It's the 25th century A.D. Humanity has mastered space travel and spread out through the Milky Way, establishing colonies on dozens of habitable worlds. Many earthly nations have fallen away in view of the vastness of space; the remaining national collectives have at least achieved something approaching world peace. In addition, the last few centuries have seen the rise of the megacorps, business concerns with the financial power of nations.
We're not alone. Other intelligent species exist, our neighbors and occasionally our rivals. Fortunately, the majority of them prefer peaceful coexistence, and as a result, the Galactic Union was formed. A coalition of a dozen or so technologically-advanced species, the Union exists to prevent interplanetary warfare and to facilitate cooperating and the sharing of information.
You're a "Beta"
A Beta-Class Sapient Humanoid Lifeform, as distinct from Alpha-Class Sapient Lifeforms, i.e, humans and other sapient species. Betas are anthropomorphic animal-people, genetically engineered and grown in artificial wombs. They resemble humans with animal features, or perhaps animals with a generally human size and build. The precise details vary from Beta to Beta, even those derived from the same animal species, but a Beta can never be mistaken for a human.
Betas have a unique legal position: they are recognized as intelligent and self-aware beings, and yet they are wholly artificial, created in laboratories at great expense. After years of legal wrangling between those who believed they deserved full freedom and those who believed they should be considered products rather than people, a compromise was reached. Betas are legally people, and as such are entitled to certain rights; they cannot be enslaved, killed, or otherwise harmed without the same due process available to naturally-born people. However, they are born into debt, and are required to work for the corporation that spawned them until such time as the cost of their creation is paid off. This cost is known as "buyback," since a Beta who reaches it is said to have bought themselves back from their corporate masters.
The corporations that employ Betas generally try to match the Beta to a job that suits their skills and attitude. The reasoning is pragmatic: it's better to have a talented and enthusiastic pastry chef than an unskilled and resentful soldier. A portion of a Beta's earnings is put toward their buyback, and Betas who reach buyback are often re-employed by the same corporation, this time with higher wages and better benefits. Other free Betas leave for better opportunities.
The highest-paid Betas are the Justifiers, skilled individuals who are sent on dangerous missions of exploration, security, and occasional corporate sabotage or espionage. Their name comes from their role: justification and pacification of new worlds and exploitable resources. Every corporation that employs Betas has its own Justifiers corps. They're the ones sent in to dangerous situations to rescue civilians, or salvage what company assets they can. They explore newly-discovered worlds and deal with dangerous indigenous lifeforms. They provide security when the competition between corporations becomes a little too hostile. In short, they're the elite ass-kickers who dive into situations that most intelligent beings would run screaming from.
You're a Justifier, and this is your story.
The following Setting Rules are in play:
- Fanatics: Enemy thugs can take the damage for their masters.
- More Skill Points: Start with 15 skill points instead of 12.
- No Power Points: Those with arcane backgrounds don’t track Power Points but instead subtract half the listed Power Point cost (round up) from their skill roll to activate the ability. Powers may be maintained as desired at a −1 penalty to all further arcane skill rolls.
- Wound Cap: Wild Cards never suffer more than four wounds from a single hit.
PCs are all Betas, and can be made using the race creation rules (SWADE p. 18). Betas are made with four points of positive racial abilities; optionally, you can take up to four points of negative racial abilities as well to get more positive racial abilities (for a total of eight positive, four negative). All racial traits must make sense for the animal the Beta is derived from; you can't take Armor for a small, quick animal, or Horns for a species that lacks them. However, Betas of the same derivation may have different traits; they are custom-designed organisms, so a given wolf-Beta may have enhanced Strength and a bite attack, while another wolf-Beta has superior speed and keener senses.
All PCs start at Seasoned rank, with four Advances.
There are only two Arcane Backgrounds in the world of Savage Justifiers: Psionics and Gifted. Both are described in more detail in the Psionics section below.
Betas are created from animal DNA. Although there are a wide variety of Beta types, the majority come from animals that humans interact closely with. Thus, there are many dog-, cat-, and white rat-Betas, but relatively few pangolin- or python-Betas. Exotic Beta-types definitely exist, but they are a distinct minority and were usually created either for a specific purpose, or as living art pieces to please extremely wealthy patrons.
There are no known Betas derived from fish, crustaceans, arthropods, or similar animals.
Common Beta types are as follows:
- Dolphin, otter, seal and sea lion-Betas are occasional employed for marine missions, such as servicing underwater equipment and exploring ocean worlds. They tend to be highly intelligent and good-natured.
- Even less common than reptiles, avian Betas range from small songbirds or corvids to large, fierce raptors, to flightless emus and ostriches. They tend to be high-strung and needy, but very clever and adaptable. They are the only Beta type with wings, making them irreplaceable for certain specific roles.
- Dogs, wolves, foxes and dingoes, these Betas are reliable and loyal. They make excellent soldiers and guards, and work well with humans.
- Ranging from small domestic house cats to large Siberian tigers, felid Betas are elegant and agile with an undeniable charisma. Although less sociable than canid Betas, they make skilled solo agents, excelling at tasks that involve stealth, climbing, and hunting.
- Snake, turtle and lizard Betas are rare, but they do exist. Their slow metabolism gives them an edge in certain hostile climates, and their un-mammalian ability to focus allows them to excel at roles that mammals would find too distracting.
- White rats and mice are common lab animals, and rat- and mouse-Betas are perhaps the most common variety, though rabbit-Betas are also popular. Though physically small, they have impressive scent and hearing and are adaptable and quick to learn.
- Though rare, bear-Betas are large and imposing beings with exceptional strength. They tend to be relaxed people, preferring sedentary roles, and are often gourmands.
- A wide category that includes farm animals (horses, cattle, pigs and goats) as well as antelopes, warthogs, and others. Ungulate Betas tend to be fast runners and good team players, and make exceptional athletes and often messengers.
Psychic powers are rare and little understood, but they do exist. Some alien species are racially psychic, and psionics is a documented phenomenon among certain rare humans. To the surprise of their corporate creators, Betas can also possess psionic abilities. This is extremely rare - perhaps one in a thousand Betas possesses measurable psychic potential.
Because psionics is so rare, it is a little-known field of study. Psionics draws on some as-yet-unknown form of energy to perform seemingly supernatural effects, which are often related to the psychic's personality and emotional state. Despite centuries of effort, there are no psychic academies or formal teaching methods; a Beta who demonstrates psionics will, if they are very fortunate, be put in contact with a more experienced psychic to help learn to control their abilities. Psionic Betas are both valued and feared for their extranormal powers.
Player characters can take Arcane Background: Psionics normally. Those wanting to play "wild talents," characters with a single reliable psychic skill, may take Arcane Background: Gifted instead. In either case, characters must choose their powers from the following list:
Arcane Protection, Beast Friend, Blind, Bolt, Boost/Lower Trait, Confusion, Darksight, Deflection, Dispel, Drain Power Points, Empathy, Environmental Protection, Farsight, Fear, Havoc, Healing, Invisibility, Mind Link, Mind Reading, Mind Wipe, Object Reading, Protection, Puppet, Relief, Sloth/Speed, Slumber, Speak Language, Stun, Telekinesis, Warrior's Gift.
All Trappings should be appropriate to the theme. For example, damaging powers should usually have some sort of "mental shock" trapping, unless something like pyrokinesis is justified, but psionic powers are not spells and should not feel like spells.
Note that psionic powers are mental, and creatures without true minds - automatic cameras, security systems, and robots - may not be affected by them.
Medical science in the 25th century can cure an incredible number of ills, but there are limits. The technology to regrow missing limbs or lost eyes sadly does not exist. However, a replacement exists in the form of cybernetics - the fusion of sophisticated mechanical body parts with living organisms.
Cybernetics is most often used to replace lost limbs, compensate for physical weakness, and otherwise fix what was broken. Some individuals take it to the next level, improving on what nature (or genetic engineering) has already done, using it to grant themselves almost superhuman powers.
Some forms of cybernetics are common. In the 25th century, replacing a lost arm with a mechanical one that functions almost as well as the original is commonplace, as are minor cosmetic adjustments. Hair or fur color, eye appearance, skin and scales, all can be customized to your liking for a nominal fee. This sort of cybernetic enhancement is commonly available, but does not improve a character mechanically in any way.
More advanced forms of cybernetics can improve a character's strength, speed, eyesight, or other qualities. These enhancements are expensive and require painful surgeries with long recovery times; they are not without risk, but can offer impressive benefits.
Full details can be found in the Justifiers Cybernetics document.
Technology and Equipment
|Adhesive Patch||1||$20||For quick repairs of E-suits and V-suits|
|Datapad, basic||2||$100||Basic personal computer|
|Datapad, advanced||5||$1,000||Advanced personal computer, grants +1 on related Electronics and Hacking rolls.|
|Earpiece commlink||1||$10||Standard hands-free personal communicator|
|Universal translator||2||$500||Allows fairly accurate real-time translation of all major languages|
|Item||Armor Bonus||Min. Str||Weight||Cost||Notes|
|Body Armor||+2||d4||4||$200||Covers torso, arms, legs.|
|Deflector Suit||+4||d4||2||$200||Torso only|
|Energy Skin||+4||-||-||+50% armor cost||See notes|
|Infantry Battle Suit, Light||+4||d6||8||$500||Full suit|
|Infantry Battle Suit, Medium||+6||d8||12||$800||Full suit|
|Powered Armor||+8||d8||20||$1,500||See notes|
|+1||d4||8||$500||Full suit; see notes|
|E-suit, Armored||+3||d6||10||$1,000||Full suit; see notes|
|+2||d6||10||$1,000||Full suit; see notes|
|V-suit, Armored||+5||d8||14||$2,000||Full suit; see notes|
- Body armor is typical of civilian security forces, and consists of densely-woven ballistic polymers.
- Deflector suits are made of thick cloth covered with dense, laser-cut crystals designed to refract light. They provide a +4 armor bonus against lasers and similar attacks, but no bonus against any other damage type. Deflector suits impose a -2 penalty on Stealth rolls when worn.
- Energy skin is a treatment that can be applied to any of the other armor suits, giving it the benefits of a deflector suit as well as the Stealth penalty.
- Infantry battle suits
- Powered armor is far too heavy and cumbersome to wear unpowered. It uses six standard batteries for power, and can operate for 24 hours on a full charge. It comes equipped with headlights and a commlink, and some version have integrated weapons systems.
- Environmental suits are designed to protect their wearers from inclement environments, but not hard vacuum or attacks. They grant the wearer a +4 bonus against environmental hazards, such as extremes of heat and cold and toxic atmospheres. Armored E-suits are strategically reinforced with duralloy plates.
- Vacuum suits are space suits, allowing the wearer to survive in space for up to 48 hours. Most come with a small headlight and a commlink. Armored V-suits are made from heavier duralloy fibers and reinforced with plates protecting vital areas.
|Molecular knife||Str+d4+2||d4||1||$50||AP 4; see notes|
|Stun baton||Str+d8||d4||2||$50||Shock; 24 shots|
|Taser||3d6||-||1||$25||Shock; 6 shots|
- Molecular knife: This weapon's edge is honed to a single molecule, making it incredibly sharp but also relatively fragile. If the Fighting die ever rolls a 1, the edge becomes chipped and battered, and the weapon loses its AP and its damage bonus. Molecular weapons cannot be resharpened.
- Shock: These weapons deal electrical damage. Shock weapons deal damage as normal, but all such damage is nonlethal. They are powered by a standard battery.
|Laser SMG||15/30/60||2d6||2||4||100||d4||4||$400||Cauterize, overcharge, no recoil|
|Laser rifle||30/60/120||3d6||2||3||100||d6||8||$1,000||Cauterize, overcharge, no recoil|
- 3RB: The weapon is capable of firing three-round bursts. This option consumes three shots instead of one and adds +1 to the shooter's Shooting and damage rolls.
- Cauterize: The beams of laser weapons and the superheated gas of plasma weapons sears flesh on impact. Anyone incapacitated by a cauterizing weapon adds +2 to his Vigor rolls to keep from bleeding out.
- No recoil: Since laser weapons fire coherent beams of light rather than solid projectiles, they have no recoil.
- Overcharge: Since laser weapons are battery-powered, they can be overcharged to deal extra damage. An overcharged weapon consumes one additional shot per shot fired and deals +1d6 damage on a hit, but if any of the Shooting dice come up 1, the weapon overheats and cannot be fired for one full round.
The Galactic Union
Blue Sun Heavy Industries