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Gaea's Revenge = Unsurvivable

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Between the targeted natural disasters, hostile animals, fantastic plant growth throwing off deadly spores, swarms of deadly insects, etc., I just don't see any PCs surviving, no matter where they go or what they do.

Even just the Tsunamies would wipe out the vast majority of populated locations on the globe.

This has got to be the most deadly setting I've ever come across. A quick TPK seems to be the only outcome. Why even bother running it?

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If you look at most of the scenarios in Wrath of the Gods, they all seem quite grim and barely survivable.  And yes, it does seem like Gaea's Revenge might seem like the most deadly (though I would actually give that to the Cthulhu scenario).  But there are a few things to consider.


1)  Balance on a large scale - The scenario runs like the planet's attempt to regain a natural balance, upset presumably by humanity.  Thus, like a body reacting to an infection, the planet fights back, attacking what it deems to be the source of the problem (READ: People).  But, humanity is just as much a part of the planet as anything else.  Thus, the planet will not seek to wipe out humanity entirely, just enough of it to eliminate it as a direct threat to its existence.  Thus, small pockets of humanity will remain, big enough to maintain existence, but small enough to no longer be a threat to the planet.  The extended story framework follows along this path.


2) Balance on a small scale - Running this adventure does not preclude that this is happening on a global scale... well, it does, but, you do not have to run it that way.  Think about the horror movies of the sixties and seventies where nature revolts against mankind in a remote location.  The movie Frogs deals with the titular amphibians revolting against a millionaire who seeks to destroy them.  Or take The Swarm, where a gigantic swarm of killer bees wreck havoc across the United States.


In essence, the inspiration for Gaea's Revenge is the disaster movies of the 70s taken to a massive scale.  Just because the source book takes it to a global scale does not mean you have to run it the same way.  Part of how this series is constructed is to take ordinary people (READ: the players) and put them into an extraordinary situation.  If that means nearly destroying the world, then go for it.  It that means forcing them to try and escape a ship flipped over by a rogue wave with only Paul Newman to help them, then that is your scenario.

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1)  Balance on a large scale - The scenario runs like the planet's attempt to regain a natural balance, upset presumably by humanity.  Thus, like a body reacting to an infection, the planet fights back, attacking what it deems to be the source of the problem (READ: People).  But, humanity is just as much a part of the planet as anything else.  Thus, the planet will not seek to wipe out humanity entirely, just enough of it to eliminate it as a direct threat to its existence.  Thus, small pockets of humanity will remain, big enough to maintain existence, but small enough to no longer be a threat to the planet.  The extended story framework follows along this path.


Definitely this.

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The series is called "End of the World" for a reason.  It's not a question of IF you'll survive, only for how long?

Admittedly, dealing with global tsumanis would be pretty devastating, but you can come up with excuses for how the party survives the initial disaster, or simply move the setting to somewhere that wouldn't be impacted (immediately) with such overwhelming odds.


You don't have to roll the dice on every single thing that might go wrong.  As GM you have the authority to fudge the rules in the name of good storytelling.

Edited by Steve-O

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Besides all that, how dangerous could the animal population be, after that, too, has been decimated by a massive storm followed by a tremendous tidal wave?




Good point!


Unless your GM has seen "Sharknado". Then you get eaten by saltwater crocodiles carried inland by a tsunami...

Edited by Robin Graves

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Besides all that, how dangerous could the animal population be, after that, too, has been decimated by a massive storm followed by a tremendous tidal wave?



i live in Australia mate............. 90% of the worlds population of dangerous animals live here hehehe

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You aren't exactly supposed to survive without some extreme ingenuity.  That being said, The group I ran this with went for Antarctica and would have made it if they didn't get greedy and try to commandeer the ship they were sailing on.

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A 33% loss in population in one year's time should collapse any government.  An 805 loss over seven years should give plenty of time to adapt.  My problem with the Gaia's revenge scenario was that I couldn't reconcile it with any mythology until it suddenly occurred to me to link it to Wicca.

I've made several assumptions that may work for others:

1.  If it reproduces it's alive and under Gaia's influence, this includes both computer viruses and nanites.

2. God; or the gods, tries to communicate with us through our dreams.

3. Gaia's goal is to reduce the human population by 80% to 90%, induce behavioral changes that support sustainability, and institute biological controls that will prevent the human population from ever again exceeding 2.5 billion.

4. Gaia already has access to cyberspace through computer viruses and will have complete control over cyberspace within 3 to 5 years.

Below is a general outline for year one of a seven year Gaia's revenge.  If it reads like your playing Harvest Moon End of Days, jump on that analogy and see if you can make it work for your.  You will of course want to change the state and local news to reflect your area.  I recommend using a pendulum to access whatever you subconscious mind has put together from disaster films, animal attack videos, your life experiences and whatever you know about Witchcraft and Homesteading.  In the unlikely event that your group is comfortable with a Ouija board you could use that to outline the course of events instead.

Yo will notice that I make frequent business references.  I am a firm believer in the idea that the end of the world will be somebody's business opportunity.

If you are wondering about the fundamentalist vs. transhumanism dynamic, I got that from the book "Forbidden Gates" by Thomas R. Horn.  Check your local library, you may find more by the same author.  You can look for transhumanism in the index of any of his books and probably find something.

Christian Wicca is a real thing.  I looked up Ram of God on google images just to see if it already exists and turned up the cover of "Christian Wicca the Trinitarian Tradition" by Nancy Chandler Pittman.  I looked that up on Barnes and Noble and I got two other titles along with it.

Wrath of the Gods Gaia's Revenge Year 1

March: World News ~ Mt. Tambora in Indonesia erupts. Ice sheet collapse in Antarctica raises sea level 1 foot. Massive flooding in Bangladesh, Indian army shoots Bangladesh refugees trying to flee the flooding.

National News ~ Blizzard dumps between 12" and 18" of snow from Maine to Washington DC and west to Ohio.  4.8 earthquake in downtown Los Angeles.  Tornado swarm across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

State News ~ Forest fire in the Great Dismal Swamp.  Mosquito borne yellow fever, DDT spraying has no effect on mosquitos but laborers working with the pesticide seem especially vulnerable.  Early movement of black bears reported across the state.

Local News ~ Bear attacks school bus in the west end. Hail storm drops 3" of pea sized hail, fruit trees loose 70% of their blossoms. Sewer explosion knocks out power in the east end.

April: World News ~ 5.2 earthquake hits Kabul Afghanistan, government collapses.  Surviving U.S. troops evacuated from Afghanistan, no more U.S. presence in the country.  Late freeze in Europe, north sea covered in ice, canals in Venice freeze over.

National News ~ Eruption of Mt. Rainier sends a mud flow through Seattle. Category 4 Hurricane slams islands of the Caribbean, Florida and Georgia.  Category 5 Hurricane slams into Texas west of Galveston.

State News ~ Spring rains and rising sea levels bring flooding to Hampton Roads, Newport News and Virginia Beach.  Fire goes out in Great Dismal Swamp.  Yellow fever mutates producing an air borne strain.

Local News ~ Severe thunderstorms knock out power in many neighborhoods, downed trees and branches make driving difficult.  Morel mushrooms sprout under every birch tree, local newspapers carry recipes.  Office gossip: passion fruit with mango and ground ginger helps speed recovery from yellow fever.

May: World News ~ Eruption of Mt. Tambora ends.  Blizzard conditions hit South African Coast.  Category 5 hurricane devastates the South China Sea.

National News ~ 4.8 earthquake hits Oklahoma oilfields.  Category 5 hurricane hits North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland.  Late season ice storm hits New England and upstate New York.

State News ~ Tornadoes hit Charlottesville, Alexandria and Lynchburg.  Feral pig population explodes, people advised not to go outside in groups smaller than 4, all road crews have at least one person armed with an automatic rifle to protect the crew from pig attacks.  Prices for suburban and small town homes drop to a ten year low.

Local News ~ High winds and heavy rain knock out power for most of the area, some places take 9 days to get back power.  Measles epidemic among school age children and in retirement homes.  Break room gossip: plant your own carrots the California carrot crop has been devastated by the weather and prices are going to soar.

June: world News ~ 4.7 earthquake hits Waziristan region of Pakistan.  Three day blizzard in Chile and Argentina.  Russian and Ukrainian forces stop fighting each other to putout wild fires in order to avoid burning to death.

National News ~ Yellow fever epidemic spreads from Virginia and North Carolina throughout the eastern seaboard and gulf coast.  Category 4 hurricane strikes on the Texas-Mexican border, massive flooding along the Rio Grande.  Everyone who owns a book on Wicca or Witchcraft dreams of participating in Wiccan rituals, those who act out the dream receive a bonus die to their positive dice pool until the Autumnal equinox, those who do not act out the dream get two die in their negative dice pool until the Autumnal equinox.

State News ~ Dash cam shows a state trooper and the motorist he's pulled over being mauled by a bear.  GMO corn ruined by jelly fungus, farmers growing heirloom varieties of corn suffer no damage.  Killer heat wave as temperatures climb above 108  degrees.

Local News ~ Sounder of wild pigs gets through the fence around an elementary school, students and teachers attacked, animal control officer killed.  Realtors and banks send brochures to apartment dwellers asking if they are interested in home ownership.  Thunderstorms bring lightning and wind damage but no rain.

July: World News ~ Prions released by GMO soybeans infect farm workers, the disease known as Monsanto fever soon becomes a global pandemic, 1 in 6 people world wide infected, 1 out of 4 infected survive, all CEO's and board members of Monsanto corporation who have served within the past 20 years are arrested and turned over to the world court for trial and execution for crimes against humanity, no amount of "campaign contributions" will buy them immunity.  4.6 earthquake hits China, the three gorges dam breaks two days later during an aftershock.  Blizzard conditions in Tasmania and Melbourne Australia.

National News ~ Geriatric measles spreads throughout the country affecting those over 65, 1 out of 4 survives, Japan and Italy quarantine anyone coming from the United States.  Category 5 Hurricane slams into Florida before crossing the Gulf to hit Mobile Alabama.  Unexpected snows in the mountains of Southern California, Arizona and New Mexico.

State News ~ Killer heat wave returns as temperatures again climb to 108 degrees, massive price gouging by the power companies.  Caribbean Ghost Crabs found in coastal plain streams and culverts.  Poison ivy, trumpet vine, and Virginia creeper all grow one meter a day.

Local News ~ VCU art student paints "Ram of God" which depicts Christ risen from the tomb with ram horns growing from his head, proceeds from T-shirt sales of the painting are enough to pay for both tuition and textbooks for the fall semester.  Neighbors and co-workers with vegetable gardens all report good harvests.  Most neighborhoods have organized patrols of teenagers and adults to defend the neighborhood from marauding animals.

August: World News ~ Monsanto fever survivors can absorb chloroplasts from raw vegetables and transfer them too their skin, fundamentalist leaders denounce these "greenies" as transhumanist abominations and call for their deaths, "greenies" and their families fight back.  Belgian flu outbreak, no vaccine available for this strain, drugstore riots as people fight over Tamiflu and Theraflu, 1 out of 20 people world wide dies of the flu during the next year.  Meltwater from Greenland raises ocean levels 5 feet.  Killer heatwave in India, Pakistan and Myanmar.

National News ~  Books on herbal remedies fly off the shelves as people prepare to self medicate, sales of "Powwows; or the long lost friend" also very popular.  Swarm of grasshoppers denudes Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma, swarm mostly dies out when five tornadoes touch down in Oklahoma city.  Loss of migrant workers to Monsanto fever along with poor weather conditions in California make fresh vegetables 3 times more expensive than they were a year ago, home gardening now seen as a survival skill rather than a hobby.

State News ~ 3.2 earthquake knocks North Anna Nuclear power plant offline.  Lowes and Home Depot offer household wind and solar kits along with free installation as households feel the pinch of rising electrical bills.  Those who have a book on Wicca or Witchcraft dream of participating in Wiccan rituals, those who act out the dream add a die to their positive dice pool until the winter solstice, those who fail to act on the dream add 2 dice to their negative dice pool until the winter solstice.

Local News ~ Out of state relatives; first cousins, second cousins, maybe some of each, ask homeowners to foster some of their children while they wrestle with their insurance company over money for home repair even if they haven't communicated in decades.   Parks and recreation offers a class in raising backyard chickens, Southern States and local farmers markets offer chickens for sale.  Area home owners dream of harvesting winter vegetables, local newspapers carry articles on fall and winter gardening.

September: World News ~ Another Category 5 hurricane in the South China Sea, China's artificial islands are indefensible due to climate change.  Blizzard conditions cover all of New Zealand.  Meltdown at a French nuclear facility more like Three mile Island than Chernobyl.

National News ~ Category 5 hurricane hits Florida and travels up the east coast to long Island before turning out to sea.  Series of thunderstorms moving across Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska produce orange sized hailstones.  Nanotech research labs report the development of nanotech-fungus symbionts, these cyber-fungi are used to clean up oil spills on the Gulf coast.

State News ~ Climate refugees from coastal areas move into township resettlements, 80 acre mixed use towns surrounded by moat and palisade, all of which are built west of highway 1 in anticipation of continued sea rise.  Fires in Virginia Beach, Newport News, and Hampton Roads are left to burn as high tide usually puts them out.  Navel operations in Norfolk hampered by congressional interference and uncertainty over how much climate change needs to be prepared for.

Local News ~ Lowes, Home Depot and Southern States give workshops on building and using cold frames.  Wiccan neighbors practice their faith outdoors in their own backyards, people starting to talk to each other about what works spiritually with their friends, neighbors and co-workers.  White tail bucks in rut attacking humans.

October: World News ~ 4.8 Earthquake hits the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.  Mt. Erebus in Antarctica erupts.  Shadow virus infects computer games world wide, named for "Shadow of Mordor" the virus lets monsters and NPC's learn and adapt from experience interacting with other NPC's, monsters and avatars.

National News ~ Mt. Rainier stops erupting.  Yellow fever epidemic subsides.  A category 5 hurricane hits New Orleans and moves up the Mississippi river until it reaches Minneapolis-St. Paul where it stalls until hit by an arctic front from the northwest.

State News ~ Early snowfall reaches as far south as interstate 64.  Small towns and some neighborhoods adopt the moat and palisade defenses of the refugee towns.  Video of a bear climbing over a wall reminds everyone that; yes, bears can climb and they need to organize a neighborhood watch to man the walls.

Local News ~ Parks and recreation offers a class on pickling and preserving.  Richmond port authority does steady business 24/7.  Wild geese behave aggressively towards cats, small dogs and people.

November: World News ~ North Korea declares was on South Korea and Japan, a nuclear missile explodes over the Aleutian islands creating an EM pulse that knocks out electricity in Alaska, British Columbia, Eastern Siberia, and Manchuria.  China disavows North Korean idiocy and does a profitable business selling arms and supplies to Russia, South Korea, and Japan.  Epidemic of geriatric  measles  fades away.  Rising sea levels and storm damage have rendered many ocean ports unusable, cargo dirigibles are now economically viable.

National News ~ Two Hurricanes hit the United States a category 5 hits Myrtle Beach South Carolina and travels up the coast to New Jersey, a category 4 passes between Florida and Cuba before turning north to hit the Texas-Louisiana border.  Blizzard from Maine to the Appomattox river and west to St. Louise. Free Realm video game reboots itself from the undernet, social media users have to quest to use their accounts, access is site specific meaning that where you in the physical world changes your avatar's location when you access cyber space. 

State News ~ Bears seek shelter for the winter.  Blue-maple Oaks sprout in a ten mile radius around the North Anna and Surry Nuclear power plants, these cybernetic oak trees have a maple like leaf and blue bark and they give off a Wi-Fi signal, the leaves are thick and waxy like holly leaves.  The governor and the speaker of the house of delegates give a joint press conference where they talk about Virginians pulling together for a common good, journalists and political junkies have a panic attack the rest of the state is not impressed.

Local News ~ Building contractors offer good deals on root/storm cellars.  Area gays are pressured to take up pottery, weaving of both.  Lesbians are pressured to go fishing.

December: World News ~ Icelandic volcano erupts disrupting air travel in northern Europe.  Wiccans/witches in the northern hemisphere dream of wassailing  the fruit trees; this consists of offering a slice of fruit cake to the largest/oldest tree in an orchard and pouring a libation of cider while singing, those who act out the dream are blessed with a good crop of fruit and nuts, those who dream and do not act out see their crop wither to blight and insects.  Electric jasmine appears in temperate forests around the world within a ten mile radius of electric power plants, these cyber vines give off a faint but noticeable electric current and attach themselves to power and phone lines.

National News ~ An article in Psychology Today reveals that scientists working in biotech and nanotechnology fields have been visited in their dreams by a green hermaphrodite calling itself Gaius-Gaia who makes suggestions for their research.  Fundamentalist ministers call for the death of biotech and nanotech researchers the same way they called for the death of abortion doctors, a few gun battles take place at research labs and Universities around the country.  Swarm of tornadoes moves across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.

State News ~ Wintry mix of sleet, snow and freezing rain brings down most power lines across the state. Almost all remaining homes have installed the wind and solar power kits, sales of wood burning stoves increasing.  Christian Wiccans across the state get dreams telling them to celebrate Christmas in March, those who act out their dreams are blessed with good planting weather and abundant spring crops, those who do not suffer mildew and insect problems.

Local News ~ Home owners a boy comes to your front door and offers you a ferret, households that do not have a cat or ferret will have mouse problems and loose part of their food supplies.  Outbreak of antibiotic resistant tuberculosis, one out of four infected, one out of eight infected survives.  Neighborhood patrol saves a utility crew from an attacking boar, one utility worker is killed, two utility workers and three members of the patrol are injured.

January: World News ~ Monsanto fever starts to decline.  Melt water from Antarctica raises sea levels another foot.  Cyber-fungi appear on platform game systems and computer hard drives, they give off a Wi-Fi signal.

National News ~ Blizzard covers the U.S. east of the cascade and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges and west of the Mississippi river, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, blow their snow removal budgets cleaning up after this one storm.  Coywolves kill a postal worker in Pennsylvania.  Monitor lizards spread from Florida into Georgia and Alabama.

State News ~ Tuberculosis spreads across the state.  Sleet and freezing rain hit the state two weeks in a row.  Blue-maple Oaks start to bloom, allergy sufferers are less responsive to treatments.

Local News ~ Neighborhoods without a moat and palisade are abandoned for more secure areas.  Dead from flu and tuberculosis are stacked outdoors on the frozen ground their bodies eaten by pigs, vultures, crows and feral dogs.  Heavy snows delay delivery to grocery stores, households without root sellers and cold frames experience food shortage.

February: World News ~ Heavy snows hamper fighting in Korea, war mostly put on hold for the month.  Human access to the internet disappears for most of the month, research facilities studying virtual life forms know that something is going on but they can't observe or interfere in any way.  With most coastal refineries underwater and many ports either underwater or storm damaged oil shipments are down 78% from a year ago.

National News ~ Antibiotic resistant tuberculosis spreads throughout the country, Canada and Mexico seal their borders threatening to shoot anyone coming from the United States, the rest of the world denies landing to all ships and planes coming from the United States.  Blizzard covers the eastern part of the country as far south as the southern borders of Tennessee and South Carolina.  Bioluminescent prickly pear cactus trees appear across the southwest, these plants give off a Wi-Fi signal.

State News ~ Auto mechanics offer deals on converting cars from gas burning to wood burning, plenty of wood chips available.  Offended by their dead friends and relatives being eaten by dogs and pigs Appalachian communities build towers of silence for the dead to be eaten by birds alone.  State offers unrestrained planting of hemp and tries to market weaving as a "traditional" practice for gay men.

Area News ~ Packs of feral dogs are as much a problem as wild pigs for those outside of townships, rest stops are fenced, gated, and patrolled.  Bread shortages promote the search for alternative grains, recipes for acorn bread appear in local newspapers, potato flour is the favorite alternative.  Foragers from townships where Wiccans are an open and accepted part of the religious community find persimmons, sugarberry and wintergreen even if they are certain no such plants existed in the area previously, townships without Wiccans do not share in the bounty, townships where Wiccans are persecuted or have been driven out suffer a 20% loss of food supplies due to spoilage.


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Personally, I agree with the "cold" analogy.  Therefore, Gaea is not trying to kill off mankind so much as get rid of the symptoms of man; if man gets wiped out in the process then so be it.  The directed attacks are not targeted against people so much as aimed at erasing all of their environmentally destructive creations; of course much of humanity will get erased in the process.

Instead of opening with animal attacks (I save those for later), I start with the localized disappearance of all animal life - wild and domestic - which is consistently followed by a catastrophic natural disaster; Gaea sequesters the animals so that they do not suffer the effects of the calamity.  The animals are returned later to unleash more precisely targeted attacks against those who return to their polluting ways.

During the disaster phase, Gaea will make every effort to cleanse the surface of the Earth - First and foremost by destroying anything that pollutes (factories, power plants, most forms of transportation, etc); next, by destroying everything that covers any portion of ground (cement, asphalt, buildings, etc.)  Again, after the initial disaster phase, if a person uses anything that pollutes or is destructive to the environment, they will be dealt with harshly; typically by an animal "hit squad."

During the post-apocalyptic phase, survival in the remains of big cities will be virtually impossible; Gaea's wrath will remain in full force until the cities are erased from the face of the earth.  Some small groups might try to continue to hope to find shelter in the ruins but most survivors will quickly realize that it is not worth the risk.  However, even groups that live outside of the cities will realize the need to raid cities for supplies.  This is mainly because even those groups will have to learn to subsist without offending Gaea; at first by gathering and then by small, organic farming; after many years, perhaps some hunting if it is done in a respectful manner (think nose-to-tail).

Another good analogy might be a dog with fleas: the dog doesn't really try to kill the flea - it's just trying to stop the irritation.

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