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Original Sci-Fi The Practice War

Discussion in 'Quests' started by Snowfire, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. Threadmark: Intro

    Snowfire Polygot of Chimera

    The year is 2115. Humanity stands upon a knife edge.

    In the end, who do we have to blame but who and what we are? For as long as man has drawn breath we have been fascinated by the stars, the limitless potential of space and what lies beyond our own tiny pocket of the universe. We sought to unlock the secrets that our souls cried out must be hidden within the trackless dark. Unfortunately, we succeeded.

    In 2048 we unlocked the first of those secrets, a way to step between the empty spaces of the universe. It was heralded as the breakthrough that would bring forth a new age for humanity, one of exploration and wonder with the bars of Einstein’s Cage broken and cast asunder. In 2055, with the first ships of our people ranging out across the stars, we brought forth another secret, a complex marvel of bioengineering that would allow for real-time modifications of genetics in ways we could not even imagine. Many resisted this secret, for in it they saw the extinction of humanity as a species. They were even right, but the potential was thought to outweigh the costs. Such was the dictate of science, and with these two secrets in hand we forged the wings that would see us through space to new homes and endless possibility. We created guardians, great beings of power and protective intelligence that could guard the worlds that we had found, and that would soon be ours.

    Was it arrogance, that belief? Or was it simply the innocent hand of a child reaching towards the light. In the end, the truth is of little import. For ten years later we discovered a third secret of the void, the most terrifying of all. We were not alone. Eight ships came from the black, cloaked in light and silence. Some saw in them our future, for in the construction of the ships we were able to identify some properties similar to our own creations, if advanced scores of generations. Other saw potential profit, for surely there would be things we could trade with the masters of the craft. Somehow only a handful of isolated holdouts, in no position to actually do anything, saw the third possibility.

    That the ships held no future, and that their masters had no wish for us to profit. The true currency of those silent ships was one thing and one thing alone: oppression.

    The guardians we had made, great dragons which swam the void and could shape it in ways we had never been able to replicate, were fearless and magnificent in their defence. Perhaps they surprised our attackers in their power, in fact. For though our guardians fell, but they did not fall alone, and something in our souls felt their sacrifice in a way deeper than reason.

    Two of the eight ships fell to our protectors, a number we now know was not unprecedented but also not without purpose. To those of the ships, who demanded the name Shiplords, a race that simply died was worth nothing. One that fought, that could raise hands against them but not prevail, those were worth something. After breaking our guardians, the six ships advanced upon Mars, where their weapons set the great works we had built upon that planet to ash. Only then did they turn to Earth, and when our fear was at its height they finally spoke.

    Theirs was a simple message, really. Although it would be better called an ultimatum. One we could not deny, no matter how hard we wished to.

    On the day the ships came, humanity’s numbers had grown to a thriving twelve billion. After the Burning of Mars, and the destruction of any other habitat in the system, Earth alone held ten billion terrified souls. When the ships left a week later, barely three remained, ninety percent of them children. The Shiplords demanded almost every man and woman over the age of seventeen, for what purpose we still do not know. They did not destroy the technology that sustained our civilisation, but for all that had been made to study the Void, and they left behind enough adults to care for the billions of children left behind. Most chilling of all, their manner made it clear that they were not without practice in committing the atrocity they inflicted upon us.

    Seven billion lives, the Shiplords’ price for our continued existence.

    Yet with us, with humanity, they erred. For as their ships turned from our planet and leapt into void once more, holds heavy with the living heart of our race, the remnants of our guardians fell back into the cradle of humanity. And those pieces filled the imprint that their sacrifice had carved upon our souls with power.

    Many had been the restrictions handed down by the Shiplords on pain of extinction, most underlined of all that the biological secrets we had unlocked were never to be used again. But what our guardians gave us what not a product of those secrets, instead something so much higher above in the hierarchy of the void. Knowledge that was by any measure centuries of undisturbed research beyond our grasp, but for one thing. When we had made our guardians, we had made them aware. They had been our friends, brothers and sisters in arms, and hundreds of our own flesh and blood had died with them in the defence of Sol. And though their weapons had been lethal beyond measure, it had been their minds which gave our race survival. And it had been the last act of those brilliant minds, a sacrifice of self, mingled with the fallen blood and souls of our own, that gave us the Potentials.

    In the years since your kind rose from the sacrifice of the greatest guardians humanity has ever known, we have striven to understand the nature of their power. And though certain things remain unclear, much is known.

    Within you, like every Potential, lies a fragment of the power that our guardians cast into the Void in the hopes that it would find us. A shard of energy that allows us to see in all things a shadow of the limitless potential they hold and to bring it forth with time and Practice. That is the name of the gift you were given, what fragmented records of old void research called reality physics. But you, like all your fellow Potentials, are limited. For not even the well of power that the dragons of your world unlocked with their sacrifice is enough to give you the truly limitless power they sought to grant humanity. The imprint in your soul is not full, yet even half empty it can work miracles. It simply needs the proper focus.

    The focus of a Potential is something that cannot be changed, it forms the basis of a person’s being, their own personal potential. It affects what they see in an object, what they can make of it and what they make of the world itself. In simple terms it is an ideal, one that can be given with a single word and the truest expression of their Practiced soul. The first Potentials woke from the elders that had been forced to watch as their entire world was taken from them, left behind to see to that the children of that world did not fall. It was a hard duty, and sadly one that had few opportunities for expressions of peace.

    Vengeance, Protection, Justice, even Death. Those were but a few of the aspects of the first. They had seen their world die, and in their pain found their purpose as weapons. A bare handful of those chosen awoke to less violent aspects, their rage tempered by the sad wisdom that all worlds fall. They had seen their own fall to create the one the Shiplords took, and so their ideals were quite different. Knowledge and Mending were the most common of their aspects, for they saw past the pain and sought to heal its source. To build again on ground swept clean. It might not have been religious, but time bore out the truth of their wisdom. They were the builders of the world you know today, who taught the children of the last world all they knew. They were the teachers of the Second Awakening and from their care the seeds of humanity rose to bloom anew.

    Slowly humanity recovered, with the rage of the First Awoken balanced by their own elders, hewing carefully to the Directives left by the Shiplords at least in word. We had little need now for the biological marvels that had characterised our first attempts to reach toward the stars, but the Directives had become our way to remember the magnificent beings that had given everything to protect us. Beings who in sacrifice had given to us the chance to chart our own future. A bare chance, perhaps, but a chance nonetheless.

    Potentials of Knowledge and Science delved into the mysteries of the universe, seeking to discover more of our own powers, but also more of our enemy, and they found much. The Shiplords styled themselves the toll of the void, and they accepted few equals but those who could demand equality by power. When a young race found its way to the first of many secrets, the Shiplords would exact a cost. What cost depended on the ability of the race to endure the Shiplords’ coming. Too little resistance would bring extinction, but too much was often just as terrible. They were a vast power within the galaxy, among the highest of those who chose to still remain involved. Yet for all their strengths, there were weaknesses too. Those of the First Awoken flocked to this knowledge, using it to create weapons that they finally knew would be able to break and bind Shiplords’ and their technology. Those eldest did not agree with such work, but they let it be done and it was good that they did.

    Ten years ago, a pattern was identified within the Shiplords, that shook humanity to the core. The Shiplords did not take one price, but many. They would leave a race to rebuild, to grow anew, and then when they could be sure that there would be enough to merit the trip they would return and strip a world anew. What they used the older kin of the many worlds like our own remains impossible to say for sure, although some among the Potentials of Knowledge have guesses. Few know them, however, and all who do pray they are wrong.

    You stand among the Potentials today, at the head of a human race united like never before in its history. If the calculations are right, the Shiplords will return in bare months, and humanity will be plunged into a war that can only have two outcomes; freedom or death. Some say that they are one and the same. You might even agree.

    You are:

    [] First Awoken – You were fully grown when the old world fell, one of the fraction of those your age who were left behind to shepherd the billions of children suddenly without parents. Your Aspect burns with righteous fury, born of the pain of a world torn from your grasp just as you were beginning to make it your own. Perhaps you had a partner in the old world, maybe even children, and if you did the pain of their loss only made your will stronger. You are older now, grown fully into the power of your Aspect, but also wary of the Shiplords. For all you have learned and all the weapons that you and your fellows have forged in preparation to fight them, you remember how easily they cast down what were humanity’s greatest protectors. Yet you are the legacy of those protectors, and it is not in you to surrender another human life without a fight. (Most limited selection of Aspects, most skill in using them. You will be on the front lines when the Shiplords arrive.)

    [] Second Awakening – You were only a child when the Shiplords came and took your family away, young enough that the wounds of that separation left few scars. You might remember a parent, or an older sibling now lost to you forever. For the most part, however, that memory gives you focus and clarity. Your Aspect is most likely to be related to such things, for your Awakening was among those most gifted in Knowledge. Your power is not that of the First, it is harder to leverage in immediate action. But the work of you and your fellows is the only reason that humanity knows that the Shiplords would return, and of their few weaknesses. With your help, they are almost ready. (Limited, but not as completely as a First Awoken. You are skilled in your power, but not as much as the First, and few of this Awakening would be able to stand in the heart of battle and emerge intact.)

    [] Third Awakened – You have no memory of the Shiplord invasion, all you know of it is what has been taught in school by your elders. This world of empty cities and gleaming weapons pointed towards the sky is the only one you have ever known. You recite the Directives beside your fellows, but the dedication is historical to you, not the fiery-eyed memory of the First and Second. You are new still to your powers, and the Aspects of the Third are as yet without a coherent direction, drawn from a wellspring of new growth untouched by the horrors of loss. That will change soon enough, you know, but even now the threat of the Shiplord’s return is hard to actually understand. Your entire life has been spent preparing for it, but now that it is upon you none could fault any nervousness that might cling to your heart. (Least skilled, but you are almost entirely free to choose your Aspect. Unlikely to be on the front line to begin with, but if your Aspect is suited to it you will almost certainly find yourself there given time.)

    So, this is something that came out of my being on holiday and having read The Practice Effect shortly before leaving. I've never run a quest in my life, and I'm only slowly working out how I'm going to do this in regards to mechanics, but I can say this. This is not going to be a mechanically complex quest, I can guarantee that right now.

    There are a bunch of other choices involved in the setup for this, so I'm going to use that as much as I can to work out how much mechanics I want to use here, given that the PC will be capable of outright reality warping. For those who know the source material I'm pulling from, your abilities are around that of a Krenegee assisted human where it comes to your Aspect. The more time you've had to work with your powers, the more you're able to reach into things and pull what you need out, but you're more aware of your limits, too. Awareness of limits may be a double edged sword.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2016
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  2. Threadmark: Character Sheet

    Snowfire Polygot of Chimera

    Name: President Amanda Hawk
    Awakening: Second
    Focus: Mending
    Age: 59 (Physical Age: 27)

    Martial: 8+2+2 = 12 (You are in excellent shape, with all the advantages of a Potential born into the days of the Second Secret. You never had the time or inclination for combat training, although you are incredibly hard to kill thanks to your Focus.)

    Diplomacy: 18+2+2+2+2 = 26 (You built the Circles and acted as a capable leader for the Prologue project. You’ve also started to delve into the esoteric side of your Focus, granting your natural charisma a truly supernatural edge in the long term.)

    Stewardship: 16+2 = 18 (There is no such thing as ‘broken’. That statement underpins everything you do in this arena, and thanks to your Focus it often pays considerable dividends.)

    Intrigue: 12 = 12 (You’re not really suited to wheeler-dealing or politics, but you had to have some successful interaction with EGOV before you ended up in charge of it.)

    Learning: 16+2+2+2 = 22 (You soaked up your lessons as a child like a sponge, and Mary has ensured that your knowledge base never had the chance to degrade. You are not a prodigy like her, but you do well enough.)

    Practice: 16+2+2+2+2+4 = 28 (Your skill as a Potential rivals some of the First, and you’re one of the only Potentials alive who is able to sense the strange patterns that you can sometimes tap into when working with people.)

    Child of the Second Secret: You were born before the Week of Sorrows, and so benefit from the basic bioengineering package that almost all children were modified with before birth. +2 Martial

    Heart of Circles: As a child you fought to restore the peace that you were so lucky to have with your family to others, leading to the founding of the first of your Circles. +2 Diplomacy
    - Your time spent as an adult founding more Circles across the world won you praise from many quarters, and was the first time you felt the taste of more exotic Practice. +2 Diplomacy, +2 Practice

    A Practiced Form: Like all Potentials, the natural application of Practice to your body through actions have granted you some arguably supernatural advantages. In your case, you heal swiftly and are incredibly hard to kill. +2 Martial, significant increase to survival chance if attacked personally

    Childhood Tutor: She might not have been an adult, but your friendship with Mary meant that you never once failed to ace your exams, if not perhaps as spectacularly as she would. +2 Learning

    Singer: You have a fine and melodious voice, which has a way of putting people at ease. +2 Diplomacy
    - You've spent time improving your voice, and have begun to delve in the complexities of its use. +1 Diplomacy

    Project Prologue: You worked as a leader for the Prologue project, and were a major part of the first Practiced Miracle. +2 Learning, +2 Practice

    Restorer of the Old World: You spent a decade rebuilding the cities of the world before the Week of Sorrows, becoming as one with your Focus and doing all you could to restore a world that many thought lost. +2 Stewardship, +2 Practice

    Touching the Forgotten: Time spent working with Mary kept you up to date with some of the less complex scientific advancements of the times, and also gave you the opportunity to delve into the far stranger side of your Focus. +2 Learning, +2 Practice

    Untapped Depths: You took a plasma lance to chest, ablated as it was by a body in front of you, and lived through the power of your Potential. Something has been shaken loose by that experience, and you now know that there is far more to discover about what you are capable of. +4 Practice

    Speaker of Practice: You've taken your first step into a world suddenly much bigger than it was before. Although it still isn't reliable, or even properly understood, your ability to work Practice with words rather than action is something exciting as it is strange.

    Unison Platform: Veteran - You've synchronised with and come to understand the basics of using a Unison Platform. Although your experience with it is limited, time and practice will give you that.

    Concert Set: This detached headset was something you made in the Institute, one of your first Practiced creations. You wanted a way to be heard more clearly, and to put your words into people’s hearts. You thought you’d lost it during your time founding the rest of the Circles, but it had been invaluable pursuing that task.

    Multi-tooI: A leftover from your time rebuilding the broken cities of Earth, this is probably one of the most Practiced items you ever created. A decade spent using it to channel your Focus into physical change has turned the basic device into a sleek thing of almost dizzying utility. Unfortunately, you’ve since forgotten half of its functions.

    Void Crystal: Even now neither you nor Mary are sure how you created this, or what it’s meant to do. A seemingly featureless black-body crystal, its remained completely impervious to analysis, classification, or physical damage. Mary kept it ever since you created it with her after your first decade as a Restorer, now it's yours.

    Unison Platform: The physical housing of the Unison platform, and Siddhartha's electronic home. Physical contact with this device is required to extrude the protective features of the Platform, and utilise its other functions.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017 at 11:09 AM
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  3. Threadmark: Government and Heroes

    Snowfire Polygot of Chimera

    Central Government Complex - Japan
    (+2 Diplomacy, +2 Practice)

    War Office
    Advisor: Minister Lina Sharpe - Martial 26
    - Practiced Leadership: free Military dice

    - Shipyard Operations
    +15 to Construction checks [Limit +20]
    +15 to Design and Prototyping Checks [Limit: +20]

    State Department
    Advisor: Minister Kazuki Honoka - Diplomacy 23

    Home Office
    Advisor: Minister Adriana Thera - Stewardship 24
    -Orbital Integration Design Pad: +5 on orbital construction projects

    -Ministerial VI: +5 to Military construction projects, free Stewardship dice

    Ministry for Security
    Advisor: Minister Marcus Romero - Intrigue 32
    -Network Supremacy: +d10 to Network based Intrigue actions
    -System Sensor Array: +5 to orbital Intrigue actions

    Ministry for Science
    Advisor: Minister Mary D'reve - Learning 27

    Ministry for Practice
    Advisor: Minister Vega Cant - Practice 20
    -Unison Platform: Master
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017 at 11:07 AM
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  4. Threadmark: Mechanics Corner

    Snowfire Polygot of Chimera

    Mechanics Corner

    The mechanics of this quest are split across three related sections: Action Dice, Practice Dice and Personal Actions. All follow similar rules for rolling: d100 + Personal + Modifiers but there are some differences in play in how they function and what they can do.

    Action Dice
    These are your bread and butter, the dice that represent you acting on a governmental level to effect change on the Solar System and prepare humanity for the upcoming conflict. Certain actions will increase the number of these dice you have available, and I will be reasonably generous with this as you only have ten years until the invasion hits.

    Action dice roll: (d100 + Personal + Adviser + Modifiers)

    Practice Dice

    Practice dice represent your ability to direct the Potentials in support of your projects, and roll against the difficulty of the task adding Practice to the result instead of the relevant stat. They cannot be used on most Practice actions because throwing more Potentials at most Practice actions would be more of a hindrance then a help.

    On a success the Potentials create something. This can range from a computer system that will grant a bonus, to speeding up the action, to Practiced Miracles. Practiced Miracles have a chance to occur whenever your margin of success breaches a hundred Unproven Miracle Special: eighty and automatically on a natural 100. A margin of success of 80+ means that a Practice Trance has taken place, which can lead to a Practiced Miracle, but will usually need a little more work to bring to fruition.

    Practice dice roll: (d100 + Personal Practice + Advisor Practice + Modifiers)

    Personal Actions

    Personal actions are, bluntly, what you get up to in your off time. They represent character building opportunities as well as a way for Amanda to grow mechanically. Certain choices will have the potential to open up into mini-turn Events, which I’ll try to use to let you get into her head and directly affect how she sees and interacts with the world. These actions are rolled, but require no dice, the number available will depend on political situation and other events.

    Personal actions roll: (d100 + Personal + Modifiers)
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
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  5. Threadmark: Military Assets

    Snowfire Polygot of Chimera

    Federated Solar Navy

    First Fleet

    Capital Component

    FSNS Calypso
    3 Squadrons (27) Dauntless class
    4 Echelons (12) Tower class

    Auxiliary Component
    6 Task Forces

    All ships equipped with reverse-engineered Shiplord PD
    All but two Auxiliary Task Forces equipped with Practiced defensive systems.
    Understanding of general Shiplord Tactics and Counterplays

    Fixed Defences

    Planetary Shield Network: Online
    Planetary Defence Systems: Online
    Ground to Orbit Projection: Moderate

    Ninety percent of planetary population living within Practiced settlements.

    Skylark City Shield: Online
    Skylark Defence Network: Online
    Ground to Orbit Projection: Low

    Entire population living in a Practiced Miracle reconstructed settlement.

    The Orbitals
    Defensive Systems: Practiced Systems
    Offensive Systems: Practiced Systems
    General Morale: Locked

    Entire population living aboard Practiced Miracle enhanced construction.


    The Two Twenty-Three
    Manpower: 84%
    Experience: Well Trained
    Morale: Excellent
    Integrated Practice: Moderate

    System Wide Effects
    Heliosphere Observation Platforms: Online
    Strategic Communications: Hardened
    Network Security: High
    Naval Personnel: Well Trained
    Fortress Command: Well Trained
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017 at 11:16 AM
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  6. Hmm. Is Portals a valid aspect?
  7. Snowfire

    Snowfire Polygot of Chimera

    Probably...not. We're talking things that can be the heart of a person, really. Gateways potentially could be, which could lead to some very interesting manipulation of circuitry and other things as the Practice Effect is extremely conceptual. As a note, humanity got portal technology in 2049 in this history. It's one of the things that the Shiplords banned in their Directives. Given that you're going to declare war on them and you know they're coming back now, however, you might not care about that.

    Interesting idea, actually.

    Also, thinking of giving a choice on timeline. I've pitched this as a year from war thing, but equally I could run it as a somewhat more organisational quest from the time that humanity worked out the Shiplords were coming back. If people are interested I can open that decision in the next update.
  8. Can we go full power of hate mode ? Like, Black Templar Chaplain level of hate ?
  9. Snowfire

    Snowfire Polygot of Chimera

    Most likely you'd be looking at at First Awoken for that, which has some interesting side-effects. But yes, you could. Hate or Vengeance would both work for a First Awoken.

    Or a Third Awoken, but you'd need to pitch some damn strong reasoning for it to work. Not impossible though.
  10. Fine with me. Let's look into it.
    [x] First Awoken
  11. BBBence1111

    BBBence1111 Happy Christmas & Merry New Year!

    [X] Second Awakening

    Let's be honest, noone likes being limited or playing on easy mode.
  12. [X] Third Awakened

    Although we start off the weakest out of all the options, there is room for growth. This way we have the most freedom to choose our aspect.
  13. [X] First Awoken
  14. [X] Second Awakening
  15. What about damage?
  16. [X] Second Awakening
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
  17. Novus Ordo Mundi

    Novus Ordo Mundi The 51st State Is Not A Place...

    [X] Third Awakened
  18. Snowfire

    Snowfire Polygot of Chimera

    Again not really something I see being the core of a person, I'm afraid. It's lacking in emotional context.

    To elaborate a bit on what a Focus is, it's a deeply integral part of who you were before you became a Potential and will remain so indefinitely. It lets you access the limited power that sits within the imprint of your soul, insufficient currently to fill it. Think of it as a lens perhaps, or maybe a funnel. But whilst it lets you access that power, and shape the world using it, by its very nature it also limits what you can do - at least that's the theory. A First Awoken with a Focus of Wrath, for example, is a truly exceptional crafter of weapons and other things that could be considered expressions of their Focus.

    An example of what I mean by exceptional would be that they can take a cutlery knife and turn it into a blade that can sever atomic bonds. Not instantly, the point of the Practice Effect is that even the miracles possible with it take time and that nothing truly beats hard work. But the hard work of a Potential is infinitely more extended in scope compared to a 'normal' human. A human would need tools, technology, laboratories and generators and all the trappings of the hyper-advanced science that the Shiplords banned in the Directives to do something like that.

    A Potential just does it.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2016
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  19. Ah. Let me think.
  20. Got Some! Attachment. Anything from ridiculous numbers of friends to making chemical compounds that should be impossible. Would this work?

    What about stability?
  21. Walker


    [X] First Awoken
  22. Snowfire

    Snowfire Polygot of Chimera

    Going to leave this open for the next eight to ten hours then I'll call it and start on the next update. I do believe First Awoken is winning 4 to 2 to 2 currently.
  23. BBBence1111

    BBBence1111 Happy Christmas & Merry New Year!

    We'll freeze the computer systems on their ships by overly large email attachments!
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  24. Snowfire

    Snowfire Polygot of Chimera

    Attachment could work, yes, but it is very much the focus of a Third Awakened. The first part suggestion is somewhat unlikely to work, Practice has issues working on people, but it could give you some insight into the manner of such attachments on an emotional level.

    Stability could suit Second or Third, although an argument that could be made for First, but it's a hard one to quantify. It would probably be focused on part of what that means, although with some ability to grow (directions and limitations on that dictated by if you're First, Second or Third). A lot of ways that could go, in the end.
  25. [X] Second Awakening
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2016
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