Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook by Doresh
Post 1Original SA post Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook
Cheesy lines the GM is supposed to recite at the start of each scenario posted:
Today is a repeat of yesterday.
Tomorrow will be a repeat of today.
This mundane cycle known as life has made the
world seem stagnant.
Who could have suspected that the world
has been horribly twisted?
Welcome to Double Cross. This is the world of traitors.
Double Cross - or DX for short - is rad. It's Hunter: The Vigil meets X-Men meets Shounen action manga; D&D-4e-style powers meet Tenra Bansho Zero's "Your character becomes a monster if you're not careful" mechanic meets neat formatting that highlights [stats], <skills>, <<powers>> and (calculations) within walls of text. Powers also take on a more "scientific" approach (someone who can control fire can also most likely control ice as both are just heat control, and the closest thing to telekinesis is gravity control which in turn lets you screw around with spacetime).
I highly recommend a look at Cyphoderus' review of the corebook. But don't worry if you're too impatient, I try to not make this archive binge mandatory. Because unlike Immortal, Synnibarr and World of Darkness, DX's backstory is quickly explained and only really starts 20 years ago, with everything but the last 5 or so being painted in broad strokes. Sure, there is at least one metaplot character who has been around since ancient times, but anything more than 20 years ago is painted in even broader strokes. So lets get it rolling:
20 years ago, the plane of an archeology team got accidentally shot down in the Middle East when a civil war broke out. The mysterious artifacts onboard got destroyed and released what would become known as the Renegade Virus into the air. Without anyone noticing, the virus spread over the entire world, infecting around 80% of the entire population.
The virus lays dormant by default, but moments of immense trauma and stress can awaken it, turning its host into an Overed , a human with super powers that come in the form of 1-3 Syndromes (aka power sets). These powers come at a high price, for the more an Overed uses his powers, the more the Renegede uses him. If an Overed can't keep the virus under control, he gives in to his most primal impulses and becomes a Gjaum , a being that is at best a monstrous beast and at worst something that still looks and behaves human, but is anything but.
The central conflict in DX is that between the UGN (Universal Guardian Network) and False Hearts . The former is an international organization tasked with handling Gjaum threats while keeping the whole Renegade virus deal secret from the public, while the latter is a terrorist organization whose goals are pretty much the opposite.
Things got a bit complicated in recent times when UGN founder Professor Caudwell , who was presumed dead, turned out to be alive and well - as a False Hearts member. A third party also entered the ring in the form of Xenos , an organization (almost) entirely made up of the mysterious Renegade Beings , lumps of Renegade virus that have gained sentience and either taken on human form or taken control of a human host. Their relationship with the other two organizations is a fickle one, for they work towards further evolution of the Renegade Beings and will fight whoever gets in their way, while assisting whoever can be of use.
The Advanced Corebook
Like every DX book, this one starts with some manga panels - in color, no less. It revolves around the corebook pregens Wild Card and Speeding Bullets (at least I think; their hair color is not particularly consistent between different renditions) trying - and failing - to talk some sense into the Renegade Being pregen Ruby Eyes who has been hit with a serious case of batshit crazy.
An average Tuesday in the world of Double Cross.
While all this is going on, Xenos leader and token creepy child The Planner has a little cameo giving a chessmaster villain speech.
I suppose this is slightly more believable than the more typical "Everything always happens exactly according to my brilliant masterplan"?
So what is the content of this Advanced Rulebook? Easy! 52 new powers! 15 new Syndromes! Introducing Prestige Syndro... just kidding.
True, there are some new powers to be found, but they are just part of the main additions to the rules: Lois variants.
Loises - for those who didn't read the corebook review - are an Overed's attachment to human society. They can be concepts or hobbies, but they are usually relationships with other humans, be they friends, family members or fellow Overeds. They play a vital role in reducing the Encroachment Rate (how active the Renegade virus is) at the end of each scenario, which in turn keeps the PC from becoming a Gjaum. But even Loises that have "broken" can be useful, for those become Tituses that can be spend for a massive one-time buff.
The Advanced Corebook expands on the concept with Trait Loises (which are actually Merits & Flaws - kinda), Special Loises (your double plus Lois) and Exhausted Loises (Gjaum-only Loises that are essentially their craziness warping reality himself).
Experienced characters can now also make use of Unique Items , special weapons or other pieces of equipment that are either EX Renegades (a proto-Renegade-Being without real sentience; essentially the magic items of the setting) or items tailored specifically to a certain Syndrome.
To finish this introduction up, another dose of Ruby Eyes:
Considering the corebook lists her Renegade Being origin as "Legend", I think it's safe to assume she truly is a personification of the human concept of batshit crazy. Or some yandere variant.
Next Time : Trait Loises - Are Merits & Flaws finally done right?
Post 2Original SA post Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook
Special Loises - or S-Loises for short - are a simple addition to the normal Lois system. You simply declare one of your Loises - or even a Titus - as your S-Lois before the start of the Scenario. If that S-Lois is still there (and not been turned into a Titus if wasn't already one) at the end of the Scenario, you get an XP bonus. It's a way to increase character advancement if the player can refuse the temptation of a Titus-infused buff, though the Scenario might challenge the PC's relation with that S-Lois.
Trait Loises - or T-Loises for short - are the main course of this book's crunch and serve as the closest DX has to a merits & flaws system. The merit you get from a T-Lois is that you get a cool quirk or, well, trait relating to your character's personality, background or Renegade strain. The flaw is that a T-Lois takes up one of your precious Lois slots (hence the name) without actually giving you any of the usual benefits. No Encroachment Rate reduction, no Titus. So while you can have more than one T-Lois, anything more than two makes it pretty hard to not turn into a Gjaum.
If a T-Lois is particularly potent, expect additional flaws attached to it. If it passively boosts a number of Powers, expect those to increase your Encroachment Rate by a higher amount.
Similar to the Powers found in DX, T-Loises are very flavorful (so much so that you can base entire Scenarios around one, which some of the example Scenarios actually do) but only do one simple effect. Some just grant acces to an exclusive Power.
The T-Loises found in this book are numbered 1 to 52, and new T-Loises presented in the next supplements follow the numeration. A GM could probably roll some dice to come up with random T-Loises for a NPCs, but more than half of the T-Loises are restricted by occupation, Breed, Syndrome or whether or not the character is a Renegade Being.
Each T-Lois also comes with a bit of descriptive prose, but that'd be a bit much to cover unless its particularly noteworthy.
So, let's start this with general T-Loises anyone can have:
No. 1 Renegade Crystal
Also known as "Philosopher's Stones", these Renegade-infused crystals have already been mentioned in the corebook as something an Overed can fuse with to boost his strength. Unfortunately, most can't handle its power and either die or turn into Gjaums.
This T-Lois means you're one of the Adapted , an Overed that can control the crystal's power. What this means in game terms is that you can boost any of your checks once per Scenario by improving its Critical Value (aka making the dice explodier, if that even is a word) at the cost of an Encroachment Rate increase.
No. 2 Original Renegade
Whether you're one of the first to get infected or got your virus from somewhere else, you've been hit by the original Renegade virus strain, from before it infected humanity on a global scale and mutated in the process. This older strain focuses more on strengthening powers instead of its host.
Effects-wise, high Encroachment Rates don't offer check bonuses, but instead improve the rate at which your effective power levels increase, making you more of a spell caster.
No. 3 Irregular Strain
Something about your brand of Renegade virus is... off, making you an Irregular that can use powers nobody else can. You might be a Balor Overed who can fast-forward a target to negate its buffs. A Chimaera Overed who can have animals fully or partially pop out of your body like you're Alucard. A Morpheus Overed who can create copies of himself to pull off ninja tricks. Or you might have powers not tied to any Syndrome, manipulating the Renegade virus directly to confuse foes, alter probability or make your own attacks unstoppable.
No. 4 Counter-Renegade
Even stranger than the Irregulars are the Counter-Renegades, Overeds whose own virus acts as an anti-body to the rest of the Renegade. Maybe you're the result of a secret experiment to create an Anti-Overed weapon, or maybe you hate the Renegade so much that your strain started to adapt. Whatever the case, you essentially have the ability to "Smite Renegade", able to deal extra damage against Overeds and Gjaum at the cost of hurting yourself in the process because you're still an Overed, too.
No. 5 Lost Number
You're one of the few surviving test subjects of a secret experiment (by whom? Who knows.) to strenghten Overeds. You start out with higher Base Stats, and you get a cool Wolverine-like backstory in the process.
No. 6 Dual Personality
Whether you were born with it, gained it through the Renegade or had it implanted into you, have share your body with a "battle personality" that is way more adept at fighting and using Overed powers than you are. The player can switch personalities on the fly, but the battle personality will always take over once the Encroachment Rate reaches 100% to hulk out for a beefy dice bonus.
No. 7 High Status
You are influential and/or rich, and you know how important it is to have other people work for you, allowing you to grant Titus bonuses to others.
No. 8 Returner
Either because your will is particularly strong, or because you are especially attached to your normal life, you show remarkable resistance towards the Renegade virus. What this does is give you an actual net bonus in Encroachment Rate reduction, but it reduces your available Titus options because you can't let go of your relationships as easily as others.
No. 9 Duplicate
You're a clone, from yet another secret experiment that tried to copy an Overed to create agents with identical powers. The experiment failed, and you ended up with completely different Syndromes than your father/mother, yet one of his/her powers still managed to sneak into your power set.
No. 10 Successor
You have inherited your family's or master's secret skill, granting you a once-per-scenario boost in a skill of your choosing. If said skill is related to martial arts, you probably aquired this secret by having your master beat you to a bloody pulp every day until the skill became part of your very being. Nice.
No. 11 Secret Weapon
For whatever reason, you own a special piece of equipment that only you can use. Most of the available items are EX Renegades, Renegade-affecting pieces of high-tech, or particularly legendary items (like Excalibur). This does include an EX Renegade car, if you want to play a strange version of Knight Rider.
No. 12 Ancient Renegade
If the above-mentioned original Renegade strain is still too young for you, there is the ancient strain. As it stops its host's aging process, you might just been around for just as long (adding a bit of Highlander to the mix), with all the usual baggage of seeing your friends and beloved age and die before your eyes.
Power-wise, you can surprise those younger Overeds with ancient and forgotten powers, like using the free Renegage viruses in the area to fuel your own powers or hamper your opponents'. You can also compare current events with your long past experiences (aka ask the GM as question).
No. 13 Avenger
One person has caused you great suffering, and now its payback time. One of your Loises or Tituses is the target of this cold-blooded revenge, and you can't get rid of him/her until you have had your revenge. But even if that day shall come, you can still take advantage of this trait's once-per-scenario damage boost.
No. 14 Stable Subject
Your personality, force of will or another secret experiment gave you remarkable control over the Renegade, giving you another net gain Trait similar to Returner. In this case, you get to reroll your dice when determining how much your Encroachment Rate drops.
No. 15 Catalyst
You have the mysterious and poorly-understood ability to instinctively manipulate the Renegade virus, granting an allied Overed an extra turn.
No. 16 Singularity
Simply put, your Renegade strain is the Infinite Probability Drive. Unlikely events and ridiculous coincidences occur around you on a daily basis. You probably can't walk down the street without having a plane crash down right beside you and one of your childhood friends jumping out of it to proclaim that you are the only one who can stop him from taking over the world, before shooting laser beams at you.
Aside from making for very interesting campaigns, you can also cheat once per Scenario by turning all rolls of a single check into 10s.
No. 17 Strange Neighbor
One of my favorites: Usually, Renegade Beings of the Collaborator-type shut down their host's personality and consciousness when they take over its body. This T-Lois right here is a Parasyte-like situation where the Renegade Being decideds to reveal itself to its host and team up with him/her, with communication done through mental messages, a talking mirror image or other hallucinations.
The mechanical effect is somewhat tame, is it merely allows the host PC to start the game with a single Renegade-Being power for free and learn additional ones later on. Still, you have Renegade Being NPC buddy who may or may not be willing to appear before the rest of the party to remove any doubts about you being crazy or not.
Next Time : Restricted T-Loises - or how to be the vampire avatar of Athena.
Post 3Original SA post Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook
Trait Loises - Part II
Access to the following T-Loises are all restricted in some way. Of particular note are the Syndrome-exclusive ones, as they sorta act as a class kit or specialization, nudging the character closer to one of the two extremes most Syndromes offer.
No. 18 - 20: UGN-exclusive T-Loises
These can only be taken by official members of the UGN (as opposed to Illegals who just help them out every now and then). Normal agents can make use of Backup , making use of the UGN's vast resources to help them out, be it in the form of fellow agents assisting during investigations, or in the form of a surprise sniper/ninja squad.
UGN Branch Chiefs (which isn't a particularly rare PC choice; almost every example adventure assumes that one of the PCs is the Branch Chief of the default city) use their Leadership skills to assist an ally's check.
UGN Children that have spend pretty much their entire life inside an UGN training facility are True-Born and receive a permanent bonus to one specific skill due to their training.
No. 21 & 22: Renegade-Being-exclusive
I just have to quote the intro prose for the first T-Lois here:
No. 21 Divinity posted:
... I am a god.
"A god? A god?! You have got to be kidding me. You're a Renegade Being. You're nothing but a conscious virus."
Oh, the commoners never change. They call me many things. Sometimes they cling to my existence, other times they outright reject me. In the end, they all pass away like the minuscule specks of dust they are.
"I am Diablos of False Hearts and I revived you! You will now obey me!"
Obey? This man obviously does not know how to talk to a god. When you're pleading for protection, you're supposed to bow, entertain me with odd music and incense, and offer a mountain of treasure.
No matter. I haven been brought into the new world, and I plan to show people what true divine power is. People of the world, it is time to renew your faith in the gods.
That's right. You're a Renegade Being that used to be worshipped and/or feared as a god. In fact a lot of gods and mythological critters might've just be Renegade Beings, Overeds or Gjaums. Whether you still actually believe that you're a god is up to you, but that kinda goes against one of the core definitions of a Renegade Being (aka "You actually know that you are a lump of sentient Renegade virus").
The awesome in-game effect of all this is that you can go Old Testament God on the world once per Scenario, destroying any building or vehicle in the Scene or insta-killing all cannon fodder in a single Engagement. Due to plot armor, none of your shenanigans can actually hurt other PCs or proper NPCs.
So yeah, make a Neumann/Bram Stoker/Morpheus Renegade Being, take this T-Lois and lead your Red Servant phalanx to glorious victory as vampire Athena.
The second option is Reincarnation , which is just that. You died, and now you're back with your old memories. You may have been a normal human or even a former PC who died, but now you're a Renegade Being in the form of a ghost, computer program or normal human.
The effect of this is that like Duplicate, you start with a single power from another Syndrome (reflecting parts of your former self's powers). This power can only be used at an Encroachment Rate of 100%, and you can't raise it through XP. One the upside, it will already start at near max level.
No. 23 & 24: Pure-Breed-exclusive
Avatar signifies that your mastery over your single Syndrome is second to none, granting you access to one of the Avatar-exclusive powers that serve as additional "meta-powers". Want to boost one of your combos? Gain additional actions? Or do you want to ignore power restrictions?
Full-Blooded is an extreme specializiation that lets you improve a single power even higher than you can already do thanks to being a Pure-Breed. The downside? You're so focused on your one Syndrome that you can't learn any Common Powers aside from the three everyone starts out anyways and a fourth that is just a variation of one of the three.
No. 25 & 26: Demi-Breed: Crossbreed-exclusive
Overeds with Deep Encroachment show remarkable skill at merging their two Syndromes. They have a signature combo of sorts that can be boosted once per Scenario.
Demi-Breeds are an odd case in which a Crossbreed has a very lopsided relationship with his two Syndromes. This can result if two Pure-Breeds of the same Syndrome get a child that develops a second Syndrome, or if a Pure-Breed suddenly turns Crossbreed.
Whatever the case, the Demi-Breed starts off with a power that's otherwise exclusive to Pure-Breeds, at the cost of having a smaller selection of possible powers for the other Syndrome.
No. 27 & 28: Tri-Breed exclusive
The Tri-Breed-version of Deep Encroachment is known as Miracle Breed , signifying a perfect balance between all three Syndromes. Being more conservative than showy, it just reduces the Encroachment Rate increase of any combo using powers from each Syndrome.
Specializing like crazy makes you a , well, Specialist . You get a single Encroachment-Rate-restricted power for which you can ignore the usual max level reduction due to being a Tri-Breed. The downside is that you can no longer get any other restricted powers, so make it count.
No. 29 & 30: Angel-Halo-exclusive
Are you a Light Bringer , whose light is not just angelic, but outright divine (aka you get a new power that boosts your other Angel Halo powers), or are you a Dark Bringer who messes around with enemy actions and is so focused on darkness that even your light-based powers are covered in dark energy that is darker than darkness itself?
No. 31 & 32: Balor-exclusive
The Wicked Eye lets you turn one or both of your eyes pitch-black, allowing you to boost several gravity-based powers, and cursing anyone you look at with misfortune.
Chrono Trigger lets you straight-up travel back a few moments in time to correct a fatal mistake (letting you modify a rolled die). Or do you just have visions of the future? Nobody is sure what's exactly going on here, not even you.
No. 33 & 34: Black-Dog-exclusive
If you're into the lightning-aspect of the Black Dog Syndrome, you can hyper-charge your lightning powers as a Thunder Lord . If you prefer the cybernetics stuff, there's Full Cyborg , which means that something - or someone - messed you up so badly that you are now somewhere between RoboCop and fully-fledged android. This makes you pretty sturdy, but you have to watch out for people finding out about your robot body.
No. 35 & 36: Bram-Stoker-exclusive
You can be a Vampire , but that doesn't actually do what you'd think it does. It merely means that at one point, you were forced to drink the blood of someone else to survive, revitalizing your own blood to the point that you can use it to heal others.
If you're into Red Servants, you might want to become a Master of the Twilight who can create strangely twisted-looking Red Servants extremely fast.
No. 37 & 38: Chimaera-exclusive
If you are in tune with your animal side, you might be a Beast Heart , granting you quick transformations and the ability to befriend animals.
As a Tyrannos , you are the strongest there is. You hit so hard that you break any melee weapon you try to use.
No. 39 & 40: Exile-exclusive
A Freak is like Nightcrawler from the X-Men, branded as a monster due to mutations. On the plus side, they get to use powers for cheaper.
Kinda dabbling into Black-Dog-territory is the Tool Master , who can fuse with items for improved performance.
No. 41 & 42: Hanuman-exclusive
You can be a Speedster who is has a strong urge to run and can pull off the Infinite Mass Punch, or you can be a Sonic Master whose prose I just have to quote:
No. 42 Sonic Master posted:
If you ever meet the Sonic Master, watch out. He may not have any weapons, and couldn't use them even if he did, but he doesn't need them. If there's anything that can transmit sound waves, there's no escape from his attacks.
Listen to me. Don't stand where his voice can reach you. In fact, I think the spot you're in now is the worst place for you. If I were him, I could mince you in under a second with sonic blades.
This isn't funny. Especially for you, since you're about to experience what I just described.
Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you my code-name. I'm "Sonic Master".
So much cheese. Anyhow, this T-Lois lets you boost sonic powers with the Renegade virus, which according to the fluff even lets you use them in a vacuum.
No. 43 & 44: Morpheus-exclusive
Being an Alchemist makes you especially talented at creating items, while being a Sandman makes you suck balls at it, while granting you a new defensive power making use of all the sand your failed creations turn into.
No. 45 & 46: Neumann-exclusive
A Genius is not only a Jack, but also a Master of all Trades, granting a nice meta-power to boost any check. An Adept on the other hand reaches unparalleld mastership with a single power.
No. 47 & 48: Orcus-exclusive
With Elysium , the Domains you create are especially otherwordly and potent, making for nastier attacks. As an Animal Master , you instead focus on the animals dwelling inside your domain, which lets you use them directly for attacks (instead of having them merely assist).
No. 49 & 50: Salamandra-exclusive
The two T-Loises Eternal Blaze and Absolute Zero are very similar in that they have the Overed focus so much on one end of the heat spectrum that he can even scorch/freeze other Salamandra Overeds.
No. 51 & 52: Solaris-exclusive
Memory Diver makes you a Vulcan or general telepath, able to fix mental issues and even turn a Titus back into a Lois.
Kind Miracle makes you so empathic that you actually share the pain of others, giving you a neat support ability.
Next Time : Unique Items - time to bring out the railgun.
Post 4Original SA post Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook
Unique Items are a new brand of Items that are bought with XP, with costs ranging from 10 (cheaper than getting a new power) to 50 (holy crap that's a lot). Unfortunately, this means you generally don't see these Items around unless you use the point-buy chargen method or save up XP.
Like the Items gained through the Secret Weapons T-Loises, they can only be used by the character who bought them. Also like the Secret Weapons, they fall into the "Stronger version of a normal Item, with maybe a special effect attached to it" category, though Unique Items are even more potent.
General Unique Items include the Wicked Blade (an Ex Renage sword that more or less takes the best stat from each stock sword), The Cursed's Gun (a pistol that hits like an assault rifle) and the Damage Glove (for the martial artist who doesn't want to turn his hands into claws to fight).
As for vehicles, you have the Exotic Car that can outrace anything but the fastest motorcycle, and a friggin' Military Helicopter that comes with a chaingun.
For HP restoration, you can nibble on a crystalized Panacea's Fruit .
But those are not the main feature presentation. That's the various experimental gadgets that can only be used by someone with the right Syndrome.
Angel Halo Items
These are all about making use of an Angel Halo's enhanced perception: the Hell Sniper is a suped-up, extra accurate sniper rifle, while the Mystic Eye is a pair of mirrored sunglasses that improve your sense even further at the cost of a heavy nervous strain.
Some rad stuff here: The Hourglass of Time is an hourglass full of Evil Eyes that normally pop up when messing around with gravity. It can be used to prevent reaction powers from triggering. The Black Diamond boosts your Warding Field to the point that it "freezes" the entire area. Ran into a Gjaum while shopping and ended up wrecking the entire mall? No worries, 'cause teh Black Diamond will just reset everything and everyone back to before you used Warding.
Black Dog Items
Now here's some fun stuff. You can get a friggin' Railgun , using your own bio-electricity in place of the oversized generator you'd normally need. You can't fire this more than once per scenario as the barrel can't take more. Overall a short-range version of the core book's anti-material rifle (which is prohibitively expensive unless your PC specializes in being stinkin' rich).
As an alternative (and possible addition) to the Full Cyborg T-Lois, you can get yourself a Complete Augmentation , replacing anything but your brain for a superior robot body, including additional armor and a suped-up punch.
Bram Stoker Items
These are all about being more vampire-y: The Noble's Formal Wear gives you a probably Victorian-era-style dress that is also an EX Renegade which boosts your action in exchange for blood, while the Coffin of Roses is another EX Renegade that is, well, a coffin full of roses, which you can sleep in to recover HP.
Only consumables here: The X-Gene Crystal grants you a crystalized hide to ward off attacks, while the Cursed Fruit boosts your strength.
(And just as a reminder, any sort of consumable or broken weapon you paid for with XP or Stock points is restored/replaced between Scenarios).
Exiles being Exiles, these items are a bit gross: The Phial of Worm Toxin makes you poisonous, while the Extra Heart is, well, an extra heart that is also an EX Renagede who essentially acts as a 1-Up.
These make heavy use of Hanuman's sonic aspect: The Gaseous Blade is corrosive gas formed into a blade, while the Wind Cutter are nano-wires that let you play as Walter from Hellsing.
Rainbow Sand (supposedly EX Renaged grinded to dust) is a special sand that makes creating stuff cheaper, while the Heart of Dreams describes any sort of item that a Morpheus user can consume for a one-time power boost.
Only a Neumann Overed's brilliant mind can handle the data feed of the skill-boosting Support Program . There's also the Reaper's Book which is straight-up Death Note, except it gives the cursed a slight chance at survival by merely increasing any damage he takes.
Cherished Steed is an EX Renegade horse that can keep up with most vehicles in the game. For your Domain, there's the Twisted Kingdom , a miniature European castle that boosts Orcus power damage. I guess it uses cannons and miniature soldiers.
The Vapor Wall is a suitcase housing what is essentially a steam deflector shield. If you want to play as a ninja, there's the Full Active Camouflage Suit that is Salamandra-only for no other reason than the heat ventilation being a bit borked.
Here we have a combat drug in the form of the Synapse Booster , and you can use your Warding power to debuff a single target with the help of Hamelin's Flute .
Next Time: The World - let's see if we can figure out where one edition ended and the next one started. Also introducing Overed tumblr.
Post 5Original SA post Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook
Note: I'm going to skip over the general setting stuff as that is just a summary of the corebook.
History of the Renegade
A big ol' collection of one page summaries of DX' major metaplot events. Let's get started:
Akira Nagase's Coup d'état
Akira Nagase aka Lord of the Abyss was a False Hearts agents who infiltrated the UGN, spending years gaining power and allies for a major coup. His main assets was the artifically-created Overed Blue Queen who could turn others into Overeds (by awakening their dormant virus I assume).
When Akira began to create his own little Overed army in City S, agents from an UGN meeting in City K (DX has some weird city naming conventions) found out about his shenanigans and put an end to him, ending the threat but leaving a fair bit of paranoia.
The Battle for the Renegade Crystals
A big battle royal started by Jin Kusakabe, the first known Master Wraith (highest-ranking False Heart member who actually shows up in public). His big plan was to fuse Overeds with Renegade Crystals and have them absorb each other's crystals Highlander-style, with the last one hopefully transforming into the Primate Overed , a theoretical Overed god king of sorts.
Unfortunately for Jin, it turned out that facing the last survivor with just a single Renegade Crystal of his own may not have been a wise idea. Jin got defeated, and the winner disappeared. Did he actually become the Primate Overed? Did he leave this plane of existance? Or did he just develop he just become old and brooding until Overeds from
The UGN's Dark Secrets
Nanase Kusamori is an Overed with a very rare and powerful ability: Second Chance , the power to effectively change history. Whatever Nanase believes to be true, her Morpheus powers would reshape the world accordingingly, and her Solaris powers would alter everyone's memory to go along with it.
Naturally, the UGN kept her unter surveillance and made sure that she never finds out about Overeds and the Renegade, else she might think about actively rewriting history.
While UGN agents thwarted a kidnapping attempt by False Hearts agents, the dark secret was unveiled: Project Adam Kadmon . In the early years of the UGN, they had a top secret joint-venture with False Hearts. Originally started to research whether or not it was able to turn Gjaums back into humans, it eventually devolved into Mengele-style experiments on normal Overeds.
The Silver Stone Incident
Another attempt at created the Primate Overed, this time using seven special Renegade Crystals known as
The Prime Overed to be was an artifical human who went rogue and destroyed Hermes after developing an actual personality and a free will. Now calling himself Crow , he wanted to leave a mark on the world during his short lifespan. To do so, he planned to collect all Silver Stones and use them to wipe out the Renegade virus entirely, even if this would kill more than half of all infected.
Emo vs the DX Fighters
Luckily for everyone, a group of UGN agents defeated him before he could get his hands on the last Silver Stones, and Crow died content, knowing that his memories would live on inside Shihori Nanamura (a side-effect of turning the Silver Stones into normal Renegade Crystals). Man, this is almost like a Bleach filler arc or movie.
The Phantom Cell Incident
The eponymous Phantom Cell was a major False Hearts cell with their own artifical island base known as Island X . There, they designed X-Series Overeds with unique powers.
Phantom Cell's leader Master Phantom wanted to force the Renegade virus to reach its next step of evolution. Several X-Series Overeds weren't quite happy with him being willing to kill just about everyone to achieve this evolution, so they revolted and wrecked Phantom Cell.
One of the revolting X-Series Overeds turned out to be an artificial human controlled by 12 survivors of the archeology team from 20 years ago who have turned into bodiless Renegade Beings. Before this one-man-collective died during the revolt, they dropped a pretty big plot bomb: The expedition in which they stumbled across artifacts containing the Renegade virus? Nothing about this was an accident. Someone gave them a tip, and their plane getting shot down was most likely part of the whole plan as well.
During the final battle onboard Phantom Cell's own friggin' space station, a mysterious telepathic message was broadcast to every Overed on Earth. Nobody managed to make much sense of it, seeing how it was no real message per se but rather a feeling of homesickness and/or hope, but there's a good chance this message was responsible for some Crossbreeds suddenly getting a third Syndrome over the next couple months, giving rise to the Tri-Breeds.
(I assume this event happened before or during DX's second edtion, though I don't really know when exactly Tri-Breeds became playable.)
The Omokage Island Incident
This is the one already detailed in the corebook, though there are a few more details to be found here.
In an attempt to advance the evolution of her fellow Renegade Beings, Kyoka "The Planner" Tsuzuki not only outed herself as one, cut her ties with False Hearts (a pretty big move considering she was the leader of FH Japan) and allied herself with Lord Omoide , a Renegade Being residing on Omokage Island who had the unique abilities of being able to use every Syndrome and create tangible illusions from peoples' memories.
By luring an Overed with a Renegade Crystal to Lord Omoide, The Planner was able to "resurrect" the dead, gathering the memories about these deceased and sharing them with all Renegade Beings.
Her plan didn't succeed entirely as the crystal-bearing Overed stopped eventually interfered, but the whole event helped kickstart the sentience of several EX Renegades across the globe, increasing the Renegade Being population exponentially and fueling their interest in humanity.
The Planner got killed during the incident, but that wasn't the first time she would just appear again a couple days later. What was different this time around was that she had suddenly turned from a hot business lady into a 10-year-old girl and leader of the new Renegade Being organization known as Xenos .
Anti-aging gone horribly wrong.
This has taken a bit longer than expected, so I'll save the organizations-stuff for later.
Next Time : Organizations. With Overed tumblr for realz this time.
Post 6Original SA post Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook
The following chapter also talks more about False Hearts and Dr. Caudwell , but I'm gonna skip this here because the very next supplement is all about those.
Though I have to mention the doctor right now: You may remeber that the corebook doesn't actually give any metaplot NPC stats aside from the most basic (Syndrome, Work, Cover, Encroachment Rate). This was done so the GM can tailor them to their needs, depending on how strong/weak they need to be compared to the PCs.
This supplement and the following ones throws this out the window by giving everyone a full stat/skill writeup and a list of favorite powers. So we now know that UGN Japan director Yugo Kiritani indeed sucks balls in combat, whereas Dr. Caudwell has everything at 15-25, allowing him to mop the floor with PCs without even using a single power (though even this more detailled writeup still doesn't mention what Syndromes he actually has)
Still, there's nothing stopping you from just using your own statblocks.
The Universal Guardian Network
The UGN is organized in a pyramid-like structure. At the top of the food chain we have Axis the central committe composed of 12 members (6 humans, 6 Overeds).
Next up is the UGN HQ , which oversees the other branches and can directly override their orders. After the HQ comes the North, East, South and West branches (which I assume stand for Europe, Asia, Africa and America) who in turn oversee the national branches.
Outside of these branches, there are the Special Branches with a very narrow and specific mission. The Sacred Pillars Branch for example monitors a bunch of stone pillars that have turned EX Renegade (Stonehenge?), while the Oversight Branch just inspects and grades other branches.
So City S is Saitama?
Every branch also features various departments, though some of the smaller branches might miss a couple:
These teams are solely composed of Overeds because they're all about fighting False Hearts and Gjaums, and non-Overed are kinda useless at that task.
The best of the best become part of the Strikehounds , UGN's international special forces sub-organization. Strikehounds also happen to be the defaul UGN cannon fodder trooper from the corebook, which gives you some idea about the power level of your typical PC and NPC.
These also get their own sub-organization in R-Lab . They naturally research the Renegade virus and all the funky powers it grants. Their ultimate goal is to get rid of the Renegade entirely, though it depends on the exact branch how much the department cares about that goal (Japan for example doesn't at all). If there are some shady experiments going on, chances are R-Lab is to blame.
The support department that fixes you up. Any Overed in this department is likely specialized in healing powers. They are organized under the White Hand sub-organization.
Your information gathering dudes. There doesn't appear to be an overarching sub-organization for this.
Over the years, Axis and the HQ have lost more and more control over the national branches, who in turn are busy 0combatting False Heart instead of working towards the lofty goal of a peacful relation between humans and Overeds.
Things took a turn for the worst when Dr. Caudwell not only returned as a member of False Hearts, but made his return with a live media feed broadcoasted throughout the globe. The UGN managed to mindwipe and erase every trace of this broadcast's existance (aside from urban legends stuff and conspiracy theories), but they spend almost alll of their funds in the process.
The organization was also thrown into a severe crisis as especially older members realized what UGN has become. Agents left (some joining False Hearts), infighting broke out, and several Illegals started to boycot them after the whole mess caused them to be left in the dark and/or getting conflicting information as to what's going on.
Nowadays, Axis is split into two fractions, each with their own idea how to bring order back into this mess: The Reformists led by newcomer Ashe Redaric want to put the national branches on a tighter leash and militarize everything to take out False Hearts for good, while the Moderates under Theresa Blum (who is not an Overed herself, but makes up for it with an Overed owl bodyguard and anime spiral lock hair) just want to stabilize the UGN.
There's not a whole lot new about Xenos, and I'll skip False Hearts as mentioned, but there are a couple new smaller players at work:
The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare is a Japanese agency trying to prevent Overed incidents by taking them into custody. There quite moderate and have an easy time working with the UGN.
Section R or more formally "The Renegade Crimes Investigation Unit" is a new division of veteran cops who support the UGN with intel and clean-ups. You can probably run a Kamen-Rider-Kuuga-style campaign with these guys as allies.
The Special Investigations Agency is the total opposite of their Ministry buddies: they don't get along with the UGN at all, and their solution to Overed problems is to kill the shit out of rogue Overeds, with things quickly turning ugly as they are nowhere near as good as the UGN.
The State of Grace is essentially the Brotherhood of Mutants, believing Overeds to be the new master race to rule the planet, and they try to convert normal humans. Fortunately for everyone, they're a bunch of bloody amateurs.
The Wild Horses is a group of freelancers composed of former UGN agents. Though they are mercenaries, they are willing to do even the most mundane jobs, like washing dishes or going to the grocery store.
S-Ranking is a very mysterious site run by the enigmatic person only known as Show-K. He/She gathers battle data from Overeds and feeds it into his big Overed power level list. What baffles the UGN and probably False Hearts too is that the list includes Overeds for which no kind of battle data actually exists.
(Sadly, there is no formular for calculating a PCs power level.)
The Kou-Ou Society is Japan's biggest criminal organization (so they're Yakuza?) who have only recently found out about the Renegage. They're still trying to figure out what its all about, so they're nowhere near of a threat as The Guild from the corebook.
The Overed Mutual Aid Society is amazing. Its a nickname-only social network site for young Illegals (and probably also UGN Children) to socialize and share their problems. It seems to be an internal (if unofficial) site of the UGN, but I like to imagine the rest of the internet is aware of the site and just assumes it's an otherkin community. I also like to imagine the site members are in on the joke.
My headcanon posted:
Salamandra420BlazeIt : I control both fire and ice. I'm such a unique and conflicted individual!
BloodyVampire666 : My only friends are the Red Servants I create...
HanugirlXX92 : I just met this Renegade Being the other day who claims to be the born from the human concept of Batman. Srsly, can you be any more of a poser?!
Space Unity Association are your typical UFO nutjobs who have found out about the Renegade and now believe Overeds are parasitic alien invaders and that the UGN is part of a global conspiracy or something. They probably wear tinfoil hats and are looking to develop sunglasses that identify Overeds.
Next Time : New metaplot NPCs - with special guest appearance by Muten-Roshi.
Post 7Original SA post Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook
A lot of these are from UGN Japan (of course), but we also get a few from Axis and the HQ. This is mainly due to Dr.... oh wait Professor Caudwell (silly me) now being the new leader of FH Japan, forcing the higher-ups at UGN to exert more direct control over Japan out of fear of them effing it up. Seeing how the regional branches of UGN Japan used to be very independent from each other, many agents are naturally a bit irritated by these turn of events.
And as a lot of NPCs were already covered in the corebook without a full statblock, I'll just go over the new ones.
Yuki "Guiding Fate" Yakoji became the Branch Chief of City S at the young age of 15 because of her mad Neumann skills. Originally a bit insecure about her position, she is now a beacon of stability in the recent chaos. She does a pretty good job at stabilizing the UGN, but she has become a popular target for False Hearts attacks in the process, none of which have been particularly successful.
Ashe "Million Suns" Redaric is a Balor/Orcus/Hanuman Overed and former head of the Oversight division, a position in which he earned tha hate of many field agents that got demoted or transferred because of him. After Caudwell's return, he became a member of Axis and is now the leader of the Reform faction, aiming to militarize the UGN and make Axis an Overed-only committee.
Kaoru "Jester's Truth" Senjoji is an Orcus/Morpheus Overed and filthy rich pretty boy. A member of R-Lab and follower of Therese Blum, he claims that he comes from a noble family that owned a castle in Western Australia, which is most likely a load of bullcrap.
Genichi "Holy Meditator" Fujisaki is an Orcus/Solaris Overed working directly for the UGN HQ. He's a strict realist who tries to convince the various UGN branches to cooperate better. While he often disagrees with the Japan Branch Chief Kiritani, he nevertheless trusts him to handle things without Axis breathing down his neck.
Ivy "Sylphid" Knowles is a 13-year-old pianist who became a Hanuman/Angel Halo after she got kidnapped by Phantom Cell. One of the survivors of the revolt that ended Phantom Cell, she now dedicates herself to changing the world with her music. I guess she is also either an Illegal or someone supervised by the UGN.
Shiori "Transceiver Girl" Fujimiya uses her Neumann to become an expert hacker, able to get acess to anything she wants. When she ended up getting caught, she became an UGN Illegal, doing the occassional job for them in exchange for protection.
Midori "Clean Green" Kano , a an Orcus/Solaris/Exile Overed, probably has one of the worst jobs out there. She is the president of Midorimaru Cleaning Service, a front for UGN Japan's Clean-Up division. Understaffed and underpayed, things aren't exactly cozy for her, what with both UGN and False Hearts agents causing collateral damage all the time.
Masamichi "Burning Heart" Ino is a new and idealistic UGN Agent and the Salamandra/Hanuman Syndromes. His enthusiasm isn't shared by older, more jaded Agents who have seen what the UGN has become, but maybe a bit of fresh blood isjust what they need.
Maria "Fragarach" Chesnokov , an Angel Halo and possibly former assassin, is the leader of Section Four , also known as the "Fugitive Killers" because they are a glorified deaths quad tasked to kill UGN traitors and deserters. It probably doesn't bode well that she and her Section are loyal to Ashe and his cause.
Masaya "Cool Runner" Arishiro served in the JSDF before becoming a Neumann/Black Dog/Morpheus Overed. Spending a couple years as a mercenary, he eventually found out about the UGN and is now the vice-captain of Japan's Strikehounds. Despite his violent past, he's a kind soldier who always looks out for his comrades.
Kozue Shinjo, The Other-World Priestess is a nice 12-year-old girl who has an entire UGN Special Branch surveilling her. Why? Well, her Encroachment Rate is 666% and her Renegade Control skill of 30 is even better than Caudwell's (though he has a much higher [Mind] stat to go with it), but she doesn't shown any signs of being a Gjaum, nor has she ever done anything with her Salamandra/Solaris/Balor powers to harm anyone.
Despite the lack of incidents caused by her, the S-Ranking website nevertheless has her ranked as having the 2nd highest power level after Caudwell.
Nameless is awesome. A master informant of legendary renown, he has managed to hide is true identity by using his Orcus/Black Dog powers to contact customers solely through animal proxies. Getting your intel from a talking dog or pidgeon might be strange, but at least the information's good.
Ryo "Midnight Driver" Kugayama is an Angel Halo/Neumann Overed and another informant, giving out intel and rumors to anyone who pays well. Since his official job is that of a late-night taxi driver, he passes on his intel while driving his "customer" and only stops when the fare equals the payment for his intel.
Diaz "Ace Card" McLain is the captain of Tempest (the US Marine's anti-renegade group) and a Hanuman/Black Dog/Exile Overed. He does a pretty good job so far, but military officials fear the extensive augmentations he and his team go through could turn them all into Gjaums.
Fionn "Old S" Boothroyd is an old MI6 veteran who still works for the Empire on Overed-related tasks well after his retirement ever since he got hit with a case of the Black Dog Syndrome. He's a real gentleman, but his jokes are terrible.
Douji Saga, the Knight of the Round Table is a great example for a Renegade Being with the Legend Origin: taking control of a suit of medieval armor, he believed himself to be Lord Gawain, travelling all around the globe for who knows how long on a quest to find the Holy Grail. Even after an encounter with Xenos uncovered his true nature, he still can't stop himself from believing that he his Lord Gawain. You'd think someone with the Neumann/Black Dog would be a bit more logical.
Fernando "Smoker" Franco , a Morpheus/Neumann Overed and the very laid-back, but effective, leader of the Guild's Japan branch. His negotiation skills are through the roof.
Seiji Munei, The Walking Animal is the human leader of the Special Investigations Agency. He hates both the UGN and Overeds, but he knows that mere humans have no chance at fighting Overeds.
Shoya "Clockwork" Mitsurugi is the boss of the Takagawa Yakuza family, a part of the Ko-Ou Society. The other bosses don't trust him due to his young age (24), but espionage skills served the family very well. He is also an Orcus Overed, proving that the Society isn't entirely in the dark when it comes to the Renegade.
Natsuki "Steel Guardian" Minase is the leader of the civilian anti-Gjaum group Tindalos ever since she desposed of the original leader due to his incompetence. A Salamandra/Exile herself, she realizes that Tindalos needs to recruit more Overesd if they ever want to become a serious player in this game.
Toshimichi Asada is one of the few Japanese politicians who know about the Renegade, and he is the de-facto spokesperson for the UGN's agenda. As a doctor, he sees the Renegade virus as a disease, and there are rumors about an Overed in his own family. I sense a bit of X-Men here.
Kiyomaru Kawai, the "Mountain Hsein" is an odd fellow. A wandering old hobo who is actually a rich man if the rumors to believed, only sleeping in forests and abandoned buildings he personally owns. He knows about the Renegade and is in fact an Overed with unkown Syndromes. He has many connections with all kinds of organizations and likes to help out young folks.
Trying to fight him is a very bad idea, for he is even more powerful than Caudwell, especially when it comes to mental powers where he absolutely rocks with a [Mind] of 30 and Renegade Control of friggin' 40. Who knows why he isn't #1 on S-Ranking.
I also think that he kinda looks like Muten-Roshi:
"Does anyone have some censored beer for me?"
Next Time: More about City N and its questionable redevelopment plans.
Post 8Original SA post Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook
I'd say that every city in DX just has a single letter name, but then I remember that places like Tokyo still exist.
City N is the default Stage (aka place to have adventures in) of DX. It's a 1 hour train ride away from Tokyo and was hit pretty hard when the Japanese economy crashed. Things are looking much brighter now, but there are still plenty of abandoned buildings and factories that are just beggining to be used as secret laboratories and battlegrounds.
I wonder what the other cities along this river are called?
I might question the wisdom of City N's redevelopment plans for having their university only two streets away from an abandoned area teeming with criminal activity, but what do I know about redevelopment?
All in all, this map is a more expanded version of the one from the corebook with a few new locations:
The Public Library stands out among the surrounding buildings because of its age, as it was built back when City N gained its city status. It has a pretty good and diverse selection and is quite popular with the locals.
The Hanashima Building is the HQ of the Hanashima Yakuza family, a member of the Kou-Ou Society. It looks like a legitimate business from the outside, but it is a base for the Family and False Hearts, their newest allies.
The F&F Sports Club is a pretty nice workout place and unofficial training facility for UGN Agents and Illegals. And you want anabolic drugs, the shady part of town is right around the corner.
Kamishiro Foods is one of the few bits of industry still left in City N. There are quite a few rumors surrounding this place, and knowing that the Kamishiro Group has its hands in all kinds of things - even the Renegade - who knows whats actually going on there.
The Kuroshima Clinic is not actually found on any official city map, and it doesn't have any kind of billboards, or really anything to stand out from the other buildings.
River N features a popular cycling path on its west bank and is a frequent location for fireworks and marathons.
NPCs of City N
The Advanced Rulebook features a crapton more NPcs for the City:
Asaka Tsukihara is a high school student who had a Renegade encounter during her childhood. She was mindwiped by the UGN, but a nagging suspicion that something was off stayed with her. Her quest for the truth turned her into a very intelligent and wise girl, and she might just find out about the Renegade in the near future.
Akira "Dragon Breath" Matsunawa is a Salamandra/Balor UGN Agent (formerly an Illegal) who runs the Sports Club. Aside from training comrades, she checks out rumors and keeps an eye out for potential new Overeds. She also knows Overed Karate, whatever that is.
Yoko Mizoguchi, aka "Mom" is the motherly caretaker of City N's UGN Children and young Illegals and a Solaris/Neumann Overed herself. She's a bit torn between her "kids" trying to make the world a better place and them potentially losing their lifes in the process.
I'm also pretty sure her writeup has a little typo, as she is supposedly only 17, which meshes neither with her position nor her picture:
No anime character under 30 is drawn like this - with the possible exception of Satoshi Kon movies.
Mifuyu "White Winter" Kanemura is an adorable 11-year-old UGN Child and Salamandra True-Breed. She's a quick learner and eager to one day help her older "siblings". She still has a lot of untapped potential, but she can already beat up Yakuza members with her bare hands, which is always good for a laugh.
Shun "Good Life" Masukura is a high school student and Chimaera/Bram Stoker/Morpheus Illegal. He does a pretty good job at it, probably because he finds being an Overed much more awesome than the boring life he has previously.
Kohei Samejima is a veteran detective and one of the few members of the City N Police who know about the Renegade. He can't stand Overeds, but he has to put up with them as he knows nobody else can handle Renegade-related incidents.
Shotaro Kashima is the Hanashima Family boss. Ever since he is in charge, the Family has moved on to legal businesses to keep the cops away and cooperations with False Hearts, whose activities are hard to trace by non-Overeds.
Mitsuo "Dr. Lincoln" Kuroshima is the doctor of the secret clinic mentioned above. He's not an Overed, but he still got a nickname, which is derived from his bushy hair and unusual tallness. He treats anyone and never asks questsions, but his prices are ridiculous, and he doesn't accept insurance.
Tama, the City's Companion is the source of a legend about a cat that has been alive since the 17th century. Tama actually is that old, but he's not actually a cat, but a Chimaera Renegade Being. Spending much of his life as an EX Renegade, he has recently gained the ability to talk, which sprouted yet more rumors.
A great thing about City N is that it avoids the typical problem of your superhero game's default city already having a Justice League worth of well-established veteran characters the PCs have to share the spotlight with.
City N doesn't have this problem, and it makes it very clear that the PCs are the unquestioned big damn heroes of the UGN's local branch. There isn't even a canonical Branch Chief, and the example Scenarios assume that one of the PCs takes this role.
And of the UGN members presented in the NPC section, only Akira and Shun would actually take on missions, and both of them have statblocks that are pretty close to a starting character.
Next Time : E-Loises and Enemies - or how to destroy the world with pure hate.
Post 9Original SA post Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook
Loises are what keeps an Overed going. They're his desire to stay human. A Gjaum however has other desires, based on its Impulse and insanity. To help it fulfill its desires, some Gjaums develop Exhausted Loises or E-Loises, which is basically a result of them becoming so batshit crazy that their Renegade virus starts to mess around with reality itself.
E-Loises are essentially super-sized versions of the enemy-exclusive Powers found in the corebook. They let a Gjaum pull of powerful effects or do crazy stuff that the GM can base whole Scenarios around. E-Loises also continue the trend of DX defining cases of GM fudging as actual, clearly-defined in-game abilities. A lot of them are therefore about bending or screwing with the rules, and the GM is free to come up with conditions to break an E-Lois' effect.
Luckily for the players, each E-Lois can only be ues once per Scenario.
Aside from making a Gjaum more powerful and/or annoying to fight, E-Loises also have a positive effect: As they highlight the absolute worst that the Renegade can turn you into, Overeds will react in disgust and vow to not end up like this. At the end of each Scenario, E-Loises of defeated enemies are turned into bonus dice to reduce the Encroachment Rate further, which offsets the penalty of a T-Lois and allows those without T-Loises to be more spam-happy.
Some E-Loises are considered so potent that they count as multiple E-Loises, granting more bonus dice.
E-Loises and T-Loises (which any enemy can have, be it Gjaum or just a normal Overed) can also grant bonus XP if the GM feels like they had enough of an impact.
: Wanna keep anyone from entering the current Scene? With this, you can. Turn the building you're in into a solid cube, or project a field of hate so strong that people just can't get near you.
Mirror Image of Nightmares
: The Gjaum is actually a copy of someone else (or is he the original?!). He must have the same core stats and Personal Data, but everything else (including powers and even looks) can be different. Not sure why you'd want a different look if you can just go the evil doppelganger route.
: The Gjaum has surpassed its own Renegade's limits, and he gains a Power at max level from a Syndrome he doesn't have. Good for some neat surprises.
: A meta-E-Lois that turns a single-target E-Lois into an AoE. None of the previosu E-Loises apply for this, obviously.
The Solitary Cry
: Forces the target to have you as a Lois, and prevents him from gaining other new Loises. A Gjaum with this is basically an obsessive stalker who can infect people with the Stockholm Syndrome.
: Summon another enemy, whether it was born out of your hate or just attracted by you.
: This is a fun one. It forces everyone in the Scene to make an Impulse check, failure meaning they have to act according to the Gjaum's Impulse. If used against normal people, this typically transforms them into raving Gjaums on the spot.
The Temptation of Corruption
: The Gjaum just wants to drag everyone down with him, trying to raise everyone's Enroachment Rate to 100%. Can also be used to awaken people as Overeds or just make some Gjaums.
: The Gjaum just keeps coming back from the dead until the PCs can figure out a way to end him for good. Double Cross - now with full support for Liches.
: The Gjaum is so full of himself that he can pull of a sort of X-Magic from Final Fantasy, letting him dual-cast a Power or E-Lois.
: Taking cues from Grima Wormtongue, the Gjaum is able to mess around with a person's Loises, making positive relationships negative and vice versa.
Now for E-Loises that are exclusive to an Impulse, of which there are two per Impulse.
Ultimate Existence is a variation on Undying Delusions that makes the Gjaum completely invulnerable, forcing the PCs to figure out a way to nullify this E-Lois. The Fool's Contract is a wish spell (with lots of bad consequences because its being used by an insane monster), letting the Gjaum play Mephisto.
These are all about being a monstrous vampire: Bloodlust let's the Gjaum slurp up HP from everyone around him, while Blood Bride makes loyal Gjaum minions out of corpses.
Lots of creepy stuff here. Starving Soul lets the Gjaum steal a single Power from anyone it kills (and probably also includes eating the victim), while Depths of Hunger lets it straight-up absorb someone else for a nice buff. The absorbed will also most likely be important to at least one PC, so they better find a way to make the Gjaum vomit her/him back up.
For especially gruesome Gjaums. Impulsive Slaughter makes it so that everyone dies unless they are healed in the same round they are KOed, while Circle of Tragedy merely grants bonus actions with which the Gjaum can do nothing but finishing off characters.
The first E-Lois Shattered Bonds is very subtle and metaphysical for this Impulse, as it "destroys" the bonds between people aka Loises. You have a very dear childhood friend? Well, now you no longer remember her.
Manifestation of the Destroyer is a lot less subtle and just has the Gjaum destroy "one of anything in the universe", be it a single building or the whole moon. Useful for fights that have a time limit or just have to be won. Important characters still have plot armor against this, but blowing up the Earth or Sun.
For Gjaums who want to be major dicks, there is Festival of Torture which makes it so that the target will just blow up if it gets KOed, or Absolute Shackles which is like the Geas spell except that it kills the oathbreaker instantly.
Fated Malice is good for clingy boyfriend Gjaums, for it deals heavy damage to anyone who turns a Lois with you into a Titus. Wall of Denial on the other hand is for loners who don't care about other humans, and it allows the Gjaum to just nullify Titus bonuses.
In true "Blood for the Blood Good!" fashion, Decree of Death can make everyone in the Scene go berserk, while World of Battle lets the Gjam shrug off Bad Statuses and fatal hits.
These are fun: Crumbling Reality lets the Gjaum reject reality and substitute his own, while Delusional Appearance gives it a makeover that also grants access to a Power outside of the Gjaum's Syndrome.
Gjaums with this Impulse turn pain into power with Dark Joys , which grants them a cumulative bonus to everything each time they take damage (which thankfully only lasts for one Scene). Blade of Mortification is a tricky one in that the Gjaum's desire for Self-Mutilation becomes so strong that it makes the surrounding people try to off it themselves. Not ideal for your typical bad guy, but useful for more tragic Scenarios, or if the Gjaum has teamed up with someone else and just wants to act as a meat shield.
These two are in some way all about sharing fear with others: The Look of Fear makes people go berserk as they get a glimpse of the Gjaum's mind, while Utter Rejection is another "Awaken people as Overeds or turn them into Gjaums" that also increases the Encroachment Rate.
Hate is the name of the game here: Strike of Undying Hatred reflects damage back at the attacker, while Wedge of Hatred makes people hate their loved ones, turning on of their Loises into a Titus.
Included here are several new enemy writeups, be it various kinds of criminals like Yakuza, members of the military Overed groups Strangers and Tempest, a few Renegade beings and even a security robot.
The biggest junk of these writeups consist of EX Gjaums , which largely consist of monster rage animals, but also include a sand golem and zombies.
Provided are also three different boss enemies: Fenrir , a Chimaera Gjaum that has taken on the form of the mythical wolf, Boulder , a Morpheus/Balor EX Gjaum that is literally a boulder (that can also turn itself into a black hole), and Serial Killer , an Orcus/Solaris/Black Dog Renegade born from the urban legend of a serial killer who now tries to understand humans by killing them.
Next Time : Scenarios - Happy Tree Overeds.
Post 10Original SA post Double Cross - Advanced Rulebook
Let's see if I can finish this supplement in this 2015 thread.
Scenario design is an interesting beast in Double Cross. The game's very keen on self-contained Scenarios that take around 3-4 hours to complete (preferrably in a single session I assume) and roughly cover a typical anime episode's worth of plot. The biggest chunk of each Scenario focuses on character relations and investigations, with only two actual combat scenes per Scenario (which is just right for the system because combat makes your Encroachment Rates rise like you wouldn't believe). Whenever any PC runs into some thugs or other cannon fodder outside of these scenes, they're usually just Extras the PC can defeat by just saying so (hopefully with a little description).
Most Example Scenarios in DX sadly come across as a bit railroady, and aside from that one Scenario in the corebook where the PCs had to fight their way through enemy hordes to destroy missiles before they fly too high, battle setups generally default to "There's a group of bad guys 5 meters away from you, and maybe a second group of bad guys 5 meters behind them."
Most of these Example Scenarios also tend to feature roughly the same type of character, allowing the GM to string them together into a campaign with only a few modificatioins. So, let's cover the archetypical PCs:
: Main protagonist guy and fresh UGN Illegal. If the Scenario involves saving a girl (which is almost always the case), she will share most of her "screentime" with PC1.
: Pretty much always an UGN Child that tends to have some kind of connection with the Scenario's antagonist, be it because the antagonist is a traitor and they got along well in the past, or because they have some sort of rivarly going on.
: Is always the UGN Branch Chief of City N, proving that even the higher-ups like to get their hands dirty. This position can probably be abused by a munchkin player who just orders the entire branch to gang up on the villain.
: Usually either an UGN member or a freelancer who stumbles into the Scenario because of a seemingly unrelated mission,
- PC5 : A lot like PC4, except when he is a Renegade Being getting his orders from Xenos. This one will require the most modifications when trying to play all these Scenarios with a single group of PCs.
With that out of the way, let's tackle the Scenarios. The Advanced Rulebook has 2 complete ones and 5 Scenarios Starters:
The big focus of this one is City N's Central Park and its iconic Lord of the Cherry Blossoms , an ancient tree that rarely blossoms anymore. The last time was 3 years ago, when PC1 had to say goodbye to his childhood friend Mika Minashiro who was leaving the City with her parents.
Fast forward to the present, and Mika is back in town, and some weird stuff is going on: Warding fields appear randomly around the park, and there's been a big influx in Gjaum activity. And PC2 just so happens to be chasing a False Hearts agent named Rainbow Snake who turns out to be Mika.
Unbeknown to most, the Lord is actually an EX Renegade that is slowly starting to awaken. Finding out about this, False Hearts as sent their agent Kazuya "Shadow Night" Kageyama (a Hanuman/Orcus Overed) and Mika to City N. Both are busy pumping the Lord full of Alpha-Trance , a Renegade stimulant. Once the tree turns Gjaum, Mika is to use her Exile/Hanumann powers to fuse with the Lord and spread Renegade-infused pollen over the entire city (a more subtle application of the "Manifestation of the Destroyer" E-Lois).
Why Mika's doing all of this? Well, she only became an Overed a year ago, and she's still pretty scared and confused about her new life, not to mention the old life she can no longer have. But let's hear it from herself:
"The color of the flowers we saw three years ago was beautiful. But I can never go back to those days."
"I'm tired of fighting, tired of living. All that's left is to become one with the Lord... and die in peace."
Anyhow, after figuring everything out, beating up Shadow Night and a bunch of Gjaums that keep popping up as the Lord gets crazier, it's finally time to confront Mika, who has fused with the Lord, adding her own powers to its own Orcus/Solaris set. Also, the fusion apparently makes her naked.
Depending on how the relationship between Mika and PC1 develop, the Lord with either sacrifice his own life to save Mika (leading into her getting her act together and eventually becoming an UGN Illegal), or they both turn into Gjaum and get die together.
This Scenario is also where DX starts having "Test-Play Reports", which are summaries of who the Scenario went for test players. Apparently everything went fine for these groups, except for a case where Mika died and PC1 went Gjaum.
If the title and picture makes you think that this Scenario is about trying to help a school girl with a split personality, you're right, though the whole story is a bit crazier.
It all started when Remi "Prospector" Ogata (Neumann/Balor/Angel Halo), UGN researcher and developer of battle personalities, goes a bit crazy scientist and develops Dual Calamity , a battle personality that can take over multiple people with nano-machines.
When the UGN tried to stop her from unleashing Dual Calamity, she defected to False Hearts and is now hunted by PC2, which the Scenario heavily recommends to have the "Dual Personality" T-Lois, adding the backstory of PC2 having gotten his battle personality from Remi back in her sane days.
While this is going on, PC1 is tasked to monitor his schoolmate Yuu Takahara . The UGN had her diagnosed with a case of Morpheus/Salamandray Syndrome (do they take secret urine or blood tests?), but she has yet to actually awaken.
In order to monitor her, PC1 has to enlist into the Astronomy club, which appears to be some kind of alibi club because Yuu has so far been the only active member. Before PC1 arrives, she was all alone
Since you is incredible shy, the two-person club meeting will mostly consist of them sitting awkwardly in a room and reading astronomy books. When PC1 finally talks to her, she keeps stammering about stars and even asks PC1 whether he likes stars.
(Say you like them) "R-really?"
(Say you don't) "O-oh... yeah."
She finally gets around telling PC1 that she bought a new telescope and would like for them to watch the stars together, but then she becomes too embarassed and uses the bell ringing as a n excuse to GTFO. In the hallway, she overhears two girls talking about the Silver Rain , a rain falling on a clear night sky that can supposedly change your personality. I think you can guess where this is going.
Unsurprisingly, the next day PC1 encounters Yuu with a new hairstyle, a much more cheerful personality and a getup I can't believe the school lets her get away with. To make this even more confusing, she suddenly reverts back to her old self mid-sentence and runs away in panic and confusion.
As it turns out, the Silver Rain was actually Dual Calamity, which PC4 (in this Scenario an UGN Agent who has fought him on multiple occasion) can confirm because Dual Calamity likes to say "happy" a lot.
While PC1 has to deal with a Yuu that appears to switch over to the Dual Calamity personality more and more often, Dual Calamity finds out that PC1 has a Renegade Crystal (another T-Lios recommendation from the Scenario) while trying to literally backstab him. He wants the crystal for himself, and Yuu is just the right bait for this job. And he has no trouble using her unawakened powers.
While this is going on, the PCs have to track down Remi, deal with other Dual Calamity "bodies" and hopefully find and destroy Dual Calamity's server that keeps the nanites flowing. The last one is the main factor that determines whether Dual Calamity can be destroyed for good and whether or not Yuu dies in the process.
The final confrontation features both Dual Calamity and Remi duking it out with the PCs on a hill at night, with Dual Calamity eager for PC1's Renegade Crystal because it would allow him to spread over the entire world.
"Don't the stars look beautiful? This is what I wanted you to see."
"It's nice that we could do this together..." (Passes out / dies )
The Test-Play Report tells us that PC2 used the whole battle personality focus to flesh out his own, and that spamming Dual Calamity's favorite word "happy" made it easy to figure out when Yuu was being possessed. And they got curbstomped in the final battle.
Just a few short adventure ideas, so here goes:
: What if a member of the archeology team from 20 years ago got locked up in the ruins and has no escaped as a Gjaum rage monster out for revenge?
The Forgotten City
: Following a series of disappearing UGN Agent, the PCs stumble upon the mysterious City F and an even more mysterious little girl. Turns out the whole place is a memory-devouring Renegade Being!
: A young False Hearts agent trolls the media by claiming to be an alien, and tries to turn people into monsters with Gjaum cola.
The Many Little Wars
: Rumors of a doppelganger of one of the PCs turn out to be true, and the doppelganger claims to be the original.
- Legend of the Art : A Xenos member forces the PCs into a shounen fighting tournament, with the opponents being copies of legendary martial artists like Miyamoto Musashi, James Figg and probably also Bruce Lee and maybe Jackie Chan, too.
And with that, my content for this year ends. I find the first Scenario a bit so-so, but the second one and these Starters are just crazy.
Next Time : Public Enemy - forget the satanic panic, lets be terrorists!