I remember telling them it was a really bad idea.
August, it was, and the glow from the south was really bad, kept getting in my eyes until I just got pissed off and pulled the blinds. Damn radlands. I was running computer security, technically on R&R but you know how that goes, any warm meat in a crunch. Which is what happened when they went nuts.
People tell you that it was Corporate. Kadaki trying to settle a score, burn the opposition, well, their arms are long enough but it wasn't them. Didn't have the smell, if you know what I mean.
The alarm went off, and I went in, diving into the old chair in my shorts, slamming on the contact pad and booting up. Slid right in, and man, the shit was hitting the fan. Alarms all over the place. There they were. Damn punk kids, and I don't care if that's what the C.E.O. called it. I know Corp runners when I see 'em, and these weren't they.
Anyway, you know the blitz. One of 'em got into a slave terminal, got cornered in there, and dropped ICE. Damn big nasty coiler. Jerk forgot his IFF mask; the first thing the ICE did was slot him. Black as night and big as heaven, all fang and acid and attitude, and we had to contain it. Lovely. Wasn't until later that we learned that the slave node had blanked, and dropped security.
I can see it happening, in my dreams. The scientists looking up in shock and horror as the gates drop. All the things, all the critters they had been building in the shadows and the tanks, cutting loose and carving out. That was the night they got free. After that, the corps were only too willing to use them against one another. After that, they were everywhere, in the shadows of the towers, hunting one another and hunting us. After that. Twenty four scientists and tech crew were in there when the gates dropped. They just burned the buildings down, would've cost too much to clean it up.
Yeah, man, I just love the progress of technology. One day one of 'em will do for me. One day they'll do us all.
Heirs apparent of the planet Earth. Lovely.
Once, the Earth of Project Nightfall was a verdant, green paradise. That all ended with the Industrial Revolution.
The idea of the Corporation was a great one, which allowed business to keep up with the fast-paced world the Industrial Revolution had created. The Governments attempted to maintain control over the law and over the Corporations, but as the Industrial Revolution created the Corporations, the Computer Revolution destroyed the Governments. The Governments of the world could not adapt fast enough, and before they could stop it, the Corps had all of the power.
The first thing that the Corps did once the Governments fell was to discard the Law. There was only one thing which had any importance -- survival. Each Corporation hired armies of mercenaries until they could complete their own, loyal forces. They each took control of a City, by this time vast metroplexes with populations of tens of millions. They began to ensconce themselves in their own city-states, fortifying. The populations of the city-states became the populations of the Corps, living and dying under the rule and protection of the Corps.
It was not too long before the world, already polluted and ruined by Corps possessing vast technology and freedom from the restrictions of law, became dominated by warfare between the Corps. Since they all were too evenly balanced in power, this war was fought in the shadows of the vast Corp buildings; it was a war which none admitted existed. This war became dominated by the elite warriors of each Corp, and the Corps developed more and more advanced technologies and training in an effort to gain the edge in a war which supposedly didn't exist.
It was not soon after that the Corps turned from equipping their minions to making the minions
At A Glance
The year is 2098. The Earth is dominated by fourteen surviving Corporations, the most powerful in a world where the losers are consigned to oblivion in the waste which the Earth has become.
The fourteen Corporations each control a fortified City-State; vast metroplexes containing tens of millions of people, connected within and without by air, subterranean tunnels, and by the Net, a vast computer information network. The Fourteen would do anything to destroy the others and gain control. The C.E.O. of each of the Corps dreams of vanquishing the others, and leading their people into a paradise world, where the environment has been reconstructed, and the people are at peace. Under their control, of course.
Between the city-states lies the Waste; this is what Nature has become. The Waste is covered with feet of dark chemical sludge hardened to stone; it is a bleak, black wasteland, stretching as far as the eye can see. Hanging only a few feet above the burned earth lies a mass of greenish toxic cloud, stretching to the horizon. Characters suffer 3d6 damage per minute breathing the mixture.
Each city-state is surrounded by vast, high walls, and capped by a transparent dome, holding in the precious, breathable air. The city-state contains arcologies, each containing hundreds of thousands, each a self-contained world. An Arcology contains between 100,000 and 500,000 people, hydroponic food plants, factories, stores, theatres, and of course, offices.
Within the cities, the Corps vie within themselves as much as they do with each other. The C.E.O.s of the Corps rule both the company and the city-state, a group of fourteen who have unlimited power. Below them are layers of corporate movers and shakers, those who run the company and the city-state, and who are willing to do any deed, commit any sin to gain power within their chosen companies.
The cities are patrolled by and defended by an elite group of minions. Some are humans who have been modified, others are only debatably human, grown in tanks and modified from the start to be different. It is a world where human life is very cheap and victory is the only option.
The Fourteen companies each have their own attitudes and priorities.
DAISHE CYBERNETICS, which rules the city-state of Boston (population 23 million), has a reputation for ruthlessness. They rule their city-state with an iron fist, and will destroy anyone who meddles with them. The C.E.O. of this Corporation is Danforth SanPiedro, a sixty year old man who is still full of vigour. This may in part be due to the extensive cybernetic reconstruction he has undergone. This reconstruction is not immediately visible, and few know of it. Daishe has an immense rivalry with Kadaki Dynamics. The competition between the two corps goes beyond phenomenal.
CYBERIDE DEFENCE TECHNOLOGIES, which rules the city of New York (population 56 million), is a Company without heart. They rule their population with the same cool arrogance with which they treat their enemies. Humanity is just one more resource to them; it was Cyberide which first turned to creating enhanced humans. They built the first Vampires under Project Nightfall in 2023, starting the wave of enhanced humanoids which dominates Earth today. The C.E.O. of Cyberide is Michael Antonio Savantini, who is not particularly human himself. Out of a near paranoic fear that he would be assassinated, out of hatred, he has undergone countless cybernetic modifications. True, just about everyone is interested in seeing him dead, but it is unlikely at present. Despite having the incredible power of Cyberide's armies, his physical form is so modified that he appears as a vast, room-sized assembly of mechanical parts, centering on the human brain deep within, and the left half of his original face, built into the center of the monstrosity. He has been C.E.O. for thirty seven years and is 72. His lifespan in this form is unknown, but it is likely that he will live for at least three hundred years. Cyberide is the deadly enemy of Royal Technologies.
CONTINENTAL TECHNOLOGIES is housed in Washington, D.C. (population 34 million). Continental Technologies provides its population with medical care and a reasonably fair judicial system. Continental Tech's C.E.O. of 12 years is Donald Emerson, who is one hundred percent human, without any modifications whatsoever. He, unlike three-quarters of the other C.E.O.s, has never been the target of an assassination attempt by his own populace or Executives.
SAN LIONA INDUSTRIES is based in Miami (population 19 million). This Corporation is not one of the more powerful, and most likely will fold soon. The C.E.O. of this corporation is Guido El Patrino, a young executive who found himself placed in power. El Patrino has no idea what he is doing and is being manipulated by at least four powerful factions. San Liona's downfall is mirrored in that of its rival, Biotechnics Inc.
VAKASHI GENETICS is based in Houston (population 13 million). Vakashi has always been a strong proponent of genetically engineered minions, despite the long time required between generations. Vakashi is falling out of the race and most likely won't survive the decade. The C.E.O. of Vakashi is Samuel Kadanachi, who was himself engineered and grown in a tank, by the former C.E.O. as his future replacement. Kadanachi is a shrewd leader who will fail simply because he has inherited a weak, failing company. It is nonetheless likely that he will be picked up by one of the other corporations; a man of his talents is always popular.
KAGEMUSENI CORPORATION rules the city-state of Los Angeles (population 34 million). The city-state of Los Angeles is a (relatively) small one, highly compacted with miserable living conditions. Efficiency no matter the cost is basically Kagemuseni's credo. The C.E.O. of Kagemuseni is Akira Temusini, who has undergone surgical manipulation to become a Psychic. Through the use of his powers, this fit 75 year old has maintained iron-fisted control of Kagemuseni for over four decades.
TAKASHI TECHNOLOGIES controls the city-state of San Fransisco (pop. 27 million). Takashi is a rather unremarkable company which has somehow managed to survive despite its lack of any particular ability or strengths. The C.E.O. of Takashi is Edo Sansuriki, who himself is rather unremarkable.
SHINHAI INDUSTRIES rules the city-state of Seattle (population 30 million). This corporation has prospered through treating their population with respect and consideration. It confuses and terrifies observers how Shinhai can treat their own with respect and everyone else as the scum of the earth. The C.E.O. of Shinhai Industries is Patricia Thompson-Tao, who has recently used her trademark family iron-hardness to keep control when she inherited the company from her father.
UNITED TECHNOLOGIES is situated in Toronto (population 45 million). United is a subtle Company, using manipulation, assassination and re-direction in lieu of brutality. United's trademark is a strike designed to make everyone think that it was anyone but United who carried it out. The C.E.O. of United Tech is Elizabeth St.Vincent, who used her cunning and resourcefulness to rise to power. United Tech has something of a bloodfeud with Cyberide Defence Technologies.
ROYAL TECHNOLOGIES rules London (population 67 million). Royal Technologies was originally the parent company of United Tech, but over the years the two have moved apart. Royal Tech is remarkable only for its power. Royal Tech prefers to direct attention elsewhere, watching their opponents weaken while they grow and build their strength. Royal Tech's C.E.O. is Prince Thomas, a descendant of England's all-but-vanished Royal Family.
CYBERTECHNIQUE is based in Paris (population 15 million). Cybertechnique is one Corporation whose sacrifice and harsh living conditions have brought failure. The Corporation is shrinking and will disappear soon after the turn of the century. The C.E.O. of Cybertechnique is Dominique StClaire, a middle aged woman whose beauty has only ripened with age. As she has insulted and aggravated many over her years as C.E.O., she will likely be picked up by one Corp or the other soon after Cybertechnique fails altogether.
BIOTECHNICS INCORPORATED rules Rome (population 22 million). Biotechnics is clinging to survival, after years of rivalry with San Liona. Most of the Corps are having a good time laughing at these two Corps, whose hatred and competition has devastated both. The C.E.O. of Biotech is Romeo Astarte, who has been the focus of several genetical manipulation experiments over the years. He is one who is wanted by many of the Corps, for the scientific knowledge contained within the experiments which make up his physical form. This grizzly fate certainly provides incentive to see that his Corp doesn't fail.
CARNITHE WEAPONS SYSTEMS is situated in Hong Kong (population 87 million). Carnithe is an extremely militant Corporation, with a vast army which could be devastating if it was used properly. Unfortunately it isn't, and most tend to dismiss Carnithe, forgetting what it could be with proper leadership. Carnithe's C.E.O. is Vincent Chao, who is a hopeless incompetent. The problem is that almost all of those who seek to replace him aren't that hot, either.
KADAKI DYNAMICS rules Tokyo (population 105 million). Kadaki is a hard, dark Corporation which will
stop at nothing to succeed. The C.E.O. of Kadaki is Vakiri Teniri, who is a bloodthirsty man not particularly
ensconced in sanity. Kadaki's greatest rival is Daishe Cybernetics. One shudders to think of what would
happen should Kadaki win.
The Earth of Project Nightfall is one of darkness and ignorance. There is basically three classes of people; the Populace, the Corps, and the Minions. The Populace are the people who work and support the Corporation. The Populace are the undertrodden, serf-like lowest class. These people have a very grubby look and tend towards being dispirited and downcast. The Corp class are the Executives who run the Corp and the city-state. These people are the cultural elite, and live in comparative ease and luxury. Corps types tend toward being perky and energetic. The third class is that of the Minions. These beings are asked to perform deep strikes into enemy city-states on a regular basis, and yet are treated as something lower than animals. They live in barracks, twenty to each, and are fed, bathe, and receive medical attention in group facilities. They are treated as little more than indentured slaves.
Characters from this reality may use the skill and equipment lists provided for the cyberpunk RPG Metroplex.
Though the population of Project Nightfall Earth do not realize the existence of alternate dimensions, there are Rifts leading to this dimension. Centered on the sewers under New York there is a Tunnel leading to the site of New York on Galaxy Afire's Earth; centered on an abandoned district of Tokyo there is a Tunnel leading to the French Alps, in MultiEarth; and centered on the ruins of Chicago, in the waste beyond any City-State, is a Tunnel which leads to the ruins of Old Chicago on Rifts Earth. Magic level is low, allowing S.D.C. level magical activity similar to that described in Heroes Unlimited.
Most of the dangers of this reality come from corporate forces. Any of the O.C.C.s described in this section can be used as templates for corporate agents.
Project Nightfall Earth supports one dominant, sentient species: Humanity. However, many of these denizens are somewhat beyond human.
HUMANS: This Earth is dominated by Humans. Humanity has become a huge mass of flesh and blood, overrunning the space and resources of the limited amount of habitable space. Humans have become adapted to intense pollution and will be wheezy and uncomfortable in fresh air. Languages available include English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese, and as always, Panlingua. These languages are available to all the characters from Project Nightfall. Humanity has taken on many different forms on Project Nightfall Earth, as detailed below.
ENHANCED PSYKER: Through surgical operation, these humans have been given Psychic powers. The processes involved are painful in the extreme and due to the training required, those to be Enhanced must be taken when aged 8-12, and until they are 19 they are operated upon and trained. When they reach 19, they are trained and powerful Psychics. Such individuals may select six powers from any of the following categories: Healing, Sensitive and/or Physical. At experience levels 3, 6, 9 and 12 they may select one additional power from these categories. ISP is as a Major psychic. However, the operation required reduces M.A. by 3 points and I.Q. by 1 point. Further, a save against Coma/Death must be made or d3-1 Secondary skills are permanently lost. This operation requires roughly three months of recovery time, and may be done at any time to any individual whose race may normally posess psychic abilities.
CYBERLING: These humans have been extensively tinkered with. By adding cybernetic implants, a typical human is turned into an enhanced killing machine, with faster reflexes, greater strength and a bevy of lethal weapons. In essence, these individuals are Borgs, and have access to any bionic implants listed in Rifts, NGR, Japan, New West etc.
PUNK: These are just your typical grungy street scum, some of who have come across a few Cybernetic Implants. Such characters fall into the City Rat O.C.C.
PSIHUNTER: These are unusual individuals who have been born with the ability to nullify Psychic powers. This ability cannot be created in the manner of Enhanced Psychics, and so these rare individuals are all the more prized. Such characters are equivalent to the Psi Stalker R.C.C., save that they do not have the impulses toward bestial nature that Psi Stalkers experience. However, Psihunters are in deep demand and 15% of them experience psychological trauma (phobia or neurosis) as a result of the pressure and stress of their lives.
WEREWOLF: These are vat-grown genetically engineered beings who usually have human form, but can physically change to become wolf-like. They are ferocious warriors, if a bit on the thick side. Exact rules for the Werewolf R.C.C. follow.
VAMPIRES: These are the most lethal of the Corps minions. Vampires are grown in Genetic Engineering
tanks, and are only borderline human. They are, in truth, both superior and more animalistic than humans.
They are currently under the control of their human masters (more or less), but none seriously doubt that
this situation can continue. The only problem is that in order to have a minion capable of defeating
Vampires, they will just be creating something worse, and potentially less controllable.
Like Werewolves, Vampires have their own R.C.C.
Vampires are genetically engineered and grown in tanks. They are perhaps the most dangerous and feared of the Corporations' minions. Vampires look more or less like ordinary humans, until they transform, taking on a horrible inhuman form, tearing through their opponents. The strengths of the Vampires lies in the fact that their physical form is designed from the outset for sheer capacity for violence. They grow and mature quickly, and from the cradle they are repeatedly taught that humanity is their master, and that their ultimate purpose is death.
Genetic Vampires are drastically different from their supernatural kin, familiar to many an unfortunate dimensional wanderer. Their powers are inborn, and while lacking any paranormal overtones, are deadly in the extreme.
Werewolves follow closely on the heels of Vampires as the most feared Minion. These beings are created in Genetic Engineering vats, raised from birth to be the servants of Mankind. The training these beings go through is harsh and brutal. Werewolves are capable of a transformation into a hideous form, half human and half wolf, in which they are at their deadliest. Their power is perhaps somewhat limited by their lower than average intelligence.
Werewolves are specially designed combat machines. The project to develop them originally intended that they emphasize killing power over subtlety. Therefore, Werewolves are more often employed as guards or attack animals, whereas Vampires are designed to be able to operate on their own. This also means that Werewolves do not present the same problem of gangs and rogue organizations that Vampires do; Werewolves do not take internal direction well.
Characters from this dimension do not have access to any unique Gear.
The immediate possibility for adventure in Project Nightfall is a P.C. group of elite minions, carrying out operations of assassination, espionage and sabotage for one Corporation or another. However, this might become stale pretty quickly.
Player groups composed of individuals from other games would make quite a splash on this Earth. Such individuals, with their unique powers and equipment, would very quickly find themselves the subject of offers by various corporations. This is a dangerous game; if they delay too long, one Corp or another may decide to jump the gun and have them kidnapped, and even if they accept, every other Corp has just become very interested in their imminent demise. A dangerous game, indeed, but is there another kind?
Players from Nightfall Earth make good wandering characters, allowing familiar fare of the likes of Psi-Stalkers to become original and unique individuals from a different background. More powerful minions like Vampires and Werewolves can make fun characters, perhaps sent on extended operations but also perhaps on the run; having a pack of Vampires hunting your character across the dimensions can add an element of tension to any campaign.
As a one-off adventure site, Project Nightfall is fantastic. If the players
are on the run, falling into a fourteen-way power struggle can add a great
deal to the campaign; if the players are on a quest, finding out that they
must become involved because one Corp or another has the item, or a piece
of information, can force their hand and allow adventure to follow.