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.