Monday, March 18, 2013

Moreaus in the Campaign

I've long liked the idea of anthropomorphic species, which are what Moreaus are. This likely started with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe than had a lot of human-animal hybrids like Mer-Man, Stinkor, Beast-Man, etc. This continued as I began playing Gamma World and then my very brief foray into Palladium's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. I've tried several times, with varying degrees of success, to take the TMNT/After the Bomb animal hybrid creation rules to other systems like D20 or Savage Worlds. I'm now using Skorched Urth Stuidos' Fursona rules to offer up a creation system for Moreaus.

The idea behind Moreaus is from the D20 Modern core rules.

Moreaus are human-animal hybrids that were first brought into existence in the mid 21st century on Earth. The term "moreau" finding it's origins in the H.G. Wells novel, "The Island of Dr. Moreau" in which a scientist creates human-animal hybrids. Several nations used the beings primarily for covert operations against other nations. The reasoning behind the creation of these beings was that animals could reach places that humans could not, at least not without the use of gadetry that would likely betray their presence, but they wanted operatives that still possesed human intelligence and the overall utility of a humanoid form. Most of these programs were successful, and many different varieties were created from dolphins, bears, dogs/wolves, bats, and various feline species as well.

Where the Moreau programs failed, was the governments neglecting that these beings possess human intelligence, and therefore many of the same desires as humans. These programs were largely kept from the public, since animal research was often unpopular even among the more "morally ambiguous" nations, and a side effect, moreaus had few to no rights. They were expected to do their duty to their creator nations without question. Some species were more loyal than others. Canine moreaus were very loyal, while rat and cat moreaus were more willful and tended to go "off the reservation" more times than not. Each nation used their own means to try and keep their creations loyal to the program, some much more humane than others, but in the end the results were the same: the subjects wanted rights.

In 2078, the existence of Moreaus were brought to public knowledge. Security footage in which a group of canine moreaus were storming a drug lord's stronghold was found by hacckers and leaked onto the internet. At first the footage was dismissed by most of the public as some publicity stunt or trick of grainy surveillance footage, but after the body of a dead dolphin moreau washed up on a beach near Havanna, Cuba, the footage began to be looked at much more seriously. The public was wanting answers, and even though many of the nations utilizing moreau engineering tried to keep their creations in the dark, they eventually learned about the turmoil. This created a wave of dissent among moreaus from several western nations. They demanded, more strongly than ever, that their rights as living beings be recognized by their governments. Some began to send classified informaiton to news ogranizations, others attempted escape to try and meet with the media in person. By 2080, several nations were under intense public and government pressure to disclose information on any animal genetic testing.

In the nation of the United States of America, in June of 2081, a Congressional Hearing took place in which several members of the US's Genetic Engineered Covert Ops Force were brought into the hearing. The American public was shocked and outraged. Opinion on the moreaus ranged from set them free to them being far too dangerous to be in the public. Eventually the moreaus were granted the full rights of citizens and were allowed to decide their own paths. Many left their military posts and entered the private sector, where many found they were feared. Racism against moreaus was high, and only got worse every time one lashed out violently at attackers or against harrassment. These issues only increased as other nations brought their own moreau programs to light.

The "Moreau Problem" was beginning to reach a fever pitch in the fall of 2085, after a group of bear moreau destroyed a bar in North Dakota, killing 26 people. Several governments were debating measures that would round up and detain moreaus "for their own safety" when news came out of Russia of a widespread moreau riot speading throughout Siberia. To this point, Russia was one of the few world powers that had not admitted to genetic testing with hybrid beings. In fact, the Russian government had publicly admonished the US, Germany, and France for their programs. The footage coming out of Russia was shocking. Moreaus fighting with Russian military and police forces. A Polish journalist somehow made his way into the warzone and did an interview with several of the moreaus. They spoke of great abuses, of under-performing moreaus being executed, "loyalty-enhancing" programs that were little more than subjecting moreaus to electrical shocks for every minor infraction, and so forth. The dire conditions that came to light out of Russia, cooled many of the moreau-detention laws that were going through many nations. The Russian massacre of moreaus gave many moreaus who had become political activists the leverage they needed to affect change.

In 2087, the UN, in agreement with 20 nations who had admitted to experimenting with moreau-type genetic engineering, set up nation of Moreau on a island chain in the South Pacific. This nation, Noble's Isle, has a citizenship open to all moreau. Moreaus are allowed the opportunity to live on Noble's Isle, but they are still allowed to retain their citizenship in their nation of origin as well. This served to quell the violence and much of the racism, though that never fully disappears. The moreau nation ends up being moderately successful, but never had a large population, as many moreaus had found a gruding acceptance in their own communities. Now, Moreaus make up the third part of the Sol Systems Alliance "triad" of species with humans and fraal.

Moreaus breed true with other moreaus from the same animal stock. Several of the nations that utilized moreaus attempted, with varying levels of success, to make their creations sterile. However, much like the dinosaurs in Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park", "life finds a way." There are six species that are more prominent that others: Bat, Bear, Canine, Dolphin, Feline, and Rat, but there are others from reptilian and other mammalian stock that can be found in smaller numbers. They still face the occasional racist human, but Earth's entry into the galactic civilization has deadened much of that sentiment. After all, moreaus are now no more alien than any of the other species that humanity has encountered.


Anonymous said...

I am quite a fan of athropomorphic characters, I even wrote a rules hack for them in Shadowrun, so I highly approve.

How are you finding Fursona in play? It looked rather easy to game its system to me.

Brutorz Bill said...

I've always been a fan of Moreaus!
How is Fursona I heard it had some "odd" stuff in it.

Giles Kiser said...

@ Seaofstarsrpg: It is pretty easy to powergame, much like the rules in After the Bomb that this appears to be inspired by, so in order to keep players from going crazy the GM is going to have to use a lot of fiat to keep things in line. I'm still tweaking how I'm going about using it since the base is a mixture of SWN and a very stripped down D20, but I'm thinking of building specific creature types based on the Orders presented in Fursona I. Like a lot of the settings I build up, I'm taking a chainsaw to those rules so that they fit the rest of the framework. As far as the D20 Covert/Moderate/Overt split found in d20 modern, I'm leaning to just having Moderate/overt moreaus. Less work that way, and from past experience no one ever ended up playing a Covert moreau.

@ Brutorz Bill: There is a sidebar at the beginning of the book talking about the "questionable" aspects of furry fandom, but other than a couple feats it's all pretty clean. That said, there is a fifth book in the series with Yokai in the title and a couple of Black Tokyo books from Skorched Urth that are supposed to be pretty adult in content. I haven't picked up any of those.

Brutorz Bill said...

Thanks for the info. I thought they were supposed to come out with a print version, but haven't seen that option anywhere. Please share what you work up. : )

Giles Kiser said...

Will do!

As for a print option, I haven't seen one either. Then again, I tend to buy mostly pdf's nowadays thanks to my cheapness, so I haven't been paying that close attention. It's got to be something either really special or only available in print for me to plunk down the cash for it.

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