Tuesday, September 22, 2015

New Heavy Future Content: Revised Races

Well, I'm finally putting Heavy Future together as a cohesive setting. It had its origins as a cobbled together, make it up as you go along sourcebook for Galaxy Command, which was equally improvisational. Spurred by some fan interest that was basically generated by accident (a thread about Tournament of Rapists over on theRPGsite.com mutated into a discussion of Heavy Future, and once I joined in, I think I earned some new fans)....I've decided I'll be revising both Heavy Future and Black Tokyo. I want to put out nice shiny new race books first, as I did with Black Operators earlier this year, followed by tighter setting books and core sourcebooks like the eventual POD version of Enchantments of Black Tokyo.

Right now, I'm sitting on a very tight manuscript for what I'm calling Heavy Races Revised. This massive sourcebook will consolidate most (but not all) the player races from the various Galaxy Command and Heavy Future sourcebooks, including a lot of my Legion of Superhero homage races from Action Galaxy in one place. There's a few races I left out, just because they don't really fit the Heavy Future/grungy late 70s sexy sci-fi aesthetic I want to keep. For example, I left out the Neuros, because the race is very staid, very law-abiding and pragmatic, and the Proximites fill the 'genius alien' niche in a more genre appropriate way. If I decide to 're-include' the Nueros, I can do so with them as NPCs. Same for the Hiawathans form the original Galaxy Command- the Tal-Anon fill the 'space Native American' niche in a more interesting and fun way, so I just deleted the excess. 

One thing I did do was break out several of the cultural templates: Pacificians, Leather Clones, ect into their own neo-human races. These races are genetically compatible with baseline homo sapiens, more or less, but have such radically different cultures, I figured I'd make them stand alone races. Plus, it gives me an opportunity to riff on late 70s/early 80s identity politics. 

So today, take a look at the chapter header for the Neo-Humans section of the sourcebook, and a look at the Afro-Futurist player race, which should be pretty fun. I'll preview some other stuff later. 


It’s the Stellar Year 4,576.

The future’s a dirty, all-analogue place. Technology got more advanced, but the culture and politics of this fucked-up future still stinks like 1976. The galaxy’s equal parts grunge and glam, polyester and leather. It’s a place where billowing Afros never went out of style, where the heroes spark up joints the size of a baby’s forearm and blast off for the Frontier. It’s a galaxy of stoner nomads cruising the galactic backwaters at FTL speed, banging cute alien spacers with only a cheap-ass Dr. Youp’s Condom to protect them. It’s a place where the smuggler always shoots first, and the Cosmic Televangelists of the Imperial Church of the Galaxy are always tryin’ to get their cut.

It’s a Heavy Future, where futurism takes a back seat to pulpy, retro-futuristic, blasphemous kick-ass adventuring.

That’s all you really need to know. We’ll make up the rest as we go along.

Who’s Who in the Dirty Future
The galaxy’s a crowded place. Just about every star has a sentient race living beneath it. Humans are everywhere, but they share the galaxy with a myriad of other races. Some of them, like the Synths or Pacifians, the humans created, either by their technology or through their deeds. Other races evolved without any human involvement, but that’s not to say their evolutions weren’t tampered with.

Once upon a time, a race of psionic manipulators called the Psyren ruled every part of the galaxy worth ruling. They fucked it up, though, and they lost it all. Ruins of the once great Psyren Empire can be found all across the universe, including in some secret places on Old Earth itself. Treasure hunters seek out Psyren ruins, because even though the ruins are perilous in the extreme, a single scrap of old Psyren tech can turn a salvager into a merchant prince.

Beyond the ruins, the Psyren left strange species behind. Races as diverse as the  Testorites, the Tal-Anon and many others can trace their lineage back to some Psyren experiment or the other.
The following species come from human stock, and are products of evolution or design. Neo-Humans usually can breed with baseline humans and have some kind of evolutionary or cultural connection to the mother world…no matter how tenuous.

Size, Type and Subtypes
Summed Up In One Sentence….
Medium Humanoid (human, psionic)
Proud technologists inspired by the glory and achievements of Old Africa
Free Spacer
Medium Humanoid (human)
A motley crew of human spacers serving with a variety of libertarian space fleets
Jesus Clone
Medium Outsider (human, native)
Mass produced clone Messiahs with potent healing nanites in their blood
Leather Clone
Medium Humanoid (human)
All male race of muscled gay clones from a hotly radioactive Frontier system
Medium Humanoid (human, Pacifican)
Nanite blooded adventurers from a perfect planet of love, sex and peace
Medium Humanoid (human, psionic)
Race of twin-born farmers who were once great warriors with natural force blasting powers
Large Humanoid (human)
Nerdy 20th Century kids brought to the future and transformed into barbarian adventurers
Medium Humanoid (human, psionic)
Skilled martial artists capable of conjuring duplicates of themselves from psionic energy
TV Head
Medium Monstrous Humanoid (human)
Conformist cyborgs with bulky television screens for heads

Medium Humanoid (human, psionic)

Afro-Futurists are a proud and sometimes arrogant breed of mankind- the sons and daughters of Earth in general and Africa in specific. In contrast to the Corporation Command, which gets paler and more xenophobic with every passing decade, Afro-Futurists live free among the stars, aboard dark-skinned colonies built upon the ancient traditions of the Motherland.

The difference between a brown skinned baseline human spacer and an Afro-Futurist is a matter of style, attitude and worldview rather than genetics. Though fully human, Afro-Futurists have engineered a new definition of humanity out among the stars.

Afro-Futurists gird their burnished black skins in colorful armor based upon Zulu warrior garb, or augment themselves with lean, angular cyber-systems inspired by Moroccan sculpture. Afro-Futurists favor vibrant colors and intense eye-catching patterns handed down along family lines for millennia. While some soldiers favor energy weapons or slugthrowers, most Afro-Futurist warriors prefer to prove their courage with an assortment of ultra-advanced melee weapons. They wear massive Afros or proud Jamaican dreads or intricate Bantu knots masterfully knit by their droid servitors.

Afro-Futurists might hail from any of a dozen major settlements, or a hundred smaller stations or arc-ships. Most hail from the high-tech and orderly world of Medicoake, known for its excellent cybernetics engineers and galaxy-class medics. Others hail from rough and tumble New Kingston, renowned for the artistic soul of its people and the quality of its native Glow. Afro-Futurists hailing from the semi-legendary Esperanza colony, which often drifts out of phase with the rest of the galaxy, are mysterious, sultry and soulful galactic nomads, exploring the cosmos on their own enigmatic missions.

Sex, Drugs and Violence
Despite what the Command’s educational streams would have you believe, many of the innovations that allowed humanity to reach the stars had their origins in the Old Earth continent of Africa. Afro-Futurists draw strength and inspiration from the old ways of pre-starflight Africa, in faith, in dress, in style. The soulful funk playing on Outlaw Sex Station 09 has its origins in African rhythms, and the equations that allowed the first hyperspace jaunt evolved from algebra first calculated on the Arabian Peninsula and no Afro-Futurist will ever let you forget either.

While some Afro-Futurists are staunch racial separatists, only romancing other dark skinned human spacers, others are polygamous and sexually adventurous in the extreme.  To the citizens of the wider galaxy, the dark, driven and ultra-confident Afro-Futurists are an attractive mating prospect. When it comes to expanding their consciousness, Afro-Futurists view the Glow as a sacrament rather than a recreational high. Few have much taste for harder drugs, sticking to tried and true local Glow strains or other native psychedelics.

Politics & Culture
Afro-Futurist worlds reject the stifling conformity and hard-line ICG faith of the Corporation Command. Those nearer to Command Space do business with the Command when they must, but often on their own terms. Medicoake, for example, provides top quality medical care to Command citizens with the creds to pay for it, but refuse to be bound by the trillion plus pages of Command medical authority regulations. Afro-Futurist worlds are decorated in African styles, with faiths inspired by pre-Christian and pre-Islamic tradition, or syncretic forms of either faith, that bear little resemblance to the strict, soulless ICG.

Most of the Afro-Futurist diaspora is on good terms with Free Spacers, and in many ways the two populations are interchangeable. There’s a lot of strong black hands at the controls of Free Spacer star-haulers. The one exception is New Kingston’s long standing feud with Treant, a blood feud over control of the galactic Glow trade that dates back more centuries than the inhabitants of either world can really count.

Afro-Futurist names are drawn from pan-African culture, often modified slightly over the millennia. Some Afro-Futurist worlds do not use surnames, while others do, and these surnames are often unique and original, coined terms drawn from the star-flight era rather than the European surnames the African diaspora were labeled with two millennia ago.

Example Male Names: Ayo Twospectrum, Kwame Atomspinner, Mosi Genescribe
Example Female Names: Ekua Darkstar, Nia Starglide, Uhura Lightstep

Afro-Futurists begin play speaking Galactic Common and one Earth language of choice, most often an African, Caribbean or Middle Eastern language. Afro-Futurists with high INT scores can choose any language as a bonus language, except for secret tongues like Druidic.

Afro-Futurist Racial Traits
All Afro-Futurists share the following racial traits.

Size and Type
Afro-Futurists are Medium Humanoids with the human and psionic subtypes. As Medium creatures, they receive no bonuses or penalties due to their size.

Normal Speed (EX)
Afro-Futurists have a 30 ft base land speed.

Ability Score Modifiers
+2 to any ability score of choice.
Afro-Futurists hail from a diverse array of homeworlds, stations and experimental utopian habitats, and are as varied and versatile as any other sapiens.

African Excellence (EX)
Afro-Futurists take enormous pride in their skills and the way they raise their precious children. The Afro-Futurist gains Skill Focus in one Craft or Perform skill of choice as a racial bonus feat.

Human Blood (EX)
Afro-Futurists count as Human for all effects related to race.

Naturally Psionic (EX)
Afro-Futurists gain the Wild talent feat as a bonus feat at 1st level. If the Afro-Futurist takes levels in a psionic class, he instead gains the Psionic Talent feat.

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

Raised Fist (Ps)
As a standard action, the Afro-Futurist can raise his fist above his head, unleashing slow pulses of gold and green light. All Afro-Futurists, including the character within 30 ft gain a +1 morale bonus to saving throws for as long as the Afro-Futurist continues to hold his fist aloft. The Afro-Futurist can use this ability at will.

Afro-Futurist Alternate Racial Traits
Afro-Futurists from distant worlds- especially the lost colony of Esperanza- often display startling powers.

Confident Brother/Sister (EX)
Naturally Psionic and Psionic Aptitude
The Afro-Futurist is confident in the strength of his limbs, and the power of his fists, when the situation calls for them. The Afro-Futurist receives a +1 morale bonus on unarmed strikes and on STR checks.

Hyperspatial Song (SU)
Replaces: Raised Fist
Esperanzan Afro-Futurists have mastered a kind of sound based magic thanks to their long sojourn in hyperspace. As a full round action, an Esperanzan can unleash an eerie, somewhat musical cry that offers a variety of mystical effects. An Esperanzan can use Hyperspatial Song a number of times per day equal to 3 + his CHA modifier.

The possible effects of a Hyperspatial Song include:
·        Healer’s Song: Heal a wounded creature within 30 ft who can clearly hear your song for 1d4 HP per five character levels (max 4d4 HP).
·        Warrior’s Song: Inflict 1d6 points of Sonic damage per five character levels (max 4d6) against all targets within a 30 ft cone (REF DC 12 half).
·        Worker’s Song: Acts as a Mending spell cast on a single object of size Large or smaller within 30 ft, with a caster level equal to the Esperanzan’s total character level.

Liberationist (EX)
African Excellence
Your distant ancestors were enslaved, and you refuse to allow other sentients to suffer in bondage, regardless of their skin color or species, or even their status as AI! You receive a +1 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls against any known slave owner, slave captor or trader, or bounty hunter.

Medicoake Medical Training (EX)
African Excellence
Medicoake is known galaxy wide as possibly the best hospital-station in existence, and its Afro-Futurist physicians and cyberneticists are without equal. You receive Skill Focus (heal) as a racial bonus feat. You may choose one particular medical specialty, such as cardiology, neuro-science, genetic engineering or similar callings; you receive a +1 competence bonus on Heal checks made within that specialty.

Psyren Blood (EX)
Human Blood
The Afro-Futurist counts as Psyren for all effects related to race (and likely has hair in a distinctive, non-African shade such as silver, azure or green.)

Soil of the Motherworld (SP)
Raised Fist
The Afro-Futurist wears a ceremonial vial around his neck containing soil from the heart of terraformed Africa. This vial is considered to be a holy symbol; if it is lost, the Afro-Futurist must make a pilgrimage to Earth to replace it.

If the vial is emptied on the corpse of an Afro-Futurist slain within the past hour, it acts as raise dead. Only the Afro-Futurist who owns the vial of soil can use the magic in this manner.


Angela Black said...

I'm super interested in Heavy Future, now! But can I ask - I was considering buying some Black Tokyo stuff (you may remember me - I asked about the "checklist"!), but I might hold off a bit if you're going to revise it. Regardless, though, is there one particular place I can buy all this stuff? I may have missed a link to your webstore or something, but I am kind of dim that way sometimes (I'd like to say it's a blonde thing, but I'm only blonde by the grace of chemicals...).

Chris A. Field said...

Hit up www.rpgnow.com. If you've got the adult filter turned on, a search for Black Tokyo should pull up a ton of content.

Here's the Skortched Urf Studios sales page.