The bombs fell in 1965. It was an event those old and strong enough to remember would never forget. In the midst of uneasy tension between world powers in the 50s a group arose. They touted themselves as a special operations for hire agency, and they worked internationally. They were known only as “The Agency”. As a demonstration of their services, they infiltrated military installations belonging to every wealthy nation. No trace of their presence was left other then gilded business cards in the most sensitive and secure areas.
It took only a month for the first contract. Countries abandoned fighting wars with armies entirely. Instead a global war of espionage and sabotage began, with the agency taking contracts from any bidder willing to out pay the competition. It began with the theft of secret information, then moved on to sabotage of important devices and installations. By the early 60’s however, the prices went up, and the services more serious. Arson was a common one. Many facilities burnt to the ground, or were destroyed with detonations. Then the first nuclear warhead was launched; One of Russia’s, and it didn’t leave home. The nuclear warhead was launched and dropped back on it’s launch site, causing a massive nuclear explosion. It was not a service these counties knew they could request, and was speculated to have been carried out without a contract to interest buyers.
There was plenty of interest.
The bombs fell in 1965. All of them. The Agency accepted every single bid proposed, without choosing single employers. Every contract was honoured at once, and countless warheads were launched at their own countries. It was the most devastating event of destruction in the history of mankind.
Dark soot was blown into the sky, up into the atmosphere where winds could not disperse it. The world was darkened by a black blanket of ash, which sunlight could barely pierce. Those not killed in the blasts were subject to terrible radiation. Very few survived. Scores of panicked people took to ships and boats to escape the radiation and ash out on the open ocean.
As time went on, the world grew cold. Winter became longer and longer until after only a few years there was one season. The survivors of the nuclear war were driven underground into the wreckage of cities to escape the freezing cold and radiation. Of those left alive, all began to mutate. Although most died from the process, a small percent of humanity survived the mutation. They found that they had evolved in various ways and began to adapt to their new way of life. It was by no means however, a new beginning.
Soon enough survivors began to find each other. Some fought over supplies or shelter, but many formed tribes. These tribes were groups of those wishing to come together and fight over supplies and shelter, but on a larger scale. They would wear tribal colours and paint those colours on territory to mark it as theirs. Many tribes still war; a back and forth clash of colours and blood.
It is 1970, and the sky is still a black blanket, and the toxic snow still falls.
When the bombs began to fall, the players boarded the Marco Polo, a large cruise liner. Living was comfortable at first, but quickly became a nightmare as the spread of radiation outpaced the ship. Crew and passengers alike fell to radiation sickness like flies. After a week, only 35 were left, mutated but alive. Unfortunately, there were not enough knowledgeable crew to man the ship and it was left to drift for several years. Eventually the ship ran ashore in unknown lands. Those on board survived using the ship as shelter while they went off to search for supplies. The ship had been well stocked, and the food had lasted years with such a minimal group on board.
Those who left the ship experienced life on land for the first time since the bombs fell. Those who were born on the ship experienced life on land for the first time ever. It was a miserable experience for everyone. The world was nothing but snow and ruin. The shattered carcasses of cities jutted from the white abyss, like the jaws of a skeletal beast reaching for the black ashen skies.
The group of players are a mix of pre and post war survivors who have bundled up using the ships limited stocks. They begin by setting off into the nearest city in search of supplies to aid their settlement on board the Marco Polo.