Under Sovereign's Sky
The year is 440 A.P.Sovereign Report, year 440, 9th of End March, Korvus City
The world is harsh and barren, most of it too extreme to support much recognizable life.
Societies have formed from the small temperate zones, and then, civilizations.
Over all of these, Sovereign reigns from above.
Factory at Korvus City reports service offline. Source of interruption unknown. Drone workers compromised. Justice advised to dispatch human intervention. Sovereign uplink re-establishment first priority.
Sovereign arbitration withheld, pending resolution of the situation. Outcome appears increasingly negative.
The tenuous strand of life that remains in the cities of the desert is thanks to the factories, and their untiring robotic workforce, the drones. It is only when the best have already failed that a bounty is set, not for a person, but on a task. Save the city, save yourself. This isn't just what it seems, however. It is not merely a malfunction, but a design. This mystery, can change people, forge a team out of individuals. It might even lead to places nobody thought possible. Across the desert, out into the world, and to Sovereign, perhaps, but who knows?
As a brief introduction, this is a campaign setting that I've created, and I'll be GMing a story through, if there is enough interest. It does have sci-fi elements, though there is a lot of variety in this setting, ranging from fairly harsh, and almost post-apocalyptic settlements, to apparently idyllic cities. The story will depend greatly on the characters, and players involved. I'm quite happy to answer questions, so feel free to PM me, or post here with questions. I'll attempt to provide some background on the setting, and then a bit of information on the system I'll be using.Setting
The setting is an extremely large desert world, populated by a variety of cities. The planet does have water bodies, though its oceans, and small seas cover little of the surface, comparatively. The technological level of these cities is known to be extremely diverse. At some point in the past, at least 440 years prior to the current date, many nations had emerged and were challenging each other in increasingly dangerous wars. The population at this time is known to have been much greater than it is now. From this conflict, several superpowers emerged, all of which entered an arms race. In some way, these parties all set above them, figuratively, and literally, the orbiting Sovereign. Sovereign is a network of orbiting satellites. This automated network became the ultimate force. At the time, drone warfare was the standard, with warfare claiming less lives than ever, Sovereign essentially co-opted the entire system. Sovereign was capable of linking with, and controlling, any deployed drone, and deploying weapons and drones of its own.
Between that time, and now, the world has changed greatly. Now, societies are organized using Sovereign as a tool. Cities are self-sufficient, usually isolated from the outside, so that most citizens never leave the place of their birth. Less advanced settlements eke out more meager existences. Inside cities, policing is done by a special class of citizen. All societies which make use of Sovereign, have Justices, which use a law system common among them. Sovereign provides the force for judgements made by Justices, and monitors these societies constantly. Settlements outside of Sovereign's operating zone, which do not use it, are organized in their own ways. These societies continue to exist because of their dislike of Sovereign, either because they dislike the concept, or the necessity of using its system of law.
The third kind of settlement which exists is one that actively opposes Sovereign. Sovereign's original purpose is still in effect, as it effectively eliminates any drones, or autonomous robots that it does not control. With the relatively low population in any individual settlement, this rule, the only one enforced outside of Sovereign's cities, ensures that life is very difficult for those not inside those cities. Without drones, even agricultural, and industrial ones, which those cities have, thanks to Sovereign, resources are very limited. Some settlements make use of old technology to shield themselves from Sovereign. These settlements promise a moderately comfortable living, without Sovereign's law. These settlements exist because Sovereign's coverage of the planet is not complete. Furthermore, in zones which have effectively escaped Sovereign, war has emerged once more.Korvus City
This is the opening city for the characters, and one under the control of Sovereign. The city makes extensive use of drones, though its overall level of technology is low for cities, it nonetheless maintains a high standard of living for its citizens. The city has approximated 300,000 people, all of whom live in its three massive towers. The city itself is fairly idyllic inside, being sealed off from the harsh desert outside, the interior is comfortable, clean, and orderly thanks to the city's twelve Justices, and the fairly small police force of about a 200. Most jobs are in the service industry, wealth is more or less evenly distributed. Art and music are common professions, while more labour intensive jobs maintaining the city's infrastructure, engineers, doctors, computer technicians, are among the most wealthy of its citizens.
The majority of the population remains inside the city for their entire life, except for rare times during the year when an outdoor stroll might be reasonable. Korvus City is, however, quite some distance away from its main source of resources, the drone-run factory some ten miles from the city produces food, mines for ore, and produces textiles, all to be shipped back to the city. The most dangerous job in Korvus city is left up to Runners. Essentially soldiers, they escourt engineers, or technicians, even sometimes mechanics, to and from the factory when a problem arises with the drones, or the machinery. Given the prevalence of desert creatures small and large, this job pays extremely well, but is rarely done for long by a consistent group.
Although in some places the means for producing new tools and even drones exist, Korvus city is relegated to trading for replacements or reusing, and refurbishing old technology. Modifications to one's body are common, though more extreme replacements, like eyes, or limbs are very expensive.
The records of the city only detail the surrounding terrain as far as a hundred miles in all directions. The nearest known settlement is a small camp on the edge of the nearest low mountain range to the north. The nearest city is supposedly somewhere beyond that, but travel is rare, and when traders do arrive, the cost for information is usually much higher than that of the goods.System
While I'm not usually partial to systems, this is one I'm hoping will serve to create challenge and balance in combat and roleplaying. More than anything good roleplaying will accomplish a great deal of what will happen in the game. However some restrictions will have to exist given the variety of what might be possible in the setting, and during the story.
The system follows a breakdown of four parts.Tech
- Covering interaction with, and understanding of, technology.Survival
- Covering interaction with, and understand of, the natural enviroment, and animals.Combat
- Covering interaction with, and understanding of, weaponry and fighting.Social
- Covering interaction with, and understanding of, cultures and interpersonal interaction.
These basically cover any eventuality of the story. Each character will get a score in each of these.
Modifiers for these attributes exist in the form of modifications directly to one's body, clothing, and tools. Items like tools, weapons, and other supplies interact in some ways with multiple attributes. For example, an artificial eye might grant a benefit to Tech, Survival, and Combat, but in some settlements could be a great hinderance to Social.
Items, like clothing, weapons, tools, and supplies, can have a required attribute score to use, and provide a benefit to attributes. Clothing, when worn, generally provides some benefit to Survival, and Combat, for example, but may be negative, positive or neutral in terms of Social, or Tech. Weapons provide both new means for attack, as well as additional power for attacks. Tools generally affect Tech score in circustances where they are useful, but may provide a penalty if used inappropriately.
Combat is handled quickly, and hopefully will seem straightforward. Weapons are usually devastating, and defense is not much of an issue. Roleplaying is essential to combat. Each point in the Survival attribute is a point of health. Combat values determine the to-hit probability, taking into account distance, and the weapon used. Being closer to an enemy means that accuracy approaches point-blank guaruntee. If an attack hits, its value above the threshold of a hit determines the location of the hit. A critical hit is almost always an immediate kill, while grazing hit might not even take off a hitpoint, but might instead impose an attribute penalty. The chance required to hit is calculated from the combat value.
The players aren't required to roll any dice, or do any mathematics, as I'll be handling that. All that using the system entails is making choices about your character advancement, and, in the fashion of other system games, stating intentions, without results.Character Creation
Name: (Character's name)
Age: (Character's age)
Appearance: (Picture, Description, or both)
Bio: (Character history, personality.)
Level: (All characters are level 1 at creation)
Tech: (Minimum 1 at creation)
Survival: (Minimum 1 at creation)
Combat: (Minimum 1 at creation)
Social: (Minimum 1 at creation)
Speciality: (No minimum)
Weapons: (Type or types preferred, issued at beginning of game.)
(The follow section applies for modifications, clothing and items which provide bonuses and or penalties only.)
Modifications: (Technological alternations to one's body. Must be purchased at character creation or in character.)
Clothing: (Basic cloth clothing is standard, essentially free. Anything above standard (conferring any benefit) must be purchased at character creation, or in character.)
Items: (Tools, supplies, or goods. Must be purchase at character creation of in character.)
Currency: (Amounts and types of currency, including credit notes, and whether they are on the character, or stored in a city bank, etc.)
Character Creation follows from the system with attribute and speciality points. Attribute points can be distributed any way you wish. The values of each attribute is an automatic 1. You have six additional attribute points, when building a new character. Each attribute has corresponding specialities. These provide bonuses for more focused categories of activity.
Specialities requires certain attribute levels to be chosen. Each new character has one speciality point. The basic specialities available to starting characters are:Tech:
(Requires at least 4 Tech to choose basic Tech specialty)
Computer - Grants +2 to Tech when dealing with computers (identification, operation, repair, etc.)
Robotics - Grants +2 to Tech when dealing with robotic hardware (identification, operation, repair, etc.)Survival:
(Requires at least 4 Survival to choose basic Survival speciality)
Voyager - Grants +2 to Survival when dealing with animals, plants, and travel
Medicine - Grants +2 to Survival when healing or diagnosing injury, or +2 to Tech when operating medical instrumentsCombat:
(Requires at least 4 Combat to choose basic Combat speciality)
Close Combat - Grants +2 to Combat when attacking unarmed, or with a melee weapon
Short Range - Grants +2 to Combat when attacking with a short range weapon (basic pistol, thrown weapon, etc.)
Medium Range - Grants +2 to Combat when attacking with a medium range weapon (basic rifle, basic launcher, etc.)
Long Range - Grants +2 to Combat when attacking with a long range weapon (basic scoped rifle, etc.)Social:
(Requires at least 2 Social to choose basic Social speciality)
Merchant - Grants +2 to Social when bargaining
Deception Training - Grants +2 to Social when decieving, or detecting deception
Level is the evaluation of the advancement of a character, all characters start at level 1. Levels are gained through experience (though not by gaining points of experience) and each advancement grants additional attribute points, though specialty points are rarer and are granted only once every few levels.
When creating a character, the prime focus should be on roleplay. Your character cannot have an unjustified speciality. A character with the Voyager speciality, for example, must have travelled outside the city walls. While your character may not have been working in their area of speciality, your bio should reflect your character build, or your character build, your bio. See the section in Setting on Korvus City for information on the starting city.Items
One of the concerns in this game is that there is a certain level of in-world realism that will be maintained. This includes making sure every character knows what they have with them, from items, to clothing, tools, and weapons. For this reason, the character creation is light on details in these areas, because the characters will, for the most part, start out on a basic, and even footing.
Commerce during the story will provide for the outfitting of all characters. In the weapon section you may note a weapon preference for your character. See the commerce section for notes on what can be purchased at character creation.