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Very Different Places RPG

Iron Legion


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It's 1980... you think. However, don't expect much in the way of polyester and disco balls. As it has for the past forty years, North America ekes out a living, every year a little worse than the last.

There was no big disaster; there are stories about cosmic-ray bombs and sonic destroyers, but you suspect it's traveling songsters embellishing old pulp magazines. You're pretty sure that the Popular State of Russia is doing worse; while you dimly remember President Thompson's calls to global amity from when broadcast radios still worked, they've never done anything for you and you've never done anything from them. Who's got time for paranoid shroom-head fantasies anyway?

Crops peek out of the dust bowl, here and there oxcart built from the skeletons of the automobile era carry wary travelers, by road or more often by rail, across the dangerous emptiness.

Maybe you're an armored brawler; maybe you're a pistoleer on horseback; maybe you're a medicine man who works from scraps of textbooks and the vaguely blasphemous, hand-passed writ of Hoffman and Leary. Maybe you'll survive the year. Maybe you'll find a farm to settle in that isn't yoked by sharecropping, even.

Most of the old factories are slowly crumbling; some have become castles for the new aristocracy of a divided continent. Rumor has it that a rare few still have their lights on, the Objectivist cult in the Rockies having learned to harvest nigh-magical electricity from men's very souls. To the east, what's left of once powerful Popular Governments is equal parts legend, boogeyman, and source of confusion. Maybe there was a war going on; maybe there still is. Everywhere and nowhere, the armored trains of the Iron Legion offer precious medicine and expertise, at the dear price of anything that can feed their ravenous locomotives.

Where they're worth more intact than as scrap metal, the rails still cross the landscape, surviving towns needing that last lifeline of contact with the world past the horizon but wary of raider rigs that only trade in blood and fire.

Still, you're alive. You have family back home, maybe. You have a future to look forward to, maybe.

You have the stars above you, your iron on you, and your friends with you. All considered, it's a good time to be alive.

ChronologyCombat and Skill Check SystemCharacter Sheet Sample
GlossarySkillsGeneric NPC
Science and TechnologyEconomics and Equipment(Tougher version)
Mind Over MatterWeapons
Cultural NotesArmor
Notable Figures 
Legends, Rumors, Stories, Metafiction 
Adventure Seeds 
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Page last modified on January 30, 2022, at 10:38 AM