Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fate of the World Part 1: An Rambling Introduction

I got a lot of good feedback on the last series of posts I did(for those who forgot or missed it, I did DC superheroes using Jadepunk's setting and mechanics). At the end of that series of posts I asked what I should do next. I laid out a few ideas I had and I got a response. It was unanimous, everyone wanted me to do TMNT.

Well I say everyone, when really I mean, four people. So I set to work doing something approaching TMNT in Jadepunk, and I realized a couple of things. First, all the turtles are mechanically identical, save for the aspects(and even those are pretty darn close). And second, doing a straight port of TMNT did not really play to my strengths. Namely that I am a world builder primarily. I love making up worlds and settings and all that sort of stuff. So I decided to go with fusing a bunch of ideas I have had for a long while and build a setting that utilizes Jadepunk's rules, while giving you a whole new world to play in.

First, a story. A while back I saw the movie, Watchmen. I liked it. Specifically I liked the ending, I know I am going to get flack for that but I really think it works. But that is besides the point. what I loved about the movie was the way in which the "heroes" were portrayed. They were one step below superhuman really. I mean, in the comic they were shown as really competent, sure. It was only when I saw the movie that the idea struck. What if people could train themselves to that level. Not a lot of people or anything, but a small number like two hundred people world wide. So I started digging, and holy crap there really are some terrifying people out there. I mean, Houdini sure, but there were all kinds of awesome folks. Like The Mighty Atom, Howard Hill, and Christopher Lee, all these folks I looked into had amazing lives that are crazy. So I got to work. I started working on a way to do supers as I envisioned them, starting in the late twenties(for reasons I will eventually get into) and going through the end of WW II.

The problem I had with the setting was a lack of supers. If I was going to base it off of Watchmen, even tangentially, that means there really can't be superhumans...well there can, but they need to be almost inhuman to work. Enter my love of Aberrant and Progenitor. They had Dr. Manhattan-esque supers, and they had a fair number of them. So into the toolbox they went. Also, aberrant had a backstory that worked with what I was doing with my 1920s, it was nearly a perfect fit.

Alright so that is my old setting I want to revamp, so far so good. How then, do I get TMNT and all that into my setting. Recently I have been replaying Prototype 2, and the idea struck me(ouch), I could use an event like that, I could make that work. I already have people who can do the impossible, and people with knowledge and training at nearly superhuman levels, it would not take much to push one of them a little too far and create something truly...interesting. Enter Jurassic Park. I love that book/movie, love it/them. Anyway, one of the things I love is Ingen and its competitors. I love the world Crichton gives us. A world where technology and innovation have vastly moved faster than the laws could keep up with. the way Ingen was described, it reminds me very much of Umbrella Corp and other companies that do bad kinds of research. I need a company, or maybe a coupe of companies, that do the cutting edge genetic research and are moving so far ahead that there is no way to keep track of it much less legislate it. Also it will alow me to move into the Bourne Legacy type thing too.

So I have now three basic types of character in this. I have the singular individuals the Doctor Manhattan types, and the genetic hybrids. I think I can work with this.

I don't want this to turn into another World of Darkness, we already have two of those and they do a fine job. This can't be based on our world all that much ether, as things rapidly spiral out of control that way. So this is an alternate world where everything is a little more extreme. The darks are darker, but the lights are lighter. There is not a whole lot in between. If people tend toward selfishness, it is closer to Weyland-yutani from Aliens. Corporations are all money grubbing and evil, the government i out to get you(well the bad "rogue" factions are), but the good guys really are good guys, yeah?

So lets come up with names for things and a basic history.

There are some people who are just better than the rest. With seven billion people on the planet, every now and again one will show up and excel at everything. Whether through natural talent, skill, luck, or some combination of all three, these folks stand above the rank and file. They are 1% of 1% of 1%. The best of the best. They are the area where our world began to change. It started in the twenties with masked villains, and rumors of the Crime College. During the twenties and thirties these masked criminals all were under the thumb of The Dutchman, a supposedly ghostly criminal genius. He showed up on the scene in the early twenties and managed to rob some 3 million in money and jewels over a three year period. He gathered up some of the brightest minds of his age and formed the Crime College, an underground lab and crime training facility.

In the thirties the Crime College began to recruit bright young students and training them in the engineering of crime. This led to the masked criminals being better trained and equipped than other criminals and even than the army. Some of their devices were twenty to thirty years in advance of the standard tech levels. During this time the cops couldn't stop the crime wave, and many were afraid of going against the Dutchman and his cronies. Some cops got together and decided to fight fire with fire. They put on masks and walked the night hunting criminals. As time wore on they too gathered up unique devices and skills. The papers loved it. Until the 1936 Summer Olympics, and the advent of the super-human.

The Nazis had discovered a method to alter the genetics and form of a person, allowing for beyond human abilities. They introduced the world to these beings during the summer Olympics of 1936. They could run at nearly sixty miles an hour, jump over thirty feet from a standstill and were able to lift well over a ton. They never told anyone the downside of the project, only one in 50 survived the process(they got it down to one in ten by the end of the war), and there were side effects. a small percentage of them became cannibals, they felt a compulsion to kill and eat the flesh of humans. These cannibals tended to be the more powerful of the hybridized super soldiers. needless to say, this changed the war. small groups of super soldiers could do far more than three times their number. During the war the government gave amnesty and a full pardon to any of the masked vigilantes and villains who wished to fight. Many advanced and strange devices were used against the super soldiers. the war went longer than in our reality, lasting until 1949. The bombs were dropped, first on Berlin and then on Tokyo. It was a horror show.

twenty years later an amateur treasure hunter discovered a Nazi U-boat in the south pacific. in it were many artifacts and plans. Specifically all the Nazi research into genetic modification. He managed to keep his find to himself and founded the first corporation with the goal of creating genetic engineered products. This is Alpha Corp, and today they are in everything. Alpha Corp crops are virus and pest resist and while granting greater nutrition and faster growth times. Alpha Corp cattle are larger with less fat. Alpha Corp is in everything...even you. You see they had started out to unlock the potential in the genes, and as time went on they began to make slight modifications to humanity, making us more resistant to disease and radiation and other harmful environmental effects. All of this went bad during game seven of the 1986 world series. A pathogen was released that awakened something in all of Alpha Corp's altered genes. People began changing, and New York City had to be quarantined. For those effected the pathogen had differing effects. It altered brain chemistry and bodies. Most people became shambling mindless eating machines. Some retained more intellect, but were altered in more subtle ways, becoming something more than human, and something less. They still hungered for the flesh of humans, but they could take that flesh and use it to repair themselves and other stranger effects. These became the first Chimeras, able to alter their own bodies at will through the use of stolen genetic material. Many Parts of New York City are still under quarantine, as every now and again the pathogen will flare up. Needless to say, Alpha Corp is now a dead company, most of the scientists and executives are in prison. However, this event unleashed a flurry of new activity in the fields of genetic engineering. Many new innovations sprang from the horror of that event.

In 1956 in a nuclear testing lab, something happened. An accident in one of the test chambers led to the supposed death of one of the scientists. He came back a weak later, reconstituted himself. He cam back changed. He could now manipulate the fundamental forces of the universe. as the years went on he became more alien and strange, eventually leaving in the early 1980s to, "see the universe and perhaps find myself." he has not been seen since. However, there have been other accidents, and others people have gained a bit of what he had. they too can manipulate the fundamental forces, though not to such a degree as the original. These people have become known as Channels, conduits for a power far beyond our tiny understanding of the cosmos.

Okay, so that is kind of where I am starting with the setting. I will be using the rules in Jadepunk to develop powers and characters for this setting, so please let me know what you think. Specifically let me know if you would like something specific added in, or if you see holes in my setting that need filled or explained.