A recurring project I’d like to work with someday is a list of interesting spots in the solar system–real-world, game canon, and fan-created sites that would be evocative and interesting to adventure in. In an attempt to avoid real work I spent most of the day wandering through the fantastic website, “Atlas Obscura,” looking for places that humanity might have hidden its secrets. Of course they had to be able to survive a nuclear war, so either underground, overbuilt, or stunningly remote. They should have had some historical/scientific/military interest that would make them a compelling place for PCs to seek out.

This was inspired, in part, by my college game master (Mark Carrol, our guest host on episodes 19, 20, and 21), who buried the secret key to a reincarnated world in the quirky tourist trap, The House on the Rock. Who knows what mysteries can be found in roadside weirdness…

Mormon Genealogical Archives, Utah
Currently, the mormons have one of the richest collections of genealogical references available, and this underground bunker full of microfiche is built to survive the next 1,000 years. Much of the information is available online, but in the HSD timeline it’s unknown how much of that information would have made the jump from Terra to Mars. What secret might be buried here? Vectors are, deep in their DNA, human. There may be some vital piece of information tied to the human genetic donors whose line ended and was reborn in the Vectors, and there’s a chance that this bunker might have preserved that information.

Labyrinthos Caves, Greece
Some 20 miles from the palace at Knossos where the wife of King Minos consummated her bovine affair and birthed the monstrous Minotaur, this winding cave system may have inspired the Minotaur’s labyrinth legend. They’ve also been used by nazis and 18th century spies to hide secrets and munitions. Low on “science” but high on historical interest, and with a nod to human/animal hybrids. Greece doesn’t seem like it would have been a big player in the end of the world, but the site seems worth a mention.

Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex, California
While it’s unlikely that this massive set of four 200+ foot wide satellite dishes survived the nuclear end of the world, this network, built to communicate with Mars rovers and deep-space satellites, would e a compelling gateway for Hydra to have begun its infiltration of Terra. While the radio dishes themselves are likely deformed slag, the military base at Fort Irwin could have bunkers deep under the Mojave desert that could still hold answers to some of HSD’s oldest mysteries.

Agbogbloshie Digital Waste Dump, Ghana
A dense, impoverished, neighborhood becomes the center of a digital waste disposal industry when the US, Japan, and Europe exploit a loophole. It’s difficult to dispose of electronic waste (old hard drives, cameras, and so on). But if it’s classified as “donations,” electronic junk can be donated by the ton. Toxins and carcinogens in the area around Agbogbloshi created a lead poisoning rate of 80%, and one of the most polluted bodies of water on the planet. In HSD, the pollution levels are irrelevant 750 years after the end of the world. However, this space had a vast pile of “deleted” information, including US government computer waste loaded with exploitable data, at least some of which was squirrelled away by local organized crime. It would be ironic if a dumping ground and its surrounding area became a repository for information in the year ~2800.

Gamma Field, Japan
Given that this one requires a fair bit of human intervention, it’s unlikely to have survived the test of time, but in a campaign setting kicked off by the nuclear end of all life, a walled-off Godzilla-era facility devoted to bombarding plants with daily doses of radiation seems like a natural springboard for mutant plants and wildlife that might just have survived the holocaust.

Umatilla Chemical Depot, Oregon
Mile upon mile of bunkers purely for the purpose of storing cold war chemical weapons. Agent orange, sarin, mustard gas, it’s all there. According to Wiki the depot was expected to be closed by 2015, but in a fictional universe (or heck, the real one) plans never quite match implementation.

Kcymaerxthaere, Terra
A puzzling bit of worldwide weirdness, “Kcymaerxthaere” is, according to its creator, an alternate dimension that intersects with the world in a series of story-heavy locations. It’s a strange story-telling project and an engaging fiction, but one that opens itself up for RPG fare. Not super-relevant to the transhuman world of HSD, but worth an honorable mention.

Oldest Pool of Water, Canada
In the depths of the world’s deepest base metal mine, almost two miles under the surface of the earth, Toronto scientists found cave pools dating back 2 billion years. For those keeping score, the earth is, itself, only four point something billion years old. Bacteria date back a bit further than that, but this just predates eukaryotes (cells with nuclei.) As a potential mid-sized campaign reveal, something with chemical traces from before multicellular organisms has a lot of potential. And it’s likely to be nicely isolated, being A) two miles below the surface of the world and B) in Canada.