The AlphaKit for Chthonian Highways provides the rules, but so much about the world (besides the general premises). What are the players meant to do with the guns and the cars, with the angst and the unknown surrounding them? Which kind of game could be played? While the official answer from Ironspine will have to wait till the final version is out, here are mine:
1) This is our house… or home.. it is all we have
A campaign could be centered on one settlement and the characters are important members of that community. Any community that made it through the last 10 years or so (and the end of the world was 20 years ago) will have access to drinkable water and some food source: herds, farms, hydroponic cultures, something. So, what should be the part of the characters who may or may not have vehicles, but will have weapons and players behind them that want some -adventure-?
No matter how much a community develops a siege mentality, they need people to go outside. First and foremost, they will have a need for some kind of patrol and lookouts. The world is hostile and it is better to know the danger coming for you before it is at your door step. Depend on how available radio equipment (and their batteries) are, it might be a courier thing or literal scooping around and reporting back. Such types would need to check a pre-defined surrounding for intruders, track them, report them… and deal with them, one way or the others. This might mean combat, that might mean luring them away or making contact to see if they are hostile or to be trusted.
Things a community cannot breed are spare parts, fuel, batteries, medical supplies, replacement filters, pipes for watering systems etc. These would need to be scavenged or traded for and said guys for patrol and lookout duty will be well suited for the role of scavengers that venture into the ruins of former towns and cities, evading or fighting wild, mutated beasts and the monsters of the mythos.
What does such a game need? A lot of prep work on the part of the GM. First, the community itself needs to be developed, interesting NPC have to be established as well as some non-violent conflict between different opinions, to keep things interesting and to make the opinion of the PC valuable one. The players should be able influence the community, after all. To avoid a headache, a GM might want to start out small and thereby have a settlement with less than 100 people. That might mean 20 families, which is easier to handle. The surrounding needs to be prepared. The community has already existed before, so they will know a bit of the surrounding. Points of interest need to be prepared and a town with possible beasts lurking inside. “The neighbors” should be generated as well. Last but not least, a schedule of events should be prepared and the consequences of the characters action or in-action should be thought about. Trivial things might have not-that-trivial consequences. If a monster is lured away instead of faced, will it come back? Will refugees from a convoy show up that encountered it later? If one makes contact to merchants, will this mean the merchant comes back? Will refugees show up after hearing from the settlement through said merchant? Will bandits follow the trail of the merchant? A settlement that chooses isolation will need to deal with every problem on its own, a settlement that trades might get unwanted attention. Pick your poison.
To be continued..