Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Outline for a new game I am working on - Raised World

Haven't decided on a system to use, but likely Apocalypse World.

Raised World or maybe Fallen World.

Set around 200 years into the future (circa 2200).

Wealth has become concentrated in the top 5% to an unhealthy level. The world economy is dominated by corporate entities that have worked to reduce costs via the reduction of wages and conditions, as well as mass production and automation. The middle class as a social entity has been destroyed, replaced with a larger ‘working class’ that has been neutered via automation and internationalisation. Poverty and unemployment is rampant in nearly all areas of the world, but token relief programs (mass produced and automated) are offered by those ‘inpower’ to ensure starvation and disease do not get out of control. Life is still bleak for the poor.

The ‘poor’ and ‘working class’ are controlled and monitored, privacy is a right only for the ‘rich’. “Hope’ is offered in the form of ‘Lotteries’ and ‘Internships’. The Lotteries offer the dream of wealth. Internships offer the hope of improvement and social mobility, but in reality siphon off those who show talent and skill into the ‘rich’, depriving the ‘workers’ of leadership and inspiration.

The wealth of the Rich however is so great that they can use their technology and resources to continue to oppress the workers and the poor without fear of them rising up. The Rich isolate themselves in ‘country villas/estates’, ‘private enclaves’ and ‘city precincts’. All of these are walled and guarded areas, even to the point of having a ‘green barrier’ (parklands) around them for increased protection.

The working class get power for essentials and for mass media to keep them ‘entertained’. Food is provided free of charge for those who cannot provide their own, but it is a form of ‘gruel’ provided through ‘Community Centres’. The barest medical services are maintained, mostly to control outbreaks of sickness that might impinge on the Rich or work performance.

Fusion power is available and power is no longer an issue to those who can control it. The working class however still pay at a scale dating back 50 years.

The world is a stark place of luxury and bland survival.

A limited form of anti-gravity engine (AGE) is developed. This allows a bubble of anti-gravity to be created that can control the amount of gravity exerted on the bubble and its contents, the net effect of which is that the bubbles and their contents can be moved away from the surface of the earth, but NOT out of the gravity well altogether. There are some tolerance issues that cannot be overcome.  Effectively it means the bubble can lift to about a height of 500m, after which the physics become dangerous and unstable.  There is a minimum size to this bubble, around a mile in diameter, but optimal size will be around 5 miles in diameter, and a maximum size of 10 miles. Smaller and larger bubbles become unstable and require exponential power supplies.

The development of this technology was initially driven by the mining industry, giving them the ability to lift a huge amount of dirt in a semi-controlled fashion and gaining fast and easy access to resources below the surface via a new form of ‘open cut’ mining. Once the technology became feasible and went into proto-typing other industries jumped on the band wagon, such as entertainment/fun park enterprises, gambling casinos and eventually The Rich.

These bubbles must be maintained, requiring a fusion reactor within the bubble providing power. If the bubble fails the contents crash to the ground. For that reason everyone agreed that bubbles did not move, they remained over their craters. Not to mention that the energy required to move one laterally was enormous (the AGE only worked against gravity, not inertia). And to top it all off we will say that moving the bubble puts stress on it. Not to say that the craters were not developed by real-estate companies and sold off to those workers who could afford it, or were housed within it for ease of access to the enclave above it.

Once the technology was proven to be fail safe (as safe a fusion reactors), the Rich leapt on it. Those ‘precincts’ in cities became airborne, they were LIFTED away from the dangers of the surface world and the ‘surface people’. Rich Precincts around the world were LIFTED, in small numbers initially but then in greater numbers as it became obvious that a new class of people were being created (The Lifted). The Rich now not only controlled the vast majority of the world’s wealth but they were essentially also separated from the rest of the world’s population.


Around 20 years after the first permanent LIFTED bubble was created (mining bubbles were lifted and then DROPPED after the crater had been exploited), Skynet Adventure World, the first RIFT appeared. Apparently the Anti-gravity field caused damage to the barriers between our dimension and another dimension. With time the damage increased and the other side was able to penetrate into our world. The first RIFT was the first successful breach of the barrier by the other side… and the monsters moved in.

Once a RIFT occurs the region around the RIFT changes, the physics of the two worlds mix and overlap. This results in the anti-gravity engine failing and the disc DROPPING (suddenly).  

The RIFT happens out to about 10 times the radius of the bubble, so a 1 mile bubble will have a 10 mile diameter RIFT zone. Within the RIFT zone a fog appears, covering the entire area in a heavy fog like vapour that is dangerous for humans over extended periods of exposure. The fog has a reddish tinge to it, combined with the fogs reduction of sunlight this causes a unsettling blood colour to blanket the area. It also has a subtle bitter, metallic taste.

Then the monsters move in. The monsters appear as a thick vapour, difficult to see within the fog, but those trained to spot them can. This ‘natural’ form of the aliens, a vapourous form, makes them mostly immune to normal weapons, but new means have been discovered as will be explained later.

The alien will move to possess (as in a spirit) any non-living material that, including vehicles, buildings, the ground or dead bodies. Once the creature has possessed the item it will control it, animate it.  Eg a car or bus will move as it controlled by a driver and having a working engine. A building will be haunted and the creature will have poltergeist like powers. A body will become a zombie.

The creatures will then begin to customise their ‘body’, to whatever macabre self image it may have.

The creatures are very good with metals, being able to radically change their forms, and quickly.

Once the Rifts started it was eventually realised what was happening and all anti-gravity engines were required to DROP, but the ‘Rich’ had other ideas.  Instead of abandoning their positions of invulnerability they developed an alternative, the RAISED PLATFORM.  Using materials developed for the Space Escalator (carbon buckyballs), they constructed platforms that would carry the weight of their domains at a height of 200-300 meters above the crater they came from. This took time of course and in that time more and more RIFTS began appearing and discs DROPPING.

But converting to a RAISED city didn’t stop the RIFTs, once they began they started appearing everywhere that an anti-gravity machine had been turned on. The world economy crashed. Panic. Disaster.

The world the players will exist in is post apocalyptic for most purposes. The world economy is mostly destroyed. International and intercontinental infrastructure is mostly disrupted. Air travel is almost gone as most of the worlds major airports are within Rifts. Even sea travel has some issues as ‘Lifts’ were done over some ocean areas for mining. Most of the Lowlands of Holland and the Netherlands are one huge Rift as they had raised the land and then re-settle it at a higher level.

Several hundred major cities or Corporate Estates, (the rich ones who could ‘Lift’ themselves first, and thus ‘Dropped’ first) have crashed back to earth catastrophically. The remainder of the ‘Lifted’ cities and estates have converted to ‘Raised’ platforms, standing on pillared superstructures, or have ‘resettled’ back on the ground. Rifts have now appeared beneath, or over, nearly all of them, where-ever an AGE was turned on.

The players are elite soldiers, selected from the population for specific traits and abilities. They are trained and educated from about 12 years of age to be soldiers, within the City. Most of them are drawn from the ‘workers’, but occasionally a ‘Citizen’ is selected (although it is considered a drop in status by other Citizens). They are kept in separate enclaves, sealed off from the City proper.

You will work as part of a team of ‘Cleaners’ that are sent out into the Rift to kill aliens.

Cleaners are selected not only for their physical and mental superiority, but also for genetic traits that suggest they have, or may gain what are called ‘Rift Powers’. These are what we would call ‘pyschic powers’, but nearly all of them have manifested since the arrival of the Rifts. Continued exposure to the Rift results in the accumulation of Rift Radiation that causes mutations within the human body. Some of these changes are good, and some of them are bad, a lot of them are both.

Their ROLES:

Players will be formed into TEAMS by their sponsor city, equipped, trained, indoctrinated and sent out on missions to collect MIASMA (alien remains). Amongst other things.


The game will have several social statements: Radicalised distribution of wealth, Thoughtless use of technology for the benefit of the Few, Oppression by a godlike minority over the mass of humanity, The Struggle for freedom, Sarcastic commentary on Capitalism via a Corporate Structure, Bigotry and Prejudice and Racism on an economic basis.

Many of the cities will be Corporate, either built and owned by a mega-corp, or populated by people who got where they are via the Corporate System and believe it is the Answer.  The players will be assigned a Commander from the Corporation, who will control their missions and assets and review their performance. There will be many teams, and the corporate system will have them compete against each other to ensure ‘performance’. Thier Commanders will be on Performance Pay and will run their team as a business, ruthlessly. They will conduct ‘performance reviews’ of each member.

Never refer to them by name - they are servants or workers, ‘cleaners’.
Remain safe from them at all times - disarmed and protected by robotic weapons.
Demean them all the time. ‘You can do better’.
Remind them they are here only because of the Company/Corporation.

His supervisor will be The Director - who is also the GM.

Players will be from ‘The Workers’ mostly, selected for their optimal parameters. The Rich will consider them only slightly better than the rest of the surface dwellers.

Inspirational art:

Terms and Labels.

AGE: Anti-gravity engine.
RIFT: dimensional breach between the alien dimension and our own.
CRATER: the hole left when an area of land is LIFTED.
LIFT: the term used to describe the action of lifting a section of land using the AGE.
RAISED: a section of land/city that has been LIFTED, then dropped back down onto a platform construction to keep the LIFTED object above the ground. Most RAISED platforms are 200-300m tall.
DROPPED: when an AGE fails the land drops back down into its crater, catastrophically.
FOG: general term for the RIFT fog, as opposed to natural fog. RIFT fog is acidic and has a yellow-green colour. It will incapacitate a human breathing it in about an hour, killing them in about 2 hours. Very unpleasant and painful death. It will also start burning the exposed skin in about 24 hours, and will incapacitate and kill after about 4 days.

CLEANERS: a term used by City people to describe a player team.
SOLDIER: more formal and technically accurate name for players.
GRENADIER: soldier trained in heavy weapons.
FUSILIER: soldier trained in guns.
SAPPER: soldier trained in explosives
CARBONIER: soldier trained in melee ‘carbon’ weapons.
VOLTIGEUR: soldier trained in electrical weapons.
CAPITAINE: soldier rank, highest.
LIEUTENANT: soldier rank.
SOUS LIEUTENANT: soldier rank.
ADJUTANT-CHEF: soldier rank.
SERGENT: soldier rank.
CAPORAL: soldier rank.
SOLDAT: starting soldier's rank.
COMMANDER: Players immediate superior, a Citizen of the City.
CITIZEN: someone who lives in the Raised City and belongs to the social/corporate elite.
CORPORATION: the owner/controller of the Raised City. This may actually be a corporation or a socienty that has adopted a corporate style social system as the best way to manage their situation.

The following is a list of insulting words that Citizens might use in reference to those who live on the surface, and who are not Citizens, including the players.
Downers, Blues, Plebs, Muck, Sleepers, Sweepers, Workers, Freaks, Scavs, Scars, Trash, Maggots, Darkies (those living in the darkness of the crater), Pales, Slaves, Plebs.
There are more derogatory words that could be used, you must recall that the Citizens consider themselves a higher form of life to those living on the surface, and have maintained that belief for over 100 years. Citizens are by nature bigots, racists and completely prejudiced about those they see as little more than menial labour or animals. Part of the intent of the game is to show this vast disparity between those who can oppress due to economic advantage and those who are oppressed, through simple fault of their birth.

ALIENS: the monsters that have come through the RIFT. Aliens are in two forms, natural or possessed. Natural form is a thick fog like form. Possessed form depends on the object possessed (the host).
RADIATION: for this game radiation is about alien radiation, which can cause mutations, good and bad.
PENETRATED: when an alien in natural form passes through a human being.
HIVE: some aliens construct portals that allow other aliens to pass through, creating a dense population of aliens in a small area. Normally aliens are solitary.
MIASMA: a goo or protoplasmic substance left when an alien in its natural form dies.  It has advanced medicinal properties, in particular anagathics.

ORGANISED CARBON: a label referring to various atomically organised forms of carbon, such as diamonds, graphene and fullerenes
A fullerene is a molecule of carbon in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid, tube, and many other shapes. Spherical fullerenes are also called buckyballs, and they resemble the balls used in football (soccer). Cylindrical ones are called carbon nanotubes or buckytubes. Fullerenes are similar in structure to graphite, which is composed of stacked graphene sheets of linked hexagonal rings; but they may also contain pentagonal (or sometimes heptagonal) rings.
Most ‘organised carbons’ are antithetical to aliens and cause their natural physical forms to break down catastrophically, ie kills them.  Speculation is that organised carbons do not exist in the aliens dimension and are severely toxic when they make contact. Soldiers will use bullets, swords etc made of organised carbon. They are not overly effective on humans or natural materials compared to steel, but they are very effective against the natural form of aliens. Normal bullets, or weapons, have very little effect on the natural form (fog) of the aliens.

ELECTRICITY: Aliens are vulnerable to the effects of electricity (EMP effects or current), which seems to disrupt their ability to remain in our dimension. The aliens avoid electrical fields, even weak ones, if they are at all able to. Electricity can be used to drive aliens from their host structures, which in turn allows them to be attacked with carbon in their natural forms. Continued use of electricity results in the collapse of the field keeping the aliens in our world, and they vanish back into their own. This is considered a poor result by your superiors who favour the collection of Miasma.

Cleaners will be equipped with various EMP or voltage generating weapons to allow them to apply electricity to the alien within their host (the localised region of the host where the alien is currently formed). Most electrical weapons have limited range and quite variable results, plus you have to monitor the amount of damage you inflict to try to prevent ‘escape’.