In past blog posts, I gave some big-picture looks at the Kronocalyse setting as a whole and looked at the Steam Age in particular. Today we’ll focus in on a small slice of the Cyber Age, Unprotected Zone 8934.
The idea for the Unprotected Zones first came to me when I was brainstorming where I wanted the temporal meteorite that kicks off the Kronocalypse to strike. I wanted it to be close enough to settlements so that heroes need not travel far to reach the meteorite, but at the same time I wanted to isolate it enough so that it would not cause major destruction and the site would not be swarmed with onlookers.
If most of the eras, this was pretty easy, as the impact site could be several miles out of town. Even in the Steam Age, with it’s wirelesses and airships, there are still places outside the major cities for an impact site to go unnoticed.
By the Cyber Age, urban sprawl has expanded so that only a few pockets of wilderness remain. What’s more, satellite imagery and flying news drones allow people to see what’s going on throughout the world. So I took a different approach with the Cyber Age. It’s not that people don’t know about the meteorite. It’s that they don’t care.
I took my cue from some of the most dire predictions of global climate change. Sea levels have risen dramatically, flooding many coastal cities. After the breakdown in national governments, their was no unified response to this crisis. In some areas the wealthy constructed levies and pumps to keep the water at bay. In others they literally lifted the city. In some places, they just cut their losses and abandoned the coast.
That is the fate of the city once known as Aberwyvern. The rich pulled out and walled off the area.
Not everybody had the means or the desire to escape, however. Thousands of people remained and formed their own communities. For this I’m drawing a lot on the slums of Midgard in Final Fantasy VII and the remains of Gotham in Batman: No Man’s Land.
With no external government and no creds to hire security, the people in the Unprotected Zones have to fend for themselves. Many form criminal gangs. The most powerful of these is led by Don Daroni. He supplies everything from drugs to guns, runs a casino, and, for the right price, can even get you out of the Unprotected Zone. He is a big fish in a small pond, though, and while he rules the Unprotected Zone, even the smallest of the mega corporations could crush him like an ant.
Not everybody in the Unprotected Zone is out for himself. There’s also an idealistic group that calls itself the Community, which opposes everything that the mega-corps stand for. They run rooftop gardens that feed not only themselves, but also many of the downtrodden in the Zone. They are not all warm and fuzzy, however. With the Unprotected Zone being what it is, they have their own armed militia to fend off aggressors, and many advocate violent attacks against the mega-corporations.
Into this mix, the temporal meteorite crashes, and for one reason or another, any heroes from the Cyber Age are the first on the scene.