The World: Two centuries into the future and the world is a very different place. Perhaps most significantly, animals (from aardvark to zebra, excluding humans) have been eradicated. The oceans have been terraformed into specially engineered algae that, when combined with artificial flavors, has replaced food. The continents are supposedly all covered in cities. Cities are isolated and strictly self-contained. Media is also controlled and localized. Renewable energy has taken over the fuel industry. Near-catastrophic weather has indeed become more frequent. Entertainment facilities, parks, and other leisure locations have mostly been subsumed into expansive VR spaces. There seems to be less war than ever before, but terrorism remains a constant threat. Most people live in a relatively pacified state. Currencies have evaporated. The job market has evacuated. Common folk mostly keep to themselves or their local tribes, delve deep into a virtual existence, or spend their time pursuing some self-taught expertise. Households with more than one child are a rarity.
The Initial Setting: Mojave is a sprawling metropolis that has taken over the once desert land. The city has much in relation with neighboring Las Vegas as well as with the Old West. With most people absorbed in their own sub-realities, Mojave has almost no law enforcement. Local VR sectors are known for their adult content, flashy neon lights, and simulated violence. Several criminal organizations tend to hunker down in Mojave. A few of them cause chaos for the common folk, but the majority value the freely offered public ignorance. There are a few sections of the city outskirts that are believed to be ghost towns – where the power has gone out and one is likely to either see a dead person or become a dead person. Two major powers interact in the city: Corporates and Polyhistors.
Corporates: In the absence of traditional currency, and despite access to vast virtual realities, Corporates have risen as people who still have an unquenchable thirst for control and power. Corporates come in all sorts – charismatic leaders, eccentric geniuses, total sociopaths, etc. All Corporates are known to ascribe their own values to the world – in some ways achieving independent financial systems in the way they treat everything as commodities. Corporates are the authorities running Mojave, and perhaps even the world. They are also the powers behind most black-market activity. Corporates also have the most access to cutting edge technologies – cybernetics, genetic modifications, laser weapons, etc.
Polyhistors: Polyhistors are something else entirely. With the world entering an unprecedented state of order, Polyhistors have surfaced as arcane forces of true chaos. Their rites and rituals are guarded secrets. What is known is that they have tapped into dangerous interactions between dimensions. Some of them allow extradimensional “demons” into our world, others seize mystical powers from these other places, and still others do a bit of both through pacts with beings too immense to simply enter our world.
Player Characters: Most characters will be affected by the titular “Totemic Resonance.” With animals eradicated from the planet, their essences or souls or what have you have taken up residence in people, anything from the mighty lion to the lowly dung beetle. These mergers result in extraordinary spiritual abilities (the senses of a wolf, the floating of a butterfly, the stinging of the bee, etc.). The phenomenon is not fully comprehensible. Physical manifestations of animal traits are exceptionally rare. Instead, humans have these innate enhancements or unusual features despite the lack of physiological change.
Character Specifics: Most players will play as a totemic host. You will choose your animal and gain a small selection of special abilities from that animal. This can go one of two ways as people prefer: (1) you choose your animal and desired abilities subject to approval or (2) you choose your animal and I peep around the internet for interesting things about the animal and apply them. In either case, there should be room for both practical and unusual traits. Since people also spend much of their time in isolation, each character is welcome to have a singular expertise…anything from kung fu to musical theatre is welcome. Information from the previous sections is also relevant here and results in some character limitations (in the beginning) as follows:
(1) Animalistic physical features (fangs, a tail, wings, etc.) are exceptionally rare. Only one player will be encouraged to start with such a feature.
(2) Households with more than one child are a rarity. Only one player will be encouraged to start with one or more siblings. It is not impossible that any sibling(s) would become relevant NPCs. Most likely I would use a die roll to determine their power and role in relation to their sibling character.
(3) Like #2, cloning does exist in this world, though it mostly occurs via Corporate black markets. Only one player will be encouraged to start as a clone. However, a clone will be unable to manifest totemic powers or any other powers initially. But, as in the case with a sibling, there is a possibility that their original would be an NPC.
(4) Only one player will be encouraged to have a sort of Corporate washout background. That character can thereby be an android, cyborg, genetically modified human, hi-tech soldier, etc. It will be possible, or even likely, characters may gain more sci-fi type modifications in game.
(5) Only one player will be encouraged to have a sort of Polyhistor washout background. That character can thereby be a sort of mage, summoner, warlock, etc. It will be possible, or even likely, characters may gain more fantasy type modifications in game.
(6) Only one player will be encouraged to be a sort of electronic ghost. These come in two forms, though one is more accessible than the other. A “false” electronic ghost is the more doable: an individual who has erased themselves or otherwise been erased from relevant databases and likely a character who will often have advantages via hacking. A “true” electronic ghost is more challenging: an individual who lacks a physical form and exists only in VR, and so at times may only be able to exist as a voice in the head of another character (so to speak) through technology.
The Initial Plot: There will be a typical call to arms that will bring together the ragtag starting group and probably someone will die. It will be a scenario by which Mojave is threatened and the characters are summoned to classically save the day. However, situations will also pit the characters between the Corporates and the Polyhistors early on and subsequent decisions will have potentially major implications to the direction of the story. I have no real limitations from there. The group may pursue personal threads of importance, be stuck in conflict with one or both groups, or try to escape Mojave and explore the world at large, or none/all of that.
General: This is something I had a very basic idea for. I gathered some ideas from Discord and tried to incorporate them here to varying degrees (thank all you rudely unnamed folks!). The cyberpunk crime thriller especially fit. A splash of murder mystery will likely kick the story off but not so explicitly. Used a bit of a Western setting. Musical, kung fu character options. And the common folk will be operating as zombies (in a sense) whereas the characters have sort of “awakened” and end up pit between typical humans (greedy bastards vying for control or anarchy, etc.). I am opening this up in a workshop phase because I want it to be something that works for a core group of players starting out. I can move this slowly or quickly to IC so it depends on crowd interest. I do not offer as much in terms of fancy graphics or fancy post texts, mostly because those things don't appeal to me personally, but hopefully this gets the point across in an appealing enough way. Let me know if you are interested, have ideas, or have questions!
Name: (what people call you)
Character Specifics: (related to above)
Important Blurb: (1 short paragraph that gives everyone a good idea of where your character is at in life right now)
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