Hell Sink ep.0 – The Stokan Ark

Well, its been a few months since we’ve tried a full on campaign, but we’re back! Its been fun trying out various new systems, and the limited series (2-3 sessions) are pretty perfect for getting a nice taste – but there is that yearning for something more substantial, a 5 course feast if you will 🙂

We had a little discussion over what we would play next, I presented some things I’d be happy to run that I thought might be interesting – Traveller, Mörk Borg, Worlds Without Number (set in Ultraviolet Grasslands), Band of Blades, Old School Essentials. There were some comments, and some of the games were eliminated fairly quickly (not so much interest in straight sci-fi, wanting something new, too much grim-dark) But then the interesting conversation game up – we’ve never done anything like a “zombie survival” or something like that. Post-apocalyptic survival. Fallout, Borderlands, I am Legend. So I proposed the game “Mutant Year Zero

After some discussions and voting – we picked MYZ set in the hometown for most of the players, Helsinki, Finland. Gotta admit I had fun over the next week fiddling with the idea of a post-apoc version of my home.

The characters created and how eager everyone was during our “session 0” has made me very excited to see how this game progresses. MYZ seems a strange mix of OSR gaming (sandbox, random generation, no balance, lethal) but with an interesting meta-plot overlay (The search for Eden, clues in found artifacts)

The results: Helsinki with some raised sea levels

The basic idea screams old-school for me. A bunch of youngish people in a hostile environment, left to fend for themselves, needing to go out and explore dangerous ruins to find things so that they survive. The system is different, but the setup reminded my of a more dangerous version of “Beyond the Wall“. The players each picked a “role” (basically a class) and answered some questions about the character and their relationships to the others characters and NPCs in the Ark. Then we rolled a random mutation for each of them.

Then came the fun of the Ark! Its a place somewhere in the Zone (the apocalyptic Helsinki) that all these kids were raised by a bunch of (now mostly dead) humans. Most of them have never been outside, and food is running low. We picked a “shopping mall” that has been converted into a run-down home for 200 odd souls They’ve been scavenging surrounding areas for canned and preserved foods, and using collected rainwater for their drinking needs.

Steal some floorplans from a shopping mall, add some “factions”, and we’re good to go!

We were all feeling rather excited at the end, looking forward to our first session in a couple of weeks. These are the character and places we have to work with:

Sto’kan Ark
Standing like an island against the lapping rot-corrupted waters to the south. The complex is a mazelike warren of broken walls and huddled dens of the hundreds of mutants. The eastern tower is the Dawn Vault, home of the Elder and turf of Wikina and her vault-keepers They hold the last artifacts of the before-times, and ration out the preserved grub. Running the length of the Ark is the well lit Canyon – covered by reinforced clear glass – and the common grounds of the Ark. Marlotte and her brutes control the roof and the north of the Ark, controlling with an iron fist the water collectors and distributing fresh water for favours. Tapio is a strange boss, leading his loyal stalkers out into the zone and leading strange rituals by the moonlight. Sinelli has the most interest in the past, and has gathered a band of people with clever hands and minds.

Duncan – driven dreamer (Boss)
A mutant with half his body twisted and scarred, but with the power to drive others insane with strange visions and terrors. Thanks to some tricky deals he now controls the only reliable firearms, with his own gearhead to keep everything running and a band of strong (and well armed) mutants loyal to him. He has hidden his feeling for his gearhead Aurora, but still favours her. He believes that only he can lead the Ark into the future and will remove any opposition to his great plans.

Aurora – heart of the gang. (Gearhead)
This tuxedo wearing mutant loves to tinker. She makes broken things whole again, including other mutants. Her mutation lets her inspire emotions in others, and has helped keep her protectors motivated and ward off the depression and fear that has begun to infect the Ark. She is fascinated by the before-times, and wants to create things that will change the lives of everyone in the Ark. Her best friend Strelok brings back scraps found in the Zone for her to tinker with.

Strelok – Eyes and Ears (Stalker)
From a young age he was always sneaking out. From early on he realised that the Ark was doomed, and has been looking for somewhere safe, somewhere to settle. His mutation is sonar – which allows him to move around in the dark and stun others. He relies on Aurora to make sense of the things he finds, and loves to hear of how she’ll use them. He respects Duncan for daring to come out into the Zone with him

Fives – the ignored oracle (Chronicler)
Always wearing his overalls (labeled 55-233K) this educated mutant has seen the Ark falling into ruin for years. Others ignoring the Elder’s commands, infighting and arguing over dwindling resources. He sees Duncan as the only Boss with the will to rebuild the Ark properly, to make it a place of learning and education. Fives has kept a notebook with words of the Elder and scribbled copies of ancient books containing the wisdom of the Ancients. It contains wisdom to bring prosperity if only they would listen.

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