One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” -Hunter S. Thompson


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Digital Dark Age: Jeff Rients 20 Campaign Questions-Part 1

The other day I noticed Evan from the blog In Places Deep did a write up for his Nightwick Campaign setting using Jeff Rients great 20 campaign questions. That got me thinking I should do the same for the Digital Dark Age Campaign setting I’ve been working on. Granted when Jeff came up with those questions they were focused on the standard assumptions of a D&D campaign, but I thought it would be interesting to see how they might work in a campaign with more of a sci-fi bend to it. In fact when I had first come up with the concept of the Digital Dark Age it had more of a Shadowrun feel to it. Just so it's clear most of my inspiration for this has been directly stolen from Dan Simmons amazing Hyperion Cantos. So here we go:


1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?
There is no divine spell granting cleric’s class in the Digital Dark Age. There is no proof that a God or Gods exist, and faith is just that, faith. That being said, many different types of ancient Earth religions are still practiced today. Of all these religions, The Church of the Holy Resurrection is the most powerful and influential. This extremely popular and wide spread faith is based on a reformed version of the Roman Catholic Church. Long ago the Church became reinvigorated when God’s divine blessing granted the Pope and his officials the divine ability (and a monopoly) on being able to offer the very poor and the very rich alike true and eternal life, by resurrecting the dead. The Churches ability to offer the sacrament of eternal life is a closely guarded secret, and only those who become members and devotees to the faith can benefit from the gift of resurrection.

2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?
Need gear? Look no farther than Nitro’s Army Surplus Shack. As she is quick to tell you "If Nikki Nitro doesn’t have it, you don’t need it!" Located on the Promenade of Hell’s Attic this disorganized and cluttered store is surprisingly well stocked. Here you can find all types of new and used weapons, ammunition, survival gear, clothes, old ration packs, and much, much more. An extremely paranoid and security conscious woman, Nitro is one honest and very discreet lady, a rare find indeed in the "Attic". You can bet your left leg that if you’ve managed to befriend Nitro you’ve made a friend for life.

3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?
Despite what Nikki Nitro would have you believe she doesn’t have everything you need in stock. Some times you absolutely need to have the right tool for the job. If you need a unique tool or piece of equipment, a data rig, custom body armor, weapon, clothing, or droid designed for a special mission, or just to be the fashion conscious diva that you know you are then you need to see Hephaestus. Extremley talented and equally as bitter Hephaestus is a crippled war veteran and a master craftsman. Living in a small apartment/workshop that reeks of cigarette smoke and boiled cabbage in Little Leningrad, Heph can make anything if you can afford to pay his steep fee. Heph or Hephaestus is the only names he ever answers to, and if asked about it will tell the questioner to "Git an education" and "Read a lil bit fer Christ’s sake!". When not working he reads and re-reads the classical works by Old Earth authors. Moby Dick is a favorite. Regardless of whether he’s working or not, Heph chain smokes hand rolled, pungent smelling tobacco cigarettes, while sipping his own homemade vodka from a chipped coffee mug. If somehow one were to manage the monumental feat of cracking Heph’s taciturn shell and befriending this angry old man, they might be one of the few ever invited into his inner sanctum. Here they would be privy to his frequent temper tantrums, rants about everything and anything, and be forced to endure the bitter telling and retelling of his old war stories.

4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?
The mightiest and most feared wizard in the Digital Dark Age goes by many names. Some call him the Mad Monk. Others know him only as The Pilgrim, or as the Count of Crippletown. To cultists and the lunatic fringe he is known as the King in Yellow. More commonly however, this legendary sorcerer is known as Grigori Rasputin. Common sense would dictate that this man could not be the figure from Old Earth’s history books. Yet common sense and wizardry rarely, if ever, find themselves bedfellows. Regardless of his true name and origin none can deny the puissant magical power that this master of the Black Arts wields. Rasputin is wanted by the Prospero authorities, as well as by Church Inquisitors, he’s The Boogieman to children everywhere and feared by all, even, especially other wizards. His moniker as the Count of Crippletown fuels the rumors that this is the place he calls his home. Being one of the scariest and largely avoided slums in the Underhive only adds credence to the rumor.

5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?
While there are many great warriors in the Digital Dark Age none are more decorated, cunning, or celebrated than the newest commanding officer of the elite Vatican Swiss Guard. Logan Slayke was recently promoted to Colonel after his last resurrection. His latest death was due to his heroic sacrifice in saving the life of the current Pope, Alexander IX. According to a poll on the Datasphere Slayke was voted Prospero’s most sexy and eligible bachelor.

6. Who is the richest person in the land?
As with the greatest warrior in the land there are numerous individuals who could argue their claim that they are the richest. Some might say the current Pope, others might point out that the Tempest Systems Lord Protector Hektor Tanaka is quite affluent. But they would all be wrong. That title belongs to none other than Lord Edwin Ashton III the patriarch of the esteemed House Ashton, and CEO of the Eclipse Mega Corporation. Lord Ashton III has homes all over the Tempest System as well as a space yacht and several mansions on Prospero. He can be most often found in either his mansion in Heavens Gate or at his palatial executive office located at the apex of the Eclipse Arcology Towers.

7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?
True magical healing is rare in the Digital Dark Age. That being said, the massive advancements in technology and medicine have made healing almost seems like magic. The average citizen can go to the nearest hospital or walk in clinic. All but the poorest corporate arcologies have an in house medical facility. The very rich have a legion of private doctors and hospitals that attend to their every perceived need. For non-citizens and anyone who wants to be a little more discreet there are underground street docs and clinics. Some are no better than back alley butchers, and other are genuinely interested in helping people. For some honest to god magical healing you have a few options. Word on the street is that there are Street Shamans and an order of Druids that can heal people, as well as some bizarre cults. If you’re lucky they only ask for a favor or cash. But some groups like the Church of the Holy Resurrection ask for your allegiance and soul. Lastly there are some wizards and sorcerers who have the ability to heal.

8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?
For most conditions a hospital or one of the above mentioned organizations can help out. As for coming back from the Dead there are only three ways currently known:

a)Join your local Church of the Holy Resurrection. Eternal life, but at what price? How much is your soul worth anyway?
b) Find a wizard or necromancer who is willing to raise you. The tetrameth addicted wizard known as Renegade is always willing to do the job. Paying in cash is great, Tetrameth is better.
c) Find and pledge allegiance to the Artificial Intelligence known as Prophet. Then get rebuilt as a cyborg in the machine hive legion that’s rumored to exist somewhere in the depths of the Underhive.

9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?
In the Digital Dark Age the Church of the Holy Resurrection outlaws magic, and the holy Inquisition backed by the Protectorate Government enforce this edict. The Church espouses that magic is a sin and that those who practice magic are an abomination in Gods eyes. In response to this edict The Dead Letter Office was created. This secret society acts as a council to govern, regulate, and protect its membership from all whom might persecute its members. In addition these scholars and sorcerers are able to meet face to face and to discuss and trade secrets of the magical arts. For the sake of security The Dead Letter Office has no permanent location. Meetings are held on an irregular basis, and set at a random time and place. Communication is done almost exclusively through encrypted datasphere channels. Oh, and don’t bother asking a member to perform a raise dead ritual, it goes against the guilds charter amigo.

10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?
They say in Hell’s Attic you can find anything for the right price, and they just might be right. If your looking for an alchemist your probably only going to find some crack pot who thinks he can turn lead into gold. However if you’re looking for an actual chemist then you want Simon Singh. Simon lives in a highly secure bunker in the basement of gang controlled brothel and specializes in cooking Tetrameth. This drug is all the rage these days, and he enjoys the protection of the gang as well as the company of the working girls. But don’t let his status as a drug dealer fool you, he is a brilliant chemist just trying to make a living in a dog eat dog world. If it’s a sage you want your best bet is to tap into the Datasphere and locate the elusive and childish A.I. known as Loki. If you can deal with his bullshit he can be a gold mine of information. For any other goods and services you might require just track down the pair of chess playing fixers known as Mr. Thick and Mr. Thin. These two hard cases can be found at their regular table in the Chinese take out restaurant known as The Silver Dragon. Slow to anger and quick to punish, these two know all the players, big and small. Oh while your at the Silver Dragon try their super spicy General Tao Chicken. Yummy. Just don’t ask where the chicken come from….

The Q&A for 11-20 will conclude in Part 2
 

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