Having purchased VDS within the last month, I’ve fallen in love with the setting. The heavy metal aesthetic is both glorious in all regard, and entirely malleable to my nerd pedipalps. However, the density of the setting’s aesthetic has slightly drained my players. As such, I’ve made some small modifications, and decided to post them here simply to get some other ideas on the changes I’ve done, in no real order of posting.
The 100th century of Urth is not just a place of Great Immortal Barbarians and Tribal Humans barely holding onto their bricknoculars as hell comes forth. It is still a living world. Great chemical batteries beneath what safe surface can be found power simple settlements and torches, lanterns, and even candles of bug-fat light many places. The technology sits in a stillborn anachronistic era where a jetbike may sit in your driveway, heavy gun scrap built from old and circuit tech, but it’s own’s callused hand knows better ways with the sword. While technology is still heavy, wood still exists, and even bone, chemically hardened stone, and simple circuits exist in a basic format. Very primitive computers are common in my setting, the most advanced are bolted to usually willing, living humans and frequently become “Buzzing Skalds” with their newfound gifts.
Mankind itself has undergone genetic drift, from both cross-temporal manipulation from other timelines, active mutation, and genetic therapy, corruption and ascension. Most humans display very mild mutations, with a hardier bone structure, thicker skin, and rampant super longevity a factor. These mutations breed true, and some tribes of humans display the passive horns and visible, black breath of hell, despite fighting against the Infinitum. Other, similar groups fleck the worlds of the Sol System, displaying small mutations, like greater height, blocky torsos, increased fat deposits, and the ever present fangs that man developed on a new, high protein diet. Dark sclera are a very common mutation.
The Immortals vary- While many are cloned from the corpses of ancient warriors, still others are refitted from stranger sources. Some warrior orders, great fleets, and tribal bands know similar processes of alchemy, cybernetics, and sheer brutal genecraft to turn their best into crude, yet still comparable warriors. These warriors and their neo-ancient companions display many rivalries not unlike differing branches of the military, and indeed, a shotgun slinging Chemical-Huscarl and his Necro-technical immortal companion will often trade dark jokes mid conflict, with the bitter and bravado of rival duelists.
Technology is still built, with what fuel that can be found either lost, or crudely repurposed without much wit. It is an era where the best has already been made, and the suitable is usually primitive, brutish blocks of iron driven by gas, gravity stone rigged, or very primitive and inefficient jets.
Berserker orders have returned under many names, both among man and immortal. These tranced, drugged, strange bred, and altered men and women engage in murderous trances of spiritual enlightenment for many Gods, and fight with only enough equipment to cause a crimson river in the enemy line. Many of theme are esoterically driven, and recruited seemingly at random, if not entirely self taught. Some call it “Adoption by Odin” or “The mothering of Kali” depending on where you find them. Even those that wear armour, tend to prefer brutal, light amalgams that allow the body to shred and fight with even a passing gesture. Others, ignore even basic equipment, and fight with fists and teeth, their limbs flailing as their shadows contort into great armoured figures, wounds bleeding with blue flames in some rare cases.,
In regards to rules- I’ve done away in my game with the ten immortal limit, and have expanded on the gear tables, in many cases, making gear aesthetically and slightly mechanically modular. I’ve added a simple healing skill of ten minus guts in days to fully heal. In the similar, I’ve turned Guts into a basic wound stat, granting an unarmoured warrior one point of resolve to use for physical feats when able. This fit my idea of the far future barbarian well enough, and seems to encourage a bit more risk than prior.
Beyond this, the setting is relatively similar to given-as-book, with the fight for humanity spread over the entire solar system, the numbers of mankind disparate, and the era of the berserker, the savage, and the scarred reaver returned.