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Rock City Blues

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  • Rock City Blues

    (First off, if you see something familiar from another setting, odds are I probably 'stole' it from there. The ideas herein are modifications and adaptations of several settings I thought was cool. No copyright infringement intended.)

    First off, Aliens have been on Earth for over 60 years. Roswell? Yeah, it happened. But unlike most media, with it's infatuation with alien autopsies and other silly conspiracies, no one found the bodies of the aliens. Evidence showed that they may have ejected and were among us. At the time, secrets were kept, fear was maintained, but evidence pointed to these 'invaders' were running and hiding from something, and that there were amazingly human-looking. And then the 'exodus' came, more and more aliens, all very human looking started settling among earthlings, all hiding from something and having no designs to 'take over', as that would have let whatever it was they were running from know where they were.

    But although that's when humans and aliens started to co-populate the world, the first super human, the first Post Human, came a scant thirty years later for reasons that are still unknown. It was a Black Woman from New Orleans, who decided to strike back at criminals, she called herself Crusader and was killed tragically in the line of duty. However, after she showed up it was like a chain reaction, more and more people started showing abilities beyond the norm. At first there was chaos, violence, fear. And sadly it escalated when it was found out that true extraterrestrials had been living among us. However, one man, not the first superhero but one who would become the greatest stepped up and started speaking for everyone. He called himself Paragon, for he was the closest thing to a paragon anyone could be. He along with a team of heroes from around the world, the Vanguard, started a dialog, laws were passed and understandings were created.

    In an amazingly short ten years, Post Humans and Aliens were accepted and tolerated, some even celebrated as technologies were shared and passed among all the peoples on this little planet of ours. Nothing anywhere near a utopia, as there always people of all nations and races and species that simply wanted more than they had and didn't care how they obtained it. But a balance was obtained.

    Then disaster struck. Seven years ago, Paragon, the idol of the world, a man, a simple human man made God, went insane. No one knows why, and there are theories abound, none have been proven, nor disproven, but all anyone knows was that one day, just after breakfast in Europe he decided to literally destroy everything. And to everyone's horror, they found out just how truly powerful he was. Before then, no one had any real clue as to his upper limits, and once he literally wiped London off the map, everyone realized it might have been higher than anyone had ever hoped.

    His own team was helpless. The once champion of the world turned into the maddest, cruelest and clearly, identifiably evil creature the world had ever seen. Desperately the various governments scrambled on how to stop him. Several super villains saw the mass destruction, murder and outright genocide, and turned a new leaf. Nuclear weapons were launched, super lasers were tried, even forbidden science like targeted plagues, nothing affected Paragon. He continued to crush all resistance and surrender alike.

    Then an alliance of villains, both reformed and not, gathered the remaining Post Humans and put forth it was they, all of them, that could stop him. And the cost would be great. Normally, no one would or should have trusted them, but the argument was, what was there to rule if there was nothing left to rule? After all, Paragon was decimating everything, not advancing any sort of known agenda. And so egos were swallowed, pride set aside as a near ten thousand strong truce was created, a group formed and named: The Redeemers. Their mandate was to stop Paragon by any means possible. Several outraged heroes wanted to save him, not kill him, but in the end it was deemed that the greatest of them would have to die. All other options had failed. And so a campaign lasting a year was initiated. And in the end, all but a handful of super humans and powered aliens survived. Most have disappeared, shellshocked and horrified at what they had done. One, Paragon's closest friend, a mysterious hero by the name of Shadow Knight retreated to his tower in Detroit and hasn't been seen since. Rumour has it that it was he who delivered the final blow. None truly know.

    Once Paragon was demonstrated to be dead, a coalition of nations sent their best forensic scientists to find out what went wrong in the hero. But to this day, nothing has been found to be the cause. So while all the shell shocked and broken Post Humans returned home, a funeral was held. Not for a monster, but for a guiding light. And for yet another moment, humanity stood united with hope and regret. And so the world began to recover. Most of the capital cities around the world had been destroyed by him, it was time to rebuild and move on. The world had lost nearly 300 million people in the skirmish. In America alone, New York was devastated, Detroit had to be abandoned, San Fransisco had a chunk of it sunk into the ocean. The Bible Belt is a wasteland. Canada fared little better, most of it's capital cities were razed in a fit. Ironically enough, the nation's capital still stands, but that's small comfort to the families who've lost loved ones.

    The rest of the world has had it's share of apocalyptic disasters, Japan may never recover. China was in the middle of a civil war afterwards. Singapore no longer exists, half of India is still trying to see if they can swim. Africa fared better, but still major losses abound. France and the Ukraine are ghostlands. Russia, even the former CCCP, managed to suffer major losses until finally, finally the former hero and idol to millions was taken down. Almost all major cities are heavily damaged.

    And for six years, the world did, coming back to a semblance of the world before. Unfortunately, whether it was the vagaries of fate, hubris or simply an uncaring universe, but they came. And they were angry and vengeful. We called them the 'Ultimians' which was not their name, but they simply ravaged and destroyed. They caused a mass exodus from several alien species on Earth, as they were what all the refugees had come to flee from. We never knew what had made them so angry at us, or why they were angry in the first place, but they were powerful, relentless and decisive.

    We fought back. We always fight, and the remaining Post Humans got back into it as well. But we were losing this time. There were too many, and too well equipped. Millions more died, almost all major population centers are gone now. However, when we thought all was lost, a Supervillainess, who calls herself The Empress, after showing up 5 years ago and declaring herself ruler of the world, suddenly unleashed an incredible beam weapon against one of their ships, destroying it and a thousand strong battalion utterly, and with that one loss, they retreated.

    It's been one year since they left. One year that the world is pulling itself up by the bootstraps and moving forward. Most of what we know is still there. The Internet works, there's satellite coverage, technology still functions. And odd mix of 20th and the 22nd century we believed to have been.

    However, as The Empress founded her nation all those months ago on what was left of Belgium, she gave us a warning they will be back. And in typical fashion reminded us that she was the one who stopped them. And as such, she's the only one fit to rule humanity because of it. Her Empire of Mankind has grown since, although most don't believe she's fit to rule.

    Humanity is trying again, with the help of our remaining alien allies, although now, a mere 700 million people remain, not one of us have not lost someone in the fighting. The planet will recover, some of us, though wonder if we ever will.

    (That was the setup, I'll use the next few posts to detail the important details. But for now, I sleep.)

  • #2
    Re: Rock City Blues

    So a few things about this world, there is no magic, not as we understand the term. Every superpower is unique and manifests from the person, similar to Marvel's Mutants. Some might seem 'magical', but they are all detectable with the right equipment. Secondly, psionics are among the most common of powers as anyone with either the will, drive or even right mindset can manifest those abilities (In fact, the current proliferation of truly dedicated Kung Fu style monks/martial artists from China are almost all physical psychics, with abilities ranging from turning their limbs into flame, resisting intense amounts of damage to feats of impressive strength, all the way to basic telekinetic manipulation.) As such, though, it's mainly telekinetic manipulation, or pyro-electro-cryo-kinetic expression. Telepathy, Empathy and their variants are much, much rarer. There is a wide variety of power sets to choose from.

    Although there have been oddly united expressions from time to time. For example, the Nuclear Nineties. Between 1990 and 1999, there were nearly 100 children born (something like 93 reported cases worldwide) with a heart 'defect' that effectively turned the organ into a nuclear fusion system. They also all were energy blasters, typically generating some sort of plasma and fusion blast. Some even harnessed something akin to solar power. However, of those, only a couple handfuls have survived the two calamities to this day.

    Created supers are not as common, although they happen more than some people want. Lab accidents, odd reactions to special serums, even radiation, where it would have killed people in grotesque ways, have all produced Post Humans as the science community prefers to call them. Mainly because the term 'Super' is considered to imply that this new expression of humanity is 'better', despite some unlucky folks having less than desirable mutations. So they chose the term Post Human, although a variety of layman names have been also used, 'Capes', 'Costumes' and a lot more less than flattering terms.

    Technology-wise, superpowers are easier to give in terms of cybernetics or full on android style robotics, mainly due to power supply size. You need a certain amount of battery and/or circuitry mass to power things like limbs, joints and the like, and each weapon (should you be a military class cyborg or robot) can have it's own power supply without exposing it to danger. Power Armour on the other hand is incredibly rare for that reason, the human operator takes up a lot of space, and there's issues like human body stress for certain types of abilities you want to enhance, speed, muscle power and the like. There are currently only 5 five known power armour pilots, and each have a special reason as to they get it to work, for example one is a Mutant with the ability to 'modify' technology. For example, give him a water pistol and with concentration and time, can turn it into a handheld energy blaster, or foot ball pads into full on tank tough body armour. However, it's well known that the only thing his current suit needs to be 'modified' is the power source, everything else is fully built and functional. The Empress is the only one who has somehow managed to get over the power supply limitation, and she isn't talking.

    As for skill and/or gadget based types of supers, like Batman/Nightwing and others, they are the first most common type. Although quite a few also wear battle armour (which is not like Power Armour, as they may have some of the functionality, but tend to miss out on the strength enhancements or flight locomotive means) but they're often the first type of hero/villain most will see. In fact, several work for legitimate companies as typically security specialists.

    Now, this may seem like a lot of superheroes and villains running around, but the truth is, world wide, out of the remaining 700 million human survivors, there is currently maybe 10,000 total supers spread out around the world.

    As this post is getting way too big for my tastes, I'm going to touch on the remaining technologies, sciences and flavour next post. Once I get my head in order and what I have in my rather messy notes.

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    • #3
      Re: Rock City Blues

      The general level of technology is late 20th, with some sparks of high technology, namely medical and constructive. Due to the influx of Aliens, and human ingenuity as we reverse engineered the crashed vessel back '47 so we made great strides, but the two apocalyptic events sort of killed most of the innovations. Also the lack of super-geniuses have impacted the general tech level of the world, couple that with the lack of humans (There's only 10% of humanity left, from 7 Billion to almost 700 Million) there's been a focus on rebuilding and consolidating power bases and infrastructures.

      Save medical technology again due to the amount of death, destruction and savagery afflicted by the attackers, medicine had to work overtime. Also, humans are finding out that they are now longer lived, with projected lifespans into the 120s. Almost a decade ago, one of the alien races on earth let loose an airborne retro-virus tailored to allowing them to blend in better and adapt to the atmosphere of earth (we had pollutants that they never encountered), it was designed to target only their own species, but due to the odd fact that they have similar physiology as Humans, (most of the visitors do, actually) it mutated and bonded with Human DNA. It was not designed to be harmful, having nothing in it's DNA to be, so when it mutated it was still beneficial, for humans it simply meant a rejuvenation and extension of their lives and general health. The most unsettling thing is that the older generation (those in their 60's to 90's) are physically regressing back to an equivalent age, so the eldest now looks about 50. And due to the fact that this is recent, most of humanity is still operating as if the average lifespan is 70 to 80. Still most medical specialists are keeping an eye on the situation, as no one knows what sort of harm this will do. Not to mention that the religious fundamentalists are going nuts over this fact.

      Police sciences have suffered, and although certain techniques are still available, most of the more recent innovations need to be rediscovered.

      However, new technologies have been refined or discovered in the recent years. The biggest one after robotics and cybernetics is teleportation. Now, this isn't the Star Trek 'dematerialize', as although science HAVE figured out how to do that, but because you're effectively disintegrating the target, living creatures cannot be transferred in this way (much to the tragedy of the original team), however portal creation seems to be the way. Most of the teleporter Post-Humans, even those that seem instantaneous actually fold time and space to do it (and somehow NOT destroy the earth every time, which most are quite happy about) or open up portals to cross different dimensions.

      However, more worrisome is that portals can be mechanically created, as proven by the Vanguard (and several villain groups) Space Station AKA Freedom 4. There was a link from their bases/embassies around the world to the station that still circles the world to this day. As a side effect, artificial gravity has also been discovered or adapted, but currently any technological application is left to space exploration. Which is currently on the back burner.

      A side effect is that alternate realities, or differing timelines have been discovered, as have travelers from said locations. However, as of yet, those types of portals are currently unstable and unreliable, as most who cross to Earth Prime (as science is secretly calling it) are often stranded there seemingly permanently. Again, no existing dimension timeline involving anything akin to 'true magic' has been discovered. To the dismay of Harry Potter fans and wannabe wizards everywhere.

      (OK, next up, focusing on Neo Detroit, AKA Rock City.)

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