Nostalgia: The Nomad Fleet Dev Diary – Episode 6
Previously on Nostalgia…we talked about the Nomad Fleet’s Arks and their inner Levels, where our stories (and yours) will happen. But who exactly inhabits these Levels? And what character types will you be able to play?
If you’re an RPG veteran, you’ve probably seen myriad races and classes, from the “fantasy classic” entry-level elven sorcerer to the almost unplayable, horrific Harbinger of Skulls (a lower clan from Vampire: The Masquerade). Despite the variety, this hobby has spawned in its 40+ years, we tried our best to be as original as possible -- and so without further ado, I’m proud to introduce our first race:
The Space Bard, complete with +15 Air Guitar of Destruction!
Just kidding. I know some big bard fans out there, but we don’t have them. At least, not yet.
But back to business. If you read our previous, story-focused Dev Diary, you might recall that even though the Arks left Earth thousands of years ago, some races (“factions” is a better word) from our birth planet still exist. Let’s take a closer look at them:
HUMANA (plural: Humanas)
Hey, it’s us! Humanas are good ol’ humans who have survived plagues, wars, religion, terrorism, economic crises, fast food, and bad politicians. We haven’t changed that much: we’re still greedy, malicious, arrogant, selfish, and power-hungry. But we’re also brave, resourceful, honest, and dedicated; always searching for new frontiers, always seeking new achievements and new hope.
The Humanas are the Arks’ most populous race, and, thanks to the Fulcrum’s heritage, they rule over the other races. The Humanas have the power to control and use the Keystones -- strange artifacts obtained through the voluntary immolation of an Anima (coming up next). These Keystones are simple switches used to activate the most wonderful devices: they can open a sealed door, start a gravitational inverter, operate an unmanned defense system, or turn on/off whatever a GM puts in your character’s way. Each Keystone works with a specific device, so their powers won’t unbalance the game.
Besides Keystones, whose powers are only accessible by Humanas, man’s descendants can also interact with the Aura, the energy that powers the Arks. This is done by swallowing some drops of Dream, a powerful drug that enables Humanas to access Anomalies, strange reality-altering powers. Of course, dream consumption has some serious side-effects. No pain, no gain!
Since Humanas are central to the plan of those who facilitated the Nomad Fleet’s journey, they also have some serious mechanical advantages which the game rules present in full detail. In sum, Humanas are the perfect race for beginners. And xenophobes.
Author’s Note: Admittedly, it wasn’t a stretch to conceive these Humanas. But honestly, many people still prefer familiarity instead of playing as a grumpy alien with a wrinkled forehead and a flashing dial-finger, or a green, bug-eyed loser who did not shoot first.
ANIMA (plural: Animas)
Not the first non-human species to appear on the Arks, but still one of the most integrated and “popular”. Animas were bio-engineered by the Zero II, mechanical beings who led the Fleet until they mysteriously abdicated and vanished. Capitalizing on the superior genetic material of the Aeons, powerful mutants that once ruled Europe during the Ghost War on Earth (Shhh -- this is a story we’re saving for the prequel), the Animas are a race composed entirely of tall, beautiful females. Despite their somewhat fragile appearance, they’re stronger than you might think. An Anima feels no remorse, fear, or hate as she ceaselessly pursues her master’s orders. In other words, despite being strong, smart, and sophisticated, Animas are bio-engineered servants.
Born from artificial wombs, a young Anima is always raised by its buyer, and in her early stages avoids all contact with other living beings. This isolation period allows the Anima to develop an insanely strong bond with her master – so strong, in fact, that a master can give potentially dangerous or inherently lethal orders and an Anima will obey. Similarly, an Anima will never harm her master, even if he demands it (i.e. euthanasia, masochism, and the like).
Because of their unquestionable loyalty, Animas are often used as their master’s envoy or counsellor, or as a tutor for the master’s children. Also, because of their perseverance and relentlessness, they’re also good for wet work.
When their master dies, an Anima will often fall into a state of “Abandon” -- a refusal to live without their master. Abandon can be avoided by fulfilling the master’s last wish -- a special task that grants the Anima a “final purpose” and eventual peace. Since an Anima cannot live without a master, she will search for a new one after fulfilling her previous master’s last wish.
Animas have a very special connection to the Aura, which is also the main reason for their existence: after humanity boarded the Arks, the Zero II discovered Aura and the multiple ways it could be used, stored, and manipulated. Animas are the ultimate tool for Aura control. Due to their non-human composition, Animas can access the Anomalies without taking any Dream, and reach the highest level of Aura synchrony – a stage that grants them incredible abilities. When using an Anomaly, an Anima displays a momentary, angel-like halo. The most powerful Animas maintain a permanent halo, which functions as a status symbol and an elegant display of power.
Author’s Note: In the beginning, the Animas were beefy, muscular women that could only conceive in a threesome. I wrote two pages about their reproductive cycle before soliciting Tommaso’s feedback, which can best be summarized as, “Are you fu**ing kiddin’ me?” -- along with a suggested change of direction. At least I get points for originality.
FULGOR (plural: Fulgors)
From the Aeons (the progenitors of Animas), the Zero II also obtained the seed for a powerful male-only race called Fulgor. These are our tanks: big, strong, and bad to the bone.
A Fulgor appears as a 7.5-foot tall hypertrophic mass of muscles; one that grunts and looks at you the same way you would look at a festering catburger. Their orange/red skin makes them hard to miss, which is a good thing because they’re none too friendly. Why is that, you ask? Because they used to be slaves! Similar to their Anima “sisters”, Fulgors were bio-engineered to be the ultimate slave workforce, able to build the nuts and bolts of a brand-new civilization from the ground up. In addition to being strong and hardy, Fulgors need very little sleep -- which certainly helps with shift scheduling.
Initially the Fulgors were produced in an artificial womb and “birthed” as adults for immediate admission into the labor force. This made it difficult for Fulgors to accept their condition and soften their untamable temper. In order to restrain them, Fulgors were created with no immune system so that despite their potent physicality, they wouldn’t be able to survive the Arks’ diverse bacteria and viruses without help. To counteract this, the Ori, an implanted device resembling a collar, operated as an artificial immune system that fought diseases and contagions, thus keeping a Fulgor healthy and perpetually primed with the right medications. The Ori were also bound to the Fulgor on a molecular level, meaning any removal attempt would require major surgical intervention. Even so, were a Fulgor to lose or remove his Ori, he would die in a matter of days.
While Humana were settling on the Arks, the Ori required a periodic supply of medical Nanites, forcing the Fulgors to accept their fate and work as intended. Things progressed like this for centuries, during which the Fulgors’ resentment towards the power that be and the other races increased. Animas were a particular focus of their scorn because they appeared to accept their slavery with gratitude and grace.
But then things changed. The Arks’ societies flourished and the Fulgors’ enslavement became anachronistic. Their Ori’s localization function was shut down permanently and the collars’ technology was enhanced to allow a self-sustaining cycle: instead of being periodically replenished, the Ori are now able to produce medical Nanites autonomously using liquid Aura.
The new Ori are extremely efficient and provide some extra benefits besides the artificial immune system, i.e. sedation in case of injury and a temporary strength boost. And with these modified Ori, Fulgors can now reproduce with other races.
Fulgors are the most tribal race on the Nomad Fleet and they dominate every Ark’s Mining Core. Theirs is a severe society rife with warlike facets which the full game will cover in detail.
Author’s Note: Fulgors are the last race we developed. Initially, most of their features belonged to the Animas before Tommaso forced me to change the Animas into something more palatable. So we introduced these big guys. At first they were called Androsh (because, you know, they’re all males). Tommaso thought the name was more suitable for a handsome gypsy songwriter, so he proposed “Fulgor”, which is way cooler and way less handsome. Sometimes Tommaso’s suggestions are actually good. Sometimes.
Three races down, three to go. Stay tuned for the next Dev Diaries!