[REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

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D R I F T E R
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[REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

Post by D R I F T E R » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:21 pm


STILL ACCEPTING PLAYERS

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Oh there ain't no rest for the wicked
Money don't grow on trees
I got bills to pay, I got mouths to feed
There ain't nothing in this world for free

When the end came, it came as a biting horde. Of course it did; a century of pop-culture inertia behind the zombie meme, I think we wouldn't have accepted any other doom. All the problems of life in the 2030's - climate change showing its teeth; the political instability - that all lost relevance damn fast when people started eating each other. We called it the Blight. It appeared without warning, without clear epicentre. Spread like wildfire. People infected lost their minds, turned into sprinting, blood-vomiting cannibals who would scream apologies as they smashed your head against the wall. People they bit, scratched, bled on - they got the Blight too. One infected could turn a thousand in an hour. The cities became graveyards quickly.

The government fought it, of course. Poured research into fighting the disease, poured soldiers into fighting the infected. But the CDC simply couldn't decipher the strange black substance that seemed behind the epidemic that was eating the human race whole. And there are only so many trained fighting men, so many guns, so many bullets. It was never going to be enough. They knew that. They did the math. They drew a line down the map and said 'this far, no further'. Secretly, they pulled key officials, business people and other people deemed 'high value' to the designated quarantine zone, started building a wall to stick the rest of us behind. Except it didn't quite go entirely as planned. There was a leak, people heard about the secret evacuation of the western United States. They flooded east in their huddled millions towards the Mississippi. The lucky ones made it before the government blew the bridges over the Mississippi and started shooting anyone who came in rifle range of the border wall. The rest of us, we got left behind. Left to the dead.

This was our life for the last five years. The government declared us legally dead to maintain quarantine and set about burning the infection out of their territory. We call their part of the country the Recession, where they retreated. We live in the Loss, because we were written off like a business writes off bad investments; written off as a loss. The boundary is the Mississippi river. Those of us left behind, we gathered together anywhere we could in secure enclaves and tried to weather the storm. Tried to stay alive, tried not to break. Not all of us made it.

Over time, the rage died away from the infected. Turns out having your nervous system hijacked by a possibly-alien pathogen is bad for your health. They keeled over, died for a while when their ape-rage overwhelmed them or made them break their own limbs trying to murder an orphanage. But there's the problem. They got up again after a while. But they were slower, shambling, like poorly-made puppets. Still infectious, still driven with cannibalistic hunger, but more manageable. Small blessings, right? We call these ones Casualties, the dead that walk around. They work like you think zombies work, more or less. Aim for the head, like movies taught you.

But here's the problem with being in the apocalypse: you run out of stuff, fast. Self-sufficiency is a myth. After five years, almost everything we haven't used is about to expire - from the gas in the tank to the meds in the bottle or, hell, even the nastiest of MRE's. People aren't making more ammo, more medicine, more tech. Or at least, they aren't in the Loss. In the Recession, industry and capitalism survives. This is where what we call The Carrion Economy comes in. Say you're sitting pretty over there in the Recession, right? You got out, but the rest of your family didn't and you can't bear that Granny Dearest is out there as a Casualty, eating brains and generally decomposing. You get in touch with someone in the Loss, you make a deal. We put Granny out of her misery and you pay us in Bounty, our cryptocurrency of choice. That Bounty buys us stuff we can't get over here by scavenging, everyone wins. (Except Granny. She gets to die twice.)

The world ended, but capitalism lives on. The government is pushing for a big reclamation effort in the next decade or so; that means they need to be able to prove who died in the Crash - harder than it sounds, lot of information infrastructure collapsed - and who inherits what, what the State can seize. That means papers. So while the government legally doesn't recognise its existence, they've been speculating in the Carrion Economy to get them. It's gotten to the point that the Bounty system is so inter-linked with that government backing that "one Bounty" has set value of "one proof of death" (usually a driver's licence). There's a bubble. It'll pop eventually - but before that point, there's a fortune to be made. And the fastest way out of the apocalypse is to buy your way out of it.

Let's go make some money, people.

How It All Began

Any hard date labeled “the beginning of the end” is bullshit. The real start is always earlier.

The Crash is a shitty singular name for an incomprehensible totality of events. It was global economic collapse, international tensions, political repression, technological innovations, and everything else besides. They all contributed equally to the current state of affairs, and anyone trying to discount the importance of one factor over another is either politicizing, ignorant, or both. Safe to say, the world was already on the express train straight to Armageddon even before the dead started knocking on everyone’s doors. There were huge problems that no one was doing anything to solve, and those problems remain ignored even today. It’s easy to blame everything on monsters, but those in power opened the door to them in the first place.

For starters, Climate Change was really set on destroying the world. In 1950, The world population was 75% smaller. It had 1.5 million more plant and animal species, 90% more fish, and 60% more oxygen-producing phytoplankton. Drinking water and trees were three times more plentiful, and there was 40% less CO2 and methane in the atmosphere. Despite all this, people lived their entire lives in a world of climate change deniers. As islands sank and fields turned fallow, they couldn’t make a remark that it seemed a little hot today without launching into some political debate that might lose them their jobs. By the time the newer generations came around, deniers were thankfully back to being treated like cranks and lobbyists, but humanity had already outpaced the predicted global temperature rise by an entire degree. The earth was hovering at just under +3°C, and most scientists claimed +4°C signaled the end of humanity. People went straight from pretending global warming wasn’t happening to resigning ourselves to doom, skipping the part where you actually try to do something about the problem.

Basically speaking, the Crash threw information and manufacturing economies back onto their agricultural base. Hard. When regular seasons had already been reduced to mere suggestions, natural disasters were occurring more commonly than ever before, and the extinction curve was approaching vertical. Before anyone even had to deal with the worst pandemic in human history, the most advanced nations in the world were having trouble feeding and housing all their citizens.

Most neoliberal first-world democracies so insulated themselves from the effects of climate change that environmental issues were rarely, if ever, on the platform. The one thing the technocrats could not keep out, however, was climate’s effect on jobs. Agrarian occupations became increasingly technical, as corporations were often the only farmers with the genetic and mechanical resources to keep the land producing crops. The lowest end of the economic spectrum was slowly phased out from the world’s most essential profession.

In many nations, this led to either mass migration or wars, with the latter eventually ending in the former. In addition to the effect of refugees on more stable economies, the increase in mass killings — be they motivated by political, economic, or more mundane forms of fame-seeking narcissism — was reliably blamed on the transient population of the moment. After all, it was easier to police the desperate poor than contain an outbreak of memetic insanity.

The general dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of pretty much every political party scattered once stable voting blocs to the four winds.

On the right, candidates pushed further and further away from the center, advocating for outright xenophobic and fascist policies. America elected more than a few members of recognized hate groups into high office. On the left, many countries that had historically gone centuries without hard left groups found themselves inundated by socialist, libertarian, and anarchist movements. Though these groups grabbed some power, a lack of funding and tendency to in fight left most disenfranchised. The desperation for recognition radicalized the base more and more, increasing the cycle of leftist self-destruction. Elections became unpredictable crapshoots, full of insurgent candidates that gambled years of progress and the collective GDP of entire continents. In retrospect, it’s no surprise no one knew what they hell they were doing when the Crash hit.

The Romero Effect
Why did it take so long for governments to react to the threat? The Romero Effect. Why were so many of their solutions idiotic? The Romero Effect. How did anyone survive the combination of certain doom and our
continued bungling? The Romero Effect.

As a singular answer to all those multifaceted questions, the Romero Effect is paradoxically too reductive and absolutely accurate. First off, the term has an official definition that people rarely cite when talking about it. The phrase was coined by Dr. Emily Dale a year after the Crash in the same paper where she diagnosed the populace of the US Recession with Post-Apocalyptic Stress Syndrome (P.A.S.S.) She used director George Romero’s name as a label for a cadre of cognitive biases causing serious harm to the mindset of Crash survivors.

Individuals are cognitively incapable of discerning when they are lying to themselves because once they become capable of it, they’ve already convinced themselves they never lie. Everyone stupidly listened to appeals to authority when the news told everything was under control, and everyone looked to every status update, working streetlight, and open business to fuel confirmation bias for that pleasant illusion.

When people were out with their friends touring a city and heard a scream blocks away, they fell for the bystander effect. No one else did anything, so they didn’t do anything. And as the occurrences of odd screams, unexplained “car backfires,” dogs choking mid-bark, and sprinting footfalls in the night built up in the tonal landscape, people kept up their conformity to the norm of doing nothing. If they acknowledged something was going on, they’d betray brand loyalty to their sense of self. “I’m not a callous, selfish person like everyone else,” their brain would repeat to itself, silencing the terror growing outside as they slept like a baby in their homes.

In short, The Romero Effect is all the reasons why the human brain was fundamentally incapable of accepting the Crash’s shifting reality. It also encompasses the idiocy of most reactions when cognitive dissonance finally failed to keep the truth out. Finally (and most insidiously), all those cognitive biases responsible for Romero exist to keep people sane: they maintain the sense of self and filter our perceptions down to a manageable level. Those lucky enough to survive the first two stages have their biases removed, at least in regards to the undead. But the removal of such a vital cognitive coping mechanism can drive a person inexorably, incurably insane.

This story was being repeated all over the world. It always ended one of three ways: people denied their doom until it consumed them; they ran towards death with false confidence; or they reacted appropriately, contained the threat, and were forever scarred as a result. Disbelief. Ignorance. Acceptance. Madness.

Reaction and Policy
In President Hunter’s memoir, the former leader of the United States of America writes, “Criticizing institutional reactions to the Crash is like blaming a figure skater for getting tackled by a linebacker on the ice. The rules of the game changed completely. The only strategy was improvisation, and the only victory was survival.”

If people had nothing to rely on save mixed sports metaphors, that claim would be accurate enough. There was no framework for the Blight. Failures were inevitable, and any accusation of could’ve-done-better goes double for the civilian population.

But the Romero Effect didn’t catch everybody in denial. Climbing into the sphere of federal influence usually requires some degree of cunning, and a lot of very powerful people stopped fooling themselves very early on. The fact that the entirety of North America isn’t a swarming graveyard right now is proof enough that a least a few saw the writing on the wall.

Those same people, including President Punter, would have you believe they were just as overwhelmed as the average beat cop or ER nurse. They sell the lie that the nightmare of today is solely the result of their understandable confusion and God’s unpredictable wrath. They profit off the belief that this shitshow is the best case, and they trumpet it from every propaganda mouthpiece they have.

Fuck that.

Over half the country is abandoned. Not gone. Abandoned. Still out here, starving even as it’s eaten. Those fuckers dropped nukes, for Christ’s sake. No one slaps the red button and gets to say “Awww, shucks. It’s the best I could do.”

If you want to believe the Crash government were true patriots or the saviors of humanity, go ahead. Extinction looked absolutely assured, but the US’s anti-Blight tactics saved part of the country and inspired other nations to save nearly half the world. Most wouldn’t be alive today were it not for the actions of President Hunter. And many readily acknowledge that. But don’t call them heroes. The actions taken to secure the Recession were not performed by humble folk summoned against their will by a call to greatness.

Reality isn’t some bullshit DHQS propaganda blasted over the PA of a refugee camp. At best, they were patriotic serial killers — amiable psychopaths aimed in a useful direction. Some might go so far as to call them sin-eaters. When confronted with a choice between damnation or saving the species, they had the strength to make the choice. At a minimum, the sheer willpower required to make the calls has to be respected... but it’s not heroism.

Heroes don’t retire under house arrest in their ancestral East Coast estates, protected by Secret Service until the federal pardon comes through. It’s one thing to have sympathy for the devil and mourn the tragic decisions that led to his fall. But believing he’s the hero? That’s the lie the Recession teaches as gospel, the lie that gets you damned too. The truth? Choices were made. Arguably necessary. Certainly monstrous.

No amount of apologies can make up for those lost during the eastward retreat, and neither can it ever hope to even touch the surface of the countless millions killed when the United States Government scorched Southern Canada and turned it into an irradiated waste.

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No one knows what it is. It behaves like a virus when rewriting human tissue, but it replicates faster than even the most fertile bacteria. Neither can explain the complex physical structures it constructs in a relatively short timeline, which suggests some sort of asexually reproducing multicellular parasite that can disperse, distribute, and reassemble its cells. Then there are the Blight cankers that breach the skin, which strongly resemble fungal gales. Cordyceps or anthrax corollaries would be reassuringly terrifying, but then how does one explain the lack of spores and aerosol infection?

What little information can be gleaned from experiments universally prove that, despite behaviorally modifying every host it consumes to do so, the Blight doesn’t need to eat at all. As if knocking down all the walls in our conception of biology weren’t enough, the damn thing violates the Conservation of Energy. No one has yet to posit a convincing argument as to how this is done. Thus far, no examination has ever identified any organelles resembling mitochondria (or anything else, for that matter), so no one's quite not sure how it processes ‘food’ (aka our flesh) in the first place, not to mention how it produces energy in cases where the infected hasn’t ingested protein or any other food source for weeks.

This happens, of course, after the Blight itself appears to die, according to every understood law of microbiology. Nonetheless, it keeps functioning in its undead state, piloting its host towards new sources of protein, then resurrecting into the most fertile cellular expansion ever seen when transferred to a new host. When the Vector dies from the strain, the Blight appears to die too... until it constructs a secondary nervous system from co-opted tissue, charges dead neurons using energy from god knows where, and begins the infection/death/rebirth cycle again.

Confusion scales up from the atomic and cellular levels. Mankind has a decent understanding of how our own organs work, but no one's sure how the casualties see through rotted eyes. The dead seem to respond more to smell and heat, but no one can explain where the brain tissue capable of processing that sensory information resides, especially since no one has ever known a human capable of smelling me through a concrete wall before. They should also have eaten each other years ago, but the Blight installs some sort of biochemical targeting system into the hosts as well. Because of course it does.

It’s either the most remarkably efficient organism ever — converting energy from photosynthesis, heat absorption, and a number of other sources simultaneously at a nearly one-to-one transfer rate — or a man made substance capable of doing the same. Then there are the Aberrants, which imply everything from alien fungus to supernatural plague to a new stage of human evolution.

Infection
There are two strains of infection. Scientists refer to them as the living and dead strains, while Takers refer to them as hot and cold.

Hot strain is spread by still living hosts, called Vectors. Once a Vector dies from the hemorrhagic symptoms or trauma caused by the hot strain, the Blight reverts to the cold strain. Cold strain reassembles the host’s tissue into a parasitic nervous system and “necrotic host preserving discharge” or NHPD. Takers just call it “black juice.” The new nervous system and resulting juice flow from a core of parasitic tissue constructed within the remains of the host’s brainstem. After a lot of twitching, the body rises and becomes the old-school zombie everyone all know and love.

(As a side note, make sure to call them “casualties” if you don’t want to sound like some citizen asshole. Everyone likes irony out here in the Loss. It’s one of the few luxuries people can still afford.)

Infection occurs from direct contact with infected fluids: spit, blood, saliva, sexual fluids, or pure Blight (the juice). Basically, almost everything anyone ever learned in the movies regarding zombie infection was true, with a few noticeable differences. Hot strain spreads hot strain, but a cold strain will eventually “resurrect” once in contact with living tissue and become hot strain. Basically, all infected become Vectors; all dead Vectors wake up as casualties.

But who’s infected? Sadly, it’s not easy to say until they’re trying to eat you

Immunity and Latents
Certain individuals can’t be infected no matter how many exposures occur. Scientists have used bone marrow from such individuals to develop the drug Supressin K-7864. Designed for direct injection, Supressin causes Blight in the midst of the initial cellular amplification to go into its dormant, cold state. But, for some reason, injection of the drug only prevents resurrection of the cold strain into the hot strain, whereas the truly Immune purge the contaminant entirely from their system. It’s not as if their systems actually fight against the thing. Under the microscope, the Blight just sort of... quits. Immunity complicates things immensely, as everyone knows it exists but have no idea why. Other than being able to take a bite and not turn, the Immune share no known commonality: they have no common sex, upbringing, diet, race, age, blood type, or ancestry. A lot of doctors regret the thousands of potential guinea pigs shot during the initial outbreak for harmless wounds. They race to find the magic factor… usually by cutting it out of the poor bastards.

For everyone else, an injection of Supressin K-7864 directly after exposure can prevent the development of the worst symptoms, but then latency occurs. The Blight begins parasitically co-opting tissue in the system to make its own nervous system like in resurrected cadavers, but it appears incapable of co-opting brain tissue without resurrecting into the hot strain. Put simply, the Blight goes cold too early to finish the job. Despite riddling the host with infectious sinews, the Blight is left mindless without a hijacked brainstem. This allows the infected to continue living. They spread the infection by all the same means as a casualty but remain in control of their faculties... so long as they can survive the agony of having an alien organ system forcibly violate their every nerve.

The sure sign of latency is persistent necrosis around the bite area and a web of black “veins” coursing under the skin. Those that survive the pain of having a redundant nervous system hacked into their flesh remain immune from secondary infections. Even hot strain, once injected into a Latent, goes cold and joins the Blight sinew already in the System.

This fluke in the disease’s operation system doesn’t carry over to others. The cold Blight in a Latent system, once transferred to a fresh host, will resurrect into the hot strain just as it does with casualty bites. A single kiss from a Latent loved one has caused many an outbreak. Worse, the continual reproduction of the Blight, even in its dormant states, means that after a Latent dies, the parasitic nervous system goes live within seconds, faster than in any other recorded instance of infection. For practical purposes, people don’t distinguish between dead Latents and Vectors; the distinction is a little too academic when there’s a dead friend sprinting at you with jaws gnashing.

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The Carrion Economy is the generalized term for the world economy. While new goods and services are still in production, worldwide trade is largely focused on looting the corpse of the Loss to recover value and infrastructure.

The Carrion Economy got its name because all our trade lives inside the corpse of the old world globalism. To understand it, you have to understand how the host died. There are three major types of economic collapse. The first and most common is a speculative bubble. In the Education Default, the market considered student loan debt a capital good. Payment on those loans created financial capital. The profits from buying the debt were initially so good that everybody got into the game. Demand increased the price of the debt bundles to the point where expected financial capital outpaced the realistic output of the capital good. In short, they dumbly expected every college kid to help pay back trillions in debt despite stagnant wages since before they were born. When the market realized there was no way it was going to get the financial capital it had stupidly expected, the value of capital goods plummeted. Costs exceeded profits instantaneously as everyone realized the financial capital they’d been banking on never existed.

Speculation bubbles are bad, but they’re at least based on predictable cycles of human stupidity and greed.

The second type of economic collapse comes from war. Capital goods, like laborers and equipment, get destroyed in war, but the losses to the global economy are offset by the flurry of production caused by conflict. The capital doesn’t turn out to be imaginary, but it gets lost through redistribution. The victors use the new capital goods to create more wealth, and they trade the scraps back to the losers for financial capital. One man’s bust becomes another’s boom. The master/slave dynamic at the end of a war happens daily among enclaves in the Loss. Our troubles go so much deeper than that.

The rarest collapse stems from natural disaster. A volcano erupts, a tsunami hits — the economy tanks because real capital goods are wiped out on a massive scale. There’s no one profiting off the suffering of others, so trade offers no respite. There was nothing imaginary about the lost assets; everything lost was vital to maintaining society. This last type is the hardest to recover from.

The Crash was most similar to a natural disaster, but the scope was immeasurably larger than anything in history. Yet even this fails to describe the current situation. The obstacles to our recovery are so much more Insidious.

Normally, when large swaths of capital are wiped out in an instant, the only option is to start over. Rebuild from scratch. Find a new way. But after the Crash, the majority of our lost capital goods weren’t truly destroyed; they were just inaccessible. Raw materials, machinery, land, real estate — all of it is just lying there, waiting to be snatched by the first over the fence.

So, in the Recession, you have this unprecedented destruction of capital. It causes an economic depression so severe that replacing the means of production requires dauntingly expensive investment and decades of development. Yet... a “quick and easy” solution lies just over the river. The Loss is a bank where the vault is endless and the bills never come due. The good times aren’t gone forever; people need only walk over and pick them up off the ground. But here’s the thing: the Recession has a reverse speculation bubble working for it: a surprise surplus. All those folks they wrote of as dead? Most of them didn’t get the memo. For the Recession economy, the lives of the Lost are free money, meant to be spent as quickly as possible.

How many lives are you willing to pay to get back the good life? That’s the question of the Carrion Economy.

Bounties and How They Work
Bounty is exactly what it claims to be: it’s a bounty paid by the US government for information on its citizens. Before the Crash, every state in the union used embedded RFID and coded microchips in their IDs. Social security cards, driver’s licenses, voter registration cards, and a half dozen other documents followed suit. Specialty print requirements combined with a unique digital signature in the chips made forgery nearly impossible. In short, American IDs could be trusted as the real deal. And most people had their IDs on them. If they’d been in the Recession for the entirety of the Crash, proving their identity was easy. Most who had fled after the Whisper carried their wallets as well. Even if they’d been stripped in a cattle chute, their old IDs could be recovered fairly easily by DHQS excursions across the river. Some casualties still even had their licenses on them; those cards could be collected as proof of death whenever they wandered too close to a fortified bridge or the Great Lakes Line.

The bounty system turned old IDs into a de facto currency. People that turned in their old IDs received a new card and a fixed amount of cash for every old government document. As a result, the census data would slowly stabilize and the DHQS could begin cross-referencing proof of life with digitized property tax records. Any lost data necessary for such cross-referencing earned an even greater reward. In exchange, citizens received a small stimulus and felt more secure about their prospects in the post-Crash economy. For every ID collected off casualties without listed heirs, the DHQS could lay claim to that person’s property, exchange its estimated salvage value with corporations like Alosine for needed work, and use the remainder to fuel bounty payouts to the populace. And DHQS was pretty much the only organization with access to the proof of death bounty, as they were the only organization with a mandate to operate over the border.

Interestingly, the stability of the bounty system only works because of the wealth inequality present in pre-Crash America. The government pays out at a rate slightly lower than the average property rate of one pre-Crash adult, roughly equivalent to the scrap price of an average car and the possessions in a one-bedroom apartment. Giving out that much value in exchange for every ID would quickly bankrupt the government, but DHQS bounty collection offsets the costs. For every 99 casualties that died paupers, one corpse wanders too near the fence and ends up having owned a chain of stores or hundreds of acres of land. Proof of death and a lack of heirs for one big fish funds the rest of the program because now the government can sell salvage rights to that property.

In addition to preventing the collapse of civil order, bounty corrected the hyperinflation problem by cementing a currency value to an old-world standard of physical, confirmable assets. As a currency, it’s essentially deflationary. While the value of one bounty is still much greater than that of the ration dollar or US dollar, the value of a bounty today pales in comparison to the value on Day One. They aren’t printing any more of the old IDs, so every bounty turned in deflates the value of the next. The value of the goods that ID represents also decreases with every year the Loss goes unreclaimed. This constantly falling value, tied as it is through exchange with ration and US dollars, has corrected the hyperinflation caused by over-printing currency in the early days of the Recession. But if there is a mint for bounty, it’s the casualty-infested Loss. Bounty may have saved the nation, but it also essentially turned the Loss into a bank vault.

Paradoxically, the Loss doesn’t turn in the majority of its bounty. They hoard it and watch the price of the few who do.

The value of an ID as a universal unit of exchange between enclaves is far greater than the one time payment received for turning it in. For a while there, every enclave was inventing its own economy, and navigating the differences made essential trade a pain in the ass. With the DHQS insuring the bounty as a consistent measurement of value, trade among enclaves became much easier. A bounty exchanged out in the Loss can be reearned and traded again, but put it on a drone headed to the Recession? That’s value you’re never going to see again.

Even though it might seem like turning bounty in permanently is the only way to deal with the Recession, even then people tend to keep the cards in rotation. For instance, one bounty could keep a family in the Free Parking ghetto fed for a week, but the smart move for them is to pool cards and hire work over the border. Let's say all the families in a tent put together fifty bounty and hire a Taker group to recover… I don’t know... a truck full of bicycles from the Loss. They spend 40 on the crew and 10 to bribe a DHQS guard to let them across a bridge. Now they’ve got hundred rusty bicycles that cost them nothing to make. They sell each one for two bounty a piece, netting 150 bounty in profit. That’s enough money to get some of them out of Free Parking forever, or they could re-invest and steal some more assets from the Loss.

Meanwhile, that Taker crew is using their 40 bounty to buy food, medicine, and ammo from enclaves too deep in the Loss to trade with the border, all the while collecting more off casualties put down along the way. Those enclaves trade with enclaves even further to the West, who in turn funnel goods and more recovered bounty back East.

The value of an ID is just too good to burn on the DHQS, which is why the value of bounty has remained largely stable for the last two years. It’s gotten to the point that most enclaves have their own banks where bounty can be exchanged for crypto currency. The crypto currencies — or just “crypt,” as Takers call it — trade easily with Recession interests, and the value remains stable so long as the exchanges maintain the value of crypt to the number of IDs in their vault. Essentially, it’s the gold standard, except you mine dead people instead of rocks.

The Taker’s Role
The DHQS and the Recession managed to get their little dystopia stable enough to self perpetuate, but in doing so they accidentally enfranchised some of the people they’d left to die along the way. Life in the Loss had by no means become easy, but the influx of capital and essential goods facilitated by bounty meant death was no longer a certainty. As long as the fences stayed up, enclaves could find a niche within the market by selling their wasteland as a future commodity. It wasn’t enough to get most people out of the grinding poverty and constant danger of the Loss. Bounty usually just made suffering more sustainable. Still, one group was uniquely placed to exploit the new situation. Whatever amounted to political and economic power out here had always rested with Takers, but bounty only lived over the fence. The willingness to risk your ass going over to get it became more valuable than ever before.

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Retreat Into Recession

All places have their seasons. To ascribe malice to a land is to position yourself poorly within it. This is a truth of the Loss. Its delights can kill. Its tortures can redeem. A Taker’s understanding is the only mediator.
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Enclaves
  • Enclaves are haphazard communities assembled to escape the horrors of the Loss. They always fail, to some degree. When they do not burn or descend into Vector orgy, the most an enclave can hope for is to hold the savage tide at bay. The Loss always withholds some of its gifts from those that hide from it, and someone must always leave to fetch them. Outside, the Loss reaps whom it will; the rest flourish and trade. Those left inside leech survival from the vitality of these Takers.

    Enclaves are the most common landmarks in the Loss. Initially, their locations were random, based solely around defenses and resources. Their population were comprised of whoever happened nearby, joined only by desperation and geography. But after five years, the enclaves that remain have made their worth clear. Their walls weathered stampedes of dead. Their trade routes connected. Economies stabilized. New orders and belief were forged by tragedy, and they united people by more than a border.

    Each enclave is unique, like a distinct scar upon the face of the Loss. Those that learn the scar’s shape and story are rewarded like lovers. Those that disrespect the wounds invite the same savagery that made them. Shaped by its pain, the enclaves now try to shape the Loss with their resolve.


Settlements
  • Many enclaves exist only by the Recession’s sufferance. Some accuse Enclaves of being DHQS tools, but all that remains as mostly bullshit. There's already enough places where the Recession invades the Loss without the need to imagine every enclave as a facade. The real invaders from across the Mississippi live in places called “settlements,” so named because they were founded on the fantasy that they’re repopulating some barren wilderness rather than stealing from their desperate countrymen. Make no mistake, the Recession’s settlements are pretty much raider camps that blind themselves to the truth of their own purpose. Like all raiders, they do not announce themselves, they do not stay in one place for long, and they do not give their guilt purchase by accepting a name.

    Still, the Loss demands its inhabitants to recognize these intrusions from “civilization.” To mistake a settlement for an enclave is to smell the roasting meat of a cannibal’s fire: what first tastes like salvation truly announces doom


Exclusion Zones
  • The Loss is only danger and trial. To avoid its hardships is to be Recession Bait. To be Bait is to be something less than human. Your average casualty knows more than these fenced-in fools and their self-satisfied “safety.” A Taker must know the land if they wish to survive. It is the price the Loss demands for the truth it reveals. But even amongst the Loss, there are places one should never tread. Even a god demands privacy, and the Loss shrouds its dignity with death.

It's common knowledge for anyone living in the Loss that casualties have only one need: consume. The millions dead, the cities burned, the world lost — these are cold, shambling steps in the pursuit of a simple need. There is no creature in the world so logical and predictable. However, Humans need to consume as well. Like a casualty, they will kill to meet that need. Unlike a casualty, they will kill to meet many more needs besides. They will also kill out of desire, faith, delusion, madness, and boredom. There is no thought in the human mind so inconsequential that it has not once inspired murder. Only a fool thinks it enough to navigate the casualty’s straight line of bloodshed. To survive the Loss, you must learn to walk the complex labyrinth of human violence.
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If you encounter the DHQS in the Loss, something has gone wrong. Their vast resources are spread thin. Attention means you’ve either been prioritized or extremely unlucky. In either instance, knowing the species of Recession dogs they’re up against is the only advantage Takers have. These can range from something as simple as Settlement garrisons to full-blown reclamation squads that can wipe a whole city clean of life in mere hours.


For all its dangers, the DHQS’s shortage of troops keeps encounters rare. The easterners Takers most often run across are from the private sector. Any company willing to bolster the Recession’s ailing treasury buys a free pass across the border. These corporations are allowed to strip mine the Loss of resources at will. Their attitudes shift along with the markets. One day, a company could hire Takers as “local consultants.” The next, the orders could be to shoot them on sight.

The biggest players have defined economic niches. Learning these makes their behavior more predictable. However, never assume a business so innocuous as to be safe. Takers are only as useful to a corp as they are profitable. If it’s a single bounty more profitable to kill you, they will.


The Loss finds the idea of law laughable. To think one can violate a fantasy? That it matters? Pure delusion.

Yet some still insist on behaving as if words have meaning, as if morality goes beyond opinion, as if punishment is more than bullet and blade. Enclavists and Reccesionites alike suffer from this sickness. Criminals boast that they’ve broken free, but they wear their fetters as a badge all the same. “Law breakers” may be doubly delusional, but they see only by their hallucinations. To understand what they imagined they’ve rebelled against is to predict their movements.


Takers might think they deserve their own category. They do not.

Many look down on those who work in Free Parking as criminals, but this is imagined superiority. The Recession’s law holds no sway in the Loss and Takers violate the taboos of enclaves as often as the US government does. Some may be Robin Hoods. Just as many are war profiteers. Enclavists often confuse the two, praising their exploiters and persecuting their servants.

Do not succumb to illusions, Taker. You are a criminal in the eyes of the Lost. You will compete with other criminals and more besides. Learn from the crews that transcended the label.


Politics have always been about murder. Vote for one candidate to kill an entire class. Vote for another to do it slower. Vote for a third to kill yourself. Those that lose can use guns, money, and power to kill voters, then go on killing besides. The society might change besides who dies, but blood is always the cost. Good politicians offer good exchange rates. Some enclaves still vote, but in the Loss, bullet and blade play kingmaker. Many have dispensed with the pretenses. They dedicate themselves to the only protest that still counts.


Takers believe in the intangible as much as anyone they scorn as “cultist.” They believe in capitalism, the sanctity of the deal, the hope of a better tomorrow. These beliefs break them and save them, same as any theology. They sought something to cling to as reality crumbled beneath their feet, and they reached out for the pillar of human greed. Most Takers would be offended to hear this lifestyle called a choice, yet they would scorn others that grabbed different handholds to save against the collapse of Truth.

The Crash kicked down all the old pillars of faith. Jesus, Mohammed, and all the gods refused to save us. Science stammers over its explanations. History was caught off-guard. The “absent” heavens seemed to answer atheist dismissal by raining down hell. Democracy sold out its citizens and retreated into dystopian fascism. Afterwards, what was left upon which to build a self?

Maybe the enclaves or sheltered Recession still harbor the old beliefs, but anyone that has spent time in deep Loss either invested in a new delusion or killed themselves. Criminals and rebels may have fled to the comforting realities of capitalism and politics, the only gods old enough to weather the Blight’s birth. Others, found deeper faiths. In reality, a lot of these faiths may be madness. However religion, like madness, is never diminished by introspection. It’s difficult to define believer sects — even internally, no dogma unifies a faith — but understanding the general trends is important for any Taker. New delusions can be manipulated for profit, but believers will not hesitate to kill blasphemers.



Places can be predicted and skirted. People? Reasoned with. Manipulated. But the Loss is a home for things. Humanity only squats here. It is for the casualties and the Vectors: the monsters with which it cut itself onto the earth. Everyone knows about these creatures, but there are other things besides. Things that cannot be seen, avoided, or escaped.
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Seasons no longer exist.

The earth still rotates around the sun. The hours of daylight stay consistent. Temperature and precipitation still follow loose trends. But the season, as humans conceive of it, no longer exists. It has been wiped out by climate change we brazenly ignored and continue to accelerate. One may think it is summer, but radioactive fallout from a nuke or dust storms from a drought can easily blot out the sun in a day, leaving the ground blanketed in ash and snow. It can be over 100 degrees in January. Late spring can bring ice storms so cruel they snap tree trunks in half. Seasons existed as our primary tool of agricultural survival, and they are something upon which we can no longer rely.

Thankfully, humanity has so tampered with crops that they can survive the hellish moonscape we’re building for them. Alosine has strains of corn that grow even after bleach has been injected into the roots. Potatoes that can survive sixty-degree temperature swings. Okra plants that can grow from cracks in the sidewalk.

But scientific breakthroughs that help the enclave farmer do nothing to save Takers in the Loss. There are numerous men frozen to death in June. Women choked to death on dust. Entire crews wiped away by flash floods. Enclaves poisoned by contaminated reservoirs or starved by hordes of locusts. There is a reason people call the migrations of roaming casualties “weather.” Both are equally capricious and deadly. Rest assured, if the Loss does not feel its minions are killing you fast enough, it will handle matters personally.

Trust not the seasons, the forecast, or your own eyes. The very sky can conspire to end you.


An animal that ingests casualty flesh dies, poisoned. An animal that ingests human flesh eats for that week. The creatures of the Loss have learned this.

The worst and most common ferals are dogs. Most pets starved, got eaten, or swallowed black juice while fighting off casualties during the Crash. The few that survived either have dedicated owners or rejected their domestication entirely. At this point, the survivors have interbred so much that mongrels are almost all that remain. Some former pet packs have even joined with wolves, coyotes, and coywolfs. The hybrid packs are formidable hunters, but the Blight’s poisoning of insects and other carrion eaters put them at constant risk of starvation. The knockdown effects of the scavenger die-off, combined with climate change and Crash fallout, makes game scarce. By far, the most prevalent and easy prey in the Loss is man.

Feral dogs have only survived this long through cunning, and most have intimate experience with mankind. There are packs who use cute pure-breeds to lure in travelers. Themalingering pup sets an ambush, waiting for someone to come to its aid, before barking to alert dozens of ravenous hounds lying in wait nearby. Packs will harrow and pursue targets for days, herding them towards hostile encampments in the hopes of eating the clean corpses killed by gunfire. The craftiest packs have learned to bite and then throw up to purge themselves of the Blight in order to hamstring casualties in the high grass of their hunting grounds, essentially trapping escape routes out of the kill zone.

Dogs are just the most prevalent ferals. Bears have also grown bolder with dwindling resources. Zoos further complicated matters. LifeLines contains reports of rampaging rhinos, man-eating baboon troops, and stampeding bulls harassing enclaves. The Lions of Chicago have become legendary, and though their existence is in doubt, the death toll cannot be denied, nor the prize on their heads.

The Loss is a jungle. Takers are not king.


Any Lost knows to aim for the head. Taking casualties is simplicity itself. Be smart, stay lucky, and survive.

As for Vectors... throw everything at them: empty magazines, use grenades, break blades off. If they get close, keep mouths shut and eyes covered. You’re probably still dead unless Latent or Immune, but they can be slain if met with the same suicidal intensity with which they attack.

But Aberrants? There is no planning for an Aberrant. There is only the sensation of being hunted, and the wisdom of running away. Killing one grants no reward, save maybe the false confidence of having conquered one of the Blight’s toughest Champions. Such quests are madness. Aberrants are the very maws of the Loss, the jaws that swallow entire enclaves in the night. To continue on when one is near is pure stupidity. To chase one is suicide.

They are real. Fire any in a crew that believe otherwise. No doubt some of the stories on LifeLines are lies, legends passed around to scare the Bait. But dare anyone make the same mistake again, refusing to believe monsters exist? Has the Crash taught us nothing? The Blight has already destroyed reality once. The Aberrants are the weapons with which it will do it again.


Last edited by D R I F T E R on Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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D R I F T E R
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Re: [REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

Post by D R I F T E R » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:21 pm



Aberrant: Blanket term for a number of casualty sub-types with special abilities.

Bait: Nickname for a citizen of the Recession that left for financial, political, or religious reasons to live out in the Loss.

Believers: Collective term for the religious sects and philosophies that sprang up after the Crash. Each cult has unique beliefs that can range from benignly comforting to terrifyingly fanatical.

Blight: The mysterious infection responsible for the Crash and all its terrors, so called due to its anomalous medical classification. Like its victims, Blight has two stages: living and undead. Living Blight is the single most infectious disease ever encountered by mankind. It creates homicidal Vectors in a matter of minutes, and its exponential growth rate can bring conversion time down to seconds. After a victim succumbs, the Blight pathology changes completely, becoming more fungal/parasitic and building unearthly black sinews that puppet dead flesh and slow cadaver decay.

Bounty: The currency between the Loss and the Recession. Bounty is provided by the DHQS for the retrieval of identity and property documentation dating before the Crash. Bounty is rewarded on delivery, based on the average value of a pre-Crash adult’s total property and financial holdings.

Carrion Economy: Generalized term for the world economy. While new goods and services are still in production, worldwide trade is largely focused on looting the corpse of the Loss to recover value and infrastructure.

Casualty: A zombie; a cadaver puppeted by the parasitic nervous system characteristic of “cold” Blight. The term hails from bloodless, sanitized news reports during the early days of the Crash used to prevent panic, now used ironically by Takers. “Taking casualties” can now mean killing zombies for money or dying in the process.

Citizen: Pejorative term for a person living safely in the Recession or one of its settlements.

Crash: The initial emergence of the Blight and the resulting panic, chaos, and death.

Crew: The collective noun form of Takers. Crews assemble to bid on jobs and brand their services.

DHQS: The Department of Homeland Quarantine and Stewardship, the new agency in charge of maintaining the United State’s borders and eventually reclaiming the Loss. They are responsible for the bounty system and the inept enforcement of the underground economy resulting from it.

Enclaves: Pockets of surviving civilization not officially recognized by any of the surviving state powers, but large enough to have some economic impact. Allowed to survive because they draw casualties away from the borders of safe zones or maintain vital infrastructure points.

Free Parking: Derogatory term for the shantytowns that developed in the wake of the evacuation, so named because of the numerous derelict cars that make up their dwellings.

Homo Sacer: Latin for “the accursed man,” the term refers to a person banned from civilized society and not afforded protection under the law. Anyone outside the Recession’s borders without expressed federal consent is considered Homo Sacer.

Immune: A rare person that, for reasons unknown, is completely immune to Blight infection. They are subject to “conscription into medical service” (read: kidnapping, medical torture, and bone marrow harvesting) in the Recession and its settlements, in order to produce Suppressin K-7864 from their bone marrow. Takers and certain enclaves often attempt to kidnap the Immune for a sizable reward.

Latent: A carrier of the Blight that somehow remains free of cannibalistic urges. It occurs when the virus infects a host but transfers too quickly into its undead state. Necrotic Blight sinews wind painfully through the victim’s tissues (making Latents instantly identifiable), but the dead strain cannot affect living brain tissue. Latency can be natural or achieved by injecting Supressin K-7864 shortly after infection. Those infected by a Latent become Vectors as if bitten by a casualty, as the Blight reanimates itself without the intervention of drugs. Due to this danger, enclaves, settlements, and nations often shoot Latents on sight or detain them in isolated camps.

LifeLines: The secured forum launched by Gnat to coordinate evacuation and survival for civilians during the Crash. It’s now an invite-only community for Takers and other inhabitants of the Loss.

Operation Utility: The codename for a Joint Special Operations Command project executed by the USA’s professional badasses: Seals, Rangers, Delta, Raiders, Special Tactics Squadron, Special Activities Division, etc. to escort experts that needed to get somewhere and flip a switch. Members of Operation Utility established beachheads and defended members of the Naval Construction Battalion and Army Corps of Engineers as they shuttered government projects and automated dams. They cut their way through entire states gone Vector, mothballing reactors with a pet team of Nuclear Regulatory Committee experts. They fought running wars through infected cities, trying to rescue VIPs identified in the Continuation of Government plan. A lot of Utility teams died in battle or got left behind during the Recession east. Each unit had a prioritized list of targets that would have been impossible to complete in the best of times, not to mention when the radio went dead and supplies stopped coming. Many pressed on anyway, ticking items off the list until they were consumed. Some even survived the whole ordeal and stayed behind in the Loss, keeping up the good fight.

The Loss: As in “written off as a Loss.” Everything outside a safe zone surrendered to the dead and the home of the Red Markets for five years.

Lost: Anybody left behind as the remainder of civilization pulled back to the Recession.

The Moths: The world’s largest Taker crew, made up of the survivors of the Operation Utility mutiny and former Ubiq employees. The Moths are based out of the Ubiq campus in the Colorado Mountains.

The Recession: The term for humanity’s retreat behind natural borders and the resulting safe zones. If someone is “from the Recession,” they live in a safe zone marked by geographical fortification and run by a surviving national government. Early government communications used this term exclusively to refer to symptoms of the Crash because everything except economic news was being censored to avoid panic. It stuck due to its ironic inadequacy after the American government abandoned many of its citizens and “receded” to the East coast.

The Red Markets: The underground economy exploiting the Loss as a resource and trading between enclaves and the Recession. The market is “red” because it is not legal, but as nearly everyone participating is considered legally dead already, the trade isn’t technically illegal either.

The Whisper: The leak of information regarding the United States Government's plan to retreat eastwards and abandon everything west of the Mississippi. Orchestrated by Gnat, a former employee of Ubiq and a famous Taker, the Whisper prompted many to flee eastwards and both saved the lives of millions and condemned many others to a painful death in numerous doomed caravans eastwards.

Supressin K-7864: A drug cocktail derived from the bone marrow of an Immune human, extremely powerful antibiotics, and dangerously caustic antiseptics. Though it cannot kill infection, injection within a few minutes after a bite can cause the Blight to enter its dormant state and reduce a Vector into a Latent human. Supressin is the single most valuable substance in the Loss.

T-minus Never: Slang for the day of reclamation, generalized to mean false hope or foolish wishes. Derives from the fact that DHQS has claimed reclamation would begin in 20 years from the date of announcement... for five years running.

Takers: Name for the outcasts, smugglers, and survivors that work the Red Markets. Simultaneously references “undertakers” and a reputation for theft.

Ubiq: Massive internet start-up responsible for the free global wi-fi network exploited by Takers and the only reliable from of communication the global economy can rely on. Ubiq servers both enabled and sabotaged the Recession by providing a stable communications network during the Crash.

Vector: A recently infected human unhindered by decay or rigor mortis. They are fast, infectious, and deadly.

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Characters

Code: Select all

[i][b]TAKER NAME:[/b][/i]
Takers often use codenames more than their real names

[i][b]REAL NAME:[/b][/i]
Pretty self-explanatory

[b][i]AGE:[/i][/b]
Once again, pretty self-explanatory

[b][i]GENDER:[/i][/b]
Male / Female?

[b][i]APPEARANCE:[/i][/b]
Place a picture centered above your CS or hidden in a spoiler here. You can write a little extra description here if you so chose, or to divulge anything your picture does not show (scars, tattoos, casual attire, etc)

[b][i]BIO:[/i][/b]
Describe your character's past and what leads them to becoming a Taker. Who were they before the Crash? How did they get from there to here? This can go as deep as you want it to, but you're going to want to go over the events that shaped your character to who they are today.

[b][i]PERSONALITY:[/i][/b]
How does your character behave, what drives them? What's their idea for a "way out" of the apocalypse? Get a boat? Smuggle themselves into the Recession? Get enough Bounty to set up their own Enclave?

[b][i]POSSESSIONS:[/i][/b]
Also known as equipment, basically anything your character has on them from random talisman to any weapons. If you don't list it here, don't expect your character to be bringing it on them-- ie, don't be whipping anything out in the IC that isn't mentioned here.

[b][i]SKILLS / TALENTS[/i][/b]
What can your character do that is unique / special / intriguing / etc? Any adeptness in any weaponry / subject / language / hobby / skill / etc? And why are they good at that (what led to them having this talent / skill)? Takers need more than just the knowledge on how to kill if they want to survive in the Loss for more than just a couple of days.

[b][i]DEPENDANTS:[/i][/b]
Are there NPC's that your character is looking after or supporting? Do they have friends or family in the Enclave? Are they emotionally tied to another Taker in the crew? What makes them wake up each day and step outside the fence into the Loss?

[b][i]OTHERS:[/i][/b]
Anything else not covered in previous categories we should know about your character, any theme song, what color you will be writing their speech in, anything really at all here. If your character is Latent or Immune, put it here.

Since this RP revolves around Takers, you need to know how to build one. As a general rule, every bit of equipment will have some sort of cost attributed to it. Each player will start out with only 30 Bounties with which to create their character. Exceptions to the rules will be allowed, HOWEVER, I must be contacted through either PM or thread to discuss the exception you are making.

Due to the typically violent nature of their very existence, Takers are often armored in some form and are usually well protected against bites, scratches and firearms alike. The measure of protection is always up to the individual and the available resources they have on hand, of course.
  • Civilian Grade 5B - Little more than a thick vest or shirt, this non-descript, easy to find, easy to buy armor is readily available to anyone seeking a bit of protection from the dangers of the Loss. It won't protect one from even low caliber handgun rounds, but it can help somewhat against bites, scratches and stabs; especially when worn in conjunction with other pieces of improvised armor.
  • Security Grade 10B - Common security grade armor usually comes in the form of a ballistic vest with armor plates on it. Pre-Crash, these plated vests are commonly seen on law enforcement and can stop limited amounts of low caliber handgun rounds, but will struggle to stop higher caliber or armor piercing ammunition.
  • Combat Grade 15B - Full-body Combat-Grade Armor is the most common type of armor worn by Takers expecting to get into contact with the Blight and deal with regular firefights. Ranging from pre-Crash SWAT gear to post-Crash improvised body armor, they are worn by experienced Takers and professionals operating in the Lost alike. This form of body armor offers high degrees of protection, though most would still advise against looking to take direct fire for prolonged periods of time.
  • Elite Grade 25B - The highest quality armor, mechanically assisted, and typically only worn by elite operators in Corp-Sec or from the DHQS, this hard to obtain category of armor, while definitely not invincible, usually comes with an integrated HUD system and rewards its wearer with almost unparalleled protection from small arms fire. Difficult to obtain and even more difficult to maintain.
  • Armor Supplement 2B - Additional thick plates or jury-rigged protection attached to one's armor. This can range from something as simple as taping old magazines around the arm to something as complex as a chain-mail being worn under one's clothing.

Firearms, melee weapons, and other instruments of death. These are typically the most common tools in the Taker's line of work.
  • Firearms: Weapons that go boom. Though loud, hard to maintain and sometimes unreliable, one can never go wrong with carrying a firearm on them in case the shit hits the fan and they can't deal with it by just bashing in someone's skull.
    • C-Grade 3B - Low grade firearms, these are commonplace in the Loss. These low quality weapons are cheap and plentiful but are often way too loud and sometimes unreliable. Luckily they are generally sturdy, cheap to maintain and relatively easy to replace.
    • B-Grade 5B - Midline firearms typically used by Corp-sec and military personnel, these high grade weapons are sufficient for military applications, and are typically more sophisticated and advanced than C-Grade weapons. These weapons often offer more power and accuracy, but can be slightly more costly to maintain.
    • A-Grade 15B - Top of the line mil-spec equipment, this high-end gear is among the most advanced in the Loss, with sophisticated recoil adjustment systems and smart-aim links. These weapons offer advanced power and accuracy, but are difficult to obtain and maintain.
    • Weapon Modifications 2B - From something as simple as red dot sights to a rifle's bump stock, Takers are known to modify their firearms with whatever might help them in dealing death.
  • Special Weapons 10B - Grenade launchers, flamethrowers, portable mortars and mini-guns. Extremely difficult to maintain, and with ammunition usually being way too expensive or generally nonexistent, Takers rarely lug these weapons around with them. But when they do, the result is a highly lethal dealer of death.
  • Melee Weapons Sometimes Taker prefer a more personal touch when it comes to dealing death.
    • Standard 1B - Solid slabs of metal, wood or alloy. These weapons do what they're intended to do: stab, bludgeon, and generally cause discomfort upon one's target. They're cheap, effective, and easy to replace.
    • Improvised 2B - In most enclaves, an improvised spear is a weapon of choice thanks to its range and ability to lobotomize a casualty from behind the safety of a fence. Improvised weapons are weapons that are not as cheap, and more specific in purpose when compared to plain melee weapons, but they work well and are generally the weapon of choice for experienced Takers.
    • Specialized 4B - Expensive weapons made with expert craftsmanship. These hard to come by weapons are usually very lightweight and easy to handle, but they are typically hard to maintain and even harder to replace. These can range from anything between antique medieval weapons to hybrid survival machetes.
  • Explosives In some cases, guns and melee weapons just aren't quite enough to get the job done. This is where explosives come in. Rare and expensive, Takers usually carry them for dead-end scenarios or for going out with a bang before a horde of casualties get to them.
    • Molotovs ,B - Unless you get the fire hot enough to melt a skull, setting a casualty on fire is only a slightly faster method of disposal than waiting for them to die of old age… but engulfing the bastards in flames makes it real hard for them to track you. It also kills Vectors that are too dumb to stop, drop, and roll. As for humans? No one forgets the sound of a raider burning alive.
    • Grenades 4B - Though unreliable for headshots, grenades tend to mangle casualties beyond the point of mobility anyway. Humans fare even worse.
    • Flashbangs 4B -During the Crash, the staple of SWAT teams everywhere couldn’t have seemed more useless. But now, as people invade each other’s entrenched positions to steal bounty, flashbangs have reentered the market.
    • Plastic Explosives 4B - A surprising amount of plastic explosive was left behind during the Crash, and it’s the first thing corrupt DHQS guards pilfer from their ammo dumps to sell across the border. Since most Lost have no idea how to use the stuff, they figure it’ll just end up blowing up the purchaser.

  • Blood Testing Unit 2B - BTUs range from the hacked-together, pieces-of-shit used by the military at the Recession checkpoints to newer, sleek StopLoss designs. Regardless of the cosmetics, all models answer the same question: should I shoot my friend now or later?
  • First-Aid Kits 2B - It won’t do shit against the Blight, but a lot can go wrong in the Loss. Nothing about Taker first aid is meant to keep you healthy. Kits are there to keep you alive, moving, and in agony until you can collapse back at the home.
  • Street Drugs 2B - A variety of common street drugs of questionable quality. These drugs have different effects and can be quite addictive.
  • SOMA Vitamins 3B - Soma is to anti-depressants as power drills are to screwdrivers. The government dumps this tranquilizing poison into Free Parking ghettos to keep the refugees from burning down the cities, but it does ease the pain… if only for a little while.
  • Stim-Sauce 3B - Military-issue meth, issued to drivers to keep the caravans moving East during the Crash. The feds claim it’s no longer in production, but there’s enough bootleggers that the truth doesn’t really matter. Many can’t face the thought of the Loss without a little SS in their blood. After awhile, it becomes the only reason to get up in the morning.
  • Scent Blockers 4B - Certain organs – the liver, the large intestine, etc – remain oddly untouched by Blight infection. Collecting viscera from slain casualties and squeezing it creates Scent Blocker, or “C-Juice” as it is sometimes called. The noxious substance reeks but does not carry the Blight. Rubbing on scent blocker allows Takers to sneak past mobs of casualties, though sight, sound, and behavior can still give the humans away.
  • Designer Drugs 5B - These high quality drugs were specially designed. They typically give a heightened sense of euphoria.
  • Supression K-7864 6B - Derived from the bone marrow of the Immune, along with a cocktail of dangerously caustic antiseptics and antibiotics, Supression K-7864 is the only hope for someone infected with the Blight. The shot reverts live strains into their little-understood undead state. Though the infection still perforates every tissue with Blight sinews, the live cells responsible for destroying the brain and turning people into Vectors never activate. This turns the user into Latents, humans completely riddled with the Blight’s sinew, but sill alive and rational. The shot is no promise of survival, however; the process of becoming a Latent is agonizing, and it has been said to kill many through shock alone.
  • StopLoss Healthcare 10B - On the off-chance they’re nearby and not busy, StopLoss will provide medical care to anyone with the foresight to have purchased their exorbitant medical insurance package. The corporation provides these services to all paying customers, even in the Loss. Smart Takers never confuse life saving for compassion: the only reason the corp offers such a policy is the increased chance it provides to catch Immunes in the field.

  • Laptop/Pad 2B - Ubiq’s aloft servers may still be floating up there in the stratosphere, but it don’t mean shit if you can’t access them. While hacked Specs remain the norm for many Takers because they’re hands free, the limited UI leaves something to be desired. Takers that need to hack in a hurry or spend a lot of time online usually set up their account on a more traditional device.
  • Ubiq-Specs 3B - The first wearable computing device to really take off, Specs finally made good on the promise of augmented reality computing by removing the hassle and stigma. They came in a wide variety of attractive models, ranging from wire frames to sunglasses to horn-rimmed. The interface was designed to be compatible with all needs and proclivities, allowing for voice command, Ubiq On-Sight operation via specialized contact lenses, or wearable thimble inputs. The camera was ultralight and high resolution, recording on microdrives hidden in the earpieces capable of holding nearly 100 gigs without noticeable extra weight. The AR interface sported the best visual recognition software yet made by man, and open-source code made sure the app market could meet every conceivable need. And not only did the calls have the lowest drop ratio of every major provider, but on-board sensors in the frames could be fed into a computer model of the user’s face to project an accurate facial expression to the person on the other end. Specs were well on their way to replacing cell-phones… but then the apocalypse started, “terrorists” took over the servers, and everyone started using them to shoot zombies.
  • Drone 5B - The government tried to crack down on civilian drone use immediately after they became available and they started failing just as quickly. Drones are the primary early warning system of most enclaves and Beemail carriers are as close to a postal system as the Loss can get. If they can afford the batteries and maintenance, many Taker crews bring drones out on job to safely scout ahead
  • Dog 7B - Animals that try to feed off the flesh of casualties usually get eaten themselves or die from the Blight’s poison. Five years in, “man’s best friend” only survives by feasting off survivors in feral packs or remaining loyal to master. A well-trained pooch can be a lifesaver in the Loss, though. They can attack human rivals or distract casualties without much fear of being caught. Outfitted with equipment, service dogs make great scouts. Perhaps most importantly, dogs are invaluable for morale. Life over the fence might be a harrowing nightmare to the rest of the crew, but Fido is just happy for walkies. But never forget, a dog is more than another piece of equipment to invest in. Many a Taker lived through the genocide of the Crash only to put a gun in their mouth when their dog died.
  • Horse 10B - Anything that can plow a field or carry a load without using precious fuel is valuable indeed. The fact that a loyal horse can also get you away from casualties is a nice bonus. Just don’t let the poor thing get hurt. Hearing the screams of a horse being eaten alive will forever turn a Taker’s dreams into nightmares.
  • Dron-Key 15B - Though not quite breeching Terminator territory, AI advanced far enough before the Crash that limitedly autonomous robotic units became the norm for most military ground units. Dron-key’s were used to carry equipment, relay communications, scout, and dispose of explosives (by running into them). The recall of US forces brought a glut of dron-keys into the domestic warzone. The Loss has long since learned to hack and mod the equipment for their own needs. They may be dumb as all hell and look like cross between a pommel horse and deformed mule, but they carry your shit and don’t complain.

  • Backpack 1B -There’s no reason to go out if you’re not bringing something back. Even the most desperate Takers carry a backpack.
  • Trade Tools 3B - Lockpicking kits, Hacking sets, any conceivable tools of trade style items can be covered by this. It’s the Loss: everything is breaking or already broke. A good Taker comes prepared.
  • Flashlight 3B - Remember the Taker motto: “Prevent a bite with a nightlight; turn it off or heads get blown off”
  • Binoculars 3B - Whether you’re walking into it, being chased by it, or getting flanked by it, see it before it sees you.
  • Bicycle 5B -Taker survival in the short-term is about spending. The long-term is about sustainability.
  • Conventional Transportation 8B - Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks. You name it, some dumb moron's probably still riding it, completely forgetting the fact that if they run out of fuel in the middle of a city then they're pretty much a casualty's dinner. Takers rarely make use of conventional transportation thanks to shortages on fuel and the care required to maintain a vehicle in the Loss. Those who somehow manage to make it work are few and far inbetween.
  • Connections 10B - It helps to have friends in many places, especially when you're a Taker. Knowing that one bridge security guard can sometimes mean the difference between getting a bullet to the head and walking off unnoticed.

In-Character Rules
  • All forum rules apply.
  • No graphic pictures.
  • No explicit sexual or overly grotesque imagery. This is a zombie survival RP, and the main theme of it is what people can and will do when faced with desperate situations, but certain things just aren't acceptable. There's bound to be killing and bloodshed, and maybe even romance, but know the limits.
  • Be courteous to other RPers. Don't kill another person's character unless they've given you explicit permission to do so or they gave anyone the go-ahead OOC or by some other means that are explicit and blunt.
  • Highly encouraged that you have at least two paragraphs of at the very least moderate detail. I don't even care if you use fluff to stretch it out, fluff will be fluff.
  • Decent or at least adequate grammar is expected, but a minimal number of grammatical errors are allowed, of course. This isn't your college midterm or thesis paper. Besides, even published, purchasable novels get by with having grammatical errors even after being combed over by an editor, so nobody's going to blame you for a few grammatical flubs.
  • At least one post per week is required if you want to stay on. You must notify of your absences, otherwise you'll be booted and/or your character will be murdered in a fabulously spectacular fashion for all the others to enjoy
  • Player Knowledge is not necessarily character knowledge. Just because you know something (be it through OOC or someone else's post) does not necessarily mean your character knows.



Out of Character Rules
  • Site rules apply.
  • If you have beef with another player, have a series of questions, or anything else that could be potentially disruptive to OOC, take it to private messages.
  • Be kind to other users. You don't know what they're going through, and even if they've done things that they're not proud of or continue to do things that they shouldn't be proud of, openly spiting them doesn't solve anything for anyone.
  • If you have questions pertaining to the world, creatures inside it or potential other parts of the world that don't necessarily pertain to the main story arc, feel free to have them asked on here and I'll answer them and probably update this post or the other posts to reflect it. It's not a spoiler, and it's more information for all the players to share. If you have a question pertaining to a pressing story arc your character's involved in heavily, or something you want to do involving your character, or a question you have involving your character, then PM me about it.
  • Just don't be rude. Be respectful and decent to your fellow player. Outrage and spite are for YouTube comments.



Too Long, Didn't Read
  • To put it simply, this Roleplay is based off of the tabletop RPG known as Red Markets.

    The game is set five years into the Crash, the apocalyptic event that killed half the human species and divided the continental United States. An unknown infection referred to as The Blight appears seemingly at random worldwide, with no clear point of origin, turning humans into incredibly infectious monsters and shambling corpses. The Crash goes.. poorly. It's not a total wash, the governments of the world resorting to military invention to fight the spreading Blight. But there are only so many bullets, so many trained fighters. The cold, cruel mathematics of logistics prompt the US government to make a dreadful decision. They withdraw to the east coast, taking vital manpower and resources with them and blow the bridges. This splits the country into the Recession (east of the Mississippi river, where the U.S government has rooted out infection and rules with martial law) and the Loss (west of the Mississippi, given up and everyone left behind declared legally dead).

    As one of the legally-dead living left behind in the Loss, you probably belong in an enclave, a survivor colony. You've spent the last five years scavenging food, medicine and other supplies, sitting on pre-Crash stockpiles and subsistence farming for staple crops. But five years is a long time and scavenging isn't a forever solution. Those stockpiles are running out. Canned food is coming to the end of its edible life; even the nastiest MRE packets are beginning to turn. Most medicines that haven't been taken are simply expired. Even gasoline goes bad after so long. And people aren't making more, or at least the Loss isn't. But the Recession is. This is where the Carrion Economy comes in. It's an illicit black market trade between Loss enclaves and Recession people to carry out services in exchange for goods both sides want, backed by a form of cryptocurrency called Bounty. An example might be someone whose family was infected during the Crash hiring some Loss-based folks to go out and put their Zombie Grandma out of their misery; they pay in bounty and then that currency goes towards, say, buying Recession-made medicine the Loss enclave needs. People who engage in this Carrion Economy, who hunt zombies or scavenge in the Loss not to survive but to profit, are Takers.

    A big part of the Carrion Economy is the trade in legal documentation; the Recession government is gearing up for a big reclamation push in the next 15-20 years and they want to sort out things like inheritance, land ownership, who owns what and what can the State seize, which is causing a big bubble in the Carrion Economy. You play survivors who are taking advantage of this bubble in the Carrion Economy to get rich and buy your way to a better life, whatever that is for you - bribe your way into a new life for you and your family in the Recession? Set yourself up as boss hog of a new enclave? Maybe establish a company incorporating Taker crews from all over the area?

    So, it's the end of the world but capitalism is still chugging along just fine. And it's time for you to go out, pay your bills, try to strike it rich - and not get bit.


How Do I Get In On This?
  • As with any other RP: By filling out the Character Skeleton and making your own Taker
  • When making the Bio, be sure to avoid mentioning where your character is currently located in. Feel free to make up where they've been and where they're from, but try not to say anything concrete about where they are exactly right now. Why? Because Enclave creation and World Building will be the first thing we're gonna be doing before the Roleplay starts.
  • However, since this is still just a Request thread, I'm just looking for people who are interested in joining this roleplay. I'm aiming for around 3-5, and it'll be closed once we reach the maximum number of players.

Last edited by D R I F T E R on Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Quirbles
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Re: [REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

Post by Quirbles » Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:59 pm

wait is this loss

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D R I F T E R
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Re: [REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

Post by D R I F T E R » Mon Jun 18, 2018 6:02 pm

Quirbles wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 5:59 pm
wait is this loss
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Re: [REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

Post by Annasiel » Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:08 pm

I love this, and I love the amount of work you've put into the worldlore.
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Re: [REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

Post by Jhibus » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:51 am

Holy crap. There's so much work put into this, I'm almost too intimidated to join. It's like a DnD campaign with the massive backstory and Bounty system. I'll try and get a CS up soon.

Question, there seems to be no listed Bounty price for Laptop/pad in Tech/Pets. Is this intentional?

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Re: [REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

Post by D R I F T E R » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:04 am

Jhibus wrote:
Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:51 am
Holy crap. There's so much work put into this, I'm almost too intimidated to join. It's like a DnD campaign with the massive backstory and Bounty system. I'll try and get a CS up soon.

Question, there seems to be no listed Bounty price for Laptop/pad in Tech/Pets. Is this intentional?

| |l
|| |_
One more loss meme and I'm pulling the plug.

But seriously, don't be intimidated by it. Besides the fact that I'm basing this off a tabletop RPG, this is just a regular roleplay like any other. As for the Bounty price, I've fixed it. Also added weapon attachments into the firearms section in case anyone wants to get fancy with their boomsticks.
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Re: [REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

Post by Xcelgamer » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:10 am

Sure I'll get in on this
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Re: [REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

Post by Jhibus » Tue Jun 19, 2018 12:40 pm

@Xceigamer off topic but is that Peacock as your avatar? Do you play Skullgirls too?
My mum only lets me drink coffee if it's decaffeinated.

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Re: [REQ] Out of Terror, We Profit

Post by Vladmirk » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:53 pm

I would love to join. Where do you want the Character Skeletons posted?
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