What follows is a very brief, work-in-progress overview of the world of Heroes Unlimited in 2055. At the time of writing, I extrapolated on actual news headlines and speculated on potential outcomes. These are by no means the only possible outcome.
North American Federation (NAF)
The North American Federation is made up of the United States, excluding Hawaii, and Canada. During the early 2010s, the U.S. and Canadian governments merged, creating a single nation - the North American Federation (NAF) - much to the annoyance of Quebec. The government soon ran itself into bankruptcy with unbalanced trade agreements and a continued “war” on drugs. When the governments went bankrupt, the corporations stepped in, offering to buy out the government and take over the administrative responsibilities of the nation.
The nation's economy had collapsed and Quebec seized the opportunity to realize its desire to secede. A civil war ensued, led by Quebec's state militia, a military force trained and kept secret for nearly a decade. Unable to afford a war, the North American Federation was forced to recognize Quebec's independence. Relations have been strained since.
The NAF's democratic government was dissolved and replaced with a board of directors elected by stockholders (those wealthy enough to hold a percentage of shares in the megacorp). In essence, the rich ruled. The corporation, commonly referred to as NAF, Inc. (or simply the NAF), spent the first year of its existence crushing competition and balancing trade agreements, in addition to creating additional manufacturing facilities at home to decrease reliance on foreign countries for NAF's welfare.
Twenty-three years later, NAF stands strong as one of the most heavily defended and richest - not to mention socio-economically divergent - countries in the world. Unfortunately, this reputation has come at a cost. Industrial espionage is commonplace, conducted by and against NAF. Research and Development regulations have become less strictly enforced, thus pharmaceutical experimentation on humans has become increasingly common, as have the number of mutations in the human genome, and the risks of using mass market pharmaceuticals has greatly increased. Numerous projects exist in which corporations engage in strategic alliances with NAF to create the perfect soldier.
The course NAF has chosen has strained relations with many former (and some current) allies. The primary source of concern is from the Central American Cartel and the drugs it runs (as well as the constant influx of illegal aliens attempting to escape the totalitarian government).
Adventure Hooks: Terrorist groups are trying to further strain relations with current allies or provoke a war with former allies; industrial espionage between NAF and other corporations, or subsidiaries and other corporations; drug or people smugglers from the CAC.
Central American Cartel (CAC)
The CAC is made up of old Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and the Central American countries. During the increased crackdown on illegal drugs in late 2009 by world governments, the cartels fought back. The largest of the cartels, run by Domingo Santerez, raised an army of drug runners, drug dealers, and other, minor, drug lords. NAF provided troops, training, and aid to countries willing to fight in the war on drugs. Unfortunately, this eventually ran the country into bankruptcy (see the NAF overview above) and the alliance of cartels quickly overran the smaller, less adequately equipped countries.
The CAC is the primary source of the world's drug problems, smuggling hundreds of tons of cocaine, marijuana, and an ever increasing number of highly addictive (not to mention profitable) designer drugs into other countries every year. While the world governments recognize the source of illegal substances, they are also aware of the primary cause of the NAF's bankruptcy. For now they patrol their coasts and prevent as much incoming product as possible. The CAC, though millions lost each year to patrols, is content with the quantity of product that makes it inside other countries and makes trillions in profits each year.
Adventure Hooks: Drug lords always need smugglers and enforcers and the world governments are always looking for a few extra mercenaries in order to conduct strikes with the benefit of anonymity.
European Union (EU)
The European Union is a unified nation composed of the once separate territories that once formed the mercantile alliance by the same name. It has been governed as a democracy, the citizens electing a new Minister Prime every three years. Europe has been a hotbed of political upheaval since renewed fighting in the Balkans during 2001. Conflicts between Yugoslav rebels and ethnic Albanian rebels spilled over the borders into neighboring countries, forcing other countries, especially members of the European Union, to take a more active role in ending the violence.
Other factors also led to the eventual conglomeration of the once-separate European states. The primary factor being Russia's reversion to communism is 2015. Many world leaders saw this as a cause for concern, foreshadowing the beginning of a new Cold War. To build defenses and acquire resources, Germany once again formed an unstoppable war machine in 2017, simultaneously invading Switzerland, Denmark, and France. Thus began the Fourth Reich.
With NAF unable to lend aid to the European countries and many of the other countries vulnerable due to a lack of super-soldiers, Europe was quick to fall. England was the last to surrender in 2030. Ever since, the region has remained relatively stable, with only a few minor rebellious uprisings and more typical foreign relations incidents. The EU has handled the potential for an incident with Russia, known now as the Eurasian Coalition Bloc (CE), by offering troops to aid on the Yugoslav front. While placating the Stokilov Regime, the EU expects betrayal by the CE and has started building its own defenses in preparation for the day it is forced to face the CE in open conflict. Super-soldier research facilities are spread throughout the former countries of Spain, England, and Germany, far away from the nation's borders with the CE.
Adventure Hooks: The player characters are members of one of the few militant rebel groups in the European Union; escaped from one of the experimental research facilities and are hunted by the EU government.
Eurasian Coalition Bloc (CE)
The CE consists of the old Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Poland, Yugoslavia, and all territories of the former Soviet Union. Prior to Russia's Communist revival in 2015, the country had become weak militarily and its citizens impoverished. When Russia reverted, it began to build its financial resources and rebuild its lazy and shattered military. By 2029, Russia had surpassed its previous ground military might, improved its air and naval superiority, and began a campaign to recapture its once lost territories. By the end of 2031, most of Asia had fallen to the war machine. Only Southeast Asia, Asia Minor, and Eastern Europe remained untouched. Not satisfied with holding only its previous territory, the communist regime, under the leadership of Vladimir Stokilov began invading Eastern Europe, overtaking the embattled regions easily.
At present, the regime has a firm hold over its territories with the exception of Yugoslavia, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, and Georgia. Small rebel militias continue to fight against the regime despite the Russian strategic and technological superiority. In Chechnya, the Muslim rebels fight for their freedom and the freedom of all Muslims, having declared a Jihad against the Russian incursion. Yugoslavia and Georgia are both war zones and the fighting occasionally spills over the borders. The EU has promised troops to aid the Russian military in putting down the rebels, provided the EU territory is left untouched and the CE graciously accepted, secretly planning to undermine and overthrow the EU.
Adventure Hooks: The player characters are members of the Muslim rebels in one of the embattled satellite states or Yugoslav rebels in former Yugoslavia; are members of the CE military and charged with putting down the resistance; are charged with conducting reconnaissance and/or sabotage missions against the EU in preparation for the CE's planned invasion of EU territory.
Former Pakistan, India
These two regions have seen, firsthand, the destructive capabilities of jihads and centuries old grudges. Both countries became nuclear powers in the late 1990s and tension was high since that time. In March of 2007 India launched a massive nuclear strike against Pakistani cities and military targets claiming Pakistan had conducted guerilla raids on civilian targets in India. This was the breaking point. Pakistan, denying this, launched an equally destructive counterstrike. The bombardment continued between the two countries until the area was nothing but an irradiated wasteland.
The region remains much the same today. There are rumors, as there always are, that terrorist factions have taken refuge in these wastes, using heavily shielded fortresses as bases of operation. Some Intelligence agencies have confirmed the existence of some structures through satellite surveillance; however, it is impossible to verify occupation due to the high levels of radiation.
Middle East Region
What other land area remains in the Middle East (includes Turkey, the “traditional” Middle East, and several former Soviet puppet states such as Georgia and Uzbekistan) is nothing short of a war zone. Following the deterioration of peace talks between the Israeli and Palestinian governments in late 2009, all Hell broke loose as every nationality and tribal alliance fought to build their own nation. Shelling, explosions, and gunfire are everyday sights and sounds throughout the region. Bands of guerrilla soldiers hunt those of other nationalities in areas claimed by their pseudo-government.
Most of the rest of the world views the Middle East as a no-man's land and most industrialized nations have distanced themselves diplomatically from all of the warring factions. NAF pulled all funding to these nations in 2014, citing “cost inefficiencies”. European countries soon followed suit, completely withdrawing aid by 2023 as they shifted funds toward their war machine. Even China, at least on the surface, ceased selling weapons to the Middle Eastern factions (though some countries question whether China has actually halted sales, particularly of weapons, at all).
The Jihad each tribe carries out against the others has even spilled over into the newly acquired Soviet puppet states (collectively called the Eurasian Coalition Bloc - see below) as Chechen, Uzbekistani, and Georgian Islamic rebels continue to fight against the Soviet incursion. What little progress these rebellions have made will likely be reversed in short order once the CE fully employs the Spliced Human Unit - a powerful force of genetically engineered super-soldiers.
Pacifica is an alliance of the island nations of Australasia and the South Pacific. Each participating nation maintains its own federal government and is free to create its own laws and change the system of government. They are, however, required to contribute soldiers to the alliance's mutual defense. Any state that wishes to remain a member or other countries wishing to become a new member is required to adhere to a strict charter. Though each nation's laws are passed and enforced independently, a law cannot violate the South Pacific Charter of 2018, which was originally conceived by the alliance at its formation. Should a member nation implement a law contrary to the Charter, the nation loses, or is denied, membership until such a time that it has adhered to the charter for ten consecutive years. This can be especially dangerous for smaller nations because they are less able to defend themselves from invasion.
Pacifica has become an area of commerce and diversity through the addition of connecting underwater tunnels - when feasible - and increased ship and air traffic. There are rumors that the alliance also maintains experimental underwater laboratories to facilitate the extraordinary number of super-soldiers in their military (the official line to member nations is that the lab exists for medical and pharmaceutical research). The number of superhuman soldiers together with the contribution of troops in times of war has led to the continued existence of this alliance. Many non-member countries are curious about Pacifica's success, but none have successfully placed intelligence agents at the proper levels of the government due to the implementation and liberal use of psychic scans as part of the screening process for government employees. The alliance harbors too many secrets and even some member nations are distrustful of Alliance agents.
Adventure Hooks: The player characters are hired to do the impossible, infiltrate the highest levels of government and gain access to the secret underwater labs… if they actually exist. The characters are out to make a profit through transporting goods and have been targeted by non-member nations who wish to get into Pacifica without being noticed (by any means necessary, including killing and taking the place of innocent merchants).
The Japanese Zaibatsu, angry at NAF's buyout of the American bureaucracy, stopped all exports to the country in 2013 in an attempt to throw the country's economy into chaos. This tactic failed. After severing ties with NAF and strengthening ties with Pacifica (primarily for the staples the country could not supply for itself), the technology of the country began to grow exponentially. There are several theories regarding how the increased technology was created, including secret pacts with aliens and the use of artificial intelligence. Some NAF citizens believe the reason for the Neo-Japan's brash action was that an artificial intelligence had somehow overthrown the government and was now controlling every aspect of it. It remains a mystery even to their allies in Pacifica.
Neo-Japan was also responsible for significant advances in the area of supercomputers and artificial intelligence. Factories and all manner of repetitive tasks are now handled by artificial intelligence, while the more essential and complex management decisions are performed by humans. Supercomputers and artificial intelligence have also played a primary role in keeping the country safe from invasion by the ambitious China Conglomerate. Automated sentries guard the shores of all major islands in the archipelago. Smaller islands are regularly patrolled by a minimum of two warships and three support boats (hydrofoil size or smaller).
The China Conglomerate is one of the foulest regions found anywhere on the planet or, some aliens say, in the galaxy. By 2003, overpopulation put a strain on resources that could not be met no matter how much money was borrowed from the World Bank or how much food was donated to the starving country. In 2004, a repeat of the Tianamen Square incident caused a revolt by students and lower-class workers. The government is still attempting to quash the resistance completely.
Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, and much of Southeast Asia began to experience irreparable problems with starvation among the populace. Bangladesh, in particular, being one of the poorest countries, experienced the worst of it. This made the area an easy target for the communist government of China. China, able to afford a war campaign, easily overtook the surrounding territories in order to gain additional tax revenues, however, repeated attempts at invading Japan have all failed. In order to control the population and reduce the strain on resources, the government enforced, and still does today, strict breeding policies. Only those with the most money and the highest rated intellectual minds are given permission to reproduce by the government. The process can take up to four years to apply and receive approval. Anyone discovered to be breeding without authorization is executed, adding to the control over population growth.
The country currently exhibits one of the highest occurrences of superhumans in the world. This is in part due to the number of supersoldiers created in experiments. A great number of Ancient Masters also exist in this part of the world, many of them fighting with the resistance after leaving their monasteries. The crime in this region has also been a source of animosity between the Conglomerate and many of the world powers. The Triad, among other organized crime groups, have continually caused problems for the lower class and deprived corporations of their profits. Unknown to everyone except a select few high-ranking officials, the Triad is funded by the Chinese Intelligence Division.
Aquatica was an experiment by the Allied Nations (formerly the United Nations that later became a true military alliance replacing NATO) to create a neutral, independently governed, hub where countries could come to trade, negotiate, and refuel. The hub, called Atlantis, was completed in 2032. For a decade it served its intended purpose and was instrumental in ending or preventing numerous wars. Unfortunately, as Atlantis became more diverse and member states of the Allied Nations began to take different political perspectives, the ruling government was forced to make a decision. In order to maintain neutrality, Atlantis declared sovereignty in 2043, renaming itself Aquatica. While at first heatedly opposed, the Allied Nations soon saw no other option. To attack a neutral entity would be a dangerous undertaking in such a politically unstable world.
Today, Aquatica is a haven for all superbeings, criminals, and traders, as well as a negotiation center for treaties between nations. The government of Aquatica has sworn to remain neutral in all conflicts and will facilitate the peace process in any situation where both parties agree. The downside to this neutrality is that Aquatica attracts a large number of the criminal elements. This is largely due to the complete absence of extradition treaties. Provided the criminals commit no crimes in Aquatica, they are free from prosecution.
The Mars Colony was founded after the first manned mission to Mars. In late 2009, the first manned spacecraft took off from Earth headed for the Red Planet, arriving in early 2010. Upon landing on the surface, their mission of soil sample collection and further investigation into the existence of water was carried out. In 2012, they returned to Earth and their data was analyzed. Small amounts of water were found to be in the Martian soil as well as at the polar ice caps. A terraforming mission was sent in 2015 to begin the colonization effort. By 2020, the colonists had established shelter and the terraforming of the planet was nearly complete. Sabotage ended much their work.
In 2021, an explosion rocked the colony complex. The terraforming generator had been jammed, causing it to overheat and, eventually, explode. Paranoia among the colonists and an exhaustive investigation ensued. The evidence discovered disturbed the colonists greatly. Apparently, an experiment had escaped from a secret government facility somewhere on Mars. How this facility came to be in existence, its location, and which government is sponsoring it remains a closely guarded secret.
For an in-depth description of Century Station, see the book entitled Century Station. For the purposes of this setting, Century Station will remain the same as described in the sourcebook, with minor changes to the technology available.
North African Union (UNA)
This region consists of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Somalia, and Morocco. There is no one constant government and it seems to change every few years as a new faction takes power. The entire region, like the Middle East, is a war zone between several opposing forces.
The Argentina Regime (RA)
This regime is a military dictatorship that rules over the countries once known as Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay. Several years ago, the general of the Argentinean Army decided that a return to the times of the Pinochet regime was necessary in order to best serve the country. A violent and bloody coup d'état was staged and the old government was overthrown. In just four short years, General Santiago invaded and took control of Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay. Each country was as technologically advanced as Argentina, even employing some super-powered humans as mercenaries, which has many other power blocs frightened. Foreign governments target the regime in an effort to learn more about General Santiago and his military capabilities. They wish to discover how the man successfully overthrew so many governments in such a short time.
Baltic Sea Union (BSU)
The BSU is made up of Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The alliance came about as an effort to fend off the Russian War Machine. So far, the alliance has succeeded, but with the EU barring the Eurasian Coalition's advance into Western Europe, this could change quickly. A small buildup of troops on the Finnish/Russian border has started during the past few years. For the time being, the Communist Regime is attempting to focus their efforts on pacifying the Yugoslav province.