"For almost 30 moons the place we called our headquarters provided us a home. Now it is time for a new beginning. May the city ahead of us offer the wasteland collective shelter and the grounds for a better life."
- The GrandMaester in Seed Moon of Year 2
It was a shocking moment for many wastelanders when the charming ramshackle farm house they had called their home burnt down to the ground. Now the walls of a dilapidated town's industrial area lie ahead of them.
We enter the wasteland at a point of uncertainty and hope. A perfect moment to take a breath and look back to what happened so far.
As far as we can tell today, The GrandMaester was the first one of the current wasteland collective to awake in an deserted, mostly overgrown landscape far from civilisation. Still disturbed and disoriented by being cast into a different reality. Even the weather conditions seemed unusual – dominated by low temperatures, a misty atmosphere and most of the time an unnatural twilight. Only on rare occasions the sun and the moon would appear on the misty sky.
At some point he spotted four rusty silos near a wooden farmhouse, to some degree equipped and with bleak catacombs beneath. The vacant buildings were all abandoned but after days and days of wandering around through a surreal wilderness, he somehow felt at home. The place seemed like the right spot to settle down and establish a first homebase.
Soon after, two more men arrived. g8s, the uncanny shaman with uneven eyes, and spr0ut, a man of science, had joined forces in an enchanted orchard near Stillwater River and then followed a little creek westwards until they spotted the very same silos as signs of a lost civilisation.
A few more days passed until a slightly injured st0nes arrived and eventually took over the responsibility for supplies and organisation. Finally, d0ck3r reached the building and turned out as just the man needed for technical tasks of all kinds. Somehow it seemed like destiny. At least this was what The GrandMaester kept telling his companions, claiming he had foreseen their arrivals in his dreams.
Two women were the next ones to find their way to the collective. The Inner Circle welcomed their precious support with open arms. Shad0w quickly established a small shop by the euphonious name “Shad0w’s Needful Things and Information”. Soon after, feAther joined the collective, a woman gifted with visionary talent who seemed very much in touch with the eerie nature of wasteland2570.
The awakenings of Fl!ck, 50ULM4T3, Ch4r0n, m0rl0ck, and ru3b3 can be dated to this early period as well – though it would take them a few more weeks to arrive. On their way to become part of the wasteland collective, each of them was guided by remarkable symbols carved in trees or stones. Signs which The GrandMaester referred to as "keys" in his early prophecies.
At about the same time, far north of the collective’s homebase (and almost unnoticed, except for an eventual psychic connection), an aspiring and charismatic wicca by the name of Åra was planning to gather mighty warriors around herself. Mantra was the first companion to join her before they encountered C1rcu17, a dedicated follower of the Great Machine God. The Northener's deeds and intentions should remain enigmatic to the Inner Circle since the connection was lost after some weeks.
Days and moons passed, and some kind of routine evolved. More enigmatic figures had entered the wasteland. After digging himself out of the ground, staTTer managed to build up not one, but two shelters. Feenja and s33k3r were both about to find their way to the collective after some time in the wilderness.
A provisional calendar was established. Synchronised with the lunar phases, a wasteland year was defined as twelve moons of 30 days each. Some felt this would not exactly cover a whole year’s time but the collective agreed that divergences in date could be dealt with later. Survival had to be ensured in the first place. As an important step, the small creek was dammed up to provide an easier supply of freshwater.
Weather conditions were finally becoming more appealing when The GrandMaester decided it was time to explore the surroundings of the collective’s homebase. On the presumed day of Beltane, a small squad started an expedition. Heading south, they tried to track down the paths of staTTer who had been gone mussing after planning to perform a scrying ritual in order to gain deeper insights into the mysterious nature of an area names “The Wronglands”.
After finding a weakened staTTer the squad returned to the collective headquarters, reporting alarming findings. Not only had staTTer found a completely desiccated human body, but he also remarked changes in the surrounding nature. The strange area in which all plants seemed to prosper but animals could not survive was slowly expanding towards the homebase.
Another quartet followed the small creek westwards to find the banks of the Stillwater River. After a few days, they returned safely. Their quest brought some stunning discoveries to light. In an old wine cellar they had found various supplies that were much needed to keep up a certain quality of life in the collective but also some enigmatic objects.
A third party headed east, trying to track down of a young woman dressed in white who had been spotted and seemed lost in the woods. But the woods and the winds turned against the squad. They found hints of an Wiccan coven but were not able to establish contact. However, they had gathered some useful items and even brought some living plants from an herb garden they had run into.
While exploring another old ruin, m0rl0ck’s perception skills led the young man to discover an old compass hidden in the crumbly wall of a tower. The cardinal directions, hitherto just estimated, were basically confirmed but could from now on be determined more exactly.
Around presumed Midsummer, the arguably mightiest practitioners of magic around joined forces. The GrandMaester, g8s, and staTTer came together to “pray for rain”. Finally, the heavens opened and sent down water – more than the ground could cope with at once. Heavy rains, flooding and muddy grounds were impeding further exploration. Due to the excessive result of their ritual, the collective had toshelve The GrandMaester’splans of inspecting the mysterious concrete block as a group.
Weather conditions finally stabilised. spr0ut and Fl!ck reported that crops had taken some damage but fortunately were not completely destroyed. Repair works and other routine labours occupied most wastelanders’ attention and time. Meanwhile s33k3r seemed increasingly pensive and concerned since she had found a piece of cloth in the undergrowth somewhere in the forest. Apparently some fragments of memory came to her mind. It remained debatable if her invisible dog, which she claimed to have by her side all the time, was connected to her burdening thoughts.
The GrandMaester and feAther joined in the so-called “Headless Rite”, a powerful ritual they performed according to ancient scrolls that mysteriously had emerged in a cave – and had only been discovered due to the repeated occurring of some beetles suspiciously looking like scarabs. Massive time anomalies were sensed around the collective’s homebase. Strange lights were spotted in the sky, the area was struck from minor earthquakes and high strangeness phenomena increased. Some psychically talented wastelanders received visions of a nearby city, long-demolished buildings, and ruinous stairways to hidden cellars.
The GrandMaester immersed into conjuring “the Old Gods” more and more frequently – namely Pan, Dionysos, The Green Man, and Hekate. It was first him and g8s who performed sinister rituals demanding special sacrifices. Not everyone in the collective seemed to be pleased with this development. First wastelanders started to become suspicious over such occult practices, wondering how and why they had actually awoken in wasteland and what had led them to the collective.
Ch4r0n’s and d0ck3r’s work on some improvised weapons and traps to defend the wasteland collective progressed well, though it was not exactly clear whom these arms could be used against. Or who would even use them – the collective was still missing characters with a true fighting spirit. Under the guidance of spr0ut, the members of the collective were all taking part in harvesting whatever they could find. Fortunately, berries, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, kale and crabapples were growing near the homebase, and some of the grains spr0ut had sowed months before had grown properly. ru3b3, who had recently acquired a liking for being out in the wilderness, was back at the collective for a few weeks and almost day and night busy curing, boiling and smoking fruits, mushrooms, roots, grains and vegetables.
A new ritual site was discovered, or to be more precise, seemed to have appeared in a nearby forest – an oak with four trunks and a pool of black liquid in the center. Out of intuition, feAther was sure this place bore the old name “Four Oaks” and had either played an important role in the past or would in the nearby future. Or both.
s33k3r contacted g8s to ask him for some shamanistic instruction. He agreed on one condition – she had to unravel “the way of the shaman” first to prove her eligibility before she was to be initiated. The GrandMaester returned to the place into the forest where he had found (or received?) his amulet one year before. The whole place seemed abandoned, the dugout made of branches was half collapsed. However, he found a black shirt that felt strangely familiar to him, as if the memory of some long forgotten dream was triggered.
In the secrecy of night,he consulted Fl!ck and feAther and asked them to use their visionary powers on the garment he found. Both women were agitated by the result of their analysis and reported their findings to The GrandMaester who, after hours of contemplation by the fire, finally burned the shirt at the first signs of daybreak.
Several people were having dreams or visions of the ruins of a city. And more than one reported that the signs carved into the barks of the trees around the collective, named “glyphs” and believed to symbolise “keys”, had changed in appearance. A grand fire was lit near the headquarters to celebrate the first successful harvest. For one carefree night with lots of self-brewed and mead, the members of the collective were able to forget that winter was coming.
On the first day of Beaver Moon, the Inner Circle found st0nes highly alarmed. A notebook and some memos had appeared, clearly in his handwriting and dated to “Beaver Moon, 1st”. But neither did he remember having written them at any point, nor did they fit current events. The wasteland collective had not even existed back then, let alone had the months been named.
This, of course, raised questions. A check on the collective members showed that almost everyone had experienced blackouts, loss of memory or even inexplicable leaps in time.
Shad0w was terrified when she noticed someone had apparently broken into her beloved shop. Following weird noises from inside she found no trace of an intruder. However, an odd red radio device had been placed on one of her shelves. After some inspecting and thinking she brought asked d0ck3r to have a closer look. Shad0w was surprised to find all her goods and objects intact and none missing. The mystery of the break-in remained unsolved.
One of his expeditions led staTTer to find the ruin of an old temple, partly collapsed and defaced with graffiti but still holding intense energies. s33k3r and Feenja discovered new buildings worth investigating more closely. ru3b3 decided that following the wires of the pylons seemed worth a shot and set out for a longer trip on his own.
Several wastelanders were on fire deciphering the newly found glyphs. A new prophecy from The GrandMaester heralded new arrivals, important decisions at crossroads, and the coming of an inscrutable darkness but also groundbreaking discoveries.
Fl!ck, bursting with energy, demanded her own quest to investigate the spot where The GrandMaester had found the shirt and the amulet. She was also eager to finally examine the concrete block. Another exploration squad was sent out, this time prepared and equipped for a longer journey. Fl!ck chose g8s and feAther to join her. To general surprise, The GrandMaester himself offered to escort the new squad.
On one of her preparatory trips through the woods, feAther had observed an eerie man with a purple hat, flashy clothes like those of a circus director and a walking stick. She identified him as the dre4mc4tcherwhom she had met before in several dreams of hers.Suddenly other wastelanders started to take notice of the dre4mc4tcher as well. Still he never spoke or was addressed by anyone, most of the time he kept lurking in the shadows, observing and occasionally performing weird gestures. Seemingly with no connection, two more enigmatic women had appeared in wasteland2570: TR!NiTY and rh0nd4.
Slightly strained from the endeavours, and from an encounter with a pack of wolves, Fl!ck, g8s, and The GrandMaester returned safely to the wasteland collective's homebase on the 8th day of Ice Moon. Their analysis of Four Oaks,The Taletelling Beech, the Forelorn Forest where the GrandMaester's amulet had manifested, and the ominous Concrete Block brought some profound results to the cold winter light of wasteland2570.
However,feAther went missing when the rest of the squad awoke one morning, not far from the concrete block. The rest of the pack were able to follow her traces up to an enigmatic crossroads which was marked as Mortens Fork.
feAther returned from her side quest on the 7th day of Crow Moon. Her first report left quite a few questions. So let us have a closer look at what she found.
Soon after finding a hidden path at Mortens Fork, the place where her companions had lost her tracks, feAther found a clearing with a suspicious scarecrow. She received a vision from a past conjuration and from a fight. At night she made contact with the dre4mc4tcher for the first time. Whether in wasteland reality or in her dreams (or both) she was not completely sure about.
The next day she followed a path in the woods which seemed like a corridor. Further down her way she "found the ruins of an abandoned city but there was ..."
... a raging river she could not cross to take further investigations. As she camped on the river bank, she noticed strange lights coming from the town's industrial zone which was obviously shelter to a group of strangers. At least she could see lights and smoke coming from some factory halls and chimneys. And sometimes, when the wind was right, even meant to hear the sounds of machines pounding.
On her way back she was sure she heard shots. Run and hide seemed clearly the smartest option, since feAther had met no trace of firearms before in wasteland2570. Later she encountered a strange old man that seemed like an old acquaintance and in a mysterious conversation. Bemused and bewildered she returned to headquarters and needed a few hours to sort her thoughts.
feAther was eager to find out more about the city ruins she had discovered and initiated a new squad for her expedition. Plans were made, and preparations undertaken. On the 14th day of Seed Moon, feAther, s33k3r, p0is0n ivi, 50ULM4T3, and Ch4r0n left the wasteland collective to head north and find a way to cross the river and reach the town. As they left the headquarters, five crows were circling in the air and then flew north. That was taken as a good omen by the party. Until, a few hours later, only four crows returned, seemingly very much in distress. Would this turn out as a bad omen?
When the squad returned from Ashville, they had surprising stories to tell. All were unharmed, even though had gotten into trouble and fled the town with three stolen books.
On their way to the town, they had met tHeM3rch4nt, an old acquaintance. He had provided them valuable information about the habits and customs, such as that roamers were only allowed to stay in Ashville for "one day and one night". Afterwards they had to leave or become one of the "free citizens of Ashville", which of course came with some dubious obligations.
"For the greater good" seemed the omnipresent parole of the city which was inhabitated by only 150 people, leaving most of the abandoned buildings empty. In the end, our squad reported they maybe had caused some havoc in town but using false names their traces would not be tracked back to the collective headquarters.
At about the same time, g8s and Fl!ck were getting more and more restless and unstable. "Time is a lie", Fl!ck hissed repeatedly. Their behaviour was becoming stranger and more estranged. Finally, they decided to leave. They were firmly confident they had found a way to escape from the wasteland2570, back into their former life.
The rest of the wasteland collective was skeptical about their plans. After all, g8s had been an obscure loner due to his shamanistic practices, and Fl!ck had claimed more than once that everything in wasteland were but a dream. The two of them were last spotted together walking north, towards the concrete block.
A few dozens of miles west, another wastelander named f4v5t - we haven't heard of him yet - was increasingly discontent as well. Due to some kind of club law his recent clan enjoying the opression of the weaker ones. f4v5t's pronounced sense of justice could not cope with such unfairness. He got into disputes with his former fellows more and more often. His facial expression gave his thoughts away to oponents and the clan leader who eventually challenged him to a duel for life and death.
Luckily, f4v5t was a man of hidden talents. He was a proper fighter with the sword, and his skills in martial arts were unmatched. So he prevailed, allowing the defeated leader to live. He packed his bags and his dignity and left the clan to head east, in search of a more honourable group of survivers. However, he made the decision to hide his face until he could fully trust again.
Meanwhile, two more characters joined the wasteland collective. Revenant, a travller and an aspiring chronicler. And Heptane, a young woman who did not give much away about her back story. The same week, f4v5t arrived at the Headquarters and was soon having intense talks with The GrandMaester. All three newcomers were soon integrated and performed their daily duties in and around headquarters.
But strange things began to happen in Red Moon. In the early morning The GrandMaester left his room to find a scroll in front of his door. It was a letter signed by the Prophets of Ashfaroth, the occult circle of Ashville potentates. The writing was a clear menace and giving an ultimatum to return the books. Fierce debates among the collective members were the result. Furthermore some wastelanders suffered food poisoning, and a part of the roof truss broke down. Sabotage was suspected but could not be proved.
In the end, there was a vote on how to react to the threatening letter. Based on f4v5t's legal assessment, the majority of the wasteland collective decided to play for time and send a letter back to Ashville. Surprisingly soon, The GrandMaester made the decision to accept f4v5t as a new member of The Inner Circle to replace g8s.
Three nights later, an explosion in spr0ut's laboratory caused a fire. Headquarters burned down to the ground. The wasteland collective had lost their home. Some but not all items could be saved. Thank the Old Gods it was still late summer, so spending the following nights outside was tolerable. But soon it was clear, the headquarters could not be repaired or rebuilt. It was time to leave. But where to turn?
It was clear that seeking refuge in Ashville was not an option. f4v5t's experience in travelling turned out very helpful since he had seen the ruins of a town from the distance while still in his former clan. In the absence of better alternatives, the wasteland collective decided to try their luck right there. On their way, they met bla<k, who claimed to have encountered The GrandMaester in visions and lucid dreams already.
After more than two weeks of wanderings, the collective decided to split up. Shad0w, 50ULM4T3, m0rl0ck, Revenant, and Heptane stayed back with the rest of the collective's belongings while The Inner Circle accompanied by feAther, TR!NiTY, Feenja, Ch4r0n, s33k3r, p0is0n ivi, staTTer, rh0nd4, and bla<k went on to take a closer look at the ruined city.
And then what happened?
We will find out soon. Currently the wasteland collective is standing in front of a run-down factory in the outskirts of an unexplored ruined city.
Events might follow swiftly on one another in our next RPG adventure "Town of Terrors".
The first buildings they came across were abandoned residential buildings and dilapidated houses. All the entrance doors were open and unlocked, but soon after entering, strange perceptions set in. Slight sensations of danger. And shadows in the corner of the eye, where you don't want to look.
Out of necessity, it was still decided to take shelter in one of the buildings after a thorough search and a magical cleansing of the whole premises. Those who had stayed behind and the collective's belongings were picked up. While the house provided protection against winds and weather, it soon became obvious that it was not suitable to serve as a permanent home. And the collective was quickly running out of supplies. Two groups of four volunteered to start investigations and find out more about the town. Meanwhile, more and more wastelanders were confronted with strange perceptions.
The GrandMaester received strange images and scenes in his mind's eye: "Like dream sequences, but someone else's. Some of them in exaggerated colors, some in black and white. All of them were just fragments, like scraps of radio messages." Having heard these words, d0ck3r instantly remembered the red radio, eager to find a power supply to see if there was a signal. spr0ut was eagerly taking samples but lacking a suitable lab and equipment to analyse them. And st0nes was the first one to detect strange markings on the walls, small red arrows and black symbols.
Shad0w was intrigued with taking notes, f4v5t highly alert, feeling something was not quite right. s33kr sensed that her invisible dog was behaving strangely, eventually taking on a human shape for an instance. bla<k was switching between uncertainty and determination and found out that the three coins she had found in a pouch on the way to the industrial area showed different images to anyone who looked at them. staTTer noticed varying scents of mushrooms as well as metallic and chemical substances, all coming from the city. And rh0nd4 had the strong impression of reliving one of her dreams but was unable to reconstruct the ending. feAther, however, was constantly restless, absent-minded, and disturbed. Finally she felt that this town was not for her and decided to go back to the forest.
- At this point, July (feAther) took over as GameMaster from Tim (The GrandMaester) for both parties. -
f4v5t, s33k3r, Shad0w, and The GrandMaester formed the first squad to find out more about the city and search for supplies. When they approached the factory, they noticed a strange young girl, apparently luring them deeper into the building. They soon lost track of her. But while they were trying to interpret the meaning of the arrows and symbols, a weird lady dressed in white and pink appeared, accompanied by two bodyguards dressed in black. "We've been expecting you" the lady welcomed our party of wastelanders with a slightly manical grin. "My name is P.K. and fun is my responsibility around here. Would you like to have some fun?"
The squad was alarmed (f4v5t most of all), but their options were limited, and The GrandMaester encouraged his companions to act normal and follow the unexpected invitation. While they suspiciously followed P.K. who kept chattering about her darker twin sister E.C. ("or B.D. which stands for Belladonna") and her bodyguards into a huge factory hall they were stunned to find not only large machines but also magnificent chandeliers and various furnishings, randomly thrown together. There was music in the air. And there were a few people, all dressed in black, apparently performing their duty in carrying bags. When f4v5t tried to read their minds using his telepathic skills, he received two words: "Deliver. Two."
P.K. led them upstairs ("my sister insists on getting to know you!"), into another huge hall where the atmosphere immediately changed. E.C., a beautiful woman with pale skin and black hair, wearing all black and tainted glasses, studied the visitors silently. The GrandMaester secretly conjured a neutral encounter zone and then entered negotiations. "First, I need to know if I can trust you", E.C. said in a cold and determined voice, and one of her employees presented the squad a serving tray with a variety of pills and other substances. "Or you can leave. But in this case, search your luck elsewhere. You must never return."
"Depending on what you take, you will be guided to one of our rooms. There is The Room of Dreams, there is Wonderland, Happiness, and The Boring Room." P.K. smiled, maybe a bit too sparkly. In secret, The GrandMaester used his amber amulet to sense the sisters' deeper motives. When he detected no trace of hostility, he nodded towards his companions. Resigning to his destiny, f4v5t took an orange pill. P.K. took his hand and led him behind one of the doors. s33k3r chose a white pill and was brought into another room. The GrandMaester and Shad0w, having picked a clear and a turquoise liquid, were shown a third room.
s33k3r entered a room where anything was warm and cosy. A few people were dancing in trace, others laying around, were cuddling or sleeping. She happily embraced a huge cushion, and the last thing she noticed before she fell asleep were two guys who did not seem to fit in. They were sitting on chairs, observing everyone and taking notes. P.K. gave f4v5t an expectant glance and opened the door to another room. He noticed two people on chairs and others, wandering through the room, soliloquising, squirming or absently reaching into the air. Then the drugs kicked in, sending him into an unknown world of interesting colours, patterns and sounds. In a third room, Shad0w and The GrandMaester saw cushions and a handful of people in deep sleep. And two people sitting on chairs taking notes. But they were too tired and exhausted to give their observation further thought and sank into the arms of sleep quickly.
When the first squad had not returned for a few hours, bla<k, rh0nd4, and staTTer left the collective's temporary shelter to check on them. They soon meet a similar fate, ran into P.K. and her bodyguards as well. bla<k, rh0nd4, and staTTer were even less suspicious and soon a conversation ensued. Asked about the arrows and symbols, P.K. answered "They show people where to pick up things and drop things. But they were all created on my sister's order. She does all the business."
The three of them were asked to follow, entered the factory hall, went upstairs and finally meet E.C. When offered the tray full of drugs, the discussion whether to take them or leave was more intense than in the first squad. Questions about the other party were answered evasively. staTTer eventually worked a telepathic spell and seemed reassured by the results. In the end, bla<k, rh0nd4, and staTTer decided to test their fate. rh0nd4 and staTTer entered a room where f4v5t was asleep but seemed unharmed. bla<k was brought into the same chamber as The GrandMaester and Shad0w.
For some reason, the visions of the three newcomers were clearer or more lucid than the ones of their fellow wastelanders. staTTer tried to set his intention on seeing the future of the wasteland collective, and where they would find a permanent home. He received a vision of The GrandMaester and spr0ut walking across a meadow towards a river. d0ck3r seemed enthusiastic, a bunch of cables in both hands. Other wastelanders were there as well, all of them looking relaxed and content. In the background, staTTer recognised railway tracks and an old city, medieval buildings mixing with more modern ones. A white owl carrying a letter while flying across the sky, right towards a bright rainbow
Drifting off the safe grounds of consciousness a bit more slowly, rh0nd4 had a sensation of "green love" and also sensed a white owl flying across a clear spring sky. When she followed the owl, she came across a small bridge. bla<k had focused on her three coins and gained deeper insights on their magical nature before she sank into a deep trance watching stars on the ceiling of the chamber that seemed to show her images of another world somehow connected to her current whereabouts. In the end, she saw all of her coins tossed and heard a voice "Deal completed".
Finally, all of our wastelanders woke up unharmed. staTTer iniated a spell named "SEP" ("someone else's problem) and was able to check the notes of the two men without beeing seen. As suspected, the had been observing and taking notes of how the people in the room had reacted to their experiences. E.C. told the collective members they had passed the test and that they could take as much food and water as they could carry. And that she was highly interested in the red book that was in the collective's possession, at least to make a copy. In this case they could stay in town until further notice. staTTer offered to share his wide knowledge of psychotropic plants instead, and E.C. seemed certainly interested.
The GrandMaester negotiated a few days time to discuss and decide with the rest of the wasteland collective and then let her know. He would tell his comrades that he admired the impressive amount of staples and equipment but still had a strange feeling about the whole town, as if it was not exactly the right place to find a permanent home. All the workers seemed to be under a spell or drugged. But he left this point open to discussion, and the Inner Circle would respect a democratic decision after all. However, further investigations could be of great value to get a bigger picture.
To be continued...
(... in the next RPG night on 14.01.2023)