Brave New World: Evil Unlimited by Hostile V
INTRODUCTIONOriginal SA post
Hello and welcome to even more of this, part eight of nine. This is the sourcebook for Evil Unlimited. If you don't know who or what Evil Unlimited is, good news! Nobody did up until this point! The book is 130 pages long and the first 60ish contains the fluff 'cuz 90s and metaplot. The rest of it is 6 (mmmmmostly) new Delta powersets, setting secrets (I hope you're ready for more of the criminal underworld's greatest boogeyman, Lee Harvey Oswald) and a premade adventure (whose entire execution hinges on blatant violation of the rules for Bargainers). Fun fact: these are the last new Delta powersets in the entire campaign and I think I'd like to do a rundown of all of them again. The next book, Covenant, just gives the Covvies some new powers.
The crux of Evil Unlimited's fluff is that it's a private webpage (literally eu.org.uk.co) written by Nicollette (sic) Marks, VP of Evil Unlimited. You passed a background check and got access to the materials within the website.
"Hi there, I'm Nicollette Marks. I narrate this book and I also show up in a bunch of these pictures. You can tell it's me because of the hair and the face unless the artist drawing me just has some kind of same-face problem. And if you look at my nameplate, nobody in this book knows how to spell my name consistently."
The History of Evil Unlimited
Hey kids, y'all like you some Biblical stories? No? Too bad!
Yeah I hope you all enjoy that song and dance that is literally parked right at the beginning of the history of EU. The actual origin of EU is a simple: Al Capone.
"Let me make this abundantly clear to you: you can't just walk up to me and try to sell me something, I'm not a JRPG shop."
Al Capone started picking up the occasional Delta he felt could help his mob and soon put together a bunch of super-powered made men in the 1920s and 30s. He was happy to use them for crime and soon he expanded beyond the regular bearings of organized crime to loan his Deltas towards other criminal pursuits. In 1933, with the collapse of Prohibition, Al Capone turned his empire off mob endeavors towards running Evil Unlimited full time with his resources through the Depression. He let his guys go fight in WWII (in fact he sent a lot of them because he felt that Mussolini was a betrayer to the Italian people) but kept a strong enough backbone in the US.
I hope you like a lot of pictures from this section of the book 'cuz I am padding.
Then, as happened in real life, Al Capone gets arrested for tax evasion and gets sent to the real Alcatraz. Now the current leader of Evil Unlimited, Mr. C, steps into the driver's seat. There are a few theories about who Mr. C is: Ralph Capone (Al's little brother, ran the mob in the past when he had to), a German scientist who didn't get Paperclipped and went to South America, J. Edgar Hoover, there is no Mr. C and it's just a title that gets passed along. Evil Unlimited continues its business: attaching Deltas and criminals and supplies to people who need them, keeping a distance from them but taking half of the cut. But then The Supplier gives the bomb to Devastator and the Vanishing happens and etc, etc. All of Evil Unlimited's Alphas disappear, a lot of people and money and supplies are lost in the "destruction" of Chicago and it takes Evil Unlimited 20ish years to recover.
But it's the 90s, baby! People think Evil Unlimited is dead and gone but they're back up to speed and are continuing to sell their services.
Speaking of 90s, here's our narrator in torn clothing using her phasing powers to evade bullets.
Joining Evil Unlimited
You don't have to be evil to work for evil but they'll help cover your ass until they have to burn you. Evil Unlimited loves recruiting Deltas, especially ones who are unregistered but not officially teamed up with Defiance. Evil Unlimited also enjoys impersonating members of Defiance to sway them to joining EU when they're not actively offering them assistance.
There are also a few pages explaining how the point of Machiavelli’s The Prince is that the ends justify the means so you have to trust other people in Evil Unlimited and be discrete and smart with your dealings and business. Also if you go to jail they’ll put $50K in an account in your name for every year you serve if you keep your mouth shut.
In the future, this will be commissioned on Deviantart.
Common jobs for Evil Unlimited are as followed, with EU taking a 10-50% cut of the profits:
- Theft of all kinds.
- Disposing of corpses, evidence, nuclear waste, stolen goods, etc.
- Forgery including items such as paintings, checks, official documents and (no joke and this was written in the book it’s not me being silly) what’s implied to be Pokemon cards.
- Debt collection.
- Kidnapping/reverse kidnapping (or as it’s commonly known, rescue).
- Heartbreaking (ruining functional relationships between two people/entities).
In the deepest matters of the Bazaar, always look to love. Always.
- Assault and battery.
"I can't tell who it is you want me to kill, someone doodled on picture's face."
EU IN THE USA
Atlanta: EU generally get paid to legally or illegally take things out of the ruins of Atlanta. Hey, even though everyone in this area is dead, that doesn’t mean there’s not free shit to take.
Crescent City: They monitor Defiance, Delta Prime, Triumph Inc, Webhead and other groups of interest.
Los Angeles: They sell services to the gangs and help people in Hollywood fuck each other. Not in that way.
The outline of this picture might've been "guy gets caught cheating" but instead it reads as "guy accidentally punches men in face then accidentally pulls down woman's top".
Miami: The gangs favor their own drug-running but EU tends to smuggle illegal immigrants instead.
New York: Corporate sabotage.
Seattle: Flipping hackers and software companies.
There's a reason these girls look identical and it's not limited art.
Everywhere else generally has a major branch in a country’s biggest city. From there, they do whatever they need to.
Advice for living the Evil Unlimited way: Keep everything in cash, have a Swiss bank account, live simply/keep your head down and you can get an employee discount if you’re in trouble.
Or pay in EVIL DOLLARS! IT'S A FIAT CURRENCY! OOGA BOOGA BUY GOLD!
Mr. C: If you feel like staying alive, don’t try to figure out who Mr. C is.
Nicollette Marks: Company’s VP, ex-hustler/con woman turned Phaser and company woman. Succeeded the previous VP, Jared Congers. That name sounds familiar but I don’t know who the hell that is.
And here is our narrator in her underwear prepping for a day at work, which seems incredibly unneccessary considering A: she has that gun holster and B: I have no idea if phasing will keep the gun with her.
Jacques McCloud: “Black” Jacques, called such because he is black and named Jacques, is a French-Canadian Charmer and the actual regional manager of the American Midwest beneath Marks.
Kyra Resnik: Southwestern regional manager. She’s a Gunner who is pleasant up until you fuck up. Then comes the hammer.
Pedro Maldavar: Known as “el Mulo”, Pedro was a Columbian coke mule, carrying balloons of blow in his stomach as a boy until he got caught by the Miami police. He didn’t squeal, the balloons burst and the overdose turned him into a Delta.
Mr. C's Webhead CEO alias Oliver Megasomething greeting the day by preparing to piss out a window.
Wally Kim: Wally is a 32 year old computer whiz who runs the Northwest and messes around on the internet moving money as he needs to.
FAMOUS EVIL STUFF EVIL UNLIMITED HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN, NOT COUNTING CHICAGO (aka Metaplot Rehashing from a Different Angle)
Shooting JFK: Lee Harvey Oswald approached the Southern manager asking for power armor to attack the Texas Book Depository. The manager at the time was concerned but got him four sets of armor, training for a week and Gadgeteers to keep the suits running for a big price. Oswald paid up front and in cash. The manager was even more worried but decided to take the money anyway.
And that’s when Oswald and three other guys in power armor killed Jackie O, the governor and actually killed JFK (later replaced by Façade). Mr. C throws the manager to the FBI, the manager’s top employees die in a mysterious suicide pact and the manager mysteriously killed himself before the feds could take him.
Catching Patriot: Reagan (ugh) basically called Evil Unlimited and hired them to help flush out Patriot. Really all they did was tip off Patriot that a young woman was being followed by Primers (this is all in the comic in the first book) and told the Primers where Patriot would be.
And on that note, have two twin women biting the fuck out of a guy's face for no good reason.
Thoughts on all this is: Alright, so. Normally I’ve been cranking these books out. I had trouble with this one for three reasons.
1: I wanted to reread some books that I actually liked.
And most importantly, 3: this was really hard to read and stay interested in. Here, I’m gonna just be a little lazy and include the following 7 pages from one section entitled “Machiavelli or Bust”, stripped down to squeeze it all together.
I'm sorry. I really am. But basically every two columns is a new page. That's what these books like when you cut the content up a bit and extract it.
Yeah, you see all that? That's what I had to deal with. The writing is as dry as sand in my eyes and it's just. Not. Interesting. Evil Unlimited continues to be a poorly thought out hook, an angle they clearly rushed because it's pretty late in development and around when it all comes crashing down. There really should be something more than "evil company what loans manpower and tools to villains and people willing to pay the price" and the rest of the history that'll follow in the setting secrets. But there isn't. It's the same thing rehashed an eighth time: Dallas, the DRA, Patriot, NPCs I don't care about, a different spin on something I've seen beaten into the ground. There's only so many meals you can cook with these same ingredients and I'm getting pretty sick of it because they're not even particularly flexible for making something.
On that note, stay tuned for NEXT TIME when we're gonna cover the last six Deltas and then probably do some kind of Delta Rundown 2016.
NEW POWER PACKAGESOriginal SA post
NEW POWER PACKAGES
A Doubler is a Delta capable of cloning themselves by just splitting into a new person. The clone is a perfect match for the original, right down to the clothes they're wearing. Creating a double takes a TN 5 Spirit roll and if it's done in combat, it uses all actions that round. Both bodies are controlled by one mind but can act independently of each other and there's no limit to how far apart they can be. Both bodies can communicate telepathically to each other and each body requires a Speed roll for initiative and gets separate actions in combat. If one body is hurt, the other body is unharmed. The bodies can meld back together into one form by making contact and rejoining. Both bodies can sustain normal injuries for their normal stats and when they combine, the single body ends up with the lowest level of injury in each body location. If one body dies, the other has to make a Stun check and permanently loses 1d6 points of Spirit and they'll die at 0 Spirit. The body must be recovered and absorbed for the survivor to split again. For Tricks, they get:
Less about being a Doubler, more about being blackmailed about infidelity.
Double Speed: On an extra success on an Initiative roll, the Doubler can use the higher of their two Initiative results for both bodies. This doesn't work if one gets a disaster roll.
Double Team: If both bodies work together on the exact same Spirit or Smarts roll and make one extra success, both bodies can use the higher result. Doesn't work if there's a disaster roll.
It's not sameface, it's twinning.
Thoughts on the Doubler: The Doubler is actually pretty good! Double the actions, double the skill rolls, cheesing the shit out of the wound rules, it's a neat package. You can totally just keep one half back in a safe location so if the other one gets banged up there's no actual damage done when they merge again. The big downside: I first read the Spirit loss rule as losing 1 point in Spirit. Instead it's 1d6 Spirit. You have to enhance your Spirit a lot to withstand a possible death but there's only a 66% chance of surviving with Spirit 5 at generation and with the experience point drop rules and the cost of raising a stat, you're not increasing Spirit too fast to recover from the damage. So it's an actually good powerset but you have to play very safe because otherwise you're getting wrecked and a mandatory focus on Spirit hurts the Delta's ability to just double-team people by making your combat stat an inherit secondary focus.
This time around I'm not going to focus on the premades because honestly I don't care anymore. However, I'm gonna leave you with this thought: does Boosting a Doubler's power mean that they can split one person into four?
The Forger is capable of making exact duplicates of anything with the right tools and time. The Forger gets +10 to Forgery. That's all they get. For Tricks, they get:
Less about forging, more about Gun.
Forge from Memory: An extra success on a Forgery roll lets the Delta remake something from memory, having an eidetic memory for things they've seen. Downside: they can only recreate something from exactly how they saw it.
Quick Forge: Three extra successes can be used to come up with a passable fake on the fly but won't hold up to a TN 5 Scrutinize roll. The Forger is the only one who can present the fake and can make a Spirit roll against the person they're presenting it to get them to ignore it.
Of course it's the Mona Lisa.
Thoughts on the Forger: Thematically appropriate. Probably gonna make a shitload of cash for Evil Unlimited. Completely useless in all regards unless it's an espionage/crime focused game.
The Fortunate is a Delta with an ingrained lucky streak that can actively attempt to force things to go their way. The Fortunate can automatically generate Delta points reflexively, gaining one to use when they need to. The Delta can make a TN 5 Spirit Roll without an action whenever the Delta would want to actually use a Delta Point. Quick reminder: DPs can be used to remove a wound received from a damage roll or add a d6's result to a failed roll's total. There are some limits: you can't use Delta Points on the roll to generate one, you have to declare you're generating a point before you roll anything, if you fail a generation roll your power shuts off for 24 hours and a disastrous roll makes the task fail in addition to your power turning off. For Tricks, they get:
Better poison negation through luck.
Bad Luck for Them: Use an extra success on a contested roll and making a Delta Point means that the Delta Point can be used for another purpose. The generated Point can be used to force the opponent to reroll and take a worse result.
Choose Your Luck: An extra success on a generation roll means that the created point can be used to make the entire skill roll again.
I dunno how the hell you can power-cheat a lotto ticket like that, you're not an Acanthus mage.
Thoughts on the Fortunate: It's the ability to just add onto a result's total with a Delta Point that makes the Fortunate good. The blind Spirit roll? Not so good! It's also a damn killer that if you fail the roll, your powers shut off for a day. So it could be good except no not really I can't recommend it.
A Poisoner is a walking, talking chemical lab capable of generating poisons and exposing people to them. Poisoners are absolutely immune to all poison and can inject people with a successful hit in close combat. The Delta must then make a free Spirit roll with the level of success dictating how strong the poison is, but you can settle for a lower one. For Tricks, they get:
SUBTLE AS FUCK
Cure Poison: Poke someone and make a Spirit roll. You need X extra successes over the normal success to cure someone.
Poison Food or Drink: Contaminate 16 ounces of liquid or a pound of food with a touch and roll Spirit as normal. The entire thing has to be ingested; if it isn't, treat it as one level less severe and two if half is eaten.
There is an uncomfortable design to this guy's art that is highly reminiscent of "a creepy guy at a bar you should never get a drink from".
Thoughts on the Poisoner: They didn't include a base TN for generating poison and, again, blind Spirit rolls are ass, not to mention a blind Spirit roll that requires you to touch an enemy. The rules for poison are also, well, bad and they're not really so good for direct combat. Your better option is to just call yourself Captain Chug and run around with a bunch of poisoned water bottles on your person and a Supersoaker and shoot people in the face with poisoned water to make them drink it.
The Smuggler smuggles. The Smuggler has two abilities, the first of which being +10 to Bluff. The second is that the Smuggler can suck in their stomach and create a cavity that can hold up to a quart in volume. The skin then seals over the hole and has a small scar indicating that the hole is occupied and an x-ray won't show anything unless it's metallic. Doing this takes a minute or three rounds in a pinch, can be retrieved in a full round and if you're punched in the stomach the GM rolls 1d6 and on a 1 the item is ejected because the seal is broken. For Tricks, they get:
Blatant Lie: Three extra successes on a contested Persuasion roll will let the Smuggler tell a bald-faced lie that will last for a round.
Spit It Out: Eject the item in your cavity with an extra success on a Speed roll to get it out without needing to spend an action and a round.
I think she got lost on the way from a bad espionage/cyberpunk game.
Thoughts on the Smuggler: Disregarding the ability to create a weird hole for all sorts of erotic shenanigans, the selling point of the Smuggler should be +10 to Bluff. It isn't. It's nowhere near as powerful as the Charmer mostly because how the Smuggler is split between Stomach Hole and Lying and only gets one Trick for Lying. Plus the Stomach Hole is just...weird and thematically appropriate but kind of stupid.
Like werebear, like wereshark, but wolf. Rules for transforming and attacking with claw/claw/bite are the exact same as the Werebear's and it has the exact same weaknesses: fear of fire, double damage from silver, full moon stuff, savage transformation rage. For Tricks, they get:
Inflict Madness: An extra success on a bite infects the victim (if they survive) with a powerful delusion. The next full moon makes the victim think they too are a werewolf, running around and clawing at people as they howl. It's a TN 10 Spirit roll to resist this. The only permanent cure is to put a wreathe of wolfsbane around the victim's neck when they're in a delusional state.
Terrify: Same as the Werebear.
These are some middle school How To Draw Manga-ass drawing proportions.
Thoughts on the Werewolf: Inflict Madness is just dumb and weird. Anything that requires your victim to go up to a month before feeling the effects is too stupid and long form. It's like a Werebear but way less combat friendly. Hell this is pretty much just a reskin of the Werebear but less good.
Most Likely To Kill A Room Full Of People Without Breaking A Sweat: Either a Doubler or a Werewolf. Probably a Doubler.
Best Battlefield Control/Exploitation: The Doubler for being able to just control two characters and do way more than anyone else on your team in one turn.
Most Pigeonholed Into One Job: The Forger.
Melee Class Most Affected By Dex-Focus in Game Engine: The Woofwoof.
Peak 90s: Look at how that fucking Werewolf is proportioned and how it's clutching a shotgun in one hand like that.
Most Cribbed Directly From Deadlands: Nobody.
Best Optional Combat Rule Shenanigans: The Doubler for being able to get both bodies to act on the exact same turn.
Most Broken Class (Not In A Good Way): Tie between the Poisoner not having a base TN for its poison rolls (mechanically broken) and the Fortunate for losing their powers for a day on a bad roll. Runner-up: the Doubler for that death by Spirit thing.
DELTA RUNDOWN 2016
There are 54 Deltas, enough for a full set of cards, a Joker and a list of rules. Let's go over which ones are worth a damn, one last time.
- Ace: Drive fast, eat ass. Bad.
- Aquarian: The only good thing I can say about this idea is that it's an accurate representation of when people try to go Galt in an environment that can't really support human life. So there's that at least. Bad.
- Bargainer: I ran out of fucks to give to about you books ago. Bad.
- Blaster: Still the best way to live out the dreams of being Goku. Good.
- Bomber: I joke a lot about how funny the idea of Splodehog is but at the end of the day the only thing it's good for is healing faster at the cost of threatening everyone around you with a seven foot tall 400 pound grenade. Bad.
- Booster: Makes the good ones better and can still hold their own in a fight while their powers run in the background. It's somewhat necessary to the makeup of a good team. Good.
- Bouncer: I would like you more if you weren't melee-focused, you've got some good fighting edges. Reluctant good.
- Changeling: Too MAD for its own good. Bad.
- Charger: The less-good Blaster, but that's like saying ten nuclear bombs is less good than a hundred. Good.
- Charmer: Just use the example of the premade in its book to become a vicious roleplaying monster. Good.
- Communicator: Your one offensive ability can still be done better with a tazer. Bad.
- Copycat: I don't really have much of an opinion about you. You can be good, you can be cheesy, but...sorry, this team doesn't necessarily need to double up on things. Bad.
- Covenant: Actually well-rounded and versatile, covering bases to help support the team with healing, holy fire and pain-negation for themselves if their powers are picked right. Shame about all that metaplot. Good.
- Defender: Good for defending people but at the end of the day you're not gonna be picked first. You're a good third or fourth round draft though. Good-ish.
- Desiccator: One horrifying trick to you but not worth the time. Bad.
- Doubler: Any time you can take extra actions for free is a good time. Hang out with a Defender and hide behind the shield and lay cover fire. Good.
- Dunemaster: Useless anywhere there's no sand. Bad.
- Flyer: I liked you a little but unfortunately other Transportation-powered Deltas have proven they can use their abilities offensively and you can't. Bad.
- Forger: Nope. Bad.
- Fortunate: Such a harsh cap on your powers makes you hard to recommend. Bad.
- Freezer: Can't operate so well in warm places and melee powers makes you hard to use well. Bad.
- Gasser: Nah. Bad.
- Gadgeteer: You had a second chance and you were still designed to be terrible. Bad.
- Genius: Ha ha metagaming and shit no I'm good thanks. Bad.
- Goliath: Sorry buddy, being huge and being slow makes you worse at combat. Bad.
- Gunner: Who would have thought a guy with the power of Gun would make the good list? Good.
- Hacker: *armpit farting noise* Bad.
- Healer: Unfortunately necessary but with those limitations to your powers, yeesh. I should be of the opinion that you get a Good because of how necessary and mandatory you are but, well, none of what I've seen in premade missions have indicated any real danger for people who know what they're doing/are minmaxed. Plus the Covenant can heal people and do more than you, sooooo. Bad.
- Hot Shot: Ehhh. I'm actually kind of cold to you. Bad.
- Hound: No thanks I'm good. Bad.
- Interrogator: No I must insist, I'm not interested. Bad.
- Jungler: BEES aside, it really kind of does too much with animals AND plants AND Trick creep...ultimately, bad.
- Lazarus: This would be a lot better if it didn't take literal days to weeks to pull yourself together. Bad.
- Paralyzer: Too many steps to incapacitate people. Bad.
- Phaser: The phasing is actually pretty good except for the "electric wire" thing and the fact that the Teleporter does everything you do better. Bad.
- Poisoner: There's no cure to sucking. Bad.
- Ratmaster: Hmm yes, gaze upon the army of your destruction: three squirrels. Bad.
- Scrapper: The fastest-healing and pretty good at fighting. Again, though, shame about the melee focus. Good.
- Screamer: The auto-target on the head is good for damage but you can't really ever use it nonlethally and it just doesn't have the same damage OOMPH as the Blaster. Bad.
- Shrinker: It's a shame you can't actually be any smaller than a cat unless you're with a Booster. The small size shenanigans and still moving as fast as a regular person is good, though. I will give you a tentative Good.
- Smuggler: Stick this in your belly-hole and smuggle it. Bad.
- Sneak: God I still hate you. Bad.
- Snuffer: Integral to a good team makeup and it helps that you can still do things while suppressing people. Good.
- Speedster: Once upon a time I thought you were good, but ehhh. Bad.
- Stretch: Mm. Hmm. You've really failed to leave an impression on me. I can't really recommend you. Bad.
- Telekinetic: The psychic brain punches being completely invisible and vague outlines of everything is actually quite nice. Good for stealth, good in general.
- Teleporter: My buddy. Good.
- Timetripper: The redo ability is pretty handy. Tentative good.
- Tough: Best armor in the game, healing to boot and the ability to neutralize incoming attacks? Hell yeah. Good.
- Translator: Nope. Bad.
- Watcher: Ehhh. The only thing you have going for you is the UV eyes and that's still just ehhh. Bad.
- Werebear: Big melee focus and bad drawbacks. Bad.
- Wereshark: Big melee focus and even worse drawbacks. Bad.
- Werewolf: Just worse than the Werebear. Bad.
NEXT TIME: setting secrets and the premade mission, a little tale about Bargainers being awful called EVIL IS AS EVIL DOES. What does evil do? Make stupid choices.
SETTING SECRETSOriginal SA post
The Truth of Evil Unlimited, AKA "fuck you the majority of what we told you about recruitment was a lie": How do you get your standard person/Delta (Primer or Defiance) on the side of Evil Unlimited? Good ol' fashioned debt. Introduce a guy that your PCs know who is willing to lend them money, and when they can't pay it back recruit them to a front company that staffs Deltas or offer them the chance to come along on a job.
Then you should make things go pear-shaped.
Make the job go wrong. Make the PCs accomplices in crimes. Make their jobs be something bad and when they try to pull back out, lean on the fact that they were going to do something bad to make them go through with it. Make their secret identity be blown. And now that the PCs are in bigger debt, have Evil Unlimited clean up their messes and grab them by the short-hairs. Assign more jobs to them to make them work off the debt while collecting the details of their crimes to keep them in line with a rap sheet and evidence. Then actually bring them into Evil Unlimited. This is actually how Evil Unlimited recruits the majorities of its members and agents: blackmail and debt.
Or don't do any of this because this sounds fucking awful in every way. If I was a player, I would be fucking gone the moment I realized that this was going to become a snowball of debt and railroading.
Beating a man to death as he eats spaghetti and meatballs. Fuck it, let's see how cliche we can get.
Who is Mr. C? It's Al Capone. Capone was a Changeling Delta after a hit in 1933 put some bullets in him and he ended up having a look-alike sent to Alcatraz. When the guy in Alcatraz felt like breaking their agreement, Capone had him killed in prison during a riot. After the hit, Capone decided that being public and flashy was a bad way to go about crime so he started Evil Unlimited and became Mr. C full time after the look-alike went to prison. Along the line he became an Alpha and ended up avoiding the Vanishing by accident (visiting a criminal in a prison with a suppression field). These days Mr. C. is mostly retired, letting Marks conduct the majority of the upper business for the last eight years. He's over 100 and I guess becoming an Alpha cures syphilis.
Lee Harvey Oswald: So Oswald and three other guys (including Jack Ruby attack the President in Dallas. Oswald and Jack Ruby survive Superior's attack (the other two are DOA at a nearby hospital) but get arrested by the Secret Service, Ruby kills himself before he gets out of critical care in the hospital and Oswald wakes up one night in the hospital to find Superior beating him to death in his sleep.
"*sighs* It's a living."
But Oswald lives and gains Delta powers as a Sneak. He escapes custody and continues to accrue the money and technology to assemble a new team of Dreadnauts. The US government couldn't figure out who was bankrolling him. It wasn't the Soviets (though Castro would let Oswald live in Cuba in a farm off the grid). His benefactor? J. Edgar Hoover. Facade wasn't JFK and didn't have anything against Hoover like JFK did but when Facade-as-JFK starts turning things towards martial law, Hoover completely dropped his grudge against JFK. So Hoover starts funneling money to Oswald in Cuba and starts a sponsorship with him: every now and again he pulls him out of Cuba and lets him run around in the US to scare the American people and cement martial law. The JFK assassination was completely bankrolled by Oswald's old savings but this is all funded by the government. You know, false flag shit.
But then Hoover dies in 1972 and Oswald is without a patron until he meets the Devastator and they become BFFs. The Bicentennial Battle was a joint effort between the two to kill Superior and the machine was supposed to freeze the city in a time bubble so the Devastators could take their time killing every Primer. In the end, the only person left in this dimension is Lee Harvey Oswald whose current location is unknown.
Yet another reason to hate the Sneak.
"I MAY HAVE MISCALCULATED THIS PROTECTIVE DIVE"
Patriot's Rescue: Oh yeah and Evil Unlimited was responsible for rescuing Patriot for Truth. A lot of guards were paid off or persuaded to look the other way and the two guards who were supposed to execute Patriot were EU thugs who snuck onto the island disguised as prisoners.
Oh also it's briefly touched on that Truth got arrested and the Primers know that she's a head figure in Defiance but. That's all that's said about that.
Stats and details for all of the important movers and shakers of Evil Unlimited.
EVIL IS AS EVIL DOES
Backstory: Okay, so. Last book's premade mission was a little story about how a lady went crazy after she got hit by a truck. This story is way more complicated. The backstory is stupidly complicated.
Once upon a time there was a 20ish guy named Kyle Garrigan, AKA the Technomancer. Kyle loved computers, loved hacking and programming, so when he drove off a bridge into a frozen lake in a suicide attempt, he got Delta powers as...a Bargainer. His Bargaining teacher, Ms. Ariana Bihani, takes him under her wing and explains that the voices in his head are demons and teaches him how to make contracts. However, Kyle wants fucking none of that. He takes a look at the contracts and basically says "pffft I bet I can write a program that will basically function better and cleaner than contract and create an unbreakable contract that will force the demons to do what I want". "That's not really how it works, they're sapient beings," says Bihani and Kyle responds with "yeah so fuck being a Bargainer I'm gonna write a computer program to get powers in exchange for stuff whenever I want instead of needing totems". So he quit his Bargainer training.
This but with THE INTERNET
But, uh. That's way easier said than done. Kyle can't find a single programming language suitable for anything related to controlling demons (HMM I WONDER WHY) but he gets interested in Sailmaker, the new web browser by Webhead. He can't find a cracked version or a beta or even an alpha so in order to get a look at it (again, to program a language to control demons for power) he decides to break into Webhead to get at it. A patient person would probe Webhead and figure out where the program was being held then make a copy.
Naturally Kyle just grabs his Phaser totem and breaks into the CEO's office, Oliver Megopolus. Oliver/Mr. C is surprisingly still in the office, but in the form of Nicollette Marks. Why? Fuck you. What happens next is complicated. Basically, he recognizes Marks from a bunch of newspaper articles accusing her of being the head of Evil Unlimited and when he's caught he sees C-as-Marks shift into Mr. C form. In custody, he comes to the conclusion that he just figured out a dangerous secret about Evil Unlimited and he will die in a regular jail. His next move is to admit to being an unregistered Delta so they'll take him to New Alcatraz, where he thinks he'll be safe from Evil Unlimited and can figure out what to do with this secret.
Here is where the mission stars. Mr. C wants Garrigan dead and has Marks have an employee named Aric Koffler recruit a team to kill Garrigan on the way to New Alcatraz. How do you get the PCs involved? Please, uh, please read the following paragraphs.
Koffler meets the PCs at a Spanish restaurant and they'll be embarking on the mission when dinner is done. Bring your equipment to the table except for the fact that no you're...not going anywhere immediately, it's tomorrow. Also you should probably figure out why the hell the PCs know Koffler.
Also you're going to straight-up just lie to your players to get stuff done. Only the GM is going to know the entire metaplot laid bare. Spoilers: the subplot about using a computer to Bargain with demons never comes to fruition or comes up again.
CHAPTER ONE: THE RESCUE ATTEMPT
The boat has ponchos for hiding costumes of the PCs and life vests. Koffler drives the boat. If nobody has a plan, the plan is to get close enough to the prison boat to get their attention and then attack. The prison boat has a skeleton crew of important NPCs: two generic cops, Agent Anderson, Chang and Garrigan. Koffler will get close to the boat, listen to their warnings not to get too close...then immediately get too close and start Blasting while driving.
Fighting the NPCs should be easy because they're regular cops. So Anderson takes a chance and stops Snuffing Chang, who immediately rips free from her cuffs and starts punching people into the bay to get herself to free. Chang will jump to the PC's boat if she realizes they're attacking and start beating on them. Chang's ultimate plan is to steal either of the boats and drive it to shore to escape.
WHAT IS THIS THING YOU CALL SCALE AND PERSPECTIVE
Of course, while this is going on, Garrigan (who is fucking handcuffed and in shackles) pulls out the goddamn Totem he's got hidden on him. Okay, so. All of the Bargainer rules state that a Totem basically has to be visible or the size of a wand or something sizable, like a necklace or a mask. The mission throws that completely out the window because Garrigan's Aquarian Totem is a fishhook on a bit of line wrapped around a molar in his mouth and taped there. Which the police somehow did not see and he just has taped to his fucking teeth for no good reason. Like I don't think he expected to ever use it to steal some fucking software but it's still there. He grabs the totem and turns into a fishman and jumps off the boat.
The entire thing takes around five minutes before reinforcements come. It's TN 10 Perception to notice him jump in during the chaos followed by a TN 15 Perception roll to realize that it was actually him. Otherwise, Koffler isn't able to find him on the boat and everyone comes to the conclusion that Bertha knocked him over and he drowned because he's all shackled up. Also the entire rest of the mission hinges on Garrigan escaping. If he is caught, uh. Hooray. Mission over. You're now accessories to murder and in deeper debt to Evil Unlimited. The book's words, not mine.
Catch Garrigan: 1 EXP.
Don't kill anyone: 1 EXP.
Defeat Bertha Chang: 1 EXP.
CHAPTER TWO: MAN ON THE RUN
Garrigan will use the sewers of Crescent City and an access hatch to get to his basement. Garrigan lives in a basement one-room apartment where everything is shitty and there's lots of leftover food and snacks. It also has his computer. He will change into this Bargaining tuxedo, get his Bomber, Changeling and Teleporter Totems (stick of dynamite, a cane with an orb containing a drop of blood from a friend before he killed her, a garage door remote control) and teleport away from the cops that come. The PCs get to see none of this, this all happens offscreen.
What should the PCs do now? Uhhhhhh. Uhhhhhhhhhhh. Well they can investigate the apartment, where a TN 5 Academia: Occult/TN 10 Computing roll/PCs figuring stuff out will explain Garrigan's plan. Then it's a TN 5 Smarts roll will remind them that Webhead is coming out with a new browser. You should tell this to Koffler who is like "oh. Okay."
And then comes the sinking realization that what I just described to you is the only playable part of Chapter 2 and it's basically a single setpiece in between two cutscenes to watch that only the GM is privy to. Garrigan goes back to Webhead and uses his Teleporter totem to go back up to Megopolus' office. Why? Because he wants his Phaser totem back because he had to kill his dad to make it and, I quote, "it's not like he has another father to dispose of, let alone another demon to bargain with". This time, Marks is there. The real Marks, who hits the security button and is sitting in for Mr. C to help protect him. She remains Phased the whole time he threatens her with his Bomber totem and laughs in his face when he explodes an arm and she's unharmed. The guards come, Garrigan threatens her with "NOBODY MOCKS ME! I'LL KILL YOU ALL!" and Teleports back the way he came. Then comes the next morning.
Figure out Garrigan's plan: 1 EXP.
Figure out the Webhead connection and tell Koffler: 1 EXP
This may just me being a little too sensitive but oh my god "man declares revenge, goes on rampage because woman laughs at him" has not aged well in the year of 2016.
CHAPTER THREE: JOIN THE PARTY
The reception is being held in the Superior ballroom of the Marc Plaza Hotel of Downtown. The hotel is a an entire block and there's strict gun checks. Webhead, being actually run by Mr. C, doesn't like using police security or Primer security so they hire from within or hire private security. Unfortunately, JFK doesn't go anywhere with without his Secret Security agents. So how are they going to balance the two security teams?
Well basically JFK is just like "meh, not gonna go" so he doesn't. Nobody knows he's going to do this so everyone's basically waiting for the man of the hour who isn't going to come. The PCs get invitations so they can mingle and provide secret security for the event, but they have to pass through metal detectors. They can either go gun-less or just sneak into the event another way and then mingle. There should be plenty of red herrings or false alarms before JFK shows up.
Except it's not JFK, it's Garrigan holding the Changeling cane. Remember how I mentioned how it's not really possible for a Changeling to mimic JFK because the rules for Changelings dictate that they need to be acknowledged by the person they're copying? Well JFK ISN'T THERE. He walks through the front door of the ballroom to "Hail to the Chief" after Teleporting into a bathroom and Changing, shakes hands, waves and walks to the stage. Then he shakes Oliver Megopolus/Mr. C's hand, drops the cane, grabs the Bomber totem and explodes his arm.
This never happens unless you want it to.
The PCs don't have much time to spot that something's wrong. It's a fucking TN 15 Perception check to notice that JFK is walking with a cane and TN 10 Perception to realize there's no Secret Service agents with him. It's recommended that no rolls be necessary for this, that the PCs should just puzzle it out on their own and intervene. Side note: how the fuck does the Bomber totem work with a Bargainer? If they explode their whole body, how do they hold the totem to reform? There are numerous unanswered questions.
- 1: Megopolus gets exploded. Garrigan runs around exploding the rest of his limbs until he has to Teleport away to escape. He might still get caught, but Megopolus' body shifts and spasms and slips through different forms before turning back into Al Capone and Vanishing. Marks takes over Evil Unlimited and various people fight for control over Webhead.
- 2: Save Megopolus, kill/capture Garrigan. Mission accomplished, now get the fuck out because you're unregistered Deltas who just had a public display of power.
- 3: Save Megopolus, don't catch Garrigan. Get paid but don't get the 100K bonus and gain a recurring enemy.
Capture Garrigan: 2 EXP
Kill Garrigan: 1 EXP
Capture Garrigan: 100K to split.
Payment: 5K+4.5K (because Koffler took a cut of 10%).
Thoughts: Uhhhh. So who is this mission written for? A big fucking chunk of this entire premade is just only info the GM is allowed to know or just a fucking ridiculous premise. Garrigan uses copious amounts of idiot logic that escalates into a stupid direction, the main plot to get him off the boat is stupid and the entire premise hinges on abuse and violation of game mechanics to work in a contrived way. Yeah, thank god it’s shorter than the last adventure but it’s still just as railroad-y and badly written shuffling the PCs from one point to another.
Here’s what I think is the biggest thing wrong with the mission and the book in general: this stinks of “who gives a fuck?”. This is the second to last book and AEG is working on these books more than Forbeck is, and it just feels like there’s no cohesion or revision to it. It feels like this is a beta draft they just shoved out; it’s disorganized and just plain uninteresting. There’s no hook to the book and the only hook to the mission is just stupid and there’s nothing in any of the text that supports being able to enslave demons with a computer.
So how would this look in execution?
HYPOTHETICAL PLAY SCENARIO
Cast of Characters
- Wonderbolt: male Blaster played by Amanda. Hits hard, deals damage. Doesn’t have much to complain about in her opinion.
- Slippery Pete: male Teleporter played by Brian. Smart guy, becoming increasingly uncomfortable with how hard he’s cheesing combat and missions and stuff. Is afraid he’s stealing opportunities for the other PCs to do stuff.
- Plus Ultra: female Booster played by Catie. Face of the team and leader. Kind of getting bored with only really being a figurehead when she’s not boosting.
- Flak: male Snuffer played by an increasingly surly Dan who had a very heated conversation with Jeremy after the Teleterrorists mission. The intimidating one/the Snuffer.
- Rough Rider: female Tough played by Eric. Takes punches and notices things. Feels like he’s becoming increasingly useless because there hasn’t been much of a challenge yet in any sense of the word.
- Jeremy: the GM who is becoming increasingly aware that his players A: don’t want to play Brave New World anymore or B: don’t want to keep playing these premade missions anymore. Or, perhaps, both.
“You said we threw that bomb in the bay and all it did was launch water into the air” says Eric. Jeremy ignores this and goes into Koffler’s speech. Eric makes constant Perception checks and Jeremy tells him that Koffler is telling the truth to shut him up. When the speech is done, they all contemplate the plan.
- Wonderbolt’s plan: wing it, shoot people with energy blasts.
- Slippery Pete’s plan: get close to the boat and he’ll teleport on with someone else to get Garrigan.
- Plus Ultra’s plan: provide backup when appropriate but mostly wing it.
- Flak’s plan:
shoot Koffler in the heat of the moment, dump his body in the bay, kill people in Evil Unlimited until they promise to leave the team alone and then sell the speedboat for more money than they’d get for the jobjust do whatever Jeremy wants us to do, let’s get this over with.
- Rough Rider’s plan: provide Pete with backup on the prison boat.
They race up to the prison boat in the speedboat and Dan comments that this is woefully underguarded for a damn prisoner transport to a fucking supermax. Jeremy ignores Dan and has Koffler start opening fire on the boat while Pete and Rough Rider teleport onto the boat.
The moment Pete and RR port onto the boat, Anderson drops her hold on Chang who immediately Hulks out and punches Anderson into the bay, swinging her fists wildly and clobbering guards and other prisoners alike. Pete immediately teleports back to the speedboat and grabs Flak and teleports back. While this is happening, Rough Rider is actually having a difficult fight for once and having the time of her life literally catching Chang’s punches and completely negating the attack. This moment of glory unfortunately ends with Flak climbing onto Chang’s back, Snuffing her and then pinning her in a chokehold. Pete and RR are unable to find Garrigan but RR makes the rolls to figure out he went overboard. The three get back to the speedboat, bringing Chang along and letting her go free on the shore once she apologizes for trying to beat the tar out of them.
“Well I guess that’s it” says Catie with a shrug. “That was oddly anticlimactic.” The team splits with Koffler and they meet up again to find out they’re not getting paid and that Garrigan is still alive.
“How.” Says Dan. “Aquarian totem” says Jeremy. “What.” Says Amanda. “He pulled it out and turned into an Aquarian and jumped overboard when you were fighting the Goliath” says Jeremy. “Where the hell was the totem.” Says Brian. “Wrapped around one of his molars” says Jeremy.
There’s a moment of very angry silence before Eric interjects with a sigh. “Alright what are we supposed to do now?” “Go investigate Garrigan’s place?” offers Jeremy.
Everyone piles into a taxi and they ride to the shithole basement apartment in sullen silence. They push past the cops and start asking what they roll. Jeremy tells them what they see. There’s an audible sigh as Catie asks “alright cool but what do we roll”. When Jeremy says Computing and Smarts, everyone looks at Brian who sheepishly rolls. They figure out that the plan is to summon demons using programming and that he’s targeting Webhead to get at their browser. Amanda, who is actually a computer sciences major, interrupts with “wait so why does he want a browser for this, does he really think that a demon is like a web server and he can just put in a URL to get a power from a demon? None of this makes sense.”
Her complaint is ignored by Jeremy who recommends calling Koffler. They do, he’s like “cool whatever” and then they’re told to leave the crime scene by the cops.
“So we go to Webhead next?” asks Eric. “No,” says Jeremy, “just split up and wait for more information.” The sighing gets louder and turns into full-on groaning when they get more info from Koffler. “So what’s your plan?” asks Jeremy. “Give all of our guns to Brian so he can teleport them past the metal detectors” says Catie. “Look guys are you sure? It doesn’t have to be me” says Brian. “Brian I love you and I don’t hold anything against you for doing, like, everything,” says Catie, “but for the love of god just teleport the gun bag.”
Everyone (but Pete) goes through the metal detectors at the reception. Pete teleports into a bathroom and exits, the guns hidden beneath his formal jacket. They regroup and equip themselves with guns and tasers and wait.
They split into two teams: Plus Ultra and Wonderbolt and everyone else. There’s a lot of buffoonery and distractions but they’re all woefully unimaginative and nobody is really fooled by the false leads Jeremy is laying. Then “Hail to the Chief” kicks off and Garrigan-as-JFK starts walking through the crowd. Eric, who has been making Perception checks like they’re going out of style, immediately points out that something’s up with JFK.
Plus Ultra pokes Wonderbolt who immediately shoots a boosted blast into JFK’s chest. Pete teleports RR over and they just start kicking the shit out of JFK as Flak runs over and starts waving a fake Primer badge at the crowd. JFK drops the cane, turns into Garrigan and curls up, trying to protect his stomach from the kicking as Plus Ultra tases him. The team rushes Garrigan out the door and into Koffler's waiting arms, whereupon the game briskly wraps up with Garrigan getting carted off to his certain death and everyone getting paid.
"Good job, you saved Mr. C. Now he can continue running Evil Unlimited!" Jeremy says with a shit-eating grin.
Dan stands up, places both hands on the edge of the table and [SCENE MISSING]
It's decided that the next game night is definitely not going to be Brave New World after heads are cooled and words are had with Jeremy about the quality of the premade mission and his general attitude. Nobody goes home happy.
Final thoughts on Evil Unlimited: Reading and reviewing this book has made me feel like reviewing this whole series was like eating three sleeves of Saltines with nothing to drink. It's dry, it's bland, it's a goddamn slog to get through. The book just feels unpolished and half-baked, barely engaging me except for the light curveball of MR. C IS AL CAPONE, a baffling idea that briefly caught my attention before I continued eating crackers. The only high point of this book is how shitty the premade mission is. It is relentlessly awful from its premise and backstory to its execution and GM-specific info. This book too felt like an absolute waste of time. It is not getting better. It is circling the drain. A reckoning shall not be postponed indefinitely.
Would I recommend Evil Unlimited: Man I don't have anything pithy or funny to say. No. Don't read this book, don't play Brave New World. It might be this fatigue that's wearing on me, but I won't lie: if I experienced these books in real release order, time between them and everything, I feel like I would forget these books. I would forget everything in them like a mediocre movie I've blown off hours later.
EIGHT DOWN, ONE TO GO! We're in absolute freefall, hitting the ground screaming. NEXT TIME get prepared to go to hell with me for BRAVE NEW WORLD: COVENANT so we can put this series to rest.