Post Apocalyptic Archaeology #3 – Artefacts to Save the World

by battleaxebunny

So, having hit up all contemporary and historic sources available, you’ve discovered that the cause of the apocalypse was either 1) mad scientists, 2) archaeological accident, 3) aliens, chthulhu or mad fairies breaking through to the world, 4) sorcery hijinx.

Now comes the fun part. You can’t do much to change what’s already happened to the world (unless your apocalypse has left an opening for some nifty time travel to mess with key events) but what you can do is minimise the current threat by applying your mad-research skills and all round kick-ass chickness, so gather your gang and get geared up to save the world through archaeology.

Apocalypse by Mad Scientist

Whether it’s a virus or a plague of genetic mutants, your treasure of choice is going to be found in the science labs. Since you’ve already done your research you will have found which laboratory caused the problem so your mission is to break into it and secure that secret cache of antivirus that is bound to be lurking. If there are no live stocks of clever chemical-brew in the ruins, then treasure choice number two is research notes on the virus and antivirus as information is gold. While paper copy is more adaptable, ideally you’ll want to download files from the main system (and you brought your resident genius along for that, right?) but failing that, grab any likely looking external storage devices and yank the hard drives of whatever computers are left.

Make sure you go in well protected and do not, under any circumstances, cut yourself while in the Mad Science Lab – the last thing you want is to pick up the infection or mutate into something weird. Assume the worst at all times. Odds are high that the strange noise you just heard is something nasty that probably wants to eat, infect or kill you for fun. Or possibly all three at the same time. Don’t trust innocent looking corridors. Mad Science Labs, like many other archaeological ruins, have sneaky security measures that remain fully functional no matter how old the site. Make sure you know where your exits are, tag potential cover sites and identify weak points that can be kicked in to create emergency exits for when the inevitable disaster happens. Always scan the high ground before entering a room – many scary mutants nest in the rafters and overhead pipes and vents make for useful alternate routes if something nasty is laying claim to the floor.

Once you’ve picked the site clean of goodies, switch your paranoia up to eleven because getting out is always more dangerous than getting in. Watch out for latent security measures, beasties lurking right by the exit and stray corporate clean up squads who really don’t want you getting away with intel on how they’ve screwed things up; and make sure everyone on your team declares their injuries immediately so you don’t carry any worse infections out into the world.

Apocalypse by Archaeological Accident

As you’ve seen from the mummypocalypse, sometimes archaeology can get you into trouble, what with the digging up of ancient evils and accidental speaking of curses. Luckily, with this kind of the apocalypse, the vital treasures to counter it are usually obvious. Spell books that have curses in often have the counter curses included, ancient tombs have ample inscriptions describing how the resurrected mad god can be put down (with bonus helpful pictures) and sometimes all you need to do is destroy the artefact that caused the mess in the first place.

Unfortunately, whatever artefact you chase is going to be well guarded because even the most brain-dead ancient evil has a basic survival sense. Expect to encounter hoards of minions – zombies, mummies, bugs, minor demons, gold-blind idiots who think a bit of bling is worth serving dark gods… The carnage will be high so make sure you and your team tote the heavy armament. Once you’re past the goons you’ll have the big boss to deal with – he or she will be throwing god-like powers at you so move fast, find solid cover and have a couple of distractions planned so your pre-picked expert can duck in and destroy or counter-curse as needed.

After that, run. Any encounter with a big-bad destroys the building so once you’re certain there’s nothing left that can cause trouble for you later, get out of there fast and don’t let anyone stop to pick up treasure. Not unless you want to see them squashed by falling masonry or eaten by scarab beetles.

Apocalypse by Otherworld Invaders

For this type of apocalypse, your target treasure is going to be specific to the race of beasties that were idiot enough to think they could get away with invading the Earth. Alien invasion usually doesn’t need an artefact to counter it as aliens are easily dealt with by their allergies or a well placed computer virus; but with the rest, all that research you were careful enough to do should point the way to specific exploitable weak points.

Mad faeries are vulnerable to standard household goods such as salt or iron and can be stopped large scale by permanently shutting down any portals to their home world. If accidental activation of an artefact caused the portals to open in the first place, then, naturally, destroying the aforementioned artefact is key. Make sure your team is kitted out with four leaf clovers to break fairy glamours, and keep stocks of St John’s Wort, Red verbena and rowan to counter fairy spells. Holy objects also work well against your fairy enemy.

Solutions for a cthulhu apocalypse are tricky as most survivors are said to go mad, however if you can keep your sanity, look for artefacts relating to the Elder Gods and try summoning them up and appealing to them to intervene. Otherwise, stay away from coastal towns as these are where their loyal worshippers flock to and under no circumstances go near the sea. Unless you happen to have nicked some major weaponry capable of splattering the fell beasts.

Apocalypse by Sorcery

Doesn’t matter whether your apocalypse was caused by resurrected ancient witches or modern mages getting a bit excitable on a Saturday night, the main key to stopping the magical mayhem from getting worse is going to be their spell books. Whether it’s a traditional tome bound in human skin, a cute moleskin jobbie or an app on their iPhone, everything you need to know about undoing their spells will be in there, just don’t make the mistake of trying to use the other spells in the book. Burn it. Salt it. Scatter the ashes. Move on.

For lack of a book, the artefacts to look for will be either staffs, wands or some piece of gaudy gimcrack jewellery that emits a strange glow at inappropriate times. Usually to be found on the main magical offender but check out any shadowy people lurking nearby as the obvious suspect may simply be a puppet ruler. In all cases, the goal will be to get close enough to nick said artefact and destroy it. With any luck, the backlash of power will take out the naughty magic user. If not, they will be weakened enough for you to use the more traditional methods of decapitation or a few dozen rounds from a semi-automatic.

Once the main threat is neutralised, efficient body disposal is essential. Burn the body, salt the ground and scatter the ashes in as many different places as you can sensibly manage to avoid a sneaky resurrection as the last thing anyone needs is an undead sorcerer prancing around and getting up to shenanigans.

Battleaxebunny out.

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