Through the MAW
Through The Maw
This is a campaign world where humanity is rebuilding and reuniting itself throughout the galaxy following a terrible war and an apocalyptic plague. Danger lurks in every planet of every system, whether it be Fractals, ETP infected, or good old fashioned human beings themselves.
Following World War III, Earth was left devastated. Resources were getting worryingly low, room was even more scarce and within ten years of the official end of the war humanity seemed on the brink of a new one. This all changed with the debut of the Materialized Actual Wormhole (MAW) technology by a scientific group labeled Mimir. Hijacking Earth’s telecommunications Mimir demonstrated MAW to the entire world at the same time, the population watched as a scientist would move into one of the glowing purple and fiery red portals, only to appear out of the other one. Earth went crazy, governments began demanding the technology, the general population became either enthralled or terrified by the possibilities and the scientific community suddenly had a new purpose. Mimir declared it’s intention to use MAW for purely altruistic purposes, it would lease the technology for an extremely cheap price, to any government who wanted it, however it mandated it had complete control of each unit in order to prevent abuse. Shortly after the installation of the first hundred or so, complications began to arise. People travelling through them began to appear in a completely different than intended location, some never reappeared at all, and some came out the other side with disturbing psychological trauma. That’s when the real trouble began.
The Strange Year
Seemingly all at the same time, strange creatures began to emerge from the MAWs throughout the world. Completely alien, incredibly powerful and decidedly malignant, they went to war with humanity. Despite their strength, they could be killed and humanity fought back with everything they had, but more kept coming. Seven months following the creatures emergence, a man named Devon Farngill emerged from a MAW that opened in downtown Montreal. Disheveled and disoriented, he looked around and realizing he was back on Earth, he dropped to his knees exclaiming:
“I have been through the MAW and back and I have seen the TRUTH!!! Your Earthly gods are false, the true architects of the Universe are The Six. Devote yourselves to them or humanity will continue to suffer this plague!”
A crowd formed and most laughed, but a small few heard his words and wanted hope for the future. Devon Farngill began to preach from that spot and he and his few loyal followers began to squat there making it their temple to The Six. Devon told his followers about the Roil, the space between MAWs and began to teach his followers of the deities that inhabit it, The Six. He preached that the creatures coming through the MAWs were a punishment that mankind was meant to endure unless they put their faith in The Six. His teachings became known as the Tenants of the Six and his congregation the Devotion of the Six. For some, his words brought hope that the creatures might be defeated or called back, but to most, Devon and his followers were just lost zealots.
As time passed, the Devotion of the Six grew in size. Each day that Earth fought back the plague, more people flocked to Devon Farngill’s calling. Eventually, the plague of creatures was wiped out or driven off and the Devotion of the Six declared that The Six were pleased with humanity’s tenacity and will to survive and called back the plague.
In a short time the Devotion of the Six grew from a fringe band of believers to a blossoming religion. This brought solace to many of the believers, but as time went on, also persecution. Many of the other older established religions saw the Devotion of the Six as an affront to their ways and fought out verbally and sometimes violently against the followers of Devon Farngill. This ultimately led to the creation of the Exodus Doctrine, in which Devon Farngill outlined the future of the Devotion of the Six. In the Exodus Doctrine, Farngill states that the true followers of The Six are destined to travel through the Roil to salvation on other worlds where they will be able to worship freely. The doctrine ends with a prophecy, that once the true followers leave, another plague shall befall humanity as a final warning to all non-believers and that will be their final chance to convert.
With the Roil creatures destroyed or returned to their home realm, humanity once again began to rebuild and research, all MAWs being shut down until a solution was found. Two years later, Mimir held another press conference to announce they had made progress with the MAW, finding that it was heavily affected by gravity wells as well as finding it’s range was incredibly long. Humanity, given a new purpose combined with the promise of reaching the stars, began to prepare for their spreading through the galaxy. Ships were researched and created as well as new medicines, defenses and tools. Settlers and scouts were trained, there was no lack of volunteers as the promise of a fresh planet and adventure was more than enough to stir the masses of Earth from their overcrowded cities. For the next two hundred years, humanity would spread throughout the galaxy, boasting somewhere around 60 colonized worlds, all possible because the Mimirs MAW drive, which was able to create a short term MAW to let the ship travel through it and closing behind it. Humanity seemed to have found it’s balancing point, the new planets were given sovereignty once they were able to sustain themselves and given a seat at the Human Coalition, a modern day version of the U.N., put in place to monitor the galaxy as a whole and keep the peace. Great economic powers rose and fell with the discovery and exploitation of new and rare resources. Medical science seemed to peak, humans began to live for hundreds of years, body parts could be grown in a vat or cybernetically replaced. Information sciences saw large leaps, AI’s were created, some as sentient as a human, planet wide datanets assured the populace entertainment and information. Strange alien races were found and befriended, or in some cases asked to be left alone. It was truly a golden age.
The Fractals Come, ETP and Abbadon’s Cry
It started with vague reports of fighting on a few of the fringe worlds. These reports quickly became information feeds of destruction and terror as a previously not encountered species spread death across human worlds. The Human Coalition responded with force, but humanities military was not up to snuff. Mainly used for policing actions they quickly found themselves being overwhelmed and the Fractals began to spread the war throughout much of humanities worlds. Within two years nearly a third of human worlds had fallen and half the remaining ones were under severe attack, including Earth. Just as it seemed things couldn’t get worse, they did with the emergence of ETP, a highly virulent nanoplague. ETP spread like wildfire through both humans and Fractals, infecting sentient beings and computer systems both. The war with the Fractals was over as this new threat raped both sides. Whole worlds succumbed to it’s effects, refugee’s traveled wherever they thought safe, including unexplored systems, and humanity begged the Six for help. The Six only expressed that they could not assist, apparently having drastic problems of their own. ETP eventually began to crumble the MAW technology itself, destroying the drives and erasing galactic coordinates in what is referred to as Abbadon’s Cry, leaving every system on it’s own to combat ETP and Fractals and to rebuild their worlds.
For around 30 years the humans in the Gehenn System, primarily on its two inhabited planets and its asteroid field settlement, Karis, Kordo and Ratchia respectively, fought a losing battle against ETP and the abominations it created, until an AI named Frig created Bulwark and spread it throughout the system. Injected with Bulwark, humanity was able to turn the tide and reclaim a lot of area it had lost to ETP and begin to rebuild itself. Over the span of two hundred years the Karis and Kordo regained control of 90% of their planets, and Ratchia 75% of the colonies it had lost as well as the space station Red Door. With the reintroduction of intrasystem travel a general consensus was taken to create a system wide government which would be called the Triumvirate, to oversee matters that affected all three parts of humanity in the Gehenn System. Several years after its founding, with the discovery of Yuri’s Jaunt and consquently MAW drives, the Triumvirate enacted the Will of Unification which created the mission of reuniting all of humanity in the galaxy once again. Knowing ETP and, more than likely, Fractals forces were waiting for them, the Triumvirate began a massive campaign to train troops, build starships and weapons, research nearby systems to determine which may have been colonized in the past, and unleash a massive meme campaign to instill the public with a sense of duty towards the goals of the Will of Unification itself. It took another 10 years until the Triumvirate decided it was ready and began its journey back out into the galaxy. The first round of systems explored showed the Triumverate many ways it needed to improve its tactics and operations with massive casualties at New Paris and great success in assimilating other systems back into humanity. Learning from their mistakes the Triumvirate vastly revamped their operational procedures and created the Deep insertion Exploration Research Program (DERP) to monitor the surveillance of systems to be explored and liberated. With new systems joining in the Will of Unification, a governing body, the Conclave, was formed to govern matters encompassing all of humanity.
Our story starts 30 years after the formation of the Conclave. Liberation of human systems has been slow, only 6 have been inducted into the Conclave with another 2 in preparation for joining. Humanity has found the Fractals to be present in more systems than anticipated and the effects of ETP in many systems to have been devastating. Its military is constantly embattled in liberation campaigns while DERP agents scout new systems to determine the best course of action in assimilating them into the Conclave. New peaks in technology are able to keep all but the worst ETP infections at bay, heal most wounds and replace, with either cyberware or bioaugmentations (biaug), what it cannot heal. The military fights on with advanced weaponry and ultra-augmented soldiers, being supported by a vast navy and Roil channelers. Humanity is not alone in their battles, AI’s, uplifts and even a few alien races have taken up their cause, seeing that the horror of ETP can affect everyone and the Fractals want nothing but destruction.
It’s a time of war and horror, but also of rediscovering what was lost, and great opportunities to be found..