Friday, December 13, 2013

Nexus Multidisciplinary Academy: Teen drama vs Lovecraft vs Space opera for Savage Worlds


Nexus Multidisciplinary Academy is the prestigious yet controversial flagship Advanced School of GAITOSS (The Greater Alliance of Independent Terran-Originated Sentient Species). Nexus Academy functions both as a liberal arts college for the fledgling alliance -- offering the various descendant species and cultures of the lost home world a place to share their cultures and grow into a greater understanding of their galaxy – and as a research and training facility for the fight against the Outer Things that threaten all sentient species.
 
Over 1,000 years ago, humankind’s wasteful misuse of the planet Earth resulted in that world’s literal destruction. The survivors fled to the stars in pre-hyperlight spaceships, crawling through the blackness of the void to find new worlds to colonize. The majority of mankind found an idyllic star system with dozens of planets that could be terra-formed to suit their needs, but other refugees went further afield and discovered a far stranger universe than expected. They discovered refugee worlds where the humans had used genetic engineering to adapt themselves to the planet (or the whim of some patron) rather than the world they discovered. They discovered worlds colonized thousands of years ago by the remnants of Atlantis, Lemuria, and Mu. They discovered the survivors of a cataclysm older than humanity when they found the sentient descendants of the dinosaurs. And they discovered monsters amongst themselves.
 
Mankind had always believed in the supernatural – demons, shape-changers, sorcery, and the undead – but they had forgotten these things were real. According to the humaniform (for so they have been named) records, in the early 21st Century (some hundreds of years before the demise of Earth-That-Was) a mortal champion called the Chosen One had banished the most pernicious supernatural powers from the mortal plane. As time passed, the weakened ancestors of the humaniforms blended more and more with mankind until they became little differentiated from the humans they once preyed upon. When humanity fled the ruined planet, those who moved secretly amidst us joined us in our arks. Unable to remain concealed, they joined their fellow passengers and created hybrid cultures.
 
Painful and unnecessary wars erupted between humanity and its cousins when the miracle of hyperlight first brought distant stars together, but those days are now past. Even the feared Vampire Empire has made peace with the living now that the children of Earth-That-Was are threatened by the Outer Things. The Great Seal wrought by the Chosen One had worn away with time, and the malevolent beings from Outside had at last broken through again. The human and humaniform cultures joined forces in GAITOSS and drove the Outer Things into the distant arms of the galaxy.
 
In so doing, the heroic forces of GAITOSS rediscovered the lost Solar Sytem, and it is here Nexus Academy was built. It is located in one of the dozens of World-Domes surrounding Sol in the orbit of Earth-That-Was. One of the primary duties of the Academy is to study relics found in the debris of the home-world in an effort to reconstruct the Chosen One’s Great Seal. While there are many xenophobic voices amongst all the cultures of the Terran Species, it should be no surprise that Nexus Multidisciplinary Academy’s vital mission makes it the most prestigious civilian institution in the Known Galaxy.
 
Nexus Multidisciplinary Academy is located in one of the artificial World-Domes of the Academic Cluster of the GAITOSS installations sharing the orbit of Earth-That-Was. The Academy is home to an elite faculty of 10,000 specialists and a student body of 200,000, making it exceptionally exclusive in a Known Galaxy of 400 billion souls. An additional 1 million administrative and support personnel serve on board the World-Dome.

 
Before you congratulate me for the brilliant world-building exercise, all of the above (save for some slight renaming and editing) comes from a post on my old, defunct LiveJournal from 2/21/2007 (archived on my Half-Told Stories page).  I’ve been really enjoying these setting sketches I’ve been doing this month, and it dawned on me today that I could pillage my old writing for some settings.  Nexus Multidisciplinary Academy was written back when I was a Unisystem fanboy, and is set in a goofy-ass far future of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly.  The new stuff starts here.
 

Nexus Multidisciplinary Academy is a fantasy/horror/science-fiction hybrid of multicultural (and multispecies) college students battling Lovecraftian horrors with forbidden tomes and laser swords while learning about life and love.  It requires the Savage Worlds Horror Companion to play; the Savage Worlds Sci-Fi Toolkits are recommended.

Races
  • Androids may be genuinely sentient robots or cyborgs.  The Tetsugo Shogunate consists of a race of androids programmed with the downloaded memories of an entire planet of doomed human colonists.
  • Angels are the nanoengineered soldiers of Deus X, the God-Machine of the  Prime Theocracy; mortal worshippers infused with Its god-particles, they have astonishing power that can be revoked at the God-Machine’s will.
  • “Atlantean” has become the slang term for several humaniform species founded by the mutually-hostile survivors of Earth’s lost continents.  Unfortunately, simple practically requires they share quarters on the aquatic level of the Nexus World-Dome.
  • Avions are one of several genespliced subspecies of humanity.  The bat-folk of Go’am are one of the primary donators to Nexus Academy, but most humaniforms prefer the beautiful .
  • Demons are the nanoengineered servants of Luci-4, a rogue subroutine of Deus X; their presence in GAITOSS is constantly questioned, but they have no more desire to be undone by the Outer Things than anyone else.
  • Dhampyrs were bred by the baseline human ecclesiastical orders to hunt out vampire infiltrators during the early conflicts between the Third Reformation Church and the newly-rediscovered vampire humaniforms.
  • Dwarves resent the term, insisting their resemblance to the miner folk of proto-historic Earth-myth is an entirely coincidental result of being bioengineered to live in the caverns of a high-gravity world.  They like being called “highgravs,” but it isn’t catching on.
  • Elves relish their marked similarity to the beautiful, wise creatures of ancient literature; indeed, the resemblance seems suspiciously precise.  Their organic technology is so unlike that of other humaniform cultures that they have trouble using other kinds.
  • Half-elves result naturally from the interbreeding of baseline humans and elves.  They are in surprisingly small numbers given the physical attractiveness of elves, but both elves and baselines are reluctant to partner with beings with such different lifespans.
  • Half-orcs like to point out that there’s no such thing as orcs.  Not anymore.
  • Humans surprisingly still exist in their normal, baseline form.  It is a wonder to many of the humaniform races that anyone would choose to retain evolution’s blind flaws, but baseline humans are often stubborn that way.
  • Patchwork Men are the result of experiments to revive those killed in the war against the Outer Things.  The experiment has not been very successful so far, but several patchwork students are in occupational therapy at Nexus Academy.
  • Phantoms have had their bodies shunted into subspace by the strange weapons of the Outer Things.  Their ethereal existence is the subject of much curiosity, as is their completely inexplicable weakness to simple NaCl.
  • Rakashans originated in genesplicing for recreational (wink-wink, nudge-nudge) purposes, but their low-light vision helped mankind fight the Vampire Empire to a stalemate.  The two predatory humaniforms still don’t get along.
  • Saurians are the only known non-humaniform sentient species, but even they originated on Earth.  Essentially resembling human-sized dromaeosaurs, the age of their species fills them with pithy observations on life’s foibles.
  • Vampires have a vast empire ruled by William the Merciful, an ancient white-haired vampire who remembers Earth-That-Was.  While the vampires extract a blood-tax from their mortal subjects, Emperor William likes to point out there’s no income tax.
  • Werewolves are absurd.  How could a werewolf with a cycle of changes attuned to a planet’s moon possibly exist as a viable sub-race in space?  The idea is ridiculous and has nothing to do with the lack of moons around the World-Domes.
  • Zombies are the unfortunate result of some incurable infection from the Outer Things.  Regular monitoring of their feeding seems to stabilize them enough to allow interaction with the uninfected, but they still make most humaniforms nervous.
Skills
No changes.

Hindrances
No changes.

Edges
No changes.

Gear
All gear from Savages Worlds Deluxe and Savage Worlds Horror Companion are allowed.

Setting Rules
Born a Hero, Forbidden Lore, Heroes Never Die, Rituals, Multiple Languages, Sanity, and Wards & Binds.

Powers
All Arcane Backgrounds are allowed.  Yes, you can be a super-powered elf or a psionic vampire. 

Bestiary
Blob, blood mist, chosen slayer (all), corpse worm swarm, cultist (all), dark gods (all), dark man, demon/devil (all), dhampyr, dismembered corpse, elementals (all), emotion spirit, fear stalker, flesh ripper, ghost, giant worm, hate, helldrake, inquisition (all), leanhaum-shee, living grimoire, mad scientist (he’s your faculty advisor), mech (sentinel), metal juggernaut, occult researcher (all), police (all; armed with Futuristic arms and armor), revenant, smog cloud, vampires (all), victims, war droid, were-creatures, xenoform, zombie (all).

Inspirations
Buffy the Vampire Slayer and a whole freakin’ boatload of half-watched and misremembered anime like Banner of the Stars, Gunbuster, Gundam, Tenchi, Trinity Blood, etc.



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