The financial industry were mostly vampires from the beginning, this much we know for certain. They were the first, advanced scouts for the Necroverse as that lifeless world began its slow convergence with ours. Able to blend into human society they placed themselves and their numerous human pawns into positions of power. Then they began to prepare the world for the coming invasion... for the shadowfall. The Necroverse The world of the dead, the Necroverse, sometimes called the Gloaming, is a dark aetheric plane of drifting consciousness. Here the energetic imprints of living beings, particularly humans with their bright minds, linger on in a horrible limbo as they gravitate slowly toward oblivion. Toward the center of this nebulous realm is a phantom city of nothingness given form: Necropolis. Overseen by the unquestioned rulers of their realm, the Liches, Necropolis and its vast empire of souls works toward one purpose, the rejoining of their world with the world of the living. At a time which correlates with our year, 1891, this plan finally came to fruition. Centuries of horror and death on earth had brought the two worlds closer together, close enough for advanced scouts, young yet powerful souls who could enter the recently deceased, to make the journey to the other side. Encased in flesh these wraiths became the creatures culture still remembers as vampires, pale, harrowed beings who can spawn other abominations by means of their blood, the biological point of contact between their wraith and flesh halves. Once ensconced in flesh shells, the newborn vampires put their plans, millenia in the making, into action. They conspired to orchestrate a great war, destructive beyond any scale man could then imagine. In the putrid aftermath of WWI the Gloaming grew even closer, allowing more wraiths to cross over. Still they were not strong enough to act in the open. In the rotting soil of the first war they planted the seeds of the next. Then they turned their attention on business. With connections in both the government and corporate worlds, with senators and CEOs as their blood thralls, they built their own central bank, the FED, through which they could control everything for to control the supply of money in a nation is to control that nation. By the time the second war erupted, long in the planning, thousands of vampires and lesser ghouls roamed the earth in hiding. Guided by the long memories of the Liches, the vampires made sure to turn the full fire of war against the ancestors of a Semitic people who, in a time out of legend, had thwarted their first attempt to gain a foothold on Earth. World War II and the Holocaust spawned enough death to bring the eternal shadow of the Gloaming to within a hair's breath of our living earth. In the coming decades, the vampires tried their best to set off a nuclear war for this would open the floodgates, but idealists on both sides of the Berlin Wall thwarted their efforts. Eventually, with the impatient whispers of their Dark Lords ringing in their ears, the vampires simply assassinated the sitting presidentof the United States allowing his subordinate, already enthralled to their will, to take the office. The Vietnam War followed and as entire towns were firebombed out of existence the first stable portal opened and the first Liche, Haligrot, entered the dried and dessicated corpse specially prepared for him. Haligrot's presence and his powers, the ability to weave shadow into matter and energy, quickened the pace. Knowing that humans had become soured on long costly wars, they changed their tactics. Operating through their corporate puppets, they bent all their will on destroying the living world and expanding poverty. The gap between wealthy and poor grew to an unbridgeable chasm and millions of children died with bloated bellies as vampiric thralls lounged upon the beaches of private islands. Their attack on nonhuman life was just as vicious, gutting the world's watersheds, poisoning its oceans, and pumping the air full of pollutants. This process of slow economic and environmental degredation continued, recession piling upon recession, disaster piling upon disaster, until their assault on the global environment yielded fruit. In 2031, a massive ice floe broke from Greenland and like a line dominoes, glaciers collapsed and slammed like a frozen pile driver into the sea. The massive melt of freshwater disrupted ocean circulation and threw the entire globe into a miniature ice age. Crops withered and millions starved and froze in what became known as 'the Chill'. Then in Autumn of 2032, the year without a summer, the gates flew open. In cemetaries and mortuaries across the world, wraiths found hosts and animated their cold flesh. The dead arose, but this was not some mindless horde out of a Hollywood movie, this was an army, an army bent on enslaving all humanity, the army of Necropolis. The survivors gave the event the name Shadowfall, after the unnatural shadows which followed in the path of the largest undead legions. Present Nine years have passed since Shadowfall and the Chill continues, locking much of the Northern hemisphere in unrelenting cold. Ignorant on how to fight their foe, going only on what they'd seen in zombie movies and read in Anne Rice novels, humanity didn't stand a chance. Most of our high ranking generals were already thralls or vampires themselves and so the military was no help. To the contrary, it armed the undead instead and within days tanks and gunships accompanied the zombie hordes. Instead of eradicating humans, however, they rounded us up, shipped us to concentration camps and there most people remain today, waiting their turn to walk through the doors to an unknown yet dreaded fate. Pockets of resistance, of course, remain, fighting when they can, but mostly struggling simply to survive to the next day and avoid the Reapers, savage yet cunning undead tasked with hunting them down. Revenants The undead, called revenants by the more academically minded, are composed of a wraith and a corpse bonded through psychic resonance. Wraiths are sometimes visible as mobile strips of shadow and within a corpse they make their presence known through a black putrid humor which invades every cavity and artery. Without scientific explanation, rational scholars reasoned that the dimension from which the wraiths hail operates on entirely different physical laws. More superstitious minded survivors harbor a wide variety of theories. Many believe wraiths to be ghosts while others label them as demons sent by God to hasten armageddon. No one is certain, but the strange familiarity of the undead and their presence in the cultural record of tales and legends, convinces most, at least unconsciously, that they've visited earth in the past. The power, abilities, and character of a revenant depend upon the age and will of the wraith which inhabits it. Young wraiths with weak wills manifest as dullwitted zombies and ghouls, while more potent wraiths arise as vampires or even, in the case of the most terrible wills, liches. Since memories are constituted in the neural flesh of the cerebellum wraiths carry few recollections of their living days, only vague impressions remain and of these the strongest are the animal impulses the need to dominate, mate, and feed. Intelligent undead like vampires cloak these base needs behind complex and debauched cultures while less gifted revenants, zombies and ghouls, are happy to simply sink their teeth into anything which bleeds. Without the wills of the Liches restraining and guiding them, the zombified masses would indeed be alike to a horde out of movie myth, but so long as their Dark Lords exist, the undead, even the most mindless, slavering monsters, move with terrible purpose. In film and story undeath often spreads like a plague, but the Shadowfall is not a disease, it is an invasion and every corpse, whether buried for centuries or recently expired is a potential soldier. Survivors, who can rarely set fires as the flames and smoke might give away their location to Reapers, have taken to chopping their dead into pieces, which they bury a distance from one another. Powerful undead reproduce somewhat differently, for their hosts need special preparation. The corpse of a new vampire must be transfused with the black blood of its forebear and the body of a Liche prepared through exhaustive evil ritual in the complete absence of light. Thralls Sadly few humans choose gruesome death over servitude when given the chance. Since the beginning many have served the Dark Lords. Called thralls, some serve merely to advance their own power while others do so simply to survive. Vampires can also bond mortals to themselves subjugating their will by injecting a small quantity of their black blood into their veins. These thralls serve a variety of purposes. Some are infiltrators rooting out enclaves of free humans only to expose them to their masters. Others serve as walking bloodbanks, their necks and wrists riddled with punctures. The existence of thralls has made the remaining human settlements extraordinarily paranoid about outsiders. Most are bled before entry for under the microscope even the faintest taint of the black revenant blood can be detected. Weapons Few traditional weapons work against the revenants. Bullets do little but stall them and vampires regenerate such small wounds in seconds. Destroying the head or removing it from the body does the most to damage the psychic connection between wraith and host and so guns must be aimed at the head or discarded for archaic blades and axes. In the days following the invasion, people turned to both religion and sunlight to save them, but vampires mocked their crucifexes and zombie armies continued to march day or night. Still, the sun does do much to counter the powers of vampire and liches, based as they are on shadow, so it remains a powerful ally when combating those greater undead. Furthermore, wraiths in their shadowy form can not survive bright light and so when forced to abandon their hosts in daylight they are not only exorcised but destroyed utterly. Faith Rumors spread through the worn-down ranks of the survivors of another weapon against the Revenants, one not made of steel or lead. Some say, echoing lines from long lost DVDs, that crucifixes only fail to work on vampires because those who wield them lack true faith. Most haggard survivalists, men and women who've seen children eaten alive and had to dismember their best friends to keep them from rising, scoff at such storybook notions. None the less, the tales continue to circulate about humans who possess true faith and can ward off, even destroy, the undead with naught but a gaze. Some survivors who cling to their beliefs as flotsom in stormy waters claim these mythical men and women are emmisarries of their God, others claim that Faith derives from no specific creed but rather from a purity of heart that the Revenants despise. Most, however, remain unified in their dismissal of these stories as complete and utter bullshit. Local Setting Our game takes place in upstate New York where a large group of survivors (roughly 300 strong) hang onto life and avoid the Reapers by taking shelter in the once great metropolis's now dry aqueducts. Bounded on the north by the advancing glaciers spawned by the Chill and on the south by the howling spires of Manhattan, an undead metropolis where Liche Lords reside in the skyscrapers built for human billionaires and concentration camps hold thousands of humans like cattle, the Upstate Enclave just barely clings onto existence. Lead by the hard and pragmatic Sergeant Thomas Krane, they operate in the fashion of a military dictatorship with few daring to question the sergeant's orders, even those who outranked him in the old world. In the days following Shadowfall, Krane uncovered the vampiric nature of his commanding officer and dispatched him by holding down the shrieking corpse and sawing off its head with his field knife. He then lead what remained of his unit away from the main body of the army which he realized had been compromised. Picking up survivors along the way and whatever hardware they could carry, they discovered the old tunnels and built an impromptu bunker within their concrete corridors. Over the years, the population of the enclave has grown both from births and stragglers brought in by patrols. Food still mostly comes from cans, bottles and other old world supplies, for both the cold and the Reapers make above-ground agriculture an impossibility. In the pipes where water still runs small hydroelectric generators have been jury rigged granting the settlement a modicum of electric power. Guns and ammo remain precious commodities, however, and many scavengers are forced to make do with improvised weapons while on patrol. Characters Starting characters will be either members of the Upstate Enclave, a large group of survivors many residents of old New York City, now hiding in abandoned tunnels of an empty aqueduct, or they can be travelers from elsewhere who, for whatever reason, have wandered into the region. If anyone wants to play a character capable of true faith or a character who will develop this ability in the course of the game, they should PM me. I will allow only one or two faith users depending on group size. Feel free to make your own skeleton for the character or use one from another game (any modern setting should do). I am not picky. Mainly I'm looking for detail, a unique personality and backstory, and a lack of crude power playing. I don't mind 'bad asses', but all characters should have weaknesses. Game The game will be local in scope including upstate New York and the urban municipalities of the south. I expect PCs to form relationships so that there is a definite 'group' rather than a number of separate, disconnected characters. The story will begin centered on simple survival and expand from there based largely upon on player choice.