The Coldest War
The University of Washington was once a great center of learning. The Madness hit it particularly hard. For some reason, academics, artists, and other sharp minds and sensitive souls seemed particularly susceptible. Most of the grand brick buildings lie in ruin. The ancient cherry trees have long been cut down for fuel.
One exception is the old Suzallo library. This gothic cathedral to learning was rapidly occupied by those academics and students who held on to their sanity and barricaded against those who did not. It was rough, at first, being trapped in a palace with nothing but books, no food, no weapons, but the assorted minds survived, and eventually even thrived. Harnessing the small experimental nuclear power generator on campus to the south, occupying and fortifying the extensive steam tunnels and old bomb shelters beneath the heart of the University, the Suzallo Palace is now the sole remaining beacon of the old days, the only building to gleam with artificial light in the darkness.
The Academics, as they call themselves, survive by carefully trading the fruits of long-forgotten sciences. They can charge batteries, create fuel for combustible engines, reload ammunition, create explosives, manufacture drugs and medical supplies… in short, the denizens of the Suzallo Palace have a monopoly on the technologies of a former age, and are not afraid to exploit that monopoly.
On occasion, some violent gang like the King’s Gang has tried to assault the palace and plunder its riches. The Palace seems more than capable of defending itself, using esoteric technologies to make up for their lack of manpower.
Recently, the Academics nearly fell. A rogue Academic joined the exotic occultists of the Needle and unleashed arcane horror on her former compatriots. While many died, the Academics cling to existence, bolstered by the significant numbers of The Cygnet Committee, a cult ostensibly led by Rhyme but wielded by Cali