At the time of Metamergence there are three major races in the world: Humans, Mutants, and Biomeks. The three races detest each other immensely, building upon centuries-long hatred for one another in endless battles in the Central Wastelands. Each of the races and classes have varying characteristics and abilities, though they often compliment one another in many ways.
The overall function of the character class and execution of its abilities is mostly dependent on the listed Primary Attribute of the class, and to a lesser extent on the Secondary Attribute.
You can read more about attributes here.
The Biomeks have embraced technology and intellect to adapt and survive the Contamination. Like the Mutants, they now care little of the hazards of the Contamination, as they commonly replace vulnerable body parts with immune mechanized prosthetics. The essential Biomek view is that any person, place or thing that is not with them is against them. Logically, if the Biomek Order can “enhance” every suitable life-form, they can then enjoy a hard won peace: Pax Bionicus.
Biomeks hate the re-emergent Humans, labeling them “The Betrayers” for their genocidal treachery of the past. The Biomek leadership has vowed to make its headquarters in “The Ark I” when the Humans have been destroyed.
Elimination of Mutant-kind is also at the core of Biomek Doctrine. This concept is older than the Biomek Order itself. In fact, two centuries ago, the Mutant insurgency resulted in the creation of the original “Biomechanical Raiders.”
To Biomeks, bio-mechanization is the most logical and advantageous method of adapting for survival. Their technological enhancements allow them to inhabit extreme climates that most living things would find excruciating or unbearable.
Biomeks derive Power from masses of integrated circuitry and computer chips, boosting their efficiency and granting heroic abilities when combined with their vehicle systems. At the root of Biomek technology is nano-robotics, which supplies a number of additional offensive and defensive capabilities to Biomek vehicles.
Much of Biomek technology has been progressing towards efficient, multi-purpose vehicles. Biomek designed vehicles can transform into walking, killer robotic platforms of mass destruction, with varying capabilities depending on the installed software.
While many humanoids volunteer for augmentation, those captured “in the wild” are held in a place known as Damnation Avenue prior to enhancement. This facility is located between the Biomek civilian sector and Fort Logan. Like most Biomek settlements, Fort Logan is defensibly isolated and only accessible via a small number of heavily defended approaches.
"The Change came upon us quietly. Even those that would become the first of The Changed did not yet realize their destiny, the destiny brought to them when the sky rained stars upon the world. The first of us were very much like Man, only the color of our flesh separated us. It was enough. To Man our differences were plagues, The Change was an unfortunate affliction to be cured with their science. To them we were helpless victims. They did not understand The Change, or what it meant for us all. They soon learned the truth, and their folly brought the time of troubles to us all in a Night of Righteous Fire..."
- Excerpt from Mutant Oral History, as told by Ariana Santos, Prime Archon
Mutants regard pure Humans as inherently evil heretics, as they so obviously resist the divine changes the Mutant people embrace and worship. As for the Biomeks, The Changed find their approach to evolution grossly sickening and harbor a deep resentment towards Biomeks as their historical oppressors.
The Mutants revel in the bizarre environmental conditions of the planet with religious zeal. As a result, they have developed interesting talents with surviving mutated flora and fauna.
When augmented with a strong energy source, trained Mutants can manipulate the ever present Contamination, performing awesomely powerful phase-shift effects. Out of thin air, these ghastly apparitions decimate any potential threat.
Many Mutant construction materials now incorporate elements of Contamination in production and shaping, resulting in strange regenerative capabilities on armor plating and structures.
South of the town of Tocado lies The Vast, a massive field of radioactive rubble and slag left over from the Night of Fire. Many young Mutants travel to the edge of this area before they perform their Rites of Ascension to prove that they are ready to become a Warrior of The Tribes.
Now that the third generation of warriors is coming of age, things have changed for the Proving Grounds. The Tocado council has built a repair station to help young Mutants who might get in over their heads, and the bandits that move through the ruins of the region are cleared away regularly, though they still sometimes get out of hand...
Under the organization of the Hestia Company, the remaining Humans spent many decades living underground in extensive Arks. Originally composed of the world's power elite society, Humans were responsible for the apocalyptic release of the world's cache of weapons of mass destruction in an attempt to cleanse the Earth of Contamination. The plan didn't exactly work, as Humans beginning to emerge from the Arks are discovering.
Humans regard Mutants and Biomeks as vile, disgusting perverts who revel in misshaping the glorious and perfect human form. The Humans' central belief is that true humanity must be preserved at any cost.
Anti-contaminant energy shielding developed during their underground exodus covers their towns, vehicles, and personnel. The shields themselves are generally undetectable, except by the presence of glowing blue projection field generators visible on all Human properties.
Genetic engineering has helped them fight off the alien contamination, but also has produced side effects of increased strength, eyesight, agility and sometimes strange mental powers. These traits are recognized as proof of the excellence of the Pure Human genetic line.
Hestia Company scientists have recently re-activated old world satellite networks. Combining the old satellite ion blast technology with a shield inversion technique, Humans can release devastating destruction in a very tight radius, providing surgical front-line firepower.
When the Hestia Company first broke ground above cargo and personnel access port #3 in Ark I, the expectations for the Reclamation Program were great. However, the reality of the rate of expansion was a bit less than the predicted leaps and bounds that prompted the Hestia Board of Directors to vote for re-emergence.
Nonetheless the Humans have made their return to the surface world undeniable. Scavenging downtrodden surface survivors were drawn to the glowing structures springing up around what was for more than a hundred years just a quiet hillside in a bend of an old highway...
I.N.C. is International Negotiables Consulting, a neutral mercenary banking conglomerate that maintains a monopoly on airlift, locker space, auction house and mailing services. Any member of the three factions that find themselves killed or stranded can ask I.N.C. to airlift them to a location controlled by their faction. In addition, I.N.C. provides banking services in terms of a universal monetary exchange between the races and other factions.
I.N.C. was started by a middle-class man who understood the nature of supply and demand, Filiberto Braunsdorf Sr. A prudent observer and perceptive in the ways of history, Filiberto had a vision of a multinational, border-spanning organization. He also had a helicopter pilot license. Filiberto managed to spearhead a massive merger of some of the world's largest conglomerates. It was an attempt to consolidate revenue in the face of a collapsing world economy.
After the Final Solution, the world's airports and military bases were destroyed. Filiberto took advantage of these open skies, recruiting every pilot he could find. Together, they restored every flying machine they could to operational status. He then offered services to every aspiring leader or warlord within the Central Wastelands, Mutant or otherwise, giving them reliable, safe transport of goods or individuals at a premium price.
This was amazingly successful. I.N.C. became a neutral force of transportation and efficiency. The key to INC's success is its use of airlifts, large tilt-rotor helicopter transports that, in earlier times, were very useful in moving large amounts of supplies from one location to another. The three races use the airlifts for vehicle wreck recovery, fast airmobile transportation, and banking. Airlifts can be summoned whenever a vehicle is damaged beyond repair - their powerful magnets hoist the wreckage into the air - and move the vehicle to the last visited repair facility. Similarly, the three races can call an airlift pickup from anywhere to any major facility or town instead of having to drive the Central Wastelands. I.N.C.'s motto can thus be found in every major city, and encapsulates their corporate philosophy: "Help us help you."
A lesser reason for I.N.C.'s success is their policy of eliminating any competition. It is well known that I.N.C. does not have a military forcel this allows them to maintain their neutral status. However, I.N.C. does enter into contractual agreements with key groups and individuals, agreements stipulating any pilots or business people that try to start airlifting have "an accident." As a side coincidence, any flying vehicle with airlift capabilities that was used in this endeavor is soon sold to or acquired by I.N.C.
Finally, INC provides banking services in terms of a universal monetary exchange between the races and other factions (so all of the participants use the same kind of money), and private storage lockers for personal items.
- Organization for Combat Driving (OCD)
OCD is a neutral organization that organizes "fair" arena competitions between the three factions in addition to special challenges.
OCD contracts INC for transporting the fighters to its secret Arena locations around the Wasteland.
All races, factions, and classes in the Central Wastelands know well the Zendig name. Remnants of various nomadic agrarian groups from the early post-Apocalypse days, the Zendigs first established popular bazaars along heavy trade routes. Many visited these bazaars and traded all sorts of useful goods, and as they grew bigger, the normally peaceful Zendigs realized they needed protection. They hired the Pikes for security, but the Pikes wound up enslaving them for five years. A young Zendig named Pibby led a revolt and class war against the Pikes, resulting in great loss of life and untold carnage. Removing themselves from the devastation, Pibby and the surviving Zendigs fled to a new site and built their first permanent settlement, Sion.
It was during this time the Zendigs established their own religion, claiming they were agents of “The One Will” – essentially the intelligently driven ecological changes brought about by the Contamination – and that the faithful should strive to create great works and work the land. Soon however the Humans re-emerged from their Arks and the strife began once again. The Pikes were mostly driven from their lands around Upside and struck at Sion, intending to take it for their own. Another great war followed. It was during this conflict the Zendigs unleashed mysterious weapons that wiped out huge numbers of Pikes. Very little is known about these weapons as there are no witnesses that survived to tell. Occasionally one can overhear rumors one Zendig may whisper to another, referring to the “Seven Scepters,” which are believed to be somehow associated.
Many travelers in the Central Wastelands currently rely on the Zendigs as trading partners and dealers. Their settlements are open markets, where members of any race can visit and trade. This is done somewhat reluctantly by the Zendigs, who are extremely skeptical of outsiders (with the possible exception of Mutants as they share many traits and characteristics), but the creation and marketing of trading goods is too engrained in their culture to ignore completely. Zendig products are available nearly anywhere, and amazingly enough, their organic Burgers are not only considered edible but very tasty for Humans, Mutants, and Biomeks alike. Similarly, their tonics are highly regarded in the Central Wastelands for their medicinal and mental value.
Zendigs still consider themselves a peaceful, agrarian culture, which one might mistake for easy prey in the post-apocalyptic reality of life. The legend of their secret weapons, however, seems to be reason enough for most potential aggressors to keep their distance, at least, for now…
- Raiders of the Apocalypse
In the old days it is said that motorcycle gangs ruled the highways that crisscrossed the land. Historians described these gangs as roving bands of heinous outlaws, pillaging and spreading lawlessness wherever they went. It was natural that in the years following the Genesis Solution that the idea of these tough, self-sustaining gangs would survive and persist in the unforgiving Central Wastelands. One of the most powerful of these gangs roams Grand Junction, the central area of the lands controlled by the Tribes of the Changed.
Known as the Riders of the Apocalypse, this heavily armed motorcycle gang represents a threat to anyone on the highways that span Grand Junction. The Riders have embraced the apocalyptic attitude carried on by its founder, Death – that “nothing matters,” the world had already ended and that they should violently enjoy what little time was left. Murder, pillage, destruction and intimidation are the standard tactics. Not surprisingly, many others have flocked to the cause, and in recent months, the Riders have grown so much that by necessity, they are increasingly organized and even structured. Naturally, the Riders are extremely dangerous.
Typically, the Riders have split into groups and subgroups, sometimes in dedication to a particular leader, others to a concept. The Plague Spreaders are the smallest sub-group of the Riders, dedicated to following the last of the powerful riders to join the gang, Pestilence. What the Plague Spreaders lack in strength and stamina they more than make up for in intelligence. In battle, the Plague Spreaders use various forms of gases and poisons to disrupt the enemy. They prefer to work in the background, utilizing tricks and traps to hinder and harm their opponents in devious ways. One can only become a Plague Spreader once they develop a toxin and have demonstrated its effectiveness on another Plague Spreader.
The bulbous bikes used by Plague Spreaders are lightly armored but resistant to the toxins they use against their opponents. Typically the Plague Spreaders may use a mix of biological agents, chemical mixtures and even stolen Biomek nano-technology. Plague Spreaders bikes are easily identifiable as they carry a large capsule or tank on the bike’s rear, usually set behind a small turret mount.
- The Corps
As the world degenerated further into chaos with the spread of Contamination and the wars that followed, bands of like-minded civilians and citizen soldiers formed self-regulating militias bent on protecting themselves from the Mutants and seemingly negligent governments. One of these groups, The Free Civilian MilCorps, occupied a small, unused military base, closed their walls to outsiders, and hunkered down for what they assured themselves would be chaotic times ahead. As it happened, this base was located close to Hestia’s Ark I site and throughout the night of the Final Solution the MilCorps survived nearly unscathed from the global attack.
Now referring to themselves as simply “The Corps,” the militia mostly stayed by their base of operations, venturing out on occasion to reconnoiter the surrounding areas, gather resources, and engage opponents that prove to be an immediate threat. They adapted a strict military regimen instead of any kind of widespread educational system, and turned their base into a strong, well-defended fortress. The Corps’ belief that they are fighting Humanity’s last war has put them at constant odds with every other faction in the Central Wastelands. Even most Scavs regard The Corps as a group of highly dangerous militarist kooks that are more trouble than they are worth. Their current leader is the extremely volatile General Nostos.
The strong military basis for The Corps makes them extremely dangerous opponents. They employ the same paint schemes for their vehicles, a mix of drab olive green and khaki brown, with their symbol being an iconic white star. Typically found in patrols, The Corps fights in a coordinated fashion, using their military experience and upbringing to the full potential. Infantry units can come in many varieties, and there are often medics or specialists that can quickly heal other soldiers during combat. Old utility transports and tanks make up the bulk of their vehicle arsenal – old, but still very deadly. Recent rumors indicate that The Corps may be employing restored attack helicopters and other unusual vehicles from the pre-apocalypse era.
In the dark days following the Apocalypse, the pockets of humanity that remained isolated themselves in niches or, more commonly, settled near major roadways, utilizing the still-existing transportation grid for trade and fast travel. A dedicated group of men would move goods and materials from far-flung communities, driving Old World big rigs and other long haulers just as people have always done. It was practically a tradition. Since so many people’s survival depended on these so-called “CB’ers”, many left them to do their business peacefully.
Of course, times change and people’s attitudes change with them. Some saw the advantage of just taking the goods from the CB’ers rather than trading for them, and soon enough the CB’ers were being harassed, ambushed, and hijacked daily. After numerous losses that nearly destroyed them, the CB’ers did not fold or give in to pressure – instead they reacted radically. They took control of the major roadways, intersections and thoroughfares, set up fortified outposts and checkpoints, and armed themselves heavily, regardless of what the locals think. They run these important highways and junctions with an iron first, charging tolls from whoever that passes and terrorizing the local populations that oppose their operations. They still transport goods, but with increased transportation and security fees backed up with force that betrays their “take it or leave it” approach.
The CB’ers believe that the highway grid will be the center point for the post-Apocalyptic world, a foundation that a new nation or alliance of city-states will be dependent on. Whatever the outcome, the CB’ers would be in the perfect position to help mold this new future. Typical CB’er convoys portray this outlook; they may consist of a number of “Carrier Wave” big rigs for heavy transport, surrounded by “Rabbit Ears” mobile radio platforms and “Flash Traffic” motorcycles. Occasionally “Broadband” assault tanks have been seen escorting CB’er convoys, and as well as protecting structures and other tasks. Despite their firepower, CB’ers are not a widespread faction and guard their resources strictly – every rig is a valuable commodity.
The Biomek Order's various recruitment projects met with varied levels of success; over the years they learned to make the process much more efficient where the success rate was high, and realized that certain factions would take a considerable amount of energy, time, and resources to properly bring into the Order. For decades, the Order sought various means to subvert and eliminate their long-lasting enemies, the Mutants, by any means possible. It is true that some in the Order preferred strict, total liquidation of the problem. But some of the highest ranking officials believed that Mutant conversion should be a top priority within the Order, a direct challenge to their existence and way of life. Total conversion would be the ultimate triumph.
Various long-term research studies were conducted and at first the Biomeks assumed that the Mutants would take much longer to convert using their standard practices (nanites rerouting neuron pathways, shock/pain stimulus, and other mind-formatting techniques both new and ancient). Unfortunately, the very process that made the Mutants unique – the Contamination infused within their bodies – worked in direct opposition to the multiple Biomek conversion techniques. The result was that the subjects lost the capacity for rational thought. These so-called "Biomutes" were too disruptive to rehabilitate with the other Derelicts, so the Order chose to use their weakness as a strength. The Biomutes were moved to the Moat, where their irrational conduct would serve as an additional line of defense against intruders.
This neglect by the Biomeks would prove to be troublesome – through an unknown technique, some of the Biomutes fought through the madness and regained just enough sanity to develop a society of sorts. They somehow managed to develop buildings, structures, and vehicles that mirrored their appearance: a distinct, haphazard cross of Mutant organics and Biomek technology. The surviving Biomutes evolved into a formidable opponent, as they possess the powers of the Changed, and the physical capabilities of the Biomeks. Those that ventured into the area on patrol have been so disturbed by what they saw that they were unable to communicate what transpired. Many of these scouts have even reverted to Derelict status. What occurs in the towns (and minds) of the Biomutes remains a mystery.
For the majority of the Humans that did not fight the early battles of re-emergence, many first encounters with the Biomek Order were actually with a segregated group of people called the Derelicts. These encounters initially led the Humans to believe that they were fighting the last vestiges of the biomechanical soldiers their ancestors had left behind - people infused with cybernetic implants and other forms of obscure technology. The Humans sought to isolate these Derelicts in and around the dilapidated town of Rusted Ridge. Subsequent encounters with actual members of the Biomek Order would destroy this notion.
Through postmortem analysis, practical observation, and aggressive interrogation, the Humans learned that the Derelicts were merely Biomeks-in-waiting. The investigation discovered that as the Order strives to improve itself, it not only creates additional members of the Order through reproduction but also increases the population by integrating other survivors like Pikes and Scavs. The process is forceful, thorough, and mind-altering. Even after integration, many Biomeks suffer from a form of “cyber-psychosis,” from which they must be rehabilitated using these very same processes before integrating back into the Order. As both the integration and recovery conversions can take time, the Order frequently moves the so-called “Derelicts” to a communal area – the Biomek town of Rust - where they can recover from this malady without causing disruption to the Order.
The analysis also revealed that at some point, a great Biomek leader within the Order, Master Fracto, had become difficult to control, declared Derelict, and, as was the custom, had been sent to Rust. According to some accounts, Fracto, instead of “rehabilitating," grew increasingly insane, and detached from the Order entirely. Fracto gained a group of Derelict followers and left Rust on a pilgrimage to an area dotted with ancient hydroelectric dams called Rusted Ridge. There they reside still, dangerously close to the rapidly growing Human cities – and increasingly dangerous to any outsider that may stumble upon them.
Frequently the people that survived the Apocalypse degenerated into xenophobic, anarchistic pockets of armed, unruly mobs that could barely stand each other, let alone anyone else. For those that were already degenerates, they had a chance to flourish in a world without any real authority or social structure. The Thugz were one of these surviving gangs, and have recently come to the fore due to the leadership of Benno the Smasher, who has “a plan.”
Derived from a pre-apocalyptic term for a gangster or hoodlum, the Thugz are now a class to themselves, living by what they do best: making ever-increasingly potent forms of barbiturates, narcotics, amphetamines, and other mind-altering drugs wherever they can (old rusty bathtubs seem to be preferred incubation method). Then they sell it in their own controlled areas or “turf.” This kind of lifestyle has ebbs and flows; at times the Thugz were close to being wiped out by rival factions, political in-fighting, lack of money, or even by the over-use of their own substances – though they seem to always return, feeding on the weak, the innocent, and the addicted.
Thugz share other things in common with the pre-apocalyptic gangs – they often wear bandannas and low-cut clothing; their homes and “turf” borders are habitually marked with graffiti. When not in a settlement sleeping or cooking up drugs, Thugz frequently cluster with their vehicles at varied locations. Few other factions can match their blaring sound systems and woofers - which are powerful enough to cause harm and disorientation – and make the Thugz easily identifiable at a distance. As their method of living can be extremely dangerous, Thugz infantry and vehicles are armed with whatever weapons are available.
When the apocalypse struck, billions of humans and mutants were wiped out in a nuclear, biological, and chemical mix that should have wiped out all life on the surface of the Earth. It didn't quite work out that way – areas of humanity and mutantkind survived, existing on their technological superiority or newfound link to the Contamination. Other pockets remained in relative isolation, surviving on whatever advantage they could grasp.
The Paynes are one such group – their pre-apocalypse origins are relatively unknown, though according to tradition they fled to a desert area during a massive flood. The flood closed off this area, creating a briny bayou or fetid bog in its place. The water level receded somewhat, allowing relative access to the area via Highway 667. However, the Paynes fiercely guard the bog – referred to by most as the Fetid Bayou – and consider the entire area their own.
A close examination of the Paynes indicates how they survived: a massive, across-the-board inbreeding program, coupled with a plentiful supply of food with the richly diverse swampland and, most impressive of all, an efficient refinery system. The Paynes create a form of bio-diesel, which they use to trade, generate power, fuel vehicles, and create their own brew for inebriation. While the inbreeding has nearly bred the intelligence and common sense right out of the Paynes on a whole, the collective leadership maintains the faction extremely well. While the family often undergoes many internal struggles, once an outside force threatens, they all unify against this external force. Given their ability to salvage and maintain vehicles, fuel, and sheer numbers, the Paynes are not to be trifled with.
In the early days of the Contamination, Human scientists developed a plan to supplement military and police forces with AI-controlled robots, deliberately designed to quell social unrest and keep riots in check. TemperNet facilities were self-sufficient, able to maintain their local units and gather resources when needed. Left behind during Righteous Fire, the TemperNet AI grew and became self-aware, rationalizing the one true way to eliminate social unrest was to eliminate organic life completely.
TemperNet units consist entirely of non-organic robots and have a glossy black and red appearance. However, TemperNet frequently assimilates foreign vehicles and other organics for its own use, converting them to TemperNet technology using nanobots. A master CPU links individual TemperNet units, who have no regard for self-survival; their heavy firepower and suicidal tendencies make them extremely tough opponents in the Central Wastelands.
A typical TemperNet factory unit is the Harasser, a universal defense droid intended for both offensive and defensive uses. The Harasser is extremely aggressive, and always fights to the death. Its treads allow the Harasser to cover all kinds of terrain without problems, and is equipped with a heavy tank gun to assault fortified structures or destroy vehicles. The Harasser can also summon smaller drone helicopters, known as Harasser Drones. Armed with machine guns, these drones serve as airborne anti-personnel support units for the Harasser. Harasser Drones are also frequently encountered in groups.
The Pikes are a raucous faction in the Central Wastelands, a group of religious miners who can often be found digging in the earth to be near their buried "Hamalzah" prophet. They treat the three races with equal portions of disdain and hatred. In return, the races perceive the Pikes as an annoying but potentially dangerous menace along the highways. To Humans and Mutants, they are road bandits to be destroyed, while Biomeks see them as a potential augmentation source.
The largest defining difference between Pikes and most wasteland rabble is their relationship with the rocks of the mountains they inhabit. Miners at heart, most Pike camps are centered around a largish boulder that they believe harbors the soul and spirit of their god within.
- Army of Justice
- East Iliff Lynch Mob (EILM)
- The Law