The players should create a diverse bunch of pre-war people with a variety of useful skills for the aftermath. Military, scientific, construction and farming-qualified people are to be preferred. Armed guards from the Defence and Science Technology Institute have turned up at their assorted doors and insisted that they come along and that their country needs them. Whatever arm pulling, bribery or threats need to have been made in order to make this work. They are gathered together and loaded aboard a medium transport helicopter, painted in pale, anodised blue with the RAF roundel superimposed with a lightbulb and [DSTI] font beneath it.
Besides the two military pilots they are accompanied by two doorgunners, manning Light Support Weapons, an RAF general and a dapper, suited and hatted, member of the DSTI.
While they’re flying they get a brief rundown of what’s going on.
DSTI: “Welcome aboard, you’ve all been conscripted in accordance with the current Emergency Powers act, we’re terribly sorry that it has to be that way, but needs must eh? The thing is…
General: “The thing is, at this point, it’s only a matter of time before the balloon goes up between the Yanks and the Chinks, and that means things are going to go for a Burton for the rest of us as well.”
DSTI: “Uh… quite. Yes, the Americans and the Chinese are bound to resort to atomics at this point and as a key ally of the Americans and allowing them to be based here, we’re likely to come in for a fairly direct attack. As such certain contingencies such as the bunker program have been put forth, as well as more radical solutions.
General: Technical boondoggles, promising the bally Earth and delivering nothing more like.
DSTI: Project Moses is one such project and The Professor has requested volunteers for testing. That’s where you come in. I assure you that you’re extremely unlikely to be harmed in the process.
General: Quite, several dogs have survived the process unscarred so far.
DSTI: Anyway, a grateful nation appreciates your help.
After a short period in which they can useless ask questions, most of which will be met with a curt ‘top secret’ or ‘need to know’, the helicopter lands in the dim autumn light in a wooded area atop a rolling, wooded green hill somewhere in the south of England.
A bunker sits here, a single storey concrete and brick building with a pair of RAF guards standing outside, moving to attention as the general and his guests get off the helicopter and make their way to the pad. The general moves to tap a pass code into the console and one of the guards follows in after them, holding up the rear.
While there are side doors, the general and DSTI representative, having shown ID to another guard behind a security desk, pass straight on to the end of the corridor where another passcode is entered into an armoured airlock which they cycle, pass down a steep set of stairs deep into the hill.
A large central room filled with mixed vegetation and lit with bright ‘natural light’ bulbs seems out of place here, a few DSTI brainiacs in labcoats testing the soil and collecting fruit. The DSTI rep may happily and cheerily tell them “We’re working on long-term survival…” as they pass directly across and through another double-set of airlock doors into the area marked ‘science wing’.
Here they’re greeted in the corridor by a man in a wheelchair with a robot voice that emerges from the chestplate. The chair has a single robot arm, terminating in a human-looking robotic hand with which he will enthusiastically shake hands. He’s always accompanied by his assistant, Susan.
Professor: “I am professor Nebogipfel, which is why everyone simply calls me The Professor. I do apologise about the manner in which you were brought here, but you’re now passing from the military to a more… understanding jurisdiction.”
The characters will be put into blue, skintight flight suits, as used by RAF atom-jet pilots (these provide 1 point, not dice, of protection against all attacks) and subjected to a battery of blood test, medical examinations and other indignities but – on the other hand – they will also be given tea and scones. The only explanations they will get will refer to ‘interesting implications stemming from recent discoveries in Aldermaston’ and some handwavey references to tachyons.
After all the testing they will be ushered into the ominously titled ‘testing chamber’, filled with the hum of powering up devices. Through an armoured glass window they can see the Professor, Susan, the General and a bunch of other technical staff moving around.
The Professor will, after a while inform them that: “We’re just about ready to start…” and then he’ll cut off the intercom. Through the window they’ll see a soldier rush in and talk to the general, shock on everyone’s faces and then the general leans over and switches the intercom on.
General: “The yanks and the Chinese have gone nuclear. We’re at war. This facility is now under direct military control. I’m calling a halt to this experiment. All resources need to go to continuity governance and the preservation of this bunker and its personnel…”
He’s cut off by the angry professor. The door to this chamber is still shut as they angrily face each other, with the soldier moving to intervene and Susan also angrily interceding. All in silence through the window. The Professor’s robot arm lashes out and crushes the General’s throat, the guard pulls his pistol, Susan gets in the way, there’s another flash of a gun going off and the Professor’s robot hand slams down on the console.
There is a blinding flash of blue light and then, darkness…
It takes a moment for their eyes to adjust, but when they do they realise that they’re standing in the same chamber, but it is stained and old, the terminals spotted with rust and non-functioning. The glass window to the next room is grubby but intact, but the only light is coming from very small, yellowish emergency lights around the base of the floor. The door is ajar…
Exploring and leaving the very changed facility has its challenges…
Chrono-Chamber (upper left): Dilapidated machinery, rust-spotted and non-functional. The delicate circuitry is corroded beyond repair, many parts are entirely unidentifiable and various chambers contain the residue of strange glowing chemicals of unknown kinds. It simply isn’t going to work. The door to this chamber is ajar, but rusted and hard to move. At some point in the distant past someone has made a campfire in the southern part of the room and there are some charred bones where something was cooked.
Control Room (lower left): The machinery here is mostly intact, but not running – the whole base being on emergency power. Only a small terminal has power but is locked out with a Really Difficult passcode.
The log there tracks events since the war. The general, Susan and the Professor all died in the initial confrontation and only the mutual need to survive kept the scientists and military from going at each other’s throats. Twenty years of monotony faced the survivors, which included a few latecomers from above, pushing supplies to their limit over the twenty years they remained below, with three children being born amongst the civilian population and two military personnel being executed for ‘fraternisation and insubordination’. The final entry describes them gathering their remaining supplies and setting out to meet up with the ‘Continuity Government’ in 2097.
Research Lab (Right): This room has been methodically stripped of portable equipment and supplies and retains only the rust-spotted hulks of larger equipment such as sterilisers, centrifuges etc. A terminal here is locked with a Hard passcode, and contains some notes on Project Moses. The aim of which was to apply science to the principle of time travel – one way, into the future. According to the notes the time portal should have transported the subjects 20, 200 or 2000 years into the future – after the main atomic aftermath – with a margin of error of 10%. This means they could be anywhere from 18 to 2200 years into their future (it’s 2287 according to the chronometers in the terminals).
Hallway: The Professor’s old, powered wheelchair sits at the end of the corridor, empty. Its atomic batteries still work and though it isn’t suited to all-terrain travel and only has one arm it could be used as a very primitive vehicle. When ‘worn’ the wheelchair provides 3D of armour against melee and ballistic attacks, 2D against energy attacks. The robot arm does x3 damage. Otherwise there’s just scrap, broken glass and other trash piled up back here.
Hydroponics (northern section): The plants here are long dead and the water, while stagnant, is pure an uncontaminated. It tastes bad, but won’t do you any harm. Some fungus and mould grows in here, the fungus could form a meal in a desperate pinch – enough for 1 person/day of food (roll a d6 1-4 edible, 5 psychoactive, 6 poisonous 2d6 damage). A couple of the UV bulbs are recoverable.
Civilian Bunk Room (southwestern section): Nothing but ancient mouldy beds and a handful of science magazines read to death and damp and mouldy.
Civilian Mess (southern central section): Microwave cookers and water taps are built into the wall. The taps provide a bare trickle of stagnant but safe water. The microwaves don’t work. A few items of cutlery and crockery remain.
Civilian Ablutions (southeastern section): Ancient toilets, showersand cisterns, there’s potable water in them – but would you? The decontamination chambers have been smashed with something.
Hallway: Ages ago some child appears to have covered the walls with scrawlings in crayon and pen depicting trees, flowers and people in white coats.
Military Stores (northern section): Almost entirely cleared out these massive stores now harbour only a few empty boxes marked ‘egg powder’, ‘dehydrated rations’ etc. 2d6 ration packs (each a person/day of food) remain in various corners along with a single box of Rudyard’s Apple Pies. The stores also contain the military control station and radio, by which it once kept in touch with other bunkers and local traffic. The radio gear has been sabotaged. Amongst the control station remains a Royal Enfield Penfold Revolver with five remaining, chambered rounds. This one’s rusty and has reduced damage (x3) and a penalty to hit of -1.
Military Ablutions (southwestern section): A bunch of toilets, mostly intact and full of potable water. Some bleach and soap remains, shoved into a corner.
Military Barracks (southeastern section): A bunch of mouldy old beds and pitted formica tables. Microwaves (non functioning) and water taps (with a trickle of safe but stagnant water) are here.
Hallway: Stuffed with junk and trash, but nothing of any specific use.
Life Support Gardens: Long dead and rotten, only mould and mushrooms remain (though a few seeds that could germinate remain in the soil). Some of the wood from the small trees and bushes could be used, it’s not too rotten once you get beneath the bark. Unfortunately for our players, a nest (2d6) of giant, radioactive silverfish have nested here and will viciously attack, concentrating on anyone carrying food.
Above Ground Blockhouse
Hallway: Choked with leaves and twigs, soaking wet, thick with mud. This has been open to the elements for some time. A wrecked looking defensive turret hangs from the ceiling, dripping water. (The turret houses a .38 automatic pistol and a drum of 50 rounds. It can be scavenged while not active), but is hard to reach, being up on the ceiling. The security desk is a wreck. At the far end is the airlock to the outside, full power must be restored (or some other, clever method to open it. Opening the airlock and emerging wins this mission, for 2 experience dice.
Decontamination Chamber (northwest): Smashed, wrecked, filled with leaves and detritus – and the skull of a long-dead fox.
Men’s & Women’s Ablutions (far northwest): Smashed and wrecked toilets, the water in these is brackish and contaminated with radiation.
Ops Centre (southwest): Long abandoned, the stations are so rotten with rust you can push a finger through the casings – if you fancy tetanus.
Life Support (southeast): These ancient machines stopped working some time ago, but a fusion cell is still plugged in to the power centre, providing the bare minimum of power keeping the terminals and emergency lights going. Full power override can be enacted, but will only last an hour or so before the cell burns it – it’ll also turn the turret on which will fire two shots per turn at anyone in its range with 2D of skill and the second shot taking a penalty dice.
Administration (northeast): Whatever was once in here is now a soaking, rotten mass of mould, paper and wood.
With the outer airlock open there is a sudden rush of cold, wet air. The light from outside is blinding even though, as their eyes adjust, they realise it is the honey-yellow of autumn, rather than the brightness of summer. Outside is the same old top of the hill, thick with trees now, parts of the block encrusted with roots and heavy with moss. Fallen trunks lay everywhere, the leaves are shin deep. Most of the trees here seem old and dead, the newer growth twisted and shrunken, covered in lumps and cysts of bark, coated with fungus. Piles of animal bones and straw dollies have been left near the door… some sort of offering perhaps? The rusted hulk of the old helicopter sits on its crumbling pad, smashed by fallen trees.
Welcome to the English wasteland.
: Rudyards was a company that made irradiated snack cakes and other treats that could, hypothetically, remain fresh forever. Amongst other things Rudyards made Apple Pies, Battenbars (miniature battenburgs), Pre-Creamed Scones, Eccles Cakes and Fruity Cake Bars – amongst others.
: The Penfold is a Royal Enfield revolver, chambered for .38 and issued to rear echelon staff in combat placements. It holds six bullets, does x1D damage. The design is unusual in that the barrel runs closer to the centre of your grip, hypothetically increasing accuracy. It resembles the Mateba.
 Uranifish (giant, radioactive silverfish): Uranifish can be found wherever there is damp and wherever there is starch or sugar. They do a great deal of damage to anything containing glue, starch or sugar and will also slowly chew their way through wood. When especially hungry they will attack and kill anything that wanders into one of their nests.
Scavenger: 2D (keen senses)
Survivor: 1D (quick, darting movements)
Atomic Monster: 1D (Immune to radiation)
Health Threshold: 4
Armour: 1D melee, 1 point against anything else.