Wednesday, March 21, 2018

API: They came from the Sky

Their are many creatures that both the Agents of the Company and Those who Know must tangle with that are utterly unique, strange beasts and freakish monsters that have never, nor will ever be seen again.  But some of them- they are not only intelligent, capable of reason, but also organized.  These monsters that organize themselves for collective goals are the only thing that can truly threaten Humanity's status as not only the dominant species of the Earth, but also their very survival.  As such, API constantly seeks to break apart these tribes, to pit them against each other.  And Those who Know do occasionally attempt the same thing, but they usually just try and stay out of the way.  Because a rational, organized foe armed with nothing more than the most primitive technologies is far better than the most well-armed of mobs.

This is one of those nightmare scenarios, a well organized, disciplined foe with advanced technology and magicks that can easily threaten the strongest of polities.

The Void-Men

They come from space, descending in the glowing beams of strange, unidentified flying vehicles of unknown origin.  Their technology may be of alien origin, or it may have been warped by their journey through the incomprehensible geometries of the Darkness-between-the-Stars.  Regardless, it is far more advanced then anything Earth has produced.

They have come from a world that does not exist, and will never exist.  It was once a possible future, but the choices made on our world doomed it to not even be a dead universe, but a theoretical universe.  They had no future, and no past.  The way forward was shut for them.  So they went sideways, traveling for untold aeons until they reached our world.  And now that they are here, they are prepared to take any measure to ensure the survival of their people, no matter how heinous.  The first objective they have is to seize control of the Earth, without arousing the suspicion of the natives and inviting significant resistance.

Soda and the Wicked Elixir

The first method to control the population is Faygo.  Faygo is a sugary soda produced by a front company on Earth, and sold in areas where the Void-Men seek to weaken the local authorities.  Faygo is slightly addictive, but not so much that people would immediately notice.  Everytime you drink a bottle of Faygo, you get 1d6 addiction points.  If you ever go a day without drinking some Faygo, you must make a Constitution and a Wisdom save vs your addiction points.  The Referee should not tell the players why they are saving.  These addiction points then go away at a rate of 1 per day.  For results- see below.

Passed Both: You suffer some shakes and dark thoughts, but your hardy body and invulnerable spirit help you weather the withdrawal.

Failed Con, passed Wis: You suffer from a series of shakes and tremors, giving you -4 to do anything physical.  If you manage to tough it out, you can make another save once a day.  Every successful save reduces the penalty by -1, until you reach +0.

Passed Con, failed Wis: You suffer a bout of temporary insanity.  For 1d20 minutes, you try to cause as much mayhem as possible.  You recover after this, but who knows how much damage you might cause in the meantime.

Failed both: You suffer from a series of shakes and tremors, giving you -4 to do anything physical.  Then 1d6 hours later this goes away, and you begin suffering from a bout of temporary insanity that lasts 1d20 days.  Until the time is up, you try and cause as much mayhem as possible. 

Drinking Faygo will immediately suppress all symptoms.

But Faygo, while useful, is not sufficient to actively usurp free will, though it can spread chaos and breed dependence in people.  For this, other, more ruthless methods are required.

Cerebral Implants

First, you drill a hole in the skull.  Then they insert this device into the hole.  It automatically plugs the hole, and its' wide base means it will not be able to go any deeper, and will remain largely outside the skull.  Once it has come into contact with the brain, it will begin sending electrical impulses through the organ, suppressing any movement that it does not approve of.  This allows the Void-Men to control the actions of anyone with one of these implants.  They use these to control humans.

In the developed world, they are usually limited to kidnapping a few key people and implanting these, or snatching those who they can trick into coming to a non-disclosed locations.  But their are persistent rumors of towns full of whackos, where everyone is part of a homicidal cult, or whole nations in the third world where the government is a puppet regime for monsters.

While an implant is being implanted, it can be removed safely with no damage.  But if it has reached the brain, it will cause its host to attack if the implant is being removed.  Additionally, unless removed by a trained surgeon, severe and irreparable damage is likely to result.

When playing as someone with a Cerebral implant, remember this: the implants suppress free will but they also limit those being controlled.  Someone being controlled cannot act independently, they must rely on essentially pre-programmed responses.  So for the Referee, assume the controlled people were given instructions into all actions, except ones that you did not foresee.  If someonething makes you go, "Are you sure?"  or "Wait, what?"  Then the Void-Men didn't think of it either.

Finally, Cerebral implants have to be partially outside the body, and are usually tied to a plastic disk on the outside.  This disk is usually on the forehead, and concealed beneath a cap or long-hair.


But while all these are possible options, their is one final trick up the Void-Men's sleeves, the REplacement.

a REplacement is a robotic copy of someone with an artificial soul.  They look the same, and act largely the same.  They are sleeper agents, just waiting for their master to push the button to reawaken their original programming and turn them against the party.

Signs that you're friend is a REplacement:
- They can't drown
- They barely eat anything
- They drink lots of fluids
- If they suffer any form of mutilation, you will probably be able to see their metal interior

REplacements are covered in living skin and have organic hearts, lungs, stomachs and intestines.  But their interiors are largely robotic other then that.

However, the process that is used to create REplacements is not perfect.  They have roughly the same memories, but the process is not perfect.  So while REplacements can remember most important things such as who he or she was/are and what he or she are doing here, he or she might not remember certain details, such as where he or she lived, what his or her favorite food was, etc.  He or she are never aware of these gaps, and if confronted with them, will panic and possibly suffer an identity crisis.          

REplacements can have their free-will overridden by manual control, a device that all the Commanders carry.  But if a REplacement sells their soul, goes insane, or otherwise suffers some sort of psychic trauma, they can't be overriden anymore.

The Void-Men and their Servants

Enslaved Humans:
Normals (not one of Those who Know) but with a Cerebral Implant.  Stat as a commoner but with no fear.

Normals that undergo a process where a lesser spirit of fire, ice, acid or something else unsavory is allowed to enter their body and feast on their life energy.  They can spew these various elements or cast primitive spells.  Very fragile but can easily hit very hard.   

Superior Spell-slaves:
As above, but these ones have syringes full of Occultum wired up against their skulls.  These syringes can be triggered by a Commander.  When these syringes are triggered, the spell-slave must save.  On a failure, they explode.  On a success, they vastly increase in power.

<diggression>Thank you, Skerples for this idea.</diggression>

One of the original astronauts.  Wears an ancient, altered space-suit.  Each one covers their face with a helmet and decorates their suit differently.  Commanders do not speak directly, but speak through their subordinates.  They have ray-guns that do significant damage, and when those fail them, they carry rotary blades that can slice through almost anything.  If you kill one or force one to take off their helmet, you will see they are actually a human underneath all the alien iconography.       

Implanter, Commander:
A Commander who is dedicated to the control of slaves.  Can fire darts that paralyze, or cerebral implants that drill through someone's skull into their brain, then take control of them.  Have robotic tentacles coming off the back of their space-suits.

Time Thief, Commander:
A type of Commander that focuses on siphoning time from certain areas and bring it onbaord the Void-Men's ships, for storage.  Once in orbit, the time is liquified and pressurized for optimal storage. You might not notice your time is being siphoned off, as the surrounding time will flow inward to fill the gaps.  However, this makes time fly by.  You will go to work and find the work-day passes a little faster then usual, and when you go home, it will feel like your food cooks faster.  But this effect will increase over time, until the days are flying by and everyone is exhausted from not having enough night time to actually sleep.

On other, more rare occasions the Commanders may decide to pump more Time into an area, extending the day.  At first it merely feels like you have enough time to actually accomplish all you need to do, then as more is added you will find the hours drag on, your shift will take forever, you'll wake up at night, ready to start the day, only to find that it's only been five hours.  From the outside, this bubble of distorted time looks like its moving in slow motion, even though everyone inside will not see this.    

A genetically altered, or possibly borrowed, creature that the Commanders sometimes bring along.  Hellions are blunt instruments, they are usually employed for only one purpose, to plunder and destroy.  Hellions are usually dropped from orbit in drop pods or from overhead space-ships.  It takes them a little while to wake up, but once they do, they start killing everything in the vicinity.  They will keep doing this until they are killed or die of exhaustion.  They are an absolute whirlwind of death, every single tool they have is merely a device that is designed to do nothing but kill people. 

What Hellion has been deployed to kill the players today?
1- Thunder Slash.  Has steel wolverine claws and steel wool fur.  It's body also produces a natural electrical current that is constantly flowing through its fur and claws.
2- Dominatrix.  Has a thin, skinless body with odd proportion, looks like a flayed woman from a distance.  Has a whip made of natural fibers that is coated in acid that sprays onto anything near the site of impact.  Also shrieks in ecstasy everytime it is struck in combat.
3- Dovakhin.  A big, hulking brute.  Also has blood that ignites when it comes into contact with the air.  Is immune to fire damage, because of course it is.
4- Dr. Snow.  Has breath that freezes water and people solid.  Lowers the temperature wherever it is.
5- Kryptonian.  Can shoot lasers out of its eyes.  Some blind people, some melt flesh like tallow.
6- Facefist Hatemachine.  Has hands that end in toothy mouths, and a giant, muscular arm where its head should be.  Fights by biting.  Cutting off any limb or its head will just prompt the growth of two more toothy mouths on muscular tentacles.
7- Mantigon.  Covered in long, rattling spines that it can shoot at people like arrows.
8- 28 Days.  The Hellion exudes a pheremone that increases aggression and eventually makes people exposed to it go insane with bloodlust.  Wherever it is, people start fighting with whatever they happen to have on them.  This Hellion also fights fairly, bowing before each fight.  It seems more intelligent than others.
9- Magneto.  The Hellion's body magnetically repels all metal.  How did they get it onto a spaceship?  Beats the hell out of me.
10- Plastic Predator.  The Hellion has no bones and can fit through tiny holes like an octopus
11- Hellyfish.  Stinging tentacles that inflict horrendous pain + horrible poison
12- Hangman.  Naturally produces a spider-silk like substance that it uses to make nooses, restraints, and grappeling hooks. 

The Star-Children:
These creatures were encountered by the Commanders on their journey to our world.  No one knows what or who they are, and the Commanders refuse to answer.  Perhaps they do not know themselves?  Either way, the Commanders mention them in conversation occasionally, derive oaths from them, or swear on their names.  The Star Children are believed to be immensely powerful telepathic monsters who have manipulated the Commanders into bringing them along.  The Commanders deny this, and claim they are Gods, or Saints.  Right now they are small Gods, but in time, they will grow.

API classifies Star-Children as Lesser Demons.                    


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