The Bay City Boys, 1939 -- GameMaster's Reference
Copyright © 1994 Chris Gonnerman
Distributed under the
Open Content License version 1.0
The Nature of Magic
As described in the
Magic rules, there are three sources of magic energy. One source,
Universal Energy, is of primary importance to understanding much of
infuses all matter in the universe. However, as spells are cast
using this power, the amount in the local area is slowly but
inevitably diminished. Some of the earliest spell casters did not
understand this, leading to their eventual
Life creates and
uses magical energy all the time. Even the lowliest plants, even
bacteria, create magical energy in small amounts. When a life form
dies, the energy stored within it becomes Universal in nature,
adding slightly to the magical field of the local
means that rain forests normally have the most Universal energy,
while deserts have the least. Areas inhabited by Man also may be
low in this energy, as numerous human spellcasters in an area
deplete the local magic level rapidly.
An area depleted by
spellcasting may require years, even centuries, to
The Genesis of Life in the Solar System
The earliest life
forms on Earth were anaerobic (non-oxygen using) in nature. In that
time, Earth had a carbon dioxide atmosphere. Their entire ecology
was based on random, unstable chemical interactions. Despite their
simple biology, intelligent life developed. To survive in their
unstable world, these first Earthlings lived near the seashores,
building cities that extended into the water.
Venus evolved like
Earth, but never developed intelligent life. On Mars, different
circumstances resulted in the development of oxygen-producing life
(algae) which in turn forced the development of oxygen-using life.
Intelligence also developed on Mars.
Mars was always a
harsher world than Earth, and it was doomed to die by its small
mass. Eventually, the atmosphere and water would evaporate into
space. When the Martians reached a level of science that allowed
them to understand this, they looked to their neighbor
Venus was too hot
for the Martians to survive there, but Earth could be tolerated.
The Martians planned the devastation of Earthlife by simple seeding
of algae. Oxygen would, after all, kill Earthlife. A cloud of small
missiles filled with algae was hurled at Earth.
Earthlings (called Cthonians by later Earthly civilizations) were
masters of magic at this time, and learned of the impending doom. A
conclave of the most powerful magicians of Earth cast a Deathcurse
of unbelievable power, using the entire energy of the world, to
slay the Martians.
accelerated the doom of Mars, blowing away the atmosphere. A
billion Martians died. Earth, meanwhile, underwent a slow and
painful death, choked by a green scum they could not fully
Slowly, over a
billion years, life was reborn on Earth. This new aerobic Earthlife
was robust, and claimed first the oceans, then the land, and
finally the air of Earth. Eventually, Man arose.
Some of the
missiles aimed at Earth missed. One, at least, found its way to
Venus, slaying the anaerobic life there before intelligence could
arise. As on Earth, new life arose on Venus.
On Mars, a few
Martians survived in underground bunkers. Over time they expanded
their bunkers into underground cities. A few of them, angry over
their loss, proceeded to study the Deathcurse, and came for the
first time to understand magic. Mars at that time had much
Universal energy left, as no Martian spellcasters had ever
sorcerors decided on a bold plan. They cast a spell of surpassing
power, the second most powerful ever cast in the solar system, to
reclaim the lost atmosphere of Mars. The spell used much of the
accumulated Universal energy of Mars in the casting, and in
maintaining the atmosphere all remaining power is constantly used. Mars
therefore has no usable Universal energy except in a few scattered
The Surviving Cthonians
A few of the
Cthonians survived the green doom. Some moved to the Moon, where
they found a thin but acceptable atmosphere. They built underground
dwellings, compressed the thin air, and made themselves a new
moved underground on Earth, creating "cleansed" habitats free of
intelligence eventually arose. In the early days the Earth was rich
with Universal energy, and the first magicians behaved like
Mediterranean a civilization arose centered around an island called
Atlantis. The island was unusually rich in Universal energy, and
magicians congregated there. Atlantis became
When the island was
shaken by earthquakes, the King of Atlantis called the most
powerful of the magicians before him, charging them with the
protection of the island. They learned from their divinations that
the island would eventually explode from volcanic pressure. To
protect the island, they called a conclave to cast a spell of great
power. This spell contained the volcanic pressure, thus protecting
The magicians of
Atlantis failed in two ways. First, they did not understand the
limited nature of Universal energy. Eventually, the power for the
spell would be depleted. Further, they did not realize that the
volcanic pressure, bottled up and given nowhere to go, would
increase. This constantly increased the amount of Universal energy
the spell required to contain the pressure.
power was exhausted. The volcanic forces, freed after over a year
of containment, destroyed the island so thoroughly that no trace of
it survived. Only the legends were left.
In Europe before
the rise of the Roman Empire there appeared a race of humans,
undistiguished in any way except for their mastery of magic. They
called themselves the Sidhe (she), but many other humans considered
them gods. The Sidhe understood the limited nature of Universal
energy, and so conserved it, performing great magics only when
necessary. The Sidhe commonly lived far apart from each other, and
from other humans, so that each would have sufficient magical
energy for his or her own uses.
A wizard of the
Sidhe called Math proposed a radical solution to the limited energy
available. He planned the construction of a network of magical
"conduits" to collect Universal energy where it is produced or
released (such as rain forests and volcanos) and distribute the
power to Sidhe settlements. In order to be stable, such a network
would have to be worldwide; so Math and his apprentices set out by
ship to circumnavigate the world.
required seventy-seven years to complete. When it was done, the
worldwide net of magical force lines supplied the Sidhe with the
nearly limitless power they desired.
This network became
known to other magicians, for Math had not tried to conceal it. Not
knowing the source of the lines, the other magicians gave them the
name "Ley lines" for their own reasons. Anywhere a line passes by,
the local magic is effectively increased. At points where three or
more branches connect, the increase is proportionately
After his success
on Earth, Math went on to construct "Ley Lines" on the moon and
The Sidhe, made
nearly immortal by their magics, withdrew from the world. Some even
travelled to other dimensions, or to the moon, or to Venus to live.
They reproduce only to replace those who die, and as few ever die,
few ever are born. Math, in particular, still lives, residing in a
castle in a crater near the moon's north pole. His crater has
atmosphere and comfortable temperature, supported by a
In the lands of North and South America, great civilizations arose. Of
particular interest are the Toltecs of the lands later to be known as Mexico and
Central America. The Toltecs were a prosperous people, led by wise elder
wizards. They understood the nature of magic, and knew of the Sidhe. When Math
built the Ley Lines, the Toltecs welcomed him and his developments.
Changes in the
climate of the Earth caused the Toltec lands to become less
fertile. Famine became imminent in many areas. To prevent this, the
Toltec leaders formed a plan to colonize Venus. They built a large
sorceror's gate on the lower slope of a remote volcano, and invited
The colony was more
successful than the Toltec leaders expected. Over three-quarters of
the Toltec people emmigrated to Venus. Effectively, the entire
Toltec nation moved.
The nearly deserted
lands of the Toltecs eventually were repopulated by other native
peoples. The remaining Toltecs blended with these new settlers,
leaving only legends of the great Toltec nation.
The Mayan empire
arose in place of the Toltecs. They were more interested in
commerce and war than the Toltecs, and spent less time studying
magic. Still, they had wise magicians among them who made great
One Mayan magician
discovered the Toltec gate to Venus. Although the gate, made of
wood, had long since decayed beyond usability, he learned enough
from it to understand how to build another. The Mayans at that time
were in the midst of a civil war, and the beleagered king of the
Mayans saw a gate to a fertile, basically uninhabited land as an
excellent means of escape for his loyal followers and himself. So,
the Mayan king ordered a gate made. The Mayan gate was built inside
a tomb, disguised as a pair of decorative pillars. It opened on a
place on Venus far from the Toltec lands.
The Mayan king and his followers escaped through the gate... an entire city
simply disappeared. The rebels never learned where the loyalists went.
After this the Mayan empire, kingless and in disarray, simply disappeared.
After the Mayans came the Aztecs. They also built a mighty empire, but they knew
little magic (as the Aztec capitol was far from any Ley Lines, little energy was
available). When the Spanish came the Aztecs were no match for them.
One group of Aztecs, led by a prince, entered an abandoned Mayan city while
fleeing a Spanish legion. Seeking a place to make their last stand, they entered
a tomb. Among the Aztecs was a priest with the power of second sight. He
recognized the sorceror's gate inside the tomb, and discovered how to activate
it. Like the Mayans, the Aztec warriors simply disappeared.
In the intervening years, the Mayan settlers of Venus had spread far and wide
over an empty continent. All the Mayan cities were on good terms, and so were
unready for war.
The Aztec warriors captured a Mayan village. With that toehold, the prince sent
a messenger back to Earth to invite other Aztec warriors to join them. Nearly a
thousand warriors came, and they made war against the Mayans.
The Aztecs slew any Mayan sorcerors they found, and all Mayan warriors. The
remaining men were enslaved, and the Aztecs took the Mayan women as slaves as
well, dividing them up into harems for each Aztec warrior. The Mayan slave men
were allowed only the least desirable women for wives, and their children were
summarily sacrificed if they were in any way unsuitable for slavery. True Aztec
women were the "chief wives" to their warrior husbands, and were responsible for
training the half-Aztec children to scorn their Mayan mothers.
A three-tiered social order thus arose. At the bottom were the true-blooded
Mayans, worthy only for slavery. On top were the true-blooded Aztecs, who
considered themselves all noble. In the middle were the half-Aztec, half-Mayans,
who were treated as commoners. A few half-Aztecs would be granted nobility from
time to time (for "actions worthy of the true blood") to foster good relations
between the upper and middle classes.
The Aztec nation of Venus (called "Aztexica" by its inhabitants) considers
anyone with any fractional amount of Aztec blood to be half-Aztec. This means
the offspring of a true-blood and a half-Aztec is supposedly the equal of the
offspring of a half-Aztec and a Mayan slave. In practice, however, those with a
higher percentage of Aztec parentage receive better treatment.
When all was said and done, the Aztecs and the Mayans divided their continent.
An uneasy truce has persisted ever since.
The Gods of the Aztecs and Mayans
Strangely, both the Aztecs and the Mayans revere the same gods. The "gods" of
the Aztecs and Mayans are actually a group of alien creatures from distant
stars. They came to the solar system at the time of the decline of the Toltec
nation, and represented themselves as gods. Their true aims are unknown. It
appears that they come and go from the solar system alone, in groups, and
sometimes all together, such that all, some, or none of them may be around at
any given time.
They live on a station in the asteroid belt when they are not on Earth or Venus.
In the early days they took a hand in many events on Earth, but now rarely
interfere. When they do, it is usually for personal reasons (usually unknown to
anyone else) and their actions will usually completely mystify any witnesses.
These "gods" are as follows:
Quetzalcoatl, God of the Air, Law Giver: This being is chief among the aliens.
He is the Captain of their starship-station. He resembles a winged serpent in
his natural form, but like all the "gods" he can appear as anything he desires.
Camaxtli, God of Fate: Camaxtli appears human, although his eyes are large and
dark and his eye sockets are oddly squared.
Camazotz, the Bat God: This "god" resembles a giant bat. He is the Navigator of
Chalchiuhtlicue, Goddess of Running Water and Love, Goddess of the Jade
Petticoat: This being, believed to be the wife of Tlaloc, appears as a slender
biped with a fish-like face in her normal form. She often appears as an
attractive human woman.
Huhueteotl, God of Fire: This reptilian-appearing being is the Engineer of the
starship-station. He is immune to heat up to nearly 900○F, and often
appears sheathed in flames. He rarely takes any form other than his own.
Huitzilopochtli, God of War: Huitzilopochtli is the Weapons Officer of the
starship-station. He is of the same race as Camaxtli. Huitzilopochtli enjoys
primitive combat, and often appears in battles on the side of his followers. He
always fights well, but does not ensure his side will win; if they are losing
despite his help, he will simply disappear.
Itzamna, God of Medicine: This being is also of the race of Camaxtli. He is the
Ship's Doctor aboard the starship-station. Occasionally he will teach his
followers basic medical techniques disguised as rituals (so they will perform
them carefully). He appears as a homely, toothless old man.
Mictlantecuhtli, God of Death: This "god" has a cadaverous form, with his skin
stretched tightly over his humanlike skeleton. He is the only member of the
alien company who understands magic.
Tezcatlipoca, the Smoking Mirror, God of the Sun and Moon: This being is of the
race of Camaxtli. However, he rarely appears as anything other than a giant bear
or jaguar. He constantly plots a mutiny against Quetzalcoatl, and to that end he
attempts to recruit the other aliens to join him. He is a cruel being, and his
human followers are likewise cruel. The rulers of Aztexica revere this god above
Tlaloc, God of Rain: Tlaloc looks like a heavier version of his "wife"
Chalchiuhtlicue. He also has tusks. Tlaloc is the Life-Support Engineer aboard
Tlazolteotl, Goddess of Vice: This "god" is of the race of Camaxtli. She appears
most commonly as a very beautiful woman, and has the power to influence the
emotions of humans at will. She is a Xenopologist aboard the starship-station,
but her studies of humankind are more "hands-on" than one might expect.
Xochipilli, God of Gambling and Chance, Lord of Flowers: This alien is also of
the race of Camaxtli. He is a Xenobiologist aboard the starship-station, but is
more interested in his hobby of gambling with humans. He commonly appears as a
handsome, affluent young man, so that he can indulge his hobby.
The Modern Earth
It's 1939. World War II has just begun in Europe, with the invasion of Poland by
Germany and of Albania by Italy. The Spanish Civil War just ended, and the
Soviet Union has invaded Finland.
The world, it seems, is in a mess. But this is only what the common people know.
Much more is going on than appears to be.
For instance, war has also broken out again on Venus. In 1937 forces from Maya
attacked Aztexica, and for the first time appear to be winning. Now the Aztecs
are worried. Aztec agents have been sent back thru the gate to Earth to seek
support against the Mayans.
The Aztecs have found the Nazis. Adolph Hitler, long known to believe in the
supernatural, has made a deal with the Aztecs. He will trade them German-made
firearms for items of magic. The Aztecs are not very skilled with magic, but
they have many items captured from the Mayans to trade for weapons. The Nazis
will trade a truckload of guns and ammunition for even a single scrying mirror,
and the Aztecs are certain that only a few truckloads of firearms will be needed
to drive back, and perhaps totally vanquish, the Mayan invaders.
On Mars, a group of Martians who call themselves the "Original Blood of Mars"
have declared war on an enclave of Cthonian survivors on the Moon. The "Original
Blood" Martians have the same genetics as their ancestors of one billion years
ago, for they worship their ancestry. Any mutation or evolution has been stamped
The Cthonians on the Moon are the decendants of a group of Cthonians rescued by
a Cthonian wizard before the Green Doom descended on Earth. Unlike the "Original
Blood" they have changed, both thru evolution and genetic manipulation. They
have pursued scientific knowledge since their defeat by science at the hands of
the Martians, and so they have combined superscience and magic to battle the
However, the Cthonians must protect their limited Lunar environment. They live
in caverns built well below the Lunar surface, and have only a small amount of
their peculiar air and algae-free water. The Martians know this, and are
attempting to undermine the Cthonian life-support.
In the eons following the Deathcurse of Mars, many Martian groups splintered
away from the survivors. One nation used genetic engineering to create a race of
symbiont warriors consisting of a brain-creature riding a body-creature. This
invention allowed the knowledge of a trained warrior to survive the death of the
body. The brain-creature has four small legs, one eye, and an "umbilical" organ
that attaches to a receptacle in the body-creature. The "umbilical" has nervous
and circulatory connections, so that the body-creature provides all nourishment
to the brain-creature, and the brain-creature completely controls and senses
thru the body-creature. Without a rider, the body has only rudimentary functions
available. Typically, the brain-creature attaches to the back of the
body-creature, so as to be protected.
This proved to be a mistake, as the symbiont warriors rose up after a time and
overthrew their masters. The creator race was used for food by the warriors, who
had no need for slaves or servants. Taking control of their society, the
warriors have been constantly improving themselves and conquering larger and
larger areas of Mars. Soon they plan to assault Earth and Venus as well.
The Bay City Boys, 1939 -- GameMaster's Reference
Last Updated 07/18/2005