Saturday, March 9, 2013

Screams From the Outhouse - Skinners

Skinners - Rough draft
A terrifying new creature for use in most horror themed modern role playing games.
By: Peter Amthor Hiding in the dark of those abandoned places that so few ever venture to explore. Watching and waiting for a lone victim to wander in to close. Razor like claws itch for flesh to sink into while their minds crave the euphoria that your terror provides them. Wanting two things above all else, your skin and your screams.
“I can't even close my eyes at night without seeing them. Those bodies, four or five of them, it was hard to tell. Piled in a corner with their skin gone. Two of them were smaller I remember that, they were probably children. There was blood everywhere. It was all over the room upstairs, practically soaking in it. Then the trails of it where I guess the thing drug them downstairs to the... pile. What? Yeah I saw it. Some kind of dead thing I think, still walking around, God it stank. It had knives or something and it tried cutting me from behind. But I had my vest on and it stopped most of it... still got twenty stitches out of it though. It was on me fast, but then the back up I called came running in the other door and it shrieked and ran off. I'll never forget that night. Or that two of them were children.” Officer Donald Haskins, Transea PD.

  • Appearance Bearing an uncanny resemblance to humans in both height, proportion and general body movements they are anything but human. Residing a rung above us in the food chain we are what they prey on. The differences in appearance set them apart if seen uncovered. Thinner limbs and center mass they look built like somebody with an eating disorder in that regard. With skin that is almost blood red, with a raw look covered in hundreds of small thorn like extrusions. Possessing no body hair, ears or lips they have a slit for a mouth and a row of jagged sharp teeth behind it. Their fingers end in claws that are flat, almost like double edged razors, and roughly two to three inches long.
  • Behavior Sunlight is a bane to these creatures when they are uncovered. With skin that is easily burned they hide out in abandoned buildings and subterranean locations that still have a chance of humans making their way into (old subway tunnels, large storm drain systems, etc). Hiding in the shadows and watching from a distance when they spot a potential target you rarely see them unless they want to be seen. If there are out numbered they are rarely attacked, but then again they also don't more in groups very often. Most encounters reported are of the one on one type. It is very obvious that they possess an almost human level of intelligence and are capable of using just about any weapon to some degree.
  • Attack Even when possessing a strength and speed greater than that of a typical human they still prefer a sneak attack. Everything from a straight forward hit from behind to some sort of trap, anything they can think of. Only one catch, they do not kill outright and intend to make the target suffer as much as possible before ending their life. One of the most reported methods is to immobilize the person through stunning or just by over powering them and then using some sort of restraints on them (ropes, handcuffs from previous victims, etc). Once they are unable to fight back their claws are used to slice open a long stretch of skin, then to work them up under the flesh and slowly skin the victim alive.
  • Emotional Feeding The skinners feed off the pain they cause in others. A necessary part of their mental nourishment. Without it they will eventually grow delusional, with emotional out of control fits of anger and an inability to sleep. At some point this will cause them to either grow bolder when searching for victims or, in most cases, to become even more seclusive until they suffer a brain aneurism which will kill them. When receiving the emotional rush of the pain they have created it acts like a drug, euphoric and never enough, leading them to drag out the tortures for as long as possible.
    There is, however, one very unique and strange weakness to this. It only works when they are the cause of the pain. If someone or something else that they had nothing to do with causes the pain then there is a severe mental backlash causing a great deal of pain. The greater the pain the more it forces them back. This is also the believed reason as to why they are rarely found in groups as the attack of one would drive the others away.
  • Physical Feeding This is where the skinning part comes into more importance. Those thorn like things on their skin are actually part of their digestive system. Once a person has expired they finish removing the layers of skin and then cover their body with the pieces. The thorns hold them in place like hundreds of small hooks while they also release a digestive enzyme which breaks the flesh down. This is then absorbed through pores in the skin providing the creature with substance. The process may take weeks to finish leading to encounters where people think they are being attacked by something undead as the layer of skin is rotting on the outside.
  • Afterwards Once they are finished and their meal is dead they will generally drag it off to some other section of their chosen lair. Usually the furthest point away from where people usually enter from. They are absolutely not interested in doing any other kind of clean up at all. Blood is left where ever it hit the floor and even bits and pieces are left lying about. They simply wait for their next food source as they soak the in warm feeling of their emotional feeding for several days.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sla Industries - Stormer Shivers

“You know I've said this before and I'll say it again, I'm just sick an tired of dealin' with Shivers every time I turn around. Always askin' for your identification to get through gates, your BPN reference number when askin' for support and so on and so on. No matter where you go, all the damn Shivers are just the same... just the freakin' same.” Corgo Stern – Human Kick Murder – SCL 8 – Squad: Red Stars.

Stormer Variant 001 – Designation: Shiver

Genetic Origins

When the Stormer idea was first formed it was still unclear on what Mr. Slayer had in mind for them. Therefore the first goal of the project was simple duplication of the DNA, successful cloning of the subject to an advanced age and implantation of knowledge an experience so they would be fully capable almost immediately after leaving the tanks. To this end Phantom Pregnancy accomplished their goals with perfection. However once they had reached this pinnacle they were given their next set of goals updating their physical structure and more defined memory implants. So they moved on to the next level and left the 001 model behind.

This left a few hundred of this first batch behind. All of them already trained through memory implants and loyal to the company. In order to see that they didn't go to waste the entire group was placed on guard duty for the nearby facilities and plants which they performed exactly as ordered. But were pretty much also forgotten about. Until the Malice was finished.
A handful of years later when the Malice model was debuted and showcased to the public a very observant corporate executive noticed something. While people were awe inspired by the new Stormer they still treated it as an alien object, keeping their distance and acting quite different in front of it. But around the security detail they simply acted normal even though they were all perfect duplicates of each other. When confronted with something as inhuman as the Malice they stopped noticing the differences between anything else that appeared human. A completely loyal security team that, now, nobody even suspected as being abnormal because the definition of normal had just been changed.
The order was given to restart the 001 model on a smaller level than before along with trying out a few new ideas into their cloning process. A random trait matrix was put in place to generate the appearance of the newer versions. Things like hair and eye color, nose structure, jaw line and other cosmetic traits would be randomly assigned when grown. Now given their own unique look among each other they would blend in even more with regular humans. It was during this time that they were also given the designation of 'Shiver' by an unknown genetic engineer.
Throughout the Big Picture they continued to see an increased demand and a ramp up in production. Becoming popular in the corporate and upper management areas since they were not nearly as foreboding as the Malice. They were also much easier to grow and took less resources to make or maintain. Which is what led to their expansion into an actual public security force on Mort. Phantom Pregnancy sat up three production plants on Mort with the sole operation of producing Shivers and nothing else.
It was during this time that a new and much expanded memory implant matrix was put into place. One that would generate an entire, but basic, past history for each Shiver. Along with a new trigger that would activate their memory capabilities. Once fully formed they would be cleaned up, tested, equipped and assigned housing, they would not remember any of this as their short term memory was locked at this point. Once in their homes the trigger was used and their stored memories would activate and their short term memory would begin working as well. In short it was at this point that the Shivers were never told of their actual origins and began to believe that they were humans.

Over the centuries the memory processor has become even more developed and detailed. They would blend memories together between various individuals so they were 'know' that they had been friends since childhood and had decided to join the Shiver forces together. Complex relationships were formed and the perfection rate skyrocketed. Thus giving us the Shivers that are now in place today on the surface of Mort.

The Carrien Connection

“I've been in the cannibal sectors, lower downtown and every other hell hole in this city. I've seen more Carrien than most folks have seen people. Let's not even talk about how many I've killed in that time. One thing always bugged me... I've never seen a baby, or even very young, one.” Jackal MacDonald – Frother Strike Squad – SCL 6A – Squad: Endangering Species

Once there were three facilities that produced Shivers on Mort. Then came the fall and thus one of them took the drop with everything else that was lost. Except the plant was built a little to well. After the dust had settled the fully automated machines inside kicked back on and attempted to start production again. There was quite a bit of damage though, even part of the complete DNA coding was lost. So the computers AI simply started using other sources of DNA to fill in the gaps and once that new sequence was finished the production lines started up again.

Thus was born the first of the Carrien. Although nearly all of them suffered from various defects the AI didn't give up. Instead it began working on the DNA again until it created a more stable form. For more organic material to grow with it sent out the robotic service drones to come back with whatever they could find, at the time this consisted of a large amount of dead bodies from the collapse. Then production started back up and to this day it hasn't stopped. Generation after generation is produced and released upon the world of Mort at a much faster rate than normal production because the Carrien are even easier to produce than the Shivers.

Although the facility has had to improvise quite often. It now draws up the waste that seeps down to it's location for raw material, collected by Carrien with special memory implants just for that purpose. Some tanks became corrupted but still produced, it simply gave those implants to urge them to go as far away as possible to avoid damage to the plant. Thus giving rise to the mutant and advanced Carrien. Not to mention others specifically done just to guard the location to protect it from anybody trying to destroy it.

Black Units

Buried deep inside the mind of each Shiver is something called the 'Black Program'. Activated by a very specific signal that only a few in Cloak Division, Stigmartyr and some very specific people know about. It immediately turns off their short term memory and implanted false personality, then activates another implanted memory and enhanced skill sets. This is usually done while a unit of Shivers is inside an APC so they can then immediately drive to wherever they need to be. The signal also causes all armor and weapons to change to a flat black color while a fast moving drone is sent to their location. Upon arriving the drone will open revealing whatever armaments the trigger activator requested.

While under this memory they will do anything asked of them without remorse or pity. From killing off an entire building full of civilians to strapping explosives to themselves and doing a suicide charges into an enemy position. They simply exist at this point to do whatever they are told as effectively as possible. Once finished with their tasks they are returned to their point of origin and the trigger is reset and the Shivers 'wake up'. Time loss and disorientation will be explained off as being hit by a nerve gas or bio weapon fired by Dark Night agents the same excuse will be used for any casualties as well.

Notes to Remember

While the Shivers are loyal to SLA Industries there is a bit of low level disloyalty built into some of the personalities. Those who will take a bribe to look the other way, steal a few things during searches and even some that will abuse citizens who aren't direct employees of SLA. This is done in part to make them more 'genuine' and less likely to attract attention for being to perfect. But if the company is ever under threat they will stand up to defend without fail.
Nothing is perfect. There are those cases where something goes wrong. The few who remember coming out of the vats, those who remember what they did when their Black Program was triggered, glitched up memories and so on. This has led to some rogue Shivers who break their programming and have gone off to try to figure out what, exactly, they are. Of course when this happens there are extermination warrants issued post haste.