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Legacy of Vishnu
Author: Alexander Wallis
System: d20 Modern
Category: Science Fiction
Requirements: Adaptable to any system.
Looking for something new? Want to inject some blood-pumping excitement to the table? Here’s a little something I started running recently that is leading to an increasing number of 1 o’clock in the morning ‘more please’ gaming sessions. I borrow unashamedly from Star Wars, Lovecraft and the Matrix – but the remix works…!
If you have you it – you should play ‘Chateau’ from the Matrix: Reloaded soundtrack while you read… it kind of sets the tone.
‘Vishnu’s heroic deeds now let me proclaim, who measured out the earthly realms… striding widely as he took his three steps… in whose three wide strides all beings dwell.’ - Rigveda
Millennia ago the Shi empire, a profound and noble extraterrestrial race visited Earth and staged a battle against their cosmic enemies the Great Old Ones, a race of interplaner Cthuhlu horrors.
Using their celestial battleship "Vishnu" the Shi’s created three ‘Veda Seals’ beyond which they imprisoned their eldritch enemies. One Veda Seal lay deep beneath the sea, one in a remote mountain plateau and one the heavens. Thus freed from the malevolent rule of these foul creatures, human and animal life were able to evolve and gain dominance over this fertile planet.
In AD 2100 when the world was on the brink of Nuclear the Shi returned to Earth and instituted a New World Government, assisting mankind to govern itself. The Shi also provided solutions to many of the world’s problems of disease and famine and notably instituted a new ‘crystal technology’ opening new avenues of science to mankind. This technology expanded what had only been guessed at by mystics, and harnessed the latent power of crystals in ways that could generate enormous power.
But this science had another more personal application. Those initiated in the art could evolve hitherto unimaginable levels of psychic power. But such information was only available to the select few chosen to attend the Shi Temple.
The year is now AD 2300. It has been 200 years since the Shi visited Earth. Although they have never returned their legacy continues through the Shi Temple and through a group of individuals know as the Shi Dragoons. These are people, selected randomly from the populace and enlisted to spend two years serving as Dragoons.
Dragoons are first trained in the temple for a month, learning the secrets of harnessing personal crystal energy. This enables them to perform such feats as:
As I play 2nd Edition D&D I just allow the PC’s to spend points on these skills per levels as in the standard Thief kit. But other approaches may work for you.
They are also trained extensively in the martial arts and use of traditional weapons. Training takes the form of simulation missions, duelling in varied combat arenas, meditation and tests of skill and concentration.
By the time the Dragoons leave to begin their service in the world they are akin to protégé Jedi’s.
DUTIES OF THE DRAGOONS
The Dragoons can become involved in all manner of contemporary/futuristic issues from crime to war. However their key function is as wardens of the Veda Seals (remember those things keeping Cthulhu and his ilk at bay). This means that any creatures or entities that might escape from the Veda Seals must be dealt with the Dragoons.
THE GOOD STUFF... aka the bad news for players
However this is less than straightforward. Firstly because for the last 50 years the former Dragoons have been utterly neglecting their duties and using their celebrity status to gain personal wealth. This has included landing record deals, appearing in numerous chat shows, TV programmes and movies, modelling and advertising!
In fact no sooner are the adventurers released from the temple than they are harassed by an endless tirade of reporters, talent scouts, agents and photographers. Everyone wants to make money from the Dragoons new-found fame. People in the outside world don’t even remember why the Dragoons were established in the first place. Every day the Dragoons are inundated with largely useless e-mails from fans and critics (although the players enjoy replying to them). People generally consider the Dragoons as they might ‘reality show’ contestants – regular people now famous.
Worse, a former Dragoon known as Aradia Black decided to set up as mercenary and auction her sacred skills to the highest bidder. She set up a convert school where she passed on all the secret skills she had learned, and has many trained acolytes at her disposal. Not long after she was contacted by a sinister entity that had escaped the Veda Seals and the whole organisation defected to the service of the Old Ones.
Worse still, a massive ‘natural’ catastrophe has signalled the cracking of the under sea Seal. Many malevolent creatures and spirits have escaped and are running loose. These creatures have the ultimate objective of destroying the Seals altogether and releasing their nebulous masters to reign havoc on mankind.
Even worse, the leader of the Shi Temple has gone to investigate the crack in the Seal and comes back possessed by a shadow entity. The Temple is now hostile to Dragoons under his corrupt leadership.
BEYOND THE SEALS
The creatures beyond the seals are a varied and malevolent as the creatures in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu pantheon. Typically they inhabit bodies, feeding upon life energy until the physical shell is destroyed and then move on to another host. Naturally they are hard to kill outright. The Great Old Ones are capable of far more devastation.
STAGING THE SHOW
When running this campaign think HIGH energy. Battle scenes should take place in the most treacherous environments possible, on lightning fast motorbikes, in crowded shopping plazas, atop multiple rooftops. The corrupt Dragoons have incredible skill and the servants of the Old Ones are capable of almost anything. Each battle should be a swathe of cool as **** psychic power, martial arts, destruction of property and massive carnage! And don’t forget that reloaded soundtrack…!
What do you mean what next? Your sacred role has been profaned with crass commercialism, evil entities are everywhere, corrupt Dragoons hound you at every turn, the Temple has disavowed you… Put on the Reloaded soundtrack, don those shades and go kick ass – after all, you know Kung Fu!