The Red Watch

War_of_the_Worlds_shootIn the wake of the Second Great War, humanity found Earth divided. What had been a shared world now had an alien edge. Literally. No one in the world could ever have imagined that aliens would gaze upon the blue-green orb of Earth with envious eyes and draw their plans of invasion.

And yet… In 1938, the savage hoards of the Eicsh Abk invaded, their forces carried across the expanse between worlds in great metallic capsules. The martian invaders, clad in metallic skins that rolled, stalked or hovered, seared and ravaged the forces that greeted them, feasting on the bodies of the fallen.

The warlords of the red planet unleashed weapons of mass destruction that would scar the planet for decades – atomic, biological and chemical constructs that fouled the water, choked the soil and poisoned the populace. However, in the end, the invaders suffered a mortal blow, sickening and dying in the invasive climate of our own ‘alien’ world.

By the late 40s, victory seemed like just another face of defeat. The battlefield of Earth lay shattered and defiled. When communication next came from Mars, humanity greeted the words with incredulity, anger and revulsion. The Martian Senate – the Ahka Thca – passed on messages of sorrow and despair, for the attack on Earth had not been sanctioned by the greater population, but launched by a petty and vicious few.

In 1951, the Martians set up a diplomatic representation and embassy in New York to work alongside world states to engender peace and repair the damage done by the attack. Mars shipped resources from their world and contributed support for the creation of a UN-backed team of specialists to handle the clean-up operation. The ‘Red Watch‘ would work to root out extant War Criminals and defuse ongoing threats: leftover bio-weapons, intractable warlords, dangerous collaborating extremists, and those in possession of alien technology intent on using it for their own bitter ends.

Martians work alongside representatives of world military and intelligence agencies in tracking down rogue elements, sleeper agents and war criminals who pushed the conflict beyond the bounds deemed reasonable by the Martian Senate. Also, bio-containment operations seek out Red Weed pockets that continue to poison and subvert the environment. Martian Ambassadors pursue ongoing talks with the key World Governments on reparations and make formal apologies for the decision to use the Red Weed, an aggressive bio-agent banned on their home planet for centuries.

Background for a new game setting, likely to be tested out over the coming months!

No Guilt Is Forgotten

power-and-accessI have to make time to run sessions of the system without worrying too much about the finer details. However, preparation for All Rolled Up attendance at events has been a priority. Now, I hope to have the chance to pick up some slack.

I like Incriminating Evidence as a way to hold stuff against someone – and I’m good that the counters cut specific records or details. The players all know their characters have guilty secrets. Who discovered them and how they found out doesn’t need to have a specific answer. Ultimately, someone knows something that you wished they didn’t.

Under those circumstances, I suspect it would be a good idea to make amends. It’s occurred to me, for example, that someone with Incriminating Evidence might try to offset their guilt with selfless acts. For example, you might spend a point to take the hit when someone else gets hurt – whether they’re hit physically or struck by reputational dirt, grievous red tape or whatever. If a team mate will take damage to Access or Power, you spend a point of Incriminating Evidence BEFORE they turn over the effect tokens to find out the extent of the damage.

For example, George wishes to have an audience with Prince Reznik to communicate a matter of considerable import. Reznik’s personal advisor, Devit, suspects the information might undermine one of his plans and intercepts George, Maria and Peter. George rolls the dice and gets a twelve, without using any cards to adjust the success threshold. His team aren’t totally sold on the situation and see no advantage in helping, so they don’t spend pool points, and George himself doesn’t have enough to influence the roll.

The sigil on the dice rolled indicates that George has fallen foul of the System and the GM gestures to take an effect counter. Peter impresses his intent to step in and he discards an Incriminating Evidence counter, which George happened to have applied to him earlier. A gesture of good will to win George over, or a shaky hope that they will have a better relationship in future?

The GM turns over the counter and finds a result of 2 Power. Devit sends guards to retain and restrain George. When they appear, Peter steps in the way and attempts to distract them, while George gets away. The guards lose patience and beat Peter up, before giving chase. George won’t get that audience with Reznik today, but he might find another way to get the information to him if he can escape the guards – at least he isn’t locked in some dungeon cell. And Peter’s bruises will heal with time.

To be clear, the fact that the Counter that Peter burned to take the hit for George originally came from George is irrelevant. Once you have Incriminating Evidence Counters in play, it doesn’t matter where they came from. The blemish on your record exists – how you seek to better your reputation and, perhaps, clear your name as a result is entirely separate and non-specific.

On the other end of the spectrum, I see Incriminating Evidence as harmful to advancement. While you have any IE tokens, you can’t improve your character.

Current thinking is that if you complete an adventure with more points than you started, those represent a pool for possible improvement. If you have X Access above your starting threshold, you can spend them to improve a Pool by one point. For a little more, you can take a character card from the development pile – which will be a separate deck specifically intended to support improved expertise. However, if you have IE tokens, you need to exceed your base pool plus those tokens before you’re considered to have an excess. Maybe.

I’m still pondering this one.