Since TORG has been brought up, one of the more interesting features of that game – and one that played an important role in the novels – was that characters didn’t have to come from one of the major Cosms. They could, instead, come from any universe that the player and game master were willing to come up with material for.
In the Justifiers RPG nasty interstellar corporations were minimizing the expenses of planetary exploration by using “betas” – genetically engineered anthropomorphic animal slaves – to do the dirty work. If they survived they could eventually earn their freedom. The rules were mediocre at best – to the point where fan conversions to other systems are easier to find than the original rules – but the setting was pretty good, and dealt with some fairly heavy themes, such as the nature of humanity, the rights of aborigines and other life-forms, and (obviously) slavery.
Ergo, here we have the Justifiers Realm for TORG – although you could just as well go to any other game system with it. For d20, I’d pull out the Eclipse anthropomorphic animals templates on this site, use d20 future equipment lists, limit special-powers purchases to low-grade psychic abilities, start out at about level three or four (in contrast to the original rules, where characters usually started off so incompetent that it took a small miracle to survive their first mission), and use slow advancement.
The Justifiers Cosm:
Axioms: Magic 6, Social 20, Spiritual 5, and Technology 28.
Reconnection: Use the difficulty numbers for the Cyberpapacy
Physically, the cosm is a universe similar to earth’s, albeit with a human-dominated interstellar civilization centered on Tellus, home of Tellus Transmat Specialities Incorporated. There are some eighty settled worlds and many colonies in the local galaxy.
Habitable worlds are absurdly common in the Justifiers cosm due to the activities of an elder galactic race known simply as the Ancients. They – driven by their own telepathic powers, which made a population of 20,000 per world far too mentally “noisy” to stand – first tried seedships and then indulged in huge “planetforming” projects. Even at Technology Level 31 they couldn’t reshape enough planets. They went to war, and fought until one world developed, and used, an “ultimate weapon” – a psionic amplifier powerful enough to blanket the galaxy with an irresistible telepathic command to “Die”. Automatic defenses struck back too late; the Ancients went extinct in a single day.
They left behind many thousands of habitable worlds – each stocked with whatever selection of species had caught the local engineers fancy. Over time, the cosms technology axiom (the maximum possible local level of technology) drifted downwards a bit – but the social axiom has gone up to where even powerful telepaths can stand each other. Fortunately, the mental command was attuned to technical minds, and didn’t affect primitive races. The spirit and magic axioms may very from world to world by up to +/- 3.
The Justifiers cosm has no governments, the worlds are owned and run by (sometimes violently) competing mega-corporations. Stockholders and corporate managers must be human, they are the upper class citizens. Human corporate employees are middle class citizens, those involved in independent (usually small) businesses are lower class citizens. Noncitizens have limited legal rights, they include “free” betas, indigents, and local aborigines. Prebuyback betas (who haven’t paid back the vast “debt” the corporations claim they owe for their creation and education), indentured aborigines, and “alphas” (bioengineered animals, sentient but nonhumanoid), are property. Children of humans and betas are considered betas. If either parent of a child is owned by a corp, the child is also. Even free betas can’t own stock or join the Galactic Workers Alliance (the galactic union). Betas only got these limited “rights” because of union pressure; the GWA (quite correctly) viewed their introduction as a major threat.
The Law of Robotics states that: “Complex robotic systems quickly become undependable and often hostile, unless directly supervised”. Due to this, the cosm uses no robotics beyond simple industrial units.
The Law of Economy states that: “The more the local tech level surpasses the tech level of the item being manufactured, the cheaper and more reliable the item becomes”. This is one reason why many commonly used items in the cosm are of lower tech levels.
The Law of Genius states that; “Only a few geniuses per generation make real advances”. Due to this law the cosms technology is very uneven, some areas have not advanced significantly in many, many, generations.
The Law of Centers states that; “The point of greatest advancement, power, etcetera, is always at the center”. This law means that the first place to introduce some- thing always has an advantage in dealing with it. In game terms, the origin point offers a +2 on whichever axiom level governs whatever-it-is (which is why aboriginal magic is almost always confined to their homeworlds).
Justifiers Special Technologies:
Transmat Technology: Matter transmitters have major drawbacks, to avoid “overlapping” existing matter (and causing explosions) requires complex receivers or lots of vacuum. The transmission wave travels at “only” twelve times the speed of light, although the trip seems instantaneous to users. The power needed, maximum range, and maximum volume expand in quantum steps. A T-1 field is a laboratory toy, a T-2 suffices for planetary links, and a T-3 can send up to 27,643 cubic feet 6.27 light years. Such fields are used to “blind beam” small reentry shuttles to low orbits around remotely detected worlds, the crews then survey, “prove”, and erect a station on it. If enough crews fail, the world is presumed too hostile. Trans-mat technology is “only” tech (25 + T-Rating), but the central components are incredibly expensive to produce at tech 28. Due to the Law of Centers, Tellus Transmat Specialities Incorporated has been able to keep control of transmat technology.
Cybertech: While the Justifiers realm has excellent cybertechnology it is rarely used. It just isn’t cost efficient compared to bioengineering – unless time is short or the complex gear used to induce regeneration is unavailable. Planetary survey teams usually have a small stock of cyber-prosthetics along. Unsupported, with limited cargo space and minimal personnel, survey teams cannot afford crippled personnel or regeneration gear, making cybertech cost effective. Such “generic” cyberware is designed to replace the natural abilities of many bioengineered types, and thus gives most users “new” abilities. For this reason it is often retained afterwards but, as all officially necessary abilities are already bioengineered in, the cost of the unit is added to the recipients debt. Note that at tech 27 Neuracal and jacks are replaced by inductive pickups.
Betas and Survey Crews:
Exploring planets is dangerous, so much so that union survey crews became overly expensive, at least to corporate managers. The Alpha- and Beta- class constructs were an effort to cut costs, as property, they need not be paid, only trained. The GWA forced a compromise, now alphas can only hold a few jobs and betas owe only their “buyback” to a Corp for creating them, “paying it off” sets them free. Most betas accept their lot even with vastly inflated buybacks as the corps run the schools.
“Normal” betas have attribute totals of 1D6+59, 12 skill adds, 0-3 innate abilities or natural tools, and limit values which vary by up to three from human norms. This total includes their genegenineered bonuses. They may have cyberware, but rarely have very much of it. As no darkness device is involved, and the technology is more sophisticated then the cyberpapacys in any case, they do not suffer from cyberpsychosis. Possibility-rated betas have base attribute totals of 66, plus any engineered bonuses. While “rated” betas are rare, planet proving is very dangerous, it’s not too uncommon to find two or three possiblity-rated characters in a single crew.
Standard Basic Gear: (1 set per Crewman and two spare sets): Survival pack, thermos, backpack, issue uniforms (3), binoculars, mess kit, chronometer, mess kit, medical pack, antiradiation uniform liners (For use on Auron), medium pistol, stopper, assault rifle, and ammunition. Various personal items are usually added to this list.
Supplemental Scout/Security Gear (1 set per scout or security crewmember plus one spare, 5 total); Tactical scanner, carbide armor, laser pistol, and laser rifle.
Gear for other specialities: Other specialists have whatever is appropriate (usually various scientific instruments or tools) but the supplies include an assortment of underwater, climbing, and camping gear.
Justifier Items and TORG Equivalent Items:
Stopper: Treat as an adjustable taser.
Various Pistols: Pick equivalents as desired.
Assault Rifle: Use M16 ranges, base damage value 21, 30 shot magazine, tech 23.
Laser Cannon: GWI Godsfire, Cyberpapacy Pg 111-16
Cargo Handlers: Exoskeletons, Str +8, Tou +4, Dex -4, Chr -6, Per -2. Large and clumsy but useful for heavy work.
Carbide Armor: GWI Destroyer armor with no fatigue penalty, tech 27.
Laser Pistol: GWI Godlight
Laser Rifle: GWI Godbeam
Tactical Scan: Helmet unit, IR/UV/Radar pickups and display, +4 to weapons skills and obvious tactical advantages. Also includes scrambled communications, map displays, sensory protection, and navigation gear. Tech 27.
The Survey Shuttle is the biggest and most expensive piece of equipment a survey crew has (of which they are well aware, as they’re liable for damages). They are 18″ tall, 24″ wide, and 70″ long, and has a volume of 27,600 cubic feet – nearly at the limit of the T-3 transmat field. Before landing, it automatically launches basketball-sized communications and weather satellites. The shuttle is a lifting body with fairly minimal drives, it can make orbital surveys and reenter, but cannot relaunch. For durability and easy maintenance the design was kept as simple as possible; the computers, instruments, drive, and microfusion reactor are tech 24, but most systems are tech 23 or less. The equipment is another matter, much of the medical, scientific, technical, and combat gear has tech levels of up to 27. The main cargo bays contain portable science and vehicle / tool buildings, modular vehicles (ATV car, hovercraft, helicopter, ATV truck or a submersible), assorted processing, power, and fabrication units, plus miscellaneous gear. The setup is compact but complete, intended to build everything except the core components of a transmat station from local resources while still supporting investigation, exploration, defense, and contact work. The equipment includes food and water (with recycling) for 90 to 120 days, after which the survey teams needs must be met from local sources (the corporations regard this as a reasonable test of a worlds ability to support a colony; if it leads to a few teams starving to death, oh well).
Exactly how a shuttle and it’s crew will get to earth is up to the game master. Possible methods include something exotic happening to the transmitter, peculiar planetary energy discharges, some piece of Ancient technology, and someone’s souvenir being an eternity shard. However it arrived, the local area will probably have it’s tech axiom “bent” to 24, just enough to work the microfusion reactor (judging from the conflicting reports of “Cold Fusion” such devices are just over earth’s axiom boundary). It could become involved in a number of ways if the game master wishes, after all, it does have the most sophisticated medical, scientific, and technical facilities on earth – as well as a considerable arsenal which includes some tech 27 tactical nuclear “grenades” and the core components of a transmat station. Getting the crew’s cooperation is tricky, but they can easily make that vital component, analyze that mysterious slime, or design that gadget. However, with their background, they’ll probably want to be paid well, possibly in the form of assistance in obtaining US citizenship. Optionally the shuttle may be a hardpoint of it’s home reality, in this case it will generate a dominant zone of Justifiers reality in a one-kilometer radius and create a pure zone in a 25 meter radius. This would be convenient for, if puzzling to, the crew. Besides… just maybe you can transmat between cosms if there’s a link open between them. If the transmitter could be set up, this could be a useful “back door” to the invading cosms, at least if you can overcome the small problem of arriving above the atmosphere.