Like its forerunner genre books (The Stars Are Fire, Stay Alive!, We Are All Mad Here, and Godforsaken), Claim the Sky will include a complete campaign setting: Boundless. Here’s a quick look at the Boundless setting.
The Legacy of the Azaki
To truly understand the world of Boundless, you must first understand the alien race known as the Azaki. Aeons ago, before humans walked upright, the Azaki came to Earth. Once here, they built a number of colonies and used their technology to alter the climate, the atmosphere, the geology, and even the flora and fauna of the planet, presumably to make it more hospitable to them, or at least more to their liking.
This is key to the world of Boundless, because it’s very likely these aliens and the influence they had on the Earth that created the difference between our “normal” Earth and the “supernormal” Earth of Boundless, where superpowered beings routinely break the laws of physics (as we understand them), utilize incredibly high technology, and have drawn the attention of intelligent beings on other worlds and even other dimensions. (The Azaki might not be the source of all the differences, but you wouldn’t be far wrong if you simply said they were.)
Although the Azaki are gone, hidden high-tech citadels of the Azaki can be found even today in remote corners of the world. Ancient peoples used some of the wonders left behind by the aliens to advance their civilizations. Modern explorers and adventurers who have discovered caches of ancient Azaki technology have used it, sold it, or studied it. For example, the terrorist known as Midknight utilizes Azaki technology his father discovered to power his armored suit, his weaponry, and his robotic warhorse.
But even more than just leftover artifacts, the Azaki changed the world with their modifications on animal life, particularly on protohumans. Manipulation on the genetic level has resulted in certain humans wielding incredible powers. For some, this manifests as an apparent mutation, while others have these powers revealed only when in contact with certain conditions. Most often, such events happen in the presence of Azaki technology—and often in times of great stress. The Chicago-based crimefighter Warp gained (or rather discovered) his ability to manipulate interdimensional energies by inadvertently touching an Azaki artifact in a museum.
While alien genetic tinkering has manifested itself throughout human history, there is no denying that its effects are growing over time. There have always been individuals with astounding abilities, but starting in the twentieth century, their numbers increased dramatically, and now in the twenty-first century, more superhumans exist than ever before.
After the deciding conflicts of the Second World War were fought largely by superhumans on both sides, an international organization was formed to help deal with the growing challenges that superpowers and high technology presented. This organization, BASTION (Bulwark Against Supernatural Threats of an Illicit or Ominous Nature), employs well-equipped agents and even their own superhumans to prevent major catastrophes due to supernatural events or attacks. They even have a special prison built to hold superhumans.
Working with BASTION from time to time, independent heroes operate to help the world by protecting it against calamity and by fighting against superpowered criminals and villains. Many governments of the world have provided for such vigilantes with broad exceptions, allowing them to operate extrajudicially (within reason) for the good of the people. Other governments most decidedly do not make such allowances. And some of these nations—mostly totalitarian states—conscript all superhumans they discover into their own military or government forces.
Heroes and Villains
The Society of Seven is a team of superheroes using their formidable powers to confront some of the greatest threats to humanity.
The Majestic Family is an extended family of superhumans using their abilities and advanced technology to explore the world, the universe, and even other universes. It was Mildred Majestic and her sister Gwendolyn who initially discovered and named the so-called Worlds Between, mysterious other universes with their own strange laws of physics, and their own bizarre inhabitants.
And while there are many others, one cannot list the superhuman protectors of the world without mentioning Silver Sentinel. Perhaps the greatest of all heroes living today, this lone figure maintains a constant vigil from a base on the moon. It’s thought that of late, his concerns have been as much on worlds beyond Earth as on Earth itself. In many ways, the Majestic Family and Silver Sentinel are responsible for putting Earth on the so-called galactic map, making first contact with a variety of nonhuman civilizations and generally establishing our world as a place of powerful heroes.
But not all superhumans are heroes, of course. Criminals such as the magic-wielding Runic or the nefarious Silhouette are far beyond the ability of normal authorities to cope with, but pale in comparison to the terrible power of terrorists like Vantablack or the Elemental, or worse still, monstrosities like Humonger, conquerers and maniacs such as Lord Ash or Gravitas, and, well, the list unfortunately goes on.
Of course, there are threats from beyond as well. The alien Grin have attempted to invade the Earth in years past. The extradimensional forces under the command of the almost godlike Sorrow always present a danger, as do the strange inhabitants of the subterranean Inner Earth. And while they are not from another world or realm, the clandestine criminal organization calling itself the Dagger operates around the globe conducting a variety of far-reaching schemes that threaten the freedom and the wellbeing of everyone on the planet as much as any alien invasion ever could.
Lastly, there are some individuals who defy categorization. For example, Blackstar hails from a distant world, but no one knows exactly why she is here. Ruthless is a man accused of a multitude of crimes but has also been known to commit acts of selfless heroism. And perhaps most prominent of all is the Royal House of Videsh. The rulers of a small, isolated Himalayan kingdom, each member of the royal family possesses their own paranormal ability—and their own agenda.
The world of Boundless overflows with wonder and danger. Will you join the ranks of its heroes to Claim the Sky as your own, writing your name in the clouds as well as the annals of history?
The Boundless setting is part of Claim the Sky, just one of the titles in the Heroes of the Cypher System Kickstarter!