Terminator: Future Fate Role-Playing Game
By: Michael Tresca, Christopher T. Shields and Mark Billen
Terminator: Future Fate is a D20 Modern campaign supplement. For more information about D20 Modern, see Section 15 of the Open Gaming License within the downloadable PDF. The first half of the supplement is suitable for players and Game Masters. The last half is for Game Masters only.
Terminator: Future Fate is a role-playing game set in the post-apocalyptic wasteland where Machines rule and Man is the endangered species.
Campaign in brief
The year is 2028 AD. The world as Man knew it was leveled thirty years ago in a nuclear war and all of civilization has been cast into ruin. Technology has turned against its creators while mechanization has gone mad. The story behind Terminator: Future Fate can be drawn as a moral lesson about the dangers of blind faith in technology, of resolute arrogance and of insufferable human pride.
This tale of a possible future is also a dire warning about how close humanity may come to causing its own inadvertent extinction through the misuse of barely understood knowledge and the rash impetus to implement such technology before its maturity.
The story of Terminator: Future Fate is as old as mythology, perhaps even older. It draws upon such myths as the tale of Pandora's box, yet the tale is as classic as it is timeless.
In the year 2028, the surface of the Earth is shrouded in the thick, gray veil of ruin. Once great cities have been laid to waste and rubble, becoming vast impromptu tombs and graveyards to the millions who died on Judgment Day all those long years ago. The Machines rule the surface of the planet, while the humans who have survived now hide in underground shelters, venturing forth to scavenge and do battle when they are able. And always, the Machines are waiting...
Skynet rules the air completely and has a strangle hold on the ground that is closing ever tighter. Killing machines are everywhere, complex designs and hardware born of an intelligence driven mad by its desire to live, each model, each individual unit driven by a simple code; exterminate all humans. Man, woman, child.
In 2028 AD, the human race is teetering on the brink of extermination. Only a handful of heroic people stand between the Machines and certain racial extinction. This band of stalwart human soldiers, led by the legendary Colonel John Connor, calls itself "The Resistance."
Starting out slowly, using guerilla tactics and hit and run raids to keep them supplied with the necessary materials to conduct military operations against the Machines, the Resistance has managed to slowly blunt the edge of Skynet's campaign. In a decades long campaign, Connor has managed to unite what were once isolated pockets of resistance and guerilla cells into a cohesive fighting force that operates under a highly organized chain of command. Connor trained his people well, and those that he trained went out to train others.
The chain of knowledge spread, and Humanity began to fight back, first in small instances, then in pockets, then in sectors, then in entire regions. Connor's technicians have not only learned large portions of Skynet's advanced technology base, but in some instances, they have also managed to duplicate it and even improve upon it.
Connor's forces fight in the ruins, in the sewers, and in the labyrinthine underworld that once formed the complex underground that fed the bustling metropolises above. The Resistance has the training as well as the hardware to smash the Machines, salvaging what they can, learning what they can, and denying the enemy what they themselves cannot use through a policy of combat lossing.
The year of 2028 sees a world still ravaged by famine, starvation, disease, ignorance, superstition, and the threat of horrible death. Sometimes, there are things that live in the ruins that are colder and more merciless than even the Machines.
The Machines are not the only threat to the Resistance, for human greed has long been its own self-serving tool and the future is a ripe time for such greed to blossom. Sad as it may seem, there are still those members of the human race, individuals and isolated pockets, gangs and bands, who do not believe in the Resistance and its goals of liberating the human race. Rather, they believe only in themselves and their continued survival.
Much of the human race lives a hand to mouth existence. Medicine and even basic hygiene are in short supply, especially among the refugees. The soldiers of Connor's fare better, but they fight for what they have. Most raids are not only for supplies for the military operations, but also to provide basic supplies and foodstuffs to the refugees that the Resistance shelters and protects.
Vast underground warrens are established for the care and protection of the human refugees. Field hospitals, field kitchens, bunkers, trauma centers, and a host of other survivor clearing houses have been established to make sure that the Human race does not perish. The situation for most people is an odd mixture of survival, bits of technology mixed in with what amounts to the living conditions found in the Dark Ages of Man's history in many respects.
After Skynet unleashed nuclear weapons against its creators and the enemies of its creators, the world became a very simple place to understand: There are the machines, the living, and the dead. However, survival on a day-to-day basis became anything but simple.
You come out only at night with anything less than a full moon. Overcast and cloudy are the best conditions. You move all the time; you stay low, using every bit of rubble and debris to put something thick and solid between you and any Machine that might be trying to draw a bead on you. You grab what you can, maybe hide what you can't carry, and you run. You don't stop until you are back underground. If you do, you're dead.
Humans prefer to stay underground during the day, but at night, they emerge from their bunkers and forts to fight the Machines that prowl the ruins. While effective and menacing, the various types of Hunter Killers are not very smart. Their programming can be fooled. Since they have a limited ability to think and learn on their own, certain tactics have become well established as ways to guarantee victory against certain makes and models of Skynet's minions.
After over three decades of constant fighting, Connor's Resistance forces have united and started to move against Skynet directly in a series of highly coordinated campaigns designed to smash the super computer and end the war for all time. Skynet has its own plans, and has made near simultaneous breakthroughs in several areas of high technology that the humans are not aware of.
These technological breakthroughs will give the rampant AI an edge in the long weeks ahead and could turn the war back in its favor, possibly ensuring its victory. Years of constant research into custom tailored symbiotic cybernetic organisms, using a variety of techniques and unwilling test subjects, has resulted in a stable form of vat grown pseudo-organic camouflage skins for its humanoid based Terminator units. These camouflage skins can be applied to its most advanced bipedal units thereby allowing them to easily infiltrate into the human command centers and bunkers to carry the fight straight to the enemy.
Skynet's own mad desire to outlive its creators has resulted in experimentation and technological breakthroughs in the realm of matter teleportation. A side effect of this application was that Skynet found that it might be possible to travel and send material backwards in time. The power requirements would be huge, but certainly within capacity of its engineering and construction units to build. Already Skynet has begun work on not only the Time Displacement laboratory and TD unit, but also the massive nuclear fusion plants that would provide power to the installation when it was completed.
The culmination of Skynet's technology race is the advent of nanotechnology, a science that even Skynet is still experimenting with and only barely understands the rudimentary basics of.
It's latest and most advanced design of Terminator is also its most dangerous, the mimetic poly-alloy based T-1000. The next generation of Terminator has a structure that is not physically solid; instead, it is composed of billions of tiny machines all linked together and can change shape to a large degree. Production will be extremely limited by the very nature of the exotic materials and resources required for its production, but Skynet is patient. With a core compliment of T-1000s under its command, and possibly an even newer model one generation beyond the T-1000, Skynet's processors have given it favorable odds in the outcome of the Last War.
The humans are slowly learning of Skynet's latest threats. Advanced T-800 units are already infiltrating bands of refugees seeking shelter in human bases. The hyper-fusion power grid is almost online, the Time Displacement facility is complete, and the first T-1000 advanced prototypes are undergoing field-testing against remote human settlements and outposts, with incredible results.
Unknown to Skynet, the humans are already on the move, and will soon strike a critical tactical blow that will cripple the super computer, but not before it can send Terminators back in time to try to change the course of history. Realizing what the super computer has done, Humanity will also send guardians to stop the Terminators and preserve history.
The battle for the future would not be fought in 2028, but across time itself.
- Michael Tresca
Michael "Talien" Tresca is a writer, communicator, speaker, artist, and gamer. He has an 11-year-old D&D role-playing campaign, Welstar, which is one of the six worlds in RetroMUD and where many of his short stories take place. Michael has published three D20 modules: "Tsar Rising", "All the King's Men," and "The Dancing Hut" from MonkeyGod Enterprises. He has written numerous supplements, including "Frost and Fur" and "Abyss," also from MonkeyGod Enterprises, "Mercenaries: Born of Blood" from Otherworld Creations, and "Combat Missions" from Paradigm Concepts. Michael has also contributed to "Relics" from AEG and "The Iron Kingdoms Campaign Guide" from Privateer Press. Michael has also written magazine articles for Spectre Press' Survival Kit series, Dragon Magazine, Scrollworks, and D20 Weekly. He has written a multitude of reviews of role-playing and computer games for RPG.net, Gamers.com, Allgame.com, and Talien and Maleficent's Bazaar. Michael has presented at various panels, including Dragon*Con, I-Con, and Bakuretsucon. When he's not writing, Michael can be found as his alter ego, Talien, on RetroMUD as an administrator. Michael lives in Connecticut with his wife, who is an editor, and his cat, who is fluent in English.
- Christopher T. Shields
Christopher T. Shields, also known as Black Echo, is the creator of the Terminator: 2029 web site. Christopher divides his time as a police officer and network administrator, combining the unique experience of applied technology and firearms. Since Chris get to play with real guns like .223 Bushmasters, 12 gauge pumps, and 9mm automatics -- his writing about the Terminator universe comes from experience. Christopher runs no less than 11 different web sites.
- Mark Billen
Mark Billen, also known as Commander Billen, is the creator of the Resistance HQ web site. He is in his second year at University studying, of all things, cybernetics. When Mark writes about Terminators, he knows what he's talking about.
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