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A Look Back at The Liberty Island Incident
Intro to the Lifted Superhero RPG setting Powered by Cortex
I’m not the best at shouting out what I’m working on. Lifted: Indomitable is the biggest RPG project to date for me, and I’m excited, terrified, and giddy about it. I’ll do design inspirations, game vs. story, and how this Lifted differs from my Champions Now zine later (🤫 System Matters!). Let’s start from the top. Five years on since the first superpowered being manifested. Beings we today call the ‘Lifted.
“Today marks the 5th anniversary of the Liberty Island Incident. In the years since the first Lifted manifested powers and brought down the mighty Lady of Liberty statue, we find the world at odds with these new humans, these superhumans, these devils.
Alejandro Hernandez was visiting the Statue of Liberty with his family. The Liberty Island security team approached Hernandez, who was pushing a stroller. There was confusion in the communications. Next, we can see from the footage of Rachelle Lewis’s cellphone the security squad aggressive posturing and drawing weapons on Mr. Hernandez before the explosion that rocked the island and brought down the iconic statue of liberty. ” — Annie Cooper, BNN
» Left out are A.H. family—the second kid that was with him, or his wife and in-laws.
Fifteen other manifestations also occurred during the Liberty Island tragedy. Presumably, subjects under duress. Unreported.
“Today, several agencies worldwide are monitoring and researching the Lifted phenomena. This is where some individuals under duress manifest extraordinary powers. Dr. Barnes at The Asimov Group states the ratio of powers manifested under trauma easily dwarfs the accounts of trauma-less manifestations. The number of Lifted on the Earth at this time is estimated at less than 0.01%. In the following years, we have seen the escalation of technology-based weapons to take on the Lifted and the rise of organizations specifically focused on the control and containment of these individuals. Local ground projects like PILOT and special defense contractors like Mjollnir provide services and equipment to address the Lifted phenomena. Jaynes has confirmed many countries worldwide have added Lifted protocols to their armed forces. Here in the United States, PILOT is a state-level project based out of Chicago that uses technology and local authorities to address the Lifted phenomena in their jurisdictions.”
“We are still woefully ignorant of what these things are. Are they even human still? or ever? Do they have our American values or any values we cherish as humans? I, for one, rather come down on the side of safety and preparedness than be caught in another attack like Liberty Island”
— Vincent Westerfane, Chicago Field Commander of PILOT
“Nations. Governments, federal and local struggle with Lifted matters. From violent conflicts when one suddenly manifests under duress or legal questions. Can you detain or imprison someone because they are Lifted but otherwise committed no crime? Often law enforcement agents worldwide are overwhelmed by the sheer power one Lifted can wield. Look at the Liberty Island tragedy as a reference point. At least four other people manifested destructive powers during that conflict, where New York brought its elite assault squads to bear on the problem and came up with a costly draw. It seems private organizations have found funds and resources to fill the gap of what governments cannot humanely, yet do.”
Wilma Varden, CFO of Mjollnir Labs.
“As the world has seen, our technology is proving itself against a threat that has only now been identified to us. While we have no intention to be a combat arms manufacturer, we will use our product to secure the world from a threat that seeks to annihilate our way of life. We stand with the PILOT initiative in the fight to protect our world.”
— Rachel V, CEO TrekWind
“It is not a coincidence that Westguard happened to be testing its Compass systems in the area when the first manifestation occurred. The world’s first manifestation of power was the world’s look at the destructive capacity of the Lifted phenomena. This, the first human manifestation, had demonstrated a lack of control. A spokesperson at Westguard spoke to the press: "Westguard is going to take these Lifted folks, and we are going to tame them. We are going to help these souls find the right path. We have been working in the dark for a bit, and now it is time to show the world what we can do."
Daniel Winter, DNN
»Hernandez was not the first Lifted to manifest.
The PILOT initiative has proposed the creation of a national database to provide a view into the Lifted world. Sharing information between agencies like the Asimov Group and the various state-level projects like PILOT would provide more significant opportunities to understand these individuals and how they can be handled safely. Currently, the implementation of such a system is blocked by issues surrounding the civil liberties of the Lifted, the protection of ordinary citizens' personal information, and The Asimov Group’s refusal to share any of its data.
Westgard PMC has been in the spotlight for months, even years, over their involvement with the Lifted manifestations. Most recently, they were at the center of a controversy when a video of an executive meeting showed that Westgard was allegedly co-opting the Lifted manifestations for their own gain. Westgard PMC has made no comment.
Lifted beings are a stressed group across the globe. Most people shun them and call them monsters, but in Rio de Janeiro and the other havens, such as Altai in Siberia, they are welcomed and integrated into society. London and New York are discussing creating areas for Lifted beings that may lead to mainstreaming them and providing them with safe living areas. Rio de Janeiro's open policy towards Lifted beings became an international topic of debate. It also hosted the most significant number of Lifted officials, embassies, and businesses across the globe. This caused other countries to reconsider their stance.”
—Natalie Ford, Jaynes GIntSec
"Look, I'm the same guy still. I'm a hard worker. Trying to pay my bills, save a little. Show my lady something nice. I didn't ask for these powers. They happened to me when I was minding my own business. You think I'd be big and famous or something. Instead, I lose my gig, strangers riding past my place, looky-loos, and what-not. Even my family is scared of me now."
The world has changed. Five years ago, ordinary people began to manifest extraordinary powers. We coined them the Lifted, a term coined from the word "uplift," which in science fiction refers to transforming beings into intelligent beings by other intelligent beings. But in the case of the Lifted, the source of their powers is a mystery, and their intentions, if they exist, are unknown.
Some Lifted have come forward, eager to use their abilities to help humanity, while others keep their powers hidden, fearing the consequences of exposure. Governments and private industries are scrambling to understand and control these superhumans, unsure if they can be weaponized or if they pose a threat to human society.
There are no established pro-Lifted organizations, no Professor Xavier or Jacob Marlowe to guide these new beings on their path. The Lifted are on their own, figuring out how to navigate a world that is suddenly hostile to them.
But who are the Lifted? They are people who have undergone a life-changing event that triggered their powers. Some experienced traumatic events, such as a car accident or an act of violence, while others simply woke up one day with a newfound ability. Their powers vary wildly, from manipulating time and space to controlling the elements or even resurrecting the dead.
Frankie Wells has bent time to escape danger on a construction site. Helena Sawyer teleported to save her kids from a multi-car pile-up on a highway. Maggie the Knife overpowered her jailers with her newfound strength and walked away from incarceration. Lifted come from all walks of life, from the homeless to the wealthy, from the teacher to the criminal. They exist all over the globe, from the streets of Hoboken to the savannahs of Africa and the favelas of Rio de Janeiro.
The world is struggling to come to terms with the existence of the Lifted. Some see them as heroes, others as freaks or even monsters. The fear of the unknown drives humans to extremes, and the Lifted are caught in the middle.
What Can I Do?
This is where you come in. As a player in the Lifted RPG, you will take on the role of a Lifted or someone connected to the Lifted in some way. You will navigate a world that is both familiar and fundamentally different. You will be challenged to use your powers for good or to struggle against your darker impulses.
You will encounter factions seeking to use the Lifted for their own purposes and individuals who fear and hate Lifted folk. You may be embroiled in the conflict between these groups or choose to remain neutral and forge your own path.
The emergence of the Lifted has brought about a wave of fear and uncertainty worldwide. Governments and private corporations alike have scrambled to find ways to control or exploit these individuals, while others have sought to understand and protect them.
You can explore this world and its many mysteries in the Lifted RPG. Will you use your powers to become a hero, or will you succumb to the darker aspects of your nature? The choice is yours, and all will feel the consequences.
Amid all this chaos, the Lifted themselves must navigate their new reality. Many struggle to come to terms with their newfound powers and the responsibilities that come with them. Some seek to use their abilities for good, while others are drawn to darker paths.
The Lifted setting is one of high-stakes action and drama, where the fate of the world rests in the hands of a few powerful individuals. It is a world of complex moral choices where the line between good and evil is often blurred. And it is a world of endless possibilities, where your character's choices and actions will shape the course of history. It's up to you to decide which path you will take and what kind of legacy you will leave behind. The choice is yours.
» We’ll be watching you.
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