Friday, December 27, 2013

Omnis Mundi: Lord Gene and the Animal Men

No one goes into the north and returns. All those who make the attempt vanish. There are rumors. Beasts roam the northern waste. Beasts with a vicious intelligence and cunning. They hunt all who enter the northern hills. There are also rumors of a city. A shining city in the valley with great walls of white stone, holding the secrets of the ancients. This is why people go north. This is why they never return.

Lord Gene
In the last days of the Golden Lands a man of great intellect came into power. He delved into the secrets of the flesh, unlocking the power of genetics and crafting living beings to serve him. He did this to better mankind, to bring peace and prosperity. And then the End happened. This man survived. He altered himself as needed in order to survive in this new harsh land. Deciding that Man was at fault for the End, he crafted a new people from the beasts of the land. In creating new intelligence, he claimed himself god made flesh. He was Lord Gene, and the world be remade to his twisted desires.

Now he sits in his citadel, atop a great dam constructed before the End, devising new life forms and new societies to fill his utopia. Lord Gene is ancient, ancient and mad. He is nearing the completion of his armies, and soon the earth will tremble at his name.

High Concept: Immortal Genetic Despot
Trouble: Barking Mad
Aspect: Man's Day Is Over
Aspect: A new Breed Is Needed
Aspect: What Is Dead Should Remain Buried

The Armies of Lord Gene
For the last four hundred years Lord Gene has been building armies and perfecting his craft. He has created a society of animal men, each designed to fill a role within that society. The armies are filled with specialized chimera, each designed to maximize their effectiveness in combat. Here are the descriptions of the various animal men who make up the Gene Lord's forces. Over the last decade he has used these forces to conquer all the lands of the northern hills. Now he sets his sites to the south. It is only the combined might of Book and Echasse that holds him back. He waits, like a spider in its web, for the inevitable war. Lord Gene will sweep the land clean as soon as the war is over.

Rhino-Hawks
Hulking armored beasts, with giant eyes capable of spotting a mouse out to a mile away. Bred to be heavy weapons platforms of the Gene Lords armies, they are a mix of Rhinoceros and Falcon DNA. They can carry great weigh and are exceedingly tough, they can see great distances and have the training and talent for figuring out angles of attack.

To play a Rhino-Hawk You must have Rhino-Hawk in your high concept aspect and you must purchase the following stunts:
Tough Hide: You skin counts as Massive Armor always.
Beastly Strength: You gain a +2 to any physique overcome rolls for the purposes of lifting or carrying heavy weights.
Eagle Eyes: add +2 to any attack roll with a ranged weapon, provided the target is more than two zones away.

Pride-Runners
Lord Gene required long distance scout and saboteur units, able to act in the field for log durations without a great deal of support. The Pride-Runners were the end result of that design. A mix of Dog, Cheetah, and Lion DNA, the Pride-Runners are designed for long distance small unit tactics, with little to no support. They can run all day at top speed and have a natural pack instinct. Loyal, honest, and indirect hunters, they are the perfect commando unit.

To play a Pride-Runner you must have Pride-Runner in your high concept aspect and you must take the following stunts:
High Speed: You may travel two zones for free and still act in a turn. Normally you may only travel one zone and still act in a turn.
Cross Country: You gain a +2 to any physique overcome rolls when dealing with enduring long periods of activity, like running or swimming for long distances.

Owl-Bats
Masters of stealth and the darkness, Owl-Bats are a mix of Bat and Owl designed for night time incursions. They can see via echo location and infra red as well as having highly enhanced night vision. They fly nearly without a sound and are trained to fight at close range with maximum efficiency. They tend to be a bit more free spirited strong willed than most other animal men.

To play an Owl-Bat you must have Owl-Bat in your high concept aspect and you must take the following stunts:
Flight: You have wings and can fly. Use stealth or athletics for moving about in the air. Stealth when you are being silent, acrobatics when you are trying to maneuver quickly.
Night Sight: Through Echo location, Infra Red Vision, and other means you can ignore obstacles and challenges related to seeing in the dark, or obstructed vision.
Talons: You have claws on your hands and feet. Add two extra stress to any successful hand to hand attack. This does not count as massive damage.


Northern Hills
The hills are mostly empty save for the farmlands and ruins of old towns, conquered by the armies of Lord Gene. Mostly the Animal Men stay within the great fortress of lord Gene. It is powered by a massive dam and is nearly completely impregnable. The hills were once gentle and rolling, but something must have happened during The End. there are a great many hidden canyons and crevasses now within these hills. Many great wonders and treasures can be found there, from many worlds and timelines.

The Fortress of Lord Gene is one of the most technologically advanced cities in the world. Many Golden Age secrets have been held onto by Lord Gene, and through trade with beings from beyond the Tear he has acquired many techniques far beyond anything known to anyone else.


That is all I have for today in my little section of Omnis Mundi. the Next post will be about the animal man rebellion to Lord Gene as well as a few new kinds of Animal Men. Just a reminder, this setting is open to anyone who wishes to develop it. Just grab an unused section of the world and write it up. Post a link in the comments so that I can add it to the larger setting! Let me know what you think, any comments or critiques would be welcome.

Here are the existing posts for Omnis Mundi
1. Introduction to the Setting
2. Character Creation
3. Solutuhz, The Unbound City
4. Tasmania by +Tom Tyson
5. City of Book
6. City of Book, addendum


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Fate of the Nova Age: CItadel of Isolation

Our heroes:

Player: +Ron Frazier
Character: Michelle (Mi) Quan
High Concept: Driven Photojournalist
Trouble: Blackwolf Wants Me, I Don't Know Why
Aspect: The Princess of Electricity!
Aspect: Nonconformist To Chinese Traditions
Aspect: [blank]

Skills
+4 Electrokinesis
+3 Will, Lore
+2 Rapport, Crafts, Investigate
+1 Empathy, Contacts, Athletics, Notice

Stunts
Lightning Bolt: You can use Electrokinesis to attack. Subtract 1 from your result for each zone outside of your current one.

Technokinesis: You can use Electrokinesis when using computers or other machines that use electric current.

Lightning Shield: Your can create a shield of electricity which acts as Armor versus physical attacks. You cannot defend with Electrokinetics, however.

Always Making Useful Things: You don’t ever have to spend a fate point to declare that you have the proper tools for a particular job using Crafts, even in extreme situations (like being imprisoned and separated from all your stuff). This source of opposition is just off the table.

Extras
Electrokinesis (-1 refresh): You can use the Electrokinesis psionic skill.

Refresh: 1
Mental Stress [1][2][3][4]
Physical Stress[1][2]
Consequences
Minor:
Moderate:
Severe:
Background
Mi comes from a traditional Chinese family, but her American upbringing has affected her so much (so the family says) that she irrationally rejects many of her family's traditions. For example, she had gone into freelance photojournalism before joining the Society, and her family didn't approve. Because of her family issues, she is all the more ruthless in her pursuit of success.

Player: +Julius Müller
Character Name:
High Concept: Human Hive MindTrouble: I don't trust me, you shouldn't either
Aspect 1: Army of OneAspect 2: I have 8 more lives to spareAspect 3: Who needs backup?

Skills
Great +4: Will
Good +3: Physique, Athletics
Fair +2: Notice, Fight, Shoot
Average +1: Lore, Provoke, Deceive, Investigate

Stunts:
Duplication: allows narratively to overcome or create advantages that would require to be in more than one place at the same time or where a sheer mass of people can be useful.
Needs of the Flesh (Age, Air, Temperature): allows to ignore the three specified elements to survive.
Mental Shield: gives a mental armor
Disrupt: gives the ability to nullify a Novas power.

Extras
Nova gives access to quantum consequences and using them to maxing a roll.

Refresh: 1

Name: Pierre Poulin

High Concept: Daring Master-Archer
Trouble: Always the odd man out
Aspect: I never miss!
Aspect: Tricked-out Bow&Arrow
Aspect: Underestimated


+4: Shoot
+3: Stealth, Athletics
+2: Provoke, Fight, Notice
+1: Burglary, Rapport, Will, Physique


Refresh: 2
Stress:
Physical OOO
Mental OOO
Consequences:
  • Mild (-2):
  • Mild (-2):
  • Moderate (-4):
  • Severe (-6):


Stunts:
  • Death Defiance: Gain an additional mild consequence. Should you raise your physique or will to five, you gain an additional mental or physical(depending on the skill) moderate consequence.
  • Untouchable: Nameless NPCs do not get a teamwork bonus against you.
  • Danger Sense: You have an almost preternatural capacity for detecting danger. Your Notice skill works unimpeded by conditions like total concealment, darkness, or other sensory impairments in situations where someone or something intends to harm you.
  • Trick-Arrows: +2 to Create an Advantage using Shoot by employing trick-arrows like sonic-arrows, glue-arrows, bola-arrows, etc.
  • Perfect Shot: (like Heavy Hitter for Fight) When you succeed with style on a Shoot attack and choose to reduce the result by one to gain a boost, you gain a full situation aspect with a free invocation instead.
  • ? possibly another stunt to avoid running out of ammo?


Equipment:


  • Tricked-out Bow&Arrow
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Bulletproof West
  • Extreme-Cold Protection Clothing


There has been a discovery in the far north. A secret base at the north pole, dated as being constructed in 1938. Our heroes have been sent by the Aeon Society to get there before Proteus does and gather as much information as possible. Rumors have it that the Mechinatrix created a secretbase in the north, and that she had her final showdow with the Aeon Society before america entered WW II.

Here is the recording of the game:


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ruminations on Aspect Generation and Use


This discussion is inspired by posts by +Wil Hutton+Robert Hanz+Jack Gulick, +Ryan M. Danks+Michael Moceri, and a great many other wonderful people over the last year. I will be using parts of their ideas as well as my own throughout this post.

Nothing I am saying here is all that new or groundbreaking in the least. This is more an attempt, by me, to codify how I view aspects. Sometimes I learn much by trying to define a thing. That said, if you find this useful I am glad.

Aspects
Aspects are a great many things to a greta many people. At heart they are simply the mechanization of nebulous fictional objects within the sphere of player agency. Things that are important to the player characters in the moment. Some have described them as levers for the narrative, or handles for the fiction. I like to avoid using terms like narrative and the like as it tends to lead gamers mind down unproductive paths. Saying that it relates to the narrative gives the impression that there is a preplanned narrative to begin with. It is thinking like this that leads to the GM using aspects as a goad rather than as a incentive and complication.

It is no wonder that many people new to Fate latch onto the aspects as the most important part. Aspects are everywhere in Fate. They define your character and the world around them. They define the important genre conventions and the mood. They encompass everything and in a way they control the rest of the mechanics in Fate. In this way, while not being the most important part of Fate, they are definitely the most distinctive part. as the major distinction between Fate and many other games, an explanation of what aspects do is needed as well as a guide to what makes a good or bad aspect. And so we begin.

Aspects as character
As a general rule the first time a player runs into aspects is with character creation. Your aspects(whether ten, seven, five, or some other variable) define your character. More specifically they define what is important to your character. This may seem like a pointless distinction but it is not. Being, The Finest Swords-woman in the World, is only useful if two things are true. If your character's belief that she is the finest swords-woman drives her actions in some way or if the game revolves around Swordplay to some extent. Basically a character aspect is a cue, both to the player and the GM. It lets the GM know what kind of game the player is looking for. It also serves as a reminder to the player that she wanted this type of game at some point.

This goes back to something I say fairly often, "aspects should be of immediate use." At the core, if you go through a whole session without using at least two of your aspects(preferably all of them), you may want to change your aspects to fit the scenario, or remind the GM of your relevant aspects(self compel). If you keep buying off compels on an aspect, that may be a sign you didn't really want that aspect and you may want to rework it.

Another way that character aspects can be problematic is if the tone of your aspects do not match the intended tone and mood of the game. Basically if you have a bunch of aspects that encourage humorous play in a serious existential horror game, that can be a problem. If you are playing a gritty world war one game about how rough it is in the trenches, then having a bunch of super-heroic aspects could cause issues. On the other hand if used right, they can define the game and make it better. When a character has an aspect(or a bunch of aspects) that clash with the tone of the game, this is when you want to bring it up and discuss how to handle that. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't, you need to know before play starts.

Aspects as world
The other introduction a great many new Fate players have with aspects is with City/World/System/Setting Creation. In this case the aspects define the permanent or semi permanent parts of the world through aspect generation. these aspects represent the Places and Faces that will be recurring throughout the first major campaign(could go further, but generally the first campaign changes many of these as you go along). Often GMs will have a difficult time using the major themes and threats designed during this period. Sometimes this means that the PCs aspects are changing the direction of the game away from the original themes, others it is when the aspect is poorly worded. For a poorly worded aspect, just change it to work better. When the PCs are moving away from the original themes and threats then compelling is what to do. If they keep buying off those compels, or get upset when they can't, it is time to talk with them about the direction of the game. It is here, where I see a lot of GMs using aspects as a goad. Many times, they think they are making the game they all want, when in reality the wants have changed, and no one spoke of the change.

Aspects as Permission
Some aspects let you do things that would be impossible without the aspect. The Last Son of Krypton aspect would let you do a great many things, whereas The King of England aspect would allow for different things than most can do. This is a big grey area in the game, the power of a given aspect must be discussed during character/world generation. You as a table must decide on the scale of the game, and what can be accomplished with aspects, skills, and stunts. The reason the Fate Core has no listing of what a +1 means compared to a +4 is so that you as a table can define that. As Fate Core is fiction not physics nothing is all that definite. In fiction Spiderman is as strong as needs to be for that story, and no more. Sometimes he can hold up a collapsing building, and sometimes he can only lift a car(heh, only). So when we look at his character sheet, we would(perhaps) only see the aspect, Spider Powers, the rest is handled by the skills. The aspect just gives scope to the skill. It grants permission to do things that would otherwise be impossible.

This can also mean that a temporary aspect can allow you to do things not normally allowed. It can allow for you to attack a whole zone, defend a zone border to prevent movement, allow you to roll when you normally would be allowed, and many other interesting tactical things. All of this is subject to table agreement, so if you intend on doing this sort of action bring it up early.

Aspects as Harm
Although I generally do not like using the term harm to describe consequences, it is relevant here. While consequences do not represent Harm every time, they are the only true way to define it in game. Consequences are an aspect that lasts for a given amount of time due to stress. Primarily they are negative aspects, in that they will most often lead to you gaining fate points rather than being something you can use fate points on. Now this is not always true, but it should be true more than not. So if you find yourself invoking consequences more than they are compelled, you are either in a unique situation or you have a poorly worded consequence.

Aspect as Meta-game principle
Aspects are your primary method of gaining and using fate points. they are without doubt the core of the fate point economy. Without aspects you would gain no points. without aspects you would be unable to spend them. this is why much aspect advice revolves around making aspects double edged. Double edged aspects are by far more useful than a good or a bad aspect alone. In fact they are twice as valuable!

As much as this drives play, it is really self explanitory. At first glance you can see how it should work. The really hard part of the meta-game piece of the aspects is that you have to keep that in your mind at all times. In your more traditional game their are two modes of play(well there are more, but for now I am only interested in the primary two).  There is the Role-play mode, where you think in character and attempt to achieve a seamless verisimilitude. Then there is the Game-mechanics mode, where you engage the mechanics and attempt to "win" through manipulation of game mechanics. Generally speaking you would do each part fairly separate from each other. When you engage in combat in D&D you do not have to think to hard about characterization and motivation. Conversely when you engage in discussion with the local baron, you may only need to engage mechanical bits rarely, one or two roles and you are done.

Fate Demands you engage both modes simultaneously and continuously. You must always keep in mind your motivation and goals, you must always engage the mechanics. There are few parts of the game that allow for just one mode or the other. When I first started playing Fate this wore me down. Constantly keeping both sides of my mind operating at full rather than being allowed to "rest" by engaging only one mode or the other. It is something to keep in mind as you go forward and try and play the game with newbies.

Temporary aspects
I hesitate to call these aspects temporary, as in reality all aspects are temporary to one degree or another. These aspects represent things that were true of the setting(or were just created within the setting) and suddenly became the focal point of a roll or series of rolls.  These aspects last as long as it makes sense for them to last. they are like the devices Macgyver builds. Generally they are only used to overcome an obstacle or defeat an opponent and then forgotten. However that does not mean those devices just vanished. It merely means that those devices are no longer important in the continuing adventures of Angus Macgyver. In fact I like that analogy(metaphor?), from now on I will know these aspects as Macgyver aspects.

These aspects appear in one of two ways. either they are declared by the GM or they are declared by the Players. If a GM declares them it is either as an impartial part f the world(no tags/free invokes) or as an NPC(they must use a skill or spend a fate point). If the player is declaring he must use a skill or spend a fate point. In some Fate games there are a lot of different names for this process of declaring aspects. I really like that in Fate Core they have simplified it all down to the Create Advantage action.

Permanent aspects
I don't like this term for the same reason I don't like temporary aspects. Aspects last as long as it makes sense for them to last. What I mean by permanent aspects are aspects that, when changed, alter the entire point of the game. If you are playing a gritty World War One game and you change the aspect, Vicious Trench Warfare, to a new aspect, The Joy of Christmas, it changes the whole nature of the game. Some folks may not wish to play anymore. Some will claim that this is no longer even a war game. The nature of the game has changed so drastically that it would be difficult to play in the same way you had played before. That is what I view as a permanent aspect.

there should be very few permanent aspects. As I have said before, they change everything. Having a lot of them can make the game feel rail-roady and deprotagonizing. However you will need a few. Generally speaking these will be major themes or conflicts within the game. Once they are resolved the game changes.

Changing aspects
Aspects are mutable. They can change. However they are true. they only exist as aspects when they matter to the game. Thus, they only change when the change is due to the game and due to the importance of the change in the game.

Basically aspects exist only so long as they are important. So when your character's aspects are no longer as relevant as you would like, it is time to change the aspect. often people will hang on to aspects far beyond what is necessary in a given scenario. This can lead to a feeling of stagnation with a character, when it does not need to.

Misconceptions on aspects
That aspects need to be good and bad. 
While it is true that the best aspects are both beneficial and problematic, that does not mean that you need to do this. Sometime you just want a beneficial aspect. When you do that be sure to remember that you will not gain any fate points from it. Other time you may want a purely detrimental aspect. In that case make sure to remember to gain as much fate from it as you can. The important thing is to get as much out of the aspect as you want. In fact, when making your first character for Fate ever it may help you to come up with negative and positive aspects. Then as you go along, you can change them to better suit your needs. Remember that aspects on the sheet are not permanent things. You can make "bad" ones, and fix them as you go along.

That aspects must be short and catchy.
WHile it may be fun to make short and catchy aspects, it is best to make an aspect that is unambiguous. Short catchy aspects can end up being a bit ambiguous and wibbly-wobbly. The goal is that an aspect will let you know the kinds of situations it is useful in. You may be playing the character for a while. You don't want to come back to your character sheet after a long week and not remember what your aspect means.

Aspects define what you can and cant do...the aspects as special powers in the game
WHile aspects can be special powers I would like to think that I have shown that aspects can be a lot more than merely define what you do.


Here is my aspect break down. I have no idea if this will be of any use to anyone. ever. Let me know what you think. discuss, comment, complain, critique.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Fate of the Nova Age: Gods and Gear



Gear
Gear in Fate of the Nova Age exists to provide permission for certain actions. If you have a gun, you can shoot with it. If you have a tool box you can do simple repairs on a car. That sort of thing is pretty standard. Weapons and armor require a bit of twiddling however. I would like to up the danger of weapons, and to do this I am going with a weapon and armor extra. Here is how it works. Weapons(as defined by your table) negate the physical stress track. You can only mitigate stress from weapons by using consequences. Armor allows you to utilize your stress track again against weapons. You can have armor piercing weapons which negate armor, but you cannot heavy armor that would negate that, there has to be a limit in here somewhere, and that is where I draw the line. Armor Piercing Weapons, and indeed, weapons of any kind can be restricted depending on where in the world you set your game. this would be handled by an aspect on the location which can be compelled should one of your PCs have the restricted item on their person. and that is my take on weapons and armor.

I would also like to do a version of gear rules for really special gear, but I think that is handled best by taking a personal aspect relating to the special gear and talking out with the table what that means in the context of the game. Also it could be a way for a PC who is not a Nova to gain a Nova stunt. Simply attach the aspect to the stunt, and if it gets compelled then you can't use the stunt until you get your gear up and running again. These are my current thoughts on the subject, that may change as we go along.

Team Tomorrow
Proteus Archives
Search: Team Tomorrow
...
...
1998, March 23, 08:18 ZULU
...
Satellite Galatea explodes in orbit. No known cause. Investigation is ongoing.
...
...
1998, March 23, 11:31 ZULU
...
First known modern Eximorph Eruption, Randal Portman. Saves a bus full of children on national television. Scenario one: Containment and Concealment impossible. Move to scenario two: Control and Direct the flow of information. Initiate contact with U.N., seek declaration of humanity.
...
...
1998. June 30
...
Zurich Accord signed. Novas(Homo Sapiens Novus) declared humans, with all rights and responsibilities thereof. Stage one of Control Scenario in place. Move forward on Project: Utopia. Proteus safeguards in place. 
...
...
1998, August 13
...
Utopia fully engaged. Recruitment and Propaganda are primary focus. Triton Division has asked for permission to move forward more directly. 
...
...
1998, December 4
...
Dr.s Mazarin and Rashoud announce the discovery of the source of Eximorph abilities. This M-R Node warrants further study. Moving Forward on clinics in major cities across the globe for recruitment purposes. Proteus reports over 600 known "Novas" worldwide. Will release data to press after analysts are done with it.
...
...
1999, January 1
...
Team Tomorrow initiated. Proteus 'genetic protocols' have been canceled. Potential fallout too great. Thetis assumes Directorship of Proteus after unfortunate death of previous Director.


<Transcript of conversation Between Steve Debow [Director of Marketing, Utopia] and Justin Laragione [Director, Utopia], 09/10/1998 18:47 ZULU>
Laragione: Steve, its good to see you. What can I do for you today?
Debow: You have seen my team's last report?
Laragione: To be honest, what with getting this project up and running and moving to New York, the paperwork has gotten ahead of me here. Saying that, I think I have it here-ah here it is. Was going to get to this after lunch. Is there something I should know?
Debow: I will leave you to read for yourself, but the short answer is we have a serious problem in the immediate future. Our psychologists and sociologists, not to mention [redacted], are in accord, without some form of action Novas of a certain power level and higher will begin doing whatever they please. We need a response team.
Laragione: Response team?
Debow: Yes, and soon. Before problems become endemic.
Laragione: Surely it can't be that-
Debow: Our most conservative estimates show that if only five or ten of the hundreds we know of go bad, it will set a precident. Regular police and military can't handle this sort of threat. We need to show the world that we can.
Laragione: So a police force for Novas.
Debow: It has to be more than that.
Laragione: More? More how?
Debow: We need to build three ideas with this response team. First, Nova criminals can't get away with breaking the rules. Second, The team needs to be both normal humans and Novas. We have to show that Novas are humans too. Third, we need to build a desire to do good works by having this team be photogenic and public.
Laragione: I will have to talk with [Redacted]. See if there are any candidates that will work. I think I know of-Thank you Steve, for bringing this to my attention. I agree this is a pressing issue. Get your Marketing team working on a name, slogan, the whole press package. I will set up a meeting in a week, we will formalize this plan and begin working on a solution.

<End transcript>


We have seen you. Well, everyone has seen you. After your rather public eruption you are now one of the most recognized Novas, to use the idiom, in the world. More than your public display, however, is your apparent dedication to doing the right thing. You have powers and abilities far beyond the pale. Anyone else would have become a monster, with power like that. Not you, though. Not you. you are probably wondering who I am and who I represent. I represent Project Utopia, and through them the United Nations. As to who I am? that is not important. I am here to ask you a question. Probably the most important question you will ever be asked. Do you want to save the world?

Team Tomorrow are as close to superheroes as one can get in this post Eruption world. They stand for all that is right and good. At least that is what the news promos tell you. By and large, that is true. Team Tomorrow is filled with very altruistic people. They are pretty much what is advertised, save for a dark secret. Team Tomorrow is an outgrowth of Project: Utopia which is, itself, a creation of Proteus. What Proteus has planned for this team is unknown. In fact it would take quite a bit of digging to even find the connection between Team Tomorrow and Proteus.

Team Tomorrow is split into three teams: Team Tomorrow Hyperion, Team Tomorrow Themis, and Team Tomorrow Iapetus. Hyperion is the public face of Team Tomorrow. Their job is to do charity work, attend photo ops, do interviews, and help Themis deal with threats when called for. Themis are the heavy hitters of the team. Their job is to deal with the powerful Nova threats that cannot be dealt with by the local Law enforcement. Iapetus is the investigative and espionage team. Dealing with negating threats before they start and gathering intel on existing threats. The Teams fall under the oversight of the UN Security Council and take their orders directly from the Security Council appointed Director of Nova Affairs, I have not named the director here, as it should be up to the table who this person is.

Locations
Adis Ababa: Home base of the Team Tomorrow Hyperion, it sits in the center of the reinvigorated city. Project: Utopia is also centered hear. In all the world Adis Ababa is probably the most friendly to Novas.

New York: This is the major base of operations for Team Tomorrow Iapetus. They have purchased a large plot of land abutting the ocean and have constructed the large low slung building that houses the investigative division.

Mumbai: Home to Team Tomorrow Themis. Located in India so as to be close to the two largest populations of Novas in the world. Mumbai has become the hot spot for Novas in the eastern hemisphere. the booming film industry and sheer number of Novas in the area assured that. With all this activity it was thought to be a perfect location for the Enforcement arm of Team Tomorrow.

Plot Threads
New Members: Your PCs are offered spots on Team Tomorrow. This is the closest to a typical superhero game that Fate of the Nova Age gets. Basically you would play the response team dealing with threats as the come up. For examples of this see Warren Ellis' run on Storm Watch...pretty much nails it.

The Conspiracy Deepens: Their is a connection between Proteus and Team Tomorrow. Your characters investigate that. they could be friends of Jennifer "Slider" Landers or perhaps Andre Corbin. Maybe they come across some of the T2Mers doing something shady and investigate. Perhaps they run into a strange document or recording while digging into Project: Utopia.


Philosophy of Terras, and the Null Manifesto
There is a book, written by a transcendent mind, written before the Eruption Event, that dictates a post-human philosophy. Written by a man called Primus, it speaks of Novas and how they should view themselves. Those who have done serious digging into it claim that Primus was a pseudonym taken by Michael Donigal, an extraordinary man who helped found the Aeon Society. These same investigators sometimes claim that Donigal was a Nova who erupted in the twenties, the first Nova. they say he caused the Eruption Event. Before he did so he penned the Null Manifesto. However his mind was such that there are layers of meaning and symbolism hidden in every word. It is written in a language he constructed to serve his purposes. No one has yet deciphered the whole text. But at the core lies a simple message., "Novas are not human, and thus not bound by human morality or laws." No one has found any evidence of Primus or Donigal since 1998.

A powerful Nova, calling himself Divis Mal, discovered the Null Manifesto and broadcast it to the world. Since then several groups of Novas have taken up the Manifesto as their guiding light. They bicker among themselves as to the correct translation/interpretation of the document, but to the outside word they have become grouped as one whole. They are known as the Teragen, the followers of Terras.

Groups within the Teragen
The Pantheon: Founded by a man known only as The Mathematician and Count Raoul Orzaiz, the Pantheon follows the Terras by assuming each Nova is a nation and moral entity unto themselves. "Do what thou wilt, shall be the letter of the law," is something Orzaiz is found of quoting. they see themselves as the shepherds of man, and see themselves as above all petty squabbles. Each is dedicated to following Terras and trying to keep tensions down between Novas and Baselines. The Pantheon wants the Novas to take their natural role as leaders of the world, and then everyone can live in peace.

Vigilance: A war is coming. A war to end all wars. A war between Baselines and Novas. Those who strike first have the greatest chance of victory. This is the rationale of Vigilance, espoused by its leader, Geryon. He sees the disparities between Novas and Baselines and knows that such disparities eventually lead to war. He leads his band on raids of anyone and everyone he sees as trying to control or destroy Novas.

The Legacy: they believe in the evolution of self. They seek to constantly test themselves and grow in power. Lead by the Mad Prophet Scripture and his right hand man the Apothecary, they dive deeply into Quantum Taint and seek to develop ways of controlling and channeling it. They are some of the most powerful Novas on the face of the earth.




Friday, December 6, 2013

Fate of the Nova Age: Secret Societies & Superhumans

The world needs a change
Power is needed to change the world
Power demands a horrible price
What Will you do with the power of a god?

Character creation


Novas
Forged in quantum fire, wielding powers beyond the dreams of mankind. Novas are at once terrifying and awe inspiring, Genius beyond human thought, these beings are power incarnate. Simply by existing the change the world around them. Whole new fields of science became viable just knowing Novas were possible. Some claim they are the next step in human evolution. In fact they are one possible path, a powerful and dangerous path. Novas recently came to the public's attention in 1998. The space station Galatea exploded and Randal Portman erupted in the middle of New York city in front of hundreds of cameras. Novas come about when the right human is placed in jeopardy. The stress causes their powers to erupt. As of this moment their are approximately six thousand Novas world wide. that sounds like a lot, but it is a rather small number compared to the entire planet. If you are a nova, odds are good you have met a good percentage of the Novas in your area, and a few from far away. 


Novas have the Nova extra. This costs one refresh and allows you to take Nova stunts. These stunts represent your Nova powers and abilities. Those listed are there to showcase what the limits and possibilities would be It also give you access to a secondary consequence list. This is your Quantum Taint Consequence list. you can take a Quantum Taint consequence along side a stress box and a regular consequence. This allows you to take quite a bit more stress than a baseline human, However this can lead to some serious deformities and derangements. You can also gain a consequence by Maxing a roll. this represents pushing your limits as far as you can and then pushing further. How it works is this. You can add a number to your roll equal to the consequence you are taking(plus two for mild, plus four for Moderate, and so on). Quantum Taint consequences take twice as long to recover from. Should you ever take a Quantum Taint extreme consequence your character's high concept must become more inhuman and strange, representing your disconnect from the rest of the human race.

Psions can invoke your Taint consequences to shut down your aberrant stunts for a round. They cannot stop you acting, but they can negate your powers for a moment.

Aberrant stunts
Here is a list of sample stunts for Novas. Feel free to make up you own. 
Mega_____: You can take this stunt as many times as you have skills, but only once per skill. What it does is allow you to set one of your fudge dice to + before the roll when using that skill. you are just plain better than most folks. you can use your skill at beyond the peak of human ability. You can take this up to four times per skill. Basically you would automatically get a +4 on every roll then.
Epic_____: You can take this as many times as you have skills, but only once per skill. This allows you to do part of that skill more, superhumanly more. When you choose this stunt take one of the following effects: the skill is used far faster than any human could do it(you can use this to do most skills in a single combat turn), The skill can do far more(you can use the skill in a way that is flat out impossible perception sees through walls, athletics lets walk on the ceiling, that sort of thing), or needs no tools when you use it. basically this stunt removes the overcome obstacle roll for certain circumstances with the skill. Should you face another being with Epic____ in the same area in a vs overcome roll, they cancel out and it comes down to a roll, though the two with Epic___ are going to go far more/better/faster than any other competitor. Requires you have Mega_____ or Elite____.
Elite_____: when you use this skill you replace one of your Mega____ skills automatic pluses with a D6. You are better than most Novas. Your ability is able to do things that are impossible for anyone else. This skill requires and replaces Mega______. You may take this as many times per skill as you have taken Mega____.
Warp: You can bend space, ripping a hole in the universe between here and there. the further away, tho more difficult it is to do[+3, or a roll vs your opponent, to leave the immediate area(leave the conflict zone areas), +6 from the earth to the moon, +8 from earth to Oort cloud, +10 to Alpha Centauri]. Use Lore or Notice(Lore for far jumps, notice for combat initiative, defending, and dealing with obstacles) to roll to warp. Combat Jumping is pretty much always going to work so long as you have a sight line to where you are going, you only need to roll to defend against incoming attacks. You can start each turn in whatever zone you like. The only way that your opponent can resist is to build advantages that would block your line of sight, or hinder you in a similar manner.
Mind control: Use either will, perception, or lore(pick a skill at the time of stunts purchase) to make a mental attack. If you take your opponent out you can change their high concept, trouble, or give them one preprogramed action they must take.

Dangerous Mind: Requires Mind Control. Treat your Mind Control attack as being a weapon.
Mind Reading: Use perception, Will, or Lore(choose at the point of picking the stunt) to read the surface thoughts of another thinking being. They resist with will.
Mental Shield: You mind counts as having Armor.
Flight: You can fly, this negates some obstacles and give you more movement options for creating advantages. You use athletics should you need to maneuver,
Matter Transmutation: Use Lore to change matter from one thing into another. the difficulty is based on the amount of matter to be changed. +3 for changing something small enough to fit in your hand, +5 for anything smaller than the human body. +7 for anything less than a ton. +9 for anything larger than that but less than a city block in size. Larger than that would require Epic Lore related to matter transmutation.

Create___: Use Lore or Craft to create energy or matter of one sort. The amount you can create is the same difficulties as Matter Transmutation.
Quantum Blast: you can use shooting without a weapon. you can fire out two zones without penalty. Each zone past that decreases you roll by one.
Quantum Blast2: This ability has the prerequisite of Quantum Blast. When you take this ability you can choose one of the following abilities:
    1. Supercharge: your blast does an an extra two stress on a successful hit

    2. Combustion: you can attack a whole zone, roll your shooting at -1 to attack every target in the zone.
    3. Alternate defense: Your opponent must defend against your blast with some other skill(choose the skill when you choose this ability.

    4. Burn: After a target has taken stress from the blast attack, the target continues to take one stress per turn until they take a turn to make an overcome roll(vs static difficulty +2) to put the flames/acid/mind-bleed/whatever out.
    5. Powerful Blast: Your Quantum Blast counts as a weapon.
    6. Piercing Blast: Your Quantum Blast counts as Armor Piercing. Requires Powerful Blast.
    7. Extended Range: You may shoot your quantum blast out an additional two zones without penalty.
Armor: Gain Armor against physical actions.( I will detail weapons and armor in the next post)
Disrupt: You can halt another Nova from using there abilities. Roll your Will vs your opponents will. If you succeed, your opponent cannot use one of their Nova abilities unless they spend a round to roll their will vs Fair(+2) difficulty.

Needs of the Flesh: You can ignore hunger, thirst, Sleep, pressure, temperature extremes(non-attack), lack of oxygen, age(pick three). This stunt can be taken twice.
Claws: Your hands count as weapons.(I will post the weapon rules in the next post)
Claws 2: You may use any of the options from Quantum Blast for your Claws, save for Extended Range.

Daredevils
There are some people who have no apparent powers, no special abilities. Yet even with this obvious weakness, they stand taller than their fellow men. They seem to be luckier than most, always in the right place at the right time with the right skills. They are both  blessed and cursed. Cursed to live in interesting times. Blessed in that they can face that danger head on. They are the daredevils. Singular individuals with the skill, luck, and desire to walk where angels fear to tread.

Daredevils are the second evolutionary branch of mankind, able to bend probability to their unconscious desires. They live in a world where Fate exists and it loves them best of all. Daredevils reshape reality in subtle yet powerful ways. They fit into powerful archetypes that resonate with the world around them. To represent this Fate bending ability the Daredevils get an extra base refresh which they can use as normal. This represents their innate luck or intense specialization(if they use it to take extra stunts).


Daredevil focused stunts
Death Defiance: Gain an additional mild consequence. Should you raise your physique or will to five, you gain an additional mental or physical(depending on the skill) moderate consequence.
Forgettable: gain a +2 to rolls involving blending in with the crowd. Any nameless NPCs automatically fail any roll to detect you.
Indomitable Will: When some one seeks to read or control you mind(via psychic or aberrant power) should you succeed with style on your defense roll you can choose to do two mental stress to that person rather than gaining a boost.
Navigation Hazard: On a successful pilot roll to attack(ramming, sideswiping, etc) you can spend a fate point to increase the level of consequence inflicted(mild to moderate, moderate to severe). If they would not normally take a consequence, they take a mild consequence.
Perfect Poise: You are immune to normal fear of any kind. You gain a +2 to any roll versus psychic or aberrant effects that cause unnatural fear.
Resilient: You heal consequence as if they were one level lower.
Untouchable: Nameless NPCs do not get a teamwork bonus against you.


Psions
The third branch of the human genetic potential, Psions are very rare in the Nova Age. The abundance of Quantum Taint makes it more likely that humans will transform into Novas rather than Psions. There are still a few however. They come about naturally only rarely, but there is the possibility of a prometheus chamber existing out there in the world. Whether it was devised by the Alien DOyen, or by some Terrestrial mad genius only you and your GM can say.

When you wish to play a psion, you must subtract one from your refresh, and pick a psionic aptitude. This aptitude is the only way you can access psi. Once you have picked an aptitude that is your only psionic power from then on, you can never use another aptitude. You must also have something in your high concept related to being a psion.  


Psionic Aptitudes
I have reused my old material on the psionic aptitudes here, as I think they are pretty neat and still work just fine. I will probably monkey with them a bit as this project moves forward.Biokinesis
 Mostly this is used for creating advantages, and overcoming obstacles by changing your shape, altering your internal organs, and the ability to adapt to hostile environments. You cannot directly attack and defend with this power, you have to have prepared an advantage before hand to represent the changes you make to yourself.



Stunts
Aggressive Shape-shift:  You can use your Biokinesis skill to attack physically within the same zone.
Carapace/redundant organs/ defensive shape change: you can use your biokinesis to defend physically.
Master shifter: You gain a +2 bonus when rolling to create an advantage.

Clairsetience
Use this to create advantages and overcome obstacles either through looking into the past or the future. Directly attacking is impossible and defense is defined by creating an advantage and then using that to defend or justify a defense.


Stunts
Programed moment: you use clairsentience to avoid a blow by predicting the scenario.
Cosmic dice: You gain a +2 bonus when rolling to create an advantage.
Planned hit: you saw the damage coming ahead of time and used that knowledge to lessen the blow. once per conflict you can spend a fate point to use a consequence as if it were one higher.



Electrokinesis
Advantage, and overcome actions, only related electricity and light(photokinesis).  


Stunts
Lightning bolt: you can use Electrokinesis to attack. For each zone outside your current one reduce your roll by one.
Technokinesis: you can use your electrokinesis when using computers, or interacting with machines that have an electric current.
Power Surge: when attacking a machine gain a +2 to your roll.


Psychokinesis
You can make attack actions and overcome actions for kinetic and thermal energy.


Stunts
Remote manipulation: Use psychokinesis to create an advantage.
Freeze: you can create  a barrier around a person or thing(see Storm calling in the Magic Toolkit), like the attack action for glacier calling(pg 15).
Burn: when making an attack action you can attack every target(except you) in a zone. you take a minus one to the attack roll to do so.


Telepathy
You can overcome and create advantages dealing with understanding the mind and emotions. you can read thoughts and emotions. Telepathy is the least common of the psionic disciplines.


Stunts
Phantasm: +2 to create advantage rolls involved with illusion
Mindstorm: use Telepathy to make a mental attack.
Mental fortitude: telpathy defends against mental attack.



Vitakinesis
You can overcome obstacles and create advantages related to the healing. you can speed up the healing of yourself and others, you roll psi vs a difficulty equal to +[the combined level of the consequences you are trying to heal], should you succeed at the roll treat the consequence(or consequences) as one level lower for the purposes of healing times only. If you succeed with style it counts as two levels lower(can't be lower than minor).


Stunts
Algesis: you can use vitakinesis to attack within the same zone(you must touch the victim of the attack).
Regeneration: +2 to overcome rolls to heal yourself.
Negation: when an ally(or enemy I guess) takes a consequence you can roll your Vitakinesis. If your roll is higher than the attack roll that player can treat a consequence as a higher level of consequence for purposes of negating damage.


Teleportation
You can roll overcome and defense actions involving teleporting, either yourself or others. Overcome action to move distances. the bigger the object and the less you know about the location, the more difficult it is. Roll defense action to avoid physical damage by a short hop out of the way of the damage. 


Stunts
Object Jump: reduce your roll by one to teleport an object and everything in it(like a space ship, or a house) over a long distance.
Transmass Shield: my altering the way space folds around you you can roll teleportation to defend everyone in the same zone as the Teleporter.
Master of the Long Jump: you gain a +2 to overcome rolls to teleport.




Here are the first two power groups in the Game. I will be adding more groups in the next few posts. If you have any thoughts as to plot hooks/threads or locations I should add please let me know and I will add them in.

Societies
Aeon
The Aeon Society is a conspiracy of super humans (nobody knows Daredevils exist, Psions are really rare, and Novas used to be rare until the Galatea explosion) who are engaged in a shadowy conspiracy to control the course of human history. A conspiracy to make the world a better place. They dream of an enlightened and evolved humanity heading out to the stars and spreading throughout the galaxy in peace. Basically they want to see the star trek ideal come to fruition.

The people behind Aeon are some of the most talented and dedicated people you are likely to meet. They may not be able to slug it out with the biggest Novas head on, but they are as brilliant as any implausibly smart Hollywood smart guy you care to name; they are Sherlock Holmes, Tony Stark, Lex Luthor, and Hannibal Lector level brilliant people. And they are insanely lucky. And they have the Mercer Codex. A journal written by the founder of the Aeon Society that is an eerily accurate prophecy of things to come. From 1924 to 2120s there are a great many predictions, all have come to pass in one form or another. Some Claim the Mercer is still around, somehow unstuck in time. Some say he is on the move again in the world. Of course those are just silly rumors.

That's where the PCs step in. You have a cabal of brilliant people who know that someone needs to do something about this crisis over there right now, but can't focus enough attention to fix it themselves, so they gather a handful of misfits whom they have a hunch would be useful and throw them at the problem. Basically they are UNIT, with Mercer as the Doctor dropping in with advice on occasion


Locations
Home Office: Constructed in downtown Chicago, the home office for the Aeon Society has not been used for years. Mostly it serves as a storage facility for old files and the like. In the last year there has been a bunch of activity around it again. the rumors are true Mercer is back and he has taken up residence back in the Home Office once more. He plans on gathering a group of likeminded idealists and trouble shooters to help him sort out what has gone wrong since he last disappeared in the seventies. This will be that groups home base. Filled with old trophies and souvenirs of the strange past f the world, surrounded by reminders of how strange the world really can be, this will be where this small band of heroes tries to set things right.

Plot threads
Find the lost files of the Aeon Society: For nearly fifty years the Aeon Society published a yearly journal of their adventures. they kept out the really dangerous secrets, but they tried to be as open as they could. The Aeon Guide was what the true explorers read rather the Ponatowski's trite digest, Our World, which was often just a bunch of lies and exagerations. Since the last Aeon Guide was published all volumes have disappeared. Was is even more startling is that all the original files the books were based on have also disappeared. 

Corruption within and without: When Proteus broke away they did so during a tumultuous time in the Aeon Society. Mercer had disappeared again, and much of the leadership had died of natural causes or strange accidents. As of today, no one in power at the Aeon Society knows that Proteus ever belonged to Aeon. Or so it seems. Yet every time you get close to a proteus secret things fall apart. It is almost as if someone in power is feeding Proteus your plans.


Proteus
Proteus is what happens when the ideals that founded Aeon go rotten. For decades they had been dealing with strange threats and unusual problems. Often at the end of these threats Aeon would end up with terrible technologies and horrible secret. They needed a place to store these things, a place to keep them out of the wrong hands. THey built Proteus to do just that. Proteus has dirt on everyone, it has access to technologies far beyond anything currently known, and it has taken over the world. 

That is not an exageration. Something happened in the late seventies within Proteus. No one knows what. From then on Proteus has been blackmailing, bribing, and assassinating its way into power. Throughout the eighties they instituted what they called Project Rewrite. They began to systematically rewrite the history of the western world. The erased all mention of Z-Waves, Telluric Energy, and the Unique Individuals who had made the twentieth such a strange century. By 1998 Proteus had nearly convinced the world that it was a banal and mundane thing with nothing special to show for it.

The Eruption of Randal Portman changed all that. It was public, it was loud, and it was not an isolated incident. Proteus could not cover it up, nor could it cover up the throngs of others that erupted within those first few months. Novas were here to stay, and the careful control of Proteus had been unbalanced, if only a little. Now Proteus does what it has always done. It seeks to control these new assets on the board. If it can't control them, it seeks to distract or destroy them. So far few outside of Aeon even know it exists. With this brave new world, Aeon has begun a brand new offensive against Proteus. Director Thetis is uncertain what has brought on this renewed vigor, but she is convinced Proteus will weather this secret war.

Locations
Bahrain Facility: the secret Nova research facility is part prison and part laboratory. Here Proteus houses the worst Nova criminals that have ever been captured. Within this facility Proteus scientists are delving into the Nova Phenomenon as only those without ethical oversight can. They have sold many of their finds in secret to Triton industries, a multinational pharmaceuticals company that has recently been on the rise with their genetic therapies for treating several forms of cancer. 

The Vault: All of those death rays and lightning guns have to be stored somewhere. That somewhere is deep below the antarctic ice. The Vault is where they store all the devices that they have no use for yet. Think Warehouse 13, but really really evil.

Potential Plot threads
Control, Distract, and Destroy: This plot thread is kind fo the core plot if you are using Proteus. Basically this is the mustache twirling evil conspiracy. So get out you favorites, black helicopters, new world order, FEMA, Nova Sterility Cocktail, JFK, Sao Paolo Bombing, Slider's Murder, take your pick. Heck they could be in league with aliens and all that. grab one and go for a short run game. Grab ten and go for a longer form game. The main focus would be on the conspiracy to control Novas, but you could also do a secret archeology game where you are digging into all the things that Proteus has covered up in the last century or so.

Something has gone wrong in the Vault: Just what it says on the tin. Something has gone wrong. Perhaps someone has taken control and the PCs are the team Thetis thinks she can trick into saving her precious Vault. Maybe some horrible pathogen, or genetically constructed monstrosity has gotten loose and the PCs accidentally or on purpose overheard the distress call. This would be the worlds nastiest Dungeon Crawl. The same can be done at the Bahrain Facility.

Someone wants to come clean: The PCs get contacted by someone in high authority. He tells them he has to come clean at all the horrible things he has done, but he needs protection. He asks the PCs to meet him at a secure location. Depending on how you feel like letting this go he could be dead when they arrive(mystery scenario), He could come under attack when they protect him(action scenario), or something even stranger could occur.



So that is it for todays post. The next post I will be putting equipment rules into the game, and adding in the Terragen, and team Tomorrow. Let me know what you think. Comments, concerns, questions, and critiques are welcome...as is praise too I guess, though it doesn't really fit in the whole alliteration thing I had going there.