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NecroMech®

Dark Fantasy Roleplaying in a Post-WWII Alternate History Dieselpunk Setting

In August 2017 I made the annual pilgrimage to GenCon. I had spent weeks looking for an artist who could capture the emotional essence, horror, and in some cases contrasting beauty, of my Othersiders. Not your usual monster manual fare. While walking artists’ row both my wife, Ginette, and I suddenly stopped. Looked at each other and said “that’s it!” We were standing in front of Doug Hoppes’ booth. Over the next few months a true collaboration blossomed resulting in some amazing artwork. The first of Hel, Angel of Death:

Framed

Hel, Angel of Death

With no human language of her own, only telepathic communication, Hel takes “her” name from the thoughts stripped from the mind of the first human being she encounters. In this case a German soldier who sees in her the literary personification of the bringer of death and ruler of the underworld. But not only her name. Knowledge of the world. Although characterized more by her curved horns, sharp teeth, pale waxy skin, jet-black eyes, and pulsing black veins, Hel still has a distinctly, even attractive, female form. Standing at almost 7 ft. she is encased feet-to-neck in black chitinous armor except for her back which is specifically cut to allow for the bone rings set there. She is attended by 6 Supplicants attached via collars and bone chains to the rings in her back. The collars are internally spiked so that the Supplicants have weeping sores to match the wounds caused by the rings that are embedded into Hel’s back at the other end of the chains. These wretched creatures are examples of what can be wrought when flesh and bone become a canvas for a sadistic, twisted, inhuman mind. Using telekinetic abilities her supplicants are levitated and arrayed behind her in such a way as to be reminiscent of wings. Supplicants are miserable, shriveled, creatures that constantly writhe in apparent agony, providing Hel with a disposable source of additional Necrotic Energy. Once exhausted Hel simply makes a replacement.

The second of Hel’s Harvesters:

ActionArt

Harvesters

Harvesters have pale waxy grey-green skin, yellow eyes, razor-sharp pointed teeth, and a sensual, curvaceous, feminine body. With otherwise delicate features, they have neither ears or hair, and exhibit varying degrees of visible pulsing black veins that spread out from a central point at the nape of the neck, up over the head and face, down the arms and torso, eventually covering the entire body. The vein patterns are unique to each individual. Although their hands have dexterous fingers tipped with short, sharp, black claws Harvesters prefer the use of manufactured weapons. In addition, they wear elaborate chitinous armor, including ornately carved half face masks directly pinned to the back or sides of their heads. Observation of their coordinated efforts suggests behavior somewhat analogous with bees. Harvesters share physical commonality with their “Queen”, Hel. Horrific beauty incarnate. Created as adults not born, the same black oily fluid from the vats they emerge from oozing through their veins in a unique pattern that is indicative of their level of psychic ability; the greater the patterning the greater the talent and with it a higher hierarchical standing. Hel representing the pinnacle of this power.

Dieselpunk is at the core of NecroMech, reflected both in both character and world styling as well as technology development. In early 1950, despite almost 5 years since Meta Engineering became possible, technology advances are still in their infancy due to reliance on two rare commodities. Meta Engineers who using their Talents of Gemstone Capacitor → Psytomaton → Enhanced Psytomaton and Energize → Control Link → Extra Sensory Link are able to construct the fantastic. And polished carbonado (“black diamond”) that once made into a Gemstone Capacitor acts as “heart, brain, and eyes,” providing the power for weapons such as the UV Pulse Rifle and Jacob Electric Bolt Gun, enhanced vehicle performance through Metaboost™, or even the interactive control of a Remote Psytomaton Pilot.

Organizations search out Meta Engineers for recruitment to further their agendas, both voluntary and involuntary. At the public forefront are Meta Engineering Technology Associates or M.E.T.A. run by Brian and Brianna Murphy:

Brian

Brian Murphy

Brianna

Brianna Murphy

Fortune seekers venture Otherside seeking carbonado, whose once controversial extraterrestrial origin theory is given credence with the discovery of its abundance there.

Over the coming months we will be exploring all avenues of Meta Engineering possibility. From planes, trains and automobiles to weapons, tradecraft equipment, and even consumer luxuries. As well as the stories behind their development and materials sourcing.

AdventurerAged+Frame

Geared out for the Otherside!

For Special Agents there is even the opportunity to include all things Meta Engineering as part of their in-game back story!

At the core of the philosophy behind NecroMech is the continued addition AND availability of content. To reflect this our Kickstarter updates will focus on what will be included in version 2.0.0. that only our backers will see with release at the conclusion of the campaign.

I decided to start with Gordon Ashton, since this is a character who I see as my own personal alter-ego and a character I would play given the opportunity in one of your adventures.

GordonAshton

Gordon’s background paints the picture of a man with a profound motivation to “Kill Germans”, the opportunity to do so, and the will and tenacity to see the job done.

Gordon loses both his parents, his father a soldier and his mother a nurse working on the front line, to WWI. At age 13 he finds himself at the John Benn orphanage on Bower Street in Stepney, London. Harboring an intense hatred for the Germans Gordon enlists in the army as soon as he reaches his 16th birthday, becoming Private Ashton – 1st Infantry Division, stationed in Aldershot. As part of the British Expeditionary Force, now Sergeant Ashton, is sent to France in September 1939. While being driven back through Belgium and north-western France, for eventual evacuation from Dunkirk in May 1940 as part of Operation Dynamo, Gordon earns the reputation of a relentless fighter giving no ground to the Germans unless steeped in their blood. Gordon transfers to the No. 7 Commando in August 1940 and is sent to the Middle East as part of Layforce; fighting side-by-side with Robert Hannay during the Layforce attack on Bardia in April 1941. After agreeing to keep in touch after the war they go their separate ways with Gordon taking part in the battle of Crete, assisting in the evacuation of the Allied forces. However, he is temporarily taken prisoner before killing his 4 German soldier escort and making good his escape. In March 1945, now part of 1st Commando Brigade (after his own commando group is disbanded). Gordon is again captured during Operation Plunder as he crosses the river Rhine at Wessel. This time he is unable to escape after being captured and is taken initially to Stalag 6F in Bocholt only 25km away. However, with the allies pressing forward he and the other POWs are moved east. Unfortunately for Gordon, he is included in a small group identified as particularly “tough and resilient” and sent to Wewelsburg (120 miles away) as test subjects for Dr. Kruckel in his “stitching project”.

What happens next explores how this singular focus together with the impact of his grafts play out in terms of the moral choices he makes and will make. Moral ambiguity is a constant theme throughout NecroMech.

“The tests begin again. The ache in my mouth seems to pulse with anticipation. But I now have control. I will not kill anymore.”

“I remember the first time. Waking with the memory of the torment. Touching my teeth. Not my teeth. Something else.”

“I bang on my cell door. It opens. Escape…”

“Is it the third? No the fourth. Another Nazi lying at my feet. Throat torn out. His blood. But so much more. The memory of another man screaming as the blood pours from his very skin, pulled by some unseen force to shower me in red. My pain is gone. I need more! Wait. What am I thinking!”

“I run on. She comes out of nowhere. We crash to the floor. I sense the very life flowing through her. How? Her proximity fills me a profound, aching, need? What is this feeling? I grab her exposed arm, she screams, the relief, another scream… I must STOP!”

Dieselpunk style is a major component of the NecroMech game world. So for characters with a Tooth Graft from Othersider UX-170 (“Vampire”) that need to hide their deformity, one they are eagerly willing to endure to gain Necrovasculation, Rupture, and Hateful Harvest, a mask is in order. Perhaps something like this that the (cos)player could also wear to the game table!

NecroMechMask

Courtesy of http://www.dieselpunk.ro/

EnergyAdept

If you are an Energy Adept with Incendiary Touch who needs matches!

Based on art by Ástor Alexander.

Incendiary Touch (Tier 1) causes your hand to be wreathed with gently undulating wisps of red, green, or violet flames; the color reflective of your Morality: Red for Immoral, Green for Amoral, and Violet for Moral. Anyone you touch suffers a severe burn at the point of contact and it also simply allows you to set fire to things. The light cast by the flames can bring light to the darkness.
Concentration: Active, Interruptible
Life Energy cost: 10 per round.
Effect: Requires an Action check to touch the target. An attempt can be made to grasp the target at a -30% penalty. Your target suffers (d10 x Rank) points of burn damage per touch (one per round). If grasped then no Action check is required and subsequent damage is an automatic 10 per Rank. The target can attempt to break your grasp. Any intervening material reduces the damage per Rank (sustaining the damage instead): Cloth -2, Leather, -4, and other forms of Armor -8.