Yellow Dawn

Yellow Dawn - The Age of Hastur is a dark futuristic role playing game by David J Rodger and (currently) available free, provided you email a request and don't make further copies beyond the one you print for yourself. Based on Call of Cthulhu, with some elements from Dungeons and Dragons, mixed in with a background stripped from 28 Days Later, all in all a good fun action-packed game.

The official site can be found HERE, although it's awaiting a relaunch at the moment.

Setting

Some time around the 2030s, the Earth is ravaged by a string of viruses after a corporate cargo ship, returning from an orbital lab, crashes into the atmosphere. Vast numbers of people die. Some are left altered by the pathogen, visibly changed on a molecular level. Others are affected in a more horrific way: turned into the living dead, unable to die without violence, locked in a state of perpetual fury, and with an infectious bite, they force most cities to be left abandoned. The event was called Yellow Dawn. Ten years on, and civilisation has rebuilt itself. It is this new world into which the players venture out.

Those changed by the virus devolved into one of two states. Those altered horrifically in terms of looks, but better suited to adapt to the wilderness are known, unfairly, as orcs, looking much the part of the grotesque dark skinned creatures made famous from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Those who remained human on the outside but became psychotic monsters are known as zombies, much in the style of those made popular by 28 Days Later. Also, very ocassionally, you might find the robots - when the virus first appeared their response was to slaughter the infected, since then they appear to have pretty much disappeared.

Within the few cities that have survived the collapse of society intact, life goes on, pretty much as before but with fewer resources. Immediately outside the walls, and lurking in the shells of other once proud cities, vast numbers of zombies can be found. And it the wilderness between cities live those brave enough to make a living from the world around them, including the tribes of orcs that have banded together for self-preservation.

And deeper in the shadows lurk all sorts of horrible inhuman creatures… angels, demons and things man was not supposed to know…

Games

There's just been one adventure run so far, which unfolded as follows. Being set in Chester, here's a piece of local colour to set the scene:

The game starts off on the edges of Chester, NW England. Chester is based around a Roman fortress, and as such the city centre has a big wall running around it. Access into and out of the walled section of the city is therefore limited to about seven roads and a number of archways and steps down from the walls. Therefore, when the viral pandemic hit, many people considered Chester an easy place to defend. Inevitably, however, the virus crept in, at which point it spread like wild-fire, people's escape limited by the very walls that were supposed to protect them.

Ten years on and this central point of chester is crawling with zombies. Much of the surrounding surban area is similarly a dead-zone, though to a lesser degree. There are outposts at the edges of Chester. One of these is the small town of Moston, a small suburb of Chester where the players are based, living in abandoned and salvaged houses. It has just two roads heading into it from a main road leading north out of Chester, being otherwise bordered by a railway line and the bend of a cannal. To the south is the Countess of Chester hospital, barricaded and run by an undefined but presumably tough group, and to the east is what used to be Chester Zoo. Zombies only ocassionally come this far north, and rarely in large numbers, but in any case the settlement has been easy to defend.

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