Every game of Hope Inhumanity needs an apocalyptic setup scenario. A nuclear war, a super-volano, alien invasion…some event that ruins everything and introduces near instant scarcity and potential illness into the world. But there also needs to be a place of hope to aim for: a coastal community, an escape ship, a well-stocked underground bunker.
You are free to come up with any setup scenario you want, but not every post-apocalyptic setup will work well with Hope Inhumanity. For example, war against an evil AI and it’s sentient killer robots probably won’t fit very well with the Scene cards that come with the game. To help you pick a more appropriate setup scenario, this list provides some ideas and ready-to-play concepts you can just pick and run with. Have fun!
World War Three
The world ended so fast. You’re not even sure how it happened. The alarm clock didn’t go off that Wednesday morning. You quickly realized the power had gone out. No hot water? Odd. Then you discovered there was no cable service. No radio. No cell signal. No data access for your phone. Strange. The air outside smelled like burnt motor oil. You drove toward work under clouds so dark it felt like it was four in the morning. At first you spotted one or two abandoned cars in the ditch. Then it was four or five at a time in the middle of the highway. Eventually, the road became impassable. Some cars were burned out; others undamaged. A few vehicles were still running . . . with corpses still gripping the steering wheels. The grocery store had already been looted when you arrived. You managed to find some toilet paper and a bottle of painkillers, but you fled quickly when you heard gunshots at the other end of the store. Nobody knows what happened. The military rolled in, but none of the soldiers seemed to know anything either. They simply repeated the instructions, “Stay in your homes. Remain indoors. Wait for assistance.” The neighbourhood turned ugly fast. By Sunday, that young couple across the street, the ones who always made new neighbours feel welcome with barbeques in their lovely backyard garden, were lying dead on their front steps, a single bullet hole in each of their heads. Some people drove north, others south. Rumours spread of a safe haven — or several. But nobody actually knew anything. Out of food, you and a few people you hoped you could trust drove until you ran out of gas. Then you walked…
Mining Operation: Earth
Disaster struck at 3:13 p.m. Eastern Time in the year 2067, when an extraterrestrial alien force intent on mining the Earth blasted the planet with massive doses of radiation in order to remove all bio-matter from the surface. Sterilizing the surface of the planet makes mining easier and safer for the aliens. There is no hope of survival on Earth anymore. The only chance is to make it to one of the escape rockets that will take a few lucky survivors to a base on Mars. Your group is headed for one of those rockets. You were all at the same hospital when the invasion started; some were doctors and others were patients, visitors, et cetera. You were the only ones in the building to survive the initial radiation blasts. After taking refuge in the ruins of the hospital for a few days, you have decided to take a chance by travelling to the nearest spaceport 140 kilometers away.
Nobody knows precisely when this virus mutated from one that infected sparrows, to so suddenly jump to cats and then humans. Easily spread through airborne contact, and with a 95% fatality rate, the virus decimated most of humanity in two weeks. You are a group of survivors. You’re not sure why you’ve survived. Are you immune? Or just lucky so far? There was some early reports of a successful vaccine trial being run in Atlanta, but everything ended so fast. There just wasn’t time to produce and distribute it. But if there’s hope anywhere, it would be there. And it’s not that far, maybe 300 miles on foot.
Flesh Eating Fungus Outbreak
A fatal flesh eating fungal infection has killed off 80% of land-dwelling animals, including those that pollinate fruit-bearing flowers. The food system collapsed within weeks, and most trappings of civilized life soon followed. You’ve taken refuge in the local stadium for the past two weeks, living off the scarce supplies that have been sent in. But as those supplies ran out, violence and disease raced through the survivors. You’ve decided to trek to the coast, and then across to a small island just off the coast where it’s rumoured the fungal infection hasn’t created as much devastation, and there’s access to seafood at any rate.
We used to be convicts. Some of us incarcerated for real crimes, others for petty offences that never should have been on the books in the first place. For a couple weeks after the eruption, while the semblance of civilization remained, they kept us locked up. But when nobody showed up for work, and the power went out, we all just walked free. But it isn’t the freedom we’d been hoping for. The sky is a metallic-gray; the ground covered with two inches of ash. They said that Yellowstone erupted – is still erupting – and the only habitable part of the continent is far north, in the cold, coastal mountains of Labrador. So that’s where this uncomfortable troop of ex-cons is headed.
Gamma Ray Blast
That once-in-five-hundred-million years event…the kind of gamma ray burst that caused the Ordovician extinction and wiped out 80% of life on Earth. That just happened…last Thursday. The seconds-long blinding flash of radiation set off a chain of chemical reactions that destroyed the ozone layer, allowing deadly ultraviolet radiation from the sun to stream down, triggering the start of a mass die-off. Some nations have set up safe havens underground or in special structures designed to protect against the radiation until the ozone layer returns decades from now. Competition to get into these facilities is fierce and brutal, but first you have to get there. It’s 350 miles through untamed wilderness, along coastlines, through the hellish remains of cities, and across mountains. Good luck!
Return to Earth
War and environmental devastation decimated most life on Earth. The privileged thousands who could afford it, fled to orbiting space stations and Mars bases. Those less fortunate were left to eke out a living on a spent planet. Life in the confined and dangerous environment off-planet proved more difficult than anyone hoped however, and twenty years later, small groups are being sent to scout out conditions on the planet. Your party has landed and discovered that the situation has gone from bad to worse in the two decades since Earth was abandoned. Your landing craft was damaged during the landing, and now you must travel to the designated rendezvous point for a rescue pickup. But it’s 200 miles away, through tough terrain with little food and very nasty (and hungry) locals.