A campaign setting suitable for:
Gamma World, Mutant Zero, Mutant Futures, Aftermath, Darwin’s World, Spycraft, and The Morrow Project
The Gamma World Outback Campaign started back in 2013, as an ongoing discussion over on G+ about Gamma World campaign settings. I took an informal poll to see what new campaign setting players would like to see for Gamma World, and the overwhelming response was for a module or game to be run in post-apocalyptic Australia. So I did up a map, and then I did some graphics using Vue D’Esprit, a really great animation & modeling package. Then I posted it up on G+, and asked for comments…
First off, I’d like to thank the small G+ group that contributed ideas for this Sydney area Post-Apocalyptic map. Without them, it would be obvious this map was not actually created by an Aussie, and with their help many relevant and accurate details were added that will ensure player immersion, and for those from down under, they’ll instantly recognize locations and landmarks. The map is a fairly accurate depiction of the area immediately around Sydney, Australia at the scale of 8 kilometers (5 miles) to the hex. Special Thanks to Michael Wenman, for his keen insight concerning the geography and customs of the locals. Probably helps a bit that he lives in the country outside of Sydney. So many details of this map are authentic. Also thanks to: Klaus Teufel, Aymii Keegan, Nathan Roberts, and last, but certainly not least, Zen Clark. Always wanted a post-apocalyptic map of Australia, so when a conversation turned that way this last week (late winter 2013-14) started on a new Gamma World map. Today we had a snow day, so I was able to finish up a map of Sydney. Will be doing additional post-apoc maps of Canberra, Melbourne, Perth, and Darwin in the future.
25th Century, Wollongong Harbor
Commonwealth of Australia, Capital
Sydney History Timeline (For GM’s)
The Shadow Years
2310 April 17th– Canberra is devastated by four U.S. Nuclear tipped missiles when a terrorist group calling itself The Apocalypse arranges multiple launches of ICBM missiles from silos and submarines crewed by military personnel from the United States, China, and Russia. Every capitol city of every country in the world is destroyed within 30 minutes.
2310, June 5th. Vigilante groups with the help of covert operatives discover the location of The Apocalypse secret base, and launch an ill planned attack that stalls.
2310, June 6th-9th The Apocalypse responds by launching all of the weapons it has at it’s disposal, which is considerable. In three days it’s all over. Every single city in the world with a population of 50,000 or more was targeted. Most were completely destroyed.
Along the gold coast Sydney, Newcastle, and Nowra were destroyed.
2310, August 17th. The first bio-genetic super plague reaches Wollongong when a South African Hovercraft Medical Transport delivers Doctors, Nurses, and emergency medical supplies to Wollongong. This first super plague infects 70% of the remaining population and kills 35% of them. This is the first, of a dozen unique bio-genetic plagues that kills, or mutate humans, …and as it turns out, plants as well.
2314, April 9th, The last of the Super Plagues have swept through Eastern Australia. The Nuclear Winter now ends, and a summer growing season returns after three years of total crop failures. Four years of bloody and violent internal strife has ended. Less than 10% of the original population remains. Surprisingly, almost 90% of the Aborigine population has survived. They foresaw this devastation and secretly prepared for it, withdrawing from civilization in the months before the great disaster. They return from the outback with medicines and healing, and prophesies, and dream time visions. They settle away from devastated areas, and away from the remaining high population areas and form a new government in Parkes.
2316, September 25th, Katoomba declares Independence from the Commonwealth, and Commonwealth troops are defeated in a series of exchanges as they attempt to retake the Katoomba valley. A treaty is signed recognizing the Republic of Katoomba in exchange for trade and travel rights. Eventually all the major powers reach a similar agreement since the Katoomba Rangers control key mountain passes in the Blue Mountains. Without access to these passes supplies have to be delivered by aircraft, or are forced to detour many hundreds of kilometers because of the mutants, radiation hazards, and bio-genetic hazards.
The Dark Years 2315-2371.
2341 The Peoples Republic of China invades, and are repulsed after a three year war with heavy losses on both sides.
2389 An expedition from the United Kingdom lands at Wollongong and claims authority over all of Australia. They are forcibly repulsed, and an English Fleet of survivors attack the Commonwealth of Australia enclaves. The Sky Marshals of the Outback temporarily ally themselves with the survivors from Sydney, and with the help of the Mutant Colonies and the Dream Time Clans, the English Fleet is repulsed and sails away. The Englishmen that were captured in this war, say that the United Kingdom is no more, and that flesh eating mutants walk the length and breadth of the Isles of Britannia.
2433 The Commonwealth of Australia launches it’s first orbital laser satellite from Wollongong, providing a successful defense for the pure strain humans that remain. The Sky Marshals of the Outback had their expansion plans finally curtailed as they had been taking over more and more Commonwealth towns and enclaves. A second launch of a reconnaissance satellite revealed the utter disaster the final war had wrought worldwide. A Colony of pure human survivors was discovered in New Zealand in the hills above Wellington. Sea Trade was established with them.
2464 The Four major powers remaining formally sign a peace treaty at Lithgow, which becomes formally known as The Embassy, a place where no blood is shed, and no one can be harmed and where treaties and agreements can be made. Each faction sends a detachment of their best troops here which are garrisoned. They uphold any and every intelligent beings right to trade and parley.
2468 The Treaty of Lithgow is broken when a Mutant work crew retaliates for a perceived insult and slaughters a Commonwealth guard detachment, a 14 month long war results. The Commonwealth Orbital Launch facilities in Wollongong are destroyed. And while no peace agreement is reached, by 2470 the fighting stalls into an uneasy truce punctuated by frequent border raids.
2471 Now. The time where the players begin and enter Post-Apocalyptic Sydney.
Some Notes on the Major Factions:
The Commonwealth of Australia
Mostly many children of the remaining survivors from Sydney. The new Capitol is Wollongong. The Nuclear Power Plant south of Sydney was caught in the fallout zone from the first attacks and was heavily irradiated, so it was evacuated.
The remaining Australian military forces, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force, with the exception of the Special Air Services Regiment fortified Wollongong and evacuated all of the Nuclear Techs and Engineers and built a second Nuclear generator near the sea just South of Wollongong. It helped that Wollongong already had a large Solar Collector Array, and so was the only City to survive the Dark Times and provided light, and power to the nearby enclaves. The New Nuclear Power Plant has about 200 years of fuel remaining in unspent rods moved from the first reactor in Sydney. In the 150 or so years since the great war, much of the earlier technology has been lost, but some crude electronics and circuit board manufacturing capabilities remain. Enough so that some robots and automated devices can be repaired in a crude fashion.
The loss of petroleum, has meant the loss of aircraft. The new aircraft being manufactured now are either solar powered ultralight (lighter than air), solar powered balloons, or solar powered para-gliders. Ships are equipped with sails, but many have on-board power due to built-in solar collectors. A few of the ancient warships remain. They have been converted to run off of steam and solar power. New ships are built of wood, and are steam and solar powered. Most of the flight and solar technology that now exists came from the Sky Marshalls of the Outback.
Before the war, Parramatta was an enclave in the hills above Sydney, and there were a lot of rich survivalists who prepared for the worst, and were well stocked when the war began. They sent most of the common people, the survivors from the Sydney South at gunpoint, and would have become an Independent state, except that they were ceaselessly attacked by mutants and mutated plants from the “dead zone”. In order to survive and not be overrun by the Northern Mutants the Parramatta elite formed an Alliance with the newly formed Commonwealth government in Wollongong and exchanged protection for supplies and services. Hornsley and Parramatta both have automated defensive systems along their Northern border to protect the Commonwealth from Mutant raids.
Paddy River also has early warning systems, Aircraft in secret bunkers, and sophisticated air defense systems to protect the Commonwealth from attacks by the Sky Marshals of the Outback in the West.
The Mutant Colonies.
The people that lived in Newcastle before the great war, simply remained there. They tried to evacuate and move west, but were stopped and attacked by the country folk, whenever they reached the hills West of Muswellbrook so they simply returned to their homes in the rubble of Newcastle. Many died. Many more were mutated from radiation and the super plagues. They dug in though, and went underground. They too starved and fought amongst each other after the great war, but eventually all mutants became allies when the population finally reached a sustainable level, and they were too busy fighting off raids from the Dream Time Clans, The Sky Marshals of the Outback, and of course from raiders that traveled North from the Commonwealth of Australia, seeking easy pickings.
Many mutants from other parts of Australia migrated here during the Dark Times, keeping the population level fairly steady, despite the violence. If you are a mutant or an outcast, you will find a welcome in the Mutant Colonies and can find meaningful work at a decent pay, which is often not available for mutants if they are in the territory of the other major factions.
The Mutants use primitive technology, however, have many specific mutations that allow them to deliver sophisticated and deadly attacks, or that allow them special defenses and immunity from certain types of harm.
The Outback Sky Marshals
Hearty and Independent, these self sustaining country folks suffered extreme hardships in the Shadow Years and early part of the Dark Times. It helped somewhat that they had decent stocks of firearms and ammunition, but even this did not prepare them for the sheer number of hungry survivors that poured out of the big cities and into the country in search of food, clean water, and loot.
A Group from Canowindra was the first to really protect rural Australians and they did this flying Ballons and Lighter-Than-Air Aircraft, to provide eraly warning and evacuate country folk in harms way when the mobs from the East Coast raided west.. Eventually the Sky Marshals got stonger and Stronger, and better at fighting too. Think Gunfighters and Riflemen. Think Bombers dropping heavy loads of rock and timber, think Stealthy gliders that are silent and can fly for hours on end spying on your every ground movement, and you can understand the Sky Marshals.
Nowadays they serve as mercenaries and facilitate trade. There has even been talk of sending out long range balloon expeditions to New Guinea, and Southeast Asia to gather rubber, petroleum, and other much needed supplies.
The Dream Time Clans
Mostly Aborigines with some Aussie country folk, and Mutants mixed in. The Dream Time Clans settled around Parkes and Dubbo after the great war. Many of them appear to have extraordinary or unusual mental powers. Almost all can read dreams and many are prophets capable of divination. There are also many healers in the dream time clans, some that use herbs, some that use mental powers.
The clans believe they are in a new Dream Time where they have been granted the power and priviliges to create a new world, and are acting accordingly. Peaceful by nature, they respond to threats from the environment, mutants, and mutated plants and animals in an indifferent manner as if this was the way things were always meant to be.
Their insights are profound, and they are good company so long as they believe the Gods favor you.
Sydney Area Map Key
Hexes – Town Name – Political Affiliation – Notes
0315 Forbes, Outback Sky Marshals,
0327 Radiation Zone / Ruins, Intensity 13
0331 Narranderra, Outback Sky Marshals,
0409 Northparkes Mine Copper/Gold, Dream Time Clans
0512 Parkes Airport – Dream Time Clans
0601 Narrowmine Airport – Dream Time Clans
0607 Peak Hill, Dream Time Clans
0611 Parkes, Dream Time Clans, Capitol
0624 Grenfell, Outback Sky Marshals
0628 Cootamundra Airport – Small planes only
0631 Wagga Wagga, Outback Sky Marshals
0702 Narrowmine, Dream Time Clans
0729 Cootamundra, Outback Sky Marshals
0925 Young, Outback Sky Marshals,
0928 Harden, Outback Sky Marshals,
0931 Bowning, Outback Sky Marshals,
1103 Dubbo Airports, Dream Time Clans
1107 Radiation Zone / Ruins, Intensity 9
1133 Yass, Outback Sky Marshals
1202 Dubbo, Dream Time Clans
1217 CanowIndra, Outback Sky Marshals
1220 Cowra Airport, Outback Sky Marshals
1221-1321 Cowra, Outback Sky Marshals Capitol
1313 Molong, Outback Sky Marshals
1433 Manton, Outback Sky Marshals
1515 Orange, Outback Sky Marshals
1516 Orange Airport, Outback Sky Marshals
1533 Manton Airport, Outback Sky Marshals
1732 Gunning, Outback Sky Marshals
1817 Blayney, Outback Sky Marshals
2129 Crookwell, Outback Sky Marshals
2130 Crookwell Airport, Outback Sky Marshals
2201-2301 Dunedoo, Dream Time Clans
2217 Bathhurst, Outback Sky Marshals
2433 Goulton, Outback Sky Marshals
2434 Goulton Airport, Outback Sky Marshals
2730 Paddy River, Commonwealth of Australia
2817 Lithgow, The Embassy (Neutral)
2928 Hanging Rock, Commonwealth of Australia
3019 Katoomba Airport (Katoomba Enclave)
3020 Katoomba Enclave (Independent)
3029 Moss Vale, Commonwealth of Australia
3228 Bowral, Commonwealth of Australia
3301 Scone, Mutant Colonies
3326 Hilltop, Commonwealth of Australia
3403 Muswellbrook, Mutant Colonies
3521 St. Mary’s Enclave, Commonwealth of Australia
3532 “Hotspur” Radiation Zone / Ruins, Intensity 11 (all nearby desert hexes Intensity 6 radiation – roll 1x per hour for exposure. This used to be Nowra/Richmond Airbase)
3620 Parramatta, Commonwealth of Australia
3621 Wetherill Park, Commonwealth of Australia
3623 Campbelltown, Commonwealth of Australia
3627-3728 Wollongong, Commonwealth of Australia
3628 Wollongong Airport, Commonwealth of Australia
3631 Kama, Commonwealth of Australia
3707 Singleton Airport, Mutant Colonies
3719 Hornsley, Commonwealth of Australia
3721 Parramatta Airport (Small Aircraft Only), Commonwealth of Australia
3806-3905 Singleton, Mutant Colonies
Sydney “Dead Zone”
3924 “Dead Zone” High Radiation Zone / Sydney Ruins, Intensity 13
4019 “Dead Zone” High Radiation Zone / Sydney Ruins, Intensity 13
4021 “Dead Zone” High Radiation Zone / Sydney Downtown Ruins, Intensity 13
The remainder of the desert/ruins in this area emit Intensity 8 Radiation, and unless protected, players must check their radiation exposure results and make a save every hour. They must make a save every turn when they are exposed in a high intensity radiation area.
The Mutant Colonies
4009 Cessnock, Mutant Colonies
4214 Wyong, Mutant Colonies
4216 Gosford, Mutant Colonies
4309 Maitland, Mutant Colonies
4510-4511 Newcastle, Mutant Colonies, Capitol – Radiation Intensity 6
4708 “Newcastle Ruins” High Radiation Zone, Intensity 11
4807 Nelson Bay, Mutant Colonies
Gamma World: Apocalypse in the Outback Discussion
To avoid derailing +Zen Clark’s thread any further, I’d like to discuss +Dirk Collins’s post-apocalyptic map separately. This map details my part of the world, so I thought I’d point out a few interesting ideas, and directions that might not be obvious based on a Google Maps starting point.
Firstly, the outer urban areas of Sydney. Wetherill Park happens to be right near where I do my fortnightly LARPing, it’s not a major urban centre at all. I’d shift focus slightly further to the north-east of here, Parramatta is far more important strategically (furthest navigable inland route for a fairly major river), demographically (higher population), and economically. St Marys also isn’t much, and it would make far more sense to pick Penrith as a potential starting point for a future settlement.
Heading south from the urban area, there is a light “V” shape pointing to Bowral. I basically live at the bottom of that “V”. Bowral is filled with “uber-rich”, multimillionaires often have country retreats here, and if the rich were going to fortify their positions in a post apocalyptic scenario, I could easily imagine this area patrolled by private paramilitary in the shadows (while looking calm, peaceful, and “civilised” on the surface).
Heading west to “Rookwell”, before this map, I’d never heard of it. Goulburn to to south of the map is the home of the Country’s only “supermax” prison, certainly a reasonable spot to fortify in the case of apocalypse.
Right out west, Canowindra is an interesting pick. It’s the home to the largest number of hot-air balloons in the country and has numerous festivals dedicated to lighter-than-air flight. Could be a good base of operations for a sky-faring group of traders.
Making our way further around the map, I’d make Bathurst more prominent than Lithgow. Orange too. Molong was another town I’d never heard of until I saw it on this map.
I think the scale of this map would place Dubbo in the furthest north-west corner of the map, and might would prove interesting due to the Western Plains Zoo. A high number of exotic animals would radiate across the land from this region.
I don’t know so much about the areas to the north, Scone, Muswellbrook, and such, but I think these are pretty reasonable as places to keep marked on a map. On the coast, Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong are among the largest cities in the country. Nowra is smaller than many suburbs and towns marked on this map at the smaller font size, and Kiama is just a small country town (it just happens to be the en point of the electrified train line, and is often marked on maps due to this).
As a contrast, I’ve included the opening page map from my post-apocalyptic children’s picture book “The Scavanger’s Tale” showing a range that might be walkable within a day or two from a base of operations just inland near Botany Bay.
My Gamma World Scenario for the Sydney area involves the Peoples Republic of China launching nuclear missiles at Australia in the final war of 2037.
To be precise Sydney was targeted with a Peoples Liberation Army Navy 3M-80MBE Triple Warhead Missile. Launched from a Destroyer or Missile Cruiser this Multiple Re-Entry Vehicle (MIRV) missile features three warheads each with an enhanced yield of 1 Megaton. The missile itself has a range of just under 4,000 km, and it was targeted at Potts Point in Sydney.
The missile struck accurately resulting in a new crater being formed that is just under one km in Diameter and about 500m deep centered somewhere within 100 meters of Potts Point.
The resulting Fireball was about 1.4 Km in diameter, and absolutely everything but the strongest steel reinforced concrete buildings were absolutely leveled. This total destruction radius reached out 4.26 Km from the epicenter of the blast. Every structure within 7.04 Km was heavily damaged, and most structures within 8.71 Km was moderately damaged, and most structures within about 9.8 Km were lightly damaged.
The permanent hard radiation in the total destruction zone is somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 rads per hour, and from 5-10 KM out is 50 rads per hour. In Gamma World Terms, the total destruction zone has Intensity 13 radiation levels and the there is intensity 8 radiation in patches out to 10 Km from the epicenter of the blast.
Without a radiation suit one can walk through any radiation zone and take 100 rads probably without anything at all happening except a slightly increased risk of certain types of cancer. 100-200 rads will leave a person feeling weak for a couple of weeks… There are some short term changes in blood chemistry, The immune system is weakened significantly, but a couple weeks after that a person will more or less return to normal with a significantly increased chance of dying from some for of cancer after the age of 55 or so.
200-300 rads will almost certainly result in some serious illnesses as the immune system has been fully compromised for up to 12 months. Hemorrhaging and hair loss occurs with an exposure that exceeds 300 rads and there is about a 20% chance of death from radiation exposure in the 12 months following being caught in the explosion.
With a 400 rad exposure the lethality goes up to about 50%.
600 rads 80%, and death occurs within a month.
800 Rads is 90% lethal and will kill in about a week.
1000 rads is 99% lethal If it kills you, it takes less than a day. It will take up to four years to return to normal if one happens to survive this level of radiation exposure.
Anything more than a 1,000 rads and you are going to die. Your life is measured in minutes at this point, and ranges anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour as the massive dose of Gamma radiation literally breaks billions upon billions of individual atoms in your body in less than a second.
That’s the first blast.
The naval base at Newcastle was also targeted, as well as the Naval Airbase in Nowry, and the Hydroelectric power facility in the Blue Mountains Southwest of Sydney.
I don’t know of a hydro-electric power facility in the blue mountains, there is Warragamba Dam which is the source of most of Sydney’s drinking water. This has a small power generation unit, which is basically enough to run the power requirements of the dam, but that’s about it. To the south of the city, in Lucas Heights, is the country’s only nuclear reactor (used for research purposes and development of nuclear medicines).
As far as I’m aware, the naval airbase in Nowra is basically obsolete, but given that you’ve included this, it makes sense that you’d have included Richmond as a place of note (since it’s one of the largest air force bases in the country).
Newcastle was struck by a PRA Dong-Feng 31 missile which also includes a 1 Mt Warhead which will leave Newcastle with a 400m wide crater somewhere within 300 meters of the naval base/docks.
Total destruction radius for this blast is 2.7 Km
Moderate damage occurs out to 6 Km
and many buildings up to 7.5 Km away from the center of this would be lightly damaged.
Persistent radiation in the destruction zone will remain at about 40 rads per hour for about 10 years here, and will slowly decline 1 rad a year until it stabilizes at about 3 rads per hour, which will remain for about the next 25,000 years, after which it will be about 1.5 rads per hour.
The Naval Airbase at Nowra and the hydroelectric power plant was targeted with the Chinese R11 which is roughly equivalent to an SS-17 SCUD missile launcher with four independent maneuverable warheads that produce a 465 M crater centered within 300 meters of the Nowra airport. The fireball is 800 Meters in diameter here.
Total destruction radius: 3.25 Km
Heavy damage radius: 5.08 Km
Moderate damage radius: 7.15 Km
Light Damage radius 8.9 Km.
Radiation in the total destruction zone: 90 rads per hour with pockets of 45/rad per hour zones within 9 Km of the blast.
For Gamma World, this would be intensity 11 radiation in the Total Destruction zone, with persistent Intensity 6 radiation in pockets up to 9 KM from the Now Airport.
Once the Nuclear exchange concludes in the weeks that follow the bio-genetic plagues are delivered which eventually reach Australia and further thin out / mutate the population.
Now the population will naturally move away from these radiation afflicted rubble laden areas of destruction so I see Wollongong becoming the major port / Air Hub for the NSW/Sydney area, and almost all the other inland settlements will see a significant population increase as the population initially shifts away from Sydney and the other targeted coastal zones.
Any other major Airports inland that could accommodate large Aircraft or Jets ?
What about additional power plants?
I think Australia would fare better in any hypothetical post-apocalyptic scenario precisely because it is so far away from all the other continents.
There would be an interested evolution of local government here to be sure.
Canberra would be your best bet for jet landings, but that would require shifting the focus of your map down south a bit. Many regional centres have light aircraft airports, and it wouldn’t take much to expand them. There is a substantial regional airport just outside Wollongong, but it can’t handle aircraft too large as it is in a valley plain surrounded by mountains.
Most of the power in South East Australia comes from the Snowy Mountains hydroelectric plants (and quite a few coal fired plants), but there is more solar being harnessed due to incentives from previous government administrations.
Wollongong would be easily defensible, as there are still WW2 underground fortifications on some of the escarpments (we use some for “dungeon” LARPing).
I could add a second campaign map beneath the Sydney map just for Canberra.. That would work. Most of the rural areas in the South would only get affected by the genetic plagues.
The hard part would all happen before the plagues arrived though. It’s all about accommodating the survivors from Sydney and the other targeted zones. With the loss of the Blue Mountain water supply… The 2.5 Million people remaining alive in the immediate areas around Sydney would be looking real hard for good food and water less than 30 days after Nuclear exchange, and they would be heavily armed and moving up into the highlands looking for food and water.
They would encounter increased resistance as the rural communities immediately outside of Sydney are stripped of food and living supplies.
There is no central government remaining. Melbourne, Darwin, Perth… basically all the other large cities, as well as any large military bases were targeted as well… so no help is forthcoming from any of them.
The problem is not the Chinese. They are a continent away and have their own problems at the moment. The real problem Is going to be Australians from the big cities.
I could see that. It’s much the same way I took my “Walkabout” setting. 90% of the population loss came from people fighting one another over remaining resources (note that Australia’s gun laws are far stricter than those of the US, so the fighting would be more brutal).
I know that where I live, I could source everything I need to survive from farmers in a 5km radius (chicken farms and eggs, various vegetables, fresh water springs, honey, milk, pigs).
In that regard, rural types might be better off. Roo shooting is still a thing, so rural survivors would have far more firearms per head than urban survivors, excluding the occasional bikie gang or crime mob.
Staying on them hills the great dividing range that whole channel up to qld .. Only hope if we have any .. But many have logged into the hills Kinda scary how many have already bunkered down already .. Like real scary .. They bet I don’t have guns cos I know where I going if I need to lol :p
I think easily defendable geographical ‘strongholds’ would be valuable. When I ran my ‘Sunken Sydney’ AW game, Lion island, Scotland island on the Hawkesbury, Narrowneck in Katoomba and Mt. Hay in Leura became hard to take fortified hardholds.
I could easily see a fortified town developing out past Narrowneck. If I remember correctly, there’s a part where the ride is less than 10m wide with dramatic, plunging cliffs on either side. Then most of the ridge is surrounded by cliffs once you pass that point.