Tabletop Game / Hc Svnt Dracones

Hc Svnt Dracones is a Post-Cyberpunk posthuman RPG that takes place 700 years after baseline humanity's extinction. The solar system is now mostly populated by "Vectors" produced from a blend of human and animal genes who live under the rule of Mega Corps.


Tropes:

  • After the End: 700 years ago there was a nuclear war between corporations and nation-states that rendered Earth uninhabitable. The corporations based on Mars have since built a thriving society.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: bladed weapons can be upgraded into a Vibroweapon, allowing them to cut through all but the thickest armour.
  • Altum Videtur: The title, it means "Here be dragons".
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The Atypical Patterning morphism, also the result of a common Surgery. Which causes those who were born with unusual colors to experience some prejudices from certain groups, both hostile and accepting.
    • Core: Extended adds the Bioluminescent Morphism and Fi-Op fur implant.
  • Anarchy Is Chaos: IRPF propaganda likes to paint Spyglass corptowns as such, the residents of said corptowns tend to disagree to some extent.
  • Anti-Magic: Followed are the children of two Vectors with Transcendent implants. They have a shadow that looks like a Manifestation and can diminish Cuil Blooms by concentrating hard enough.
  • Apocalypse How: What started as a Type 2b graduated to a Type 3 and is now a Type 4. And seems to be bucking for Type X-3.
  • Arcology: Megastructures, such as Mars' mile-tall skytowns.
  • Artificial Gravity: Only ships of Large (destroyer) and bigger size have gravity.
  • Attack Drone: The Drone Controller implant allows direct neural control over drones.
  • Audience Surrogate: In the Lore story in the Core: Extended book Stranger, a Pale Man, asks a little Vector girl questions that several fans had asked after the first book was published.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Transcendant Implants.
  • Bears are Bad News: The reclamation surgeries for Ursidae include reinforced claws, hibernation when severely wounded or deprived of oxygen, cold tolerance that can keep them alive in space (ten hours if hibernating), macro enhancement at 2/15ths of the price tag for other Vectors, and an enhanced nose.
  • BFG: LAN weapons, which require an exoskeleton specifically designed for lift assistance to use without setting it on a tripod or something. Such as the H-101 Long-arm, MC-300 Torrent, and V-801 Mag-Lance, the last one still needs to be braced before shooting. The long-arms were dropped in size due to playtesting, so no longer are they a BFG... But they still hurt like hell.
  • Big Eater: Vectors who have had Macro or Muscular Enhancement surgery need about 30,000 calories a day. Fortunately Pulse makes "superfood" that has enough calories for them to survive on normal-sized meals, at four times the price.
  • Bio-Armor: Among TTI's products. They can emulate genetic reclamation surgeries but if stressed they might start sucking the user's blood.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Pulse's specialty, along with sports involving enhanced athletes, and the source of their rivalry with Applied Sciences and Robotics. Their surgeries range from simple cosmetics to Gene Reclamation that grants them more animalistic traits, extra limbs, and even full body replacement.
  • Biotech Is Better: Transcendent Technologies Inc is widely believed to have the most advanced technology in the civilized solar system and they use Organic Technology. However, the second rulebook shows that Applied Sciences and Robotics has some secret projects that involve Reality Warping as well, and the sapient robots known as Cogs can receive Transcendent Implants, albeit illegally as TTI doesn't want that to be known.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: A simple Bulletproof Vest can effectively double a weak character's HP.
  • Brain–Computer Interface: Neural Connectivity Suite replaces the skull with hardware that allows a Vector to interface between their brain and computers wirelessly. Cogs can do something similar but need physical contact without an NCS equivalent implant.
  • Brain Food: Exonymphs become sapient by consuming Vector brains. And they can gain some special abilities or skills that way.
  • Brain Uploading: The very expensive "Body Replacement" surgery, usually used by critically wounded adventurers and retired Pulse athletes. And it's also possible to upload to a clone on another planet, which costs a lot more than physically travelling there but is faster. Either way your old body is euthanized.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: The various rare Transcendent Implants allow a character to bend the rules of reality by "abstracting" away from reality in a direction that gets the job done. However, should the implants be overclocked by either repeated use or general misuse, their powers start getting incredibly destructive: at the fourth "Cuil" of power and onward you're probably not surviving their use, and if you use a 5th Cuil implant, you absolutely will not return from the experience alive. In most cases it is explicitly ruled that there is no way to recover from misuse of these implants, as it either entirely disintegrates the users body, or sends their conscious spiraling through abstract reality forever.
    • There's simply no way to survive a hit with an -Annihilate weapon if you're the first thing it hits, or in some cases tenth thing. You're going to want at least a blast door or two between you and a Mag-Lance.
  • Cloning Body Parts: Replacing limbs counts as General Surgery, as does adding tails or other non-prehensile appendages, a second pair of arms or legs requires Augmentation Surgery that costs twice as much. You can get an Artificial Limb but it costs five times as much and has no special advantages aside from concealing weapons, they're more of a fashion statement than anything.
  • Company Town: Large automated constructors made private cities and even islands affordable and many citizens dissatisfied with conventional governments moved to the new "corptowns". Tensions rose between the Megacorps and the old nations for several years and came to a point after MarsCo colonized Mars and began to genetically engineer sentient bipedal animals called "Vectors", which the governments saw as abominations and tried to exterminate. This led to Mars declaring independence supported by the Earth-bound corporations and open war with the governments, which became nuclear. MarsCo was the only significant power to survive the war, though in later centuries other Megacorps emerged, so pretty much everyone now lives in a corptown. There are even a few "corpornations" of continent size, though few megacorps have more than one (aside from MarsCo)
  • Compelling Voice: The "Master's Voice" phenomenon. It's rumored that analog (but not digital) recordings of human voices have a hypnotic effect on Vectors. Hemis are immune to it, and have a bonus on social checks since they're actually descended from the last humans.
  • Corporate Warfare: "Hotzones" are areas where the IRPF has sanctioned a small-scale armed conflict between (usually) small corporations, something like a mix between a hostile takeover, a football game, and a gang war. The previews for the Sound and Silence lore book also allude to "Shadow Wars" between Megacorps.
  • Creator Cameo: The introduction in the expanded core rulebook features a lizard girl named Eliza, who was already a preexisting character for that particular artist from another setting.
  • Critical Failure: You think you succeeded, but didn't. Particularly bad for Transcendent Implants, which activate at a higher Cuil (see Chunky Salsa above) on a critical failure.
  • Death is Cheap: As a general rule any death that leaves the brain intact can be survived with Body Replacement Surgery. Cogsune take it a step further with quantum backup systems that download them to a new body upon death.
  • Defenseless Transports: Carriers have no weapons arrays by default, they rely on their drones and flak barriers. Though they do have two Omni-Slots that weapons could be fitted into, or landing bays for carrying corvette's, or point-defenses.
  • Detonation Moon: Deimos was accidentally registered as "debris" by MarsCo's orbital construction network and fed to the Geomats. They did build a BlueSky station in its place though. Earth's moon, meanwhile, is covered in the crystallized blood of God knows what.
  • Dominant Species Genes: While interspecies couplings among Vectors have random results the offspring of Vectors and Cogs take after the mother. After all, one type is gestated in a biological womb and the other is built by an internal manufacturing center.
  • Earth That Was: Earth was nuked in the old war. But a few centuries later strange, bizarre, and deadly new life appeared there, and spread to the moon, killing the entire colony there. Needless to say the whole area is quarantined.
  • Eye Spy: The Utilit-i implant has a wireless range of 9 feet, and can be networked.
  • Fantastic Racism: Each Family and Morphism description includes common reactions by each of the main Families. They're not as bad as some real life examples, generally, since Vectors haven't had any history of one race conquering or enslaving others. Though it is the reason why digitigrade and plantigrade Vectors get an extra Proficiency point (and Balance).
    • As a general rule, Canidae are least accepting of Morphisms (aside from taurs), in particular twin-tails as having extra tails attached is a popular body modification among young canids. Felidae usually think of a morphism in terms of how they might best serve their own purposes, and are willing to compensate them handsomely. Reptiliae don't really care much, snakes are always either laterals or taurs (nagas) anyways. Avaiae are actually a bit envious of their taur-equivalents (angels) and take other morphisms in stride. While mustelidae tend to react to anything exotic with loud "squees" of delight, especially if they're shiny or adorable.
    • There used to be an aggressive Feline Supremacist movement, but after they decided to attempt proving their superiority by picking on rabbits, and got reminded of the equalizing effects of guns, it kind of died out.
    • Blips have trouble fitting in with Vector society as they are completely unique creations with no others of their "kind" unless their parents decided to make siblings for them. They are required to assign their smallest stat dice to the Community block.
  • Greyand Gray Morality: Campaigns and adventures centered around conflicts between the corporations tend to be this as they all have their good and bad points.
  • Hammer Space: The "Nanoassembler" implant puts deconstructors in one's hands that can take an object apart and store its particles in cavities in the bones for later reassembly. While Cogsune 06 tails contain a spatial compressor that allows them to function like a more traditional Bag of Holding.
  • Hive Mind: Can be formed, either "part-time" or "full-time" with the Hive Node implant.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Largely averted, hacking is rather difficult to do and usually requires physical access to the device being accessed. The essential hacking device is basically a laptop with no wireless capability.
  • Humanity's Wake: the creation of bipedal and sentient animals known as "Vectors" set off a sequence of events that ended in a nuclear war between Mega Corps and traditional governments that sterilized Earth. During the war gene therapies designed to repair the mutations from radiation enabled humans to be transformed into Vectors and MarsCo offered those who took the procedure the chance to evacuate to Mars, while amping up production of other Vectors. Within a century unmodified humans were extinct.
  • Humanoid Abomination: These are now the primary population of both Earth and Luna. And they're showing up on Mars, too.
  • Intangible Man: "Etherial" Transcendent implants at Cuil 2 and above enable you to "swim" through walls for a limited time, at Cuil 3 attacks have a chance of passing through you harmlessly, or just through your armor.
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: The Inner Ring Police Force. A lot of mega corps like to outsource their security to the IRPF because they have a single consistent set of laws, previously local executives were prone to changing rules at a whim.
  • Living Ship: Transcendant Technologies makes bioships, prone to going crazy under stress and rebelling, sometimes eating the crew or teleporting to a random part of space, or sulking.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Every Megacorp has an anonymous "Shadow President" whose job is to watch the company and keep it in line, sometimes by assassinations.
  • Massive Race Selection: The Core Rulebook lists 24 species with nine possible morphisms. The Core: Extended book adds 29 more Vector species and six additional morphisms. Along with "Blips" that are unique Vectors, Cogs with their assorted frames and specializations, Cogsune, and Exonymphs.
  • Master of None: Characters with a MarsCo scholarship can choose any proficiencies but cannot raise them past the Educated (2 dots) level, as opposed to the normal Masterful (3 dots) allowed at character creation. Bears with the "Drifter" ability take it a step further, instead of a normal scholarship they add 1 dot (Talented) to 17 different proficiencies, though they can use their species and morphism points to bring three-four proficiencies up to Educated.
  • Mega Corp.: The widely agreed upon definition is a corporation with more than 20 million employees. There are at least seven.
  • Mental Space Travel: DigiTrans, where a clone is grown at the destination at the same time the original is euthanized. Quicker but much more expensive than travel by ship.
  • Mind over Matter: "Dislocation" TTI implants, though at higher Cuils you have to worry about all the kinetic energy you're manipulating.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: The "How Did That Get There?" and "Hybrid" morphisms.
  • Mobile-Suit Human: A "Body Socket" is a robotic rig that allows a Lateral or Micro to function in society like a normal digitigrade/plantigrade Vector. They're particularly favored by snakes, who don't have any limbs to start with. And in turn they can slip that into armor that is considered Active (i.e. power armor..) talk about recursion...
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The "How Did That Get There?" morphism can have a second pair of arms but they're not functional without Augmentation surgery, at a 50% discount. Augmentation can also graft a pair of arms onto a "normal" Vector for the full price.
  • Multiple Persuasion Modes: The Coercion proficiency is used to manipulate others through trickery, or threats. Actually browbeating someone is covered by Intimidate. Express is for getting across information or negotiating, though if a character is lying they can substitute Deception.
  • Multiple-Tailed Beast: "Twin Tailed" is a possible morphism, it's considered one of the more "attractive" morphisms and many Vectors have tails surgically added to mimic them. In fact it's so common among Canidae that true twin tails are assumed to have had surgery and take a social penalty among their own kind.
  • Nano Machines: Spontaneous Assembly Machines use nanites to sculpt objects from compressed foams and resins. Intelliformic Flesh is an implant that replaces one's skin with mentally controlled nanomachines, though if they're used for healing too often they gradually turn the user into a sentient mass of goo.
  • Nested Ownership:
    • An in-universe conspiracy theory claims that MarsCo secretly owns the other six Mega Corps. It is publicly known that most of them were originally MarsCo subsidiaries, though Progenitus was a Spyglass division, and there's little evidence that it still owns them.
    • In the novel Fate's Fangs the corptown of Sacroden is owned by the Reveidolon corporation, which is said to be a subsidiary of a subsidiary of a subsidiary of Progenitus.
  • The Nose Knows: Scent is a skill that most Vectors can learn, Hemivectors take a penalty to it. And canids can have a reclaiming operation to improve their sense of smell to the point of recognizing people by scent and sniffing through bluffs.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: In-universe, popular horror videos show the monsters screaming and roaring. If you ever meet any, all you'll hear are their footsteps.
    • Well, and Whispering Ghosts... but if you're close enough to hear that, it's probably too late anyway.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Annihilate weapons keep going in a straight line until they've dealt a total of 1,000 damage. The heaviest suit of armor in the game has 160 HP.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: Traditional nation-states are dead.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Taurs have the lower bodies of lateral versions of their species.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Averted, most of the religions followed by humanity perished with them, and those that didn't ended up merging over time. In the meantime several others arose, particularly after the discovery of the monolith on Europa and the development of Transcendent Implants. Though the only ones mentioned are Doomsday Cults (now known as "Universities") and the Universal Sanguinists who believe the secrets of the universe may be uncovered through biotech.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: Torpedoes travel two hexes a turn, aside from dreadnaughts every ship big enough to lock onto has a greater speed than that and they can take multiple move actions per turn. On the other hand, the ship movement rules mean that often ships end up using half their move actions to slow down or change direction.
  • Playing with Fire: "Excitation" Transcendent implants allow you to set things on fire. Or at Cuil 4 project your psyche as a living avatar of plasma, that has a 3/4 chance of incinerating your body when you try to "return".
  • Post-Cyberpunk: A high-tech future in which corporations have taken over the world, but the results are not as dystopian as might be expected, at least on the surface. The Core: Extended book suggests that the Mega Corps have some secrets that aren't mentioned in the first book's official history.
  • Population Control: It's illegal to reproduce below a certain income bracket, enforced with mandatory reversible sterilization procedures.
  • Powered Armor: There are a lot of "Active" armors. And then there's TTI's "living" armor.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Gazelles deliberately cultivated that reputation to compensate for their low initial numbers, and its kept their population low since.
  • Psychic Powers: A number of Transcendant Technologies implants.
  • Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: Transcendent implants work by harnessing Cuil Theory and abstract reality. When implanted they have a Cuil level of 1 to 5, when an implant of Cuil 3 or higher is activated there's a good chance that the owner will die messily: A Translocation Implant could suffer a Teleporter Accident, while an Exciter implant could set yourself on fire, etc. While Cuil 5 implants are just instant death to activate, you just can't survive it. And Transcendent implants temporarily go up a level each time they're used in combat.
  • Remote Body: The Drone Controller implant allows the user to "puppet" drones. While a Telesynchronization organ enables one to fool a suit of living armor into thinking they're wearing it. Beware if it figures out you're not in it though.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Cogs were intentionally designed that way by ASR so that they wouldn't seem threatening to Vectors or the last few humans. They learn like organics and even have childhoods, changing chassis every couple years to simulate "growth" until they reach 20. ASR gave up on making them look organic, the results were just creepy.
  • Robo Family: Cogs are usually raised in families based on human or Vector families. They are even capable of reproduction through an internal manufacturing center that combines traits of the mother and a partner into a new Core Consciousness and starting frame, and it can translate Vector genes into frame designs. Likewise there's a device that can translate Cog frames into Vector genes.
  • Servant Race: The "Master's Voice" phenomenon suggests to some that Vectors were originally intended for such a purpose. Mice were specifically designed as de facto slaves by a rat Mega Corp. (which went down in flames when they revolted, and were later accepted into society). While ASR categorizes Cogsune as "industrial tools" after a PR blunder where a CEO referred to the precursor project as "Cogs 2.0" and the Cogs thought they were being replaced. So instead the tech was used to make small, harmless-looking half-bio robots with programmed AI.
  • The Shadow Knows: Followed are the children of Transcendent Magi, they have shadows that look nothing like themselves.
  • Sleep Learning: A neuroplex adds proficiency points to a character in this manner.
  • Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism: Most Vectors are Petting Zoo People, but "Hemis", descendants of humans who modified themselves with animal traits, are just a Little Bit Beastly. And "laterals" are like Talking Animals.
  • Smart Gun: The P.I.D. lock is a security lock for weapons with a note for the GM that it cannot be hacked.
  • Smelly Skunk: Skunks don't have musk glands by default, but there are a couple of reclamation surgeries that are available to any mustilidae.
  • Splat: has three or four splat categories. Species are grouped into "families" that share certain abilities, with the species acting as skill specializations. Then there's "morphism" or body type, such as ordinary digitgrade, taur, hemi, micro... And finally you choose one or two Mega Corps that provided your education and pick from their associated skill lists.
  • Stealth Pun: The game's first officially released (only about-to-be-released at the time of this page edit) contract module is called "Stars Over Landria;" it's also the name of a small space station that serves as the adventure's setting. Throughout the plot, it's abbreviated to "S.O.L.," supposedly for convenience. Of course, S.O.L. also stands for...something else. Any guesses on what happens to the S.O.L.?
  • Swiss Army Appendage: Cogsune have modular limbs and tails that they can swap out for specialized appendages. Many of which have super science abilities that put TTI to shame.
  • Subspace Ansible: The objective of the research station in the Contract Module "Echoes", one scientist got so desperate as to start recreating Owls as they could possibly communicate FTL. Cogsune already have quantum entanglement communication, but they keep it to themselves.
  • Summon Magic: "Manifestation" TTI implants allow you to call horrific entities from the fevered dreams of alternate realities. Good luck controlling them.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: "Translocation" TTI implants allow you to teleport yourself or others.
    • Random Teleportation: A bit of randomness is added to Translocations at Cuil 2 or higher, Cuil 3 runs the risk of a Tele-Frag and Cuil 4 can send you into deep space.
  • Terraform: Mars, Venus, and Ganymede have been terraformed.
  • Twinmaker: DigiTrans makes a clone of a character on another planet, synchronized to begin growth at the same time that the original is euthanized.
  • Upgrade Artifact: The Neuroplex, an ocular implant that teaches you new proficiencies, at the rate of one point every two weeks, while you sleep.
  • Vertebrate with Extra Limbs: "Taurs", with the exception of snake taurs or "nagas" who have two limbs, most have four legs and two arms while avian taurs ("angels") have a pair each of arms legs and wings. It's also possible for other Vectors to obtain an extra pair of arms with Augmentation Surgery.
  • Voice Changeling: Expressive Control surgery allows one to mimic someone else's voice almost perfectly. In "Eon" the Pale Men patch into the client's radio and impersonate her. And then one of them starts singing, triggering a Master's Voice effect.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Spontaneous Metamorphosis surgery allows a Vector to transform once per day into an alternate form that has a different morphism. Other surgeries only apply to one form, such as Macro Enhancement. So, for instance, a digitgrade wolf could turn into a horse-sized lateral wolf, or vice-versa.
  • Was Once a Man: Many of the last few humans used targeted mutation technology to become Hemivectors. Quite a few suspect that the Pale Men are somehow descended from that tech gone horribly wrong and it's increasingly suggested that the specific individuals currently appearing in the system were pre-war humans.
  • We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future: Zig-zagged, Vectors were initially engineered to be immune to all known diseases at the time, which resulted in a health crisis when the pathogens mutated, the healthcorps almost went broke trying to cure all the new diseases but eventually they figured it out and became some of the wealthiest megacorps in the system. Then, 300 years later, a division of the espionage corp Spyglass, known as Progenitus, discovered that the healthcorps had discovered cures for everything, but were only selling temporary treatments - at greatly inflated prices. Progenitus released this data system-wide, not expecting to survive the counterattack - only for public outcry to swarm to their support, destroying the healthcorps in massive riots. In the present, every corptown willing to provide Progenitus with protection receives universal healthcare at a rate similar to cellular service.
  • We Will Spend Credits in the Future: They're a function of the "ledger" programs everyone has since birth that automatically buy and sell corporate shares to offset the cost of living.
  • Winged Humanoid: Normally Avians have hands on the inner edge of their wings. But "angels", their equivalent to taurs, have separate arms and wings.
  • Withholding the Cure: Progenitus became the sole medical Mega Corp. by revealing that all the established pharmaceutical corps were doing that, and then making and selling the cure themselves.

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