(Setting info for a new After the End campaign -- a world ravaged by cosmic rays, disease, and aliens! And yes, the aliens here are stolen from the Traveller RPG, though heavily adapted to fit the needs of this setting.)
- Dallas Briggs: Hulk/Melee Specialist + Hardy (Nick)
- Edward Calloway: Tech/Inventor + Experienced (Wayon)
- Karylee Riley: Doc/Medic + Blessed (Rabbit)
- Lydia Thompson: Scavenger/Looter + Tech/Repairman (Amanda)
- Michael Hollister: Trooper/Soldier + Trader/Sweet-Talker (Josh)
- Zoie Elisa Benson: Hunter/Survivor + Learned (Lynne)
Hazards: Mutants (Cosmic Rays). Disease (Mega-Virus). Aliens; Gangs, though few in number and hated; Paramilitaries (X-Factor).
Primary Cause: Cosmic Rays
A pulsar from a distant galaxy hit Earth. It wiped out all radio/wi-fi and fried most computers and complex electronics. It mutated prions (below) along with the DNA of complex life, though effects of the latter would take a generation to appear. It irradiated certain minerals in specific situations (e.g., under high pressure against a trapped pocket of water) to produce muonic compounds (where an electron in one of the compound’s elements has been replaced by a muon).
Secondary Effect: Mega-Virus
The pulsar radiation mutated prions so that they could survive as microscopic airborne “spores,” which could be inhaled by new subjects. This allowed a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases to spread as quickly as viruses, inflicting everything from Fatal Familial Insomnia to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease on a large portion of the populace. These specific diseases are no longer an issue (everyone alive today descended from an immune survivor), but weaker, mutated strains are.
Secondary Effect: X-Factor
Because muonic compounds are used in ultra-tech “hyperfusion” reactors, a few alien groups have made a living “chasing” pulsars so they can mine these compounds. As a useful side effect, they can often find additional resources and/or make new scientific discoveries from the indigenous flora and fauna. At least three alien species are known to currently inhabit Earth: the K’kree (“Centaurs”), warmongering six-limbed bovines who detest any race that, like humanity, kills other beings for food; the Fteirle (“Aslan”), humanoids who vaguely resemble lions and seem to have a wide range of motivations; and the Droyne (“Chirpers”), small, winged, humanoid lizards who tend to keep to themselves and exhibit hive-mind traits. (All three have variant DNA and are thus immune to Earth diseases.) In addition to these aliens, the Vargr (“Canids”) have become a presence on Earth; these are semi-upright, barely sapient, mutated wolves whose evolution was almost certainly accelerated via alien interference, though it is unknown which alien species is responsible.
Technology and Timing
The End came at some point in the mid-21st century (early TL9). That was about three generations ago. The aliens have demonstrated TL10^ tech, with the occasional experimental TL11^ gizmo. Most of their gear is designed to self-destruct if used by a member of any other species (or, in some cases, anyone who isn’t an authorized user). Some hardened computers survived, and new computers have been created, but they’re rare outside of alien enclaves.
The PCs are based in Drumlin, a walled settlement of about 800 people in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. (Its specific location is unspecified, to avoid becoming slaves to Google Maps.) The mayor, Carmella Hahn, manages to keep the populace in line through a combination of charm, good sense, and strict laws. The Drumlin militia, headed by Captain Jerome Flannery, help to keep the town safe.