The Fifth Winter

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Rainjay, Oct 8, 2014.


Are you interested?

  1. Yes. I'll join

  2. No

    0 vote(s)
  3. Maybe

  4. Yes, but I can't join.

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  1. [​IMG]

    With the progression of science and society, comes the greater longevity of the human race. Life expectancy rises all the time. Death by illness is increasingly rare, nearly impossible.

    Still, there are viruses that are unable to be vaccinated against, or cured. They can mutate, and change, and adapt to break past artificial barriers. They're not always dangerous, or deadly. But they can be.

    A university in western United States was studying a peculiar strain of virus in the winter of 2020. It is unknown what virus it was, and exactly how it originated- it was rumored that the virus was extracted from a patient with a mysteriously fatal illness. But it was known that researchers were analyzing and watching the virus as it grew, and were studying it as it mutated. It wasn't an uncommon thing to do.

    It may have been expected for things to go out of hand, and they did- always out of nowhere, the entire university was quarantined, all students, researchers, and professors locked on campus, under examination. Sturdy walls went up around the entire campus, including houses and apartments in between buildings, and neighboring cities reported military presence. After a week, smoke began to rise from the campus, and ash was falling around the quarantine.

    Emergency news revealed that a mystery virus had spread across the campus, infecting and killing hundreds at record speeds. Almost the entire campus and those related died- due to illness, or perhaps other causes- before the quarantine was released.

    Everybody leaving the scene was declared clean. There were no other incidents until the following winter of 2021.

    Thousands of people- across America, across Europe, even Asia- suddenly came down with a horrifying, unknown illness. It was identified as a virus, but as nothing more. Victims died rapidly, and even researchers and doctors were too harried and scared by the virus to attempt much in-depth research. Most research performed was quickly destroyed, research stations quarantined for outbreaks.

    Come spring, most cases of the virus stopped. All traces of the virus seemed gone by summer.

    People were wary. Some stockpiled food and resources in their homes, creating panic-rooms and basements for survival. Some planned to coop themselves up inside their homes all winter. Others thought they would be fine.

    The following winter was even worse.

    One in every six people fell ill. One in every five died. By this point, doctors had mostly given up treating patients. The young and old weren't being treated. Those of poor health were left to die. Economies were skyrocketing, with labor force starting to fall in short supply, and medicinal and cleaning supplies growing expensive. During the winter, public schools, offices, and stores were abandoned. Nearly every country had closed their doors to immigration. Physical contact was discouraged, if not entirely prohibited.

    At last, three years after the initial emergence of the virus, came answers. The virus, although it's predecessor unnamed, was discovered to be somewhat related to the flu. The virus was, supposedly, spread through coughing, sneezing, physical contact, and other bodily fluids, but also through DNA. Researchers stated that they found DNA abnormalities in both the deceased victims of the virus, but also of the children of men and women that had died from the virus, only infants at the time. The DNA tethered to the virus itself seemed inactive at the time of study, but during the winter months, grew active, multiplying rapidly and creating new strains of the virus that was so deadly.

    Each virus strain was unique to each person's DNA. No vaccine was found.

    The fourth winter was the worst.

    Most records of the fourth winter were lost. It is believed well over half the population of the United States was decimated. Other countries received heavy casualties themselves. Hospitals denied patients. People protested the lack of medical care, raided stores for supplies, stormed government buildings. The U.S was put under martial law, but even the military was being beaten down by illness and rioting. The country collapsed. Communications to the outside world fell.

    It is assumed other countries experienced the same disturbances. Those near the border of Canada often find smoke and debris. Some cities along the very border itself were destroyed by air strikes from an unknown source. Southern borders were littered with bodies. Sometimes, those near the coast find abandoned ships, and those in the mountains find downed planes.

    It has been another year since, and the world is approaching the fifth winter.

    That's my intro. It didn't take long to write and at the moment I don't have too much time to write a formal, pretty intro at the moment. Hopefully, it reeled someone in.

    This roleplay is quite blatantly post-apoc (of a sort). A virus has spread throughout the entire world, and has decimated the population. Most governments have collapsed due to various reasons (war, illness, rioting, economic collapse). Some countries are in war, others are in absolute silence. This roleplay takes place in the United States (subject to change), the home of the virus. The country exists under martial law, with a broken Congress, no judiciary branch, and a president that rules more as a dictator than a president. Surviving cities are quarantined and run with military force.

    The idea is that the main characters are surviving together outside of the quarantine zone- each character has been denied from the zone for various reasons (infected with the virus, had contact with somebody infected, left with a loved one, escaped because they wanted to, never were in a zone to begin with) and is now living with the group. There are probably other groups of survivors outside the quarantine zones to compete with, including looters and other violent groups.

    The virus acts similarly to other viruses, invading cells and reproducing to spread the illness. However, the virus has mutated to permanently alter genes inside of cells to a) produce viruses much quicker and b) to mutate as the viruses are produced. This means that each and every strain of the virus, in each human being, is unique and different, negating nearly all possibility of a vaccine being created.

    When the virus enters a human's cells, it randomly deletes a segment of DNA code and inserts its own, so that the very DNA that produces the virus is written into the cells chromosomes. The cells do not detect the anomaly in the DNA, and continue to reproduce and divide as normal. Eventually, every cell in the body will be infected with the virus, and nearly all the DNA will have been changed to the altered version. Cells that do not replace themselves over time (think nervous system and the brain) usually are unaffected.

    The virus is inactive in the body until late fall, when the genes become active and viruses start to be produced, causing the 'host' to become ill. Sometimes, the genes remain inactive all winter, and the 'host' does not become ill. This is relatively rare, however, occurring in one of every thousand people. That considered, most people living outside a quarantine zone are fortunate to have survived at least one winter while hosting the virus.

    The virus can be passed through one of three ways:
    1. The virus is primarily airborne. Covering up your cough is probably the best way to keep your loved ones from instantly catching your fatal virus.
    2. Physical contact. This only counts for a person in Phase II of the illness (see below).
    3. Inheritance.

    The path of the virus has been broken down as follows:
    Phase I (3-5 days after contraction)
    Headache, fever, a subtle cough, sore throat, joint aches
    Phase II (6-9 days after contraction)
    Migraines, fever of over 102 Fahrenheit/39 Celsius, phlegmmy cough, weakness and exhaustion, lack of appetite, lightheaded, hot and cold flashes, trembling
    Phase III (8-11 days after contraction)
    Difficulty breathing/inability to breath, cannot walk, cannot eat or drink, vomiting, disorientation, shaking
    Phase IV (9-12 days after contraction)
    Intense pain, vomiting blood, loss of sight and hearing, intense fever, muscle degradation, shutdown of bodily functions
    Phase V (9-12 days after contraction)
    Loss of brain functions, total loss of bodily functions, death

    Typically, it has been found that after Phase III, the virus is fatal.

    There are known cases of prolonged illness- some people survive for months before death.

    The virus does not ensure death. If provided with intense medical care, a victim may survive. Or, if you are extremely lucky, you may only contract a sampling of the illness. Many of those that have survived to the fifth winter are such extremely lucky individuals.

    The virus is passed down to offspring. A sampling of tests were conducted on children born after the second winter. Of 100 children 'surveyed', forty-two died before their first birthday, eighteen died before their second, twenty-one have fallen ill and recovered, nineteen had never had sickness due to the virus and nine of those tested negative to having the virus.

    There is technology in place that can detect the existence of the virus in peoples DNA and body. The manual examination of DNA can find traces of the virus all year round- scanners only detect active traces from fall through early spring. The military uses these to determine who is allowed into quarantine zones and who isn't- those with any trace of the illness, or anybody who has come in contact with anybody with the illness, may not stay in the zones, and are thrown out into the abandoned world.


    This is more of a preferences section; a small group roleplay doesn't really constitute rules, so instead this is rather a list of what the roleplay will encompass and what I am expecting/hoping for:

    1. Casual group of 3-7 people (10 max) that can closely work together to develop plot and internal conflict.
    2. Posting size is intermediate-casual.
    This is my way of saying that I expect around two paragraphs for quick replies, bit longer for introduction posts and more montage-esque posts. The idea is to allow for quick and easy conversation and interaction between characters.

    3. Casual posting speeds.
    People will be expected to post often, but daily/every-other-day isn't necessary. I prefer to have players that won't abandon the roleplay due to occasional slow spells. We all have things to do outside of Iwaku that must be attended to first and foremost.

    4. This roleplay will most likely contain death. I'm not asking for people to thrust their characters into the guillotine, but please be reasonable: Nearly everyone not living in a quarantine zone is infected. It does not guarantee death and illness, but it doesn't guarantee life either.
    5. This roleplay will also have survival/drama aspects.
    6. This roleplay will be realistic. No, "She rummaged through the debris of the old store and found twelve cans of food, duct tape, and fresh bottled water to last a month!" In the apocalypse, things are largely looted and plundered to extinction. Not to say that we will not find supplies- we will, just not to an extreme extent.
    7. Characters will be surviving together in a community of sorts.
    8. Other opposing forces (other groups, looters, military & rebel groups) will be present.
    9. A cure and vaccine may be searched for, but is is recommended that it is not the primary focus.
    10. Please actively participate. Communicate with the group and share your ideas. We all want to hear them!


    Age: (primary characters must be 9-50 years of age)
    Origins: (did they immigrate from another country? have they come from another state? State where your character is from- not why)
    Nationality: (optional)

    Appearance: (image. Optional)
    Appearance: (description. required)

    Personality: (list traits with small description, or write in paragraph form)
    Preferences: (if any.)
    Weapon of choice:
    Skills: (list anything relating to survival: archery, martial arts, a weird knowledge of edible plants)

    Brief history: (required)
    Family: (optional)

    The roleplay doesn't have to just be about survival. This being a (hopefully) small group oriented roleplay, I'm hoping that once we get a few takers, we can discuss plot and plot candies together, to come up with a plot that everybody is happy and involved in. This can be anywhere from character to character conflict, to political and even environmental conflict. A few ideas to consider:

    - Competing survival groups (the players and NPCs are struggling to survive within the same small area)
    - Government/military attempting to wipe out 'infected' population
    - Characters come from different political viewpoints or from different factions
    - Factions in the un-quarantined zones cause trouble
    - Romance (people are going to die, probably, so this could add some added drama)
    - Blah....

    Hopefully we can come up with better than my quick ideas.

    That's about it. If anybody's interested, leave a message! If i get two/three dedicated people we can set up finalized setting/whatever.​
    #1 Rainjay, Oct 8, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2014
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Sounds interesting. I wonder though, would there be a specific goal for the group other than the obvious one of survival? Or points of discord between group members... or some additional elements that would strain/intensify the action or drama in the RP.

    Something like that might make it a bit more exciting and alluring to hook more people in.
    • Thank Thank x 1
  3. I was hoping that once a few people are interested and get together that internal plot points and a better setting could be established, so that all parties have a say and are fully intrigued in the plot. I only really want a small group that can work closely together on the roleplay, so I figured it would be for the best. Although I suppose I should add in some ideas/suggestions to provide a hook.

    Thanks ^^
  4. Sounds like a plan. Count me in.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Count me in as well!
    • Thank Thank x 1
  6. I definitely would like to partake in this most fantabulous of RPs.
    • Thank Thank x 1
  7. Cool ^.^

    Four people is certainly enough to start discussing internal plot/plot candies, character creation, etc.

    Would people prefer a group for the roleplay, or a public forum?
  8. I'm partial to groups, but a forum's equally fine. Groups typically allow for world building 'n stuff to be all in one nice area.
  9. The RP format will really depend on how much the plot/world will expand as time progresses.

    If the plot-line is mostly centralized around a single time-space continuum, then the usual group format will do.

    In the event that the RP will be split into little subplots and all those other delicious subtleties, a forum would keep all events organized.
  10. Yeah. That. Better than I could phrase my fixation on groups v. forums.
    • Thank Thank x 1
  11. Hmm. I expect that characters will largely remain within the same area, living (surviving?) together, so I assume most subplots will be largely interwoven, if that helps at all in deciding. I don't really have a preference either way.
  12. is there room for one more?
  13. Most definitely!
  14. This seems interesting, I think I'll hop onto this. Three questions, though - first, how much control does the government have over the land? Should we expect a military presence pretty much everywhere or do they only control the quarantine zones and the area directly around it?

    Second, are we allowed to wander however we please in this game, or are there forces stopping us? Say we want to cross over to Canada or Mexico - are we free to do so?

    And third, the virus only becoming active at winter doesn't make much sense. Will we ever get an explenation to this?
    #14 Andalais, Oct 10, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2014
  15. I'm interested, but I can't read through fully at the moment. I will as soon as I can.
  16. I'd like to join too, if possible.

    Except it takes me an embarrassing amount of time to make a character sheet...
  17. Totally interested~ :D
  18. I'll try to answer your questions as best as I can.

    For your first question, the government mostly only controls patches of land- the quarantine zones. These zones are most likely the remnants of medium-sized cities that are spotted around the country in big-population areas. I wouldn't say too many exist. The only government power outside of the zones is through the military. The military is definitely small sized, but definitely enough to over power small groups outside the zones. They probably don't stray too far from quarantine zones. I'll get more on this in a bit.

    Second; You can wander around and stuff, just as long as 1) you don't get from Texas to Canada within a week (you're most likely walking), and 2) as long as you don't just join the roleplay to have your character run away. The concept is to have everyone largely work together. If people want to travel across the country, that's fine. Want to move to Canada? That's cool too. I'll be writing up some more background on what's up with bordering countries. Oh, and 3) You're not going to leave the continent. America is accessible, maybe Latin America through extreme measures, but nobody is managing to get to China unless they want to go Life of Pi. It's just unrealistic.

    And third; I'm working on a bit more of a scientific explanation to explain it. The basic idea is that the virus itself only become active during the winter, for reasons not yet known by the populous. Very similar to how puberty works. You don't grow a beard as a child; those genes are turned off. The virus is simply turned off throughout the summer. The most likely current reason is due to the virus taking advantage of other winter illnesses to take hold of the 'host'.

    I hope that helped!

    And about the first question; People were asking about more actual plot-stuff. I came up with a sort-of idea: The military nearby quarantine zones searches for surviving settlements nearby quarantine zones for uninfected people to bring into the zone, to help maintain population. The characters we play came from one such 'raid' (or somehow were involved), and were all rejected access due to a) infection or b) some other reason, and bonded together to survive. But actual goals (anywhere from wanting to make a rebel group or to make a civilization) are up to the roleplayers.

    Cool! Let me know if you have any questions.

    That's alright. Take your time. We'll be here ^^

    Yay ^^
  19. I was wondering, are we allowed to begin our character sheets now, or should we wait in case there will be changes?
  20. Where will we post our character sheets, Rain?
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