It is stock post-apoc fare. There are quasi-zombies, a gorgeous tough lass on a bike, fortified rich enclaves, post-apoc landscapes, biker gangs, stories of vengeance and loyalty, all the usual. But it’s competently executed, and the art is solid.
This writeup doesn’t include any genuine spoiler about the story.
We already have a number of post-apocalyptic tough guys. Such as the Warlord, Blade, Bonner the Outrider, Nadir, the Traveller, Mr. Jepperd, Michael the Lost, Mariner, Dragon, Amy Wellard, the Vault Dweller, the Chosen One, the Lone Wanderer… or Nick Masters the courier, who’s basically the same character as Eve Harper.
And frankly, many of those come from… literature that is *way* trashier than The Courier: From the ashes. 😺
(For even more, just click on the “Post-Apocalypse” tag near the top of this entry.)
Our idea is that many post-apoc characters can be dropped into most post-apoc milieux with little trouble. If you’re running a post-apoc story, you can just help yourself to such characters.
- Real Name: Eve Harper.
- Marital Status: Single.
- Known Relatives: Liam (brother), mother (name unrevealed, deceased).
- Group Affiliation: None.
- Base of Operations: Sector 7.
- Height: 5’7″ Weight: 132 lbs.
- Eyes: Blue. Hair: Black.
Powers & Abilities
Ms. Harper is a professional fighter and motorbike rider. She’s a sharp and collected survivor. She’s particularly fit and has an excellent killer instinct.
Eve has a strong personality, strong nerves and above-average people skills. She’s also good at stealth.
She’s an OK mechanic. She has the knowledge to do fairly complex repairs, but she can’t carry the tools to do serious moto mechanics.
Her most important piece of kit is her bike. It is near-future tech. Though we don’t see many details, it has an onboard computer (with a display screen). In lieu of an engine there’s a sort of stack of cylinders.
The fuel may look like a thermos that’s plugged in under the seat. Or it may have been the cargo, it’s not 100% clear.
The computer can interface with the HUD within her helmet. This provides her with a GPS, speedometer, fuel gauge and other driving indicators.
(The bike seems to be a good, but normal model. She may have simply have scavenged it from a garage, or even a roadside.)
Her weaponry includes :
- A high-calibre semi-auto handgun. The equivalent of a Desert Eagle, apparently.
- A scoped, semi-auto bullpup carbine. It looks a bit like a Kel-Tec RBD 17.
- A tough switchblade in her boot.
- A big combat knife.
- A few smoke grenades.
- MREs . Yes, of course these count as weapons.
Artie (part 1)
Another key asset is her AI drone companion, Artie. It has human-level intelligence and learning capabilities, plus full speech and hearing. It is about the size of a large microwave oven.
Other capabilities include :
- Flight – at least as fast as Eve’s bike.
- Telescopes and other optics to serve as an eye-in-the-sky recon drone. Artie is particularly useful to spot enemies ahead of time. This is presumably done using thermal imaging.
- Short range movement detectors.
- General databases, including an encyclopaedia and lots of maps.
- A stealth mode, for much slower but silent flight.
- Two small manipulator arms.
- Within Sectors, Artie can double as a smartphone and videophone.
- Video/audio recording. Artie can also deploy a screen to display audio/video.
Artie (part 2)
Artie can interface with Eve’s helmet HUD. This allows for an augmented reality effect. For instance, if Artie can see a target from the sky, he can highlight it in Eve’s FOV to compensate for visual cover. Say, Harper’s smoke grenades.
Harper also has a small in-ear with a mike, to stay in radio contact with her drone.
Artie can “nest” on the back of Eve’s bike. When doing this it looks much like a large top case. There’s also a power connector, so docking on the bike allows Artie to recharge.
During the mid-XXIst, the world was devastated by a man-made virus. That killed most everyone. Some of the virus’ survivors were mutated into strong, animalistic predators. These were called “primals”.
As the recovery started, the primals rapidly bred. This made life outside of fully fortified areas one of constant danger.
Things eventually settled around :
- Urban, fortified Sectors. One must have plenty of money to live in a Sector, and catching the virus means being expelled.
- Mad-Max-style, lower tech, fortified communes. Most communes are armed to the teeth to repel primals. Many are less than pleasant. Say, deranged religious fanatics obsessed by torture and maiming.
- Roaming, heavily-armed gangs. Examples included the Specters (a typical bikers lot) and the Natives (horse riders with pseudo-Native garb).
Most everything works like you’d expect in a “moderate”, Mad-Max-influenced post-zombie-apocalypse.
“Moderate” means that civilisation endures in pockets. The not!zombies are deadly, but it’s not a complete nightmare.
Still, one character mentions that, outside the Sectors, living past 30 is rare. An unclear percentage of the casualties is still caused by the virus.
Fuel, ammunition, food, etc. aren’t too difficult to come by with enough effort. Generally, the infrastructure and machinery are in much better shape than you’d expect after decades of abandonment !
Tech in Sectors is a few decades ahead of the 2010s, particularly when it comes to AI. But the more advanced resources are terribly expensive, so people aren’t loaded with flashy gizmos.
Eve was presumably born in 2172. As a child, she lived in a commune.
However, the primals managed to get over the walls and storm the hamlet. Her mum was killed, leaving Eve and her kid brother Liam alone.
Though the neighbours shot a primal that was about to kill Eve, they prioritised their own survival. They left the Harper kids behind as they fled.
Daughter of anarchy
Eve managed to survive and protect Liam. Circa age 13, she applied to join the Specters, a biker gang.
Though their leader Colvin was dubious, she impressed him with her aggression. He reluctantly let her join. He even called in a marker to have Liam join a safe-ish commune.
Harper was a successful fighter and biker. She branched out as a courier and mercenary when she was 15.
Couriers carry packages to and from Sectors. They are thus among the very few that can freely enter Sectors. They can even live there between contracts. And it’s well-paid – 30% of the gross.
The downside is… the life expectancy of a courier is 18 months. Furthermore, they are unconditionally responsible for their package. If the contract isn’t 100% fulfilled, they are left out to dry – no excuses.
The gainfully employed
Eve did a number of successful runs. She saved as much as she could, and sunk everything into buying Artie, an AI drone.
This proved a wise decision. Having an eye-in-the-sky and AI partner greatly boosted her ability to survive.
Ms. Harper has been a courier for 10 years and counting.
She is usually based in Sector 7, a.k.a. Tar Heel. This used to be Charlotte, NC. It is one of the strictest Sectors, with a population hard cap at 20K persons.
Then one day Jerrod, her handler in Tar Heel, summoned her for an *urgent* job.
A tough mercenary and biker who don’t take no crap. Eve is nice enough, but only as long nobody tries to play silly buggers with her.
She has a strict sense of honour about keeping her word, and handling deals in a fair and professional manner. Her rep for trustworthiness and fairness is a genuine asset.
Though she’s good at dealing with people, she’d rather be alone. One of the reasons she bought Artie was to have a friend of sorts, without having to put up with another human being. Ms. Harper feared that her lack of socialisation would dull her wits for lack of stimulation.
After 10 years of highly dangerous work, Eve can get overconfident. She might brush off Artie’s warnings about the risks she’s taking, only to end up in bad trouble like an idiot. She’s not *quite* as much an action heroine as she thinks she is, though she’s pretty close.
As you likely suspected, Eve secretly has a heart of gold under the tough, pragmatic, no-quarters-given-or-expected loner attitude.
This arcs back to her childhood trauma of seeing her neighbours desert her and Liam to protect their own. Though she’d like to be ruthlessly self-centred, she can’t actually force herself to leave a vulnerable person behind. Especially a youth.
To her own surprise, she’s even willing to die for this.
She tends to be sarcastic, and will become abrasive if she’s not paying attention. This is presumably her survivor’s aggression poking through.
Harper: “I’m better alone, Colvin. No attachments to weigh me down. It’s how I like it.”
Colvin: “Same old Eve.”
Harper: “We do what we have to in order to survive.”
Entrance guard: “You’re an hour late”.
Eve (sarcastically): “Yeah, well, I hit traffic.”
Renata: “What the hell happened ?”
Eve: “Fuckin’ primals. Ran into a pack on my way here.”
Renata: “Shit. You weren’t lying about surviving worse odds.”
Eve: “Artie, how we looking ?”
Artie: “The house is clear.”
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
|Dex: 05||Str: 03||Bod: 04||Motivation: Uphold Good|
|Int: 05||Wil: 04||Min: 05||Occupation: Courier|
|Inf: 04||Aur: 04||Spi: 05||Wealth: 004|
|Init: 016||HP: 020|
Martial artist*: 05, Vehicles (Motorbikes): 05, Thief (Stealth): 05, Weaponry: 06
Credentials (Courier pass), Expertise (Moto maintenance and repair)
MIA toward Upholding the Good.
- Large bore handgun [BODY 03, Projectile weapons: 05, Ammo: 09, Rec. STR 02, R#03].
- Scoped bullpup carbine [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 06, Ammo: 20, Telescopic vision: 02, R#02]. Kept on her bike.
- Switchblade [BODY 03, Enhance (EV) : 01 (cap is 05), Miniaturisation: 01, Descriptor: Piercing]. Her boot knife.
- Big-arse knife [BODY 05, Enhance (EV): 01 (Cap is 06), Descriptor: Piercing, Slashing]. Kept on her bike.
- Smoke grenades (x3) [BODY 01, Fog: 06, R#03, Grenade drawback].
- MOTORBIKE [STR 03 BODY 05, Running: 07, R#02].
- In-ear comms [BODY 01, Radio communications: 06, Miniaturisation: 03].
- MOTO HELMET [BODY 04, Enhance (Structural RV): 02 (cap is 09), Enhance (RV against Unarmed, Critical, Devastation and doubles): 03 (cap is 08), Enhance (Facial attacks RV): 02 (cap is 08), Shade (Audial): 01, Drawback: Audial Perception rolls have +2CS to their OV/RV]. Eve prefers to avoid the audial penalty, and will not wear the helmet unless she’s riding.
- LEATHERS [BODY 03, Enhance (Structural RV): 01 (cap is 06)]. This seems to be an ordinary leather jacket, not even a moto one. Yet it protected her fine when she crashed her crotch rocket.
DEX 02 STR 01 BODY 04 INT 04 WIL 02.
Data storage: 15, Detect (Movement): 03, Flight: 07, Radio communications: 08, Telescopic vision: 04, Thermal vision: 09
Area Knowledge (ex-USA), Sharp Eye.
The stealth mode is Thief (Stealth): 04, but it is audial only and restricts Flight to 01 APs. Artie also has Military science (Cartography): 05.
Artie has watched The Princess Bride many times. It thus tends to quote from this beloved (and highly quotable) film.
Primals seem to have DEX 03 STR 04 BODY 03 Claws: 05 Running: 04 Analytical smell: 07 (with a Special +3 Range bonus to pick up human sweat).
One more AP of DEX and/or BODY is definitely possible for the bigger, fiercer specimen.
They can smell humans from a long way away, can move almost as fast as a horse, and their claws and fangs can shear through human bone with little difficulty.
Primals usually come in packs – quite possibly a score or more. One suspects their pregnancies are markedly faster than human ones.
They ignore their casualties, fighting to the last mutate. They do not seem to use any tool, but will seek shelter (often a large ruin).
Primals presumably wouldn’t have been much of a problem if they could have been dealt with early on. Or if it were possible to organise a proper military to clear selected areas. But humanity was too devastated by the virus’ casualties.
Source of Character: The Courier LS (Zenescope).
Writeup completed on the 22nd of December, 2019.