TLD "Coastal Village" Scenarios

Bill Tarling

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Its a nice picture, it gives the look that everyone's just stepped out for the weekend. No smoke, no lights, nobody home. Why not? What possessed an entire village to leave their shelters, and go... where?

This is a mystery picture to me. Its normal at a glance, until you think about it. No smoke, from all those houses, in winter. That bothers me right away. I would assume that at the very least the one with two chimneys has a wood stove, and its as dark as the others. Something very, very bad must have happened here, and to me, that spells opportunity.

Another thing that feels off, is that the boats are still in the water. Maybe they have some trick of construction to defeat this in Canada I've never heard of, but to my knowledge, leaving a boat to freeze into the ice means you're writing it off. I can't imagine a waterside settlement doing that unless things have gone terribly wrong.

This could just be a question of timing, but I thought it was already snowing when the protagonist crashed, in which case, its past time to pull the boats, before the event even starts. If its after, no machinery, that makes more sense, but I can't imagine people wouldn't even try. That near one looks like a working fishing boat. Fish is protein and lipids, is survival. You don't write that off, but then, they wrote off the whole town... Why?

The other question this picture makes me ask is, in the game, will we be able to ice fish? I mean, its post fall of civilization, so, there's no real call to follow the fish and game laws. That opens up some possibilities.

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Scenarios all start with decisions. Presented with a scene like this, the first is to investigate (find some supplies, shelter, learn what happened here), or walk on by (not my mission, might be plague or something). One of those is boring, so we'll skip it.

Is everything as it seems, do I walk in boldly, sure the place is really abandoned, or do I take a cautious approach, keeping to concealment as best I can, just in case, until I've scouted the place out for real. If its really empty, the caution is a waste, but if its an ambush, it saves my life. I'll be cautious, assuming I can afford to be (temperature/exhaustion).

In this musing, the place turns out to be empty of life. The first building, near the docks, is deserted, looks to be some sort of processing building. Lots of tables, some mesh gloves, and a couple of nice gutting knives. With electric lighting it would have been well lit. Now? not so much. That's the side room, towards the back.

The front, that looks like a tourist trap fishing guide decked it out, years ago, and stopped trying almost as far back. There are lures and rods, line and nets, odds and ends, and a lot of taxidermied fish, bragging to the town, and advertising to the customers who never really came in the numbers he had hoped.

Upstairs, was a home. Tight spaces, used well enough, a kitchen, a bath, a bedroom, and another. Messy, clothes strewn, all men's, mostly summer weight. Looks like he took his best warm stuff when he left. I leave it for now, and go to the shed nearby, find a couple saws, drums of gas for the boat, and tools of less immediate interest. I go on.

The big house, that's the main interest. I go there next, up the ridge as best I can. I peek in a window, and see my caution was wasted. I see bodies, and it doesn't look like they died well. The door isn't locked, it opens easily. Inside, even in the dim light, there's no mistaking it, these people have been shot. Probably by the gal with the revolver on the floor, right side of her chair. Morbidly, I wonder if she was pretty, before age and lead ravaged her. Then I'm just pissed that she used up all the ammo. Bound to be more, somewhere.

There's a lot going on here I don't understand, but night is fallen, and it's cold, and this place has a wood stove, in addition to the bodies. Decision time is no decision at all, start the fire, drag the bodies out while it heats. Don't need them starting to smell. That'l bring fuzzy problems for sure. Tomorrow, in the light, I'll find a better place to stow them, for right now, a quick check of the pockets, and its out in the snow. Be nice to get the clothes off of some of them, but they're frozen good, and in a village like this, there are bound to be other, easier coats. That's a problem for the morning. Right now, I'm looking forward to a better sleep than I've had in a long while, stretched out in front of the fire.

This place just became a base camp, and a gold mine of resources. Looks like a lot of the townsfolk walked away, with a lot of the goodies, and that's still a mystery, but right now, I don't care. Their murder suicide is my windfall, even if it was because they ran out of food, at least I have four walls, a roof and a fire.

That's the story, or one of them, this picture paints to me. Not a pretty one, but one that works out well for the protagonist of this little jaunt. Be a whole different ball game if there were people there.

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This scene could hold very tense moments depending on how frozen the water is, if it was thin ice and Will ventured out onto the ice to get a closer look at the boats and what they held he may be risking a dive into the freezing water, which without fire or a change of clothing and a way to get warm would be very deadly.

Perhaps as an even more surprise moment Will would fall through the dock before he even got to the ice because of a weak board and go crashing through the wood and maybe the ice.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'd like to think that the town was corrupt even before the event that renders tech null. The town could have been a settlement that valued the strong and tossed the weak aside. Ran and funded by a powerful company with stringent rules and resource collection quotas. Ran illegally without ethical boundaries, this mythical company worked their people to their breaking point.

A brutal work camp that only accepted the elite workers to fish and mine resources. Ships would come by-weekly to supply provisions and new workers. Those who didn't make the cut, didn't meet their quotas or tried to run away would be outcast or shot on site.

The event occurred and the funding and supervisory team pulled out, leaving the workers behind. Without support from the company, and technology null, the workers were unable to support themselves, leading to conflict. The workers killed each other or took the opportunity to flea and risk making their way back to civilization.

Imagine walking across the ice and finding the corpses of those who were killed and thrown to sea. The burnt bodies of those shot on site for trying to escape found in furnaces. Finally, when you arrive, you find the small group that chose to stay. A select few workers who lived through the chaos and one member of the company who chose to stay with his workers.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Preamble Notes:

In this scenario example, names used are strictly for a sense of reference [most of the included names are strictly based on names from some of the regular TLD Forum users] and are not necessarily recommendations for the actual NPC/characters in the scenario; nor do they represent any personality or likenesses to the actual forum user(s). They are simply used here to help reference individual scene characters.


The cold bitterness of the unforgiving landscape is taking its toll, and it feels as though you’ll never feel warm again. Every bone in your body aches and complains with every step as you traverse the endless white terrain.

Every tree and snow crested slope blurs indifferently as your wonder whether you are even making progress; or are you simply wandering blindly in never ending circles. Doubt, decision making, and your will to battle on through the blistering elements are quickly fading. All you want to do is lie down, and rest where you are – let soft death take you quietly, at long last giving you gentle comfort to take away your pain.

No!... you must press on!

One more hill… it’s always one more hill…

The wind picks up, burning scars of chilled streaks across your skin. Snow bristles your eyesight as another fall begins to once again cover your tracks. The warmth of daylight, though still far below the true warmth your body needs, moves away; reminding you that you must soon prepare for another night of survival against a frozen grave which waits.

Sleep… so hard to continue… Sleep… just one more hill… sleep… time is running out.

Well, “one more” turns into many – you’ve long lost count of numbers or distance. They all seem the same. You begin to look towards yet another prep of shelter, gathering what branches and ground covering your numbed hands can pull away – then you see it!...

A thin plume of distant smoke rising – or is it simply your blurred vision being tricked by the whipping wind and snow. Still, hope, no matter how far or lost it may feel from your grasp, leads you a little further. Barely a flicker between the growing flakes cascading down all around, your eyes strain to focus… yes, it really is there… your adrenaline flows as your gather up your supplies and make way towards the lifesaving prospect of at long last finding warm safety.

It feels so far, almost unreachable, but you manage your way one slow step at a time, until you finally reach the wonderful signs of life just down the shallow slope.

As much as your heart and body scream to rush to the safety of the little village just ahead, your mind remains sharp enough to remind you that survivors in this new world are not always so welcoming. With cautious steps, you slowly make your way closer… now just outside the most outer buildings.

You haven’t long to make a decision, so you guardedly ease your way into the coastal village… analyzing all you can see as you watch for dangers from retreat if needed.

A couple of small vessels, listing slightly and unmoving in the frozen field of water along the rocky shore. Small cabins, all so alike, are staggered along what must have been at one time the roadway into the village. Smoke softly spills from a couple of chimneys, but only a few hold much glow through the windows from the likely fires burning inside – most appear dark and unoccupied.

Ahead, you see one main building, larger than the rest – signs of life as light from inside pours through the windows, and a strong stream of smoke puffs steadily from the roof. Cautiously, you move towards your goal, every so vigilant as you watch for surprises from the darkness of each building you pass.

You note some dwellings show little sign of traffic, while a few others appear more used with trodden paths through the deep snow. The paths all seem merged, worn and pointing towards the larger building. You realize the large structure was, or is, most likely the community gathering or recreational building for the little village.

As you near, you see the shadowy figures of two of the villagers making their way to the entrance of the building. Do you risk crying out to make your presence known, or is caution still your safest approach? The smell of the burning wood inside is so invitingly sweet, you want to yell out – but you’ve already learned from past encounters that you need to be wary and know what you’re walking into first.

Through one of the side windows, you see shadows and movement of activity inside the building. How close should you go along the worn snow path to get nearer?

You decide stealth is still your safest route until you can find out what’s going on inside. You ease off the main path, and work your way along the darkness and cover of the small cabins and shacks. You have no option but to leave the small obvious trail of your steps in undisturbed snow, relying of the darkness to keep your presence and course unseen.

At last, you make your way to the side of the main building. A wood pile and a couple of barrels along the side right below the large glowing window. Inside you see a number of figures, and hear some heated discussions…

Village Folk Notes

[spoil]The building is indeed the main community house for the village, used for gatherings, meetings, and shared activities. The main room is quite spacious, with a number of tables and chairs inside for their gatherings. A large fireplace heats the room well, and a couple of smaller rooms in the back are used for storage, the community kitchen, and some small additional rooms and changing rooms (for whatever purposes are needed depending on the event at the time).

There are about 12-18 town folk in the building – including children and family members.

The town leader [JETRO] is a rather big, strong, and imposing figure of a man. He’s in a heated debate with another strappingly built man – it’s unclear whether they’re arguing about duties, the pecking order of authority, or how the town situation is being managed.

There’s also another tall lanky man tending to some dogs inside, along with a few other men of various figures and ages. There’s an older woman [actually the mother of the town leader] who seems to be in charge of keeping the kids and others busy [getting food organized, getting the kids out of the way, and basically directing and guiding the others as to whatever needs to be done].[/spoil]

Choices & Decisions

[spoil]The longer you can stay hidden close enough to try hearing/learning about what’s happening inside (including the argument), the more information you’ll get [about the town, other groups, perhaps stockpiles, etc.]… however – the longer you’re there also means the better the chance that you’ll be discovered.

Note: if you arrived during daylight, you would also have a higher probability of being spotted (the villagers would also be more active, scattered, and wandering about). You may also be discovered by one of the villagers returning to the village from a task, and they may yell out a warning to the others or sneak up and attack you since you’re a stranger moving suspiciously through the village – or, if it’s somebody you’ve helped somehow before, they may be friendlier and escort you to meet the others.[/spoil]

Reminder: Don't forget to also add your own scenarios to The Coastal Village scene, as well as to the "Abandoned Highway" scenarios

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