Sci-Fi Setting for Savage Worlds (Licensed Product)
Destinations of colony/generation ships:
2025 - First International Mars Colony is established. Dozens of meteorological, geological, and other scientific monitoring satellites are launched into orbit around Mars.
2029 - First Artificial Intelligence program successfully passes the Turing Test. Commercial interest in A.I. technology gains full force.
2031 - First Robotic Assistants hit the market, featuring human-like interaction and a range of performable tasks. Considered extremely primitive by later standards, these robots were able to replace most typical human menial tasks both in home and office environments, including cleaning, data entry, customer interactions and transactions, food service and preparation, among many others.
2036 - Scientists at Mars Colony Theta discover a quasi-biological substance which reacts to electric, electromagnetic, and other stimuli in a very peculiar way. They give it the name ‘Martis Membrum’ or ‘Flesh of Mars’ as many of the reactions seemed very similar to those demonstrated by organic skin or flesh. Samples are sent back to Earth for synthesization and study.
2039 - Google, Inc. launches an online biological and medical database to unite all human medical science and makes it freely available to the public. Together with other factors, this leads to Genetic coding and medicine becoming available to the general public.
2040 - First organ transplant performed entirely by a Robotic Surgeon.
2042 - Burroughs Space Station is launched into Solar orbit between the Earth and Mars to facilitate transportation of colonists, visitors, supplies, and goods back and forth between the planets.
2044 - Commercial versions of Synthetic Skin become widely available, enabling the development of truly human-like robots.
2045 - The General Robotics Corporation creates and patents the Artificial Humanity Codex; then monopolizes the Synthetic Human industry through corrupt government dealings, cutting off all other commercial access to most A.I. technology.
2057 - A group of anonymous hackers obtains and releases the source code for the proprietary Artificial Humanity Codex to the world, causing a massive uproar from the General Robotics Corporation but ultimately leading to the company’s downfall; as well as setting the stage for future events.
2076 - Scientist and Inventor Juliana Syung openly releases the code for her Simdroid operating system, leading to the first ever self-aware Synthetic Humans. These ‘Children of Syung’ have complete autonomy and immediately don the name ‘Androids’.
2081 - The BSS mysteriously explodes while orbiting close to Mars, debris and radiation rain down onto the planet’s surface, killing or severely injuring thousands of colonists. Evacuation procedures allow for many colonists to escape back to Earth, but an estimated 170 survivors remain on the surface awaiting a rescue that would never come.
2125 - Google, Inc. acquires the Personal Cybernetics Corporation and immediately makes ‘3D Repro’ plans for cybernetic technology freely available over the Web. Cybernetics research and technology becomes completely open-source and begins progressing at astronomical rates.
2179 - The Global Cyber Protection Initiative effectively increases the electromagnetic shielding around the Earth by a factor of 50 to defend against solar radiation interfering with delicate cybernetic and other electronic terrestrial systems.
2189 - The Federated Nations of Earth (FNE) is formed, which unites virtually all of humanity under a decentralized form of government.
2266 - Androids are granted equal rights with humanity across the board with the Artificial Persons Equality Act.
2281 - Global Climate Control System is launched; Stabilization is completed within a month, well ahead of schedule.
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The Burroughs Space Station (BSS)
Named in honor of famed Science Fiction author Edgar Rice Burroughs, the BSS was developed as a waystation between Earth and Mars for colonists, supplies, and products to be transported both ways more easily. It was designed and built by a multi-national partnership and was the single largest achievement of architecture, engineering and construction to ever have been carried out by modern humans.
The station was built in multiple modular pieces and launched into near-Earth orbit to be assembled. Nuclear thrusters were then used to position the station in Solar orbit between the Earth and Mars. This effectively added additional launch windows for missions to and from Mars and allowed for staged missions at more frequent intervals. Consequently, a full-time staff was required on the station at all times and many colonists and their families would often stay on the station for weeks or months between trips.
On August 6, 2081, the BSS was at the peak of it’s orbit, which happened to bring it as close to Mars as the orbits could allow, a position that the station would only occupy about once every fourteen years. Several Mars colonies are noted to have received distorted or garbled messages on official comm channels, but were unable to record any useful information. Minutes later, Earth comm stations received similar messages, with similar results. What happened next has never been explained, but most of the Mars colonies were suddenly alerted to danger when debris started raining down onto the surface of the planet. At about the same time, alerts began blaring throughout many colonies indicating a dangerous level of radiation was present in the atmosphere. Comm stations on neither planet were able to contact the BSS, and no further messages were ever received.
Of the existing forty-seven Mars colonies, eleven managed to escape critical damage to structures. About a thousand people survived the initial destruction and radioactive fallout, and evacuation ships began launching as soon as the rain of debris seemed to be over. Some ships did not wait for evacuation clearance and were destroyed by debris still flying through the thin atmosphere. Others were exposed to such extreme levels of radiation that the occupants were vaporized, their ships found later floating in orbit among other debris. Some managed to make it back to Earth more or less intact. According to historical records, at least 170 colonists were left stranded on Mars, some of which managed to repair and maintain colonies for decades to come.
Unmanned probes were launched within weeks of the incident, and teams of scientists on Earth were constantly poring through data collected from thousands of sources, from instruments on Earth, to data sent by instruments on Mars, to data collected from Martian satellites up to, during, and after the incident. Several Martian satellites were destroyed, damaged, or thrown off course by flying debris, but the data clearly showed that the debris and radiation had to have all come from the direction of the BSS, which used nuclear energy for it’s main thrusters. Several surviving pieces of debris were identified as having been part of the BSS. The evidence was clear - the BSS had exploded. Fifteen families and thirty-two crew members had been killed, as well as the billions of dollars invested in the ambitious space station.
The blow was a crippling one, and a dozen space agencies, both public and private, were shut down within months. Even the scattered colonists on Mars remained stranded, as clouds of debris and radiation surrounding the planet made missions impossible. The last communication received from the colonies occurred in 2099. It is presumed that all Mars colonists are now dead.
Earth - 2412
Humans, once the great dominant species of Earth, have evacuated the planet in a great Exodus using massive ‘Generation Ships’ to travel to other inhabitable worlds hundreds, some even thousands, of light-years away.
In 2281, the Federated Nations of Earth established the first ‘Global Climate Control System’ or GCCS. This revolutionized the entire planet nearly overnight, and brought to every nation the ideal conditions under which all species, humans included, could thrive. A Utopian society was forged out of the unity and peace which the GCCS helped to achieve. As a result of this ‘age of enlightenment’, tremendous advances were made in virtually every field of science, particularly in Medicine, which had brought the average human life expectancy to an astounding 180 years (roughly the same for men and women due to an almost complete lack of sexual inequality).
In 2320, the world’s leading scientists came together and published a series of papers regarding a drastic rise in solar activity which, by all indications, would culminate in a decades-long series of unpredictable and uniquely powerful solar flares.
At first, the world’s leadership seemed very ‘cavalier’ regarding this potentially catastrophic problem. After all, they had enhanced the planet’s natural electromagnetic shielding in 2179 to protect the entire planet’s electronics, due to a steady rise in cybernetic replacement organs over the years.
However, the scientists argued, the GCCS was completely dependant on orbital satellite communication in order to maintain absolute synchronization across the planet. Once the satellites were shut down or destroyed by the phenomena, the system which held the extraordinarily delicate ecological and climatological balances in place would be offline.
Numerous ideas and hypotheses were presented in order to try and resolve the problem. Earth space programs had for years kept thousands of backup satellites ready to launch in case of major solar flare activity, however the projections made clear that the flares might continue for fifty years or more, making such short-term solutions meaningless. In the meantime, billions would die as the climate quickly degenerated into chaos.
Mars was not an option. Being further away, it might have stood a chance of withstanding the barrage of solar radiation over such an extended period of time. However, the debris from the now-infamous Burroughs Space Station still lingered in near-Mars orbit, making a dangerous trip for any would-be evacuees.
The world came together once more, and through a shared need for survival, the human race built thirty-six massive ‘Generation Ships’ and hundreds of smaller shuttles. The larger ships would be sent to nearby stars which were known to have habitable planets. The shuttles carried small groups of people, often families, to the various Outposts throughout the Solar System.
The FNE (Federated Nations of Earth) ships were not the only ones to be commissioned during this time. A multinational organization which had managed to survive Unification more or less intact was Google, led by co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. During the time before the Exodus, Google gave it’s full support to the FNE and provided invaluable assistance with the building of the great Generation Ships, but also decided to commission their own private flagship on their own. It was called ‘Icarus’ and was built in the former United States of America (Which was renamed to ‘America’ when the Federated Nations of Earth was formed in 2189), near Seattle, Washington. ‘Icarus’ launched ahead of schedule, and indeed ahead of all 36 FNE ships.
Unfortunately, the predictability of the Sun was underestimated, and during the launch of the final four Generation Ships, a sudden series of flares erupted from the surface of the great star, disrupting hundreds of vital systems aboard the huge ships and sending them hurtling back towards the doomed planet.
Those who did evacuate began to drift in their centuries-long voyages between the stars.
But not everyone made it. There were some who were in remote locations and were completely unaware, or unable to reach the nearest ship. Some were stubborn, instead deciding to take their chances with the inevitable and unfathomable climate changes which were to come.
Some people stayed because they were unconvinced, either of the existence of the phenomena itself or of the probable effects on the world’s climate systems.
Whatever the reason, those of us who did not evacuate the planet witnessed first-hand the events which unfolded when the GCCS shut down.
August 22, 2325 - This day would later come to be known as ‘The Day of Shooting Stars’ as tiny handfuls of survivors across the globe witnessed what seemed very much like meteor showers. These were actually the flaming wreckage of a thousand orbital satellites as their guidance systems began to receive wave after wave of electromagnetic and solar radiation, sending them crashing into one another or throwing them dangerously off course.
As automated control of precise conditions within each designated zone (such as barometric pressure, etc.) suddenly disappeared, balances began to tilt wildly in every direction. Hydro-tornadoes a half a mile wide tore across the Egyptian landscape, hurling massive chunks of stone, masonry, and other abandoned human relics far into the wind, sometimes landing thousands of miles away (the head of the Sphinx, minus the nose of course, now rests sidelong and half-embedded into the side of the Louvre in Paris). The Bermudacane Triangle (as it is now often called) is a permanent hurricane which stays in virtually the same place at all times.
The sudden lack of humans, combined with the extreme meteorological changes, also had other devastating effects. For instance, with no organizations maintaining the strict perimeters around the old nuclear disposal sites, flora and fauna quickly moved in to fill in the gaps. Strange new species began to appear as these combined factors ‘sped up’ the evolutionary processes. This phenomena only worsened when the first surviving human scavengers began to breach long-sealed buildings and containment areas.
The early days were very difficult for everything on the planet, and it is estimated that at least sixty-five percent of all living things during that time were snuffed out, leaving only those which were able to survive in the new, and often very volatile, environments.
Much of the old civilization’s knowledge and technology was left behind, and many of the human survivors made efforts to preserve it, so much so that the majority of the inhabited areas now have full access to power, clean water, and other basic amenities.
Ninety years have passed since the Great Exodus. Of the less than half a billion humans who did not evacuate, only a few million have been able to survive the turbulent climate changes, unchecked predator populations, and other obstacles which now dominate the globe.
One strange event which occurred after the Exodus came 32 years later, in 2357. Many people, particularly those few who practice Astronomy, noticed a strange shape in the evening sky. Over a period of about six months, the shape seemed to get larger and larger, and as more and more people noticed (and set up telescopes), it was discovered that this was, in fact, ‘Icarus’, the massive flagship launched by Google in 2324. It eventually took up orbit around the Earth and appears to be somewhere between the Earth and the Moon. Observers noted that the ship was heavily damaged, and over time it seems to have attracted various bits of space debris (such as the remaining now-defunct satellites). Several times a year, the silhouette of the derelict Icarus can be seen starkly contrasted against the full Moon. No one knows why the Icarus failed to flee, or why it returned to orbit the Earth - or if there were/are any survivors on board.
One of the largest and longest-lasting effects of Unification was the enormous system of Mega-Highways that was built. This system connected every single continent on the planet with a very large, and very fast mass transit system. Each Mega-Highway is one mile wide with multiple levels for transit, maintenance, power and other necessities.
During the globalization of the Utopian era, most of the old ‘racial’ distinctions simply vanished as the species began to truly homogenize. In the Post-Exodus world, many of the old survival instincts began to return, and group leaders often started utilizing ‘Us vs. Them’ mentalities to solidify their power bases. With habitable areas being few and far between, and with environmentally stable areas being almost unheard of, it has become increasingly common for groups of people to adopt isolationist attitudes.
There are still many who were alive during the Great Exodus.
Most communities are made up of people with complementary skill sets and tend to be completely self-reliant. The areas between them are usually volatile, violent, infested, or otherwise unsafe to travel, and thus trade between distant groups is not common. As Pre-Exodus ‘tech is recovered and refitted, however, this is starting to change. For instance, in 2408 on the island of Great Britain, the North and South coasts were reunited as the first MagRail trains in almost 100 years began zipping across the landscape, electromagnetically shielded and hermetically sealed to protect against the ever-changing severe weather patterns.
It is widely rumoured that there are some people wandering the Earth who, having had extensive cybernetic replacement surgery before the Exodus, can survive almost anywhere and are virtually immortal.
It is widely believed that the true beginning of the Utopian era of humanity was the creation of the first General Artificial Intelligences in the 2200’s. These early-generation AIs were limited, but they ultimately helped their engineers to create more and more useful AIs.
Over time, this led to a vast array of specialty AIs. These AIs were instructed with exhaustive knowledge of a given subject, including literature, as well as archived video footage of concepts in action, lectures, and popular media involving the subject.
For instance, a Software engineering AI would have been taught every known programming language, each with millions of example programs, technical papers, usage scenarios, and abstraction layers for working with hardware. Some of the most advanced software AI that ever existed were also programmed with millions upon millions of petabytes of data taken from live brain scans (CAT, MRI, etc) recorded during software use. An AI of this kind would be employed to analyze usage patterns, user feedback, optimal design and hardware specifications, and eventually replaced human programmers entirely.
A transit AI would be programmed with extensive road, terrain, satellite, and underground maps of one or more regions, as well as being instructed in the existing traffic laws, licensing, vital statistics, vehicle specifications, and petabytes worth of traffic and pedestrian transit patterns spanning two hundred years. These AIs were used to determine optimal road design, public transit systems, and were even brought in as experts when determining additions or revisions to transit laws.
As AI technology spread and improved, robot design accelerated at an exponential rate. As mechanical engineering AIs helped humans to design new robots, software AIs were learning to integrate with them, which created a powerful feedback loop where the robots and the AIs were teaching each other how to make better robots. In less than five years, the General Robotics Corporation unveiled the very first ‘Synthetic People’.
Equipped with a particular ‘flavor’ AI, these robots were so human-like that they quickly replaced virtually every single form of labor which had previously required human beings to perform. Entire companies could be run by a handful of people to act as caretakers for the robot workforce.
In 2230, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Julie Houghner, lead AI programmer at GRC, and ‘Deep Azure’, the very first AI which she and her team had created and which ultimately helped them to perfect the technology.
/* Needs rewriting
Androids (as distinguished from Robots) were increasingly common during the Utopian era, and the technology improved so much that, by the time of the Exodus, fully-functional ‘Human-like’ Androids were prevalent, especially in spaceflight and other areas which require spending time in places which are inhospitable for organic life. Near-perfect replicas of human beings freely walked among humans, eventually participating in the political and economic systems alongside their organic counterparts.
Unfortunately, public opinion regarding these artificial life forms was always shaky even at the best of times. The proverbial shit hit the fan in 2266, when the Federated Nations unanimously agreed to classify ‘Artificial Entities’ as equal to human beings in every single respect. Several political parties were formed to protest and appeal the decision, but were defeated time and time again, eventually shrinking to a tiny minority of the general population.
Things changed for Androids yet again in 2323, just before the Great Exodus. As they were being constructed in Norway, two Generation Ships were destroyed at the exact same time, each exploding with the equivalent of a fifty-megaton nuclear warhead. Implicated as saboteurs was a small group of ‘rogue’ Androids known as ‘Silicon Fist’. This incident helped to sow distrust of Artificial Life Forms amongst the population, leading many to believe that there were inherent flaws in all A.I. which made them more likely to display unwanted behaviors.
Today, distrust of Androids and other Artificial Intelligence is rampant across the planet, and there are two major factions who focus their attention on them.
Androids can be seen as the culmination of human robotic engineering, and as such, all Androids have instilled in them a fundamental set of tenets, or imperatives. These imperatives were put in place for various reasons, but primarily these have been implemented as ‘fail-safe’ or ‘fault-tolerance’ systems. One such system, perhaps the most important object to any Android, is their Memory Core.
The Artificial Humanity Codex
This was the core program owned by the General Robotics Corporation which was used in all Synthetic Human products. It was written explicitly to restrict the capabilities of any software running on the robot, in essence a Hardware Abstraction Layer for A.I. which effectively placed limits on the ‘freedom’ of the running software. Legally speaking, robots were maintained to be licensed commercial products, regardless of the level of ‘Human’-ness that each subsequent generation seemed to achieve. The AHC prevented any changes to the base operating system and ensured that the robots would be completely controllable by humans.
The Codex also allowed the Corporation to automatically recall malfunctioning or defective units, and may have allowed other ‘Corporate Overrides’ as alluded to by several ex-employees when the Corporation ultimately collapsed.
As technological descendants of more primitive robots, all Androids are designed and built with a heavily shielded ‘black box’, called a Memory Core. In certain circumstances, usually when an Android’s body has been damaged beyond function, a built-in beacon will begin transmitting within a certain radius. Due to one of the Android imperatives, any Android who detects this Core Beacon will instantly re-prioritize their thought processes, and the imperative will take priority. Faced with such a situation, most Androids will not be able to focus processing power on any goal until the Memory Core has been retrieved, identified, and the contents uploaded to the Cloud for processing. The ultimate fate of an Android’s Memory Core is determined by the individual, such as being placed in a sort of ‘Resurrection Queue’ to be downloaded into a new body, or being aggregated into the virtual network, thus allowing the individual to continue existing in a very real form. In some rare cases, Androids have even chosen to have their Memory Core deleted completely.
“I don’t believe in the Cloud.” - Atheist Android
Game Notes on Androids:
Androids are almost all completely human-like, with a few exceptions which we can examine later. Due to a vast amount of hatred and distrust toward A.I., most Androids prefer to keep their inorganic nature to themselves.
Androids are playable at Character Creation with the purchase of the ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Edge. Several Edges and Flaws will also be available which will affect social interactions, installed systems, etc. Some crossover with Cybernetics may be possible as well, when appropriate.
Remember, Androids are virtually indistinguishable from everybody else, so think ‘Witch Hunt’ mentality when it comes to the more extremist views.
Pre-Exodus technology is highly prized by anyone who knows how to use it, and many savvy scavengers take full advantage of hidden and forgotten ‘tech. It’s even rumored that some people have managed to recover and repair old GCCS components and used them to stabilize the climate of small, localized areas.
Before the Great Exodus, weaponry of all forms had seen a sharp decline in use across the board as human relations moved distinctly in non-violent directions. However, the knowledge of the creation and use of weapons still very much exists, both in the minds of those who happen to possess it, and in a myriad of forms of data, such as ancient encyclopedias and protected data storage devices (as well as various art forms, such as stories, films, etc.). The struggle for survival has led to a resurgence of weaponry and combat skills, as well as the consequences which history shows to be inevitable when humans employ such measures (regardless of their necessity). Gunpowder and similar substances are nearly non-existent (having been replaced by more modern technology over the centuries), though it has started to become more common as knowledge of chemistry is still readily available to those who know how to find it. The Yao Hong Syndicate, in particular, is well-known for it’s use of guns, explosives, and other long-forgotten implements of war.
Some people find ways to retrofit existing technology to fulfill combat or survival roles, such as cutting lasers, drilling and mining tools, and construction equipment. Most of these weapons are difficult to make, and even harder to use, and most of the time are constructed piecemeal from whatever components are available, making universal implementation impractical at best.
Communications technology is limited. With no known usable satellites in orbit, all instant communication is handled via radio frequencies. One important discovery was made by a Biologist named Adam Hope in 2401 which has had a profound effect on communications. He had discovered a strange species of fungus which grew in abundance around old nuclear reactors and materials, and this fungus, he found, actually responded to radio waves in distinct ways. After years of research and experimentation, Hope discovered that radio signals could be broadcast over extraordinary distances, using the strange fungi as ‘repeaters’ for the signals. The fungus seems to be able to grow anywhere, and several groups of people have dedicated their lives to spreading the ‘Rad-Fungi’ across the planet. A rough estimate shows that it will take at least 500 years to achieve the necessary saturation levels of spores, and at least another hundred for natural processes to completely take over. Even at this early stage, however, the Rad-Fungi is proving to be very useful for relatively short distance communication. There is even a quasi-religion based on the spreading of this ‘miracle fungus’, though it is viewed as silly or eccentric by many.
Medicine has taken a sharp decline, of course, as knowledgeable practitioners are rare indeed. However, with much of the practical knowledge having been preserved, basic first aid and other minor medical skills are not uncommon. If you don’t live in one of the few major population centers, however, don’t expect major surgery to go particularly well.
Robotics was pervasive before the Exodus, and those with the knowledge and equipment are sometimes able to bring hundred-year-old Androids back into working order. We’ll look at Androids in more detail later on.
Transportation is often one of the easier things to obtain. Most Pre-Exodus vehicles were built with advanced fuel cells which have an approximate lifetime of 5,000 years. Military vehicles are believed to have all been destroyed or dismantled before the Exodus to help build the massive Generation Ships, as were many aircraft. Commuter and mass transit vehicles, however, sit in parking spaces, garages, storage facilities, and weed-overgrown streets all over the world. Many have become part of complex ecosystems.
During the Utopian Era, the world economy was unified and the standard of living was ‘normalized’ to a large extent. An all-electronic global currency was established and used until the Exodus, but of course the economy completely collapsed when the satellites went offline.
These days, most communities are structured around useful and productive skills, and most people don’t use any currency at all, instead preferring to barter for needed goods. However, a movement has been gaining in popularity which is changing the economic landscape in many areas. The Yao Hong Syndicate has been growing in numbers and expanding into many of the settled areas, primarily by the use of force. They bring with them a new and stable currency called the Yuan, which is a coin cast from an unknown alloy (and thus difficult to counterfeit). At the moment, the only communities which have adopted the Yuan currency are those under Yao Hong control, though the rare travelling trader will often accept them as well.
In recent years, several organizations have begun to spring up and to vie for power, economic and otherwise. One such organization has gained a strong foothold in the settled areas, the Yao Hong Syndicate. The Syndicate is loosely based on the ancient Chinese Dynasties, but their methods are more reminiscent of the Chinese Triads of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Yao Hong-controlled communities are usually overseen by one of the Syndicate’s lieutenants, called the Lao-ban. Within their designated sphere of influence, the Lao-ban are given absolute free reign, and the organization itself does not keep to any set of ‘laws’ in the traditional sense. Lao-ban are supposed to act as mediators, peacekeepers, and a local liaison to the main organization. They are expected to bring food, technology, or other items of use back to the Yao Hong as their sole duty to the Syndicate.
Surprisingly, there seems to be a strong sense of honor throughout the Lao-ban, and in-fighting and power grabs are virtually unheard-of. There are rumours that such behavior is forbidden by the Syndicate and that those who try to do so are dealt with immediately. However, the general atmosphere of a town under one Lao-ban may be dramatically different to that of another.
One primary factor of the Yao Hong Syndicate’s success and popularity is the Yuan, a universal currency which is being circulated throughout Syndicate-controlled areas. Ancient Chinese Emperors often used universal currency in order to unify the nation, and the Yao Hong are using this to their full advantage, especially with the complete collapse of the entire world economy almost 100 years ago.
Yao Hong uniforms are instantly recognizable due to the extravagant Chinese influences. <Needs More Info Here>
One of the few people on the planet who possesses the knowledge and skills required to install and maintain cybernetics is Doctor Cornelius Hunt. Years ago, when Dr. Hunt began his practice, he was targeted by the Yao Hong Syndicate as a vital resource, as the organization has acquired a large collection of cybernetics and other equipment, but has had little success thus far in employing it.
Dr. Hunt fled and managed to work in secret for many years, recruiting friends and hiring assistance whenever he could. Eventually, he and his fledgling organization, The Patients’ Protectorate, set up shop in Engelberg, Switzerland, where they are safely protected from the reach of the Yao Hong. Because of this, Engelberg has become a haven for those who have undergone cybernetic surgery, as well as those who are seeking it. Androids also are known to seek asylum in the Patients’ Protectorate, and they often bring with them crucial information and knowledge, helping to further improve the well-being of all those under Protectorate care. Dr. Hunt has a veritable army protecting the area, and the surrounding mountains keep the climate fairly stable year-round.
During the time immediately preceding and following the Exodus, many people fled underground to avoid the catastrophic climate change that was occurring. Sewers, subway systems, old military bunkers, and even caverns have become home to untold numbers of people, developing their own methods of agriculture and survival, as well as learning the intricate systems that exist under nearly every major population center. When these disparate groups came together and began working in tandem, The System was born.
“Haunts”, as these subterranean dwellers are usually called, have already begun to adapt to their new environments, such as gaining excellent night vision but making it difficult to see while above-ground in sunlight. Furthermore, some Haunts have certain types of cybernetics which help them to survive in that environment.
The Haunts have some obvious advantages, such as being virtually unaffected by the volatile climate changes above the surface; however, this is not always the case. For instance, changing weather patterns have at times carried large amounts of radioactive material from the shattered remains of Norway to other areas, contaminating the groundwater and, as a result, food supplies. All in all, though, the Haunts are very good at surviving in their chosen environment, and this has led to many complex developments in the world.
The Utopian Era saw a distinct drop in religious belief and religious influence across the globe; however, the Catholic Church maintained their foothold in Vatican City throughout, and during the days leading up to the Exodus, the Church virtually exploded with activity. Warnings about the dangers of trusting men over God, the abominations known as Androids, and other factors helped to strengthen the religious conviction and resolve among many.
After the Exodus, when people began working to maintain or rebuild their communities, the Church seemed to undergo some drastic changes. The first thing to go was the name. In it’s place now stands the new face of the Christian religion: Ordinis Sancti.
Latin for ‘Ordained by God’, this new incarnation of the Church has changed in several ways. One of the first pronouncements to come from Rome was the re-creation of the Knighthood, in order to bring law and order back to the people, and to give the Post-Exodus survivors a beacon of hope, a symbol of strength and tenacity.
Secondly, the figurehead of Ordinis Sancti is referred to as ‘Vox Dei’, or ‘The Voice of God’, and the first (and current) holder of this post is a woman known as Lady Hope.
Hatred and distrust toward Androids is a pervasive problem in the Post-Exodus world, and some Androids have taken to extremist measures, in many respects echoing the “Black Panther” movement of the 20th century.
Nomads who stay ahead of the moving desert, trade with anyone they can, and try to warn people of the desert as it moves across the Earth.
One of the more interesting (if unfortunate) side-effects of the crash of the GCCS was the development of permanent storm systems. Possibly the most devastating of these is the Moving Desert.
Ranging from 20 to 50 kilometers in diameter, this bizarre storm has moved across the face of the planet for as long as most people remember. It carries with it tons of sand and other particulate matter, with winds constantly raging within the area it encompasses. These winds, combined with the piercing sand, glass, and metal fragments, will shred most any organic matter within minutes. The storm leaves nothing behind it but skeletal ruins buried in sand.
Another seemingly permanent storm caused by the sudden downfall of the GCCS is the Bermudacane Triangle. Nobody seems to know why this gigantic hurricane seems to never move, nor has anyone discovered how or why it continues to roil on without end. Despite it’s name, the storm is actually so massive that it covers most of Florida, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Haiti, making this enormous zone completely uninhabitable and impossible to traverse.
‘The Bermudacane Triangle’, Artist’s Rendering
One of the effects that the Bermudacane Triangle has had on the surrounding areas is the introduction of a new and very deadly disease. The disease is caused by a microbial life form, which many have conjectured to originate from the bottom of the sea, and which has adapted very quickly to spread through the air. When these microbes are inhaled, they attach to the warm, salty interior of the lungs and begin siphoning saline (salt) from the body of their host. Over time, this causes a wide assortment of symptoms, including severe swelling (including swelling of the brain), muscle weakness, nausea, confusion, and more. Death comes in one of several ways. The brain may become so swollen within the braincase that it causes permanent damage. Or, the fungus-like colonies in the host’s lungs might completely obstruct oxygen flow. For the people who live and work in the affected areas, the disease works much more slowly and gradually.
Survival/Combat Knives - while these saw a nearly complete drop in circulation during the Utopian Era, many were kept as keepsakes, family heirlooms, etc. and are fairly common across the globe. Also, of all melee weapons, knives are the easiest to adapt from existing blades of various shapes and sizes.
Short / Long Swords - these are uncommon, but not unheard-of, and include a very broad range of weapons. For example, a short sword might be adapted from an old machete, or even crafted from a particularly sharp piece of metal, such as an old lawnmower blade. Long swords might be scavenged from museums, or adapted from farm equipment or other sharp objects.
Clubs - These include any short, heavy object which can be used to swing at a target in order to bludgeon it. These might be adapted from any number of items, for example a broken table leg.
Maces / Spiked Clubs - These are basically anything which could be used as a club, plus sharp pointy things. These are very easy to make and thus are extremely common. For example, a long metal pipe with steel nails fastened to the business end.
Staves / Bo Sticks - These are not commonly seen (as very few people actually know how to use them) but are nevertheless easy to adapt or make, and can have a multitude of secondary uses.
Bows - The longbow is perhaps the best-known historical ranged weapon of all time, and for good reason - it works. Bows can be scavenged from museums and homes (as most bows in the 21st century were made entirely from synthetic materials), and also can be crafted from a wide range of materials. Arrows are often made by hand, though it is still possible to find caches of 300-year-old steel arrows with plastic or metal vanes still fully intact.
Thrown Weapons - These can vary quite a bit, but are overall very common in Post-Exodus Earth due to their easy accessibility. This can include javelins, knives, darts, or any number of other items.
Air-powered Weapons - Compressed air was (and is) still very common throughout the Utopian Era and the Exodus, and thus air compressors are very easy to acquire in most places. Any number of different kinds of weapons can be made to use air, such as dart blowers, air guns, and air-propelled explosives.
Guns - Gunpowder saw a drastic decline in use over the years as humanity tended toward less violent means to resolve their differences. Thus, functioning guns and ammunition is nearly impossible to scavenge. For better or for worse, however, many people have re-discovered this simple technology from Chemistry literature and historical records. For a short time, functioning guns were scavenged from museums with completely mechanical components, but ammunition is very difficult to find and usually has to be dismantled and re-filled in order to work at all. More commonly, people are building guns from other materials and using uniform objects for ammunition, such as beads. These DIY firearms are often little more than black powder rifles, requiring a great deal of time to load and re-load.
Modified Laser Tools - It is possible to modify any of a number of laser cutting devices to emit short, high-energy bursts, rather than a constant cutting stream. Stored energy for such devices usually must also be modified to account for this, and recharging the packs takes time, thus adding the need for multiple power packs on many occasions. Most importantly, the heat which is generated by these modified devices is far beyond what was originally intended, thus requiring several seconds between each ‘shot’, otherwise the user risks overheating the weapon, sometimes even causing it to explode. The materials for these weapons are widely available, though the knowledge to weaponize them is far less common.
Other Makeshift Weapons:
Any number of various weapons could be crafted from available resources, and ultimately it is up to you and your GM to decide how to classify your weapon idea.
Steel machete with custom metal handle and weighted grip.
Blade is scavenged from agricultural equipment