Going through the various Apeworlds suggested in the book, I've noticed a disturbing lack of giant apes. King Kong may not be the archetypal "intelligent ape" movie, but it is one of the classics! And since we're already getting at giant apes, we might as well go ahead and add superheroes, monsters, and giant robots and call that a genre world.
So, a brainstorming thread for the creation of a high-powered, brutal, over-the-top world of giant monsters.
The basic premise is that in the near future ("Next Sunday AD"), the stars have finally aligned in such a way as to release terrible, primal monsters from their undersea prisons. Collectively known as the "Titans", they are each a gigantic (30 meters or more tall), monstrous version of some common animal (genre conventions: you got to have your giant lizard, squid, insect, whatever) with vast powers, resistance to modern military ordnance, and sometimes a swarm of smaller minions (a la Cloverfield). Rising from the ocean depths, they struck at many coastal cities, and the world armies of the world were helpless to stop them. A single Titan could very well devastate a city before being pushed back! The Titans seem to focus on certain locations more than others, for metaphysical reasons inconceivable to humans, but that fact brought little comfort to the inhabitants of those cities.
Maxport City, a metropolis on the eastern coast of the USA, is so far the city that most often comes under Titan attack. It's practically a monthly event by now, and the citizens have almost grown used to it. The reason Maxport City hasn't been destroyed so far lies with the first Titan to ever rise to attack it: the giant, invincible gorilla who was nicknamed "Maximus". While Maximus started by wrecking the city as any other Titan would, his attack was mysteriously brought to a halt a few hours in. It seems during the attack, a seemingly normal human woman has suddenly manifested psychic powers and has managed to communicate with the beast, who turned out to be intelligent, despite its inability to speak physically. Maximus has since developed a strong affection to the woman, and she has managed to convince him not only to stop destroying the city, but to become its protector! Now Maximus lives in an undersea cave some distance from the coast (he doesn't breath water: he's just so badass he can hold his breath for weeks while asleep), ever vigilant for the metaphysical signs of an approaching Titan, and rises from the waters to fight and protect the city of Maxport when the need arises.
Obviously enough, in this Apeworld, one player should always play Maximus. Though limited by his inability to communicate with most humans, he is an amazingly powerful monster that towers over all but the tallest buildings, and to be in control of him means to be in control of a primal force of raging destruction. This player would then go on to fight a variety of monsters that threaten Maxport. By consuming the essence of his fallen enemies, Maximus can absorb their strength, thus gaining new and devastating powers, from fiery breath to regeneration.
Rules for collateral damage (there's no point in defeating a Titan if you destroy half the city in the process), and perhaps some very basic monster wrestling rules, are a must.
The main problem with this idea is that it means that if your troupe has more than one player in it, everybody who doesn't play Maximus would be in for a somewhat dull ride. Some solutions I came up with:
* One player could play the psychic woman who falls in love with Maximus. The problem is that, dramatically speaking (and following genre conventions) this character should be mostly passive - and aside from the power to speak to a giant monsters, would be a pretty normal, fragile human, poorly suited to facing a preying mantis the size of an aircraft carrier.
* Bring in the giant robots: Maximus (with some pleading) has agreed to let human scientists study his muscles and nervous system (he is so tough that parting with a few big tissue samples is a trivial matter for him). Research into his amazing biology has led to major strides in many scientific fields, including artificial intelligence and material engineering. The result was giant robot suits (named APEs: Augmented Power Exoskeletons), heavily armored and full of missiles and railguns, were soon built to aid Maximus in his defense of the city. There was a problem, though: controlling such complex weapons required the establishment of a neurocybernetic connection between the operator and the armor AI, and since the control system was based on Maximus' brain, it didn't connect very well with human pilots. The solution to this problem was simple: five chimps were outfitted with NEMO (neural enhancement-memory organization) implants, boosting their intelligence to human levels, and electronic voiceboxes allowing them to imitate human speech. These chimps could easily connect with the APE suits, and soon turned into minor celebrities in Maxport city, living in chimp-y luxury when they weren't helping Maximus fight giant monsters.
* Bring in the superheroes: maybe not only a single woman gained strange powers. Maybe the Titans' coming activated the latent potential of many more. Mechanically, most superpowers are actually pretty easy to handle with the Terra Primate core book: psionics do the job just fine (espeically Telekinesis, which has both flying and amazing strength!), although we may have to rule that superpowers gain a major boost in strength in Maximus' presence (since the default power levels aren't suitable for a superhero story) . These new "superheros" did the only sensible thing they could have by donning on flashy costumes, taking cool codenames, and turning themselves into crimefighting/monster-busting/bank-robbing media sensations.
Alternatively, and perhaps more fittingly, some (or even most) superheroes could be apes, whose powers also included human level intelligence.
What do you think, for now?