03 March, 2018

The Cult of the Genetic Locus

I've had idea... it's for my game "The Law", if you haven't looked at it, go and do so immediately (it's on the GM's Day Sale)...



The setting is Judge Dredd with the serial numbers filed off. There are mutants, cultists, rogue AIs, and corrupt agents to investigate. I've had what I think is a fun antagonist for a future sourcebook  but I think it might be a bit delicate and potentially troublesome. It's a fanatical religious pseudo-mystical cult who believe in eugenics, genetic purity, and a concept of 7 progenitors who founded the races of humanity. The aim would be to draw on the writings of the 19th century Theosophical Society (yes, those same writings that basically ended up contributing to the worldview of the Nazis), then to apply a pseudo-mystic technology to the concept.

My seven progenitors will be semi-mythical beings, from millennia ago. Basically one from each continent; negroid, mongol, caucasoid, australoid, polynesian, [middle eastern] and [amerind].

I'm not going to say one race is better than another, nor am I going to automatically apply traits or attribute bonuses to characters based on their racial heritage. Instead it's the purity that this cult seeks. For generations the cult have engaged in eugenics and selective breeding, to spawn the "perfect caucasian/polynesian/[insert race here]". Meanwhile the population explosion and intermingling of cultures has lead to the average citizen on the street becoming more mixed and less pure as time has progressed.

From a game mechanism perspective, all characters are divided into eighths. If tne cult is being used in the campaign, a player may choose up to 4 of those eighths as heritage to a particular genetic blueprint, they roll a d8 for each eighth not specifically chosen (where 1-7 represent one the genetic heritages, while an 8 is a genetic code so mixed that it doesn't register as any). NPCs in the cult may have more of their eighths specifically chosen...where status in tne cult is measured by how pure your lineage is.

Rico Honda has 3 Caucasian, 2 Amerind, 2 Mongol, 1 Polynesian.
Chandra Kwan has 4 [middle eastern], 3 Mongol, 1 Negroid.
Takehashi Ashikaga, the cultist has 7 Mongol, 1 generic.

The cult's technology is attuned to the specific genetic codes of the progenitors, this is true of weapons, med-kits, psi-shields, etc. You always set the device to a specific code then roll an additional Genetic ID d8 when using it. Compare the d8 to the number of eighths possessed by the target for the specified code. If the Genetic ID die is equal to of less than the target's specified genes, a success level is added, if the genetic die is greater, a success level is taken away.

A cult "Gene-Lock Taser" is set to "Mongol"... if the cult shooter's Genetic ID die is 3 or less when shooting Chandra, she cops a bigger hit. It would require a 2 or less on Rico. If it were fired at Takehashi on that setting it would almost always do extra damage (only a roll of 8 would avoid cause problems). If the taser were set to "Caucasian", there would be a chance of a bigger hit to Rico, but both Chandra and Takehashi would never see extra successes when shot on that setting.

Conversely, a cult "Gene-Lock Medi-Nano" would heal more damage if the setting matched and Genetic ID die was low enough. Such a device set to "[middle eastern]", has a 50/50 chance of repairing more damage to Chandra, but would always suffer penalties when used on Rico or Takehashi in this manner.

Thus genetic heritage becomes a two edged sword, you want your allies knowing it to maximise their ability to give you bonuses...you don't want your enemies knowing it and maximising their damage against you.

Any thoughts?

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