CthulhuTech - Once Were Men
"Be thou like the imperial Basilisk,
Killing thy foe with unapparent wounds!
Gaze on oppression, till at that dread risk,
Aghast she pass from the earth's disk.
Feat not, but gaze – for free men mightier grow,
And slaves more feeble, gazing on their foe."
—Motto inscribed on the gate to Kegen Hall,
Tager Consistory Central, Arkham Geofront
"When last we left our doomed heroes…" -preamble to every CthulhuTech session ever
Highly Responsive to Prayers, the sequel to Once Were Men, is a game of Lovecraftian horror and action adventure in the world of CthulhuTech. The players are monsters with the hearts of men, shapeshifting Tagers who are fighting the evil cult-dominated Chrysalis Corporation to save the fragile souls of humanity at a time of global war, alien migou invasion and horrors from beyond the veil of time and space. Welcome to the Strange Aeon.
Once Were Men detailed the travails and inevitable doom of Q Cell, a small team of Tagers operating in the neon twilight of the Olympus Arcology half-buried within Mount Rainier, in the former American Northwest, as they uncovered a terrible blight of insects taking over the minds of their friends and enemies. It culminated in an epic showdown on the mid-Pacific transit island of 9JO as our anti-heroes fought against time itself to save their world from the nucleonic touch of Azathoth.
Highly Responsive to Prayers is the second campaign arc in the Touhou Project adventure pack, and chronicles the revenge that the Chrysalis Corporation takes against the Eldritch Society for its constant attacks on the Children of Chaos. In the action-anime style of “bullet hell” shooter-RPGs, HRTP is a wild ride of infiltration, explosions, running the gauntlet of dhohanoid hives and redefining the morality of attack-sex and suicide bombings.
Viewer discretion is advised. Some scenes may contain alien tentacles.
The Making of a New Weapon
The world of the 21st century was an amazing place. You were a child when Ashcroft broke the dimensional-phase problem and created the D-engine, a new source of limitless energy. The world's technological base changed, but the politics stayed the same. The same feuding, competitive nations; the same petty wars and endless negotiations. Then the old world went away.
You were on Guam when the first rock hit Tokyo at a relativistic speed and you felt the impact long before the tidal waves hit. The aliens had stealthed them, and the deep-space tracking network never had a chance to pick them up. Following the terminator line the first impacts wiped out the core of the world's economy: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, Osaka, Bangkok, New Delhi, Mumbai, Moscow…the list was endless. Two billion died before the rest of humanity managed to react and trained the missiles that were pointed at each other towards the new threat. Even then it was more by luck than by skill that Chicago and Atlanta were spared. The virtual reproduction that is the New York Memorial isn't quite the same thing.
Then the black-skinned, red-eyed aliens descended in their sleek war machines, intent on wiping us out for no reason that anyone could discern. And they looked almost like us, those Nazzadi, as if a grand cosmic joke had been played on humanity to fight its nemesis. After all these years of expecting seven-eyed horrors with tentacles, what we got was us. That was the First Invasion.
Finally, after years of horrendous war came Field Marshal Vreta's transmission, when the Nazzadi realized they were just clones of us, tricked into fighting on behalf of the monstrous followers of the Old Gods. They surrendered, we won by default, but their masters were on the way to finish the job.
Ten years later, you stood shoulder-to-shoulder with your fellow Nazzadi when a second moon appeared in the skies over North America. The Migou hive ship had millions, perhaps billions of fungoid-insects inside it, the former masters of the Nazzadi, and they had come at last to claim the planet from us. This time you were armed with the knowledge and technology that the now-allied Nazzadi had passed on to the New Earth Government, the knowledge of what was coming behind them. This time you had a new generation of mecha, lifting off on anti-gravity pods powered by d-engines and armed with arcanotech weapons of brilliant light.
It wasn't enough.
You were there when they null-beamed Novosibirsk and Murmansk. They had to regrow both your arms and legs after the Migou's biotech mecha were through eating you. You were there at the Evacuation of Stockholm, the failed Defence of Seoul, and the Fall of Buenos Aires. The war turned against humanity, and the Migou pushed further inwards from the poles. That was the Second Invasion.
Humanity was besieged not just from without but also from within. The hideous cults which festered in all the corners of the world hatched their plans and finally shouted in unison: "The Stars Are Right!"
You were there when the dark gods of a forgotten age awoke, a howling storm of madness in central Asia, a fertile brood of monsters in Africa, the underwater tentacles of a sea horror in the south Pacific that lashed the coasts of the world. But humans and our cousins the Nazzadi are clever and you soon learned the twisted magics and necessary arcanotechnology to keep fighting. You harnessed strange energies and stranger creatures to fight beside you, and melded your flesh with theirs.
You were there when the first Engels were deployed by the NEG to fight the Migou. And these jury-rigged alien horrors with human pilots inside them fought like the Furies unleashed. But still humanity staggered before the onslaught, and fell back city by city.
Now you are here, on the eve of a black century, fighting for your life, your soul, and the slim chance that humanity may not be wiped from the face of this green Earth, in this Strange Aeon…