Archive for Mission Overview

Images from the Wastes (Fungus Forest)

Posted in Campaign Info with tags , , , on 21-Sep-11 by K-Slacker

The Fungus Forest appears to be a recent phenomena, as previous Map Reconnaissance did not report its existence. Tau Expedition Control recommends caution when entering the forest, and the use of respiratory filters or gas masks to reduce the risk of infection from errant spores.

Images from the Wastes…

Posted in Campaign Info with tags , , on 20-Sep-11 by K-Slacker

As described in the Surface Inhabitants entry in the Mission Overview, for the majority of the planet’s population there was no shelter from the effects of Creep. Although usually weaker than healthy humans, Surface Expedition Teams have been overwhelmed by groups of mutants when caught by surprise…

(Art by Virgil Finlay, courtesy of Monster Brains. Click to embiggen.)

Confidential Note

Posted in Campaign Info with tags , , on 02-Jun-10 by K-Slacker

From: Andor, Vault Elder
To: Surface Expedition Team Members

Fellow Scavengers,

I have a secret to reveal: Tau is dying.

For many years, I have watched the decline of our community. In fact, for the last generation it is only the valiant efforts of our Surface Expedition Teams that have allowed us to maintain our life underground. However, soon we will be forced to abandon Tau to survive on the surface… or perish.

This year the community of Tau has chosen you, our bravest souls, to leave the safety of the subterranean vault and explore the ruins of the once great civilization that existed prior to the Fall. Although it is an honour to be selected as a Scavenger, it requires great courage, as you must travel over unknown terrain, battle mutant creatures, and experience fierce radiation zones in search of any useful materials that will allow all of us to escape from our pathetic existence.

As you must know, many of the Scavengers sent out do not return, and some of those that do have suffered mutations and sickness. This is the risk you take, the sacrifice you are all willing to make for your people. Knowing the odds, you will bid your family and friends good-bye and venture into the land of your forefathers. Good luck to you all. The people of Tau will await your safe return.

EC/H Mutation Memo

Posted in Campaign Info with tags , , on 02-Jun-10 by K-Slacker

From: Dr. Ben Van, Mutation Expert
To: Surface Expedition Team Members

A common result of Creep exposure is the development of a mutation. Our scientists have been left baffled as to how mutagenic agents can lead to such immediate and drastic effects. We postulate that the interplay between radiation, genetically-engineered viruses, and the remnants of nanotechnology are somehow to blame.

There are many different forms that a mutation may take. All mutations are classified as either mutant perks or mutant flaws. Perks are beneficial, while flaws are baneful. You are about twice as likely to develop a flaw than a perk.

Not all mutations are equal; some are more powerful (or detrimental) than others. Perks and flaws are broken down into three grades: minor, medium, and major. Minor mutations seem more common than medium mutations, which themselves are more common than major mutations. And, of course, there is always the “ultimate mutation” – death.

Although our scientists have not yet found a cure for the development of mutation, some Scavengers have reported that re-exposure to Creep can, on rare occasions, reverse the effect of the initial exposure. We do not recommend this method of treatment, as it generally causes additional mutations to occur.

EC/G The Creep

Posted in Campaign Info with tags , , on 02-Jun-10 by K-Slacker

From: Kelvin Klyne, Creep Consultant
To: Surface Expedition Team Members

In the decades since the Fall, the myriad of radionucleotides, environmental poisons, and nanotech plagues have mingled to the point where – in regard to their impact on living beings – they are all the same global ailment. To the folks who roam the wastes, the effects of all the toxic goops and lethal pathogens are thought of as a single plague: the Creep.

In truth, the Creep can stem from nearly any source of radiation, man-made biological agents, or toxic substance. Although the genetic mechanisms are not well understood, exposure to the Creep will eventually lead to mutations in almost all subjects. The specific effects may vary based on the substance encountered or environment braved, but the overall effects are the same: mutation.

Creep accumulates in characters following periods of exposure to Creep-inducing agents. Although you may recover from the immediate effects of these agents, the Creep will almost certainly be with you until you die. As the Creep accumulates in your system, more radical effects emerge. In the short-term, some effects might seem beneficial, but everyone with the Creep is ultimately heading to the same place…

Since the Creep is generally invisible and undetectable without special equipment it will be your most insidious threat. Each of you has been equipped with a ‘rad tab’ which measures your Creep exposure. The strip changes color when you come close to dangerous contamination. After exposure to Creep, a rad tab cannot be used again. Instead, once your tab is exhausted (and if you survive the effects of the exposure), you will simply be issued a new rad tab.

EC/F Surface Inhabitants

Posted in Campaign Info with tags , , on 02-Jun-10 by K-Slacker

From: Chris Stassen, Senior Sociologist
To: Surface Expedition Team Members

Though not naturally equipped to survive disaster, the cunning of the human race assured its survival. Be assured that we are not the only descendants of mankind to survive, although we may indeed be the last ‘true’ humans. As far as we know, the descendants of the Ancients have divided into several distinct groups:

  • Tribals: These are the foraging (or lost) members of primitive tribes that have somehow survived in the wastes. They must live and hunt on the surface to ensure survival, leading to rampant mutation. Most are hostile to Expedition Teams and should be considered armed and dangerous.
  • Marauders: These raiders are those who only found temporary shelter during the Fall, or who have lost possession of their city. Retaining a crude understanding of Ancient technology, they now survive by stealth, hiding and waylaying unwary travellers.
  • Mutants: For the vast majority of the planet’s population, there was no shelter. And, while hundreds of millions died, a few thousand survived the radiation. But they are the mutants, the unfit. Some are rumoured to be far more powerful than the average man, yet most should be weak.
  • Ghouls: Bacteria also survived the Fall. The radiation changed them, and several previously unknown diseases swept the land. One such disease causes decay of flesh, but also changes the digestive system so that eating human flesh will replenish the body – for a short time. The disease also endows the body with above-average strength and the skeleton with remarkable hardness. Beware the ever-hungry, cannibalistic ghoul!

We believe that, like us, some humans may have escaped the Fall in protected underground shelters. Though retaining untainted genetics and possessing knowledge of Ancient technology, these enclaves are notoriously xenophobic – even to ‘true’ humans such as ourselves.

Under no circumstances will any Surface Expedition Team reveal the location of Tau without permission from the Tau council. The safety of your community is paramount!

EC/E Biological Survey

Posted in Campaign Info with tags , , on 02-Jun-10 by K-Slacker

From: Brad Jefferies, Tau Biotechnician
To: Surface Expedition Team Members

It is known that one result of the Fall is the appearance of several strange breeds, mutants distantly related to the species that inhabited the world in the time of the Ancients. We collect every scrap of information that we can, but so few Explorers return to Tau that our report to you will be sketchy at best. The few types of creatures that can slip through the Vault gates are better known to us.

We have categorized several different types of creatures:

  • Insects: These are the creatures that were best fitted to survive a nuclear holocaust. With most of the larger animals out of the way, the arthropods have evolved to take over most of the ecological niches previous occupied by other animals. An alarming increase in size is the most common adaptation, but lately we have seen evidence of specialized methods of attack, and even of rudimentary intelligence. Giant roaches are the most common insects reported from previous Expeditions.
  • Mammals: The mammal population has been drastically reduced, since these animals were not really fit to survive nuclear war. We have captured a few odd-looking (and ferocious) rats, and packs of rabid dogs are said to be common.
  • Reptiles: Few of the cold-blooded reptiles survived the temperature drops that followed the war. However, giant lizards are known to infest ruined cities and a few types of snakes have been reported in swamps.
  • Plants: We are indeed lucky that some plants survived. Without them, all life on our planet would perish. Plants, particularly the polyploids, are relatively tolerant of genetic disturbance. That is not to say that plants did not change much – outside of Tau we have found odd flesh-eating grasses, some of which have developed the ability to move.
  • Other Creatures: We suspect that some fish must have survived, because the Fall did not pollute the ocean depths with radiation. Although insects command the skies, there are still some birds to be found. As you travel, your scouts must watch the skies intently.

We have also heard rumours of Ancient robots and self-aware machines of war that are still active. If true, then these will be the most dangerous foes that you will face on the surface.