Brave New World: Defiants by Hostile V
PostOriginal SA post
BRAVE NEW WORLD: DEFIANTS
BNW: Defiants is all about the Defiance movement; how it got started, what the movement is currently up to, who are the major movers and shakers and factions, etc. Because this is a more insular, tightly-focused book, it actually reads a lot easier and it’s going to be faster to cover. It also helps that for the most part it actually covers new territory. The main book and Ravaged Planet set the stage for Defiance as a bunch of anti-DRA protestors with underground rebellion elements with a dash of anti-government terrorists. Nothing was really explained or elaborated on besides the roles of Truth and Patriot. This is a substantial problem because the game definitely wants you to be on board with Defiance but just dumps a bunch of in character lore on your lap instead. The whole first half of this book is also in character (and some of the second half is too) but it actually answers the questions of “what is Defiance and what do they want?”
The book is divided into the first half (which is IC lore about Defiance and its goals) and the second half (new powers, new archetypes, adversaries and campaign secrets). The entire book is 130 pages long and the first half takes up 80 pages. Get used to more of this happening as we go along. The first half has five different narrators: The Truth on Defiance today, Yoshihama “The Yellow Journalist” Ishimori on the formation and history of Defiance, Enrique “Ricky” Salvador on the Isla Delta movement, Malachai “The Killer” Winter on Delta War and Reverend Darien Lange on Pax Delta. Let’s start with Yoshi Ishimori.
Ishimori behind bars.
As mentioned in the core book, Yoshihama Ishimori is serving out a life’s sentence in New Alcatraz for the crime of being an unregistered Delta and an asset to Defiance. He’s an old man who has been in prison for about a decade or more and he doesn’t have much contact with the outside world, but he basically started Defiance.
Yoshi was born to Japanese parents in 1935 in LA. His parents immigrated to the US in 1920. When Yoshi was 6, he and his family were put in a Japanese internment camp after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He was a smaller boy who was picked on by the kids actually born in Japan, and when he was 10 he was accidentally struck by a military jeep when he was being chased by an older girl named Juni Tanaka. He survived and awoke as a Delta, a fact that the Japanese doctor also interned in the camps kept secret from the American government. His powers ended up being a boost to his natural charisma that helped make him more likable and he first knowingly used them to calm down Juni the next time they crossed paths.
There's a lot of art in these sections so I'll try to keep it tight or relevant.
So Yoshi went into showbiz as a talent agent because he felt like it was a natural fit for his powers and ended up launching the careers of actors who actually could act (Clint Eastwood is explicitly namedropped. Also he’s not a Delta). It’s 1959 and he’s joking with one of his friends about how they should start a newspaper to bring the Delta community of America together. His friend loves the idea and Yoshi decides “hell, why not?” and starts the Delta Times as a subscription newspaper. He picks the pen-name The Yellow Journalist because he intends to engage in yellow journalism, not because he’s a Japanese-American (a fact the book makes abundantly clear). And the paper does well; it sells like gangbusters, he fosters a better sense of community and it’s even used to organize a Delta convention in 1962.
"I bet the man who runs this paper is super handsome."
Of course in 1963, JFK is shot in the head, yadda yadda. And Superior himself says to Yoshi “look, this has to change. I have an idea and you’ll see what happens”. He finds out that Superior is serious when Superior himself outs Congressman Bill Walsh (D, Georgia) in front of Congress and Walsh resists arrest to the extent that Superior has to beat him into submission. And Yoshi realizes that Superior knows his name and will be coming for him. So he goes on the run with his paper and uses fake names to write different articles protesting the DRA and includes a submission address. And he mails the paper out to everyone on the list, registered or not. The newspaper ends up bringing everyone who doesn’t want to register together but it also directly puts him on Delta Prime’s wanted list.
To my knowledge, this never happens.
So history takes its course and Defiance starts to come together into four main groups: the people on the mailing list, Pax Delta, Delta War and the Isla Delta Movement. Everyone uses the name Defiance at one point or another to confuse Delta Prime and the leaders of each group keep in contact to coordinate and keep abreast of the situation. But there’s still no singular leader, every group is doing their own thing under the same banner and there’s infighting. It’s the death of Patriot that starts getting everyone united and together under one cause and vision.
The rest of this part of the book is redundant information that will be covered later and Yoshi’s recollection of the time he met Patriot. They met in 1988 after the San Francisco bombing when Yoshi and one of his friends (Wilma) were trying to look for survivors. Patriot was still in Delta Prime and he captured them both for interrogation and torture on top of a skyscraper. Patriot ends up punching his second in command out a window in disgust when the man almost beats Wilma to death in the process of interrogating her. He doesn’t really get to know Patriot but he does thank him later in prison for joining the cause and remembering his heart.
Man look at this lady's angry face.
In retrospect they don’t make it clear when he was arrested but if I had to guess it would be during that incident. Also it’s not made clear if the guy died but when asked if he killed him, Patriot shrugs and says “not if he remembers he can fly”.
Our martyr, ladies and gents.
LIVING LA VIDA DELTA
One nation, under triangle.
Enrique Salvador is the leader of Congress on Isla Delta. If you care about who he might be, I hope you care more about the history of Isla Delta instead because Enrique gets one sentence of history. Basically he’s a native from Puerto Rico who manifested, didn’t want to join Delta Prime because he thinks the DRA shouldn’t apply to a US commonwealth and joined Defiance before getting political on Isla Delta. In his defense, he raises a pretty good question about if it should.
"Ladies and gentlemen, behold!"
Isla Delta is an island off the coast of Costa Rica. It was founded by Don Angel Oliveri Gandarillas aka the Spanish Delta hero known as El Cid. He fled Spain after he was unable to stop Franco’s revolution and eventually wandered to Costa Rica in 1965 where he realized he wanted to spend the rest of his life there. He also realized that he needed a place for people like him so he hashes out a deal with the government of Costa Rica for land. For those who don’t know much about Costa Rica, haven’t played MGS: Peace Walker or don’t remember from Ravaged Planet, Costa Rica has no standing military a la Japan but all Deltas are free to immigrate as long as they promise to help protect Costa Rica. The government comes back to Don Oliveri with an offer.
- Isla Delta is a commonwealth of Costa Rica until it declares independence and is recognized by at least one nation.
- In exchange for the land, the people of Isla Delta are to help protect Costa Rica as an additional defense force for 100 years.
- Isla Delta can’t declare independence until it has a population of one thousand proven Deltas. If the island does and it petitions, Costa Rica will recognize Isla Delta as a nation and fulfill clause one.
Life on Isla Delta.
Because that’s a really good deal, Don Oliveri signs the agreement and makes two teams out of the first citizens. The first team is people who can do laborer, build and design to turn a desert island into a civilization. The second is made up of brave men and women willing to go to other nations to try and recruit people to Isla Delta who become known as Team Freedom. Team Freedom is less a recruitment drive and more a collection of deep-cover Deltas inserting themselves into other countries operating somewhat alone.
The book then diverges into how Team Freedom got exposed to the world for the next seven pages. It’s a somewhat irrelevant story that is basically told because it turns out that two of the characters are in fact Enrique’s mom and dad. In short: the Delta hero/Team Freedom agent Libertad (Enrique’s dad) went up against a Hispanic villain (and anti-government anarchist) Delta named El Diablo (whose crimes consisted of using his powers to blow up gas mains in buildings). Libertad (masquerading as a janitor) saves the life of Pilar Gomez (Enrique’s future mom) from El Diablo, she becomes a Delta as well and long story short they catch El Diablo. El D is in fact not a Hispanic anti-government anarchist, he’s the white Manhattan Chief of Police Rodney Davis who is false-flagging his destruction for his actual crimes: robbing buildings and killing political rivals. But it’s not a happy ending: Davis squeals to Prime, every major source of media makes Team Freedom look like a sinister bunch of fucks and Libertad is an Alpha and disappears in Chicago, leaving Pilar and Baby Enrique alone on Isla Delta. Phew. Still a fucking mouthful, just not seven pages of it.
So anyway, Isla Delta has like 1200 people, not a lot of natural resources except tourism, but only 800 of those citizens are Deltas. The rest are non-Delta tourists and people who are living there who aren’t citizens because according to the charter, any citizens of Isla Delta must be granted it through Costa Rica and must be Deltas. It’s not clear as to who these non-Deltas are or what they do and some people call the residents of Isla Delta bigots. There…are definite sort of…Israel vibes at play here.
Of course it's a goddamn crescent.
The President is Yu Oliveri, Don Oliveri’s widowed wife, Vice President Henrik Strandberg and then Speaker is Enrique himself. The island is based on the American Constitution because of course it is and the place has no smaller government because it’s a small island. The island is defended by Aquarians and Flyers armed with rocket launchers and all sorts of other Deltas and the justice system’s highest form of punishment is power-stripping and banishment. Finally, the island’s main exports are tourism and web hosting.
You know what’s a palatable contrast to a “make our own!” movement? Domestic terrorism!
Dangerously smug terrorists with guns.
Malachai “The Killer” Winter is about as well adjusted as someone with the nickname “The Killer” would be. I hope you like me summarizing a manifesto because oh boy I’m summarizing a manifesto.
Delta War (and the Delta Warriors) was started in 1965 by Marcus Manley (because of course) who was a sergeant in Delta Squadron. When he was asked to sign onto Delta Prime after his last tour, his response was essentially “fuck you, Kennedy’s a fascist” and he bailed. Delta War started as an editorial screed in the Delta Times and the basis of Delta War came from the people who mailed in letters asking what they could do to help or fight back. They went underground and formed a militia movement and let’s not mince words here: Delta War engages in terrorism. For the first eight years, they sent out flyers and bombed empty government buildings. Then in 1973, the Delta Warrior compound in Montana was besieged by the feds for 40 days when Delta Prime moved in and dropped a bomb on the compound, killing 250+ Deltas and normal people.
The Siege of Pilot Mountain.
“Killing”. The entire place disappeared and left an empty crater. Officially it was a neutron bomb. Unofficially, Winter will now postulate for the next two and a half pages that the device dropped was a prototype of the same bomb that The Devastator uses three years later in Chicago and clearly the US Government must have supplied the same bomb to Devastator. I mean he’s not wrong but I feel uncomfortable with the nuggets of truth being put in a whacko like a man called The Killer.
So anyway in revenge Delta War bombs a full building a year later on the exact date: they blow up the Supreme Court to make a statement, killing every judge and a hundred other people. “Shockingly”, the event doesn’t go over well with the public or the Deltas they’re trying to send a message to and Kennedy just replaces the Court with his own choices. This is capped off with six innocent Deltas in a Pax Delta cell in Chicago being attacked by the feds. Four of them are killed during arrest and the other two (a middle-aged black woman named Martha Jackson who refused to ever use her Blaster powers, an eleven year old black teen with armored skin named Lamar Howard) are tried for the bombing of the Supreme Court and are executed by firing squad. So not only are the wrong Deltas blamed for the bombing, they’re part of the peaceful resistance and they’re both black people from Chicago. Naturally the Delta Warriors are more than willing to keep up their campaign in their memory.
I'm pointedly not including most of the art for this bit because there's such pictures as "Martha and Lamar on the firing line" and "The Supreme Court Building exploding" and general explosions of cars and buildings and violence. So have this overexposed picture. Also some of the art in this book suffers from bad scanning into PDFs, it's not meant to be light.
So because it’s hard to approach the White House and get at Kennedy, the Warriors are actively engaging in eye-for-an-eye terrorism. A cell gets busted, a building gets bombed, a Warrior dies, a Primer gets killed. “And if you think Lamar deserved to die, fuck off because you’re not going to be helpful to the cause” says the book (not exactly in those words but mostly). Winter is the current leader (and longest-lived leader at 10 years), he has three lieutenants and together they have cells all over America and the world coordinating attacks. If you join, you get taken to a training facility where you’re broken and indoctrinated into the cause. And on that note, have the final passage of this section.
Bird is the word.
Compared to the other sections of this intro, Pax Delta has only five pages of explanation and that’s because A: they’re pretty easy to understand and B: Reverend Lange actually has a good head on his shoulders and knows how to get to the damn point.
Darien Lange, black preacher of the First Baptist Church of Homewood Alabama, gets his powers when the KKK sets his church on fire while he’s asleep. What does he do? He calls the police on the guys who torched his church and gets them arrested for committing a hate crime, arson and attempted murder. And he explicitly says “yeah with my new power I could have killed them but what good would it have done to perpetuate the cycle of violence?” So he prays and he heals and he survives and gets past his trauma and moves on with his life.
Tadaa, it's MLK Jr.
Unfortunately for him, the fact that he walked out of the fire untouched immediately outs him as a Delta, and though he gets the guys arrested most of his flock leaves him. While he tries to figure out how to keep preaching love and tolerance, Dr. King moves through the area and Rev. Lange joins him. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a secret Delta, having survived the attempt on him by James Earl Ray, and he keeps working for peace and brotherhood (but with Deltas too this time). He’s outed by a Primer in 1978 at a civil rights rally but talks down the angry crowd. Since his outing his groups have been smaller, but he’s busy with running part of the Schism so he lets Rev. Lange help lead Pax Delta.
The gist of Pax Delta is “speak out against injustice, be better than your enemies, don’t stoop to violence and resist/protest peacefully”. Pax Delta is not religious, it’s a civil rights movement and it may be hard but if you fuck up you should just try better next time. Attend meetings and support groups, try to take nonviolent protest step by step and do the best you can to help one another.
THE DEFIANCE TODAY
So Patriot's dead and he's become a martyr for the cause of Defiance. For starters there's riots of Deltas and regular folks divided into two groups. There are the people angry at his execution and saw themselves in his conviction and then there's the people who want to take advantage of rioting. However, the riots are a reminder that Defiance is here and it's angry, even if most of the Defiants were trying to prevent damages from the riots. People are running around dressed as Patriot in full costume, some of them more realistic than the others. As a result, there's a new branch of Defiance called the Patriot Corps. The Patriot Corps are men and women wearing Patriot masks and costumes when they protest, help people or strike out at the government. Of note is the lady who thinks she's possessed by Patriot's ghost.
In the wake of Patiot's death, Enrique and the Isla Delta movement launched a new recruitment drive and got a hundred more Deltas to become citizens of the island nation.
In the wake of Patriot's death, Winters and the Delta Warriors stormed Delta Prime HQ in Crescent City, guns blazing as they attacked the staff and Primers holding down the forts during the riots. The struggle ended when one of the Warriors ran into the building and used his power to explode to kill a bunch of Primers and human staff and damage the first floor of the building. Are you ready for the dumbest, edgiest, shittiest statement that I can add to this?
The exploding Delta was Ted Kaczynski, who you'd know better as the Unabomber. Yes, really. He gets straight-up murdered by a Primer with lightning powers the moment he reforms. How absolutely fucking stupid. Look, vampires shouldn't be responsible for the Holocaust, anarchistic terrorists should not have super powers and if they fucking do they should not do anything significant to the plot with those powers even if you somehow make them do it "for a good cause". Also despite being wildly unpopular, there's still people who support them for the bombing.
In the wake of Patriot's death, Lange and Pax Delta went out on the streets to preach nonviolent protest and try and calm down the riots (to mixed success).
THOUGHTS ON THE INTRO:
Oooooooooh boy. So. Uh. There are problems, predominantly with Delta War and the fact that a bunch of domestic terrorists are presented as a major player in Defiance. This means you'll have That Guy come down to the table and be like "this is my hero Murdersploder and he is in Delta War and he knows kung-fu and blows up dental offices for America because fluorine is a threat to Delta health, they're trying to sterilize people with superpowers by putting fluorine in the water". Delta War is immensely distasteful from the word go when Manley was like "fuck it, let's be evil" and wholeheartedly embraced being one of the most hated men in America. Making the fucking Unabomber one of their agents is just the shit-covered cherry on top.
Isla Delta is less problematic but could definitely be written better, mostly with less focus on a seven page recap of how the narrator's parents met nested in how their special ops got their cover blown by a guy they got arrested. The fact that it's a white guy running around as a stereotypically Hispanic supervillain is at least noted as being fucked up and problematic but this chapter also has the awkward 90s style of peppering Spanglish in sentences.
Everything else is good or at least tolerable. I mean, I have issues with the whole Yellow Journalist name and yet that's one of the less objectionable things said in this statement. This is all newer info at the very least but there's a shitload of it and even in this seventy-ish pages of fiction there is so much repetition. God this is so hard for me to find something else to say about this, I've been putting off finishing my thoughts for the last half hour. It's either tolerable or clumsy or it's just bad. But we're pretty much done with this until the GM section of things, thank God.
NEXT TIME: new powers and new premade dudes.
PostOriginal SA post
High-fived too hard.
The Bomber Delta has the power to explode. In bad hands, they're responsible for one of the worst crossovers in Marvel history. In good hands, they're damage machines that should probably have a friend handy to drag them around.
A fully intact healthy Bomber can have up to five charges that detonate with the force of a stick of dynamite. With a full action, they can detonate one attached limb at a time: legs, arms, torso or head. There's no attack action, the player just has to say "I explode my X". The blast has a radius of 3 (18 foot radius), deals massive damage and goes off point-blank on the Bomber's body. If the head or the torso explodes, the Bomber collapses and after an exploding 1d6 roll, the rest of the Bomber's body explodes in that many rounds.
A Bomber is immune to their own explosions but they're not immune to shrapnel, rubble, fallout or public nudity due to exploding clothing. However, they can regenerate by reassembling their molecules Dr. Manhattan-style. It takes a hour to regrow a limb, two for a head and four for a torso. They can all regenerate at the same time, so the longest a Bomber can be out of commission is for four hours. The Bomber is immune to all physical damage because if one of their limbs get pulped it just automatically explodes. In order to kill a Bomber, you need to kill them with electric shock, fire, suffocation, poison. But then there's the fact that a Bomber can just say "oh I'm poisoned? I explode my head" and regenerate good as new so you need to knock them out or stun them into submission before they can explode. For Tricks, they get:
Big Bang: On a TN 10 Spirit roll, the Bomber can explode all of their remaining parts at once for a bigger explosion. The roll is just 2d6 times Size, but the flat damage bonus for every remaining part gets added together. So if you blow up your head and have all your other parts, the resulting roll would be (2d6+12)xSize.
Shaped Charge: Make a close combat roll before exploding a limb to make the blast only target one person but adding 1d6+1 damage to the damage roll result before multiplying it by Size. So this would look like ((2d6+X)+1d6+1)xSize.
When she hits the ground, does that mean she's dropped the bomb?
Thoughts on the Bomber: The Bomber is slightly too complicated for its own good but fortunately that's mostly bypassed by being able to just say "I explode". It's ridiculous but I like the Bomber. I like how it's just a disproportionately dangerous power set you can just take, I like how you can just survive a near death experience by exploding and come back fine, I like how it's just fucking ridiculous. "Let's protest the government; I have the power to explode!" It's wonderfully impractical too and for maximum damage output, you want to take you're going to want to be Hefty up to Size 7. Because the Radius is Size 3, that means you have an 18 foot radius of explosive death dangerous up to 54 feet dealing massive damage (not to mention environmental damage). While you're at it? Strip naked or just wear underwear you don't want anymore. Wear body paint or just spray-paint your symbol on your chest. Be the biggest, stupidest target you can be and run into the bullets of the police so your torso ends up getting pulped and you explode in a glorious conflagration of stupidity. Because, I mean, at Size 7 you're like 400 pounds and arbitrarily tall. Your Pace is reduced but fuck it pump up Speed because Speed rules combat. You're a big naked person that, on average, deals 49-56 massive damage whenever you decide to explode your torso or 35-49 massive damage with an arm. By comparison? A Blaster deals 13-14 damage, assuming average rolls. It's the stupidest thing and I love it.
The only thing I can say about the premade is that she's not my stupid idea of a Size 7 naked whackjob running at the enemy and I like her character art direction. She's pretty well statted in my opinion, plus with First Move she can just explode limbs from the word go and then run closer if she still has both legs. Though let's be fair: you fucking end combat encounters with the price of one arm. Anything that needs two arms might as well involve a full-body explosion.
New Hitman's got an interesting angle.
The Changeling is a shapeshifter capable of warping their body and skin color to imitate anyone they've met before. In order to copy someone, they have to spend at least five minutes in the target's presence and they have to be acknowledged by them. Alternately, the changeling can study fifteen minutes of videos and then get the target to look them in the eyes and acknowledge them. The imitation lasts as long as the Delta maintains concentration and the Delta has to find clothes that fit. If they're stunned, go to sleep or end up under a "mind altering drug", the shapeshifting stops. I like how it's not clear if the Changeling can't take acid but weed or meth is fine. Important: if they copy a Delta, they can't copy the powers.
The Changeling gets +5 to Mimic and +5 to Disguise. For Tricks they get:
Comfortable Deception: If the Changeling ever gets three extra successes on one of the rolls, they get +5 to that roll for imitating that person in that way going forward.
Convincing Act: If one of the two rolls has three extra successes higher than an opponent's Scrutinize, it takes incontrovertible proof that the Changeling is not who they say they are to make them see any flaws with their deception.
I think this is supposed to be JFK but A: it looks like Reagan (he comes later) and B: it makes no sense, how are you going to get him to acknowledge your presence? It's probably just a reference to the fact that Facade is an Alpha Changeling. Does that mean Facade is just Some Guy? Probably, he is a Changeling.
Thoughts on the Changeling: The fact that you need two stats that are under different categories means you have to focus on Spirit and Smarts over the others. You're very, very focused on being able to do one thing only and do it well. Needing to sleep is the killer and needing to have access to someone alive to use your powers is also problematic. It's got some good roleplay shenanigan potential at least. I like the idea on paper but needing both of these skills is a deal breaker for me, it strikes me as a little MAD. Also you're not getting those goddamn three extra successes (or six) for the Tricks, the probability is just ass because even with +10 the GM has to set a TN and you've still got to roll at least 2 extra successes.
See, I mean, look at this guy. He's very good at shapeshifting, he's kind of ass or okay at everything else. He can turn into other people but Jesus at the very least pump points into Persuasion so he can at least pull off anything he'd need to do that isn't shooting. Because let's be honest, he's not doing much more than social stuff. Also why the fuck does he have Grapple? A guy like this doesn't need Grapple. It's not even practically to grab someone from behind and copy them.
This is re-used from the core rulebook as Charmer art for some damn reason.
Get people to do what you want through better abuse of Diplomacy. You can't just flat-out Charm people into doing what you want, but if you make it seem plausible it might make them change their minds.
The Charmer gets +10 to Persuasion: Charm and only works through roleplaying. For Tricks they get:
Momentary Lapse of Reason: If you beat the target's resistance by three extra successes, you can get them to do something out of context for one round.
Trust Me: 3+ successes can charm a person at any time. Can be used with Reason but requires six successes total.
Yeah of course she's dressed like this because why the fuck not.
Thoughts on the Charmer: Any time you give someone a big-ass bonus to Diplomacy is a dangerous thing. I mean, hell, even in the lore Charmers pop up and influence a buttload of stuff (Yoshi, MLK, other people). I frankly don't have much to say about this. You know exactly what kind of character this is. Hell one of the famous examples of Aberrant's imbalance involved a guy with Super Charisma.
And this is probably the best example of the kind of character to have a flat +15 to Persuasion: Charm. See, she actually has a god damn chance of pulling off those Tricks that need three extra successes, especially if the defender just rolls ass to resist. It's kind of disgusting. Her Trick arrangement is downright disgusting. She has an ongoing +2 bonus to new people thanks to New Friend and she can use extra successes on Spirit rolls to lower the TN of the next Spirit roll. Persuasion is a Spirit skill. If she doesn't make the Momentary Lapse of Reason with enough successes, she can just spend the ones she has to lower the next contested Persuasion roll and try and gain even more successes. If it wasn't for the random result nature of this, it would be flat-out munchkin broken. As it is, it's a disgustingly competent synergistic exploit that makes her incredibly dangerous because she can do the thing more dangerous than murdering everyone: she can control the progression of the story and potentially derail it by influencing the players.
The Hacker hacks. Yep. The book recommends making using computers more exciting than they actually are and recommends either info hunting or cracking.
The Hacker gets +10 to Computing. For Tricks they get:
Crack and Hack: With 3 extra successes on a crack, you can change the password to something only you know.
Ghost Hack: Spend three extra successes to cover your hacking tracks so thoroughly, nobody knows you did it.
Alright you broke the house-rule of "no Monty Python references", you pay for pizza next time.
Thoughts on the Hacker: Congrats The Hacker, you're the designated Worst Class in this book. The idea isn't bad, per se. I've seen a lot of hilarious shit done in Shadowrun with good hackers. The downside is that your focus is incredibly narrow in this game of oppressed super people. While I have no doubt that your powers are a boon on paper, in execution your use will be everyone at the table waiting for your player to make two or three rolls before the plot can progress and you resume being a background character. This really might as well be a class for NPCs.
Hell even your premade reflects that. She has the trick that lets them ask the GM for a hint, she gets stunned more easily, she even has shooting but she doesn't even have a gun. I got nothing more to say about you, sorry. You're a shining example of how shitty of an idea you are.
The Phaser can walk through walls, with restrictions. They're immune to physical attacks (but not, like, fire or forcefields) when phasing but can only talk or walk. If the Phaser loses concentration inside of a solid object, they take 5d6+10 damage to the affected parts but are not shunted free like teleportation. Finally, if they try to walk through anything with live wires, they take 3d6+3 damage and if this damage stuns them they stop phasing and now they're trapped halfway in a wall with an electrical outlet unable to get free as they're constantly electrocuted and hurt from being halfway in a wall. For Tricks they get:
Phase Friend: Use an extra success on a TN 5 Spirit roll to phase someone you're touching.
Phase Foe: With a hit in close combat and a success on an opposed Spirit roll, phase an enemy and probably drop them into the floor.
Phase Detective, every Tuesday at 8 PM on CBS.
Thoughts on the Phaser: You are a worse Teleporter and let me explain why. For starters, the only way for you to do anything to other people is to beat a Spirit roll. There is no Phase skill unlike Teleporters who use Navigation and that means you are at the mercy of probability to phase a friend or phase an enemy. You need all the dice in Spirit you can get to pull off your tricks. In addition, you have to make an attack and beat a Spirit contest against the enemy to phase them into things. The Teleporter just has to succeed on the attack. A Teleporter with enough Navigation can use their powers freely as long as they can see where they want to go or have been there. The Phaser is in constant danger of horrible electrocution and getting trapped in a wall if they do anything besides walk through a locked door or a locked window (a smart person would Home Alone the doors and windows). The Teleporter can teleport reflexively for defense, you have to actively turn on your powers whenever you want to use them. You also just lack the mobility of the Teleporter, period. Finally, anything big or heavy on your person doesn't go with you. The main thing is that being at the mercy of probability and having to put your focus in the non-combat stat means that your actual combat abilities suffer. Oh also you can't Phase to avoid a Blaster's blasts because that's energy so have fun with that.
Case in point. 5 Spirit? Good for reliable phasing. 0 in Shooting and you have a gun? Instant combat liability because you're firing off probability on 2d6. You're melee focused and you can't even phase enemies into the floor. You are a fucking mess of design.
The Snuffer can willing negate another Delta's powers. There are a lot of Snuffers in Defiance but there's still some in Delta Prime and the existence of Snuffers inspired the Gadgeteer invention of the Delta Power Dampening Field.
The Snuffer's main power is the ability to negate a single Delta's abilities in line of sight with a contested Spirit roll (the Snuffer gets +5 to this roll). If the Snuffer wins, the other Delta's powers just shut off. A Goliath becomes normal again, a Scrapper stops regenerating, a Bomber can't explode. Snuffing costs an action and the Snuffer can walk, talk and attack while maintaining the dampening. As long as the Delta is within 50 yards of the Snuffer, they're normal. The dampening goes away if the Snuffer wants it or if they're stunned. If the Snuffer goes up against an Alpha, the Alpha gets +25 to resist. Other Deltas are aware that a Snuffer is a Snuffer instinctively, giving the Snuffer -5 to Persuasion to charm them but +5 to intimidate them. For Tricks get:
Super Snuff: Use three extra successes to knock out the Delta's powers for a hour.
Pre-Snuff: Hold off on snuffing the Delta's powers by using an extra success to delay the snuffing until you want to reveal it.
Rowdy Roddy Piper/David Hasslehoff is...The Snuffer.
Thoughts on the Snuffer: Spirit is a good skill for you but like the Phaser you don't want to dump everything in that because you get a flat +5 to suppressing powers. The ability to turn off powers is dangerous and is equally good for cheesing fights. Ideally, you want to give yourself a combat focus on well to subdue/kill the enemy Delta as fast as you can. I like the Snuffer, it's a good type of Delta to have in a group to have as a well-rounded debuffer. The one question I have is if Snuffers can turn off a Gadgeteer's technology by suppressing the Gadgeteer's ability. This is an unresolved question and it doesn't matter too much to me.
I really like this guy's moxie, he's basically what a Defiance Snuffer would be like. Strip their powers and put three in their head with your gun when they're a normal human again. I would give him more in Shooting but as a whole I like his character and his statting. Plus he has a whole Intimidation angle going on and he has a natural bonus to that with his Bad Vibes. Smart choice.
Most Likely To Kill A Room Full Of People Without Breaking A Sweat: Definitely the Bomber.
Best Battlefield Control/Exploitation: Hmmm. For actual fighting? The Snuffer for being able to lock down targets. Honorable mention: a properly specced Charmer forcing a fight to stop by turning it into a discussion.
Most Pigeonholed Into One Job: Fucking everyone this time around. Exploding, shapeshifting, charisma, hacking, phasing and snuffing. Everyone wins this one and in that sense nobody actually wins.
Melee Class Most Affected By Dex-Focus in Game Engine: There's not a designated melee class this time around, but the Phase Foe needs melee so I'll say the Phaser.
Peak 90s: The Bomber for heroically exploding and regenerating and exploding and regenerating and causing collateral damage all in the name of justice. Honorable mentions: the Hacker premade for their attitude, the Snuffer premade for focusing on stripping Deltas of their powers and shooting them in the head.
Most Cribbed Directly From Deadlands: Nope, not applicable this time around thankfully.
Best Optional Combat Rule Shenanigans: The Charmer for being able to derail your fight against the BBEG by batting their eyelashes and asking if they can have a word. Honorable mention: cheesing what counts as "physical damage" in regards to a Bomber's regeneration.
Most Broken Class (Not In A Good Way): Eesh. Uh. There's nobody outright broken this time around but I am gonna say the Changeling for being somewhat MAD in execution and for having strict copying requirements. These limitations inhibit the class past the point of any recommendation.
NEXT TIME: setting secrets, GM stuff, yadda yadda.
PostOriginal SA post
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER
Alright let's get down to the business of secrets. Spoilers: there's not much revelatory about this section. It does, however, include stats and info for the major players of Defiance: Malachi Winter (Tough), Rev. Lange (Phaser) and Enrique Salvador (Teleporter). I'll just be sharing straight screenshots of their statblocks and fluff and pictures.
Got it? Good. Let's get to the parts I actually care about.
The Truth About Patriot
The man isn't dead. In fact, it's more than the fact that he's not dead. He survived thanks to the dumbest rescue possible and the most apathetic citizens alive. To quickly sum up the in-character section written by the man himself:
"Got a last request?" "Yes. Tell me 'eat lead, hippie'. I want to die true to myself."
The two guards who were supposed to be his firing squad instead drew the rifles on the crowd and the Warden and hustled Patriot to ropes thrown over the prison's walls. The three of them jumped into the Chicago Bay and swam to shore with the help of an Aquarian with a SCUBA rig. Now Patriot is in hiding with Defiance once more and is actually the guy leading the Patriot Corps under a false identity (Jeremy Singer, AKA True American). Truth is keeping the lie that Patriot is dead going because he's a good symbol of martyrdom and all the fake Patriots running around are helping fuck with the government. 95% of the time, it's not the real guy. It's the other 5% that has the feds hunting as hard as they can.
The Patriot Corp are a cheery bunch.
However this means that everyone who witnessed his intended execution knows the truth. And the guards in the towers took pot shots at Patriot during the escape but the collaborators and prisoner got away just fine. And that crowd had people in the government, people in business, people who had a grudge like Jack Billington.
Except the last thing Patriot hears before diving into the water is the Warden yelling at everyone "Patriot's dead, you hear me? This didn't happen, we killed him!" in a desperate attempt to cover his ass. So he gets away and gets to be the martyr and live his life and his enemies are simply told to pretend that he was killed despite the very public, very obvious fact that he wasn't. Which is frankly horsecrap and lazy, absolutely lazy. There is nothing stopping them from doing something with that info and to my current knowledge, nothing is done. Which is just...infuriating, yet another wet fart.
Also Patriot makes out with a fish lady in thanks for helping get him to shore. Will we see more of Lorelei the Aquarian? Hell if I know!
Who Runs Defiance?
People think it's all Truth running the show. In actuality, it's three people: Truth, Patriot and Yoshi. Granted, Truth is generally the defacto leader due to Yoshi's imprisonment and Patriot needing to remain in deep cover. They still help advise as best as they can. It's basically Yoshi's decision to claim that there are only four major factions of Defiance and downplay the roles of the others and he mostly acts as a direct line of misinformation to the feds if they swing by his cell.
Isla Delta has the thousand Deltas they need to declare independence. It's just a matter of the right time to the Madame President. The moment the announcement goes out, she's afraid of bringing the interest of the USA or the USSR to Isla Delta and Costa Rica which would spell outright war. That's not to say that Isla Delta doesn't have other secrets. The big asset that the fledgling nation has is access to Alphas living on the island. Some Alphas let out of New Alcatraz or The Fortress for "work release" went rogue to Isla Delta almost immediately or fled when their job was done because Costa Rica won't extradite. Isla Delta keeps the existence of its Alphas as a state secret and they're essentially the panic option if they go to war. The biggest secret weapon? The Alpha Snuffer who runs Isla Delta's criminal justice system who is capable of stripping a Delta's powers permanently.
"Ugly" negative quirk my ass, continued. Dude's swimming as fast as a jetski and he's a hot fishman. What's ugly about that?
In current "no shit" news, the Kennedy Administration actually likes the existence of Delta War because it makes the population scared of Defiance and they make a great justification for Delta Prime's activities. Literally everyone in power in Defiance has tried to talk Delta War into calming the fuck down and frankly if I was them I would have just cut all formal ties and let them twist in the wind. Winter's managed to last as long as he has because he's not an ex-military psycho or a completely unpleasant fuckjob. In a bit of apologism, he's said to be more rational, just incredibly hardassed and trying to figure out how to steer Delta War away from straight terrorism without seeming weak and inviting a coup by his underlings. He is right about the Pilot Mountain Bomb and how it was a test of the US Government-made Bicentennial Bomb. Also there's a Primer mole sharing the bed of one of Winter's LTs who managed to survive the re-education and is secretly feeding plan info to the government.
Basically the main secret is that Reverend Lange admits he's a Delta but hasn't told anyone he's a Phaser. While it may not be the best power set for combat, it's undeniably pretty handy for surviving assassination attempts, nonviolently escaping from jail and avoiding attacks from people protesting Defiance. This, in addition to his natural charisma and belief in nonviolence, is why Dr. King picked Lange to lead Pax Delta in his absence.
Thoughts on the setting secrets: Okay this really just isn't very interesting this time around. It's rather perfunctory in the twists you'd expect. And of course Patriot's not really dead, he's a plot-important character and they sort of want to have the cake of him being a martyr and eat it too. So yeah, I don't have much to say about the plot details this time around. It all speaks for itself.
ERRATA CHANGES AND AFTERWORD
Errata changes from the core book and Ravaged Planet:
- The Yankee wasn't killed by Kapitan Krieg, he was in fact supposed to be burned alive but Sparky became Superior first. I kind of figured this was the case. Also there are two unnamed Deltas who escaped alongside the Yankee.
- There has been at least one Patriot before John Cruise, such as the one who testified in front of McCarthy, something I kind of already figured earlier judging by the fact that the core book describes him as the original Patriot.
- Patriot was supposed to be born in 1944, not 1945.
- The Gunner got shorted a skill in the core book and gets Running 1.
- You have to have three extra successes to try to use a trick you don't know as opposed to the normal one extra for knowing a trick.
- Veterans can't use the 5 points gained from taking the negative quirk to buy a trick because tricks cost 10 points.
- The size modifier charts has the modifiers backwards so bigger=easier to hit but more health, smaller=harder to hit but less.
- You can only use one success on a healing roll to heal 1 wound across all locations. Any extra successes are wasted.
- You need at least a 10 result to use the Pumped Up trick properly.
- Ravaged Planet mentions that there was destruction to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Because the A-Bomb wasn't built yet because of Superior, something else happened to them that won't be elaborated on here.
- Houston was not nuked along with Atlanta and San Francisco.
Get it? It's an errata joke.
The rest of the afterword is talking about Forbeck's move to AEG from Pinnacle and how he's optimistic about how it'll all go. In addition, he mentions player discussion about the power sets and how there was a staged re-enactment of Patriot's execution at Gen Con 1999. If anyone here on this slice of the forum remembers Gen Con 1999 and happens to remember seeing this I'd love to know more. I would double love pictures to share. Apparently Pinnacle used to have pictures of it up on their website. Frankly it's a long shot and likely impossible but you never know. On that note, here's the page in question:
FINAL THOUGHTS ON DEFIANTS:
Y'know I won't lie. I think I spent more time digging through old archives to try and find pictures of Patriot's execution at GenCon 1999 than I did thinking about any of this. Defiants is not a relentlessly boring book as compared to Ravaged Planet but, well, that doesn't make it a particularly good book. The fluff wasn't intolerable (needed better secrets) and it gives a better view of Defiance. Did any of this change my mind about Brave New World? No, god no. I was, however, entertained reading this. I mostly laughed and I cringed. I haven't come up with such a stupid character idea as Splodehog (I love that name) in a while. That's pretty much the highpoint of this whole thing for me, that and realizing I have enough of a handle on this system to figure out why the Phaser is a worse Teleporter.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK FOR THE GAME LINE? Ehhh. Keep some of the Defiance fluff, most of the Deltas. I would definitely approach the Delta Warrior stuff carefully or throw out the ability to work with them. That's really all I have to say about Defiants that I haven't said before. Again, there are much better engines to play superheroes in. Don't play Brave New World.
Three down baby, six more to go. NEXT TIME: it's hip to be square, man. What's more square than working for Big Man JFK in BRAVE NEW WORLD: DELTA PRIME? Not much. Warning: I hope you're prepared for more historical people in important positions and Delta powers that are not fun for player characters.