- 1 Welcome to Appalachia
- 2 The World
- 3 Important States
- 4 Characters
- 5 Game Mechanics
- 6 Man-Machines
Welcome to Appalachia
It is year 714 AC (Apocalypse Calender), 714 years since fire rained from the sky and the world ended. Over the long, hard centuries the ways of civilization have been relearned. Technologies rediscovered, philosophies reformulated, cities rebuilt - weapons rearmed. The Great War of 668-671 was truly the war to end war, with not only cannons and gatling guns demonstrating what industrialized warfare was like but Man-Machines once again lumbering across the battlefied.
Now, two generations later, a new danger stalks the land and threatens to upset the era of Civilization. The original Man-Machines were almost unstoppable save by another Man-Machine but explorers and miners have stumbled across weapons of even greater power and with none of the problems involved with operating ancient, poorly-understood machines by rote and trial-and-error. Armed with these giant mechanical fighting vehicles the various republics and monarchies of the east coast have begun to return to the old ways. The specter of war once again looms over the east. Even more concerning is that the rate of discovery is increasing; some suggest that the activation of some has hastened the awakening of others.
'Normerica' is the new cradle of civilization, home to the richest and most industrialized nations known. The eastern coast is well-populated, with a number of powerful nations lining both the Alantic Ocean and the Great Lakes. Going west the interior plains are no longer the breadbasket that the ancient texts spoke of, but a semiarid wasteland stretching north almost to the mosquito-infested lakes and forests of 55N. Practically the only river that crosses this expanse is the Missippi, winding from the Rockies in the west to empty into the Gulf and passing by the sun-baked remnants of ancient pre-Apocalypse cities. The Interior Wastes and the Rockies have proven an effective barrier against easy travel westward, though semiregular trade caravans passed to the nations of the west coast.
'The Carib' is dominated by the Cariban Empire, a militaristic nation dating back to the very ashes of the Apocalypse itself. Hurricanes regularly crash through the myriad islands and coral atolls, many of which have clearly been heavily reduced by rising sea levels. Nonetheless the Carib is a populous and active area, with sea traffic going both north and south.
'Suramericana' suffered heavily during the Apocalypse and has always been in the shadow of the states of the northern hemisphere. Much of the Atlantic coast consists of well-established city-states, with the interior of the continent full of either dense tropical rainforest or tallgrass plains.
The vast storms that regularly rage through the Atlantic Ocean have made oceanic travel a difficult proposition at the best of times, with many attempts to cross the ocean ending in ruin. However, the few travellers that have made the crossing (and returned) speak of strange cultures that engage in ritualized combat with man-machines. Iron-hulled steamships have started to make trans-Atlantic travel less dangerous and more reliable but major storms can still sink even the most modern steamers.
While the other continents of Earth are known, travel to them is even more difficult than going to Europe and consequently little is known about them by the inhabitants of North America. So far, no intrepid merchant-explorer has managed to return with sufficient riches to properly recoup the costs of trying to cross the Pacific ocean regularly.
The Republic of Appalachia
Appalachia is a presidential republic, though one that retains a strong influence from the pre-revolution nobility. Centered around the ancient American state of Maryland, Appalachia stretches north to the Island of Mannatan and south to the Carolinas swamps. Like the other states in the east, Appalachia is at roughly 1910s (pre-Apocalypse Calender) technology, though petroleum is limited mostly for airplanes, with land-based mechanical transport being via trains or steam-powered cars - when it's not with horses or other draft animals. Appalachia has seven states and its capital and largest city is Piedmont, built near the now-buried ruins of Baltimore.
The climate of Appalachia is generally mild on the coast, though substantial winter snows are typical in the mountains. Old pre-Apocalypse records (fragmentary as they are) generally paint a picture that modern Appalachia (all of America, in fact) is somewhat warmer than it was before the Apocalypse. The forests of Appalachia are thick and fast-growing, cleared in many places for farms or for timber. Mining for coal and ores is centered in the mountains, though the ancient pre-Apocalypse cities are rich in refinable metals.
The dominant religion in Appalachia is the Redemption Church of Christ, a somewhat moderate church that preaches hard work and understanding is the key to avoiding a second Apocalypse. Other churches do exist, but put together make up less than a third of the churchgoing population. The Great War weakened the hold of the church upon secular life and while many towns nominally still 'close' on sundays, in practice stores open in the afternoon.
The upper classes enjoy the most leisure, health and opportunities in Appalachia; the isolates from plants known from folk remedies for centuries were industrialized in the era of medical advancement after the Great War and the rich and noble were best able to take advantage of this. Chemical birth control, immuno-strengtheners and disease suppressors all contribute to the robust health of the upper classes and those who can afford them. Many young people, men and women both, have taken advantage of this, breaking free of older expectations and social position.
Another rising power to the north and west, the Hawatha Confederacy is nestled between the Great Lakes and has spread over three shores. A group of small nations and city-states, Hawatha came together about a century ago, progressively confederating various pocket republics and principalities. Today, Hawatha is a center of heavy industry, with large coal mines and steelworks fueling its rise to prominence - only Appalachia is richer and Hawatha has a larger industrial base. The center of this industry is the city of Big Smoke, a factory hellhole that is the largest city in the Confederacy. In addition to its heavy industry, Hawatha also a strong forestry sector.
Hawatha has a relatively egalitarian society and one with an especially strong sense of rugged individualism. Compared to the coastal states the Confederacy is particularly rural and has few large cities, but many small towns. Dueling has been legal in some parts until relatively recently and Hawathans are stereotypically rough-and-tumble and often clannish. Isolated from the Great War and riding the tide of industrialization, Hawatha has acquired something of a manifest destiny and has been steadily expanding its borders, claiming the virtually uninhabited lands north to the Great Bay and pressing its neighbors to the west and south - threats of force have begun to supersede diplomacy.
The military of Hawatha is derived from pre-Apocalypse police forces and has 'Sherifs' where most other nations have high-ranking officers. These often command the loyalty (and weapons) of those under them with a relatively limited oversight by the Confederacy's nominal civilian high command.
Appalachia's northern neighbor, Hudson is a sleepy republic mostly known for its whalers, intrepid trans-Atlantic sailors and its pious devotion to the Apocalypse Church. Hudson is also a center of recovered pre-Apocalypse knowledge, though it has mostly fallen on the engineers and financiers of Appalachia and Hawatha to puzzle out useful applications for the fragmentary records.
Dixie was once a major competitor to Appalachia, with its highest point in the 7th century AC. However, a series of miscalculations led to its defeat in the Great War and the collapse of the formerly unified dual monarchy into two states - North Dixie and Tegesta (formerly South Dixie). North Dixie is now something of a rump state, the heartland of old Dixie but now falling ever-further behind the industrial powers to the north. Ironically enough much of its economy is based around the export of various foodstuffs and plant products northward.
North Dixie has stubbornly maintained its old aristocracy and royal house and a large, powerful military stocked with Man-Machines - at what many critics consider ruinous cost. Others of a more nationalist or traditionalist bent consider this the only thing standing between North Dixe and complete loss of national integrity. They may be more right than they want to admit - Equalist rabble-rousers have been a rising problem inside North Dixie's borders and have kept the internal police busy.
Republic of Tegesta
Tegesta is the southernmost part of Dixie that split off in the aftermath of the Great War; formerly Southern Dixie it has returned to its archaic name. Like North Dixie, Tegesta's economy is primarily centered around agriculture and fishing, with many of the isolates and powders used by apothacaries across the continent coming from Tegesta's many subtropical plantations. The fall of the dual monarchy saw a revolution that deposed the upper classes and for the past four decades Tegesta has been a republic.
Tegesta maintains a small coastal navy and a number of fortifications along the Floria peninsula. While sharing a land border with North Dixie they consider their main security thread to be south - the Cariban Empire.
One of the co-belligerents in the Great War, Luzianna fought alongside Appalachia against Dixie and took the western part of Dixie in the closing months of the war the Dixie war machine collapsed. This cemented Luzianna's control over the Missippi delta and thus most of the arable land along Normerica's southern coast. A hereditary monarchy, Luzianna's current king is aging and has no direct heir. A looming succession dispute and brewing troubles from the Riogran Empire to the south-west promises problems ahead for the coastal state.
The Cariban Empire
The oldest nation known in the post-Apocalypse world, the Cariban Empire has existed since the Apocalypse itself and even, if its official histories are to be believed, for centuries before as the 'United States of America'. Indeed, the ruling class of the Cariban Empire takes pains to style themselves the United States of America in Exile and claims dominion over Normerica.
Validity of these claims aside, the Carib Empire indisputably has always had access to ancient, pre-Apocalypse machinery and weapons - the expansion of the Empire in the 1st century AC was entirely thanks to the overpowering firepower of their Man-Machines. It was only in the 2nd century AC as spares for these war machines became rarer, ammunition was depleted and the few remaining powered surface vessels that had survived the Apocalypse wore out and were beached that the Empire retreated from its distant mainland holdings and concentrated its forces on its island heartland.
The ruling upper class of the Cariban Empire is the descendant of pre-war military forces and to this day the empire has a strict two-tier citizenship structure. While this has been a source of stability (and oppression), economically the empire has fallen behind its growing rivals to the north. The empire has not, however, failed to keep up in the realm of military technology and has managed to return (or maintain) a substantial number of Man-Machines into service as well operate a substantial surface navy.
All individuals in Turn Appalachia are defined by a set of attributes; these apply both outside and inside a Man-Machine. All characters start with an automatic 1 in all attributes save Aleph, which starts at 0.
- Physique: An individual's general physical well-being, health and robustness. Physique is the dice pool for evading attacks - dodging in a Man-Machine is a strenuous process and can easily knock the weak-stomached around.
- Perception: How well an individual can spot and identify objects or oddities. Perception is the base dice pool for the usage of a Man-Machine's unguided ranged weapons.
- Coordination: Some individuals are fumble-fingered under pressure, others are not. Coordination is the dice pool used to roll for extra actions.
- Wits: Witty individuals are rarely caught flat-footed and react well to surprises. Wits is the dice pool used for gaining initiative both inside and outside of a Man-Machine.
- Intellect: A measure of an individual's knowledge and critical thinking ability. Used for Tactics rolls both inside and outside of a Man-Machine.
- Charisma: How likeable an individual is. Player characters can be assumed to of superior attractiveness unless stated otherwise, and so charisma is more about social graces and charm. Charisma is the number of automatic successes you have per session. In a social situation, these instead double your Charisma pool on the next roll.
- Aleph: A mysterious psychic power found in some individuals, Aleph grants the wielder unusual abilities when channeled through a psy-lens.
Turn Appalachia uses a D20-based roll-under system, thus 1 is good and a 20 is bad. Every dice that is equal to or less than the target number is a success. In addition to rolled successes, there are several ways of getting successes without rolling dice.
Bonus successes commonly represent tasks done with such proficiency that much of them requires little more than rote. However, it is still possible to screw up - Bonus Successes are only added to the total number of successes so long as there is at least one Rolled Success.
Automatic successes are gained from things that, generally speaking, cannot fail - armor plating is the most obvious example. Automatic successes are always added to the total number of successes, however they do not count as rolled successes for purposes of determining if bonus successes are to be applied.
Characters normally get one action per round, however, by rolling their Coordination against a default target number of 8, they can get additional actions. For every 2 successes rolled, the character has another action they can take at the end of initive order. However, if a character rolls no successes they lose their next action instead as they fumble with their controls, bobble what's in their hands or otherwise lose their shit.
A character may declare a Full Dodge in which they can roll their Physique and for every success rolled they may reduce their Profile on a 1-to-1 basis. If any other actions are taken in a round where a dodge is done that may potentially be affected by it, they are penalized by the same amount - it's hard to hit an enemy accurately when you're dancing all over the sky.
Man-Machines have several attributes, like characters. Some are equivalent to those of individuals, others are unique to Man-Machines.
- Profile: This is how physically large of a target the Man-Machine is, though some machines have systems that artificially reduce their Profile by deflecting lock-ons or fading into the background. Attackers roll against this to strike or detect.
- Armor: This is a measure of how tough the Man-Machine's armor cladding is. Weapons roll against this to inflict damage. Note that the lower the armor value, the thicker and tougher it is.
- Durability: How much damage a Man-Machine can take before it is inoperable.
- Agility: How agile a Man-Machine is. This is the target number a pilot rolls against to perform dodges.
- Speed: A measure of how fast a Man-Machine is on its feet. Some may also have Flight Speed, which is not directly comparable to land speed - a flying Man-Machine can be assumed to win any speed test against a non-flying one.
Weapons and other components are recorded seperately. Weapons have the following attributes.
- Accuracy: A modifier to the target's Profile - weapons with a positive Accuracy are easy to hit with while those with a negative Accuracy are clumsy or otherwise inaccurate.
- Power: How effective a weapon is at inflicting damage. This is the dice pool to penetrate Armor.
- Penetration: Some weapons are particularly good (or bad) at punching through armor without necessarily inflicting heavy damage. Penetration is a modifier applied to Armor - positive Penetration values represent weapons that have superior ability to punch through armor, while a negative value represents weapons that have a hard time piercing armor.
- Range: This is the maximum range that a weapon is effective to.
Man-Machines (and related quadruped machines) are all pre-Apocalypse technological relics, weapons that escaped destruction in that devastating conflict. While all of those still operational are rugged machines that can be fairly easily repaired - so long as one has appropriate pre-Apocalypse parts - they are not entirely invulnerable, nor are they without weaknesses. The most important of these is the issue of lubrication and coolant.
Heat is the dominant limit for Man-Machine operation. The powerplant of a Man-Machine makes a substantial amount of heat and various other components can also generate meaningful amounts of heat. All of this must be dissipated into the environment. And while Man-Machines are fully capable of dealing with all of this waste heat, the weak point is the cooling circuits - the original fluids used for this purpose have all long since broke down to uselessness. Replacements have been invented but most of them rapidly break down under a Man-Machine going full output. In practice, battles between Man-Machines lasted until one started to overheat, at which point they would start to retreat to cool down and purge their coolant.
Control of alternatives derived from locally-available sources were a critical element in strategy during the Great War, with the development of the Grant-Seville process allowed Appalachian forces to recycle the coolant in (or at least near) the field several times before the fluids were completely ruined, with a consequent increases in Man-Machine readiness.
A few individual machines have been uncovered that seem to have been built at a much higher level of sophistication. Unlike the standard machines that have been buried or otherwise sealed inside hidden supply depots, the individuals are scattered at random and often in out of the way, difficult to access places such as ravines or the bottoms of rivers. These superior machines merely start by not having the cooling problems that plague the common types.
Common Military Machines of the East
Brawler and Humphrey
Distinct only in minor cosmetic differences and in their places of origin, the northern Brawler and southern Humphrey are the main humanoid type Man-Machines in service in Normerica. Lacking the armor and firepower of non-humanoid designs like the Snapping Turtle, they instead rely on superior mobility and close combat ability to engage the enemy. Highly versatile, they are favorites amongst the more gallant and hotheaded pilots of the militia armies. Like all Man-Machines they are mostly maintained by drawing spares from uncovered supply depots - while this is sufficient to cover day-to-day operations for these rugged machines, the same cannot be said for the 'Light Rifles' that they are outfitted with as standard. In most cases these ancient pre-Apocalypse weapons are inoperable and are replaced by field gun-sized bolt action man-machine rifles.
- Melee: 3
- Firepower: 2 (3 with functional Light Rifle)
- Armor: 2
- Speed: 3
Vaguely resembling a gigantic diving suit, the Portland is found in numbers only with the Cariban Empire's Armored Division, though a number have been uncovered and now serve in Tegesta's militia. A fairly mediocre land fighter, the Portland excels in the water and is perfectly suited for fighting around the shallows, reefs and mangroves of the Carriban Sea.
- Melee: 3
- Firepower: 2
- Armor: 2
- Speed: 2
- Special: 2 (Aquatic Mobility)
Non-humanoid machines use multiple legs for motion, typically having a gait like a horse as opposed to a human. This makes them less agile but more stable gun platforms. Most also differ in that they have multiple crews, often three - driver, gunner and commander.
The Snapping Turtle was the first ancient war machine to be unearthed and pressed into battle by Earth forces in the Eastern North American region, and remains the most common amongst the armies even though other more powerful mecha have been discovered in useful quantities. Although relatively well armed and armored, it is a somewhat cumbersome machine that has difficultly keeping up with faster humanoid machines on the move. Lacking more than a few last ditch close in weapons, it is also a rather poor melee combatant. But in spite of its flaws the abundance of both new machines and parts available in the mountain caches guarantee the Snapping Turtle its place as a staple amongst Normerica's armored units.
The Snapping Turtle is armed with a turreted magnetic cannon that fires projectiles without the use of propellant. Indigenously built projectiles with magnetic armatures can be used in place of precious pre-Apocalypse munitions, though obviously they perform far less effectively.
- Melee: 1
- Firepower: 3
- Armor: 3
- Speed: 1
Liberator A heavily modified type of Snapping Turtle that has been sighted in use by the North Dixie forces, the Liberator features extra rocket rails as well as side mounted infantry fighting platforms. While most militias have distributed what hand held weapons they've recovered from the caches amongst their infantry forces, it appears that the Dixie National Guard has chosen to augment the poor close combat abilities of the Snapping Turtle type by distributing them amongst detachments on its machines for close in defense. In all other respects the Liberator is not notably different from its Snapping Turtle sibling.
- Melee: 2
- Firepower: 4
- Defenses: 3
- Speed: 2
Whiskey Armor Another cousin of the Snapping Turtle, the Whiskey Armor is a much more capable but temperamental machine. While it still lacks much potential for hand to hand combat, its powerful long range armament combined with its agility and speed has made it a favorite amongst troops on the front lines who have quickly realized that close quarters combat with enemy Man-Machines is a losing proposition. If the Whiskey Armor has a weakness, it is the fact that its powerful Light Cannon is fixed forward with only limited traverse. Consequently, the best Whiskey Armor crews act as snipers and ambushers, firing deadly blasts of energy across the battlefield and repositioning before enemy fire can zero on them.
- Melee: 1
- Firepower: 4
- Defenses: 3
- Speed: 3
Mecha by Country
- Snapping Turtle
- Whiskey Armor
Cast of Characters
- General Rupert Mably (retired) - Grandfather of Kathrine Mably. RIP
- General Mendes - CO of the 1st Mechanized Division
- Colonel Will Ricardo - XO of the 1st Mechanized Division
- Doctor Vanderwet - Scientist. Has creepy eyes.
- Monitor - Mably's cat
- General Amos Rutherford - Amos I, the near-mythical first king of Appalachia.
- Vance Tomson, Knight of Luzianna - Charmer and Schemer
- Clyde Tomson - He who would be queen's consort
- Colonel Nagin - A bit old fashioned, in charge of Man-Machines
- Gisella de Morrisey - 2nd cousin to the king, engaged to
- General Schiro - 5-star general of the Luziannan army
- Admiral Brown - Head of the Luziannan navy. Has few friends.
- Lt. Commander George de Ritter - Head of the Luziannan navy's man-machine detachment.
- de Ville family - Owns the upstate
- Clamatens family - Standard Oil
- Sherrif Franz Queensson - Leader of the Grey Wolves. Pilots a grey-painted http://www.mahq.net/mecha/srw/inspector/rpt-005.htm
- Cocky Pilot - Is cocky.
- Dame Colonel Arietta Haley (nee Airey) - Older sister to Louis Airey