History and the Primer
The Hammerfall (Eshaton)
Digenesis is the story of mankind’s struggle in the wake of Earth’s greatest catastrophe: a rain of massive asteroids in 2073 known as the Hammerfall (also called the Eshaton, ee-shay-tun): the day when fire rained from the Heavens, burning the land. The planet trembled, heaving in pain like a feverish person in agony. And though the Earth endured, it was forever changed. When the Hammer fell and the Bygone people perished, they took with them ten thousand years of culture. The survivors scavenged and fought for food and clean water. Empty-eyed, they stared at the rotting vehicles of their ancestors, wandering aimlessly through the ruins of a once great civilization.
The Ice Age
The years of darkness demanded their tribute. Frigid winds raged across the burned-out ruins. Snow lay thick on the ravaged streets. An unending winter—an ice age—had begun.
The polar caps expanded, stealing the oceans’ water and piling it into towering, monolithic glaciers. Northern Europe suffocated beneath the snow. The water table sank, and the seas receded. The coastal ruins were suddenly miles away from the beaches that had once supplied them with so much wealth and affluence.
Africa suffered less from the cold, although its climate was radically cooled as well. The edges of the dead Sahara did recede as heavy rains fell for decades, but even after centuries the sands remain largely barren.
The robust planet naturally sought to heal itself; the dirt and ash blasted high into the atmosphere by the asteroids (the trigger for the new ice age) eventually fell back to earth, trapped in raindrops or snow and absorbed by the oceans. The cold abated and the spell was broken.
Civilization was a withered plant, yet over and over again new buds formed across the wastelands. Some were snubbed out almost as soon as they formed while others covered the land like tangled weeds. Mankind was not going to give up so easily.
Time went on. The smoke over the large craters subsided, and the people built a new culture around their lives. Yet it was shaky, with few nails to hold it together. Now and then a community collapsed, but its raw materials found use in other places. Civilization was a patchwork of scavenged detritus, but nonetheless new life emerged after years of descent.
In Europe, the people are finally emerging from a dark age that spanned centuries, perhaps half a millennium; meanwhile, a new threat to mankind has emerged. Within the asteroids came a new and sinister life form that attacks the Earth and its creatures: the Primer.
The year now is uncertain, although some put it to be 2595. Europe is splintered into multiple regions edgeing towards nation-hood.
Lodged with the iron and ice hearts of some of the asteroids was life, after a sort. For centuries it lay dormant in the impact craters, gradually emerging first in the heart of Africa, then from the European craters. The Primer, (also called the Foulness) is an invasive, symbiotic, DNA-mutating life-force of a wholly unknown type. No one is certain if it has any sort of intelligence, or is simply a plant of vast complexity, but what is certain is that eventually either the Primer will be eradicated, or all other life on Earth will die.
Spore Fields: The Primer’s ultimate power: the focal points of Foulness known as spore fields. The term ‘spore’ is a misnomer; in the early emergence of the Primer clouds of red dust were mistaken for spores; in reality, it was iron dust from the asteroids, tainted with rust, kicked into the air by the cold northern winds. The Primer in Europe is more of a ground creeper, but the name stuck. Spore fields are hundreds of yards across, and expand slowly but steadily, yards each year.
Mother Spore Fields: These are the five original fields, the impact craters of the asteroids which delivered the possible doom of Mankind. They are miles across, and expand much more rapidly if left unchecked.
Psychonami: (psycho-nah-meee) Occasionally children born near the impact craters are found to be Psychonami, sociopathic beings able to withstand most climate conditions and displaying terrible powers. Most are killed in infancy, but a few are protected by their families until they are able to fend for themselves and reach the spore fields.
Psychonami crawl through the debris and septic waste of the mother spore fields (the actual impact craters), and perform insane rituals, screaming, humming, and shaking uncontrollably until they are transformed into psychonauts, the adult stage of their development, and stalk out into the world to spread death and destruction.
Psychonauts: There are five types of Psychonauts. Psychonauts never stop growing in power and abilities; their lifespans are uncertain as violence tends to claim most. Illustrations are in the Art Folder.
Biokinetik: (bio-kinetic) are massive war-creatures, served by scorpions, spiders, and insects. They originate in the Pandora Crater (near Warsaw) in Pollen.
Dushani: (doo-shan-ee) The Dushani are masters of sound, using terrible wailing ‘songs’ to inflict harm. They are ambushers, attacking out of the night, and concentrating upon travelers or isolated buildings. They often have spore beasts and USUD drones in attendance. They originate in the USUD Crater (Balkans).
Pregnoctic: (pre-nock-tick) Strange, inhuman creatures, the Pregnoctics are masters of what appears to be a short-ranged form of teleportation; they also leap like a flea. They appear to have powers of the mind, able to daze, stun, or deceive their foes. They originate in the Mirar Crater.
Pheromancer: Scent glands coat the body of the Pheromancer, ranging in size from a fingertip to a soccer ball, turning them into biochemical warfare factories. Pheromancers do battle with pungent fumes, insect swarms, and Lepros followers. Unique among their kind, advanced Pheromancer set their followers to building stone hives known as ziggurats. They originate from the Souffrance Crater in Franka (France).
Psychokinetiks: Twisted mutants, these have the ability to control matter with their minds. They can levitate objects, create force fields around themselves, or ignite materials simply through the power of thought. They originate from the Nox crater in Purgare, and often have spore drones in attendance.
Psychovors: While parts of Europe were lost to the Foulness, Africa was affected differently but no less dangerously. Instead of creating spore fields, the Primer seems to have concentrated on different ways of spreading. Decades ago, in the deserted land along the equator, an evolution began: foul cancers blossomed on plants and trees. The resulting vegetation was different; they were grotesquely contorted and genetically reprogrammed with new characteristics so that only their rough outer structure resembled their predecessors. This was the genesis of the psychovors.
They intoxicate man, animal, and earthly vegetation with their tempting scents, prick them with their thorns, and shoot barbed spores at them. They penetrate every pore and inject strange gene-sequences into their victims. Afflicted creatures are eaten from the inside out by a fast-growing cancer.
Spore Beasts: (See illusion in Art Folder) Terrible humanoid creatures of noteworthy ferocity, the spore beasts lair underground and emerge to raid during the hours of darkness. Their behavior confirms a grotesque intelligence that seems particularly interested in killing. Their hate is inexplicable; spore beasts murder out of pure maliciousness. It is as though they have a score to settle with humanity. It is not clear if these are mutated Humans or something else.
Spore Drones: (See illusion in Art Folder) Hideously mutated Humans who serve Psychokinetiks. It is unclear how Humans come to be drones.
Burn: A Mother Spore Field’s bloom gives birth to cusps of a dusty purple. The outer skin is tough, so the cusps can be plucked without bursting. Within, they carry the seed for forcing Mankind under The Primer’s spell. Those who ingest the mother spores are hurtled onto a journey beyond human comprehension. They traverse spheres of cascading color, and find themselves orbiting a resplendent sun made of the basest and purest emotion. Cold suddenly becomes bearable. Hunger is just a dying star within the brain’s neuron galaxy.
Burn is usually a reddish powder which is smoked or snorted (the latter is preferred); addicts claim they can identify which crater the drug hails from; the cycle of an addiction is not much more than 2-4 years on the average, from first use of Burn to life as a Lepros (leap-rose, see Art file), or a USUD drone, a wandering, semi-mindless killer seeking out a Psychonaut to serve.
Lepros and USUD drones develop a red growth on their chests known as a chakra; this is the Primer growths that began in the lungs growing to the surface. The interesting thing is that chakra always form into one of five patterns, depending upon the crater/mother spore field the Burn came from. Consistent patterns crop up frequently in association with Primer.
A kilo of uncut Burn is worth around 2000 CD wholesale. The Apocalyptics control the produiction nof Burn and nearly all of its distribution.
Primer Fauna: The Stokov Scorpion, Husk Spiders, Rift Centipedes, and flying leeches are just some of the creatures the Primer has developed to harry mankind.