Sunday, 18 August 2019

the zone

You are elite Soviet soldiers sent to investigate a bizarre series of accidents at a remote scientific research facility. This is a depth mechanic. Roll d6 on each table for each encounter and add 2 each time you advance a step further into the zone. Be careful of ideological backsliding - one of you is secretly a political commissar with orders to maintain morale by executing anyone who deviates from approved ideology.

The PTSD system - your stats are Physical, Social, Technical. Roll 3d6 for each. To do anything, roll under the appropriate stat. Pick a specialisation, anything from Heavy Weapons to Political Propaganda to Biochemistry - add two to the right stat whenever it becomes relevant. Work out hit points yourself.

  1. Barren steppe. Pale winter sun.
  2. Barren steppe. Scudding clouds obscure the sun.
  3. Snow-dusted steppe. Ceiling of grey cloud. Freezing wind.
  4. Snow-dusted steppe. Howling blizzard.
  5. Sparse larch forest. Shadows moving through pale fog.
  6. Sparse larch forest. Rivulets of black snowmelt.
  7. Dense larch forest. Glass-clear creek paved with pebbles.
  8. Dense larch forest. Boot-sucking bogs.
  9. Overgrown marsh. Water crusted with thin ice.
  10. Overgrown marsh. Water crusted with solid ice.
  11. No-man’s land. Slick mud and dead trees.
  12. No-man’s land. Network of flooded trenches.
  13. Town outskirts. Rubbish heaps and burnt-out cars.
  14. Town outskirts. Vacant lots and empty warehouses.
  15. Suburbs. Wide avenues, concrete apartment blocks.
  16. Suburbs. Cottages, shops, playgrounds, empty cars.
  17. Industrial core. Vast empty factories, rusting machinery.
  18. Industrial core. Cooling towers crusted with foliage.
  19. Launch site. Hangars, service trucks, fields of concrete.
  20. Launch site. Concrete pads, umbilical towers, broken rockets.
  1. Spomenik - brutalist concrete monument, haunted by freedom-fighter ghosts.
  2. Perfectly round shaft bored into the ground. Heat rising from it. Hawks and buzzards circling.
  3. Abandoned farmhouse. Barren fields. Something nasty and shapeless chained in the shed.
  4. Concrete watch bunker built into low hill. Terrified, hungry soldier inside will fire on anything that gets close, unless you convince him you’re not a mutant or threat.
  5. Ruined church. Tarnished golden crucifix over altar.
  6. Abandoned fur-trapping village. Squalid huts. Mutant vermin caught in cruel, iron-toothed traps. Crazed hermit watching from afar.
  7. Deep black ice-edged lake. Rotting wooden dinghy tied up by shore. Strange buildings on island.
  8. Untended cherry orchard sprouting strange fruit. Decaying barbed-wire fences.
  9. Series of clear pools separated by waterfalls. Fish that know too much.
  10. Wide fast-rushing river. Must be crossed to advance - or go back and find another way around.
  11. Mass grave. Deformed corpses left to rot in hastily-dug hole. Mutant rats and crows hide until disturbed.
  12. Minefield. Clearly signposted to warn off trespassers. Craters mark detonation sites.
  13. Scrapyard. Buses, cars, trucks and tanks, all tangled together in rusty communion. Mangy stray dog lurks around perimeter.
  14. Crashed military airplane. Bomb bay holds undetonated tactical nuke. Two more have been cracked open and their radioactive contents scooped out.
  15. Army barracks. Held by still-human soldiers, heavily fortified against intruders. Running out of food.
  16. Small amusement park. Merry-go-round, bumper cars, rollercoaster, fun house full of child-sized skeletons.
  17. Automated factory running on its own, assembling munitions from vast stockpile of scrap metal and weird chemicals.
  18. Huge steaming radioactive crater filled with rubble and boiling glass.
  19. Bustling hive of New Soviet Men stockpiling fodder for their Red Queen so she can lay new eggs for the colony.
  20. New Soviet Men preparing atomic super-rocket for launch.
  1. Blasted atomic ghost of gulagged 19th-century revolutionary.
  2. Tatar scavengers in spiked radiation suits, looking for anything they can sell on the black market.
  3. Gangly saiga antelope that blast acidic mucus from their nostrils, pursued by Tatar hunters.
  4. New Soviet Man, pale and hairless, equipped with homemade laser gun, in stand-off with Tatar scavengers.
  5. Tatar mother with pale, hairless children in tow, fleeing hunting party of genetic purists in rad suits and gas masks.
  6. Swarm of irritable thumb-sized mosquitoes that imitate human voices by the collective hum of their wings.
  7. Lumpen bald toothless swamp cyclops that slowly de-evolves anything it looks at. Claims to want a friend but is actually just hungry.
  8. Poisonous redcapped mushroom men who want to be eaten and won’t take no for an answer.
  9. Skoptsy priest in black robes castrating and baptising hunger-maddened soldiers.
  10. Shaggy bear-centaur-men tearing apart huge fallen two-headed reindeer and shovelling its flesh into their maws. Can see into the past and do not believe in the future.
  11. Naked frostbitten soldiers possessed by the spirits of tanks, running around with their arms stuck out to mimic guns. Imaginary shells, real explosions.
  12. Band of New Soviet Men with Geiger counters and laser guns scouring the area for radioactive material to fuel their atomic super-rocket.
  13. Giant house-sized blob of fleshlike fungus. Gill slits part to reveal near-human eyes. Oozes slowly toward any source of heat, warbling and pleading for sustenance through a hundred tiny mouths. Doesn’t stop.
  14. Shambling broken-concrete golem with tiny telekinetic fetus inside, looking for somebody to hug.
  15. Gang of shivering orphans dwelling in empty building, only venturing out to hunt for vodka and lay lethal Home Alone-style traps for New Soviet Men.
  16. New Soviet Men scalpelling apart still-living bear-centaur-man, flaying it alive in effort to extract the secret of its mathematics.
  17. Tatar scavenger with aluminium pouch of stolen uranium, on the run from band of New Soviet Men equipped with Geiger counters and hairless dogs.
  18. Radiation shadow-ghosts, flickering across flat surfaces, that drag anyone they touch into the second dimension.
  19. You from the future, horribly scarred and burnt, bent on killing you now in order to prevent your future suffering.
  20. The Red Queen of the New Soviet Men, overseeing her minions’ efforts to launch her into space via atomic super-rocket. From orbit she can psychically dominate the globe, maybe.


  1. As with all your other location/scenario tables, this is excellent.

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