SOME THOUGHTS ON SHADOWS ANGELUS TECHNOLOGY
The world of 2132 is one of incredible scientific advancement. The most obvious example of this is the city of Angelus, and immense man-made structure floating on the surface of the Pacific Ocean. But, what about the rest of the world? What technological advancements and wonders can we expect to see in a Shadows Angelus campaign?
In order to answer this question, let’s take a look at the technology we know to exist.
In Shadows Angelus I, the PCs used an Order of Enoch space shuttle to access an Order of Enoch space station. Thus, it seems obvious that not only is travel to low-Earth orbit possible, its fairly common place. It also seems likely that there are multiple platforms in orbit around the Earth, as well as a moon base. It’s also possible that there’re L5 colonies, and Mars has seen humans land on its surface. In my opinion, the manga Planetes does a good job of summing up how I feel Earth orbit looks circa 2132. In addition, sub-orbital scramjets are probably used when making long flights. These planes probably look like a cross between the Concorde and the XB-70, hold about as many people as a 747, and can go from New York to Paris in a matter of only a few hours.
The Angelus space elevator is probably only the first of many to follow. The benefits of such as structure are immense. First, it will reduce the need for and dependence on shuttles. This will hopefully reduce orbital traffic, the chance for orbital collisions, space junk, and so on. In addition, the top of the elevator is natural location for a space station. Such a station will serve as a hub for travelers and goods going further out into the Solar System and/or returning back to Earth. Said hub can also be used for manufacturing, with micro-gravity crystals, medicines, alloys, and the like being highly useful both back on Earth and in space.
We know that in much of the 1st World, Clades are used for common labor, as security forces, and as pleasure companions. We also know that Clades are, for the most part, considered organic robots, not humans, and are denied basic human rights. We also know that Clades are made from the splicing of human and animal DNA, creating distinctive classes of Clade (for example: Chrysine describes herself as a Fox-Class Combat Clade). What this means campaign wise is that genetic engineering is obviously fairly advanced and that there can (and should) be more than just human Clades. Genetically engineered pets should also be fairly common, as well as all sorts of GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) used in industry, medicine, agriculture, and so on. In addition, genetic upgrades of humans are feasible. As per Kazei 5, these are humans who’ve had a tailored genetic package injected at a young age, leading to a rewriting (or editing) of the target’s genetic code. The end result is a healthier, ‘improved’ human who is slightly to somewhat stronger, faster, more durable, and better looking then the average citizen of the world.
In order to create Clades, I propose using the same concepts I developed for Kazei 5. Clades are made using a form of 3D printer known as a nano-factory. Organic building blocks, suspended in a liquid matrix, are pumped into a nano-factory. The factory then assembles the blocks according to a pre-made template. The end result is a viable life form. Clades, fish, cows, dogs… whatever you want can be produced provided you have a nano-factory, the right template, and sufficient quantities of base material. In Angelus, nano-factories are used as part of the waste-reclamation process. Raw sewage is broken down at treatment plants, processed, and then delivered to the nano-factories, who take the incoming organic soup and build viable foodstuffs. Instead of whole animals, the factories output sheets of meat, fish, poultry, and vegetable matter. These sheets are then cut up into marketable portions and delivered to consumers.
Nano-factories also allow for the reclamation of other forms of waste. It seems likely that processing plants, combined with various forms of 3D printers, could recycle paper, plastic, metal, and other items of trash. This would be an essential part of the economy of the city of Angelus due to its semi-closed nature.
One question people might have is how old a Clade is upon decanting from their growth tube. Physically, a Clade is probably in its mid-20s. Chronologically, they’re newborns. Mentally, they’re somewhat of a blank slate and can have skills and the like implanted via various processes that we’ll hand wave for the sake of Rule of Cool. Thus, Tyger, as of 2112, was only around 10 years old or so when Shadows Angelus I started. Chrysine, at the start of Shadows Angelus II, has been a patrol officer in XSWAT for a year or so, had attended the Academy (another 9 months there), and had been in Angelus for a few months or so before that. She also spent around five years in Lace & Steel and probably spent 12-18 months in training before that. So she was 7-8 years old (barely older than her adopted daughter Angie). Thus, Claire and Jaden are both almost certainly less than 10 years old as well.
Clades, unlike replicants from Blade Runner, don’t have built-in termination dates. Thus, Tyger and Chrysine are, according to various stories, still alive some time after 2132. However, they do age, and Tyger has slowed down by the time of Shadows Angelus IV. However, it seems likely that Claire, Chrysine, Jaden, and Tyger will all have 40-60 year lifespans (at least), provided all goes well for them.
Due to marketing pressures and needs, Clades cannot breed, either with unmodified humans or each other. The ability for Clades to be able to reproduce normally has been a Clade Rights rallying point for years now. However, as Marcy and Tyger showed, you can use gene-splicing techniques and artificial insemination to create offspring. A child born this way should grow up normally, taking 16-18 years to reach full development, since the forced-growth processes used in nano-factories have been eliminated.
Along with biotechnology and bioware, Angelus features cybertechnology and cyberware. Unlike Kazei 5, the user of cyber implants doesn’t seem to be as widespread, although this might be a matter of perception. That said, XSWAT does have a high-concentration of cybernetically-augmented officers, if only due to the hazardous nature of the job. Cyberware can make individuals faster, stronger, tougher, and so on. It can also be used to blur the lines between men and machine. With the proper implants, and individual can manipulate hardware (such as vehicles, computers, UAVs, and so on) without being in physical contact with such devices. It is possibe to replace most, if not all, of a person body with cybernetic implants, creating a full-body cyborg. Malachi Brogan is one such example of this sort of character. I presume Jagger and Kitten (from the Kazei 5 sourcebook) would fit the setting as well.
Based off of the vehicles seen in Blade Runner and Silent Möbius, spinners are personal transport craft capable of both ground and air movement. Exactly how, hasn’t ever really been addressed. In Silent Möbius the vehicles are said to use anti-gravity generators to provide lift and propulsion. Considering we have the cold fusion hydrolyzers keeping Angelus afloat, I feel there’s no real problem in declaring that the spinners seen in Angelus use a limited form of anti-gravity engine in order to fly. To keep things from getting out of hand, we can also declare that the engines work best on smaller objects and only work within a certain service ceiling, thus keeping spinners from reaching Earth orbit (or all of Angelus for that matter). As for gravity-based weapons and the like… we could also state that while science has been able to make a viable repeller, it hasn’t been able to perfect an attractor. Although work still progresses on the idea of the zero-point energy field manipulator....
Spinners come in all shapes and sizes, from the small two-person speedsters, to the full-sized limousines, to XSWAT’s 6-8 man squad carriers. Spinners can be armored, armed, and carry a full suite of internal electronics and luxury appointments. The Stozwind is a specific XSWAT model. It is well-armored, exceedingly fast (on both the ground and in the air), and can carry two officers in comfort. XSWAT assigns their Stozwind cruisers to higher-ranking officers as a personal transport or to those patrol officers who work either alone or in pairs.
Despite all of the advancements of the 22nd Century, kinetic impact weapons are still the easiest way to kill someone. However, the weapons used in 2132 are probably (as a rule) caseless, allowing for more rounds to be carried, and for individual rounds to be somewhat more powerful. In addition, a higher rate of burst fire is possible; meaning (as seen with the G11) the last round of a three-round burst leaves the barrel before the recoil from the first round has an effect on aim. In game terms, this means most assault weapons fire 3-5 round bursts, with OCV bonuses to affect how tight the grouping is.
Energy weapons exist as well. XSWAT uses masers (Microwave Amplification by Stimulation Emission of Radiation); as such weapons are somewhat more effective versus Entities than kinetic weapons. Borrowing from Kazei 5, I have no problem with assorted other energy weapons existing. This includes lasers, particle beams, ion weapons, and so on. In most cases, these weapons aren’t quite as effective as raw kinetic force (due to energy requirements, fragility, degradation in the atmosphere, and so on). From a game standpoint, the fact that most of these weapons use the Blast Power, as opposed to a Killing Attack, means they do a good job at Stunning and/or Knocking Out target, but not killing them. That said, Blast-based energy weapons are highly useful for taking down espers and mages without killing them.
Other weapons are possible as well. Using magnetics to drive kinetic-impact slugs is viable. Gauss or railguns may exist, and may be used by the military for ship-based weapons, artillery, main tank armament, and for use on and against EXO Suits. Full-blown plasma and fusion-based weapons have yet to appear, however.
The City of Angelus
The greatest man-made structure the world has ever seen, Angelus is truly the wonder of the modern world. For the moment, we’ll describe it as follows: Angelus is as large as the plot needs, and has a population sufficiently large enough for any event the plot requires. Specifics, for the moment, can wait.
As for the construction of Angelus, I propose the following:
Angelus was—and still is—built from prefabricated hex-shaped platforms. Built to spec and towed out to the city itself, they are attached to where ever the city is expanding, hooked up, and turned into additional living space. The platforms are not solid, but in the interest of weight, are hollow, made up of a series of open spaces and tubes, with the intend of providing pre-made space of basements, work areas, sewer lines and storm drains. The platforms sit off the surface of the water and don’t float directly on it. I’m not sure how tall the platforms are, but they have enough room under them to hold the hydrolyzers. Clearance under the platforms isn’t great, but smugglers and the like will use it to gain access to certain parts of the city,
The platforms are linked to form a large, semi-flexible surface that supports the city itself. Channels (akin to land-based rivers) cut through the city as well, allowing shipping and pleasure craft access deeper into the city. Due to space considerations, Angelus is built both up and down. Portions do extend down to the water (and perhaps, into it), but most of the city goes up. XSWAT HQ is 100 stories in height and probably is one of the tallest structures in the city. Other buildings, especially in Sigma Sector, are of similar height. In many places, this emphasis on height has left virtual canyons, where a series of tall skyscrapers surround a much lower central location. In addition, since space is at such a premium, Angelus is known for having plenty of parks, golf courses, and open spaces, but no real cemeteries or farmland. However, because space is such a premium, rail lines are the main way to get around the city. Roads exist, but tend to go in and under buildings. In addition, many roads are covered (after a fashion) and the ‘roof’ is used for other purposes (such as parks). Buildings are also co-opted for secondary purposes, leading to buildings covered with greenery and solar panels.
Under the city, in the platforms, one finds the steam tunnels, as well as assorted sewer lines and storm drains. This is where you will find the literal Angelus underworld. This is where all of the runaways, rejects, derelicts, homeless, and other such peoples run off to. There is an entire society living down in the steam tunnels, separate and distinct from the one that exists on the surface of Angelus.