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Power Struggle: A World by Articulate_Tony

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  • Power Struggle: A World by Articulate_Tony

    So, this is a little something I've been working on for the past few weeks, a setting so that I might do a livestream campaign for some folks and hopefully have some fun with it! Since I kinda suck at drawing and at this point am still working through character builds, this 'New World' will be coming along slowly, but surely.

    As such, I shall get right into this, the world of:

    Power Struggle
    A Brief History

    Creation and Conflict Of the Gods

    Prior to any text that might exist to this day, any evidence or fact that historians can uncover, the world had a turbulent and violent existence, a war of tribes and ideals that threatened to destroy it so soon after it was made. When the earth finally began to cool from the flaming ball of molten rock that it once was, prehistoric life began to form, and with it, the entities that would later be known as 'The Gods'.

    Primordial beings of great power, these entities of various shapes and sizes manifested alongside the animals and monsters that roamed the Earth, blessed with higher intelligence, and the power to utilise it. These few beings wandered the landscape, devastating all manner of beast that would cross them until they found each other. The Gods, in their infancy, entertained the idea of a community, only to see such an idea crumble before a new driving force: the sins of Pride and Greed.

    Their newly formed idea required structure, an Alpha to lead the pack, but electing such a person was not easy to do, and arguments quickly turned to brutal and bloody conflicts, their untamed Wrath run amok on the infant world. After months of destruction, devastation on a global scale, nearly all life that had been born alongside the Gods was lost; especially after other, new Gods were made in that time.

    The deities refused to see this as a significant problem, and began to create life in their image, but holding next to nothing of the power of their creators. Primitive humans and what would later be seen as Creatures of Myth, would then begin to form their own communities and tribes, and praised the beings that forged their very flesh as the Gods they wished to be.

    Now with a new army of loyal followers, a different war was fought. Some of the deities satiated their newfound Sloth and Gluttony by forcing their followers to sacrifice for them, others quelled their Lust by using their new 'playthings' as mates or surrendered to Envy and launched their cults and soldiers at other deities to take what they wish. Civilisation all over the world grew and shrank, Gods dying and being born in the span of many years.

    Eon and the Exile War

    Despite the presence of more compassionate and heroic deities, the vast majority of them were as bad as many might expect, holding no respect for the things they created and only acting upon selfish and dangerous desires. As human life began to be the 'favoured' of life forms, nearly all non-human, mythic creatures were ushered onto the continent of Mu and flung into another dimension; their usefulness had come to an end, and many of them threatened to stand on equal ground with the beings that created them. Those that remained hid as best they could, becoming sources for stories and myth today.

    In response to the years of mortal oppression, a being known simply as Eon arrived, holding great and unusual power. Whatever accounts exist of Eon, they are never consistent, other than they were powerful. Some claim them to be another Deity born more powerful than the others, while some state they were mortal and possess terrifying skill or daunting magics.

    In any case, the story goes thusly:

    Eon appeared, and somehow called all the Gods to attention, bringing them to a singular point in the world. It became apparent that deities from other worlds throughout space had also come to see this great being make their proclamation, arriving to bear witness to this upstart.

    Behind them, a portal was placed, and looking to the deified crowd, they announced simple terms: leave mortal life alone. The portal lead to a sanctuary where the deities would be cared for, but for mortals to have their independence, their existence intact, the Gods all had to leave.

    A great debate was held and eventually, the more compassionate of gods, the ones who cared for their creations, left with a heavy heart. The remainder were offended, some believing it to be a ploy for ultimate power, while others didn't wish to leave their position of power behind. For the first time since they were born, the Gods stood together to defy Eon and his message, and started a war that was ultimately one-sided.

    The Exile War, a conflict that threatened to destroy the world, was one of the final few details that were never held by human history, forgotten to the world like everything before it. The Gods launched themselves at Eon, who was too much for them, and one by one, they slew the deities with ease. Some of the Gods fled to the far reaches of space, while others submit to his power and was sent to the sanctuary.

    As the war drew to a close, Eon obscured the memories of the mortals that remained and departed, leaving the mortal realm to their newly acquired independence.

    Time has yet to tell whether the few remaining Gods are still alive.

    Fearing What's Forgotten

    With the Gods gone, the Earth now in their own hands, the human race set to work. They drew inspiration from what art work and documents remained, reinterpreting them as holy texts, praising the gods that were no longer around. Tribes and former followers became nations, and the supernatural was few and far between so tales of great and terrible events were legends that would slowly become stories and fables in the modern day.

    Still, even with the Gods and the creatures of Myth essentially gone from the world, Eon's efforts to make the world forget what had occurred was soured by the presence of a chaotic and taboo force of nature: Magic. Humans who could read between the lines of texts, or indulged in heavy religious fervour were blessed or cursed with power. While many priests would claim to have the power to repel demons or heal wounds, it was apparent that flashy displays of the impossible were frowned upon by many. Certain sects fled into forts or temples, knowingly segregated from the rest of the world, and genuine teachings of the magic slowly died under such progression. However, that didn't explicitly mean that Magic was gone entirely. Humanity tried, and believed that they succeeded, with countless hunts for witchcraft and destruction caused in the name of God, but those with the power and the knowledge hid away, and Magic remained a secret art to this day.

    Skilled practitioners of magic hid away in a variety of secret locations, or even wandered the open streets while they kept their skills behind closed doors. As time passed and exploration was abound, these varying societies found each other, and during the 11th century, decided it best to join together into one, private collective. The first of the Shadow Nations, the Citadel, had been formed in this period, and together the greatest mystical minds studied the arcane forever more.

    Together, they had progressively brought Magic to a level that could be considered science, and the collective knowledge of magic was known as 'The Lexicon', as all known forms of 'traditional' magic had been considered possible under the same formulae. The Citadel numbered within the thousands, but the millions of ignorant human beings that still walked the earth caused their continued secretiveness; sure, magic was now understandable and rationalised to a sense, but any such display might scare off the majority and the years of study would be for naught.

    Truth be told, the Citadel was born into exile and its residents were now paranoid of their mundane brethren. As the nation came under new leadership, it was decided that the society of mages would remain unknown, and they would maintain that with brutal force.

    Other forms of magic were discovered, but they couldn't be rationalised by the Lexicon's teachings; the use of Chi, for example, was seen as a form of magic but it didn't follow the intrinsic formula or intelligent command of the Lexicon. Try as they might, the Citadel held no understandings of these forces, and it lead them to classify any form of seemingly 'arcane' power as the Irrational Magics.

    Non magical forces would ultimately come about again and give rise to people of folk lore, beings of great and terrible skill that would be seen accomplishing great feats over the course of history, but their existence being theorised as mere myth. This ideology would until the height of the Victorian Era.

    Return of Legends

    The Victorian Era was a time of great upheaval throughout the world. The now independent United States experienced some trouble as it was deep within its first Civil War. Europe, in that same period, was plunged into yet another war, while Russia was gradually preparing for Revolution. With scientific discoveries left and right, exploration was a significant aspect of the world. As such, humanity rediscovered a significant amount of material from the old world.

    Stories of curses and monsters were only natural when the nature of such an expedition was discovered, but what some would find is that such stories weren't entirely fictitious. In many of these cases, curses were acquired when a curious explorer came too close to finding something about the Citadel or a tainted artefact. In the case of monsters, the explorer may have found and been slain by a still living remnant of the mythic beasts left from the Old World.

    One legend in particular began to circulate in England about a ghost that would burn the wicked to death, who would appear before people as a being made of smoke and flame, with a terrifying smile upon his face.

    In the United States, tales from plantations told of a beast that would aid in slave revolts, and violently dismember plantation owners, doing far more gruesome things than the slaves could by themselves.

    Despite advances in the field of science and the best efforts of the Citadel, it was becoming apparent that perhaps the monsters of the past were returning to the forefront of human minds. Detectives and Explorers were hard at work fishing through the facts, with stories to follow their exploits which chilled or entertained people for many years to come.


    Meta Humanity Returns

    As the 20th Century rolled around, and tensions were once more on the rise in Europe, the Citadel's efforts to keep power that was beyond the understanding of average human beings were permanently spoiled. The Great War had claimed many lives in the first few years, and fighting in the trenches was practically at a stalemate, so it was understandable that many mages caught in the conflict wanted to utilise power they had on hand.

    This changed, however, when a great explosion rocked No Man's Land, one that was not caused by either side. As scouts looked out over the trenches into the wasteland, there they saw a small structure, tilted to a grievous angle and seemingly sunken into the ground. Inspection revealed the structure to be a form of vessel, and the encounter was one that caused a second temporary ceasefire.

    As both sides searched the wreckage, the vessel opened, and a humanoid-like figure emerged. It appeared to wear some form of glossy, sleek armour, and it seemed to function in a robotic and analytical manner. It appeared capable of levitation, ad it would float away from the wreckage and approach the first of the soldiers investigating the crash site. The being, in one swift action, then proceeded to grab the soldier by the throat and hold him aloft, onlookers remarking that the victim appeared to rapidly age. Only a few soldiers remained to attempt to fight the being, who then continued to devour them one by one, unaffected by the gunfire.

    By the time word reached the higher ups in the military, more than a hundred soldiers had lost their lives, and options were swiftly running out. It was only a good thing that the creature remained near its vessel, and many lives were saved when tactical measures were taken not to reinforce the new, glaring holes in the trenches.

    However, it was hard-pressed to contain news of a monster in No Man's Land, and it was at this point that two individuals arrived to throw their hats into the ring.

    Yohan Amsel, a lowly soldier in the Kaiser's army, threw down his rifle and scrambled from the trenches. His comrades, stunned by this sudden action, took up arms and chased after him, but they quickly slowed their pace when they saw his target, as well as his capabilities.

    Heir Amsel was a mage of the Citadel, and having had quite enough of this beast, began to utter fierce and deadly incantations, allowing his body to be engulfed in fire. The tremendous display of power left his fellows in awe, watching as the mage's attacks did more to the alien than their guns could do.

    It wasn't enough, however, and when the creature retaliated, Yohan found himself on the losing side. His brash and determined assault became defensive and almost frightened. He could hurt the beast, but he couldn't contend with it for too long. Just as all hope was lost, he received a saviour in the form of Joan.

    A segment of the French Government, during the build up to the war, had dedicated research to a series of cybernetics based on diagrams and technology found in the northern reaches of Africa. While officials found the effort preposterous and quickly denied the project, a French minister cleverly swindled funds in order to privately back the project. Joan, a failing artist and widow, was selected as a test subject, and the event transformed her into a formidable fighting machine. As word of the alien reached the ears of the project leaders, her first, official test run was made.

    Joan's physical durability and strength combined with Yohan's spells were enough to combat the beast, and it soon lay lifeless in No Man's Land.

    While the event was censored as best any government could, it was quickly apparent that such a thing was impossible and soon, stories of Metal Joan and Wilhelm's Wizard versus the Assimilator were told all over the world.

    Yohan, while still not admitting to the existence of the Citadel or the Lexicon, was not spared the wrath of his superiors, and was found dead two months after the closing days of the war, supposedly committing suicide due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    Investigations into Joan had unveiled the French Minister's plot, and he was quickly ejected from office and into a prison cell. The researchers and engineers on the project who weren't arrested had fled, never to be heard from again.
    The appearance of the metahumans sparked something new, and while the arms race between the European powers started up once more, the war that would follow would certainly be something different.

    A Battle Of Giants

    The Second World War began in a mundane fashion, which everyone viewed as highly suspicious. No one country could find the technology left behind from the Project Joan was made from, and the Citadel had gone quite quiet. Whatever could have been salvaged from the Assimilator was incomprehensible to human minds, and as such, the governments of the allied forces (the victors of the First World War, and therefore 'owners' of the Assimilator's vessel and remains) contained it all as best they could.
    While the US had no plans for a superhuman, especially since they didn't join the war until much later, they saw a potential in them, and their machinations would only become clear after the war. France, now having lost the project, had nothing to help them against Nazi Germany.

    The first to produce a metahuman was Great Britain, in the form of a young woman known as the 'Slipstream Suffragette'. The Suffragette was capable of high velocity and generation of electrical power, and her government had no idea how or where she might have acquired such a thing. Insistent on joining the war effort, her desire was put to one side until she proved herself in a series of test missions, at which point she became the first female soldier on the front lines.

    The sudden presence of a speedster on the war front gave the Allies a remarkable morale boost and the Axis a cause for concern. Despite the Fuhrer having been hard at work on his own supersoldier project, the confidence by which the British had sent this single person, a woman no less, was both an insult and an ample alarm.

    As he pestered his scientists and researchers, thinking that the Allies only had one offensive front to think about, a far more terrifying aspect arrived from the East.

    Communist mages of the Citadel had seen the effect the war had on their country, and quietly agreed to bow out of the Shadow Nation to save the Soviet Union, at the cost of their lives. The plan was simple, and equally deadly. Utilising experimental equations from the Lexicon, the group bound a horrific spirit into the body of a young Russian soldier, whom they previously kidnapped.

    The being, known as the Red Reaper from that point on, was a permanent stain on history, and when it finally came to, the summoners gave one request before offering their lives; destroy Nazi Germany.

    The monster revelled in destruction, but was surprisingly dedicated to the cause. What was so monstrous about this 'Nazi Germany' that it required the aid of a creature such as him? It would matter not. Erratically tearing through the German frontline, both Nazi and Soviet soldiers falling by his hand, it became apparent to Hitler that in order to have a chance at saving his regime, he would need to unleash an aspect of the project early.

    Young conscript Gorius Freud was 'elected' to recieve the treatment to turn him into the Third Reich Crusader, the Nazi's own war hero, the their last hope at stopping the incoming attackers. Gorius was already losing faith in the Nazi Regime, even in this state, but he was a dedicated young man. When given the all clear, he ran out into the battle field to meet the Red Reaper, where the two were never heard from again.

    The remainder of Hitler's projects were unfortunately unable to be finished in time, and the remainder of the war was played out in a much more mundane fashion. The Nazi's lost the war, and after territories were divided, the west began to fear their former Soviet allies, though, not just for the encroaching and conflicting ideal of Communism, but that they might unleash another Red Reaper upon the world, and Slipstream Suffragette would be the only one left who might be able to stop it.

    The Suffragette kept her identity secret, and now burnt out from her experience on the war front, left to the US in order to pursue a normal life. The Fuhrer's body was never found, and all remnants of his private projects were long gone. Text regarding the Red Reaper had been destroyed during his summoning and in the wake of the war, metahuman activity was all but gone.

    Due to the involvement of metahumans, particularly the brutal efficiency of the Red Reaper, it was clear that they had no good place on the battle field. Shortly after the war, the Geneva Convention was changed, barring all metahumans from the theatre of war.

    Dawn Of The Costumed Vigilante

    The first half of the 50s held a sizable amount of tension, not just from the newly born Cold War between the Soviet Union and the USA, but the absence of metahumans had left many wondering whether they would return, or what might happen when and if they do.

    In 1956, an answer was given in Time Square in the form of the world's first 'traditional Super Villain: Umbra.

    Marcus Jones, the man who would become Umbra, was an avid star gazer, and within those stars found himself on the receiving end of a ritual that the Citadel classified as 'Irrational Magic'. Marcus was granted power over living shadow, and while he would initially keep it as secret as possible, until a series of days where he would swiftly lose his money, home and job.

    Using what money he might have had left, he purchased a black suit, cloak and hat, and proceeded to use his powers to subtly rob many stores in New York City. With a few days of successful theft under his belt, and gradual experimentation with his powers, the newly named Umbra was willing to make his debut.

    His grandstanding in Times Square was not taken entirely seriously at first, but upon demonstrating his powers, and officially taking his first life, Umbra received the reaction he was sorely after. Police response was futile, and soon Umbra had made Times Square his personal fortress of shadows.

    For several days, military and police tried but couldn't stop him, and Umbra lived like a king in his shadowy castle, holding people hostage to exchange for food and money.

    Soon however, Umbra met his match in the form of the first costumed hero, the Gadgeteer.

    Gadgeteer came from Dublin, a gifted young man by the name of Colin Denvers, had been a loner for a large part of his life and filled his time with gadgets made from mundane items. He had fun making such thing, but found that he wanted to do more with such things. The appearance of Umbra in New York was the opportunity he was after.

    With gear in tow, he arrived in New York, using a Jet Pack to sail over Time Square and announced his presence. When Umbra decided to retaliate, Gadgeteer responded with grenades packing a magnesium based compound. The remarkable amount of light had dissipated the shadows enough to Gadgeteer to make his move, using guns that fired non-lethal rounds to incapacitate the villain. Umbra did manage to escape jail thanks to the use of his powers, but the event had set the precedent for the world at that point; the powered no longer needed to hide so much. Now, they could aid the world with their skills, or work against it.

    Gadgeteer was joined by other heroes, such as Lizzie Liberty and Mr. Superior, eventually becoming part of the International Club Of Costumed Lawbringers (or I.C.C.L.) even having contacts in the United Nations. Other heroes came into the picture that preferred to work alone. Umbra clashed with the I.C.C.L numerous times, as well as other villains that would pop up around the world.

    Perceptions of these heroes were widely varied, as the fear and anger that humanity had for anything 'above' itself still lingered from ancient times. Despite this upheaval, the Citadel refused to reveal itself to the world, and mages who were to become heroes were sworn to keep their stories different each time.

    In order to combat the I.C.C.L, a few 'villains' banded together to form the Collective, and it was during the 1960s that they would war with the heroes, culminating in a large scale plot that took the lives of a few, including Slipstream Suffragette, having effectively come out of retirement to save her family.

    This particular period of history would end with warnings of the coming years.

    The Dark Days

    The Cuban Missile Crisis had already caused a long and unfortunate period of unease within hero and villain groups alike. Patriotism ran deep, it seemed, as members of various groups would break out into arguments over the slightest things, and missions that should have been so simple were fumbled. The Collective's Endgame in 1969 was a veritable war fraught with betrayal and paranoia, and what were once the clear cut sides of good and evil turned into a battle royale of patriotism. Mr Superior was killed in the fighting, and the Gadgeteer officially disbanded the International Club of Costumed Lawbringers, before retiring from costumed vigilantism.

    Sometime in the 70s, the Cold War had reached a critical point, resulting in a short-lived conflict dubbed 'War of the Supers', in which the varying heroes and villains of the US and Western Europe battled the defenders of the Soviet Union and its varied allied countries. While it wasn't a typical war, since the Geneva Convention would prevent their participation, it simply boiled down to anger and prejudice reaching a breaking point when the two sides would meet. The vast majority of them were simply identities, too, and since they weren't actual people in the eyes of either government, it didn't really create an international incident.

    In the 1980s, heroes and villains of the Western World were slowly becoming disenfranchised. The previous pseudo-war wasn't viewed favourably by those who weren't actively participating (for various reasons, patriotic or no), leading to the general image that those who have powers, put on a costume and 'take the law into their own hands' likely suffered from psychological issues that would make them dangerous, and often no better than the evil they would face. It was a steadily building stereotype that forced the heroes to question their duty, motivation or purpose when given such skill and power. As such, the 1980s saw a significant culling of these individuals, simply retiring or passing away in the line of duty because of a new sense of moral ambiguity. Villains, in turn, slinked into the shadows one last time, turning to the side of good or also being killed off. Those that remained acknowledged that the rules regarding 'public image' had changed. If they were viewed as monsters, many thought, then why not give the people what they want?

    A darker kind of guardian arose, heroes not only taking the law into their own hands, but also playing Judge, Jury and Executioner. There did remain a few heroes that would attempt to uphold the golden-aged ideals that the movement had been built on, but this didn't truly help. Villains were becoming far less restrained, the corruption of the heroes seeped into Law Enforcement and politicians, and it was becoming a tougher time to simply 'live'.

    Problems began to rise in the East, too. As issues with the Communist model began to mount, and even more people defecting to the west, the metahumans of the Soviet Union were split quite severely. Some agreed that the political plan wasn't working, that the citizens were becoming agitated and upset, and a change needed to happen again, while others stood fast in their ideals to keep the Communist Agenda alive, that it truly was the path to glory and peace.

    As the 1980s came to a close, a new, severe war had nearly brought both Russia and China to their knees. The metahumans raged across the land, battling each other as they tried to disrupt or aid protests, to prevent or help citizens leave the union. The fighting didn't stop until 1995 when the 'Crimson Remnant' as they called themselves, were defeated. The Remnant, composed of fierce and dangerous Communist fanatics, were forced into hiding, and they make constant terrorist attacks to this day.
    It was obvious to many that, as the years passed, the official second coming of metahumanity was already breaking at the seams. The vast majority, regardless of their stance with the law, were considered criminals and monsters, and those that remained were growing weary of the world they sought to protect slowly and rather painfully dying. After the civil war in the now former Soviet Union was quashed, there were a little less than a hundred known superheroes and villains still alive and in operation, and even then, that number was falling. Metahumans who didn't take up the cowl of any kind did their best to look as human as possible, while those who couldn't were forcibly or voluntarily exiled from their communities.

    True Return of the Superhero

    The turn of the Millennium was considered by many as 'The Year The World Recovered' or 'The Death of Fear'.

    2000 was a very eventful year, having seen the rise of three individuals who would go down as the greatest heroes the world would ever know: Voltiac Vanguard, Armin Yorke and Claude Duprais.
    Voltiac Vanguard, a speedster who had inheritted the powers of the Slipstream Suffragette, made her debut by saving Washington DC from the Monster Surge, an event where countless beasts and abominations appeared by the hand of the Typhon Project. Vanguard used her impressive power and skill in defeating each and every one of the monsters with zero civilian casualties. What's more, when approached by press and authorities, Vanguard was polite and diplomatic. While still retaining her identity, Voltiac Vanguard offered as much information as she good and ultimately left a grand first impression on the people around her.

    Armin Yorke was a business mogul with a knack for science, and had privately developed a technology that would set him as the 'Economic Hero' of the world. His unique designs and nanotech permit him to reconstruct the scene of an event that had occurred 24 hours prior. He sold it as a unique insurance plan that specifically catered towards collateral damage caused by Metahuman Incidents. Saving governments countless amounts of money in repairs and being so readily available, Armin Yorke became the richest man to walk the earth, as well as a key target for anarchist villains, practically overnight.

    Claude Duprais, a French Philosopher turn United Nations Representative, had seen the wonders that Yorke's technology would bring, and electing Voltiac Vanguard as the 'representative' of the Metahuman community, explained to the world that if allowed to freely interact, it would potentially cause more harm than good. He used technology as an example, stating that 'should the progenitors of that technology disappear, and their technology with it, we will be plunged into a new dark age.' Duprais' charisma was remarkable, and through efforts between himself and Vanguard, the Non-Interaction Act was formed, decreeing that Metahumans cannot lawfully use their powers to 'better' humanity, and must keep their abilities for dealing with others like themselves.

    Initially well received, the NIA soon became known as the Segregation Treaty, but its existence allowed for humans and metahumans to co-exist to a degree, and return the world to the 'Golden Age' that it started as in the 1950s.
    As years went by, Voltiac Vanguard went on to form the globally known Justiciars with other heroes, while other groups such as the International Metahuman Police (Or IMP), New Camelot and even a resurgence of the I.C.C.L were formed to combat a slowly rising population of villains.

    The St Marsh School for Metahumans was founded in a secret location to teach young Metahumans about their powers while also attempting to grant them a proper education.
    Since the Assimilator, there had been no publically acknowledged signs of alien life.

    The world, as it stands, now has a status quo with the metahuman populace, with new sciences being founded to study them. Entertainment has changed slightly, with a series of sports catered almost entirely to Metahumans.
    The world is an interesting place, and there are still many more stories left to discover.

    There's definitely more to come, and I'm only going through some very brief notes here. I'll likely create a threat in Roll Call about some of the NPCs I utilise. Hope you enjoy!
    Last edited by Articulate_Tony; 11-08-2014, 06:43 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Power Struggle: A World by Articulate_Tony

    Keep up the good work Articulate Tony.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Power Struggle: A World by Articulate_Tony

      A short list of Organisations within the setting. This list may yet expand.

      Organisations in the World of Power Struggle

      With the prevalence of superhuman society in the world, new organisations and companies have come into the playing field to capitalise on the new 'adjustments' that the people of the world needed to come to terms with.

      The Sanction

      Lead by Dr. Neuron, the Sanction is an unknown organisation that is expertly hidden. No kind of trail can be found when dealing with these people, and their work has gone without notice for two decades.
      The Sanction's sights are set on metahumans who are risking godhood. Hunting people who have entered the adjudication process, or ones whose abilities are far beyond what is now considered the 'Metahuman Norm', the Sanction seeks to contain and destroy these individuals permanently. The problem lies in that such methods are not readily available 99% of the time, so almost all of these cases are kept within 'Cold Storage' until such a thing can be done.
      All instances of Adjudication thus far have been tracked, and some are contained almost immediately after this happens, or a short time after.

      The Typhon Project

      Since the loss of Mu and the exile of many monsters from the world, the god Typhon had been at odds with the others that wandered the earth, eventually striking out and losing in a battle with Zeus.
      Many years later, as the superhumans returned to the world, a few decided to look into the possibility of such creatures existing, finding artefacts and evidence, and ultimately attempting to bring them back. One such effort was focussed in Greece, in the search for the God of Monsters under Mt. Etna where Zeus supposedly sealed him.
      The Project is largely a secret organisation, but unlike the Sanction, is talked about in hushed whispers and rumours; speculation more than anything, as opposed to the Sanction who are practically non-existent.

      The Justiciars

      The Justiciars are the world's foremost group of superheroes, working on a global scale and being supported by a large gathering of people to maintain systems and bring up security. Operating from the old UN building in New York, the group operates on a global scale. Funded not only by various government stipends, but also the heroes themselves, working for the Justiciars is not a terrible job in itself, though there is a very strict NDA for anyone who works there.
      The hero group is composed of hundreds of members around the world, but the core group is only five people big, lead by long time Superhero Voltaic Vanguard, who is considered the greatest hero alive.

      The Federal Bureau Of Metahuman Affairs (FBMA)

      The rise of the Superhumans was something that obviously required special attention by the norms. Shortly after the 1950s saw a surge of heroes and villains due to appearances from Gadgeteer and Umbra, the US government created a department that caters to it. The FBMA deals in the science of metahumans, as well as their psychology, in order to better protect the world from them, and in some small way, protect them from the world.

      There's at least one building dedicated to the FBMA in each major city around the country, with a sizable series of holding cells built deep underground. In an effort to keep the city from suffering an overwhelming break out of villains and dangerous monsters, the FBMA will attempt to spread out any captive beings as much as possible.
      Work is currently being done on a maximum security prison for these people, but work is slow due to the erratic nature of metahuman abilities.

      The Crimson Remnant

      The Remnant is a terrorist organisation with the goal of restoring the former glory of Communist Russia. Their ranks are filled with dangerous fanatics and lead by a group of powerful, ultra-patriotic metahumans. Russia has declined association with them since their inception, and have permitted the rest of the world the ability to engage and defeat them, should they prove problematic.
      Their base of operations continually moves, making it difficult to track them down, and they have performed numerous attacks on the rest of the world. Not much else is known.

      Yorke Insurance

      Collateral Damage was something that became an inevitability when the costumed heroes came along. Battles between super beings were hard to repay, since it happened so often, and the combatants held no legal identity, so it had to come from the government.
      Luckily, a man by the name of Armin Yorke developed a technology that could scan an area, find out exactly what it was like before, and then rebuild it in about half an hour. The cost for such a service depends on the damage, which is a minor price in comparison to standard costs. Mr. Yorke has since made a fortune, expanding his company to operate around the world, and in a small way, is commemorated as an economic hero.

      The Cult of The Unknown

      There are those who 'know' that Gods still reside in the mortal plane, hidden away in some forgotten, lifeless corner of the universe, and this knowledge has lead to those who wield it worshipping and attempting to call these gods home. The nature of the deities varies wildly due to varying interpretations of the cultists.

      St Marsh School for Metahumans

      Young people blessed with the capabilities beyond normal humans would require proper education, a fact that was unavoidable. As a branch from the Justiciars, the St. Marsh school helps to teach children and teenagers control, in an environment that would allow it, as doing so out in the real world was likely going to be seen as a negative thing.
      The school has a full staff of teachers, care takers, doctors and psychologists, both metahuman and not, and they, along with the students, must undergo an in-depth interview to ensure that they adhere to the NDA put in place. The school itself is in an unknown location, and students travelling to and from utilise portals that are specifically designed to prevent people from tracking the location and attacking.

      The International Metahuman Police

      IMP rivals the Justiciars in their presence and capability, comprised of powerful Metahumans that look to dish out justice wherever they see fit. While the Justiciars function more as a collective of like-minded individuals, operating as friends as well as co-workers, the IMP operates like a military outfit with regiments, protocols and precision. As such, the members of the IMP hold titles and codenames, such as Agent Ebon or Private Roughneck.
      IMP gains a sizable amount of funding by the UN and is primary run by the investors, but its lead in field operations would be Director Onyx, who has issues with Voltiac Vanguard and the way that she runs things, as well as members of New Camelot, who have taken to calling him Mordred.

      New Camelot

      Operating a short distance north of Rocksforth, California, the New Camelot heroes are a group of robotic heroes that have taken on the likeness of the legendary round table knights. While Arthur is rarely seen out in the field, the group have collectively helped their community with many villains, and even maintain the knightly act to entertain the public.
      They do, however, feel more inclined to help out the more mundane of people, given their chivalrous nature, which has brought them to a head against the IMP, who they view as cold and void of empathy. It is only through a somewhat legal loop hole ("We are not human, so we can't be metahuman, and thus are exempt from your law") and the aid of some remarkable lawyers that they avoid arrest.

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      • #4
        Re: Power Struggle: A World by Articulate_Tony

        Some more detailed information on Magic, Gods and other stuff that can be found in the setting

        Magic

        Magic is a force that permeates the very fabric of reality, a permanent scar on the universe that had been brought about by the Gods during their reign of mortal life. The eldritch fallout from unknown millennia of fighting and manipulation lay inert for a long time, a fundamental aspect of reality that couldn't be detected by conventional means and might as well not have been there, simply lingering amongst the atoms and molecules of the world with nothing more than interesting, unexplained happenstance to allow for speculation.

        Still, it was found again. Through either luck or the remnants of knowledge prior to human history, knowledge of the craft survived, and so it was that the Citadel was born.

        Perhaps it was something hardwired in humanity to make the supernatural so terrifying or repulsive, or maybe it was a side effect of Eon's work, but to openly practice magic was tantamount to suicide. Even during days prior to the First World War, the mages of the Citadel would hide themselves away, afraid of those who might hunt them, to punish the heretic or steal his secrets.

        Exactly when these magic users came together to form the first Shadow Nation is lost, but as wizards and warlocks met on the battlefield or in diplomatic conversation, they all realised that the magic they had controlled was utilised in the same manner. It was almost bizarre how these individuals had stumbled upon what appeared to be the exact formula for magic in its most basic form. With a unique understanding of this force, users of magic would break off from their former societies to hide alongside those who also understood the way in which the world 'worked'.

        Magic Types

        Magic at the simplest level is split into two categories, and debates continue to rage as to which side is considered 'True Magic' in its own way.

        Conscious Magic, or a craft known by the Citadel as 'The Lexicon', is the force by which the society of magic users was formed. It is a form of energy that can be manipulated, examined and understood in the same way as gravity or light, and its study is, in effect, a form of intricate science, or more accurately, mathematics.

        Lexicon magic is visually as varied as any other form of super -power, and on the very surface it might seem chaotic and confusing, but each spell had been crafted and moulded from the same equations and formulae; the 'Withering Spell of Ibin-Gazi' may require one to recite of a short line in ancient Arabic and perform basic hand gestures, and the spell 'Herdenmold's Vicious Rotting' might need one to say one word of Latin while flinging dust into a target's face but they yield the same effect. Think of it like 2 multiplied by 9 divided by 3 having the same answer as 30 divided by 10 and multiplied by 2.

        It takes a while to learn how the Lexicon works, in its own way, and there are members of the Citadel who dedicate nearly all their learning into how it works, neglecting other knowledge entirely. In addition to this, the Citadel is very well connected, and considerably small when compared to the rest of the world despite being the largest Shadow Nation there is. Heroes and Villains who hail from the Citadel usually are aware of whom most people are within this community, and sometimes only become heroes or villains for the sake of theatrics. Despite being morally opposed, without fail the two sides will continue to act around each other and carry their secrets to the grave, as any leak may cause the existence of the Citadel to be revealed. Some may see this as a unique problem within such a structure, but considering the millennia spent maintaining such a secret, a change wasn't too likely to occur. (The Citadel and its structure will likely be covered in an upcoming segment on Shadow Nations).

        The magic found in this method is considered universal, in the same way that Chi and Souls are considered universal metaphysical forces; In the same way that every living being with a heart beat has Chi, and every living being with free will has a Soul, raw magic is considered as fundamental to the universe as gravity or light.

        Lexicon Magic is considered by a large number of Citadel mages to be the True Magic, as it functions in the way magic was intended, as an early science almost. Intended to experience, understand and influence the world through initially arcane and strange methods, it is considered that this is the accurate and correct form of magic, as Irrational magic requires the reliance of abstract concepts and little intellectual understanding to properly utilise it.

        Unconscious Magic, or Irrational Magic as dubbed by the citadel, is something that looks and acts the same way that magic does, but holds none of the equations or science that the Lexicon holds. While Lexicon magic requires intelligence, understanding and the crafting of equations for the correct application, Irrational Magic is more spontaneous, acting upon the user's instinct. This kind of magic acts as an extension of the user's will, adjusting the world around them as they see fit, and to a degree being unaware of how it actually works. In certain cases, things that were considered Irrational Magic have since been debunked as magic altogether, such as Chi being a person's spirit or life force rather than magic, while others had been promoted as Lexicon Magic when the effects were properly studied and replicated.

        To this end, it is possible that applications that are considered Lexicon Magic had been found to be flukes and were debunked as Irrational magic (think of it like Pluto no longer being considered a planet, with the general community backlash to go with it) and some Irrational Magics have remained so since their discovery. Typically, magic utilised by faith would be the most common Irrational magic, since what you get is dependent on how devout you are. It can be considered that all mages are users of divine magic, since the very existence of the energy they use is due to a lingering background radiation from the time the Gods walked the Earth and their battle with Eon (thought considering that no being on earth can accurately recall those events, such a debate isn't really called into question).

        Incidentally, members of the Citadel are of a mix of faiths, and considering the world in which they live, some atheist mages are open to the existence of a deity or group of deities, but do not believe their mere existence should be worthy of praise.

        Irrational magic is, at best, not really regarded and often looked down upon, and at worst something unknowable, uncontrollable and highly dangerous. Despite this, some mages in the Citadel consider Irrational Magic the 'True Magic', given that magic is, by its very nature, not meant to be rationalised or studied in a sterile, scientific manner but something that has to be experienced.

        Chi and Souls

        Chi, now debunked as magic but still regarded as a fundamental force of life, is just that. Anything with blood pumping through its veins holds a spark of life, an energy that mastery and understanding of oneself can manipulate and adjust to manifest a boost in the user's abilities or to generate super powers of their own. Intense training and journeys of self discovery are required in order to utilise Chi in some fashion, and it is entirely possible to see Chi tainted based on the actions brought about by the user. Various organisations have attempted to 'manufacture' Chi, or find a quick and efficient way to unlock such secrets in people, only to be met with limited success. Chi cannot be taken away so easily, as doing so is tantamount to killing someone.

        A Soul, on the other hand, is a person's personality, the essence of who they are. While Chi is a given for any person who is biologically considered alive, a Soul comes about when a person obtains their independence and free will, when they switch on, as it were. This has led some to theorise that the souls of infants stuck in purgatory as certain religious or mythic text dictates are simply shells of people who could not come about, denied the chance to 'live' in the metaphorical sense.
        To remove ones Soul, unlike Chi, is not a death sentence but it eliminates the will to act on one's own. Instead, the actions of that person are then dictated by whatever being had taken their soul in the first place; they retain their biological functions, but appear robotic or zombielike, not retaining their personality as they carry out actions. The average mundane person will instinctively recognise this, that feeling you get when encountering something from the uncanny valley, the absence of a soul being somehow wrong.

        On another level, if the soul is destroyed, then that person simply cannot act at all. They live, they breathe and with aid they may eat, but otherwise they are immobile, with not ability to act, or even receive direction.
        That's not to say that people trapped in comas or in a vegetative state are soulless, or any act of mind control is the act of stealing one's soul. While a person can retain their soul and therefore the free will to act on their own, they can be hampered by physical limitations; the mind and soul may be willing, but the flesh may be prevented by outside forces.

        It is unknown at this moment if an artificial being can obtain a soul with the complex enough AI, or if a being with artificial body parts can retain their Chi, but this hasn't been researched enough to yield a significant result.

        Mystical Beings

        Magical Creatures come in various shapes and sizes, and while nearly all of them are lost in another dimension on the former continent of Mu, there have been a couple were left behind; notably, Dragons and the fabled Spectral Jack.

        The dragons of the world were small in number, but their higher intelligence and greater physical forms would permit them the ability to survive much longer than the more numerous humans. They, too, were decent mages, and saw the reasoning behind the Citadel's decision to retreat from the world. As such, they spent their lives disguised as human beings, living among them and learning from them as much as they can.

        One dragon in particular was a problem, however. Raem, the obsidian dragon, was a great and terrible beast, and unlike his brethren, his ambition was too much for him to simply hide. He wanted to be at the head of the world, as his power would allow him to, but to do so was to endanger the other dragons as well as the citadel, and as such, the shortest battle in history would occur, but the scars of which would be seen for years to come. It was perhaps the only inkling of the supernatural the people would receive since Spectral Jack, until the battle with the Assimilator in the Great War.

        Battles within the Citadel were won by intelligence and planning, most days. In order to beat your opponent, if you had time to prepare, you would have to prepare and research spells continuously, aiming to win a fight before it even begins.
        None can be sure what happened exactly when the high mages met with Raem on the chosen battlefield, but the only eye witnesses were a great distance away, reporting what would be known as the Tunguska Event in 1908.
        Spectral Jack was a legend or fairy tale passed around in Victorian London a short time after the infamous Ripper murders had ceased. It was assumed that the Ripper was caught or killed, despite no one knowing who he was, and his vengeful spirit lived on to take vengeance on the world that denied him.

        The truth is, Spectral Jack was merely a tool for various owners over the years. In the early 19th century, a British Explorer happened upon an artefact during a short trip to the Middle East. Returning home, he had discovered that the item he had acquired was in fact a container for the soul and essence of a Djinn, a being that had been trapped within the ancient urn and was capable of great magical power. As it would explain, the poor creature's soul was trapped within the urn, though it could not understand as to why or how, and he could not tamper with his prison. So, who so ever possessed the urn was also in possession of the Djinn's servitude.

        Each successive user would have a different desire for it, either a scholarly one about times gone by (through what short glimpses it could understand), as a way to boost one's wealth, or as it was soon understood, a righteous assassin. The Djinn's power over flame allowed for cases of spontaneous human combustion to be a remarkably notable, and those who would die would sometimes follow a form of pattern.

        It was noted at one point that Winston Churchill may have been in possession of the Djinn at one point, who aided in reducing the effect of the Blitz upon the country.

        No one knows who is in possession of the urn at this point in time, and with numerous sightings of the supernatural on a regular basis, it truly has become difficult to find evidence leading to the Djinn.

        Adjudication

        In the world of Power Struggle, there is a very good reason as to why the Gods aren't actually around anymore. The key reason for this would be the Exile War, a conflict that predates all known human history between the Gods and Eon, a being who was tremendously powerful and whose origins were equally obscure.

        The more compassionate and diplomatic of the Gods accepted Eon's initial offer of sanctuary in a place known as the Hall of Brass, a dimensional palace in which they would be catered for, and allow mortal life on Earth the independence they deserved by that point. The remainder defied Eon, claiming that it is the right of the Gods to control the mortal plane and all who dwell within it. Nearly all of those who fought against Eon were slain, and those who remained fled to the darkest corners of the universe.

        The power of the Gods is a fickle thing, having grown so great that it couldn't simply dissipate and go away after its initial host was no more. Instead, it would flitter around the universe and lie in wait, until an appropriate time would come along.

        That time, coincidentally enough, is now.

        What is Adjudication?

        Adjudication is the process by which the power of a fallen god judges a mortal being so it can be linked to them. This mortal can be practically anyone, so long as it possesses a soul and an independent mind. The power, however, does have its preferences; it won't seek out individuals who have power already, and the power will have its own goals based on the deity it once belonged to. It is with these criteria that the sentient force of a slain god will find a person and then judge them.
        The judging process varies wildly, but the jurisdiction is usually the same. Should the mortal pass this test, they will be granted the power of the god and do with it what they wish. Should they fail, the mortal is clearly a waste of life, and is therefore destroyed before the power moves onto the next one.

        Acquiring the power of a god is no small task. The sudden change in physiology (which occurs on a metaphysical and genetic level) can have adverse affects on the person's mind and soul. In certain, rare cases, people do not survive their own ascension, the potential found and the time of both participants having been wasted in that single instance.

        The stories are always different, as the power of the gods manifests in wildly different ways and the trials are unique to each individual, possible psychological issues notwithstanding. As such, the actual event of Adjudication is thought of as a unique thing, rather than a reoccurring phenomenon.

        This isn't to say that this is the only way to come across great power. In certain cases, being born of a god is a way to gain great power, though it is a slightly slower process; Adjudication's psychological and physical risks are balanced out by the sheer speed at which this power is obtained, while a naturally born God or Demigod has to work and train to obtain their potential.

        There are also entities that are not gods, but can potentially be considered God-like. There's the option to play host to an extra-dimensional force (Voltaic Vanguard or Red Reaper), be in command of great magic (Dr. Neuron) or simply empowered by it (Aegis Warden). Mortal life isn't beyond taking the scientific route either (Third Reich Crusader) and there are creatures who have been born not of a deity, but can certainly go toe to toe with them (Leviathan).

        So what's the point in Adjudication? Well, it can certainly be said that mortals, with the right brains and skill can create something capable of going toe to toe with their creators, so to speak, but Gods pretty much lack an upper limit. An adjudicated character can reach Power level 20 and still keep going while a mortal being will struggle to go beyond Power Level 18 at the very most.

        Eon was (or is) the strongest being to have ever been known to exist, considered Power Level X. Since the exact nature of the world's creation is a mystery, it is unclear if there were sentient creators, let alone if Eon had anything to do with it. Below him would be the Gods, and then below them would be the ones the Gods created (i.e. humanity).

        As Adjudication happened recently (specifically, at the turn of the 21st century) it is essentially a representation of a new level of power; most heroes and villains on the planet were around power level 12 as an average, with beings like Dr. Neuron, Red Reaper and Third Reich Crusader topping power level 15. Shortly after the millennium hit, the gods began their return.

        On Earth, Successful Adjudication is very rare. Heroes or villains that suddenly acquired the powers of gods had significantly short careers before disappearing off the grid (with the Sanction being the key culprit in that).

        What can reborn Gods do?

        Besides typical abilities that deal with their respective domains, the reborn gods are also capable of acquiring a powerful physique, so things like Super Strength, Speed and Invulnerability would be common among a New Gods power set; The Gods made mortal life as lesser reflections of themselves, after all.

        It is also possible for mortals of one species to acquire the power of a God that wasn't strictly related to them, and then begin to develop physical attributes related to that deity. For example, a human who had acquired the power of Anubis could start to develop the abilities, and maybe even the appearance, of a Jackal, much like the god himself.

        In addition, all Gods had a unique ability to effectively dominate mortal life. It was a trait that lead to the Exile War, and the Gods of Old taking control over Mortal Life so very easily. The ability, collectively known as 'Deity's Dominance' can take various forms.

        At its base, Deity's Dominance would simply provide a bonus to a character's Presence, allowing them to subtly dominate a conversation as they would seem more charismatic and trust worthy by default. As the power grows, it can lead to Mind Control, Emotion Control, and even damaging effects over mortal life, becoming more and more subtle as time goes on.

        Can they be killed... again?

        Of course. Until a new God gets close to realising their full potential, they can be slain through the use of brute force much like any other person, unless they have an ability that specifically permits them come back. With enough digging around in magic, it is also possible to find spells that would strip a god of their power so they can be slain. When it comes down to it, utilising things of such a level is down to the GM's discretion.
        Still, that won't stop the power of the deity. Much like the first time, a slain New God will lose its power, which will go and find a new host. This is actually a key purpose of the Sanction is to find a way to permanently eradicate the power of the Gods, and thus won't kill the new gods, but capture them instead.


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