Signs of Treachery

hope-or-no-hopeOne aspect of play in 214 revolves around the seamy business of corruption, deceit and treachery. Sometimes, the end justifies questionable means to secure certain success.

In Complex 214, you may choose to improve your chances of success by exploiting a mutation, for example, or in The Dee Sanction, your association with one of many secret societies and cabals that influence events in Europe mean you’re better equipped than at first might appear.

When you face a challenge, you need to roll a 7 for success. Before you roll, you have the opportunity to use one (or more) of your secret abilities to expand the threshold for success. If you exhaust a single card, you move it to the left side of your character card, swivelled sideways. The threshold for success now expands by 1, up and down – so, a single card means you will succeed with a 6, 7 or 8.

The moment you use one of these cards, you open yourself up to scrutiny and the possibility that someone might notice your unexpected and suspicious success.

Once you’ve made your roll, failure isn’t necessarily the end of the challenge. Your colleagues have the opportunity to spend points from their own pools – whether Access or Power – to nudge you toward success.

Whether selfless or selfish in their intentions, if they spend enough points they can then take a Success Counter. However, before they do that they have another option. You still have your success, but they uncover a piece of Incriminating Evidence (or more than one if you actually exhausted more than one special card). The GM hands out a little black token, or other marker, to indicate the presence of this compromising information.

These little black tokens sit next to your character card until you reach a point in the adventure when your team might contact home. At that point, the number of tokens might well spell your doom – the form of which depends on the version of 214 that you’re playing. Nevertheless, it won’t bode well in matters of advancement or trust. In a one-off, it will be a determination of basic success; in an ongoing game, evidence will slow your development and, most likely, drive blood feuds and further distrust within the group.

This mechanic means you can have a means to uncover and assign mistrust and bad behaviour, without worrying too much about keeping track of the detail. No need to pass secret notes across the table or go into play stalling detail about the discovery. One of the team has seen evidence of your misdeeds – and you would do well to check yourself in future.