Savage Reich Star 08.1: Characters (SWADE)
Modelling after The Last Parsec and JumpCorp, I want to create a convention with in Savage Reich Star that places the characters as members of the resistance at the start. I want to build a structure that gives the character’s a background connecting to the resistance and their real life covers. I also want to explore various options available to a player in the Science Fiction Companion. This is a work in progress. Revising for SWADE.
The Tower in 2065
Characters of Savage Reich Star will be members of the Tower, a resistance group that has been a thorn in the side of the Reich for decades. The Tower, in 2065, is just getting back on its feet after severe crackdowns on its operations since 2050. It is perhaps the largest and most well organized of the resistance groups. In the first half of the 21st century, they were the most effective, which is why it drew so much attention. Today, the Tower works to rebuild its’ many world-wide cells of resistance and its communication network.
Within the Tower, no cell is ever aware of the location or internal formation of the others. They are told only what they need to know to accomplish a given task, and nothing more. This protects the entire organization with the highest possible security. If any team is captured it might signal the end for a single cell, but nothing can be gained from Gestapo interrogation or torture because they truly do not know enough information about the rest.
The Towers links to the Imperial Japan has made it easy for the Reich to paint the Tower as an organization that wishes to set up a single universal government controlled by Japan. While the Tower does have contacts within the Empire, they are primarily civilian sympathizers, many of whom have distant relatives living in the Reich. In truth, the Tower’s goals simply consist of establishing a world-wide Democracy of Confederated states. Their plan is to accomplish this by breaking down the government of the Third Reich through attacks on military targets. They have a strict policy of not intentionally harming civilians. Japan is not considered an enemy of the Tower (yet), and they have no desire to provoke conflict with Imperial forces.
Creating a Tower Agent
The resistance does not often recruit from the regular population. Their agents are not usually adults with children, families or the elderly. They usually recruit from people that have nothing else to lose and a reason to hate the powers that be. They value people that have focused skills, reliable contacts and a strong (but controllable) hatred of the Reich.
Resistance Fighter Background
There are three key things to making a Tower resistance member:
How and why did the character join the resistance? Was there a tragedy that drove the character to hate the Reich or a something in the family history? Was a relative a resistance member or a betrayed loyalist? Create a story behind the character of the driving force that brought him to the Tower. Included in that story is why he qualifies as an agent. A father with children would not qualify, but a father that has lost his entire family would.
Real life role
What does this character do in real life? Usually his real life job is either of use to the Tower or flexible enough that the agent won’t be missed while on mission. These can be anything but the closer the character is to government or law enforcement, the higher the risk. Usually, the agent is a independent contractor, sole business owner or some peon working a low end job. Important to this is how does the agent get around his real life role without getting caught?
What does this person do for the cause? Is the agent purely an informant or does his role involve action? Does the agent have a consider network of useful friends that are sympathetic to the cause?
Race is a world like Reich Star could mean many things, but in the spirit of true sci-fi, it is referencing species. Humans are the only species in Savage Reich Star. No alien races have been discovered. However, humanity has changed considerably since the end of the War of Unification. Massive eugenics programs along with genetic/biomedical manipulation and mutations from various environmental influences have all affected the population. Earth-born humans are diametrically different from Belters; Martian born humans are different from those that spend most of their lives in the space lanes (Spacers).
Überlegen vs. Minderwertig
In the Reich, Earth-born Humanity is definitively divided by the “Aryan pure strain” Überlegen or just Übers and the genetic “mutts” of the Minderwertig or Minders.
Übers are the “pure-strain” Aryans (by Reich government standards.) Creating a Übers is slightly different that that of a Minders. Through years of eugenics, selective breeding, genetic and bio manipulation, Reich science has unlocked a few outstanding feature of humanity in their efforts. However, they have done so not without their drawbacks.
There are four specific Übers breeds in Earth society
As the name implies, these Übers are the strong and brutish. They are natural warriors, front-line soldiers, fierce fighters as well as athletes. However, they also tend to be less intelligent and mentally challenged. They also tend to be emotionally volatile. Benefits: Base Strength starts at d6. Drawbacks: -2 modifier to Smarts or Clueless Hindrance; Mean Hindrance.
The polar opposite of the Bestien, the Geschickt are walking calculators. They are natural engineers, computer techs or scientists. However, they tend to be physically inept and weak. They also tend to be socially challenged and temperamentally cold. Benefits: Base Smarts starts at d6. Drawbacks: -2 modifier to Strength or Vigor, Cold Temperament (-2 to Persuasion)
Dolls or Beauties are the ideal specimen of the human form from the physical looks point of view. They disarm people with their looks while smooth talk people to do their bidding. They are diplomats of the Reich as well as the public faces of mega-corporations. They are models, actors, and entertainers. They are on the posters promoting the Elite’s leadership. On the other hand, they tend to be arrogant, superficial and spiritually weak. They also tend to be self-centered, selfish and greedy. Benefits: Very Attractive Drawbacks: -2 modifier to Spirit; Arrogant or Greedy Hindrance.
Nobles are bred to lead, said to be “pure” (as science can get) Aryan. Many of these have been born into the unsterblut life extending program. Many live up to 150 years or more. Traditionally, this is a non-player character Uber breed.
Untermensch was once was a term used only for those that the Reich wished to exterminate or otherwise enslave. Over the past few decades, the use of that world has fallen out of favor, seen as unpopluar by the mega-corporations that wish to maintain a client base. Over long periods of eugenics and generic manipulation, as well as mass re-population programs, a new term has arisen from those seen as inferior – Minder.
In the modern era of Reich Star, Minders has become to mean what one would consider as normal humans and the standard rules of generating a human character apply to them. Minders are however, delineated socially then genetically. There are three specific Minders social divisions in Earth society:
Upper Marions/Marys or Oberemarions
Marion is a term the evolved from marionette, the German word for puppet. Many opportunists arose from the ranks of the conquered nations to take roles of local party leaders, collaborators and Nazi government representatives. Oberemarions represent the upper echelons of these collaborators. Oberemarions are given unprecedented access to Übers society, under the delusion that they are on the equal playing field with their masters. In truth, they may not be the pawns of their master’s game but they are definitely the knights and rooks. Benefits: Rich or Luck. Drawbacks: Obligation or Vow or Arrogant.
Lower Marions/Marys or Untermarions
The middle management of the Marions, Untermarions strive to one day become Upper Marions. They are considered “sheep” collaborators, hated by the resistance. In truth they are just people trying to make a better life for themselves. They wake up, work, and go to bed like normal people. They have simple given in to 130 years of oppression and found ways to work up the latter. Some have a false sense that they may one day be upper marions but due to genetic impurities within their lineage, it is unlikely. Benefits: Connections or Reliable. Drawbacks: Cautious or Loyal
Bottom Feeder or Untenesser
The majority of Erde’s population is made up of Unternesser – the oppressed, ghetto dwellers, the former discarded slaves and many more. They are not considered citizens and allowed no rights. Genetically, they are a mixture of various ethnic backgrounds, thanks to mass repopulations world-wide and eugenics efforts over the years. Benefits: Streetwise or Strong Willed. Drawbacks: Ugly or Poverty
On the Imperial side, however, the goals of eugenics and selective breeding were more about keeping up with the German population growth and less about developing a “super race.” Most Imperial citizens, unless specifically genetically manipulated, are standard humans. Socially, they are divided into two distinct groups – Gaijin (foreigners or non-Japanese people) and Nihonjin (Japanese people, as blessed by the Emperor.)
National Lineage (optional)
Nationality would still have an effect the mid-21st century. It comes down to favored Nationality and lesser Nationality. This applies to Colonies, bases and stations. Either you are considered a Elite or not. Living in universe formed by two competing “superior” cultures tends to create these division. Genealogy plays a big part of the and especially in the Reich. Technology has advanced far enough that your “identity papers’ include a genetic “purity” mapping. And of course, everyone has to carry their ID cards.
Derogatorily references as Loons, these are descendants of the first off-world colonists from Erde, and they were considered crazy for doing it. The first few attempts to colonize the moon failed, with hundreds of casualties – “volunteer” colonists as part of the Reich’s rush to prove they could do it. Once they established the first colony – New Berlin in Clavius Lunar crater – the Japanese were not far behind. By 1963, the Moon had been evenly divided between the two powers.
Citizens of the Moon are not much different from the Citizens from Earth. Some descended from those transported during the 60s as part of “contract” labor to build the colonies. These “long term colonists” can never return to Earth without suffering from the Hindrance of Low-G Worlder (-1 to Strength Trait checks). Others are transient between Earth and Lunar on a regular basis, enough so that their physiology is not overly effected by the gravity
Imperial genetics mastered the genetics behind gravity adaptation before the Reich. Imperial Citizens of the Moon can freely live between the Earth and the Moon as long as they have the Imperial Lunar Colonist Edge.
Mars is divided into two regions – the Reich Hemisphere and the Imperial Hemisphere. However, Martian Citizenry have been genetically manipulated in much the same ways on either side to survive the hardships of the world. There has been nearly two generations of humanity on Mars by 2065, and the changes to their physiology is becoming more and more apparent. Due to genetic manipulation and environmental influences, their skin tones tend to be darker with a noticeable red tint. Their skin is also hardened against the relentless radiation that pummels the Martian atmosphere due to the lack of a electromagnetic field. Martians typically have more body hair and pride themselves in their body hair grooming. Martian Men’s beards are spectacle in and of themselves. Martian bone structure and musculature is longer and more gaunt. Biochemical manipulation has kept their bone and muscle densities at safe levels, allowing survival in normal G environments but they tend to be less dexterous in those environments.
Despite all efforts to keep the Reich and Imperial culture relevant on Mars, a new Martian culture is on the rise. This culture tends towards rugged independence and self determination. Mars was for a time a means to escape the oppression of both the Reich and the Imperials, so many of the population are Minder or Gaijin who volunteered for a one way mission to colonize. Since then, a growing culture of anti-Erde is rising within the population, dampened on by the occasional crackdown by the authorities. It has grown harder and harder for the Erde powers to influence the culture of Mars. The lines between German and Japanese are still apparent, but nothing brings them together stronger than their anti-Erde sentiments.
Benefits: Pick one: Environmental Resistance: Radiation, Environmental Resistance: Cold or Atmospheric Acclimation Drawbacks: Pick one: Low-G Worlder or Slow.
Venus also has a population, although not as populous as Mars. It has a harsher environment, but similar gravity. Venusians in appearance are similar to Earth humans but with paler skin tones. They typically have less body hair and it is common for Venusian men and woman to be bald. Because of storms and atmospheric interference, travel from Venus’s surface is considerably more rare than other worlds, so Venusians at times find themselves isolated. Like Mars, it too is divided into two hemispheres – Imperial and Reich. However, as Venusians, they are more unified as a single people then their Erde equivalents. The Cold War between Reich and Japan is foreign concept on Venus.
Both sides sent their some of the best scientists to Venus when first colonizing the world. Venus was a tough nut to crack and they needed some of their best to determine the best way to colonize the harsh world. The end result was an unintentional (most assume) experiment in selective breeding. Venusians have a tendency towards higher IQs.
Benefits: Pick One: Environmental Resistance: Heat, Atmospheric Acclimation, +1 Smarts Drawbacks: Outsider (isolated from the other worlds).
The Belt is similarly divided and similarly cultured to Mars. Some see Belters as even more radically independent than Martians. Belters were genetically and biochemically manipulated even further than Martians to survive in microgravity as well as high radiation environments.
Outer Colonials include colonists from Io, Europa, and the various other Saturn and Jupiter moons and beyond. Beyond Jupiter, the colonies are primarily robotic but a few intrepid manned expeditions have ventured to as far as the moons or Uranus. These types, from a character creation point of view, are no different from Belters. Their culture vary from moon to moon, colony to colony.
Both Belters and Outer Colonials appear to be gaunt and thin. The bio-chemical modifying drugs they had to take to prevent the low gravity damage made them considerably durable individuals.
Benefits: Environmental Resistance: Radiation, Hardy Drawbacks: Environmental Weakness: Normal Gravity (-4).
Spacers spend most of their lives either on a space station or a spaceship travelling from port to port. In either case, their lives are about artificial gravity, life support systems, air scrubbers and avoiding cosmic radiation. Spacers are very adaptable as they live in varied environments and gravities. They have a similar build to Belters or Outer Colonials but are much more dexterous and deft. They tend to rely on technology to live however living in such sterile environments can have an effect on a Spacers auto-immune systems.
Benefits: Pick One: Gravitic Acclimation, Acrobatic, Rocket Jock, Technical Adept. Drawbacks: Quirk: Restless (-2 to Charisma when on planet-side for more than 1d4 days), Anemic.
There are many mutant strains living in the population of Solar System. Some are caused by radiation, cosmic rays or some other natural phenomenon while others are caused by deliberate manipulation of the genome. The character choose a Mutant character must decide on the origin of his mutation. Here is a table to help make that decision. The player may either roll on it or draw from it for ideas.
1 – Radiation Accident from a planet-bound reactor or spaceship engine reactor
2 – Natural Mutation passed down by mutant parents
3 – Natural Accident with “supernatural energies”
4 – Genetic Experiment (Born this way) gone wrong
5 – Biochemical Experiment (biochemically manipulated after birth) gone wrong
6 – Psychic Experiment gone wrong
However it happened, the player uses the Science Fiction Companion: Custom Races to create the mutant. However, the overall goal should not be to create a new races but a simple subtle offshoot of the human race. Unlike customs aliens, mutants get no free abilities or points to buy positive abilities. They must choose one positive and one negative from the start. It is not recommended to go beyond one of each. Additionally, the abilities (both positive and negative) must be conceptualized in such a way that they are not obvious – they must be subtle. Obvious mutants would not be allowed in public in either the Reich or Nippon. They would be either killed on the spot or taken away for study.
Any mutant would be considered an aberration in Reich or Imperial society and subject to capture at the very least or immediate execution at the worst.
Genetically manipulated humans crossed with animal genetics. See Savage Reich Star 08.2: Tiervolk or Moreaus