Double Cross - Infinity Code by Doresh
IntroductionOriginal SA post Double Cross - Infinity Code
It's DX Time again, with the - as of now - last translated supplement.
Infinity Code has quite an impact on both the game itself and the metaplot. It presents the result of Professor Caudwell's shenanigans in Japan: The return of Ouroboros , a Syndrome that has gone extinct since ancient times. The Planner and Xenos are not very amused about this at all, for Ouroboros didn't go extinct by accident...
As a result of Ouroboros' return - or just a general evolution of the Renegade - all the old Syndromes have gained new Powers. This is not the first time a supplement did this, but these are the first new Powers not gated behind a T-Lois. There are even Common Simple Powers buyable by anyone, which I'm really looking forward to because Simple Powers are pretty flavorful.
Aside from typical additions like new T-Loises and Items (now with tonfas!), the book also presents a new game mechanic: The Progressive Check System , which are Skill Challenges with a slightl Eurogame touch, providing changing conditions and random events you can build a good chunk of a Scenario around.
Infinity Code of course comes with example Scenarios and a few Scenario Starters revolving around the new Progressive Check System. The latter are especially interesting as one involves a fight against Gjaumzilla .
Like previous DX books, Infinity Code also has a short introduction comic. This one's a bit on the confusing side, but the gist of it is that one of the new pregens goes around killing False Hearts guys until one of the new FH NPCs shows up, which prompts the pregen to remind her that only a select few metaplot NPCs in DX are actually hilariously overpowered, and that she is not one of them.
Next Time : Ouroboros - All your powers are belong to me.
OuroborosOriginal SA post Double Cross - Infinity Code
Ouroboros is the Syndrome for people who think that Tri-Breeds and the occasional "You get a Power from another Syndrome" T-Loises just don't quite offer enough multiclassing opportunities. For you see, the big gimmick about Ouroboros is that it can assimilate Powers from other Syndromes into its own strain, allowing the Overed to copy - if not outright steal - Powers from others.
The existance of the Ouroboros Syndrome was revealed by Professor Caudwell 6 months ago, though it might have been around for longer considering how its copy ability makes it easy to pass as a different Syndrome.
In any case, various scientists have since spend their time arguing with each other about the true nature of this new Syndrome, which is probably where it got its name from: Is it the Alpha, aka a primordial Renegade strain from before individual Syndromes became a thing? Or is it the Omega, a highly adaptable Syndrome that is the future of the Renegade virus (maybe even foreshadowing a potential future DX edition where the Syndromes are mere archetypes)? Nobody knows for sure.
Helping with the whole Ouroboros theme is the tendency for its Overeds to create swirling rings, either on their body or just floating around as part of their Power use. These rings can also twist into the infinity symbol to tie into the Infinity Code the book is named after.
Aside from being copycats, Ourboros Overeds have access to Shadow Manipulation Powers, letting them defend, attack and debuff with their own shadows. Going by the pregen pictures, their other Powers seem to be manifested from their shadows as well.
The Shadow Manipulation also ties to the bulk of Ouroboros' Simple Powers: An Overed can create fake shadows to fool people, use his own shadow for spy duties, make the shadow an actual, three-dimensional creature, and read other people's emotions by touching their shadow.
As a result of their copy powers, they also have advanced Renegade Manipulation Powers. They can heal allies, protect them by redirecting attack Powers at themselves and negate enemy Powers. Most insidious are what are essentially Overed killer Powers that trigger when the user hurts another Overed, which either debuffs the target or buffs the user himself by gobbling up the Renegade (as a sort of reverse Smite Evil). This makes Ouroboros Overeds pretty nasty opponents to face, but if they focus too much on these Overed killer Powers, they'll run into serious troubles when facing normal human goons with Anti-Warding gear.
For Simple Powers, you can directly negate other Simple Powers, which is especially funny when used on a Balor Overed walking on air.
The feature presentation of the Ouroboros Syndrome gets its own set of rules. When a Copy Power is purchased, a Power from another Syndrome has to be attached to it. The Copy Power will henceforth work exactly like that Power - with the exception that it now counts as being form the Ouroboros Syndrome. As some Powers only work with other Powers from the same Syndrome, this allows for combos that weren't possible before, mixing and matching the best meta-Powers from different sources or combining the same kind of meta-Power (like ones that improve the Attack Value) for a huge bonuses.
Even better, the Ouroboros Syndrome itself comes with meta-Powers that only work with Copy Powers, allowing an Overed to use any of them at range and/or give them an area effect (if it makes sense, of course).
Of course, all these goodies come with a price: There are only 9 Copy Powers around, so that's the maximum of Powers from other Syndromes you can get. All of these also have restrictions applied to them: <<Shadow Armory>> can only copy a Power that creates Equipment, and the various "Primordial" Powers are all color-coded (most copy-related Powers have color theme going on to contrast the shadow Powers), with each color having specific restrictions as to which Powers can be attached.
Furthermore, Copy Powers aren't quite as good as the real deal. Stuff created with <<Shadow Armory>> is slightly worse, and the Primordial Powers often have a higher Encroachment Rate cost and always increase the Base Encroachment Rate, pushing the Overed closer to becoming a Gjaum due to all the conflicting strains.
And naturally, Powers already gained through another Breed can't be gained a second time as a Copy Power (and vice versa).
The Ourboros' super moves of sorts (aka Powers that require a high Encroachment Rate) lets you boost all Copy Powers, nullify incoming damage, or play around with Encroachment Rates by dealing bonus damage based on your own rate or causing the target to be nommed by his own Renegade strain (very handy for boss fights). High ER Powers are also where the two Copy Powers with the least restrictions can be found, which are just perfect for slapping other super moves on.
Pure-Breeds can reduce and eventually get rid off the Base Encroachment Rate increase gained from Copy Powers (letting an Overed go really wild with copying) and get one of the lesser Copy Powers a second time, raising the total count of "copy slots" to 10.
For Simple Powers, there's <<Fake Simple Power>>, which lets you have a single Simple Power from another Syndrome. I'd allow this one to be gained multiple times for extra style.
Aside from these fixed Copy Powers, there's <<Universal Rainbow>>, which can be used once per Scenario to copy an unrestricted Power for the remainder of the Scene. This Power is limited to LV 1, but it is always handy to be able to use a boss' most annoying Power against him, or get some synergy from fellow comrades.
Unsurprisingly, all the pregens have Ouroboros as one of their Syndromes. Most of them are your usual suspects:
Infinite Destroyer (Chimaera/Ouroboros) is your big dumb Chimaera fighter and Wild Card expy, mixing up the usual "wreck shit with a giant claw" routine with one of those Overed killer Powers and an Armor-piercing meta-Power from the Angel Halo Syndrome.
Though she is not the only pregen here wearing Reinforced Clothing, I have a hard time imagining this outfit being all that protective. Then again this is the same game with bullet-proof maid costumes.
Phantom Mirror (Morpheus/Ouroboros) is your Speeding Bullets expy, though somewhat more badass in style as she fights with a friggin' minigun. She uses Copy Powers to boost her Attack Power and Initiative with Powers from Angel Halo and Black Dog.
Consultor Minor (Black Dog/Ouroboros/Solaris) is your pure support character, making use of her Copy Power for area effect coverage.
Mirage Prisoner (Salamandra/Ouroboros) is the most interesting fellow so far thanks to his Ouroboros-exclusive Shadow Buddy T-Lois, which makes his shadow a living entity. The mechanical effect is simple - it simply boosts one of this Powers -, with the implication being that the Power is performed by the Shadow Buddy. In other words, he has a Persona or Stand.
As the power now also counts as being from the Ouroboros Syndrome like a Copy Power, the whole powerset is build around a big combo that involves the Persona/Stand murdering the crap out of a target with a fiery, armor-piercing roar.
Dark Avatar (Ourobors) Is a body-hopping and curious Renegade Being focusing primarily on the shadow manipulation aspect. He also reminds me of Pride from Fullmetal Alchemist.
Next Time : The other Syndromes - turns out words can actually hurt.
Other SyndromesOriginal SA post
I was really hoping for more Shadow powers in the mix for Ouroboros than it got. Most of the fighty part of the powerset seems to be the copy power/renegade manipulation stuff.
The best shadow powers are definitely found in the Simple Powers. For the normal Powers, there's really only one attack Power that's clearly shadow-themed (though you can probably reflavor other Powers as needed). The Syndrome also only really has two meta-Powers that work with it (the rest is only works on Copy Powers), so you really depend on Copy Powers or Cross- and Tri-Breeding to add some utility and variety. Though this is a pretty good justification for the Syndrome to have developed its copy ability in the first place.
It's a shame there's no dedicated shadow Syndrome, but I guess you can get pretty close by having a darkness-themed Angel Halo/Ouroboros character.
Double Cross - Infinity Code
All of the old Syndromes get six new Powers to play with, except for Bram Stoker who gets a whooping 23. Most of the time, these new Powers are there to allow for alternative builds and tactics.
These are all about light-bending. You can spread your laser beams to cover a wide area, assist a comrade at dodging and confuse opponents. You can also play a D&D 4e Fighter by debuffing an opponent if he's attacking someone other than you.
High Encroachment Rate Powers let you dodge otherwise undodgeable attacks and play bodyguard by switching places with a comrade that's about to be hit.
Here are some nice debuff Powers that use gravity to make the target slower and less useful. The Evil Eyes themselves get some awesome utility, as you can now turn them into petrifying spears or just launch them at foes like a cannonball.
High ER Powers let you spam Balor Powers more freely and create miniature wormholes on your body to make an enemy suffer the same damage he just caused you, making you a less powerful version of that mutant bloke from Vampire Hunter D.
Zap yourself with lightning to boost your powers, shock attacking enemies like Blanka and yank them closer to you like Scorpion. You can also buff allies (or yourself) and make them go faster.
High ER Powers let you ignore [Armor] and give your or an ally an extra turn.
Use your blood to restrain or debuff opponents, boost the effect of other Bram Stoker powers, and get more utility out of your Red Servants by using melee attacks through them or sacrificing them for additional effects.
The new Red Servant Powers make your Servants more tanky while allowing them to ignore [Armor]. The can also now play Red Shirts and take on support forms that buff or debuff just by being there. Going by RAW, these forms buff or debuff anyone in the same Engagement, so they're tricky to use if you're a melee guy yourself.
The main gimmick here is support for <RC> aka Renegade Control Powers in the form of <<Beast Blast>>, which lets you shout people to death. This offers more choices than being a big dumb fighter.
Still, if you want to stay a big dumb fighter, you can get <<Hell Beast's Instinct>> which lets you use [Body] instead of [Mind] when using an <RC> attack. This is really handy if you're a Chimaera Cross- or Tri-Breed that also wants to be competent at breathing fire or laser beams.
Aside from these two Powers, you can make yourself immune against Powers that try to move you around and have an ally ride on top of you if you hulk out. The high ER Powers let you keep your cool when going Berserk and reduce incoming damage.
Pull yourself all over the battlefield like Luffy and mess around an opponent by infecting him with yourself. You can also dabble into Orcus territory by fusing with nearby surroundings to attack. If you want to atake on a more passive role, you can transform yourself into a form that is mainly there to buff another target and makes yourself pretty useless. I think this means you turn yourself into flesh power armour or a Guyver suit, but I don't really want to think about all the possible body horror goin on here.
High ER Powers boost your own attacks by sprouting additonal limbs and temporarily clone yourself for the sole purpose of getting another use out of a limited-use Power.
Gain extra damage from charging enemies and push yourself to spam more powers. New support Powers also let you heal and buff.
High ER Powers let you play bodyguard like the Angel Halo above and negate enemy Powers.
Some of these Powers let you get more mileage out of the sand created as part of your Syndrome, shredding away enemy defenses and building up your own. If you're a fan of normal weapons instead of ones you create yourself, you can now make those ultra light, letting you swing around the heaviest of weapons with ease like you're Cloud. Combined with the Neumann Syndrome, you can now dual-wield miniguns and two-handed swords with ease.
You also gain the ability to split up your weapons, trading in damage for hitting multiple targets. The high ER Powers let you create useful support tools that offer a nice skill bonus and a monstrous bonus to any check.
The best Powers are about weaponized words: Dodge attacks by confusing/annoying your opponent, and use your eloquence to hurt him. Add in some debuff stuff, and you can basically tell the World's Funniest Joke.
You can also hypnotize an opponent to make him forget how to use his Powers, reduce incoming damage to an ally by telling him to make a barrel roll, and the high ER Powers grant yet another bodyguard and damage nullifying Power.
Most of these Powers revolve around bending space to hinder the enemy or assist your own attacks, by increasing their effective range and having them come from all kinds of directions.
The high ER Powers give your attacks area effect and prevent enemies from getting rid Bad Statuses because this is your Domain and they better play according to your rules.
These revolve around boosting your own Powers and healing yourself. The high ER Powers let you guard unguardable attacks and buff the crap out of your allies.
These are pretty fun. Solaris is for the most part a support Syndrome, but these new Powers let you actively attack people by spitting acid and liquid explosives. You can also coat your attacks with poison and use slime to stop enemies from moving.
High ER Powers let you mess people up with poisoned gas and sacrifice yourself by liquifying yourself into a health potion. Yikes.
The new Common Powers give you the DX equivalent to Weapon Focus. You can also get yourself a short burst of speed to cover wider distances and bolster your own healing abilities. There's even a power that lets you send out your Renegade to heal others, giving everyone access to a cheap and reliable (if a bit weak) healing Power.
To mess aronud with the action economy, you can give yourself an additonal Minor Action or use a new high ER Power to get a whole turn. Both have fortunately limited uses.
The big stars here are however the new Common Simple Powers, making them the first Common Powers available to everyone.
So, what do these do? Well, you can have the entire party be super secretive by talking in frequencies normal humans cannot hear, leave markings all over the place that they can't see, get a unique visual mutation you can pop out at will as a form of genetic ID, and try to hide your overedness from examinations. These really give the setting a whole new secret society vibe.
Playing up the effect the Renegade has on the human body, you can make yourself immune against normal diseases and the effects of alcohol, or give yourself a completely different appearance from your pre-Overed self.
Finally, you can stare down people in the form of a more accurate Warding field, and you can extend Simple Powers that only affect Extras and non-Overeds to cover all non-Extra NPC and willing Overeds. This is mainly useful for the Solaris Syndrome withs brainwashing Simple Powers, or if you want to Stare Down fellow Overeds who are just playing along. Other than that, I don't really see a whole lot of Simple Powers that are actually affected by this.
Next Time : T-Loises and Items - introducing Slendergjaum.
Player SectionOriginal SA post Double Cross - Infinity Code
This little chapter covers all sorts of player options, from T-Loises to vehicles, including some very odd but awesome choices. So let's get started:
The Demi-Crystal is a failed attempt to create an artifical Renegade Crystal. It has a different effect than the real deal (temporar Power levels for instant HP loss instead of improved Crit Value for higher Encroachment), and you'll turn to ashes upon death.
The Special One is not only one of your Loises, but also the single most important person in your entire life. Once per Scenario, you can turn this special bond into strength, striking through the toughest defenses with ease. But should your Special One become a Titus, the trauma from this event will give you a big penalty towards Encroachment Rate reduction.
Living Dead - unlike the Undead T-Lois - actually is what it says: You were dead once, and now you're back in the land of the living. You don't need to be a zombie or coma patient. Your "death" could be mental (drug overdose?) or social (emo phase / war trauma).
Whatever the case, this experience has made you tougher to kill. Any damage you suffer gets reduced by a random amount. On the downside, your Encroachment Rate reduction is a bit gimped.
Living Legend is... well, I just have to quote the introduction here:
No. 61 Living Legend posted:
Do you want to hear my story?
Well, I’m going to tell you anyways,
because I only do what people don’t
want me to do. See, you’re already
getting to know me!
First off, hi! I’m a legendary assassin.
Yeah, everyone in the underworld
knows who I am. I have like a million
My job has me killing bad guys that
have no conscience, people who can
somehow live with themselves. One
hit usually costs a million dollars,
but sometimes, I’ll accept a word of
gratitude as payment. Because when
it comes to killing, it’s not about the
money. It’s all about the heart, man.
So that’s why I thought I’d just pop in.
See how you’re doing. Then kill you.
OK, you’re probably wondering how I
got onto your super-secret space
station. Well, I bought a space shuttle!
Look, I’m famous. I got connections.
…Now then, let’s play a game. I’m
the hunter, and you’re Bambi’s mom.
When you die, I mark your grave with
Basically, you're so darn famous that you have excellent connections that allow you to get any procuarable Item once per Scenario without having to make a check. The downside is another Encroachment Rate reduction penalty because you're apparently some kind of self-centered dick.
As a Guardian , you put the safety of others before yourself. At the cost of fewer Titus effect choices, you can play bodyguard and take the hit for someone else. Unlike Powers that does the same, nothing can redirect the attack once you've made yourself the target.
Being a Harmonizer , you are an empathic Overed with the natural ability to stabilize the Renegade activity of others. Once per Scenario, you can increase your Encroachment Rate and have someone else use one of their Powers for free, letting him continue to dish out the hurt even if he's dangerously close to become a Gjaum.
Finally, we get the two Ouroboros-exclusive T-Loises: I've already mentioned Shadow Buddy before. Pretty much all Ouroboros Overeds use their Powers through their shadows, but you are a rare case were your shadow is actually sentient. This so called Avatar typically takes on a form mythology or even pop culture, not unlike a strange Renegade Being. If you're character goes the way of the Gjaum or dies, building your next PC as a Renegade Being that used to be the Avatar sounds like a pretty cool option.
The Avatar doesn't fight as an actual character in battle, it simply helps you out and grants you another Power to use as its signature. It's a Persona or Stand, basically.
The secend Ouroboros-exclusive is Anima Regium , which makes you the host of the strange Renegade Beings of the same name (more on those in a later section). It's a bit like a Renegade Crystal in that most hosts just turn into Gjaums, but you manage to control it. Your Anime Regium buddy lets you be a dick once per Scenario, causing a target to auto-fail at whatever check he's trying to perform. If you go Berserk, you turn into a tall creature with a white mask. And if you turn into a Gjaum, you stay that way. This doesn't have any mechanical effect, but you get extra creepy points for looking like Slendergjaum.
There are some pretty nifty sword options with the Snake Blade (a sword that can turn into a blade whip for extra range) and the Liquid Blade (whose liquid metal blade lets you tinker around with its stats). Ranged characters can get themselves Der Freischütz , a pretty hard to dodge rifle that only has 3 shots per Scenario.
Other interesting choices include the Convict's Restraint Jacket (a haunted restraint jacket that grants you a damage boost if you burst free from it, which makes for some pretty weird combat beforehand) and the Red Nightmare (essentially Overed steroids for a juicy 1-round-buff).
Syndrome-exclusive Unique Items also offer some neat choices (2 for everyone, but I'll focus on the most interesting to keep it brief): Angel Halos can use a Light Amplifier for super-accurate laser beams. Balor Overeds gain a Gravity Absorber (pretty much Captain America's shield without the throwing part). Black Dogs gain access to a Linear Motor Vehicle (a pretty fast vehicle powered by the ddriver's electricity). Bram Stoker Overeds can use the blood-producing Hematinic instead of the usual HP cost for most of their Powers. Chimaera Overeds get The Massive Repercussion (a big club) and Adaptive Armor (armor they can still wear when hulking out to monster form). Exiles can get Junk Food (restorative food only they can digest) and a Metallic Skeleton to become a Wolverine ripoff. Hanumans get funky Sound Armor (essentially small sound blaster to divert attacks). Morpheus Overeds can get a Secret Alchemy Tome is a medieval book that helps in creating Stock points through achelmy. Neumanns can use the Lightning Count (a pistol plucked directly into their brain for easier weakpoint targeting). Orcus Overeds have Mimir's Memorandum (an Orcus-encrypted book that hides Connections for spontaneous use). Salamandra can use the Maxwell Program for precise air molecule manipulation (granting a buff or debuff to someone else in the process). Solaris Overed's can use Misleading Clothing to become harder to resist in social situations *nudge nudge*.
Finally, Ouroboros Overeds naturally get the broadest selection (as everyone else already got a couple exclusive items in the last supplements): The Wendigo Blade is essentially an itemized Overed killer power that poisons targets, the Dusk Mantle is a pretty tough mantle, the Tarnished Mirror can be used to restrain targets, the Symbolic Card can be used for a selb-buff, and the World Egg can hypercharge a Warding field so much that absorbs Renegade strains, debuffing any Overed you want (with an extra debuff for Renegade Beings because they're made out of that stuff).
This is the last and biggest section, so let's cover it one category at a time.
Here we have some sensible choices that are pretty much everything you've been missing so far: tonfas, spears, ballistic knives, war axes and hammers, shurikens, flamethrowers, rocket launchers, machine guns, various kinds of shotguns... and then you have a Guitar and a Drill , in case you want to re-enact Macross 7 or Gurren Lagann.
Here we get some skill-assisting utility "armor", including lab clothes for <Knowledge> skills, a stage costume for <Art>, a motorcycle suit for <Ride: 2-wheeled>... and a Yellow Track Suit for - of course - <Melee>.
Continuing the trend of ridiculous UGN combat armor, we get a willpower-enhancing school uniform that is as protective as the bomb suit we also get. Other highlights include the Jet Suit for temporary flight and Roller Boots for fast movement.
Another mix of the ordinary and the insane: A jet ski, a horse, a sports car, a humvee... and a Submarine and the above-mentioned Space Shuttle . Though my personal favorite is the Segway , which is just the right kind of vehicle for a Neumann Overed dual-wielding a drill and a guitar.
All sorts of new connections ranging from a freelance reporter, a blogger, a homeless guy and - my favorite - an online forum.
This includes quite a bit of stuff to upgrade existing items, be it through better materials, a scope, alternate munitions or vehicle armor. Also includes a couple more restorative drugs, and a voice changer.
Black Dog Items
You might want to take the Vibro-Whip or the Armor Skin , but you really want the Miniature Flying Turret to pretend that you are a Gundam.
This inlcudes shields, armor and other sorts of offensive and defensive upgrades, including one that destroyes the Servant at the cost of a huge die bonus for some desparate measures.
Next Time : The World - the metaplot (what little there is) marches forward.
The WorldOriginal SA post Double Cross - Infinity Code
The titular Infinity Code is the goal of Professor Caudwell's grand master plan that lead him to take over the False Hearts Cells of Japan. Nobody aside from Caudwell and probably also Central Dogam knows what this Infinity Code is exactly, but it is safe to assume that it is tied to the Renegade's past and future: Caudwell seemingly wants to uncover the Renegade's origin and true nature, and try to figure out where its further evolution will lead it and how to accelerate this process.
It is for this reason that he helped the Ouroboros Syndorme to make a comeback, as it is both a long-forgotten part of the Renegade's history, and a very adaptable strain that will in no doubt evolve at a rapid rate.
In his quest for the Infinity Code, Caudwell makes heavy use of his Master Wraiths. Though they aren't necessarily as strong as past Master Wraiths (back in the day when only one agent was allowed to have that title), but they all have the right kind of desire to be useful to Caudwell's cause, and they are absolutely loyal to him. In fact most of these Master Wraiths see Caudwell as their father, whether they actually share his surname or not.
The rest of his most loyal followers (bordering on creepy cultist behavior) are organized into Apostles , Caudwell's elite Cells that have been briefly mention in the Public Enemy book. Here we find out that there are 13 different Apostles, each with a different task:
Apostles One to Three
: Combat Units, in descending order of experience.
: Spies and kidnappers.
: Defense and security.
: There be assassins and ninja.
: Relic hunters.
: Like a Combat Unit, but with more dakka.
: The guys with the money and counter-intelligence.
- Apostle Thirteen : Mysterious~!
The Legacy is a general term for all those artefacts and relics that have been made with or by the Renegade. They're your Renegade Crystals or EX Renegades.
Ever since Caudwell's return, he has started to collect the Legacy and the knowledge and lore surrounding it, which has previously been hogged by FH Clans and old Overeds.
How exactly he gets this knowledge is sometimes a mystery, and the book mentions an example of Caudwell trolling a Clan by sending them the recipe of the secret Renegade-enhancing poison nobody outside the Clan should actually know about. The promptly send him some assassins in return, which got wiped out (because Caudwell's stats are ridiculous).
Since the UGN is a lot younger than False Hearts and currently in a bit of a chaotic state, its members know very little about the Legacy and have yet to start attempts to centralize their know-how.
The Planner and Xenos are collecting the Legacy just like Caudwell, but their goal seems to be to protect any threats from the Renegade. Legacy relics they aquire tend to be sealed away or destroyed.
As for the various kinds of Legacy categories, there are four: EX Renegade items, knowledge (aka magic), ruins and strains (like the Original Renegade T-Lois or the Ouroboros Syndrome).
The Ouroboros Syndrome
Having a new Syndrome pop up as a category isn't too uncommon in the world of Double Cross, for Syndromes are - broadly speaking - a set of Powers with a similar nature and theme. Balor, Morpheus and Orcus are all Syndromes whose Powers used to be associated with other Syndromes before their official recognition.
The Ouroboros Syndrome however is cleary a distinct Strain that only appeared (or rather reappeared) about half a year ago. Surely The Planner welcomes such a Syndrome, as it will surely help her in her quest to evolve her Renegade Beings further, right? Oh, quite the contrary. She's the reason why Ouroboros went extinct in the first place.
You see, the Ouroboros Syndrome is heavily tied to the Anima Regium , those Renegade Beings who possess and occasionly turn you into Slendergjaum.
The Anima Regium have two unique quirks: They are effectively immortal in that they just clone themselves into another body upon death, and they are the only source of the Ouroboros strain. If you have the Syndrome, its either because of your Anima Regium T-Lois (making you a carrier of sorts) or because you had a more or less indirect encounter with a Slendergjaum. If you're Renegade Being, you've probably been infected/assimilated, or you are a sentient byproduct of an Anima Regium presence.
The "unnatural" origin compared to the other strains, as well as its ability to assimilate them for its own gain, have made the Ouroboros a threat in the eyes of The Planner and other Renegade Beings. In ancient times, she and others destroyed anyone and anything with the Ouroboros Syndrome and managed to somehow seal the Anima Regium away.
Now that the Syndrome is back and Caudwell is actively trying to spread out around through his Project Ouroboros . Naturally, The Planner is not amused, and Xenos does anything in its power to extinquish Ouroboros again, fighting whoever stands in their way. This mainly boils down to an all-out war between her and Caudwell, with the UGN also joining in because they have Ouroboros Overeds of their own and are still trying to figure out what's going on.
Master Wraith Delta (04), Simon D. Caudwell (Balor/Neumann/Morpheus): Another supposed son of Caudwell and master tactician thanks to his precognitive abilities. He has a flawless track record and doesn't shy away from a direct fight.
Master Wraith Hexa (06), Chiaki Nanasato (Orcus/Salamandra): The newest Master Wraith (so I guess the number 6 was free at that time?) and former support agent, she deals heavily in ice powers.
Morbius the Demonic Disease (Ouroboros): A strange man in rags and covered in bandages like a mummy. He is one of the first carriers of the Ouroboros strain, and he's rumored to be an ancient Overed that has been sealed away for who knows how long.
Yayue "Night Legion" Lee (Bram Stoker/Exile/Orcus): A very fanatical follower of Caudwell who usually serves in Apostle One, but does all kinds of jobs for his master. He apparently has a tendency to come back from the dead with an altered set of Powers and even Syndromes, suggesting he has a suped-up version of the Reincarnation T-Lois.
Kaie the Collector (Exile/Ouroboros): The FH lady from the opening comic. A failed FH Child who has been artificially imbued with the Ouroboros, she goes around assimilated strong and rare Powers, which tends to kill the victim. Not that she cares, she's already fanatically loyal and even sees Caudwell as her... whatever the male version of "waifu" is (hasubando?).
Komae "Moon Strike" Tatsumi (Balor/Chimaera): Former FH Agent and founder of Renegade Karate (whatever that is). She now wanders the world like some kind of FemRyu, challenging strong opponents to prove that her Renegade Karate is the best there is - or that's what she likes to tell people. She actually more of a hobo who constantly gets herself in trouble.
Nevertheless, she does tend to pop out at locations connected to the Infinity Code, so who knows what her real deal is.
Kuro "Anima Regium" Ichinose (Ouroboros?): The rather androgynous guy on the left of the cover. His codename comves from the fact that he's the only person the UGN is aware of who is a host for an Anima Regium, but didn't go Gjaum-crazy in the process (unless one of the PCs also has the Anima Regium T-Lois, that is). He's overall pretty negative about the whole situation and feels that the UGN is treating him too harshly, because of course do we need some kind of Shinji or Amuro.
Haruna "Deus Ex Machine Shiomi (Hanuman/Morpheus): The girl and UGN Child on the right of the cover. Her codename comes from the spear of the same name she's wielding, a rare Legacy artefact with the power to actually kill an Anima Regium for good. Despite this awesome weapon, she has yet to actually win a fight against one, but that has yet to break her cheerful mood.
Naturally, she has been assigned to monitor Kuro and his Anima Regium, which probably means she might be ordered to stabbinate him of his Anima Regium goes crazy.
Next Time : Game Master Section - of skill challenges and dickish Enemy Powers.
Game Master SectionOriginal SA post Double Cross - Infinity Code
Game Master Section
Progressive Checks are the DX version of Skill Challenges, allowing the GM to break down long and complex situations like infilatration or chase scenes in an abstract manner. It's a bit fancier and involved than the D&D 4e Skill Challenges, and do in fact kinda look like a draft for a Eurogame:
I imagine an actual boardgame for this not looking much different.
The general idea is to take the initiative and action economy of the combat rules (which has the side effect of allowing the GM to have both going on at the same time) and the Investigation mechanics from the Random Scenarios, aka having the PCs perform Checks whose scores are then translated into points (up to a certain maximum to enforce a minimum number of checks to be made). The Progressive Checks ends either when enough points are amassed, or if the End Condition is triggered. The latter is usually not recommended as that's pretty much the loss condition.
If a PC is particularly bad at the required Check (or just wants to help a fellow teammate to beat a particularly nasty Difficulty), he can opt for a Support Roll , which doesn't generate any points, but grants a target a bonus to his roll.
The really fancy part are the Progression Events : Once the point total reaches certain milestones, the conditions of the Progressive Check chance for better or worse: The Difficulty can go up or down, or an entirely new Check might suddenly be required.
In addition to that, the GM rolls a random even on the Situation Chart each round that will further makes things easier or harder for the players.
Overall, the system is quite nifty. It has some meat to it, and even recommends you to reward players for using their Simple Powers for once.
Aside from the bomb diffusal above, other example Progressive Chceks include stuff like "Close the Deal", "Sneak into the FH Base" and "Follow the Target", all for the GM to tweak or use as inspiration for his own Progressive Checks. Some of these examples also come with their own Situation Charts for better flavoring.
Man, the stuff here is fun: Angel Halo NPCs can snipe at you from a different Scene . Balor NPCs can mess up your gravity pull so you can't slow down and will crash into stuff whenever you try to move. Black Dogs can make program a Firewall or other security program that physically hurts the hacker. Bram Stoker NPCs can now spam their Powers without having to worry about paying HP. Chimaera NPCs get absurd [Armor] for as long as the PCs don't hit their weak spot. Exile NPCs can no play as Mystique from the X-Men. Hanuman NPCs move so fast they're treated as multiple characters. Morpheus NPCs boost the crap out of weapons and create fake money out of nothing. Neumann NPCs are so good at multi-tasking that they gain an extra turn. Orcus NPCs turn the entire area into a labyrinth, allowing only those characters to enter the Scene he wants to be there. Slamandra NPCs can cover entire citie sin a blizzard or tropical heat. Solaris NPCs can release an Anti-Renegade poison that hurts anyone who wants to use Powers.
The Ouroboros Syndrome naturally gets the most stuff, as its new and all. And what stuff there is: Ouroboros NPCs can get the mother of all Renegade Killer Powers that makes all of their Ouroboros Powers AoE. They can also yank people around by controlling their shadows like Gekko Moria. They can also prevent the use of Warding Fields, which is especially handy if they have a gang of non-Overed thugs around.
The really big guns hower are <<Steal Ability>> and <<Banish Power>>. The former steals an Power from the target, while the latter drains so much Renegade viruses out of the target that he can no longer use any Powers. Both last for the entire Scenario, or either until the NPC dies or the target fulfills some condition decided by the GM.
Suffice to say, both are very dickish Powers that can make for some really scary situations. Suddenly, that group of Yakuza looks a lot more dangerous without access to claws, laser beams or Warding Fields.
Common Enemy Powers include buff for Troopers an nother dickish Powers. Remenmber <<Instant Retreat>>, the "Get out of Scene for Free" card that NPCs love to use? Well, now they can kick you out of a Scene instead. Luckily for the players, this only works on targets who agree or are unconscious (good job avoiding the "unconscious targets are always willing" formulation).
But not all Powers are actually beneficaly. There's in fact <<Superhuman Weakness I>>, which gives you a weakness against some source from which you will take additional damage. Why would you give that to an NPC? Well, there's the complementary Power <<Superhuman Weakness II>>, which makes you suffer less damage from anything until your weakness is hit. It more or less allows you to build a D&D troll in DX.
The general E-Loises start right up with what is essentially the Anime Regium's major shtick: You die, you get to transfer your mind into another body. Gjaums can no also inflict targets with a death clock that counts down the number of Rounds until their HP drops to 0.
Gjaums with the Release Impulse can make a sort of thrall, giving him an E-Lois of his own. Bloodsucking Gjaums get similar team options by pumping an ally full of their own blood. Hunger Gjaums can swallow the entire Scene , moving everyone and everything into their belly for some sweet ongoing digestion damage. Slaughter Gjaums get a doomsday E-Lois that targets organizations instead of places. Destruction Gjaums can now blow upon death. Torture Gjaums regain health when they deal enough damage. Distaste Gjaums have access to what is essentially a mental force field that makes them completely immune from harm as long as the shield isn't broken. Battle Lust Gjaums can make themselves immune against specific damage sources. Delusion Gjaums gain mind control. Self-Mutilation Gjaums get to make people crazier with each hit against them because they enjoy it so much. Fear Gjaums can freeze people in place through fear. And Hatred Gjaum can now cause pedestrian riots for an easier escape.
A couple new enemy writeups, some of which - like the Apostle Agent - making use of the Ouroboros Syndrome. Highlgihts include EX Gjaums that are soldier ants or landmines . Boss-type characters include Jörmugandr (Ouroboros), Nue (Ouroboros/Chimaera/Solaris) and the Queen Ant (Morpheus/Ouroboros).
Next Time : Scenarios - meet Gjaumzilla.
ScenariosOriginal SA post Double Cross - Infinity Code
Infinity Code comes with two example Scenarios, only one of which makes use of the new stuff from this book. Also included again are a couple Scenario Starters aka Scenario ideas, but these are a lot more elaborate this time around, with each one including a Progressive Check and enemy writeups.
I think my hair is on fire.
The big bad of this FH Agent Iwao "Grim Reaper" Sagae (Balor), a hardcore misanthrope whose ultimate desire in life is to kill everyone after getting hit with a case of the Gjaum. He's currently holed up in an abandoned FH lab to develop his own version of the Infinity Code. This one doesn't actually have anything to do with Renegade evolution, but is just called that way because he's using the Infinity Initiative's Ouroboros know-how to build himself a WMD.
As it's typical for these Scenarios, the PCs enter the scene with all kinds of objectives and motives: Two want to take down Iwao for good (dude ain't called "Grim Reaper" for nothing), one is tasked to find out what happened to UGN Agent Eiji Takasu (Neumann/Morpheus, the messed-up guy on th picture) who went MIA when he investigated the lab, one is a Renegade Being tasked with Xenos to stop Iwao's Ouroboros shenanigans, and PC1 is an Ouroboros Overed himself who got kindapped and is now waking up inside the lab.
Inside the lab, PC1 meets the adorable Renegade Being Infinity Code (*dun dun duuun*), though she calls herself Renee (Ouroboros/Solaris) because that's cuter.
"Renee's short for Renegade. Because I'm a Renegade Being. Renegade, Renee. Get it?"
Unfortunately for everyone, Iwao's not alone in the lab and brought a couple Gjaum friends with them, and they're busy hunting after Renee and PC1.
(Though according to RAW, PC1 could just mob the floor with all of them because they Scenario specifically mentions they're Extras aka a PC can defeat them by saying so. Plot convenience!)
The PCs eventually meet up with Renee and PC1 and gang up on the Gjaums, but not before one of them manages to sneak up on Renee. It doesn't go very far as it suddenly starts screaming and dropping dead on the ground. Renee herself doesn't quite know what's going on as she doesn't actually know how to control her powers (*dun dun DUUUUN*).
When Iwao makes his entrance via a wall monitor, he tells everyone how he needs Renee and PC1 for his human extermination plan, and he uses his hack Enemy Powers to separate the lab from the outside world, trapping them until they give up or die.
After some investigating, they find the half-dead Eiji and can even safe him if they manage to patch him up. In any case, he spouts exposition about how Renee's main Power is some kind of super poison/acid that can kill just about anything. Renee herself however is perfectly harmless and doesn't want to hurt anyone.
For Evil-aligned PCs, the Scenario does mention they can basically kill Renee and skip most of the remaining Scenario. But could you really kill this:
“PC1, will you be my friend?”
(PC1 says yes) “Yes! Thank you! Wow, I have a friend…”
(Begins to roll around on the floor)
(PC1 says no) “Ah, come on! I’m just going to keep on
asking. Please? Please please? Please please please please
please please?” (Begins climbing onto PC1’s back
Unfortunately for less dickish players, Renee suddenly starts losing control and going all Tetsuo (if you replace "gross biomechanic mess" with "poison everywhere") and gets spirited away by Iwao, who is now planning to reconnect the lab with the world and flood it with the poison.
Further exposition explains that Renee is basically a designer Renegade Being that Iwao fed with just the right Powers and strains for the super poison (which is even a selective poison, which probably means he's not targeted by the poison). Unfortunately for him, Renee's own Ouroboros strain that holds everything together is very weak (not to mention that she dared develop a free will), so he had PC1 kidnapped, hoping that she would absorb enough from his Ouroboros strain for the whole poison production to finally get started.
Before everyone can go beat up Iwao, they have to enter a Progressive Check whose goal is it to get PC1 to the poison-spewing Renee in order to have him destabilize her Ouroboros strain again. Failure to do so will get everyone eaten by super death poison.
If everything ends well, Renee will end up in UGN custody, where visting rights for PC1 probably look a bit grim because getting her too close to another Ouroboros Overed is a very, very bad idea.
That's an oddly sinister look.
This is a somewhat odd one. It's about the FH Agent Orie "Reproductor" Higusa (Solaris/Neumann/Morpheus), a Gjaum passing off as a school counselor in order to brainwash students during tutoring class and having them go berserk. She takes a special interest in Shizune Yagusa , a classmate of PC1. Naturally, the goal is to rescue Shizune (and hopefully everyone else). Certainly tamer and less insane than most other Scenarios.
This Scenario also probably has the weakest bad guy so far. She doesn't have any end goal and is just trolling people for the evulz. I guess this makes sense as she's a Gjaum, but other villains before her stole missiles, tried to destroy the world or turned into skeleton pirates.
Though there's one cool bit she does: At one point she uses the Neumann Simple Power that turns you into Sherlock Holmes in order to profile the PCs and record a video that seemingly responds to all of their reactions. A shame none of her other actions scream "mastermind villain".
These are lots of fun. So on with it:
: Rival teams from UGN, FH and False Hearts have to work together when they figure out that the Ouroboros EX Renegade they're fighting over on a remote island
the island itself, and its out to get them. Imagine if The Thing absorbed an entire island.
: An Ouroboros Renegade Being breaks free from a FH lab and starts roaming City N in the form of dead people because as an immortal being itself, it's a bit obsessed with death.
: Turns out the Renegade can infect computer viruses and have them
: A FH assassin who dresses up as a clown wrecks havoc because he also happens to be able to turn everyone else into killer clowns. Its like having Pennywise everywhere.
: The PCs are looking for an Overed whose Powers cause her to subconsciously kill people. Or is it really her killing everyone?
: It's paranormal activity time at school (mainly Poltergeist and haunted mansion type stuff, no creepy ghost kids or body horror). Turns out it's caused by the Gjaum-ified remains of a frail school girl who died during her first day at school after being so happy to finally get out and make friends
Run Lola Run
: The PCs have a race against time with a bike-obsessed FH Agent in order to find the precognitive Lola. Man, reading about refrences to a German movie from the 90s makes me want to turn the Killer Condom into an EX Renegade.
- Giant Killer : A daikaiju-sized Gjaum starts rampaging the countryside, and its up to the PCs to climb on its back beat up its individual body parts as if they're fighting Sin from FFX. A shame the vehicle section doesn't include flying submarines with drills.
Soo, that's it so far in terms of English DX releases, which are relatively complete as far as the core setting itself goes. The missing stuff (AFAIK) boils down to a UGN-centric supplement, a couple Scenario books (including at least one campaign / Adventure Path) and around a dozen alternative settings, including a .hack clone, a Weird War setting, a tokusatsu/superhero setting and a post-apocalyptic alternate universe in which a tiny population of Overeds have to survive on a whole planet full of Gjaums.
Oh and one set in Akihabara. Just, Akihabara. Maid cafes and model kits galore.
I'll take a short break for now and will return in a week or so to tackle Silent Legions , Keving Crawford's OSR game of Lovecraftian horror where you are encouraged to replace the Lovecraftian stuff for your own mythos. I will of course follow up from my threat a couple pages ago and reflavor Winnie the Pooh as an Eldritch horror.