Schools come in many shapes and sizes, depending on the level of education they provide, as well as the school’s era and geographical location. Rural schools meant for children under the age of 12 can have as few as five or six rooms altogether, while even relatively obscure universities are often sprawling complexes of single- and multi-story classroom buildings, residence halls, and research facilities.
Schools can differ tremendously from one town to the next, exhibiting marked differences in quality and maintenance due to varying tax policies, education disbursement, and interest by parents and teachers. Some modern U.S. schools have changed little from the simple designs used in the prairie states during the mid-1800s, but many schools have since had co expand outward (or upward, in the case of urban schools) to accommodate ever- increasing student enrollment.
Grade schools are storehouses of smaller versions of everyday items such as pencils, chairs, desks, and toilers. They tend to have open, airy classrooms with plenty of windows to admit sunlight and fresh air, and walls decorated with cheery, often holiday- related student artwork. Modern U.S. high schools, on the other hand, seem designed, not to nurture students, but to introduce chem co the professional world of windowless cubicles. Furthermore, due to several recent tragedies, many high schools have been built or renovated to incorporate smaller windows, restricted access points, metal detectors, shatterproof glass, silent alarms, sophisticated surveillance equipment, and reinforced doors that seal off school sections like ship bulkheads. While stifling to the educational process, such buildings make excellent makeshift fortresses in an emergency. Many schools built during the Cold War era can double as nuclear fallout shelters, although the stores of food and water mandated by civil defense policy have long since been stolen, depleted, or removed.
Don’t Miss …
This typical, suburban high school is built on a mostly square plan, its classrooms and offices surrounding a central landscaped courtyard used as an outdoor retreat for certain classes. Parents and other visitors use the building’s main entrance more often than the students, who prefer to use secondary entrances conveniently located near bus drop-off zones and the student/employee parking lot.
This campus includes 12 to 14 classrooms on each of three floors (two floors were added just before the crush of baby-boomers in the district grew to high school age). A staircase connects the levels for most students, while an elevator facilitates temporarily/permanently handicapped students and teachers access to the upper floors. A set of restrooms are scattered on each floor. Two lab classrooms, equipped for both physics and chemistry classes, can be found on the second floor. The teacher’s lounge, which includes private restroom facilities, is located on the third floor. Office space for the school principal, school nurse, and other administrative personnel, is situated next to the main entrance. There are additional offices for each department on the second and third floor. The school custodian occupies a small office and storeroom over the school power plant (which is in the basement), next to the gymnasium.
The school gymnasium, attached to one corner of the school, has student locker rooms with showers and restroom facilities. The gym’s large equipment lockers hold various sports-related equipment, and its foldout bleachers serve the building’s secondary purpose of hosting sporting events, school assemblies, student plays, and other functions. Next to the gymnasium is a large indoor pool with diving board and separate student locker room and shower facilities. The school lunchroom, located on the opposite side of the building, has a full-facility kitchen, spacious storeroom, and seating for 400 students. The two-story school library, attached to another end of the building, has its own internal staircase. Extensive duct work and steam tunnels, holdovers from the days of coal and oil-derived power, crisscross the entire building; anyone knowledgeable in their layout can use them to gain quick, discreet access to any room in the school.
Things to See
+ Wood or plastic-and-metal desks
+ Wood or plastic and metal straightback chairs
+ School supplies (pens, pencils, erasers, pencil sharpener, notebooks, notepaper, tape in a small dispenser, glue sticks, etc.)
+ Inspirational or informative posters
+ Black chalkboard with chalk
+ White, laminated wipe-off board with suitable markers
+ Desktop personal computers
+ Art supplies (paints, paintbrushes, drawing paper, colored chalk, oil crayons, etc.)
+ Shop tools and supplies (saws, hammers, nails, sandpaper, screwdriver, screws, wood pieces, thin metal pieces, etc.)
+ Band instruments (clarinet, flute, trombone, trumpet, tuba, cymbals, drums and sticks, etc.)
People to Meet
School officials and teachers have 2D in each attribute, with perhaps 30 in Knowledge, Perception, or Physique. Teachers have 3D in artist, business, scholar, or tech specializations related to their primary teaching subject. Students’ attributes typically range from ID to 2D with a pip in a few skills, and students at higher levels of education or active in extracurricular activities may have more dice in relevant skill specializations.
Teacher: Reflexes 2D, Coordination 2D, Physique 2D, Knowledge 3D, business 3D+1, scholar 4D, tech 4D, Perception 2D+2, artist 3D, investigation 4D, know-how 3D: teaching +1D, repair 3D, Presence 2D, command 2D+2, persuasion 2D+2, willpower 2D+2. Move: 10. Strength Damage: 1D. Body Points: 8. Wound levels: 2.
Things to Do
+ Mark Speizer is a scam-artist who makes his living defrauding grief-stricken mourners by faking a talent for “communication” with the dead. Or at least he used to … Mark’s life changed one year ago while making an episode of his television show, Convergences. He was hamming it up as he often did in front of live studio audiences – rolling his eyes back in his head, mumbling strange words, trembling like a leaf in a strong wind, and beseeching the spirits to answer him – but this time, one did. When Mark awoke hours later in a hospital room, he thought he had crossed that line in show business that a good fakir never crosses (namely, starting to believe your own scam). But not only was the voice still there, it wanted to teach him a secret that had long lain hidden – the secret of raising and commanding the dead. Mark doubted his sanity at first, but the voice offered him a gift, a taste of pure life essence that filled him with power. The voice promised he would enjoy such pleasures forever, if only he did as the voice commanded. It was too much for Mark to resist. Fast-forward to today. Mark is no longer a famous television psychic. Instead he stands at the head of a very special army of unfeeling soldiers …
The players’ characters are transporting a price- less Sumerian artifact (recovered from international black market traffickers – or any other similarly mystical item from their last adventure) when their vehicle breaks down, stranding them after dark (but not too late) near a high school. Eerily, the roads are empty, no pedestrians walk the streets, and no cell phone can raise a signal – it’s as if the whole world has gone still, except for a lone night bird circling and calling high overhead. Suddenly, figures step out of the darkness and begin walking toward the characters, growing in number with each step, eventually coming into view under a nearby street light. At this point, even the most unintelligent player’s character recognizes the pedestrians for what they are – Zombies. If the characters move or make any sounds at all, the corpses sprint toward them, forcing them to retreat to the high school and bar the doors. Fortunately at least one of the players’ characters has read the Zombie Survival Guide, fortuitously written and published after the turn of the millennium by Max Brooks for under US$15 (ISBN 1-4000-4962-8; available at better retailers), so they know a good place to hide when they see one.
Trouble is, these Zombies don’t need to eat brains (although they would eat flesh if they got close enough to bite the person). The dark magicks that animate these Zombies allow them to drain life energy from any person within three meters and channel this resultant miasma to Mark Speizer, making him stronger. (Mark has Life Drain: Physical Attributes (R1), Zombie servant must be near target, with Extended Range (R1), three meters, Additional Effect (R6), when all of target’s physical attributes are zero, target turns into a Zombie controlled by Mark, Ability Loss (R3), cannot personally use Life Drain unless there are no Zombies left, Burn-out (R1), the gift might leave.) Observant players’ characters might eventually draw a connection between the priceless artifact and the Zombies. Does the artifact possess any real powers? The answer remains to be seen …