Interworld: The Future Gifted Saga
Rodford E. Smith 730 Cline St. Frankfort, KY 40601-1034
Given that the Gifted don't suffer from the effects of aging, are immune to disease and generally hard to kill, it makes sense that many of them would be around for a long time. Here, then, are some guidelines for advancing a Gifted Character into the future. The basic scenario is set in the year 3304, roughly a thousand years after the fall of civilization (not their fault).
For the primary Future Gifted Saga campaign, it is assumed that there are cycles in
civilization, and that unless extraordinary measures are taken at the right time, an eventual collapse followed by a dark age is inevitable. In this timeline, there will be a Golden Age of roughly 200 years duration, a period when magic and technology work together for the benefit of mankind. Ships are built which explore the stars, disease and starvation are eliminated, and the possibilities seem unbounded.
Then a depression sets in, a long decline of world society which lasts about a century. By the time the seriousness of this is recognized it is too late to prevent what follows. There is a sudden, final collapse of the physical and social infrastructure, and a thousand years of darkness begins.
The time is near the beginning of the 34th Century. The Player Characters are in a fantasy world, where magic mixes with ancient technology left over from the Golden Age. Most of the continental US is wild land, inhabited by families and small tribes but unclaimed by any group. There are areas of greater social organization, mostly on a feudal level. Small kingdoms, an occasional theocracy and at least one stronghold of ancient civilization can all be found. There are elves, centaurs, were creatures of every sort, and strange things left over from abandoned experiments of long ago. Have fun.
Why start in the year 3304? This is the turnaround point. If the prognostications are correct, events taking place during this year and succeeding years - measures long planned and spontaneous actions by locals, as well as a remission of the mild ice age which has gripped the
planet for the last few centuries - will stimulate the long climb back to a unified technological
Another good starting point for a campaign is shortly before the reappearance of the Fire Giant. This is the greatest single menace ever to threaten the Gifted Earth. After its first appearance - in 2021 - predictions were made that it would return sometime during an eighty year
period centered on 3372. As it turns out, the return will occur in 3378. If it is not defeated before it can leave the sparsely populated mountains, the reconstruction of civilization will be delayed by at least a century.
The scenarios described above are only two out of an infinity of possible options. Feel free to explore your own ideas.
What follows is a partial list of Character types available for play in the Future Gifted Saga. Don't feel limited by this. Remember, many Gifted were fans of SF and fantasy, and used
the opportunity presented by the fall of civilization to recreate their favorite fictional creatures.
To create a Character use the procedure described in the basic rules, with the modifications listed under each type below. Unless otherwise specified, PCS still get the 4D6 points to add to their Characteristics, even when the base for their species is different from the values for humans. Detailed descriptions of some of these character clas
ses can be found in the "Critters" section, at the end of this module.
Additionally, there are other, separate modules which describe in detail the Elves, Centaurs and other races, and the Great Plan, as well as providing an opening scenario.
Bluegrass Elves: The first generation of Bluegrass Elves (the Founders) were Gifted whose alternate form - either initial or bought later - was inspired by a popular series of
illustrated fantasy stories. After the Long Fall, those members of this group who had not already
done so altered their DNA so they could breed true to their appearance.
The first children were typical of the offspring of Gifted, except for their appearance. They
had the expected benefits, and when they developed their Gifts enough to acquire powers they
generally chose those appropriate to the fictional characters who had inspired their parents. However, this still wasn't exactly what the Founders wanted. After consulting with a number of experts, including their old friend The Last Dragon, they began a long-term program to shape their descendants.
From the third generation on the offspring received progressive changes, to both their genes and to the Gifts that were passed down. Instead of having the 10D6 Characteristic bonus normally available to the children of Gifted, they had uniformly increased Characteristics and
inherent psi abilities. The end result was much the same as for the second generation, but now the desired effect was automatic, instead of requiring work. Bluegrass Elves have base Characteristics
of Int 20, Will 20, Per 30, Str 10, Agil 30, Fit 25, Speed 25. Adults stand an average of just over a meter tall, and mass 35 kg. (Heights range from 65 cm to 150 cm, with most members between
110 cm and 130 cm.) Initial age is determined by rolling 1D10 for the number of centuries (taking "10" or "0" as zero), another 1D10 for the number of decades (again with "10" or "0" as zero)
and adding 18 as the base number of years. This gives an age range of 18 to 1008 years. Bluegrass Elves are all naturally psionic, with 2 + 2D6 abilities. In decreasing order, the most common abilities are: Telepathy, Defense, Empathy, Healing, Telekinesis, Cell Manipulation,
Blending, Matter Manipulation, Domination, Attack, Astral Projection, Warning Sense, Remote Sensing, and Pyrokinesis. There is a 10% chance of a BE having the Power of Telekinesis. In this case, there is also a 50% chance of having the Power of Flight: Levitation.
Note: There is a separate module providing additional information on the Bluegrass
and Mountain Elves.
Centaurs: Marian Holst is the founder of a race of centaurs, inhabiting what was formerly western Kentucky, eastern Missouri and southern Illinois. Base characteristics are Int 10, Will 10, Per 10, Str 80, Agil 10, Fit 10, Speed 10. Adults stand an average of nearly three meters tall, and mass 500 kg. Members typically range in height from 250 to 320 centimeters, with 260 to 290
being more common. Mass ranges from 450 to 550 kg. Initial age is determined by rolling 1D10
for the number of centuries (taking "10" or "0" as zero), another 1D10 for the number of decades (again with "10" or "0" as zero) and adding 18 as the base number of years. This gives an age range of 18 to 1008 years. All Centaurs are Gifted, with the appropriate benefits. A number of non-centaur people share their lands, including Poni and her clan. There may be other centaurs in
other areas, but these are probably the product of illegal genetic engineering during the Long Fall.
Dragons: Dragons: Another creature of legend held in high regard is the dragon. The
Dragon species was created by two Gifted trained in both magic and genetic engineering. These creatures were more difficult to produce than the Elves, and required far more magic than science. There are two basic types, one following the European form and the other the Oriental, but both
types are the same species and have the same abilities. Some individuals show a mixture of the two forms. Dragons have base Characteristics of Int 20, Will 20, Per 20, Str 40, Agil 20, Fit 40, Speed 20. Adults stand an average of two meters tall at the shoulder, are around 18 meters in length, and mass about 2000 kg. Members typically range in shoulder height from 150 to 250 centimeters, with 170 to 220 being more common. Mass ranges from 1450 to 2550 kg. Initial age
is determined by rolling 1D10 for the number of centuries (taking "10" or "0" as zero), another
1D10 for the number of decades (again with "10" or "0" as zero) and adding 18 as the base number of years. This gives an age range of 18 to 1008 years. All dragons are Gifted, with the appropriate benefits. Dragons have wings, and with them a natural flight ability, though this is
rather limited without magical help, due to their size.
Additionally, all Dragons have an alternate human form. These vary as much as the dragon forms in appearance.
Gifted: In addition to the special examples mentioned elsewhere, these are in three classes: The original Gifted, their descendants and people who have been recently Gifted. The Gifted Saga rules have the instructions for how to create new Gifted and their children, and this rule set shows how to modify an ancient Gifted character for us
e in this campaign.
For Gifted Characters being created initially for this campaign, initial age is determined by
rolling (2D6)-1 for the number of centuries, another 1D10 for the number of decades (again with
"10" or "0" as zero) and adding 18 as the base number of years. This gives an age range of 18 to
Humans: Just about every type you can imagine, from peasant farmers to kings. Use the
basic rules to create the Character, appropriate skills for the person and profession. Remember that anyone can learn magic.
Mountain Elves: The first generation of Mountain Elves were Gifted whose alternate form - either initial or bought later - was inspired by a series of illustrated fantasy stories. Unlike the Bluegrass Elves, they preferred to pattern their lives after the more traditional elves of European folklore. After the fall of civilization, those
members who had not already done so altered their DNA to breed true to their appearance. As with the BE, the first generation are known as the Founders.
Their children were typical of the offspring of Gifted, except for their appearance. They
had the expected benefits, and when they developed their Gifts enough to acquire powers they
chose those appropriate to the fictional characters. However, this still wasn't exactly what the Founders wanted. After consulting with a number of experts, including their old friend the Last Dragon, they began a long-term experiment to shape their descendants.
From the third generation on the offspring received progressive changes, both to their genes and to the Gifts that were passed down to them. Instead of having the 10D6 Characteristic bonus normally available to the children of Gifted, they had uniformly increased Characteristics
and inherent psi abilities. The end result was much the same as for the second generation, but now the desired result was automatic, instead of requiring work. Mountain Elves have base stats of Int 20, Will 20, Per 20, Str 10, Agil 20, Fit 20, Speed 20. Adults stand an average of two meters tall, and mass 68 kg. Initial age is determined by rolling 1D10 for the number of centuries (taking "10" or "0" as zero), another 1D10 for the number of decades (again with "10" or "0" as zero) and
adding 18 as the base number of years. This gives an age range of 18 to 1008 years. The Mountain Elves are all naturally psionic, with 6 + 2D6 abilities. In decreasing order, the most common abilities are: Telepathy, Defense, Empathy, Healing, Telekinesis, Cell Manipulation,
Blending, Matter Manipulation, Domination, Attack, Astral Projection, Warning Sense, Remote Sensing, Pyrokinesis, Machine Rapport, Teleportation, Precognition, and Probability Alteration.
There is also a 90% chance of a Mountain Elf having the Power of Flight: Levitation.
Note: A separate module on Elves provides additional information on the Bluegrass and Mountain Elves.
Vampires: There are two types of Vampires. Both types are alive, and have beating hearts and a need for air, though they are far more resilient than normal humans. The Type I Vampire is
a human (or other animal) body occupied by a parasitic magical creature from another dimension.
These are almost always unintelligent, but rare exceptions are known. The persona of the host
organism is burned out when the Vampire possesses the body, so the original creature is effectively dead. Their average Characteristics are:
Typical Minimum Maximum
Intelligence 5 3 30
Will 10 5 30
Perception 30 10 50
Strength 30 10 50
Agility 25 10 50
Fitness 30 20 100
Speed 20 10 60
See the section below on "Creatures" for directions on how to create a Type I vampire.
To create a Type II Vampire, generate the Character as usual. Then, add 20 pts to Fitness.
An additional 5D10 points are distributed among the Characteristics (including Fitness, if the Player wants). The Character then gets 1D4 rolls on the Special Talent table, even if he already has a Special Talent. The Endurance is calculated, then multiplied by 10. Vampires do not recover
Endurance as other creatures do, they must absorb it from another source. Vampires have many
of the same benefits as Gifted, but to a lesser degree. Also, they have no bonus for working
magic. In the Future Gifted Saga, Vampires may spend their accumulated points on the same
things as Gifted, but the cost is 15% greater.
To recover Endurance, most Vampires must drink blood, either fresh or carefully preserved. Some Vampires (those with a Fitness of 30 or greater) can absorb the energy merely by touch; a few (those with a Fitness of 60 or greater) can drain from a distance. The range for
the remote drain = (Fitness + Will)/2 in meters. The amount of Endurance a Vampire can absorb
is determined as for the Gifted Saga Power of Leach. Those Vampires strong enough to drain from a distance have the chance for an area effect as with the Gifted Saga power of Leach.
Some old and particularly powerful Vampires can transfer their entire essence to another
body. If the rightful occupant of the new body has a particularly strong Will this may be resisted. The determination is made as for the Gifted Saga power of Physical Domination/Possession.
Most Type II Vampires are decent folk, who normally feed off animals. They are sensitive to light, but not greatly harmed even by full sunshine. They can make more Vampires by spending
30 points to "turn" someone. This is generally voluntary, since it requires time and intimate physical contact.
Weres: These will have to be worked out on a case-by-case basis, since most are normal humans who have been altered by magic. For those types of lycanthropy that run in families, guidelines should be set by the GM, with each family treated as a separate Character type.
Experience is earned at the rate of 1 point per year of activity, as noted in the base rules.
For those Characters with a history of adventuring, add a bonus of 10%. The GM is urged to be
flexible. If a Character is two or three points away from completing something important to them,
let them have those extra points. (Unless this would be good motivation for participating in an adventure.) Up to 5% of the total points may be held in reserve, for use during the play of the game.
Normally, no more than 25% of the total may be spent on improving Characteristics and
Powers (as described in the basic rules and Gifted Saga rules, respectively). The majority must be spent on Skills and Investments. Special Talents may be bought as either Investments or with the Characteristics and Powers points. Again, the GM shouldn't quibble over a few points.
Random roll 100
Chose Power 200
Investments are described in detail below. In general, these are the accomplishments which Gifted achieve during a long life. They include a home, family, friends and wealth... things both
material and intangible.
Investment Cost in Experience
Valuables (Cash, coin, gems, etc.) 100 GP value per point
Land (per hectare) 10
Building (Cost does not include people, land or infrastructure):
House, medium 50
House, large 70
Business, shop 50
Business, store 75
Business, factory, small 150
* See below for establishing your own religion.
Infrastructure (In addition to land cost):
Shade trees 2
Fruit trees 5
Hardwood trees 5
Garden (per hectare) 5
Spring (per person served) 3 Stream with fish (per person fed) 5 Small game animals (per person fed) 5 Medium game animals (per person fed) 10 Large game animals (per person fed) 15
Mineral resources To be worked out individually
Note that the living things are very expensive. This is because they receive a small portion of the buyer's Gift. They will be immune to aging and disease, and much more robust than others
of their kind. Things which don't normally grow in a particular environment (citrus in the Rockies) should be allowed, but don't go overboard. The fruit trees and vegetable plants will bear the year around; gardens will likewise produce edible food all year. Springs will be at the preferred temperature constantly, and may be bought with an adjustable temperature at double the cost.
Fish and other game will be as hard to catch as the owner wants.
Game animals can be handled one of two ways. Either this is the amount of game the area attracts per week, or the animals are actually reservoirs for small portions of the owner's Gift. In the latter case, the animals are at least partially under the control of the owner, and the portion of a Gift they contain may be recovered using the same rules described in the section on Places of
These perks must be paid for separately when the infrastructure is being bought as part of
a place of power (see below). However, they are automatically integrated into a whole, and no
extra points are needed to have the different elements cooperate.
People (Children, employees, acquaintances, influential friends)
0-11 years 40
12-20 years 50
21+ years 60
Casual friend 10
Firm friend 20
Boon companion 40
* Costs of offspring are usually shared between two Gifted parents. Past the age of 21, children are independent NPCs, or even Player Characters, if that method is used to introduce
new Players. For every year in age past 21, offspring will have one point of experience.
With rare exceptions, the children of Gifted will not have an alternate form, rolled Powers
or Disadvantages. Instead, they automatically receive the 10D10 bonus to their rolled Characteristics, as well as the Powers of Magical Spells, Gadgeteer and Alchemist.
To make a permanent change in the character's genetic structure, so that he or she will
breed true, costs 50 points. This is often used to produce offspring who resemble a Character's
alternate form, and generally requires that at least two Gifted make the same change.
** For each level of influence possessed by the contact, multiply the cost by the
appropriate correction factor:
Nobody X 1, Small X 1.5, Moderate X 2, Major X 3.
*** Life-bonding can also be accomplished by sharing in a place of power. People with
this perk always are at least dimly aware of the status of their partner.
Congregation member 10
Servant Gifted, minor 100
Servant Gifted, moderate 300
Servant Gifted, major 500
* The points invested in worshipers for a religion count towards the benefits outlined below for places of power, though the property itself does not, unless it is also bought as a place of power.
Random Roll 30
Choose One 100
Places of Power
Any physical item may be made into a place (or thing) of power, although usually a piece of land or other large item is chosen. The base cost is 200 Experience Points. For this investment, the Gifted receives many benefits. For instance, the place of power is as much a part of the person who creates it as is a pet, device, weapon or vehicle, as per the respective Powers. In their place of power, the Gifted have automatically the Power of Environment Manipulation at a Skill Level
of 10. The also have a bonus of (Total Cost/100) percentage points for successfully performing
any magic there, whether by Power or spell. The cost of the item or property is extra and does not
count towards the bonus calculation. Remember to pay for the item, as well as the place of power; it would be embarrassing someone to have a place of power he or she does not own!
These locations also give the Gifted who create them an extra (Total Cost/10) Endurance
Points per hour.
The range at which the benefits may be accessed without restriction = ([Character's] Will
+ Fitness) / 20 in kilometers (this is measured from the nearest part of the property). Beyond this
range the Character must roll for the probability of success, which = (([Character's] Will + Fitness) X 5) / (distance in kilometers) %. This assumes total concentration. Distraction will cause appropriate penalties.
Places of power may be invested with one or more Powers, for the same cost a Character
pays. In this case, Powers which depend on Characteristics for their level of effect will use a base of 10 Characteristic points for each 200 points of total investment in the place of power, including
the cost of Powers. Additionally, the Character may increase a Characteristic at a cost of one point per point of Experience spent, the same as for themselves. The points in a place of power may be recovered, though there is a risk of losing some or
all of them in the process. The chance of success = ([Character's] Will + Fitness) %, and the
attempt may be made once every turn. The amount of Points recovered is [(Points invested Preparation Points) X (([Character's] Will + Fitness + Points used in preparation) / 100)]. In other words, the process can be made easier by spending points (not recoverable) on preparing for the process.
The recovered points may be used for any purpose, though the GM should remember that
some uses (such as buying property or growing fruit trees) will take time.
A Character may create more than one place of power, and may share a place of power
with one or more partners. The sharing process creates an automatic life-bond between those who participate, giving them an awareness of each other similar to that which Gifted share with pets
and such obtained through the appropriate Power.
A place of power has the same chance of sentience as a pet, device, weapon or vehicle, as described in the Gifted Saga Power definition rules. A place of power which is sentient earns Experience Points.
Characters with a Disadvantage may pay this off for 20 points.
The cost of a spell is equal to one-half the minimum Endurance cost of casting in Experience Points, as defined in the rules for casting spells. This means that if a Character wants, for instance, a translation charm, he can hire a master wizard to embed a permanent spell in an appropriate object, the cost of the object being additional but probably minor. This would cost the Character a number of Experience Points equal to half the cost in Endurance spent creating the object.
Any technological devices above the medieval level of development are left over from earlier ages, or are made on an individual basis by survivors of that period or someone trained by them. That being the case, they are very rare, and must be bought the same as powers and spells.
The cost may be figured as for items with embedded spells. Depending on the device and its function, the GM may give cost penalties or breaks.
Additional - or, in some cases, initial - alternate forms may be purchased for 20 to 50 points. The exact cost depends on how similar the new form is to either the Character's original alternate form or base form. This must be decided by the Referee. The high cost is because this is a semi-permanent change in the Character. There is no Endurance cost for switching to or maintaining an alternate form, unlike shapeshifting.
This is not available until after AD 3415. It had long been known that when a Gifted person is killed, their Gift flies to a new host. In 3396 The Last Dragon discovered a way for the Gift to take the mind/soul/spirit of the Gifted person with it, and to force the Gift to seek a fetus
in the last third of pregnancy as the new host. The Character will be reborn with memories and
personality intact, and their Gift nearly so. The basic cost is 50 points. Adding a simple condition costs 100 more. Adding a complex condition or two simple conditions raises the price by 200.
Note that success is not guaranteed; if there is no suitable unborn child within range the Gift will dissipate or be captured by a metallic object. The more conditions added to the effect, the more likely this is to happen.
Recycling a Gift
As mentioned in the Gifted Saga rules, a traumatic experience can cause a Gift to reset,
starting over with a new (if any) alternate form and set of Powers. This can also be caused through a spell, and if the transition is voluntary there is little accompanying trauma. This change costs 20 Experience Points, and the Character will retain all knowledge and memories, including
Skills. However, what the Character receives in the way of Powers and Disadvantages must be kept, with no bargaining allowed (well, maybe a little). For each year less than 10 between such changes, roll an extra Disadvantage, which must also be kept! (At least until paid off by Experience Points.)
By the time a Gift has been possessed for 100 years, it is so ingrained in the the possessor's being that it's expression cannot be changed in this fashion.
The Great Plan
In AD 2209 a mild recession caused the routine request for prognostications about the
near future. Those who made the forecasts and those who received the results were equally
astounded to learn that things were about to take a dramatic and apparently unavoidable downturn. Most who saw this information rejected it as nonsense; after all, humanity was enjoying a Golden Age of magic and technology unprecedented among the known sapients of the galaxy. A
few decided to examine the results more closely. What they learned left them very worried.
In 2210 there was a meeting in Zurich of Gifted and normals to determine what could be done about the forecast collapse. Once it was determined the breakdown was inevitable, the focus of the meeting changed, and the participants created a framework for recovery. Tasks were assigned to volunteers and the meeting adjourned, to resume in one year.
The second meeting of what was now being called the Illuminati was much larger. Despite attempts to maintain secrecy, word of the group and its purpose had leaked. However, because
most people could only see prosperity ahead, the Illuminati were thought to be a harmless group
The fourth paper presented at the meeting was a collaborative effort on the part of three brilliant Gifted, and it was a bombshell. They had determined, beyond a reasonable doubt, that no short-term efforts would do anything more than make the situation worse in the long run. They proposed, instead, a plan lasting well over a millennium, whose eventual outcome would be a
mature and enlightened society the likes of which had never before been achieved by any species. The current Golden Age would pale in comparison. This meant that the collapse would have to occur and that several centuries of social and technological chaos would have to be endured during which most of the surviving remnants of humanity would live in misery. However, this would happen anyway without the plan. With it, the eventual recovery would occur sooner and be more thorough. The final result of the plan would be a dynamically stable society which would be immune to the disruptions ending the current era, and whose potential would eclipse that which was now fading.
A special recess was called after this reading, and four hours later a much-altered meeting
schedule was announced. Several talks were canceled, most of them at the request of the presenters. Others were radically changed. The general purpose of the group was now agreed to be to prepare for the development of the improved human society which the trio had proposed,
the end result not being achieved for nearly two thousand years. It was felt that this amount of
time was the minimum necessary to shape human culture into what those at the conference
thought it should be.
The conference lasted an additional three days, and during that time the basic outline of
what would become known as the Great Plan was created. For the first time, humans were
making realistic plans covering centuries instead of years or decades. Although much detail would
be added over the coming twenty years, the basic course remained unchanged. Goals were set, tests arranged to confirm the forecasts, and people assigned various tasks. Built-in redundancy
and flexibility assured that even the death of half of the participants in one blow would not end the efforts.
The two primary factions that formed during this period were known - a bit facetiously -
as the Angels of Mercy and the Architects of Life. The Angels wanted to make things as easy as possible for as many people as possible. The Architects were willing to let events deteriorate for the short term if it meant a better chance for improvement in the long run. Interestingly, they usually agreed on the same procedures.
The trio who had started this revolution were put in charge of overall coordination, and were eventually nicknamed the Trinity. Considering that their combined IQ was higher than that
of any other three sapients then known, this was only partly in jest. An independent oversight committee was established to play devil's advocate and ensure that nothing was overlooked and that assumptions were checked. Individuals and small groups were assigned tasks, occasionally volunteering for them specifically, but more often being given something appropriate to their talents. Tiger, for instance, was put to work developing a solution for the problem of the Fire Giant's return, over a thousand years in the future.
The largest single group was that which planned for the preservation of the artifacts of civilization. As part of their work they created the Redoubt. This at first was merely a repository for records and physical items, but someone soon suggested that facilities be added for placing people in suspended animation. Volunteers were sought from among the Gifted and certain
normals, and a flood of responses was received. Only about 28% could be accepted, which caused many of those left out to make preservation plans of their own. Though these were not part of the official plan of the Illuminati committee, help was offered to the independent groups, and most accepted it. These groups would later prove invaluable in replacing assets lost to the committee through various causes.
After 2215, when it was becoming increasingly obvious that something was wrong,
several other groups began efforts to correct the problem. All were unsuccessful. A few
discovered why - as the Illuminati had before them - and tried to develop long-term plans. Some learned of the Illuminati, or took them seriously for the first time; some began working with them. Most of these independent groups tried to go their own way, only to discover that their efforts
had started too late. A few people even attacked the committee, either blaming them for the collapse or simply out of fear and frustration. These efforts had been foreseen by the committee, and the preparations made prevented any serious harm from being done to the Great Plan.
After AD 2330 the Illuminati committee was mostly ignored. People had more urgent things to worry about than some group of crazies making plans for 2000 years in the future. As the Long Slide approached its end, many of those left who were not involved in the plan and had the resources to do so evacuated Earth. As predicted, the burden they placed on the colony
worlds hastened the social disruption experienced there, as the shadow of Earth's failure stretched out to cover them as well. The collapse of human civilization, as predicted, was nearly complete. Only a few isolated groups retained anything close to the capabilities of the First Human Empire, as it became erroneously known. These groups were pressed to the limit simply maintaining what
they had left.
As the remaining lights went out in the cities of Earth, desperate mobs began to move on anyone who seemed to have more than them. At first this involved simple looting, but the mobs
soon evolved into mindless organisms of destruction. This is where the plans of most of those who worked independently of the Illuminati failed. Their bastions of technology and magic were seen as targets, and destroyed, no matter how many died in the attempt. Except for the Redoubt which was not known beyond a fairly small circle and not obvious - the committee had few concentrated resources. Some individuals and small groups were lost, but the redundancy in the Plan allowed these gaps to be closed within a few years.
On August 8, 2345 by the old calendar, the Redoubt was sealed, to remain unopened for six hundred years. The Dark Age had begun.
* * *
During the Dark Age and through the Recovery the Illuminati committee continued its work. Though not required to do so, most of the restoration groups which formed in these
periods voluntarily worked with the committee. Those which didn't - many of them declaring that the committee was a relic with no relevance to the current situation - usually didn't last. The exceptions were few.
One of the committee's goals was to develop cultural diversity, and from that tolerance. They aided in the formation of the Bluegrass Elves, the Mountain Elves and Centauria, as well as
a number of human societies. Most groups whose policies were contrary to the goals of the Illuminati were either ignored and allowed to die naturally, or intervened with covertly. Steering
subcommittees were formed for each independent group deemed important or potentially important. The members of these steering subcommittees worked openly with cooperative groups or covertly to influence those who wouldn't work with the Illuminati.
The Illuminati committee remained a secret group, unknown to the majority of humanity
and to most governments or other organizations. They would often aid people or groups trying to
rebuild society, either secretly or with the knowledge of those in charge of such groups. For the most part, though, they remained the stuff of legends, even after officially disbanding in AD 4121. As the new human society moved out into the galaxy, the committee determined that it was no
longer needed, and shut down its activities. Individuals and small groups would continue to help guide humanity, but the Illuminati had done their work.
Various parts of the execution of the Great Plan were divided up into special project groups. The most important of these are listed below. It should be noted that the Illuminati was a dispersed group, and that its members rarely held important positions in society. The head of a Project might earn a living as a potter in a small village, or as a court jester.
This dispersal and anonymity helped greatly in the work of the committee. Since there was no obvious target, even those enemies aware of the group had nothing to attack, unless they
wanted to hunt down individuals they knew or suspected to be members. Meanwhile, the
Illuminati, with its extensive sub rosa communications network and vast resources, would be
active against them.
The Defense Project: With world government gone, the personnel of the various defense
installations on Earth and in space were left on their own. All would eventually have to abandon
their posts, either returning to Earth, leaving for another system or going into suspension. Likewise, the automated defenses, without maintenance, would eventually stop functioning. Earth would be left vulnerable to outside antagonism. A group of twelve Gifted and fifteen normals who
had appropriate skills were assigned the task of maintaining or replacing these defenses. There was no way they could substitute directly for the Space Navy, and keeping the powerful
installations located throughout the Sol system operational was too much trouble. A large portion of the hardware was mothballed, with a minimal amount being kept ready for instant use. To replace those facilities shut down or lost in the collapse, it was decided to use magic almost exclusively. For the most part, complicated and powerful magical effects could be made
self-repairing, requiring only minor oversight. Also, their creation and maintenance needed less in the way of infrastructure. Several members of the Project - with the help of a number of
volunteers - used their Gifts to create places of power, the function of which was to defend the Earth.
In addition to these general precautions, individuals were put in charge of developing a methodology for dealing with known specific problems. For instance, Tiger was given the task of dealing with the Fire Giant. He built a trap, using his Gift to create a place of power for that purpose. He then had volunteers donate a small part of their Gifts to reinforce the trap and provide an alarm to them that the Fire Giant was back. He expected to be able to handle the
creature by himself, but if not he could at least delay it long enough for the volunteers to arrive.
The Determination Project: Originally this group was given the task of ascertaining the best way to re-establish a democratic form of government. As the decades passed, however, they
came to doubt that this was either practical or desired. The focus changed, and they began a long study and discussion of what was the best form of government for humans. It was decided that initially they would just let the situation evolve naturally, with humanity gradually moving from family and tribal groups to larger and more complicated arrangements. As city states merged into kingdoms, they began to subtly affect these organizations, ensuring the establishment of checks and balances between monarchs and those governed. Their eventual goal was a full participatory democracy, but that had to wait for the technology which would make such a thing possible.
The Education Project: These people were assigned responsibility for making sure that the accumulated knowledge of humanity was made available to all. This initially was not easy, since people who are not getting enough to eat rarely wonder about quasars. The solution was to
establish a series of self-supporting sanctuaries, monastic enclaves charged with preserving
learning and making it available to all who were curious.
The Enforcement Project: Rarely, it was necessary to take direct action against individuals or groups whose activities were a major threat to the Great Plan. For the most part these were Rogues; asocial Gifted or other powerful survivors of the Golden Age. When such a threat was detected, volunteers would be notified using the sub rosa communications net.
The Longevity Project: It was decided very early that all humans should have the benefit
of indefinite life spans and immunity from disease, much as the Gifted had through their Gift.
While this had been accomplished during the Golden Age, it was dependent on the large,
complicated infrastructure of that civilization. There simply was no way to continue antigeria treatments and complicated medical procedures in a technically impoverished society. Various methods of improving the human species directly were evaluated, from genetic manipulation to permanent health spells. Several studies and tests were made.
The Bluegrass and Mountain Elves used a combination of magic and technology to alter themselves and their descendants through successive generations. A small group of biochemists
developed a viral vector to spread gene-alterations across the entire world. Another group planned a series of improvements (based largely on the work of the elves) to the human genome, which were dispersed in several waves using this virus. And the Last Dragon quietly began
developing a simplified form of the Gift that could be mass-produced.
This last project was much derided by a number of experts on the Gift. Ironically, it was
his lone effort which was to be the most successful.
The Momus Project: These people were in charge of making a critical examination of all
the efforts of other people in the Illuminati committee. The only restriction on membership was
that no one could prepare a criticism of something on which they were working or had worked.
The Morality Project: Just what was the best, most ethical way for humans to behave? What code of behavior was most equitable, and how could people be made to follow it? Deciding these things was very hard, and implementing the results - finding a way to make humans want to behave in the desired way - was only slightly less difficult. Fortunately, the members of this Project had several centuries to accomplish their task.
The Phenomena Project: This was created to deal with the unexpected. It was composed of a group of scholars interested in basic research, as well as people good at coming to quick, effective decisions on how to deal with crises. The scholars kept track of things and notified appropriate people when something required action.
The Preservation Project: These people were put in charge of salvaging what they could from the ruins of civilization and setting it aside for future use. They created the Redoubt and several similar facilities, as well as cataloging resources which were being preserved by others or which could reasonably be expected to last a few centuries without help. Examples of the latter were prioritized according to importance and fragility, and timely action taken to protect them.
The Restoration Project: With the human population now so low, the opportunity was
taken to restore Earth to a more natural and self-sustaining ecosystem. Forests were spread, or planted from scratch. Endangered species were encouraged to increase, and many extinct species
were recreated. One of the most thorough efforts was the Great Forest in Central Kentucky. Working with the Restoration Project, the Bluegrass Elves returned the land to something very like the old growth forest conditions which the first European explorers had seen. Additionally, they altered a number of species to duplicate creatures from the fictional works which had inspired them.
Given that humanity had achieved a towering pinnacle of technical and magical achievement before the Fall, there were tools available for creating just about any creature imaginable. Dinosaurs were bred, Vampires were a minor public health problem, werewolves
became movie stars, and wealthy people had strange pets. Many of these organisms were one-of-a-kind; others were created in herds or family groups. A lot of them were used for illegal purposes, but most were simply the result of honest curiosity or a desire to make something unusual. As society collapsed, the controls vanished, and even more-outrageous products of the genengineering labs appeared.
Many individual creatures were built to last, and some of those survived into the Future Gifted Saga. A number of species with enough members to be genetically viable also survived,
and a few flourished. Some new species were formerly humans, altered voluntarily, by accident or through the machinations of an enemy. The list below describes some of these.
Angels: This is a communal organism, one of the ancient Gifted. It/they exist(s) as a swarm of tiny, winged creatures resembling the fairies of nineteenth century folklore. There are thousands of these creatures, and they are never all in one place, but instead are spread out in groups over a large area around the Great Lakes.
Centaurs: Descended from Marian Holst, these people are with few exceptions free spirits.
They are civilized and very learned, but feel little need for the arbitrary bounds of society, or more than the basic artifacts of civilization. This has earned them a reputation for wildness, but in truth they are decent folk who are very forbearing with others. Average characteristics are Int 15, Will
15, Per 20, Str 80, Agil 20, Fit 20, Speed 20, HP 30. Adults stand an average of nearly three meters tall, and mass 500 kg. They are Gifted, with all the appropriate benefits.
Centaurs are garrulous and like company. Anyone reasonably polite will be welcome to
stay for as long as they want.
Dire Wolves: Created as beasts of burden by and for the Bluegrass Elves, these canines have average Characteristics of Int 5, Will 5, Per 50, Str 40, Agil 40, Fit 40, Speed 35, HP 23, with a range of only five points from average. They also have the Special Talent of Toughness. Adults stand an average of just under a meter tall, and mass 50 kg. They are intelligent, cooperative and enjoy the company of Bluegrass Elves and - to a lesser extent - other human or human-derived species.
Note that a few Dire Wolves are equal to average humans in intelligence.
Drow: A defense installed around a hidden piece of major military equipment in the mountains of western North Carolina. This drains people of their Intelligence, at a rate of 1D6 per
minute, affecting everyone in a large area. It also instills the emotion of fear, as through the power of projective Empathy. People who flee will recover their Intelligence at a rate of one point per Turn.
Elementals: These are creatures of some material which has been animated by magic. There are many causes and even more types. What defines these is that without the magic, there is no organization to the substance. Fluid materials will dissipate naturally and solids will freeze in
whatever shape they were in when the animating magic was removed. Characteristics and abilities
Elves: Of all the mythical creatures from human folklore, elves hold a special place. After
magic entered the Gifted Earth it was determined that there were no real elves, and probably
never had been. Several Gifted had alternate forms which resembled the elves of legend, but they were all genetically human. Given the constraints on human genetic experimentation before the Long Slide and the personal effort and sacrifice involved, it should surprise no-one that - on
Earth, at least - there were no artificial species of elves until a few centuries after civilization had collapsed.
More was required than simply altering the genes of those involved and their offspring.
For each branch of elves, an entire new culture had to be devised. Using fiction and folklore as
guides, and working with ethnologists, anthropologists, sociologists and psychologists, social codes, laws, behavior patterns and much more were developed. Even the styles of architecture had to be invented. Field experience often resulted in major modifications, both physical and
cultural. However, the goals of both groups were met, and fans of elves can easily recognize the sources that inspired the Founders by the results of their work.
Outlined here are two different but related branches of elves. They are genetically compatible, and in fact are of the same species. While they are derived from human stock, the accumulated changes are extensive enough that without special help none of these elves can successfully breed with humans. The Bluegrass and Mountain Elves have less in common
genetically with humans than do any of the great apes. There could be other groups of elves on
the Gifted Earth, and they might not be associated with the Bluegrass and Mountain Elves. This would result in creatures very genetically different from these groups.
The Bluegrass Elves are 10 Gifted who were fans of a long-running series of illustrated fantasy stories, and their descendants. They were off Earth during the formation of the Illuminati committee, but returned late in the Long Slide. They knew of the committee and offered to work with it in the creation of a new habitat and several new species. Since this fit in well with the planned goals of the Illuminati, an agreement was quickly reached.
The Founders - as the first ten became known - established an enclave in central Kentucky, near Lexington. They altered their genetic structure to breed true, and set about producing offspring. A few others joined in the effort later, but for the most part all of the results derive from the early efforts of the Founders.
The average Bluegrass Elf has stats of Int 25, Will 25, Per 30, Str 10, Agil 30, Fit 30, Speed 30, HP 30. Adults stand an average of just over a meter tall, and mass 35 kg. They are
heavier than they look, and will sink in water. Children begin their growth spurt the same time as humans, but sexual development - the actual puberty - doesn't start until the late teens. BE generally reach full maturity in their middle twenties.
All BE are Gifted, as well as being the result of a long- running genetic engineering program that has used both magic and technology to achieve the desired goal. They are all naturally psionic, with 2 + 2D6 abilities. In decreasing order, the most common abilities are: Telepathy, Defense, Empathy, Healing, Telekinesis, Cell Manipulation, Blending, Matter Manipulation, Domination, Attack, Astral Projection, Warning Sense, Remote Sensing, and Pyrokinesis. There is also a 10% chance of the Power of Flight: Levitation. Except for the Founders, they also have all the standard benefits of 2nd generation Gifted.
Besides the Dire Wolves (see below) the BE are also responsible for creating the Great Forest, and for populating it with a balanced, varied and flexible ecosystem.
Bluegrass Elves tend to be a bit isolated, but will trade with humans in their area. They enjoy life and rarely hold a grudge, preferring to live for the present. In spite of this they are good at long-range plans, and under the guidance of the Founders should flourish for millennia.
The Mountain Elves were created by 8 Gifted who were fans of a long-running series of
illustrated fantasy stories. They were off Earth during the formation of the Illuminati committee,
but returned late in the Long Slide. They knew of the committee and offered to work with it in the creation of a new species. Since this fit in well with the planned goals of the Illuminati, an agreement was quickly reached. Unlike their friends the Bluegrass Elves, these folks decided to pattern themselves more closely after the elves of European tradition.
The Mountain Elves are very similar to the Bluegrass Elves, the primary difference a matter of appearance. They are taller and less feral in appearance than their lowland cousins, and behave in a more cultured manner.
The Founders - as the first eight Mountain Elves became known - established a village in mountains of Appalachia. They altered their genetic structure so that they would breed true, and set about producing offspring. A number of others - both Gifted and normal - joined in the effort later, adding their resources to those of the Founders.
The average Mountain Elf has stats of Int 30, Will 30, Per 20, Str 10, Agil 20, Fit 25, Speed 25. Adults stand an average of two meters tall, and mass 68 kg. They are all naturally psionic, with 6 + 2D6 abilities. In decreasing order, the most common abilities are: Telepathy, Defense, Empathy, Healing, Telekinesis, Cell Manipulation, Blending, Matter Manipulation, Domination, Attack, Astral Projection, Warning Sense, Remote Sensing, Pyrokinesis, Machine Rapport, Teleportation, Precognition, and Probability Alteration. There is also a 90% chance of the Powers of Flight: Levitation and Telekinesis.
Mountain Elves are very insular and isolated, tending to look down on humans. They view
their cousins, the Bluegrass Elves, as being rather immature, but decent folk. They revere the Ancient Gifted, as they call any survivors of the original Gifting.
Elf children begin their growth spurt at about the same time in their lives as humans, but sexual development doesn't start until the late teens. Elves generally reach full maturity in their middle twenties.
Keep in mind that these are telepathic societies. Arousal is primarily through telepathic contact, with scent and appearance tied for second. The more mentally compatible two Elves are,
the more likely they are to be attracted to each other. Occasionally, especially complimentary couples experience something known as life-bonding, similar to what happens to Gifted who share a place of power.
Privacy is valued among the Elves, largely because it is so easy to know what is happening through telepathic contact. Gossip is frowned on, as is discussing an event where someone accidentally let slip an embarrassing thought. Deliberately spying on someone through telepathic means is a major social crime. However, since it is impossible to keep shielded all the time, tolerance is strongly encouraged. This is aided by the fact that members of a telepathic society are much more likely to have a high degree of empathy. Among the Elves, the norm is for people to
show a great deal of sympathy for the troubles of others.
If you are going to engineer a species, you might as well do it right. For instance, female Elves don't have human-style menstrual cycles. Instead, ovulation is under voluntary control, and there is not an actual "period." Only if a released egg is not fertilized will there be any of the familiar cramps and bleeding, and those are reduced. Li
kewise, male Elves don't experience prostrate trouble. A number of other improvements were also made.
Ghost Deer: These are non-magical creatures, identical to ordinary deer except for their
white color. These are not albinos. First discovered by accident in a small, confined population of
deer on a military installation in the late twentieth century, their increase was encouraged by naturalists. After the Long Slide a couple of Gifted interested in them made sure of their survival.
Giant Elk: Recreations of the prehistoric animals. Average characteristics are Int 5, Will 5, Per 50, Str 80, Agil 20, Fit 40, Speed 35, HP 33, with a range of only five points from average for Per, Str, Agil Fit and Speed, and only two points for Int and Will. Adults stand an average of just under two meters tall, and mass 500 kg. They all have the Special Talent of Toughness.
Llamas: By the end of the Twentieth Century these had already begun replacing the
traditional European imports as beasts of burden, sources of wool and even pets. They were
better pack animals for wilderness treks than mules or horses, and could not only defend
themselves against predators better than sheep, but would even protect the sheep.
These camelieds are intelligent, friendly and like people. They will generally stare down a predator - even a bear - and when this doesn't work can generally drive one away with strong
By the time this game begins, the llamas have differentiated (naturally and with human tinkering) into several sub-species.
Snow Goons: These are actually more of a nuisance than a danger. They started as a joke, around the year AD 2160, and got out of control. An eradication program was thought to have
removed all of the activating spells, but as the ice age pushed cold weather south after the Long Slide dormant activating spells were exposed to conditions which triggered them.
Snow Goons are similar to elementals in that they are a normally inanimate material given a synthetic life through magic. They are different in that the magic is designed to go dormant and re-activate depending upon conditions. Snow Goons are unintelligent and mostly harmless. Their primary behavior is to find humans and follow them. If their target stops, they will surround it. If given enough time (2 hours per generation if there is no other activity) and raw materials (snow) they will reproduce, but only when they have humans surrounded. Otherwise, they spend their resources on moving. Their characteristics are irrelevant, except that they have HP 3 and move at
a maximum of 5 kph. Once the find a human they can track him or her up to 15 km away.
Spam Golem: This also started as a joke. This creature is unique, and is a magically animated construct made from a meat product. The elaborate spell prevents the meat from
spoiling and provides the motivation, but to repair damage it needs a source of flesh. Normally it will scavenge this from dead animals, but it has been known to use living things.
Vampires: These are the Type I Vampires, a human (or other animal) body occupied by a parasitic magical creature from another dimension. The Type I is almost always unintelligent, but rare exceptions are known. The persona of the host organism is burned out when the Vampire possesses the body, so the original creature is effectively dead.
Their Characteristics are:
Typical Minimum Maximum
Intelligence 5 3 30
Will 10 5 30
Perception 30 10 50
Strength 30 10 50
Agility 25 10 50
Fitness 30 20 100
Speed 20 10 60
To create a Type I Vampire, begin the Character as usual. Then, add 20 pts to Fitness. An additional 5D10 points are distributed among the Characteristics. The Endurance is then
multiplied by 10. Vampires do not recover Endurance as other creatures do, they must absorb it from another source. Vampires have many of the same benefits as Gifted, but to a lesser degree. Also, they have no bonus for working magic. In the Future Gifted Saga, Vampires may spend
their accumulated points on the same things as Gifted, but the cost is 15% greater. Note that most Type I Vampires, being animals rather than thinking beings, will spend all their points on Characteristics and appropriate skills.
Vampires must drain energy from other creatures to survive. Most Type I Vampires can absorb the energy merely by touch; a few (those with a Fitness of 30 or greater) can drain from a distance. The range for the remote drain = (Fitness + Will)/2 in meters. The amount of Endurance either type of Vampires can absorb is determined as for the Gifted Saga Power of Leach,
including the chance for an area affect.
Type I Vampires generally don't reproduce. However, they can transfer their entire essence to another body with a minor effort. If the rightful occupant of the new body has a particularly strong Will this may be resisted. The determination is made as for the Gifted Saga power of Physical Domination/Possession.
Were Creatures: There is an incredible variety here, from the classic werewolves of folklore to the various movie and modern story incarnations, to a peasant who happens to have inherited a charm that lets him change into a hawk. Go wild.
At the time of the collapse most of the major cities on Earth were almost completely self-sufficient. Many had actually become enclosed archologies. As humanity sealed itself into the artificial environments of the cities, the land between them was allowed to return to a more feral condition. Most roads and dams were removed, and the rural areas became mostly one large,
lightly managed park.