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Designing a Crossover Monster College Setting (Contagion Chronicle based)

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  • Designing a Crossover Monster College Setting (Contagion Chronicle based)

    Just something I'm working on for a future chronicle, one that pretty much embraces its anime influences of magical schools and then mainlines the Chronicles of Darkness somber undercurrents into it. I'd like some help, but here's my working idea intro:

    The end of the world came. The last battle was a stalemate.

    Really, we should have seen it coming. The Contagion was mutating at a never before seen pace, new strains were cropping up at two a year or thereabouts. Trading our histories about the events leading up to it shows a lot of them seemed coordinated to play off each other's effects; you have the Edinburgh type gradually turning Ireland into a replica of the Nile, which provides a group of tributaries for the Lamprey Hosts who worship the London Leviathan to breed in and a staging ground to cross the sea and bring Blightfang to Europe, just to name one. And to be frank - we did a good job seeing it coming. Not all of it, mind, but we knew, independently, we were getting overwhelmed and started thinking in terms of saving what we could. When we finally got around to trading notes, it was too late to coordinate a way to stop the dam cracking and letting whatever the cosmic disease was building towards through, but we did have plenty of ideas for seawalls. Naglfar's Army was too busy celebrating their imminent paradise of darkness to notice that we were building stores for torches.

    When the Neoplasmic Flood hit, we honestly had a really good idea of what was going to happen, and how to get as many humans as we could out of it. The distortions broke against the Cell Wards, leaving almost every major city not infested by the Contagion with a reality that mostly resembled the one before the Flood. We also had no small amount of supplies ready for the Sanctuaries, and by the time we had to reveal what we were, pretty much everyone would rather take the vampire, werewolf, and wizard over the ravenous dead, void spirit, and death cultist. As the Flood lost its initial energy, we learned to exploit the new rules of the Metastatic Zones, draw new resources from them, even restore most of humanity's tech. The common estimate is that only about 8% of the global population died as a direct result of the Flood, about 54% of people were able to find their way to the Sanctuaries before the Flood died down enough to start looking for other Sanctuaries again.

    Problem is, that took 25 years. A lot can happen in 25 years. The Sanctuaries were massively different by the time we found each other again, and in the decades since then, they've only spiraled farther away from what they were before. Part of it's the fact that the dominant Sworn faction invariably ended up rebuilding the way they thought was best. The Cryptocracy made the New England Reclamation State a far different place than the Jeremiad's pet Holy Conclave of Seattle, for one reference dear to my heart - a hobby, mind you, I'm a citizen of New Athens. Uh, that's the one built around MIT, the one you're thinking of is run by the Rosetta Society in Geneva. Don't worry, everyone makes that mistake. We're the ones who get along with the Republic of Sparta -
    the Republic of Sparta, the one with the capital of Fort Detrick, the Free Federation of Spartan States gets along with no one, they're a testament to how Starship Troopers isn't a good guide to society.

    Pretty soon, old factional conflicts, doctrinal arguments, and differing values started to show up again, made worse by the fact all the Sanctuaries were different countries now, trying to establish themselves in a weird wilderness. The False didn't, and aren't, helping - the Army feels cheated by how human civilization survived and is taming the world once again, the Crucible Initiative fosters the worst kinds of political movements to purge the Earth, the Machiavelli Initiative are the same old dicks. To say nothing of the cultures that formed in the Wild Territories, born of humans who never reached the Sanctuaries and molded by the rules of a fairy tale world. To see people armored in what seems to be them pristine relics of the old world with monsters at their side - no wonder they don't trust us. We realized that we needed to learn to accept each other again before war among the Sanctuary Nations actually did the job of killing humanity properly.

    So, the Sworn got together, and we made a series of institutions to get the Nations to know each other as people, start making a world order again. We have the Exploration Initiative, the New United Nations, the World Health Organization, because not everything needs a new name... and we have the college, Terata University. Really, this school is meant for two things, to be honest; one's to expose you all to new ideas, new perspectives, and to show you ways to use those ideas in the world. The other is, well, you're what happens when people of college age or younger become those same vampires, werewolves, and wizards. I'll be honest, we need you in one place so you don't break a Ward by accident or something, and because you probably needed to get something resembling peers instead of being the perpetual apprentice or the weird guy. Monsters are known to exist, that doesn't mean we're accepted. Here, you can finally deal with people like you, get their own unique perspectives, and finally get training from mentors who are already being paid.

    So, I have a scholarship application and prepaid booths on the sleeper car of the Hedge Locomotive. Interested?

    I have some other ideas, but what kind of society do you think the Sanctuary Nations have, plus the culture of Terata U? (As a side note, I used the big three because they're a good shorthand, other splats are assumed to exist until proven otherwise.)
    Last edited by Leliel; 07-16-2019, 12:59 AM.

  • #2
    This sounds sort of like a Shard. If you developed it a bit on your own (or made an agreement with co-writers) you could probably publish a pretty thorough product for Storyteller Vault.

    I think it would be very regulated. To the point that I wonder if vampires would even have a point for existing, since they would operate as a drag on any society you built. A way to justify it, I suppose, would be that their undead status allows them to do things (but only at night) that others might not survive, like if among the worlds dangers there were things that, for whatever reason, ignored vampires. Maybe like there's some of your standard infectious zombies out there and they can be easily handled by vampires. Or due to the flooding there may be important things lost to man that can only be found by folks who don't breathe. I guess you could have them as sort of a martyrish but rare group, taught to dedicate themselves to the colony, that their position was important and a bit of a sacrifice on society's part (we let you die, but feed you, so you can help us), sort of like how in Seraph of the End they make deals with demons. And obviously having vampires along might offer some bonuses to any faction powers granted by their setup.

    As I see it, and this is all based on my own experiences with anime, you'd have those who go out to fight the monsters before they get much bigger. You'd have scouts and explorers who would find those monsters but also scavenge lost places (and new ones). You'd have a form of occult scientist/engineer who would part of a group that looks for new uses for things now that the Masquerade is broken. And you'd have a secret police, who would watch over humanity in an almost Big Brotherish way, since it would be so easy to wreck things, but would always want to keep an eye on these other guys mentioned (the warriors, explorers and creators) since they had the most exposure to weird stuff and would be seen as corruptible.

    Also just as a personal thing, 8% of humanity is like (rounding down) 600 million people. It's a big number but still not much more than a dent. Especially considering all the land is so drastically changed that the infrastructure for agriculture would be wrecked. So you might have to deal with mass starvation, even if only 75% of the world's population was able to get to these places (that's over 5 billion people). A better idea (I think) would be to raise the number of dead, and lower the amount who can make it to these places a lot. That way you can have humans outside who have been twisted by the things they've found out there, weird cults and monsters and such, enemies that can attempt to infiltrate these cities.


    • #3
      The 8% direct casualties thing was always just "the people immediately killed by the Flood", but I see your point. I did want this catastrophe to be something humanity tanked through, but yeah, too optimistic right there. The original idea was that a slim majority managed to survive in the Sanctuaries, but I honestly overestimated how much needed to survive for humanity to go "okay, that sucked, let's start getting back on our feet."

      Good suggestions.


      • #4
        I did realize something about vampires, though; there's gong to be at least some Sanctuaries where they were the primary keepers of the Wards and end up being viewed as heroes. The Nations where they had a big influence aren't nice places, mind, but they're not quite hellholes. Of course, given what the Kindred are, there tends to be two options; either they are an aristocratic class with regular tithes of Vitae, or it's like the Masquerade never ended. On some level, it's worse, because everyone knows the basics for killing a vampire, so the undead who can't flee to the bloody states quickly learn how to hide all traces of their real selves. Or even better, finds some humans who regard them in particular as "one of the good ones" and help hide their friend's tragically flammable nature. I think I can see a bit of how Shadowrun portrays HMHVV victims; undeath itself is a bad thing, something predatory and parasitic, but that doesn't mean the vampires deserve to be exterminated out of hand. They (usually) didn't ask to need blood to stay alive. So they hide, because they correctly suspect the only real treatment most people are willing to use is sunlight and a wooden stake.

        Also, yeah, I was always intending for there to be Wild civilizations out there. They aren't all bad, mind, or even mostly bad. Some are just weird, the products of learning to live by demented fairy tale rules. One of the great sins of the Free Federation is unprovoked aggression towards "barbarians", which actually helps keep the Zones dangerous; I have it in mind that the local version of "orcs" are actually the avatars of negative feelings that the victims of imperial ambitions have towards those who destroyed them. The reason they're always attacking settlements is that they are literally hate for anyone that calls themself a bringer of civilization given flesh. Pillaging as retribution is what they are, and do.


        • #5
          Okay, updated the blurb a bit, added a bit about Wild civilizations.

          Also, I'm thinking of what the structure of a typical Sanctuary Nation is; the Sworn were there largely to maintain the wards and to keep the survivors alive. They usually didn't think they could, or should, be rulers a lot of the time, and the Nations where they were are extremely bad places to live. But when it comes down to it, it was still the monsters keeping the humans alive, and from this comes respect.

          So, I was thinking there's been a reversion of social classes to the days of the Vinca. Which is to say, monsters have a social role comparable to shamans. Wise and respected, but avoided and feared; nobody expects them to have an entirely human perspective. In a sense, Terata U is a college for educating the next generation of the boundary people; it does feature regular field trips to the Wild Territories and the Metastatic Zones; this is expected of them as adults. They are also placed where the monsters aren't weighed down by social expectations or rules of what is considered to be safe around mortals. Outside the Sanctuary, its dark guardians can be who they want to be.


          • #6
            I'm also realizing how accidentally vital changelings are to the function of Terata U. I'm cool with that, but I'm wondering how many abductions happened in before the Flood subsided.

            Lightbulb: There's actually a bunch of changelings who were abducted during and directly before the Flood, and only relatively recently found their way back. I call them Thorn Relicts. It's thanks to them that people still have a fairly good idea of what life was like before. It's also from them that a lot of revanchists who can't accept that world is gone draw their ideology from.
            Last edited by Leliel; 07-22-2019, 07:11 PM.


            • #7
              Getting back to this, I think good inspiration is honesty Mob Psycho 100; the people who want to rule everything because they're more mystically powerful aren't acting on a rational impulse or retaliation for mistreatment, deep down they just want to use their own natural abilities in place of actually growing as people. Also I've realized what I don't want is what Mythcreants calls Oppressed Mages (people who have superpowers being a despised minority); it's not a bad trope, but it needs good internal justification, especially in this world (their point is that superpowers are highly exploitable, and thus, the pressure from conventional society is to get the mage in question to use it for the benefit of society, and if so, congrats, you're accepted - and here, the Sworn have done so for a long time). A person who is ranting on the street about all wizards going to sacrifice us all to dark gods is going to be looked at as having a bit of a screw loose. So, any of the shadow folk who honestly think they're a despised minority are generally not the good guys, and consider "oppression" as "people get pissed off when I say I monstersplain something to an expert."

              Also, how does one submit to the ST Vault, actually?


              • #8
                Thought this idea was interesting and thought to reply. Hope this doesn't count as a necro or anything -- But how does the curriculum at Terata U work? Is it mostly just learning about all the different monsters and learning to get together, training your own abilities safely, or a more regular school curriculum? Or maybe a mixture of all the above?


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jollycooperative View Post
                  Thought this idea was interesting and thought to reply. Hope this doesn't count as a necro or anything -- But how does the curriculum at Terata U work? Is it mostly just learning about all the different monsters and learning to get together, training your own abilities safely, or a more regular school curriculum? Or maybe a mixture of all the above?

                  I'd say a bit of all. The core idea is to get monsters to learn how to use abilities safely and deal with others safely, but it is a college, and thus there's some genuine academic courses going on. Of course, some had to be cut to fit the entire mission statement in there, which generally means the liberal arts are on the backburner, and business classes aren't a thing; in the post-post-apocalypse, people are more interested if you can determine if something is poisonous rather than name it in Latin, and absolutely nobody cares about your three-year plan if you can't get the generators working the majority of the month.


                  • #10
                    Reviving this in honor of the University of Delaware setting for Deviant, because every protagonist faction needs an evil mirror. Seriously, a college where the Web of Pain trained new Progenitors is a perfect counterpart to a school where the whole idea was to help engender empathy among the strange set. All it needs is to be the brains behind a crazed, expansionist empire, and we're good.

                    Actually, that leads into a potential inspiration for one of the Sanctuaries that went bad; Victoria: A Novel Of Fourth Dimensional War. Specifically, the "protagonists" of said novel. I do not have the time or bile to recount its array of failings here, but I will post a link to a read-through on SpaceBattles (general trigger warning for brutality in the book focused on, such as descriptions of burning a woman alive) and will say it's the kind of ultra-conservative that defends its actions as not being reminiscent of the Nazi ideology by...claiming they aren't an ideology, but a reasonable reaction to moral decline.

                    It should also be noted I was inspired by a Quest (kind of a group RP) on Sufficient Velocity (SB's sister forum) which pitched the whole book as in-universe propaganda for what is in reality a nightmarish puppet state for a neo-Tsarist Russia that got lucky. The Quest is infinitely better military sci-fi too.

                    The idea is that a significant part of the eastern coast of North America was overtaken by what claimed to be a return to the nobler, saner era of technology before the end of the Cold War - in reality, it was the pet state of the Crucible Initiative/Machiavelli Gambit (haven't decided yet), built from the ground up as a place to shelter the Web of Pain. Anyone who goes there comes out being thoroughly spooked at both the total control of everything by the state in the name of personal freedoms, the use of dehumanizing labor in the name of honest, unskilled work, and the fact that this all only works by bleeding Devoted dry, all in the name of "normal" humanity. Certainly fits how the ban against post 1960s tech seems to allow for the ability to turn off artillery fire.