Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fate of the World part 3: It's because of science...no, really

And here is where we get into the weird powers and strange history of the world a bit deeper. Today we will be delving into the hidden world of mutants and madmen. Today we are detailing Chimera. My influences for this, are TMNT, Elephant Men, the Prototype game line, The Bourne Legacy, Captain America, Jurassic Park, Resident Evil, and Aliens. It is three parts human animal hybrids, two parts zombies, two parts techno thriller, and one part body horror(not a whole lot of that, as it really creeps me the hell out).

But first, it has been brought to my attention that I have not dealt with the Themes and Threats of this setting. True enough, to be perfectly frank I had forgotten about them altogether as started writing this up. Now I sit, ready to lay them out...at least my first thoughts on the themes and threats. If you all see a better set of them, or even more that could be added in please let me know. This setting is very much a work in progress and kind of a stream of consciousness setting at that.

Threats and Themes
This would be dependent on the level of play, there are three modes of play that I see, so far, in this game: Street Level, City Wide, and World Shaking. These do not correspond to power level or anything like that, though they would certainly be influenced by that. I am reminded of Rorschach from the Watchmen. On the surface he appears to be in a street level game, but in reality he is in a World Shaking Campaign. He may be the least powerful of them all, but he has the biggest impact on the story(arguably). So those are the three levels I see.

Street Level is your basic TMNT type campaign. They deal with the Purple Dragons street gang and the Foot Clan. Basic conflicts would be turf wars and neighborhood level crime. the end of a street level campaign(or at least the major milestone) would be going up against a city wide organized crime family or some equivalent force. You will rare leave your local area and mostly deal with thugs and punks(with the leather jackets and their Mohawks). I think a good threat there would be something along the lines of: "[Local Gang] Is Taking Over." Then you could come up with a few faces for the local gang and some possible areas that need dealing with. A possible Impending Threat would be something like: "[Local Gang] is just the fingers of [Larger Organized Crime]." Themes for this would be anything from, "Our Home, Our Family," to, "This Turf Is Protected." really anything focused around the idea of keeping your streets clean and orderly. Make it fit with the threats you are working with, and the PC group you have.

City Wide is your bigger story, this is where you get your Prototype style game and that sort of thing. Generally you would be dealing with larger threats and a bigger scale. A common threat would be: "[something related to you origin] is threatening the city." This could all be a prelude to some larger plot something like: "This Is Just A Test Run." Some Themes that might fit could be, "Only We Truly Understand How To Deal With This," or, "Someone Must Clean Up [threat's] Mess."

For World Shaking Campaigns you are dealing with serious issues, I mean, this is where you get alien invasions(or faked alien invasions), A Bunch of Supers taking over a country, international politics, and massive conspiracies(the Bourne Legacy is a fine example of a low level version of this sort of campaign). As this is such a wide array of potential campaigns, the threats and the themes will be up to individual tables to work out. Some advice would be to keep it about power and The corruption that stems from it. Keep it based on the idea that the world is more exaggerated and that consequences are for failure are often far reaching and dangerous. You may want to use the Collateral Consequences rule from the Fate System Toolkit for this level of play(any level of play really, it is a spiffy rule that fits the ideas behind this series well).

I know that this is not a direct set of themes and Threats, but I think it works pretty well as guidelines for making your own campaigns. Of course, please let me know if you disagree or have a different idea on how to do it. Now, on to the Chimera and history moves forward a little bit further.

Chimera
No one know exactly how the Germans became so advanced in the field of Genetics. Sometime in the early thirties, Nazi scientist began to make huge leaps in the field. by 1935 they were more than a hundred years ahead of the rest of the world in that field. It wasn't until 1967 that anyone had even a glimpse as to what caused this technological boom. It was during the 1936 Olympic that the world realized what they were facing. The Nazi government fielded a team of Ubermenschen. They passed all their requisite drug tests and anything else the Olympic Committee threw at them. They broke every record known in the physical fields. It was only in the equestrian events that the rest of the world could compete, and even then america and Britain's golds in those fields were tightly contested. All in all, it was a tough row to hoe. Part of america's losses was due to the Crime College. the Dutchman had gathered up many of the best athletes in america at the time to work for him. America's teams were woefully under talented.

Then came the War.

By the time the Americans became embroiled in it, Germany controlled a few key beaches in Brittain and was driving straight for London. Their Super Soldiers were a key force that were hard to pin down or hold back. They called themselves the Blitz Soldaten, the Lighting Soldiers. It was all America and Britain could do just to hold them to the beaches, until Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson initiated the Stimson Plan. the Plan would allow former "villains" to join up and get a free pass on their actions prior to the war as well as being allowed to keep any devices or techniques as secret as they like, provided they put their efforts toward the war effort. Villains and Vigilantes signed up in droves, all wearing their masks, all dedicated to the freeing of Britain and the destruction of the Axis powers. The war was brutal and long fought. Lasting over ten years. Most of Europe was in ruin by the end, save for a few neutral countries. It ended August 4, 1949 with the unconditional surrender of both the German and Japanese forces, five days after both Berlin and Tokyo were wiped from the face of the earth with the first(and thus far only) atomic devices, Little Boy and Fat Man. There were few Blitz Soldaten left by the end, as they were often used in the toughest fighting, and most of the research and scientists who worked directly of the Ubermensch project were killed in Berlin. It would be twenty years before anything like them would be seen again.

Nineteen years later John Maldonado, an american treasure hunter, came upon a German U-Boat. It had been sunk in the final days of the war heading toward Antarctica, for reasons unknown. Within this sub were full research notes and schematics for the German Genetics Program. Within the notes were references to a "benefactor," and mentions of a disaster in the year, "1986." Hinting that the Germans did not come up with their process alone, and seemed to have some sort of doomsday cult within their scientists, who believed that a great disaster was coming in 1986.

Maldonado hid his findings from the rest of the world and began to gather investors in a wholly new idea. A genetics firm to build a better tomorrow. this was the Birth of Alpha Corp and the beginning of the Genetics race. Overnight genetics research when from the theoretical to the practical. soon their were multiple companies vying for the genetic dollar. But racing ahead of them all was Alpha Corp. For nearly twenty years they were the leaders in the field. their motto was as true as it was ominous, "Alpha Corp, we're in everything." Then the worst happened, 1986 happened. New York was nearly wiped out by a targeted pathogen, it killed people, and those it did not kill it altered. The first Chimera were expelled into the world like an unwanted tumorous growth. Some of the '86ers(as they became known) managed to hold onto their sanity and gain some semblance of control. Some went a little crazy, but most managed to try and help as best they could. It was during the investigation of Alpha Corp that much of their information went public in one form or another. Many of Alpha Corp'c competitors managed to reverse engineer what they found, and thus we entered a new era of technology.

How to make a CHymera Character using Jadepunk Rules
1. Devices can be considered internal mutations. Otherwise their rules stay the same. treat them as if they were part of the character.
2. Techniques are unchanged
3. Allies are generally going to be either from one of the genetics companies, or(if you are runaways or failed experiments) from the underground. What underground, you ask? why THE underground. There is always an underground. Make it fit for your campaign, it could be a bunch of PETA rejects or Luddites or whatever you like.

Sample NPCS
Hero Animal Pals - the well known and well loved mascots of Genicom, they mostly make public appearances, though they are on call by the cities SWAT team for whenever a strange event occurs. They have loads of training and equipment. They make Genicom grotesque amounts of money, with their cartoon series, comic books, and Public Appeal. Currently Genicom is the US governments leading supplier of post-utero genetic enhancements. All of the Hero Animal Pals is a cutesy animal designed to look good on TV as well as being able to deal with a crisis. They all have the same stats and Assets. they may look different, but they are really quite the same genetically.

Professions: Fighter +3, Aristocrat and Explorer +2, Scoundrel and Scholar +1, Engineer +0

Assets
Device:
Animal Powers
They have been genetically modified to be the perfect soldiers and faces for the company.they are fast, tough, and cute. The kids love them.

Function Aspect: Awesome Animal Abilities
Features: Focus 2 (Scholar +2), Focus 4 (Explorer +2, Fighter +2), Harmful 2, Protective 1(reduce incoming harm by 1 for all successful attacks), Sturdy 1(increase stress by one box)

Flaws: Situational (bonus to Scholar on works when using your senses), Situational(bonus explorer only works when using your natural senses), Situational(fighter bonus only applies when using your natural weapons, claws, teeth, etc)

Members
Squeeks: Modified Guinea Pig, Field Leader, stern and serious, always training
Portrayal: Guinea Pig Commando
Need: Never be Caged Again
Secret: Hates The Company
Notes: Swap Aristocrat and Fighter ratings.

Hoppy: Happy go lucky modified Snowshow Hair,
Portrayal: Rabbit Sniper
Need: Have Fun and Be Free
Secret: Hates to Kill
Notes: Swap Scoundrel and Aristocrat ratings.

Ham-Ham: Modified Hamster, master of close in fighting
Portrayal: Cutest Little Rage Monster
Need: To Be Accepted
Secret: Severe PTSD
Notes: no changes

Rex: Canine Heavy weapons, loyal and bright
Portrayal: Collie With Heart of Gold and a backpack full of C4
Need: I Must Keep My Family Safe
Secret: Afraid of Being Alone
Notes: Swap Engineer with Scholar rating

Standard New York Rager
Most of the folks affected by the Pathogen become Ragers. I am going to use +Ryan M. Danks' wonderful Zombie stats here, to represent the Ragers. i have changed a few of the aspects, but otherwise they are the same.

Mooks: Ragers
If you need a bunch of Chimera minions to threaten your PCs, this is the way to go.

Portrayal: Brain-dead Chimera
Need: Flesh
Secret: Aim For The Head!
Trouble: Unthinking Attacks
Competence Bonus: Average (+1)
Assets: Strong Bite
Type: Technique
Guiding Aspect: Brain-Dead Chimera
Features: Aspect (Infecting Bite), Harmful 1
Stress: 1 for every two zombies in the horde.

that is the Chimera, or at least, my take on the Chimera at the moment. Let me know what you think. What do I need to add or subtract? What am I missing completely? Alright, barring anything else, the next post will be the Channels, and the truly Inhuman. You know, I think I need a better name than Channel...it just sounds wrong when used as a noun describing an individual. Any thoughts on what i should call them?