INHUMAN: A Scifi Setting inspired by the days of Rogue Trader and early Necromunda

I have been seeing some stuff about Warhammer 40k's early days and I find it very charming. It is unabashedly over the top and outright silly. The art is just my kind of dirty black and white old-school art, the kind of thing that I love to see from D&D. I have sprinkled some throughout for inspiration's sake.

In an attempt to recreate some of the silliness and machismo of the era, along with building a world with the desire to create gaming miniatures in mind, I have created INHUMAN.

Amongst the blasted wastes of Mars, beneath the shining dome of Colony Alpha, in the shadows of the labyrinthine tunnels of the deep city, law and chaos engage in endless battle. Tattooed fanatics beat their breasts, chanting their war song around roaring pyres. Cruel mechanical laughter chases frantic fugitives through mazes of wicked design. Black uniformed warriors hunt pale fanged horrors through the corridors of ancient alien temples.

For in the grit and grime of the uncaring void, there is only war.

Colony Alpha: 

INHUMAN is a kind of post-apocalyptic setting. Not an apocalypse of grand cataclysm but of gradual decay. The promise of mankind's first city on Mars, Colony Alpha, has proven false. Thousands fled crowded Earth, lured by the promises of prosperity and a fresh start on Mars. From the very beginning space in the domed colony was never meant to carry the load that came, leaving many sleeping in the streets or making their homes in sewers.

An effort was launched by the Colonial Government to hastily delve deeper into the Red Planet to provide housing for the displaced masses. In their haste, the labyrinthine tunnels forged by their efforts would prove to be nigh on impossible to effectively police, becoming breeding grounds for crime and depravity. Some of these tunnels would breach into the antediluvian tombs of the native Martians and unleash long-buried horrors.

Slowly but surely, the crime bubbling up from the miasma below became an epidemic and the Colonial Government declared a state of emergency: founding Mars Force, enforcers with blank check authority to make war on all lawlessness.

Mars Force:

Mars Force is the last bastion of humanity on Mars. They purposefully attempt to recruit as many unaugmented humans as possible in a desperate desire to reestablish some level of normalcy on this gonzo planet. Mars Force gets by with highly advanced equipment, training, and tactics. Their survival depends on being smarter and more prepared than their adversaries.

They are a little Judge Dredd and a little Batman Beyond, but they don't really take the policing of minor laws too seriously. If you aren't hurting anyone with your crime, you are likely to be left alone due to lack of resources. However, there is some question regarding the inner workings of the Force. The Colonial Government always had some influence from the Masonic Brotherhood and these esoteric tendencies have worked their way into the Force's leadership. Access to certain files and to a great deal of the Vaults of Contraband are locked away with occult fervor. Advancement is locked behind initiation rites. There is some question as to whether the Force's leadership has other priorities beyond law enforcement.

The F Men:

The products of some mad scientist hopped up on dreams of creating real-life superheroes, these F Men are prime examples of genetic alteration gone wrong. These vat grown mutants are certainly powerful, but this power comes at the cost of physical deformity and mental deficiency. Laser eyes, flight, super strength, telepathy, and more given to people whose minds are trapped in a childlike state. This can make them mostly harmless or bizarrely aggressive entirely dependant on the strange logic of their twisted minds.

They can be find punishing school-yard bullies with incineration, stealing action figures, and raiding candy factories dressed in their ridiculous, ill-fitting spandex, adorned with malformed letters and symbols.

The Red Sons:

Uber macho cultists, tattooed with the iconography of the ancient Martians, the Red Sons, are the descendants of those drawn by the promise of Colony Alpha only to be forced into the sewers. These alienated youths flocked to the call of the Crimson Prophet, a mysterious figure who leads the Red Sons in fanatic worship of the Martians.

The worst part of this gang is that some of their leading members are armed with powerful Martian technology. Blood Eye Jim is known to wield a Devourer Gauntlet, capable of letting loose a cloud of nanobots that eat enemies from the inside out, feeding this blood to the user.

There are more gangs on Colony Alpha that may be explored in a later post.

Oni Corp:

Oni Corp was one of the early corporations to cater to the rapidly expanding lower class of Colony Alpha, selling pills and potions to wish away all life's cares and the stress of the terrible disappointment of this new home. Not only that, but they offered protection as well for those willing to live in their corporate ghettos. Work was guaranteed in the form of "pharmaseutical testing." Protection was ensured by the roided out Corporate Security Forces, kept in line by their addiction.

Permanently smiling salesmen make the rounds of darkened underhives at all times, needing no sleep due to drugs, inviting more of the impoverished masses to the safety and security of Oni Corp compounds. Mars Force keeps a wary eye on this corporation, often mounting raids and investigations of their facilities, looking for signs of forbidden technologies and human rights violations. Skirmishes occasionally break out, but most of the time the Corporation keeps up a good face, regardless of the evil lurking behind those unflinching smiles.

Transhumanist Gamesters:

The upper classes of Colony Alpha are profuse with genetically crafted young and perfectly clean and orderly lifestyles. Children growing up in these sterile corporate environments rebel, seeking to take their technological ascension to the next level with heavy mechanical augmentation. These Transhumanists will often alter themselves beyond any semblance of humanity, enhancing themselves with predatory features and weaponry only made available by their extravagant wealth.

Fueled by an unassailable belief in their own superiority over everyone else, they hold "games" down in the tunnels of Colony Alpha where poor innocents are taken to be the quarry for their hunts through trapped mazes, pray painted like paintball courts with the card suit symbols of the Gamesters.

To everyone else, they are some of the most monstrous of the denizens of the Colony and they are major targets of Mars Force raids. Oni Corp will also sometimes send down squads of elite troops to recover the children of ranking executives and board members who have fallen prey to the Gamester's rhetoric.

Mad Scientists:

Ever since Earth underwent several calamities caused by technology gone wrong, many scientific pursuits have been banned. Scientists seeking to pursue forbidden technologies fled to Mars to continue their foul research. Bioweapons, artificial intelligence, animal uplifting, resurrection, and attempts to create an "improved" human being are all the purview of these zealots of ceaseless progress.

Spoilers: it always goes horribly wrong to the surprise of no one. Mars Force keeps an eye on suspected tamperers in forbidden technologies but does not usually interfere until their experiments begin to cause harm to others. Oni Corp and Gamesters will often go to these scientists for new technologies through trade or theft. The Red Sons will often fight with the minions of these scientists over the artifacts of the native Martians.

Vampires of Mars:

As the end drew near, the depravity of the Martian race reached its zenith. Members of the highest caste made themselves into bloodthirsty living gods, endlessly extending their lives by sucking dry the lives of those beneath them. When Mars began to leave the Goldilocks zone, immediate effort was taken to build vast "tomb" complexes to protect the gods as they slumbered, waiting on a new race to come along and tame their world that these thirsty gods might awaken and feed on the sweet blood of their saviors.

These pale wide-faced creatures with needle-like teeth and long multijointed fingers and black opalescent eyes easily climb up walls and hide in shadows. They wield potent technologies, allowing them to teleport, control the minds of others, and disguise themselves as human beings. They will often lead cults of mind-controlled thralls and be accompanied by the biomechanical warriors entombed with them.

There are some who suspect that the Crimson Prophet is another of these Vampires. The existence of these creatures is a heavily guarded secret by Mars Force for reasons only known to the inner circle of the Force.

These are a little Aztec and a little Genestealer. These creatures are some of the most dangerous because their technology allows them to steal the identities of powerful members of society. The Force itself knows that it is potentially susceptible to such subterfuge and rigorous testing is frequently done of all officers to ensure their humanity. Entire upper-class families are known to be "revealed" as Martians by Mars Force officers with flamethrowers. So long as they discover one or two inhuman skeletons among the ashes, they consider that a job well done.

I have more ideas for this setting so let me know if I should do more. Into the Weird Blue Yonder is progressing slowly. I have tried to make progress but my life has been quite busy and my mind has been wandering onto ideas like this one. Hopefully, now that I have finally posted this, I can return to work.


  1. This setting sounds super cool! I don't know a whole lot about WH40K, but I do know that it has changed somewhat tonally and aesthetically over the decades, so it's interesting to use old-school WH40K as a launching point for a new setting and see how it diverges. I'd love to see Scrap Princess's Scifi Dwarves in this setting as well. Sorry if this is answered in the text but I'm not seeing it, why are the "F Men" called that?

    1. Thank you! The F Men are called that to parody X Men due to their super hero theme but the F stands for Fucked Up or Failed because both are accurate descriptors.

    2. Haha ok I figured it was in some way a reference to X-men but I wasn't totally sure. Anyway, as you know i unfortunately will not have time for gaming for a bit, but once things are less crazy for me I'd love to play in this setting if you'll run it some time.


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