The K-Force Files (Part 1)

(This article is not covered by the OGL).

My love of kaiju goes way… waaaaaay back to my early childhood. It predates my love of D&D, Star Wars, Star Trek, powered armor, space opera, pulp adventures, comics, superheroes, psychic powers, monster hunters, swords, or much of anything else I can thing of.

I believe it’s my first fandom.

It’s just grown as I aged. Some classic comics mixing superspy groups and kaiju, more modern kaiju movies constantly playing with classic elements such as mechakaiju, psychics, alien plots, and so on, just made me more and more want to boil down all the things I love most about it into a single set of worldbuilding ideas, and a single unified continuity, which I can then draw from as needed for various projects.

These are the K-Force files. You’re welcome to use them in your own home games, but mostly they are a look into how I build blocks of fungible lore and ideas that I can use as needed for various personal and professional projects. Part 1 covers Terminology, Locations, and Organizations.

Part 2, of course, covers some Kaiju.

(Art by Second F)

TERMINOLOGY

Gigafauna: Gigafauna much-bigger-than-elsewhere creatures that are not kaiju (as they lack k-cells, the physics-defying size, strength, and resilience of kaiju), but are extraordinary in one or more other aspects. Gigafauna are considered one class larger than megafauna, and are often J-class creatures.

Guardian Spirits: A popular theory among kaijologists is that while several strains of kaiju have always been primarily agents of chaos and destruction — serving to provide the same kinds of ecological and evolutionary forces as volcanos, meteor strikes, hurricanes, and earthquakes — that there were once numerous “Guardian Spirits” that explicitly protected early hominid settlements. While the theory is conjecture based mostly on cave paintings and the teachings of Vespirians, the appearance of Deltara in 1965, and Vespira on numerous occasions since 1961, can be seen as evidence for the theory.

J-Class: Study into kaiju revealed their native habitats (mostly the Kaiju Islands) are often inhabited with dinosaurs, megafauna, and gigfauna that aren’t kaiju but are at the absolute upper limit of what biological entities can reach in terms of size and power. These most often include sea life, turtles, reptiles, insects, arachnids, rodents, and ursines. Because they are “short of being k-class,” the casual term J-Class is often used to note their commonalities. Some kaiju are considered J-class in early, smaller stages of their development, such as Tarankura.

K-Cells: All kaiju that it has been possible to study possess k-cells, biological elements that appear to be independent power generators (possible drawing quantum 0-point energy) that fuel every part of a kaiju and are theorized to create quantum fields that alter the way fundamental forces (strong and weak nuclear forces, gravity, and electromagnetism) act on kaiju’s bodies (allowing kaiju to channel energies in ways other matter — much less biological matter — cannot). No Earthly technology has yet to create k-cells, though some have repurposed k-cells taken from kaiju and kaiju corpses, and humans exposed to k-cells sometimes develop psychic powers (apparently inheritable), or develop other mutations.

K-Class: Because there’s little evidence that all kaiju are related, despite common elements such as k-cells, super-gigafauna mass, subseismic movement, and GQS (Global Quorum Sensing), creatures that meet at least most of these features are placed in a single polyphyletic group referred to as “k-class creatures.” Informally, anything that is shown to be able to compete with the power of kaiju is sometimes referred to as being of “k-class,” such as referring to the mecha Gunslinger Gamma and the AI robot Tiger Turbo as “k-class machines.”

Kaijologists: Since the appearance of Tsarkyrkon “God of Kaiju” in 1954, the rush to understand these varied and violent life-forms that prove humanity is not at the top of the food chain has formed into the multidisciplinary study known as kaijology. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult for a kaijologist to get extensive first-hand material to work with, and the field is renowned for producing both crackpots who make wild claims and psychopaths who consider their research more important than ethics or human lives. Despite this, every major world organization and learning institution has at least a couple of kaijologists on-staff… just in case.

Kaiju: A specific form of gigafauna, kaiju are enormous creatures standing 50 to 500 feet in height and possessing a series of traits that makes them distinct from just big creatures (see K-Class). The first kaiju known in the modern era (and arguably the most powerful) is Tsarkyrkon, the so-called “God of Kaiju,” who attacked Japan for unknown reasons in 1954. Because the first kaiju appeared in Japan, Japanese language and culture has a strong influence on kaiju naming and kaijology as a whole.

Kaiju are classified into tiers, with a dozen known Tier 1 kaiju that no known force can reliably stop, roughly double that in Tier 2 kaiju that require entire fleets and combined armies to even slow down, and scores of Tier 3 kaiju, which can be faced with massed firepower and are just one step above J-class creatures and typical gigafauna.

GQS: All kaiju seem to be aware of one another, even over vast distances and when separated by vacuum, and to be aware of large-scale changes to their environment (both current and upcoming). More powerful kaiju can sometimes use dominance displays to subdue other kaiju without physical combat, and even call on them over the same vast distances, but without any apparent language and possibly while lacking sapience. It is theorized that they do so as a result of being in-tune with some energy field that surrounds the entirety of the Earth, and that they all contribute and receive information using this field including territorial claims and pack leader status. Some psychic humans appear to be able to tap into this kaiju sense and communication network as well. Though the mechanism for this sense is not yet understood, the phenomenon itself is referred to as Global Quorum Sensing, or GQS.

Subseismic Movement: Kaiju are able to travel long distances without disturbing the medium of their travel, as long as they are not attacking, defending, or making dominance displays. Flying kaiju are often invisible to radar and listening stations, swimming kaiju do not impact the water flow around them and cannot be found on active or passive sonar, and kaiju walking or even burrowing through the ground do not set of tremors. Once a kaiju becomes more alert to and reactive of its environment, this disturbance-free effect ends, and they can often be felt miles away. The exact mechanism of this ability–called subseismic movement– is not understood, though it is believed to be another function of k-cells, and possible related to GQS.

LOCATIONS

The Kaiju Islands: A series of islands in the South Pacific that are the only territories known to have long-inhabiting kaiju in apparent balance with their environment. The Kaiju Islands are all extremely difficult to navigate to, with tides, winds, and even electromagnetic fields apparently directing travelers around them, no evidence of their existence visible by satellite, and fog, storms, and rogue waves

Fang Island: Fang Island is one of the smallest of the Kaiju Islands, and among the furthest from the main line of isle formations. It’s also the only one to show signs of constant human habitation going back to a Neolithic time period, despite being both the home of a few kaiju (most notably, Genghis Kong) and thousands of species of dinosaurs, megafauna, and gigafauna. It is governed by the Fang Island Protectorate.

Hive Island: The current residence of Vespira and headquarters of the Vespirian Religion, Hive Island has thousands of caves and secret “reincarnation hives” from which Vespira can be reincarnated. It has dozens of species of J-Class insectoids and arachnids, which for an unknown reason do not encroach of the area used by the Vespirans. The kaiju “Scythella: the Preying Mantis” and the spiderlike kaiju Tarankura appear to have come from Hive Island, and it is believed that eggs of more of those kaiju breeds lay dormant on the island.

Omega Island: Omega Island is the largest of the Kaiju Islands, and is where most active known kaiju (with notable exceptions, see Fang Island and Hive Island) have resided–when not on active rampages–since Tsarkyrkon “God of Kaiju,” subdued the majority of them in a dominance display at the end of Operation: Destroy All Kaiju in 1968. The disastrous results of O:DAK, and the fact civilization likely would have been destroyed if Tsarkyrkon had not ended the global rampages dozens of kaiju undertook following the U.N.’s efforts to end the kaiju threat once and for all. Many kaijuologists believe that Vespira “convinced” the God of Kaiju to do so, though they are split on whether this was just a case of her seeking balance using GQS, or a sign of higher-reasoning.

ORGANIZATIONS

Externians: An alien species that works to weaken or destroy the world with kaiju-related plans, including being responsible to sending the Void Gods to Earth. Work with GOC (General Oil Company), but their existence is largely unknown outside the highest level of that corporation.

Fang Island Protectorate: The independent nation of Fang Island claims it is ruled by the kaiju commonly known as Ghengis Kong, and its government is just a protectorate under his control. Most nations of the world (and several multinational corporations, most loudly the General Oil Company) consider this a ploy for the tiny island to hide behind having a native kaiju that is protective of people born within its territory, and dislikes large vehicles, machines, and factories.

General Oil Company: The vast multinational corporate conglomerate GOC is one of the richest and most powerful nongovernment organizations on Earth. It is also deeply involved in kaiju incidents, issues, and politics, including the creation and operation of the hybrid kaiju-vehicles Mecha-Deltara. Unbeknownst to most outside the Fang Island Protectorate and GOC itself, this history dates back to 1933, when a GOC expedition attempted to take control of Fang Island for its vast, rich oil and mineral reserves, only to run into a young Ghengis Kong and his parents. GOC killed Kong’s parents, captured him, made plans to turn him into a worldwide sideshow and their mascot, lost control of him, and the controlling families lost several members of their upper ranks in the disaster that followed.

Though Kong swam home, the controlling board of GOC were the first modern worldwide organization to realize k-class creatures existed. They spent decades studying crackpot theories and ancient devices seeking to understand and monetize kaiju-related technologies. These efforts included raids on Fang Island to acquire the bodies of Ghengis Kong’s parents, and the bones of more of his ancestors, allowing GOC to be the first to discover k-cells. GOC was contacted in 1950 by aliens they codenamed the Exterians, who cut a deal to allow GOC to rule the world after the Exterians destroyed all major governments with kaiju attacks. GOC used Exterian technology to build a “GearGhengis” hybrid kaiju-vehicle, on the framework of Kong-kin bones, which they used to attack Ghengis Kong in 1966, and again in 1969. The GearGhengis was a crude cyborg operated by remote, but the experience allowed GOC to build the much more advanced Mecha-Deltara in the 1970s.

GORGON: GORGON is the secret and mercenary corps employed by the General Oil Company board to achieve their goals through extralegal means. The existence of GORGON is not publicly known, and the few who are aware of it outside GOC lack detailed information about its goals and funding and/or don’t have enough evidence to convince others. Even groups aware of GORGON at some level (such as K-Force) generally believe it is no more than than a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world, and assume it is hired by GOC on an ad-hoc basis, rather than being a fully-funded and controlled subsidiary.

GORGON operates with numerous fronts, including several executive security and private military businesses (most notably the Basalt Group, FieldOps, an Redrock Contracting), criminal organizations (often arms smugglers and drug operation, including the Acrisio Cartel and AKR Weaponry) and terrorist groups (including Dreadfang, the New World Operation, and the Promethean Order). If a GORGON operation goes badly enough, evidence is created to assign all its activities to a cutout front, which is then allowed to be destroyed.

K-Force: K-Force is a branch of S.T.E.E.L. (Special Taskforce on Espionage and Enforcement of Law, an internationally empowered paramilitary group) that searches for, studies, monitors, and if needed fights Kaiju. It is based in Tokyo (with branches in other cities, including NYC), and has a small fleet of antikaiju mecha. The largest of its mecha is Gunslinger Gamma, the only mecha to ever defeat a Tier 1 Kaiju, but most are Mobile Armor Pods (designed to allow observers and scouts to survive being near kaiju battles). K-Force also has the Submersible X-Carrier for sea operations, and Striker K airships.

K-Force works closely with a few other antikaiju and kaiju-study forces, including the size-changing AI robot Tiger Turbo, and M.I.K.I. It is the only foreign group allowed a base on Fang Island. It is often at odds with the General Oil Company, and (though no one in K-Force can prove it) their secret illegal militant mercenary branch, GORGON.

K-Guard: A unit of K-Force that monitor and protect the Kaiju Islands. They mostly serve as early warning if a kaiju seems to be leaving the islands, and as guards to prevent anyone else from getting into the islands without authorization.

Megarians: An alien society that opposed interference in cultures such as Earth, the Megarians oppose Externian operations on Earth, but do so by granting two Guardianships on native humans, who gain the power to become Mega-X and Mega-Z.

Mentalist Institute for Kaiju Investigations (MIKI): Following the confirmation of psychic powers following the battled between Deltara and XJPT in 1965, numerous organizations have been created to study, train, and sometimes contain psychics, the oldest of whom are reaching their late 60s now. The oldest and most respected of these is the Mentalist Institute for Kaiju Investigations, based in Tokyo and founded by the only psychic known to have been at all five Deltara/XJPT fights in 1965. Rather than just study and train psychics, MIKI makes a major part of their activities to study Kaiju, K-cells, and the links between many psychics and some kaiju.

MIKI often works with K-Force, and some MIKI graduates are K-Force members, but leadership and funding of the two organizations are independent from one another.

Webburners: Officially “Task Force Minerva,” the Webburners are a unique, multi-component US military organization, made up of active Army and National Guard units, rounded out by U.S. Army Reserve support units. They are the US’s official North American kaiju-fast-response team, with a particular focus on dealing with J-class and k-class bugs (see Tarankura), which for some reason are the most common form of giant creature threat the US faces. Founded in 1960 with a five-year term, and renewed by every congress and president since. Originally just a fast response team, over the decades the Webburners have developed tactics, operational plans, and weapons designed specifically for dealing with kaiju and gigafauna outbreaks, rather than for dealing with other military forces.

Patreon
I have a Patreon. It helps me carve out the time needed to create these blog posts, and is a great way to let me know what kind of content you enjoy. If you’d like to see more system-agnostic worldbuilding, game industry essays, more rules for Starfinder or either edition of Pathfinder or other game systems, fiction, game design articles, worldbuilding tips, or whatever!, try joining for just a few bucks and month and letting me know!

Advertisement

About Owen K.C. Stephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is a full-time ttRPG Writer, designer, developer, publisher, and consultant. He's the publisher for Rogue Genius Games, and has served as the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the Editor-in-Chief for Evil Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps. He has a Pateon which supports his online work. You can find it at https://www.patreon.com/OwenKCStephens

Posted on January 11, 2023, in Microsetting, Practical Pastiche, System Agnostic and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I blame my love of Kaiju for the Boston area Creature Double Feature that was on UHF channels on Saturdays after the morning cartoons in the early 80s. They showed all sorts of cheesy 50-60s sci fi movies, the giant ant, grasshopper and spider movies, the various universal monster movies, including the abbot and costello versions, but most of all, they showed all of the godzilla movies along with the flying turtle movies along with some others…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: