Friday, June 21, 2013

DNA Apocalypse -- Recreating the OD&D default setting

+Wayne Rossi wrote a series of blog posts about the default setting of OD&D as presented in the encounter tables and the Outdoor Survival map. He combined them into a PDF here

My mind started a background thread on this default setting, and I've come up with a history that combines the seemingly disparate elements. So I present to you:

The DNA Apocalypse


It all started with the magnificent Wooly Mammoth. Scientists brought back the wooly mammoth, using DNA from frozen carcasses found in the permafrost of Siberia. Based on their success, the rest of the extinct Ice Age animals were next: giant sloths, wooly rhinos, scimitar cats, cave bears, etc. After that, the Holy Grail of dinosaurs were produced, using the exact techniques proposed in Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Huge preserves and islands kept these ancient beasts contained. Theme parks were built: Jurassic Park and Neanderthal Land. A Christian billionaire built one that put humans and dinosaurs together, like Raquel Welch in the movie, 1 Million Years B.C. The reconstituted creatures from the distant past became the latest technological marvel and made the financiers very rich. 

They tried their hands at creatures that never existed. They made dragons from pterodactyls and goblins from a mixture of human and animal DNA, and started a medieval fantasy park. They made the chimera, the manticore, and a human-bull hybrid, the Minotaur, for the Greek Myth park,  Green Martians and white apes filled Barsoom-on-Earth. Only males were produced. Their fertility was genetically turned off. The parks were secured by the latest in technology. They learned from Michael Crichton, putting more safeguards into both biological and technological security.

Within this backdrop is a world where the gulf between the richest and the poorest was expanding. The rich played while the poor slaved. A group of anarchist hackers decided to even the playing field by hacking the infrastructure of the world. The chaos they caused began a war of trojan horses and computer viruses between governments and hackers. It was not known which side made the mistake, but one poorly written virus went out of control and caused a six-day worldwide blackout.

By the time the lights came back on, all of the monsters of the past and imagination had escaped their techno-zoos. Nature abhors a vacuum and unproductive life. The genetic fertility barriers were overcome by mutations, and some of the males reverted to being females. The monsters could breed now. 

All hell broke loose. Economies crashed as monsters roamed the Earth, destroying farmland and cities alike. The military tried to stop them, but it was too late. Civilization spiraled down.

10,000 years later, the Earth is inhabited by a variety of hybrid races, plants with animal characteristics, and just plain monsters. The world has countless ruins of shining glass cities. Feudalism and empires have returned. Through mutation and hard study, some groups have developed the powers of the mind. There are heroes and wizards among us.