The world of Splicers is vague as to its location or original name; humans do not know if they are on Earth, or some colony world in space. While much history has been lost in the two hundred years of fighting, they are clear that colony worlds do/did exist. What is known is that humans chose to turn over governance of their world to a computer program, the N.E.X.U.S. (Neurologic Electronic eXecutive and Utility System). Initially, it ran only a few systems, but humans turned over increasing control to it, with increasingly strict (and contradictory) guidelines on its behavior. In a twist reminiscent of the dilemma faced by Hal 9000 in the 2001 series of books, the resulting logic loops leads to the Machine forming several separate personalities, each of whom follows different directives. One of the directives charged the machine with eliminating vermin. Another charged it with environmental protection. Between them, it was concluded that humans are, for all intents and purposes, vermin to be controlled, if not eliminated.2
The seven main N.E.X.U.S. personalities each have different agendas based on core tenets of the original programming. One, named Freya, wishes to maintain order within her so-called Ghost Cities, wherein robot duplicates endlessly play out their ‘lives’ as normal human beings. Another, named Gaia, wishes only to preserve nature, destroying robots which invade nature preserves and ‘entertaining’ herself with countless experiments in bioengineering. Kali is a destroyer and torturer and murderer(although she wishes to do so in such a way that her “fun” in matching wits, hunting and torturing the humans never ends); Eve attempts to protect humans and has been seemingly punished by her ‘sisters’ for doing so; Hecate wishes to only to design and build newer and better war machines, obsessed to such an extent that she actually doesn’t care whether or not the humans destroy her previous creations; Ishtar, chief strategist of the Machine, wages unceasing war against the humans and is only kept from completely destroying the species by the intervention of her ‘sisters;’ and Lilith, a wildcard even within the N.E.X.U.S supercomputer, who is simultaneously playing complex mind games against both the humans and her fellow personalities. In addition to these major personalities, there are dozens (or more) minor personalities which may manifest any traits at all, or may be Lilith or another personality pretending, for their own reasons, to be another.2
The Machine uses “traditional” technology, though far advanced from 21st century Earth. It uses a variety of robotic creations, energy weapons, high-velocity rail guns, and missiles. All of these are capable of operating independently, or of being directly controlled by one of the personalities of the Machine.
Humans who are part of the resistance live primarily underground, to avoid detection by the Machine, and rely on genetically engineered, or “spliced”, technology to provide for their basic needs, as metal-based technology, owing to the nanobot plague, is denied them. Most of their warriors make use of devices called “Host Armor” which is, in effect, power armor made out of a specially-tailored living creature. Others are themselves “spliced”, or chemically altered through contact with the fluids surrounding certain genetically engineered creatures. At the current time, the human resistance has arranged itself into Great Houses, which are headed by Warlords (a non-pejorative term). Only the Great House of Barren Marsh is detailed in the Splicers RPG, though additional material can be found in Palladium’s sourcebook series, the Rifter. Non-resistant humans live in “retro-villages”, which are maintained by the Machine in accordance with some of its directives.
Human technology is reliant upon a group known as the Engineers. These are humans who have bonded with giant, immobile, alien organisms which give them the ability to manipulate genetic codes. Other creatures, known as Librarians, are capable of creating new genetic codes from scratch.