Bellum Maga came up in a discussion of the worst games ever made. Witches that smoke people turned into cigarettes trade in baby souls and all kinds of absurdity to stick it to the MAN. But /tg/ dared to ask... "What if all the lore got turned around, and the Serpent was the good guy?" and thus, this setting was born.
A Modern Fantasy setting drawing on the pulp novels of the 50's, 80's metal, Conan-esque sword and sorcery, and Barsoom-esque planetary romances. A world where the Snakefolk Scientist-Warriors of Mars have long been reduced to nigh on nothing, but the World Spirit of Mars, the Great Serpent Ouroboros, has chosen to leave its dead world to defend and guide Mankind and protect them from a violently hateful and controlling Gaia.
This is very much a work in progress, but anons will build it further.
The Ancient History of the World
A long time ago, on the then-verdant world of Mars, there evolved an illustrious race of Serpent-people, who developed the first technological civilization in the Sol System, under the watchful eye of the World-Spirit of Mars. But Gaia, the younger world-spirit of neighboring Terra, grew envious of this, and slowly but surely drew her plans against Mars. The Martians had their flaws, to be sure, but it was not their flaws that lead to their end. They solved their disputes through contest and conflict as often as not, but none could have expected what was to come. Still, the serpent folk developed great sciences, and, indeed, weapons and wonders in equal measure. Everyday, they believed, one should strive to be better than they had been the day before. And all the while, Gaia worked in silence. Then came the day of Gaia's Trickery; Gaia deceived the world-spirit of the Sun, claiming that Mars was building an army to usurp the Sun's role as ruler of the Sol System, so the Sun sent down powerful archons to scorch the world of Mars.
But Phaeton, Mars's other neighbor, intervened at the last minute, revealing Gaia's wiles, to which the Sun cursed Gaia. Gaia, of course, was immensely displeased. Suffice to say, Phaeton is now known as the asteroid belt. Gaia was not always the cruel being she is today but when Luna separated from her she took with her all of Gaia's capacity for good. Making Luna the most powerful of all the moons but leaving Gaia how she is to this day. With their sibling world dead, Mars redoubled its efforts to ready its children. They crafted wonders, monuments in the memory of dead Phaeton.. But Gaia grew clever. If not the Sun to slay Mars....then hers would be a slow poison. One to fuse the plates. Gaia worked its ways, and laid upon Mars a curse. Its magnetic field died, its plates fused. Mars's children now had only so long to live as the world slowly died under them. Anarchy broke loose among the great empires of Mars, with the few bastions of the serpent people's civilization being scattered city states connected by slowly desiccating canals. A few serpents looked to the stars, fleeing in ramshackle spacecraft, while others gave in to techno-barbarism. It was a dark age for Mars. Meanwhile, Gaia wasn't satisfied, but she smirked with malicious and petty glee as her schemes unfolded. Meanwhile, life began to take shape on Terra. Primitive life, sure, but Gaia preferred it that way. Primitives are easy to control and smother. As Mars slowly died, these small creatures began to evolve. Surpassing their ape-thing brethren, becoming something more. They *copied* and *learned*. From the other beasts, they took. And Gaia began to show a certain...distaste. An idle disaster, disease and foulness, to test them. They survived. Only a few thousand, but they survived. Gaia's wrath was soothed. With so shallow a genepool, they were more easily controlled... And yet...others realized they survived. The spirit of a dying world.
Ouroboros rose its head, and saw the struggling ones...fighting so fiercely for live. Ouroboros saw Man, and had a decision to make, with his last vestiges of strength in a dying world. One of the cleverest of these proto-Humans will eventually be known as Cain. Cain had a brother named Abel, who was seduced by Gaia's wiles. One day Cain, after a long day of gathering nuts and berries, found Abel consuming the flesh of their father and chieftain, Adam. And Cain heard two voices in his head, one saying that Abel was evil and needed to die for great justice, and one which urged Cain to join his brother in wickedness and evil. Cain chose. He moved and confronted his brother, who had become a foul thing in spirit. The battle was long and arduous. The danger unreal as Cain fought for every breath and moment. But Cain was clever and strong, for his time in the wilds made him strong and quick of wit. And by the end Abel lay dead. The first voice congratulated him, weary and old, reminding him of his grandfather who had died in the plagues, who had taught him to hunt and to forage, to scale mountains and fell trees. And while the other voice cursed and faded, screeching her rage, Ouroboros, Old Father Serpent, the Garden Snake, spoke to Cain of the days to come.
SETTING LORE A WORK IN PROGRESS
Gaia, Ouroboros, and World Spirits in general
The forces of Gaia
The Bellum Maga. Mad sorceresses thoroughly devoted to Gaia. Their ideology could be best described as militantly misandrist anarcho-primitivist theocracy. Keep as close to source material as possible when possible.
Lunatic immortal terrorist bomber. Did Krakatoa.
The Cult of Eight Goddesses
A South Korean cult that infiltrated and manipulated the highest offices in that country until (publicly) uncovered and defeated by journalists and investigators affiliated with the Forces of Ouroboros. Unlike the other cults, the Cult of Eight Goddesses isn't comprised of zealous ideologues, but rather power-hungry Machiavellian manipulators and schemers who've sided with Gaia out of convenience and a lust for power.
The forces of Ouroboros
The collective term given to those who have been injected with the Venom of Ouroboros, the World Spirit of Mars.
The method of injection can vary, as can its exact effects, but the shared aspect is clear. The recipient becomes a being of physical exceptionalism, often growing in height and gaining several physiological advantages.
In both sexes, there's the development of exceptionally dense musculature, primarily pink muscle, and a redistribution of fat deposit prioritization to a more optimal form. Sensory organs and nerves also undergo changes, growing more capable in general. Further, there's a noted increase in lifespan. A healthy Envenomed might well reach three hundred years of age, though this is rare. There are also stories of Envenomed who have endured since the time of Cain, though this remains hearsay and rumor at best.
In men, there is often the development of broader shoulders and more pronounced musculature, as the limitation for density is reached even with mystical aspects, requiring expansion. There are negative traits, however, as there is a noted issue with men developing issues with aggressive urges and empathic problems present in around 20% of the Envenomed. Controllable, particularly through controlled outlets and counseling, such as employed by Sigma Nu Eta Kappa's various branches, but it can cause problems for the newly Envenomed. Further, the increase in musclemass can occasionally cause issues with balance and overall mobility, certain arm motions can become mildly complicated, and while likely more limber than before, the flexibility is not as high as it could be. Ouroboros's gift may be mystical in part, but even it cannot completely break physiology.
For women, there's a noted increase in reaction times, exceed that of the men, as their musculature generally stays more compact. There is also generally less of a height increase, though cognitive function also notably increases more consistently across the board. As a smaller side effect, there is an increase hip width, as well as the growth of the mammary glands, producing a more stable gait, as well as moving fat deposits to a less intrusive area in order to maintain flexibility and the higher degree of "fast twitch" muscles overall efficiency. This isn't to say they are devoid of physical strength, as any Envenomed can bend steel or crush stone, but rather that they are more focused towards the rapid and efficient use of that strength. If anything, the female of the species is in this regard more dangerous than the male. Negative side effects, however, aside from the occasional presence of similar effects seen in male Envenomed, is an *over* stimulation of the emotional response and empathy. This is not to say that they become emotionally erratic, but rather prone to high degrees of sympathy and empathy whether they want to or not. Which often clashes rather unfortunately with the aggressive urges they now exhibit. That said, female Envenomed generally have an easier time getting their side effects under control, though newly envenomed have a marked habit of "freezing" from time to time due to emotional and sensory overload.
However beyond this, there are the various "Subtypes" of Envenomed. The Envenoming can induce unexpected changes, the addition of odd, often reptilian traits, ranging from "unnatural" senses, venomglands, scales, or similar effects. Thankfully, this is often accompanied by a limited degree of shapeshifting.
The reason for this is unclear. Some have suggested it's due to impurities in the venom, which is manufactured often in vary different conditions with different tools. Others argue the factor is mystical rather than chemical. While others still believe it to be the venom working exactly as intended.
These features tend to manifest a few days to weeks, rarely more than two months, after the initial envenoming, in a process known as "Passing through Orochi's Gate." referring to the eight headed serpent of Japanese lore. It's a reminder to the Envenomed. They may have many different faces, and come from many different walks of life, but they're all ultimately the same snake inside.
The Eight Gates
The Eight Gates are as follows
Python, The Keenest of Eye
Ranged combat splat. Probably extrasensory shit.
Boa, The Strongest of Grip
Strength focused Splat, burly, but lazy. Can't take/have poison/venom based powers?
Viper, The Fastest to Bite
Intuitive mechanics, vehicle users. Fastest splat.
Cobra, The Smoothest of Tongue
Asp, The Gentlest of Poisons
Healer/medic splat. Sedative venom?
Mamba, The Strangest of Minds
Obligatory magic-y splat/Fishmalk. psychedelic venom, mindfuckery. Apparently try to codify soft sciences to make them hard one day.
Adder, The Darkest of Thought
Obvious edgy splat. Bonus points if they can shed their skin and crawl in it.
Copperhead, The Hardest of Head
Tough/tank splat. Stubborn and prone to smashing their heads against a wall until it breaks. "Brute force calculations as science". Apparently can bounce spells?
Sigma Nu Eta Kappa
Sigma Nu Eta Kappa is the primary recruiting grounds for the Envenomed champions of the Great Serpent; a college fraternity/sorority that initiates only the pinnacle of academic and athletic achievement, Sigma Nu Eta Kappa's public face prioritizes public service, and their reputation is free from the scandal that marks other frats. However, beneath the respectable but mundane surface is a dedicated organization, one comprised of the next generation of human civilization's guardians.