From: Swahl, Vault Overseer
To: Surface Expedition Team Members
Congratulations, fellow citizen. You, and other volunteers like you, have been selected for the next Surface Expedition Team. You will shortly leave the protected environment of the underground vault to explore the scarred surface of our planet and ruined cities to scavenge for materials that will ensure our survival and raise our standard of living. Who knows? You might even find the means for us to safely recolonize the outside world.
I cannot understate the importance of this mission. Without spare parts from the surface, our vault systems may fail and thus doom the community to extinction. However, I also cannot understate the dangers involved. You will encounter many areas of contamination – termed ‘Creep’ – from high radiation, man-made biological agents, or other toxic substances. Immediate effects vary based on the substance encountered or environment braved, but the long term effects are particularly detrimental. You are advised to avoid these zones, if at all possible, as they will contribute to your exposure to Creep contamination.
In addition, the surface of our planet is wracked by frequent and often violent radiation storms. Explorers who are caught outside of the protective shell of an underground ruin without a radiation suit are likely to suffer radiation sickness, mutations, or even death.
Even if you avoid Creep contamination and rad storms, you must still learn to deal with the hostile creatures that have evolved since the Fall. Most of the plants and animals that our ancestors knew as peaceful and docile have mutated into savage, murderous beasts that will attack without provocation.
As you can see, ladies and gentlemen, this mission is not going to be any walk in the park. You might think that the odds make it impossible; that may indeed be true. But we, the citizens of Lau, have faith that you will succeed.
Our hopes go with you.
– Swahl, Vault Overseer
From: Andor, Vault Elder
To: Surface Expedition Team Members
I have a secret to reveal: Lau is dying.
For many years, I have watched the decline of our community. In fact, for the last generation it is only the valiant efforts of our Surface Expedition Teams that have allowed us to maintain our life underground. However, soon we will be forced to abandon Lau to survive on the surface… or perish.
This year the community of Lau has chosen you, our bravest souls, to leave the safety of the subterranean vault and explore the ruins of the once great civilization that existed prior to the Fall. Although it is an honour to be selected as a Scavenger, it requires great courage, as you must travel over unknown terrain, battle mutant creatures, and experience fierce radiation zones in search of any useful materials that will allow all of us to escape from our pathetic existence.
As you must know, many of the Scavengers sent out do not return, and some of those that do have suffered mutations and sickness. This is the risk you take, the sacrifice you are all willing to make for your people. Knowing the odds, you will bid your family and friends good-bye and venture into the land of your forefathers. Good luck to you all. The people of Lau will await your safe return.
– Andor, Vault Elder
The old man rolled over in his Ancient bed, a gift from a recent Surface Expedition Team. Although tattered, such items were a luxury, though certainly deserved by one such as Andor. After all, he was the Vault Elder and the first Explorer ever to return to Lau with treasure from the ruined world above.
Andor stroked his long white beard. Often he thought that his long life had been a curse. Due to a strange mutation contracted during his trek into the radioactive world above, he had now reached the age of 156 years of the red sun, outliving even his grandchildren. In those centuries, he had seen the slow decline of Lau and now feared greatly for the community’s future.
But it is not a day to worry about that, he thought, today is special. It is the Day of Hope! Soon the sacred bells would summon the inhabitants of Lau to the field of Champions, where members of the community would compete in tests of strength and bravery. As Vault Elder, Andor would oversee the contests and decide who would journey into the world above as a Scavenger. This year, he hoped, the group would return with the machinery and equipment needed to allow preserve the future of Lau’s citizens.
Moving from the window, Andor donned his ceremonial clothing, thinking about the day’s event. Soon he would recite the history of the Fall to the Lauans as they gathered for the Day of Hope…
Welcome to the future!
The Fall has long since wiped out civilization, leaving the planet’s surface a savage land of radioactive waste crawling with mutant creatures, and forcing the few survivors underground to live as best they could. Your community – called Lau – has endured two long centuries since the Fall, its inhabitants sheltered safely beneath the earth. Until now…
Scavengers they call you. You and the other ‘volunteers’ of the Surface Expedition Team are being sent to the surface to salvage whatever you can from the ashes – and, perhaps, to find a future for your people.
Armed only with your wits and the weapons you find, you must travel through this less-than-inviting real estate to explore the surface world – and maybe even save your community.
Stay alert! Fierce radiation storms can blow up at any time, causing all kinds of nasty mutations. And hordes of marauding monsters – from arthropods to zombies – are roaming around just waiting to make you the snack du jour.
Few have made the journey, and even fewer have survived. Can you?