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Author Topic: [Destiny] Dead Man's Land: The Nano-Zombie Apocalypse  (Read 1924 times)

Daddy Warpig

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Why "Dead Man's Land"?
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2012, 08:50:01 pm »
The world is overrun by zombies (or, at least, North America is). They infest the cities and the lowlands, and the only areas free of the zombie presence are high altitudes and northern climates. In between those two zones is a vast area, where few pure humans live and zombies are only an occasional menace.

In WWI, there was an area between the trenches. Occupied by neither army, it comprised barbed wire, mud, and minefields. It was called No Man’s Land.

In the post-apocalypse, the area between the human and zombie zones, but occupied by neither is Dead Man’s Land. This is the domain of the Carrier: those infected by the zombie plague, but not yet turned.

Here Carriers can survive, building settlements and trade routes, hoping to prolong the time before their eyes go red and they succumb to zombification. They launch occasional forays into the Sanctuaries (where pure humans still live) and even rarer expeditions into the cities overrun by zombies. Dead Man’s Land is the buffer between what’s left of humanity and the zombie hordes.
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Daddy Warpig

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The First Days of the Apocalypse
« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2012, 12:40:24 pm »
The First Days of the Apocalypse

The nanites rained down on North America. In areas high in the mountains, or in the frigid north, they failed, rapidly going enert. In the lower altitudes, or southern regions, they floated in the skies, until washed out by rains, rains tinctured red by the nanites.

This happened in different places at different times, and was nowhere universal. In some areas large cities got hit, but the surrounding countryside was spared. In others, the red waters washed down over sparsely populated back country, and nearby metropolises saw not a drop of contaminated fluid.

The nanites entered hosts through their skin, or contaminated drinking water and foodstuffs. Once introduced into a host, they began multiplying, repurposing muscle, bone, and other tissue to make more nanites, eating small holes in critical organs.

(In a few cases, the infected went active, see next post. In most, they simply sickened and died as their organs failed one by one. Many of these were later reanimated by the nanites.)

Each nanite held a fragment of the original colonization programming, so it took a group of them (communicating through something like Near Field Communications) to form a node capable of reconstructing the entire xeno-forming protocol. (Normally, this protocol would be broadcast by the Core from the colony ship, or by a communications beacon.) In most places, this simply didn’t happen.

In most hosts, no viable protocol was assembled. The nanites remained without programming and, other than attempting to increase their number, they did nothing.

Had this been universal, there would have been no zombie plague. People would have sickened and died, but there would have been no outbreaks and no reanimations. Unfortunately, chance (and redundant computing) prevented this from occurring.

Some host-nodes reconstructed a viable protocol and broadcast it to others. It was this imperfect bit of programming, operating on the biology of unknown life-forms, that was responsible for the visions of hell, the ensuing violence, and eventually the destruction of civilization: The Conditioning Protocol.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 12:45:10 pm by Daddy Warpig »
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Daddy Warpig

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The Conditioning Protocol
« Reply #32 on: April 28, 2012, 06:33:42 am »
The Conditioning Protocol

In the days after the red rains began, a new sickness spread among the populace. Externally marked by red irises and gradually reddening scleras, internally the victim's bodily organs were eaten away by nanites (scavenging for tissues to recreate themselves). The holes in their organs gave the disease its name: Rapid Systemic Spongiform Necrosis, or RSSN.

The victims sickened as organ after organ failed. When their eyes turned wholly red, the victim died. In most cases, this took only days. RSSN afflicted hundreds of thousands, thousands of whom were quarantined. When they died, they were buried in mass graves.

Nanite computer clusters were self-programming. They were designed to scan their environment, analyze it, and adapt to it.

They created (or modified) operations protocols on-the-fly, devising means to xenoform colony worlds and, if necessary, xenoform native life-forms. These new protocols could then be transmitted from node to node. Nanite clusters were designed to accept and implement any programmatically correct protocol (the assumption being that protocols would be originated or validated by coordinator AI’s or the ship’s Core).

The Conditioning Protocol was designed to interface with the minds of alien beings (that is, any species not of the colonist ship’s home planet). It was meant to influence their patterns of thought, to pacify them, make them docile, eliminate them as a potential threat to the colonists.

The visions of hell were a side effect of the Conditioning Protocol going active. The nanites were rewiring the human brain to accept the orders of alien colonists. What people saw as hell were sensory recordings of the alien homeworld, its native life-forms, and the aliens themselves.

The Conditioning Protocol was assembled, validated, and implemented. Then, the original cluster broadcast it to any hosts within range. Which, given the large-scale quarantines of RSSN victims, was a great many. Each of those nodes accepted the valid Protocol and implemented it, re-broadcasting it to any unaffected node they encountered.

The protocol spread like a computer virus, each node validating it, implementing it, and rebroadcasting it. Unfortunately, it was a complete failure.

The Conditioning Protocol achieved the opposite of the intended results. Instead of instituting a state of docility and suggestibility, it caused psychosis and bouts of extreme violence.

The population of RSSN sufferers became violent psychopaths, attacking and in many cases killing those not infected. (Node recognition software prevented them from attacking other hosts.) Not only were they highly violent, they were highly contagious.

A bite or scratch, or contact with any bodily fluid of a carrier, could pass nanites from an infected host to another living being, and once introduced into the body, they’d begin to replicate and another found themselves struck by RSSN.

Carried by violent, delusional psychopaths, the nano-phage proliferated wildly. Zombies spread across America and soon, the world.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 08:40:15 am by Daddy Warpig »
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Daddy Warpig

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Reanimating the Dead
« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2012, 09:02:33 am »
Reanimating the Dead

The rising of the first zombies occurred en masse, in mass graves where the victims of RSSN were buried. Once again, an alien operations protocol—The Drone Protocol—was to blame.

Nanites duplicated themselves using human tissues. This ate holes in vital organs, eventually killing the host.

To keep their host body operating after organ failure and brain death, the nanite colonies worked to animate their hosts. Eventually, after many attempts, they succeeded. One single nanite colony was able to resuscitate its host body, reanimating it as a drone.

Drones were completely under control of the nanite cluster, lacking all self-awareness or self-will. Drones became the slaves that Conditioning had failed to provide.

The Protocol maintained, or restored, a minimal level of bodily functions: sensory organs, musculature and tendons, and the skeletal system (either repairing damage to the native structures, augmenting the native structures with artificial tissues, or replacing their function entirely). The body of the zombie—as people called the drones—could walk, sense things (that is, the nanites could use the host's organs to do so), and engage in self-defense and basic attacks, but otherwise operated at an extremely low cognitive level compared to the not-yet-dead.

(In fact, this interface with the host’s sensory system is what gave RSSN sufferers their characteristic red eyes: nanites infected the eyes, so they could gather visual data. Their presence in the cochlea, the nasal cavity, and the spinal column was just as important, but not as immediately visible.)

The first nano-zombie broadcast the protocol to all within range. Had it been buried alone in a field, far from any other host, this would have been pointless. It wasn’t. It was part of a mass grave outside Newark, New Jersey. This grave held over a thousand corpses, and several such graves lay close by.

Each corpse had a functioning nanite colony, each corpse was a node, and each corpse reanimated under the control of the nanites. The Drone Protocol was broadcast to each host, and in 24-48 hours after the protocol was first broadcast (the time necessary to restore functionality), the drones went active and tore themselves from the earth. The Newark mass graves were the first instances of mass reanimation, but the phenomenon soon spread.

Once the protocol was loose, it was broadcast from host to host, even to healthy ones. Any host that received the protocol was primed for reanimation upon death, no matter the cause. So, as the living fought the rampaging RSSN victims, each living and infected human they killed reanimated as a drone.

The Drone Protocol could reanimate the dead. More, the protocol could be used to supplement the functioning of live hosts who the phage was killing. As various organs failed, the protocol could replace their functions, keeping the host alive even as the phage ate holes in their major organs.

Gradual Systemic Spongiform Necrosis had arrived, and with it the Carriers.

The Hunger

Zombies hunger for flesh. Not because the host body can digest and extract nutrients from it, but because the nanites can use it to replicate themselves, to keep their host mobile, or to augment its functions with artificial ones.

Drones are driven to find and consume organic tissue from everything but other zombies. Recognition protocols keep them from attacking each other. Instead, they attack the living or Carriers.
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Daddy Warpig

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The Curse and The Blessed
« Reply #34 on: May 13, 2012, 08:23:14 am »
There was a new star. Then red rains fell (and continue to fall). Then an epidemic spread, the stricken having blood red eyes. Some of the stricken went insane, and began attacking others and murdering them, then eating their corpses. Thousands of both sickened and died, and were buried in mass graves. The dead rose from their graves.

This is the end of the world. A curse has been laid upon mankind.

Certain individuals stricken with the curse gain great abilities. Strength beyond most mortals. The ability to sense when the dead are near. And the ability to command the dead to halt their attacks and flee. These are those blessed by God, with abilities to defend the living from the unliving.

The Truth

The dynamic campaign world of Dead Man's Land is built on a technological event that seems like a religious occurrence. The nanophage is called a curse, and is widely believed to be an act of God.

Many refer to the Infected (those who are not psychotic) as "the Blessed", for their great abilities, all of which have a mundane explanation.

Great strength is the result of the nanites augmenting tissue (which they themselves ate away). Some nanites colonies can interface with the human brain; when they detect the wireless signals of other nodes, they communicate such to their host, alerting them to the presence of zombies and even the Infected. The rarest, however, are those who can command the undead.

In their original form, the nanites were designed to be controlled by Coordinator AI's, themselves controlled by the Core (the machine intelligence in the colony ship). Command and control protocols are built into the nodes.

As noted in previous posts, the nanites are designed to reprogram themselves. In some hosts, nanite ability to communicate with the host's brain can be subverted, with the host unknowingly able to send signals through their node's wireless broadcast.

In most cases, these signals are meaningless and useless (or worse, the signals can serve as a beacon to the undead). In a few cases, they tap into the command and control protocols. As a result, when they "feel" the presence of undead, the Infected can give them simple commands: "stop attacking", "go to sleep", or "flee".

For many, this is used to protect their settlement. For a few, it is used to assemble an army of undead minions. Such Masters of the Dead, when they appear, are a serious scourge to those who live in Dead Man's Land.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 01:52:00 pm by Daddy Warpig »
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Drohem

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[Destiny] Dead Man's Land: The Nano-Zombie Apocalypse
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2012, 05:21:25 pm »
Dude, this stuff is freakin' awsome! :D

Daddy Warpig

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[Destiny] Dead Man's Land: The Nano-Zombie Apocalypse
« Reply #36 on: May 18, 2012, 09:20:51 am »
Quote from: Drohem;540263
Dude, this stuff is freakin' awsome! :D

Thanks for the compliment.
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Drohem

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[Destiny] Dead Man's Land: The Nano-Zombie Apocalypse
« Reply #37 on: May 18, 2012, 10:17:44 am »
I know that you are writing this for your own game Destiny, but you should make this available as a generic zombie campaign so that it can be adopted to any system. :)

Daddy Warpig

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Hellscapes
« Reply #38 on: May 18, 2012, 10:40:30 am »
Hellscapes

The nanites are designed to xenoform planets, for the purposes of colonization. In the initial outbreaks, many in red rain zones (who would go on to become Infected) saw visions of Hell: red skies, unknown and ugly creatures, and demonic taskmasters. These were images of the alien planet, implanted into their subconscious by the nanites infesting their body.
 
But at some point, they will become more than visions. In accord with their programming, the nanites will alter native plant and animal life to conform to the template of the alien ecology, forming Hellscapes.

Harsh terrain, dry weather, thorny plants with skin and blood that eat their prey, and squat, powerful predators with mouths like lampreys and teeth like sharks—this is a Hellscape. And they begin to appear all over, anywhere nanites can implement their programming.

Not all at once. First an alien plant or two (which leech away ambient moisture to form their blood), then a dog or bear with mutated features. Then fully-xenoformed species. Last, the change to a dry, desert climate.

The American South is humid and green. The air is filled with moisture, it rains often, and the foliage is lush.

When the alien plants begin to proliferate, they leech moisture out of the air, locking it away in their root systems and stalks. As more and more appear, the climate gets drier and drier, and native trees and grasses begin to dry up. Some Earth plants are xenoformed, others just die. The alien plants are water-vampires, and they make deserts of the moistest environments.

And after them, the beasts and aliens follow.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 11:56:44 am by Daddy Warpig »
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Daddy Warpig

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[Destiny] Dead Man's Land: The Nano-Zombie Apocalypse
« Reply #39 on: May 18, 2012, 12:59:31 pm »
Quote from: Drohem;540371
I know that you are writing this for your own game Destiny, but you should make this available as a generic zombie campaign so that it can be adopted to any system. :)

Again, thanks for the compliment. It's much appreciated.
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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Daddy Warpig

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Bloody Tears and Shining Eyes
« Reply #40 on: June 03, 2012, 11:40:13 pm »
Bloody Tears and Shining Eyes

The nanophage begins with tears of blood and eyes that shine in the night. Nanites appear in the vitreous humor of the eye, and reflect the smallest amount of light, making the eyes shine like a cat's. Testing for infection is exceedingly simple: shine a light into a person's eyes, and if their eyes shine red, they have the phage.

If anyone had performed the test, peering into the eyes of an infected person would reveal a pale red liquid, in which floats tiny pieces of glitter. Under a microscope, the vitreous humor (the fluid inside the eyes) shimmers with thousands of metallic structures.

When first contracted, the nanites reproduce by consuming pieces of the host's body and building new nanomachines. The first active protocols—The Conditioning and Drone Protocols—required neural intervention. Nanites concentrate themselves in the brain and neural tissue, including the optic nerves—the eyes. The concentration of nanomachines turns the vitreous humor red.

Nanites break down, as all machinery does, and the host's immune system can destroy nanites. Inactive nanites seep out of the host through liquid or solid waste, sweat, or through the tear ducts.

The Conditioning Protocol is focused entirely on the brain, requiring a far higher concentration of nanites in the brain than the Drone Protocol. The higher concentration of nanites means many more become inactive and are flushed out through the tear ducts. The host cries red liquid, that looks like blood.

The red eyes and red tears precede the neurological changes concurrent to the Conditioning Protocol. Hosts who cry blood are on the verge of going psychotic.

Carriers, both those who are swiftly dying and those who are slowly succumbing, have shining red eyes, but lack the bloody tears. They are not victims of the Conditioning Protocol.

If the eyes are red, the person is infected. If they cry red tears, they are going to become violent very soon. In the wastes between the zombie-free cold zones and the cities filled with thronging zombies, Carriers live by these two tests.

(Note: This post changes some details previously given. Dead Man’s Land is under development, and changes like this are to be expected.)
« Last Edit: June 04, 2012, 12:52:28 am by Daddy Warpig »
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
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Daddy Warpig

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White Star. Red Skies. Black Stone. Crimson Eyes.
« Reply #41 on: October 04, 2012, 05:45:38 am »
White Star. Red Skies. Black Stone. Crimson Eyes.

The Apocalyse began with a new star, burning white in the northern skies. For seven days and seven nights, it burned as the sun, turning night to day.

On the first day, all electronics ceased to function. The computers, the stereos, the engines, the motors, the power lines: mankind’s technology was destroyed in less than 24 hours.

And on the second day, the skies turned: no longer blue, but scarred with red, and the clouds that gathered were scarlet and roiling.

On the third day, the skies opened and rains fell across the land. As red as blood but cold as steel, the rains fell on humans, animals, and plants alike. They contaminated lakes and streams, and the waters of the north ran red.

And on the fourth day the dreams began. They were every one all the same, and millions shared them:

   A red sun, and a parched landscape through which oleaginous black waters ran in rivulets along the ground. Black waters fall from the sky and at night choking mists cover the land.

Black, thorny plants with a thick, almost flesh-like skin that bleed when cut. Ugly, six-limbed beasts with short snouts, long, irregular teeth and heavy hides fighting each other, the victor consuming the defeated. Squat, six-limbed humanoids with red skin, fighting the beasts and each other with spears and whips.

Then the dreamer, in the bleak landscape, chained to a piece of black rock along with numerous others. His family. His friends. His neighbors. They drag the rock along the ground on rollers, then up a ramp, all the while the six-limbed humanoids whip them to work faster. They are building thick walls and low buildings from the black stones. A city of obsidian rock painstakingly built by slave labor, black stone under red skies.


On the fifth day, the eyes of a third part of men turned red. From their cornea to their scelera, even the whites of their eyes were awash with crimson. And they thrashed, and were in pain, and their nights were plagued by dreams of hell.

And on the sixth day they took to the streets, hunting in packs and killing those they hunted. Rampaging mobs of the stricken, with red eyes and faces twisted by rage, with no memory of who they were and no cognizance of what they did. Most were killed in the streets.

Many survived the attacks of the stricken, and that night dreamed of the obsidian city and the demonic slavers, and woke themselves with eyes of red, and came forth to kill. And the dead were heaped in piles, and buried in mass graves.

On the seventh day, the star Wormwood faded and as it died, so died the world. The dead tore free from their graves and came forth, covered in rot and soil, clad in stained and tattered garments. Rising, they went forth and conquered the world.

– excerpted from The Gospel of the Fall of Man
"To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
"Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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