The Price we must Pay

The Price we must Pay

Some people say it escaped from a secret government laboratory, deep under the city. Others say it was trapped in the polar ice caps, only to be released as global temperatures began to rise. You know what I think? A blessing. A boon granted to us by Gaia, her last breath as she lay dying.

The first sign of the pox (or the k29-poxalovirus) appeared a decade ago. It was unremarkable outside of scientific circles - a harmless virus that was barely infectious. Even in those it infected, it didn't seem to do much of anything. A few sniffles here and there, maybe an odd rash. The most severe cases reported a little eye irritation and discoloration of the irises. Some in the medical community, particularly the WHO and the CDC kept an eye on the spread,  and even developed an antiviral which could stop the spread of the pox in its tracks. However, it was deemed unnecessary to deploy given the mortality rate of 0, and extremely low infection rate.

Five years ago, about 2% of the population was infected with the pox. This proved to be both a blessing and a curse when the sun turned black in the sky, bathing the planet in some sort of strange radiation. We still don't know exactly what it was - but the 98% of the world population that was not infected with the pox was killed within minutes of the occurrence. Not even long enough to realize what was happening to them. Not even buildings offered any shelter. The only uninfected people that made it out were those who happened to be deep underground at the time, and most of those didn't get the memo in time to stay down there.

Plants and animals didn't fare much better - only a few species managed to survive - turning the landscape into a dead and barren wasteland. Since then we've been eking out an existence on the canned goods of the previous world, and the few plant species that remains.

You, my friend, are one of the very few people who live in the last enclave. And you have a problem. 10 days ago, you started feeling the tremors. Sometimes your arm would move on its own. Sometimes your muscles would refuse to move at all. It passed very quickly, but was shocking none-the-less. 5 days ago....people began to turn. The pox that sustained you all these years had mutated - creating creatures of bone and flesh out of the people you once knew. Things with a thirst for destruction. Some turned faster than others, and now you are one of the few left who is still human. But you can feel it. Your flesh begins to rebel against you. Perhaps your fingers are just a bit longer than they should be. Your teeth just a bit too sharp.

There's not a lot of time left - your only chance is to brave the remnants of the old CDC building - and any creatures who have taken up residence therein, and find the antiviral that was created for the pox all those years ago. After that, it's either find somewhere safe from the radiation, or choose to die human. It's up to you - get going.

Play notes: This is really supposed to be an example of body horror - the character's bodies slowly rebelling against them as they attempt to find a cure while also avoiding getting torn apart. Play up and encourage your players to play up their situation. Perhaps the consequence of a failed roll is that a mutation occurs or their muscles lock up - leaving them trapped in their body as the beasts descend upon them....

Areas of Note: The Shacks, Central Street, The CDC building, The Underground, The Flywheel, "Transcendence".

Goal: Get to the CDC building, find the pox antiviral, get somewhere safe, and purge the pox from your system. Survive as long as possible or die human.