A Guide To The Kazei 5 Universe

Basic Concepts: It is a dark future, where the world is rife with rampant corruption, greed, and little to no ethical and moral restraint. Humans have begun to alter themselves, using a mixture of technology and biological manipulation. Replicated life forms are common as well, ranging from food animals to people. Finally, there is a new form of human, the esper, who can manipulate vast telekinetic forces.

    1. United North America. The UNA is the largest political body in North America. It is also the largest agricultural producer (mainly of grain [corn, wheat, and so on] products) and has quite a bit of manufacturing (computers, vehicles, heavy machinery, and so on). Most of the population lives on the east coast, in a long interconnected "city-sprawl" from roughly Baltimore to Boston. The rest is centered on Chicago and the Great Lakes area. The nation's capital is Toronto.
      1. USA and Canada combined. After the Second Civil War, what was left of the US and Canada joined to form a new nation - United North America. The decision to do so was heavily based on economic needs, as what was left of the United States had a great deal of technological infrastructure, while Canada had the agriculture. It also helped that each was the other's foremost trading partner in pre-conflict days. Unification seemed the best solution to the rather bleak prospect of continued balkanization of the two nations.
      2. North and South Dakota are just "Dakota," while West Virginia has rejoined Virginia. When the two nations joined together, there was quite a bit of reorganization to be had. The Dakota's had sealed their borders during the war, and afterwards decided to remain as a single entity. West Virginia rejoined it parent state in an effort to consolidate economies.
      3. The separation between UNA and the CAS starts at the southern border of Virginia. Unlike the previous Civil War, Virginia sided with "the North" this time around, mainly due to the presence of such Federal installations as the Pentagon, Quantico Marine Base, and the Norfolk Naval base (not to mention how Arlington and Washington DC are rather closely connected). Thus, the UNA ends at the southern end of Virginia, while the Confederated States of America start with the unified nation-state of Carolina.
      4. Government uses a multiple-party system (3-5 parties). Gone is the old two-party system, replaced by a multiple party system (Republican, Democrat, Green, Labor, Socialist, what have you). Voting is a bit different, with the "winner take all" system replaced by multiple choice and "none of the above" ballots. Of course, while this allows for better voter representation, there still is the matter of the multinationals and their rather undue influence on how corporate people vote.
      5. Military is a single, combined force. There is no separate Army, Navy, Air Force, and so on. The UNA military is far smaller as well. It no longer has bases scattered all over the globe. These relics of the Cold War have mostly been abandoned or taken over by the hosting countries. There still may be some foreign bases, but they are significantly smaller than they used to be. On the other hand, relations between the UNA, UK, and Australia are still fairly strong, and military cross-training and joint operations are common.
      6. The UNA should be a mix of the best and the worst the world has to offer. On one hand you have tall, shining arcologies, filled with people, goods, services, and so on. But the UNA also has its Zero Law Enforcement Zones, areas that have been sealed off and left to exist in a state of anarchy. Even outside of these Zones, slums are common, and "combat zones" are a fact of life in many major cities. Walled/gated communities are scattered all over, especially in the "rich" parts of the nation (i.e. imagine someone sealing off most of Potomac from the rest of Maryland), complete with their own security forces. The nation (and the rest of the world) is sharply divided into the haves and the have-nots. There is no real "middle-class," although the legions of corporate drones and paper-pushers sort of fill this niche. Interestingly, the prevalence of high-technology allows even the poorest people access to home electronics far beyond what we have today.
    2. Confederated American States. The CAS is an attempt to fix many of the perceived problems that led up to the Second Civil War. Mostly concerned with agriculture (of all sorts, from farming to aquaculture), the CAS has some manufacturing as well as gas and oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The population is centered around Atlanta, Mobile, and Raleigh. The nation's capital is Atlanta.
      1. The CAS is a loose confederation of nation-states with strong state governments and few to little "federal" laws. The weak national government is mainly concerned with the common defense (i.e. the military) and foreign relations. Laws can and do change from nation-state to nation-state, and certain items, such as firearms or simsense chips may be legal in one state and illegal in the next.
      2. As part of the reunification process, North and South Carolina merged to form the new nation-state of "Carolina."
      3. Unlike the UNA, the CAS does not have Zero Zones, instead it tends to involuntarily induct criminals, vagrants, runaways, and the like into the military, specifically the infantry. Voluntary members of the military are given preferred treatment, and a choice of assignments (and military service may be mandatory for all males/citizens). Involuntary members serve out their sentences doing most of the "grunt" (no pun intended) work. Naturally, survival expectations aren't the best, but it's cheaper than simply sticking people into prison.
      4. The CAS shouldn't become some sort of stand in for the stereotypical "Old South." In other words, replicants shouldn't replace blacks and other minorities as the target of racism, Confederate battle flags shouldn't be flying everywhere, and people in the CAS shouldn't automatically hate "damn Yankees." Of course, the CAS may feel they represent what is left of the "true" American spirit and have a fierce independent streak (emphasized by the fact each state is a semi-independent entity). The CAS should have a somewhat different feel than the UNA, mainly that things are a bit slower and less fast-paced. But then, more of the CAS is rural and devoted to personal farming, unlike the giant factory farms of the North.
    3. Republic of Texas. Don't mess with Texas. This motto still stands. While not a major player in the Second Civil War, Texas tended to side with its neighbors (who now make up the CAS). However, after the War, Texas decided it had had enough, and split away from the nascent nation to become its own separate entity. The nation's capital is Houston.
      1. Texas and Oklahoma combined. In an effort to bolster their resources, Texas and Oklahoma have joined to become the Republic of Texas.
      2. Oil-producing nation (although oil is not the commodity it once was). The Republic of Texas is one of the major sources of oil in North America. While no longer as heavily in demand as it once was, oil is still a prime component in the plastic industry and is still used for various forms of fuel. Texas guards its fuel supplies carefully, both on land and at sea (in the form of drilling platforms).
      3. Heavy security along the border with Mexico. Border patrol has a lot of long-range semiautonomous cyberdroid units. Said units are known to use "recon by fire" when investigating possible illegal immigration. Such immigration is a problem for Texas, as Mexico has become a chaotic mess ruled by cartels and warlords.
      4. The Republic of Texas should bring to mind the Old West. People carry firearms openly and there is a strong sense of national pride and independence. Here is it highly likely that government/military service will be mandatory for everyone (2-4 year stint, starts at age 18). Texas is also somewhat insular, and feels it doesn't need the rest of the North America as much as they need it. One return to the old days is the presence of cattle. Huge herds of genetically altered beef cattle and buffalo roam all over huge ranches, tended by cowboys running remote drones and the like.
    4. Kingdom of Latter-Day Saints. A theological nation, the Kingdom serves to divide what was once the United States in half, with the east belonging to the UNA, while the west is mostly the Bear Flag Republic. The nation's capital is Salt Lake City.
      1. Mormon nation. The Kingdom is home to virtually all of the Mormons in North America, although scattered communities and missonaries are found all over North America (and the rest of the world). Salt Lake City has become a form of Mecca for Mormons, with many making the trip to visit the center of their faith each year.
      2. Consists of Utah, Nevada, and portions of Arizona and Idaho. Utah split from the rest of the United States early on, encouraged by the California independence movement. It was quick to absorb the Mormon-dominated southern half of Idaho and ended up dividing Nevada with the Bear Flag Republic. In an effort to gain an open-water port, it traded an agreement of non-interference with the people of Arizona for access to Baja California. This "non-interference" has slowly been eroded as the years pass and more Mormons settle in these regions.
      3. Single party system dominated by Mormon theology, non-Mormons are secondary citizens. Only Mormons can hold office in the Kingdom (which is not run by a king, BTW). Non-Mormons can serve in the military and law enforcement, but are limited as to rank and responsibility. While non-Mormons don't need to tithe, they also don't get some of the benefits Mormons do.
      4. The Kingdom should be a cross between high-technology and religious restrictions. Odds are replicants, cyberware, and cyborgs would not be welcome here, while espers are still an unknown quantity. Going to the Kingdom is not something people should want to do, although they may have to do it for some reason. The Kingdom shouldn't be represented as a "backwards" nation, just one with a very different outlook on what is important in life.
    5. Bear Flag Republic. California, wracked by riots, violence, and the destruction of LA, split from the old USA first. The idea was to seal their borders and "look after their own." Of course, the fact that California has always been a bit off with regards to the rest of the States didn't hurt matter either. The nation's capital is Sacramento (they just converted all of the state government buildings to national government buildings).
      1. The Bear Flag Republic consists of California, Nevada, and Baja California. Area 51 is in the hands of the Republic. The Baja is only nominally under the Republic's control, but then, it's only used to get to the spaceport (at least, for now).
      2. Politically, the Republic has to deal with the fallout of being the home of all the "fruits and nuts" the USA had to offer. Now, everyone and anyone has a cause and a political party to go with it (think Shadowrun policlubs). Elections in the Republic are always entertaining, although San Francisco's have mellowed a bit since the Japanese started to move in and make their financial influence known.
      3. The Republic is supported economically by Japan. San Francisco is heavily "colonized" by Japanese corporations and other multinationals. Japan's intent was to invest in the Silicon Valley infrastructure and so far it's worked. The Republic is second only to Japan for the amount and variety of cyberware work done.
      4. Early on, before the Second Civil War actually started, Los Angeles was hit by a homemade nuclear weapon. Although fairly low yield, it was still sufficient to devastate much of downtown LA. Afterwards, firestorms, riots, (earthquake?) and the like made it fairly impossible to restore order. Even today, downtown LA is still a wasteland (crater ala Akira?).
      5. There is a spaceport on the southern tip of Baja California. It is accessed by a high-speed monorail system, which is heavily guarded against tampering or sabotage. The port is heavily guarded as well, as it launches shuttles and satellites for itself, the Kingdom, Texas, and Nunavut. As with Texas, cyberdriods are used as guards.
      6. The Bear Flag Republic should be almost a cyberpunk fantasy land, with cyborgs, genetic upgrades, cyberware, and replicated humans everywhere. Cosmetic surgery is the name of the game, with self-improvement almost a mania. Replicants enjoy the most freedom here of anywhere in North America and the Republic may go the way of Australia, making replicants legal citizens. The northern half of the Republic, specifically the Bay area, is showing a strong Japanese influence (with some Chinese as well, especially in and around SF's Chinatown [of course]). The southern half is dominated by Hispanics, leading some to state the Republic may divide in two some time in the near future.
    6. Republic of Quebec. Quebec resurrected their separatist movement with the creation of Nunavut. This was not without violence, and bombings of government buildings and police offices occurred. The nation's capital is Monteral.
      1. The Republic of Quebec consists of the former province of Quebec. It has access to shipped and trade via the St. Lawrence seaway.
      2. Quebec bears a strong resemblance to the Kingdom in that a certain segment of the population (in this case; non-French-speakers) are treated as secondary citizens. In addition, Quebec is known for an almost xenophobic border patrol. The attempt seems to be to build a "pure" French-Canadian state by eliminating unwanted outside influences.
      3. Quebec should be an unfriendly place, unless you speak French. And even then, unless your French is fairly flawless, you will be looked down upon for not being able to speak the language properly. It's not a police state, but outsiders are looked upon with suspicion.
    7. Nunavut. Nunavut (the name means "our land" or "our homeland") was handed over to Native American control in the final days of the 20th Century. Since that time, the "nation" has grown in size to encompass virtually all of North America's Arctic region. The nation's capital is located in Yellowknife.
      1. Nunavut consists of modern-day Nunavut, as well as the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Alaska. Many city and place names have been changed to better represent the Inuk/Inuit heritage and beliefs.
      2. Although independent, Nunavut is still a client state of United North America. They engage in heavy trade (the UNA is Nunavut's largest trading partner), tourism, use the same currency, and the like. As Nunavut doesn't have a true standing military, they are under the umbrella of the UNA.
      3. Nunavut's prime wealth is in its extensive natural resources. Timber, oil, gold, and so on just scratch the surface. Naturally, this means a lot of multinationals have moved in, or tried to move in. The natives, having grown used to manipulation by the government and corporations, are far more demanding in their requirements from a multination before they grant drilling and mining rights. Naturally, most multinationals try to subvert or work around any agreements they sign.
      4. Nunavut is under the control of various native (Inuit/Inuk) tribes. It uses a council form of government in which representatives are either appointed, selected, or voted in.
      5. e. Nunavut should seem "out of place" with regards to the rest of the world. People there tend not to have cyberware, no one sees cyborgs, and there are few to no replicants. Most people live off of or close to the land, and don't see the need for more than that. Of course, modern tech can and does pop up. Homes will have tri-vid, holograms, and simsense, and hunters may have smart goggles linked up to their rifles (not to mention a wireless communication/GPS link). And, of course, hydrogen fuel cells and the like for home and vehicle use.
    1. Europe
      1. Europe is dominated by the EU, or the European Union (Or, EC, "European Community"). It controls trade between members (allowing for a free exchange of goods, services, people, and currency) and internationally. The EU keeps things flowing economically, but doesn't have any say over political matters. The EU is also behind the trend to increase integration between the member nations. This will hopefully prevent an economic collapse, and keep corporate influence down, but at the cost of slower growth (and corporate interference in affairs).
      2. Scandinavia has "the Hanse" (from the 14th Century Hanseatic League). Made up of Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. Taxes and tariffs are higher than in the EU, with fewer multinationals. However, the general population is hard-working and well-educated, and there is a great deal of political stability, making it an attractive industrial base.
      3. Germany, France, United Kingdom are the three big nations. For the most part, Germany is known for heavy industry, such as vehicles, aircraft, cyberdroids, robots, and the like. France is more luxury driven, with fashion, simsense, food, and the like high on its list of exports. The UK produces a mix of materials, with no set line of goods (although I can see some mechanical industry - like cars). Italy may still make fast sports cars, firearms, and the like. Germany strikes me as a good place to find labor mecha.
      4. As one heads east, Europe becomes less and less advanced. This is most notable in the former Soviet Union/ Commonwealth of Independent States, which is still struggling to adapt to the modern era. This is hampered by the constant fighting to the Far East, especially along the border with China and Mongolia. Borders may have been further re-drawn, and political and religious uprisings are common.
      5. Europe should present a strong mix of the very old and the very new. Much like the here-and-now, but even more contrasting as French designers present the latest fashions via holographic images while working in and around buildings that may date from the mid-1700s (and so on). Chrome may be fashionable, especially modified eyes and the like. The French still look down on those who use skillsofts to speak the language. Germany is probably even more technologically driven, with a lot of basic I/O cyberware in use.
    2. The Middle East
      1. Iran, Iraq, and Syria fought over the remaining oil reserves, with some "help" from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Losses were extreme and little to no territory was exchanged (or what was gained didn't make much difference).
      2. Israel has been overrun. Tel Aviv was hit by a nuclear device at some point during the 3rd World War. With the US no longer in the picture (due to its own Civil War), Iraq, Syria, and Jordan formed an alliance to crush Israel (backed by other Middle Eastern nations). Of course, Israel, no fool as to what was in the works, fought bitterly to defend their lands. Interestingly, Egypt sided with Israel, up until the nuke hit. Now, Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon are wasteland, with some nuclear strike zones. Note: Israel may have launched nukes first, hitting at any number of targets near them (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq...).
      3. Oil-producing nations have found that oil isn't in demand as much any more. Bad news for the economy of these nations. The rise of fusion power, hydrogen fuel cells, cold fusion, hybrid cars, and electric cars has resulted in a reduced need for oil, specifically fuel oil. While oil is still in great demand for plastics and the like, it is not the pivotal product it once was.
      4. The Saudi peninsula (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, et al) is no longer divided into countries per se. The borders were nebulous in the best of times, and now? No one really cares as the nations exist mostly on paper.
    3. Asia
      1. China: China has Balkanized into multiple warring states. Both China and portions of the old Soviet Union/Russia/Siberia seem to be in constant turmoil with sporadic fighting all through the area. Warlords and militias are in charge in most areas. While Africa has at least the veneer of corporate influence, China is mostly in anarchy. Of course, China is huge and this is not constant across the entire nation. Tibet, for example, is free again, but Iran and Pakistan have given China trouble in the past and tried to exploit the break-up. It is possible the multinationals have made their influence known, contracting with dictators to set up factories and the like using virtual slave labor to produce enormous quantities of cheap goods (much like today...). The multinationals may have created true corporate-towns and states, where the company is the law. Thus, people are brought up to be loyal company citizens and know of no other life. This also means the company doesn't need to pay them, just supply them with the basics (food, shelter, health care).
      2. Hong Kong: Commerce capital of the Pacific Rim. While Japan may make the products, Hong Kong is where all the dealing is done (especially shady deals). An independent city-state (the same as Singapore), Hong Kong tends to be the middle man between Asia and the rest of the world. Its stock market is second to the Tokyo stock exchange and its banks deal with most of Southeast Asia. Some manufacturing (chips, 'ware, and the like), and a lot of entertainment material (especially simsense).
      3. India: Fighting between the Muslims and the Hindu have divided the country into multiple nations. Constant border scuffles with each other, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and what's left of China.
      4. Indonesia: The new "China" in regards to manufacturing. Known for making knock-offs of damn near anything, usually of dubious quality. Also a favored place for techno-pirates trading in stolen sound, video, and software. Although a Muslin country, it hasn't stopped them from trying to make money any way possible.
      5. Japan: The technological jewel of the Pacific Rim. Japan is where one finds the cutting edge cyberware, cyberdecks, and most electronics. Tokyo has become "Mega-Tokyo," mainly due to the sheer size of the city and the fact it has spread out into the bay on artificial islands. If Neo York looks like the Los Angeles of Blade Runner, then Mega-Tokyo is right out of Akira and Bubblegum Crisis. Japan is notable for technological development, especially in the cyber- fields. Borrowing from Neuromancer, Chiba may be a major center for medical work, as well as designer eyes and the like. Mega-Tokyo is where some of the world's largest multinationals call home, such as Jinsei and Gunkoku. If Hong Kong is where you go for the shady and black/gray market deals, Mega-Tokyo is where the big players do their "biz."
      6. Korea: North and South Korea have recombined to form "Korea" after North Korea attempted to invade South Korea. North Korea was defeated by a combination of South Korean, American, and Japanese forces. Northern Korea is still recovering from Communist rule and parts of it are still wasted from the Communist misrule. The northern border with China is heavily defended (or not) to keep out refugees, but more importantly, bandits, militia units, and would-be warlords looking to increase their territories (or found new ones).
      7. Singapore: Another nation state, and much smaller than Hong Kong. Singapore attracts companies who want to locate a legitimate front office but not much else. It is also known as a secure data haven for those who need to keep their intel secure from just about anything.
      8. Vietnam: Although hemmed in by poor nations (Cambodia for example), Vietnam is trying to become a technological player in the economic game of the Pacific Rim.
    4. Oceania
      1. Australia: An economic cornerstone of Southeast Asia. Melbourne and Sydney are popular locations for multinational arcologies. Australia is almost unique in that it allows free replicated humans. They are considered citizens of Australia. However, this also means they must be paid a wage, and that wage can be taxed (this it is not the enlightened law it sounds to be). The Outback of Australia is not as well patrolled as many would like, and a lot of criminals, malcontents, refugees, and illegal immigrants have drifted out there. Violence against travelers is not unknown, as is hijackings, home-invasions, and the like. The Outback is patrolled by the Mobile Police Force, who are authorized to use what means required to stop such events.
    5. Latin America
      1. Mexico: Mexico suffers from a poor economy as well as a weak government (not much of a change, really). In an effort to buoy up the economy, they have allowed multinationals to dictate policy, and in effect has become a "puppet-state" of the mulitnationals. This has led to a backlash against the multinationals, and terrorist/rebel strikes are common against corporate installations and people. To make matters works, large scale organized crime controls much of the outlying areas to the point they are the defacto government and run the economy.
      2. Rest of Latin America: Still poor to an extent. As with Africa, the death toll in Latin America has been enormous. With no one watching, government death squads and rebels have felt free to wage total war against each other, with helpless locals caught in the middle. To make matters worse, some of the nations are so poor they have become totally dependent on a multinational's presence. The company has so heavily invested in the country's resources that it has, in effect, "purchased" the country. The puppet governments are under total control of the multinationals, creating secure data and asset havens away from unwanted prying eyes.
    6. South America
      1. Brazil: Brazil is probably the industrial leader of South America. This may not be saying much, to be sure, but they certainly have the lead in technological innovation and the like. They have a space port and are making advances into the world market.
      2. Rest of South America: Argentina is close behind Brazil in development - they invaded Chile in order to gain more resources. In Peru and Columbia, the Cocaine Cartels have taken over, becoming the government. Cocaine is now a legal export. Granted, this doesn't make it a legal import everywhere, but it has become the SA equivalent of hashish in the Netherlands. People still try and smuggle coke into North America. Rest assured, at the very least, Texas and the CAS pull no punches when dealing with cartel smugglers and use the military to eliminate smugglers coming by air, land, or water. Venezuela is much like Mexico. Spaceport in what was once French Guiana.
    7. Africa
      1. Africa is a wreck. It is also deserted, at least from a modern viewpoint. The continent has become the new "battleground" for the multinationals, who see a chance to exploit what is left, maximizing profits by not having to deal with government regulations.
      2. The primary reason Africa is a wasteland is AIDS. In the late 20th Century, Aid infected (and continues to infect) large portions of the population. As many as 35-45% of the continent's population is stricken with the virus, with some areas having an infection rate of 80-90%. Millions have died from the disease, mainly because of a total lack of outside aid and/or interest. Even now, people suffer from Aids, although their numbers are dwindling as they die off and protective measures become more commonplace.
      3. A secondary reason for Africa's devastation is famine. Whole sections of Africa, specifically northeastern Africa, suffer from drought. As with the AIDS crisis, minimal international relief has resulted in almost unimaginable death rates. Even worse, withholding food has become a weapon of war, with some warlords, tribes, and nations deliberately destroying food supplies and production areas in order to starve an enemy into submission.
      4. A third reason is genocide. In the struggle to control minimal resources, so-called "tribal warfare" has turned into outright genocide. Entire tribes and nations have been destroyed as different groups jockey for power and control. Mass graves are a common sight in some parts of the continent, and in many places, no one ever bothered to bury the bodies. Naturally, this has led to an increase in scavengers (such as hyenas and vultures).
      5. Colonization by Corporations. The Multinationals have moved into Africa, forming "company towns" where everything is under company control. As the multinationals offer the only pay, food, healthcare, and so on in the region, people flock to them regardless of the working conditions. In some areas, the multinationals are the only thing close to a government to be had, and, in fact are the government. One side effect of all this has been the development of multinational "autonomous" regions, where the multinational is fairly free to do as it pleases. This has also led to armed conflict between multinationals, and Africa is a hotbed of corporate espionage, sabotage, theft, extractions, and out-and-out shooting wars.
      6. Africa should be presented as a war-torn wasteland. Even worse so than China. These is little positive to see there, with the possible exception of South Africa, Kenya, and the like. For the most part, Africa has regressed into a tribal state, with people living off the land as they did in the past. Conservation has become a polite joke, and massive extinction is possible as greedy hunters slaughter lions, elephants, and rhinos (among others).
  3. SPACE
    1. Moon Base
      1. The Moon Base is a multinational endeavor, sponsored by a corporate consortium. It is dug out of the lunar soil, with most it comprised of tunnels connecting a scattering of domes. The base was originally dug out by pre-programmed cyberdroids. The 'droids laid the initial ground work, allowing the people who followed to simply put the domes in place and get started on making it livable. The lunar base is primarily concerned with research and development of low-gravity technologies for further space exploration and expansion. It also serves as a way-station and control center for the various space stations in Earth orbit. Note - if/when man goes to Mars, the ship will launch from the moon.
      2. The original lunar lander (Apollo 11) [or any lunar lander], if found, has been marked as a historical site.
    2. Space Stations
      1. Man has expanded into space a fairly fast rate. There are scattered L5 colonies with more planned. Space tourism drives a lot of the economy, as well as the need for a working infrastructure. The multinationals have been quick to realize that having a corporate office in space means you have an extremely secure data center. The only problem is the cost of shipping things up into orbit, but as the infrastructure grows, this becomes a lesser concern.
      2. Multiple manufacturing centers in orbit, as well as hotels and the like. A microgravity environment allows for the production of metals, plastics, biochemicals, and such "space age" materials as carbon fibers, nanotubes, and the like.
      3. Some corporate space stations, used for research, manufacturing, data storage, and so on. Naturally, said stations are heavily guarded and nigh impossible to crack into. The people living on them tend to be the most loyal of company men, why else spend all the money shipping them up there? Highly valued employees may get sent up into space as well, to ensure they don't defect. Holding threats against their family over their heads helps as well.
      4. Cyborgs do a lot of the work in orbit. Especially the more dangerous EVA work and the like. Injured workers have been rebuilt as cyborgs and told they can pay off their debt to the company by working up in orbit. It is dangerous and despite everyone's best efforts mistakes do happen. Remote cyberdroid drones are popular as well, with the drones piloted by an operator in a secure, shirt-sleeve environment. Synthetic humans are not common in space, except as companions and pleasure models.
    3. Mars: Possible Mars colony. If not, it is being planned. Several multinationals are looking beyond Mars to the asteroids and the idea of "corporate asteroids." Where the space station (built inside the asteroid) becomes a separate "nation" unto itself.
  4. PEOPLE: One of the central themes to the Kazei 5 setting is the question of "who is human?" When faced with genetically upgraded humans, cybernetically upgraded humans, full-conversion cyborgs, and even artificial humans built to customer specifications, one has to wonder who the "real" humans are. Is it a matter of birth? Of outlook and belief? Or is it deeper, a matter of "soul"? And what of espers? Are they human, or are they something more than human?
    1. Unmodified Human: An unmodified human is just that - a normal, everyday, biologically-sired human with no genetic or cybernetic alteration. Normal humans form the majority of the people on the planet, although this perception is often colored by where one lives. To a native Neo Yorker, for example, one gets the impression most everyone has some sort of cybernetic implant, even if it is a Direct Neural Interface jack. Of course, in places like Africa and China, one can go days or even months without seeing any sort of cybernetic augmentation. The bulk of humanity doesn't really care about any perceived "status" they may have for being unaltered. Some, however, are proud of their unaugmented bodies, and feel superior to those who must resort to scientific means to compete. Others have a more conservative viewpoint and feel that if a lack of augmentation was good enough for their forefathers, then it should be good enough of them. Others go the opposite direction, and feel inferior and insecure in the face of increased genetic and cybernetic improvements.
    2. Genetically Modified Human: A genetic upgrade is, for all intents and purposes, still a "normal" human. However, a genetic upgrade has one major difference - they've been optimized, so to speak, via science. For the most part there is no social stigma attached to upgrades, and, in fact, upgrades are in vogue among the wealthy as a way to guarantee physically and mentally superior children. Some, however, question the wisdom of genetic upgrading, and the self-esteem of anyone who feels they need to undergo the procedure (Ignoring the fact many upgrades had no choice as their parents made them submit to the procedure.). As for the upgrades themselves, there has started to develop a "pecking order," as the qualities of different upgrade packages become apparent. There is also a tendency (usually among corporate youth) for upgrades to feel somewhat superior to unaltered humans. Testing seems to show that genetic upgrades breed true (or, at least, pass along the bulk of their improved genes). This may mean that with time there will be no more "normal" humans left.
      1. Genetic Upgrades have a set template of minimum Characteristics and Powers.
    3. Cybernetically Modified Humans: In much of the industrial world, simple cybernetic augmentation has become commonplace. The most common form is a DNI jack, allowing the recipient to access various forms of datasystems. Such a jack is almost required in the corporate world, at least among the rank-and-file salarimen. Other common systems are skill interface jacks, optical augmentation (removing the need for glasses), and audio augmentation (removing the need for hearing aides). Replacement limbs are also common, especially since the typical cyberarm is just as fully functional as the original (flesh) arm. For the most part, this sort of augmentation is seen as normal, and even expected. There is almost no social stigma attached to getting datajack, for example.
    4. Clones: As clones are very rare in the world of Kazei 5, there is no over-all public perception of a clone's social status. Most clones alive today are the children of the super-rich, born before genetic upgrades become common. However, for the most part, a clone is thought of as a copy of a "real" human, so if a CEO had a clone grown "just in case," that clone would be considered secondary to the original. On the other hand, if no one knows a clone is, in fact, a clone, then they are just another normal human (or genetic upgrade).
      1. Social Disadvantage Clone: The character is a genetic copy of another individual. In most cultures a clone has no legal identity at all, and the usual practice is to consider any clone the property of the being from which the genetic material came. According to the legal code of United North America and of most other nations, killing a clone is not considered murder, but destruction of property. Clones are exceedingly rare and are usually used to supply needed body parts for a specific individual.
    5. Replicated Humans: Common public perception of replicated humans is that they are property (a viewpoint encouraged by the corporations). Most people recognize the fact that a synthetic is an organic being, but don't regard them as "human." They are grown, not born, and to many that's the big difference. This makes then organic machines, not "real people." Interestingly enough, however, their organic origins often make them more acceptable and "user friendly" to some people then, say, a full-conversion cyborg.
      1. Social Disadvantage: Synthetic Human (Property). The character is a synthetic human and thus is not considered a person in many cultures, but instead is thought of as property. The character has no rights guaranteed by law and can suffer from extreme mistreatment by his owner with no legal repercussions. The character may or may not be distinctly non-human in appearance, and his DNA is marked with identifying codes, so any detailed bioscan will reveal him as an engineered organism. Even cultures recognizing the possibility of a free synthetic human will assume the individual is property unless proper documentation is on file with the appropriate government organization. This Limitation has different values depending on what the synthetic human is used for. A combat synthetic, who has no say over the nature, number, or type of missions he is sent on, would receive a 25-point Limitation (Very Frequently, Severe), while a corporate office synthetic with a desk job, would have a 15-point limitation (Frequently, Major). The "default" value for this Limitation is 20 points (Very Frequently, Major).
      2. Replicated Human models
        1. Combat Synthetics: Large, tough, strong, and hard to hurt. Pumas and Lynxes are example combat synths. Shoko is a prototype Fox-class synth. Noted for high STR, CON, good BODY, and so on. Preprogrammed HTH combat skills, weapon skills and so on. It is possible that battlefield synths have more mods than what Pumas and Lynxes have (for example - IR eyes, internal filters, and the like). Implanted bioware is common in combat models
        2. Pleasure/Escort Synthetics: Regular human-size and build. Made to be very attractive and fit. Can be stronger than the average human, but not by much. Many have internal mods, such as blood filters and input jacks. Primarily used for sex and/or professional escorts. Some are built to be bodyguards. Often used as receptionists and the like.
        3. Domestic Synthetics: Human-sized, with fairly fit builds. Strong (STR 13-15) with a good CON. Sarah is a domestic synth at the core. Used for domestic tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, housework, and so on. Some are used in sales.
    6. Espers: Espers push the envelope on what is considered human. Most espers have limited powers, and are generally considered to be just another human (thus ranking above synthetics on the social scale of acceptance). It is the espers who posses serious paranormal power that start to stretch the definition of what is human. To many individuals, they are something more than human - possibly the next stage of humanity - and this scares people. They wonder not if, but when, normal humanity will become obsolete, and who will be able to stop the espers when this happens (It doesn't help that research shows the number of espers is slowly growing.). Even worse are espers such as Raven, Shion Nys, or Ran, who are thought of as power made flesh, transcending any definition of humanity to become something else. Because of their power, some corporations look at espers more as a resource to be exploited and not as a individual person. An esper is an asset, much like a synthetic (or even a cyborg). Thus, by nature of their power, an esper looses their humanity and becomes another corporate tool or weapon. Espers themselves are too individualistic to have much of a generalized reaction to the rest of the world. Some, like Shion Nys, feel fairly superior to non-espers, while others wish to blend in and be "just another person." In addition, espers, for all their power, are heavily outnumbered by the bulk of humanity, and have no powerbase from which to mount any sort of dominance campaign.
      1. Espers must buy some form of Distinctive Features as well as Side Effects on their powers.
    7. Cyborgs: Technically, anyone with major cybernetic implants is a cyborg (Marta Nys for example), but this definition is usually applied to this who have had 70-75% or more of their bodies replaced with mechanical implants. But, this is further confused by the nature of cyborg bodies. Few people (at least, few people now), have the large, metal-clad, bodies many people think of when they hear the word "cyborg." People like this exist, but at the moment are rare, as it requires a certain self-confidence to totally abandon one's face and form for a wholly mechanical construct. Most cyborgs retain a portion of their original bodies (usually the head and torso), with cybernetic limbs added to a central frame. Normally, they look perfectly human, provided they are fully dressed. A new development is the full-conversion cyborg, where the brain and spine is implanted into a artificial body. These cyborgs look perfectly human, dressed or not, and can only be told apart from the bulk of humanity by their physical skills. For the most part, the average cyborg is accepted by society, especially since cyborgs are common in many governmental military and corporate security forces. However, much like those with major cybernetic implants, the average citizen usually figures any cyborg must either be a combat operative or have been the victim of a terrible accident (Most people can't picture anyone voluntarily discarding their old body for a new—mechanical—one.). Thus, when dealing with a known cyborg (especially one with extensive combat modifications), the average person may wonder if they are dealing with a person or with a machine. This goes doubly so for those who have chosen to abandon any pretense of a normal human form when choosing a cyborg body
      1. Soft-shell Cyborgs: An example of a soft-shell cyborg is a Major Motoko Kusanagi (Ghost in the Shell) with a human-looking artificial body. Kiddy Phenil (Silent Möbius) is more "soft-shell" as her cyborg body is mostly hidden by artificial skin.
      2. Hard-shell Cyborgs: An example of a hard-shell cyborg is like Briareos (Appleseed), with a humanoid armored body. Alita (Battle Angel) is a hard-shell as well, as her entire body is artificial (and armored).
      3. Cyborgs have a set template of minimal Characteristics, Powers, and Disadvantages. This includes the Physical Limitation of "Heavy."
    1. Cybernetics
      1. Cyberware is a (bio-) mechanical device implanted in a person's body, powered by the body's own electrical impulses. They can vastly improve human capabilities, but at an unknown cost (what are the long-term effects?).
      2. Cyberware can be damaged and disabled by impacts and system stress. Thus, getting shot, hit, struck, falling, and so on, may put systems offline for a short duration, or even until repaired.
      3. Cybernetics can have adverse effects on some aspects of life
        1. Some systems can inhibit medical help. This is mainly expressed as a minus to Paramedic Rolls.
        2. Systems can increase one's weight/mass. Could be a Distinctive Feature. Ifyou weigh enough to get the Heavy Phys Lim, you're a cyborg.
        3. Systems can be obvious to certain scans and/or the naked eye. DNI jacks, for example, or exposed cyberlimbs. A simple can should show most internal systems.
        4. Can cause long-term physical problems. Especially when old age starts to effect the body.
      4. Poor quality cyberware is more prone to breakage and can outright fail under certain circumstances. This also uses such things as external cables and the like. Player should specify circumstances when the cyberware just won't work.
    2. Cybergraft Upgrades
      1. Any person with more than 70% of the body replaced by mechanical parts. Usually, this means limbs and torso.
      2. Cyborgs are all heavier than normal and cannot swim. This can be worked around with floatation suits and the like.
      3. Knockback Resistance +1", Swimming -2", Physical Limitation: Heavy. The KB Resistance may be adjusted for weight.
      4. Cyborgs are either an organic head and torso in a mechanical "shell," or the brain and spinal column encased in an artificial body.
      5. Cyborg bodies require maintenance. Parts can fail and/or be damaged by impacts and stress. Some forms of medical help is difficult due to nature of the cybergraft. Possible a Phys Lim and/or Dependence. Might even be a 0-point Dependence for "color."
      6. Power: Does Not Bleed for heavily mechanized full-body cyborgs
      7. Does Not Heal BODY as a Possible Physical Limitation.
    3. Genetic Manipulation
      1. Genetic Upgrades have an increased set of characteristics. Stronger, faster, healthier, better looking (and so on). They do not get sick, and age much more slowly (200 year life span).
      2. Genetic Upgrades may have secondary effects on the human physique or psyche. Also might allow some forms of genetic tinkering - such as what we see with the Pumas.
      3. Allows for unusual skin and hair colors. Which could breed true.
      4. Genetic manipulation of animals and plants allows for disease-resistant grains and corn, as well as so-called "super-cows" with increased milk production. Other animal modifications are possible. Multi-legged chickens?
    4. Nanotechnology
      1. Nano-factories are used to build organics, such as replicated life forms and replacement body parts.
      2. Mass-produced food stuffs from organic soups. Fish, shrimp, chicken, and so on. A lot of the seafood is then grown to size in huge tanks and pools, or dumped into the ocean to mature naturally. Of course, this has thrown the whole ecosystem out of whack.
      3. Replicated human/animal factories are fed by the sewage systems for raw materials. Thus, waste is processed before the final result is dumped into the ocean, meaning cleaner water and less pollution. This does allow for the Soylent Green angle, where the food you eat (or the pleasure synthetic you take to bed) is made up of reconstituted human waste (and other by products).
    5. Computer Technology
      1. The World Wide Computer Net (The Matrix, [inter-] Net, [inter-] Face). It is a virtual world, created to look like whatever the programmer(s) desired. Access is via goggles, gloves, and (for the best response time a DNI). Netrunning is more like All Of Tomorrow's Parties, instead of (say) Neuromancer. I can see extreme netrunners in the full bodysuits or isotanks.
    6. Cyberdroids. A.K.A. cybernetic androids. Usually humanoid, built as automatons with elaborate software "brains" allowing for extensive yes-no-then decision trees.
      1. Combat Cyberdroids: Armed and armored 'droids. Jump-jets are common, as are a full-suite of combat sensors. Armament ranges from projectile weapons to high-energy particle beam projectors. Combat cyberdroids are usually larger and heavier than a normal human. At least one level of the Heavy Physical limitation. The largest cyberdroids have the Physical Limitation of Large.
      2. Commercial Cyberdroids: Used in construction, demolition, exploration (with remote pilot link), salvage, and so on. Anywhere conditions are too hazardous for humans, cyborgs, or replicated humans. Often cheaper than a cyborg and less trouble than a replicated human. Some domestic cyberdroids are used as maids, waiters, bartenders, and the like. Usually have at least one level of the Heavy Physical limitation.
    7. Chemical Biotechnology
      1. Combat drugs: Increase reflexes (DEX, SPD), alertness (PER), and inhibit pain receptors (possible boost to CON, STUN, or short term Damage Reduction).
      2. Chemically activated cyberware. Cybernetics (usually reflex boosts and the like) that require an externally applied activation system. User often inhales an activator, at which point the cyberware comes on line.
    8. Weapons
      1. Smartgun links: Action-reaction system designed in improve user's targeting and constantly update ammunition usage. Weapon must have a linkage built in to be useful. Also, only works out to a certain range, after that there are too many variables to allow the system to operate effectively.
      2. Lasers: Visible light weapons. Currently, only come in large, bulky, shoulder-fired weapons with a separate power pack. Do No Knockback, are accurate over long distances, and can be Spread simply by holding the trigger and moving the beam.
      3. Particle Beam weapons: Cannot be used by a person due to weight and recoil. Only can be mounted in cyberdroids and vehicles. Charged particle beam fired down a carrier laser beam. Do a lot of kinetic impact damage (i.e. Energy Blast, not RKA). Currently known as "ion cannons" but the name isn't carved in stone. Also, microwave weapons, that cook one from the inside out. Useful versus espers as their shields don't stop microwaves very well (some form of AVLD or Indirect?).
    9. Armor
      1. Powered Armor/Hardsuits: See Bubblegum Crisis. "Comicbook" powered armor. Heavy suits (Heavy Phys Lim) with servos to increase STR. Protective armor, enhanced information gathering, jump jets, and integral weapons.
      2. Non-powered Heavy Armor: See Appleseed. Basically, the ESWAT suits. Articulated hard armor worn over a basic bodysuit. Called Light Ballistic Armor or Complete Ballistic Armor.
      3. Armored Clothing: Uses advanced fibers to create flexible, yet protective armor. Biosteel, carbon nanotubes, and the like. Light-weight, strong, durable.
    10. Vehicles
      1. Direct-Neural Interface Jack: People operate a vehicle by "jacking" or plugging in. Allows for a faster reaction time (increased DEX and SPD). An interface rig gives the operator increased DEX and SPD only to be used with a vehicle. Allows a person to utilize a vehicle to its highest potential.
      2. Mecha: A.K.A. "Landmates," "Battlemovers," or "Battleframes". Different names for large mecha. A landmate is a general name for said mecha. Landmates can be commercial or military. Battlemovers and battleframes are strictly military. Landmate is taken from Appleseed and will not be used in the published version of the setting. The game will use the master-slave arm arraignment.
      3. Scramjets: Aircraft that fly on high-arcing semi-orbital flights.
      4. Alternative fuel craft: Electrical engines, hybrid cars, ethanol, natural gas, gasoline. Gasoline should be rare, most cars run off of alternative fuels.
    1. Basic Points Of Espers
      1. Espers powers are telepathic and telekinetic in nature. No pyrokinesis, cyrokinesis, cyberkinesis, and so on.
      2. Esper powers are innately invisible, however the side effects of the powers being used are not.
      3. Physical esper powers "warp" reality around them. They destroy the physical world when used; cracking, warping, bending, and breaking physical objects all around the active esper. A perfect example of this is the anime/manga Akira, as well as the manga Domu. Also see certain scenes in Blue Sonnet, Kimagure Orange Road, Silent Möbius, and others.
      4. Esper powers are easily detectable by another esper, and sufficiently powerful espers virtually broadcast their presence to anyone who can detect esper "energy."
      5. Espers powers are innately linked to the physical well-being of the person who has them. Cybernetics, mental illness, and physical illness can adversely affect one's control and/or power level.
    2. Psychokinetics
      1. Espers use telekinetic forces to achieve "mind over matter."
      2. Telekinesis cannot punch (a -1/4 limitation).
      3. Telekinetic Energy Blasts cannot bounce (a -1/4 limitation).
      4. Common power set: Energy Blast, Telekinesis, Force Field, Force Wall, Leaping. This is what "Joe Esper" has as his basic power set. The most basic of powers is Telekinesis, followed by Leaping (basically moving matter around).
      5. Teleport is the rarest of esper powers.
    3. Telepathy
      1. Telepathy is usually broadcast (i.e. "send only"),
      2. Mind reading is possible, but rare.
      3. Telepathic powers are, in order of appearance: Telepathy, Ego Attack, Mind Scanning, Mind Control (a.k.a. a "projecting telepath"), Mental Illusions (a.k.a. a "projecting telepath").
      4. Common Limitations for these powers is Concentrate, Extra Time, and Increased Endurance.
    4. Other Powers
      1. Telekinetic SFX could include defenses such as Damage Reduction. Extra Damage Reduction versus esper powers is possible.
      2. Healing may be possible. Telekinetically knitting one's own, or other's wounds.
      3. Numerous Talents could be made into esper powers, such as: Absolute Time Sense, Bump Of Direction, Danger Sense, Eidetic Memory, and so on. Even Linguist could be considered a side effect of an esper power - in Shion, it represents her ability to learn languages quickly.
    5. Side Effects And Limitations Of Esper Powers
      1. All physical esper powers have side effects. These are bought as Side Effects, doing RKA and TK damage to all objects in a certain radius. A table needs to be made showing different values for varying levels of control.
      2. Teleport has an explosive side effect. The effect occurs at the point of arrival.
      3. It takes time to generate many esper powers. Low end espers should have Extra Time, Increased Endurance, and Concentration. Possibly include a few examples of how this is to be set up.
    1. Base Points for typical PCs: 100 minimum, typically 100-200. Characters should be from 200-350 points in a Kazei 5 campaign. Typical PCs would be some of the low-end espers from Akira, the Knight Sabers from Bubblegum Crisis, Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell, Deunan Knute from Appleseed, and Kiddy Phenil from Silent Möbius. All 300 to 400 point characters.
      1. Maximum Points from one Disadvantage: 60. This makes up for the lack of certain Disadvantages. Vulnerabilities and Susceptibilities for example.
      2. Maximum Points for Disadvantages: 100-150.
    2. Specific Character "types" will require specific Powers and Disadvantages. Although there are no character classes, there are "package deals," which require players to accept certain power and disad sets when creating a certain character type.
      1. Espers have Distinctive Features.
      2. Genetic Upgrades have Characteristic minimum, Life Support (Aging and Disease).
      3. Cyborg needs to buy minimum STR, Armor, Knockback Resistance.
      4. Replicated Humans have Social Limitations.
    3. Normal Characteristic Maxima limited to normal, unmodified humans.
    4. Resource Points are used per 5th Edition Dark Champions.
      1. Resource Points buy weapon, armor, gadgets, vehicles, contacts.
      2. Basic Resource Points are as follows: 60 points for Equipment (includes weapons armor, other gadgets), 10 points for Vehicles (presumes a special vehicle), 5 points for Followers, 0 Points for Miscellaneous.
      3. Items bought with Character Points are not as disposable as items bought with Resource Points.
      4. Weapons and armor will be built using the rules seen in Dark Champions.
        1. Firearms: Beam (-1/4), Charges (-X), OAF (-1), STR Minimum (-X), STR Minimum Cannot Add/Subtract Damage, Real Weapon (-1/4)
          1. Firearms use the Damage Class point values seen in Dark Champions. Example: 1 point killing is 5 points, 1/2d6 is 10 points, 1d6-1 is 12 points, and 1d6 is 15 (and so on).
          2. Optional: Two-Handed Weapon (-1/2). +10 STR over STR Minimum allows one-handed use.
        2. Blades: Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), OAF (-1), STR Minimum (-X), Real Weapon (-1/4)
        3. Clubs: Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2), OAF (-1), STR Minimum (-X), Real Weapon (-1/4)
        4. STR Minimums will affect how much damage one does with a HTH weapon, as well as if a person can use a firearm and not injure themselves.
        5. Armor: Activation Roll X- (-X), OIF (-1/2), Real Armor (-1/4).
    1. STR uses the damage rules from The Ultimate Brick. For example, a 9 STR does 2d6-1, while a 12 STR does 2d6+1 (and so on). This should encourage more variety in STR values.
    2. Combat will use Hit Location, Knockback, Disabling, and Impairing Rules.

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