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LOVE THE BOMB
Created by Mark Iradian

©2006 by Mark Iradian. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with the Invariant Sections being LIST

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LOVE THE BOMB
A narrative post-apocalypse RPG system by Mark Iradian

Table of Contents
WHAT IS LOVE THE BOMB?...................................................................................................................................... 5 WHAT IS A NARRATIVE RPG?.................................................................................................................................. 5 THINGS YOU’LL NEED TO PLAY LOVE THE BOMB RPG .......................................................................................... 5 CHARACTER CREATION ............................................................................................................................................. 6 STRENGTH ........................................................................................................................................................................ 6 DEXTERITY........................................................................................................................................................................ 6 VITALITY ........................................................................................................................................................................... 6 KNOWLEDGE ..................................................................................................................................................................... 6 CHARM ............................................................................................................................................................................... 6 PERCEPTION ..................................................................................................................................................................... 6 SKILLS ................................................................................................................................................................................. 8 ROLLING THE DICE ..................................................................................................................................................... 10 COMPETITION ROLLS ................................................................................................................................................... 10 COMBAT........................................................................................................................................................................... 10 HEALTH AND CRITICAL ROLLS ................................................................................................................................... 11 HEALTH AND OTHER VITALS ................................................................................................................................ 13 FOOD AND WATER ......................................................................................................................................................... 14 POISON, DISEASE, AND RADIATION .......................................................................................................................... 14 RESTING .......................................................................................................................................................................... 15 TRAPS .............................................................................................................................................................................. 16 DRUGS AND ADDICTIONS ............................................................................................................................................. 16 EQUIPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY ................................................................................................................................. 17 HISTORY ........................................................................................................................................................................... 19 LOVE THE BOMB .......................................................................................................................................................... 23 PLAYING THE GAME ................................................................................................................................................... 31 MUTANTS AND ROBOTS ............................................................................................................................................... 31 SHELTER AND FACTIONS ............................................................................................................................................. 32 WEATHER AND VILLAGES ............................................................................................................................................ 32

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Throughout the billions of years, mankind has struggled, evolved and sought to master his domain. He has guaranteed his place as king of this world. It is his responsibility alone. Earth belongs to him and no other organism dares challenge his title. He has the right to control it, live it, and end it. Mankind did not know when to stop. He mastered the atom, a particle of which controls everything, yet his own people turn their backs on him. He became angry at those who speak ill of him or assaulted his temples. Jealously, revenge, and anger begins to control him. Mankind could never be erased and he knew this. With his knowledge and power over the atom, he began using destructive tactics that gave his former title of master. He knew that it would cost a great deal of sacrifice from his own people. Perhaps, when this is over, he will once again rise to power. And if he didn’t, would anyone care? The world is his. Let him do what he wants with it. Love the Bomb.

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What is Love The Bomb?
Love The Bomb RPG is a classless pen and paper roleplaying game where you, the player, take on a role of a character that is stuck in a world filled with decaying ruins, lifeless fields, and deadly diseases. You are one of the few survivors on this giant dirt of sphere called Earth and decided to try live it out as opposed to taking your own life. Well, you could take your own life, but it wouldn’t just as exciting, now would it? The game is meant for three to six people. One player must be the Game Master, who controls the characters and environment that interacts with the rest of the player.

What is a Narrative RPG?
A narrative RPG is a somewhat more freeform based roleplaying, focusing more on storytelling than action or rolling excessive number of dice. Usually, in a narrative RPG game, the game master (GM) needs to be able to improvise his plot, and the rules, as his players move along with the story. It is the Game Master’s job to provide an entertaining story for his players, while taking on the role of dozens of NPCs (Nonplayer character) that will help or hinder the player’s role. The player’s job is to become the actor of the GM’s plot. It is their responsibility to play a realistic character that has both weaknesses and strengths. If the player’s character is dying, the performance of said character should act like they are dying. The player must always stay in character; whether it is the knowledge of the world or their skills. The GM has every right to disapprove a character because it doesn’t fit with the storyline.

Things you’ll need to play Love The Bomb RPG Before you begin a game of Love The Bomb RPG, you must have the following: A) 4-sided, 6-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided, 12-sided, and 20-sided dice. B) Pencil and Paper. C) Someone to be the Game Master who has a storyline in his head and fair. D) Two or more people that will create their post-apocalypse personification and willing to be the Game Master’s bitch for the next several hours. E) NOT REQUIRED BUT RECOMMENDED: Beer, pretzels, pizza, and soft drinks.

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Character Creation
Unlike other RPGs, Love The Bomb uses words instead of numbers for characters. Therefore, players are able to create either really powerful characters or really weak characters, depending on the plot and theme the GM plans to use for the game session. The first part of character creation of your Stats. Stats are determined by your characters background (more on this later). Strength The measurement of physical power. Used for numerous situations like pinning someone down or lifting something heavy. Pulling, pushing, crushing, moving, and other physical challenges are used by Strength. Dexterity How nimble your character is. The ability to jump long distances or dodging at the right moment are examples of dexterity. Anything that requirements movement of the body is determined by Dexterity. Vitality This statistic is your character’s resistance, whether it is addictions, poisons, or anything physical. Vitality also affects how long he can breathe, how long he can run, and so forth. Food and Drinks are also affected by Vitality Finally, Vitality also plays a role when in combat, able to take an extra bullet or stab wound. Knowledge This is a measurement of general knowledge of the world. Whether it is dealing with gang politics, computer electronics, or street smarts, Knowledge is tested when dealing with information that isn’t common. Charm Charm is a mixture of both your looks and your personality. Charm is used in social situations, such as debating, negotiating or making deals. Perception Your perception allows you to notice clues or other abnormalities in a scene that would otherwise be bypassed by others. It can also be used for smells, hearing, and other senses.

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Briefing

dead Earth

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dead Earth

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Skills
Skills are abilities that are not an inherent trait. Skills can be anything from seduction to growing weed. They can be specific like trivia knowledge of a specific music group, to something really broad like being Canadian. There is no list of skills; it’s up to you to decide what skills are used to shape your character. Skills, alongside with Stats, are created by using words. Skills give your character a more direct image of your character. They should represent how others see your character. If your character knows different styles of Martial Arts, list all of them if you want to. Here is an example character. His name is Muff and he is a car mechanic by day and works out in the middle of the night. He uses his Desert Eagle at the local range, where his reigning champion for over 2 years at the local town. He has been a follower of Christianity for over 20 years, although does sin ever now and then. Once a week, he trades some bullets or guns given to him as payment for his mechanic skills to spend some personal times with the ladies. Talented Car Mechanic (D10) Devoted Christian Follower (D8) A Skilled Lover (D12) A Professional Marksman (D8) Now you’re probably wondering about the dice. As mentioned before, every stat and ability is described using words when creating your character’s background. Once you are done writing the background, you should figure out what level your stat and skills go to. Non-Existent The lowest of them all. This rank is for those just absolutely horrible at the chosen skill or trait. You use this rank for skills not listed on your character, reflecting their lack of experience. You can be a crap cook, but it doesn’t mean you can’t try.

SKILL LEVEL Non-existent Below Average Average Above Average Expert Master Perfected

DIE D20 + 5 D20 D12 D10 D8 D6 D4

SAMPLES poor, crap, unskilled amateur, beginner decent, mediocre skilled, professional expert, pro, very good amazing, master godlike, grandmaster

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Below Average Skills listed here can be equal to minor side hobbies or tasks done a long time ago. They may have started using it, but never really much farther than the basics. Average Anything listed under this level is considered to be mediocre; nothing special nor terrible. Simply put, this level is for skills that they practice somewhat often but never went further to try and master. Above Average They are so advanced in their skill, that they are probably making a living out of it or made it into a profession. Expert This goes beyond the person’s profession, and the character is probably very wellknown in the circles or communities of those into the same skill. An example of this would be firearms, seduction, or acting. Master One word: Einstein. If a skill hits here, the character is known world-wide about it. Perfected It would be very rare to find someone who has perfected a skill. People with a perfected title are considered gods among their craft and should only be reserved for incredibly special characters.

“Skill and confidence are an unconquered army.” ~ George Herbert

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Rolling the Dice
Whenever there is a situation involving a chance of failure, a ‘test’ needs to be made using either the character’s Stats or Skills. The GM determines what is used and the ‘difficulty’ number that needs to be passed. In most situations, a 6 or lower is needed to pass the test. Higher numbers mean the test is easier, while a lower number means a more difficult task. The outcome does determine the degree of success or failure. If someone rolled a twenty, for example, it would be considered a ‘critical failure’ and something disastrous is likely to happen. A one, on the other hand, means you have succeeded without flaw or ‘critical success’. Competition Rolls There will be scenarios when two characters duke it out using the exact same skills, a competition roll is made. A competition roll is very simple: Roll two dice belonging to the same stat or skill used, and the one with the lowest result wins. Arm wrestling? Strength. Racing down the street? Driving. Beer drinking contest? Vitality. The difference between the two results also affects the outcome of the contest. If there is a tie involved, than there is a tie. Combat Combat in Love the Bomb is perhaps one of the more dangerous combat systems you’ll see in an RPG. There is no magic to protect you or some cybernetic implants to make you survive several shotgun blasts. Getting a good shot in your character can result in a quick and rather painless death (depending where you have been shot), just like real life. The initiative (who goes first) is relied on the wisdom of the GM and the situation. For example, if the party didn’t detected the group of automatic thugs on the rooftop, the thugs will go first. Every turn is described in a narrative fashion and the winner of the competition roll gets to decide what happens on that exact moment. Your character can do literally almost anything in combat, from rolling to the side to aiming the thug’s head with his magnum. Essentially, the winner of the roll dictates what happens in combat. The GM has the authority to slightly change the outcome, if he wants to. The only two key differences between combat and competition rolls are: Combat uses two different skills/stats depending on what action is being narrated, and health rolls.

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Health and Critical Rolls Most of the time, there is always that thin chance of survival (or perhaps a big chance) when the unexpected hits a character. A pistol shot in the gut, a highpowered rifle in the shoulder, or an insanely powerful car crash. Depending on the situation and magnitude of the damage, the GM will ask the player to do a health roll and give a difficulty based on the scenario. Failing at a health roll means the player suffers greater wounds which might have negative effects on the character (e.g. wound in leg means agility-based rolls are more difficult). Continuing to fail health rolls might lead to a Critical Roll. A Critical Roll is literally a do or die, meaning if the player fails this roll, there is a good chance of that character ending up dead. This type of roll is reserved for either failing numerous health rolls (up to GM, suggestion is 4), or for those high damaging scenarios like a good sniper bullet into a man’s torso who happens to be wearing kelver. Failing a critical roll can either mean that the character has officially become incapitated and must be taken to the hospital; or the character dies. Again, depending on the GM and the situation involved, it can go either way. Remember that Health and Critical rolls are used if there is a chance (even a slim chance) of surviving. A pointblank shotgun in the gut without any armor stopping the force will kill a character instantly.

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Character Creation

dead Earth

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Health and other vitals
Like in real life, getting shot isn’t an experience without its losses. When fists are flying, bats are swinging, and guns are blazing, someone is bound to get hurt amongst the chaos. Unless one of the crew members has First Aid skill along with a good medical kit, there is a good chance that a doctor will be needed. A doctor is one of the most valued members of society, able to heal wounds that would otherwise be life threatening. Doctors expect big payment payment, whether it is an expensive gun or a load of rations, and are often cited to be very tough negotiators. When dealing with hospitals, the GM should focus on two things when naming the doctor’s price: The skill of the doctor and the critical nature of the wound. Much like the characters in the party, NPCs (non-player characters) also have their own set of skills, and doctors are no expectations. The party has a lot of options when it comes to healing their brothers and sisters. They can visit a first rate doctor who is an expert at his field (D8) or go to guy who can’t even stitch properly and performs surgeries in his basement (D20). Once the payment is made, the GM rolls for the doctor against the difficulty number (higher for easy injuries, lower for critical ones. Normal is still 6). Failing the test does not mean that the crew is charged again, but a very high roll can actually result is increased magnitude of the injury, making a crap situation into a pretty shitty one. Just remember that even though the doctor might perform the operation with success, it doesn’t mean the character’s injuries are instantly cured. Medications, painkillers, a night’s rest, or a cast might be needed.

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Food and Water You are stuck in a world where a can of dog food can save someone’s life, insane famine victims fight over a diseased carcass, and water is just as valuable as gold. Both food and water are separate needs, so you will need plenty of water flasks and food rations before setting off into the wastelands. Fortunately, you are at a time where most of the violent killings and suicides have ended and it is now possible to grow some food on the soil due to the fallout declining. Still, the food and water in a post-nuclear holocaust environment isn’t what you would call ‘good’ and many people would rather keep their food then trade it for a gun. People who know how to farm are extremely valuable at these dire times but the knowledge of farming isn’t common, thus your character will never know how to farm. Characters can survive by drinking water and having two meals a day. the GM to determine when these two are needed and what your character when these needs are not met. 2 liters of It is up to necessities goes through

Disease/Poison Strength Weak Moderate Strong Deadly Lethal

Difficulty Number 12 10 8 6 4

Poison, Disease, and Radiation Besides getting a fatal blow to the head or starving yourself, there are other things that could kill you while trekking through the wasteland. Poisons from various predatory animals, diseases from eating bad food, and being idiotic enough to walk into radioactive fallout are good ways to shorten your life. Both Poison and Diseases can be resisted against, according to your Vitality stat. Whenever you come in contact with venom or a disease, you must roll your Vitality stat and try to get it equal or under the difficulty number listed. Once poisoned, your character’s life will slowly zap away and if not treated soon, he/she might die. The affects of poison should be portrayed in your character (ex: One poison might make your limbs go numb, therefore you cannot move or defend yourself). You cannot be healed with normal healing kits and the only way to get rid of poison is to either let the poison run its course or use the First Aid (or similar) skill. The difficulty when using the First Aid skill depends on the strength of the poison. Rare powerful poisons can kill someone instantly.

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Disease, on the other hand, does not damage your health. Instead, it reduces one (or more) of your character’s Stats, degrading it by one skill level (ex: Above-Average to Average). Diseases do not wear out in time, unlike poison, and they can be contagious. Diseases can also ruin your limbs or destroy a body sense (e.g. taste) temporarily. The effects are up to the GM. Like poison, being diseased disallows the ability to be healed, even by normal healing kits. The only way to be cured of a disease is to find a working medical facility and either use a First-Aid related skill or get a doctor. Just remember that diseases can also be airborne, blood borne, or be in tainted food and don’t require direct contact from animals. (Hope your GM is not creative). Radiation is deadliest out of three. Do not buy into the myth that radiation mutates a person. Radiation isn’t something that a group of travelers in wasteland would want; they know it doesn’t “mutate” them, but deforms them. Leukemia, Third Degree Burns, Conflagration, and destroyed cells are small examples of what Radiation can do. There isn’t much radiation fallout as there was one thousand years ago, but they are still places that are contaminated by radiation and should be avoided at all costs. Light radiation does not glow or give any signs. In fact, Radiation can look completely normal in an area, making it very deadly to poor unsuspecting travelers. The only way to detect radiation in the area is to get a Geiger counter, a very rare item in the wastelands. There is no resistance for radiation and there is no way to cure it. Radiation effects on you can be various, way too much to list here. The effects of Radiation on a character are up to the GM. Resting Resting is a requirement for anyone in the wastelands. You are human and must sleep like any other living organism. Resting can be used to heal wounds slowly or to kill off time. However, it is highly recommended that when resting, you and your party should be in a safe place. They are nocturnal carnivorous creatures out there and they like easy prey at night.

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You can rest anytime and how long you want, but any hostile encounters in the wasteland will get the first move in combat if they catch you. You are simply a stationary blind target for those Raiders and hungry critters. Traps Doors, chests, and lockers are some of things that can be trapped by their owners. A trap can have numerous effects, from incredibly high voltage to spraying deadly viruses. The imagination is left up to the GM. To detect a trap, a Perception skill roll has to be made and roll under the GM’s difficulty (usually 6, the lower the harder). Once detected, the Explosives (or any other traprelated) skill is used to disarm the trap. You can also trap things yourself, if you have the right equipment and pass all necessary rolls assigned by the GM. Drugs and Addictions Getting addicted is one of sure-fire ways to end your life. In this radioactive wasteland where food comes in a form of an 8-legged rat, drugs are often perceived as either a death wise or an escape from this horrible reality. But sometimes, in the hardest of situations, you will need that extra boost of strength or vitality, or insert a needle into your brain to enhance your perception. However, a drug does come with a very hefty price. They are numerous drugs in this game, way too many to list here. Some of them are your basic stuff, like crack, while others were created during the declining of the fallout. Each drug has their own addiction rating and with each use of the drug, the player must make an addiction check against the rating by Rolling his Vitality and beat the number. If he fails, his character has become addicted to that specific drug and every 8 hours (possibly including sleep), he must have the drug or else he might even go berserk or do something that be classified as insane. The only way to get rid of an addiction is to see a doctor (other players cannot help) and weeks in solitude to fight his urges. This is a very expensive process. A simple knowledge check or drug-related skill can determine exactly what the drug does and it’s addiction rating. Otherwise, you need to take the dealer’s word for it.

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What a drug does is modifies the roll of 6 Stats of the Character: Strength, Vitality, Dexterity, Charm, Knowledge, and Perception. A ‘good’ drug will modify the result of the roll by making it lower, while a ‘bad’ drug does the opposite. It is very possible for a drug to affect different stats at the same time. The duration of the drug is up to the GM. Example Drug: Angel Eye gives -2 to Vitality roll with a Dangerous addiction rating. Equipment and Technology Your character’s starting equipment should match your character’s skill and background. A military man, for example, would have plenty of weapons and ammo. A man of science and math would have a calculator, a notebook, and a pistol. Discuss with your GM to what items you will need. Starting characters also get about a week worth of water and rations, a starting pistol and some clips. Unlike other roleplaying games, there is not a huge list of items, their weight, or what damage they do. Being a narrative roleplaying game, the GM will use (hopefully) common sense on the likely damage of the weapon and the players won’t think they can over 1000 pounds worth of inventory. Being shot by a sniper or assault rifle hurts a lot more than a 9mm pistol. Clips play a very important role with your weapon, because a clip is depleted from your inventory after you are finished combat. Even if you used one bullet, the clip is gone. Much of the technology has been recovered but the major problem is the lack of power to run most of the available technology. Generators cannot be built without fuel and very few individuals have working generators. If someone does have a generator, there is a good chance that they are hidden from plain sight inside an underground shelter.

Vehicles such as cars, tanks, and even airplanes still exist. Some of them can be operated. Weapons that you know today are being used, with a few additional sci-fi imaginative weapons.

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History 2009 - The President of the United
States bows down to international and domestic pressure on troops being deployed in hostile foreign soil. Civil violence and assaults on police officers in the United Stated are no longer considered uncommon news by the mainstream media and the tabloids. Radio hosts and book authors blast both the president’s character and policies on a daily basis. The Iraqi Prime Minister declares his hostiles intentions to Iran for supporting the insurgents. In response to the growing instability of the United States, Saudi Arabia and several other members of OPEC back away from the once almighty US Dollar and set their oil prices exclusively in Euros. Canada cuts off NAFTA and closes its borders to the United States. Within days, the wealthy citizens and currency exchange brokers cashes in their US Dollars for Euros and Yen. The huge change within the world’s financial were overwhelmed and lost over half its value within a few hours. In several weeks, the result was the worst Depression the world has ever witnessed. Banks became targets for attacks, racial tensions explode, Muslims are besieged by Christians, and brownouts become an excessive problem. The biggest spark, however, was the failed assassination attempt of the Saudi Arabia’s king, leading the country into martial law and suppression of civil rights. In late 2009, the North America continent was going through as some might say an ‘economic hell’. The United States, with its huge deficit and negative trade balance, completely destroyed the United States economy. Canada’s job market, relying heavily on the United States, shrinks to nothingness while French Canadians demand separation and Native Americans forcibly claiming more land. Alberta has retreated from the Canadian

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confederation and becomes its own country.

2010 - The provinces of Canada have become into their own countries; the confederation is dead. Skirmishes at the US-Mexico border are more violent and common. British and French patriots begin burning Islamic flags on street corners and kill those who support Muslims. In the Middle East, Palestine disappears from the map by Israel forces and Egypt’s army is nearly destroyed after failing to support the Palestines. Shortly after Iran’s nuclear missile test, Iraq’s army mobilizes to disable Iran’s nuclear ability.
The United Nations destroys itself in a vote, with over 100 nations voting in favor of the destruction of the UN. The treaty of NATO and the European Union burns itself out as domestic priorities take over.

2011 – To fight the depression, numerous
nations imposes import restrictions and outrageous tariffs. California is the first state to leave the Union, believing that the United States government has demonstrated the inability to protect the people from the violent fighting between the Hispanics, Anglo, African, and Asian minorities. Texas and his neighboring states follow suite, creating their own country. Soon afterwards, the Union that created the United States is in pieces and the President is assassinated. Australia retakes the North Eastern Australia after several weeks under the control of the rebels, and takes the pole position in the economic recovery race. Japan begins to build up their military again and puts an economic embargo on North Korea.

2012 – Islamic terrorists have breached the walls of Israel and detonate three suitcase nukes, disintegrating 94% of the population and the infrastructure. Israel counter attacks by launching nuclear missiles at not only Mecca, but several Muslim countries in Africa and the Middle East. As the Iraqi tanks and planes shred the country of Iran, the allies of Iran have launched nuclear missiles with their destination being Baghdad. Several countries in North America lie in ruins as they all exchange nuclear missiles with one another, with Alberta being the first casualty due to their vast and rich oil fields. 20

In Asia, North Korea launches two nuclear warheads at Japan for preemptive strike reasons. Japan retaliates by carpet bombing both North and South Korea infrastructure and military bases. Japan also claims responsibility for a nuclear missile sabotage in North Korea, resulting in huge population losses within the surrounding area. Tibet terrorists bomb several government buildings in China, including twelve nuclear power plants. The fallout spreads to Russia and other countries in the Asia continent.

2013 – Global temperature begins to rise at an extraordinary rate. South America is completely flooded, with shores of Europe, Africa, Asia, and North America being submerged in water. Australia is in a civil war after a successful assassination of the prime minister and reported food storages for the booming population and immigrants.
Militants from China are caught stealing oil from the Russian pipelines. Russia launches a preemptive missile strike at China before mobilizing their army. China counterattacks with their own list of missiles and army, leading to a very bloody battle that only last several weeks before both countries have their governments overthrown and lead to Anarchy. Several European countries like Poland, the United Kingdom, Spain, and France, become subjects of a campaign of terrorist attacks, including nuclear missile silos, low yield nuclear bombs, and nuclear power plants. Domestic riots increased, factions between the populations are created, and floods are increased. Much of the world is covered in Nuclear Winter and Australia is the first country to die out. With food storage and faction conflicts, Australia becomes a shadow of it’s former self. Other countries follow through.

“Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat.” John Lehman, US Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987

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Love The Bomb
Nuclear Blast The first thing bomb victims experience is the intense flux of photons from the blast, which releases 70-80% of the bomb's energy. The effects go up to third degree thermal burns and are not a pretty sight. Initial deaths are due to this effect. The next phenomenon is the supersonic blast front. You see it before you hear it. The pressure front has the effect of blowing away anything in its path. After the front comes the overpressure phase. It would feel like being underwater a few hundred meters. (At a few thousand meters under the sea, pressurized hulls implode.) The pressure gradually dies off, and there is a negative overpressure phase, with a reversed blast wind. This reversal is due to air rushing back to fill the void left by the explosion. The air gradually returns to normal atmospheric pressure. At this stage, fires caused by electrical destruction and ignited debris turn the place into a firestorm. Then come the middle term effects such as keloid formation and retinal blastoma. Genetic or hereditary damage can appear up to forty years after initial irradiation. The Mushroom Cloud The heat from fusion and fission instantaneously raises the surrounding air to 10 million degrees C. This superheated air plasma gives off so much light that it looks brighter than the sun, and is visible hundreds of kilometers (km) away. The resultant fireball quickly expands. It is made up of hot air, and hence rises at a rate of a few hundred meters per second. After a minute or so, the fireball has risen to a few kilometers, and has cooled off to the extent that it no longer radiates. The surrounding cooler air exerts some drag on this rising air, which slows down the outer edges of the cloud. The unimpeded inner portion rises a bit

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quicker than the outer edges. A vacuum effect occurs when the outer portion occupies the vacuum left by the higher inner portion. The result is a smoke ring. The inner material gradually expands out into a mushroom cloud, due to convection. If the explosion is on the ground, dirt and radioactive debris get sucked up the stem, which sits below the fireball. Collisions and ionization of the cloud particles result in lightning bolts flickering to the ground. Initially, the cloud is orange-red due to a chemical reaction when the air is heated. When the cloud cools to air temperature, the water vapor starts to condense. The cloud turns from red to white. In the final stages, the cloud can get about 100km across and 40km high, for a megaton class explosion. Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) A nuclear explosion gives off radiation at all wavelengths of light. Some is in the radio/radar portion of the spectrum - the EMP effect. The EMP effect increases the higher you go into the atmosphere. High altitude explosions can knock out electronics by inducing a current surge in closed circuit metallic objects - electronics, power lines, phone lines, TVs, radios, etc. The damage range can be over 1000km. Overview of Immediate Effects The three categories of immediate effects are: blast, thermal radiation (heat), and prompt ionizing or nuclear radiation. Their relative importance varies with the yield of the bomb. At low yields, all three can be significant sources of injury. With an explosive yield of about 2.5 kilotons (kT), the three effects are roughly equal. All are capable of inflicting fatal injuries at a range of 1km. The fraction of a bomb's yield emitted as thermal radiation, blast, and ionizing radiation is essentially constant for all yields, but the way the different forms of energy interact with air and target vary dramatically. Air is essentially transparent to thermal radiation. The thermal radiation affects exposed surfaces, producing damage by rapid heating. A bomb that is 100 times larger can produce equal thermal radiation intensities over areas 100 times larger.

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The area of an (imaginary) sphere centered on the explosion increases with the square of the radius. Thus the destructive radius increases with the square root of the yield (this is the familiar inverse square law of electromagnetic radiation). Actually the rate of increase is somewhat less, partly due to the fact that larger bombs emit heat more slowly which reduces the damage produced by each calorie of heat. It is important to note that the area subjected to damage by thermal radiation increases almost linearly with yield. Blast effect is a volume effect. The blast wave deposits energy in the material it passes through, including air. When the blast wave passes through solid material, the energy left behind causes damage. When it passes through air it simply grows weaker. The more matter the energy travels through, the smaller the effect. The amount of matter increases with the volume of the imaginary sphere centered on the explosion. Blast effects thus scale with the inverse cube law which relates radius to volume. The intensity of nuclear radiation decreases with the inverse square law like thermal radiation. However nuclear radiation is also strongly absorbed by the air it travels through, which causes the intensity to drop off much more rapidly. These scaling laws show that the effects of thermal radiation grow rapidly with yield (relative to blast), while those of radiation rapidly decline. In a small nuclear attack (bomb yield approx. 15kT) casualties (including fatalities) would be seen from all three causes. Burns (including those caused by an ensuing fire storm) would be the most prevalent serious injury (two thirds of those who would die the first day would be burn victims), and occur at the greatest range. Blast and burn injuries would be found in 60-70% of all survivors. People close enough to suffer significant radiation illness would be well inside the lethal effects radius for blast and flash burns, as a result only 30% of injured survivors would show radiation illness. Many of those people would be sheltered

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from burns and blast and thus escape the main effects. Even so, most victims with radiation illness would also have blast injuries or burns as well. With yields in the range of hundreds of kilotons or greater (typical for strategic warheads) immediate radiation injury becomes insignificant. Dangerous radiation levels only exist so close to the explosion that surviving the blast is impossible. On the other hand, fatal burns can be inflicted well beyond the range of substantial blast damage. A 20 megaton bomb can cause potentially fatal third degree burns at a range of 40km, where the blast can do little more than break windows and cause superficial cuts. A convenient rule of thumb for estimating the short-term fatalities from all causes due to a nuclear attack is to count everyone inside the 5 psi blast overpressure contour around the hypocenter as a fatality. In reality, substantial numbers of people inside the contour will survive and substantial numbers outside the contour will die, but the assumption is that these two groups will be roughly equal in size and balance out. This completely ignores any possible fallout effects. Overview of Delayed Effects Radioactive Contamination. The chief delayed effect is the creation of huge amounts of radioactive material with long lifetimes (half-lifes ranging from days to millennia). The primary source of these products is the debris left from fission reactions. A potentially significant secondary source is neutron capture by non-radioactive isotopes both within the bomb and in the outside environment. When atoms fission they can split in some 40 different ways, producing a mix of about 80 different isotopes. These isotopes vary widely in stability; some are completely stable while others undergo radioactive decay with half-lifes of fractions of a second. The decaying isotopes may themselves form stable or unstable daughter isotopes. The mixture thus quickly becomes even more complex, some 300 different isotopes of 36 elements have been identified in fission products. Short-lived isotopes release their decay energy rapidly, creating

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intense radiation fields that also decline quickly. Long-lived isotopes release energy over long periods of time, creating radiation that is much less intense but more persistent. Fission products thus initially have a very high level of radiation that declines quickly, but as the intensity of radiation drops, so does the rate of decline. A useful rule-ofthumb is the "rule of sevens". This rule states that for every seven-fold increase in time following a fission detonation (starting at or after 1 hour), the radiation intensity decreases by a factor of 10. Thus after 7 hours, the residual fission radioactivity declines 90%, to onetenth its level of 1 hour. After 7*7 hours (49 hours, approx. 2 days), the level drops again by 90%. After 7*2 days (2 weeks) it drops a further 90%; and so on for 14 weeks. The rule is accurate to 25% for the first two weeks, and is accurate to a factor of two for the first six months. After 6 months, the rate of decline becomes much more rapid. The rule of sevens corresponds to an approximate t^-1.2 scaling relationship. These radioactive products are most hazardous when they settle to the ground as "fallout". The rate at which fallout settles depends very strongly on the altitude at which the explosion occurs, and to a lesser extent on the size of the explosion. If the explosion is a true air-burst (the fireball does not touch the ground), when the vaporized radioactive products cool enough to condense and solidify, they will do so to form microscopic particles. These particles are mostly lifted high into the atmosphere by the rising fireball, although significant amounts are deposited in the lower atmosphere by mixing that occurs due to convective circulation within the fireball. The larger the explosion, the higher and faster the fallout is lofted, and the smaller the proportion that is deposited in the lower atmosphere. For explosions with yields of 100kT or

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less, the fireball does not rise above the troposphere where precipitation occurs. All of this fallout will thus be brought to the ground by weather processes within months at most (usually much faster). In the megaton range, the fireball rises so high that it enters the stratosphere. The stratosphere is dry, and no weather processes exist there to bring fallout down quickly. Small fallout particles will descend over a period of months or years. Such long-delayed fallout has lost most of its hazard by the time it comes down, and will be distributed on a global scale. As yields increase above 100kT, progressively more and more of the total fallout is injected into the stratosphere. An explosion closer to the ground (close enough for the fireball to touch) sucks large amounts of dirt into the fireball. The dirt usually does not vaporize, and if it does, there is so much of it that it forms large particles. The radioactive isotopes are deposited on soil particles, which can fall quickly to earth. Fallout is deposited over a time span of minutes to days, creating downwind contamination both nearby and thousands of kilometers away. The most intense radiation is created by nearby fallout, because it is more densely deposited, and because short-lived isotopes haven't decayed yet. Weather conditions can affect this considerably of course. In particular, rainfall can "rain out" fallout to create very intense localized concentrations. Both external exposure to penetrating radiation, and internal exposure (ingestion of radioactive material) pose serious health risks. Explosions close to the ground that do not touch it can still generate substantial hazards immediately below the burst point by neutron-activation. Neutrons absorbed by the soil can generate considerable radiation for several hours. The megaton class weapons have been largely retired, being replaced with much smaller yield warheads. The yield of a modern strategic warhead is, with few exceptions, now typically in the range of 200-750 kT. Recent work with sophisticated climate models has shown that this reduction in yield results in a much larger proportion of the fallout being deposited in the lower atmosphere, and a much faster and more intense deposition of fallout than had been assumed in studies made during

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the sixties and seventies. The reduction in aggregate strategic arsenal yield that occurred when high yield weapons were retired in favor of more numerous lower yield weapons has actually increased the fallout risk.

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Playing the Game
As you are probably well aware, most of the information is very vague. This is intentional. Unlike most other RPGs, you are not forced to follow background information provided in the rulebook. There is no ‘specific faction trying to take over the world’ or famous people with huge globs of back story This book is merely to provide tools to create a narrative roleplaying experience in a post-apocalypse setting. You decide what factions you will be with or against, what weapons are used, and where it happens. You can fudge the rules/results every now and then. This is your game, after all. This section will deal with the bare bones of playing the game and storyline. Mutants and Robots At the time when the world started blowing each other up, the technology of robot stalled. With the economic depression and declining infrastructure, dwindling corporations had other problems to deal with. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a possibility. Perhaps in Japan, there was a select few scientists that created working prototypes of Robot Androids against North Korea or other such scenario. However, if you plan on going for a realistic game, robots should be out of the question. Mutants are perhaps one of the more cliché traits of the post-apocalypse. If you are a veteran of roleplaying games in a post-apocalypse setting, you’ve probably come across a few games like Gamma World that had sentinel plant creatures or a huge radiation chart. As mentioned before, radiation does not mutate a person but deforms them. Personally, I would not use mutants, because it goes against the nature and power of radiation. However, nothing is stopping you from using them. Mutant animals like large rats or lions can roam around the landscape, killing those around them.

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Shelter and Factions Without shelters, there is a very good chance that the best men and women of the human race would be wiped out from the blast. These shelters, either built by paranoid people or the government, have the necessary resources to survive a number of years before stepping foot outside. They have their own generator, their own food, and possibly their own weapons. The most organized and powerful factions were probably hiding inside a well-planned shelter and were ready for a time like this. This is not to say that shelters are considered heaven. Human nature takes it’s course and they might be disorder inside the shelter. One person is hogging more food then the others, or perhaps something simple like jealously over a girl. Ordinary things can demolish a man’s work of creating an underground bunker because of a select few. Weather and Villages Before you start the game, you should decide on what type of weather and skies will be presented. Events like Nuclear Winter or Fallout Rain will an affect on the characters and villages within. The time also affects the sky. If the game starts immediately after the nuclear holocaust, black smoke will cover the sky and even daytime would be considered night (look back at the Persian Gulf with the oil well burnings). Take these things into consideration before asking the players to describe their characters. For those outside the shelter, small communities will be formed and the current attitude and behavior could be seen as ‘tribal’ and ‘untrustworthy’. Treaties will be made between small towns, or there can be pillaging for that necessary resource such as food or water. Without proper generators, cities cannot be rebuilt and communication is restricted only by letter or word of mouth. The world that was once small due to the Age of Information has become big again.

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