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Reposting an old setting from years and years ago! Black Operations

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  • Reposting an old setting from years and years ago! Black Operations

    Black Operations: A Nasty Metahuman Campaign World
    One Line Summary: Metahuman Lara Croft's, James Bond's and Jet Li's in a world threatened by Pan-dimensional horror.

    Campaign Rules:

    Setting Rule A, B and C are used to create a global explanation for the features of a realistic superhero campaign like non-human races, fantastic powers, hi-technology and enhanced humans. The rules are all linked to the premise that Earth has come into contact with its own very far future.

    A. There is only one ultimate source for meta-human powers. Interference from an extra-dimensional source known as the 404 .

    That interference takes the form of mutants, gene manipulation to create metahumans, unusual technology and illegal immigrants from the 404. More rarely, escapees from 404 prisons, heavily genetically engineered new species or artificial intelligences also exist and can be used as origin stories.

    Most 404 interference (and therefore metahuman powers) is centered around Earth where the dimensional breach exists. However, illegal immigrants from the 404 have travelled into space from Earth.

    The story setting restricts existence of non-human alien or mystical races to those allowed by consistent timeline.

    The inhabitants of the 404 dimension are believed to be from humanity's far future. Mankind has abandoned Earth for the 404 dimension..They also seems to have developed psionic reality alteration, genetic transformation and artificial bodies. Altering one's own body has become commonplace and mankind has genetically altered themselves into many sub-species.

    In addition, Mankind has been surpassed by its own creation. It has created free-willed artificial intelligences which have evolved into two non-human species. The Ordered Ones who are believed to be giant artificial stars used as computers and The #$#$! (pronounced Kabassa) who are believed to be giant biological computers made up of quasi-living amino acids drifting through space). These beings alter reality on a cosmic scale, and are believed to be the rulers of the 404 dimension.

    The 404 restricts travel to Earth, but seem somewhat arbitrary in policing the impact of travellers to Earth once things get there. The laws of temporal physics mean that travelling to the past has no impact on the history of the future.

    The 404 exiles and imprison individuals from the human subspecies on Earth (usually making local agreements to ensure they are imprisoned). Keeping individuals imprisoned does not always seem to be a concern of the 404 (They seem to think that their obligations are satisfied once a local party has agreed to enforce imprisonment).

    Contact with the 404 universe began several thousand years in the past, where they used the Earth dimension as the anchor point for a pocket reality called the Lost World. The Lost World was a prison, managed by automated devices.

    I have taken ideas from the end of Asimov's Foundation series (with Second Foundation psionics, positronic robots with mind control guiding humanity, Gaea and genetically engineered 'transducing' Solarians) and ideas from Julian May's Many Colored Land series (time travel by exiles).

    In this timeline, humans have been altered to acquire biological or reality altering powers. Mutants exist. All of which were born after the first use of a temporal bomb on earth by 404 beings. The bomb seems to have interfered with the speed of evolution. Mutants seem have slight physiological differences in their brain. Parts of their left brain are more evolved (possibly due to temporal radiation) giving them the reality altering power.

    B. 404 Technology or Technology based on 404 Science exists but repairing and replicating such technology is affected by strange uncertainty laws relating to trans-dimensional physics (Heisenberg's Para-Law of Coincidence).

    Contact with the 404 dimension seems to have introduced unusual technologies to Earth. These take the form of devices from the 404 or devices which use materials related to the 404.

    These devices can achieve the impossible. However, the scientific principles behind them don't seem to be 'natural' to Earth. What works one day, may work differently in a weeks time. Scientists think that these devices, may be using scientific principles 'leaking' into Earth from extra-dimensional materials. Unfortunately, this process seems somewhat uncertain and unpredictable. As a result, 404 technology or devices invented using 404 materials have the following characteristics:

    1. Not all scientific processes cannot be repeated easily

    2. Where devices make use of pan-dimensional technology they require constant maintainence

    3. What works for one scientist may not work for another scientist

    The inventor is often the only person who can (with any predictability) maintain or repair 404 equipment for regular use. In addition, technology of this kind cannot be readily mass produced.

    C. Non-technology Powers have an underlying rationale (Hawking's Theory of Unstable Reality, Loewi's Theory Of The Left Brain (Amended) and The Theory Of Non-relative Identity ).

    Non-technology powers comes from one of five sources.

    1. Use of the reality alteration power

    Scientists have established the reality alteration power exists. Many psionic powers were weak versions of one of this power. Scientists have identified the following broad groupings:

    Creativity: The power to create matter or energy (including pyrokinesis, cyrokinesis).

    Manipulation: The power to manipulate matter or energy (including telekinesis, manipulation of light to create images or electricity control).

    Tempo-spatial Control: Time/space/dimensional manipulation (including teleportation and super-speed).

    Manipulation Of Basic Physical Forces: Control of the weak and strong atomic forces (often taking the form of transmutation), control of gravity and electromagnetic forces (taking the form of gravity-based telekinesis or magnetic telekinesis).

    Manipulation of Consciousness: See 4. below. The science of these powers is still heavily debated. Telepathy is a power of this kind. Shapechanging is believed to involve consciousness effects.

    The reality alteration power is believed to sit in the left-side of the brain. However the use of reality alteration by non-physical beings means reality altering can be independent of physical form and may be linked to consciousness theory in some way.

    Reality is believed to have been 'loosened' by the initial entry of 404 beings into our reality. Humans are believed to have been evolving reality alteration since that initial reality breach. Temporal radiation seems to have been a catalyst that has caused "throwforwards" in evolution where some humans are born as mutants with developed reality-altering facilities similar to 404 beings. An alternative theory argues that beings from the 404 (who were really genetically altered humans) interbred with human ancestors at some point, passing on latent genes related to reality alteration, which are being activated by Temporal radiation.

    The Aberrant setting is another campaign setting where all powers come from the same biological source, an organ which manipulates in their case, Quantum.

    2. Use of the reality alteration power by the subconscious mind, often limited and restricted by subconcious beliefs

    For example; strength is often short range telekinesis; flight is a limited form of telekinesis or gravity control; a character with magic spells would be using reality alteration but can only do so if he thinks he is casting a spell; a character with a flaming sword would be instinctively using pyrokinesis and fire control to create a sword. Strangely enough, a meta using subconscious control of his abilities ends up being able to do things, without explaining what he does.

    The subconscious can coordinate complex power use.

    A character may be able to create solid illusions by subconsciously coordinated telekinesis and illusion casting. Something that would be incredibly difficult for the conscious mind to coordinate.

    3. Actual biological/physical powers

    Powers can be physical in nature. For example; better muscles, better light sensors in your eyes, electro-magnetic coils instead of muscles.

    Mutants are likely to have physiological changes along with other changes. These are believed to be caused by subconscious reality alteration by the mother or the baby. Lemurians may have hereditry physical traits that confer physical advantages or have been genetically altered to have physical advantages.

    4. Consciousness manipulation. The existance of non-physical beings is evidence of consciousness having a non-physical aspect. Scientists believe all consciousness is the result of unique patterns in super-strings connecting all space/time.

    True living beings (including A.I. with genuine free will) have a soul, which is their unique pattern in the super-strings of space-time. This is a result of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics says reality reflects all possible actions by a free will and not just their actual actions. So each free willed being creates a unique space time pattern.

    See the sci-fi novels, Clay People by Larry Niven or Xenocide by Orson Scott Card for the idea of a unique soul in space time.

    Unique effects can be achieved by use of the reality altering power to manipulate the super-strings linking all unique consciousness.
    Supporting this theory, a number of mental powers have been identified as being linked to super-string manipulation or made possible by the existance of consciousness outside the physical body. Some scientists actually think all reality-alteration powers are a subset of super-string manipulation.

    Telepathic powers are the result of manipulation of super-strings connecting individual 'souls'.

    Shapechanging is the result of a consciousness being unique and being moved through various bodies. Bodies are created for temporary use or stored in pocket dimensions when not used. Alternatively, a unique 'soul' can have a malleable body, whose shape is determined by the use of reality alteration by the character's actual unique consciousness.

    Scientists consider the existence of non-physical beings and meta's who can take inanimate forms with no actual brain-equivalent organs to be evidence that consciousness is independent of physical form.

    5. On rare occasions, the source of power is another being. The character is simply communicating with the being who alters reality on his behalf.

    A character with a 'magic' sword might find that the sword is a communication tool, which lets a 404 entity exercise reality alteration on behalf of the sword-owner. So a character could really have powers granted by 'Zeus'. If 'Zeus', was a fairly powerful 404 entity editing our reality on his behalf...

    The Timeline, Key Differences With Our History: Pre-history

    Cretaceous Period : 404 build the Lost World and imprison the first wave of 404 refugees. A small group of refugees escape and cause the Dinosaur extinction in the course of escaping to Space.

    10,000 years ago: The Lost World prison system fails as its suspended animation systems melt down.

    The surviving 404 refugees begin to coexist with the human race, renaming themselves Lemurians. They also develop a religion called the Babus Codex that argues that each Lemurian must declare himself a supporter of the Ordered Ones or the Kabassa. The clans hope to manipulate history to destroy one while preserving the other.

    A small war ends in the destruction of Atlantis, the only Lemurian society to dissent in this grand objective.

    The Lemurians use genetic engineering and consciousness transfer technology to further alter themselves into sub-species with distinct biological characteristics. Known sub-species include the The Fair, The Gilded, The Twisted, The Hungered and The Wild who resemble Faerie, Giant (9-foot tall) Human, Trolls, Vampires and Werewolves respectively. In addition, a club known as the Borrowers
    develops technology allowing transfer of consciousness into a totally, artificial, biological body.

    Their existence has become myth.
    The Timeline. Key Differences With Our history : WWI

    1830: One small, unpredictable Gateway opens.

    Refugees from the 404 pass through on occasion, apparently coming from the 404. The Refugees claim that both non-human artificial intelligences controlling the 404, have become near extinct and the 404 is now in a state of perpetual war. Reliable gateway technology no-longer exists other than the gateway controlled by the Refugees.

    The Lemurians declare a Jihad on the new Refugees, who they accuse of preaching falsehood. However as they fail to stop the Refugees, who establish three underwater colonies by 1900, when a Lemurian temporal bomb destroys the Refugee gateway.
    The Timeline, Key Differences With Our History: WWII and the Korean War

    1932: First psionics and mutants begin appearing. A Lemurian Scientist links increased meta-human abilities to use of a temporal bomb.

    1939-44: During WWII, Nazi Germany introduces meta-humans to the world, with the Axis Uberkommando. The formula is used to enhance compatible persons. It is believed to have been developed with unknown parties from the 404 dimension. Allied scientists introduce meta-humans of their own, working with Refugee scientists.

    The unknown parties from the 404 supplying this technique are known as the Eloi (from the novel the Time-Machine). They are believed to have been attempting to create a race that would eventually serve as hosts for the Eloi. The Eloi wish to escape from the 404 by occupying metahumans on Earth.

    1947: WWII ends differently from conventional history. Nazi meta-humans prolong the survival of Nazi Germany. A plot is developed where Allied superhumans lure Axis superhumans to Northern France. A nuclear bomb is detonated killing or disabling the most powerful metahumans. Conventional forces then defeat Nazi Germany.

    The Lemurians, detonate a futuristic device (known as the second temporal bomb) off the coast of the Eastern United States, destroying one Refugee undersea colony. The public is told the device was a failed Japanese doomsday weapon, prematurely detonated, while being transported to the United States by submarine.

    As a side-effect, the second temporal bomb (which is larger than the first) disrupts direct communication between the Eloi and earth.

    Japan surrenders after two atomic bombs are dropped.

    Cold War: The cold war takes place normally with several major differences.

    Mutation rates increase around the sites of atomic bomb use, temporal bomb use or atomic bomb testing.

    A decision is made by the U.N. to conceal the Lemurian/Refugee war (Also known as the Fish War) from humanity.

    In addition, governments are now aware of the Lemurian and Refugee races. They begin exploiting non-Earth technology and mutation for various super soldier programs. Human scientists identify Lemurians as evolved and in some cases genetically modified humans from a parallel dimension, naming the species Homo Temporalis or Temporals

    Korean War: Metahumans are used on both sides of the Korean war. Russia and UK involve themselves by supplying metahumans for the war.

    The Korean war ends in a stalemate.

    Additional treaties are signed to curtail government research or sponsorship of metahumans beyond agreed limits.

    A black operations world of metahuman recruitment or research develops. Various agencies form to enforce the treaties.

    A number of countries (US,UK,Australia) set up legal frameworks that allow metahumans to act as independent 'crime-fighters'. The independent heroes serve a law enforcement function. In addition, the independent heroes are seen as potential military resources that can be monitored for future recruitment without breaking treaties on government sponsorship.

    Formation of Israel: At the same time as Israel is set-up by the U.N., the British set up the free cities of Lethe, Varosha and New Gibraltar.

    The Free Cities are homelands for survivors of German-Eloi experimentation (which created thousands of non-powered mutants ). Lethe is on an artificial island off the Egyptian coast. Varosha is on Cyprus (and stayed neutral when Turkey invaded Cyprus. Note: Google it! Its a real city) and New Gibraltar is an artificial island in the Atlantic (about halfway between Gibraltar and the United States). The Free Cities movement was then supported by an Omega-class Metahuman called Shelf (whose earth control powers extended to the creation of artificial islands). In return for diplomatic support, Shelf has constructed several other terraforming projects for Russia, the UK and America (before dying of an incurable brain cancer, caused by overuse of his powers).

    The free cities of Lethe and Varosha have become a key allies of Israel and a homeland for persecuted mutants and meta-humans around the globe. The cities are also critical cities for meta-human black operations.

    In the 1970's, New Gibraltar, agreed to the construction of an international meta-human prison. While parts of the prison are on the artificial island, parts of the prison are offshore and undersea. The prison is constructed in such a manner that sections can be isolated and destroyed in the event of riots.
    The Timeline, Key Differences With Our History: The Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Post-Cold War: The post-cold war coup that forces Gorbachev into Retirement, puts Yeltsin in power and creates the Commonwealth of Independent States ends differently due to meta-human interference.

    Parts of the Russian meta-human community side with the hardliners in return for influence. The CIS is forced to allow hardliners to retain political control and significant autonomy in certain provinces of Russia. Siberia is under hardline Communist control through the State's locally 'elected' politicians. Several mini-states are set-up throughout the CIS, some of which are controlled by Metahumans.
    The Timeline, Key Differences With Our History: Terrorism

    War on Terror:

    While metahumans are active on both sides of the conflict, no significant change from our World's history has occured. While metahumans prevent some attacks, the existance of metahumans has also enabled a number of successful attacks.

    The US has invaded Iraq/Afghanistan in response and is trying to form new local governments. Black-ops metahuman operations are prevalent with terrorist networks relying heavily on mercenaries and 'suicide supers'. Suicide supers are persons who use metahuman enhancement technology rejected by governments, because of its impact on life-expectancy or sanity. The most well known is Snakeskin (which gives a human 30 minutes of random metahuman powers, usually followed by a massive heart attack or permanent insanity).

    The Republican government is heavily criticized for not finding 'Persons of Mass Destruction' or 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' in Iraq.

    Russia is still trying to supress rebellion in key provinces.

    China is uninvolved, concentrating on its economic development. However tensions between it and Taiwan are heightened by the presence of metahuman Chinese forces and metahuman Taiwanese forces (often Chinese defectors).
    The following character creation rules are fleshed out in addition to the character's statistics.

    Character Creation


    -Is the character strongly nationalist?

    -Does he have a loyalty to a trans-national movement or a nation?

    Mutant rights, anti-communist, pro-communist, human rights, democracy in China, anti-superpowers, UN, crime lords, meta-human controlled mini-states, military-industrial complexes of various nations, anti-mutant, military trans-national groups exist and are movements or groups a hero might be committed to.

    -Does the character have religious or ethical principles?

    -Does the character have positive or negative views on non-government superheroes?

    -Does he have connections to an extra-human individual or organization?

    Aliens include Lemurians, Refugees, the 404, the mysterious Eloi or alien cultures descended from Lemurian escapees from Earth.

    Government Relations/Public Opinion

    -Is he sponsored, hunted, watched, liked or disliked by any government?

    -Is he famous/infamous?

    -Is his fame and government relationship consistent with his power level?

    The more powerful or superhuman the character is, the more notice he gets

    If his powers/weapons can be replicated, is he the subject of research?

    Governments would have to keep an eye on potentially replicable meta-human technology or meta-human creation processes, just to make sure the wrong parties don't get the technology or process.

    Human/Non-human Origin

    -Is he of non-human origin?

    Homo Temporalis, refugee, direct exile from the 404, the mysterious Eloi, from alien cultures descended from Temporal escapees from Earth, artificial life and artificial intelligences are possible.


    -Are his equipment, powers or the process used to give him powers from non-human/404 technology or science?

    In this campaign almost all super-high tech equipment comes from 404 technology

    -Is he mutant?

    Mutancy is a side effect of the temporal bombs and is more prevalent near those bomb sites. Mutancy is also correlated with proximity to atomic bomb test sites and WWII targets. Atomic radiation can activate meta's already stimulated by temporal radiation

    -Is he a mix?

    Mutants or latent mutants can be further enhanced by metahuman technology or research. Several of these programs have been funded by governments or transnational organizations

    -Is his origin consistent with the timeline?

    Prior to WWI, only the space Temporals and Temporals were around, just before WWI the Refugees turned up. Mutants are mostly born after 1900. Non-human races can be very different from humans, even though their origins are related to humanity. Eloi are something else...and always have a somewhat Gothic or Demonic flavour to them

    -Does his origin involve a new non-human race?

    It shouldn't be necessary to introduce a new race. The Temporal/Lemurian clans, refugees and space temporals can be used for mythological races, aquatic or alien races. Homo Temporalis plays with its genes so much - they can take almost any form you want. If you have to introduce a new race in the origin, the new race is very small and cannot have a major historical impact. It should be hidden in some way or form, possibly in part of the Lost World. The new race can be another 404 migration, or artificial life created by Temporals or human experimentation with Temporal technology.

    -Is his origin or powers mystical?

    In this campaign, all magic is a manipulation of reality using para-dimensional science or powers. Its a James Bond type campaign, not Harry Potter. The GM may allow mystical heroes whose powers draw on the two artificial intelligences in the 404 representing Chaos and Order or the Eloi.

    Why is all this important?

    We are trying to maintain suspension of disbelief in a world of superheroes.

    The storyline allows a wide breath of play without taking away the possible reality of this world. One underlying premise supports the features of this campaign: The 404/Earth relationship and subsequent revisions to history.

    The idea of pan-temporal refugees from one of our possible futures and their effect on our reality is the one little 'twist' a reader has to accept.

    That one change:

    -Allows for 'funny technology' by 'mad scientist' types which does great things, but isn't patented and mass produced.

    -Allows for 'new races' who are really futuristic humans altered by genetic engineeering or the AI's created by that culture.

    -Allows for 'magic' in the form of reality alteration and otherworldly beings with no physical form (the Eloi, and the two AI species)

    -Allows for events which introduce and increase in human mutation/psionic potential (The use of temporal bombs by Temporals)

    -Gothic horror through the Eloi, who are intelligences, so far evolved from human nature they are somewhat inhuman.

    -Allows an explanation for why processes that create metahumans aren't reused en masse. The reason is that governments are limited by post-war treaties and the inherent difficulties of working with 404 technology.

    -Allows for James Bond style, metahuman, organizations. They exist to enforce the treaties mentioned above

    The idea of a super-hero setting where 'one event' causes all metas is common. WildCards and Rising Stars (the comic) . The time travel idea is from Julian May's Many Colored Land.

    You can convert any hero into a Black Operation setting by:

    -Replacing non-humans with the various 404 races. Space aliens are space Temporals escaping earth thousands of years ago. Legendary races are the other Temporals. Exceptions can be the rare 404 prisoner, dumped on Earth.

    -Replace magical beings with the 404 artificial intelligences or the Eloi

    -Replace magic with reality alteration

    -Any really outlandish stuff would have to incorporate 404 technology or science

    -Mutants must be dated from the mutant causing event in 1900 (Meaning they have to be born after 1900). Mutants before that should be rarer and weaker with powers resembling conventional psychic powers.

  • #2
    Re: Reposting an old setting from years and years ago! Black Operations

    Nice work. You have managed to ascribe all different origin stories to one source.