Friday, 11 December 2015

NPC: Jack Buck, NHPD

Jack Buck is an inspector at the Downtown Headquarters of the New Hades Police Department.

Jack Buck is also a horrible human being. 

He is petty, childish, prone to anger explosions, a heavy drinker, an even heavier smoker. His personal hygiene can be best described as 'spotty' and his eating habits would make a hyena regurgitate.

But there is another side.

He is reasonably fair. He always protects the innocent. He prides himself of never receiving a bribe. He has a pet parrot called Silver that he adores. And he has a nephew that he dotes on.

He has been described once by Orion Grey as a 'dung covered Vietnamese water buffalo: he is big, fat, dirty and stinks; but by golly, he'll pull that plough'

He dislikes Orion. The feeling is very much mutual.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

NPC: Doctor Aether Theobald

If one had to describe Doctor Theobald in one word, the word could be mad, as he deeply deeply is such. Another, however, could be amoral. Theobald has no affiliations, no agenda, no morals to speak of. All he cares is to increase his knowledge of cybernetics and surgery, and of course the Novus.

Pay him, he will graft or install anything you like. Don't pay him and there's no deal. Here is a man of black and white, of yes and no.

In a city of greys and shadows as New Hades, some find him a welcome and refreshing new approach.

A surgeon. I am most definitely bringing the cyber-implants home to roost and I needed someone to install them. SPectacularly high Knowledge: Surgical Modification (D10), hopefully it will mean patients don't die.  

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The Tanhauser Gate

'If you come for Fun, welcome', says the sign when you enter The Gate. If you're here to find trouble, says the unofficial, non-existent sign, you came to the wrong place.

The Gate stands near the Redcrest side of Anubis Bridge. It is a multi-level arrangement of bars, dance-floors and booths, catering to one and all. Most things are in fact permitted (if not actively insisted upon) at the Gate. The only two rules are: a) consent, and b) if money changes hands, Mrs Chang takes a cut.

Mrs Chang is an elderly woman, blind (in fact, with a forehead that just keeps coming down to her nose, without even the orbits where eyes should be), but with a sense of smell and hearing that would put a pack of bloodhounds to shame. Why she was spliced like this has never been established, as such questions are..... discouraged.

With a retainer of bodyguards to make even the richest envious, she slides effortlessly around The Gate, bringing a smile or a chastisement (if such is needed).

If you need information, some fun, or a drink, The Gate is where you want, nay, need to be.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Secret

Half way into the war, in 2050, a very faint signal was detected coming from a distant asteroid, beyond the orbit of Jupiter. This nameless rock, HPL18901937 was at the time the farthest object on any interest in the System, and access to it was difficult.

A mad race started, mirroring the space race of the 1960s.

After sabotage, set-backs and back stabbing, the five major Corps, Koruachi Corps, Everleaf Group, MegaGen, Eclipse Inc and Schatten Korp arrived within a week of each other. And after some space battling, leading to a number of deaths, they decided to end the stalemate and find the source of the signal together.

They found an obelisk. It had clearly not be made by man. And it was old. The type of old that is cold to the touch, even at absolute zero. 

After 2 weeks of research, the obelisk was just that, an engraved, vaguely glowing carved rock. As interesting as a possible clue to alien intelligence might be, there was a war on.

The researchers came back to Earth, vowing to return one day.

They haven't yet.

Also, they didn't take anything with them.

And weren't changed in any way.

Character: Archetypes (Elaran Neural Parasites)

One of the most well guarded secrets of the New Hades universe is the Elaran Incident. In a nutshell, alien insects, evolving independently at an exponential rate, isolated in a remote Jupiter moon, bla bla bla.

What NO ONE knows at this stage, is that some of the Elaran insectoids have already escaped. They found a way (possibly experimenting on dead soldiers sent to destroy them) to link small larvae to the corpses' nervous system, thereby animating them. And so they did, to said soldiers, to the research scientists and to a couple of scavenging ship crews that went into Elara looking for some quick Novus. 

What these Archetypes want is still a mystery, but they are out there. They might look odd, but who doesn't these days?

An updated version of the zombie character. Stronger, slower and in need of some chemical every 24h, else, -2 to tests. Maybe without it, it goes into a frenzy and attacks friend and foe alike? Also, perhaps a -2 to CHA?

Character: The Myth (Constantina 'Tina' Bianchi)

On paper, it looked like a spectacular idea. Instead of all the work needed to resequence someone's genes and turn them into a Gen (DIVERS therapy can take months), how about a virus, encoded with upgraded genes (faster, stronger, more agile, you get the idea) injected directly into a soldiers' bloodstream. It wouldn't last long before their immune system fought it off and back into a baseline human, but until then, they would be better at everything.

It worked. Until it really didn't.

Yes, it enhanced as they wanted. Yes, it was temporary. But it destroyed the subjects' skin pigmentation, and wreaked havoc with their blood cell count. These poor people were now better than humans, but they needed constant blood transfusions and were clinically sensitive to sunlight.

Yes. For all intents and purposes, they are vampires.

It didn't take long for the young Lieutenant Bianchi to realise the possibilities of her condition. Escaping her facility she now roams the Hadean nights looking for work, and for the next pint of scarlet life force....

I just got my hands on the Horror Expansion for the Savage Worlds rules. So this character HAD to happen. It is as it says on the text above, she is faster, and stronger, but vulnerable to sunlight and with an addiction to consuming blood every 24h. Without it, all her rolls are at -1 penalty.

NPC: The Darkness

We've all seen the footage a million times. It went beyond viral, it went epidemic. It's CCTV footage, from somewhere in the Docklands. It seems to show about 10 people (the footage is fairly dark and grainy) having an argument. They would later be identified as members of the McDougal and the Moretti crime families, a deal, a fight, a trade, who knows.

Then, 2:21 minutes into the footage, one of the McDougal party, Sam, is lifted into the air. Slowly, clutching his throat. Guns are unholstered, people get agitated, start looking above for drones. One man actually grabs Sam's feet and tries to pull him down.

After about 10 seconds, his head is violently twisted about sideways. He's now clearly dead, and his body falls limp to the ground. Shots are fired and the footage ends.

This would be forever simply the common enough footage of the underworld being weird. If not for a hacker that decided to enhance the man's neck.

 And there, you can see something. What depends on who you are. If you are that inclined, you can see just a plain shadow, due to the multiple light sources in that dock. But if you squint JUST right, the main shadow right across the man's throat is unmistakably a claw. A big one at that.

The other men (the ones that survived the fight) claim they saw nothing. Just shadows. And with that, a legend was born. People have it a name and threat little children with it. 'If you don't behave The Darkness comes for you'. Even among adults it is now common to hear 'the thief went in and out like he was The Darkness'.

Ever since that grainy footage, around 10 bodies have been found, killed in the same way. Men and women, all hard criminals, their necks snapped like twigs. In at least two other instances, there were dozens of witnesses. And always, ALWAYS, in the dark or at night. In places filled with shadows and darkness.

Something, it seems, is out there.

This one is a silly idea. A failed stealth operative experiment left a man (an android? a Gen?) able to fuse his body colour and texture with ambient shadows. Who knows what this would do to a persons' sanity? Hence New Hades newest vigilante....

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Characters: The Cloud (Ralph 'Smoke' Harrison)

Once upon a time, there was a man. He was very bright, a doctor. He wanted to help people. He wanted to make them better. So he made these tiny machines that could fix people from the inside all the way out. And people were very happy.

One day, a messenger arrived, from a nearby kingdom (a message from Koruachi Corps) that said 'Come work for us, we'll give all the gold you need for your machines!'

So the healer went, and all was well.

But there was a problem.

The machines could heal or destroy. And the other kingdom was only really interested on one of them. The wrong one.

They tried to shut him down, and push him away. He fought back, and in the cross fire, a number of unprogrammed nanobots got free, and spilled over the man.

And they disassembled him. And he died.

He awoke in the same place, 2 days later. Naked, the lab empty and cold, all his research long gone. The nanobots had memorised his composition, and brought him back, slowly, cell by cell, particle by particle.

He could now partially command the nanobots keeping him alive. He could heal with them, as he wanted, or he could destroy, as they wanted. He found he was angry. And it was high time he did something about it.

My first attempt at a really exotic offensive power. Ralph has the Burst power, which allows for a area effect blast cone (the nanobots would attack everything in that area, like a flamethrower). Also, I needed a healer, so i gave him really good healing stats (nanobot-based, D8-D10). I also consider the nanobots as melee weapons (they probably won't care how far away the adversary is), so i gave them STR+D6 melee. I'm tempted to give him a very basic ability to change his face and skin colour, but am still debating it (too powerful?).

What are the limits....?

One of the key aspects of New Hades and the world it inhabits is the visible lack of oversight by institutions. The United Nations are gone, and so are most of the nations that composed it. The Corps have moved into this ecological niche, but capitalism being what it is, ultimately, unless you live in a place with a severe and proper policing system and/or governmental structure, you can do pretty much whatever you want.

I expect this would be generally a bad idea, as technology without oversight is a recipe for disaster. The solution for this, I believe is dual: a) people are pretty sure that another War will wipe out humanity, so everyone is playing nice, and b) the Corps hate each other so very very much. Sure, so you found a nameless rock in the middle of the Asteroid Belt and are there developing killer nanobots. You need parts, life support, equipment. A few people will know where you are, and the Corps have ears EVERYWHERE.

The old saying Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? asks 'Who will watch the watchman? I postulate that if the thieves are watching each other like hawks, one might not even need watchman....

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Four Rivers

I was born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal. It is a city build upon, surrounded by, and influenced by, a river, the Tagus. It is almost inconceivable to anyone to imagine one without the other. From it came food, cargo, people, and, on a couple of occasions, invading armies.

I decided to base New Hades around a river, or rather, four: The Cerebus, The Styx, The Phobos and The Deimos. In my mind, the first two flow from North to South, merge briefly and split into the The Phobos and The Deimos.

I thought that it would be interesting to keep things rooted in the past. There is a lot of material that will be coming from orbit and other planets, but most materials that are not made in the city, will be coming in by cargo ship. Normal, bog standard (maybe droid or drone driven) float-y ships. 

So The Docklands and The Factory District will be a hub of activity, 24/7, moving cargo around as fast as it comes in. There are also a number of smaller docks across the river in Rattown, where smaller, darker ships can be found. They might have come from Rust or further afield. What they are carrying or what they are there to collect is a mystery....

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The mean streets of New Hades

One of the oldest cities we know about lies in the Pakistan-Indian border, in an area called the Indus Valley. It is called Mohenjo Daro, it's about 5000 years old, and its complexity would put most towns up to the late 20th century (and in some parts of the world to this very day) to shame. It had roads and streets (some with asphalt), boxed in between pavements. It had some squares, defined neighbourhoods, and what might have been squares or markets.

My point is this: we've been building our cities in the same way for millennia. It works. We're happy with the layout. So I imagine another 60 years won't make too much of a difference.

In New Hades, the roads will be kept up, at least in the richest parts of town. Same with pavements. A series of elevated or tunnel roads will bypass the centre of town, and allow for de-congestion. Bar the holographic signs, the Gens walking around, and the occasional maitnence droid, New Hades could be any major metropolis, today.

Also there will be one or two hovercars. Because, you know, you HAVE to.

Hovercars will be common, but expensive. The emergency services will have some, some rich people will have some, but most of the traffic will be on land.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Singing (and walking and shooting and dying, and....everything) in the rain.

In Blade Runner's Los Angeles, it rains a lot. And I mean, A LOT. In the original novel, Do androids Dream Of Electric Sheep, by Philip K. Dick, the author mentions on a number of occasions that the ecosystem has pretty much collapsed (leading to the death of most animals), and I've always believed that Ridley Scott (the director) chose to represent this pollution-covered, ecosystem-ravaged world, by simply showing rain pretty much throughout the movie, with a couple of exceptions: the main aerocar trip, showing off futuristic L.A., and at the end, showing actually sunshine, and mayhap a beam of hope for the characters?

But I digress.

Rain. I expect New Hades has a lot of it. It might simply be on of those chiches the cinema has introduced us to, but there you go. That said, in this new world, big parts of the globe have been at the very least devastated, if not made outright uninhabitable. So I do have a bit of ecosystem destruction, which I firmly believe would disrupt weather patterns. Add El Nino, global warming, and almost a century of not giving a monkey about the planet, as there were more pressing things on the menu (like that massive War), and the planet has survived, but not by much.

And it rains. A LOT.

Characters: The Puppet Master (Tegan 'TK' Keath)

Drafted in the latter days of the War, Tegan is a Drone Jockey (also known as a Rigger). Her 3D visualisation of the universe has been enhanced, and she has a Level 2 cyber implant, that allows her to mentally and instantaneously direct and command Drones - robotic constructs as varied as small helicopters, spheres or full blown attack vehicles.

These days, although the military work is not as frequent (there IS always some Corps vs Corps skirmish somewhere), there is plenty of independent missions to go round. To extend your perception onto a small (or big) inanimate construct is as helpful ans one might think, allowing to do stealthy recon or knocking-doors-down-and-killing-everyone-in-the-room with the same effort. It's just a matter of Novus and of how big your drone is.

Simple human, with no physical enhancements, but really high driving, allowing her to control drones. I've started her with 2, a small well armoured helicopter, and a stealthy, less well armed recon sphere.

Characters: The Alien (Merlin 'Wizard' Ryant)

In any sensible set of definitions, Merlin is an alien. Born and raised on Port Armstrong on the Moon, the young colonist quickly found that the impositions put upon him in those early days of the history of the colony were too restrictive for him. Everyone had to work. Everyone had to pull their weight. This system of affairs was not what he wanted of his life, if indeed he wanted anything. 

It all changed on the morning of the 22nd of February, 2079. 

A micrometeorite hit one of the cities' main blast doors controls, a billion to one chunk of bad luck. The computers started to open the airlocks, wrongly believing the city was evacuated and essential maintenance was under way.

People were running around in a panic, tens of thousands of them were minutes away from a gasping death. And in that moment, Merlin the idiot, Merlin the 'waste of life support', hacked the system. He didn't succeed, of course, the computer was much too powerful, but it did make it take precious seconds trying to ICE (Intrusion Countermeasures Electronic) him, seconds that the actual rescue team used to shut everything down. 

Merlin saved everyone. And no one ever found out.

Becoming something of a tech wiz, he turned his life around, working first on the Moon, then on cargo ships and every now and again on Earth. When on the Homeworld, Merlin needs to wear an exoskeleton to compensate for his fragile low-G muscles.

Another test character. He's just a normal human (with a couple of low-G Hindrances) with a gun (D6), but his Repairing and Hacking skills are huge (D8-D10).

Saturday, 21 November 2015


From: MegaGen Security Council
To: Board of Administrators, MegaGen
Re: The Elara Incident


Although the outlines of the Elara Incident have been made known to you, we believe the scale of the issue wasn't made apparent, on our Tokyo meeting. That being the case, we wanted to clarify a number of issues:
  1. Our mines of Jupiter's moon Elara were rich in exotic metals, but too unproductive to be of financial benefit
  2. The Proteus Project was initiated in February 2055: instead of designing a creature for mining (like we have done in Mine 33 on the Moon), it was decided to design a creature that could mutate at an advanced rate, keeping an imperative to extract minerals. It was expected that the creatures thus produced would be much more adapted to the singular environment of Elara (low gravity, magnetic field disruption, toxic mine gases) much faster and cheaper.
  3. The Proteus creature was a vague slug/insectoid, hermaphroditic, and had only 2 main imperatives encoded:
    1. To extract metals
    2. To lay eggs once a month. These eggs (5 on average) were designed to be as follows: 2 clones of the parent, and 3 radically mutated organisms.
  4. For the fist 3 years progress was slow, but as the first results were coming in, an attack by The Everleaf Group killed the research crew. TEG decided not to claim the mines. A series of bigger attacks to more important installations kept our attention elsewhere. We assumed the organisms were dead or dying.
  5. In 2068, we tried to reclaim the mines and see what had happened to the project. It was then discovered the organisms had evolved into vicious insectoids. After a protracted clean up operation, the mines were considered safe, and research resumed.
  6. in 2074, a surprise attack by even better armed creatures wiped out the research facility. The creatures had learned from the previous engagement and had evolved a simple - possibly pheromone-based - link, to maximise battle planning.
  7. 3 more missions have been sent to Elara, all wiped out in hours by the creatures. The latest picture obtained of one of the creatures is reproduced below.


The Elaran mines and research station should be considered out of limits to all. It is unknown the current development level of the creatures, and any massive mobilisation from our part would reveal the project to the public and rival Corps. This committee is aware that every day that passes, is a few hundred millennia of evolution for the creatures, but is also aware of the power of said creatures.

We await your decision.

MegaGen Security Council President, Finn Douglas
Polar Alliance

Space and how to get there.

Ok, here goes, my first major change regarding my original ideas towards the NH universe: there's a lot more activity in Space than I previously thought.


I imagine that although big cities like Port Armstrong on the moon, and Ophir Station on Mars will not be very common, there will be some human presence in most things all the way to, and including, Jupiter's orbit.

Reasons why this is possible:
  1. Fusion power - at some point during the War, we cracked laser-initiated fusion. We can now power a city with a pond-full of water rich in Helium3/Deuterium mix. Spaceships with Fusion drives can accelerate/decelerate continuously at just below 0.1 G
  2. Nanotech: within reason, you can disassemble an object and re-use its component elements. Life support has been enhanced by a factor of 10
  3. Food: The Development of the AlgSoy hybrid makes it possible to generate calories, proteins and vitamins by using little more than recycled waste. According to some smaller colonies, you won't die, you'll just wish you were dead.
  4. War: The technology developed in the War made space vessels safe, common, boring, almost. Longest travel time at the moment with Fusion Drives (4th gen) is just over a month from Earth to Callisto (shortest possible distance, orbital paths will vary).
  5. Money: There's a lot of expensive stuff out there, these days, Helium3 mines, exotic transition metals, long-chained molecular oddities in dead comets. All you have to do is go there, and pray no one has found it first.
So, Space is busy. But there's also A LOT of it.

A number of stations in Earth's orbit act as docks, linking big ships to passengers and cargo, ferried from the planets. In New Hades, it all goes through the McKinley Rocheford Spaceport, at the north-east end of the Factory district, bordering a bit of the Scraplands. Here, spaceplanes of all sizes shuttle people and things up into orbit, and bring much more down. Its a brand new world, and everyone wants a piece of it.

The Hadeans.

Again and again I keep coming back to Terry Pratchett. Something he wrote regarding his iconic city of Ankh-Morpork (from the Discworld series). He wrote (and I paraphrase): 'I didn't like those other fantasy cities in other books, they looked too much like a play - everything was static, mid air, until you opened the book and the action started. I wanted Ankh-Morpork to feel real, like it was running in the background, and you just happened to catch it at that particular time...'

That is what I want to do with New Hades (in my incompetent way). A city that will always be ticking away at the back, running, plotting, scheming, living. And, although the mercs that are the PC's and the NPC's will be the main characters, one cannot forget the fact this is all happening in the foreground of a living, bustling city of at least 8 to 10 million people.

So I mentioned the poo. I've mentioned the links to the rest of the world. I've mentioned the food (The AlgSoy plants). And now, the people.

Identities have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Your country, or your city are not necessarily the strongest links they once were. That said, there is a measurable urban pride from your average Hadean, the City survived the War and thrived, and it is a place where you can get up to anything (only barred by law enforcement and the laws of physics and not even the former).

Who is the average Hadean? I imagine young looking - either actually young or with some cosmetic gene splicing - with at least a Level 1 cyber implant (like we today would have a smartphone), with some political concerns, but not overly so, and a follower of the Corps, (who everyone knows are evil, but hey, whatta you gonna do, right?) They will be fairly Matrix literate, and tolerant - when you see someone with scales and horns walking down the street, you may be frightened and even scream. When it turns out it's Mr. Wilson, who lives in 342B, helps the building's kids with maths and is a tenor in the local choir.... That makes you re-evaluate things.

And of course, as the story develops, more of them will be known....

Friday, 20 November 2015

Character: The Blade (Yoshihiro 'Hiro' Kusatsu)

Hiro was a munitions officer in the War..... Until the day his wares blew up around him. Fortunately, he was attached to a Koruachi Corps. unit, and the Corps Docs were keen to try out the second generation cyber implants.

Which they did.

Not necessarily enhanced, Hiro was now tougher and more resilient. Most of his body is now in some way armoured. He was trained in melee fighting, as he was now the perfect human(ish) shield.

Eventually rotating the out of the army he became a merc. His weapon of choice became a giant vibro-sword, which as you can imagine, makes him a nightmare in melee fighting.

A simple character, with no long range abilities, or particularly fine tuned proficiencies, but very well armoured (+4 all over) and with a wicked vibro-sword (Str+d8+2, AP 4).

Thursday, 19 November 2015

NPC: The Happy Gang

There are mercs that die on the first job. There are those that find that ditching security guards and cyber hounds is not what they wanted to do with life. And then there are those that survive. And survive. And survive.

They become Legendary. The people you call to kill a president or a Corps exec. Or to infiltrate a facility that does not exist. Or invade a space station on a decaying orbit onto the Moon, stealing some data and covering their tracks by detonating the station's plasma core seconds before impact (remember the High Sky that hit the Moon in '79? The one whose positioning engines failed and it crashed? Remember how they said it was such a tragic 'accident'? Yep.)

The Happy Crew is one of those teams. In order, they are: Ugly (ex soldier, disfigured face, never takes heavy combat armour helm off, melee), Rachel (sharpshooter/sniper and the Face), Nighshade (Decker), Panda (Gunslinger. targeting helmet), and Skully (heavy weapons and drones).

If you have a problem, if no one else can help you and if you can find them..... and if you have an ungodly amount of Novus.... The Happy Crew are who you need.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Character: The Idol (Helen 'Bam-Bam' Batson)

After the redrawing of border lines, all over the globe, one of the things that keeps uniting people is music. Singers and songwriters are made and broken overnight, in a spectacularly Darwinian environment.

Bam-Bam came from nowhere and took the Solar System by storm. She is spectacularly popular with all ages and backgrounds, her music a mixture of New Celtic Rock and Trance / Chillout. Her fans number in the millions, and hers is a face known in every house.

What most people will not know is her night job. Bam-Bam is a sharpshooter, a sniper, and a good one at that. Why she chose this side gig is unknown, but she is well known to hold a grudge.

Bam-Bam is possibly a character which is too bloated, or maybe not. Her Charisma is through the roof, her Shooting is huge, but she is meh at most else. Her gun does a stupid amount of damage, but only fires every other turn. I'll look forward to see how she performs in a game.


I got to think more about rubbish and waste after the last post (Nanotech). So we now know that New Hades processes it's waste using nanotechnology, and re-uses a lot of it.

But who runs the bin collectors?

I imagine that the city is ruled by a Council, with representatives from Corps, Small Business, the Military, the NHPD, The Crimsons and elements of the civilian population at large. The Corps will, of course, dominate most of it, but they will allow the others to sort the day-to-day running of the city.

I just realised how similar to the Greek city states of old New Hades is becoming. Cyclic History indeed!

Sunday, 15 November 2015


It's hard for me to talk about nano-tech, as I worked next door to a nanotech research group for 5 years, and I know where the technology is at the moment.

Robots? Nope. A lever. A pair of crude gears, if you're lucky.

In any event, lets put the goggles of suspension of disbelief and talk about NanoTech. 

Nanotechnology was used in the War, as a weapon and as a tool and is now very well established. New materials are built from the bottom-up from elemental building blocks by machines little bigger than cells. And these machines can also be programmed for destruction, instead of creation (both as weapons, destroying organisms from the inside-out, but also as a major player in the breaking down, recycling and re-using of materials). They can also be used to heal, repairing cells individually. 

Mapping the World

I'm being purposefully vague about the borders of this New World in 2088. Not only do I realise that I would have to plan the geo-political earthquakes of the war, but also how that would reflect on populations. So for now, it stays vague.

Some countries will have stayed the same, the ones with long histories and stability of ethnicity and culture. Some will have fragmented, some would have coalesced.

New Hades is, for all intents and purposes, a city-state. I expect that beyond it, there is no other city of that size for hundreds of miles (maybe Viken in the north is the closest). Now this doesn't not mean a Mad Max-like wasteland in between, just smaller villages, smaller towns, connected by old trade and cultural routes. I expect that Western Europe will have been heavily Balkanised after the War, and your average 'country' is now much smaller that it was.

And of course, although another global conflict is to be avoided at all costs, there are dozens  of small skirmishes between countries and/or Corps happening at any given time

The rest of the World? We'll have to see, won't we....?

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Covenant for Universal Unity (The Crimsons)

Religion is a tricky subject in 2088. Some religions struggled during the War, some thrived. In the War's anvil that was Western Europe, most religions reinvented themselves, as the faithful were exposed daily to a Hell worse than any subterranean lake of brimstone.

One organisation that appeared apparently from nowhere was the Covenant for Universal Unity. It could easily have disappeared in a year or two if not for their message: 'Put these Crimson Robes On. Do Good. Help Others. Hear Others. Heal Suffering. Who You Were is Not Important'

Within a decade, the Crimsons (named after the original colour of their robes, although with time, they go rusty brown) were in every battlefield, in every city, helping, healing, hearing. By War's end, they could have been the most important political entity outside the Corps.

But they continued simply to do their work. Apparently secular, some people question their unflinching kindness (Too good to be true???) but one cannot disagree with their actions or philosophy. 

Characters: The Oddity (Talanie 'Tala' Minnins)

Thought, consciousness, reason, whatever you want to call it, are so-called emergent properties, insomuch as there are no clear physical explanation for them, you just make a complex enough nervous system, and they are just there, they emerge.

Tala is one of these wonders.

A quick (and simple) genetic resequencing to improve her memory left her with an interesting side effect. Something no one would believe and something Corps would kill for.

Tala is, for all intents and purposes, a telepath.

She found this out soon after her treatment, and has kept it secret ever since. Tala is a part-time writer and high-level division leader for Infinity Logistics, and on a good day, she 'overhears' enough criminal and corrupt thoughts to feed a lifetime of information-gathering and prison time.

She became an information broker, selling and trading titbits of information, always careful to keep herself in the shadows.

Some fight the corruption of the Corps from the outside, with guns and explosions. Some do it from the inside, with a smile.

A test character. Gave her the Arcane background (Psionics) to see how a telepath would work in New Hades.

Characters: The Rat (Evelynn ‘Elf’ Kniffin)

For your average Hadean, The Scraplands are as close to a dystopia as you can reach. These people don't know Below.

Centred around Old Hades and Rattown, a huge, multi-level network of tunnels (some the size of a dog, some old Tube tunnels, some old shopping areas the size of caverns) spreads out throughout the city. This is truly the end of the road. If you find yourself Below, there is quite usually no way back. A century of pollution and discarded Gens have bred and mutated down there, and a lot of sections are about as safe as diving into a pool of broken glass.

So when a toddler was found crying, wondering the corridors aimlessly, her lifespan could be measured in seconds.

The reverse turned out to be true.

A lot of the denizens of this forgotten place had cut their ties with the world above: light, innocence, beauty. The little girl (clearly a Hybrid, a product of the coupling of two Gens) reminded them they were still alive, and they were still human.

Evelynn grew up Below. She learned which tunnels led where, she was taught to read and write by insane scientists, how to fight by burned out soldiers, how to hunt by packs of cyber-rats (most likely a failed experiment), how to be stealthy by malfunctioning infiltration robots. Protected by the community who adopted her as a mascot, she thrived, eventually becoming one of the best smugglers in town. If you need to move stuff around, without the Corps or anyone else finding out, she's the person to find. She adopted one of the cyber-rats as a pet.

This one was a personal request. I made her small, elfish, and great in a scrap. I like that she will have access to a network of people that love here, and are also the lowest of the low (and therefore invisible).

Friday, 13 November 2015

Gen; Noun, coloquial, plural Gens

Gen; noun, colloquial, plural Gens

  • Any of an almost infinite number of living organisms modified and/or created from an 'empty' genetic template, usually using the DIVERS technology, developed by MegaGen in 2059. As of time of writing (2088), it is possibly to choose an (as mentioned above) a  blank template (usually but not exclusively the genetic code of the sea slug Nembrotha aurea) and then to add any and all desired characteristics. Although developing high-intelligence/sentient constructs is not only illegal but highly frowned upon, it would be theoretically, possible. Size is also a factor, with constructs being limited to anywhere between an ant and a small elephant. 
  • The term is also used to describe heavily changed humans, usually derogatorily. 

NPC: Robert 'Tiny' McDonald

What do you do, post War, when you've been genetically resequenced to be 2m tall, and with a muscle density twice as high as that of normal humans? You graft some horns, change your eyeball colour and become hired muscle. Tiny is something of an aberration, an anomaly: a well-spoken, kind soul, that survived the horrors of the War more or less intact, in the body of a fairytale beast. He is very active in the NeoHipHop circuits of Rattown. You'll find him around town, either as hired muscle or going to one of his DJ’ing gigs. There are stories of him doing some Wetworks in the past, but these are unconfirmed.  Either your best friend, or a haunting nightmare.

The Boys (and Girls) in Blue: New Hades Police Department

It is a commonly mentioned fact that the NHPD is under a short leash, held by the Corps. This might or might not be true, but, taking into consideration that a lot of the men and women of the Force are either ex-soldiers or had military training, and are kitted out in Corps-grade gear, one defies them to one's peril. Their take on the universe might be linear, their behaviour has been described as brutal, but they are still bloody good at what they do. In the lighter parts of town, one can walk around fearing little. In the darkest parts of town....

The Rattlesnakes are the NHPD Special Intervention Teams. For the rest of the city, it might be the last thing they see on this plane of existence. No one from the public has ever seen a helmet-less Rattlesnake, so stories abound. In any case, they are dealers of swift punishment, and are only deployed as a last resort.

NPC: The Guang Long (Neon Dragons): Naomi Lee, Kento Han

The Neon Dragons are an up-and-coming biker gang, based out of Chinatown. Ruthless, deadly efficient, and with the backing of The Triads, they have written a bloody history in a few brief years. A recent war with the Moretti crime family threatened to escalate into all-out war, but the revelation of a hand-written (and therefore unhackable) Moretti ledger of bribes and Wetworks made the mafia family go underground for the time being. Riding this reputation and success wave, time will tell if the Dragons can hold on to this height.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

NPC: Weylyn O'Hoolhan a.k.a. Neon Nelly

Weylyn is a recent addition to the streets of New Hades. She claims to come from somewhere 'up North', which can mean anything, from Viken, to the Polar Cities, to one of the Habitats in Earth orbit. A mercenary, she does not get bogged down in stale and boring events, instead thriving on the heat of the action, choosing assignments and contracts based not on money or difficulty, but on how exciting they might be. Known as a woman of passions, she seems to have a new love interest every 2.7 days (people have actually done the maths). If you have the Novus, you could not ask for better backup. If she's hunting you, may your Gods - if any - help you.

NPC: Maxton 'Bulb' Edison

One can usually see Bulb coming a mile away. In the streets of New Hades nothing is really taboo, you can easily see NeoNaturists walking around technically naked, or mercenaries wearing borderline power armour, but even in this milieu, an open vest, spiky orange hair and high tech visors makes people look twice, if briefly. Bulb is what happens to street urchins when they grow up with a mild drug problem, a number of incipient psychosis, a love of technology and absolutely no morals. His brain, to quote an acquaintance 'is like a bag of rabid mice'. You would call Bulb for information, if you have no other choice. You would call Bulb if you need a weapon and you have no other choice. You would not call Bulb in any other situation.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

NPC: Ivan Ivanovich Kuznetsov, a.k.a. Crazy Ivan

Ivan Ivanovich was born is Little Moscow, a Russian/Slavic enclave to the west of Old Hades. A gifted child, his abilities with weapons and hardware were apparent from an early age, and by his early teens he was running with the Bratya'Volk (The Wolf Brothers), a small but influential gang. A deal gone bad and a stint in prison later, he decided to go 'clean' and make neutrality and quality his keywords. From his shop, he sells weapons, computers, programs, ammunition and - occasionally - information to all who can pay. If you can't, well, deals can always be reached. If you start trouble, that's what Igor is there for. You know Igor? Yeah, the polar bear in the cage. Yep, the one with the cyber implant in its skull. No, I also have no idea what it does. 

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Neighbourhoods

  • Sawyer Square (North West): One of the older parts of town clustered around the titular Sawyer Square, one of the biggest open air areas in town. In the middle there is a statue to someone named Sawyer, that no one remembers and no one actually cares about. Although not as old as Old Hades, it is somewhat dilapidated and run down, where someone might end up if you only have a handful of Novus in your pocket.

  • Seren Street (West): The continuation of the West conurbation, it would be simply an extension of Sawyer Square, if not for the Bazaar, a miles long road of sellers, shops and stalls. If you have the Novus, you can find it here.

  • South Kew (South West): One of the latest major Corps investments in the city, South Kew saw massive relocations and improvements. It is now a place of expensive shops, glittering hotels and upper middle class buildings of chrome and glass. It gets much of its energy, paradoxically, from the money pouring out of the Bazaar (whose southern reach borders South Kew).

  • Corpville (Centre West): If there is a gleaming heart to New Hades, it is here. The Corps reign supreme. The streets are clean, the Corps' security details patrol the area, there's police everywhere. The shops are expensive, the food is gourmet, there are busy people moving billions of Novus everywhere you look. Most MegaCorps have their headquarters (or flagship buildings) in this area. This is where the money lives.

  • Downtown (Centre): An extension of Corpville, but without the Corps, and with much more public influence. Most salaryman will live here. Posh, upscale, but without the technocratic / rampant capitalism trappings.

  • HighRise (Centre): Technically still a part of Downtown, but with the tallest buildings in the city, spires of chrome and glass reaching for the stars.

  • Rattown (South): Originally a slum of Old Hades, this neighbourhood developed and grew as an organic entity, and now could almost be called a city in its own right. An area of buildings seemingly budding off and leaning into each other. It is a place of narrow streets and shady deals, of criminals and outlawed scientists. A lot of the Old Hades service corridors, tube networks and sewers (all out of comission) still exist, and are simply called Below. The Corps let it all be, for the influence and money that gets moved around. Whatever deal you need, you can find it here.

  • Old Hades (South): The original city, whose name is now lost to history and the War. A place of crumbling 19 and 20th century buildings and even older churches. Similar in atmosphere and philosophy to Sawyer Square, but older, falling apart and without the charm (!)

  • Little Moscow (South West): As the name implies, a Russian / Slavic enclave. Should be very much more dangerous, but people here value business too much. Here you can find some of the last surviving hand-craft item shops in the city. Rich people from Downtown, or poor people from neighbouring Old Hades, if you have the Novus, the artisans here will make anything you wish.

  • Chinatown (North): Founded by a convoluted mass of Far-east Asian refugees, fleeing the waves of destruction that followed the founding of the Chinese Empire in 2042. Mostly a services, shopping and eating area, it keep deep links to The Empire (something the Corps crave) and with Rust, downriver. The place to go for some cheap and filling hot noodles.

  • Arkham Island (North East): Possibly the most difficult area of the city to define or pin down, no shinning core, no main ethnicity, just a melting pot of activities and cultures

  • Westside (North East): Named for Jeremiah West (an american rebel from the 2020s) and not the compass point, Westside is a middle / working class area. Some light industry dots the landscape, mainly made up of decent apartment blocks and the occasional shopping area.

  • The Sprawl (Centre East): When sci fi writters in the 20th century thought of the future, this is what they dreamt of. The Sprawl is the high tech core of New Hades, new programs, drugs and living things are pumped out as fast as the public can order them. Giant screens and neon signs light up the raining landscape, maintenance droids advertise anything you can think of. If there is a heart filled with light and hope to New Hades, this one is it. Just don't ask what happens behind the lights.

  • Docklands (South East): Being only 2 hours away from the North Sea, sea and river trade are the arteries of New Hades. Most of the cargo gets moved into smaller ships offshore (or unloaded in Rust) and fed into the Docklands. Containers everywhere, giant cranes doing a mad dance, moving millions of tons of produce. Not the safest of areas, but you can usually find stuff at a discount. 

  • Factory Sector (South East): The muscles of New Hades, the core of its heavy industry. Where the AlgSoy tanks are, and anything and everything bigger than a car is made. A quiet and dangerous place for the unthinking visitor, there are many alleyways behind warehouses and there is hardly anyone out and about....

  • Scraplands (Far South East): As close to a dystopia as you get in New Hades. This area used to be storage for the Factory Sector, until the Storms of '55 ripped through it, dumping most of the containers onto the river, and downstream (eventually becoming Rust). What was left were destroyed buildings and rotting smashed containers, not even worth the price of the metal scrap. Rumours abound of old underground assembly lines snaking through the underground, rabbit warren-like.

  • Redcrest, Brightgate, Ravenglass: Three 'empty' locations, with nothing really there at the moment, awaiting a narrative to make them shine....

There is a saying amongst old Hadeans: 'Poorness goes: Seren, Sawyer, Old Hades, Rattown. When you can't go further down, you're in the Scraplands'.

Monday, 9 November 2015

'If you like New Hades, why not visit.....'

Other geographical places of interest that might become important later in the game, or might get referenced by NPC's:

Rust (or Rust Town, Rustville, and many others, no official naming)
Rust sits about 2 hours down The Phobos from New Hades, where it finally meets the North Sea. Originally, during the Storms of '55, hundreds of metal containers were washed downstream from the Scraplands, ending up at this beach. Refugees quickly lay claim to these, and turned into something that could theoretically be called a settlement. There is no law, no rules, but it just seems to work. Things are kept low-tech on purpose, to keep the Corps at bay. As a neutral port, and maritime gateway to New Hades, it works splendidly.

The Adventure
A two miles-long excavated asteroid, The Adventure is a O'Neill cylinder, a space station in the shape of a long cylinder, filled with air, and rotating to simulate gravity. The inhabitants live on the inside surface, that has grasslands, fields and water features, simulating an Earth-like habitat. At the moment, The Adventure and its still incomplete sister ship, The Wisdom are in low Earth orbit, but with plans of moving it to other places in the system. It the crown jewel of Eclipse, Inc.

Viken was built in neutral ground in Scandinavia, with people from a lot of neighbouring countries. In common, they had their neutrality and wish to be left alone, or, if not possible, to not make things worse. They quickly became the finantial and trade hub for what is left of Western Europe, and a major link to CenEuro (the political union of central European states). With no war, minimal Corp influence and neutrality, it is today one of the richest and most peaceful places on Earth

New York (The Big Corpse, The Rotting Apple)
After the Black Spot epidemic of 2032 and the subsequent evacuation, New York was never the same again. The Storms of '55 further damaged the infrastructure to a point where the city was deemed non-recoverable by the Corps. Nothing is currently known about it: state of decay, inhabitants or structural stability.

Atlantica (New Atlantis, SeaTown)
A series of floating facilities off the Western European coast. Of different sizes, purposes and intentions, they are often referred to collectively.

New Lusitania (The Billion Isles, The Billions)

The accidental detonation of an experimental Peterson Heavy industries mega-weapon caused havoc in the northern parts of Portugal and Spain. Although the damage to the geological coastline was extensive, for reasons unknow the ecosystem bounced back in a mere decade. The Billions are now some of the richest fishing fields in the world and are dotted with dozens of both big and small villages.

No one would have believed, a mere 50 years before, that the capital of Chad would be on the richest and more affluent places on Earth. Saved from some of the worst horrors of the War, by both centrality and lack of high-tech targets, the country reinvented itself as a safe haven. Its military was redeployed simply on border patrol. Once a stable core had been established, it expanded, linking together a number of other African countries into AfriCap. Though by no means an utopia, and with considerable Corps influence, it is still a relatively safe and please place.

Shackleton Base
Whilst Selene City focus on connecting with other Solar System locations, and Port Armstrong is the heavy industry / food production site, Shackleton base is without a doubt the New Frontier of Near-Earth space. Underneath this Lunar South Polar crater there are billions of tons of ice, unusually rich in Helium-3 (the isotope used in the ubiquitous fusion reactors). Any miner from the Old American West in the 1850s would recognise this place instantly: rough miners, underground shantitowns appearing overnight, illegal mining operations. Eclipse, Inc. rules with an iron fist, but as long and the quotas of mined ice are kept, they are happy to turn a blind eye.

The Takai Unmei (High Destiny)

The apple in Koruachi Corps. eye. A giant space station, in low Earth orbit. According to the public blueprints, it is the smallest space-borne vehicle to be self sufficient in oxygen, water and food.