The First Incident 26.04.1986
At 1:23am on Saturday, April 26th, a scheduled test of Reactor 4 in the BI, Lenin Memorial Nuclear Power Station resulted in a nuclear meltdwon that woudl contaminate a wide area and produce a cloud of radioactive fallout blowing across Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, as well as parts of eastern and western Europe, Scandinavia, the UK, and as far afield as eastern areas of the U.S. It was the worst accident in the history of nuclear power and the social, political, and financial costs were unimaginable.
All it took was a simple operating mistake to collide with a routine experiment designed to test the emergency cooling system. These two innoceuous events led to the intense over-heating of the reactor core, the creation of volatile ocyhydrogen, and an explosion that scattered radioactive materials over a wide area, igniting everything in its wake.
The areas in the immediate vicinity were subject to rapid evacuation. Such was the emergency that over 160,000 people - all within 30 km of the accident - left without thinking they would never see home again. Over the years, visitors would remark on the ghostly presence a city abandoned could have, as though an entire population were merely in the next room, waiting to return. In time, the theories of how such an accident could occur would mutate beyond reason, but for that night, and for the weeks that followed, was told the story of the moment; a tragic narrative on East/West relations and a commentary on nuclear power. The word on the lips of a generation was: Chernobyl.
The Second Incident 13.04.2006
The second incident, when it occurred, was perhaps even more surprising than the first. Of all the internationally renowned scientists involved in the cleanup of Chernobyl not one would have expected even the slightest rumbling to occur within the massive concrete sarcophagus that had tamed Reactor 4. Not expecting, however, is a far cry from not occurring and the explosion, when it shattered the early hours, showed just how shallow Chernobyl's grave of fear was. If the first explosion saw the end of the Soviet Union and the cold war, the second would see the beginnings of something even more terrifying. The immediate effects of the blast were difficult to observe, even more to understand, but within years, the Zone around Chernobyl was starting to attract a group of people convinced that prosperity lay in the ravaged land. These people, a mixed bunch by any standards, came to be known as Stalkers.
The Zone 2012
The Zone of Alienation stretches between the borders of Ukraineand Belarus, and is kept protected by the Ukrainian authorities. Due to the radical decrease in human presence and activity, wildlife has flourished in the Zone and the area is often described as having been "reclaimed by nature". Following the 2006 disaster, animals and plants have been grotesquely mutated and deadly anomalies abound.
Supposedly, the area is kept under lockdown by the miltary. However, the prospect of lucrative looting and treasure hunting has led a large number of opportunists known as Stalkers to jump fence into The Zone itself. These people are either operating for themselves, or in factions. Among the more notable groups are Duty, Freed, and the Ecologists.
Research is constantly ongoing to find out the nature and origin of The Zone, as well as a means to counter it. There are many different beliefs concerning the truth of, and reasonable response to, The Zone. For example, Duty members are attempting to "fight the Zone" while Freedom believes that the entire area is a gift to mankind and should be shared equally by all of humanity. Some people express concern that the Zone might be growing and increasing its influence on the world.
The mutants of the Zone vary greatly in appearance. The most common of which are blind dogs, fleshes, boars, and wild cats. Each of these creatures have been mutated due to a combination of radiation, science experiments, and otherwise unknown causes. While some are found in specific locations, most can be found wandering around the Zone in search of their next meal.
Anomalies are natural phenomenon currently under study. While very little is known about their origins, what is known are the facts they move, and they will kill you. Most of the anomalies are hard to see until they have been activated. Some anomalies will tear you to shreds, some will burn you to charcoal, melt you to a puddle of goo, or kill you through radiation.
Artifacts are items born from anomalies. These are sought after by stalkers hoping to get rich. Artifacts carry special powers and are currently being studied. Each one has a negative affect alongside a positive affect. While some irradiate their surroundings, some increase strength, some heal wounds, cure radiation poisoning, protect from bullets, knives, radiation, bleeding, etc.
Loners - Loners are a nomadic semi-unified group of Stalkers who simply live off the Zone in order to earn some coin for their daily lives. Loners are neutral toward almost all other factions, but do have complications with the Military, and, to a lesser extent, the Mercenaries, and openly oppose the Bandit faction for their actions against free Stalkers. Most Loners are only concerned with the riches of the Zone, and do not pay attention to the other factions' hatred for each other - provided, of course, they do not threaten them. Because of this, Loners are often recruited by various factions as mercenaries.
Duty - Duty was founded by former military expedition survivors and Stalkers concerned about the looming horrors of the Zone. They are one of the largest Stalker clans in the Zone. They have a strict military code (such as no smoking, maintaining one's weapons, etc...) and operate in a military fashion, using ranks like Sergeant, Major, Captain, and General. Their goal is to contain and destroy the Zone, fearing that it will spread to the outside world. They view the Zone as an ulcer in the world and their efforts are a way to excise it. They do this with blunt force by killing mutants, eliminating all who oppose them or exploit the free, and burning down or drowning mutant dens. They are neutral toward other Zone factions, save for the Bandits and their long-time nemesis: the Freedom faction. It is said that Duty also has deep connections within the military, specifically Spetsnaz detachments within the Zone, although they treat regular grunts with utter contempt.
Freedom - The second-largest faction in the Zone (the first being Monolith), and have some of the best equipment. They aren't officially at war with Duty at this time, but fights still break out between the factions from time to time. They hold the Military Warehouses as their main base. They hold The Barrier in the Army Warehouses, keeping the Monolith faction and Mutants at bay.
Ecologists - The Ecologists are Ukrainian scientists sent into the Zone on behalf of the government, but seem to be affiliated with outside organizations. Their main purpose is the study of all aspects of the Zone, using scientific methods to further explain what the Zone is, and its purpose. The Ecologists are neutral to all factions, and are not involved in any of their conflicts. Due to the military's slipping grip on the Zone, the Ecologists rely on opportunistic Dutyers, Loners, and Mercenaries to provide them protection, and to perform errands that may require combat, since the scientists are better thinkers than fighters.
Bandits - The Bandits are raiders and marauders of the Zone, ranging from petty thugs and gangsters to organized crime syndicates. Apart from Freedom, which treats them with marginal contempt, everyone hates the Bandits due to their nefarious acts of robbing and exploiting honest Stalkers. Most Bandits are unorganized and leaderless; there are only a few known Bandit leaders and camps, and even then their groups are still fairly disorganized, with underlings always trying to take control by overthrowing the previous leader. Their unit size is mediocre, and their equipment is cheap and shoddy; because of this they've adapted to a guerilla style of warfare, ambushing small groups with large numbers by camping in locations just off the normal paths.
Mercenaries - The Mercenaries are a private military force operating within the Zone. They are professional soldiers who will do just about anything in the Zone, ranging from retrieval, assassinations, body-guarding, etc. Though, of course, it must be for the right price. Mercenaries are usually neutral toward other factions, as they are a source of income, unless they interfere with their operations.
The Monolith - The Monolith were originally ordinary Stalkers who believed in the power of the Wish Granter. Prior to Clear Sky, the faction reportedly made an exodus to the Zone's center and disappeared. After the large emission during the events of S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, they became active. The Monolith are the front line soldiers of the C-Consciousness, and would rather die than let any Stalker reach the sacred crystal. Although capable of higher reasoning and emotion, they nevertheless carry out orders with fanatic effectiveness. The Monolith faction has no allies, and actively attacks all other factions.
Clear Sky - Clear Sky is the most secretive faction within the Zone. The faction was disbanded after losing the majority of their manpower. The Clear Sky faction was originally composed of former researchers of the C-Consciousness who broke away from them in order to conduct their own research on how to either destroy or contain the zone. The other members of the faction were ordinary stalkers who joined their cause for their own reasons.
Military - The Ukrainian military supposedly has the Zone contained in order to prevent the looting of dangerous, radioactive materials and to prevent the unauthorized entering of any individuals. They allegedly enforce this rule with a "Shoot-on-sight" declaration. In an ironic twist, because of major corruption within their ranks, they themselves are the reason why Stalkers can continue to operate, and why radioactive materials from the Zone keep flowing to the outside world. Overtly, the Military are hostile to all Stalkers, to keep up appearances; but they also make shady dealings with them at the same time.
As much as we would love to allow any and all characters, in order to stick with the lore, characters will have to be restricted to humans.
If you have any questions, just PM/Ping Sem