John at Fate SF is running a creative project, open to all: add a Zone-inspired work to the gaming canon, for any system. Just write it up and post - maybe using the funky image by Hereticwerks up top - and leave the link at John's, to go into the master table.
Here's my starting point, for narrative skirmish and tactical roleplaying especially: a d30 table of rumours from a Zone-struck world, for some context and large-scale campaign seeds. Feed them into a weird, modern or near-future setting or use them for inspiration.
Zone-age Rumours (1d30)
- Networks are down worldwide: someone must have found something special...
- A crazed individual or group known as the Interknut has claimed responsibility.
- The centre of a major city is on lockdown following a possible Zone-tech attack.
- Warheads are being retargeted at host countries - it's the only way to be sure.
- A growing paramilitant group is recruiting and training stalkers for its own ends.
- A thinktank wants to encourage Zone creation to stimulate the global economy.
- Shares in private spaceflight firms are rocketing - those with the cash want off.
- Tech firm Jubbly is using modified Zone-tech in its soon-to-be-released jTorch.
- Pollinations, sporings and seasonal migrations are producing strange hybrids.
- Someone is hacking radio telescope arrays, broadcasting coordinates offworld.
- For each person frozen in fear, one violates the exclusion laws, to risk knowing.
- A superpower is faking Zones in strategic regions, to undermine governments.
- The Zones are a pox, a wasting disease with which man has infected his world.
- Those hoverboards from Back to the Future Part II really weren't props after all.
- Brain Plague - a noetic bug - is spreading; the symptoms are sin, Tom's a sim!
- Someone has come forward with a daguerreotype of Brunel - in a stalker suit...
- A tabletop game blogger knows more than he's letting on and may be a cause.
- Life on Earth was born in a Zone, a garden grown in the spoil of a former world.
- Relatives of the Strugatskys are being taken into custody for their own safety.
- Protesters at CERN demand to know the whereabouts of John Higginsbottom.
- The Zone artefacts may be the higher beings known by the codeword 'braner'.
- A secret international group has built an insectoid walker for Zone exploration.
- Whole tracts of a Zone have seized up - the air knows we'll run before we do...
- One of the Zones holds a newly grown world tree, but not a tree for this world.
- Roadside picnics have been banned, for fear of retribution by the local wildife.
- Crop circles are transdimensional exhaust plumes, marks of the near-misses.
- The Zones are infusions of life - vaccinations - or stimulants injected from afar.
- Muddy, garish figures are walking out of the Zones, with a message of change.
- The heart of each Zone holds a portal to another world, an End to a life in this.
- The Zones were always there; we ourselves have only now woken from sleep...
If you need to know more about the veracity of a given rumour, make a roll on this table.
If you don't have a d30, roll 1d3 for the tens and 1d10 for the units. No d10 either..? Roll 1d2. If the result is a 1, roll 1d6 to get a number from 1 to 5, i.e. rerolling 6s. If the first result is a 2 instead, roll 1d6 and add 5 to get a number from 6 to 10, rolling all 6s again._
So, venture in, if you dare...
So, venture in, if you dare...