A CDDA Let’s Play
Welcome to our first episode of Let’s Play Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead.
Cataclysm: DDA is the type of game that’s so incredibly broad in scope that you find yourself asking: what should I do now? I see this as a positive thing, as it lends itself quite nicely to role-playing and crafting your own narrative. I’ve decided to play a character with that idea in mind.
Because this is our first episode, let me just give you a brief run-down on Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead. I would describe Cataclysm as a roguelike, post-apocalyptic, survival-sandbox game. It’s basically every post apocalyptic trope rolled into one. It’s a combination of a zombie-apocalypse, alien invasion, and Cthulu’s reign of terror all happening simultaneously. CDDA borrows elements from various other video games and works of fiction such as the STALKER series, Half-life, Left 4 Dead, the H.P. Lovecraft universe, Night of the Living Dead, and many others.
Humanity is completely and unequivocally screwed and the game has no goal. We’re not going to defeat the invaders, you’re not going to find a cure for the diseases plaguing humanity – the battle is already lost. This may seem dreary, but it’s actually quite nice because the possibilities the game offers are nearly endless. If you can’t win, you can’t lose.
Want to settle down on a nice, quiet farm and forget about this whole “end-of-the-world” thing while you tend to your crops? You can do that. Want to get high on meth and drive around in a pick-up truck, machine-gunning anything that moves? Oh, you can definitely do that. The amount of minutiae the game offers is nothing short of impressive. This is the reason why I’m trying out this roleplay idea: to give myself something to focus on rather than falling into the pit of micromanaging and nitpicking that this game can become.
About the Character
I decided to make a character VERY loosely based on the novel Fahrenheit 451. I named him Guy Montag after the main character of the novel. In *my* story he’s an illiterate fireman with a pathological hatred of literature. The gimmick of this run will be that Guy Montag is driven by a desire to incinerate any bookstores, libraries, schools, or any other building containing large amounts of dreaded reading material. I selected ‘The Last Firefighter’ scenario for my character. He’s very strong, slightly above average dexterity and perception, and slightly below average intelligence. His traits include: illiterate, tough, psychopath, slow healer, animal discord, and heavy sleeper. He’s skilled in using melee weapons, first aid, cooking, fabricating, and throwing.
The Rise (and Fall?) of Guy Montag
Guy Montag starts his day in a fire station at the edge of a large town. A man named Colin Smith has taken refuge inside the station as well. Guy asks Colin if there’s anything he can do for him, to which Colin responds by asking him to retrieve weather data from a radio station a few blocks to the west. Guy agrees and asks for some supplies in exchange for helping out, which really pisses off Colin for some reason. He calls Guy a “dickhead” and his opinion of him lowers quite a bit. Hmmm… I guess the world ending makes people a little edgy. Guy arms himself with a fire axe and dispatches one of his zombified brothers who was shut in the back of the station. He’s already well equipped with a decent melee weapon and turnout gear, but he does grab a PBA mask and some batteries to protect himself from smoke and other airborne toxins.
Guy moves east towards a clothing store, chopping down a few zombified dogs who get too close. Once inside he grabs a leather backpack for carrying loot. He agreed to help Colin, but his real motivation is to torch the bookstore that’s adjacent to the radio station. Those books and the scientists that wrote them are the reason why the world has gone to hell, and Guy’s determined to right this terrible wrong.
Striking out towards the center of town immediately would be suicidal. Guy decides to establish a temporary home base first, a place where he can rest and safely store his supplies. The fire station he started in seems like as good a place as any, so he heads back to the fire station and begins chopping apart the furniture with the intention of gathering two-by-fours and nails. Some acid-spitting zombies attempted to breach the perimeter earlier, so he boards up the broken windows and and places nail-board traps at choke-points.
The next priority is food. Guy heads across the street to a grocery store, but foolishly breaks a window while entering the building. The noise attracts a crowd of zombies too big for him to handle, and worse yet, a powerful zombie brute is among them. Even more foolish, he attempts to fight off the first wave of the undead, swinging at them wildly with his axe. The blows do tremendous damage and send the walking corpses reeling backwards, but also drains his stamina quite a bit. By time he decides that flight is a better option than fight, he’s already out of breath and barely able to escape.
Guy does manage to slip away, although he sustained quite a bit of damage to his head and torso. He must be cautious, as the wounds will take a few days to heal. Guy slinks back to the fire station to lick his wounds and reflect on the choices he’s made. The good news is that he managed to stuff some canned foods and fruit juice into his backpack before being overwhelmed by the zombie hoard, so he won’t go to sleep hungry tonight.
After a breakfast of canned salmon and fruit juice, Guy decides his first mission of the day is to secure a decent amount of clean water. He found two gallon jugs and filled one with toilet water from a nearby coffee shop. He hated the place. You know who would hang out at a coffee shop? Faux-intellectual BOOK READERS, that’s who!
Guy looted some coffee powder, sugar, and condensed milk along with a copper pot. He placed a pile of splintered wood in the street outside of the coffeeshop, started a small fire, and set about sterilizing the toilet water. He boiled it in the pot and transferred the now clean water into the empty jug. A whole gallon of clean water!
On the way back to his hideout, Guy Montag was ambushed by a survivor named Amira Noble. She brandished a Glock 19 and demanded that Guy drop his trusty fire axe. Guy hesitated for a moment, considering the possibility of threatening the bandit or refusing to obey, but she seemed rather determined. His odds of succeeding at non-compliance seemed low. Guy didn’t want to risk combat in his injured state, so he reluctantly dropped his axe.
Amira inched her way towards Guy, threatening to shoot if he moved a muscle. She began rifling through his possessions and took all his cash cards, a lighter, some lockpicks, and his gummi vitamins. Once Amira was satisfied with the items taken, she thanked Guy sarcastically, then fired a round at his chest. The bullet damaged his backpack and caused him to bleed a little, but it wasn’t a devastating injury. Amira began to retreat as Guy picked up his fire axe, but he was too distracted by pain to swing at her accurately. Guy didn’t bother to give chase. As he bandaged his wounds, Guy Montag swore he’d get revenge on that jerk (she probably reads books, too). A plan had already formed in his head. He knew exactly what to do.
First, he grabbed a battery operated circular saw from a hardware store. Then, cut his way through the barred windows of a local gun shop. He made a bee-line towards the reloading supplies and grabbed a couple plastic containers of gunpowder. Metal pipes were gathered and a couch was shredded into rags. The rags were then disassembled into thread, which was then made into small strings. Once all was said and done, Guy had enough materials to craft 5 pipe bombs. More than enough.
Amira was a couple blocks away, tearing apart the interior of a pick-up truck for some odd reason. She had left her Glock pistol laying on the cement in front of the truck she was working on. Guy approached and slipped the pistol into his pack. She was so preoccupied with her work that she didn’t even notice as Guy lit the fuse and tossed a pipe bomb into the passenger side of the vehicle. POW! Before the dust even settled from the first explosion, a second bomb landed on the ground next to the truck. KABOOM! Amira stumbled out of the wrecked vehicle, injured and dazed. A single swift blow from Guy Montag’s axe as he charged forward was the coup de grâs.
He got his revenge and some fairly decent loot along with it. About 100 rounds of 9mm ammo, plus a broadsword, a halberd, and some cigars. Guy lit up one the cigars in triumph.
That’s all for this week. Be sure to check back again for the next installment of Guy Montag’s book-burning cataclysm adventure! Next week, we’ll gather materials for crafting molotov cocktails and try to make it to that radio station.
About the Author: Spencer
Spencer L. left his home in Texas about 5 years ago, and during his travels, decided he wanted to become a gunsmith. He’s about to get his degree and plans on heading home soon to make a living with his trade. Spencer enjoys cooking, homebrewing, travelling the world, and of course, playing roguelike games. If you’d like to contact him, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org