Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Switzerland is ready to become a post-apocalpytic fortress

So during the second World War, the Swiss began booby-trapping themselves in the event that neutrality didn't pan out. The Cold War did nothing to slow them down and now the country is rigged to become a self-contained bunker, says BLDG BLOG. An excerpt:

To interrupt the utility of bridges, tunnels, highways, railroads, Switzerland has established three thousand points of demolition. That is the number officially printed. It has been suggested to me that to approximate a true figure a reader ought to multiply by two. Where a highway bridge crosses a railroad, a segment of the bridge is programmed to drop on the railroad. Primacord fuses are built into the bridge. Hidden artillery is in place on either side, set to prevent the enemy from clearing or repairing the damage...


Near the German border of Switzerland, every railroad and highway tunnel has been prepared to pinch shut explosively. Nearby mountains have been made so porous that whole divisions can fit inside them. There are weapons and soldiers under barns. There are cannons inside pretty houses. Where Swiss highways happen to run on narrow ground between the edges of lakes and to the bottoms of cliffs, man-made rockslides are ready to slide...
This is where it gets really interesting:
McPhee points to small moments of "fake stonework, concealing the artillery behind it," that dot Switzerland's Alpine geology, little doors that will pop open to reveal internal cannons and blast the country's roads to smithereens. Later, passing under a mountain bridge, McPhee notices "small steel doors in one pier" hinting that the bridge "was ready to blow. It had been superceded, however, by an even higher bridge, which leaped through the sky above—a part of the new road to Simplon. In an extreme emergency, the midspan of the new bridge would no doubt drop on the old one."
Describing titanic underground fortresses—"networks of tunnels, caverns, bunkers, and surface installations, each spread through many tens of square miles"—McPhee briefly relates the story of a military reconnaissance mission on which he was able to tag along, involving a hydroelectric power station built inside a mountain, accessible by ladders and stairs; the battalion tasked with climbing down into it thus learns "that if a company of soldiers had to do it they could climb the mountain on the inside."
I'd say Switzerland would make for one exciting Gamma-strain campaign! I wonder if there's any old WWII maps out there to make use of. Lots of hidden weaponry and sealed bunkers to pick at, and of course explosives hidden everywhere. And the lot of it defended by mutant ibexmen. Then when the PCs get close to their goal, the Under-Alps 9000 Megafort implodes!

Oh, another idea stuck me: it's been suggested that Switzerland was the basis for the peaceful planet of Alderaan in Star Wars. Imagine if they'd sucked themselves into a wormhole planetary escape hatch a split second before the Death Star's green beam of doom vaporized their planet as a fail safe from Imperial invasion or destruction. Somewhere the planet still exists, booby trapped to the brim--on the other side of the galaxy....

Via Boing Boing.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Seven Gamma-related Odds and Ends for Inspiration

I've been working on some more GWW ideas, but they're not quite ready for posting. In the mean time, here's a few post-apocalyptic items to feed your gaming ideas:

1. Nerd-haven blog io9.com has a great post debunking (ha!) purported security of on underground bunkers. There's a few thoughts to take away from it, including this little nugget:
And then there would be the threat of other survivors — once all the local Wal-Mart, Target, and sporting goods stories have long since been picked clean, the roaming scavengers would regard any remaining shelters as a major jackpot.

Anyone searching through rural areas of Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Texas (areas with a high proportion of these bunkers) could simply canvass the area with a metal detector, since these bunkers include EMP shielding, which requires a metal lattice. Construction contractors that worked on the bunkers, regardless of the confidentiality standards held during the building process, will also know the specific location of bunkers in the area. So the people inside the bunkers could easily become sitting ducks, waiting for a series of assaults from other survivors.
This seems like good fodder for a raiding party adventure. In Gamma World War it would likely be the mutants turning the tables on the valids (who typically prey on the mutated hordes for experiments). So this gave me some ideas for a variety of mission types, including rescues, reprisals, and yes, the ever-essential supply raids. Maybe even a few pure-strain-on-pure-strain attacks (drill-tank attacks between subterranean fortresses!).

Anyway, be sure to check it out as the article is, in fact, filled with similar ideas for other scenarios.

2. Also, if you're looking for some images of ruined or foreboding environments (GM screen art?) for your campaign, I added a new tag "background" over at the Gamma World War tumblr. This includes older images from the blog too.

3. Remember that Mars Attacks comic is coming out next Wednesday! Looks like fantastic war-of-the-wrecked-worlds mayhem:

4. Speaking of unwelcome visitors, the apocalyptic alien invasion show Falling Skies returns tonight. Rumor mill says the aliens are now 100% focused on exterminating the humans!

If you were looking for material to fill out your campaign, there's a Falling Skies wiki and comic to pull from. Between 'Mars and 'Skies, I've found a good mix of inspiration for GWW's own alien invaders.

5. Fantasy Flight Games (based here in my home town!) is currently producing a line of pre-painted plastic minis for their Arkham Horror game, including this great series of monsters that are waiting to terrorize your PCs. Or maybe they ARE the PCs:

6. While we're on the subject of monsters and mutants, check out this REAL tarantula infected with some sort of fungus that gives it antlers:

Stat this guy up (and enlarge by a factor of at LEAST x5 for your next game! I call him "Tarantlera". (P.S. click to enlarge, I made it smaller 'cause it's kinda' icky. P.P.S. By the time your players figure out how to pronounce "Tarantlera" their PCs will already be dead.)

7. Finally, this is just a fun article about illustrator Ken Kelly who did some of extraordinary work for the Micronauts toy line packaging back in the 80s. Apparently one of his best-loved pieces, Antron, was lost for ages. His work inspired the new evolutionaries for GWW. These guys have GAMMA written all over them:

UPDATE: Gah! How could I forget that Pitford: Gateway to the Ruins for Mutant Epoch is now out. Better make that EIGHT Odds and Ends then!