Thirty Seconds to Midnight is a Mutants and Masterminds game set in modern day New York with a twist. A darker world than our own with higher crime rates, corruption at nearly every level of government and self-serving corporations enjoying carte-blanche to pursue their own dark agendas, just so long as they can cover up any 'indiscretions'.
Think World of Darkness or Gotham City, only without beings with special powers until...
At 23:59:30 local time, 31st July 2010, a device detonated in the centre of Manhattan. It generated an electromagnetic pulse that destroyed or damaged all electronic and computer equipment within a 100 mile radius. Terrorists were blamed for the unexpected attack but no group claimed responsibility, though many were suspected. Rumours flew around, federal investigations got under way but no-one knew who was behind the attack, or even what the device was.
While there was no primary damage from the blast the secondary damage was significant. In a heartbeat all traffic control systems failed, as did power steering and any other purely electronic function in vehicles. It was only pure fluke (perhaps) that only a pair of helicopters were in the airspace at the time. Hospitals were badly hit as almost all their equipment failed; everyone in intensive care that night died and many others died either immediately or in the chaos that followed.
The pulse itself was not the most significant outcome however. A small percentage of those exposed to the blast started exhibiting strange, wonderful, and in some cases, terrible abilities. Powers beyond all rational explanation: unpowered flight; superhuman strength, durability or speed; the ability to read or even control thoughts; the power to kill with just a thought. Mutant abilities.
It did not take long for the news to get out. Try as they wanted the New York government could not control the rumours. They shut down the media with a heavy hand. But they could not control the internet, or word of mouth. The truth prevailed.
But what was the truth? There was no apparent rhyme or reason to distinguish those that developed powers and those that did not. Initial estimates suggested that the number of 'mutants' was far less than one hundredth of one percent. But that still allowed for almost a thousand mutants. A thousand people able to walk through walls or throw cars or be in several places at once.
The government soon---
But wait. I get ahead of myself. This is all yet to come...