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Old 12-08-2015, 12:13 PM   #1
Fossilized Rappy
Join Date: Jun 2015
Default Fallen Stars: A Setting in a Mutant-Filled Post-Apocalyptic America

Setting Introduction
December 21, 2012, 12:21 PM Central Standard Time: an ordinary day was shattered by a far than ordinary celestial event. As shoppers chaotically rushed through the final gift purchases of the season, families spent their time together for the holidays, and various thinkers and doers kept to their daily grinds, great amber lights appeared in the heavens. Not even the most sophisticated radar or telescope heralded their coming, their forms simply appearing in the high atmosphere as if they formed there from nothingness. Over four excruciating hours of terror, the "stars" edged closer and closer to the ground, before finally undergoing a massive burst of speed around 4:30 PM and plowing straight into the earth.

There was no debris, no waves of shock and heat, no immediate annihilation to those at the epicenter of the stars' trajectories. There was, however, another immediate effect of a sort unlike that of any meteor or asteroid. A large number of people and animals the world over suddenly become violently ill moments after the stars fell, the very air of the globe seeming to vibrate briefly but perceptibly. What appeared to be a mass flu pandemic quickly became something altogether stranger, however. Flesh warped, bones reformed, bodies being altered down to the genetic level. This was not merely a disease, even one on an unprecedented level: it was a fundamental transformation of life on Earth.

Those afflicted would not have much time to process their changes, as a mere two hours later there was another great shudder. With this final aftershock came the most crippling chaos: sudden and extreme environmental changes occurred around the impact sites of the amber stars, while across the planet humanity suddenly faced rapid flooding of the world's oceans, strange mega-storms with unnatural effects coating much of northern Eurasia, Canada, Australia, and northern Africa, minor but nonetheless destructive weather patterns on more local levels, and global electromagnetic interference that crippled the once seemingly endless network of human communication.

While the great waters stopped their rapid march inland within a day, the storms continued to rage at a near-constant rate into early February of the next year. Those who survived both the weather and the chaos of known society's upheaval – not necessarily cripplingly few in number, but nonetheless in less density than was once present – were faced with the aspect of rebuilding in a world seemingly turned upside down. Not only was the global village shattered into the sum of its parts once more and the code of social conduct torn between those who favored survival by collective cohesion versus those who sought it by personal strength, there was no denying that some people were not technically even human anymore, an obstacle to acceptance that was too much for some to overcome.

That was then, of course. This is now: 2040, almost three decades after the great fall of the stars. What was once the United States of America is now a collection of smaller nations, independent territories, and scattered ungoverned settlements wedged in between: from the boat towns and cultist hideaways of swampy DC in the east to the mountain nomads of California in the west, from the reclusive swamp towns in the scattered islands that were once Louisiana to the settlements of beaver whalers of the frigid north, all face adversity from without and within. Even those in the most developed cities inside the burgeoning nations face potential danger from illness, supply deficiency, crime and corruption, and unfriendly neighbors from the less defended regions of their lands. In spite of these stumbling blocks, however, life moves on and people push forward toward the future.

Thread Introduction
Fallen Stars is a setting I've been conceptually working on for several years, and this thread will mark the first time it's been shown publicly in its GURPS incarnation. It will be the primary thread for most things related to the setting, though I plan on making separate threads for a locations guide and bestiary. All posts of material (as opposed to replies, notices, or clarifying statements) will be linked to the table of contents below as they are posted. Outside of a few key posts, most things will be posted as I feel like writing them up rather than necessarily in order, though I plan on eventually gathering it all up into a PDF that is in the correct order for convenience.

Table of Contents
EDIT: Updates of current materials, and any future materials, will be posted on my blog.

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Old 12-08-2015, 12:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Fallen Stars: A Setting in a Mutant-Filled Post-Apocalyptic America

Sounds good so far. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the regions and communities that are left!
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:16 PM   #3
Fossilized Rappy
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Default Re: Fallen Stars: A Setting in a Mutant-Filled Post-Apocalyptic America

Mechanics Usage, Part 1

Advantages and Perks
Absent Advantages and Perks
The following advantages and perks from the core component books listed above are completely excised from the Fallen Stars campaign setting.

Advantages: Blessed, Channeling, Clairsentience, Create, Destiny, Dominance, Extra Life, Illuminated, Jumper, Magery, Magic Resistance, Mana Damper, Mana Enhancer, Medium, Oracle, Power Investiture, Precognition, Psi Static, Psychometry, Quick Gadgeteer, Reawakened, Shadow Form, Shapeshifting, Snatcher, Speak With Animals, Speak With Plants, Special Rapport, Spirit Empathy, Super Luck, Supernatural Durability, Temporal Inertia, True Faith, Unkillable, Unusual Background, Vampiric Bite (replaced by Leech [Blood Agent] as stated on GURPS Powers pg. 96 and GURPS Horror pg. 21), Warp, Wild Talent, Xeno-Adaptability.

Perks: Charms, Chi Resistance, Clothing Shticks (High-Heeled Heroine, Masked, Sartorial Integrity, and Skintight), Covenant of Rest, Dramatic Death, Magical School Familiarity, Named Possession, Obscure True Name, Rest in Pieces, Rule of 17, Secret Knowledge, Spirit Contract, Supersuit, Trivial Destiny.

In addition, any advantage subsets or modifiers that require time/dimensional travel elements, supernatural elements, spacecraft/extraterrestrial life, or TL9+ technology (Summonable enhancement for Allies, Faith Healing enhancement for Healing, etc.) are assumed not present in the setting.

Noteworthy Advantages
The following advantages and perks are either altered in some way, given new options, or have notes on their particular value to the setting.

Allies: Characters with the Ally or Ally Group advantage can be found scattered across the new America: merchants with a myriad of hired helpers that keep the commerce machine well-oiled and running, a warlord's band of brutal raiders, and a hunter's faithful hounds are a few easy examples to draw. While supernatural limitations and enhancements such as Summonable and Sympathetic are irrelevant, it is not uncommon for villainous NPCs to have Allies with the Unwilling limitation, be they enslaved or press-ganged individuals, and the Minions enhancement is likely to see use for particularly fanatical and tight-knit groups.

Alternate Identity: A combination of records lost in the apocalypse and a general lack of widespread electronic databases and information sharing makes the Alternate Identity advantage less useful. Without a nation-wide security system, it's not exactly feasible to pull up the records of a stranger in town just to make sure they are above the board. The advantage is nonetheless retained for fringe cases such as the travels of record-keeping caravans and governments that have at least a handful of cities all with the same criminal records on file, but players should be warned of its small likelihood to come up.

Claim to Hospitality: The 10 point variation of Claim to Hospitality does not exist in Fallen Stars, as there are no international organizations to throw around the amount of power that it entails. The 5 point variation is rare but nonetheless does exist, typically in the form of the assets owned by a wide-ranging caravan companies, the waypoint houses of the widespread warrior monks known as the Knights of the Crimson Shield, or stations of a nation's military. The 1 and 2 point variations are just as feasible as ever.

Cultural Familiarity and Cultural Adaptability: Thanks to a lack of global connectivity, the capabilities of Cultural Familiarity and Cultural Adaptability as-is would be far less widespread. Rather than removing them entirely, the scope of these advantages have been altered somewhat. Rather than one type of cultural familiarity, there are now three. All cost the same as in the GURPS Basic Set (it's difficult to have a point cost below 1!).
  • Old World Regions: Cultural familiarity of the pre-apocalyptic world, utilizing the ten forms defined by Sean Punch here). This type of Cultural Familiarity is almost always a familiarity those who were at least 10 years of age or older when the Change occurred, as younger individuals would not have any cultural osmosis, and those born after the Change often only have their parents' word to go on. Such pre-apocalyptic individuals must take an old world region as their cost-free native familiarity, though they can learn other familiarities as appropriate like any other character. Note to players that most pre-apocalyptic cultural familiarities beyond Anglo and Latin American are unlikely to pop up that often – for instance, a diplomat born in the days before the apocalypse may logically have Cultural Familiarity (West Asian) in his repertoire from time as a liaison between the United States and Iraq, but it is unlikely to come up unless he happens to stumble across a group of individuals who only immigrated from west Asia a short time before the starfall.
  • New Nations: A major post-apocalyptic nation, E.G. “United Atlantic States”, “Republic of Texas”, or “Plains Confederacy”. Unlike old world cultural familiarities, new nations only have a -1 familiarity penalty if they are in the same cultural region as a character (Anglo or Latin American in almost every case in the former United States) and the usual -3 if they are not. This means that most characters will not need to take a new nation cultural familiarity beyond their native one (if any) unless they are explicitly in a profession that requires avoiding even minor social faux pas, such as diplomatic envoys or merchants that trade in multiple regions.
  • Territories or Tribes: Minor cohesive groups found in between (or sometimes technically within, but nonetheless separate from) greater nations, E.G. “Georgia Territory”, “Mammoth Cave tribe”, or “Floridian Isles”. Familiarity penalties for territories or tribes are usually the same as new nations, though some may be deemed to be so radically divorced from their birth culture that they always count as -3.

Higher Purpose: While marked as a Supernatural advantage in the GURPS Basic Set, Higher Purpose (and its perk-level variant, Purpose) is also stated to be the result of an extreme and cinematic drive to succeed, and featured in non-magical titles such as GURPS Action. Therefore, it has been deemed here that Higher Purpose is not on the supernatural chopping block and thus remains in the Fallen Stars setting.

Mindlink: While technically marked as a Supernatural advantage, Mindlink could be stretched to be associated with hive minds or telepathic empathy in a pseudoscience context.

Talents: The following talents are allowed in Fallen Stars. If possible, a talent always utilizes its alternative benefit (first presented and listed in GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents) rather than providing a reaction bonus. Some, such as Business Acumen and Social Scientist, are more likely to be present in surviving pre-apocalyptic characters.
Academic, Allure, Animal Friend, Antiquary, Artificer, Born Entertainer, Born Sailor, Born Soldier, Born War-Leader, Business Acumen, Clown, Craftiness, Cultural Chameleon, Devotion, Driver's Reflexes, Explorer, Gifted Artist, Green Thumb, Healer, Impersonator, Intuitive Statesman, Jack of All Trades, Master Builder, Mathematical Ability, Mr./Mrs. Smash, Musical Ability, Natural Athlete, Natural Diver, Smooth Operator, Social Scientist, Stalker, Street Smarts, Superior Equilibrioception, Survivor, Tough Guy.

Terror: While marked as a Supernatural advantage, Terror can be justified as an Exotic advantage – fear-inducing pheromones or horrifying wail that strikes at certain primal fear responses, for example.
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:29 PM   #4
Andrew Hackard
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The post above this one got flagged as spam for using two words (enh*ncement and ph*remones) that frequently occur in spam messages.

I'm lowering the threshold on at least one of those words so maybe this problem won't recur.
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Old 12-10-2015, 11:32 PM   #5
Fossilized Rappy
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Default Re: Fallen Stars: A Setting in a Mutant-Filled Post-Apocalyptic America

Mechanics Usage, Part 2

Disadvantages and Quirks
Absent Disadvantages and Quirks
As with advantages and perks, the following disadvantages and quirks from the core components are absent from Fallen Stars.

Disadvantages: Compulsive Behavior (Ghostly Repetition), Cursed, Destiny, Divine Curse, Draining, Dread, Frightens Animals, Infectious Attack, Lifebane, Magic Susceptibility, Mundane Background, Nocturnal, Revulsion, Supernatural Features, Supersensitive, Timesickness, Uncontrollable Appetite, Unique, Weirdness Magnet.

Quirks: Can be Turned by True Faith, College Incompetence, Damned, Name-Bound, Nano-Fever, Residual Personality, Restricted Casting Style, Rule of 15, Spell Signature, Spell Susceptibility, Supernatural Dislike, Supernatural Features, Trivial Destiny.

In addition, any disadvantage subsets or modifiers that require time/dimensional travel elements, supernatural elements, spacecraft/extraterrestrial life, or TL9+ technology (Vampire Society's Code of Honor, the Aging modifier for Dependency, etc.) are assumed not present in the setting.

Noteworthy Disadvantages and Quirks
The following disadvantages and quirks from the core components are either altered in some way, given new options, or have notes on their particular value to the setting.

Addiction and Alcoholism: Few cities in any of the major nations put any effort into major manufacturing of 21st Century-style addictive substances, legal or otherwise, but it is not uncommon for older methods of tobacco and alcohol creation to pop up in urban and rural regions alike. Marijuana is also a fairly popular enterprise in the Floridian Isles and parts of the Pacific Northwest.

Code of Honor: Out of the Codes of Honor in the basic set, only Pirate's (Biker's/Brigand's/etc.) and certain types of Professional are common. Code of Honor (Stay Bought; from GURPS Banestorm pg. 185) is also relatively frequent. Code of Honor (Soldier's), however, is rarely seen except in the most truly dedicated and disciplined of units.

Compulsive Behavior: While compulsive behaviors such as Compulsive Generosity or Compulsive Carousing may be limited to population centers capable of sustaining such behavior, there are certain obsessive mindsets that can thrive even in the deepest wilderness. Compulsive Survivalism (GURPS Zombies, pg. 32), in particular, is a great behavioral quirk for those living on the fringe – its overzealous obsession with plans and preparations makes it a perfectly suitable flaw for hoarders, "preppers", and paramilitary warriors in lighter self-control levels, though it is rare to see it at 9 or 6. The following new form of Compulsive Behavior is also appropriate for the Fallen Stars campaign setting.
  • Compulsive Wandering (AKA Wanderlust) [-5; modified by self-control roll]: You are a nomad at heart, uncomfortable setting down roots in any one place for too long. After one week of staying within the same mile radius, you must make a self-control roll or attempt to move outside of the radius for a period of time. The period of time is related to the self-control roll number: one day (a full 24 hour period) for 15, two days for 12, one week for 9, and one month for 6.

Low Tech Level: This disadvantage does not reflect accessibility to technology, but how much one understands and can utilize higher forms of technology – a community of pre-apocalyptic survivors without access to TL8 gear would not qualify for Low Tech Level, but a person who was born in a tribe with only TL4 or less technology at their disposal and has never seen or learned how anything more advanced works would. While buying off this disadvantage is allowed as it would be by default GURPS rules, members of such groups rarely do so unless they suddenly gain an advantage from learning how to operate more advanced technology (E.G., finding a large cache of TL7 munitions).

Social Stigma: Due to lack of frequent recordkeeping, Social Stigma (Criminal Record) is less common than its variant, Social Stigma (Known Criminal) from GURPS Banestorm, pg. 186. Excommunicated is also extremely uncommon due to the lack of overwhelmingly widespread religious forces. By contrast, some rather common Social Stigmas include Uneducated and Barbarian.

Wealth: Even with the lessened monetary system on a grand scale, poverty is still present as a common disadvantage. Most living outside of major and affluent cities are Struggling with smatterings of Poor or lower individuals. Reclusive tribes are often Dead Broke and entirely rely on scavenging and living off the land.

Skills and Techniques
Absent Skills and Techniques
As with the other segments, the following skills and techniques from the core components are not present.

Skills: Alchemy, Brain Hacking, Computer Hacking, Enthrallment, Esoteric Medicine, Exorcism, Free Fall, Herb Lore, Hidden Lore, Invisibility Art, Kiai, Musical Influence, Occultism, Push, Ritual Magic, Symbol Drawing, Thaumatology, Weird Science, Zen Archery.

Techniques: Double Eye Poke, Eye Pluck, Eye Poke Defense, Fighting While Seated, Flying Atomic Wedgie, Halitosis Attack, Noogie, Nose Slap, True Tarot, Wet Willy.

In addition, any skill subsets that require time/dimensional travel elements, supernatural elements, spacecraft/extraterrestrial life, or TL9+ technology (Battlesuit for Environmental Suit, Parachronic for Electronics Use, Force Sword for Melee Weapons, etc.) are not present in the setting. Fallen Stars also does not force /TL skills, as first put forth by GURPS After the End 1: Wastelanders, pg. 22. Note that a character with the Low Tech Level disadvantage still suffers as normal when trying to utilize and technology with a TL higher than they know, even with this condensed tech skill rule in place.

Noteworthy Skills and Techniques
Wildcard Skills: Characters in Fallen Stars are allowed to have a certain amount of Wildcard skills based on their skill level, representing areas of skilled generalization they have picked up thanks to their ability to survive: one Wildcard skill for a character of 100 to 149 points, two for a character of 150 to 199 points, and three for a character of 200 points. Note that these are allowed, not required, and a character can feel free to not spend the point cost on Wildcard skills if they would rather put those points into use elsewhere. The following Wildcard skills are available in Fallen Stars:
-Art!, Assassin!, Blade!, Boat!, Bow!, Businessman!, Demolition Man!, Detective!, Drive!, Encyclopedist!, Fist!, Gun!, Hunter!, Medic!, Move!, Negotiator!, Perform!, Pilot!, Scholar!, Stick!, Talker!, Thief!, Throw!, Whip!.

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Old 12-11-2015, 09:37 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fallen Stars: A Setting in a Mutant-Filled Post-Apocalyptic America

Looks good I may try and run a game in this setting when more lore is released.
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Old 12-14-2015, 03:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fallen Stars: A Setting in a Mutant-Filled Post-Apocalyptic America


Defining "Mutant": A Primer on Post-Apocalyptic Mutation
The Origin of Mutants
Questions of how the strange lifeforms, sapient or otherwise, that arose in the new world inevitably comes back to the questions surrounding the starfall event itself. Answers have remained elusive even after there was time to stop running from danger and start mulling over the possibilities. Various religious, scientific, and even magical explanations have been touted by believers in various causes, but one of the most widely received seems to be one that straddles the border between science and the positively strange: the High Strangeness Hypothesis. Borrowing a term from the pre-apocalyptic Fortean movement, this hypothesis suggests that the starfall was the result of another dimension – one where seemingly impossible phenomena of "High Strangeness" was the norm – briefly brushing against against ours, causing it to create small ruptures that allowed its abnormal laws of physics to encroach on our own. Those who were transformed had the misfortune of being part of a random "rewrite" of reality in an attempt to rebalance this sudden shift. Of course, without any evidence, this hypothesis remains just a hypothesis like all the others, not a theory.

Mutants as Species
Speaking from a very broad point of view, all speciation is effectively mutation on a long term scale: a series of beneficial adaptive mutations in one species propagates and eventually gives rise to a new species. As a result, any creature that breeds true after its transformation during the starfall is referred to as a mutant species. Speciated mutants are typically classified into three categories: near-human, Advanced Humanoid Aberration (AHA), and mutant animal. While mutant animals are any mutant species that arose from a non-human biological lifeform, the other two forms grant at least slightly more discussion.

Near-Human Mutants: One of two forms of human offshoot. A mutant is near-human if it not only retains a generally humanoid shape, but also has enough genetic similarities to be still classified as part of the genus Homo. Mechanically, a near-human mutant always has the Slightly Unusual Biochemistry quirk. This reflects the fact that even though they may have scales, feathers, fins, or other strange surface features, they have enough genetic similarities to Homo sapiens to have at least some compatibility with our pharmaceutical creations. The range of near-human mutants can vary wildly: the haggard, emaciated mutants known as ghouls can be found in urban areas the world over, while the elusive, crab-like carkinoi are only found in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi Bay.

Advanced Human Aberration: To the majority of individuals living in the post-apocalyptic world, a mutant's a mutant, no matter how "normal" or "weird" they are. At least some individuals have surmised, however, that there are certain human offshoots that are now clearly farther away on the family tree. These beings have been dubbed Advanced Human Aberration by a few scientists along the trade routes of the Northeast...though it hasn't caught on with even other academics, much less the general populace. AHAs area varied lot, from entities that are more beast than man to seemingly impossible mutants that have gone from animal to plant or even mineral in their composition. Some AHAs are just barely compatible enough with human medicine to have Unusual Biochemistry, while others are so far off that they are completely incompatible.

Keeping Mutants in Mind
While physical alterations of mutant species are plain for all to see, it is sometimes easy to forget that there is the possibility for mental alteration as well. Species-wide compulsions, phobias, and other neurological traits can manifest, as well as at least some adaptation into being comfortable with new bodily functions and dietary needs. The sense of self, by contrast, is known to never naturally alter – a formerly human mutant will remember their identity from before the starfall just as a post-starfall born mutant will have no understanding of being born and growing up in such a body. While most such mutants have body dysphoria on a level that causes periodic depression or stress, some individuals end up suffering from so much intense psychological distress that it leads to a fabricated belief that they were always the way they are now in an attempt to ignore their dysphoria. In mechanical terms, this is a crucial false memory ("I have always been a mutant") [-15] as described in GURPS Horror, pg. 24.

Mutants as Individuals
While there are specific species of mutated lifeform that have arisen after the apocalypse, there are also localized cases of clans, families, or even single individuals that develop specific mutations. These mutants do not "breed true", and are collectively referred to as localized or isolate mutants. For example, there might be a tribe of seven individuals that were all molded by the starfall to be goat-like mountain climbers, gaining the Short Horns advantage and the Fur and Sure-Footed (Uneven) perks. If a male and a female member of this tribe happen to have a child, however, there is no 100% guarantee that all three mutations would be passed on to the offspring as would be the case in an entirely speciated mutant such as a ghoul. There is a slight (1.5%) chance that it might, of course, but the newborn is more likely to be born with only one or two mutations from the parent, or possibly (around a 5% chance) even as a baseline human with no mutations whatsoever. There is even the very slim chance (around 0.02%) that the infant might be born with none of its parents' mutations, but rather an entirely new set of mutations that neither parent had.

The existence of localized mutants, especially new forms in generations past those that were alive during – and, thus, affected by – the starfall, is a fascinating subject for the scientifically curious in the new world. Like so many matters concerning that fateful day, it is unknown just what keeps these transformations popping up. Did the starfall make human genetic code extremely malleable? Is it literally something in the air or the water, otherwise harmless and imperceptible? If, as some believe, the starfall was an event guided by a greater hand, does the continuation of new localized mutants indicate that the hypothesized hand continues to meddle, and may even be capable of bringing upon another great calamity if it so chose? Answers to these questions are still elusive.

Mechanically, localized mutants always have the Slightly Unusual Biochemistry quirk (being near-human mutants) and at least one advantage, perk, disadvantage, or quirk that is not feasibly found in humans – otherwise they would be baseline humans, after all. They also cannot have the same list of advantages and disadvantages as an existing mutant species racial template. Otherwise, there is little limit to what might crop up with a localized mutant beyond a predisposition toward adaptations for the region. For instance, while it would easily make sense for a localized mutant in the swamps of the deep south to have Doesn't Breathe (Gills) and Amphibious, it would be just as feasible for one to crop up that has Damage Resistance based on chitin and Extra Arms (2 extra arms) for an insectoid look, or even Fur and Amphibious for a muskrat-like mutant.

Small groups of localized mutants can be optionally given game statistics as "Lineages". A lineage should be a set of minor lenses that have between three and five options with some overlap in traits. Using the mountain climbing lineage concept introduced several paragraphs above, which will be referred to as 'Billies, the following is an example of creating such lineage options.
  • 'Billy Lineage Option A [3 Points]: Add Fur [1], Short Horns [2], Sure-Footed (Uneven) [1], and Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].
  • 'Billy Lineage Option B [3 Points]: Add Hooves [3], Sure-Footed (Uneven) [1], and Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].
  • 'Billy Lineage Option C [4 Points]: Add Acute Hearing 1 [2], Fur [1], Short Horns [2], and Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].
  • 'Billy Lineage Option D [5 Points]: Add Acute Hearing 1 [2], Hooves [3], Sure-Footed (Uneven) [1], and Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].

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Old 12-17-2015, 03:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fallen Stars: A Setting in a Mutant-Filled Post-Apocalyptic America

Intercontinental Near-Human Mutants
The following section contains a collection of noteworthy near-human mutant species that are found both in and outside of North America. Most are written with an emphasis on their place in post-starfall America (and particularly the Lower 48) in mind, given the current small scale focus of the setting, but will have expanded details if there are ever future supplements focused on other continental regions. Note that not all near-human mutants are necessarily suitable as player characters.

Scientific Name: Homo palustris
Range: Swamps, marshes, and lowland jungles in the southeastern United States, South and Central America, central Africa, and southeast Asia

Physical Characteristics: A typical bogger stands around the same height as an average human, though with proportions slightly askew – namely, a shorter, pot-bellied torso contrasted by gangly arms and legs. Their facial features are dominated by large eyes with horizontally slitted pupils, wide and thin-lipped mouths, and noses and ears that have barely any external definition, with the body diverging from the human norm through webbed hands and feet, engorged throats that can be inflated for loud vocalizations, and hairless rubbery skin that comes in a variety of shades of gray, green, brown, and red. While not truly cold-blooded, the amphibious boggers have a higher starting point for what constitutes intolerably cold, as well as what is too hot.

Psychological Characteristics: Boggers suffer from isolationism and introversion.

Other Information: Most individuals found in America live in Cajun-style shacks or houseboats built in out of the way locations. The edges of bogger settlements sometimes have trading posts that are arranged on the boggers' terms, usually being made as an elevated structure perched above any travel route, allowing them to stay in control and feel safe while they engage in any business.

Racial Template [35 Points]
Attributes: DX +1 [20], HT +1 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Per +2 [10].
Advantages: Acute Hearing 3 [6], Amphibious [10], Breath-Holding 3 [6], Nictitating Membrane 1 [1], Slippery 2 [4].
Perks: Penetrating Voice [1], Sure-Footed (Slippery) [1].
Disadvantages: Appearance (Ugly) [-8], Disturbing Voice (Raspy and croaking) [-10], Ham-Fisted 1 [-5], Shyness (Severe) [-10].
Quirks: Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].
Features: Base temperature comfort zone falls between 55° and 110° [0].

Deep One
Scientific Name: Homo ichthyocephalus atlanticus
Range: Temperate and cold Atlantic coastline

Physical Characteristics: Deep ones are carnivorous aquatic mutants identified by their heavyset bodies, gill slits on their necks, soft blue scales, thick heads with prominent fins and ridges, a vaguely fish-like head with needle sharp teeth, “scuba fin” feet, and long webbed hands with four fingers. There is no sexual dimorphism and little individualistic physical variation present in deep ones. While they are still capable of breathing air as well as filtering water through their gills, deep ones require regular immersion in at least partly saline water to avoid stress on their organs.

Mental Characteristics: Deep ones are strongly agoraphobic. Even without their need to stay in or near saltwater or brackish water habitats, this severely limits their interaction with other species outside of confined areas.

Other Information: Deep ones congregate in the claustrophobic, labyrinthine environments of flooded caverns, rocky outcroppings beneath the waves, and the submerged ruins of the cities that suffered the worst of the starfall's great flood. The underwater state of Delaware, the waterlogged subway tunnels of New York City, and the brackish swamps of DC in particular are home to large populations in America.

Racial Template [20 Points]
Attributes: ST +1 [10], DX -1 [-20], HT +1 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Per +5 [5], Basic Move -1 [-5], Water Move +2 [10].
Advantages: Acute Taste and Smell 3 [6], Amphibious [10], Discriminatory Smell [15], Doesn't Breathe (Gills, -50%) [10], Nictitating Membrane 1 [1], Night Vision 5 [5], Teeth (Sharp) [1], Terrain Adaptation (Slippery) [5], Thick Blubber [18], Vibration Sense (Water) [10].
Perks: Scales [1].
Disadvantages: Appearance (Monstrous) [-20], Dependency (Brackish or saltwater; hourly) [-20], Ham-Fisted 1 [-5], Phobia (Agoraphobia; 9 or less) [-15], Restricted Diet (Carnivore) [-10].
Quirks: Photosensitivity [-1], Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].

Forest Giant
Scientific Name: Homo giganteus hirsutus
Range: Northwestern United States, Canada, Alaska, northern England and Scotland, Scandinavia, northern China and Mongolia, and Russia

Physical Characteristics: Forest giants stand at an imposing 9 feet in height, with bodies that are covered in thick fur that can be white, black, or any of the many shades of brown from beige to taupe; this fur is thickest on the head and shoulders, and thins out to become bare on the face, palms, soles, and parts of the chest and abdomen. While their legs and feet are still clearly human-like, their arms are long, their hands end in thick claws, and their heads are extremely similar to those of gorillas. Most forest giants are muscular and broad-shouldered.

Psychological Characteristics: In spite of their startling appearance, forest giants are one of the species of mutant that have no major mental characteristics different from humans.

Other Information: Most human dwellings created both before and after the starfall are simply not created with giants' heights in mind. Some forest giants that wish to remain in contact with humanity create their own ramshackle oversized tents in human settlements or (if lucky) find and gather in pre-apocalyptic buildings with large and tall architectural design, while others have created their own villages of large huts and cabins in the wilderness.

Racial Template [50 Points]
Attributes: ST +5 [45]; DX -1 [-20]; HT +2 [20].
Secondary Characteristics: SM +1; Per +3 [15].
Advantages: Acute Hearing [6], Acute Taste and Smell 3 [6], Claws (Blunt) [3], Night Vision 5 [5], Temperature Tolerance 2 (+2 to lower range) [2].
Perks: Fur [1], Sure-Footed (Snow) [1].
Disadvantages: Appearance (Monstrous) [-20], Disturbing Voice (Guttural and growl-inflected) [-10], Ham-Fisted 1 [-5].
Quirks: Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].
Features: Base temperature comfort zone falls between 25° and 80° [0].

Scientific Name: Homo sapiens hypocola
Range: Worldwide

Physical Characteristics: Ghouls are emaciated, lanky figures with gnarled fingers ending in sharp claws, digitigrade feet, and leathery gray or tan skin that has a variety of sores, pustules, rashes, or other conditions. Ghoul faces are similarly varied – while all ghouls have sharp dagger-like teeth, their facial features are asymmetrical in a variety of ways, and some even display further inhuman facial traits such as noses without cartilage, pointed or jagged ears, and slightly muzzle-like mouths.

Mental Characteristics: Most ghouls, accustomed to a society where their entire existence would be taboo, tentatively feed on corpses they scavenge up or attempt to subsist entirely on animal flesh in spite of the potential illness it could cause. There are some, however, who have no moral compunction with not only feeding on humans and near-humans, but actively hunting and killing them to do so. Such ghouls are referred to as ravagers, and range from pre-apocalyptic murderers to individuals whose sense of social order broke entirely during or soon after the starfall. Ravager ghouls are likely to have disadvantages such as Berserk, Compulsive Murderer, Callous, and Sadism.

Other Information: Regardless of whether or not they are ravagers, ghouls are eschewed by most of society. Communities that accept ghouls do exist, as do individual ghouls that have been with a specific settlement so long that they are well known and treated as an exception to the rule, but as a whole it is not uncommon for characters to have Chauvinism or Intolerance towards ghouls even if they are accepting of other mutants. Their sensitivity to sunlight means they are typically found in extensive urban ruins, though some can be found in rural or natural areas such as caverns and abandoned farm houses.

Racial Template [25 Points]
Attributes: HT +1 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Per +1 [5].
Advantages: Acute Hearing 3 [6], Acute Vision 1 [5], Acute Taste and Smell 3 [6], Claws (Sharp) [5], Dark Vision [25], Filter Lungs [5], Immunity to Disease [10], Reduced Consumption 3 (Cast-iron stomach, -50%) [3], Resistant to Poison (+8) [7], Teeth (Sharp) [1].
Perks: Pestilent [1].
Disadvantages: Appearance (Ugly) [-8], Odious Racial Habit (Eats other sapients) [-15], Restricted Diet (Human or near-human flesh; substitution, animal flesh, retching, -50%) [-10].
Quirks: Photosensitivity [-1], Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1], Sunburns Easily [-1].

Last edited by Fossilized Rappy; 05-23-2016 at 07:43 AM.
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Old 12-27-2015, 07:36 PM   #9
Fossilized Rappy
Join Date: Jun 2015
Default Re: Fallen Stars: A Setting in a Mutant-Filled Post-Apocalyptic America

Intercontinental Near-Human Mutants, Continued

Scientific Name: Homo tenax
Range: Worldwide

Physical Characteristics: Goblins are 4 feet tall and particularly thin, being both skinny and possessing only slight shoulder or hip width in either sex. Their long and slender fingers and toes end in gecko-like pads that allow them to stick to most surfaces, while their heads possess large pointed ears for acute hearing.

Psychological Characteristics: A strong impulsive streak runs through goblins, leading to actions usually coming before too many words can be spoken. They are also difficult to scare away – a trait that can lead to danger when combined with their often spur of the moment decisions. Goblins have a natural impulse towards arboreal living as well, and find discomfort in sleeping outside of raised areas.

Other Information: The combination of small frames, flexibility, climbing prowess, and bravado that goblins have made them perfect for exploration of both ruins and wilderness areas, and it is not surprising for scavengers and scouts to have goblin team members or hired hands. Even communities with distrust of mutants tend to have a begrudging respect for these determined survivors (though those with out-and-out mutant hatred typically emphasize goblin impulsiveness and tint their fearlessness as reckless stupidity).

Racial Template [20 Points]
Attributes: ST -1 [-10].
Secondary Characteristics: SM -1; Per +1 [5], FP +1 [5].
Advantages: Acute Hearing 3 [6], Claws (Blunt) [3], Clinging [20], Fearlessness 2 [4], Flexibility [5].
Perks: Compact Frame [1], Extended Hearing (Low) [1].
Disadvantages: Impulsiveness (6) [-20].
Quirks: Won't Sleep on the Ground or Floor [-1], Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].

Scientific Name: Homo sapiens atlas
Range: Worldwide

Physical Characteristics: Magnans have prodigious bulk and musculature akin to heavyweight lifters pushed beyond the normal limits of the human body and eyes with amber irises, but otherwise resemble mainline humans. Both male and female magnans average around 6'5".

Psychological Characteristics: While they are deservedly known for being powerful thanks to heightened strength and durability, magnans suffer from being brash and overconfident in themselves. They are also sometimes self-centered on top of their indulgent self-confidence.

Other Information: It is of little surprise that magnans are seen as potentially great warriors and long as they have someone to reign them in, of course. It is probably for the best that magnans aren't usually obstinate on top of their other perceptive issues. Even with all of these caveats taken into account, however, magnans are still more likely to be seen warring with barbarians and raiders or as part of a militia than they are in a regimented military or disciplined community guard.

Racial Template [60 Points]
Attributes: ST +2 [20], HT +1 [10].
Secondary Characteristics: Will -1 [-5].
Advantages: Acute Hearing 1 [2], Acute Vision 1 [2], Breath-Holding 1 [2], Damage Resistance 1 (Tough skin, -40%) [3], Indefatigable* [30], Lifting ST 4 [12], Very Fit [15].
Perks: Extended Hearing (Low) [1], Robust Hearing [1], Robust Vision [1].
Disadvantages: Ham-Fisted 1 [-5], Impulsiveness (9 or less) [-15], Overconfidence (9 or less) [-7], Selfish (12 or less) [-5].
Quirks: Bulky Frame [-1], Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].
*Source: Pyramid issue #3-84, pg. 25.

Scientific Name: Homo mephitis
Range: Northern hemisphere

Physical Characteristics: While "merely" 6 ˝ to 7 feet in height, outclassed by giants, ogres make up for it in their intimidating features: heavyset bodies with powerful musculature and elephantine bones, rough and thick gray skin, jagged boar-like tusks forcing a permanent underbite, red irises, pig-like noses, and a constant horrendous odor of decay.

Psychological Characteristics: Ogres are ill-tempered and obstinate. Even the most peaceful and well-mannered individual can show a mean streak a mile wide if they're riled up, and arguing with one is an exercise in frustration for those without patience and savvy.

Other Information: Unlike most near-human mutants, ogres have different gestation periods and reproductive rates than standard humans. A female ogre is pregnant for around thirteen months and almost always has only one child (twins are extremely rare, but not unheard of).

Racial Template [45 Points]
Attributes: ST +4 [40], DX -1 [-20], HT +2 [20].
Secondary Characteristics: Per +1 [5], Basic Move -1 [-5].
Advantages: Acute Hearing 1 [2], Acute Taste and Smell 3 [6], Claws (Blunt) [3], Damage Resistance 1 (Tough skin, -40%) [3], Discriminatory Smell [15], Filter Lungs [5], Hard to Kill 1 [2], Reduced Consumption 3 (Cast-iron stomach, -50%) [3], Reinforced Skeleton* 4 [4], Resistant to Disease (+8) [5], Resistant to Poison (+8) [7], Sharp-Edged Tusks [3], Temperature Tolerance 3 (+3 to lower range) [3].
Perks: Robust Smell [1].
Disadvantages: Appearance (Monstrous) [-20], Bad Smell [-10], Bad Temper (9 or less) [-15], Ham-Fisted 1 [-5], Stubbornness [-5].
Quirks: Bulky Frame [-1], Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].
*Source: Designer's Notes – GURPS Powers.

Scientific Name: Homo diminius
Range: Worldwide

Physical Characteristics: Pucks resemble 3 ˝ foot tall humans with long, pointed ears and proportionally large heads, hands, and feet. Their appearance beyond that varies as widely as baseline humans. Pucks in particularly high latitudes have thick, coarse hair coating the entirety of their bodies (see Northern Puck below for stat alterations).

Psychological Characteristics: All pucks suffer mild discomfort and nervousness around those they are not familiar with. While not at a crippling level, it does lead most puck clans to prefer isolationism and self-sufficiency.

Other Information: In spite of their widespread range, it is surprisingly difficult to find pucks. Not only are a majority of their settlements isolationist, they are capable of planning out habitations that are difficult to nearly impossible for a human or human-sized mutant to reach.

Racial Template [40 Points]
Attributes: ST -2 [-20]; DX +1 [20].
Secondary Characteristics: SM -2; Per +1 [5]; Basic Move +1 [5].
Advantages: Acute Hearing 3 [6], Acute Vision 2 [4], Flexibility [5].
Perks: Robust Vision [1].
Disadvantages: Shyness (Mild) [-5].
Quirks: Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1].

Northern Puck [45 Points]: Add Fur [1] and Temperature Tolerance 4 (+4 to lower range) [4] to their template.

Scientific Name: Homo troglodytes
Range: Cavern systems worldwide

Physical Characteristics: Large primatoid ears and even larger owl-like eyes are immediate features one notices about troglodytes. They also have arm and leg proportions closer to gibbons than to humans, leading to a hunched over knuckle walking posture.

Psychological Characteristics: While mostly human in mindset, troglodytes suffer from extreme agoraphobia, even worse than that of deep ones. They tend to be drawn to cavern systems.

Other Information: Clans, depending on how accessible their location is, either engage in trade with merchant caravans to gain supplies or scavenge for tools while hunting and gathering food. Of course, their cave-living lifestyle is not set in stone, and some troglodytes may travel to settlements and cities that have adequate underground infrastructure or travel with caravans as night guards if they are provided with a vehicle with an enclosed space to live in. Perhaps the most (in)famous population of troglodytes is that of Mammoth Cave – not only are they large in number within the massive cavern system, they also engage in night raids against soldiers fighting in border wars between the two nations of the Appalachian region.

Racial Template [10 Points]
Attributes: ST -1 [-10].
Secondary Characteristics: Per +2 [10].
Advantages: Acute Hearing 3 [6], Long Arms 1 (Both arms) [20], Night Vision 5 [5], Super Climbing 2 [6].
Perks: Long Fingers and Thumbs [1].
Disadvantages: Phobia (Agoraphobia; 6 or less) [-20], Semi-Upright [-5].
Quirks: Photosensitivity [-1], Slightly Unusual Biochemistry [-1], Sunburns Easily [-1].

Last edited by Fossilized Rappy; 05-23-2016 at 07:47 AM.
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Old 03-27-2016, 04:35 PM   #10
Fossilized Rappy
Join Date: Jun 2015
Default Re: Fallen Stars: A Setting in a Mutant-Filled Post-Apocalyptic America

Nation Profile: The East American Union
Form of Government: Timocratic Representative Democracy.
Controlled Land: Western Tennessee, western Kentucky, southwest Indiana, southern Illinois, southeast Missouri, north and central Arkansas, northern Mississippi, and northern Alabama.
Control Rating: Civil Rights 3, Economic Freedom 2, Legal Restrictions 3, Punishment Severity 4, Social Control 3 (4 at the AAS border); Corruptibility -1.
Capital: Memphis, Tennessee.
Symbol: A flag, white on the right side and red on the left, with crossed blue cavalry sabers in the center.

The industrial and agricultural powerhouse of the East American Union, sometimes derisively referred to as the Western Territories by members of the Atlantic American States, shares more than a few traits with its neighbor to the east. Both began expansionist and slowly looked more and more inward as they settled into their increased growth, both have strong nationalist movements, both have a reverence for pre-apocalyptic America, and both see themselves as the greatest hope for the rebirth of what came before. From there, however, the two diverge wildly into two different Americas – one based on tradition, the other on its own interpreted ideals.

Interaction With Other Powers
The greatest and most obvious interaction with other nations the East American Union has, of course, is its long-standing feud with the Atlantic American States. The EAU has suffered less grind and fatigue than its nemesis thanks to its more haphazard method of campaigning both during and after the war. While the AAS leans heavily on traditional army structure and command, the nation to the west is more often than not augmenting its small groups of regimented soldiers with militias trained for guerrilla tactics and a variety of proxy forces. It is not uncommon for the EAU to hire mercenaries, spark local rebellions, rile up forces hostile to both nations and point them in the AAS's direction, or simply prey on the fear enemy soldiers have of a potential invasion through nighttime psychological warfare.

The only other nation that the EAU shares a direct border with is the Republic of Texas. Texan scouts first set foot on EAU soil in 2024, eventually encountering the military outpost of Fort Caddo just outside of what was once Ouachita National Forest. The Texans were genuinely surprised to find such a structure with well-outfitted guards and evidence of far-flung trade; before then, it had been assumed that the lands east of Texas had no "forty-sevens" (a term used by Texans much in the same way "barbarian" was used by the Roman Empire) with any form of organization greater than small territories. The meeting of the two nations was soon followed by the establishment of a major trade route running from Dallas in Texan lands to Little Rock in the EAU. EAU leadership is reserved when dealing with Texas, however – they know all too well that the Texan military machine doesn't sleep so much as wait, and setting off a war to the west might hamper them in ways their feud with the AAS never could manage on its own.

Major Social Views
Self-Identity: To the East American Union, what made America truly American was its people, not its laws. The spirit the EAU seeks in its own people is what its founders saw as the ideal American hard-working, iron-willed, family-oriented, and most of all patriotic. As a result, much of the legalistic hewing to the pre-apocalyptic USA that can be found in the AAS is dulled or absent in the EAU. There is still a president and regional governors, but there are no political parties that these groups claim allegiance to, no vice president, and no senators or Congress. There is also a new East American Constitution that sets forth the law, rather than a "reprint" of the original Constitution as there is in the AAS.

The EAU is timocratic in nature – that is to say, only those who have their own property have a governmental voice. Elections lie solely in the hands of those who own their own land recognized by the government. This typically restricts voting to one per household (though some couples are willing to put up with doubled taxes in order to allow both members of the relationship to maintain a say in government matters), and also puts a subtle pressure on those who live on unregistered land. Land owners can choose to pay their land taxes through labor rather than money or goods, typically through either mining or logging duties or military services. The typical exchange rate is a month's land taxes paid off per week of physical labor and one year's taxes per month of military service, though the lack of a set ruling on such matters means that specific regional governors can be more or less charitable on these matters.

Societal Traits: Like their Atlantic neighbors, most Eastern Americans don't overlook blood ties lightly, but the two take a different approach in execution. Whereas Atlantic Americans take heavy stock in old lineages and familial prestige as much as current relationships, the Eastern American view stops at the more simplistic "blood is blood" – it doesn't matter if your neighbors have been land-bearers in the hill country since the Revolutionary War or immigrated there in the 1950s, the only part that's important is whether or not they're kin. As a result, East American communities are often made up of clans of "amicable isolationists", typically interacting politely with other families but ultimately only keeping their own relatives' interests in mind. Sense of Duty (Blood Relatives) is a very common disadvantage. Another facet of East American society is a common distaste for those who seem to lack ambition. Individuals with the Laziness disadvantage will typically find themselves on the receiving end of a -1 reaction penalty if they're in the EAU.

Views on Mutants: For the most part, as long as you are a hard worker and landed member of the community, species is of little concern to EAU citizens. That isn't to say there are no prejudiced individuals in the EAU – it's arguably impossible for there to not be pockets or individualized cases of prejudice in an area as large as a nation – simply that it isn't institutionalized on the level it is in the AAS. The greatest tension is with those mutants who are disposed to not putting themselves on the nation's censuses. In the south there are isolationist bogger clans that are as stubborn as they are well-armed, and near the border with the AAS there are clans of troglodytes throughout the Appalachians' cave systems. The Mammoth Cavern Tribe in particular is known for being large, unwilling to officially join the EAU, and prone to violent nighttime raids on both sides of the Black Ribbon.

Political Leadership
After election, the presidency of the leader of the EAU is indefinite – there are no term lengths, nor are there term limits. Their term only ends when they either die or are deemed no longer fit for leadership, either through the decision of the president's council of advisers or a vote of no confidence from at least half of the nation's regional governors. The intended uses of these term-ending measures are for cases of the president becoming either too infirm to perform their duties, proving to be incompetent in office, or becoming what is seen as tyrannical or injust by the standards of the East American Union. The current holder of the position of president is Ezekiel Hanson, a formidable middle-aged magnan whose skin is coated in a myriad of scars from decades of hard living. It is said that when he was the public defender of the Arkansan community of Bald Knob in his 20s, Hanson would tear raiders apart with his bare hands and then take their fingers to wear as trophies; whether or not those stories are true, it definitely doesn't hurt his image as a tough president capable of keeping the EAU safe in times of peace and war alike.

Last edited by Fossilized Rappy; 03-27-2016 at 04:39 PM.
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after the end, custom setting, mutants, post-apocalyptic

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