"Hey, Dolphinhead! Get your flippers back to Seaworld!"
Armies of genetically enhanced soldiers wage war against prejudice, intolerance, and other forces arrayed against them while trying to gain acceptance and find their place in the world.
Campaign in Brief
Genetech is a setting where the freedom fighters of tomorrow are not just revolutionaries and charismatic leaders but are fighting for their very survival. In most cases, the heroes of Genetech are not even human; they are franks (genetically altered humans) and moreaus (human/animal gene-spliced crossbreeds) that have escaped captivity. Characters in this campaign setting see themselves as the last heroes willing to fight for what they believe in, and most see their enemies as the greedy and powerful corporations, politicians, and scientists that abuse genetics for their own benefit.
Conflicts in Genetech are not so far separated from the conflicts in the real world; they include wars, famines, government cover-ups, corporate scandals, and much more. The only difference between the prominent conflicts of the modern world and those in Genetech is that the chief participants are genetically altered soldiers who are frequently considered the property of their creators and not autonomous beings. The setting revolves around outcast warriors fighting morally bankrupt scientists, businesses, and governments while struggling to survive in an apathetic world.
Role of the Heroes
The heroes of the Genetech campaign are genetically inhuman, yet they possess humanlike behavior. They express their emotions as humans do, they are fallible, and they do not always make the right decisions. By the same token, these heroes also possess certain qualities that separate them from the apathetic masses trying to maintain the status quo. They are resourceful, intelligent, creative, and most of all, they believe in their cause. In a world where it is much easier to ignore the larger problems than face them, the heroes of the campaign are the types of characters who confront challenges rather than flee from them.
The heroes in Genetech are franks and moreaus that have escaped their creators' clutches (or been set free by a benevolent party) and have chosen to take up arms against the governments and corporations that would try to control them. Their goals vary from individual to individual; some are primarily concerned with ecological crimes and hunt down corporations that destroy the environment, while others see themselves as the liberators of their kind. Some heroes join up with organizations that are receptive to genetically altered beings, while others find themselves driven into hiding by the world that hates and fears them. Regardless of their specific role, the heroes of Genetech are capable of great things because they believe they can make a difference.
The Genetech setting is a technothriller world where fast-paced action and intense espionage dominate world events. The key element of the Genetech campaign is genetic engineering. After forty years of intense research, genetic engineering finally reached the point where the creation of whole new species became a reality. Genetic engineering is not limited to the creation of franks and moreaus, but extends into the world of normal everyday citizens. Thanks to the science of genetics, parents can determine cosmetic details of their children before they are even born and check for genetic defects and correct them in advance.
In addition to the added technological element of genetic enhancement, the Genetech campaign deals with violent conflict. Freedom fighters struggle against oppressive governments, covert agents battle against overbearing corporations, and revolutionaries fight off those that would harm the planet with their greed. The Genetech campaign is part espionage, part armed rebellion, and part ecological defense.
In Genetech, most of Earth's existing organizations make up the majority of the power groups. World governments spend billions of dollars over 40 years to perfect genetic research, and like any investor, they want to see a return on their payments. Similarly, the governments that don't have access to genetics technology struggle to acquire it, or hire bands of independent franks and moreaus to do the dirty work for them. Many corporations have grown into megacorporations, spanning international borders with offices on various continents. These corporations have the power to challenge even large governments, and some are more than willing to take advantage of dislocated populaces and genetic outcasts for cheap labor.
Genetically altered species constitute a new "power group" in society. Franks and moreaus that cannot prosper in the legitimate world are forced to seek new means of feeding and clothing themselves, while some groups of genetically enhanced warriors form mercenary, paramilitary, or terrorist groups to protect their own interests.
Finally, the Uncorrupted is a human supremacy group comprised of unaltered humans who fear and loathe all mutants. Members of the Uncorrupted treat all mutants the same, failing to abide even the slightest genetic enhancement or alteration. The agenda of the Uncorrupted includes the extermination of all franks and moreaus as well as the cessation of all genetic experimentation.
Allies and Opponents
Since Genetech is a near-future campaign setting, many modern government agencies and organizations will play a major role in the campaign. In America, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) both recognize the need for franks and moreaus in many operations but are not as deeply immersed in their use as other groups. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Institute of Health are primarily responsible for the creation of franks and moreaus, and they are interested in funding further genetic research and experimentation. The National Security Agency (NSA), one of the most secretive and dangerous organizations in the world, often uses franks and moreaus as weapons and covert agents, manipulating world events from behind the scenes.
One of the more prominent opponents that genetically altered heroes will face comes not from some powerful government agency or multi-billion dollar company but from the general populace itself. The Uncorrupted, a general term used to describe the various human superiority groups, are collections of unaltered humans opposed to the very existence of franks and moreaus. They are violent bigots and terrorists who seek to exterminate all genetically altered beings. Most Uncorrupted groups are localized within one region or country, but some groups span the entire globe. Most members of the Uncorrupted are drawn from the public at large, united by their fear and hatred of all "freaks."
Various types of moreaus are presented in the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game. The other major group of genetically altered beings -- called franks (short for Frankensteins) -- are presented here. Franks have subtle genetic mutations that grant them abilities beyond most humans. Franks come in many shapes and sizes. Some franks blend in perfectly with other humans, while others are overtly altered in some way. A particularly smart frank might have a large head, while a frank with low-light vision might have reflective eyes like a cat's.
In general, the rules for mutations presented in Chapter 12: Mutations can be used to create franks. However, players wishing to play a frank may instead choose one of several frank options presented below. The choice to play a frank is made at character creation, and all adjustments to the character should be made at that time.
Various types of franks are presented below, along with a starting racial package for players not wishing to use the mutation system presented in Chapter 12. All of the franks described below gain skills and feats as humans do and have a level adjustment of +0.
Brute: Brutes make good soldiers and grunts. They gain a +2 bonus to Strength, take a -2 penalty to Intelligence and Charisma, and possess low-light vision.
Deadeye: Deadeyes have enhanced hand-eye coordination and make excellent drivers, pilots, and sharpshooters. They gain a +2 bonus to Dexterity, take a -2 penalty to Intelligence and Charisma, and possess low-light vision.
Egg: Eggs have heightened mental capabilities and take their name from the slang term "egghead." They make excellent scientists and engineers. Eggs gain a +2 bonus to Intelligence and take a -2 penalty to Constitution.
Honeytrap: Taking their name from a Cold War term for prostitutes used in blackmail schemes, honeytraps are engineered to function undercover and in espionage situations. They gain a +2 bonus to Charisma and take a -2 penalty to Wisdom.
Praetorian: Taking their name from an ancient order of Roman bodyguards, praetorians often serve as the protectors of powerful business tycoons and government officials. They gain a +4 bonus to Constitution and take a -2 penalty to Intelligence and Charisma.
Stalker: Stalkers have heightened senses that enable them to better track down targets. Hunters gain a +2 bonus to Wisdom, take a -2 penalty to Charisma, and possess low-light vision.
The Dreadnought and Helix Warrior advanced classes, as presented in Chapter One: Characters, are available to frank and moreau heroes in the Genetech campaign setting.