06-21-2009, 12:59 AM
The working title of the setting is "Bastion." Feel free to comment.
A world of science and reason tapped into forces beyond the understanding of humanity. A crack was opened in the universe, and through that crack issued the Shadow. It's unknown from what universe the shadow emerged but it profoundly altered the world of Bastion. Monsters grew in the cracks of the world, feeding off the fears and hatred and dreams of humanity. Children were born with increasingly disturbing deformities. The technological tools vital to survival malfunctioned in increasingly disruptive ways.
For years, the powers that be attempted to silence and conceal the truth. Special agents, many utilizing powers birthed from the arrival of the shadow, sought to hunt down and destroy these threats before the public learned the truth. Other ancient cabals and orders recognized the Shadow as the return of magic long fled from the world. Both failed to protect humanity as each was overcome. Humanity used its technology to try and destroy the rift it had formed in the universe. It failed... disasterously. The release of magical energy tore the world asunder. Millions died in the initial outbreak. Billions would die in the months to come.
From the ashes humanity struggled to survive. Curiously the eruption of the Shadow seemed to weaken its influence enough to give humanity a chance. Those that survived retreated to strongholds where technology, magic, and determination cooperated for survival and the bid to retake the world from the Shadow.
System: 4e probably.
06-21-2009, 01:00 PM
Races in bastion:
"We are all that remains of humanity's legacy! We are the untouched. The uncontaminated. The pure. Woe if even one of us should fall, for in our death that legacy is lost."
Weight: 130-180 lb.
Ability Scores: +2 Int, +2 Cha.
Speed: 6 Squares
Languages: Standard of region
Skill Bonus: +2 Technology, +2 History
Pureblood Legacy: Purebloods have a 0% chance of failing a genetic test when interacting with technology.
Pureblood resilience: Purebloods resist 5 +1/2 per level disease damage and recieve a +5 to savings throws versus disease.
Education: Purebloods recieve an extra skill of their choice. Purebloods can not select Arcana for this skill.
Resolve: +2 to will defense.
Curse: Terror. When a pureblood suffers damage from either the "psychic" or "Fear" keywords the pureblood has a -2 to attack, damage rolls, and skill checks. A save ends this penalty. This penalty increases to -4 if the attack is from a source of level 11 or higher and -6 if the source is lvl 21 or higher.
Of all the races of Bastion, Purebloods remain unchanged by the effects of the Shadow. Genetic modification and screening has maintained the human geome's integrity and resilience. Purebloods see themselves as the protectors of humanity's history and its future. Others frequently see purebloods as raving bigots and arrogant fools retaining a deathgrip on former achievements.
Physical qualities: generations of genetic tweekings have left their mark on the appearance of purebloods. Most purebloods are physically attractive and fit, with aristocratic and well defined features. Skin colors vary from fair to tan to brown and black skin. Hair colors equally come in a variety of colors and textures, many of which are frequently synthetic such as green, blues, and purples.
Purebloods typically come from upper eschelons of society and prefer clean and comfortable clothing. Purebloods frequently use as much technology as possible in their clothing, even passing up more dedicated armors. Purebloods tend to prefer the finer things in life and frequently wear jewelry or other decoration that frequently possesses a technological device.
Playing a Pureblood:
Once there were eight billion humans in the world. Before the breaching of the shadow there were always humans who employed genetic engineering to extend intelligence and the lifespans of their children. This genetic advantage, coupled with superior social and finaccial backings, gave Purebloods an advantage when the Shadowstorm broke out. Today there are perhaps only a million purebloods left in the world, but they remain one of the largest demographic.
Purebloods consider themselves "Pure" in that their DNA does not show any signs of contamination from the shadow. This frequently promotes an attitude of superiority over individuals who can not prove their genetic pedigree. The Band of Purity is proof that this attitude can become murderously intolerant, but the norm is more an affected behavior. Outsiders frequently point out the genetic skin markings like spots and stripes and exotic hair colors to be proof that Purebloods are no more or less pure than anyone else. To the Purebloods the distinction is simple: they intentionally altered their genes; everyone else lets the Shadow do it for them.
This elitist attitude frequently spawns a host of insecurities that makes purebloods vulnerable to fear and mental attacks. If their mental defenses are breached they will frequently be overcome with doubt and terror that makes them unable to act reliably until they can 'shake it off'. Purebloods often display curious mental particularities and are frequently subject to erratic moods or other behavior.
Unlike other races, Purebloods generally do not take cybernetic enhancements. They have little difficulty using technology but they do not want to become technology. Purebloods likewise do not like to take genetic augmentations that make them appear to be less than human; although some Purebloods take a perverse thrill in rebelling against other purebloods by taking blatantly non-human alterations.
Purebloods tend to be either very pious or agnostic. That people of faith can use supernatural abilities does confirm belief, but other purebloods see such unnatural power as influence from the shadow. As such they are very black and white in general with their attitudes towards faith. Most Purebloods are either phobic of magic or fascinated by it. Those that study magic closely regard it as a force that can be employed independant of the shadow.
In Bastion society Purebloods are frequently the hands controlling society. They inhabit the upper eschelons of society, typically come from wealthy backgrounds, and have connections to the mechanisms of power. Pureblood adults generally associate with other purebloods while youths frequently 'go slumming' to associate with other races. While there are no laws prohibiting it, relationships with non-purebloods is seen as disgusting and reproduction abhorrent, but still it happens. Curiously, occasionally some offspring are completely untouched by the mixed blood, but such a child will blatantly face a stigma.
Simon de Satire is an pureblood who at a very young age became facinated with the idea of magic and sorcery. He became an arcanist as soon as he found a teacher willing to take him on as a student, despite his pureblood heritage. Simon excelled at his studies, much to the concern of his parents and peers. His time spent away from his family and friends caused resentment in the former and Simon one day came to study and found his master killed by the Band of Purity. Simon dedicated himself to countering the band's racist aims at every turn, acting as both an outsider and an insider to thwart the groups ambitions. Simon has found increasing threats made against him by the band. He takes that as proof his actions are working.
Crash Interface is a young engineer and a protegy with technology. To her parent's disappointment she has little interest at taking the formal path of education; instead she spends much of her time in Bastion's club and party scene. Crash is a vivacious youth who tends to bring the party wherever she goes and plays until she finally collapses. In between raves, however, Crash has learned of the Technocracy and the infectous nanites' plans to infiltrate Bastion with its agents. To Crash, taking the fight to the robots is just another party, only funner.
Paul Remier has served as an agent for as long as he can remember, which isn't as long as he'd like. Not knowing anything beyond five years ago, the only link he could find was his DNA. Paul has been employed by various pureblood families and organizations as a freelancer while searching for clues of his past. Of late he's found himself operating against a secret cabal of purebloods who are actively attempting to contaminate themselves with the shadow to undermine and bring down Bastion. While Paul is dedicated to rooting them out before anyone can be hurt, the group occasionally leaves hints to Paul that they may have the answers to his lost past.
"We are the natural evolution of human progess. From simple stone tools to powered machinery we have mastered the world through technology. The next step is clear: become technology."
Average height: 5'-6'6"
Average weight: 140-240 lb.
Ability scores: +2 constitution, +2 intelligence
Speed: 5 squares
Languages: Regional Standard, Intraweb
Skill bonus: +2 technology, +2 perception
Interface: Cybers gain 2 additional points for the purpose of installing cybernetic upgrades. This does not apply to genetic augmentation.
Cyber weapon interface: Cybers gain a +1 to hit with any ranged weapon with the 'technology' descriptor.
Reinforced anatomy: Cybers recieve a +1 racial bonus to AC and Fortitude.
Cyber resilience: Cybers can use the "Resilience" encounter power.
Resilience: Encounter, free action, personal.
Effect: The cyber recieves physical damage reduction equal to 5+1/2 their level till the end of the Cybers' next turn. This can be used as an interrupt.
Curse: Electrical vulnerability. Cybers gain vulnerability 1 electric per cybernetic upgrade they possess. They suffer a -1 to save versus electrical effects that a save can end per cybernetic upgrade.
No one has a relationship with technology quite like a Cyber. Whether the change occured gradually from one upgrade to the next to the point humanity was blurred or overnight with transformation into a military soldier Cybers have wires supporting nerves and titanium reinforcing bone. Through their use of technology cybers excel in a world turned hostile to all human life.
Cybers have an extremely wide arrangement of appearances. Some can look almost entirely human save for an artifical eye or data plug on the side of their temple. Others plate themselves in powered, articulated steel and forever abandon any attempt to blend in with humanity at large. Many possess a blend of the two with artifical or synthetic skin while keeping the human form largely intact. Cybers who interact with humanity try to keep their augmentations largely internal to avoid damaging their relationships with flesh and blood people. Hair is frequently synthetic, absent, or holographic.
Cybers are made, not born. The line that is crossed is when major internal functions are supported by technology rather than organics. This can mean artificial hearts, nerves, skeletal reinforcements, and other upgrades. No matter the external appearance, the internal is always a blend of technology, flesh, and blood. Because of their artificial systems, some theorize that Cybers may be functionally immortal.
Playing a Cyber:
The first critical question is how did the character come to possess their expensive augmentations. For those with a wealthy background the change can come slowly as minor cybernetics build until the individual can not survive without them or all at once in response to a crippling condition or congenital defect. Another source for Cybers is the military seeking enhansed soldiers and agents for their war against the shadow. A third source is for Gobs and, less commonly, Fae to seek technology in an attempt to blend in with humanity. A final source is that a individual is changed against their will, frequently due to either the Technocracy attempting to replace organic life or due to a rogue doctor or scientist experimenting. Once changed, it is impossible to return to life unsupported.
Cybers tend towards one of three asthetics. First are humanists, who attempt to retain as much humanity as possible. They possess as few external modifications as possible and may even possess their original skin. Humanists favor whatever apparel allows them to better blend in or hide their upgrades. The second favor form over function. These are Cybers who are obviously no longer quite human, but don't want to look ugly or disturbing. Wings, horns, synthetic skin, lights implanted in skin, holographic tattoos, tails, are all in fashion. Such Cybers typically wear clothing that tends towards the extreme or minimalist, including full nudity. Some Cybers even consider themselves works of art. The last set of Cybers favor function over form and certainly over humanity. These Cybers have armored exoskeletons, implanted weapons, non-human eyes, and other tools that disturb non-cybers. Such cybers almost never wear clothes; why would you want to dress up a tank?
All in all Cybers embody the triumph of science. Unlike Purebloods, Cybers do not see themselves as caretakers of a human legacy. They are far more pragmatic to allow themselves to be fooled into thinking they speak for all humanity. Cybers are also fiercely individualistic and will frequently decorate their chassis with ornamentation that allows them to stand out from other Cybers. The last thing a Cyber wants is to fall into the identical rank and file such as that embraced by the technocracy. Being so fiercely individualistic, Cybers tend to bruise the sensitivity of those around them. Some accuse Cybers of being emotionally handicapped, but only a very small minority are so maladjusted that they can't relate to humanity at large.
Like purebloods, cybers tend towards agnostism. Most subscribe to possessing a ghost or spirit that sets them apart from mundane machines and AI's. Some promote the idea of the universe as a great computational machine for data and employ a 'quantum faith' to work supernatural acts. Others venerate whatever religion or faith they did before their transformation. Cybers likewise have a lukewarm relationship with magic; frequently they simply ignore it whenever they can. Those cybers who embrace arcane persuits frequently do so in technological terms and talk about things like 'reality hacking'.
21 Gun- 21 Gun was a human soldier fighting against the shadow against a zombie swarm. He called down an orbital strike right upon his position to protect a nearby settlement. The shot was off, but the remainder of the troops were able to finish the swarm. 21 Gun, however, was written off as dead and even given a memorial. Afterwards he was found, still alive despite having his limbs blown off, and was given a full cybernetic upgrade. With brand new limbs of steel, a rail gun implanted in his arm, and an armored exoskeleton, 21 Gun continues his fight against the Shadow with gallows humor but rock steady determination to not die 'again'.
Argent didn't plan on becoming a Cyber. It just sort of happened as she started with a relatively simple neural interface. Then she got some improved reflexes. Then a simple synthetic skin. And before she knew it the young alcolyte found herself half artificial. It hasn't shaken her faith in God, who continues to answer her prayers and give her the power to protect her loved ones, but it has made her life more interesting. Now Argent has skin of a perfect silver hue covering every inch of her body and white wings protruding from her shoulders. For some, she is an inspiration. For her parents, they really wish that she'd put on clothes again.
Karen Pludow looks like most women in the lower regions of Bastion. Few would suspect the plain, dumpy looking woman working in an ammunition store to be a cyber. Only a data interface jack in her wrist and a faint red light in one eye betray her. Fewer still would suspect her to be an agent working for Bastion security. Every day she keeps tabs on the comings and goings of the lower city, while reporting to her superiors. Lately though, Karen has found herself forced to act more and more indepentantly to respond to threats that security seems determined to overlook. While still loyal, she fears that the elites are writing off the people who are forced to live down there and is seeking other contacts who are more interested in protecting.
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