By Fur and Fang
Creation Rules (unfinished)
House Rules (unfinished)
Psychomancy, or The “Hours” (unfinished)
The Thirteen Pillars Region (unfinished)
The Widow’s Fangs (unfinished)
Campaign Music (unfinished)
Party Sidequests (unfinished)
Culture Special Topics (unfinished)
Basic Setting Synopsis:
In the late 23rd century, the human race had perfected genetic engineering and nanotech – able to wipe out all illness with the former, on the verge of being able to create anything it needed using the latter. In short, humans nearly accomplished a utopia in the more civilized regions of the world and could finally solve any humanitarian crisis in the more unfortunate regions. At least, in theory. The human race still could not overcome its ego problem, particularly being unable to ferret out power-hungry dictators and corrupt politicians, nor solve its petty fights over religion. Just as major world powers were about to succeed in overthrowing a particularly religious dictator (records of the past do not say who), the dictator’s agents hacked into defense grids around the world, triggering nuclear and nanite bombs across continents. The ensuing war, the War of the End, brought global civilization crashing down and caused untold loss of life.
That was almost three centuries ago.
Now, in the 26th century, civilization had recovered to some degree. The human race, however, would not play any part of it – they had been rendered functionally extinct by the War of the End, because thanks to the nanite bombs, what few humans actually survived were now transformed into animal mutants, with instincts to match. The first century of this new existence was difficult on the survivors, but more and more, they came to grips with their newfound instincts and rebuilt what they had lost, recovering technology that had been lost under the devastation of the war. While the mutants have not fully brought technology back to the heyday of the humans, they have at least gotten to the level where proper globalization could begin – the late 1980s. Sporadic technology from beyond this time is found regularly and sometimes it is studied, sometimes it is guarded jealously.
There was another effect of the nuclear and nanite devastation. The widespread destruction weakened a hitherto unknown barrier around the world, letting pockets of a mystical energy commonly known as ‘aether’ seep in to various plants and animals. At the same time, the nanomachines allowed some mutants to tap into both the aether of the world and their own biological processes. Unusually, this power was immediately welcomed in the wake of the devastation. Originally known as “magic” and sometimes still called that by lay folk, three different fields of study have emerged to study supernatural powers – aethermancy, biomancy, and psychomancy. Aethermancy relies on large-scale draws from the aether directly and results in more widespread but imprecise effects, while biomancy calls for internal expenditures of energy and is much more capable of precise effects instead of expansive. Psychomancy emerged in the past fifty years to explain the emergence of a new power made possible by the strengthening of the aether’s bond on the world – a rare few mutants are capable of manifesting another being linked to their essence to carry out their will… a being that is only visible to those with (albeit common) magical senses and is capable of only a few supernatural actions on its own. Far too narrow of a focus to be proper aethermancy, not directly a part of biomancy, and without clear rules on how the power is granted, this new power is still not very well understood and thus not highly trusted. Many who manifest these beings – dubbed “Hours” after an old Balkan myth – run a risk of being shunned, but those who have the power embrace it and those acquaintances who learn what the power is learn to accept it rapidly.
Our story takes place in the settlement known as the Thirteen Pillars. Before the end, this region was a city of somewhat chaotic weather known for its military presence and high-tech manufacturing – the humans called it Colorado Springs, CO. Now, this city is fractured into thirteen smaller settlements based to some degree on what purposes the areas had under human rule, united in the past decade under one territorial government. Considering the desert nature of this region, food and water generally have to be shipped in from larger cities to the north and south, but the area is rich in other resources and old technology, and has thus become something of a research hub for the Western States nation. To the east is mostly barren wasteland; to the north, a strip of desert separates the Thirteen Pillars from the Denver territory and the Golden territory; to the west there are the Rocky Mountains; and to the south, one of the few fertile areas in the Western States separates the Thirteen Pillars from the Monument territory.
Thanks to transportation requirements, this is also a prime hub for bandits to attack and steal shipments, and in fact this has plagued the Thirteen Pillars almost since the territory was formed. This is, in fact, why very few live outside the core thirteen settlements – only those settlements have enough defenses to beat back bandit attacks, and any excursion outside the settlements tends to be heavily armed. Inside the settlements, life and research can progress well – but outside is death, and communications between the settlements get broken very frequently by the bandits, forcing constant repairs.
Over the past month, shipments were suddenly brought down to a trickle by the emergence of a radiation barrier that split the roads leading out of the Thirteen Pillars. Any organic substance brought across the barrier was vaporized. This barrier, however, defied all other logic that radiation has – even being a mere two feet away has literally no effect on a person. Communications outside the Thirteen Pillars had been rendered impossible by the barrier, and food and water became heavily rationed resources. Air shipments still happened, however, and this is in fact how the region has held out so long. Now, however, the barrier has grown, reaching the point where even planes can’t get through safely. A meeting has been called at the primary settlement, Academy Springs, to discuss ways that the barrier can be brought down…