by Graham Walmsley
The second part of the new Cthulhu Apocalypse series, Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine is a rich sandbox setting, allowing players to construct their own apocalypse, from the first strange rumblings beneath the earth to the final, cataclysmic event. It will take Trail of Cthulhu adventures into a post-apocalyptic world, giving you new Drives, Occupations, a full guide to the Mythos and much more.
Here’s a sample, giving three disasters which might befall the world.
At first, it was an oddity, the high tides reaching ever higher. The coastal towns were the first to go. We became scared when Venice went under: the pictures in the newspapers showed St Mark’s Square standing nearly a metre deep in water. When Amsterdam drowned, the governments moved to protect New York and London. For a while, sandbags kept back the water, armies of volunteers building the barriers ever higher. But eventually, the weight of the water was too much. When a breach came, there was no way back.
The water drowned the cities. For a while, it was only a foot deep. People moved to the upper floors, swapped cars for boats, and continued their business. But the floods kept rising. An early casualty was drinking water: clean water mixed with sewage and seawater, making the cities uninhabitable. Populations rushed to higher ground. In the United States, everyone moved west: Denver, with its reputation as the Mile High City, was besieged. In Britain, Harrogate became the new capital. Today, if you take a boat, and look down through the water, you can see the drowned buildings we used to inhabit.
What does the flooded world look like?
• Tropical, with jungles surrounding lagoons.
• Cold, with the tops of buildings poking through vast expanses of water.
• Wrecked, with debris and wreckage floating past.
Floods can damage:
• Water (although this sounds strange, floods do damage the supply of clean, drinkable water)
When the first shocks hit, we knew what was coming. There was nothing we could do. In the middle of the city, you are never safe: you are always close to a wall, gas pipe or rolling vehicle. We stayed still, then watched, as the city we knew crumbled beneath us. Monuments fell, trees were uprooted and a network of cracks ran through every wall, road and marble facade.
What does the aftermath of the earthquake look like?
• A mass of warped, leaning buildings.
• An endless carpet of debris.
• A smoking, soaked bowl of ash, dust and blackened water.
An apocalyptic earthquake will level the cities of the Earth in hours, then burn the remnants in the following days. It strikes without warning. Buildings fall as the ground beneath them liquifies. That initial shock destroys bridges, roads and lines of communication, which prevents the medical and fire services responding. Power lines and gas pipes are severed.
Thereafter, a series of aftershocks hits the city, again and again, until only rubble is left. In the days after, fires spread. With no communication and impassable roads, response is nearly impossible.
Note that, according to modern seismology, a global earthquake is impossible. But seismology in the 1930s was in its infancy. By the standards of the day, no-one would be surprised if an earthquake shook the world.
Earthquakes can lead to:
The snow never stopped falling. At first, the roads were passable, and we got by with snow-chains. Later, the cars froze into the ground, and nothing we could do would get them out. As the snow deepened, we retreated into the upper floors of buildings. Millions died from exposure, but most remained happy, walking on rivers that had not frozen for years.
Next, the water froze in the pipes. Most of our power was spent melting snow to drink, but then the power lines went, and nobody could dig far enough to repair them. Fortunately, what little water we produced was clean: sewage could not contaminate it, because the sewage was frozen. Skis and sleds became part of everyday life.
As time went by, the crops refused to grow and the glaciers, encroaching from the north, destroyed cities. People retreated south, walking on the frozen sea, fighting over land and food. Many forged forward to the equator, hoping to establish themselves as the first. Soon, however, all of what remained of humanity converged on that small band of habitable land. Now, the nights grow colder, and humanity awaits its end.
What does the icy world look like?
• A snowfield, with the tops of once-familiar buildings poking through the top.
• A crystal paradise, with icicles glittering in the clear sun.
• Grey, with snow falling endlessly from the dark clouds above.
Cold can damage:
• Water (that is, the supply of water)
Cthulhu Apocalypse: The Apocalypse Machine will be released later this year.