Erik Schmidt
Erik Schmidt

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In Hybrispania the struggle between occupiers and natives continues, seemingly without end.

This is the fifth in a series of posts that provide ideas – bare-bones outlines – for Degenesis campaigns. They’re meant to serve as inspiration so you can use one of them as-is, grab bits from each and add them to your own ideas, or riff off them and come up with something completely new.

Before we get started, don’t forget that Chapter 11 in Katharsys is filled with useful campaign-planning info. Also, Group Alignments are found in Artifacts, and I’ve settled on a group size of four mostly because for me as a GM the sweet spot is three to four players.

Let’s get to it!

Black Marketeers

Scourgers pick their way through the dark, twisted jungle. Guerreros wait in the treetops, ready to spring traps. None of them realize that their battleground is a treasure trove. Tree roots, leaves, the crushed shells of bugs that live only here, precious nectar from midnight-blooming flowers – even the soil contains valuable ingredients.

The Eggheads would pay handsomely for these materials, properly extracted and refined. In their buildings of concrete and steel they’d turn the jungle’s bounty into drugs, gasses, and fungicide. And the small team that cut down the trees, harvested the flowers, ground it all down, and delivered it to the Spitalians while avoiding the notice of Africans and Guerreros alike? Well, they’d be rich.

These investigators share the alignment of Ambition. They are willing to take great risks in order to leave their mark on the world.

  • Scrapper - You’re not a fighter, so the Guerreros didn’t want you. You weren’t born African, so the Neolibyans wouldn’t take you. But you can scrounge, you can build, you can turn the old into something new. And this is your shot, your chance to shove success in the face of everyone who thought you’d never be anything but a dirt-digger.
  • Clanner - Always thinkin’. That’s what Papa said about you. Always looking for an angle. You keep your eyes open, you read people, you find the gaps. And now that you’ve found this one, you have to leap through it – consequences be damned.
  • Neolibyan - The Bank of Commerce is corrupt. The concession system is broken. You’ve read enough of the Bygone books to know there’s a better way – unfettered competition. The one with the brains and the guts should win, not the one with the connections. Make a big enough score here and you won’t ever have to beg for coin from the Bank again.
  • Jehammedan – Your people are born poor, their leaders throw them into other peoples’ battles, and everyone wonders why the faith isn’t making more headway in this forsaken land. Wealth. Wealth is the way out for you and yours.

Contras

It’s not a war, really. It’s a way of life embraced by an insane populace. The Guerreros hit a supply convoy or kill the son of a Neolibyan merchant prince. The Scourgers retaliate by going door to door, rounding up men of fighting age and killing a few before sending the rest to Gibraltar. Then a few days or weeks later it happens again. The details change but the story remains the same.

Generations upon generations of this relentless suffering, all because the Guerreros can’t admit they were wrong. And if that weren’t enough, they make common cause with the Precognotics – cloying, demonic, soulless creatures who serve only their own ends. No, that’s not the future of Hybrispania. It can’t be.

Renegados strive to live in peace with the Africans. But some go further. Some work to turn the insurgents against each other. They spread false rumors, gather information, sabotage Guerrero operations, and do everything they can to hasten their demise.

These investigators share the alignment of Dogma. They fight for what they believe, and are willing to risk their lives for those ideals.

  • Clanner – For seven generations your people have fought the Africans. In all those years, not a single man has lived to reach the age of 40. The Guerreros made that happen, they love the power this perpetual war gives them. The only way it ends is if they are forced to the negotiating table.
  • Scrapper – You ran away from it all, to the ruins and the jungle, the hills and the coast. But you couldn’t escape it. And the only path out is through it. Only one side wants this war to end. That’s good enough for you.
  • Apocalyptic – Ah, to be in Justitian, where civilization is so vast that its underbelly stretches for kilometers. You can’t have mind-blowing orgies in a land where everyone is running around in the jungle eating bugs to survive. You can’t sell wagonloads of Burn to people who only get to use it a couple of times before they get cut down. The Africans represent civilization. And without it, there can be no debauchery, no true excess.
  • Paler – The Upsiders are curious. You have traveled long distances on the Upside, looking for any whose strength of will can match that of your kind. As your people rule the Downside, they must rule the Upside. It is only right.

Investigators

The Magnate Eman sees the writing on the wall. His expansive, glorious concession will fail. You don’t have to be a Precognotic to see it. The people here were with him. They happily worked the fruit groves and greenhouses on his estate. They clambered into the lift every morning, dropping deep into the earth to extract gypsum.

Then the Guerreros assassinated Maluk, his beloved Dumisai. The Scourger pack back struck with a fury not seen in these parts in living memory. The bloodshed was horrific, going far beyond the punishment due to the perpetrators and those who harbored them.

Seventeen years of planning, sacrifice, and toil will be for naught if Eman can’t find a way to stop the violence. There’s only one way: he must bring an independent investigators to find out exactly what happened, in exhaustive detail, and who in the pack was responsible.

These investigators share the alignment of Chance. None of them wanted this, yet here they are. They’ll either find common cause and survive, or die without knowing what they could have accomplished together.

  • Apocalyptic – Never get drunk and play cards against Ripper again. He knew you’d take the bet, and he made sure you’d lose. And now here you are, stuck with this little band of spear-straight assholes, helping Eman keep his little kingdom. Still, when people are busy fighting they don’t spend as much on the essentials – distillate, Burn, and sex. Those Scourgers fucked everything up. Time to find out who was behind it all.
  • African Scrapper – You have no experience investigating human affairs. You’re better with gears and springs, steel and stone. Eman must have assigned you this mission for a reason, though. You’ll do your duty. You’ll find a way to apply your skills to this difficult task.
  • Anubian – This fool Eman thinks that with a few weeks of effort he can blunt the force of centuries of mistrust and hatred. But as his advisor, you must aid him in this. And you do wonder, how could this veteran pack be so easily turned to mindless butchery? Something doesn’t smell right.
  • Spitalian – What did you do to deserve this? Gremand told you to never volunteer. You should have listend to him. You wanted a way out of the boredom of outpost life, but getting on the wrong side of Scourgers is not what you had in mind. Still, some small part of you figures if you can make it out alive, you’ll be that much closer to earning a Preservalis sword.

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