Thursday, March 12, 2020

SH44SER :: First Pages

At this time, I've written nearly 400 pages of dense content for SH44SER. I think I might have another 200 pages to go and it is going to take time. It's been about 2.5 years of sporadic effort.

I need help to get the system cleaned up, but I think the setting information is fairly stable. I will also require some illustrations and layout. Balancing this with MEST 2.x and my personal life has been nothing less than stressful and challenging.

Here's the first dozen or so pages. It comes right after Donald Saxman's original introduction. What you are seeing are his original worlds with additions made by myself to expand and to make the information contemporary. I'll have future posts for presenting more of the setting and the rules system.


Superhero ‘44 Second Edition Revised is a fan-build of the original Superhero ’44 first edition rules. It expands upon the original setting by presenting a post-nuclear war Earth, with its nascent space colonies, as being on the cusp of a revolution in how the universe is understood.



The setting begins as a hard-core sci-fi near-future which transitions organically through the efforts of the Referee and the players; into one where almost anything is possible, including access to what can only be called “magic”. The GUTOE, or “grand unified theory of everything” is being discovered, and it will rewrite the laws of the (in-game) universe.

There are super powerful humans which can somehow harness and manipulate these "unknown-physics” with super-science devices, and in some cases demonstrate them through their own person.


In 2032 radio signals from Formalhaut II were detected by orbiting radio astronomers. The Formians of the Formalhaut star system were victims of a disastrous planetary climate change which was rapidly destroying their civilization.

Stellar Information

Formalhaut is a class A star on the main sequence approximately 25 light-years from the Sun. Since 1943, the spectrum of this star has served as one of the stable anchor points by which other stars are classified. It is also written as “Fomalhaut” in the older “Gliese Catalog of Nearby Stars” published in 1957, since then superseded by “A Complete Catalog of Nearby Stars” by the now infamous Dr. Ajit Roy Ruby, Inguria University Press, Inguria 2022.

System Data

Formi-II, or “Formia”, is the home-planet of the Formians and is a post-Kardeshev Type I civilization. It orbits the larger of the two suns in the Formalhaut star-system at the second Titius-Bode harmonic ring, being preceded by a rocky planet, and followed by an asteroid belt, two Jovians, and three planetoids.

Interstellar Rescue

Formia is highly unstable and is predicted to explode within the next few years. Formia had become subject to hyper-storms which scrubbed its surface of all life and most cities. In 2033, a team of “Uniques” with the ability to instantly teleport, augmented by Formian Trans-Scan hyperspace wormhole lenses, began an evacuation program which lasted ten years and moved over four million Formians to various cities and nations of Earth into what are known as “Formian Enclaves” which are domed communities.  The WPC mandates that Formian Enclave population “not to exceed a density greater than 1 per 10 non-Formians.”

The several thousand who remained behind are viewed by their race as mentally unbalanced. Unfortunately, contact with the remaining Formians, and their super-science cities, was cut off when the teleporting Uniques were killed by Dr. Ruby. Other alien races are known, but contact with them is limited by the speed of light. The Formians claim, however, to have met before with races that possessed hyper-drive faster-than-light (FTL) ships, the secret of which they kept closely guarded.


Formians are fox-like mammalian humanoids, and originate on a 1.4 Earth gravities, 35° C (95° F), high-oxygen planet. They sport grey body hair which more than anything else resembles penguin feathers.  This has resulted in what appears to be a homogenous peaceful, but unoriginal race of look-alikes. On the other hand, the long-lived Formians consider Terrans unpredictable, superficial, and very exotic. Formians are regarded as citizens on the island nation of Inguria, although most prefer to live in their enclosed Formian Enclaves for convenience to their biological necessities.

Formians possess near-perfect photographic memories and a remarkable vocal mimic ability similar to Earth’s lyrebirds. Along with their high endurance this ensures them employment in a wide range of fields. Formians can live in most places on Earth but require protective clothing in all but tropical regions. Above 500 meters they must wear oxygen masks for strenuous activity.

They do not practice war or murder among themselves, but they have been known to kill humans. They are carnivorous but cannot eat Terran foods and generally rely on grown tissue culture. They must periodically take allergy pills which are costly and illegal for human citizens to possess. It is predicted they will become acclimatized to Terra as a race in several generations.


By 2044 many inventions or engineering ideas which are now only dreams are perfected and several completely new concepts and materials are available.

Terrifying Science

When Formian and Terran science intermingle, several things can happen. Psychologists from both races give up in despair because of communication problems. Physicists agree to disagree when they discover their basic postulates are contradictory. Engineers just plug in components and watch what happens. Occasionally a unique synthesis occurs.

Foundational Technology

  • Accumulators —The major technology marvel of 2044 is the “accumulator” which is a superconductor battery. Even a small unit can store immense amounts of power and allow its use at any rate desired. Sociologists agree that this, more than anything else revolutionized post-millennial civilization.
  • Warm Superconductors — An amazing side-effect of ultra-pure alloy research has been the discovery of “warm superconductors”; gas-cooled alloy fiber “cold cables” which has allowed accumulators, power-plants, and generators to conduct power at unbelievable rates without significant efficiency loss.
  • Supercomputers — Computers using “artificial intelligence” (AI) programming have become nearly sentient by using holographic memory storage, and are much more reliable. Access to computers is universal and cheap to allow portable personal assistant devices.
  • Quantum Encryption — Powered by supercomputers this technology is used to secure all communications and all financial transactions.
  • Radio-whiskers — Materials science has been revolutionized by the concept of “radio whiskers,” ultrapure alloys which allow the tailoring of metal properties much as plastics are now constructed.
  • Trans-Scan — Unperfected. An experimental matter transmitter which, if perfected can introduce non-Uniquea Terrans to teleportation and hyper-space travel.
  • Fusion Reactor — Unperfected. Outlawed. Free energy from sea water, with nearly zero radioactive waste. The Solar colonies including the Lunar bases each have access to these amazing power sources, but as with all non-Earth locations; those are out of WPC jurisdiction.

Multiple Advanced Technologies

Other important changes include:
  • Augmented Intelligence — AI-based data analytics on nearly every subject in shared electronic codex is digested and fed to the headsets, hearing-aides, and visors of doctors, lawyers, soldiers, and engineers.
  • Augmented Reality  — 3D holograms remain intangible and translucent, but are available in nearly every computer interface, and projected from most electronic devices. including within goggles. These convey detailed technical overlays and realistic (or cartoonish if desired) avatars replete with beautiful animation and sound in order to help learn, understand, or entertain.
  • Thing-Net — Nearly all electronic devices security share information with their owners and manufacturers.
  • Lasersmithing — Although lasers failed to replace conventional weapons, a variety of sizes and frequencies of lasers are available for communication, industry, and warfare.
  • Organ Transplants — Organ transplants that are commonplace, both from live donors and tissue culture. These allow prompt medical attention to cure once-terminal injuries not involving brain damage.
  • Alloplastics — Alloplastic materials for synthetic Body-part replacements are also in extensive use, although too expensive to become commonplace.
  • Personalization — Technology for on-demand printing and manufacturing of commercial goods is wide-spread and allows most citizens to customize clothing, weapons, toys, houses, vehicles, and nearly everything else.
  • Custom Flyers — Aviation has expanded greatly in both the variety and number of vehicles available.
  • Hospitals — Hospitals have become international private enterprises with multiple missions which now include crafting of gene-tailored drugs and medication, para-rescue and CASEVAC (“casualty evacuation”) via medibots and flying ambulances.
  • Viralponics — The application of forced growing techniques and the creation of artificial environments makes it possible to feed Earth's reduced population with a considerable surplus.
  • Smart Money — Each nation, national alliance, and banking institution now uses quantum-encrypted electronic “smart money”. Highly secure and portable.

Other Technologies

Green Energy
Power generation, when not faced with the problem of transportation, is vastly simplified. Orbiting solar screens using microwave beams are one major source of power, as well as wind, geothermal, land-based solar, hydro-electric, and tidal systems. One source that is not used on Earth is atomic power, particularly fission reactors. Following the Six Day War its use was outlawed, and this ban is rigorously enforced by the multinational TechnoPol.
Genetic Engineering[1]
Genetic manipulation is still not perfected for higher organisms, but prenatal screening of fetal or disabling birth defects is allowing a slow recovery from the ravages of the Six Day War[2].
The recognition and breeding of Uniquea, individuals who have been favorably affected by the radiation, is sporadically practiced. It is predicted by ethno-geneticists that five percent of the population should be unique to a significant degree and that in ten generations 50 percent will be. The actual number of Uniques recognized is much lower than this, however.
Robots (“bots”), drones, and other forms of self-guiding machines have become less uncommon in cosmopolitan areas, but remain rare everywhere else. Function limiters are set within the AI programming of these electronic machines to prevent them from becoming self-aware.

Free-roaming robots, known as “automatons” are the principal workers in automatic factory environments. Here they work quickly and efficiently providing construction of components ranging in size from a button for clothing, to weapons, to spacecraft.

Aerospace Technology

A key component of modern society is the reusable dual-thrust rocket which allows travel across the civilized world. This includes to-and-from orbit to the space-stations, and across vast distances to include access to the Moon and beyond.

Once the first stage of the rocket expends most of its highly volatile binary fuel, its fuselage under automatic control flies itself back to the space launch facility where it can be refueled for the next outbound flight. Should it fail to have enough fuel for the return trip, it merely deploys a parafoil and guides itself to the nearest safe ground or sea location.

The second stage may either be a lander, cargo shipper, or space shuttle. Common destinations are any of the Lagrange colonies, an orbital facility, or one of the Lunar bases. However, if the destination is deeper into space, refueling is done first at an orbital fuel-depot. Often these longer trips are reserved for dedicated off-world deep-space designs outfitted with high-velocity plasma-thrusters, but those are in control of the colonies and not the WPC.

Return trips with the second stages are possible, but some do remain in orbit to be used as construction material. Transfers back to terra firma are always conducted from NEO via shuttles designed for re-entry.
Near-Earth Colonies
The presence of multiple orbital space stations around Earth has permitted the construction of Lagrange space colonies, and the placement of several Lunar colonies; the first which is Moonbase One.
Outer Worlds
These Spacer colonies have become integral to further space travel and colonization of Mars and further outward. The asteroid belt houses self-sufficient Terran societies, notably on Ceres, Vespa, and Eros.  These trade with the various alliances on Earth such as the NWCN, or the Catholic League of Nations.
Deep Space Exploration
Further out, using dedicated deep-space vessel designs, daring explorers aided with AI and companion robots travel at high velocities to Jupiter and beyond. Telemetry and communications are always available providing second-by-second updates delayed by up to an hour.


The reporting of news in the 21st century has undergone many changes in format, but still closely parallels modern journalism. To compete with rapidly growing competition from telecommunications, the newspapers became computerized, and began to incorporate elements of more visual media. The modern “newsfeeds” are received via the Computer-Net to receiver units, and is accompanied by multimedia tracks and data streams.

It is possible to receive newsfeeds “predigested” on any subject, and thereby receive an update on a specific event or series of events. There is one thing that has not changed, however the newsfeed is still used as a pointed political weapon. Each major political party across the globe has its own paper, which slants the news toward its owner's view.

Old USA’s 1949 Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) doctrine was never relevant for most nations, but the problems it hoped to curtail is highly relevant in 2044.

Fake News
There are possibly millions of competing “robotic news agent” computer programs forming several “bot-Nets” subtly and casually altering what is considered real and factual. To fight this “information pollution”, every consumer of news information uses a trusted “news validation” service or a locally-executed software application with customizable parameters, to parse and compare what is known and what is being reported as news.

Many laws across the WPC have been enacted to fight or limit the use of bot-Nets, but there are always loop-holes found by enemy AI-assisted legal teams. Technologies for social media and live-streaming content exists but is highly regulated as a way to prevent future Six Day Wars to occur. As a result, news-bots, chat-bots, fake-news bots, etc. exist but are banned by all societies, especially Inguria which qualify them as acts of terrorism.
World Bank Encyclopedia
With advances in the field of Information Technology, portions of the entire world’s archives of books are available in electronic form in both public domain and paid (usually research documents) versions via the “Computer-Net” and parts of that can be “downloaded” into personal holographic-memory storage archives and made portable for easy access at leisure. 

In many cases, NWCN citizens opt to “download” these archives into their Pseudodollar medallions, which are containers for “smart money” but can have augmented reality interfaces for news and edutainment media consumption.
Aliens on Earth
The news media always dedicates a section on space, science, and technology. Given the nature of Uniques, the existence of the Formians, and the discovery of the Grand Unified Theory of Everything it is very likely that one or more other alien species will be discovered. They might already exist on Earth; disguised as humans. Or they could be in hiding underground, on the Jupiter, or coming soon to the Solar System.

One thing is for sure; these are extra-terrestrial aliens. Alien culture, religion, foods, thought, acceptable behavior, and dangers. Nearly everything can be different. The human world is excited to meet more aliens, but also wary that the next exospecies encountered won’t be as benign as the Formians are.


Life in 2044 varies depending on which nation or alliance of nations a citizen finds themselves. Life in 2044 is nearly identical to that in 2019 (or 1977) with some few exceptions due to the inclusion of modern technology, especially through the use robots, computer augmented decision making, and virtual presence systems.
Basic Income
Most WPC nations, including all member nations of the NWCN such as Inguria, provide government assisted living termed “Basic Income” for those who seek work or provide charitable services to others. This is necessary because automation, robotics, and super-intelligent computers, have made it almost unnecessary for nearly all unskilled or semi-skilled labor.

The amount given by the government in return is enough for education, rent, meals, and clothing and is issued kiosks throughout the city directly into the Pd Medallions (or equivalent). Many families and communal organizations will pool their earnings and arrange for large purchases as gifts for the various members, but there are always exploits of self-styled “chieftains”, “sheiks”, “daimyos”, “lords”, or “dons”.
Universal Personhood Identification Code
Every nation has had away to assign a National Identification Number (NIN). It is issued at birth and placed into a “smart-contract” electronic data storage archive which allows a nation, municipality, or even private enterprise to confirm that a person is who they claim they are. In the pre-War period for Old USA, the NIN known as a Social Security Number (SSN). The amount of variation in how each nation defined its NIN was very high, and many Old World countries would codify such esoteric properties like a person’s sex, gender, religion, or race of a person.

After the tribulation period extending after the Six Day War, new technologies were implemented to securely and consistently correlate individuals to their entitlements, state benefits, military, medical, education, medical, and criminal records.  This new NIN is the UPI or “Universal Personhood Identifier” and is a cross-correlated sequence of numbers and letters used by all governments and societies in 2044. Each nation has the freedom to extend the UPI to include their own properties, but the first 16 alpha-numeric characters are standardized. UPIs are never re-issued after death.


Here’s a quick look at how each sort of citizen enjoys their daily lives. We’ll start with the persons with access to a standard education or better.
Does not really work and enjoys life at the Great Bottom. Shares food and shelter with others usually within communes. Many have formed religious kibbutz strong social ties as extended families. Technology allows them to be educated and stay informed just enough to be vocally active in policy setting and politics as necessary. Barter allows nascent artists and craftspersons to trade with retired doctors or newly graduated engineers.
Office Worker
Office work is prestigious and many citizens prefer to not use virtual presence technologies. They’ll dress up as formal as possible and appear in their work-places with micro-computers at hand. Cubicles still exist, but they are almost always at large tables intended to cluster seating in groups by function.

The most common office job is to support specialized virtual service networks (“Networks”) which involves tracking down resources and facilities to provide whatever is demanded. Some jobs are highly technical and require expertise knowledge or master-level skill in art, science, or engineering. Other jobs are to collate and curate computer-assisted information gathering for incorporation or sale into the various World Bank Encyclopedias and its competitors.
A key component of middle-class life is the entertainment experience; people want to be eyewitnesses to interesting events, art, and environments. The entertainer of the 2044 utilizes a wide varieties of tools and techniques including remote-controlled or pre-programmed robots, holograms, flying platforms for speakers and microphones, as well as older technologies such as smoke and mirrors. Entertainers will almost always have a “on-line” community accessible via the Computer-Net where the artists, fans, and detractors share comments and links to media and other related works. Through the use of computer-assisted voice translation, real-time performances can be heard in the original tone and inflection but across dozen (or maybe hundreds) of languages at the same exact time.

Factory Worker
Automation has replaced most low-skill factory labor, and this has been inevitable since the late 1960s. Automation became a necessity to rebuild the world during the Reconstruction Period. Today’s factory worker is a macro-script programmer skilled in tailoring the behaviors of radio-tethered automatons within the factories. Like everywhere else in the world, electronically accessible schemas and routines are downloaded from a part of the Computer-Net and sent to program the machines. Materials are supplied such as plastics from petroleum, or metals, or chemicals and everything is combined during high-speed automatic print-on-demand. Everything is sent through belt-feeds to other parts of a factory for further assembly and then warehoused until they are shipped off by truck, airship, or sea vessel.

Smaller factories will usually employ about 10 human workers with about 100 automaton robots, larger factories may tool around with upwards of 1000 robots especially when working to improving high-volume scaling for the of crafting toys, ammunitions, or parts for complex technologies such as vehicles or spacecraft. Whenever a robot breaks down, it is sent for review by another robot to repair it. The factory workers supervise all such activities and improve programming where necessary. Sometimes it may even require that the worker physically repair or manually adjust the machinery in the factory themselves.

Business Person
Money-making decisions are normally made by a human augmented by information gather through the use of service networks dedicated to business, all of which hinge upon knowledge which is gathered by supercomputer programs. Companies across the world and into outer-space at the colonies always strive to maximize profit for every transaction made, and the business person fulfills a role in this aspect.

It is considered bad manners to conduct business using robots, human assistant proxies, and virtual presence holograms. As a result the average business person does a lot of traveling across to many nations in order to handle official transactions “in real life”.  Functionally similar to a diplomat; a business person will usually be trained in a dozen languages and will also often train themselves to understand the various cultures to be impacted by their businesses. Many also become skilled at artistry, speech, and even performance in order to increase their chances to win a business deal.

For a while during the early Information Age around 2000 AD many business went virtual and allowed goods and services to be purchased via the Computer-Net; this is still available within some communities but today it will require access to a service network or “Network”.

However, with the maturity of print-on-demand technology, many boutique stores have became established for a specific designer brand which allows any customer to walk in and walk out within an hour (depending on wait lines) and have any number of products customized to their own liking; clothing, weapons, vehicles, medicine, building architecture, snack foods, and toys. Often the proprietor is also the designer brand artist and the technician which set up the store.

Much like early twentieth-century stores, the wares of the store will be on display in the windows, on racks, and upon shelves; all of which will be augmented with 3D holographic information displays which also broadcast extra information to a shopper’s personal computer devices should one be available.

In these proprietor-owned businesses, the amount of wealth which transfers becomes an enticement for robberies. As a result, many shops employ armed security guards to help curtail crime. Payment for all goods is done usually via smart-money such as the NWCN’s Pseudodollar medallions, or is paid using promissory notes of exchange if performing barter. Regardless, all transactions are recorded electronically and ledger entries are passed around to various banking.
The Activist
The majority of citizens of any free society within the WPC has a tremendous amount of free time. What most people do is create art, enjoy media consumption, and socialize among themselves. Automation and government care can be good. Others see inequity and oppression, real or imagined, and make a voice for themselves when possible. Maybe the source of oppression is “those people”, or “the Mud Children”, or its the Illuminati, or the “Formian devils”, or the “police state”, or the “robot overlords”; each has its niche in the political landscape. The activist citizen is usually given some room to proceed peacefully down the street and protest, but in many WPC Hostile or WPC Enemy nations such as Radiant China or the Arabian-West India Axis these events usually devolve into riots, riot-gas, riot-police presence, and lots of rioter injuries and fatalities.

Most WPC nations provide free education in order to encourage a capable work force. Highly corrupt nations, especially authoritarian ones, prefer to keep their citizens uninformed or misled in order to more easily control them. Poorer nations which seek to become part of the future inevitably will have afford some sort of access to modern education tools and standards for their citizens.

Students and their professors still attend university campuses for instruction, but it is very possible that their presence is virtual and either through a 3D holographic projection or a specifically marked android which sends back sensory information to a remote participant. All students and instructors have access to the Computer-Net which allows them to cross-check and reference the World Bank Encyclopedia or a comparable version of that such as Milandra’s Musings on the Modern Millenia (2043), or Fahrzad’s Tome of Scientific Knowledge (2044).

An interesting aspect of modern science is that it is highly volatile; it is likely to cause death and destruction if improperly managed. Within campus laboratories, much like upon commercial and military labs; may scientists and their students prefer virtual presence access. In case a calamity occurs, injury and death is minimized.
During the chaotic years following the Six Day War, it was places of worship and people of the clergy which had some of the strongest support infrastructure to pass information and distribute food and provide shelter and comfort. Adherents are those self-professed followers, believers, and leaders of the religious world that strive to ensure that no militaristic or criminal mindsets gain dominance in the world of politics.

Within the WPC, nearly every top-level organization within government and many private enterprises has a tie to a religious council which is conferred with prior to making disruptive ethical decisions which may be deemed world-breaking or world-shaking.  Adherents pride themselves on their ability to provide deep insights across multiple disciplines including science, engineering, technology, law, and medicine. In preparation for future contingencies, many of the surviving religious structures (temples, synagogues, mosques, churches, etc.) have been converted into training facilities and disaster shelters. As a result of this focus upon “worldliness”; some of the strongest adherents also happen to be the physically and mentally strongest among their own.

Although virtual presence technology is available, most tourists desire to experience the world first-hand and will pay exorbitant amounts to travel into outer-space, to visit deep-sea destinations, or to relax on an exotic beach somewhere on the face of the Earth. Tourism for business often involves dozens or even hundreds of persons sharing a team-building experience to adventure into the wildernesses of the world together under the strict guidance of experts.

Tourists in 2044 are no better nor worse than their earlier equivalents; often distracted, easily amused, and awfully unaware of their environment. It is still common for tourists to be mugged, and easy for them to be identified by their culture-insensitive clothing and inappropriate behavior.
However, many tourists will either use real-time language translation apps on their personal computers, or be accompanied by an assistant human or android which will parlay for them. Often these assistants will be able to guide the traveler in local customs as well.
The Affluent
After the Fallout and Purge, most of the status quo of the wealthy and affluent changed, but there have always been ways to keep monetary influence and power within the hands of the few. There are indeed dynastic families which can still trace the origins of their economic control to several decades, centuries, or even millennia before the Six Day War. Most of these families don’t want a repeat of the Purge, and so are more inclined to philanthropy towards the poor and disenfranchised. However, they also recognize that with the aide of modern super-intelligent computers they will be able to more efficiently tailor social engineering for their own long-term benefit.

Furthermore, with the advent of automation in most societies, there are many more idle, though educated and healthy, per se “poor”. These are more than willing to idolize the Affluent as celebrities.


Here’s another lens on life involving the rare individuals who participate in key activities at the lower end of society, either to serve selfish goals or to prevent society from falling apart.
The Soldier
At any one moment in time there is at least an active conventional war taking place between two or more nations. This is common even after the Six Day War, and news feeds always broadcast the daily events of those dangerous activities across the entire Solar system. The World Peace Council does its best to enable negotiations before aggressive actions are taken, and usually this is the case.

However, there is always hardship and always greed.  Of the 48 recognized major nations, over half are identified as either WPC Hostile or WPC Enemy nations. The top two offenders are Radiant China  and the West India-Arabian Axis. Even with the various security measures set up across the globe, there always seems to be forces moving across borders with tanks, drones, and robots.

As a result, there is ample opportunity for the military-minded individual to pursue gainful employment either as a member of the Security Duty forces under the WPC, or to become employed by any one or more of the nations at war.
The Spy
Every nation is continually spying on every other nation. Every nation’s military and government organizations have allocated huge budgets to build secret bases, training facilities, and to develop advanced technologies to aide in espionage. There are spy satellites, supercomputer data analyzers, disguised field agents, back-stabbing double-agents, and embedded spies acting as romantic interests. Spies are there to gather information, to bribe officials, to sway politics, to adjust business negotiations through bribery, and to sow disinformation. There are also corporate spies and private spies. Nearly any billionaire will have their own attaché of highly trained agents helping out with coordinating bodyguards staff and gathering information by carousing with socialite crowds.

Very few spies are any good with combat skills, but the few which are can be amazingly skilled. Spy agencies do their best to recruit prized agents of other nations.

Law Enforcement Officer
The role of a law-enforcement officer, a trained specialist to observe, report, and curtail crime, is even more critical than ever after the Six Day War. No citizen of any society, toxic or otherwise; wants to have a repeat that lead up to anarchy prior to the Reconstruction Period. Many societies within the WPC, especially within the Catholic League of Nations and within the Grand Caliphate of Earth, have set up “morality police” which keep a close monitoring of individual behavior, grooming, and social expression. Most other societies otherwise will have multiple tiers of law enforcement each with specific jurisdictions and legal capabilities.

As a result, employment as a law enforcement officer (“police”, “policia”, “officer of the law”, “law officer”, “enforcer”, etc.) is lucrative and in high demand. This latter is in part a response to the dangers involved. With the advent of technology and super-powered criminals, many violent crimes incidents have become uncontrolled and frequently results in the deaths or in long-term crippling injuries of the all enforcers involved.

All officers train together at “police academy” for about a year under the tutelage of criminal and legal experts, and weapons masters. They endure extreme physical training and sort themselves into specialized roles for community patrol, armed patrol, investigations, forensics, violent crimes, special victims units, and heavy weapons and assault teams.

All officers are coordinated with heads-up display helmets providing augmented reality data, and multi-lingual translator tools. Behind the scenes, officers are guided by their coordinators from their bases of operations (police stations, usually) and are able to quickly share visual and voice information with each other.

In toxic societies, law enforcement officers are feared. They can become easily corrupted by the authoritarian structures of their government. In smaller, polite, societies; community officers are viewed as members of an extended family and are known by honorifics. Therefore it is not uncommon to invite “Mr. Tokagawa” or “Ms. Agarwal” to a house party or other social event.

In all other societies, and for non-community officers; enforcers are regarded with deference and respect depending on the individual and the level of effectiveness that police force is able to deter crime and protect the community.

Despite relatively easy access to education, employment, and relatively abundant food and recreation; society still generates gangs. This is most apparent within urban communities of impoverished nations, and is even more apparent within toxic societies. Some youth gangs are set up to be for protection of an apartment complex or city block. Members move around together in “gangs” of 5-10 people to prevent the violent or aggressive gangs dominance. These sorts of gangs are hard to identify by any outsider which is not part of the community policing staff or a member of that specific community.

Violent gangs are much more prevalent and they operate very similar to gangs through known history. It could be rooted in tribalism, religion, tradition, poverty, politics, or any combination. Through the use of violence or the threat of violence, they extort other members of their community. The common goal is theft; to steal wealth from that community and to hoard physical wealth in terms of tools, weapons, clothing, or other such items which could be considered valuables. This is despite the presence of “print-on-demand” technologies because it is very possible to have customized goods unavailable elsewhere in the world.

The influence of these gangs can be quite extensive and will incorporate actions against local proprietors and, through the use of vehicles, include locally accessible suburban and industrial communities. Many violent gangs are highly secretive and cultish; they’ll require ornate and violent initiation rituals and oaths of allegiance which if broken results in torture and death. Gangs will often specialize in “signature weapons” but have been known to also leverage poisons, shoulder-weapons, and explosives against one another.

Gangs will either grow or become assimilated into larger organizations. Nations with corrupt governments, for example, will often interact with, coerce, or co-opt gangs in order to control the local population. Gangs also serve as populations from which organized crime will recruit its members. As gang members mature, they’ll become more daring, and eventually lead their own gangs. Gang members form the greatest population type within a prison system, and it is there where they’ll learn trade skills from each other. Gangs members which exist prisons will have a high rate of return to criminal behavior (“recidivism”) and eventually become professional criminals, especially if the money is good.
Professional Criminal
Organized crime is big business. At the very low end, criminal leaders will run one or more gangs and delegate “dirty-work” tasks involving extortion or murder within a community. Going up the chain, the professional criminal may begin one or more criminal enterprises or “rackets” involving slavery, sex trafficking, or illicit drug manufacture and distribution. At the top of the ladder, the professional criminal is involved with money laundering; hacking and trade of millions if not billions of credits worth of wealth. Other activities could include running death-squads, torture sites, and illegal weapons and technology research. Some professional criminals become tactical or political experts and hire out their services to the highest bidder, usually a corrupt government agency or individual with influence.

Ambitious professional criminals will start their own trade schools and academies to train the next generation of mob bosses, assassins, arms dealers, financiers, politicians, and political advisors. Others will aspire to infiltrate, influence, or topple existing governments for their own benefit.

All professionals will leverage the available technology to gather information on their rivals, their target victims, and to find and hire assistants. It is likely that
The Spacer
The majority of the Spacer colonies want nothing to do with Earth, the WPC, nor any of the humans from it, if at all possible. There are nearly a 100,000 humans living in the colonies of Luna, Mars, the LaGrange points, and each the relay-stations and way-stations between. They have been living there for nearly 20 years since the first “Spacer Age” launch from Shanter Island in late 2028, and space outside of the Earth’s atmosphere is what they know. Unfortunately, living in outer-space is not for the meek or stupid. A small mistake and you can kill yourself or an entire colony. In response, the colonies treat negligence very harshly; either “Space up” or “Space out”; i.e.; be ejected into the vacuum of Space.

Many transport craft fly between Earth and the other locations to carry tourists, religious neophyte colonists, and ambassadors. There are also lots of supplies being shipped outbound and rare ores being shipped inbound. Somebody has pilot those craft in person just in case the onboard supercomputer gets compromised. Those are the most frequently encountered Spacers; the ones living between multiple worlds.


There’s also elements of society that are growing features of every society, be it wealthy or poor, first-world or developing nations.
Nearly every modern society after the Reconstruction Period actively pursues an agenda of 100% employment and encourages strongly every one of their citizens is plying a trade or skill even if in the most rudimentary of ways. Simple non-skilled jobs include picking up trash, cleaning bath and toilet areas, or washing streets. In those such jobs, the unskilled laborer will often compete with specialized robots.

Within many cultures there are subcultures, such as aboriginal communities and barter communes which are adamantly against modernization. Here the unemployment rate is very high but all of the members trade favors, barter goods such as chickens or hand-crafted clothing or furniture, or trade a variety of personal or technical services. These citizens have per-capita incomes at or below the poverty line and require governmental assistance.

Assistance is provided for shelter, education, clothing, medical benefits, and daily meals prepared and delivered by drone or courier to a community center. Most governments have “boot-out” laws which force able-bodied individuals to participate in the general economy at some level within 5 years of enrollment. However, there are many individuals which refuse and escape the system, effectively becoming “homeless” or “vagrant”.

Post Calamity
As a result of the Six Day War, many political power structures became inverted or destroyed. Governments fell into disarray, and societies tumbled briefly into barbarism. Amidst all of this, new structures were formed, usually for the best of the people around them. Not all nations were afforded this renewal to contribute to civilization in a positive manner. Many nations, even with the guidance of science, religion, and the intelligentsia, become highly authoritarian.

With the advent of the automation, artificial intelligence, robots, Formians, Uniquea, and other “future shock” elements; people started to turn inwards and focus on media consumption and themselves. This lay open multiple paths for populist agendas to “right the wrongs”, to “bring back civilization”, and “fix what is broken”.
Though technology is very advanced by 2044, it is not always used for the benefit of others. Religious and ideological societies do exist which are dictatorships and kleptocracies; all regulate the use of information and the technology to access that information in order to keep strict order on their populations. For every service network which could be available, these governments may have three which provide counter services.

The ideal arrangement is to not directly oppress a population through visible punctuated violence; it is to encourage the population to accept “double-think” and authoritarian explanations as truth. The resultant behavior of the population, across generations, will be for them enforce the governments oppressive laws among themselves. Many such societies exist like this within the WPC; every one use technologies to filter or adjust the information its population accesses to sway their thinking into “alternate facts” and “righteous thoughts”. Exceptional Adherents which demonstrate this sort of thinking easily become promoted to leadership positions.

Every person comes to a turning point in their lives and when opportunity arises to make the world better for themselves, or better for others; the fascist selects for themselves. The word “fascist” comes from the Italian word for “bundle-of-sticks” where a single stick is easy to break with one’s hands, but a bundle-of-sticks is much harder to break. Unity in numbers is strength. However, the fascist seeks to enforce unity under authoritarian  rule; the others must pursue the fascist’s ideals or they are punished (i.e.; tortured) or made to perish (i.e.; murdered).  No creed is able to escape the appeal of the fascist; it is a very popular thought to have people be united under one ideal ... whomever’s ideal that may be as long as it affords them shelter. Eventually the fascist comes for all supporters, to take them away, forever.

In SH44SER, with great power comes great responsibility denied; the authoritarians are friends with the amazingly wealthy, the ornately beautiful, and the incredibly powerful. Entire societies have been poisoned by the siren call of fascism, and all members with chagrin, follow their appointed leaders into war and into slavery.
Villains and Vigilantism
The effect of everything up to this point has encouraged many nations to either foster, support, regulate, or turn a blind eye to the rise of self-proclaimed movers and shakers. The majority are combat veterans or per se “business entrepreneurs” willing to make the most of the brave new world where science is being turned on its head and unpredictable energies and forces unimaginable are becoming the way of the future.

With every criminally-minded “villain” employing new and strange tools, weapons, and technology for their own selfish and often nefarious goals; there seems to be at least one vigilante “hero” who aims to foil and break apart any attempts to make society become worse.

Within each of those classifications, there are those individuals which have either trained their entire lives to become deadly warriors, or with fantastic resources and equipment at their disposal, and those affected by supernatural powers from who knows where. Unlike the rest of civilization with its “normal” humans, these “meta-humans” seem to excel at nearly everything they do and in death-defying ways.

Formian Adventurers
Most Formians desire to be among themselves within their domed enclaves, only leaving to visit other enclaves across the world. Many Formians work as researchers and will travel about with bodyguards and a medical staff, but always try to limit visits to within a day or two. Formian Aberrants, deformed and hunted, actually hide among the human population often underground.
Exploitation & Slavery
A side-effect of world-wide automation combined with the rapid re-industrialization of the world economy after the Six Day War is that human-labor is highly valued. Upon demand and with enough money, nearly anything consumer good can be crafted or prepared on-demand. With the right recipes, schematics, or code-bases available for download and access; any number of unique combinations can be generated. This includes weapons, clothing, vehicles, houses, and foods. It also includes the fabrication of automatons which can serve as abiding gardeners, teachers, mentors, friends, children, and seedier stuff like “pleasure bots”.

However, this does not satisfy those with wealth or power. Hand-crafted products are highly valued after the Six Day War. Antiques from prior to the War are even more valued. The greatest value though comes from “Kept Labor”; humans which have either volunteered to be slaves of a “house,  or humans which have been captured in war, stolen from their homes, or bred as chattle and then trained. Be it trained as artisans, as wait-staff in a manor, or as bodyguards; it is slavery regardless of how the accounting is performed.

In WPC Hostile nations, the majority are free, but a large number are enslaved. In WPC Enemy nations, the majority of the citizens are enslaved with very few free. This is nearly reminiscent of ancient Sparta where out of 10 persons, 9 were slaves or second-class citizens.

Even within the NWCN, a member nation such as Inguria will have more than a handful of slaves unknown to the remainder of the public, hidden in a millionaire’s or billionaire’s estate. And some small portion of these are willing volunteers; indebted by honor or some sense of duty, not fully aware of the harsh mistake they’ve made. 



The focus of SH44SER is not supposed to be about police procedurals, or political drama, but it does attempt to provide a model for the dynamic between heroes and villains. In most sessions, the key villain will be an NPC controlled by the Referee. In some games, the Referee could allow that a villain or villain organization generates most of the crime encountered.  Evidence gathering, Forensics; these are meant to determine the scale of the crime. Notes should be kept as reference, but actual forensic procedure is not necessary to play this game.

Crimes are meant to be interconnected and are supposed to eventually lead to an Epic Nemesis. The Referee should think of crimes as having motivations tied to an overarching goal, with many incidental crimes along the way. The overarching goal could be related to acquiring technology, kidnapping scientists, money; etc with the purpose to build or fund an even bigger weapon, more powerful technology, etc.


As fantastic as the idea of super-powered crimefighters and criminals may be, the key idea regarding combat in SH44SER is that it is exacting and deadly. Some effort has been placed to mimic the 1977 version of the rules in which a well-placed bullet or laser-beam shot can cripple a character and put them “out of the action”. It is unlikely that a bare-fisted street-level hero known for fighting gangsters with “ninja-like” skills will be able to punch and knock-out a “cosmic level” villain or receive one attack in return and survive.

In the world on 2044, the good-guys and the bad-guys recognize this and plan accordingly. Some will hide and send “minions” into battle for them. Others will “tank up” and wear heavy armor and carry explosives to neutralize dozens of opponents at a time. Many will just talk aggressively but act disinterested in hand-to-hand fighting. For the most part, combatants will take time and analyze the opponent’s weaknesses and attempt to exploit that. Often, for the villains,  winning a confrontation requires cheating and dirty fighting tricks. There are a few crazy, selfless, courageous souls that will stride into combat anyhow and do things for honor, for ideals, and for the safety of others, damn themselves.

Those are the superheroes.


“We stand upon the shoulders of giants.”
Within SH44SER, technology is something which is accomplished through research, trial, and error. Much like the airplane or motorcar, there will likely be more than one inventor which comes up with the new idea. Usually the first implementation of any new technology is inefficient, substandard, or even risky to use. Brazen scientists and engineers, or those of brazen research facilities, will risk the lives of others (“volunteers”) and collect data for improvement. Eventually there will be espionage; competitors that want the new technology will steal it, or that already have an equivalent but want to remove any challengers. There might even be betrayal, a lead scientist or engineer will take the credit and glory from another or an entire group of inventors, for themselves. Ultimately, should the technology be beneficial to large number of willful and able people, it will become widespread in its use.

All of these concepts are the basis for how the world of 2044 is shaped by the crazy reality-breaking science; things are invented, ideas are stolen, technology is spread, people die, society changes, rinse and repeat. As a result, last year’s amazing science-breaking discovery may become next year’s old thing. Science moves on, and future accomplishments are derived from the successes and failures of old accomplishments.


The Referee should try to weave into the stories of SH44SER the concepts of heroism against the odds, courage conquering fear, sacrifice for the well-being of others, faith erasing doubt, and aspirations for hope.

The psyche of mankind is being shattered on a daily basis. The old, the children, and the powerless are all looking for signs, to hope that things will get better and to erase their fears. Religion is a comfort, but so are “icons”; people willing to stand out and make a change for the safety of others and preservation of life, especially sentient life.

[1] Presume that CRISPR and other technologies for gene-editing are available but limited in effectiveness as a result of the rampant mutations of all life-forms upon the earth.

[2] Information regarding the Six Day War is scarce, but I got more information from Donald Saxman’s interview here;
[3] This section was written before the Information Age, and had “newspaper” in place of “newsfeed”. Originally the rules suggested that a “newspaper” is created for each of the major platforms. The 2019 equivalent, if time and skills are available, would be to build a Web site with information. Maybe using something like Really savvy Referees and players could instead make something like a social media feed such as a twitter, Atom, or RSS feeds. See

By making a list of headlines and perhaps short excerpts from the various papers and distributing them at game-sessions it is possible to maintain a unified game. Newsworthy items may include any suits against superheroes, any duels, deaths, or injuries of heroes. Awards may be given and contests held. In effect, it could become an archive like GDW’s Traveller RICE paper entries as shown here;

The newspapers are also a good place to introduce villains and other non-players characters.  The papers allow the Referee to keep all the players up to date on crime and crime fighters in Inguria. Taking one event and slanting it for the various papers can be amusing and instructive. The papers also contain want ads and personals which allow a superhero to communicate with, or arrange meetings with, other heroes, assistants, etc.: technical services or information may be offered for sale.
Remember that since the papers are public, criminals, reporters, and superhero groupies may answer the ads.

[4] See “Future Shock” by Alvin and Heidi Toffler at

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