The Battlechimp takes 69!

By Kevin Mowery.


I asked recently about various critical shifts that people had encountered or created, and got back some nifty responses. I was curious to see how far people had gone with the shifts, to see how far out there I was with this one.

It hasn't been used in a game, but it's something I got to thinking about the other night, and I couldn't stop thinking about it until I'd managed to work it into Feng Shui. The creation of the critical shift and figuring out how to fix it could turn into a rather lengthy campaign. Anyway, this is horribly long, so I'll just get right to the meat of the matter.


On the advice of a scientist colleague in the Jammer Underground, Battlechimp Potempkin and his cyber-apes worked in the 1850 juncture to seize those Feng Shui sites which the Ascended did not already control. Those sites were mostly in the unexplored portions of the world--Africa, South America, Antarctica. Battlechimp Potempkin and his apes were reluctant to seize and control Feng Shui sites rather than just blowing them up, but the scientist explained that this was only stage one of a plan which would culminate in the next juncture.

The change in the balance of power in 1850 resulted in strange changes in the workings of the world. The Jammers and the Ascended had the same goals on the surface, and with the amount of magic in the world dropping only slightly faster than the Ascended had planned for, the Ascended took little notice. In the 1930s, a team of Ascended scientists wondered why those Feng Shui sites not controlled by the Ascended still seemed to be working in the manner that the Ascended wished. They mounted an expeditiion into the Congo, the secret headquarters of the Jammers, and were killed. The upper orders of the Lodge decided that the unexplored areas were too dangerous to go charging into without a careful plan, and decided not to bother with them unless things started going against them.

In the meantime, those cyberapes left alone to control the Feng Shui sites in the years without Netherworld junctures, and without the guidance of the Battlechimp, hit upon a plan of their own. They knew that their cybernetic implants would gradually break down, and that the Ascended would move in. Using the genetic science of 2056, aided by the power of the Feng Shui sites, they began to force the evolution of the apes around them.

In the contemporary juncture, the magic and chi forces in the world were lowered even beyond the levels of the Ascended-controlled juncture. Battlechimp arrived in the juncture and found that his original operatives had died, but that their descendants, several races of half-human apes, had held onto the Feng Shui sites he had siezed in 1850. It was then that the Battlechimp understood the rest of the plan: the juncture of the Architects was created by the hand of man. He would change the balance of power and put the world in control of the apes. He arranged for the half-human apes, raised as loyal Jammers, to be discovered. The "missing links" were taken all over the world to be studied. Six months later, the apes moved as one, making surprise raids on Ascended Feng Shui sites throughout the world, attacking through Netherworld passageways and from the labs and zoos in which they were being held for study.

In the chaos that followed, the Ascended and the handful of Dragons fought against the Jammers all over the world, while the Hand fought them in China (one wit in the lower eschelons of the Hand noted that they didn't care which group of apes controlled the rest of the world, as long as the Hand controlled China). The Architects were reduced to a minor faction in the 2056 juncture, which was ruled by a human-ape coalition after a lengthy war.

The Architects were still in existence, though, and there were enough of them who had been through the Netherworld that they remembered when they ruled the world. They organized a squad of Innerwalkers to travel back to 1850 and retake those sites which had been taken by the Jammers. Apes within the government caught wind of the Buro's plan and warned the Battlechimp.

Battlechimp Potempkin moved swiftly, taking his Jammers back into the 69 juncture to change things yet again. He seized those sites he had orignally taken in 1850, and gradually swept out of the jungles and mountains to take even more, and destroy others. Eventually, the Jammers had managed to change history yet again, and reduced the Chi energy of the world such that the Servants of the Lotus found their magic failing them. Humans were nearly exterminated, but the Battlechimp intervened. The humans could live, as long as their numbers were kept under control and they were never again allowed into power.

The techniques which had created the half-apes in the 1850 juncture were used in the 69 juncture, and history was changed again. After the apes had taken total control of the world, they began a campaign of destroying all the Feng Shui sites they had taken.

69 AD

The apes are waging war against the humans all over the world. The supertech of the Jammers, though, is proving to be more than a match for the sorcery of the humans. The Roman Empire falls swiftly and it is only a matter of time before China and the civilizations in the Americas fall. The Lotus and the Dragons are the only resistance to the Jammers native to the timeline.

After the victory of the Jammers, the Battlechimp makes laws prohibiting certain activities among the apes including the practice of magic, the study of fu powers, and the sciences of cybernetics and genetic manipulation.

1850 AD

The apes rule the world. Ape technology is behind human technology in many respects, thanks to the teachings of the Battlechimp and a nature-oriented religion. The apes do have guns that are on a par with the human guns of the era, although they also carry melee weapons and primitive missile weapons. Science among the apes tends to be trial-and-error, although a form of medicine which is a hybrid between human technique and primitive herbal cures functions quite well. Most ape villages have a social structure somewhere between that of a medieval village and a frontier town of 19th Century America.

There is no over-reaching ape society, with each village or group of villages operating under its own government. Any government is against the teachings of the Battlechimp, but the standard interpretation of the Battlechimp's philosophy is that government should be as small as possible (no government is an ideal which is something to strive for.

Humans run wild in the lands between the ape villages. Occasionally some are captured and brought into towns and taught to live among the apes. These tame humans are second-class citizens; they aren't slaves, because that would violate the Battlechimp's teaching, but they aren't allowed to participate in government or to own property. Occasionally, a human servant will escape and head back into the wilds. Although the apes try to recover these servants, they often fail, and the idea of a band of "smart" humans getting together frightens most apes who think about it. Currently, humans are at a stone age level of technology, slowly being raised by innerwalkers, sympathizers among the apes, and escaped "tame" humans.

There are dissidents among the apes as well. A few apes have found out about the Netherworld on their own and have discovered all those things that the Battlechimp taught them not to have any dealings with. An secret society known as the Lorefinders or the Heretics, depending on who is referring to them, teaches magic, fu powers, and human science to its members. Few apes and fewer humans know of the existence of the Lorefinders. Lorefinder geomancers have discovered recently that the chi flow of the world was not destroyed in 69 AD, only that the "pooling" effect of Feng Shui sites was, and that it has begun to carve new Feng Shui sites. They are trying to gain control of the sites without alerting mainstream ape society, which would happily burn any Feng Shui sites it found.


The ape society of 1850, which was so close to the Battlechimp's dream, has fallen. Human groups from the Netherworld and the Lorefinders engaged in a series of battles to control the few Feng Shui sites available. The world is divided into warring states of apes and men. The apes who ruled the world a short time ago have had their fortunes reversed. The "wild" humans and the Lorefinders got the help of various Netherworld factions.

Because there are too few Feng Shui sites and too many equally-powerful factions for any one group to gain control, nearly anything is possible in this juncture. The remnants of the Lotus have a dark empire of sorcerors, the Guiding Hand has its own realm where it holds sway. The Dragons rule several independent city-states. Each of the Four Monarchs has a kingdom on Earth, with the Ice Queen's kingdom allied to the Dragons. The Ascended are horribly disorganized(there were always Transformed Animals among the humans, but they never organized, and the few who managed to survive in the Netherworld long enough to weather the critical shift are trying to track down their former colleagues in the new junctures. The only faction to fare worse than the Ascended was the Architects. The vast majority of their innerwalker agents were abominations and monster hunters. When the upper levels disappeared, the two groups turned on each other. Members of either group can be found working as mercenaries for nearly any government. The Jammers are trying to destroy the whole mess.

2056 AD

All of the factions in the previous juncture were fairly equally matched. No one group could gain an advantage, and the wars escalated. Eventually things got too hot and the Dragons and the Ice Queen fled back into the Netherworld as the various magical and scientific factions aligned against each other and engaged in an armageddon battle. It has been 25 years since that battle, and the world is covered with the ruins of that battle.

Both apes and men scrabble through the ruins. Most of the world is a wasteland, and the inhabitable sections are controlled by warlords of all stripes. Martial artists, sorcerors, cyborgs, and gunslingers of both species are common, and demons run free across the surface of the earth. The remaining three Monarchs on the earth hold onto the only large kingdoms, and wage war on each other when their paths cross. The Dragons and the Ice Queen are trying to rebuild society, while the bare remnants of the other factions struggle to rebuild themselves.

Apes as Player Characters

Inevitably, someone in the group will decide that they want to play an Ape instead of a human. The background as given keeps this from becoming ridiculously unbalancing (real apes are physically far superior to humans, so giving them human intelligence would make them way too powerful). The genetic manipulation of the Jammers in the 1850 and later in the 69 junctures gave the apes human attributes, like opposable thumbs, higher intelligence, the capability for speech, and a more upright stance, but reduced their natural abilities as a consequence.

Apes can be any nearly archetype. The process of turning a human archetype into an Ape is simple. The player merely decides which type of Ape they wish to be, and applies the appropriate attribute modifiers. Info skills will also need to be changed to reflect a simian upbringing.

Certain archetypes are highly inappropriate for certain junctures, and these don't necessarily correspond to the junctures in which they'd be inappropriate for human characters prior to the critical shift. In the 1850 juncture, any archetype which has fu schticks or sorcery is possible, but having these schticks is highly criminal in ape society.

Ape Attribute Modifiers
Chimpanzee No modifiers
Gorilla +2 Strength, -2 Dexterity
Orangutan +1 Strength, +1 Intelligence, -1 Dexterity, -1 Spd
Monkey (see note) +1 Reflexes, +1 Agility (on top of that), -1 Body, -1 Willpower

Note: I know monkeys aren't apes, and I know there are many types of monkey. I'm just lumping them into a generic Monkey for convenience.

When adding attribute modifiers, any modifier which would take an attribute over the human maximum for a given archetype is halved, rounded down. For instance, a Gorilla Big Bruiser would get a +2 to strength, but the archetype is already at its maximum, so the benefit is reduced to a +1. An Orangutan Big Bruiser, with only a +1 strength would lose the bonus altogether.

Archetype Species Juncture
Abomination Monster Netherworld
Big Bruiser Human, Ape Any
Cyborg Human, Ape Contemporary, 2056
Everyman Hero Human, Ape Any
Ex-Special Forces Human, Ape Any
Gambler Human Any
Ape 1850, Contemporary, 2056
Ghost Human, Ape 69, Contemporary, 2056
Journalist Human Contemporary, 2056
Ape 1850, Contemporary, 2056
Karate Cop Human, Ape Any
Killer Human, Ape Any
Magic Cop Human, Ape Contemporary, 2056
Martial Artist Human Any
Ape 1850, Contemporary, 2056
Masked Avenger Human Any
Ape 1850, Contemporary, 2056
Maverick Cop Human, Ape Any
Medic Human, Ape Any
Monster Hunter Human, Ape Netherworld
Ninja Human, Ape Any
Old Master Human Any
Ape Contemporary, 2056
Private Investigator Human 69, Contemporary, 2056
Ape 1850, Contemporary, 2056
Sorceror Human 69, Contemporary, 2056
Ape 1850, Contemporary, 2056
Spy Human, Ape Any
Supernatural Creature Monster 69, 2056
Techie Human Contemporary, 2056
Ape 1850, Contemporary, 2056
Thief Human, Ape Any
Transformed Animal Human Any

Sorcery Modifiers by Juncture

Juncture Modifiers
69 AD +1
1850 -3
Contemporary -1
2056 0

Last modified: April 4, 1997; please send comments to