The Setting

Where am I?

The Second Impact was a cataclysm which followed the “contact experiment” conducted by the Katsuragi Expedition on Ohrmazd in Antarctica on September 13, 2012. While the exact details of this experiment are unknown, it caused Ohrmazd to awaken and involved human use of the Rhongomiant, an alien artifact recovered from beneath the Dead Sea.

When Orhmazd awoke, he immediately recognized humanity as creations of Ahriman and thus his enemy. Had he been allowed to run amok, he would have destroyed all life on Earth and rebuilt the world according to his plan: deific life forms.

However, the Katsuragi Expedition managed to act in time and minimize the damage of their mistake. Before it could be reclaimed, they used the Rhongomiant to reduce Orhmazd into an embryonic state. While effective at neutralizing him, the resulting release of energy vaporized the continent of Antarctica. Despite being at ground zero of this tremendous blast, both the embryonic Ohrmazd and the Rhongomiant survived the explosion.

Two billion people across the planet would not be so lucky. Massive tidal waves radiated out from the former continent of Antarctica, smashing entire cities to splinters and drowning virtually everything in all but the highest or most secluded areas of South America, Africa and Australia. The tsunamis even reached as far as the British Isles, and though significantly reduced by the intervening distance still caused massive devastation. Many cities in the Northern Hemisphere (such as virtually every city on the East Coast of North America) experienced destructive flash flooding as the sea level around the globe rose an immediate 60m.

Even worse than the tidal waves was the shock to the planet from the explosion itself. The force of the blast shifted the Earth, slightly changing its axis. While the environmental repercussions of this would not be felt for some time, the geological consequences were almost immediate. Mere minutes after the instant of the explosion, the stress suddenly placed on the crust and mantle from the South Pole caused earthquakes across the globe, ranging from minor disturbances to massive catastrophes. Even worse were the frequent volcanic eruptions both during the Impact and for some months afterward. Special mention goes to the Yellowstone Caldera, which ejected some 47 cubic miles of rock and dust into the sky, which would take almost an entire decade to settle fully and plunged North America into chaos. Optimistic geologists, however, claim that the Second Impact spared the human race a cataclysmic repeat of the last time the Yellowstone Caldera erupted by setting it off early. On its previous eruption 640,000 years previous, the Yellowstone super volcano spewed approximately 240 cubic miles of rock into the sky.

WAR

The sudden, unexpected and truly devastating nature of the Second Impact threw the world into chaos. Over two billion had died in the first nineteen hours alone, and millions more were in need of crucial aid and supplies. However, the global tectonic activity had crippled nearly every nation on Earth, and systems of government around the globe collapsed under the strain.

While many records from this time were either lost, destroyed or based on inaccurate and inconsistent data, it is clear that refugees from the worst afflicted areas fled to neighboring regions in untold numbers. For already barely stable countries, this panicked human locust swarm was an obvious death sentence. Fighting broke out on the borders between various countries, followed by full fledged massacres.

Nowhere was this fighting more intense than on the India-Pakistan border. In an effort to force neighboring countries to provide aid, extremist remains of the Indian government threatened the use of Nuclear Weapons. Thus provoked, Pakistan launched its own Weapons of Mass Destruction in a preemptive strike. The resulting exchange, added on top of the previous devastation, left the subcontinent in ruins and 15 years later still virtually uninhabited. This exchange triggered violent interventions and the sparking of tensions across the world. While the former Cold War nations avoided mutually assured destruction, several cities such as London and Tokyo were destroyed within the first ten days after the Second Impact.

Thankfully the use of weapons of mass destruction was curbed early on, but the planet was plunged into war for months to come. The majority of these conflicts were a result of resource shortages and refugee crises, though preexisting ethnic and political tensions often provided the critical spark to conflict.

In the months of combat, the devastated continents of South America and Africa seemed determined to destroy themselves, and the first world countries were scrambling to secure and protect as much as they could. China pushed forward its borders in several directions and made key acquisitions, while the United States and Canada formed a desperate alliance. Russia reclaimed several of its satellite nations from the Cold War, though not as much territory as it had hoped due to food shortages at home that forced them to consolidate their enlarged territory rather than expand it.

In the end, the chaos seemed destined to continue and escalate back to the levels of Weapons of Mass Destruction within the year. In a desperate attempt to curb this destruction, a coalition of several European nations (notably starting with England, France and Germany) turned over their military forces to the United Nations. While only barely keeping lines of communication open between nations prior to this, the sudden increase in its military power gave the UN the might required to forcefully intervene in several out of control conflicts around the globe. Russia, having already stopped its territorial expansion and after securing the UN’s guarantee that these new territories would not be touched, also joined this group. The United States, while previously opposing UN intervention in South America for nationalistic reasons, eventually admitted that with its own crises it lacked the resources to handle the South American problem on its own and joined as well.

The consolidation of these forces and others was finalized on February 14th, 2013 in the so-called Valentine Treaty. This event represented an end to the general hostilities and war that defined the six months after Second Impact, though small conflicts continued for some time and certain regional conflicts sparked during those months have continued unabated ever since.

RECONSTRUCTION

However, this was not the end of the troubles caused by Second Impact. In the intervening fifteen years, only 22% of South America, 49% of Africa, and 12% of Australia have undergone anything approaching reconstruction, mostly restricted to basic humanitarian aid. India, Pakistan, and many previously civilized areas of the aforementioned continents are still all but deserted, despite the general recession of the floods that originally devastated them. South America has permanently lost large portions of Brazil and Chile to the Pacific, and the nations of Paraguay and Uruguay are entirely submerged to this day. In other parts of the world, the damage from flash flooding and earthquakes is all but erased. Notable instances include the reclamation of Boston, once completely flooded by the initial waves.

However, the massive dust clouds that crippled plant growth in North America for years were only the tip of the iceberg of climate related troubles. With the shift in the Earth’s axis, as well as the desalinization of the oceans resulting from the instantaneous melting of the Antarctic continent, the Earth experienced a massive climate shift. Much of Asia, notably China and Japan, has seen significant temperature increases, with Japan now appearing locked in what equated to its Pre-Impact summer weather at all times of the year. Russia as well has seen an increase of temperatures, though oddly most of Europe has seen heavier snowfall and a longer winter than normal. Large swathes of North America experience heavy rainfall almost all year round, and Central America is quickly turning into a roasting desert.

The United Nations

Previously a decision making body rather than a power in its own right, post- ratification of the Valentine Treaty the United Nations of 2027 is unlike anything that could have been expected before the traumas of Second Impact. With the signing of the Valentine Treaty, the United Nations gained control of the major military assets of many of its member nations, including Russia, China and the United States. With this combined military power it was more than capable of establishing order in chaotic regions by force.

However, who exactly has this power is a matter of some debate. The United Nations Secretariat Building and the UN headquarters built around it were lost with the rest of New York City during the Second Impact. Between this critical loss and the ensuing wars that engulfed the planet, the decision making body that used to be the UN did not officially meet until the signing of the Valentine Treaty, by which time the UN itself was already acting independently. While the United Nations is undisputedly still a multinational organization, exactly how it survived through Second Impact to achieve its current power is far from clear. Nevertheless, even armed with decade old weaponry from a dozen different countries, the United Nations still represents the dominant military and economic power in the post Second Impact world.

In addition to this military power, the United Nations maintains a stringent regulation of overseas transportation that adds to its influence and power. Post-Valentine Treaty, the United Nations has the only official navy left on the planet, made up of ships forfeited by its member nations. While initially of little worth due to a lack of standardized resources and ammunition, this previously engorged navy has since been reduced to a much more manageable size and its ammunition requirements standardized for better resource management. This navy leaves the United Nations the masters of the sea, and they may restrict its use as much as they wish. That said, many can and do travel outside the UN regulated waters, but at their own peril. With equally strict UN regulation of air travel, many previously flown resources are forced to travel by sea instead, which has resulted in an increase in pirate activity. While the UN takes efforts to find and eliminate these pirate elements, they make use of them to punctuate the importance of using UN regulated trade lanes.

This naval power also provides the UN with its primary means of dealing with dissenting elements: long range naval bombardment. When this proves ineffective, the now-iconic United Nations counterinsurgency teams are deployed, an increasingly common sight in regions where their presence is not strictly necessary.

In this new organization of the UN the United American Union, Russia, and the Chinese Federation are all members, though unlike the rest of the world they have the might required to oppose the UN should they wish to. The rest of the world is more or less subservient to the UNs military might, and its control of the humanitarian aid and resources that it provides them.

Germany, Japan and France have risen to power within the structure of the UN. Germany especially was surprisingly quick to stabilize itself after Second Impact and, while it did not increase its territory during the chaos that followed it, gained an economic powerbase that has left it as arguably the most influential nation fully integrated into the UN.

Zurich

The seat of the United Nations, Zurich was virtually untouched by the physical devastation of the Second Impact. Sheltered high in the Swiss Alps, it was chosen to house the UN Secretariat and headquarters building following the loss of almost every coastal city around the globe, and renamed Zurich-2, to reflect is rebirth as the seat of power in the world. However, it was almost destroyed when the first New God attacked, and rebuilt again as Zurich-3.

The second New God was destroyed through the use of immense nuclear devices, resulting in the loss of Shanghai city.

Luckily, the UN had a secret program to combat the New Gods, a program under the purview of its daughter-organization, Nerv; a program known as the Angel Project. Centered in Zurich-3 and pooling the mighty resources of all the UN, the Project has just neared its completion, just in time for the projected arrival of the third New God. Zurich-3 is a modern fortress, built exclusively for the fielding of Angels against New Gods, and defending the underground base of the Geofront, a amazing geological formation.

A spherical cavern protected by 22 layers of armored bulkheads, the Geofront is located under the fortified city and contains the Nerv headquarters. In reality, the Geofront is a massive hollow sphere, used as the vessel of either Ahriman or Orhmazd, of which only the very top portion has been colonized. Given its nature as a vessel for Ahriman or Ohrmazd, it is very likely that whichever being that the Geofront belonged to still lies dormant within it, and that being is the thing you must protect from the New Gods at all costs. If the Gods reach it, Third Impact is assured.

Who am I?

The players take the role of the pilots of Angels, colossal living chimeras of alien and human DNA, covered in armor and bent to Humanity’s will. It is a dangerous position, and not just for the obvious reasons. The fact that your character can Synchronize with the creature makes you a very special person. It’s probably for the best if you don’t ask about the test pilots either. Or why Mom left.

Pilots are young men and women selected or raised by Nerv to control the Angels in battle against the Gods. Two gods have already been bested already by conventional military forces, but barely — the use of incredibly destructive nuclear devices wreaked as much destruction as the Gods themselves, resulting in the loss of both Munich and New Tokyo.

Finally, after two decades of frantic research and construction, utilizing the entire economic and productive power of the United Nations remaining Post-2I, the Angels have been made. The ultimate weapon the combat the Gods, towering monstrosities of flesh and metal, the Angels can utilize the same Arta powers that grace the Gods, but only when piloted by certain unique children.

Facing death and the terrors of war on a fantastical scale, the kids you take on as your characters must hold onto their sense of self and sanity as they battle both the terrifying Gods and their own personal demons. You have been thrown (or raised) onto the front line for the battle of Humanity’s future. The horrors of the Second Impact are history to you, but its after-effects are your present.

This is Nova Verno Fabula, the Tale of New Life.

What do I do?

The themes of this game can be dark, but there are moments of triumph. Your characters are often have mental scars, derangement, or neuroses that should be defining — but not the defining — features of your character. You are also children in the midst of adolescence, a time of change and anxiety for most teenagers. For you, whether or not the red haired girl has a crush on you might be as important as when the next God is attacking.

The stories of your characters’ interaction, and how they feel about one another, is just as important as their combat with the Gods. There are conspiracies to be discovered, and romance to nervously pursue. It is encouraged that you discuss character interaction with other players, to play rivalries, friendships, and all the other myriad relationships that occur among teenagers.

When you’re not playing through a slice-of-life story, attending school, playing sports, and mucking about at home with the other pilots, you are in complete and utter peril and fighting for your life. This is a game of a dichotomy between your normal life, and what it means to pilot an Angel.

The Setting

Nova Verno Fabula Kilbourne