30 Aug The Rumour Mill #2: Chicago

I had a fantastic idea sent to me by Brian Wille. Thank you for the entry, and I’ll look forward to some more!

Chicago and the Great Lakes are an interesting area. Michigan is home to a great many small lakes, rivers, swamps and isolated places. There are also the many, many isles, inlets and coastal regions of the Great Lakes themselves, where many people have fled to hide, start civilisation anew, or escape retribution. There are bandits, thieves, holdfasts and attempted utopias in this fluid region. Then there’s Chicago itself…

The Island Republic

Setting themselves up as a sort of utopian republic in several of the islands of the Great Lakes, the Island Republic is a democratic collection of self-protecting enclaves. And they have plenty to protect themselves against. The Black Fins are just one of countless pirate gangs roving the lakes, and who have so far had countless skirmishes with the Republic. The problem with the Black Fins is that they’re working for someone else… someone who’s apparently bringing an entire fleet into the Lakes. It remains to be seen how the Republic will hold out against this rising threat. Mayhaps they’ll need someone to find out where this fleet is lurking – and to sabotage the locks and dams leading through the Lakes, to delay that fleet permanently.

Skating On Thick Ice

The winters are freezing around Wisconsin and the Lakes. Sometimes the water freezes over altogether. When this happens, the protected islands suddenly become land-locked, and vulnerable to incursion from anything crossing the floes. The Infected are fond of doing just that. Crossing in blizzards, they gravitate towards the lights and warmth of settlements. Settlements that often are ill-prepared for the storm of starving creatures coming their way. One way to stop them from reaching settlements is to create decoys – but this requires brave, quick-footed individuals… and sometimes ice skating. Light fires or flares, make noise, then draw the Infected away, deep into the Lakes. A lot can go wrong. In some areas, the ice is unstable, or thin, and can plunge a person into the icy depths. Such watery cold is an almost certain death out there. Other times, so many Infected come after the decoys that they find themselves surrounded, and have to try to break out. Other times, the exposure gets to them, they get disoriented, snow-blind or frostbitten. But they save lives, and if they make it back, they’re heroes – or rich, depending on their motivations.

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The Hightower Gang

~ By Brian Wille

Chicago was always building up and was insanely proud of its skyscrapers. This architectural tradition became a problem after the Outbreak, when power eventually failed and the elevators ceased to work. One group (rumored to have come from outside the city) showed up with a technological advantage: hot air balloons. They used these balloons skillfully, colonizing the top-most levels of the tallest buildings, mooring to dead radio antennas and dropping rope ladders down. They have blown out the stairs below so the Infected (and the living) can’t reach them, and it’s said they are amassing a fortune in supplies and luxuries.  There are also darker stories about captives pulled into the air and sudden attacks from the sky on survivors in the dead of night. Somebody should teach the Hightower Gang a lesson, and maybe think about raiding their high-rise treasure castles to redistribute some wealth. Are you up to the challenge?

~Oliver R. Shead

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Like these plot hooks? Check out our core rulebook, Infected! available now as a PDF on Drive Thru RPG.

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