---The World Complex---
In this world of ours, there have always been clearly definable laws of reality. Though humanity, in its ignorance, once sought to explain natural phenomena as the work of magic--both demonic and holy--such superstitions are now thought to be archaic holdovers from a dark and primitive past. Though there are many things that science cannot yet explain, the confidence and curiosity of our race will always drive us to seek out the Truth until the day that the mysteries of the Universe are laid bare before our eyes. Everything, no matter how bizarre, can be ultimately defined, categorized, and understood. Such is the reality that we have come to know.
That is, until now.
There is no explanation for what happened on April 7th, 2012. Of course there had been many fanatics proclaiming that the world as we know it would end, that the oceans would turn to blood and boil beneath the heat of a violently exploding sun, that the earth beneath our feet would turn to dust and choke the life from out lungs, that extinction would wipe our race from existence in the bat of a cosmic eye. When January 1st came and went, the supposed apocalypse was quickly forgotten by the vast majority of the population. But even those who continued to cower and prey under the weight of their own paranoid delusions could not possibly have predicted what was to come.
For on that day, the structures of the world came alive.
From walls of brick and cement, metal and wood they sent out their 'roots', vast networks of hallways that bound each building to its neighbor. Streets cracked and burst like boils as hidden basements and sewers cast themselves up towards the heavens, only to come plummeting down again and fuse eagerly to the nearest edifice. Skyscrapers became as vast urban trees as thousands upon thousands of windows were wrenched from their frames and flailed like tendrils in the air. They branched out continuously, warping and binding to one another until entire labyrinths of halls and tubes hung overhead. Civilization wrested itself from the ground and molded together with complete disregard for human life, and thousands died in the ensuring chaos.
Even nature took part in this obscene, impossible bedlam, trees winding their way amongst the newly created structures and crashing through their windows like grubs descending upon a carcass. Soil and rock erupted upwards with a life of their own, forming great walls, mountains, and stairs until the last remnants of familiarity in the world were lost. Communications and electrical power across the globe halted immediately, though glimmering lights could be seen emanating from within the twisted buildings. And, as if to punctuate this sudden and inexplicable Conversion, the satellites and space stations orbiting the globe fell down to Earth in great balls of fire and melting steel. In the span of only a few brief hours, human society was ended.
It has been almost one year since that day, though there are few people left that bother to keep track of such things. In the days immediately following the creation of the so-called World Complex
, humanity fell into decadence and strife. Though countless people were lost during the Transformation, it was not as though the species was incapable of continued survival. The global population still numbered in the billions, and most of the world's leaders had survive the catastrophe. But with no way to communicate across vast distances, with no familiar landmarks, with no ways to enforce law and order, insanity gripped the hearts of mankind.
Every single building in the world had become connected by way of tunnels and doors and windows, and where there were no buildings the trees and the rocks had formed new ones. Even the continents had become connected by tunnels that hovered above or dipped beneath the surface of the oceans. The concept of privacy had suddenly become alien as people wandered into other people's dwellings in search of friends and family. Unfortunately, not everyone had such pure intentions. Rape and murder became increasingly common, especially once former prisoners managed to find their way through the labyrinths into densely populated areas. There was no rhyme or reason to the layout of the Complex; the middle of a person's living room may have suddenly become the entrance to a supermarket, an assembly line might split a classroom in two, a church filled with cubicles and billboards, or a skyscraper overgrown with trees and exotic plants. Those who didn't succumb to illness or butchery by their fellow man were often killed by sudden pitfalls or preyed upon by the maddened, predatory animals that were as equally confused and aimless as anyone else.
Only after several months had passed did the killing finally begin to slow down. It still was not safe to settle down in any one area, and supplies became increasingly scarce once perishable items had gone bad from lack of refrigeration. Though whispers of various military and government groups laying claim to entire systems of hallways and rooms within the World Complex were passed around, there was still no sign of organization beyond those that had clumped together for safety and survival. The people of the world had started to become acclimated to this new, surreal environment, though the feeling of uneasiness would never quite dissipate. It was not until three months had passed that the reason for that inescapable discomfort became apparent.
Survivors would come to call it the Shift
, for on July 7th the world took on yet another shape. The World Complex birthed new appendages from crumbling holes, broken windows, and gaping doorways, increasingly complex webs of corridors and passageways that cast themselves over the old ones like a net, blotting out the rays of the sun until everything was cast in twilight. Even the interiors of the old structures were not spared, the buildings flowing together like water and trading rooms amongst one another before solidifying back into a definite shape. Thousands more died, and countless more were separated from each other once again; some only by miles, others by entire continents. It seemed as though humanity would no longer know the concept of peace.
It was also around this time that even stranger things began to make themselves known in this new, uncertain landscape. The structures now hanging over the remnants of civilization were becoming increasingly unlike anything formed by human hands. Some were dark and twisted places that no light could pierce, no matter how bright, while others were ephemeral and seemed to have been sculpted from poured glass. Still more of these paths seemed to have been created by something attempting to mimic the structures of man, but had done so without any point of reference. Very few people who ventured into these places for extended periods of time never came back, and once it was apparent that very few supplies had drifted up to such heights most decided to remain closer to the ground. But even now the curiosity of humans was not yet wiped out, and some managed to pass beyond this threshold and come back to tell about it.
Of these, a scant few seemed to have been touched by an unnatural power. To some they are known as the Touched
, and by others the Weighted
. By unknown means they have gained abilities surpassing those of the ordinary human being, though it is rarely something so simple as increased strength, speed, or stamina. Indeed, many have powers that hinder rather than help, or have been overcome by strange and terrible entities. For those who believe in the superstitions of old, it would not be incorrect to claim that they have been possessed by spirits. Yōkai, Monsters, Gods, Devils and Demons; there are many names for these beings, and no one culture that may lay claim to all of them. Some use this power to help the scattered people wandering the endless halls of the World Complex, while others prey upon them like cattle. Still more do not use this power at all, fearing reprisal or the cost it might exact upon their souls. For no Touched or Weighted can wield such abilities without a cost, and they may not always work as intended...
Since the first Shift
there have been two more, once on October 7th and again on January 7th. Each time a new layer is added to the World Complex, each more alien and dangerous than the last and each burying the world of humanity further from the sun and the sky. Humanity struggles and continues to survive in spite of the thousands lost each time, though hope is quickly becoming a rarity. With April 7th steadily approaching, it can be presumed that yet another Shift will occur. Can such a thing be stopped, or will the traces of society again be warped and altered? How much longer can the species survive without turning into nothing more than animals? And what of the spirits dwelling in the Layers above? Are there answers to be found, or will humanity die out in ignorance and shadow?
Perhaps. Perhaps not. But nothing will come to pass unless there are those still willing to search for the Truth.
If you managed to remain interested this far, then perhaps this game is for you!
For this game, I'm not looking for any set number of individuals. The atmosphere will be rather heavy (if that wasn't already apparent), but may not stray into Extreme territory unless there is an actual need for it. Given the now tumultuous nature of human society, rape is certainly not an uncommon occurrence, though many are willing to give sex far more easily these days. It is fully possible to walk for days within the World Complex without coming into contact with another human being, and the solitude can be deeply unsettling for some.
For the beginning
of the roleplay, I would allow the players to dictate what happens. This would include such things as coming into contact with one another, forming groups, making friends or enemies, or otherwise exploring and questioning the strange new world around them. I would also have a character for the purposes of describing the setting more thoroughly, until the players think they get the idea well enough to make up their own surroundings.
However, I have no intention to leave things aimless. The players (either as one group or several smaller ones), would eventually be forced to delve into the newly formed Layers overhead; either because they seek answers, or because someone (or something
) gives them no other choice. Whether they find the Truth and a way to stop the next Shift is entirely up to the participants. They could just as easily become lost or fail to find what they're looking for before the Shift arrives, throwing everything into further disarray. In the end, they may choose safety and survival over any notions of "saving the world". What will you
Now for the juicy bit: The characters
. I do not have a sheet in mind, and will allow you to create one based on what information you think is important to the character. If you feel a person's personality is important, go for it! Their astrological sign? Be my guest. Personal History does not need to be extensive (what fun is there in everyone knowing everyone's pasts right out of the gate?) but I do expect you to have thought it through a bit, for when people start asking questions about each other in the game.
Characters are divided into two distinct categories. Ordinary people, and the Touched
The latter both technically mean the same thing, referring to an individual that has either been possessed by a spirit/god/whathaveyou, or have been 'blessed' by them in some way. Though the two names can be used interchangeably, the former generally refers to those who have come into contact with benevolent spirits, while the latter refers to those who have been contacted by malevolent ones. These people may not always be aware of the change that has been taken place within them, while others may have actually met a spirit face to face.
These "gifts" place them above the average human, but it does not always grant them some great magical power. Shooting fireballs or turning your limbs into swords is not the sort of thing I'm talking about. It is generally a bit more subtle than that, and intrinsically tied to that person's personality or mental state. A person wishing to become "unburdened" by some past trauma might be visited by a spirit that literally robs them of the "weight" on their shoulders, taking away their physical mass (ie: allowing them to leap great distances due to decreased weight). Inspiration can be taken from just about any mythology, though I would prefer if you strayed away from "named" Gods and stuck with various creatures and spirits of lore, such as Red Caps, Kappa, or even Christian Demons. One could even be touched by a particular animal spirit (Crab, snake, fox, etcetera), which all have different meanings that could be explored. Creativity is encouraged!
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask!