The Charon Initiative
Those who survived in the earthbound sanctuaries were gifted bodies created by their corporate saviors, their minds stored in the digital ether. Each sanctuary offers a unique take on the physical appearance and what was assumed would be necessary for survival in the post-apocalyptic world.
With the cataclysmic events, history, links to the past have been lost entirely. But the minds and personalities were maintained and shunted into the prepared bodies as planned. They awoke, with limited knowledge, fractured over the centuries, in an alien and hostile world.
The Corporis (as the few remaining humans call them) are biological beings and on the on the surface, appear as such. Only a detailed dissection can tell the two apart. Nerve clusters are replaced by bio-engineered electrical systems. Brains are a net of neural wiring, also biological in nature but able to interface with technology in a direct and wireless level.
Parts are made to be resilient and not “age” in the normal sense though will eventually show signs of wear. Sagging skin, torn joints – all the typical complications of human aging can happen to an extent and eventually systems do shut down (without the intended maintenance and repair). Ages range the normal human lifespan to near immortality for those who are “demigods”.
Once a Corpois has passed the body is taken to the Vigilants of each race where, at the Sanctuary, they prepare and return the body to the place of birth and where they await the emergence of new, replacement individuals (created from the returned forms.)
The Kelek sanctuary was built under the assumption that gravitational forces on the planet would change significantly once the initial cataclysm receded. Unknown to the inhabitants, it was also built with idea in mind that the new world order would again require mining facilities and workers for those facilities.
Kelek shells are robust, armored. Often strong physically and they can “taste” trace minerals and the like in handfuls of dirt. They live underground and while they aren’t Tolkien dwarves, they’re pretty damn close…
Physique Stunt – Tough as Nails. Once per session you can reduce the severity of a moderate physical consequence or a erase a mild altogether.
Spirit Archive Powers – Geomancers of immense power. They can summon earthquakes and create localized disturbances (sinkholes, volcanic activity).
Vortal is the all-seeing. Born from a telecom giant, its technology is central to the Uplink. Vortal shells are perhaps the most human-looking of the races but are personalized to a garish degree. Insanely bright hair, skin and eye color of any hue are not uncommon.
Vortal Uplinks can provide a number of divination style powers. The ability to experience through another’s senses or even rudimentary thoughts reading (motivation, state of mind, etc.), all by piggybacking on the signals from those around them.
Empathy Stunt - I Know What You’re Thinking – Read and deliver body language as a secret code with a successful Empathy / Perception check.
Spirit Archive Powers – Mind control, en mass. Long range reconnaissance through others sensory organs and even possession.
Created from a Pharmaceutical company called Hastera (a secret name which none shall utter), the inhabitants of Pharm (or The Pharm as some call it) are some of the more bizarre of the surviving shells. They are hairless, genderless, and pale, and each sports an IV-port somewhere prominently on their person.
They are secretive and cultish, often wearing robes (which may or may not tie in the back) and chanting gibberish. Their rituals often involve intravenous use of hallucinogens.
They claim to be able to read the future in entrails and siphon the essences from others (stealing “life” and perhaps powers). Some believe this to be nonsense (though it is in fact related to their Spirit Archive powers) however, their more disturbing abilities are well known: they can exert control over another’s blood. This often requires direct contact or an open wound, but they can do anything from preventing clotting to introducing blood-borne pathogens.
Lore Stunt – Unwanted Diagnosis – At the cost of one FATE point, you can use Lore in place of Provoke or Rapport checks to describe either a Dyscrasia or Eucrasia of the target’s humors.
Spirit Archive Powers – Plagues, biological warfare, or even powerful healing to include tissue regeneration.
The Drifters were the inhabitants of a sanctuary that suffered a catastrophic failure in the early days. Now known as the Kaer Kantarra, the sanctuary became temporally unstable and began shifting through space and perhaps time.
Those that escaped have been wandering planetside for millennia, using their powers to keep them ahead of the dangerous terrain and searching for their lost home.
Drifters are often described as lanky or gangly. Tall and thin and of dark skin, they typically wear their hair in a severe undercut with a bindi on their forehead to mark their station. Their social status is tied directly to their ability known as co-location.
Co-location allows Drifters to travel short or long distances at the blink of an eye. They are in effect folding space. This can be short hops and, for the more powerful, entire continents. Their leaders, the highest ranking, serve in those roles for they can take whole groups vast distances, allowing their wandering caravans to escape danger.
The M’imes sanctuary was built as part of a crowd-funded, open contest where futurists and online pontificators (from sites such as Seddit…) determined their sanctuary construction through polling and online discussion. The result was overwhelming for an aquatic sanctuary as most of the surface of the Earth it was reasoned, was water.
Difficulties began when cost overruns began to rival even the Space-faring Charon solutions as a submerged city capable of at least some movement and withstanding the pressures of the ocean became a difficult goal to achieve.
The envisioned transparent dome was scrapped for a more robust hull. In lieu of engines, enormous locomoting pylons were used. The beautiful, floating bubble city had become a bottom-feeding crab.
All members of the M’ime sanctuary are in shells designed for aquatic life. Swimming, breathing underwater, and even webbed digits to aid in swimming and fins for stability in the water were all added. Their Uplink abilities include affinity for water – finding it, knowing the purity, creating it (in small amounts – drawn in from the air).
They do not speak to fish.
Athletics Stunt – Aquatic. You move freely through water (no athletics checks required.)
Spirit Archive Powers – Alter weather and cause floods.
There are rumors of humans who have somehow forged connections with the Spirit Archive. These are of course, rumors…
Humans inhabit the city state of Styx – the spaceship which failed to achieve orbit. Trapped in a gravitational anomaly, the ship hovers at an altitude of a quarter-mile above the surface on the inner hub side of the planet. Their sky is the land on the opposite side of the hub – their north and south horizons, the gaps leading into deep space.
For centuries they lived above the unstable surface. Their main engines burned out in the attempt to escape and they had no way to relocate once the Charon Initiative took hold, trapping them in the hub. Through a tether, they were able to maintain contact for hundreds of years with the Charon, exchanging data about the planet and waiting for a stability which would eventually come, but much too late.
Neither ship was designed for unlimited self-sufficiency. Supplies on both began to dwindle in the early years. Some on the Charon uploaded their consciousness to the ship computers. Others abandoned the station for the earthbound Styx, scavenging what they could.
Still, life was hard in Styx. Famine and plague wracked the city in the later years. Their main power source, designed to be solar, was intermittent at best, preventing them from making steady progress. They developed means for self sufficiency but only after the population had been decimated.
As biological limitations weakened the population, their one hope became to create their own means to Uplink into sustainable shells. They had the technology but not the resources for research and development or full-scale manufacturing. They needed android shells.
To the planetside races, the human city is known as the Darkstar. The Nightwalkers. They’ve lived in the dark core of the hub for so long, they can no longer stand the light. They emerge from their city for one thing – to kidnap others for their experiments.
They are unique in that they have no Uplink. Humans can’t call on a main server for powers. Nor can they access the Spirit Archive or have any built-in upgrades. However, they aren’t powerless.
Humans maintain knowledge of actual technology. Handed down over the years or created in small-scale production runs. This includes signal-jammers – they can sever Uplinks. Antimagic to those planetside.
All of this technology is of course seen as “magic” to the planetsiders. Even the humans are divinities or demons, depending on who you talk to. Of all the races, they are the only ones capable of performing the holiest of miracles – live birth. The other races are propagated by the internal servers through automated processes and the recycling of Uplinked consciousnesses and shells. There is one shared custom among all the non-humans – funeral rites require a body to be returned to their sanctuary.
Only humans can start with Lore – Robotics or other higher technology specialties.