-apocalypse definition of what constituted a good life. Plenty of leaders here, as well as manufacturers enjoy the best quality of life anywhere in NoCal. There is a downside though, and among the Estates with some of the best private security available, there’s a private war going on behind the scenes, in the boardrooms and bedrooms of the corporate leaders that lead the people and the androids in this part of the country. Every once in awhile the war spills out into an open fight, however most things happen outside of the eye of the public, with intrigue and assassinations being the leading cause of death for leaders in these communities.
Languages – California Common English, Spanish Dialects, Mexicano, Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Hindi, Bengalese, Russian Dialects, Hebrew, & Yiddish
Palo Alto – Mixed, Mutants, Humans, LGBHX Humans, Bots. Population: 693
Mountain View – Mixed, Mutants, Humans, LGBHX Humans, Bots. Population: 66,952
Sunnyvale – Mixed, Mutants, Humans, LGBHX Humans, Bots. Population: 2,001
These are the traditional survival communities associated with the post apocalypse. Farmsteads features extended families or clans that have setup and defend a stronghold located in the back country. Independence, problems solving, and self-reliance are the order of the day, and control by the locals is only maintained in the immediate vicinity of the farmsteads or towns, anything further than 5 Km outside of town, and one finds oneself in the Gamma wilderness. You can just see Jim Ward rubbing his hands together right now as he is planning for a unique and memorable TPK of yet another Gamma World adventuring party wandering around in the Northern Valley…
Languages – California English, Spanish Dialects, Mexicano
Yuba City – Mixed, Humans and Mutants. Population: 351
Grass Valley – Mixed, Humans and Mutants. Population: 18,666
Nevada City – Mixed, Humans and Mutants. Population: 546
New Castle – Mixed, Humans and Mutants. Population: 5,134
Sands of Death
The ruins of Sacramento (completely submerged & INT 12 radiaoctive), and the radioactive desert INT 10, surrounding the remains of the ancient capital of California. Extremely hot in the daytime, and almost freezing cold at night, with lots of hostile critters and mutants. Plenty of good pickings in the ancient ruins mostly buried under the sands, but very hazardous for adventurers with lots of nasty surprises, and hostile mutants to boot.
Well, this is formerly known as the Gold Country, in the small streams and narrow canyons of the lower Sierra Nevadas, gold, silver, tin, iron, and copper can be found, and is mined by the locals living here. You’ll find prospectors, miners, ranchers, trappers, some farmers, and a few outlaw gangs in the back country here, and can trade for precious metals, as well as lumber, and animal pelts.
Languages – California Common, Spanish Dialects, Mexicano, various First Nation.
Camino – PSH Miners and Ranchers. Population: 26,414
Diamond Springs – PSH Miners and Ranchers. Population: 14,009
Pollack – PSH Miners & Farmers. Population: 1,426
Languages – California English, Valleyspeak, Spanish Dialects, Mexicano, Various First Nation
The Enclave (Military)
Almost all of the military bases in California were completely destroyed during the Apocalypse. Just a few survived. In Northern California, it was the Naval Communications Center located in Stockton, that survived unscathed as both ICBM missiles designated to strike it were shot down by air defenses on the first day of The Apocalypse. There, they rallied what remained of the California National Guard, and any other surviving military units, and recalled them to Stockton, where they were amongst the first to restore order after the Earthquakes and Great Flood. Stockton was a former Naval Air Station and was converted back to operational status shortly after the disaster. In the years that followed they also built a second airbase as Modesto as well and constructed a Naval base at Waterford, where any surviving pre-war ships and naval vessels can dock, refit, and resupply.
Comprised entirely of Pure Strain Humans and controlled Bots, The Enclave is hostile towards mutants, androids, and most AI.
Stockton PSH – active Military air base. Population: 38,650 (Civilians in an underground city, Airmobile Brigade, Air Force, Navy)
Modesto PSH – active Military air base. Population: 3,230 (Airmobile Brigade)
Waterford PSH – active Military Navy. Population: 889 (Naval Base)
The Mutant Coast Jungles
Located on the South Shores of Northern California, the mutant coast jungles are a wild and untamed place. Cutoff almost completely from the rest of California, the Island where the overgrown Jungles of the Mutant Coast proliferate, continues to be a source for new and varied mutations cause by biogenetic plagues and radiation storms. Normal pure strain humans have nightmares about traveling to this place, an ordinarily won’t willingly do so. Mutants on the other hand, especially mutants hostile towards normal humans and others that can pass undetected as humans flock to this place and a chaotic government of rule by Darwinian strong force remains in effect.
Gustine – Mutants Only. Population: 8,036
Atwater – Mutants Only. Population: 155
Merced – Mutants Only. Population: 12,978
Formerly known as the Gold Country, in the foothills, small stream vales, and narrow canyons of the lower Sierra Nevadas, gold, silver, tin, iron, and copper can be found, and is mined by the locals living here. You’ll find prospectors, miners, ranchers, trappers, some farmers, mercenaries, trade caravans, and a few outlaw gangs in the back country here, and can trade for precious metals, as well as lumber, and animal pelts.
California English, Valleyspeak, Spanish Dialects, Mexicano, Various First Nation
Sand Andreas – Mixed, Humans, Mutants & Bots. Population: 466
Sonora – Mixed, Humans, Mutants & Bots. Population: 992
Jamestown – Mixed, Humans, Mutants & Bots. Population: 1,426
Chinese Camp – Androids & Bots. Population: 16,153
Cisco Grove – Mixed, Humans, Mutants & Bots. Population: 848
Bear Valley – Mixed Humans & Mutants. Population: 2,508 (Ski Resort!)
Languages – California English, Mormon, various First Nation, Spanish Dialects, Country & Western
The High Sierra Nevadas
A lot of very wealthy people and billionaires secretly built survival bunkers and complexes in and around Lake Tahoe, the country folk that live there still do. Mutants, outlaws, bikers, and hostile governments found themselves very unwelcome in the High Sierra Nevadas, a very short summer coupled with brutal winters that often see 3-8 Meters of wet snow ensure that only the hardiest settlers and survivalists can make a life here year round. While dangerous at times, Tahoe is for the most part quiet and Idyllic. Reno, on the other hand remains the “Biggest little City in the World”, and is a bustling mixed town that features gambling, whorehouses as well as an eclectic art enclave. They also have an operational airport in Reno, with no commercial flights, but adventurers can easily charter an aircraft for an expedition. (They are expensive though! Starting at about 5,000 Domars a week!)
Tahoe – PSH, Wealthy, Billionaires, Conservative Country Folk, etc., Population: 25,988