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  1. Welcome to the world of Cascade. In the years following World War II, and the advent of Atomic Weapons and Space Travel, the struggle for world power between the Eastern and Western blocs slipped the surly bonds of the Earth and took to space. With no ban on the militarization of space, Earth's orbit became a new battlefield. Towards the highest point of the conflict, the stars were hid amongst the pinpoints of tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of satellites meant to shoot, shield, spy, hide, broadcast or silence. Conflict was inevitable. And in late September, 1982, the first shot was fired. Who fired first is a matter of debate, but satellites and armed space capsules went into combat for the first time in history. Even though the conflict never did reach the point of nuclear exchange, the scientific community warned of an entirely DIFFERENT catastrophic outcome. Kessler Syndrome. Trapped in Earth's orbit, the sheets of space debris left over from numerous battles became a permanent orbital minefield, catastrophically damaging satellites, space stations, and spacecraft. Each impact would generate even more debris, compounding the problem, and threatening future space exploration. The world was already gripped by the fear of nuclear escalation when an even greater threat loomed. That threat was 1886 VG, a 3.6 kilometer asteroid. The rogue asteroid was due to cross paths with Earth much closer than previously anticipated. Data was checked in triplicate by the scientific elite worldwide. Each time, the conclusion drawn was that an impact was certain. With time running out and the world becoming desperate, the United States and Russia temporarily put aside the conflict and hatched one last gamble. They turned their orbital missile silos into the path of several other nearby asteroids, trying to create a field of debris that would fracture 1886 VG into smaller pieces that would easily be destroyed by their other orbital weapons. Unfortunately, their strategy was in vain; 1886 VG's composition was far denser than originally calculated, and soon, the hyper-dense fragments rained down on the planet, barely scratched by the planet's defenses. The rockfalls shook the planet in cataclysm. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tidal waves swept the world. The great powers of the East and West struggled to maintain control within their own territories, while the third world was left to fall into anarchy. In one fell swoop, the old order was swept away, leaving a terrible vacuum of power for would-be dictators and rulers to seize control with little to no oversight. Left raw from disaster and neglect, much of the world is still fertile for growth; the massive impacts of 1886 exposed resource deposits previous inaccessible due to depth or population, neither a concern in the post-VG ravaged wilderness. All that remains to be seen is who will lay claim to these opportunities, and whether what grows will be the bright flower of prosperity or the choking vine or tyranny. For now, I leave you all with the world setting. The Rules, setting meta-rules and Campaign setting will follow soon. I'm still conversing with some of my fellow campaign planners on some finer points, but in the meantime, this will help you guys get started. Feel free to discuss things and ask questions. The more input we get, the better we can finally pin down our plans for the campaign. EDIT: Blanket rules for the setting: These rules apply not just to the East campaign, but any potential future Cascade games. Please note that depending on player feedback or game play, these rules are subject to change. Take note that these rules are put in place to help maintain the balance of the game by keeping factions and their technology levels somewhat grounded. So, let me put our most controversial ones first. No Time Traveling Empires, Dimensional Traveling Empires, or Humongous Space Empires. So basically, no obnoxiously huge factions. 1) No Time Travel. The reason being that in the past, factions that have unlimited access to time travel and have taken it to the most extreme degree tend to use it to pull out such bizarre and overpowered technologies as to make any resistance moot. Furthermore, there have also been times where certain factions alter past plot lines in such a way that they would retroactively change the campaign setting in a major way. I know that not everyone that has a time-traveling element is guilty of this, but it has happened enough times to warrant the rule. In the Cascade setting, we're trying to avoid these things all together. 2) No Dimensional Travel. Similar reasons to the Time Travel ruling. Once again, not everyone is guilty of it, but some people tend to use Dimensional travel to jump into alternate worlds to pull out crazy tech, characters, monsters, etc. Furthermore, there are a lot of tangential comics that tend to add little to the main campaign other than padding, and overall tend to be effort put into a completely separate plot line with little advancement to the main campaign. We're trying to keep things centered around the main campaign and avoiding pointless or nominally useful fluff. 3) Aliens Yes, but let's not send the whole empire to do an invasion yet. In the current Cascade setting, we're focusing on downsizing first. We're starting small to get the fundamentals fleshed out before we even attempt a World War. Furthermore, the fact that the Earth is surrounded by fleet-crippling Kessler Syndrome means that only small detachments would be able to have a chance to safely make it through the debris fields. In the cascade setting, the lack of FTL travel on Earth's end has also meant that little to no outside contact has been made with other species, so if someone does come nosing around, it would make sense for it to be more of a scouting or scientific ship than a full-on invasion force. These are the only solid rules that we have at this time. Take note that I am open for negotiation. If you have a character with a backstory or other traits that fall under any of these three rules, I might be able to let it slide so long as we come to an understanding of what you can and cannot do with them. If there are any further questions about it, please feel free to ask them either here or via PM. Now for some other stuff that is relevant to the setting, but aren't necessarily rules so much as features of the setting. Setting Features and Notes 1) The Earth's orbit is full of ship-smashing space junk and meteor fragments. The aforementioned Fleet-Crippling Kessler Syndome is something that I really want to put emphasis into. It's essentially a permanent entry hazard for any ship above 100 meters in length. While there are some semi-permanent breaks in the debris belts that would allow a ship to scoot through and into the atmosphere, Parking in orbit for more than a few hours at a time is pretty much a no-no. Furthermore, these breaks in the debris belt occur in a predictable pattern which allows for ambush strategies, which is part of the gameplay. So no dropping a fleet in wherever, whenever. This also levels the playing field for smaller, more agile ships. Small space pods armed with ship-busting weapons are now a much more viable threat to larger ships trying to enter atmosphere. Granted, the same hazards of space debris apply to your smaller ships as well so fight with caution. 2) Mobius is no longer its own planet. It's now a continent on Earth. In order to make things a little more approachable for some of our resident Sonic Fans, I have adapted elements from the videogame canon. Now, Mobians are a sub-species on Earth, so we don't have to make some crazy story about how Earth and Planet Mobius are intrinsically linked and slipspace and stuff and yadda yadda yadda... This raises some interesting implications based on the game cannons so I'm just going to nail this thing down right here: The Sonic Games canon in this verse are the four Genesis games, and the two Adventure games. We're just going to sweep all the dark days under the rug... also, I'm not really in the mood to try and explain the Little Planet, so we're just going to duck Sonic CD and Sonic 4 Part II for now. 3) Aliens, Magic, and Supernatural stuff. They're all fair game, but you're going to have to find a way to make them fit the setting. Fantasy species and magical creatures tend to be a bit odd in the context of a post-apocalyptic, post-cold war world, so you're going to have to make us believe in them with more than just clapping. Modernize them. Make them contemporary. But bear in mind that this setting is Sci-Fi first, and fantasy second. Technology is the main force of this world. This makes it a little easier to bring in aliens, but try to think of WHY they would take the effort to come. Earth is in bad shape on the surface, orbital junk makes the trip to and from the planet dangerous and risky, and resources are primitive and under-developed. Also, don't bring in anything that is fundamentally invincible. It has to bleed, so we can kill it.
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