The game takes place in a fictional version of Bellingham, WA and the surrounding towns. The fictional city on this spot is called Portsmouth. Setting it in a fictional city gave me the freedom to essentially arrange the landscape however I chose. I divided the town into four districts, using the name of towns in the area.
1) Portsmouth (the district) is primarily industrial, mostly abandoned with the decline of heavy industry in the area. It is home to the majority of the city's squatters and homeless. What isn't factories and warehouses, abandoned or not, is predominantly row houses and other low income housing.
2) Bellingham (again, the district) is the city's downtown core as well as home to many apartments, large and small. Over the course of the game, this region of town has taken the most beating, having hosted multiple superpowered brawls.
3) Fairhaven is an upper class district with trendy stores and expensive houses and apartments. For the first eight or so sessions, the group was based here.
4) Sehome is a middle class district mostly made up of suburbs. The very rich tend to live on the border between here and Fairhaven. The PCs have spent very little time here. I don't write much in the way of crime-fighting hooks in suburban America, oddly enough.
Structurally, the game is in a sandbox style of play with occasional moments in which I lean in to take narrative control in order to have a structured adventure, but I've only done that twice so far. So, with that in mind, here is the spoiler free timeline for the background and first few sessions. I'll post a character overview soon.
August 16th 2013- The night sky is filled with a strange pulsing ring of light. This ring is visible around the world and stays in place for exactly one rotation of the Earth.
August 17th 2013- Unknown Human Form Threat 01 appears in Chicago. The media comes up with various names for him, including “The Destroyer” and, “The Chicago Monster”. UHFT1 appears to be, one Mister Ewan Brown. Mr. Brown was a tax consultant known for having a bit of a temper and a large ego. He snapped and destroyed most of Chicago in a matter of hours, exhibiting the powers of flight, superstrength and the ability to project waves of lethal force from his hands. Brown is the world's first taste of Superhumans. Their next tastes are the few superhuman that are recorded standing up to Brown. The army is swift to blockade the city. There is a stalemate. Brown kills anyone who enters his city, but will not leave. Many civilians are left alive and made to worship Mr. Brown.
August 18th 2013- The Bellingham Police Station is emptied out late that night. Paul Abramson, career criminal, kills the police on duty, the other prisoners, and anyone else he comes across on his flight to freedom. There is one notable exception: Automaton. This hero is wearing homemade powered armour. The hero and the sociopath's monster fight in the streets, neither getting the upper hand until Abramson's monster vanishes, its master nowhere in sight. Meanwhile, on the other side of the district, a new superhuman makes himself know, he appears to be a teleporter with a sword.
August 19th 2013- Despite the police's best efforts, they are unable to find either Abramson or Automaton. Disappearances start in Sehome and Fairhaven. They seem more like evacuations, money and personal items are taken with no sign of struggle or forced entry. The only thing connecting them is a small stone tower, shaped like a rook, left somewhere on the property, visible from the street. Announced over the internet, a group of superhuman wannabes meet up in a fast food restaurant. Somewhat concealed among their numbers are a number of true superhumans who exchange information with each other.
August 20th 2013- Rumors appear about a teleporting creature stalking the rooftops of the city. A cluster of house fires start in Sehome. Automaton and two new heroes, dressed like high tech Greco-Roman warriors, appear at the scene and help rescue workers to extricate those trapped in the burning buildings. Automaton gives his name to reporters for the first time. The other two introduce themselves as Ares and Vulcan. While the armored heroes take up the spotlight, a masked superhuman uses their strange powers to heal those injured with a touch.
August 21th 2013- 8 police officers and 13 homeless people die when they attempt to flush Paul Abramson out of his hiding spot. Abramson escapes again in the confusion.
August 22th 2013- A group of super heroes and super villains clash at the site of a bank robbery. This fight ends with three of the heroes dead. The Superheroes were members of a team out of Seattle who came down to hunt down Paul Abramson. The remaining member of the team, a shapeshifter called Feral vows to hunt down those responsible.
August 23rd 2013- Multiple people in Bellingham report being interrogated and savagely beaten by a dark haired, beast-like man.
A group of superhumans step in to stop a jewelry store robbery. This results in the death of one of Portsmouth’s homeless, apparently one that possessed superpowers. The other two thieves surrender to the intervening superhumans and disappear with them to parts unknown.
Ares and Vulcan stop an attack on an upscale restaurant in Fairhaven by four strange, beetle-like humanoids. These creatures, upon their defeat, revered back into humans and seemed to have no memory of the events that led them to attack.
Lastly, a massive crop of strange fungus infests and destroys a medical research building in Sehome.
August 24th 2013- A anti-power militia lynches a pair of young superhumans (One with the power of flight, and the other who can generate a spray of paint-like pigment). They beat and hang the two superhumans. In retaliation, radicals from the group Powers Unite hunt down and kill those responsible.
Radicals from Powers Unite retaliate and kill the skinhead militia “True Americans”
The President declares the creation of the Anti-Human Form Threat Division or A.T.D, an organization specifically created to deal with the growing danger of Unknown Human Form Threats (i.e. Superhumans)
August 25th 2013- The Portsmouth Heroes put Loot and Pillage on parole and use them to help bust the arms dealing Rook Gang. All except Armory and Scatter die. Armory is taken in. A mysterious masked woman in a scaled cloak retrieves Scatter. Their mansion in Sehome is the site of a mass exodus as the brainwashed victims try to go back to their homes. The Portsmouth PD cordon off the area, a retrieve the weapons contained therein.
A new hero, Android makes his debut. He busts a drug den that the police knew about but could not get the evidence to make a move. Bristol is overthrown by someone calling himself ‘Liege’.
August 26th 2013- No major news.
August 27th 2013- Saul Hayes, of the law firm ‘Marino and Hayes’ in Bellingham releases a statement in support of the A.T.D and his firm’s resolve to deliver funds and aid to nascent alphabet organization. A banker is murdered and hung by his feet on a busy thoroughfare.
August 28th 2013- ATD sets up a branch in Bellingham under Director Anna-Maria Nesmith. The Gygax building, home to ‘Marino and Hayes’ collapses out of the blue. Abramson attacks a group of street kids, killing them all. The city of Bangalore vanishes.