Mortasheen Weekly Tidbits

tbok1992 Apr 13th, 2017 201 Never
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  1. Weekly Tidbit #1
  3. It's time for our first weekly tidbit:
  5. There are few natural creatures left in the world of Mortasheen; most of the existing monsters are the creation of generations of mad scientists, and in fact, the differing species of higher-thinking folk are largely the result of custom genetic tinkering, as well. In a culture like that, DNA and complicated custom genomes are as good as any other form of currency--maybe better--and easy enough to acquire or create. Scanalyzing a wild monster allows you to recreate that creature in your lair, but of course there's no law saying you can't use the bits and pieces you like to build a better one...
  7. Weekly Tidbit #2
  9. Mortasheen is a sprawling city of anarchy--in a place so vast and chaotic (considering that Mortasheen is mostly built on...well, Mortasheen!), no one can really be in charge. However, there are always going to be people you can look up to and revere--that's why Respect is so important. You ain't got nothin' if you don't got Respect!
  11. Respect is one of the two major factors in the game that determine what you can do with your character (the other is Resources). The greater your deeds, the more Respect you earn, and if you earn enough, you might be allowed to join the ranks of the privileged elite--the Overlords, maybe, or the Deans--or you might instead draw the attention of those who don't want to compete with up-and-coming mad scientists...
  13. Respect is earned through accomplishing tasks, overcoming challenges, and carrying out missions. Spend it and buy new privileges and improvements--or save it and use it to manipulate political favor and control the outcome of the war...
  15. Weekly Tidbit #3
  17. It's hard (not impossible, though) to be a mad scientist without a little education; after all, if you don't have the learning to back up your theories and experimentation, then no one in scholarly circles will take you fer srsly.
  19. In part, this is due to the fact that, out of all the Respected institutions that stand out in the anarchic city-state of Mortasheen, four are closest to what someone might consider being "in charge." These are the Great Colleges: Vast centers of learning that have somehow withstood the chaotic ebb and flow of Mortasheen society to rise above those countless lesser schools and businesses which have failed before and after them.
  21. The Great College are Biology, Physics, Psychology, and Philosophy, each of which is broken down further into two primary Disciplines, respectively being: Surgery/Genetics, Electricity/Engineering, Management/Psionics, and Alchemy/Necromization. Your character, as a mad scientist, holds a degree from one of the eight Disciplines, which determines what abilities are available to him or her, and when.
  23. ...Or not. "Feral" scientists also exist, the result of self-experimentation and private education. They follow no specific Discipline, but while they have the freedom to learn nearly any subject they want without being caught up in the violent rivalries that consume the Great Colleges, they also have no access to the privileged information that only a good student of a Discipline can acquire from Respected masters.
  25. Weekly Tidbit #4
  27. Mortasheen is at war.
  29. The whole world, in fact, is pretty much fighting with itself. But in Mortasheen's case, everything is bigger in scale--nobody in Mortasheen really does anything small (unless it's in a big way). Oh, there have been wars before, but this is The Big One.
  31. See, there's this whole other culture as obsessed with order and straight lines and making everything less messy and chaotic as Mortasheen is with freedom and personal liberty and blowing stuff up in gratuitous displays of choice and consequences at their finest. It's on a pretty grand scale, too: Hey, this grass could be more efficient. Let's build new grass! Robot grass. Guess that means we'll need some more efficient bees and stuff, too. Pfft, nobody'll miss those old bees. They were flawed. Imperfect. Unclean.
  33. Impure.
  35. You know, now I come to think of it, that big city in the distance is really...very dirty, as well...
  37. Weekly Tidbit #5
  39. *Ed.: Sorry, Nicolai. :( We have full-fledged character log sheets for both mad scientists and their monsters, but we're not quite ready to throw that information out for the Internet community, yet. We promise there will be plenty of mechanical reveals later in our tidbit lineup, as we come closer to releasing the game, but for now, please accept this substitute:
  41. Surgeon Artemis Akeley telepops his chainsaw kid into battle.Other than Respect, a mad scientist relies on his four basic Skillz to get by in the world of Mortasheen. While each College and Discipline makes use of different Skillz to a different degree, all mad scientists possess some acuity in each of the four major areas (otherwise, they make rather poor scientists, which is the opposite of rich scientists, which is what they often want to be). The four basic Skillz are:
  43. SCIENCE! (and yes, you have to say it really dramatically, just like it's written--one hand raised up and with lightning and everything) is the skill associated with all the mechanical procedures involved in labwork, such as scanalyzing wild genomes and making sure that a fusion comes out right. Or whichever direction.
  45. GENIUS! is sheer talent and potential, and measures how often a mad scientist might experience a breakthrough or "eureka" moment, among other things. Coming up with your own monsters needs a lot of this.
  47. TALKIES! is a representation of how cultured and eloquent your mad scientist is, including how easy it is for him to convince others to Respect him or to encourage his monsters.
  49. Finally, MY HEAD! is the numerical measure of how much plain weirdness a mad scientist can stand; trucking with shadowy and mysterious creatures from beyond, yea, and those monsters which are looking back at you from that abyss everyone keeps going on about can really put a strain on your mental capacity.
  51. Then, of course, there's your endurance, your energy, and your sanity. You want to make sure your endurance and energy stay as high as is practically possible! Your sanity, on the other hand...well, let's just say a mad scientist doesn't need too much of that lying around, unless it's properly stored in the appropriately-labeled container.
  53. Weekly Tidbit #6
  55. Self-education is all well and good, but a pedigree is more Respectable.As you gain levels in Mortasheen, you're going to grow and develop as a mad scientist, obviously. You'll learn more about SCIENCE!, discover new heights of GENIUS!, and earn enough Respect to aspire to the position of Dean, Overlord, or even General. Who knows?
  57. The path you take to get there is important, though; not every mad scientist is cut out for every job, and some have to work at it a bit harder than others. Some choose to so narrowly focus their studies that they're nearly incapable of other branches of mad science, while others dip into so many different areas of emphasis that they stunt their own potential in their scramble for knowledge and prestige. Of course, the middle ground would be a little too ordinary for most mad scientists worth their Na.
  59. If you choose a Discipline, then at first, you're only going to have access to the Discoveries of your own Discipline and College. Later on, though, you might make Discoveries associated with the other Discipline of your College, and at high levels of Respect, you could even be invited to learn from other Colleges. Only the most Respected of mad scientists could even dream of being asked to study at their rival College, though--and even then, don't expect to learn much.
  61. Weekly Tidbit #7
  63. Everyone has their favorite monster; Art prefers his chainsaw kid. A mad scientist's monsters are not just his creations, or his tools--they're also his children, his allies, and his friends. Those who abuse their monsters don't get a lot of Respect in Mortasheen, as the anarchic city puts slavery and discrimination firmly at the top of the very short list of things it won't tolerate.
  65. It's important to remember that your monsters aren't just weapons, even if some of them might have been designed for combat. They have feelings and personalities to match the functions they fulfill, which might fall into any number of specialized nonviolent arenas: Housekeeping, maintenance, security, construction, lab assistance, or even just simple company. A lair can get lonely for a solo mad scientist, and even a full think tank can do with a friend or two.
  67. That being said, no matter how much you might want to, you just can't lug all of your monsters around with all the time--nor can you afford the precious energy and seconds you might need to telepop them into sudden battle. Your best and brightest monster is your YGORE (Your Go-to Option Regarding Enemies), a persistent sidekick, buddy, and bodyguard who'll stay with you all the time to help keep you safe in your travels and endeavors. Most mad scientists can only designate one YGORE at any given time (it's hard to have two best friends!), but your YGORE doesn't count against the DNA storage limit of your telepopper like other monsters, and can benefit from numerous Discoveries.
  69. Other monsters? You'll have to store their DNA codes in your CD, or Control Device, and telepop them in from your lair whenever you need them. That costs time and energy, though, and your CD can only hold so much data in its DNA buffer--meaning you'll have to choose whether you want to back your YGORE with a whole passel of small, weak monsters or just a couple of big, strong ones. Of course, if you trust your YGORE enough, you could always just forgo reinforcements to power more of your own special abilities, too...
  71. Weekly Tidbit #8
  73. Home is where your heart is properly labeled. So, you're a mad scientist, right? That means you need a laboratory, because it's harder than they tell you in the news to perform worthwhile experiments on a cardboard box and a pile of old newspapers under a sewer grate. Like, really hard.
  75. That's why any mad scientist that can will have intelligently invested in a custom lair--home sweet home, workplace, secure deposit space, and parking all at once. Having a lair is like living above the shop, so to speak; everything you need is right there (provided you've purchased and installed the right modules).
  77. Just like in any free market, it's not always feasible for a mad scientist to simply go out and buy the first lair he likes; a lot of the time, you'll rent, lease, or share a lair with the rest of your think tank, using the common space to assist in research and SCIENCE! to the benefit of the group as a whole. Remember, a lair is expensive--you've got to have room to house your monsters, splice them, breed them, transport them, store them, feed them... And of course, you've got to leave room for the kitchenette and the big holoscreen, not to mention the mineral bath.
  79. No worries, though. You'll be able to improve your lair over time, picking up new modules to expand and extend your work- and living space and to allow for more complex, madly scientific actions. The phrase "mobile home" can be quite literal, for the wealthiest and most Respected of Mortasheen...
  81. Weekly Tidbit #9
  83. A think tank thinks tanks think think tanks tank. So, out of many, one. You. For SCIENCE!
  85. And then you died. Again. Man, that gets expensive.
  87. Admit it--there's no shame in acknowledging that Mortasheen is part of a dangerous world. After all, the Great Colleges band together and stand (mostly...partly...somewhat?) united (sometimes), and it brings only benefit. So, if you're going to be traipsing about digging up old ruins and pulling parts off wild monsters, it's prudent to have some backup besides a handful of lab creations. C'mon, you're mad, not crazy.
  89. A group of mad scientists is called a "think tank," and is often made up of college buddies or members of a joint research team formed through previous working relationships. It's who you know, you know? Few mad scientists are as effective on their own as a qualified think tank when tackling any problem, which is why most think tanks are willing to pool their resources and knowledge to gain Respect. Sharing a lair and a laboratory might mean sacrificing a bit of personal space or freedom, but it's certainly better than your latest contribution to SCIENCE! being smeared across an unfriendly wall along with your still-smoking remains.
  91. Weekly Tidbit #10
  93. In Mortasheen, it's always wise to be the guy with the car battery.There are only two things in Mortasheen that are certain: Death and taxes.
  95. ...
  97. Okay, one thing.
  99. ...
  101. Okay, nothing, then. Anyway, not death for sure. After all, this is a world populated largely by mad scientists! Necromization might be a refined and precise art, but simply reanimating a corpse is third-grade homework--for the slow kids.
  103. Electricity, with its many uses, is the oldest and most respected of the Disciplines by far, rivaled only distantly by Surgery. Electricity makes mad science possible--the number of problems that can't be solved by any given thunderstorm are directly and inversely proportional to the amount of ionic discharge it produces; that's just common sense, after all.
  105. What does this mean for you? Well, all mad scientists have some basic skill and knowledge invested in Electricity, regardless of whether they practice another Discipline or not; most SCIENCE! is grounded in Electricity, you see (no pun intended). Your basic Control Device functions, the machinery in your lair--it all runs on Electricity, which should make the force in question one of your bestest best friends. The advantage of knowing your way around a lightning bolt include, but are not limited to, transforming "death" into a momentary inconvenience.
  107. See, dying causes all the forces in a body to stop moving; then, breakdown begins, and even if you come back, the damage is done and a fancy degree does you no good when you're all hurr-durr. Through rejuvenating electrical therapy, though (that is, juicing a big battery for that sweet, sweet nectar we call "life"), a monster or mad scientist can experience death again and again and come away with only mild burns and maybe an exit wound to show for it.
  109. There are limits, of course--you should always keep a backup of your monsters' genomes and your own mind and personality in your lair, just in case. After all, if you get completely incinerated or suffer a really bad telepopping malfunction, it won't matter how big a generator you've got in your fanny pack.
  111. There won't be anything to bring back.
  113. Weekly Tidbit #11
  115. Some mad scientists are too self-reliant for monster backup.Of course, in a city as big and weird as Mortasheen, there are always going to be plenty of varieties of unusual personalities and strange habits, even between mad scientists. So, it's natural that some would be more interested in taking the fight to their enemies personally rather than hiding behind an YGORE or a wall of minions.
  117. Some combat capability is not only recommended, but enforced as part of a strict training regimen in all the Great Colleges and other major institutions. Why? Well, consider for a moment: To be a really successful mad scientist, you've got to do some field work--you know, go where the data is. However, a lot of undomesticated monsters are...somewhat less than enthusiastic about having their genomes stolen by scanalyzers; that means that a good working knowledge of offense and defense is crucial to collection and experimentation.
  119. That's even more important for a mad scientist who wants to do this kind of work (or the more violent sort of sidequesting) without a think tank backing him up (idiot) or without the company of friendly monsters (why are you playing this game, again?). After all, you're only as good as the tools you're using--so, if you want to be good enough to go it alone (or even just to swing it without some monstrous allies), then your tools, mind, body, and otherwise, need to be sharp and well-prepared.
  121. As you gain more Respect, you'll doubtless make more Discoveries and record numerous formulae, as well as upgrading your equipment. "But what about me?" you might be asking. Well, that, too. You are a mad scientist, aren't you? There are those who have completely given up their organic bodies, replacing inefficient limbs and organs with better-built ones made in lairs citywide. You can do that, too, you know--gun for an arm, tank-transforming legs, literal body armor, shoulder-mounted rockets. All that good stuff.
  123. All it costs is a few resources, some time, and your humanity.
  125. Such as it is.
  127. Weekly Tidbit #12
  129. Ed.: Apologies, crew! Mad scientist #1 was taken with a virulent strain of Human Doomboros Virus yesterday and offers excuses in recompense for a missed deadline!
  131. That which doesn't kill you can still leave you with that nagging feeling you've left the gas on.
  133. All mad science has its ups and downs, but the greatest draw for those fun-seekers looking to monger monsters is the flexibility. All the GENIUS! and SCIENCE! in the world won't do you a bit of good if you simply stuff them into a jar with everything else and let them watch you from the shelf. A true mad scientist has to have the get-up-and-go to risk a meltdown for those glorious breakthroughs!
  135. There are two ways to make your own monsters in Mortasheen, but you'll still have your work cut out for you trying to catch 'em all or perfect your existing little horrors. Scanalysis is key: By scanalyzing new monsters, you can acquire their genomes and use the data to replicate them in your lair's growth tanks (if you've got them), and then pick off the bits and pieces you need and sew them onto your other unbound Promethea.
  137. Monsters can only hold so much awesome, though--since you have to have the basic genome in place in order to guarantee the monster you're trying to create, that means there's only so much room to stuff extra programming in there, and telling a creature's DNA it's supposed to safely (well, relatively safely) fart gouts of napalm without exploding when the rest of its genetics are all saying that is specifically not what it is supposed to do is a chore and a bit iffy, to boot. Like a good dose of DNA helicase, you've got to get in there and unzip those genes, replacing them with the biological "software" that installs the qualities you most want in your monsters.
  139. Given that knowledge, it's easy to understand that replacing too much DNA will result in a garbage monster or, worse, repainting the lair a low-budget shade of greeny-reddish-brown. So, it's best to stick with toying around a minimal amount in each body part when it comes to patching on acid breath and lightning sneezes.
  141. Then again, you do have all these extra parts lying around, now...
  143. Weekly Tidbit #13
  145. Home, home on the (firing) range. Okay, so there's Mortasheen. But what else is there?
  147. There's a whole world out there, and even though Mortasheen's pretty big, it can't be all of it. The city is large enough to be broken down into vastly different regions, let alone zip codes, but a whole world is... Well, that's a lot of space to fill, and Mortasheen's biannual explosion quota keeps its growth relatively stable these days.
  149. That leaves a lot of ground. And sky. And sea. And none of it's really empty--well apart from wandering monsters, wild or tame, you should expect to discover some sights equally as surprising and unique as your hometown: The roving Cannontown, the unpronounceable G!zjhdt, the spine-curling Thogome, the flying Medama, and more. And it's not just places people live, either--there are also whole mountain ranges, dense forests, forgotten jungles, and vast deserts to be explored, mapped, scanned, mined, or otherwise shamelessly exploited in exchange for imaginary currency and rewards. For example, where are all those devilbirds coming from that nobody's breeding...?
  151. Weekly Tidbit #14
  153. Love. It is a thing that happens.Happy Valentine's Day! Love and society is celebrated throughout Mortasheen on every day of the year (when people remember it). So, what does this mean for you?
  155. Well, breeding is another way to get your own monsters. Most monsters can be scanalyzed and recreated in growth tanks via computer. Sure, you could breed them like big yellow birds, but that's an awful lot of wark. Instead, it's quicker just to clone them.
  157. Some monsters, though, can't be scanalyzed--vampires, for instance. They don't like it. It's an invasion of personal privacy, is what it is, and how would you like it if I came along and stole your DNA and mass-manufactured you and sent you to die on the battlefield or something, I ask you. The nerve of some people!
  159. Devilbirds are another. For some reason nobody's been able to pin down just yet, scanalysis simply...won't work on devilbirds. Why? Well, maybe that's a mystery you'll uncover. In the meantime, though, if you want a devilbird of your own, you've got to get certified, licensed, registered, and approved. Then, it'll take time, dedication, and Barry White to get things movin' and groovin'. And we're not just talking simple math, here; 1 + 1 doesn't equal 3, in the case of devilbirds, like with regular folks. No, because you're dealing with some dangerous stuff, like sloth and wrath and lust and worse. What do you get when you cross envy and pride, by the way?
  161. There's a big, red button for you, huh?
  163. Weekly Tidbit # 15
  165. Mr. Crawl's restaurant draws a lot of famous palates.So what else is there to do in Mortasheen besides school and experiments? Well, firstly, there are symposia--big gatherings of mad scientists where peers and rivals, alike, get together to discuss the newest events and trends in their trade. Technology and data are exchanged, think tanks formed, bounties claimed, and duels declared. With all the clashing colors, loud, discordant music, funny smells, people in weird ill-fitting costumes, and junk for sale, a symposium is a lot like an anime convention, but cleaner and more orderly.
  167. There are also local landmarks to visit, like the Spark Jungle, Mr. Crawl's House of Haute Cuisine, the ancient Electrobiology Monument, and lots more, including the massive, sprawling strongholds of the Great Colleges and their supra-urban subsectors. The Deans--masters of their Disciplines--take on challengers in their collegiate coliseums, offering boons to the rare few skillful enough to eke out a win against their military-grade monster taskforces, accepting any and all comers.
  169. The garbage sea, the gore lagoon, the rust bog, the Ridge, and all the other sections of the city are connected by the telepop network which is completely safe no matter what people might say, where did you hear that and a system of railcars and walkways that form a labyrinthine web of transportation, dotted occasionally with the dangling, crawling, or upside-down hanging lairs of prestigious think tanks and famous mad scientists. Remember, though, that in a city the size of Mortasheen, not everyone is necessarily a good Samaritan, and loose or lost monsters roam freely throughout the shadowed subcity, either risen up from discarded experiments or abandoned by careless or dead creators. Lots of people venture into the sewers (mostly to kill rats for change) only to vanish, never seen again in the surface world unless something backs up really badly.
  171. Weekly Tidbit # 16
  173. Near-human mutants are people, too.There's more than one kind of person in Mortasheen--not counting monsters, of course. Humanity is all but forgotten in a world with a long, long history of mad science; after all, why stay just a plain old human when everything is better with more lasers on it?
  175. Instead, Mortasheen is populated now by "near-humans" who resemble humanity (vaguely). There are several major types, including zombies, sectilians, borg, and mutants, as well as others. Each has their own unique traits and characteristics (though none of them have any effect on gameplay).
  177. Mutants are the closest to regular humans, relatively speaking, of course. They are most often humanoid in shape, but come equipped with extra features including everything from spare eyes to third, fourth, and fifth arms, and more. A lot of geneticists take up tinkering with their own DNA as a hobby, to keep them in practice.
  179. Borg are somewhere in the same arena, constantly tweaking their bodies to make them better. The difference here is, borg have messed their physical forms about so much that nearly all that's left is quite often a brain, a heart, or another vital organ or two, their outer shells replaced with heavy-duty non-corrosive polymers and machinery or attachments. They are the Swiss Army knives of mad science, although they're falling more and more out of fashion these days...
  181. Weekly Tidbit #17
  183. Gill-men are pretty much the closest we get to social commentary. Where was I? Oh, yeah--borg.
  185. So, gill-men, then: "Gillies" were bred by vampires to literally do their legwork for them, seeing as how the typical vampire, for all their power, is about as useful flopping around on dry land as some kind of stupid magic carp. Gill-men are usually pretty stupid, and so they have a stupid name. Because they're stupid. Unless they're mad scientists, in which case they're not.
  187. Logic.
  189. Anyway, gill-men always have saltwater characteristics--beaked mouths, tentacles, scaly skin, and more; the vampires weren't playing around when they set to work. Well, mostly. Okay, no more than any other mad scientist. Because of their amphibious nature, gill-men who spend too long away from their sleeping pools must wear special aquatic suits or hydro-rebreathers to keep wet--but that's no problem for a mad scientist.
  191. Zombies, on the other hand... They don't have to keep wet, or dry, or eat, or sleep, or breathe. The result of an incurable virus spread through the bodily fluids of humans long ago, zombies just kind of...keep going after they bite it (no pun, there); after all, death is no excuse to stop working!
  193. Unfortunately, most zombies lose any semblance of sapience after their inevitable transformation. Those that don't often devote their eternal unlives to mad science, mastering the fields of surgery and genetics. They never quite get over a craving for raw brains, but probably somebody somewhere has bred a monster for that. If not--opportunity!
  195. Zombies don't always look rotten, and not everyone who's dead is a zombie--mutants of all kinds and most near-humans, in general, are immune to the genetic virus. Proper zombies keep themselves clean and maintained, just like a borg, in order to avoid decay and parasites. Dismemberment and worse are only inconveniences for a zombie, who is even harder to kill than a typical mad scientist, but they do have their pride and appearance counts for a lot, when you're dead.
  197. Weekly Tidbit #18
  199. We just couldn't keep you in the dark on this one. The last of the near-humans in Mortasheen include the shades--a man-made labor class that doesn't eat, drink, sleep, or die. Shades aren't actually made out of living darkness or anything time-consuming like that; they're actually just a skeleton, artificial crystal structures veined with wire and circuitous substraits. The protective liquid coating laid over the outer shell of the skeleton absorbs light, giving them their shadowy appearance. In fact, shades are photovores, incapacitated by a total lack of light and strengthened by an abundance--ironic that, what with their name and distinctive look, the darkest depths of Mortasheen and its underground are more frightening and dangerous to the shades than to any of the other near-human species that inhabit the sprawling city.
  201. While shades can be male or female in their own minds, they come off an assembly line and can't reproduce. Despite being worker drones, shades are allowed as much freedom as anybody in Mortasheen under its anti-slavery laws; they simply don't have much capacity for original thought, and so are perfectly happy to remain at whatever tasks they are given. Occasionally, shades exceed these typical parameters and take up the art of mad science, where they tend to place their focus on escaping their ageless but numb artificial bodies and take up residence in something a little
  203. Also included are the sectilians--near-human mutants who have exchanged parts of their bodies with insectoid creatures or monsters--and the orloks--dumber and stronger cousins of the gill-men. While sectilians often start out as perfectly normal mad scientists and willingly alter themselves in their own lairs, the orlok were bred by the vampires of Thogome to be easily bred, led, and fed upon; likewise, just as the sectilians are rarest among the near-humans (insectile and mammalian DNA not really being very cooperative when attending the same party), orloks exist in vast numbers outside Mortasheen, forming great hives where they live to carry out the will of their subservient queens, all slaves to the vampires. Once in a great while, some exceptional orlok has an original thought (usually beginning and ending with profanity) and realizes his situation, making a break for anti-slavery Mortasheen. A few are even smart enough to make it into the lower echelons of mad science, like our very own lovable Oog.
  205. Weekly Tidbit #19
  207. Adorifying.Even Mortasheen has its bogeymen. On the surface, the great city might seem like it's all laughs and explosions for comic relief, but do you really think that--in a world populated by mad scientists and monsters of every stripe, from flesh-eating penguins to flying sins--there's nothing...scary?
  209. They tell some pretty ugly stories (all whispered) of a couple particularly nasty folks who make the circuit on the mad science track--or at least, some track, somewhere. They may not be scientists at all, but they're certainly mad in the worst way. Rumor has it they just sort of hang around...watching... and occasionally kill some unfortunate mad scientist for some reason or other. They're not after bounty, or glory, or even Respect, because fear is a kind of Respect, and they've darn sure got plenty of that pointed at them, after all...
  211. Some gossip mutters about "lost Disciplines" and the ghosts of Deans who mastered them, all that remain of their dead Colleges after centuries or millennia untold of war and neglect. And who's to say they're wrong? Nobody's talking, especially not the specters in question--whether real or imagined, though, they have an impact on Mortasheen and its scientific community.
  213. Typically quite a large impact.
  215. With an astounding radius.
  217. Whole city blocks, even.
  219. The kind of impact that smears young, up-and-coming mad scientists all over the sides of the crater.
  221. Weekly Tidbit #20
  225. Weekly Tidbit #21
  227. Mortasheen is a vast, uncontrolled, unplanned, and untamed urban sprawl, so massive it has created its own twisted ecosystem. Much like a scar when seen from space, it's roughly a whole continent, and in many ways, it's better to treat it like one; to say that Mortasheen is a "city" (though this is the common vernacular) is to underestimate the whole shebang. Mortasheen is only a "city" in the sense that a slight majority of it consists of towering metal and concrete buildings; it's long outgrown that old definition, much like its forests, swamps, and marshes have outgrown the office buildings, laboratories, and sewers they started in--Mortasheen spills out everywhere like a festering wound nobody ever bothered to treat.
  229. Weekly Tidbit #22
  231. Mortasheen is a jumble of different cultures--after all, city of freedom and all that, amirite?
  233. From whence do these different cultures actually come from, though? Well, it's not like Mortasheen's the only place on the planet--we already mentioned Cannontown, Thogome, and others. All of those places, each a nation unto itself, has its own history, influence, politics, philosophy, and more. Not everyone in Mortasheen was born (or grown) there; lots of people came from these other places. Or got blown from there.
  235. As a mad scientist, you aren't restricted to Mortasheen proper! Your fine art is practiced everywhere, with some of the various Disciplines more or less favored in one region or another. Suppose you're a scholarship kid, or a prodigy shipped in to take advantage of the Great College educations that another place, like Brundlecorp, can't provide? Your options in that respect aren't quite as limitless as when you're playing around on the operating table, but your imagination is still pretty much the stop.
  237. Starting next week, we'll begin talking a little about some of these other parts of the Mortasheen world, and the kinds of monsters and people who live there. Some of them could be neighbors, friends, or family, so remember: The best place in Mortasheen to keep an open mind is splattered across the wall behind you!
  239. Weekly Tidbit #23
  241. Built from the castoff machinery and nonworking parts of Mortasheen's mad science industry, Scraptown is a slum that spreads for tens of miles eastward beyond the big retainer wall of the massive city. There are millions of near-humans who inhabit the ghetto, called scrappers--the poorest of the poor who have nowhere else to go. All scrappers have some skill at repurposing Mortasheen's tech, but not by grand design or deliberate planning; those who are bad at it simply don't survive for long.
  243. It's easy to forget that Mortasheen is a center of wealth and prosperity, and that the field of mad science is a bigtime money-maker. The forgotten of Scraptown tinker daily with weapons beyond their understanding, seeking simply to beat the beast of natural selection, and riots are a matter of fact--so much so that communities near the retainer wall have established neighborhood watches of multiple think tanks constantly on the lookout for trouble. Some less ethical mad scientists have been known to use the chaos to their advantage, and have turned scrappers--willing or unwilling--into lab rats or guinea pigs. (To be fair, sometimes they do turn them back, afterward.)
  245. Rumors persist of machine-worshiping cults, like gangs, that control swathes of territory inside the slums. Nobody in the City Proper takes these stories seriously, though.
  247. Not yet.
  249. Weekly Tidbit #24
  251. Cannontown lives up to its name: A fully mobile desert community in which each building is a large, armored weapons platform. Some tanks are specialized--drilling for water, generating power, manufacturing, shopping centers, even self-contained parks--but most are private residences keyed solely to blow large holes in anything that approaches.
  253. Citizens are not civilians; there are no civilians in Cannontown. All of its people are considered soldiers in a military force, protecting themselves from the many roaming monsters and zombies of their world--a job they do with great skill. As in Mortasheen, gladiatorial combat is a popular sport, though not usually between monsters--instead, Cannoneers prefer remotely controlled robots. Diplomatic enough mad scientists have been welcomed to participate, but need to be careful not to offend anyone in a city where every man, woman and child has access to heavy artillery at all times.
  255. The City Proper's recent prejudice against the Discipline of Engineering hasn't borne fruit, here; too many gadgets need repairing and there is too much reliance upon ordnance as opposed to monstrous companions and bodyguards. On the other hand, Cannoneers have little enough use for geneticists or surgeons, contra to the Respect such traditional mad scientists hold in Mortasheen. Recently, the big city's inattention toward the political and social niceties with Cannontown have begun to manifest in other ways, too, and urban citizens are less and less welcome in the roving armada of militiamen.
  257. Weekly Tidbit #25
  259. A series of beautiful tropical islands and a hotspot of contention, Medama is dominated by a culture of honor and wisdom with the help of a great deal of modern technology--and some surprisingly advanced robotics. Medama is probably the largest and most powerful of the near-human territories, and the reason why is obvious: The nation is a military powerhouse.
  261. Armies of ornately decorated borg protect the islands from monsters, outsiders, monstrous outsiders, and anything else stupid enough to try and take them on. When things that the borg cannot handle come calling, certain strategically placed "buildings" in each of Medama’s cities transform themselves into huge insectoid robots. In cases of great emergency, such as an outright invasion or a powerful vampire force from the ocean, each of the eight main islands of Medama have one last defense...
  263. Medama’s government is actually based on these gigantic defenders; once every four years, the islands engage in an all-out robot brawl on the ninth, barren island to determine which of the eight will enjoy majority political power for the next term. The mantis has won the last four times in a row, though the crab has almost beaten him a few times and is bound to get lucky at some point.
  265. Weekly Tidbit #26
  267. Only the innermost organs of Axabod are alive year-round, and here lies Gut-town, a city of bones and scrap metal dominated by renegade arthropoids, sectilians, even normal insects imbued with intelligence. Herbivorous arthropods fare poorly, for obvious reasons, but scavengers and carnivores thrive off the living walls around them and the myriad creatures who breed there.
  269. The city stands in a single immense chamber hollowed out of solid flesh, regularly chewed back as it attempts to regenerate. The city is often regarded as beautiful, illuminated as it is by globules of luminous fungi and bacteria which lend everything a soft light.
  271. Given the ridiculously difficult conditions involved in getting to Gut-town, it is a haven for thieves, criminals, murderers, cults, and pop singers, and so is generally regarded as the most crime-ridden, dangerous place on the planet. It’s not a matter of whether you will get robbed in Gut-town; it’s a matter of when and how. Most stolen items end up on the Gut Market, the world’s largest black market and the only one that actively advertises. You can find anything on the Gut Market, from vampire livers to live slaves to even, some say, foreign weaponry.
  273. Mad scientists are encouraged to bring large pets, because big things are harder to steal, and stolen monsters fetch a wonderful price on the Gut Market.
  275. Weekly Tidbit #27
  277. Look! The picture's on the right! VARIETY! The unpronounceable "city" of G!zjhdt is an island civilization, and is famous for good reason--after all, not many cities can lay claim to being totally dominated by intelligent zombies.
  279. G!zjhdt was cobbled together in the early days of the old zombie uprising by those few members of the undead who retained a faint memory of civilization and society in their rotting skulls. Built, like all island civilizations in the Corpse Sea, on a rocky plateau, the city is crudely constructed from bones and trash and inhabited by any zombie intelligent enough to figure out that the place has small handholds carved out of its rocky walls, and use them. As most undead are far too stupid to understand the concept of "climbing," much less smart enough to examine a rock wall to see if there are handholds to use, this ingeniously simple litmus test keeps out the vast majority of mindless undead. While the most intelligent zombies often decide not to live in G!zjhdt, insteading favoring Mortasheen, practically all zombies still enjoy G!zjhdt’s slower and simpler culture, and the wealthiest zombies often have a "summer home" or two there, to enjoy the countryside.
  281. Those zombies who are smart enough to climb up, but not much smarter, mindlessly re-enact everyday human behavior, while the smarter corpses assign themselves as leaders, police, and skilled construction workers, watching over the quaint lives of their fellow dead. It is considered a restful place, a peaceful place...and most intelligent zombies, even those who have never lived there, treat it as a sort of fabled Avalon, a place to call home. G!zjdht is often referred to as the "spiritual homeland" of intelligent undead.
  283. It is nominally governed over by a mayor, who is also police chief, judge, firefighter, and whatever other duties he owns the appropriate hat for or invents when it is convenient. He’s only a slightly oversized head, using his fungal mustache as stubby limbs, and has devoted his life to making decisions for less-intelligent zombies, such as trying to organize the town’s layout (poorly) and making a calendar of events (bizzare and arbitrary ones). The minimally-sentient bulk of the population will probably reelect him in a mental loop until the end of time. However, the true rulers of the place are the aristocratic families who take advantage of the less intelligent masses to operate above city law. Ranging from the piratical zombies of the Chancre clan to the well-dressed and impeccably posh, monocled zombies of the Carbuncle tribe, only their endless competition with each other prevents these families from rising to absolute power in the city.
  285. Weekly Tidbit #28
  287. Many miles out to sea, safely away from all the crazy land-dwellers, Thogome is the home of the vampires. It resembles an immense, exaggerated castle, carved from black stone and rising dozens of stories above the waves. This is only the tip of an ancient city ruled by vampires of all kinds; human-descended vampires are in control above the water, while vampires descended from aquatic life dominate the structures below.
  289. Natural near-humans are a more common sight in the streets of the upper city, but all are servants and blood-banks to vampiric masters. The deepest floors before sea-level are labyrinthine colonies of orlok, maintaining electrical equipment and serving as mass-produced nourishment for land and water vampires alike, while warring on each other for the right to serve the greatest vampires as masters.
  291. Powerful vampires above or below may command any number and variety of younger vampires as minions, and a culture of enslavement and hierarchy dominates Thogome. It is routine for servants to be sold or even killed for offending their masters or even simply being in the way, and everyone is keenly aware of their place at all times. Mortasheen naturally views Thogome with a great big stink-eye, as most any mad scientist would view such oppression as utterly intolerable...the two sides haven’t gotten along in some time.
  293. Perhaps due to their stultifying, hierarchical society, and their relatively low place on it, humanoid vampires have built a culture around cynicism; they enjoy plays, musicals, poetry, and art reflecting themes of death, darkness, and misery. Sea-vampires, who are the rulers of this society, view humanoid vampires as flawed and silly creatures, but the two realms generally coexist long as the humanoids know their place.
  295. Despite their ideological variances, some Mortasheen scientists have actually acquired a vampiric minion, or allied with one. This is usually a bad idea, since vampires, being by nature ancient and often very intelligent creatures, often get the upper hand in any such "relationship." Still, the obvious advantages of having a vampire fighting at your side usually outweigh any concerns about potential future enslavement.
  297. Weekly Tidbit #29
  299. Among the most technologically advanced communities on the planet, Brundlecorp is a floating research station shaped kind of like a giant flying saucer, traveling the world in search of knowledge. Its inhabitants are brilliant, though possessed of a cold and furious sort of madness that makes them some of the most dangerous people on the planet. Brundlecorp claims to have been around before Mortasheen, and to be formed from the “greatest remnants of old humanity," a claim strongly objected to by certain other cultures...
  301. This claim seems doubtful, since no one in Brundlecorp is a near-human. Perhaps they were, once, but now they’ve become something else, neither human nor mutant. This is most likely a result of their unusual procreation methods: These great thinkers and inventors keep themselves sterile in order to fixate on knowledge and knowledge alone (which probably helps explain their madness), and so cannot reproduce in the normal manner. When children are required, in order to carry on research or to be researched, Brundlecorp’s scientists artificially engineer "perfect" clone children whose harsh, loveless upbringing drives them insane. Thus, the next generation grow up as crazy as the first, and Brundlecorp’s research carries on uninterrupted. No outsider knows anything about Brundlecorp’s internal politics, or even whether they have such a thing; the area is a total blank.
  303. These scientists--who mad scientists would like you to remember are insane, not mad--find Mortasheen to be of great scientific interest, but are usually more occupied with the study of physics and the forces of the cosmos than the mad science of Mortasheen. They automatically dismiss anything said by a mad scientist as worthless garbage, despite the achievements of the city below; furthermore, if they do want to find something out, they won’t ask--they’ll simply abduct you and perform experiments to find out what they want to know. Brundlecorp often sends out smaller flying saucers, commonly called "yueffohs" for reasons no one is quite aware of, that abduct anyone or anything Brundlecorp finds interesting, sucking them up into their ships and disappearing into the night with them.
  305. Weekly Tidbit #30
  307. The sandwich.
  309. It is an invention that, since the onset of sliced bread, has influenced societies, cultures, and whole ways of thinking. Fortunes, through the medium of ambrosia superior, have been won and lost, romances kindled and extinguished; lives have been changed and wars fought, thanks to the enduring and mighty sandwich.
  311. Mortasheen is a place of (il)logic, (un)reason, (mis)education, and (mad) science, and as such, has little time for the pursuit of otherworldly fulfillment or the status of the scientist on the street posthume. This mindset, however, does not preclude the search by some for enlightenment or inner peace of a kind; thus, enter the marvelous sandwich.
  313. Consider the sandwich: Represented therein are a wealth of truths. Much like life, like man, the sandwich is at once both singular and myriad, an entity unto itself but still composed, visibly and invisibly, of the materials and concepts that make it up. Without the thought, sandwich, to define it, what is the sandwich but a collection of ingredients between two pieces of bread? Yet, even with the thought, if there be but two breads betwixt which lie an abyss void of conjunctive foodstuffs, then still is the sandwich not whole, lacking the substance required to make it real. Beyond these simple but all-encompassing truths lie greater revelations yet, for while sandwich is whole and separate, there are many kinds of sandwich, and none are objectively incorrect or sublime. Is not the grilled cheese a sandwich? And likewise, is not the ham on rye, too, a sandwich, and yea, even the cucumber and ranch on dark bread or the Devilbird and hash on white? As all peoples and beliefs are one, so, too, are all sandwiches but one sandwich, and one sandwich is many. True, also, is it that not every sandwich is correct for every plate. Perhaps one prefers chips with one's sandwich, or that the sandwich is hot and fresh or served cold and left over. Many are the marvels of the sandwich, for there is a plate for every sandwich, and every sandwich on its plate.
  315. These precepts form but the tip of the iceberg for the people of Mortasheen. Though the movement may have long ago begun with the Discipline of Philosophy, today the Enlightened Vision of the Great Sandwich defines an integral part of the Mortasheen lifestyle, and comforts and unites all citizens in their time of need. More a set of guiding suggestions than a harsh demand upon the spirit, the philosophy moves those who meditate upon its principles to see in themselves the Great Sandwich, and to accept other condiments for what they bring to a complete entree. It is a peaceful path that appeals to all, and though no temples tower among the twisted spires of the City Proper to glorify its tenets, many are the houses that venerate its teachings; no mad scientist with any amount of self-Respect would dream of settling his lair further than one door away from a good, wholesome sandwich shop, which has led to the circular boom-and-collapse nature of the Mortasheen all-sandwich economy and the fiercely Gordian ketchup and mustard futures/securities market. Thankfully, most real estate not already zoned for lairs in Mortasheen comes equipped with the necessities inherent in the deli and bakery businesses, since every building not occupied as a lair or Great College campus is or has been a sandwich shop, and everyone else just has to go outside.
  317. Of course, while most citizens of Mortasheen amicably agree on the most basic concepts of the Great Sandwich ("sliced bread alone does not a sandwich make," etc.), there are some splinter groups that adhere more or less strictly to certain ones or that tout specific side dishes as superior. The Way of Heavily Optimistic Post-Purist Epicurean Reform, for instance, believe that a bold, signature flavor, whether genuine or artificial, is the most important feature of life, while the Brotherhood of Immeasurably Great Multitudinous Affectation and Contrivance contest that quantity precedes quality in all things, for a life should be (and often is) measured by how much was done, rather than what. Still other subgroups, like Wisdom and Enlightenment Not Dependent on Your Sandwich, think that enlightenment can be achieved only through the generous apportionment of bacon, or like the Association for Reformative Betterment of Young Sandwiches, who claim that the best lives are lived in loosely-piled thin slices of experience rather than one solid, thicker patty. Perhaps the most deviant and vocal (also the most widely ignored) minority, the Veritable Elite Guild of Acclaim for the New Sandwich, continuously attempt to subvert the philosophy through the suggestion that any thing between any two other things, such as some dead plant wrapped in more dead plant, constitutes a sandwich.
  319. Regardless of their differences, however, the proponents of the Path of the Sandwich are united in one belief, at least, and it is a belief that has shaped and defined Mortasheen, itself, since time immemorial, and which still remains at the forefront of Mortasheen outlook and policy today: No matter how big or small the sandwich, no matter its meats or its cheeses, no matter how thickly- or thinly-sliced the bread, the best sandwich is a sandwich that can be shared and enjoyed, with or without mayo.
  321. Weekly Tidbit #31
  323. So, you might ask, "With all the mad science lying around, Mortasheen probably has some sweet swag, right?" And you would be absolutely correct. Mortasheen has all the swag.
  325. Of course, both the setting and the game are meant to keep the focus primarily on your best friends, the monsters. Still, sometimes (even in the middle of intelligent discourse) a mad scientist has to take action and trust that his YGORE and other monstrous allies can handle themselves. Maybe he needs to rig a telepop beacon in unexplored territory, or he's busy scanalyzing a new creature he's encountered, or perhaps he just has to fire a whole bunch of giant rockets or something. It happens.
  327. Luckily for you, the keen Mortasheen mad scientist carries the tools of his trade wherever he goes, bundles of giant rockets included. Now, the average person can only carry so much gear around with them, and reasonably so; in Mortasheen, of course, not every monster exists solely for combat, so mad scientists have some help lugging their possessions about, if they want it. The average person can also only effectively wear one pair of jet boots at a time. Thankfully, a mad scientist is, by definition, not average.
  329. You can still only tote a finite amount of sheer stuff with you, and actively use only a portion of that, but remember: We're talking mad SCIENCE!, here. Who's to say that you can't wear jet boots and rocket-powered sniper rifle shoes? They do two totally different things, after all, so there's no good reason not to. And think of how much more thrust you'll get from that recoil!
  331. Don't question it. Just assume mad scientists can mix and match the critical components of their wardrobe in the most efficacious fashion possible to achieve maximum results (and trendiness). The beauty of being a mad scientist is that, so long as everything works, it doesn't always have to make sense. Explain those shoulder cannons however you want to. Who's going to argue? The guy with a red dot from your shoes on his forehead?
  333. Weekly Tidbit #32
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