Thursday, June 25, 2015

New Races For Otherverse America: Pagan Born and RAINBOW Tribe

Well, the last art for Culture of Choice is trickling in. Today I wanted to spotlight two of the new races I'm introducing to the setting. The Pagan Born are a racial rethinking of the Dream Born Mau. I wanted to make the race more modular and interesting, taking the diverse menu of abilities of the Military Post Humans from Black Operators, and but retaining the race's uni
que, pagan-based feel. The RAINBOW Tribe are a new race I just introduced this morning- the idea for them actually came to me in a dream, and when I woke up I realized they were a solid enough idea for inclusion.

Let me know what you think of both. Today's illustration comes from Amanda Webb. When I get it, I'll start posting up Vic's preview images. (This image will actually illustrate a cultural template, but as I don't have art for the Pagan Born yet, it serves very nicely to get the point across.)

Pagan Born
Medium Outsider (human, native)
Pagan Born are the demigods and demigoddesses of the 22nd Century, post-human enigmas whose origins cannot neatly explained. The first Pagan Born were conceived on an unseasonably warm Beltane Eve, 2079. Across North America, female participants in the Beltane Revels lay with a man of their choice, wearing the mask of one of the ancient, pagan gods. When she finally slept as that night ended, strange dreams filled with potent symbols offered a choice: bear a child unlike any child that has ever been born before, a child to be a symbol of hope for an embattled Covenant.

Nine months later, the first Pagan Born arrived in blood. \During the winter of 2079 and the spring of ’80, the Covenant celebrated the birth of its new, visibly post-human sons and daughters. Pagan Born children, and the mothers who chose (and were chosen) to bear them became Covenant celebrities. The ordinary men and women of the Covenant watched as their semi-divine new generation came of age, became teenaged priestesses and eventually, warrior adults.
The Lifer nation rejected the Pagan Born out of hand as a propaganda offensive waged by a nation demoralized by (at that point) two decades of brutal warfare, and suggested the children’s origins had more to do with metahuman rape and untested bio-war agents than divine providence. The Covenant fiercely defended the children, their goddess-chosen mothers, and the prophetic dreams that accompanied the birth as more genuine than anything that happened to a long-dead Mary, and far more consensual.

To the Choicers, the Pagan Born are miracle and affirmation. To the Lifers, they are a publicity stunt of monstrous proportions. APEX’ view of the posthumans, like always, lies between these two extremes. APEX believes that the Pagan Born are the offspring of a living, and possibly spontaneously generated Choicer meme. In short, the Fed-Gov military, believes that an idea gained a kind of viral life. As unlikely as the concept seems on the surface, studies of Object Philosophies and self-aware smartlight viruses lend a bare minimum of credence to the theory.

Pagan Born are handsome and purposeful, perfect specimens of Choicer post-humanity. Regardless of their mother’s bloodline, Pagan Born are olive completed- when born to a white-skinned mother, the Pagan Born child seems darkly exotic, when born to a dark-skinned mother they seem pale and golden. It’s difficult to pinpoint a Pagan Born’s exact racial make-up.

Pagan Born press in iconic neo-pagan styles, and tattoos and scarification are popular among the breed, representing their beliefs and the old god who fathered them through a mortal reveler. Pagan Born have complex post-human genomes- their blood is a stew of genetic engineering alleles, designer traits, meta-human ancestry and indefinable traits that make them something other than human.

Reproduction and Biology
Pagan Born are inter-fertile with baseline humans, who enjoy sex for pleasure and lack any set breeding season. Though the species is relatively young, the Pagan Born genome appears to be dominant, at least in certain circumstances. Sexual encounters with humans of an Abrahamic faith produce baseline human children (possibly with a handful of unique traits), while intercourse with another neo-pagan always seems to produce a newborn Pagan Born.

A small handful of new Pagan Born are conceived, by human mothers, on each Beltane Eve. Since 2079, the numbers of this emergent species has multiplied dramatically. Strategic pre-cogs working for the Covenant have envisioned several possible futures where the Pagan Born have evolved into the dominant strain of Covenant humanity.

Unlike baseline sapiens, who require contraceptive bionics or gene-tech to regulate their fertility, Pagan Born can accomplish this feat instinctively. Pagan Born will not impregnate a female, or become pregnant themselves, unless they actively choose to. Likewise, the females of the race can abort an early pregnancy at will, by force of will alone.

Within the Covenant
The Pagan Born are fundamentally tied to the Covenant, and have little place outside America’s Crimson Coast. Though young, they have become influential and respected within the Covenant.

Pagan Born often become warriors, not in an effort not to eradicate Lifer Christianity on the battlefield, but to bring its leaders to justice and offer its believing populace a better alternative. To this end, many Pagan Born have affiliated with the transhumanist faction of the Covenant.

The race leads by example, and tend to view their purple-garbed adversaries as victims rather than enemies. Pagan Born often find themselves drawn into the Choicer intelligence and special forces communities, where they can directly push for a more humane treatment of the conquered Lifer nation, or less dramatically, into social work, politics and the peace movement.

Pagan Born children rarely have ordinary names. Most take their names from myth, or are given a unique kenning as a name. Pagan Born have multipart surnames- their mortal father’s surname (if known) appended by the name of their true, divine father.

Such surnames might include:
Juarez-Zuesborn; Lopez-Thorson; Cooke-Osirischild; Miller-Hadesson

Pagan Born adventurers begin play speaking Celestial as well as English and Spanish. Pagan Born with high INT scores can choose Abyssal, Draconic, Infernal or any elemental language as bonus languages.

Pagan Born Racial Traits
All Pagan Born have the following racial traits.

Size and Type
Pagan Born are Medium Outsiders with the human, native and psionic subtypes. As a Medium creature, Pagan Born receive no bonuses or penalties due to size.

Ability Score Modifiers
+2 to any ability score of choice.
Pagan Born are diverse and phenomenally adaptable, able to excel in a variety of ways.

Normal Speed (EX)
Pagan Born have a base land speed of 30 ft.

Belief Driven Physiology (SU)
Pagan Born are, as the name of their race implies, empowered by their beliefs, with their post-human augmentation tied to their faith. A Pagan Born who chooses any Abrahamic patron deity or philosophy loses their racial traits and becomes human, gaining an additional human bonus feat and skill ranks. Once a Pagan Born’s nature is lost in this manner, it cannot be regained, even if the character later returns to a pagan faith.

Darkvision 60 ft (EX)
Pagan Born have eyes that go feline when the moon rises, providing them with Darkvision 60 ft.

Pagan Skills (SU)
Each Pagan Born has unique skills, given to them by the myths of their divine parents. Select one skill package, which represents archetypical myths common across factions within the Covenant. Once chosen, this selection cannot be changed.

Racial Skill Bonuses
+1 racial bonus on ranged attack rolls with bows or crossbows
Acrobatics +2, Perform (dance) +2
Hearth Keeper
Craft (structural) +2, Knowledge (civics) +2
Craft (alchemy) +2, Heal +2
Knowledge (nature) +2, Survival +2
Knowledge (tactics) +2, Perception +2
Sense Motive +2, Perform (sexual) +2
Bluff +2, Knowledge (arcana) +2
Diplomacy +2, Knowledge (tactics) +2
Pilot (watercraft) +2, Swim +2
Knowledge (arcana) +2, Knowledge (religion) +2
Craft (blacksmith) +2, Craft (mechanical) +2
Sword Master
+1 racial bonus on melee attack rolls with martial slashing weapons

Pagan Invulnerability (SU)
Each Pagan Born has an immunity to the weaknesses of mortal flesh, often related to the myths of their divine forebears.

The Pagan Born gains Immunity to one of the following damage types.
·        Ballistic, Bludgeoning, Piercing, Slashing
·        Or Immunity to one Energy Type
·        Or the No Breath racial quality

This immunity, whatever form it takes, is conditional. An opponent can attempt a Knowledge (religion) check, DC 10 + the Pagan Born’s CHA modifier, to modify a weapon or attack form in such a way as it bypasses this immunity. Doing so requires at least a minute, and ritual items worth 5 gp.

Examples would be binding mistletoe to a dagger’s blade to overcome Slashing immunity, sprinkling silver dust over the barrel of a plasma rifle to overcome Fire immunity, or knotting a garrote with mystic herbs to successfully strangle a Pagan Born with the No Breath racial quality.

Once so modified, a weapon retains its potency against a particular Pagan Born for 24 hours, or until the Pagan Born is slain.

Alternate Pagan Born Racial Traits
Pagan Born are an incredibly diverse young species, and many have atypical divine gifts. The shape this race (and post-humanity as a whole) will eventually take is not set; evolution is still progressing rapidly.

Dream Child of Bast (SU)
Replaces: Pagan Skills
For deities and idea-forms, gender is as fluid as it needs to be, but only Bast has produced Pagan Born children in any great numbers. The Dream Child of Bast gains Dreamborn Mau as a racial bonus feat.

Legendary Expertise (SU)
Replaces: Pagan Skills
You are the unquestioned master of a single skill celebrated by your divine parent, such as a scion of Apollo who is a great poet, or a scion of Volund who is a master smith. Select one skill; this skill is always a class skill for you. Skill checks with this chosen skill require half the usual time; while rolling with this skill, you roll 2D20 and take the better of two rolls.
Summerland Soul (SU)
Replaces: Pagan Skills
You have lived many times, and your current incarnation as a Pagan Born adventurer is only your most recent, and most highly evolved. You gain Reincarnate as a racial bonus feat.

Pagan’s Luck (SU)
Replaces: Either Pagan Skills or Pagan Invulnerability
Your post-human confidence lets you manipulate probability in your favor. When you select this alternate racial trait, choose whether to replace Pagan Skills or Pagan Invulnerability.

·        If Pagan Skills is replaced, you gain a +1 luck bonus on all saving throws.
·        If Pagan Invulnerability is replaced, you gain a +2 luck bonus on all saving throws.

Pagan Warrior (SU)
Replaces: Pagan Invulnerability
Your divine heritage makes you a particularly bold and daring Choicer warrior. You gain Weapon Focus with a specific weapon type of your choice. When wielding this type of weapon, your minimum melee attack rolls is treated as if it were 6. If you roll a 1-5 on D20, treat the result as a 6 instead.

When you reach 10th level, your minimum melee attack roll result with this weapon is 8. If you roll 1-7 on D20, treat the result of an 8 instead.

Medium Humanoid (human, other subtype)
The RAINBOW Tribe are the children and grand-children of the Covenant’s RAINBOW meta-human strike force. First deployed in the 2020s, RAINBOW became the nucleus the Covenant’s post-human military developed around. RAINBOW protected the gays, pagans, minorities and iconoclasts that first broke away from the United States to forge their own pseudo-nation. At least according to the citizens of 2107’s Choicer Covenant, RAINBOW courage and firepower helped liberate the Crimson Coast, and during the War, RAINBOW squads kept the embattled Covenant alive.

Cutting edge gene-tech empowered and augmented RAINBOW volunteers, creating heritable new traits. Over the years, RAINBOW’s members married and had children of their own, combining superhuman bloodlines in unforeseen new ways, producing ever more specialized and increasingly post-human offspring. 

RAINBOW Tribe members can pass for baseline humans, if necessary, but never ordinary ones. They are beautiful, with lean, fit physiques that temper well with even minimal exercise.

The genetic engineering their parents and grandparents underwent had several cosmetic components as well as practical military modifications. The RAINBOW Tribe celebrates diversity, with skin and hair tone and texture, eye color and shape blending rare and desirable traits from multiple ethnicities, with occasional alien alleles giving even wilder results.

All RAINBOW Tribe members are marked somewhere with the poly-spectrum sigil of RAINBOW, somehow. These markings might take the form of noticeable heterochromia (variant eye colors), hair that naturally grows in multicolored dredlocks, or bright natural bioluminescence that takes the from of intricately patterned birthmarks on the chest or back. An abstract pattern resembling the Kaballistic “tree of life” that rises from the lumbar spine to the shoulders is especially common.

Reproduction and Biology
RAINBOW Tribe members are an engineered strain of humanity, and are interfertile with baseline homo sapiens. RAINBOW genetic modifications are dominant, and heritable. The two species have virtually identical reproductive methods. Many RAINBOW Tribe members are pan-sexual, but a large plurality form exclusively homosexual relationships.

Homelands and Culture
RAINBOW Tribe members were born in San Francisco gene labs. The famous city- birth place of the modern gay rights movement, onetime headquarters of Sanger Genomics and capital of the Covenant today- is synonymous with the RAINBOW Tribe. You can’t discuss the city without the RAINBOW, and vice versa.

Within the Covenant
As of 2017, RAINBOW itself is disbanded, after the famous unit suffered massive casualties during the last years of the Abortion War. Its bright colors were retired with honors. To many 22nd Century neo-pagans, the exclusively homosexual orientation that early RAINBOW defended is as outdated and outmoded as exclusive heterosexuality. Everyone they know is genetically modified for easy bisexuality- the norm in the Covenant, and if the Woven Circle’s social projections are right (and they usually are), the norm for humanity as a whole in a few more centuries.

A few of 2107’s teens are undoing their bi-sex genemods and returning to a defined orientation, and more than a few older adults never changed their preferences with the Sanger-tech genemods. Among them, there is a growing call to reinstate RAINBOW, and if the organization ever forms, RAINBOW Tribe members will be the ones to resurrect the legendary unit.

RAINBOW Tribe members are fit, aggressive and more willing than most Covenant sapiens to use force to defend their way of life. The military is a natural fit for the RAINBOW Tribe. Many enlist in the Covenant’s military, with most gravitating towards the Fire and Spirit Guards.

RAINBOW Tribes follow the naming traditions of Covenant America.

RAINBOW Tribe members begin play speaking English and Spanish. Tribe members with high INT scores can choose any language as a bonus language, except for secret ones, like Druidic.

RAINBOW Tribe Racial Traits
All RAINBOW Tribe members have the following racial traits.

Size and Type
RAINBOW Tribe members are Medium Humanoids with the human subtype. They also have a second subtype, chosen from the following options: Mutant, Patriot, Psionic or Sanger. As Medium creatures, RAINBOW Tribe members gain no bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Ability Score Modifiers
+2 CON, -2 WIS, +2 CHA
RAINBOW Tribe members are genetically modified for superior endurance and battle prowess and on the whole are healthier than baseline sapiens, not to mention more attractive and proud, but they are impulsive and often over-confident.

Normal Speed (EX)
RAINBOW Tribe members have a base landspeed of 30 ft.

Complex Sexuality (SU)
RAINBOW Tribe members are defined by their sexuality.

RAINBOW Tribe members receive a +2 luck bonus on sexually oriented Bluff and Diplomacy checks made against members of their own gender.

Each Tribe member chooses to increase the Saving Throw DC of mind-affecting psionic abilities by +1 either against members of their own gender or the opposite gender. However, the Saving Throw DC of mind-affecting psionic abilities used against the RAINBOW Tribe member is increased by +1 when used against the Tribe member by a member of the opposing gender. For example, a female Tribe member might increase her own DC against female targets, but would suffer an increased DC against the psionic abilities of male opponents.

Once chosen, these choices cannot be changed.

Naturally Psionic (EX)
RAINBOW Tribe members gain the Wild talent feat as a bonus feat at 1st level. If the Box Office Slave takes levels in a psionic class, he instead gains the Psionic Talent feat.

Psionic Aptitude (EX)
Whenever the RAINBOW Tribe member takes a level in a psionic class, he can choose to gain an additional power point instead of a hit point or skill point.

RAINBOW’s Glow (Ps)
The RAINBOW Tribe member can generate intense bio-chemical light from their colorful genetic birthmarks. The RAINBOW Tribe member can generate bright illumination in a 10 ft radius at will, or can suppress this glow as a free action. The RAINBOW Tribe member can manifest blinding flash as a psion of their total character level at will.

The RAINBOW Tribe member can build a charge of psionic energy, conjuring a glowing, pulsating sphere of multi-colored light that she can throw like a grenade. The RAINBOW Pulse is treated as a thrown weapon with a 10 ft range increment. The RAINBOW Pulse inflicts 2d10 force damage (no crit) against all targets within a 10 ft burst.

At 5th level, and every five level there after, the damage inflicted increases by +1d10 (to 3d10 at 5th level, 4d10 at 10th and so on). At 15th level, the burst radius increases to 15 ft.

The RAINBOW Tribe member can use RAINBOW Pulse once per day per four character levels.

Alternate RAINBOW Tribe Racial Traits
Several competing lineages and various superhuman enhancement programs have created the modern RAINBOW Tribe breed. There is a large variance in the races’ abilities.

Fast Speed (EX)
Naturally Psionic and Psionic Aptitude
Rather than neural enhacements, the Tribe member’s genemods focus on strengthening their musculature and enhancing lung capacity. The RAINBOW Tribe member’s base land speed increases to 40 ft.

Legacy (EX)
Psionic Aptitude
You’re well aware of RAINBOW’s history as you’re a living part of that legacy. You receive a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (history) checks and this skill is always a class skill for you.

The RAINBOW Tribe member can generate intense bio-chemical light from their colorful genetic birthmarks. The RAINBOW Tribe member can generate bright illumination in a 10 ft radius at will, or can suppress this glow as a free action. The RAINBOW Tribe member can manifest fortify as a psion of their total character level at will.

Naturally Psionic and Psionic Aptitude
The highly evolved superhuman’s body is as much flesh as energy, and is immune to some of the frailties common to unmodified sapiens. The RAINBOW Tribe member becomes immune to the sickened, nauseated, shaken and stunned conditions.

Rather than generating a psionic grenade, you can fire charged particles from biological emitters hidden beneath your glowing fingernails.

You can generate a RAINBOW Laser as a ranged attack that inflicts 2d4 force damage (20/x2) and has a 50 ft range increment. Your RAINBOW Laser is capable of semi-automatic fire and you may use this ability at will.

At 10th level, the damage inflicted by the RAINBOW Laser increases to 2d8 force, and your RAINBOW Laser becomes capable of fully automatic fire.

Warrior School (EX)
Naturally Psionic
Some RAINBOW Tribe members spend their teens learning to fight the way their parents and grandparents had to, earning their stripes at clinic defense rallies or as part of a Bastian corvee. The RAINBOW Tribe member receives Weapon Focus (either RAINBOW Pulse or RAINBOW Laser) as a racial bonus feat.

1 comment:

Andrew Antolick said...

Hi from the eastern states where our floating mountain of a governor Chris Christie is clashing with the T virus of politics aka Trump.

Same-sex marriages are law, conservatives clad their bunkers with cheap bibles as the swarms of progressives parade across their nation. Our nation celebrates with explosives, but I feel as recent events have hobbled Dixie at a price that should never had been paid.

If you want to talk, I'm here. Meanwhile, I have a few ideas for APEX spells/apps that will be in another post. Now some APEX fiction about the state of upcoming warfare.

"World War 1 had done far more than butchered a generation and a continent, it forced every military to to adapt to new technology. We now face a new shift, from people who have the means and will to use 22nd century tech for their faith. A few examples of these people could level a small town if they had a bad day, and having entire armies fighting each other could destroy the planet itself. We could ask both cultures to leave Earth, but it would not solve our dependence on salvaging both sides technology and cleaning up their mess. APEX has plenty of soldiers, what we need are examples of people holding back two advanced powder kegs from hurling North America into space. Any volunteers?
-Dr Willma Sands in a meeting with several APEX higher ups.