Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Setting Expeditions: Code Black -- Part II

To my mind, there are three major elements of the Code: Black setting. They are (a) Good and Evil; (b) The Brotherhood; and (c) Earth is a flawed prison.

Good and Evil

Potentially the most difficult or most understandable element is the existence of absolute good (hereafter referred to as Good) in the universe, as well as absolute evil (hereafter referred to as Evil). The setting states that the forces of Good and the forces of Evil, and all the races and intelligences and being that were a mixture of both were caught up in a war. Yes, the classic eternal struggle of Good vs. Evil.

Except that it ended a long time ago, and Good won. And after Good won, it disappeared from the universe utterly, leaving behind Evil and its allies imprisoned in this universe.

Humanity, long an ally of Evil (some were coerced, some joined willingly), for reasons only guessed at, were released from their imprisonment on Earth and inherited the empty universe.

Of course, other creatures of greater Evil escaped as well and fought against humanity and sometimes enslaved it. And there are even more powerful creature of Evil that rage against their imprisonment in the jail that Earth has become, and struggle to weaken the nature of their respective prisons by craft and cunning and power.

The Brotherhood

The Brotherhood of Gilgamesh fights these Evil monsters in all their forms, but must do so with the understanding that there are battles that can be deferred and that there are limited resources to use. The most precious resource is that of personnel with The Sight.

The Sight is the ability to perceive reality as it is. Unlike the mindbending Metropolis of the Kult RPG, reality is pretty much as it is now -- the mundane reality we know is a prison to the more fantastic monsters and worlds that lurk inside it -- except that there may be a werewolf here, a vampire there, a zombie outbreak nearby, and a growing gateway to a nether realm beneath your bed.

People with The Sight can join The Brotherhood and fight monsters, and become part of an organization that tends to lose members in many nasty ways. As a result, there are protocols and secrets in the organization mixed in with the necessary openness to get new hires up to speed. And then it's sink of swim time.

The Brotherhood isn't all about holding hands and expecting everyone to fall in line against Evil. They know that we were once allied with Evil and all its factions -- the pull may be too strong for some. There are protocols about that too.

Earth is a Flawed Prison

As stated earlier, the mundane reality we know is a prison to the more fantastic monsters and worlds that lurk inside it. Some terrible creatures exist in our reality -- vampires, lycanthropes, and so on -- but it's suggested that for all their power they are still bound in certain ways by reality and can thus be slain with the appropriate tools and spells. One wonders how much more powerful they might be in an altered reality.

Altered realities can take place in specific locales: perhaps a place where an elder god is attempting to weaken the prison and burrow out, perhaps minions of a long-dead deity have made sacrifices and performed rituals to allow it to bestow its blessings on its followers, perhaps a great cataclysm has weakened the integrity of the prison in this particular area. And that's why you get strange things happening in places that it shouldn't.

How many cells to this prison? How many realities exist, folded and twisted into the mundane world we call home? How many creatures have escaped?

That's where you come in -- welcome to the Brotherhood.

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