Sunday, September 1, 2019

Death & Dinosaurs Faction and Alignment

This image is from Dino Riders, a show and toy line from the eighties. It was and is an inspiration to me in this and other projects. 

Part 1: Overview of the project

Part 2: Basic rules of play

Alignment is one of those mechanics that never really went anywhere. I think that it was taken from the Elric stories by Michael Moorcock. The idea of aligning with the forces of chaos or the forces of order is pretty spiffy. They then added in another axis, good and evil which ended up giving us the 9 total alignments that have stuck with us ever after. When I began gaming alignment had been mostly left to D&D, but its shadow remained. Factions had replaced them. The factions served a similar purpose to alignment, point of fact they were just a less esoteric version of alignment. You were aligned with one of the factions. In some of the games, you had nesting factions where you would have multiple factions that you would owe your allegiance. This was all in place of being aligned to some sort of metaphysical directional constant. Though Planescape managed to do a lot with factions and alignment.

For this game, I'll be adding in four core factions that fit with my understanding of people. In a crisis, people turn to sources of power, the military/government, Technology/science, religion/god. I will add magical power to those three as that is an option in this setting. That gives us four pillars to the post-apocalyptic society. Also, it wouldn't feel like a proper setting without at least one outlier faction that is just a little weird.  Each of the factions will have a rough outline of their history, views of the world, primary role in the world, and the goals they seek.

All that remains of the governments of Canada and the United States. The majority of the military and the government were destroyed within a year of the Fall. During the Fall General Henry McCaskill of the Air Force gathered what few forces and material he could and brought them up to Montana, South and North Dakota along the Missouri River. Using the advantage of the rivers He and his forces held off the undead hordes and the forces of magic. As time wore on the bases along the river became the core of new communities rapidly filling with refugees. Soon riverboats began roving up the river from the Mississippi and brought news of New Orleans freedom, as well as the forces of the Church and the Circle.

By their tenth year resources were getting slim, the high amounts of magic in the world caused anything electronic to catastrophically fail. Their scouts brought back reports of people riding dinosaurs and using technology along the Washington coast. Contact was soon made with the Corporate Counsel of the Seatle Technology Alliance. In exchange for aid in protecting their lands and gathering needed raw materials, they would supply finished products and domesticated dinosaurs to the people of Norad.

Faction Goals: Protect your people and the ideas of the constitution of the United States of America; gather intelligence on the demonic threat; take back the land

Views of the other Factions
The Circle: Magic is the single most dangerous weapon in the world. It brought humanity to the brink of extinction. We must work with them, but never forget they are dancing on the edge of armageddon.
Sea-Tech Alliance: These technological elites sit in their towers of glass ruling over the peasantry. They need us and we can use that to bring the ideas of freedom and democracy to the huddled masses.
The Church: We defend the lives of the people. They defend their souls. The military and the church have always worked in differing fields, but we work well together. Especially now.
The Peroult Archive: A secret organization stretching back thousands of years filled with the knowledge of monsters. Yeah...not sure why no one trusts them. We need their skills and knowledge, but they are dangerous loose cannons.

The Circle
Before Egypt built the pyramids, before the heights of Babylon, there stood the silver city. The first city of Mankind. It was here the laws of Magick were first set down. It was here the first magicians made their great mistake. The destroyed the world in their hubris. Since that day the wizards and magicians of the world have followed a code. Do not use magic to control, do not seek to pervert nature, and never kill for power or selfish gain. The Circle exists to enforce that code and train each generation to responsibly use the powers of magic. The actions of the 13 have cast magic in a very negative light, but the Circle can hold back the demons, and protect what remains of New Orleans. They have made bargains with the Church and with the

Faction Goals: Use magick to heal and defend; Drive back the darkness; Gather Magickal power; Defeat the 13 without destroying the magick

Views of the other Factions
Norad: They are our best chance at driving back the evil undead. They do not trust us, but we can use them for both of our benefits.
Sea-Tech Alliance: They are dangerous, they are to technology what we are for magic. They rival us, but we need each other for now.
The Church: Currently they need us. Currently, we have an alliance. Never forget that they are dangerous to us,  more dangerous even than the Naturalists and Technologists. Watch them closely and tred lightly. Should we win, they will seek our destruction.
The Peroult Archive: For a thousand years we had heard whispers of a secret order of Witchfinders, Demonologists, Exorcists, and monster hunters. Only now do we see the full extent of their organization. They are very dangerous, and no one can say where their loyalties lie.

Sea-tech Alliance 
Technology has always been the salvation of mankind. Up until the fall, the highest achievement of Technology was the conquest of the cell and the return of the dinosaurs. The three tech companies that remained after the Fall managed to figure out iron, salt, and running water. They relocated to the islands in the Puget Sound. Surrounded by vast quantities of saltwater, the corporations have built a massive city of advanced technology. They trade for resources with Norad, and they work on upgrading humanity to fight back against the demons that plague the lands. In the years since the Fall, the Alliance has become something of a Feudal system. Management leads, they are something akin to the nobility. R&D has a great deal of power and influence, but they must follow the lead of Management. Finally, the Workers serve all above them...which is everyone. Everyone belongs to a corporation and the corporations belong to the Alliance. One of the few ways for a Worker to get out from under the thumb of the Alliance is to volunteer to join Norad Forces. Management is not pleased.

The three Corporations are Vicom Softworks, GeneTech, and OmegaMacro Research Group are the only entities known that deal in high technology. Vicom Softworks deals in information systems and machine interfaces. If you need cybernetics, robotics or computer systems you go to VS. Genetech is the corporation that brought the dinosaurs back. They still deal in genetics and have developed almost all of the supercrops used throughout the Alliance. They have also been bringing more dinosaurs back and releasing them into the wild. No one has figured out the reasons yet. OmegaMacro Research Group deals in materials science and finished products. Almost all guns and armor in America are made in their factories.

Faction Goals: Build Better Tech; Destroy Magick and Superstition; Knowledge is Power; The powerful should rule...beneficently

Views of the other Factions
Norad: They are useful fodder in this war. They believe themselves free, but fail to realize our chain is around their neck already. They need us far more than we need them, but they serve as a buffer and a pawn so we let them keep their little delusions.
The Circle: Magic is inconsistent and proveably dangerous. It does not follow the laws of nature. Those who wield it are not to be trusted. No magician or magical being is allowed to set foot on the islands. The Circle may be expedient for the moment, but they are the first on the chopping block when this war is done.
The Church: Superstitious and regressive, they serve no purpose save to keep the Workers content. There is no god, we are the masters of our own fate.
The Peroult Archive: A secret conspiracy of monster hunters dating back thousands of years? Hardly. Most likely it is a small group that went slightly mad afer the Fall and has since built up this grand myth of their own importance. They are much like the military, somewhat useful and ultimately disposable.

The Church
Faith nearly died in the West. Materialism, Naturalism, and nihilism where the name of the game throughout the twentieth century. When the Fall came there were too few Faithful to stand against the encroaching darkness. Cities burned and communication broke down. After the Fall black-robed holy warriors were seen fighting against the darkness, exorcising demons, and giving hope to the hopeless. Soon it was discovered that these "Black Robes" were Jesuit priests from the Salish Kootenai lands in northwestern Montana. They quickly established communication with other Churches that had survived. Five years after the fall this loose collection of ministers and priests gathered in a great council, in Great Falls(protected by Norad) to come together in a more unified and organized Church. The Chuch seeks to do as it has always sought. Heal the sick, give hope to the hopeless, and save the lost. Now however they face far greater threats than ever before.

Faction Goals: Heal the Sick; Minister to the Hopeless; Save the Lost

Views of the other Factions
Norad: They do good work. hey are the line between humanity and oblivion. We must minister to them and keep their spirits strong. Despair is easy, hope is dangerous, and Faith can move mountains.
The Circle: We must convince them that the path they are on is dangerous. We watch them closely, for they live in a land of temptation. What do they worship, the gift or the giver? Only they know the answer to that.
Sea-Tech Alliance: Their leadership has fallen to worship of self. They see themselves as gods made flesh, Pharaohs of the technological age. We must give their slaves hope and salvation, with the hope that when this tribulation is over the pharaohs will let our people go.
The Peroult Archive: There are old links between the Chuch and the Archive. They seek to do good in the world. We only fear that the centuries of secrets and lies may have led to corruption at the root of the archive.

The Peroult Archive
Since the dawn of the written word almost six thousand years ago the Archive has existed in one form or another. They collect data on supernatural threats and organize the training of those Chosen to fight them. They have a great deal of magical knowledge and have contacts within the Church and police forces around the world. They maintain strict secrecy, using blood oaths and geasa. Any slip might allow for the monsters to learn of them and bring the hunt to there door. They did not see the Fall coming, and as such much of their organization was destroyed along with the rest of mankind. Those that remain continue the task. Keeping the supernatural world a secret is sort of a moot point now, so for the first time in recorded history, they are operating in the open. Few completely trust them, but their knowledge of the threat and their willingness to fight alongside those they aid keeps them in the hunt.

Faction Goals: Hunt Supernatural Evil; Save humanity; Fade away when the task is done

Views of the other Factions
Norad: We end up working alongside soldiers the most, and often a soldier will the Chosen and it is our sacred duty to prepare them for their task. They often think to defensively, holding onto what they have rather than seeking to destroy the monsters. We encourage action whenever we deem appropriate.
The Circle: Many of the things we hunt start with a wizard doing something foolish. While we applaud the idea of a ruling body for wizards, we fear that much mystical power in one location.
Sea-Tech Alliance: They have many fine devices for fighting monsters. If they could temper their arrogance they could be a valuable ally in the war against the darkness.
The Church: We have worked with the Church for ages past. Our goal is to stiffen their spine and aid them in the inevitable crusade against the evil that inhabits this land.