Archive for the ‘Sons & Daughters’ Category

30
Dec

Some Sons & Daughters Topics for the New Year

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom

It’s Monday, so I Must Update. But I spent the day erranding and didn’t put anything together proper. Instead, have a smattering of Sons & Daughters topics I am currently working on and may appear in soonish future updates:

  • Hometown Creation
  • Hero Mentors and Mentor Missions
  • Mexico and the Reconquista
  • The Broken Bay
  • Oakland and the Raider Nation
  • San Francisco, the House Built on Sand
  • Portland
  • Stranger Seattle
  • Vegas, Baby

And other things inspired by my home group’s progression.

24
Oct

Sons & Daughters – The Blue Wolves

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom

Terrifying scourge of the skyways, the pirate gang called the Blue Wolves leaves towns in smoldering ruins behind them, the poor townsfolk bound for the labor camps of the Great Lakes. Settlements across the continent from Nova Scotia to Baja have been wiped from the map in the wake of the dreaded Fenrir and her escorts.

The Blue Wolves take their name from their mothership, a sky blue dirigible with a wolf’s head in profile across its flanks, the symbol of some now-forgotten brand. The Wolves now call it the Fenrir. Originally built for hauling heavy cargoes, it has been fitted by the pirates with additional engines and heavy guns, and its myriad compartments have become their den. The Blue Wolves also operate three smaller airships, each also named for wolves of Norse mythology: the Garmr, the Sköll, and the Hati. The smaller ships are sometimes out on independent operations, scouting or raiding, but at least one of the three can always be found in Fenrir’s shadow. The Blue Wolves find most of their targets on the ground–independent or unguarded towns and the occasional unlucky airship at anchor–but when they do set their sights on an airborne prize, the flotilla fights as a pack. The smaller, nimbler airships flank and box in their prey, holding it for the clumsier but powerful Fenrir to close in for the kill.

In charge of the Blue Wolves is the mysterious crone called the Wolfmother. Clever, ruthless, and ancient, her old name and history are an enigma, but rumors of her present pride and sanguine savvy spread wide across the wasteland. She leads her beloved pack from her throne in the belly of the Fenrir, where she alone plots every move the Blue Wolves make. A haughty figure, she deigns not to touch the earth or any airframe that the Blue Wolves have not made their own by conquest. Even the Barons of the Great Lakes must board the Fenrir to seek an audience with her.

Below the Wolfmother are her Alphas. Powerful and violent men, they serve as her officers, her enforcers, and her consorts. The Alphas are selected for their strength, and their role is to control the gang, not direct it. The Wolfmother’s first Alpha, the only man she ever called her husband, once made a play to supplant her as top dog in the organization. After executing him publicly and painfully, she had his bones made into decorations and his skull made into a goblet that is never far from her hand. The Alphas may take other lovers, and are expected to show the proper amount of initiative when off the Fenrir, but each of them knows his place: to make real the will of the Wolfmother, and to beat that will into his packmates when necessary. The Alphas each receive a three full shares of the loot when a prize is divided.

Under the Alphas are the regular Blue Wolves, the unranked packmates. There’s overlap between the role of the sexes in the Blue Wolves, but for the most part, the men do the fighting while the women do the fixing and the flying. “Engines are women’s work,” is a phrase oft-heard from Blue Wolves, along with, “Let the men bear their teeth.” Regardless of their role on one of their airships, packmates each receive a full share of the loot.

Under the regular packmates are the unfortunate Omegas, the new crewmen recruited from the streets or pressed up into service out of slavery. The Omegas are given the worst jobs, the worst quarters, and only half a share of the loot. The other packmates heap abuse on Omegas with impunity with beatings and humiliation. This continues until the Omega earns their fellow pirates’ respect, either by proving their worth on the crew in regular duties, or by shifting focus onto newer or meeker Omegas. The sure-fire way to rise above Omega is to prove oneself on a raid. Omegas are given the option of staying out of combat, but an Omega that refuses to fight risks remaining an Omega forever.

The Blue Wolves have small forts all over the continent for stashing supplies. They often unload stolen cargoes and slaves at these bases if their holds have grown full before it is time for them to return to safe harbor in Detroit or Milwaukee. They have no central base of their own, however, except for the Fenrir itself. The outposts are found all over the Blue Wolves’ territory, which means they are scattered from coast to coast, excepting within the borders of strongly-defended territories like Deseret, Mexico, and the AIRCOM-patrolled part of the Pacific Northwest. The Blue Wolves never risk the Fenrir near any of these enemies, all of whom have huge bounties posted against the Blue Wolves and who have on occasion ventured from their borders to hunt them. Though prudence has them keep the Fenrir safe, pride demands that the Blue Wolves not let their prey rest at ease, so the Garmr, Sköll, and Hati are used to make raids into those territories.

When the Blue Wolves attack a town, it is a terrible, apocalyptic sight. Their airships rain down incendiary weapons and burning chemicals on the buildings, driving their prey into the open. Then comes the landing, with hunting parties of Wolves disembarking to crush any remaining resistance and hunt down those that flee. On the ground, the Wolves’ specialty is shotguns loaded with rock salt to painfully incapacitate their targets, with buttstocks and other bludgeons for subduing. Those that put up a fight will taste lead or the Wolves will “bare their teeth” and break out some manner of vicious blade. The slave buyers on the Great Lakes prefer their merchandise un-maimed, but their willingness to injure and kill their prey adds to the Blue Wolves’ terrifying reputation.

Their human cargo secured, along with any valuables not consumed in the fires, the Blue Wolves return to the industrial cities on the Great Lakes, where the ruling Barons are always eager for more workers to send to toil and death in their irradiated factories. The Barons harbor and sanction all manner of slavers and pirates, so long as the brigandage is conducted entirely outside their own territory. The Blue Wolves are the Baron’s single largest source of slaves, and for that, they are accorded a place of honor. The carousing that the Blue Wolves conduct when they set out to spend their plunder is chaotic and destructive, even by post-apocalyptic pirate standards, but the good favor of such reliable suppliers is deemed by the Barons to be worth the cleanup cost.

23
Aug

Sons & Daughters – Android ROM Cartridges

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom

The advanced design of their positronic brains allowed many androids to survive the War’s tides of EMP with their cognition and sanity intact. It’s their very sentience that saved them, the unintentionally EMP-resistant lattice of precious and rare metals that comprise their heuristic processors. These processors allow androids to learn from experience, to build up skillsets and increase their capabilities beyond those programmed into them at the factory. However, these skills are developed with experience and over time. To allow androids to quickly adapt to new tasks, they are outfitted with at least one expansion slot capable of housing a ROM cartridge containing expertise on a certain pre-programmed skill.

When an android slots in a ROM cartridge, there is a brief period lasting from a few seconds to just over a minute during which interface subroutines integrate the contents of the cartridge with the android’s brain. The length of this process varies by the complexity of the data on the cartridge and the android’s own familiarity with the subject, but the process occurs in the android’s equivalent of a subconscious, allowing it to continue its affairs without having to stop and consciously chew on the new information. Once completed, the skill software allows the android to perform the role or task programmed into the cartridge, whether it’s computer repair, conflict resolution, building houses, or what have you.

A drawback to the ROM cartridges is that the taught skill is not seamlessly integrated into the android’s own experiences and heuristic learning methods. The level of competency programmed into the cartridge is fixed and cannot be added to by the android. An android may use the data on a cartridge to begin teaching itself the skills stored therein, but it is like learning the skill anew from a textbook. The skill as it exists in the ROM cartridge and as it exists in the android’s own experience-based learning system are distinct, a snarl within the android’s logical architecture keeping the two apart.

Though androids were developed by a variety of tech companies before the War, the specifics of the patents on positronic brains led to a certain amount of standardization in the systems relating directly to the heuristic processors, including the ROM cartridges. Any android with a working expansion slot can install most any ROM cartridge, regardless of the cartridge’s manufacturer. These compatibilities have allowed a number of communities to survive in the years after the War, with a scavenged library of ROM cartridges allowing their androids to become tin-skinned sages, practicing and teaching those essential skills that keep the wasteland at bay and allow life to continue.

Android ROM Cartridges (Savage Worlds)

Robot characters are assumed to have a expansion slot for receiving android ROM cartridges. Android ROM cartridges either come with a skill, such as Healing, and a die rating, such as d6, or with an Edge. When a robot first installs a ROM cartridge it hasn’t interfaced with before, it must wait a number of rounds equal to the ROM’s skill rating (6 rounds for a d6 skill, for example) before it can use the skill from the cartridge. During the waiting period, the robot suffers no penalties and can act normally. After the waiting period, the robot can use the skill on the cartridge at the rated strength as if it had the skill itself. Some ROM cartridges confer the bonuses of Edges instead of skills.

There is no waiting period for installing a ROM cartridge the android has interfaced with before; the benefit is received instantaneously. This applies only to the same physical cartridge, not similar cartridges with the same skill and rating. To help keep track, color your cartridges with details like the manufacturer and the official corporate or military title of the cartridge’s promised competency. For example, a ROM cartridge with Lockpicking d4 on it might be a Schlage Basic Countersecurity Trainer.

When a ROM cartridge is removed, access to the skill on the cartridge is lost. A robot character cannot improve the skill rating on the cartridge with advances, but it can count having the skill’s ROM cartridge installed as having access to a teacher for the purpose of learning it as a new skill. If a robot character has both learned a skill and has the same skill on a currently installed ROM cartridge, the character rolls the higher of the two die types.

New Hindrance

ROMless (Major)
You were built without an expansion slot for android ROM cartridges, or you were built with one but it has become damaged beyond repair. You cannot install android ROM cartridges. (Robots only.)

New Background Edge

Extra ROM Slot
Requirements: Novice, Robot race
You were built with a second expansion slot for android ROM cartridges, or you have had another one installed. You may have up to two different android ROM cartridges installed at a time, receiving the benefit for both. There is no additional benefit for installing two cartridges with the same skill on them.

15
Aug

Sons and Daughters – Boarding Actions

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom

Shout-out to Jared for the last-minute inspiration.

When airships clash over the wastelands, they battle with all manner of weaponry, both salvaged from Before and crafted from the ruins. The hydrogen that buoys most airships into the air is ever at risk of combustion. Why send your prize down as a smoking ruin, post-apocalyptic pirates ask, when it could be laden with valuable trade goods and things they just don’t make anymore? The patrol zeppelins of green Deseret, the Mexican Empire, and the formidable Prospero of the former Canadian Forces Air Command are known for their willingness to outright destroy hostile vessels rather than bothering with a boarding action, but the guardians of other communities would rather take an enemy airship intact, particularly if they are confronted over the town or valuable, flammable farmland.

The first phase of a boarding action is to close with the target, preferably as quickly as possible. The longer it takes to close into boarding range, the more time the target has to fire back. The defenders generally have the advantage in firepower, as the attackers will limit their fire to harming the crew and crippling their target’s engines and control surfaces, but defenders faced with boarding as their alternative won’t hesitate to hold back any ship-destroying firepower. Some airships designed for pursuit are equipped with some manner of thrusters to help them close into boarding distance, such as compressed air tanks, kerosene-fueled jets, peroxide rockets, or nitrous injection for their combustion engines. Pirates that can afford the lift for armored plating concentrate it first toward the nose, the better to help survive closing.

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8
Aug

Sons & Daughters – The Pits

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom

The world before the War was one on the cusp of a technological transformation. Research into nanotechnology and microbiology yielded organisms capable of converting some forms of matter into others. These new alchemists promised the ability to turn catastrophic oil spills into slicks of benign biodegradables, convert organic waste into biodiesel, or render even industry-fouled seawater drinkable. These wondrous organisms, they claimed, would make that which shouldn’t into that which should. Then, before they could make good, the world suffered a different form of technological transformation. Amid the fire and the static, weapons born of the same technologies as the tools that promised to replace our trash with treasure did just the reverse. Skyscrapers sloughed down into the earth as if chewed through by worms while green farmland resolved into blue swamps.

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1
Aug

Sons & Daughters – Power

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom

Before the War, citizens of North America took electricity for granted. The coast-to-coast network of fossil fuel plants, nuclear reactors, solar and wind farms, and dams kept the lights on at all times of day or night. Electricity was cheap and plentiful, with infrastructure improvements preventing the summertime brownouts that visited the previous generation. Then a rain of atomic warheads, their accompanying electromagnetic bursts, and anti-infrastructure chemical agents struck, followed by an abortive ground war. Survivors near the cities learned what the stars look like. No one in North America ever took electricity for granted again.

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19
Jul

Sons & Daughters – Canadian Forces Air Command

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom

The group calling itself the Canadian Forces Air Command, or AIRCOM, is a scrappy mix of aging veterans and post-war recruits. Disowned by the isolationist Quebecois, AIRCOM attempts to patrol the Pacific Northwest around its stronghold in the northern Cascade Range. Known for their compassion, their intolerance for piracy, and the welcome sight of their floating air carrier Prospero, AIRCOM is a stabilizing force within their region, but can only do so much to stem the land’s tide of violence.

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20
Jun

Sons and Daughters – The Cold, Dead Hands

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom

“I’ll give you my gun when you take it from my cold, dead hands!”
-Slogan, National Rifle Association, pre-war gun rights advocacy group

 

Heirs to the tradition of the pre-war firearms enthusiast, the members of the reclusive and widespread gun cult calling themselves the Cold, Dead Hands (individual members referred to as Dead Hands for short, or derisively as Coldies) are devoted to the collection and understanding of guns. Their organization is monastic in its structure, with its initiates sequestered away for months as they learn to repair, build, and operate the lethal machines that define their existence. They revere the gun as an embodiment of birth and death, of creation and absolution, and honor the tradition of American gunmakers as saints, chief among them the holy trinity of Samuel Colt, John Browning, and Eugene Stoner. Stolidly neutral towards the other factions, the cult maintains a presence in most major settlements, buying and selling and maintaining machines of death, and its friars hire themselves as mercenaries for short terms, in order to gain valuable battlefield experience with their weapons and to spread the good word of proper firearm discipline and maintenance. Most others view the Dead Hands as strange for being just a little too into guns, but welcome the benefits their company brings.

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13
Jun

Sons & Daughters – Introduction

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom

The War came and went, and it left us behind.

It must have been a mistake, our grandparents say. Their parents had stopped preparing for it years before. The War finally came, anyway, and our grandparents and parents were safe here. Our little town, hidden away, wasn’t worth the attention of the greater troubles that had come to the world. They were left to watch with their telescopes and listen with their radios and their televisions and their satellite internet as their world died all around them. It fell apart to fire and steel and plague and rust and it broke their hearts. You can still see it on their faces, behind the love and worry and pride.

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8
Mar

A Most Dangerous Update

   Posted by: Andrew Linstrom

Andrew here. Long time, no see, pilgrims.

I’m aware that the site has gone without updates for many moons. What does that mean? It means I owe you an update for every missed Monday, a bonus/penalty update for every missed Monday, plus an update for every new Monday. That means I owe you fine folks about 64 back updates.

Consider me equal to the task.

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