Monday, March 16, 2015

Zone Troopers From The Cult Classic Television Show 'Otherworld' For Your Old School Campaigns

They are the brutal,efficient, and completely ruthless arm of a extensive tyranny that might be encountered across the multiverse. They are the zone troopers and they are coming to cause your PC's some trouble.

Zone Troopers Pyramid Of Excellence
Proficiency , Pride,  & Prowess,

Zone troopers are the military arm of the expansionist world of Thel, and have within the last twenty years been encountered across a number of alternative Earths and Prime Material dimensions. This is especially true of certain post apocalyptic or alternative timelines. The central city state of Imar has been seeking to expand control of its plan since the take over of a new Praetor and a new series of 'unification wars' to expand the zones and dimensions of control for the plane of Thel. Since Thel is an other dimensional  alternative of old Earth in many respects there are many similarities to the ancient Roman Empire especially in the rank and training of the dreaded 'zone troopers'. This also includes tactics, suppression, and raids as well as battles a fact that has become evident in several recent battles across the planes.

The zone troopers use twentieth century level military equipment similar to Old Earth lines in all respects except that there has been considerable advances made in several key areas of Thel society.  Artificial intelligence has been a part of Thelian society for several centuries. And is used extensively for information technologies including in daily life, military info structure, robotics, and  energy weapon production including  the side arms that are common among zone trooper forces. This also includes advance 'plasmoid' and android robotic life forms which are indistinguishable from flesh and blood human beings. 'Plasmoids' do not make good zone troopers however but often serve Thel forces as medics and societal advisers.

The Zone Troopers themselves recruit from across the citizenry of Thel's city states often picking high school dropouts, Thel society's outsiders, citizens who are considered 'losers', criminals, and other so called under desirable elements. Men and women are both taken. The Trooper need warm bodies and no is turned away. These 'warm bodies' are sent to academies for reeducation into the zone trooper philosophies of the pyramid structure of proficiency, prowess, pride. The 'zits' are given an intensive thirteen week course of training. Each one is expected to become a 2nd level fighter by the time their done.

The zone troopers are given the opportunity to enter the officers corps, the officers are the brains and backbone of the troopers. They are also the state arm of the Church of Artificial intelligence. According to Thel's Wikipedia-  A state religion was the unifying ideology of the land. The Church of Artificial Intelligence, a rigid, computer based ideology without equal, the church wields powers of censorship, worship and could even put people to death in cases of heresy. The Church of Artificial Intelligence, however, may be just a means for the government to add one more measure of control to the everyday lives of the peoples of Thel.

It is from the zone trooper officers  that the feared and very dangerous Zone Inquisitors come. Officers who have undergone "Vibratory Behavior Modification Module ' treatments. This gives access to the magical schools of Law And Order in the Thelian tradition. A state secret and brotherhood within the zone trooper and the Church of Artificial Intelligence. There are whispers of certain inquisitors becoming agents of terrible Thelian gods of Order whose names aren't even known to the general populace.

The officers of the zone troopers are given access crystals which are part of the back bone of Thelian control, these are issued upon assignment to a unit of the zone troopers. Access crystals perform a number of high level operations in the Thelian world of the various city states. They are one of the technologies that functions across planes and dimensions as well as the various levels of techology displayed by the Thelian city states themselves. 

 Once again the Thelian Wikipedia - 
Access crystals were the method of securing high level databanks, travel, power sources and other high security areas of Thel. The crystal was basically a faceted glass appliance, several centimeters long, purplish in color, with a series of electronic chips and components inside. They are individually numbered and have the "mark of Imar" engraved on the bottom. Though not fully discussed in the series, it might have operated by being optically read or perhaps the electronics were of an RFID type. The crystal was read by a reader that simply allowed insertion of the crystal less than half way into its interface shaft. A light would illuminate the crystal as it was being accessed and most readers were shown tied to computer terminals but in some cases they were freestanding units not unlike keyholes and used to secure doors. It was mentioned in the pilot that Kroll possessed a "class 1" access crystal, which is possibly the highest access class. What the lower class crystals' abilities were was never revealed.'

The zone trooper officer class is also used as advanced scouts and spies in other Thelian city states and as secret police often spying on their own populace as well infiltrating other dimensional societies by assuming new identities and guises as needed. These abilities are directly related to the 'thought modules' and access crystal matrices which are used in overlaying new identities over existing individual mind architecture.  
Zone troopers count as men and use a wide variety of technologies but the most ubiquitous is the bioruptor. A simple,easily mass produced energy weapon built upon the early Thelian particle beam weaponry technologies.
Bioruptors are sleek black tubes with a rear-facing pistol grip at the butt end and are held with the barrel flipped from a natural pistol fashion with the trigger on top of the pistol grip. A single switch on the side of the bioruptor barrel serves as a "safety" to prevent accidental discharge. Though the devices could be quite deadly in the right hands, the weapons were capable of being adjusted from a light stun to a kill setting. The weapon's bright blue laser-like beams were said to affect the heart so they could be an electrical discharge type of weapon.

The bioruptors are a thirty shot weapon and powered by an energy cell the size of a nine volt battery. 
Anyone hit by the bioruptors stun setting must make a constitution save or be stunned for 2d4 rounds in addition to taking 1d6 points of bludgeoning damage. There is a 5% chance of a target's heart stopping from the electrical damage that the weapon causes. 
The regular blast of a bioruptor's blast does 2d8 points of damage with a range of 200 feet. The weapon is used one handed and has a leather holster. 

For Mutant Future the bioruptor has the same stats as a heavy stunner and the heavy laser pistol.
In the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea system, the Bioruptors do 4d6 points of damage, have 30 shots, and a range of 200 feet. The stun setting causes the target to make a save vs wands or be stunned for 2d4 turns in addition to taking 1d4 points of damage with a 4% chance of stopping the target's heart due to the disruption of the target's nervous and electrical systems. 
The zone troopers are brutal, efficient, and amoral in their policies. They make extensive use of lighting raids, fast attacks, and quick suppression with the maximum amount of psychological trauma to their targets. 
Often officers and important personnel use the Thelian hover car, a standard vehicle for the zone trooper elite. 
The standard zone trooper units make use of the 'Night Demon' advance scout vechile. This craft is often armed with compact advanced particle weapon systems and a compact sensor package.US Navy 020413-N-5362A-013 U.S. Navy SEALs (SEa, Air, Land) operate Desert Patrol Vehicles (DPV) while preparing for an upcoming mission.jpg

The ultra light airplane systems are still in use as well and are equipped with a variety of small,compact, and concise weapon systems. These craft are cheap to produce,easy to maintain, and found throughout a wide variety of theaters that the zone troopers operate in.

The zone troopers also make extensive use of  tanks, troop transports, and many other conventional 80's level of technology but inter spiced with artificial intelligence and weird applications. They're headquarters are often guarded by A.I.'s of a competent level and capable of making independent thought and limited decisions. Recently these A.I.'s have been used in dimensional worm hole technologies. 

Zone trooper fortresses and military bases share many characteristics of ancient Roman fortifications including arrangement, hierarchy, and much more. This style of base is becoming familiar to many people as the zone trooper forces are becoming quite common across the dimensional cosmos as they expand the Thelian empire. 

The New Unification Wars
 For Your Old School Campaigns 

With a new praetor sitting on the throne of Imar, a new round of the unification wars have begun a chance for this new ruler of Thel to make his mark on the throne. Nuveen Kroll saw his chance to step into the role of praetor and seized the opportunity with a vile viciousness that has marked him throughout his career. Through a combination of tricky,murder, and outright horror Kroll's campaign ended with him on the seat and a new age of expansion has begun. After his dealings with the Sterling family,Kroll learned of other worlds and dimensions outside of Thel. After consulting with the best sorcerers and super scientists of Thel. Kroll made use of several secret technologies at the disposal of the zone trooper military. 

Praetor Krull gained his first conquest into a former post apocalyptic timeline of Earth  in a recent zone trooper military expediation. Not only was this 'program' a success but it brought several artifact technologies from this world into the purview of the zone trooper military ministry. Their appetite had been whetted. Already a new round of conquest has begun with the infusion of new military technologies and economic stimulus.This has put the Thel military machine into high gear. 
The new Unification Wars have begun!

The fact is that zone trooper forces can be encountered across the planes, in the past they have had interaction with indigenous populations on several  alternative Hyperborean demi plane worlds, they have fought and conquered other post apocalyptic worlds, and even had running battles with several wizards across the planes. This makes the zone troopers very dangerous forces to encounter. DM's should position these dangerous armed forces as major opponents and players should come to hate and despise them. They are dangerous, amoral reminders that not all evils have to be inhuman demons or monsters. They might also be encountered anywhere operating on a wide variety of worlds.

No copyright infringement or trade mark violation is intended with this blog entry this is strictly a fan homage to one of the iconic shows from the 80's. I'm simply a huge Otherworld fan who has used this wonderful show in his old school table top rpg old school campaigns. 


  1. I am so pleased to see that someone else remembers Otherworld. I really enjoyed that series and nice to see that it is still inspiring gaming.

  2. I had forgotten Otherworld completely. I remember the upside down guns!

  3. Confession time, I've used 'Zone Troopers' in games for a long,long, time. These guys have appeared in Metamorphosis Alpha 1st edition,Gamma World, and a host of others. For new school games zone troopers have appeared in campaigns of Feng Shui and a bunch of other games.
    The biorupters are classic pieces of the show!
    Oh yeah, Otherworld is still inspiring gaming across the board. Great little cult classic show.
    Thanks for the comments Sea of Stars and Ryan. I'm not done yet in the least with Otherworld. More coming up.

  4. I've never even heard of Otherworld before. Now I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the heads up, Needles.


  5. Thanks Ed I've got a more coming up! Cheers and have fun with it.

  6. Thanks I've more Otherworld coming up Paul. Love the old classics. More coming up.

  7. What a nice surprise I have not thought about that show in years. I liked the hunted family concept always having to change identities and travel to strange and completely different 'zones'. I remember an episode with odd corn and high school. Also something to do with bikers and chalk. Thanks for the blast from the past.

  8. I always thought the 'hunted family' was a pretty original, too bad the series didn't last more then eight episodes. The high school one might be 'The Rules of Attraction' the first episode or the holographic displays from 'The Zone Troopers Build Men' the second episode. The bikers are called Motorpigs and their from 'Village of the Motorpigs' which was one of the factions in an old game of Gamma World second edition of mine.


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