Brave New World: Delta Prime by Hostile V
IntroductionOriginal SA post
BRAVE NEW WORLD: DELTA PRIME
Brave New World: Delta Prime is the sourcebook for Delta Prime and playing a Primer. The first half of the book is, as per usual, intro fluff. The second half of the book is, as per usual, new power packages, enemy statblocks and setting secrets. However, we have a new addition this time around! Updated info and rules for Gadgeteers and Gadgets are included in this book, rules that give structure to making new items and rules for new premade items. I mean I won’t lie, there are only eight pages for that. But hey that’s good. Probably.
I’m not gonna lie: there is a lot of repetition from previous books in regards to Delta Prime. Let’s just briefly skim that:
- Delta Prime was formed after the Delta Registration Act after a bunch of guys in power armor tried to kill JFK.
- Delta Prime recruits from Delta Academy (schools for empowered children), Delta Squadron (the army) and regular people who fill out the DRA.
- Delta Prime is supposed to do two things: protect against Delta threats and loan their members to the alphabet departments of the US government as needed. If you’re enough of a fuckup or untrustworthy, they will loan you to corporations or have you just do whatever in a work-release program.
- You don’t have any rights as a registered Delta; you can get drafted for Squad or whatever whenever they want you.
The Delta Prime insignia, a Delta logo mounted on a shoulder.
There’s some new information too which, to save time and attempt to consolidate this all into something much more coherent/readable, will generally be posted as a list of relevant points of information.
Shiny, New Important Information:
- Bobby Kennedy was the original Director of Delta Prime until he was assassinated in 1968.
- His replacement, an Alpha named Bill Wallace, lasted until 1976 when he disappeared due to that Alpha bomb.
- The current Director of Delta Prime is Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Originally Reagan was thrown from a horse while shooting a Western in the 1960s. He walked away from the near-death experience as a Charmer, ignored the Yellow Journalist’s recruitment pitch and joined Delta Prime. He worked his way up from Research Assistant to Administrator to Director. Director Reagan’s main stance is, uh, Cold War Defensive Aggression. He’s the one who is pushing for more funding for the government to make nukes that are later used in 1988 and is paranoid about the USSR and other “evil empires”. He’s still pushing for more nukes and doesn’t always have to answer to JFK.
- There was a Project Delta, then a Project Alpha, dedicated to studying Deltas and Alphas. There has never been a Project Omega and its non-purpose was not to try and push Alphas to an impossible ascension.
- Delta Prime has 20,000 employees spread out among 7 regional locations across the US and countless branch offices. The regional offices are the only ones that are important.
- In Delta Prime, your superior is always right. Pretty much everything else is secondary.
Transform and combine: Prime Time Double Feature!
Ranks in Delta Prime
- Recruit (red Delta symbol on shoulder badge): Lowest of the low, lasts until you complete your first mission or a year passes. The year requirement was rule-patched in because some people couldn’t succeed.
- Agent (Orange): Anyone not a recruit. They generally do all missions.
- Sergeant (Yellow): Lead and coordinate teams of agents.
- Lieutenant (Green): Command sergeants and agents, answer to the upper management, do a lot of paperwork. They’re between Management and Grunt Work, still doing dirty work but getting involved in office politics.
- Captain (Blue): Controls divisions of lieutenants. The majority of them are desk jockeys and don’t leave the regional office often unless they’re really powerful and skilled.
- Assistant Director (Indigo): Run the regional office and respond directly to the Director. There are only seven ADs and not all of them are Deltas.
- Director (Violet): Reagan.
Honk honk, time to fly sons of bitches.
Departments of Delta Prime
The Departments each have a different color and don’t necessarily have any superiority over the other. If your rank is shown by the color of your badge, your clothing shows what department you’re in. All of the uses of colors were put in place by Bobby Kennedy for…reasons.
- Enforcement (Red): Explicitly described as “redshirts” (ugh), Enforcement does pretty much everything from grunt work to fighting people.
- Interrogation (Orange): Some interrogators can sense the truth, some can beat the crap out of a suspect, some do both.
- R&D (Yellow lab coat because oh boy a piss-colored lab coat): R&D is broken into teams with assistants. Each team is a Genius using actual science while a Gadgeteer applies the theories to a creation. They work on a variety of projects that are probably damned to failure because Gadgeteers have to maintain upkeep daily.
- Operations (Green): Operations are logistics for the whole operation. They do laundry, they buy fuel, they make sure the cafeteria has orange juice. They also have the Legal Department, so you can live out your She-Hulk fantasies in Delta Prime.
- Investigation (Blue): Investigation does police work, runs intelligence and surveillance and also includes the Watchdogs, Delta Prime’s Internal Affairs.
- Management (Indigo): Public relations, paperwork and the general brains of the operation.
- Violet (Violet): Not a department, a color. Sole property of Ronald Reagan.
You will never see or hear of any of these people.
The Political Situation in America
- JFK’s decrees are rules and laws. Congress and the Supreme Court exist as advisory boards. There are no more checks and balances.
- Carry your registration papers at all times and if you are travelling 50+ miles from home, tell the government. Your papers are part of a permanent record including your DNA, fingerprints and dental records on file that get updated regularly.
- There are mandatory curfews. Citizens under the age of 16 cannot leave their homes from 9 PM to 5 AM without an adult. Adults can’t be out between 2 AM and 5 AM without proper authorization.
- Businesses can just do whatever; the government doesn’t interfere with capitalism.
- You don’t need to be guilty to go to jail. They just need a reason to think you should go there.
- No civil rights. Do what you’re told or go to jail.
Is your Delta power messed-up arms?
The Arrangement of Crescent City Primer Headquarters
- Roof: helipad, guns on the corners of the roof.
- Floor 100: Reagan’s office when he’s in, observation deck when he’s not. Yes, the entire floor.
- 99-86: Management’s floors.
- 85-81: Interrogation’s holding cells and interviewing rooms.
- 80-61: R&D’s floors. 10 floors have been retrofitted to act as a flight deck and hanger for jets and Armorgeddon suits. Jets are launched with catapults and caught with brake wire when they hand.
- 60-51: Investigation’s headquarters that includes the mainframe that holds all of the government’s files on its citizens. The mainframe has redundant backups elsewhere in the US.
- 50-21: Operations. Their floors also includes a mall, restaurants, daycare, post office, video game arcades, movie theaters and more that provide services to Primers. God imagine joining Delta Prime only to have to work at their Best Buy.
- 20-1: Enforcement. There is also a dedicated gym for Primers and a few floors have an in-house hospital for medical emergencies.
- Sub-floor 1: The subway that passes beneath the building for Crescent City. It’s full of security stops and transfers to other trains because the place used to be the prime entry point for anyone who wanted to fuck with Delta Prime until they added more security.
- Sub-floors 2-10: Guest parking 2-5, 6-10 is employee parking.
- Sub-floors 11-15: In-house barracks. While the other departments have sleeping areas, the barracks have the luxury of solid stone walls and lots of foosball tables.
- Subfloors 16-30: Training facilities where every Primer spends 12 weeks learning the ins and outs of their powers.
The chili in the cafeteria is killer.
Whoo, let’s drop the lists so I can break it down region by region. The seven offices are Crescent City, Denver, LA, Miami, NYC, Seattle and DC.
Crescent City: We’ve already got a clear picture of CC so the book focuses on its Assistant Director Mike Trudgeon. The game throws his name out there like it’s something I should recognize (I do not) so I looked back in Ravaged Planet and it mentions the chief officer of Delta Prime being a woman named Charlene Parker. I have no idea if the chief officer is something different than the assistant director. Maybe it’s just a continuity error. Anyway Trudgeon is a regular human who got the job through politicking and also runs the recruitment program for all of the US. He’s not a politician but he’s more politically-minded than most people in Delta Prime.
Denver: Denver covers from the Mississippi River to Montana down to Texas. The Primers tend to think of themselves as high-riding lawmen. The Denver office is also home to Project Delta and a lot of R&D. The AD is Phil Nensel, a Gadgeteer. He invented the Armorgeddon suits, the computer system that runs all of the citizen info, the internet and he’s also focused on Project Delta. Nensel is brilliant but he’s spread pretty thin; he runs all of R&D across every location so he doesn’t tinker as much as he supervises. If someone wanted to get at Prime’s tech secrets, they would go after him.
Delta Primer vs. the insidious Defiant agent know as "Captain Frond-Leaf Fern".
Los Angeles: Delta Prime relocated to LA after the San Francisco regional office was wiped out by the neutron bomb. The whole building is earthquake-proof and reinforced and in downtown LA. The AD is…
*sighs* It’s Charlton Heston. Heston, and I am not making this up, got his powers after an accidental shooting in his own home and he joined Delta Prime. Now he’s the face of Delta Prime and runs the PR and advertising for the whole country in Los Angeles, acting in commercials and putting his face on billboards.
Miami: Like LA, Miami used to be Atlanta until Atlanta was turned into a crater. Miami is the smallest regional office, located in South Beach. Plenty of places to go surf and tan or buy cocaine from drug dealers. The AD is "Dapper" Dennis Yanez, a party animal who used to be a hardcore party animal until he had to clean his act up. He still fucks around Miami and let's be honest: Yanez is appropriate for Florida considering its long, storied history of corrupt public officials who like to party.
NYC: Primer headquarters for NYC occupies the entire Southern World Trade Center building. In BNW, the north tower fell because of Devastator's collapsing lair so they transformed the south as a point. They also control Ellis Island as an Enforcement base and Prime focuses on Manhattan's Deltas. The AD is Brian Kristofek, a diplomat who became a Phaser after an IRA bomb nearly killed him in Belfast. He's the biggest diplomat in Delta Prime, focusing on trying to make nice with the other countries.
Welcome to NYC, where everything is in a state of half-melt.
Seattle: The base in Seattle was formed after Emperor Hirohito took over Japan again and a lot of people fled to Seattle. Seattle has a complex in Renton with one of the best medical programs in the country for Deltas and regular folks. The AD is Patrick Tepe who was a dental student until a bar fight left him with the Delta power of Healing. Because Healing is better with any medical training, he ended up becoming Surgeon General of the US for a while until he became AD. Now he controls the medical program.
Washington DC: Actually situated in Alexandria, Virginia in a converted munitions/torpedo factory, the building is the home of the entire agency's decisions and it's heavily fortified. The AD is Pat Cooney who got the power of Flight after a Defiant threw him off the Washington Monument. He coordinates everything between all of the offices so he's Reagan's second hand man, keeping the entire operation running.
Welcome to Alexandria, now fuck off.
THOUGHTS ON THE INTRODUCTION: I sincerely think that the interesting parts of this are directly overshadowed by the fact that fucking Reagan is the second most powerful man in America and Charlton Heston is there too. Like, okay. I am completely willing to accept shit still lining up in synchronicity because gimmicks in an AU but I'm not down with such blatant overuse of famous historical figures. Is Nancy mentioned? Fuck no. Keep in mind that in real life in 1999, Reagan is in the throes of Alzheimer's and retired from the public eye. Did a Healer heal him? Does he still have these issues? Fuck if I know, why would you touch upon that.
Hell what does using Reagan and Heston even add to Delta Prime? Is it to make them Delta Prime look bad because of their political histories? Are these versions of them competent and intelligent? You'll find out more in the secrets section but it's just wholly irrelevant to me and yet I can't think of anything else. Okay no I'm wrong. I can't stop thinking about Paranoia. This is what happens when you base your promotion system code on ROYGBIV. I would really like to play Paranoia now, that game is fun. Yeah I'm sorry I don't have much more to say, some of this is interesting but most of it is very dumb.
NEXT TIME: New powers and new Gadgeteer rules and premade items. It does not get better.
POWER PACKAGESOriginal SA post
To make a Primer character, you have to have Patron (Delta Prime) 5 and Duty (Delta Prime) -5. You don’t get these for free, you have to buy them but they offset the cost but this eats into your max negative quirks but. It’s bad. This is silly. You also get $500 and any relevant equipment you’d need and you can buy Authority to see where you stand in Delta Prime. Yes you can start play as an Assistant Director. Yes being able to do so is probably a severe oversight because then you can directly influence an entire regional office of Delta Prime. So let’s get into actual Delta powers.
The Booster is able to enhance another Delta’s powers. This is their only power but it’s a surprisingly handy one. Boosters are somewhat rare and Delta Prime loves to snap them up and keep them for high-power teams that need that extra oomph.
This time around there's no chance for regular art with every power set. They just have these mock Primer ID cards with the picture of the premade on it with every Delta.
Boosting a Delta’s powers doubles some aspect of their powers. If it’s range, double the range. If it’s damage, double the dice you can roll and the bonus damage applied before it’s all rolled. If it’s radius, double the radius. A Booster has to poke a Delta’s bare skin with a bare hand to give them the boost and make a TN 5 Spirit roll. From there, as long as the two Deltas are within 60 feet of each other the boost lasts. Two Boosters can’t boost the same Delta, a Booster can’t boost two Deltas at the same time, if you boost a Snuffed Delta they’re just back to normal and a Booster can’t boost another Booster. The Boost lasts until the Booster turns it off or the Booster is stunned/falls asleep. When the boost ends, the targeted Delta has to make a TN 5 Stun check, add 5 to the TN for every full minute the Delta was boosted. For Tricks, they get:
Extend Range: Use extra successes on the Spirit roll to extend the Booster/Delta range by 30 feet. Pretty good!
Extend Time: Use extra successes on the Spirit roll to extend the time when it should have ended due to being out of range by one round per success.
No joke, I think this picture could be sincerely improved with her blowing like gum bubble.
Thoughts on the Booster: The Booster is in a tricky situation of being highly focused on one thing and incredibly useful. Boosting a Blaster’s damage turns the damage roll into 10d6+20, boosting a Healer gives them +20 to healing, boosting a Tough’s armor gives them 40 fucking armor, boosting Splodehog’s (Size 7 Bomber) damage gives them (4d6+8)x14 (maybe. I don’t know if it would also double the size bonus, it would be flat-out stupid if it did) for a torso boom. Hell being a Booster makes having Melee Buddies a lot more useful. The question is: what do you do when your boosted buddy is running around murdering people? I would say that the best course of action would be “pump up your Throwing, hang back and whip flash bangs at the enemy”. Your power doesn’t give you much to do, but you’re so fucking handy so sort of just find a way to amuse yourself. On the more technical side? Extend Range is way better than Extend Time because a long leash is better than having to chase after your buddy and get there within X rounds or else they’re stunned and fucked up. There’s also the fact that needing to roll off Spirit doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed and you’re going to need to focus on your Spirit stat.
The premade Booster is a good way of compromising with that, I feel. She’s got good combat stats to handle herself, she’s sort of on the squishy side, but she’s well built and she’s got a good attitude. I like this character.
A Charger can draw electricity from the world around them and fire it out in a burst. You basically shoot lightning from your hands with the Shooting skill.
Oh hai Cable. You're my favorite X-Man.
Chargers get the ability to shoot lightning bolts from their hands that ignore all armor that isn’t insulated or power-based, Armor 5/- and complete invulnerability to electricity from any source period. For Tricks, they get:
Fry: If you get an extra success on a ranged attack against a device, car or whatever you can fry the power supply or destroy it. Either way it’s completely unusable.
Superbolt: Spend an action to build the charge, adding +5 to the bonus damage up to +20. Requires an extra success to use and both hands to fire.
Don't allow him near wool, certain types of carpets or balloons.
Thoughts on the Charger: To talk about the Charger, I have to talk about the Blaster again because the Charger feels like a kid copying their friend’s idea but trying to make them better. The Blaster is still the better option, it feels like. Energy blasts deal 5d6+10, electric blasts deal 10d6+10. The extra dice is misleading, it just offers more of a potential for explosions. They both really do the same amount of damage but if someone’s wearing rubber the electricity does nothing. The Blaster has the ability to protect themselves in melee with a Blast Punch, the Charger doesn’t. The Charger gets electric immunity which is nice but situational (and also what happened to the rule of “if a power set has more than two bonuses, they need a negative quirk”?). The big thing that puts the Blaster over the Charger is the fact that the Blaster gets Rate of Fire 3. That’s up to three energy blasts per attack as opposed to one lightning bolt and using the ROF actually makes the Blaster’s attacks more accurate and do more damage. Now, is the Charger still a powerful class? Yes, they absolutely are. It’s just compared to the other class that does what it does, it’s slightly weaker. Should you play the Charger? Sure, go ahead. It’s like the old thing about the difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 D&D classes. The Charger is Tier 2 compared to the Blaster’s Tier 1: far, far more combat capable and dangerous than all the other classes in the books so far, but not the be-all-end-all combat machine.
Likewise the premade is absolutely competent at what it is he does and that’s good. Bull’s Eye is no First Move but it’s good for headshots which would up the damage dice to a stupid 12d6+10. Shooting 5 and Speed 4? Good choice. Everything else is just whatever you feel like you should pick.
The Copycat can mimic a skill or power they directly witness for the next 24 hours or until they want to drop it. Any power or skill. You can fly after seeing someone fly, Gadgeteer after seeing someone tinker, boost another Delta after watching a Booster boost.
If I see that Copycat one more time...
In order to copy someone, you have to make a TN 5 Spirit roll and actually see it in person, no loopholes. If you want to copy a Tough’s armor, you have to watch their skin turn away an attack. If you copy something else, you drop the previous copy. And again, it only lasts 24 hours or until you willingly drop it. If you copy a skill you use that skill at the same level of the owner. If you have ranks in that skill, their rank replaces yours. For Tricks, they get:
Copy Quirk: Use an extra success to copy a Quirk instead of a Power or Skill. There’s limits: it can be Ambidextrous but it can’t be Patron.
Quick Learn: With three extra successes (aka a 20 result) on the Spirit roll, learn a Skill you don’t already know at Rank 1 for free. You can only do this once a week.
I know this is supposed to be a dynamic pose but RIP spine.
Thoughts on the Copycat: Ehhhhh hmm. I won’t lie: I did not love the ability to mimic other Deltas when the Bargainer could do it. Your reliance on a Spirit roll means you’re fallible but it’s way better than the Bargainer’s way of doing it. You can do backup, basically. You’re the best at backing your team up or trying to turn the enemy’s power against them. However that doesn’t totally work when you consider that some Deltas have immunity to their own powers. But then could you just, say, spit fire at a Hot Shot and copy their fire immunity? I’d say you totally could. Okay actually the more I think about it, the more I’m interested in the way that the Copycat functions. Plus you can also help back up a Booster by boosting another teammate. I’d give this one a good maybe-yes for a recommendation, especially if you see enemy Deltas that you can get a leg up on by copying their own powers. I don’t know if Copy Quirk is worth it though and Quick Learn definitely isn’t on a blind fucking Spirit roll.
The premade seems to be built around the idea of mimicking the enemy’s powers and strutting up while shrugging off damage and then shooting them with armor-piercing rounds. It’s a functional game plan so props to her for that.
The Hound has one power:
Using your power requires a TN 5 Spirit Roll. If it succeeds, you can sense the direction of the nearest Delta in 60 feet. Extra successes let you pick up another Delta. For Tricks, they get:
Reach Farther: Extend your detection range by 60 feet for every extra success.
Tag Delta: Use an extra success to mentally mark a single Delta so you’ll immediately know when you’re near them over the next 24 hours.
Track Delta: Use an extra success to know the direction, distance and position of the Delta you pick up. So everything this power should be normally.
God this pose must hurt.
Thoughts about the Hound: Nnnnnope. I can’t recommend this outside of an intrigue-based game. Can this be a power? Yes. Is it thematically appropriate to this book? Yes. Should it be playable? No. You have to pay a Trick task to use your power in a way that is actually useful and you’re rolling off Spirit so it’s not guaranteed. So yeah I can’t recommend that you play as a Hound.
The premade is actually somewhat good for this tracker archetype idea. You still should not play as the Hound.
Interrogators are living lie detectors. The Truth, of Defiance, is an Interrogator. Is this power infallible? No, you can give a misdirecting answer or you can give a technically true answer. A good Interrogator will just know how to ask the right questions and read people. Or beat the shit out of them.
"You gotta write BAD GIRL on my ID card, c'mon."
The Interrogator can detect lies with a contested Spirit roll that they get +10 to. If the Delta wins, they know if they’re telling the truth or not. A failure means all they know is that they’re unsure. A disastrous roll means they think anything they say is the truth. You have to be directly in front of the target and roll for every lie. For every minute of uninterrupted interrogation, they have to make a Stun check with +1 to the TN for every minute after. If you’re stunned you have to take a break for a hour or the TN is increased by +2 for every minute you go forward. For Tricks, they get:
Truthtell: Use three extra successes to guess at what the truth actually is. The GM should work this out.
Tell Lie: Keep your +10 bonus if you’re being questioned by another Interrogator. If you get an extra success, convince the other Interrogator that you’re telling the whole truth.
The Baroness called, she wants her look back.
Thoughts on the Interrogator: Again, nah. I would not play this. Still thematically good, still good for certain kinds of campaigns. If you’re doing a whole thing where it’s all social combat and your buddy is a Charmer, you’re going to be their best friend. Aside from that, the Interrogator is really a niche role. I can’t recommend it.
I like her outfit, it’s 80s X-Men as fuuuuuck. But I mean, look, she has a gun she doesn’t even know how to use. She strictly stays back at the ranch and does behind-the-scenes work. She’s also really smug and not in the entertaining character way.
Watchers have enhanced eyesight as part of their Delta powers. That’s kind of it. They can use their eyesight in different ways but all they have is super visions.
Doing that eye thing must fuck up a physical roll of photos something fierce.
Watchers have Delta Vision which is Superman-style X-Ray vision (as in it does not in fact use x-rays). You can only see through the things you want to and as long as there’s a little bit of light in the room you can see perfectly. Wherever there is a little bit of light, you can see into that area. You can turn the vision on with a TN 5 Spirit Roll. For Tricks, they get:
Infrared Vision: See in the complete dark perfectly and see heat patterns with an extra success. Your eyes glow red when you use this.
Microwave Vision: Use an extra success to emit microwaves that pass through paper, glass and plastic but hurts anyone within your gaze, automatically dealing 1d6 damage per round. Your eyes glow blue when you use this power and the air shimmers in front of your face.
Telescopic Vision: Magnify things up to 20 times, see things from far away with an extra success.
Thoughts on the Watcher: The Watcher is not a recommended class up until Microwave Vision. As long as it hits bare skin, it deals damage and it can deal wounds over time. It's not massive damage because it doesn't pierce armor but it still targets everything. This is honestly the most redeeming part of the class, even if it makes you highly visible that you're inflicting radiation damage on people with your eyes. Aside from that, I can't recommend the Watcher unless you want to be creepy with your special eyes. Man there are a lot of classes in this book that need Spirit rolls to use your powers. Though it's pretty nice
The Watcher premade is okay. He's got the microwave vision which is really the most important part. His dialogue is...silly at best. He's the black Delta on the front of the book. It's...90s. He does make a good point though, the Watcher does pair well with the Hound.
Most Likely To Kill A Room Full Of People Without Breaking A Sweat: Definitely the Charger. Second place for direct damage: a Watcher sufficiently maintaining microwaves long enough. Honorable mention for situational combat prowess: the Booster making someone crazy powerful or the Copycat getting something good for the occasion.
Best Battlefield Control/Exploitation: The Copycat for being able to play off the enemy and counter them.
Most Pigeonholed Into One Job: Everyone. A whole lot of everyone. If I had to pick a specific answer? Direct tie between the Hound and the Interrogator.
Melee Class Most Affected By Dex-Focus in Game Engine: Nobody really except the Copycat if they get dealt a bad spread to choose from. Also I guess the Booster's need to poke someone to boost them.
Peak 90s: Tie between the Watcher premade's dialogue or everyone's Delta Prime outfits.
Most Cribbed Directly From Deadlands: Nobody explicitly but I will say the Interrogator for having a power set for a plot-important NPC not revealed in the first book.
Best Optional Combat Rule Shenanigans: The Watcher's microwave vision. You can skip taking it, it's technically optional. Don't know why you would.
Most Broken Class (Not In A Good Way): Nobody really but I will call out this necessity for Spirit rolls when there's a lot of predecessor power sets that are just "you do the thing, make an attack roll".
New Skill: Lip-reading (Smarts): TN 5 to read lips. This exists pretty much for Watchers to take advantage of with their special eyes. Hilariously, the premade doesn't have this.
NEXT TIME: The updated Gadgeteer rules. They're not that long but I don't want this installment to run too long.
GADGETEERING, REVISITEDOriginal SA post
Let's do a quick recap of the core Gadgeteer.
- Their gadgets have to be maintained once a day every day.
- A gadget bends or tweaks physics, it can't break or abuse it.
- If it lets you imitate another Delta's powers, you can only be equal to or less than those natural powers.
- Your weapons should not be stronger than anything you could buy.
- If the GM doesn't want you to have it, you can't have it.
- The GM has free reign to make your shit break down whenever they want.
- There is no creation process, it's just a big fat shrug.
Good news for anyone who still wants to play a Gadgeteer: they put rules for item creation and samples of items in the game! Bad news: they put rules for item creation and samples of items in the game and two of these eight pages are spent talking about the Armorgeddon program. In short: Armorgeddon suits are flown in squads of five by soldiers or pilots with Gadgeteers staying at the base to maintain them. The suits and pilots are replaceable, loyal Gadgeteers are not.
The new Armorgeddon suits aren't very interesting or important to me. Basically you can be faster or have more firepower than the original at the cost of speed or firepower.
There's also a very important point of clarification: gadgets are products of a Gadgeteer's powers, they are not powers. What this means is that a power nullification field won't shut down power armor or a gadget and power armor does not actually protect against a Blaster's attacks or a Charger's lightning. Which is...okay, consider the fact that in the core book, the Armorgeddon Pilot is the only example of Delta Prime. And he is by far the Grand Master Shitkicker of the sample enemies, who might as well fight a Blaster in his underwear for protection.
HOT NEW GADGETEERING RULES:
- If you're making a new gadget, you have two phases: design and construction. If you're creating an existing gadget, it's just construction.
- Design: At the end of the first month of design, TN 30 Tinkering roll. If you fail (TN 30? You'll fucking fail) you can make another roll next month with a TN of 25. Reduce the TN by 5 per fucking month until design is complete.
- A hero can design up to Tinkering Skill gadgets at once.
- Construction: Same as Design but on a scale of weeks. TN 30 at the end of the first week, -5 to TN for every week there's a failure until it's built.
That's right, the world's least lucky Gadgeteer with 5 Tinkering can spend seven and a half months (six months of design, six weeks of assembly) to make something new. This is all in-game shit, folks. It gets better, though: the Gadgeteer does not make these rolls. The GM makes these rolls. And if the GM ever rolls a Disaster (that's a majority of 1s, folks) they're supposed to tell the Gadgeteer they succeeded and there's a fatally overlooked flaw in the process. So that way if they ever roll a disaster in the field, the flaw kicks in and the gadget is useless and destroyed in the process. If they want to make a new one, they can search the remains to figure out they need to start over from design.
Thoughts on the new rules: They're ass. Absolute ass. They came up with something worse than "I don't know, do whatever, roleplay it out". Technically accurate to real world design? Sure. But who the fuck would want to be unable to make anything new without a significant in-game time cost? You're going to keep having to put your own interests on hold for everything else. It's no fun for people to rubber-band between the plot and side plot meant for one character. You might as well just ignore the correction.
Suits on suits on suits on suits.
The new gadgets have a major caveat. If you want premade design documents and blueprints for these gadgets, join Delta Prime. They have the patents and access. If you want to make these on your own? Fuck you, welcome to the Designing Stage.
Hand Blaster: a gun that shoot plasma bullets that can be set to Stun or Kill. These guns have one major upside besides being the only long-range reliably nonlethal weapon: the bullets are just like Blaster blasts, they bypass armor not attached to a power. Give one of these to a Gunner and let them go to town.
Blaster Cannon: The kind of weapon you'd see mounted on a Humvee. Requires Strength 8 to carry two-handed and use.
Cold Fusion Reactor: CFRs are completely clean with no radioactive waste and require simple compounds to fuel fusion. Their size and power yield depends on how many Gadgeteers are maintaining the thing. One Gadgeteer with a reactor the size of a bread box can power a skyscraper but a city would need a dedicated team. In fact there are 20 Gadgeteers powering all of Crescent City with a reactor the size of a medium-sized room.
Hoverbike: A bike what flies 'pon the air as if possessed by the dark energies of the Devil hisself. It's a motorcycle with jet fans and can have a front-mounted rocket launcher or machine gun.
Hovercar: You can either build a six-person hovercar (eight if you squeeze) or retrofit an existing vehicle to hover (like, say, a Hummer). You can also attach up to three mounted guns on it.
Netgun: Shoots nets to ensnare targets. The gunner needs to have the Entanglement trick otherwise the gun's shots are useless. Breaking free of a net is TN 20 Strength because the nets are made with nylon with woven steel cables. You can also wiggle free with TN 15 Escape. You can't Phase loose though because it's still attached to the gun and it's running an ambient field of electricity through the net. Two thoughts. 1: useless against teleporters. 2: useless without Entanglement. Just give them a Hand Blaster instead.
Truthbeam: It's a flashlight that projects a beam on a target. Blue is truth, red is a lie. The target is aware of the beam, which can make things tricky because the knowledge might influence them, but they're still used nation-wide. So. Good job making Interrogators less useful with a single item, game.
Thoughts on the new gadgets: I dislike the netgun. The CFR is neat fluff but let's be honest it's very situational. Hover-vehicles are a nice addition except for the necessity to use high-efficiency fuels. The Lightning-Class Armorgeddon suit is the only one I think is worthwhile due to mounted Hand Blasters; they can now just bypass armor instead of all of the other suits. The Blaster guns are the best addition by far if only because they level the fucking playing field among the other Deltas. The big question is how the fuck you get plasma to fuel them and have upkeep for the whole team's guns.
Let me be blunt here: it's a major fuck you to John Doe Delta that these blueprints are only accessible through Delta Prime. It's less of a fuck you when you realize that since these things are now plausible, someone playing a Gadgeteer can just make better ones. Replace the glove box of a van with a cold fusion reactor, strip the combustion engine and turn it into an electric car. Mount three Blaster Cannons to your van. Fly around and shoot Armorgeddon Pilots out of the sky. The downside, of course, is that you can develop all of these simultaneously but you still have to design and build them all. They still have to be maintained on a daily basis (on paper) for a hour. It's a fucking time sink unless you manage to convince the GM that your new VW Superior only counts as one gadget. Even with the new shitty changes, it's still bad to be a Gadgeteer.
NEXT TIME: GM secrets, new enemies, errata changes, the end of this book.
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTEROriginal SA post
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER
Full disclosure: I skipped over a lot of in-setting nonsense in the process of writing the first part. All of these facts are initially presented as matching the chronology of the statements in the first chapter and it doesn’t make much sense. So I’m going to try and arrange them into groups that should make sense.
PRIMERS AND DEFIANTS
- Roughly 50% of the American population of Deltas is unregistered. This is including vampires (actually Deltas made by nuclear exposure) and people who don’t know they’re Deltas.
- A Defiant captured by Delta Prime is given the choice between joining and snitching or jail.
- Being caught betraying Delta Prime has the sentence of death. This has had two major problems. First, any Defiants who defect are watched like hawks and turned into scapegoats. Second, this has created a cross between Stalinist Russia and Paranoia when it comes to office politics. You can kill someone and blame them on being a traitor and if you’re high up you can get away with it.
"Look I don't trust him. The guy is on fire constantly and he keeps destroying my pens when he 'borrows' them. Hell I think he's a Communist. We should kill Terry."
LAW AND ORDER
- If you’re arrested you’re put in a cell without bail. “Better safe than sorry”. The officers have three days to get evidence and to bring in an Interrogator to extract the “truth” from someone as quickly as possible for tough cases.
- If you’re a normal citizen, you might end up waiting weeks or months in the county jail (without bail) as the cops cook up some fake evidence or try to figure out what to charge you with. They can just postpone and hold you indefinitely, three days be damned.
- Sentencing and jail time depends on how empty the jails are and how much the cops want to bribe the judge.
- Some people never see the inside of a courtroom or jail because they were “resisting arrest” and were killed in self defense. Criminals most likely to get beaten to death in the back of a car or a cell: child abusers and cop-killers. Some people never go to trial because they “hung themselves in their cells”.
I...I don't know what this picture is or what it's trying to say here. What was the prompt, "lady in a hallway looks like she smelled someone farting"?
SECRETS OF DELTA PRIME
- Project Omega is real; the problem is that all of their Alphas fucked off with the bomb. They don’t trust any captive Alphas so Omega is on hold and Project Alpha is being reborn. Project Alpha is in trouble too. “Deltas are mysteriously disappearing when they get close to becoming Alpha” which just doesn’t make sense when you consider that all Alphas who get loose in the world should be disappearing.
- Bobby Kennedy was killed by JFK’s guys because he got close to figuring out the truth and they felt he couldn’t be trusted. This put Hoover’s investigation on hold because he took Bobby’s death as a warning because Hoover got an ego like whoa.
- Ronald Reagan runs a secret black ops counter-intelligence unit called the Black Primers. They’re anonymous and they’re boogeymen who aren’t recognized or recorded. Not even JFK knows about them. Fuck off.
- Sometimes suspects go into the interrogation floor and are never seen again.
- The only reason Delta Prime lends their Deltas out to other groups or businesses is to spy on them. This is all Reagan’s idea and it’s not a very sneaky idea. As a result, they often feed false info back to Delta Prime passed onto them and their employers treat them well. If the Primer tries to defect, well then Delta Prime plays hardball and they basically threaten to ruin their business.
Leather and tight pants: the story of 90s America.
Thoughts on the secrets: The views on the American justice system are unsurprising. I feel the same way towards the politics of Primers and Defiants. Turning Delta Prime into Paranoia is immensely dumb because Paranoia can do all this shit better and we get it, they’re corrupt. It’s just blatantly unnecessary.
Speaking of unnecessary! Is it out of character for Ronald Wilson Reagan to have a secret team of black ops guys working for him? Historically, no. I don’t want to do a whole political derail but the guy probably would. However. Does Reagan need a loyal murderteam of Deltas doing political shit for him? Fuck no. Just fuck right off with that. This game is hinting the plot seed that Reagan is now subverting Delta Prime from beneath JFK and he’s got this team that nobody really knows about. It’s dumb and stupid and I hate it. It makes me childishly angry with how bad it is.
DELTA PRIME’S MOST WANTED
Syphon: Y’know I expected this to be a Hacker. It’s a neat thing that their intelligence and hacking is all them. Bad Habit: Whistling Dixie is probably the funniest thing I’ve seen in this entire series. It’s A: silly and B: the dumbest example I’ve seen of “shapeshifter has a tell/tic”. This is up there with Zartan in the GI Joe movies loving to whistle “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow”.
Bullet: Okay so you don’t have any guns or armor. All you have is a money sack. That’s great and that’s funny, keep doing that.
Arquebus: So what exactly is this guy’s crime, illegal weapons ownership, destruction? This just sounds like Delta Prime is jealous of his shoulder-cannon and wants it. Which is probably true. Still, pretty thin characterization.
El Cucui: Aaaand this ends on a government-murdering serial killer. With teleportation. Welp. You’re never capturing that guy.
THE RED BRIGADE
The Red Brigade is the Soviet equivalent of Delta Prime divided into Hammers (national defense) and Sickles (internal matters). Neither side knows exactly what the other is doing which is exacerbated because they hate each other. The sample Red Brigade enemy here is a Crimson Pride pilot, the USSR equivalent of an Armorgeddon pilot in a big bulky suit that is less stable because it’s heavily armored and clunky.
Something tells me that if I was to see this picture in color, it would be a multi-colored nightmare judging by that outfit's composition.
Thoughts on the Red Brigade: These were referenced back in Ravaged Planet and they get as much depth here as they did then. It’s just…we get it, they’re Delta Prime But Worse. Their suits explode and Tretyak is a monster and blah blah blah.
Historically, the Homegrown American Militia was a big thing in the 90s up until 2001. People were wary of militias and American terrorists like Timothy McVeigh. As a result, they’re included as an enemy in this book. Defiance is counted as a militia (especially the Delta Warriors) but there are lesser known groups. Most of these other groups are anti-Delta hate groups, Freeman-on-the-Land “overthrow and reform the government” types, Bunker Jerks and the kind of people who run a camp in the woods where they drill every day and teach the kids how to shoot.
I had to do some editing to cut the art out of the text and move the stat box from the next page to make it...tighter. It looks much better this way, doesn't it? Anyway, snarky comment: I prefer the Stuntman skin for Soldier: 76 more.
Thoughts on the Militia: They’re sort of mediocre when it comes to everything, the threat comes from their numbers and their fanaticism. I don’t…dislike the idea of making militiamen enemies. It could work. If only this game had an actual example besides throwaway ideas and blaming Defiance.
Here at my Brave New World reviews, I like to make a joke that Patriot’s catchphrase is “eat [word], hippies!”. I didn’t entirely expect this to be a real thing. Use your own discretion when it comes to fighting protestors (I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t). The main example of the Protestors is the Rainbow Coalition, MLK’s civil/equal rights movement (currently lead by Jesse Jackson). The police hate them and use riots at their marches as an excuse to crack down on future protests.
As a favor to one of my friends, I'm including this link of a snippet from a Sword of Truth book; http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.ph...#comment-342387
Thoughts on the Protestors: Uhh. Yeah. These guys are pacifists. Do you get that Delta Prime is evil yet?
In modern parlance, we’d know them as a spree shooter, spree killer or mass shooter. The inclusion of this section is definitely informed by the movie Falling Down and the Columbine shootings. Y’know I’m going to include this entire section in the review so you can get the author’s take on spree killers.
Literally D-FENS and a whole lotta ruminating.
Thoughts on Day Killers: I do appreciate that the Day Killer is an average-ass person with no real skills beyond having a lot of weapons. The guy doesn’t even have any Tricks. That’s a nice touch. This is thematically appropriate, I guess, but I absolutely would not include this type of character because it’s touchy subject matter. This is something that hasn’t really gotten better in our day and age.
Welp. Most of the time dealing with a serial killer requires profiling and investigation. Primers automatically get called in when they have the suspect narrowed down because they don’t want to risk any more danger to civilians or law enforcement. Or maybe the Primers are the ones who have to profile, I dunno. These are, like, Criminal Minds-style serial killers. They don’t mention Delta serial killers (as in a serial killer with powers) but you really only need to look at El Cucui to know how dangerous that would be.
I should seriously save this image in lieu of making jokes about shit being edgy.
Thoughts on the Serial Killer: Again, it’s a normal-ass guy with a Buffalo Bill loadout. And again, this really isn’t that thematically appropriate. I’m not saying that I don’t think a spree killer or a serial killer could work in a tabletop RPG; it just only works under the right circumstances. Including these pretty mundane sorts of the worst of mankind’s crimes just makes this game dour. You turned “superheroes vs. a corrupt government through underground resistance” into “Everything is Fucked: The Superhero RPG” in the book where you’re playing Corrupt Fascist Super Cops.
- Confusion between the core book and RP is clarified that Rex Shepherd started Triumph, Inc. but Ben Archer is the current president. Find out more in the official Triumph, Inc. book, coming soon in late 2000! (note: this previous sentence was not a joke and this book never came out)
- The sample Gadgeteer should have Tinkering, they fucked up. Give him Tinkering 5 and remove Security and Science: Physics.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON DELTA PRIME: With some exceptions, I don’t think I’ve disliked any of the other books as much as this one. I hated the Historical Person Insertion by way of Heston and Reagan. I hated how this book’s initial premise is “official rules for playing the other side!’ and instead it turns into “everything is fucked, this machine is fascist and inefficient, don’t fucking bother”. You really might as well just go the fuck to jail if you get captured by the Primers because the equivalent is not worth it a little. The new Gadget rules blow, Delta Prime sucks, I hate the very notion of the Black Primers, Hounds suck, Interrogators suck, and most of these sample enemies are bad ideas. There is just so much crap to this book.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK FOR THE GAME LINE? Noooooope. Keep the Booster, Charger and Copycat, take or leave the Watcher, maybe hold onto some of the new gadgets or just the Hand Blaster. Throw everything else out, it just doesn’t add much good in my opinion. Don’t play Brave New World.
Four down, five to go. The fifth book in the entire line is a wild divergence from the four previous books. We’ve had the core book, the world book, the good guy book and the bad guy book. Are you ready for new lore, new abilities, a new cultural scene and a new war behind the scenes? Are you ready for sights unseen, fantastic new beings and a different type of power?
If you said yes, I’m so sorry because NEXT TIME I will be digging into the introductory fluff of BRAVE NEW WORLD: BARGAINERS! God have mercy on us all because The Covenant won’t.