Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Mark of the Beast

Revelation 13:16-17

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

The Number of the Beast is 666 - William Blake
The Number of the Beast is 666 - William Blake

I am moving forward with my End of Days Mutant Future campaign idea.  I hope to start playing sometime in the next few weeks.

The eastern seaboard of the US and the islands of Japan were largely spared from the horrors visited on the rest of the world, and a dark mockery of civilization remains centered on these two areas.  The beast from the sea rules in Tokyo and the beast from the earth rules in New York City.  Within the confines of these two kingdoms the mutagenic dust from the Wormwood meteorite has no effect (suppressed by the powerful telepathic abilities possessed by both beasts).  All mutations within these kingdoms are caused by the beasts instead.  The kingdom of the beast from the earth (hereafter just "the beast") will serve as an evil empire backdrop in my campaign, with the PCs being from a nearby area.

The beast can speak like a dragon; charming or destroying those who hear it and bringing inanimate objects to life simply by uttering words in a terrible voice.

The beast has animated a huge idol of a dragon that the populace worships (and which destroys any who disobey the beast).  All members of the beast's kingdom must bear the mark of the beast (666) on their right hand or their forehead.  The mark causes 1-2 mental mutations and also allows line of sight telepathic communication between those with the mark.  Speaking out loud for anyone except the priesthood is a sin against the beast punishable by death. All communication must be done telepathically through the mark.

 The mark of the beast is normally invisible, but it glows brightly if a mental mutation is used or if the beast has taken direct control of the mark's bearer.  The beast can use its dragon voice once through the mouth of a controlled person (destroying the person utterly in the process).

The beast has created a priesthood which bestows the mark at birth. All aspects of society are tightly controlled by the priesthood, which rigidly enforces the beast's constantly changing laws. The priesthood is selected by the beast from the populace; priests and priestesses are usually selected at puberty.  The initiation ceremony is painful and sometimes fatal; it causes 1-2 physical mutations and 1 mental mutation.  These mutations are viewed as the blessing of the beast (even non-beneficial mutations).  Once initiated into the priesthood all ties with former family are expected to be cut, and the priests live only to carry out the wishes of the beast and to be initiated into mystery after mystery of the beast.  The priesthood has an intricate hierarchy with each level requiring a new initiation into a deeper understanding of the beast.  The beast loves to give conflicting directives to the different levels of initiates, adding to the confusion and terror the priesthood causes.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The End is Near

I am thinking about starting up a new Mutant Future game in the near future. My D&D 4e campaign has been on hiatus since the birth of my son Leo last November and I have been growing less and less inclined to start it back up again. Today some Jehovah's Witnesses came to my door bearing the inspiration I needed, a new direction for a post-apocalyptic campaign. The May 1, 2015 edition of "The Watchtower - Announcing Jehovah's Kingdom" has a killer cover image depicting a few bedraggled survivors making their way across a rubble strewn area while the city burns behind them. Brilliant beams from heaven pierce the thick cloud of black smoke overhead.  The cover asks the question, "Is the end near?

The answer in my game is yes.  I will set my game in the very near future, with the apocalypse loosely as described in the Book of Revelation.  The game will take place after much of the earth is destroyed and while demonic entities rule most of the survivors, before the final battle at Armageddon.     Mutations will be a result of a comet called Wormwood that impacts the earth, poisoning water worldwide with alien mutagenic compounds.

 Some cherry picked descriptions of the apocalypse lifted straight from the Wikipedia Book of Revelation entry including the verse notations):

  • Hail and fire, mingled with blood, are thrown to the earth burning up a third of the trees and green grass. (8:6–7)
  •  Something that resembles a great mountain, burning with fire, falls from the sky and lands in the ocean. It kills a third of the sea creatures and destroys a third of the ships at sea. (8:8–9)
  •  A great star, named Wormwood, falls from heaven and poisons a third of the rivers and springs of water. (8:10–11)
  •  A third of the sun, the moon, and the stars are darkened creating complete darkness for a third of the day and the night. (8:12–13)
  • A "star" falls from the sky (9:1).This "star" is given "the key to the bottomless pit" (9:1). The "star" then opens the bottomless pit. When this happens, "smoke [rises] from [the Abyss] like smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky [are] darkened by the smoke from the Abyss" (9:2).  From out of the smoke, locusts who are "given power like that of scorpions of the earth" (9:3), who are commanded not to harm anyone or anything except for people who were not given the "seal of God" on their foreheads (from chapter 7) (9:4). The "locusts" are described as having a human appearance (faces and hair) but with lion's teeth, and wearing "breastplates of iron"; the sound of their wings resembles "the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle" (9:7–9).
  • The four angels bound to the great river Euphrates are released to prepare two hundred million horsemen. These armies kill a third of mankind by plagues of fire, smoke, and brimstone. (9:13–21)
  • A great, fiery red, seven-headed dragon drags a third of the stars of heaven with his tail, and throws them to the earth. (12:3–4). 
  • A seven-headed leopard-like beast emerges from the sea, having one mortally wounded head that is then healed. The Dragon grants him power and authority for forty-two months. (13:1–5)
  • Another beast appears, but from the earth, having two horns like a lamb and speaking like a dragon. He directs people to make an image of the beast, breathing life into it, and forcing all people to bear "the mark of the Beast" 


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