Raccoon City is the original location for Resident Evil scenarios. If your campaign takes place between July 1998 and October 1998, chances are your campaign will be in Raccoon City.
Raccoon City was governed by Mayor Michael Warren, who was elected in 1987 and served in that position for eleven years. Warren was the engineer responsible for the establishment of the cable car transportation system and also made contributions to the city's electrical system. In his campaign to modernize the city, he made a deal with the Umbrella Corporation, which provided funding for several of Warren's projects, including public utilities, welfare work, and law enforcement. The campaign was known as the "A Bright 21st Century for Raccoon City" project, financed by the Umbrella Corporation.
Because of Warren's campaign, the town gradually transformed from a rural community to an industrialized city. However, the city's expansion and modernization was accompanied by rising crime rates and even terrorist activities. The Raccoon Police Department (R.P.D.) established the Special Tactics And Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.) in 1996 as a countermeasure to the wave of crime. Due to Warren's cooperation with Umbrella, the company became a large part of the people's everyday lives. Most of the Raccoon City citizens are employed by Umbrella. Many stores front for the Corporation and its influences are a major say in the City Council, truly becoming the main leadership of the city, using the mayor as a front man for its ambitions.
The Arklay Mountains incident
A series of bizarre cannibal homicides occurred in the forests of the Arklay Mountains north of the city, beginning in May, 1998, and continuing through the following months. Victims appeared to have been mauled by dogs and other, unidentified creatures. The Raccoon Police were at a loss to explain or stop the phenomenon, and in July, S.T.A.R.S. was deployed to the area to investigate. Bravo Team's helicopter made a forced landing in the area due to mechanical problems, and Alpha Team was sent to rescue them. Of the twelve S.T.A.R.S. members and a R.P.D. backup pilot sent to the Arklay Mountains, only five returned alive. They reported having discovered a mansion where the Umbrella Corporation had been conducting illegal biological weapons experiments with a mutagenic agent called the T-Virus. The grounds were crawling with the results of that research, including Zombies. However, the mansion and all evidence had been destroyed, and due to Umbrella's influence on the city and the corrupt Chief of Police Brian Irons, under Umbrella's payroll, the survivors' claims were dismissed and no formal investigation was undertaken.
Raccoon City outbreak
A second viral outbreak occurred two months later, on September 22. When Umbrella attempted to retrieve a sample of the powerful G-Virus from William Birkin, one of its more reclusive researchers, Birkin was left mortally injured and injected himself with a sample of the G-Virus, knowing its regenerative capabilities. Unfortunately, its mutagenic properties overtook his humanity and transformed him into an unstoppable, mutant, killing machine. He destroyed the paramilitary team which had attempted to steal the G-Virus, and in the process, the T-Virus was released into the sewers. The T-Virus was then carried by rats throughout the city, leading to a full-scale outbreak.
(Umbrella Scientist James Marcus released the T-Virus at the mansion after being attempt-assassinated by Albert Wesker and William Birkin. Marcus had planned to release it into Raccoon City, but was killed by Rebecca Chambers and Billy Coen in the Umbrella Training Facility in the Arklay Mountains.)
Recognizing an "incident", Umbrella officials began to evacuate the city, placing high priorities on key, essential members. By dawn of September 25, U.S Army units were called in to evacuate citizens, and began setting up barricades around the city's perimeter, effectively enforcing a quarantine. The R.P.D. tried and failed to contain the hordes of zombies created by the T-Virus, using barricades and heavy force. Matters were not helped by the actions of Brian Irons, who attempted to trap officers and civilians within the police station, scattered weapons and ammunition around the building and cutting off communication to the outside. The police station itself was besieged on September 26. The officers made a last attempt to destroy the zombies in the street on September 27 but failed when their road block was overrun by zombies. The survivors within held off the zombies for days until only two living officers remained. Umbrella also sent in several Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service (U.B.C.S.) squads for search-and-rescue missions on 26 and 27 September, which ended disastrously for the survivors. The supervisors of these squads were also secretly tasked with gathering field data about Umbrella's bio-weapons as well as destroying any incriminating evidence.
By September 29, nearly everyone in the city had either been killed by the monsters and bio-weapons released from Umbrella's laboratories, or had succumbed to the T-Virus and become zombies. The Military barricades surrounding the city had begun to fail in some places, allowing unwary visitors to enter the city, and allowing some of Raccoon's few survivors to escape.
Some time between the night of October 1 and the dawn of October 2, the United States government decided to sterilize Raccoon City with a nuclear weapon despite attempts by Umbrella to convince the Joint Chiefs of Staff to hold off the strike. The operation, which was called "Bacillus Terminate" and "Code XX" by Umbrella operatives, consisted of a single thermonuclear warhead launched from a high-altitude bomber aircraft. The entire area of Raccoon City was incinerated. The death toll was estimated to exceed 100,000.
What was left of Raccoon City and the surrounding area was searched and categorized thoroughly for any possible survivors and biohazard threats by the U.S government and the Umbrella Corporation in early October 1998. In late February 2000 the search and categorizing operation ended with no survivors found. But there were small traces of active T-virus and G-virus strains found. The ruins of Raccoon City and twenty miles around it was declared a possible biohazard threat and became a highly-classified, restricted area and only the U.S government and Umbrella Corporation can enter this area. As seen at the end of Resident Evil Outbreak, the area of what used to be Raccoon City is gated off from the rest of the world, and Umbrella Corporation built a classified research and testing facility. All that is known about this facility is that it is used for experiments and testing and it keeps a close watch for any trespassers or biohazard threats. But as of Resident Evil 4 when Umbrella went under the U.S government took over the facility. Now the facility is run by the U.S military and it focuses on the close watch duties in the gated area and surrounding areas that Umbrella once did.
The End of Raccoon City
There is some confusion as to the means of Raccoon City's destruction due to its different depictions in different games in the series. In Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, a single missile, possibly thermonuclear in nature is launched from a distant missile silo or bomber aircraft and destroys the entire city. A blue pulse traveling with the shock wave has been interpreted as EMP.
In the semi-canonical Resident Evil Outbreak, several thermonuclear warheads are shown streaking over the city and the blast craters appear inconsistent with conventional weapons, as the blast craters are more than half a mile deep in some places. According to some sources, the craters were made by conventional weapons, but the missiles shown couldn't have carried enough explosive to make such a crater. In Resident Evil Outbreak: File 2, it is shown that multiple rockets were fired from military aircraft, and two of the four possible endings show the main characters escaping the city by highway at the zero hour, nearly overtaken by explosions. As unlikely as such a scenario is with conventional weapons, it is far less probable with thermonuclear weapons. The heat flash of a nuclear weapon would have instantly incinerated the survivors and their vehicle, and even if they had survived, they would quickly perish from radiation exposure. However, many variables must be considered and it is possible that the U.S. Government used all of these measures to ensure the complete destruction of Raccoon City and the T-Virus.
Notes found throughout the Resident Evil series suggest that isolated T-Virus infections were occurring between May and September 1998. If this is true, it shows that the virus released in the Arklay Mountains escaped the destruction of the mansion and had made its way into the city, perhaps as an airborne pathogen or through infected animals. Some have argued that after that first spill, the death of Raccoon City was inevitable; the second spill in September merely accelerated the outbreak.
Locations for Possible Adventures
Raccoon City is crawling with places to be in during a Resident Evil d20 adventure. Most of the locations are on the map, above.
From the Games
Emmy's Diner (from the opening cinematic of RE2)
Cedar Boutique (the boutique in RE3)
Umbrella Sales Office
Cafe 13 (the Restaurant)
J's Bar (not to be confused with Bar Jack)
Michael Warren Memorial Stadium (on Enerdale St., west of the RPD)
Raccoon City Mall (between Raccoon St. and Mission St.)
You can add more locations to this list, provided you note where the locations are on the map.
Note: The maps found in some of the above entries are basic floorplans. More details maps can be found here: Normal and Detail Maps Transparent maps, showing the grid below the floorplan, are available here: Transparent Maps