Brave New World: Ravaged Planet by Hostile V
Patriot’s Journal, Crescent CityOriginal SA post
BRAVE NEW WORLD: RAVAGED PLANET
Hi there and welcome to Brave New World: Ravaged Planet. This is a book all over the place that’s unevenly divided into six parts: Patriot’s Journal, Crescent City, Living in America, A World of Hurt, new powers and then the GM/secrets section. This is the book that’s supposed to be about the world at large and it doesn’t exactly do that. The life and execution of Patriot takes up the first 49 pages, Crescent City is 17, the USA is 19 pages, the world is 16 pages, 35 pages of powers and premade characters and the rest is all GM info and afterword. The book is 160 pages total and it feels longer than that despite narrow dual columns. This book also has a lore boner the size of a bus because everything before the powers section is written from the perspective of Patriot or The Truth.
The Truth is more explained in the core book (she’s a journalist who can sense when people are lying and runs the Delta Times online newspaper/Defiance BBS) but who the heck is Patriot? You don’t see much of him outside of the introductory comic from the core book where (and I’m repeating myself) he’s captured by Delta Prime while saving a college girl from them. But he’s Plot Important, don’t you know, and let’s all find out why!
He types like a tech-illiterate dad would.
A note from me: I used to play City of Heroes. I used to role-play on the Virtue server. What you’re about to read is all written by Patriot in a journal before his execution as he’s being held in New Alcatraz. This whole part reminds me of when I would write a summary of my characters’ histories on, like, a web page that I would put a link to on my in-game bio and yeah this is basically an OC’s autobiography that runs for 49 pages formatted for this book.
This starts with The Truth prefacing the journal and talking about how she said a silent prayer for him after his death. I’m going to include the end of this preface completely uncut because it feels like it belongs in a chain e-mail.
Patriot was born John Cruise in the 1940s. Daddy was killed in Normandy, mom died shortly after childbirth so Johnny was raised in a Catholic orphanage in Chicago. He loved civics classes and memorized many historical documents and his favorite Delta was The Yankee. Minor note: it turns out The Yankee didn’t die in that concentration camp in Germany, Superior became an Alpha before Yankee was thrown into the fires. His childhood and young adulthood was mostly just loving America and being a good kid when the nuns weren’t scolding him.
This changed when he ended up derailing what should have been Jack Billington the V’s Batman origin story.
The Billingtons, a rich family who were at the theater to watch Camelot and couldn’t find their way back to the car, were being accosted by an alcoholic homeless Delta by the name of Wilbur Jeffries trying to get booze money/stuff to pawn for booze. Jeffries had one power, and it was an effective power: he could explode. Side note: I like how Patriot throws crazy amounts of shade at Jeffries for using his power to mug people instead of robbing a bank or pharmacy and is like “yeah he couldn’t control his powers but pffft should’ve thought his crimes through better”. So anyway, Jeffries was threatening Jack IV who was trying to talk him down, and when the elder Jack didn’t fork over his wallet Jeffries exploded one of his hands to blow up Jack IV. To his credit, John tackles Jeffries from behind, puts him in a headlock, starts beating on the guy’s face and tells John V and Cynthia Billington to run like hell. Luckily for them both, they do.
And Jeffries explodes his entire body while John is punching him in the head.
I'M SO HAPPY I'M EXPLODING
John survives the blast and awakens as a Delta without realizing it, kind of marking the first instance of Patriot missing clear signs something is up. So he goes back to the orphanage, gets chewed out by the nuns for being out late and later that year he was drafted. The doctors can’t draw a blood sample from him because the needle keeps breaking and Delta Squadron comes knocking to say “hey guess what, you’re going to Delta Academy to learn your powers!” He gets run through the wringer, finds out that he’s a Blaster, meets Delaney Cadre (a Bargainer who he will later marry) and ends up in Delta Squadron, the military superhero group.
"He's doing well but he needs a catchphrase. Something he can shout."
Patriot ends up doing a lot of shitty Cold War things in service of the USA under the leadership of Superior and The Yankee. He does things like helping dictators that hate communists and runs around the world helping America make a lot of decisions that will come back to bite us in the end. Then, while he’s in Cuba helping Zaldivar keep power (after having put Fidel Castro and his rebels behind bars years before), The Destroyer tries to kill JFK and everything goes to hell. And not too long after, Superior shows up in Cuba and says to Patriot “hey sign the DRA”. Considering everything the government knows about him, it’s a formality but it’s still signing away his rights and betraying what he believes in. And he signs it.
"Sign it." "Superior I can't fucking read it in this light."
So now Delta Squadron makes Delta Prime, which is under control by the Department of Justice and Bobby Kennedy. Side note: this makes Herbert Hoover angry, and it’s believed by some that he was responsible for the Dallas attack. Bobby Kennedy ends up assassinated by a Delta hitman before Patriot can join Delta Prime. This story is so disjointed thanks to Patriot namedropping events that happened to be going on around the story he’s trying to tell. Patriot starts bringing in unregistered Deltas while telling himself that he can change stuff from within while he was arresting the parents of Deltas for harboring fugitives and sending the kids to the Academy. He ends up meeting Delaney again in Delta Prime and they get married and become partners together, bringing in actual criminal/terrorists Deltas and getting them imprisoned.
"Eat energy fist, hippie!"
And then, while laid up in Arizona recovering from a concussion sustained while on a case in the desert, the Bicentennial Battle happens and he loses his wife who responded to the fight and went as backup. So now his “wife” is dead, his boss Superior is “dead” and his country has lost a city and its backbone of power in the world. What does he do? He throws himself into his work except now Kennedy is making Delta Prime do jobs for the CIA. Patriot spends the next ten years as a secret agent all across the world and the USSR fighting Communism at the command of JFK.
And then the USSR doesn’t collapse because a Delta by the name of General Mikhail “Might Misha” Tretyak throws a military coup against Gorbachev with the help of the Crimson Pride (the Soviet equivalent of Delta Prime). The CIA decides to have their Deltas assassinate Tretyak and put the blame on China to make the countries fight. The assassination attempt, mixed with a bunch of Primers being at ground zero of the Chernobyl meltdown, results in the Great Mistake (the limited nuclear exchanges between the US/USSR).
Mighty Misha, alive and well and stirring up shit.
So now Patriot goes rogue because this is no longer the country he swore to protect and uphold etc. At this point, both Delta Prime and Defiance don’t trust him and he has to lay low for a while. That’s when Patriot ends up working for the Italian mafia in Crescent City (when, let’s be honest, he could have skipped out of the country and found somewhere else to hang his hat until the heat died down). The Don, Paolo Gabriel, has him whack people and break legs. Then the Don asks him to recruit a Delta from a friendly family to be their pet Delta and it turns out the Delta is six years old.
So he says “nah fuck that” and the Don sends wiseguys to whack him. Patriot kills them, nonlethally storms the Don’s fortress and the Don monologues for a while as his nephew Vito Gabriel makes an appearance. Vito is also a Blaster and there’s a lot of monologing and making offers up until Vito shoots his uncle with an energy blast and says “yeah okay consider us square for giving me this opportunity to do him in. If you leave now, I’ll call off any hits on you, you can just walk away clean”.
"Is this going to be a twenty minute unskippable cutscene?" "Yes."
So Patriot punches Vito out a window and leaves.
"Eat window, hippie!"
The fact that nobody knew Vito was a Delta made the public think Patriot killed Don Paolo. And this makes Defiance think he killed the Don. So Defiance says “alright, he left Delta Prime and he killed one of the worst mob bosses in America. The guy can’t be all bad” and Truth recruits him and gets the six year old boy a home. He ends up taking a liking to Truth and he focuses on staying loyal to himself in Defiance and makes his primary mission helping young Deltas avoid the Primers for the next ten years.
"Eat energy fist, government dogs!"
And then he gets caught and brought to trial (on July 4th, 1999 because of course). Now, it’s not common for a Delta to get a trial, especially if they’re ex-Prime, but he’s notorious enough that they can’t just make him disappear. Despite having a giant rap sheet, especially for what he did in service of the CIA, the actual charge he gets is a lot more mundane: the murder of Don Paolo Gabriel. The witness: Vito Gabriel who survived getting defenestrated. Yes, his lawyer Connor Darrow (grandson of apparently real lawyer Clarence Darrow) does the best job he can with character witnesses and even putting Patriot on the stand and letting him monologue for roughly a page. But Patriot knows that the game is rigged; Vito was getting immunity to testify, Delta Prime likely behind it, and the evidence of a crime a decade old crime is rigged against him.
Patriot is executed by firing squad on August 5th and because he’s a Blaster and has armor, they have to shoot him a lot until he stops getting up. He dies with his mask on. There are riots and people keep sneaking into the cemetery to visit his grave and it gets turned into a shrine. There are also Patriot’s final pre-execution speech which I will include so you can get a taste of the book’s writing and Patriot’s voice.
Patriot also has an earlier part where he mentions that he fully believes in the ring of the catchphrase "America, right or wrong" (but not the message) and how he should regret some of the things he did but ultimately doesn't because they gave him the chance to atone for them. tl;dr we have to have courage to put America back on the right track. Personally I think his autobio would have been a lot better with him actually saying "eat energy fist, hippie!" at one point.
Thoughts about Patriot’s Journal: Uh. Well. This really didn’t add anything new except for the whole thing being Patriot’s side of the story. It is full-bore tract in the voice of a plot-relevant character that, quite frankly, is not particularly interesting. It meanders and it travels all over the place and it’s just there. Like I said, it feels like someone’s just unloading a character dump in my face at the beginning of this book and it’s so out of place! I’m really sorry I’m just regurgitating plot info and history but that’s what the book does and what other books will keep doing.
Hey how about Crescent City! Let’s take a look at that!
Crescent City is built on the rim of the flooded crater, running from what was North Chicago to Gary Indiana. It is very, very hard to imagine just how the fuck this city is laid out because the book never gives you a fucking map or a clear layout, just descriptions. It sounds like the city is built over the bay. In actuality, imagine the crater is the focal point and the actual city ripples out onto land from the crater like o))). The city was rapidly built by Triumph, Inc., a business mentioned in the core book as the biggest employer of Deltas. It was an opportunity for good business and Triumph, Inc. turned the ruined land into a skyscraper-clad city in roughly two years. The city, as a whole, is constantly under construction in a way due to Delta activity or creative urges by architects and people with money.
He looks so high right now.
Crescent City is controlled by the mayor who has 50 councilors (one for each district) underneath him. The mayor, Alan Jefferson, was appointed by JFK so he’s just plain corrupt. Jefferson is also in cahoots with Don Vito and if shit ever goes wrong, he can just call Delta Prime to get a problem fixed. The two counselors who get names are Big Bill Macy (a fat guy who might be trying to be mayor next) and Marita Suarez (took over the position from her dead husband, honest and just so she’s frequently a target of assassination attempts). The police are run by Stuart Fleming who is just plain crooked and will take bribes. The city is diverse and there are ethnic/rich/poor neighborhoods because this is a city and people live there. There are also trains and subways. I only want to go into so many details because this will all be reiterated in later books.
New Alcatraz: New Alcatraz is an island prison in the Chicago bay and it’s full of power dampeners to hold their Alpha and Delta prisoners. Sometimes prisoners get paroled (why, why the fuck would they if this has people who didn’t register, the law doesn’t matter anymore) or they escape. And if they escape, they generally go right for Crescent City to kick up a ruckus and buildings get destroyed if there’s Alphas involved.
Scenic, kind of lumpy New Alcatraz.
City Hall: It’s a big glass cube with art deco trim and lights which makes me feel like this got dredged out of the ruins of Rapture.
Crescent Amphitheater: The amphitheater is an open-air concert venue in Superior Park with a roof over the stage and front seats. JFK made a speech about opening Crescent City in the 1980s and they never took down the big panes of bulletproof glass on the stage. As a result, it’s a popular tour venue that’s easy to secure with a bunch of guards with clubs and shields for concerts. Side note: someone tried to shoot Madonna in Miami, an event mentioned here in context of bulletproof glass.
Delta Academy: The Academy is a 120 story diamond that goes from a sunken bit in the ground to widest at 50 (at the size of a block!) then tapers off at 120. Allegedly there’s 20 more stories underground into the bedrock and while the Academy has its own subway stop, there’s no proof and there might actually be more underground sections. God, what a fucking eyesore.
Memorial Field: Replacing Soldier Field, the entire field is a memorial to the people lost in the Bicentennial Battle along with a statue of Superior leading other Deltas and Alphas into battle.
Police Department: This is where the cops live. It, uh, look at the picture below. You know what a police department is.
"Alright who designed part of the police department to look like a cross-section of a sex toy for men?"
Delta Prime Headquarters: The most happening Primer facility this side of Virginia, it’s run by Charlene Parker who used to be the Delta WWII fighter Canary. She ended up unable to progress past a certain level due to being just a Delta but when all the Alphas left she clawed her way to the top of the facility. This too is a 100 foot pyramid that looks like “a glittering blade”.
Superior Park: This is actually just a park with a replica of the Buckingham Fountain in it.
Superior Square: Superior Square is explicitly compared to Times Square with 100 foot billboards/TVs and a theater district. There is also a statue of Superior that a daring Delta (likely named Bart Simpson) stole the head of once despite it being constantly surrounded by guards.
What a weird choice of statue, barely-clothed and pissed-off looking.
Triumph Tower: The Tower is 150 stories tall and the main office for Triumph, Inc. It's a big old art deco tower and Ben Archer can be found on the 150th floor running things on a daily basis. It lights up with different colors depending on the time of day/holiday and its size/splendor acts as a reminder of how much Delta labor went into building Crescent City.
Thoughts on Crescent City: mehhhhhhhhhh? Meh. It's not doing much for it. It's just, like, super-Chicago and it's a young, young city being thrust to the forefront of the world. It is also wickedly out of place having this much prominence in this book. You will quickly find out that there are much more interesting cities with things going on than just Crescent City. It's also kind of just bogged down with minutiae that just doesn't catch my interest and feel worth mentioning.
I'm not going to lie. Shotgunning book after book back to back in Brave New World is shaping up to be a very bad idea. Yes, I can seriously clear this book out in two or three more posts but oh my god there's a lot of repetition. Both this book and the core book both contain the line "they treated us like mushrooms: they kept us in the dark and fed us shit". Specific ideas and history also get repeated but with slightly new details added the next time and it's annoying and it's also really just bad writing and plotting. This is really just encapsulating the worst I've seen so far of 90s game book lines with an overarching metaplot and there's much more to come.
NEXT TIME: A look at the current state of 'Merica and the rest of the world.
Living in America, A World of HurtOriginal SA post
LIVING IN AMERICA
Welp. I have nothing to say to this besides "I'm pretty sure this was a cover to a Billy Ray Cyrus album".
Forgive me if I don’t dance and do a split. America is fascist dictatorship under control of martial law. The introduction for this section says nothing new except for a throwaway reference to Bob Marley that also says he’s a Delta. So let’s all put the book down and ignore this review and imagine what super-powered Bob Marley would be like. I think his hero name would be Jammin’ Mon.
Atlanta: Hotlanta is a nuclear crater. The only thing left standing is the remains of the suburbs and the outskirts of the city. Even most of the Deltas made by the blast are dead because yeah your powers made you survive the blast but you’ve still been fatally irradiated. You can’t get within 20 miles of Atlanta due to lingering radiation. There are also vampires and fuck those guys. If you want to buy land in Atlanta, you can thanks to the Radioactive Homestead Act of 1989 giving massive discounts to people who actually live there. Not too many people live there besides the vampires.
Boston: The mass of people leaving NYC ended up going to Boston so now it’s overcrowded but booming economically. MIT has opened CPR, the College of Paratechnological Research, for Deltas and Gadgeteers who are interested in technology. Just ignore the fact that gadgets can’t be replicated or mass produced and that Gadgeteers are a terrible broken class. On the upside, R&D is good. On the downside, the government gets first dibs on anything that comes out of the labs because any Deltas working there are working for JFK.
"What the fuck am I building."
Crescent City: It’s on the list, I’m just including it.
Dallas: Dallas is a city forever associated with everything going to hell. Texas in general gets looked down on by the rest of the USA and if you’re actually old enough to have maybe participated in the Dallas attack, USA as a whole dislikes you and thinks you’re involved in a conspiracy. So naturally Texas is itching to secede. A group of independence-interested Defiants called the Texas Dangers are hassling the state government and they’re trying to get Delta rights if Texas ever does become its own country.
"Now that I have your attention thanks to my rad wheelies, congressman, can I count on your vote for secession?" "...do a front-wheelie donut and we'll talk."
Detroit: Still fucked. Lots of gang violence, human or Delta, with the gang The Warlords being the biggest in Detroit. Their leader, Juwan Webber, is a black Delta with natural armor that’s been protecting him from multiple assassination attempts. Webber is aligned with Defiance and he’s in a bad position: if he is actually killed Detroit will fall into chaos, if he takes over Detroit then the government will roll in Delta Prime. Worst case scenario is that the violence of Detroit spills over into Ohio and the other states.
Denver: Dangerous fucking place. The mayor, Ross Higgins, proudly claims that the city is free of Defiance by harboring a lot of Primers and turning the school system into a machine for Delta detection. They’ve apparently bred dogs that can smell Deltas. Captured members of Defiance are inevitably given a public execution after a show trial, so Defiance still exists but everyone wears a mask and disguise.
Los Angeles: The gangs Los Reyes and Everybody Killers are fighting over South Central using heavy weapons and Delta powers. The more damage they call, the more they risk Delta Prime hitting LA like a pound of steel. But who gives a fuck about that, the majority of this segment is about Brian Selvin, a talent agent who gets Hollywood to cast Deltas as stunt doubles using their powers for practical effects. And I will leave it at that.
God imagine a world where Steven Seagal ends up becoming a Delta. Fucking horrifying.
Miami: Lots of people fleeing dictatorships are holed up in Miami and there’s a heavy population of Hispanic Deltas. The nightlife is nice and a lot of people have dreams of making it big in America by using their powers to try out for Deltaball or Triumph, Inc. but the city is rife with drug smuggling and gun violence. The cops of Miami are armed to the teeth because a lot of Deltas end up helping the cartels smuggle and break knees in exchange for unfulfilled promises. To end on a light note, there's a funny line that reminds me of Hotline Miami (and it's completely unintentional of course but I love those games) that states that Miami lives in a state of paranoia of being the next nuke target by the USSR.
This segment has an explicit reference to the Will Smith song and how he can sing the city's praises all he wants but it's fucked and to this I say shame on you for that low-hanging reference.
NYC: The city has spiraled out of control for two reasons: the disappearance of Superior and the destruction of six blocks by The Devastator's lair destruction device. Before both of those, the Delta heroes, NYPD and Superior were more than a match for any knucklehead who decided to set up shop in the city as a supervillain. Honestly, it's more the disappearance of Superior than The Devastator's actions that have caused problems, but The Devastator's act proved that yes, there are villains dangerous enough to cause massive destruction to save their own skins, damn the casualties. Either way, NYC is a ravaged warzone with most of the city destroyed from fights between Defiance, Delta Prime and the occasional escaped New Alcatraz Alpha. There's a heavy presence of both factions that have resulted in a mass exodus of scared civilians to Boston, New Jersey and other states. The only reason the city is still open is because JFK is afraid of how closing the city would look to the American people.
Philadelphia: Philly is damn near abandoned. Before New York started taking the brunt of the delta fighting, Philly was the main focus especially around the national landmarks. The Liberty Bell was used to beat a Delta called The Statesmen to death and Independence Hall was leveled by unknown fighters. Because the city wasn't really at the forefront of national attention (just regional attention), most of the businesses and civilians have moved to safer parts of Pennsylvania while the more crime-minded Deltas moved to NYC. It's getting safer but the city is still empty.
The perspective of this looks like the Liberty Bell is going to fall on this guy.
San Diego: In what is a disturbingly prescient bit of background fluff, San Diego is part of the bulwark Wall between America and Mexico. The Wall is 25 feet tall, made of reinforced concrete and topped with concertina wire, armed guards and gun batteries. And thankfully the game admits that it doesn't work. The main reason the Wall was built will be covered when we get to Mexico, but it was mostly a kneejerk reaction on JFK's part. San Diego is one of the main cities where Mexicans attempt to cross to America and the area is rife with violence against attempted crossers. They leave the bodies where they lie as an attempt to deter the next person.
"Welcome to San Diego, now turn around and fuck off."
San Francisco: Frisco was nuked after Atlanta but it didn't get the ol' hydrogen airburst that Atlanta got. No, San Francisco was bombarded with neutron bombs. The only building that fell was the Golden Gate Bridge; everything else in San Francisco was still completely intact. When the military rolled in, there was nobody to save. There was nothing left to the people of San Francisco but corpses littering the streets and the buildings. They tried to get rid of all of the dead for almost a year through ocean burial, incineration and mass burial but eventually the army just gave up and abandoned the city and any remaining bodies. They call San Francisco the Haunted City now and while it's safe to live there, people rarely move in. The locals claim you can still smell the city's dead and people give it a wide berth out of fear or respect for the dead.
Washington D.C.: DC is a danger zone of corruption, terrorism and destroyed monuments. Defiance agents tend to be much more extreme in DC, harassing government figures or detonating bombs. Because they're playing in JFK's backyard, Primers come in bigger numbers and almost shoot to kill. The sole exception to this struggle was an attempt in 1996 by Lee Harvey Oswald and his new Dreadnauts to destroy DC like The Devastator did to Chicago. The attack was thwarted by Delta Prime and Defiance working together at the cost of hundreds of deaths, the destruction of two of the Smithsonian's and the top of the Washington monument getting knocked off. Though the media didn't report on the team up, both sides did manage to put aside their differences to stop Oswald and put him in Primer custody (until he escaped custody the day before his execution and is currently at large as a boogeyman in the criminal underworld).
"No fly zone my ass, pigs!"
So what's America like on a smaller level? Most citizens are armed on a daily basis with minors carrying knives or self defense tools. You can't buy a gun if you're a felon or been convicted of a violent crime, but the background checks are optional for private individuals who can simply buy a gun and give it to their friend. There are more people carrying open or concealed and when someone starts shooting, there are a lot of scared citizens who draw their guns and join in the gunfight without knowing what the hell is going on. Spree shootings are up, most gunfights are bloodbaths, people are dueling out west over insults and there's been a rise of homegrown militias and "American defense" types of groups. People are scared and they want to protect themselves and their loved ones and property, so they ignore the bigger picture and fight for themselves instead of joining with other citizens.
I, uh. Huh. Well this is certainly some art.
Thoughts on Living In America: Some of the stuff about gang violence is tone deaf, the part about Miami has Spanish words sprinkled in and it's generally all kinda meh. I mostly just find the Wall and San Francisco to be the most interesting parts, the former for the game saying it's a stupid fucking idea and the latter for being a good plot hook. But hey, it's generally new shit to share! It bums me out less than the beginning of the book, it has that going for it.
A WORLD OF HURT
"Welcome to the torture chamber/said the sign above the entrance!"
The game at least fully admits that the following information is generally relevant to American interests or what can easily be found out by reading a reputable newspaper. So it begins with Africa and we're not going to see all of Africa, just the general talking points of international politics/if it poses a threat to America and plot hooks.
Libya: Muammar Gaddafi is still in charge and he has a big violent hateboner for the USA. There have been multiple assassination attempts against him and every time he retaliates. Libyan terrorists have been found in a variety of places they shouldn't, such as the White House, and as a result the assassinations have been ramping up.
South Africa: As part of Apartheid, black Deltas were imprisoned by the corrupt state. When Nelson Mandela is killed in 1996, the black majority starts an uprising which unfortunately is shut down by the white government and white trained Deltas, some of them using bastardized Primer technology. The rebellion would have won if not for the imbalance of Deltas.
Africa in General: Many countries are run by dictators receiving guns and Deltas from the US or USSR to keep them in power for the interests of the Cold War. There's a lot of brush wars between regimes and rebellion militias, but even if the rebels win they tend to get approached by a representative of the US or USSR offering goods and services and the cycle continues.
China: China has less Deltas than all other nations, which is weird and suspicious considering the population. Other than that, it's pretty much the same old PRC just with people wondering why there are less Deltas. There are also rumors that China has a power-inducement program in secret government labs and the only Deltas they allow are made in these labs who are trained to be soldiers and defenders of China.
Hong Kong: The city never returned to Chinese hands in 1997 because Britain backed out of the return deal with second thoughts. Then China invaded in 1998...and the people of Hong Kong sided with Britain and it was on like Donkey Kong. Both countries are fighting over control still, refusing to yield or back down but trying not to destroy the city in the process.
India: India is still fighting with Pakistan and both countries love their Deltas, some religious institutions viewing them as aspects of the Hindu gods on Earth. It's officially blasphemous, but in privacy some people believe it out of hope. Foreign Deltas are viewed with suspicion while native Deltas are viewed as a necessity. If you manifest powers, you have to serve the government of either country for at least five years. After that, your life is yours. Deltas are a boon to Bollywood cinematography but they're also trouble magnets. Aside from their relations with Deltas, India and Pakistan have the worst relationship in history at the moment after a nuclear bomb leveled Madras and the Indian government were unable to conclusively prove that it was caused by a Pakistani Delta agent.
Not even joking, Bollywood musicals are wild and interesting and this doesn't even seem out of place in one.
USSR: So Mighty Misha throws a military coup, the Great Mistake happens and the Cold War continues to this very day. Life in Soviet Russia sucks, especially if you're a Delta. If you manifest, you have a choice between gulag work in Siberia for not telling the government or get trained by the government. The government's answer to Delta Prime is the Red Brigade, Deltas that help the KGB fight the CIA and American influence. On the home front, the Hammers defend the USSR. The Sickles are the ones who work specifically with the KGB and do strike work abroad. Publically, the Sickles handle hostage negotiation and other foreign affairs. Secretly, the Sickles have deep cover sleeper agents in other countries. Their leader, Mikhail Tretyak, has been the target of five serious coups and numerous assassination attempts. Every time he's reported ill or sick he shows up fine the next day and every time there's a coup he makes a public show of hunting down every participant and having them executed.
Who the fuck picked this picture for Russia? I think the damn thing is upside down and the woman with the uzi is falling towards her enemy!
Australia: The big thing about Australia is that they have no equivalent of the DRA. As a result, every country sweeps every plane or boat that goes to the outback for any Deltas that might be fleeing to safety. However, safety is a relative term. Just because you don't have to register your powers (even as an ex-pat) doesn't mean there are no rules. The big rule in Australia is that wearing masks is illegal and Deltas cannot have a secret identity. Break that rule and get brought to jail by Deltas working for the Australian police. On top of that, the citizens of Australia are not always the nicest people. Some Deltas have found themselves on the business end of a noose or shot in the streets by neighbors who hate them. The Deltas who live in Australia and have the money for security and protection build themselves a nice isolated home. The rest keep their head down and try not to use their powers if they can help it or limit any masked shenanigans.
Australia! I guess! What the hell he's doing, I don't know!
Japan: Once Superior killed Hitler, he flew to the Pacific and yelled at Hirohito to surrender. He immediately did and Japanese democracy took hold. Japan's history generally follows how it does in the real world: post-war tech boom, anime and manga become a profitable entertainment industry. Anime and manga were focused on Deltas saving Japan and the world from catastrophe and the most popular series revolved around the Silent Samurai, a real group of stealth-based Alphas. Then 1976 happened and an Alpha prison in Okinawa lost power in 1977. See, Japan really needed its Alphas to protect the country instead of the US Navy. Without them, a dozen super powered criminals were running roughshod across the island. One of them, Akira Yoshihama, pre-occupied himself with murdering everyone in the government in Tokyo until Emperor Hirohito himself shamed Yoshihama into surrendering. Now the Emperor is in charge again and he's preaching for a return to closed borders and tradition with the country's Deltas surrendering their lives to the wisdom of the Emperor as tools to make the country better. So of course there's a Defiance movement in Japan.
EUROPE: Generally speaking, the European Union hasn't really happened and most of the countries are dealing with their own problems and ignoring teaming up.
France: France does not like its Deltas. They consider them to be useless, destructive show-offs and while they leave policing them to the government, there's an air of subtle prejudice towards Deltas. Paris is generally where Deltas congregate and monuments have been broken in the past, the French pointedly refusing to fix the top of the Eiffel Tower as a statement.
Germany: Because Superior said so, Germany was remanded to total Allied control after WWII. Germany still ends up becoming an industrial giant, there's just never a West and East Germany. Germany's still got its head screwed on right thankfully and they have a practically 100% enrollment rate if a person manifests powers. It helps that the government knows exactly what to do with Deltas and that the Deltas in turn know they're doing this to help their country.
Great Britain: This is...incredibly narrow in focus. Basically because guns are illegal in Britain, most people duck and run and call for help when Delta business is going down. However, most Deltas have figured out the response times for police squads and RRTs so most Deltas hit and run before the cops ever show up. That's it. That's all there is to Britain. The fuck?
Ireland: The Troubles are still going on predominantly between the IRA and the Orange Order. The conflict got kicked into high gear when an Alpha Catholic with the power to explode was killed in Derry by loyalists as the Alpha was looking for a Protestant arms cache. The ensuing explosion detonated the cache and leveled Derry. In retaliation, the Orangemen blew up the Irish Parliament three months later and things have been hell on earth since. Ireland is a dangerous place to be.
Y'know if this was colored, she'd have a green outfit and red hair because right now she just doesn't look Irish enough, beating a man with a fucking shillelagh.
Italy: Italy's doing just fine, mostly because the government is stable by being incredibly corrupt and controlled by La Cosa Nostra. So Italy runs fine as long as the mob is happy. The only place they don't control is the Vatican, which is busy with...
The Covenant: The Covenant is a Papal-sanctioned force of Deltas that serve the Catholic Church and the Vatican. Members of The Covenant all tend to have the same sort of powers, holy/saintly powers. They're only beholden to the laws of God. Some countries view them as a neutral force allowed to move across borders but that's not true in America despite JFK being a Catholic (though I guess who the fuck knows what Facade believes in). They're tolerated in America, but that tolerance has limits.
"Oh no, Sister, they're using a thin lines beam!"
Spain: I won't lie, I'm ignorant of the events this book is talking about regarding Spain. Spain is in a civil war with Basque separatists engaging in guerilla warfare against Franco/Miguel Alvarez Cabana's regime. Basque has gotten allies in Deltas they've promised full rights to in exchange for help. On the other side of things, Alvarez and his allies have been unable to stop the separatists and the Basques destroyed Seville in 1985.
Scandinavia: Norway and Sweden have probably the best programs for Deltas on the planet. If you manifest, you go to a training camp for six months where you learn your powers from other Deltas. After the training is done, the government matches you with a job that needs their help and would be stimulating/interesting for a Delta employee. That's pretty nice! It's just a shame that Soviet Finland is kind of just looming menacingly over both countries.
Iran: As decreed by the Ayatollah, Delta powers are an affront to Allah. You have the choice of leaving Iran or death. There's not a lot of Deltas who remain in Iran but the ones who do are remarkably brave/stupid.
Iraq: Because history has gone sideways, America never made any deals with Saddam Hussein or made any attempts to stop him because Kennedy couldn't spare the troops. Iraq occupied Kuwait in the 90s and they've been in the country ever since, jacking up the price of oil. The Truth figures that this is going to make a neighbor or another country angry and this might kick off another war.
Israel: Israel believes that Deltas are a gift from Yahweh so it's the duty of all good citizens to inform the government and use their powers to serve God and country. Being a Delta is treated like permanent military duty instead of the regular service all Israelis must serve and it's common for Deltas who practice Judaism to leave their home country for Israel when they manifest.
NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA
Canada: Canada has the DRA but no mandatory draft. Unfortunately for any border-jumpers, Canada extradites back to the USA, even if you try to apply for asylum as an unregistered Delta. Aside from that, it has one major problem: independence movements backed by Deltas falling into the dissenting groups. There's a Quebecois movement for an independent Quebec, there's a collection of Canadian Inuit independence groups and they both have Deltas on their side. The government doesn't really tolerate them and as a result there's internal wars within Canada to put down these groups.
What the fuck does this have to do with Canada?
Costa Rica: The president of Costa Rica, Marta Allende Alonzo, is a Delta and she lets other Deltas live as full citizens. The one caveat is that you have to help protect the country from CIA-led incursions. The country is a tropical paradise but the border is guarded by Deltas with weapons clashing against anyone trying to take it away from them.
I'M SO SCARED THAT I'M SWIMMING AND AMPHIBIOUS
Mexico: Mexico has been through 20 regime changes over the last 40 years thanks to violent coups and its stance on Deltas changes every time. Everyone's been trying to escape Central America but JFK's Wall is standing in the way because running South is a bad idea. The current government is run by General Juan Alberto Gutierrez, an Alpha who was serving time in a Mexican supermax and wasn't taken in the Vanishing due to power suppression. He eventually got loose and lead a coup with the help of a bunch of Deltas. His government is built on Delta power, so it may seem welcoming at first but Juan Alberto is far from stupid.
South America in General: The countries are banana republics run by anti-communist dictators propped up by the CIA and US. The drug lords are in turn fighting the governments and the CIA when their interests don't line up. A South American Delta will have their fair share of suitors should word about their powers get out, but a lot of Deltas have gone missing or died from picking sides or anyone knowing about them period.
THE UNITED NATIONS: The UN doesn't actually do much. The USA, USSR, PRC, Britain and France all have their own problems and they have veto power over each other and three of the five don't like each other. The UN does have its own Delta task force (the UNDDO, United Nations Delta Defense Organization) but that too doesn't necessarily do much because of coordinating Deltas from different countries and their countries all having egos. But when they work, they work.
Thoughts on the chapter: So the world sucks. I hope you guys understand the world sucks. I do honestly like how Scandinavia is a little bastion of sanity, that's a nice touch. It's weird how some of these countries wildly diverge from our timeline and some are just pretty much the same. It's incredibly odd how there's barely fucking anything to England despite Ireland still having issues on a worse level. Some of it isn't thought-through well but at least there's not much here that's blatantly offensive (outside of some of the art). As far as world building goes, this doesn't particularly do much for me. Also I will say more about the Covenant later because spoilers, it turns out that they're part of the bigger metaplot and they're directly opposed to the Bargainers. So that's definitely a point in their favor, even if it's immediately negated by them being a super force in league with the metaplot.
NEXT TIME: Wonderful, wonderful powers! Note: only a few of them will be wonderful.
New Power PackagesOriginal SA post
NEW POWER PACKAGES
Is the person in the car upside-down so they're right-side up?
Pencils up, boys and girls, because it’s time for METAPLOT! The Covenant was started by the first Pope (Peter I) to act as a bulwark of faithful against the evil of the world to protect the helpless. Not metaphorical evil (like the banality of it), we’re talking like werewolves from the Germanic tribes or literal demons. Up until the 1920s, the Covenant was the best kept secret of the Catholic church, directly taking orders from the Pope and meting out violence when necessary and operating behind the scenes of history. This is never elaborated before. It’s an ancient order, okay?
I don't even know.
Then Deltas start showing up in the 1920s and Pope Pious XI shrugs and says “alright so they’re clearly not going away, this is a fact of life, let’s tell the world about the Covenant”. So they did and more people became Catholic because “we have a means to directly protect you from evil” is a good sales pitch. And then they didn’t really change anything because it’s the Catholic Church, they only change things if they really have to. Then everything gets messed up in the 1960s and the church remains quiet on everyone oppressing the Deltas and some people are like “okay this is fucked up. Why aren’t you making a public statement about this?”
"EAT CROSS, HIPPIE!"
Thus began the Schism. The Schism consists of Catholics who, in 1968, officially broke away from the Vatican’s control to nonviolently protest the DRA. The Schism is a different religion than Catholicism, taking in anyone who’ll join from any religion. The current leaders of the Schism are Martin Luther King Jr., Sister Mary Victoria and Cardinal Joseph O’Conner. Officially it’s considered a heresy by the Vatican and the Pope’s word is that he’s more than willing to talk to the leaders of the Schism to understand their motives. Unofficially it’s considered to be the religion of Defiance and it’s a banned religion in a lot of countries like the US. In America, the Pope doesn’t really approve of everything going on and the Covenant is tolerated as long as they have Primer escorts and don’t fuck around. JFK in turn isn’t entirely sure he wants to fuck with the Church for multiple reasons, one of which being that the Pope himself is JFK’s confessor.
What about other religions? Well y’know you gotta handle religion respectfully (even though the book says that the Catholic record of religious tolerance is spotty at best) and who knows, maybe the other religions have their own equivalent of the Covenant? You think it up, I’m gonna get the fuck away from fluff and into the actual members of the Covenant. Oh also Bargainers and the Covenant don’t really get along even if they’re friendly so they get +5 to resisting Persuasion rolls made by Bargainers.
Hey, teacher, leave them kids alone.
Covenant Deltas have a bunch of bonuses and there’s no difference between a Catholic and Schismastic Delta. The first is that they can resist the Draft if they’re registered by claiming conscientious objector on religious grounds and JFK is reluctant to question that. There’s also Covenant Martial Arts which roll of Spirit and come in Barehanded, Blade and Club but you still need Strength for damage. They also get access to the Covenant Crossbow, a belt-fed crossbow with “disintegrating belts” that automatically clear the loading port.
Covenant Deltas get Covenant Powers and in order to be played you need to meet the following requirements: Academia (Occult) 2, Covenant Martial Arts 2, Faith 3, Language (Latin) 2, Profession (Clergy) 3, Duty (Covenant, Ordained), Patron (Covenant) and Registered if you’re a Delta Covenant which implies that you can play a regular-ass person instead of a Delta which is…different. For Tricks they get:
That's totally a Mimic totem.
Blessed: Two extra successes on a Faith roll can be spent to get you a spare Delta Point. Then you can’t use this trick again until all of their points are spent.
Divine Inspiration: Three extra successes on a Faith roll can be used once a session for there to be serendipitous events that give you a nudge towards a clue but only if you look into the clue, like stopping to help someone who ends up babbling something circumstantial that’s a hint.
COVENANT POWERS: You can have one of these powers for every point in the Faith skill and you can only use one power at a time. Unless otherwise stated, the powers last 3 hours max and 3 full actions to trigger and they’re all TN 5.
- Aura of Righteousness: Every success gives +1 to Persuasion rolls but to get the power going you have to audibly pray for your conversation partners or offer a little sermon.
- Divine Mercy: The poor man Healer’s healing. Boost your Healing skill by +1 for every success on a Faith roll before making an attempt to heal someone with the same sort of power as a Healer. So pop Divine Mercy, get Healing buffed then heal someone the same way the healing power works.
- God’s Will: As long as it’s maintained it keeps evil beings away, evil being as defined by the GM. It’s time for the return of the “we’re assuming you’re using miniatures” unit of measurement, inches! The power keeps threats an inch away, 1 inch=2 yards, so it keeps enemies six feet away. Not too bad, really. Very situational.
- Manna: Once per day, create a day’s worth of food and drink from a single source of food and drink per success. Basically it’s like when Jesus turned the fish and loaves into more fish and loaves. Eating this food adds +3 to all healing rolls for a day. I would give this misplaced D&D spell a pass if it wasn’t for the healing boost, also the fact that you can just clone food. You can literally have your cake and eat it too!
- Might of God: Add +1 Strength per success. 5+ successes increase your size by 1, giving you -2 to Initiative and making you Obvious. If your size increases, you take 1 wound of massive damage when you come down from being swole. However, when the extra Strength fades, you can ignore any wounds that would have been absorbed by the extra Strength. See below for an example.
- Shield of God: Get Armor 1/- for every success.
- Wrath of God: Call down a bolt of fire from above as a ranged attack. Every success adds 1d6+1 massive damage and it bypasses non-power based armor. If the attack misses, check for deviation. The stats are really good, honestly. Rate of fire 1, Quickness 1, Range 10.
I protect the Church while the Master is away.
Thoughts on the Covenant: Okay all of the holy warrior metaplot can just go fuck right off, let’s ignore that terrible business except for the fact that they don’t like Bargainers. The Covie (I’m going to call them Covie) is actually not bad! It’s way more functional than the Bargainer and it has versatility without being spread too thin. It feels like a weaker version of the D&D Cleric inasmuch as it can do a bunch of situational buffing and tricks but the impressive thing is that it makes a healing character substantially more playable. On-demand massive damage holy fire is a nice ability, clone some Subway sandwiches and Cokes then pop your healing ability to help your allies, and Might of God is a pretty good wound-be-gone health buff. You don’t need too many of these powers to have a good range of team-friendly abilities, you’re able to fill roles without needing to mimic other Deltas and you’re not outright broken. Plus holy shit you can actually level up your abilities when you level up because when your Faith skill changes, you get access to a new power! The tricks suck though, I won’t mince words. They’re not good.
The premade Covie has derpy art. He looks like someone badly MSPainted his duds onto a stock model. Aside from that, I would change his skills and stats and tricks. I’d pretty much redo everything about him except for Faith 5. His power choice is good though.
Welp it’s time for these to be simple explanations of powers again. Defenders are able to project energy shields at a fixed size. Attacks from the inside can go out and behind the shield can fit three people including the Defender.
This is not Defender art but eh same principle sort of.
Defenders get Energy Shield, which has Armor 20/- which is nice and beefy and protects from all frontal attacks. For Tricks they get:
Shield Attack: Use an extra success on a barehanded close combat attack to hit someone with the shield for Strength+5 damage. Without an extra success, it just deals regular punching damage.
Turnabout : Use an extra success on a Dodge against a ranged attack (and ranged attacks only) while using your shield to deflect it at a target of your choice. No matter how strong it is, it doesn’t penetrate and you can use your Dodge roll as an attack to redirect the whole damage to someone else (like the shooter).
Officially the shield just protects against attacks from the front but I prefer the interpretation of "wherever your projecting hand is pointing".
Thoughts on the Defender: Not bad. The 20 Armor is quite good and the big selling point of the tricks is a free attack even when you’re defending. You’re very limited with what you can do, unfortunately, and that’s one of the big problems of the Defender. You will be projecting your shield in front of you and advancing with a gun in hand at all times. At least you don’t need to roll anything to shield it up.
Not much to say about the premade character, she’s pretty functional and she’s got a good spread of abilities and skills. I’d shift around some of the skills but she’s playable so that’s good.
The Genius is smart. Like, super smart you guys. That’s it. That’s all they have. I mean, they also have the implicit benefit of being damn near undetectable from most other Deltas short of a DNA test because sometimes people are just smart.
Geniuses get +5 to all Smarts rolls. For Tricks they get:
Stroke of Brilliance: Three extra successes on a raw Smarts roll can let you have some moment of insight relevant to what’s at hand. It’s up to the GM to provide it but it should involve what’s going on and only stuff that’s been overlooked or missed. In short, spend three successes to ask for a hint from the GM. It can only be used once per session and if you’re not missing anything then you know you’re not missing anything.
I’ve Got a Plan: Spend an extra success on a Tactics roll to evaluate a plan and find a hole in it. For every extra success, the GM must give them a solution for one hole. The Genius is privy to a slice of the GM’s knowledge for this Trick, but the solution does not have to be the best answer, it just has to be an answer. Instead of “knock out the guard when he turns around the corner at the end of the corridor”, the GM can tell you “kill the guard when his back is turned and hide the body”. There is NO limit to how often you can use this, but the GM should basically be wary of anyone trying to cheese any danger repeatedly with this. Also the plan may be perfect but then someone fails a roll and it all goes to shit.
I got nothing, sorry. I dislike this class heavily.
Thoughts on the Genius: ugggggggggh fuck
So you get +5 to all Smart things (which is okay at best) and you get the ability to metagame if you invest in it. When combat rolls around none of that is worth a damn. Maybe if you’re in a more cerebral/espionage-focused campaign, this would be a good choice. Otherwise you can’t do much besides Be Smart At All Times and be only as powerful as your body and abilities are. I, personally, am used to good uses of smart characters. Rocket Age’s Man/Woman of Science lets you sub your Science skill in to do other things but at a cost and that’s fun and it gives you more functionality. This is just a real depiction of being wildly out of your depth in most situations in a country where everyone is armed and terrified of terrorism.
On the premade character: see above. No real survivability because he has 5 Smarts and everything else he’s dabbled in lightly.
In the Dead Rising games, being able to mix liquids and foods together to make drinks is a handy ability that lets you buff Frank or Chuck. One of the mixed drinks is called Spitfire and in the case of Frank his spit becomes a deadly projectile while Chuck hawks a flaming loogie that ignites zombies. I'm telling you this because Brave New World's Hot Shot is the exact same thing as Chuck Green expectorating flames, just ten years earlier.
The Hot Shot can spit actual fire that deals massive damage. As a secondary power, the Hot Shot is completely immune to damage from fire, heat or smoke. For Tricks they get:
Burn, Baby, Burn: The fire ignites the target (if possible) with an extra success on an attack. This continues to deal 5d6 massive damage per round until the target is extinguished.
Flaming Hot: Spend an action to increase bonus damage dealt by 2 up to +10. An extra success on an attack is needed for the flaming hot bonus to take effect when you release.
Buddy what the hell is wrong with that body of yours?
Thoughts on the Hot Shot: Massive damage is always nice because it softens up the whole target and if they don't have full-body armor it gets into the cracks. The spitfire attack isn't particularly bad but you really do need BBB to get a DOT advantage in combat that the other classes are somewhat lacking in. Plus, being on fire requires at least one character to devote time to putting out the fire and anything that eats enemy actions in the combat economy is handy. The immunity to fire and smoke inhalation is a neat bonus as well. You're a one-trick combat pony but you have your attacks out of the way and can focus on whatever else you want to be, which I appreciate. Just make sure you get some points in Shooting and Dodge. I could take or leave Flaming Hot.
I don't have much to say about the premade character except for the fact that Bull's Eye is useless because the attack always does massive damage so targeting body parts doesn't matter in the slightest. He should have something else. Also maybe take those points out of gambling.
The Screamer has sonic pipes and can use them if they put their mind to it. Otherwise they have a generally lovely voice.
The Sonic Blast power always targets the head and never targets any other part of the body. The attack, on paper, deals 5d6+5 damage but because it always targets the head it actually deals 7d6+5 damage. Earplugs provide 10/- armor against sonic blasts at the cost of deafening the wearer. Otherwise there's no protection short of being completely encased in armor (like power armor, unfortunately). As a secondary power, Screamers are completely immune to all sonic attacks. For Tricks they get:
Shatter: Use extra successes to shatter any glass within six feet of the Screamer, increasing the range by 6 feet for every success.
Rattle Brain: Use three extra successes on a Sonic Blast to deal stun damage. Spend the three extra successes, roll the damage and then double it and apply it as stun.
The Scream Lines are vital to show that her power is working.
Thoughts on the Screamer: We have the first nonlethal option for power use! Three successes is pretty fucking high of a cost to pay! To deal nonlethal damage, you have to have a minimum result of at least 20. That's just gross. It keys off Shooting and if you put 5 in Shooting there's nowhere to go but up, but you still have to roll at least three explosions to scream someone into submission nonlethally because otherwise it's plain Jane cranial damage. How fucking weird is that. Lower that number to 2 successes at the very least, geeze. Aside from that, I like how it auto-targets heads and Shatter could be a handy utility ability but it also might be more trouble than it's worth.
Alright premade character why the fuck do you have Bull's Eye. Is it for that gun you have? C'mon. C'mon premade character. Also good god that outfit, where does that kevlar vest go? Finally your quote is ridiculous, goodnight.
Get tiny and keep all of your stats and skills and abilities as a little body. Also your clothes but nothing else. If you want a tiny gun, tough shit.
The Shrinker can shrink up to a minimum height of one inch in one action or return to their full height or anything between, which is an actual inch, not a hexmap inch. It would be funny to me if they meant the map inch because that means that the Shrinker can become a minimum height of six feet. Every point of reduction of size gives you +1 to Stealth and Armor +2/- because of flesh/bone density. So going from Size 5 to 4 gives them +1 Stealth and Armor 2/-. The big upside of shrinking is that your Strength stays the same so despite massive damage applying if you get stepped on at size 1 you still have full-size wound threshold. Being tiny also adds to the TN to shoot you. For Tricks they get:
Growth Charge: When you're smaller and brawling with someone, you can grow as a free action and add +2 damage to the attack for every point of size you grow.
Disappear: Spend an extra success on a Dodge to make the attacker lose track of you unless they use a full action or you hit them.
Damn shame she can't have a tiny gun.
Thoughts on the Shrinker: Okay so the Shrinker is kinda fucking broken and here is why. As is written, size 1 is the size of a baby/bowling ball/cat. I know zero babies, cats or bowling balls as big as an inch. There is no actual relative size for being an inch tall which means either A: you can never be smaller than a cat or B: you have to invent new size ratings to go smaller. That's the bad part of the broken parts because here is my shameful secret: there are still fucking Geocities/Tripod-era Brave New World fansites still up on the internet that I currently can't access because their Oocities hosting isn't working that well. And we're talking old 90s fandom that still exists and one of them actually has errata corrections from e-mail correspondence with Matt Forbeck. So at the moment, I cannot say which is supposed to be the case.
Here's what I can tell you: because you're keeping all of your stats and traits even while small, you can still go your full pace, you can still punch with your full strength, you can still jump as high as you normally could. So go ahead and be tiny and stealthy forever. I would prefer if you could keep the items in your clothes with you at your size, but that's probably because they don't want you to be able to stab a man to death with a tiny dagger for game balance.
The premade Shrinker is cool and statted well and that's great.
Be stealthy and see in the dark. That's it.
Sneaks get +5 to Stealth and the ability to turn on nightvision. However, if nightvision is active and you're exposed to light, TN 10 Strength check or be stunned until you make the roll. For Tricks they get:
In Plain Sight: Extra success on a Stealth roll and standing still in a shadow lets you add +10 to your last stealth roll until you move or make an action. This doesn't work on people who can see you before you use stealth but if they blink or turn around you can use it.
Radar: An extra success on a perception roll lets you keep track of everything around you even if you can't see them. Doesn't work in noisy environments.
This guy is wearing the shirt as the "I survived Catholic school" kid earlier. So either this actually is that kid from earlier, or my theory which is that he killed that kid and is impersonating him and he's shushing you so you won't blow his cover. Either way, he looks creepy and gross.
Thoughts on the Sneak: The Shrinker can do this as well as you can and they can actively do more than be a creepy shadowbound lurker. The Shrinker is cool and is my friend. This is incredibly situational and really the big benefit is nightvision but it still has that Drow light blindness attached to it and that's annoying. I don't like the Sneak. You're worse than the Genius to me, The Sneak.
Also your art is crazy creepy, you look like a Looney Tunes reject.
With a glance you're movin' shit with your miiiiiiind. Requires a brand new skiiiiill. That's pretty much iiiiiiit.
Telekinetics have Telekinetic Martial Arts which rolls off Smarts and deals Smarts damage coming in Bareminded (ugh), Blade and Club styles. You can move things up to Size 3 up to twice your Pace. For Tricks they get:
Fast Mind: Extra success on an attack roll can let you make another attack at +5 TN for the next attack. The TN stacks and this can keep rolling until you miss or don't get another extra success.
Mental Shield: Use an extra success on a dodge to get 10/- armor for all attacks for the rest of the round.
Better bullet theft through psychic shenanigans.
Thoughts on the Telekinetic: The Telekinetic isn't bad but it kinda suffers from Skill Bloat. It also doesn't make it clear what "Bareminded" is so I guess it's just mental punches which is probably the best option for Maximum Subtlety by throwing invisible punches. The reactive shield is a nice touch and so is Fast Mind. They suffer from a lack of damage output, though; you're limited to raw rolls of your Smarts.
Not much to say about the premade character. I like her tie mask and I like her personality and Fast Learner is a bad Trick, she should have taken Bull's Eye or Extra Damage.
Ohhhh man this is a fun Delta.
Teleporters can teleport on a Navigation roll (TN 5) and can teleport 10 inches (60 feet) for every success on a roll. That's line of sight; if you can't see it but have been there, you need an extra success to go there. You flat out can't teleport to a place you've never been to. Failing a teleportation teleports you into an occupied space and ejects you into the nearest open area and deals 5d6+10 damage that bypasses armor. So put 5 points in Navigation and never worry about telefragging yourself. You can also teleport reflexively on a dodge. For Tricks they get:
Teleport Friend: When you teleport, you can bring one person you're touching per extra success. Make a Navigation roll per passenger so they don't get telefragged.
Teleport Foe: Touch an enemy in melee to forcibly teleport them wherever you want. Into the floor or ceiling, perhaps. Yes this damages enemies.
The look and fashion of a man prepared to go anywhere.
Thoughts on the Teleporter: The Porter rules . An attack that always bypasses armor is great! You can fuck around faster than you can normally move! You can just bypass shit the GM has planned! The Porter rules and is fun and the main downside is that teleporting costs an action and so does teleporting enemies. It's not a very economical ability so First Move is a good choice. Alternately you could teleport around with shotguns and explode them with point-blank damage or drop grenades.
I like this guy's outfit and his personality! He is also appropriate statted and fuck you get rid of Bull's Eye and take First Move instead.
Take hits and keep surviving. When the going gets tough, I come up with a better joke.
Not Tough art, just art.
The Tough gets 20/- armor forever at all times and a modified version of Fast Healer that lets them make a full-body healing roll every 8 hours. For Tricks they get:
Catch Attack: Use an extra dodge success to catch any attack and instantly negate any damage. Bullet? Pluck it out of the air. Melee weapon? You can instantly make a Strength roll to disarm the enemy. They don't say anything about grenades or Blaster energy but the game doesn't say I can't catch those so fuck you I'm catching those. You also get +5 to Intimidate for the rest of the encounter.
No Fear: This requires you to buy a t-shirt or a skateboard I haven't seen since high school. Use an extra success on a barehanded roll to deal Strength+5 damage because you have no fear of using your body recklessly to attack someone.
Local Teen Fucking Invincible.
Thoughts on the Tough: The Tough joins the Scrapper and Bouncer as a versatile melee class, being way more survivable than the rest by eating damage for breakfast. I like the Tough. I like that reflexively they can just devour an attempt to attack them and throw it right in the trash. It's a melee focused class, but it would also make an effective give-no-fucks ranged attacker just walking through a hail of bullets. 20 Armor against everything is really good.
The premade character is good, I'd just lower Spirit and bump Speed because Speed rules everything around me. I like how he's fucking up his clothing being a dumb showoff.
Most Likely To Kill A Room Full Of People Without Breaking A Sweat: Tie between the Hot Shot and the Screamer. Honorable Mention: a Covenant with the ability to call down the Wrath.
Best Battlefield Control/Exploitation: Hands down the Teleporter with the Shrinker coming in as a close second by being tiny and still able to run at full speed.
Most Pigeonholed Into One Job: Ugh, the Sneak. I hate you, the Sneak. Coming in second is the Defender. The energy shield is nice but that's really all you can do. Also I guess the Genius but I hate the Sneak more than the Genius. At least the Genius can spark a fight with the GM.
Melee Class Most Affected By Dex-Focus in Game Engine: Tough call. The Shrinker has a melee bonus with growth-punching, but I would say the Tough in this case. The game desperately wants the Tough to be a melee badass despite melee being the less effective course of action but at least he can roll with the pain. He gets off much lighter.
Peak 90s: Either the Hot Shot for flaming spit being ridiculous or the Covenant for being a sincere attempt at a badass religious assassin type with shitty metaplot. It's a tie.
Most Cribbed Directly From Deadlands: The Covenant for being on a mission from God and endowed with Blessings, as it were.
Best Optional Combat Rule Shenanigans: The Teleporter for telefragging enemies. Alternately, the Defender's ability to redirect enemy projectiles into their allies.
Most Broken Class (Not In A Good Way): The Shrinker, technically, for its minimum size being kind of wacky. I don't like it when homebrew rules or e-mailing the developers is a necessity to answer a question. This might change to Nobody if I find out the errata answer.
NEXT TIME: setting secrets and thoughts on Ravaged Planet.
The Truth of the MatterOriginal SA post
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER
Alright alright alright let's finish this book up. The rest of this review will consist of setting secrets, the afterword with Matt Forbeck's direct, personal thoughts and my final thoughts.
The main annoying thing about the setting secrets is that they expand on things mentioned or contradict the info given to the players for the GM to know.
First, Jack Billington V and Wilbur Jeffries never really left Patriot's life after his awakening and attempt to save Jack and his mother. Jack is simple: instead of growing up to be some kind of Batman, Jack basically just thinks Patriot's responsible for his father's death by not stepping in sooner. He was attempting to bring down Patriot but ultimately couldn't and attended his execution instead. Jeffries, however, was a more active threat to Patriot. He pulled himself back together after his explosion and kept attacking Patriot throughout the years before getting put in New Alcatraz. They actually crossed paths before Patriot's execution and he tried to kill Patriot for good but failed. The attempt was on behalf of Delta Prime and for his efforts, Wilbur Jeffries is still getting out of jail in a few months.
Patriot didn't actually know about what happened at Dallas but his assessment of the nuking of 88 was spot on. The bombing of Georgia was a direct response to a CIA assassination attempt on Tretyak while the CIA claims they were trying to help protect him. The Delta boy from Chicago is alive and well and in his teens. Patriot's been keeping tabs on him for years and the boy (Brendan Saim) is considering following in Patriot's footsteps. Patriot's explanation of Defiance is underplaying the reach of the organization to try and throw off any Primer who reads it, but he did in fact write the whole thing. Finally, his trial was not live, it was heavily edited before being broadcast to the world and his lawyer was not a Delta, just a courageous man.
IS PATRIOT DEAD?
"As far as everyone knows, Patriot is extremely dead". He's definitely alive as a martyr for the cause of Defiance, though. People are rallying behind armbands with his mask on them or using his mask as a symbol in graffiti or on posters.
"EAT LEAD, HIPPIE!" "Hey man, don't steal Patriot's phrase like that!"
Ben Archer of Triumph Inc. is a Delta and he's made a deal with JFK to stay out of the draft. Delta Prime is not allowed to touch him or even record what his powers are. Only the President and a few others know what he can do.
The tunnels beneath Crescent City that carry cables and sewer water are home to an entire culture of homeless and people who dwell out of sight for their own personal reasons. There's no formal government but if you have to live underground, you can.
Nobody actually escapes from New Alcatraz. Sure, Alphas get loose and knock over buildings but they didn't escape. In actuality the warden allows Alphas to cut deals with Delta Prime: work for us and you get unofficial amnesty when your assignment is done (until we catch you and bring you back). Delta Prime gets to take care of a problem that needs big guns, the Alpha gets to breathe, the warden gets more funding because people are scared of it happening again. Everyone's happy.
Your average Alpha on "parole" in a "meeting" with their "parole officer".
Mayor Jefferson really doesn't give a fuck about running the city. Don Vito Gabriel's mafia runs the city as long as he keeps the smaller gangs in line. On the other side of things, the corrupt Commissioner Fleming actually keeps an honest man in the CCPD: Chief Harv Newcomb. Newcomb isn't stupid; Fleming keeps him on for the purpose of a moral backbone somewhere in the department. So instead of operating overtly, Newcomb has a bunch of trusted cops who keep quiet and actually dole out justice in secret to work from within.
VAMPIRES: Vampires are the result of people getting similar Delta powers and drawbacks from getting their awakening from surviving the blast. If the Covenant has Deltas with the same exact powers that is only obtainable from being a religious person, why not vampires? The main support for this theory is that while the Georgian vampires are well known, there are actually San Francisco vampires too.
EVIL UNLIMITED: Evil Unlimited is stealing designs from the CPR lab at MIT and they're also backing the Texas Separation Movement. They're only doing the latter to create a demand to sell weapons, tools and gadgets.
Teleportation still rules, FYI.
HOLLYWOOD: Brian Selvin has low-level mind control powers and uses it to dupe studio executives that his Delta clients can actually act. However, when the movies reach the American public, their actors suck royally and he's starting to have trouble keeping clients and studio numbers. He had another agent take the fall for it and that agent is getting out of prison soon to confront him. I don't really care about Hollywood.
LIBYA: Gaddafi is a Delta now because of CIA assassination attempts. This is the main reason he hates the US so much and is hell-bent on running an army of terrorists.
CHINA: There are plenty of Deltas in China. The intel operatives in Beijing just know how to keep their mouths shut. The government's plan is to keep the identity of all of their Deltas a secret until the moment they have to reveal them, and all of their Deltas are trained soldiers of the PRC.
Archie Comics took a weird turn. I can't even joke about that, Archie Comics have been knocking it out of the park lately. Go check out Archie vs. Predator, that shit's wild but actually good.
COVENANT: Why do they all have the same powers? Wait until the expansion. There is also an elite black ops squad of Deltas with plausible deniability that answer to the Pope.
USSR: Mikhail Tretyak lead his coup on the back of lies. He wasn't a Delta until 1988 when the attempt on his life actually gave him powers. He's a type of Delta that will come up in later books called a Lazarus: it takes a very specific type of death to put him down for good and every time he's under the weather he's actually recovering from a "successful" assassination attempt. How badly his corpse is mangled sets how long it takes him to recover.
THE U.N.: The U.N. will not get its shit together, make a kick-ass team of socially-minded Deltas and save the world nor will it bring everyone to the table and get change done. There's too much shit getting in the way for that to happen.
Y'know I think I've been putting this in my own words long enough. I have a chance to actually let the author speak for himself so why don't I do just that? Presented, without my commentary, are Matt Forbeck's thoughts on Ravaged City and Brave New World. I have omitted who this book is dedicated to. Keep in mind this was written in 1999.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON RAVAGED PLANET
Let me first offer a big fat shrug. I did not like this book. It has a very bad fluff/crunch ratio for a 162 page book. Two of the new Delta powers are just complete ass. The world is drawn in these broad strokes that don't do much to interest me in it and the winks and nudges to future sourcebooks are resoundingly meh. The whole metaplot of the Covenant is an absolute joke and let me be absolutely honest when I say that the Bargainer/Covenant rivalry and the fact that they're playing an entirely different fucking game is the worst part of this whole game line. The plot secrets aren't even really anything interesting this time around. This book is supposed to make the world bigger and more real and add to the plot and all it does is fart loudly while sprinkling some confetti on the core book.
Seeing the list of influences is the most interesting part of this book to me. Let's ignore all of the political documents. The worst parts of The Dark Knight Returns, Kingdom Come, StormWatch and Watchmen are definitely felt in this game. It namechecks Underground (which I hold to be a much better game, if only for the fact that there are cannibalism fast food joints with disposable guns in the kids' meals) and Champions and DC Roleplaying. At the end of the day, this game really is just a list of half-baked homages and personal ideas.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK FOR THE GAME LINE? Keep some of the Delta powers, throw everything else out. Come up with your own ideas. Hell, have your own idea and play it in Champions or on some other system. Don't play Brave New World.
Two down, seven to go. NEXT TIME: let's go deeper into the resistance with BRAVE NEW WORLD: DEFIANTS.