A Few Words About StyleQuartermain is a bit different than many SF settings, since it is not human-centric in its approach to the future. It can be described a lot of ways, but the easiest way I can do this is to tell you its a combination of a number of concepts. It's purposely Weird, has both Hard and Soft SF overtones, and a certain amount of Hard-boiled Noir combined with Exotic Romance and a touch of humor. It's not a dark setting, nor is it a light setting, and it will have its life and death situations, but not everything will be devistatingly serious.About GM Opponents:As GM I will try to scale the setting and opponents to the capabilities of the characters. Sometimes this means you will face equally powerful problems, other times you may face a single entity that is equal to your entire team, and sometimes you will encounter a large group of weaker adversaries who drastically outnumber you. Other times you will be facing disaster situations, conspiracies, accidents, diplomatic problems, legal battles or other situations where powers alone or combat alone will have very little value. Be sure to be well rounded in your thinking, this is an SF setting with some superpowers, not a supers game with a few SF tropes.About Campaign Style:My aim as GM is for this game to be semi-modular, with some overlapping plots between story lines. It is designed as an ensemble style, so that all the characters do not need to be “on stage” at the same time. There will be some over-arcing plots in the setting, which may or may not involve the PCs. (Think “Hill Street Blues” or “Thieves World” or "Wild Cards" or even M*A*S*H.)Magic Among The Stars:
If the campaign goes on it may be possible to introduce PCs that are not an official member of the Guardians, but are deeply connected by some of the other PCs thru other means. The Guardians are the starting framework, and the setting is capable of handling a lot more possibilities then we are starting with.
I would love to have other folks contribute to the storylines, plots, support characters and cultures in the setting. I certainly would consider letting have others GM in the setting, so long as the overall integrity of the setting and characters is maintained (in an optimum situation this setting could be run troupe-style). The important thing is to remember not to let the mechanics fully dictate events, and to keep them from overriding the story. Hero is being used as it is the best available mechanic for games with a diversity of character powers and abilities.This is a Science Fiction setting, and one where the line between Science and Magic has become blurred. There are things here that look like magic, but are powered by science, and things that look like science that seem to be powered by magic.Loan Bank Info:
In character construction you should NOT use Magic as a "power source" for any abilities or devices that a character has. This is because in the setting this term is too general, and we need more specific terms. Mechanical, Electrical, Chemical, Bio-Chemical, Quantum Mechanical, Nano-Technological, Psionic (powered by the mind or will of the individual), and other sources of power should be used as the "How" of various abilities. You can choose not to define details, but then the GM will do so when need arises in the game.
Yes, there are religions, unknown forces, beings of pure energy, prophets, priests, unknown dimensions, forgotten technologies, rituals and weirdness. What you won't find is true Time Travel, Ressurections, perpetual motion machines, undead creatures, People who can tell you from first hand knowledge about what happens after death, or the absolute meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything.Hero is a system that doesn’t deal well with the concepts of money, as everything is paid for in Character Points in the way of character equipment. This can be problematic in many settings, including this one, without adapting a method of handling the problem.Losing Things:
Any character can purchase and use any piece of ordinary equipment from a store for a single adventure. If you want to make the item a regular part of the character’s possessions then character points must be paid for it.
To ensure ease of concept characters have access to the point Loan Bank feature in game mechanics terms. This means a player can add a piece of equipment before they have all the points for it, with GM approval, and pay for it with future character point earnings on the character. Only one piece of equipment can be outstanding, worth not more than 25 character points, and at least 50% of the character’s earnings each session will go to paying for it until it is paid off in full. This only applies to mundane equipment, and not to gadgets or unique prototypes the character or team members may build. It cannot be used for things like cyber-implants, raising personal abilities or unique devices.
If a character picks up an enemy device and wants to keep it but doesn’t have the points to pay for it, then they may have to simply put it into storage until they’ve accumulated enough points to use it. Basically they will be “studying the item” and learning how to use it, and have no access to its abilities until they can pay for it. Technology in the future can be a lot easier or a lot harder to learn how to use.If your character loses something that you have paid character points for in the game from plot activities, of any type (including from Duplication Power etc.) the GM will either place the value of the lost capability of your character into your Loan Bank Account or will introduce a plot element that will result in your character acquiring equivalent point value (and possible Plot Event Excuse) ability, equipment etc. The timing on this is up to the GM, but should be by the end of the next story line that your character is involved (and may even be part of the next storyline). Permanently losing hard earned points makes no sense within the system and can only lead to player frustration and diminishment of character, and thus the inclusion of this rule for the setting/campaign. This means the Limitation of Independent is not allowed for characters building equipment and powers (Page 193) since that Limitation contradicts our campaign rules on losing things.Free Contacts!In order to help expand the setting base, players are offered the opportunity to gain some free character contacts within Quartermain (and its nearby environs) by creating NPCs that are "Normals" that their character is on a first name basis with. These can be of various species/races and occupations, but must fit the rules for constructing Normals. You must give the GM a complete write-up for the character (including personality info etc.). The GM will in the process include the character in the game when appropriate, and use them as a general contact for your character. Contacts are not allies nor dependent NPCs and although they may offer some information or provide other services they are not the kind of characters that will take great risks for your PC, act as allies or as followers. A player may generate as many of these contacts as they wish (the GM recommends at least 3 per PC, not more than a dozen unless there is a really good reason).Money & MechanicsThe setting has been purposely designed NOT to use the standard Hero v5 money system, as that system is more designed for a superheroic setting than a more realistic SF one like this setting.
Currency in the setting is measured in a wide range of ways, depending on which world you are on and whether they have a local hard or electronic currency system in place. Generally electronic currency is relegated to use within a single star system, because of the communication limitations in place, and most people seek hard currency of some sort when traveling to a different star system. There is thus always risk since the values may fluctuate in regards to what is worth what when one travels.
Quartermain being a major trading port has a lot of different kinds of currency pass thru its trade system, and also has its own system which is 90% electronic and 10% Hard Currency. The main value is known simply as a 'Q', which breaks into 100 lesser units (Chits). Player characters can exchange 1000 Q's for 1 Character Point in game mechanics. Guardians generally get a rent free efficiency living compartment to themselves along with all its utilities. They are paid based on activity level, generally a minimum of 1000 Qs are earned for a game session above and beyond normal living expenses. Depending on actions, risks, injuries, job performance etc a character may earn as much as 5000 Qs from a game session. These can be saved to cover expenses or spent into character points to improve their character. If characters manage to make their money expand or contract from their actions then they are allowed to use these profits to buy character points (but losses are just that and may slow growth).
Guardians of Quartermain is an outline of an unofficial science fiction setting for DOJ, Inc.’s Hero System™ 5th Edition (ISBN 1-58366-000-3). It requires the use of the Hero System™ 5th Edition rule book. It is not in any way authorized by DOJ, Inc. nor is it intended to in any way infringe on their copyrights or trademarks. Contents are Copyright 2002 by Joseph Teller & Kiralee McCauley. Permission is granted for all non-commercial usage and duplication, in part or in full. All other usage requires written permission by the authors.