Tarnished Futures: New England
An Invite-only RP by Letter Bee
War... War Never Changes. Humanity always had the capacity for destruction and by the mid 20th century, they had the capacity to destroy their own world and everything they built... they only lasted 70 years of resisting the impulse. No one really cares what started the Great War of 2022, there were no winners, only losers. Eventually Mankind clawed itself out of its own grave to start over in the world of ash and cinders, the societies of old were gone. Warlords, Maniacs, anyone could rule with the power of the gun.
Science, Technology, the infrastructure that created the Global Economy and Computer Technology was gone. The Age of Reason, was coming to an end. Humanity had finally had enough. If all the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution brought was to increase man's killing capacity, why bother? One Nuclear Apocalypse was enough. In the 80 years after the war, the former nations of the world disappeared in the blink of an eye, replaced by pretenders, warlords or whatever guy called himself king. Then... something changed. In the ashes of Pittsburgh, something extraordinary happened. A person only known as the Necromancer awoke the skeletons and the corpses to carve out an Empire. The Age of Reason was coming to a close, and the Age of Mystics was fast approaching. From the ashes of the old, a new world will rise... but what will that new world be at the dawn of the 22nd century?
Magic can be learned from a mentor, or be recieved from a traumatic experience, but what doesn't change is that one can do things that are outside reality's laws with it. Bascially, you just describe what you can do under 'Magical Powers' (see below), and we'll see if it's too overpowered or not. Note, however, as a rule, that Magi from New Camelot (our starting location) use the Codified Magic System (See below).
Also, magic gained from traumatic experience varies in power: weak traumas produce weak powers, while strong traumas produce strong powers. However, PCs, for now, are confined to Magi who learned magic from mentors; this is to prevent characters who are deliberately screwed up in order to gain more power.
III. The Codified Magic System (Optional, Lore Only)
In New Camelot, Magic is divided into several archetypes, or 'Schools': Life (Healing, Buffing, Controlling Plants and Animals), Energy (Control of Heat, Light, Gravity, Magnetism, etc...), Mentalism (Mind Control, Illusions), Timespace (Superspeed, Teleportation, and Scrying), Fate (Increasing or decreasing Luck), Death (Necromancy and Anti-Necromancy*), Otherness (communing with Spirits), Matter (conjuring non-organic, non-undead matter, turning solids into liquids) and Law (making Magic permanent; making Magitech).
The Codified Magic System is seen as a good thing because it grants consistency to the different systems of doing magic, as well as makes learning and categorizing it easier. However, you are not obliged to abide by it, unless you come from New Camelot or live there.
*This doesn't seem to make sense, except that in TF, Death magic encompasses everything to do with death, including making sure that people die naturally instead of being turned into undead.
[b]Sample:[b] Raymond from New Camelot can change solids into liquids (Matter), teleport, do scrying, and use superspeed (Timespace), and make his items and buffs permanent, and make magitech (Law).
IV. Places of Power
Magic is all around you; in the air, in the ground, in the water, in other living beings. How much of that magic concentrates varies greatly, but Mages typically have a higher concentration of Magic than those who don't learn the Arts.
Similarly, the world around you has magic in varying concentrations; some places have very little, others are filled with it. Mana, the basic element of magic, tends to flow through nature and space, creating what is called a ley line, or a line of concentrated mana. Where a leyline pools its mana in a single spot, or where two or more leylines meet, a reservoir of magic is thus created. Such a reservoir is called a demesne, and can be utilized to great effect by anyone who can access or exploit it.
Using the power of a demesne tends to be a complex and tricky deal. Mundanes tend to be incapable of harvesting the power of a demesne, simply because they cannot control magic or harness mana. Mages can directly access the power of a demesne and channel it through their spellcasting, allowing for faster spellcasting and recovery, though the time of casting is still a factor.
Furthermore, a demesne’s powers can be more effectively harnessed by the building of a manse, or a special structure on top of the demesne. It can be compared to building a geothermal energy station near a dormant volcano, or a hydroelectric dam on a big river, except that a properly-built manse can allow the control of the demesne’s energies far more efficiently, and prevent the mana from spilling or leaking into the environs. A mage can construct or design the manse with a combination of the Law Sphere and an Engineering Master Skill.
One way a Demesne forms is if a place is culturally and historically significant on a regional level. Religious sites, famous social and cultural landmarks, famous historic sites, etc... have a large number of people visiting them throughout history, creating a man-made flow of mana through them. This results in a considerable pooling of magic there, and while the place isn’t as hazardous as a natural demesne, it is still as potent. Naturally, building a manse on the place without disrupting its cultural or historic value would be very tricky and has to be handled carefully. Famous events and battles can also become demesnes, provided that they are world-changing and large in their scope. Normandy beach, for example, can become a very powerful demesne because it changed the course of WW2 and altered face of Europe forever.
There is another way for a large battle to create a reservoir of mana, but it is regarded as a barbaric, criminal act. When a large number of people are slaughtered for little or no purpose, or for a dark act, it results in a massive buildup of negative energy. This dark demesne is called a shadowland, and is generally considered to be a very bad thing. Creatures and people living near shadowlands tend to be affected and warped by its very presence, and healthy people generally feel horror and discomfort around it. A shadowland does not allow a mage to recover their mana. The energy generated by a demesne cannot be used to heal a healthy, normal person, nor can it be harnessed in any way but destructively.
Battles that result in Shadowlands are like Verdun, Somme, Stalingrad, and other massive, senseless wastes of life. Places of mass murder and genocide, like Auschwitz and Buchenwald, also readily create shadowlands, as does the detonation of a nuclear weapon in war. Nukes tend to be Entropic weapons, and as such their destructive power is rarely ‘good’, even if its use was well-intended. Its effects are horrific, its death toll high, and its effect on the environment nothing short of catastrophic. The sheer power a nuclear blast unleashes devastates even normal demesnes, and may completely invert their nature. After the war... most demesnes are shadowlands.
V. The Societies of New England
The Necromancer: The First Mage it is said. Wrapped in mystery, not much is actually known about this person. For every supposed fact regarding the Necromancer there is an equally opposing one. The Necromancer’s Empire is a contradiction in terms. An enforced feudalism, with striving towards post scarcity. The Magi Lords of Pittsburgh and Eire and have all sworn fealty to the Necromancer, and the Obsidian Crown. There were rebelling Magi... once. The Magi Lord of New Castle resisted the Necromancer’s rule... New Castle no longer exists. All living, dead and undead vanished, and the city became a Personal domain of the Necromancer... since then none of the Magi Lords have dared challenge the Necromancer... save the 5 that fled with the Necromancer’s apprentice back in the Great Lakes. It is not known what state normal humans play in the Necromancer’s realm. Obviously they are at the bottom rung of the social ladder, but provided for and given opportunity for advancement. Regarded as the one of the most advanced nations in the wastes, and some illusion of a working society in their lands.
The Necromancer hates slavery, and is at war with the AoA because of it.
The Authority of America: Remember the Enclave from Fallout? The AoA are like them, only instead of mutants, they loathe magic, seeing it as opposing the science that is the foundation of their new world. Not just that, but instead of exterminating everyone 'impure' like the Enclave, the AoA just want to enslave everyone who isn't like them. They wish to bring back the old United States, but in their eyes, there is no room for those who choose to learn how to do things 'the easy way'. To them, Magicians are either to be destroyed or enslaved; the AoA punishes most crimes against their rule with slavery. In their eyes, the only acceptable method of advancing oneself is with technology and hard work; Magi don't work, so they should be slaves.
The Authority of America has the largest store of Pre-War guns, vehicles, and war material, and their focus on technology makes them the only ones who can make new vehicles, albeit rarely.
Ontarian League: The remnant of the Canadian government, centered around the Toronto-Ontario region. While Canada was spared much of the nuclear targets compared to the USA, it suffered heavily in the economic collapse and the fall of the USA, coupled with a drastic reduction in resources due to nuclear winter. The Canadian government only barely survived due to emergency plans and sheer luck. The Canadian ‘heartland’ was later reformed as The Ontarian League, controlled by a joint council of Canadian military and civilian leaders.
In 2100, the Ontarian League gained control of the important Great Lakes city of Detroit; four years later, they rescued Indianapolis and Chicago from an invasion by Aerys, the Necromancer's former apprentice, gaining control of those cities, as well as the Great Lakes Region.
Quebec: However, the Ontarian Leage did not have the resources or ability to extend itself over the whole of the former Canada; not merely that, but the economic links that kept the different parts of the country from falling apart had been destroyed; thus, there was no obstacle to the secession of Quebec, a secession made necessary by the fact that the Ontarian League no longer had the power to protect and sustain it. Now, a century after gaining independence, Quebec is as prosperous as a post-apocalyptic country can be, even managing to absorb the shocks of the emergence of magic.
However, not all is well. The Ontarian League had never accepted Quebec's independence, and now that it has begun to regain power, it is putting pressure on the country to rejoin it. Not merely that, but there are border tensions with the Halifax Union, its more militarized neighbor.
One final thing: the true rulers of Quebec are a secret cabal descended from the remnants of the Canadain Intelligence community, and they fight to keep Quebec safe...through any means possible.
Halifax Union: Halifax, unlike most of Canada, was considered important enough to be nuked, having a prime harbor and military base. That, as well as the fact that it was farther away from the Ontarians than Quebec, meant that the league was unable to keep it in their nation. However, in the years after the nuking, the remnants of the Canadian Military managed to restore some semblance of order, creating the Halifax Union. When Magic came in the year 2070, the first to awaken included many members of the Nova Scotian army, allowing them to clean up Halifax Harbor, one of the largest natural harbors in the world. Because of this, the new Halifax Union gained new power and strength, and the military even allowed the reestablishment of a civilian council to govern internal affairs.
External affairs, however, were still the army's domain, and it was decided that it was time to re-impose civilization on the lands of Maine, now fallen into anarchy since the US' destruction. And so, the Halifax Union began its program of expansion, one that would gain it the ire of its neigbors.
Atlantic City: The Authority of America loathes Atlantic City as much as it does magic, but the same reason they loathe it is the same reason that they cannot just go in and destroy it: Atlantic City is a place where gambling, and other pleasures, are to be had. Although the Authority officially condemns such vices as detrimental to the common good, not all of them practice what they preach, and Atlantic City is a convenient way to indulge themselves while maintaining a more respectable facade elsewhere. In addition, they fear the loss of popular support if they wipe out such a successful pleasure spot. Ruled by an oligarchy of casino owners, drug lords, and brothel owners, Atlantic City can provide the fulfilment of your baser urges...at a price.
New York City/New Camelot: New York City is the site of New Camelot, a psuedo-utopia based on free access to magic, ruled over by a legendary Nonmage King named Arthur. Arthur was a charismatic figure, gaining the appeal of the Magitech Forgemasters by giving them an organized system to work in, the various militias and adventurers by being a man like them, and Magi in general by ending persecution against them. He helped Magic and Technology grow, and, after the Necromancer, New Camelot was one of the best places to live.
Then he died, trying to fend off an Authority assault. His son, King Constantine, is a pleasant person with good administrative skills, but lacks his father's experience and charisma, and is plagued by self-doubt, thus, his abilities are doubted by the Forgemasters, the Knights of Arthur (the former militias and adventurers and current military of New Camelot), and the Mage Circles. And so, infighting has started between all three factions, infighting that threatens to tear the city apart...just as foriegn powers are making plans for New Camelot.
The Castle of New Camelot is located in Manahattan, on the former site of the UN Building.
Troy: Troy wasn't nuked; that's its main strength. However, because of that, the megacorps based in the city also survived, and used their resources to take control of the region. Now, the people of Troy are free only in theory; in practice, they are no more than slaves, working hard for 'wages' that are barely enough to keep them alive, while the various CEOs live in relative luxury. Things went worse during the Coming of Magic, where workers who had gained magic through traumatic experience rose up in rebellion. This rebellion, of course, was squashed, and the remaining Mage-Workers were taken for experimentation.
A new Corporation, Arcana Unlimited, rose up to teach magic to the elite, create magitech, and try to 'improve' upon magical humans. One of their projects is deliberately traumatizing children so that they would gain mastery over magic instantly, and turning them into supersoldiers.
Boston: The Republic of Boston is one of the few true republics in the Wasteland, but that does not mean it is a nice place to live. Due to not embracing magic as readily as New York, there is a Shadowland in the south, where horrors out of Lovecraftian lore haunt the dreams and reality of the populace. People die, people are abducted, people go insane. But, people are also resilient, resilient enough to keep a semblance of order in the city. They aren't happy, but enough of them survive until the next year.
Rochester: Rochester is the local nexus of trade, where almost anything, except slaves, can be bought or sold. Like Troy, it is an oligarchy, but one more benign to its people than the MegaCorps. The rulers of the city are the Merchant Princes, owners of large caravans who do trade with everyone except the Necromancer. However, there is a buregoning Technocratic faction, one that wants to embrace Magitech as the gateway to the future, as well as defense against foriegn threats.
Rochester is friendly with the Ontarian League out of necessity, necessity meaning that it would rather be 'Canadian' than Necromancer.
1.) You don't have to use the Codified Magic System, but that's no excuse to make your powers a disorganized combo platter. If you have magic, don't try to do everything all at once; stick to an archetype such as 'the paladin' or 'the elementalist'.
2.) Magitech is expensive; no Power Armor. As for stuff like Lighting Guns and Lasers, the party as a whole can have only one piece of each, and they have to spend time and resources to maintain it.
3.) You can, however, have guns, either as a heirloom passed down from your family, or as part of a cache you found, or as something made by a cottage gunsmith. Note however that you're going to have to micromanage ammo, unless you can conjure stuff (more on Rule 12), or stay near the GMPC who has a Matter Synthesizer and Bags of Holding.
4.) Swords, Axes, Maces, and Machetes don't require ammo, while bows and crossbows have ammo that's easy to make. They are also more numerous, now that it's been nearly a century since the Great War.
5.) This game is in the Eastern United States and Canada. There’s no point to teleporting to Chicago or Los Angeles. Likewise, teleporting to major power capital cities is not going to accomplish anything. For one thing, most of them have been on the receiving end of at least one nuke due to The Last War. For another, teleporting requires precise knowledge of the area. Precise maps of regions beyond New England, are rare, inaccurate or out of date.
6.) Due to the setting, most technology is either not working, or barely scavenged to work. Magi with Law or the equivalent can make stuff work better, but their machinery generally takes a rough, unfinished look, appearing rather spit-and-polish rather than a complex, refined machine. It is possible to bring back the old type of technology, but that requires lots of effort and hard work, and you can bet the other factions will be very eager to see what you’ve managed to make. Anything past 1940s technology falls into this category.
7.) Only the Authority has fuel (ethanol farmed from slave plantations) enough for cars and other vehicles. Likewise, electricity is scarce except in Troy. Solar stations weren’t widespread, except in Troy (they got built just before the war), nuclear power stations gave out by the 2050s, coal mining hasn’t picked up yet, waterwheels are about the only common way of getting power, and not powerful enough for most uses. Of course, that's why there's Magitech.
8.) Important enemies will be as powerful, or more powerful, than the PCs; they can do everything a PC can do, or more. Not just that, but they also have minions as cannon fodder.
9.) Anti-Heroes are allowed, but make sure that they're able to work with the others; no PC can function alone, even my GMPC. Outright villains, are, however, banned. The NPC villains are already bad enough.
10.) Before anyone asks, yes, you can create a Nonmage PC; just replace 'Magical Powers' with 'Physical Abilities'.
11.) If you don't post for more than three days, you're out of the game.
12.) The PCs are forbidden from having Anti-Magic; it's too much of a game breaking power. As for conjuring up stuff without a Matter Synthesizer, you can only summon up a literal handful of permanent stuff a day, if you had the power.
VII. Character Sheet:
Magical powers/ Physical Abilities
Side: (What faction are you aligned with.)
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List of PCs:
Raymond is smart, dedicated, reasonably brave, and above all, generous. Due to the trauma of Minneapolis (see below), he carries a commitment to building up societies and strengthening them, and is attached to city-states like New Camelot, whom he sees as a place with boundless potential. Despite this, Raymond is not openly disloyal to his Ontarian masters, but rather looks for ways in which both their interests and New Camelot's align.
However, Raymond has a tendency to ignore, circumvent, or outright countermand his orders based on 'facts on the ground'. For example, his original goals were to fight the Necromancer, but upon finding out that the Authority was the worse power, shifted to fighting the Authority. If the alternative to violating orders was to see another Minneapolis, he would violate orders.
Raymond can conjure up a literal handful of non-living, non-undead materials a day, and replicate huge amounts of said materials with a Synthesizer, as well as turn solids into liquids (Matter), teleport, do scrying, and use superspeed (Timespace), and make his items permanent, buff up others, and make magitech (Law).
Skills: Raymond is a skilled merchant who knows enough blueprints and recipies to duplicate old world weapons and consumer goods. He also knows how to fight with guns, as well as ride horses.
Flaws: First up, Raymond needs a Synthesizer to conjure up large amounts of matter. Not merely that, but he has a tendency to make up his plans as he goes, and what he has in speed, information gathering, and logistics, he lacks in battle power. Raymond is bad at melee weapons and unarmed combat, and he also cannot blast things with magic. In a fight, he is best confined to a support role, as he would be easily killed in the frontlines.
Also, Raymond cannot heal. While he can conjure up a small handful of medical supplies, he doesn't know how to use them.
Ontarian League with New Camelot leanings.
Bio: Raymond's life began not in the New England Area, but in Minneapolis, far away in the Great Lakes. Minneapolis was a threatened city, at risk not just from bandits and raiders, but from the vast armies of the Anarchists of Montana, whose goal was 'Rule by the Strong, Slavery for the Weak'. Life in the city was highly disciplined, highly regimented, with every citizen being taught how to fight, to repair defenses, and to conserve resources. From an early age, Raymond knew danger, but valued the time he spent with his parents and those he loved.
Minneapolis did limited trade with the city-states of Indianapolis and Chicago, and it was from there that Raymond learned how to bargain hard. Being a curious boy, he observed how merchants from both his city and others did their business, and was even taught a trick or two. Eventually, he began to accompany the caravans on their journeys, serving as an apprentice merchant. During that time, however, the Anarchists were drawing nearer and nearer to Indianapolis, and his parents didn't conceal the fact that they were glad that Raymond's journeys took him away from the city.
Finally, however, the time came when Minneapolis couldn't stand anymore. The Anarchists had always had the advantage of numbers and fanaticism, and were determined to sack the city, which they saw as an obstacle to their goal of spreading their creed. Not merely that, but the Ontarian League, the dominant power in the region, was overextended and unwilling to help, except for one person, and he acted without orders or authorization. That person, was Ascot Phoenix, one of the leading Magi of the region and the reason why the Ontarians were dominant in the first place.
Ascot teleported to Minneapolis at the time of its last siege, helping fight against the enemy, transport supplies via magic, and gain information via scrying and mind reading. Raymond was also in the city at the time, and it was then that he started learning Magic. But in the end, two people weren't enough, and Minneapolis' defenses finally collapsed, allowing the Anarchists to burn, kill, rape, loot, and enslave the people of the city. Only a small pittance of refugees survived to escape, some through mundane means, but most through magic; the remaining Magi with Timespace went to the city's remaining Demesne and created a portal to Ontarian territory.
Most of the refugees eventually found jobs in Indianapolis, now the centre of Ontarian rule in the Great Lakes. Raymond was one of them, having found an apprenticeship with Ascot. The Ontarians, like all nations, had good and bad sides, the good being that they didn't discriminate between Mortal and Mage, the bad being their strict laws and high taxes. Nevertheless, Raymond, like Ascot, eventually began working for the Ontarians, first as a magical researcher, then as a spy, for the Ontarians were curious about the Necromancer, as well as how far her reach extended.
Raymond eventually volunteered to teleport to New England, along with two other Magi, Susan Derkins and Calvin Rex. Their mission was to see if there were any allies to be found against the Necromancer, as well as to create a threat to his/her rear. But, on arrival, he and his team were nearly captured and enslaved by the Authority of America, a military dictatorship that was prejudiced against Magi, embittering himself against them. Eventually, though, Raymond eventually found himself in New York, where he began working as a merchant whose Magical Synthesizer gave him a constant store of wares. He specialized himself in making rare consumer goods from the Old World, as well as weapons.
Anticipating a time in which he was going to have to hire mercenaries and adventurers, Raymond also crafted Bags of Holding to hold a large store of wares and supplies in. These bags contain a huge amount of weapons, ammo, food, water, other consumer goods, books, everything except vehicles and power armor.