Whatever It Was…

The Crash Of Naught Eight caused a mild depression, which led to some brushfire wars among some developing nations, and "mightocratic" collapse in some underdeveloped nations. Somalia and Dubai ceased to exist as governments, while Brazil was able to economically dominate the defaulted South American nations. OPEC openly blamed the USA for the Crash, and reduced availability of oil; this was later discovered to be a cover for overestimated production.

The 2020s were ushered in with a schism in Sunni fundamentalism; the Mus'lah sect embraced the Web and its spread of information as a form of truth, while the Yazl sect rejected it as an attack upon the Muslim way of life. Nations with large Yazl populations formed an odd VPN-like version of the Great Firewall Of China, and nations with both significant Mus'lah and Yazl became a battleground of cyberwarfare.

Western nations turned inward, with "retro naughties" culture holding sway. In Japan, "robuddy" technology went consumer, with not-particularly-bright vaguely-humanoid robots as high-end game accessories, receptionists, and other "display" positions. This retro enthusiasm faced its greatest challenge when the Greater Kanto Earthquake struck, but newcomer Genom rebuilt with "roboomer"(later shortened to "boomer") construction variants.

In 2027, Mus'lah forces accidentally revealed OPEC data indicating peak oil had been reached in 2024, causing prices to fluctuate wildly. Rapid-charging closed-cycle hydrogen cars made it to market in 2032, taking a tenth of the market(alongside the tenth electric), but the death knell for the petrol engine came in 2038 with the introduction of the "joey", a cheap commuter man-amplifier based on boomer technology. Semi-contraceptives, simple pills allowing males to choose the sex of their children, would have echoes down the road.

Neural interfaces exploded onto the scene in 2041 with Thrink, a three-wire solution that could be installed in a tattoo parlor. The "glass generation" embraced it, BJava scripts blurring the line between microblogging and telepathy. The youth of the west, the far east, and Mus'lah were joined in a metacommunity galvanized against their collective parents. China's "active suppression" viruses ran rampant over old-style computers, but Centra Cybersystems made its mark with implanted systems that have nothing but BJava, thrink, a tight wireless layer… and hot cores for whatever BJava you could thrink at it. Meanwhile Genom locked down their boomer patch systems, adding biological systems and relying on neural nets with built-in thrink. This new network shared airwaves with the old guard's exocomputers, but was thoroughly isolated in software. Thrink was cautiously expanded, BJava translation layers keeping everyone under thirty compatible, and horny teenagers started to blur the line between conversation and cybersex.

Culture went wild; the 2040s produced a bewildering array of experiments with thrink-generated media, culminating in 2049 with an impromptu concert by Concrete Dreams. Shield Wall was dubbed "the song heard around the world", and Headcase was born as a genre, mixing nested viral memes with surreal synesthetic experiences. Music on exocomputers turned to Med, but it languished, dominated by media its fans could barely perceive. Proxy wars are fought in Africa, rearranging it into a new colonial frontier for the first world.

The 2050s are barely remembered on their own, having simply carried the 2040s to fruition. In 2058, a new virus ripped across the thrink-gen network, using the human mind against its cores. Imitators rapidly followed. BJava intrusion countermeasures engaged them in an arms race, but limiting thrink contact became a necessary safety precaution.

In 2062, the face of industry changed with the introduction of "automindo" boomers, a leap in intelligence that allowed them to work autonomously. H-class utility/construction boomers earned the epithet "assemblers of prosperity". The sex vacuum was taken up by S-class boomers, then modded B-class as Japanese censorship limited production of the S class. The European Union officially transferred power from its member nations, becoming the United European Republic.

In most powerful nations, anagathics brought population growth back to neutral for the first time in decades, and rejuvenation brought multiple generations into collision at physiological 30s. China, its youth dangerously male-heavy, began invading its neighbors in 2067. The plan was to cut its borders off by force, but Thailand united them in a defensive alliance, and India sent aid - inadvertently putting itself on China's plate when it set up repeaters across the Himalayas. Both sides armed up with C-class and T-class boomers, the second being illegal to produce in Japan. Brazil took the opportunity to snap up its beholden nations, painting the United Republic Of Greater Amazonia as a Thai-style alliance rather than a Chinese-style conquest.

The middle east simmered down during the 2070s, having divided itself along Mus'lah/Yazl/Shi'a lines. Genom released A-class boomers in 2073, taking over the top of the B-class's domain; with better biomorphics and AI, A-class boomers could become sex workers with nothing but training. Japan's Renraku Accords set a landmark in 2076, classifying any human with at least 70% cyber as a "cyberoid", and allowing AD Police action. In 2077, Thailand formalized its alliance, becoming the Kingdom Of Thailand And Allied Peoples.

The beginning of the Negawar came when China's economy crashed in 2082. The global economy dropped with it, but Genom caught it with D-class boomers, taking over the cheaper end of the B-class's domain and expanding into even-lower jobs. Other classes benefitted from China's fire-sale prices on used boomers.

The fighting technically started again in 2089 when China's nascent antimatter program was blown up by Australian spies. Thailand and India joined in the Free Bharat-Thai Alliance, but the wolverine was already out of the bag; China broke up into warring provinces, desperate to disavow each other, and its antimatter program was sold piecemeal to the dozen highest bidders.

But the big break happened in 2092, when the uneasy question of who has antimatter was answered by Shi'a extremists in Mus'lah lands. The answer turned out to be "everyone". Russian forces answered with T-class boomers, and Amazonian units that mixed cybered humans with C-class boomers swept up from their colonies in Africa. Yazl forces backed the Shi'a fringe, and United Europe swept Yazl colonies into little piles with Nightwraith fighter/bombers. When Mus'lah finally militarized, in 2094, the Negawar was in full swing.

The same antimatter technology also propelled ships to nearby stars, and here we leave Terra to her war. A certain F5 star received colonists from the Commonwealth Of Australia, the United Republic Of Greater Amazonia, and the Free Bharat-Thai Alliance. They found a brown dwarf companion in its liquid-water zone, with a nice little ocean world. Being tidelocked to the brown dwarf wasn't a problem, since most of the insolation came from the larger star, and oxygen domes were facced for a breathable atmosphere.

The adults have built their little nest here, but now some of their children are finding odd things away from the domes. In 2117 a group of high school students formed the Paranormal Investigation club to look into odd things.

Now it's their turn.

Whatever It Is

Location

The campaign is based at a school in Nazzerleft, the Australian colony. It's small, nestled between the larger Alliance and Amazonian colonies.

The world ` is warm by Terran standards, and the standard outfits are more for parental taboos than anything else.

Commonwealth Of Australia

("Aus"/"Oz", "Australia")

Language is English.

Ordinary clothing is a T-shirt and shorts.

Common greeting is holding up an open hand at about eye level, descended from a wave.

United Republic Of Greater Amazonia

("Amazonia", "RUAM")

Language is Portuguese.

Ordinary clothing is a "saverando".

Free Bharat-Thai Alliance

("The Alliance")

Language is Samavicitrata, or "Samavita" for short.

Ordinary clothing is a "wrap".

Common greeting is a partial bow with the hands held prayer-style before the chest, a "wai" or "namaste".

Gear

The original robofac turns out a limited volume of TL9 goods; due to supply limitations, these are 5× list price. The satellite robofacs churn out TL8 goods at list price. Some specific items up to TL10 are produced by robolines, at list price.

Characters

Characters are 200 points. Campaign TL is 10, but TL8 items are most common, and you can lower your personal TL for the points.

Magic items are bought with points. A character can't spend more than 25 points on magic items, nor more than 10 points on any one magic item. Item powers are based on the wishes of those around them when they were bathed in magical energies. Magic Books are 1 point per spell, before gadget lims; this grants a default with its spells while held.

A character can't spend more than 50 points on magic powers, separate from magic items. A sorceror must choose a tradition(Terran nature, local nature, arcane, or devotional), and can take magical Talent. A conjurer `. Physad powers `.

Mana is handled specially; each point of mana store costs 5 points, and you need to find loose mana to refill it.