Four Horsemen

From Sphere
Jump to: navigation, search

"They said their were four horseman, Nuclear, Chemical, Biological and their leader, the man mad enough to unleash them with a press of a button, a typed command on a touchpad, a solemn word on a secure line."

New World, Old Motives

Does it matter, the world before? It was long ago. The Cryotes say the year is 2507, but who can trust the words of men with nuclear fire in their eyes and their finger on the button of destruction?

In the wake of the thermonuclear, biological and chemical weapon exchange, the world burned, grew and deformed. The Cryotes say that this is North America, bordered by the forest to the north, the desert to the south and the churning oceans to the west and east. Perhaps this is North America, but to most it is simply the world, devoid of name. The concept of a globe is a pointless one, the seas are dangerous, the lands beyond pointless to explore with so much unknown within ones backyard.

Nobody calls it the wasteland, the nuclear weapons of the war were tactical and low kiloton strategic. The fires that burned destroyed the chains of civilization, but the world collapsed in on itself. Biological and chemical agents ravaged the survivors and destroyed the links of history. In time, these genetically engineered flora and fauna soon spread out, rebirthing the land, creating new opportunities and presenting new terrible dangers. The countryside is not a place for gentle walks, it is stalked by beasts, plagued by remnants of the old world.

The new, the old and the Stubborn


Before the rebirth advances in genetic engineered had proliferated exponentially, transhumans and transgenic species were designed, experimented with and released into the public. Many of these humans are not disimiliar to the standard template, some are larger, stronger, more intelligent or posses unique abilities. Some posses electrocommunication, a functional form of telepathy.


A slim majority of survivors in short term civil defence bunkers, caves and other shelters made up the population of the Reborn world. While most have forms of minor transgenic engineering giving them longer lifespans and a hardier constitution, they are nevertheless in appearence indistinguishable from modern man.


Cryotes are mistrusted and ill-regarded humans. They have begun to emerge from their subterranean cities and they bring with them the old world in all it's glory and all it's sinister power. Cryotes froze themselves for periods of a century or more, preserving supplies in deep underground complexes, preserving knowledge and genetic purity. What Cryotes lack in numbers, resources or experiance of the overworld, they make up with robots, manufacturing plants and old world knowledge.

The State of Affairs

North America is a changed continent, geo-engineering projects started before the war have had free rein, altering the landscape.

Major Biomes & Areas of Interest

The world is unnatural. A multitude of projects designed to provide a sustainable future for humanity, for entertainment or ecological reasons were developed. During the conflicts that caused civilization to collapse, these projects were accidentally or deliberately released. Unintended consequences of their release mean many are hostile to humanity, while others are a vital part of the new eco-system without which it would be hard to survive.

The Northern Everforest

The former American/Canadian border delineates the start of the Everforest, genetically engineered tree's hundreds of meters in height. A relatively benign eco-system, it's dangers are from Giant Beavers, Bears and other mutated and tampered wildlife. It lacks the exotic dangers of other biomes.

The Everforest inhabitants trade lumber with their southern neighbours, branches easily regrow and are the size of tree's themselves. The wood has strong load bearing capability, though it is not difficult to cut with an axe.

The Boneyard

An unnatural area, of concrete, plascrete and overgrowth. Los Angeles merged with San Francisco during the boom years of the 22nd century, which saw renewed urbanisation across the planet. Biowarfare lead to the conurbations destruction, as the high density urban population quickly descended into rioting and death from viral outbreaks. Now known as the Boneyard it is the West's major source of salvage and technology. A dangerous city full of mutants, decay and lost memories.

The Glow

San Diego was one of the few areas that suffered a nuclear attack. The City was gutted and radioactive ash spread around the surrounding area. There are some salvage operations, as the deadly levels of radiation that persist today due to the deliberately dirty nature of the ordanance have kept most scavengers away.

The Great Plains

The Great plains are an area of outstanding natural beauty and one of the more 'benign' areas of nature found. The rural communities and kingdoms of the area supply much in the way of food to the rest of north America, slowly clearing out the deadlier lands where possible and using ingenuity to access the rest. Great Herds of dinosaurs roam the Great Plains, loosed from Genetic Zoo's during the downfall. There are no forests in the Great Plains, but grasses as tall as a man flourish, providing a rich habitat for lurking predators.

The Northeast Ironlands

The ironlands of what was once New England are the most 'civilized' place in North America. Society here is technological, thanks to the vast scavenger riches of nearby major cities that were spared much destruction. Electricity, machinery, science finds it home here and several Cryotes enclaves exist within the region. Civilization here is a bizarre mix of 19th, 20th and 23rd century technology.

Four Horsemen


Every player starts out with 15 points to build their power. Each rank costs one point. You must purchase (either through using your starting points or bonus points) the previous rank to be able to gain the next rank. Parenthetical bonuses are only acquired if more than half of the cost of the rank is purchased with starting points. You may be zero in a category (except for population), but you may NOT have a negative point expenditure in any category.


  • 1 You are a band of scavengers
  • 2 You are a small city
  • 3 You are a large city (+1 Industry, -1 Mutation)
  • 4 You are a small collection of cities (+1 Industry, -1 Mutation)
  • 5 You are a large collection of cities. Consider yourself a nation. (+1 Industry, -1 Mutation)


  • 1 The wastelands have changed you in a small way
  • 2 The wastelands have made modifications that others can tell
  • 3 The wastelands have altered you such that there are vast changes (+1 Population Support, -1 Technology)
  • 4 The wastelands have made you barely human (+1 Population Support, -1 Technology)
  • 5 What the hell are you?! (+1 Population Support, -1 Technology)


  • 1 You have a basic understanding of technology. Welcome to the Wild West.
  • 2 World War II had some pretty good ideas, eh?
  • 3 To the Moon! *Disclaimer: Space travel not included* (+1 Population Support, -1 Mutation)
  • 4 With my F-22 (+1 Population Support, -1 Mutation)
  • 5 Imma Chargin' Mah Lazor (+1 Population Support, -1 Mutation)


  • 1 Simple tool best tool
  • 2 Ok, maybe assembly lines are better
  • 3 Automation!
  • 4 Even MORE Automation!
  • 5 Automation for the automation of the automation!

Population Support

  • 1 You have small farms and a well
  • 2 Your farms would make any native of Nebraska proud
  • 3 You've moved to the point where farming is actually mass produced
  • 4 You mean you can grow meat without the animal?!
  • 5 Vat meat best meat


  • 1 You have a band of raiders
  • 2 You have multiple bands of raiders
  • 3 You have an army of conscripts
  • 4 You have an army of trained specialists
  • 5 Deltas ain't got shit on you

Specifics of the System


Population vs. Population Support
Simply put, you must have the same rank of population support as you do population, or else there are consequences. Each level population support is below population you lose in industry. A Pop 3, PopSup 2 power would face a -1 penalty to Ind. Having population support above that of your population gains you additional rolls on the random event table; however, these rolls won't necessarily turn out in your favor.

Mutation is simply how your genetic structure has adapted to, hopefully, thrive in the new world that has emerged. The reason there is a penalty to population is because not all mutation gives fertile results or even a guarantee of survival past infancy. That said, mutants have shown an excellent ability to fight for their survival quite tenaciously. Each rank of Mutation provides a set bonus to military rolls.

Technology is, well, it's technology. It is what your people use to get by and solve problems. Some people have reverted back to a 'simpler' time whereas others have managed to hold on to the trappings of modern society. Each rank of technology adds another die to military rolls.

Industry is a simple measure of how much stuff you can produce. The more stuff you can produce, the more military you can field. Industry is spent on a quarterly basis and is also used to do things like increase population support (a VERY expensive and time consuming thing). Each rank of industry provides 100 industrial points to spend per quarter.

Military is not a measure of how large your military is, but rather, it is how good your military is. Each rank of military grants and addition die roll to all rolls.

A Better Fighting Force

There are three basic types of military units: Infantry, Cavalry, and Airborne. What these actually represent is totally up to you, but it has to fall into one of those three categories rule-wise.

Infantry: 10 industrial points
Simply put, infantry are your grunts. They are the weakest and cheapest unit there is. Don't take that to mean that they are ineffective, but they will definitely need support to accomplish anything.

Cavalry: 50 industrial points
Cavalry represent all mounted units that are possible. To create a different mounted unit, alter the caps that it has.

Airborne: 100 industrial points
Airborne are expensive units that lord over any battlefield. They can either be as primitive as a blimp, small as a fighter, or massive as a flying airfortress.

Added Capabilities

All added capabilities boil down to four categories: attack, defense, initiative, and health. It is a very simple system in that an added capability in a corresponding category increases the dice pool of that category by 1.

There is a limit to how many added capabilities you can place on a unit. You can only place as many added capabilities on a unit as you have Technology index.

Each added capability also increases the cost of the unit. The first added capability makes the unit cost 2x base. The second, 3x. The third, 4x. Pretty simple increase in cost for each added capability.