INTRODUCTIONIn the very near future, a paradigm shift of new technological advancements has come about nigh-miraculously by a handful of Corporations. These advancements include austere space colonies and giant robots known as Golem, piloted by special agents of the Corporations— the Nazarites.Nazarite Contracts and consumption of The Wyrm Shamir Symbionts bind Nazarites to their Corporation. In addition to piloting Golem, Nazarites gain supernatural powers, not the least of which is Gilgul, the ability to transmigrate to and from the material world.The Cosmic Ocean Tehom, an ethereal (meta)physical space, presses against the brane of the material world. Alien beings known as The Cyblessed have secretly recruited the Corporations of Earth, using them as proxies to enact Tikkun Olam, The Mending of the World. Or so it would seem, though one may question the veracity of empowering Corporations to solve the world’s problems.The work of the Nazarites includes protecting Earth and the space colonies from the mysterious invaders known as the Amelikites, exploring Tehom and carrying out tasks assigned by the Corporations or their masters The Cyblessed, fighting Kaiju and Dybbuk, putting out fires (literally and figuratively), and whatever else yields profit for the Corporations.Each Nazarite has their own reasons for taking their Nazarite Vows. Wealth and power, privilege; a steady paycheck, security; a noble cause. Regardless, this is not a game about resistance, but about recognizing one's privilege and complicity in a broken system and coming to terms with it, or the enormity of defying it if one deems they must.But remember, your true goal is still Tikkun Olam; to mend the world. Enjoy the benefits of your Corporate position, you deserve it, but don’t get too caught up in the comfort and convenience, or else your Nazarite Vows will attach you to the material world, burying you deeper and deeper until you reach Maximum Recursion Depth.
How do the settings of MRD1 and MRD2 relate?MRD1 and MRD2 are intended to take place in the same setting and can be combined mostly as-is, but can also each be played separately. To recapitulate MRD1:The Monkey King overthrew Buddha 1000 years ago, and The Karmic Cycle has been in decay ever since. Rogue Poltergeists escape their sentencing before their reincarnations, barely reined in by Devils of The Numberless Courts of Hell and Poltergeist Investigators, those with Karmic Recurser powers, acting subversively in the face of the failings of the Celestial Bureaucracy.This is important for understanding the existence of Karma and Karmic Attachments in MRD2, but is otherwise not necessary for playing the game.Tehom represents something outside the Karmic Cycle, and so while Nazarites still have Karma and Karmic Attachments, the effect of The Wyrm Shamir Symbionts are that rather than engaging in the cycle of reincarnation, they instead engage in Gilgul, the cycle of Tikkun Olam, to correct the dysfunctions created by The Monkey King. Somewhere in Tehom lies The Unfinished Corner of Creation in which the new world will be built.So in that regard, MRD2 can be used as an extension of the themes of MRD1, reconciling rather than opposing Judaism and Buddhism as each is conceived in MRD.Can MRD1 and MRD2 be combined in play?Absolutely! There are a small number of mechanical differences between Poltergeist Forms and Nazarite Contracts, but they can mostly be converted between each other, and one could easily give Recursers from MRD1 a Golem from MRD2, or a Nazarite and their Golem can be brought to one of the Numberless Courts of Hell from MRD1.
FACTIONSCyblessed: Cyborg aliens from Tehom with technology far exceeding humanity, who, after discovering The Wyrm Shamir Symbionts and developing the practice of Gilgul, have empowered the world’s greatest technology Corporations in recent years to bind Nazarites and enact Tikkun Olam (or so they claim). A beam of light emits in place of a head, containing information like a holographic book. The longer and more sophisticated the words in the book, the more ornate the “cover”, but the text is mostly nonsense. The lowest of their kind are merely single letters who must act in sequence to form words and meaning, yet through such form is greater profundity. Their holy book is the Phosphenomicon and their rose gold god the Phosphenom-Panopticon.Asherah: A superorganism formed from decompositional microbes from an atmospheric sulfur ocean merging with the consciousness of an ancient human who was lost in Tehom. Every member of this hybrid species looks like a slight variation of her, with ochre skin and copper markings. Their Golem look like extrapolations of Venus Figurines. They serve as powerful mediators among the factions in Tehom, and while they do not seek domination, few would dare to cross them.Amalekites and The Cherubim: Society of ancient humans forced into exile, lost in Tehom, who have since developed a technologically advanced, thriving civilization. Their culture and technology is reminiscent of retrofuturistic fascistic evil empires from old scifi anime with elements of occult biblical magitechnological weirdness. They have a beneficial arrangement with The Cherubim, mysterious cyborg Kaiju, some of which are piloted like Golem, or serve as the basis for mass-produced Golem. The Cherubim reveal little, but claim to exist in service of Tikkun Olam. After stealing the secrets of Gilgul from The Cyblessed, the Amalekites seek to reclaim their lost home— Earth, seeing this as crucial to enacting Tikkun Olam.CAMPAIGN SETUP
I'm very loosely using the Cold War as the Campaign Setup, not because I see MRD2 as actually being an exploration of the Cold War in any meaningful sense, but because it's just a good framing device and can be used to explore issues that are still relevant today. Also, these conceptual mappings are very loose; again, should not be taken too literally.
- The major Tech Corporations are the ruling power of a Banana Republic (human civilization on Earth), too small-minded and greedy to understand or care that they’re merely the lapdogs of a much greater force, and willing to let their people be exploited for personal gain. Yet despite this, the Faustian deal also brings new technologies and a genuine opportunity to exist as part of the greater cosmopolitic.
- The Cyblessed are Americans or Western Corporations empowering whichever dictator (CEO) is most pliant, but there is also much diversity and inequality among them, and not all seek to exploit.
- The Amalekites are the Soviet Union— powerful, aggressive, and holding a grudge. Doomed to fail, having allowed themselves to succumb to populist demagogues and other bad actors, but there is still nobility to be found in their ideals.
- The Asherah are a non-governmental and nominally neutral power like The Church; not directly involved in the politics and feign weakness when it suits them, but everyone knows they're not to be trifled with.