The Premise Humanity and the USC Magic The Bydo Rules and Character Creation Themes and Inspirations Mutants and Masterminds
Humanity has entered a new era of prosperity. Magical and technological advances have led to many wonders that would have been thought impossible. Space travel is at an all-time high, and colonies have been founded on or around many worlds in the solar system. Mankind had truly begun to expand, and seek its destiny among the stars.
The first encounter with alien life was disastrous, to say the least. Monstrous creatures appeared, asking no quarter and offering none. They arrived with no warning, appearing from hyperspace to descend upon and decimate an entire exploration fleet. Only a few rare survivors managed to escape the carnage and madness of that day. Those survivors brought back the first valuable samples of monstrous flesh, and a name: the Bydo.
The first contact wars are over. Humanity earned peace through bloodshed, and the advantage granted by their magic-wielding troops. For whatever reason, magical attacks were not something the Bydo could easily defend against, and so they were pushed back. They're still out there, but the only encounters with Bydo have been pockets of resistance in areas they have previously claimed, and no major assaults have surfaced.
What will you do when one man's ambition resurrects the nightmare?
Humanity is doing quite well for itself. Earth has been left behind long ago, although the Home system is still quite well-developed. The Earth itself is still populous, and colonies have been established on or in orbit around just about every major planet out to Saturn. People from anywhere in the Sol system are generally viewed as well-off, and many are involved in administration at either a large corporation or the government. The Earth is no longer the seat of government for the Human hegemony.
The Unied Space Corps, often known simply as the USC, are the official military for all of humanity. The united government they answer to is a loose body similar to the UN or EU at best. Smaller regions in space have their own governments and miltaries they maintain separately. The USC is primarily a large space navy, and has remained large after the recent necessities of war with the Bydo. Some have expressed growing concerns over its refusal to disarm down to earlier standing levels. Mages serve in the USC, usually as elite units acting on their own. After their instrumental role in the defeat of the Bydo, combat mages have become their own special branch, although they serve closely with the other branches.
The general level of technology for most people could be considered one typical in Star Trek or a comparable setting. Quality of life is very good, computers and other technology are very good, and in many places, magic and technology are seamlessly integrated. The culture and preferences of individual worlds can vary wildly, with some enforcing strict limitations on building or technology.
...Why yes, in general it IS a generic SF setting, thanks for asking.
Mages can separate themselves primarily along two broad categories. Some specialize in ranged combat, and others on melee combat. Mages who focus on their melee skills are sometimes referred to as Knights, particularly if one is from the region historically occupied by the Kingdom of Belka. Most mages are trained in one or another of the major schools, and are usually identified by their school affiliation.
Although seen mostly as traditional, a Mage Council exists as a sort of governing and advisory body which exists separate from the primary government. It has risen to greater political power after the recent war, though the Council prefers to avoid clashing with the official government.
Most combat mages know a flight spell of some sort, although only some truly excel at aerial combat. all mages can manifest a special defensive garment or armor, colloquially referred to as a "barrier jacket." This magically-enhanced and manifested garment protects the wearer, and its protection goes beyond the obvious, as barrier jackets extend an invisible field of force across the wearer's skin. It is this simple magic technique which renders mages quite safe from threats of inadvertent exposure to Bydo tissue, although decontamination measures are still highly encouraged.
Many mages prefer to channel their powers with the aid of a special magical device. These devices can take any form, from swords and spears, to staves, to even guns. Some devices are passed through families as heirlooms. Most devices are equipped with some way of aiding their wielder in channeling magic, and many are artificially intelligent, in the modern era. In many ways, the familiars of old have been supplanted by the AI installed on a device.
On a pure gameplay note, you are assumed to have that minimum protective barrier regardless of your powers. Same goes for life support in space, should the situation call for it.
The Bydo are an alien enemy who seemed hell-bent on destroying humanity. A force of strange monsters who are often poorly understood, they travel freely in space, often in gigantic living ships capable of hyperspace through their own, organic means. Their general nature appears to be biomechanical, and they often meld aspects of machinery and living things within their appearances.
Studies so far indicate that the Bydo may exist in part in another dimension, or be native to one. This may be one explanation for their incredible vitality. Most Guardian weapons are designed specifically with affecting the Bydo in mind, however, and can defeat them regardless of whatever esoteric defenses they may possess. Bydo are known to be able to possess and control human technology, and even human beings themselves, driving them mad or turning them against their comrades, and into...something else entirely.
They're still out there, lurking past the borders of human space. Like barbarian hordes of old, they occasionally pressure civilization, but there has yet to be a second all-out push into war. For most people, it's welcome enough to know that though they be surrounded by monsters, those monsters shy away from the light of civilization and its protectors.
I'm going to be running this game in roll20, chances are. Mostly because it's a convenient way to have a chat and roll dice; maps may be handy, but I'm not sure we'll need them, either. I'll be running it using the Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition rules. The SRD for the system is available online here. I've put more general information on the system in its own tab, but it boils down to being a convenient way to run any sort of anime-style game.
Other than that, there's not too much to say rule-wise. Don't be a jerk or do anything inappropriate.
Your characters will be mages working as part of the United Space Corps military. Creating your character will probably be a little more involved than usual, as you will need to make them a M&M character sheet. But otherwise, the normal bits will apply, and I will happily help create the M&M sheet based on descriptions of their abilities. A template for the rest of the character stuff is available below.
I am going to require that all characters have either flight or a similar ability to better move around, with flight itself being recommended (one rank of it is quite inexpensive anyway). Beyond that, I'd suggest a way to hurt enemies and to be suitably protected from harm. Otherwise, it's completely up to you for how you spend your points.
Name: We've got to call them something.
Appearance: Artwork is highly preferred, and given my influences, anime-styled artwork is particularly recommended. You can alternatively put your character art at the very top of things. If there's anything not clear in the art, please do describe anything relevant but not visible.
Personality: This is really useful for you, the player, so you probably don't need to include it, or don't need more than a basic "cliff's notes" sort of version. It's more to think about how your character is likely to act.
History: History can also be quite brief. If you have anything interesting, I'll probably try to expand on it and use it in-game at some point. I'd recommend a few major events in the character's life, particularly to explain why they are where they are. A list of these major events is fine.
Abilities: Most of this will also be part of the M&M sheet, but here's where you can describe your magical attacks and powers with actual text. What do they do? How do they work? And hey, if you're having trouble with the statting of your character part, these written descriptions of what you want them to be able to do will be quite useful.
M&M Sheet: it is inevitable. I'll be honest, I'm not sure if there's a nice way to format it in the forum editor beyond a lot of fiddling with tables, so linking it some other convenient way is fine. I can try to make a template, if you would like to get some formatting for just slapping it right into a post, though.
My major inspirations for this are Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha (and similar magical girl shows), Knight Run, and I'm blatantly taking ideas for the enemies from all manner of shmups.
The overall themes for the game are closer to Nanoha. The tone of the game is more bright, people aren't likely to die, enemies can become allies with enough work, and so-on. This isn't to say it will always be sunshine, rainbows, and friendship lasers. Things can get dark at times.
The main focus of the game will be various missions that are likely to be combat-leaning, as the PCs are assumed to be members of the military. There will be a bit of a focus on combat, although I intend to do "downtime" sessions between missions, for characters to have an opportunity to interact, or for you to pursue your own things. It's often when the most fun happens.
There will also be at least some political intrigue. Even in Nanoha proper, there are factions who don't always agree. Powerful mages are celebrities and potential political figures in their own right, and may also be feared and distrusted by their own organization.
If you might be interested in a darker overall tone, I'm happy to oblige you guys. The most obvious is that death would be a little closer on everyone's heels. People die, magic may not be always non-lethal, and so-on. There may also be worse or stranger political issues, but I'm not really sure how well I can run any such intrigue conflicts.
Other darker themes may include sanity loss, or corruption.
The game system I'll be using, Mutants and Masterminds, is a d20-based system with some roots in the days of D&D 3.x's open game license. The third edition moves away from said roots a bit more to be its own game, and also modifies things in places to be much more sensible and harder to break.
Some may wonder why I'm using a game system at all. In my opinion, I think rules set you free. There won't be any arguments about a character's abilities being overpowered. Because no matter how you describe them, the underlying game mechanics will have everyone roughly balanced with one-another. This means it's an opportunity to, if you want to, go nuts.
The basic mechanic is, you roll a d20, add your bonuses and other modifiers to the roll, and you want to have a high number to beat a static difficulty or the other guy's roll. M&M doesn't use HP, but instead uses a "Toughness" save for avoiding damage. I find it does a very good job of emulating anime-style fights just as well as it does the superhero genre it's intended for. Another reason I like the system is that it allows for "minion" enemies who are easy to beat, but otherwise need not be so weak they aren't a threat.
Now, let's say you want to do some really cool or badass moment, or just really need something to go in your favor, but the dice aren't cooperating. Hero Points are the solution. You can spend a hero point to, among other things, reroll on an attack, save, skill check, or whatever else, and your reroll is guaranteed to be decent (you add 10 to any result on the die less than 10). You earn hero points by letting your complications inconvenience you, or otherwise by the whims of your fickle GM. I'll try to keep you guys in a decent supply of them.
The...challenging part is that some of the difficulty in learning the system is front-loaded. Actually playing the game is really straightforward. But making a character can take a while, particularly making a character that works the way you want them to. While you're learning, this can be a challenge, albeit one I am here to help with.
And there we have it, in too many tabs. The short version is, Re:EDMG is a chat-based RP which will be using the M&M 3rd edition rules. The setting is honestly pretty loose, but part of that is so you can feel free to add whatever details you need for your character, and I'll probably be just fine with it. Do you want to be from a certain planet that does things a certain way? Go right ahead. And so-on. It's...uh, it's totally not because I tend to play super fast and loose with settings in the first place.
Consider this thread something of a planning and "session zero" thread. If you have questions about the game, making your character, or anything else, feel free to ask. Please make any preferences for the tone of the game, or particular subplots or styles of play you prefer, so I can try and incorporate them.
And...most importantly, I'll use the thread to schedule the actual game session time. My time zone is UTC-05:00 (US Eastern Time). I think technically it's UTC-4:00 right now, due to daylight savings time being in effect. I'll do my best to plan to a time that works for everyone.