Double Cross - Public Enemy by Doresh
Introduction - Terrorists AssembleOriginal SA post Double Cross - Public Enemy
Professor Caudwell and his supposed children - except for the girl with the teddy. She's a ninja or something.
Introduction - Terrorists Assemble
Another thread, another Double Cross supplement.
Corny Monologues (tm) posted:
We are False Hearts.
We were the first residents of the hidden world.
We were the first to harness the Renegade.
We seek total chaos.
It roots out the weak, and makes us stronger.
But most importantly, the chaos is where we will find what we truly want.
What we do, we do for our desires.
We walk this path so that one day we may take hold of our dreams.
No one, be they friend or foe, will stand in our way.
If the world cannot give us what we want, we will have to take it.
The world has deemed our actions as evil, but that no longer matters to us.
If we must be the Public Enemy , then so be it.
In what must be the most John Wick of all the DX supplements (man, associating him with DX in any way just feels wrong), Public Enemy is (almost) entirely about playing as a member of False Hearts, the main antagonists of DX.
Unlike John Wick, Public Enemy doesn't go "False Hearts are actually the good guys!". It's well aware the FH members are self-centered jerks at best and mass-murdering psychopaths at worst, which is probably not the best setup for a long campaign (though that's not really what Japanese RPGs are about, anyways).
Aside from rules for creating False Hearts characters and a couple FH-exclusive T-Loises and Equipment, we get more in-depth information about False Hearts than ever before, which is why I skipped all the FH stuff and characters from the last book. Some are just easier to explain and/or understand with this book's informations.
As a little extra nugget, the book also introduces rules and guidelines for Random Scenarios . Those aren't your typical random adventures were the GM rolls up some goals and complications beforehand and turns it into something coherent. A good chunk of the randomness is rolled up during play, requiring input from both the players and the GM to make sense of it. I'm certainly looking forward to these rules, and the templates presented - especially a certain one with a bit of a The Thing vibe.
False Hearts and You
FH characters are a bit more restricted in their Work selection, as they have pick one of the FH-exclusive ones. Since they relish more in their power and life closer on the edge of becoming a Gjaum, FH characters also have to start with at least one T-Lois. This can be any eligible one from the Advanced Rulebook, but the FH-exclusive ones presented in this supplement are recommended, mainly because they have the added side-effect of granting the character access to FH-exclusive Equipment.
As the pregen characters in this book cover almost all Works available to False Hearts members and all of the FH-exclusive T-Loises, I figured I can present all that stuff through them:
Meet the Pregens
Like the previous books, this one starts with a little comic, in this case 4 pages about the new pregen characters (all members of the same FH cell) having a meeting.
Underaged FH members have issues.
In order of appearance:
Bloody Trump is the dumb fighter / main protagonist guy and essentially an evil, brooding version of corebook pregen Wild Card, right down to being a Chimaera Overed who kills stuff with a big claw. Unlike Wild Card, Bloody Trump also has the Bram Stoker Syndrome. This makes his claw look more evil, and gives him an excuse to weep blood when using his powers.
Not entire sure what "Joker's Blood" is there for, but it does sound better than Bloody Trump.
Bloody Trump has the most common Work of a FH character: The FH Agent , which is a direct counterpart to the UGN Agent, if a bit less formal.
His T-Lois is Super Soldier , which further amplifies his role as the big dumb fighter. All of his attacks deal more damage, but he's quick to go on a rampage and easy to mess with through mental powers since his <Will> is penalized.
Purple Moonlight is your expy for Speeding Bullets, aka your long-range blaster support. Being a pure Angel Halo, she shreds stuff with purple laser beams instead of summoning energy pistols. She is also a FH Child , who is similar to an UGN Child and that she has been raised and trained by her organization from a very young age.
False Hearts' training program is pretty brutal and has a high body count, in parts due to it focusing more about how awesome using powers is instead of how to control those powers. Add in a few cases of deliberate psychological torture and a few experiments, and you can see why most FH Children tend to be sociopathic killers.
Who said murder hobos can't be little girls?
Unsurprisingly, her T-Lois is Destructive Child . Thanks to the above training from hell, our little mass murderer in the making can permanently beef up one of her powers.
The Fanged Swordsman is a tough Exile/Morpheus/Balor dude who fights with a bone sword he can boost through gravity control and wield very efficiently thanks to his bendy and stretchy arms.
Sounds like a fun moveset for a Dynasty Warriors game.
He also has the first Work that's not a direct counterpart to any of the UGN Works: The FH Merc . They are a bit like Illegals in concept, as they aren't technically members of False Hearts. Instead, they are tough mercenary Overed dudes who just happen to work for False Heart because the pay's pretty good.
His T-Lois is a pretty interesting one: Undead . He's not a zombie or anything like that, mind you. "Undead" is just a term used for an Overed who somehow manages to sustain Encroachment Rates over 100% without turning into a Gjaum (up to 119% to be precise, but I assume NPCs can take a lot more, especially when looking at a few writeups).
The reason you don't find Undead in the UGN is because their higher-ups refuse to acknowledge their existance. If you're Encroachment Rate is over 100%, you are a Gjaum to them, no matter of many UGN Agents you've had an encounter with swear that you can't possibly be an insane monster.
Frozen Bullet is your cold-hearted, professional FH Agent. She specializes in ranged combat, and her Black Dog / Salamandra powers are all built around that.
The most sensible FH pregen so far.
Her T-Lois is Item Master , which grants her a free FH-exclusive Item up to a certain Stock point cost. In her case, she settled for Rapid Fire , a heavy assault rifle that trades range for AoE damage.
Lastly, we have Lord of Stratagem , who uses his Hanuman / Neumann powers to support the rest of the team. Is Work as the FH Cell Leader is little different from a UGN Branch Chief, except for not having to worry about higher-ups as much.
Real chessmaster villains wear scarves.
His T-Lois is Spy , which is exclusive to Cell Leaders and allows them to user their 1337 spy sk1llz to hide or falsify intel once per Scenario. Need to get fake passports? Done. An UGN Agent found out the location of your hidehout? Now he's mindwiped. Want do have all traces of your former life erased? Just say the word!
The only Work not covered by the pregens is FH Renegade Being , which is just a counterpart to the normal Renegade Being Work.
Experience and Desire
For fleshing out Personal Data, FH characters can roll on a new Experience Chart all for FH. If you are a FH Child, this chart is mandatory. Results include that you've always been a loyal member of FH, that you are a UGN traitor, or that several kinds of bad stuff happened in your past and you ended up with FH.
Instead of rolling on the Encounter Chart (though there is one for FH members for random Lois generation), FH characters roll on the Desire Chart , which determines the character's ultimate goal in life and reason to hang out with FH. You might be in it for the money/power, try to seek revenge, kill everything or just find some love.
Shiny New Toys
FH doesn't half-ass it when it comes to outfitting its members:
Melee weapons include the Keen Knife that shreds the targets Armor bit by bit, the Cross Thrust which is a spear disguised as a cane for extra style points, the Innocent Blade that reacts well with powers, the Totsuka Sword which is either Cloud's Buster Sword or Guts' Dragonslayer, and an ultra-light Guard Shield .
The most high-end of all melee weapons is the Rengeade-infested Blade of Destruction , which increases your Encroachment rate with each attack and gains a huge buff once your at or above 100%
Aside from the above mentioned Rapid Fire, FH guns include the very accurate if strangely named FHG - 666 pistol, a friggin' Laser Rifle that pierces through Armor with ease, the R-Cannon which is an EX Renegade rifle reaction to the user's concentration, an EX Renegade pistol in the Devil Gun that increases the Encroachment Rate of both the user and the target, and a good ol' Mounted Rail Cannon for vehicles.
The most powerful rifle is the cursed Heaven's Lightning , which let's you trade HP for accuracy.
FH Armor range from the FH Armored Vest over the FH Combat Suit to the FH Battle Armor , with the FH Battle Coat offering additonal protection. The Combat Suit is especially nifty in that it boosts the user's powers, while the Armor and Coat reduce incoming damage from powers.
The most advanced armor is the Evolving Armor which lets you boost checks with a Base Stat of cour choice.
Connections consist of a FH Excecutive Member and Support Staff .
Vehicle choices are pretty nifty: the Sky Kid is a jet pack, the FH Blade Bike a nifty bike, the FH Light Van an amored car, and the Steel Giganto is a friggin' spider tank that can walk over smaller buildings and tower over every single BattleMech thanks to its height of 20+ meters.
If you always want your vehicle ready when you need it the most, you can attach a Call System to it. Press the button, and your railgun-toting surprise spider tank is bound to be a riot at parties.
General equipment is far too numerous to cover it all, though special mention goes to the Stealth Field (which does exactly what it sounds like), the Magnetic Field Generator (a deflector shield), CR Bullets (bonus damage vs Overeds, aka everyone of note), MASK-ED (a shapechanging mask that essentially makes you Fantômas 2.0) and Gray Sacrifice (makes you appear dead). If you want to punch harder, there are at least 3 different pieces of Equipment that do just that.
The most expensive pieces of Equipment are the Flower of Truth (grants bonus damage and can destroy a anything used to guard against it), the Brainwashing Device (let's you instantly take over a non-Overed, even during battle) and Alpha-Trance from last book's Example Scenario. As Equipment, this powerful drug let's you temporarily use one specific power you can't normally use.
Next Time : False Hearts Unveiled - World of DX.
False Hearts UnveiledOriginal SA post
Just to go back a page though to the last DX post, I still want a FH Mercs/Guild game that's basically "Black Lagoon with superpowers." (I just want to play in it, not run it, which is always a problem.)
Sounds like a rad idea. There's even plenty of support for this kind of game:
Double Cross - Public Enemy
False Hearts Unveiled
The first known mention of False Hearts comes from the Asian woman that informed the archeology team of Ryan Philander about the location of the Renegade ruins. Seeing how important the following Renegade Liberation was to the evolution of the Renegade Beings, it's pretty safe to assume this Asian woman was Kyoka "The Planner" Tsuzuki, or one of her flunkies.
Nobody really knows just when exactly False Hearts was founded, but it is known that it didn't really have the same cell structure it has today before the Renegade Liberation (most likely because Overeds were pretty rare before).
Instead, False Heart consisted of a loose gathering of Clans , groups of both Overeds and non-Overeds who have been around for centuries. Their ancient knowledge and secret techniques (which makes their non-Overed members bad enough dudes to fight Overeds) makes them FH's elite combat units, though they are technically still separate from FH, and their members serve their Clan first and FH second. Still, Clans make more and more use of FH's global intel and training facility network.
The oldest known Clan is the Japanese Kasuga Clan , whose members served The Planner since its founding in the late 8th century. Unfortunately, they were just as surprised about The Planner abandoning False Hearts and creating the Xenos organization as everyone else, and she left them not a single note or anything. She just left, leaving the clan in a state of confusion and existential crisis. Some members just continue to work for FH, others have joined Xenos to continue their servitude, and a few are actually fighting Xenos, hoping that Senpai will notice them again if they wreck her new club. I don't think this is a particularly good plan, but I digress.
With the Kasuga Clan in disarray, the most powerful clan (and only other notable) is probably The Black Order . They are infamous for their super sneaky assassins who are also experts in squad tactics, which I think means they found a way to invert the Inverse Ninja Law. They are also so secretive that not even the other FH guys know what's going on with this Clan.
Black Order's leader is Vikarala the Dark One , which not a single person, but a title passed on from one leader to the next (though past Dark Ones might've used othe rnames than Vikarala, but who knows with these guys).
Clan leaders are known as Liaison Lords or just Lords , and together they form False Heart's 12-man executive committee, a structure the UGN later copied for their Axis committee.
There are two major differences between these committees: Axis consists of 6 normal humans and 6 Overeds, whereas Liaison Lords are all Overeds. And whereas Axis is the highest echelon in the UGN, the Lords play second fiddle to Central Dogma .
Who is Central Dogma? Where is he? How does he look like? What gender does he actually have? Is he a single Overed, or just a title? The only ones who could answer these questions are the Liaison Lords or a select few agents working as Central Dogma's messengers. Everyone else has not a single clue about his/her true identity. And if you go by the Advanced Ruleboook, the UGN apparently doesn't even know Central Dogma is a single person and just assumes its FH's main cell.
Below these 13 leaders of False Hearts are the Master Agents , agents whose supreme proficiency in a specific ability or skill has granted them the honor of adding "Master" to their codename. This is in fact the only restriction to code- or nicknames in all of DX, so you can be sure that shit is about to hit the fan if anyone with "Master" anywhere in his codename makes an entrance.
As the best of the best False Hearts as to offer, Master Agents take in leading roles in all of FH's activities (intel, research, training,...), act as experts for specific Syndromes or are elite agents tasked with special missions.
A special role among the Master Agents is the Master Wraith , whose top secret missions are always crucial to Renegade research and evolution. There used to be only one Master Wraith at any given time, but recent events have made this a bit more crowded (more on that later).
Spreading from the center of False Hearts' organizational structure is a big spiderweb of Cells . Cells are for the most part very independent from each other, and it is even possible for two Cells to operate in the same city without knowing of each other's existance.
Despite all this relative freedom, there is a certain ranking among the Cells, and a Cell Leader has to follow orders from a higher-ranking Cell. Orders from Lords and especially Central Dogma himself overrule everything, but other than that the actual hierarchy between Cells is a bit muddy and convuluted, especially since Liaison Lords like to make up their own structure for the Master Cells and Leader Cells (the exact name depending on the Lord's rank, though the book doesn't really get into detail here; I'd just go with Leader Cells as that's the only one that gets mentioned multiple times) they control.
As Cells often consist of Overeds with similar goals and tastes, they often specialize into specific roles. These are very similar to UGN departments and are referred to as Combat Cells (killing stuff), Intelligence Cells (hacking stuff) and R&D Cells (science stuff).
And just like the UGN has their Strikehounds and R-Lab, False Hearts has special elite Cells that operate on a global scale: The Combat Cell Moon Dogs , the Intelligence Cell Ratfink , and the R&D Cell Two-Time . And just like with the Strikehounds, Moond Dogs was actually the name of the standard cannon fooder FH goons in the corebook. PCs are just that good.
When Cells have to work together, Executive Cells come into play to coordinate everything. These Cells are the rarest of them all, and often times just temporary in nature.
Another special "Cell" are Personal Cells , which are just FH members who work alone.
The People of False Hearts
FH training is very similar to the UGN (except if you're a FH Child, in which case you're more of guinea pig that might eventuall become an agent as an added bonus), with the main difference being that FH sees the Renegade not as a dangerous thing that eats away at your humanity, but a (more or less) natural part of yourself that helps you in fulfilling your desires and wishes. They also put less of a focus on safety regulations, though they do teach their agents to not keep their powers hidden in public.
While the UGN has no tolerance for Gjaums, FH is essentially a meritocracy: as long as you're sane enough to be a functional member of FH society, nobody cares if you're actually a psychotic monster in human guise. In fact a lot of high-ranking agents and even a few Liaison Lords are actually Gjaums.
Mind you, even FH PCs become NPCs when turning into a Gjaum (as that removes a PC's main source of internal conflict), though I guess it could be kinda fun to have the occasional Scenario involving the players' former PCs making a comeback to go wild now that they don't have to care about Encroachment Rate anymore.
Like UGN Agents and, well, terrorists, FH Agents still have a Cover and live a normal life outside of their FH activities. Relationships between the members of a FH Cell can range from "big happy (terrorist) family" to "no contact outside of Cell activities, and codenames only".
And just to show what kind of shenanigans FH Cells pull off, here are some global events I skipped from the Advanced Corebook:
The New Haven Conflict
Probably the first major incident caused by False Hearts as it happend 20 years ago (and most likely just after the Renegade Liberation). New Haven is a fictional island in the southern Pacific Ocean that has been ravaged by an ethnical conflic, when False Hearts invited itself into the party. With a big dose of weapons, supplies, and people turning into Overeds or Gjaums, the conflict suddenly escalated like crazy for one last year, taking a heavy toll on both sides and creating weird stories about tentacle monster, panther dudes and flying soldiers. And all just to have a field study on battlefield applications for the Renegade virus.
The Krodova Civil War
Your typical fictional Eastern European country (probably a neighbor of Latveria), the Krodova Principality has been plagued by a devastating civil war that has been going on for years, with no end in side. Actual FH Agents are relatively rare in this country, but the organization provides both sides with weapons and Overed creation, as a sort of long-term version of the New Haven Conflict. It's basically Overed Ukraine.
The Baranian President's Assassination
Another fictional coutnry, the Baranian Republic in the Middle East has had a long history of conflicts with its neighboring countries, but things were looking pretty optimistic thanks to the new president. But just when he had a meeting with an ambassador from his neighbors, he was shot by what must've been a teleporting bullet to make it look like the ambassador killed him.
Suffice to say, False Hearts are dicks.
Next Time : Professor Caudwell - or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Renegade.
Professor Caudwell and his warOriginal SA post Double Cross - Public Enemy
Professor Caudwell and his war
The history of Professor Alfred J. Caudwell begins during his early 30s (aka a few months after the Renegade Liberation), when he worked as a research scientist for an American university. One fateful day, a colleague asked him for help with the autopsy of a strange corpse showing some very odd mutations.
Not only did the mutant corpse disappear a few days later, but also all research data. And both his colleague as well as anyone else who knew of the corpse had no memory of it. Caudwell was just about to accept tha the had just imagined stuff, but his young daughter had overheard the conversation between him and his colleague.
So Caudwell started investigation, making use of whatever connections and resources he had available. He tried to cover his tracks, but eventually he couldn't help but feel that someone was watching him. When he tried to get himself and his family out of town, he got hit with a case of "Rock falls, everyone dies".
While on the highway, an object "randomly" came falling out of the sky and hit Caudwell's car, killing everyone inside...
Since he awakened as an Overed either before or because of this little accident, Caudwell managed to recover from his injuries. Leading his mysterious enemy to believe that he did die, Caudwell went unterground in the bad parts of town, starting a vigilante career.
On his quest to find out what the hell was going on so he could take revenge for the murder of his family, Caudwell came across other Overeds. None of them lead to the murderers as they were all just simple criminals or confused civilians like himself who had just awakened. On the plus side, he managed to find enough like-minded Overeds to create the Guardians , a street-level superhero team that fought criminal Overeds because the police couldn't.
Among these heroes were Jonathan Lancaster - who would later inherit the Lancaster Corporation - and Bernard Blum , the father of Axis member Therese Blum.
After three years of playing heroes, their true enemy finally made himself known. And as you probably guessed, this enemy was False Hearts.
Having more resources, knowledge and experience, False Heart opened a pretty hefty can of whoopass on those Guardian amateurs. Many were killed outright or turned into Gjaums trying to hulk out enough to survive the onslaught.
Still, all these sacrifices allowed the remaining Guardians to bring down FH's main Executive Cell of North America.
After this hard-earned victory, Caudwell began writing a thesis on the Renegade virus, borrowing heavily from the FH data they had captured. Unsprisingly, pretty much all the Renegade- and Overed-related terms originated from False Hearts.
It was also this thesis he sent to Earth's government, which would eventually lead to the birth of the UGN about a year after this little battle for North America.
Over the following years, it dawned on Caudwell that his vision of a peaceful co-existance between Overeds and normies didn't look like it would happen anytime soon, what with the various governments being ungrateful jerks who only tolerated Overeds because they were kinda required to stop FH and rampagin Gjaums.
Five years after the UGN's founding (aka 11 years ago), Caudwell and two of the original Guardians (including Bernard Blum) died when experiments in an animal research facility in New Zealand got a bit out of hand thanks to the Renegade.
If the UGN wasn't so shocked about the death of their father figure, they might've noticed some weird things surrounding this whole event: No documents of any kind existed about this supposed facility, and it was so throughoutly annihilated that no evidence or bodies could've been salvaged.
As seen in the previous book, Caudwell caused quite the urpoar with his sudden return through a worldwide broadcast that cost the UGN an arm and a leg to cover up. He had also de-aged back to his 30-year-old self - which could explain why his Syndrome is always listed as unknown, because who knows what exactly he did to himself.
(Wait... oh crap, that isn't actually Caudwell on the cover. That's Kyoji "Diablos" Kasuga, whose bio paints him as a recurring boss character / eternal loser. Very strange to put him at center stage, which is probably why I got them confused in my first post <_<)
This is Caudwell. Dude knows how to wear a monocle.
Note that the UGN wasn't the only ones shocked by his return. Despite himself claiming to be a FH member now, he didn't actually contact FH beforehand. He just invited himself into the club, declared himself leader of FH Japan by destroying any Cell that didn't bow down to him, and he had the gall to hand out the Master Wraith title to several of his own men, some of which claim to be his children.
The Liaison Lords were naturally pretty pissed about Caudwell just walzing in and taking over parts of FH, but before they could decide on any counter-measures, Central Dogma stopped them in their tracks with one of his rare direct commands: "Central Dogma authorizes the actions of Professor Caudwell".
This command has since splintered both FH (what with Caudweel taking over their Japanese Cells) and the Liaison Lords, who are torn between their loyalty to Central Dogma and Caudwell apparently being allowed to do as he pleases. Some believe Caudweel and Central Dogma are actually working together, but others fear that Caudwell might weaken FH as a whole.
So what are Caudwell's plans? Well, there's the already known "I want to tear down the UGN and everything it stands for" part. He despises what the place has turned into, and several older members had the same feeling and have left the UGN to join him.
Another goal of his appears to rely on some mysterious item he's after. Some kind of "grail" or "vessel" located somewhere in Japan, which is the main reason why he took over the FH Cells there. Nobody knows what this is all about, but it probably has something to do with the Renegade virus... *foreshadowing to next book*
Next Time : Enemies and Alliances - with special guest appearance by SCP-682's brother.
Enemies and AlliancesOriginal SA post Double Cross - Public Enemy
Enemies and Alliances
False Hearts' Diplomatic Relations
FH's relations with the other organizations are pretty straight-forward: They hate the UGN with a loving passion (seeing them as traitors standing in the way of Overed supremacy), handle Xenos on a case-by-case basis (depending on whether or not Xenos' actions are beneficial to FH), and work together with criminal organizations if they have common interests.
While they don't get along with governments at all, FH occasionally cooperates with Tempest and other military organizations, as the UGN is stingy with providing combat-related intel about Overeds.
Just like the UGN, FH is confused about where this S-Ranking site gets its data from, and they are very eager to find out who is behind this Overed Power Level ranking site.
The Caudwell Faction
Caudwell's new brand of Master Wraiths are "numbered" with Greek letters (except for female Master Wraiths it seems; no idea on what their numbering is based as there's only one listed), though they do get normal numbers in parenthesis
Master Wraith Epsilon (05), Johan C. Caudwell (Salamandra/Chimaera): Already covered in the corebook, but I'm putting him here again because he was only called "Master Wraith" in that book, without a number or letter attached to it.
Master Wraith Gamma (03), Cain A. Caudwell (Unknown Syndrome): Another supposed son of Caudwell, he's a much quieter fellow than Johan. He is the most elusive of all Master Wraiths, and whatever kind of assignment he has seems to not involve engaging the UGN at all.
Master Wraith Nona (09), Laelia Guily (Bram Stoker/Angel Halo): A very dangerous Master Wraith who has destroyed several UGN branches. She has a somewhat strange personality, as she is continually sad and seems to despise combat - yet fights like a Khorne Berserker.
Master Wraith Xi (14), Sakyo Kurosu (Black Dog): A former UGN Illegal who went rogue after Caudwell's return. He's a rather conflicted and unpopular fellow thanks to high massive hateboner against Overeds (which is a bit weird considering he's one himself).
Mizuki "Pathfinder" Mihara (Neumann/Morpheus/Salamandra): An UGN defector now doing research for Caudwell. Not nearly as crazy as other FH Agents, she despises senseless violence. She works for one of the Apostles , Caudwell's fancily-named elite Cells.
Eiichi "Dog Master" Takajo (Balor/Hanuman): This careful and seasoned soldier is the Captain of the Moon Dogs Combat Cell. Currently working for Caudwell because he pays well.
General FH Characters
Fatum (Unkown Syndrome): A Central Dogma messenger who comes and goes as he pleases, delivering very cryptic advices and orders to FH Agents, and even shows up to inform the UGN from time to time.
Tet, the Tempter (Unkown Syndrome): One of the original 12 Liaison Lords who founded False Hearts. He's both a Renegade Being and Gjaum of probably ancient age. Staying true to his appearance of a snake, he loves to tempt people into giving in to their desires. His stance on Caudwell is neutral. Though he leads a Clan, nothing is known about it.
Vikarala, the Dark One (Angel Halo/Balor): Another founding member of FH, and the third known Black Order leader to bear the name Vikarala. She has a mad scientist vibe going on as she is willing to do anything to create the perfect Overed. She really hates Caudwell's guts.
Yukari "Cold Intellect" Watanuki (Bram Stoker/Neumann): Leader of FH's main Research Cell Two-Time. Being an introverted workaholic, she cares so little about other people that she barely bothers to remember her underlings' names, and she sometimes ignores orders and even works with enemy organizations if it benefits her research.
Ayana "Helter Skelter" Soramori (Black Dog/Neumann): The anarchistic leader of the Intelligence Cell Ratfink, she is one of the best hacker there are. Nothing is safe from her. She once qualified for the codename "Master Hack" but she refused as that just sounded lame.
Yokaze "Wind Master" Tsukishiro (Hanuman): FH's main instructor for FH Childreen and new Agents. If you survive her training from hell, you are one of the best of the best.
Tomoe "Mastermind" Amafune (Orcus/Solaris): A young girl of noble birth whose good manners hide a power-hungry soul whose eagerness to become the new leader of False Hearts has her do all sorts of blackmailing and backstabbing. She's basically the female Starscream of False Hearts.
Miki "Harmonia" Higo (Hanuman/Solaris): An FH Child whose command-focused powers granted her leadership over her own Cell at the young age of 17. Obsessed with perfection, she has gotten a bit paranoid ever since one of her Agents died during a perfectly executed mission.
Chiaki "Spike Hell" Nanasato (Orcus Salamandra): An unassuming no-nonsense FH spy and kind of an introvert.
Keigo "Paladin" Matoba (Black Dog/Morpheus): A former UGN Agent who defected when his family became "collateral damage" thanks to an UGN operation. Desparate the resurrect him, he's now a berserker fighting for False Hearts.
Joshua "Knight of Four Blades" Bataille (Black Dog/Neumann): A young, but pretty badass FH Agent who fights with four daggers at once. Ever since his righ arm had to be replaced with a mechanical prothesis, he has become an avid follower of Khorne, raging so hard that he is losing both his sanity and memories.
Ayumu "Lost Sheep" Kurusu (Exile/Orcus): The black sheep of the FH Childs, he only does the absolute minimum required by him. The only reason he's still with FH is because he's too much of a wuss to flee. Still, his control over the Renegade is pretty remarkable, so who knows what he could do if he were to get his act together. Where is Bright Noa when you need him?
Miyuki "Fenrir's Bite" Aomine (Salamandra): An FH Agent wrecking UGN Kyoto with her ice sword, working for the Combat Cell Cerberus . Her main motive for joining FH his her quest for the Shikoten , an item that can supposedly grant any wish, whish she wants to obtain in order to resurrect her little brother.
Shuka "Phoenix Guard" Daimonji (Chimaera/Salamandra): Another member of Cerberus, she takes on a more defense combat role than her above colleague. A pretty big fangirl for the Cerberus leader Minako Nagaishi , who is her surrogate mother.
Shizuma "Carnage" Orito (Unkown Syndrome): An infamous assassin, FH Merc and overall badass. How badass? He mastered every Japanese martial art there is, and even before awakening, he managed to kill a Gjaum with his bare hands . And he has only become stronger since the Renegade gave his 69-year-old body the vitality of his younger self. With a [Body] of 17 and a ludicrious <Melee> of 40 , dude can even punch out Caudwell. Don't mess with him, is all I'm saying.
Mio "Lady Panther" Kasuga (Solaris/Orcus): This little girl (12 years old) is a member of the Kasuga Clan and one of those weirdoes who would like to destroy Xenos in hopes that their senpai will notice them again. I think she has issues.
Robert "Mad Scientist" Short (Morpheus/Exile/Chimeara): The says it all with this guy. He performs his mad science in just about every scientific fields he can get his hands on.
Kanata "The End" Hiura (Exile/Salamandra): This very strange fellow has an almost perfect track record and could've surely been a Master, but he's a bit... odd. He's very gloomy and has apparently given up on life. He does his job just fine, but he doesn't really care if other take credit for him.
Kanako "Grapevine" Kojima (Angel Halo/Black Dog): Former top agent of FH Egypt, she recently fled to Japan to lead the ordinary life of a housewife.
Burnet (Unkown Syndrome, though probably at least Chimaera): A Gjaum said to be the "ultimate life form". He's locked up in a secret FH lab deep underground and spends all day mutating. It currently looks like a mythic beast with golden fur and rampages so hard that its roars reach the outside world. Its Encroachment Rate is also 666%, just like the Other-World Priestess from the Advanced Corebook. A possible connection?
The Recorder (Morpheus/Neumann): A Renegade Being an loyal servant of The Planner. Is entire power set, heck his entire existance revolves around being a silent observer recording all of his mistress' plans.
Phantasma (Unkown Syndrome): A masked fixer with an unkown identity, he acts as a middleman for highly dangerous, but very rewarding jobs.
Fiona Lancaster (Human): A brilliant teenager and member of the Lancaster family. Ever since Caudwell's return and defection to False Hearts, she has been obsessed with finding out his motives.
Next Time : Game Master Section - The Random Scenario System and more Gjaum goodies.
The Random Scenario SystemOriginal SA post Double Cross - Public Enemy
The Random Scenario System
(There's a little mini chapter on Gjaums beforehand, but it's mainly a summary of stuff already mentioned in earlier books, with a bit of extra stuff that boils down to "Gjaums that appear sane only do so as part of their Impulse" and "Shadier organizations actually work with Gjaums as long as they don't just try to eat/kill everyone in sight.")
This is an interesting little Scenario creation system that has the GM only to the bare minimum of prep work before diving into the Scenario as blindly as the players. It's pretty much improv from beginning to end, which is a nice change of pace from the railroady example Scenarios. And you might even play the entire Scenario without an actual GM.
Prep-time only consists of picking one of the nine templates presented (which determines the general type of Scenario), or making your own. The basic premise of the Scenario is then rolled up beforehand, determining the objective and the Presage , a fancy name for DX's holy Scenario trinity of the Heroine (aka the MacGuffin), Ally (aka the BFF) and Rival (aka the BBEG). The Boss of the Scenario (who is usually, but not always, the Rival) is a blank slate at this point who only needs a Desire to be rolled, which in turn determines his Impulse and E-Loises.
The Opening Phase is pretty standard DX affair, with the important difference from the example Scenarios being that the players make up their own introduction scenes.
The Middle Phase is where things get interesting. This is the time in DX were all the PCs finally meet up to start investigations in hopes of finding out what's actually going on.
Instead of having a list of predetermined investigation topics to pick from, the GM instead chooses or rolls on an Event Chart, usually in a two-step process where you first determine the general type of Event before figuring out the specifics. Depending on the roll, the Event in question can be spiced up with Surprise Events , which are unforeseen circumstances (like an important NPC or the Rival making a sudden appearance) that mixes things up a little.
The worst kind of surprises are the Traps , which represent any kind of trouble or other interference (like combat). Traps need to be "disarmed" with a successful check, or they will make the next Investigation more difficult.
Investigation checks are performed at the end of every Scene, using a Skill and Difficulty appropriate to the situation (with the tempaltes providing guidelines). Multiple PCs can perform the check, but only the highest result matters. If susscessful, the final score will be converted into Prize Points , and the GM rolls on the Prize Chart to hand out a clue.
The Middle Phase continues with new Events and opportunities to gain Prize Points until one of two end conditions: Either the PCs gain enough Prize Points meet the Scenario's Flag , or the Advent happens.
Reaching the Flag is the desired outcome. It causes a Trigger Event to occur in which the truth is revealed based on the accumulated clues. This is also the time for the GM to finally roll up the Boss's actual stats (more on that in a minute). The Scenario then proceeds with the typical Climax Phase and Ending.
The Advent is a time limit, either in number of Middle Phase Events or has an actual amount of real time minutes. If the Advent is reached and the PCs still haven't gained enough Prize Points, a Deus Ex Machina is rolled up to skip the Climax Phase and go right to a (usually) bad ending. The Deus Ex Machina presented in the book are all over the place in terms of seriousness and tone. I think I jus thave to paraphrase all of them (ordered in descending order of grim darkness for your convenience):
The UGN is gone, all your base are belong to False Hearts
A Renegade Being noms the whole world
Bombs fall, everyone's MIA
You're PC has the highest Encroachment Rate? Now he's a Gjaum!
PCs win, but the Heroine is
PCs lose, case unsolved
The real battle is just about to begin...
Something something PC1's bravery will surely safe the day eventually
The Boss jumps in to start the Climax anyways
The badass assassin Soichi "Predator" Iba and kills the BBEG for the PCs, like something out of C°ntinuum
It was all a dream by Kyoji "Diablos" Kasuga
(Note that the Climax and All Your Base events can't actually be reached with a random roll and are only possible if the GM selects them.)
Despite the Boss not actually having any stats or power sets until the very end, he can still mess with the PCs thanks to the E-Loises rolled up at the start of the Scenario. Some of the new E-Loises in this book are written with the Random Scenario format in mind and may not work in a normal Scenario.
Chaotic Scheme lets the Gjaum mess with the PCs by suddenly increasing the Difficulty of an Investigation or Trap Check. Failure forces a Surprise Event for the next Scene.
The Hyde is an aptly named E-Lois for Bosses that only have part of their mind being a Gjaum, essentially creating a very extreme split personality case. It is up to the GM to decide what happens if the Gjaum personality dies. Though it isn't mentioned in the E-Loises, it is probably a pretty cool idea to have either the Heroine or the Ally be the human personality.
These are some funky ones: Awakening Soul gives every enemy in the Scenario a damage bonus and makes every non-Overed NPC slowly forget all their obligations and duties, while New World not only gives the Gjaum extra HP, but also has him reveal the existence of Overeds to the whole world if he survives the Scenario, adding another bad ending on top of whatever the GM rolled for the Deus Ex Machina.
Grace of the Abyss is vampire as all hell and lets the Boss turn any of the Presage NPCs into a temporary Gjaum by sucking his/her blood. Night Rose has him gain more and more HP as the fight goes on, until a juicy max bonus of +100.
Maw of Abaddon lets the Boss gobble up HP from the PCs during a Surprise Event, while Thirsty Soul has him gain a damage bonus depending on how long the Middle Phase lasted, since the hunger he suffers from is so severe that it makes him go berserk.
Pretty straightforward stuff: Bloody Cascade reduces Prize Points for every scene with a battle, and Throne of Corpses hands out HP and a damage bonus for every KOed character.
Cycle of Destruction is just a better Bloody Cascade (dropping Prize Points gained from the Scene straight to 0), and Shattered Empyrean is a modification of the Advanced Corebook's Manifestation of the Destroyer that not only grants a damage bonus, but has the Gjaum destroy the entire Stage the Scenario is set in if he survives till the ending.
Sadistic Illusions cann cause non-Overeds to awaken, but is mainly there to add a little bit of extra Encroachment Rate for every Scene involving combat. Blood-Splattered Demise works well with this because it spawns suped-up enemies into the current Scene.
Hideous Worldview turns a Scene into a Trap, and Universal Disgust does the same, but also infects the Heroine with the disgust, creating conflict between her and the Scene's lead character.
E-Loises: Battle Lust
Eternal Strife prolongs a battle by having enemies spawn endlessly, essentially forcing the PCs to flee or figure out a clever solution. Abyss Demon is a surprise E-Lois that can be exchanged for another E-Loises, selected from a limited number.
Twisted Dreams lets the Gjaum change the personalities of the Presages, while Construct Fantasies turns the Scene into a Trap, more specifically into the lead character having a nightmare based on one of the Deus Ex Machina. Unless GM fiat is used, this means it is impossible to have a nightmare about False Heart triumphing over the UGN, but there is a 10% chance of having a nightmare about Diablos having a dream (or is it a nightmare about being Diablos?!).
Stigmata Addiction makes the Gjaum a masochist, granting him bonus dice depending on how often he has been damaged. Reaper's Beckoning turns the Scene into a Trap in which the Heroine attempts suicide o_O
Unfathomable Forms lets the Gjaum change any physical and mental aspects of himself (including his political view for some reason). Universal Fear is another Trap creator, this time essentially having the Gjaum be Scarecrow and dose everything with fear gas.
Cycle of Hate creates additional enemy minions during the Climax Phase, based on the number of enemies that have appeared so far (it's payback time, basically). Black Hellfire is another Trap E-Lois involving random NPCs attacking the PCs.
The example templates provided by the supplement, covering your general DX adventures.
Our Precious World
: An enemy agents has a nefarious plan, which can involve things like a mystery soda or people going into a coma from playing a MMO.
The Girl's Secret
: The PCs are trying to help a mysterious girl on the run from something or someone. In true DX fashion, the Heroine might just turn out to be a Gjaum or Renegade Being all along.
Find the Double-Crosser!
: The PCs play internal affairs and try to uncover a traitor.
: Something bad happened (which can be anything from a natural disaster, a terrorist attack or a
), and the PCs have to get out ASAP.
: The PCs hunt a rampaging Gjaum and try to find out its connection with the Heroine. Both can naturally end up being one and the same person.
: A mad chase for an important item (or the Heroine) with mysterious powers.
Dreams and Desires
: For FH characters only, though not for long as the Scenario is all about how meeting the Heroine has the PCs try to leave FH for good.
- Russian Roulette : Saving the best for last: The PCs find themselves in a sealed UGN lab when someone starts killing people. Not only is a Gjaum on the loose, but the Gjaum is one of them (decided based on the clues found)! The best part is that, once again, The actual identity of the Boss isn't revealed until the end, so everyone's free to be paranoid and suspicious as crazy. Once the culprit is identified, he will immediately hulk out to boss standards for the final confrontation with his supposed comrades. Sadly, the lab being located in the Antarctis is only possible through GM fiat.
The chapter ends with lots and lots of random charts, letting the GM generate anything from locations to NPCs and enemy groups to fight. There's also a big old list with named NPCs to tie the Scenario to the metaplot.
And of course, we got the Bosses...
Boss Templates come in ten flavors, each with two distinct power sets for a total of 20 different Bosses. All of the writeups are meant with freshly-created PCs in mind, though there are guidelines to scale them up for more experienced groups.
The classic case of an Overed who has been turned into a mindless monstrosity by the Renegade. The Uncontrollable Powers Type (Salamandra/Chimaera) is like Tetsuo from Akira in that they actually are sane, but have lost control over their powers. The Physical Mutation Type (Chimaera/Hanumann) is a straightforward beast.
An UGN or FH Child who has turned Gjaum, making for a particularly dangerous foe. The Lightning Mage (Angel Halo/Salamandra/Black Dog) blasts the crap out of PCs, while the Bloody Puppeteer (Bram Stoker/Orcus) creates Red Servants for team combos.
It is only natural that mad scientists who are also Overeds eventually turn into Gjaums. The Mind Assasin (Solaris/Orcus) messes with people's heads, while the Artistic Bomber (Neumann/Exile/Morpheus) creates oversized bombs out of thin air.
Inamiate objects given life by the EX Renegade, including everything from trash to tanks . The Genocide Machine (Black Dog/Orcus) is a single, big machine, while the Destroyer (Black Dog/Bram Stoker) summons lesser machines for help.
Also, their picture is amazing:
Crotch missiles are the best kind of missiles.
Former Overed super soldiers gone really mad. The Sky King (Morpheus/Angel Halo) creates his own helicopter to rain down lead and lasers onto the PCs, and the Flash Bullet (Black Dog/Neumann) just spams bullets nonstop by dual-wielding a point defense weapon and a shotgun.
Former swordmasters who have become a bit too creepy. You know, the type of crazy sword user who is covered in blood all the time and is licking blood off their blade, which is exactly what the lady on the picture is doing:
Not really my kind of waifu.
The Ancient Swordmaster (Neumann/Hanumann) is essentially Miyamoto Musashi on speed, and the Crimson Demi-Fiend (Bram Stoker/Balor) creates a sword and armor out of blood. Gross.
Beast of Catastrophe
Essentially a Rampaging Gjaum that used to be an animal or plant instead of a human. The Beast Lord (Chimaera/Solaris) is a howling beast, while the Killer Plant (Exile/Orcus) is more or less Bulbasaur.
Agent of Genocide
A veteran assassin gone Gjaum. The Commander (Neumann/Solaris) coordinates his attacks with a couple Troopers, while the Two-Man Cell (Morpheus/Exile) are actually two guys with the same dakka-focused power set, with the only difference that one of them has a magnetic shield.
Renegade Being Gjaums who are specifically inhuman in appearance. The Philosopher's Stone (Morpheus/Exile) is a sentient Renegade Crystal shredding people with crystals, while the Star Fragment (Balor) crushes them with gravity.
Also, take a load of its quote:
Star Fragment posted:
The other extreme of the above template: A Renegade Being who is not only human, but has surpassed humanity, becoming something beyond our comprehension that sees us as unworthy vermin. Delusions of godhood may or may not be part of its shtick, and said delusions may or may not actually be justified.
The Heaven's Messenger (Salamandra/Angel Halo) is an angelic creature mostly fighting with a fire or laser sword, while the Mythological Hero (Balor/Hanumann) takes the form of Heracles or a similar mythological character who punches people with superhuman strength.
Next Time : Example Scenarios - You are a pirate.
Example ScenariosOriginal SA post
Given that most of the random charts in Public Enemy's random scenario generation stuff only has one "GM fiat only" option, it feels like rolling GM's choice kind of pushes you to pick that one even if you'd otherwise be more interested in another result.
On the upside, "Primary schooler" is a GM fiat only choice for most of the NPCs, so I can feel free to never pick it to avoid a random scenario where you've got to beat up an 8 year old.
A weird part about these ROC (Roll or Choice) tables is that they yet again codify stuff GMs usually just wing, anyways. The "Boss pops up so we can have a Climax Phase anyways" Deus Ex Machina was even mentioned as something the GM can just do if he doesn't want the players to completely fail the Middle Phase.
And a lot of Event tables actually have two GM fiat choices. Mind you, one is always "GM's Choice", while the other one is something like "For some reason, the Rival decided to go on vacation" or... "Everyone's wearing a maid outfit", in case you want to John Wick the campaign into Maid RPG. And why wouldn't you? Fighting over Master's affection is always easier if you can both cool and heat drinks with your bare hands. Or summon cutlery out of thin air.
And speaking of beating up 8-year-olds...
Double Cross - Public Enemy
Like the Advanced Corebook, Public Enemy features two new example adventures:
The Girl and the Bloody Sword
Coming soon: The Inside Out manga.
Kaori "Silent Sheep" Yagumo (Morpheus/Neumann) is a former UGN Agent who has defected to False Hearts. She's one of those who felt the UGN did no longer care about peaceful co-existance between humans and Overeds and left the place when Caudwell returned. Unfortunately for her, she didn't feel like FH was any better, and in fact their struggle with the UGN might just be the reason there can be no peace. So she decided to break into a secret FH lab to steal Tyrfing , a Renegade Crystal in the form of a sword that she hopes would make her powerful enough to destroy both organizations.
What she didn't expect was for Tyrfing to try to fuse with her. The process failed, destroying the lab killing Soari... sorta. In her stead, an underaged copy of her by the name of Blood Rain is now running around City N, slaughtering both UGN and FH Agents with Tyrfing.
Basically, this is a Scenario designed for a mixed group of UGN and FH characters, who are eventually ordered by their higher-ups to cooperate in stopping this little mass murderer.
But the situation is a bit more complex than this. You see, Blood Rain isn't the only underaged copy created in the failed fusion process. The other one is simply called Saori and is completely harmless as she has inherited Silent Sheep's desire for peace.
Like so often with these Heroines, Saori first runs into PC1. And by "runs into" I mean "She's just lying on the ground till she noticed PC1 isn't affected by her Warding Field, then she just takes his food because she's hungry, all while talking in the third person because she's a bit weird". It's almost like a "strange alien girlfriend" harem anime, except without fanservice.
Saori eventually spills the beans that there are in fact a lot more underaged copies running around City N, with only Saori and Blood Rain having full sentience and being able to absorb the others in order to bring Tyrfing back to full strength, which would spell doom to both the UGN and FH.
Saori herself is pretty useless in a fight however, so she begs the PCs to stop Blood Rain in her stead, ensuring them that Silent Sheep would've never truly wanted such a bloodbath. This leads to an interesting gimmick where Blood Rain's final Encroachment Rate (and therefore strength) depends on how many of the lesser copies - called Tyrfing Orta - she managed to absorb, aka how many the PCs didn't off themselves.
Having their first real contact with Blood Rain also has her drop a little plot twist that the PCs might've figured out earlier:
Saori having inherited Silent Sheep's dream of a peaceful world for everyone is bullshit. Blood Rain is the real inheritor of Silent Sheep's true feelings. Saori is just making stuff up to feel better. Depending on how the players react to this, Saori will just give up and let herself be nommed by Blood Rain.
Right before the final showdown, Blood Rain starts killing everyone she comes across on the street, forcing the PCs to find her ASAP before she becomes even crazier. Though it notes they have to make checks, the book doesn't actually say which checks. I guess like in a normal Investigation?
Depending on how powerful Blood Rain was at the end, Saori may or may not survive her destruction and life on as the weird little girl she is. Now it's just up to the players to figure out what to do with Tyrfing. So don't worry about them using it for themselves, as the whole ordeal has damaged it too much to be anything other than a test subject.
The Test-Play Report makes its appearance again, and it tells us that the various UGN and FH PCs managed to get into fights with each other.
Dead Man's Cruise
The age-old dilemma of "Is it okay for an ancient being to drink booze if she looks like a little girl?"
This is an all-FH Scenario, and the first so far to not take place in City N. PC1 (or someone else I guess) is also required to have the Super Soldier T-Lois, as that one's pretty important to the plot.
The MacGuffin of this Scenario is the Dead Man's Coronet , an EX Renegade in the form of a crown. In the 18th century, it turned the pirate Captain Jean-Jacques (Morpheus/Orcus/Balor) into a Renegade Being that just keeps coming back to life no matter how often he's been killed. PC2 has in fact killed him at least once before.
The Coronet is currently planned to be showcased on the Eternal Queen a cruise ship in Tokyo Bay. Professor Caudwell is very interested in the Coronet and sends the PCs with false invitations on the ship - except for PC1 who already got one from The Planner because their acquaintances she's very interested in his "gift of death" (hint hint).
The situation on board is a bit awkward with The Planner and her bodyguard Minerva around - especially since PC4 (the recommended slot for the FH Merc pregen) is a rival of Minerva and she keeps on talking about how she "plans to be the one who kills him". There's even a cliffhanger ending scene where both meet again on the battlefield and start rushing towards each other. You just know they're going to kiss eventually.
Anyhow, the party is crashed when Jean-Jacques - also on board - decides to ditch his Xenos membership and grab the Coronet. Now he's immortal to the point of instantly respawning on the spot (the Undying Delusions E-Lois), and he decides to celebrate his reunion with the Coronet by using his Encroaching Impulse E-Lois to turn all the unnamed NPCs on the ship into rampaging Gjaums. Escape is not an option, as he has used the Enemy-exclusive Balor Power <<Space-Time Rip>> to trap the whole ship inside a pocket dimension.
He's also turned himself into a skeleton pirate, because that's friggin' metal.
The PCs now have to fight their way through the ship, making sure that The Planner is okay and searching for any clues as to how it was possible for Jean-Jacques to have stayed dead long for the Coronet to be taken away from him in the first place. Turns out the secret is "Hit his weak point for (not actually) massive damage", aka hit the jewel on the Coronet. Though in the past, the jewel has always regenerated itself, which is the main reason why Jean-Jacques is still around. Though one of the PCs does have a "gift of death"...
The Test-Play Report of this most metal of all Scenarios so far informs of that one group had PC1 be adopted by The Planner in the past, which must be pretty darn weird with her current body.
False Hearts Scenario Guide
The book ends with a few guidelines for making Scenarios about FH characters. Generally, FH characters tend to be a bit more selfish and, well, bad-guyish. Protecting the world is not nearly as important tot hem than fulfilling their desires.
The guide also mentions possible enemies for mixed groups, ranging from Bombs (enemies who will destroy both the UGN and FH if they get their way, like Blood Rain), someone from Xenos, or just someone both sides want to see gone. Especially the latter may or may not be followed by a bit of PVP between the UGN and FH PCs.
Next Time: Infinity Code - A new Syndrome! New Powers! Skill Challenges!