SLA Industries: The Contact Directory by Traveller
WWE, Running Man and Jersey Shore, in a blenderOriginal SA post SLA Industries: The Contract Directory
WWE, Running Man and Jersey Shore, in a blender
That cannot be a safe place to lie on, lady.
Hi and welcome to the writeup for the Contract Killers sourcebook! I know, I know, I am a dirty liar, but you just have to see this shit. Mort was, honestly, a really good book: it had a lot of usable material, it was a blast to read, and it was neatly organized. The Contract Directory is not bad , mind you... but it definitely takes after the corebook more. A lot more. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that by then Hogshead was publishing it instead of WotC (though I think the Key of Delhyread module was SLA's first Hogshead book.) Anyway.
Fiction! It has a girl talking to what seems to be the girl-murdering creeper SLA books always start with. They're both in a strange room, with walls that might be made of stone, plastic, or agonizing beings. 90s! Oh, wait, this is a 2001 book. He is talking about something, but she can't really remember how long she has been listening - months, or weeks.
The Creeper posted:
"He's such a boring wanker. I don't think I'd be so bitter about it if he wasn't so fucking uptight, and you can tell him that from me next time you go back."
He suddenly leapt up, contorted with fury and loathing, face towards the distant skies.
"DO YOU HEAR ME? YOU'RE A ARSEHOLE!"
His rage quickly subsides, and then asks the girl if she can feel something going on - something new, not "him." Of course she can't, he explains. The creeper starts turning into a spiky monster, and the girl flees as he erupts into white light.
And now for something completely different! Life as a Contract Killer is jawsome. Life and death battles, product sponsorship, tracking down wanted criminals in Hunter Sheets, giving interviews, hitting the party life... Contract Killers are on view for their adoring public, 24/7. What they don't tell the Contract Killers before they sign up, though, is the times when they are not on camera. The secret missions demanded by their sponsors, the assignments SLA passes on the down low, the jobs that are deemed too dirty, dangerous or violent for normal operatives or Shivers. Life in the Contract Circuit is not all ultraviolence and sunshine.
People join the Contract Killers for the lure of easy money and fame beyond their wildest dreams, and they do get that. They also get killed at any time, by their own peers, just because the public asked them to. Allies and friends are vanishingly rare, and since tragedy sells as much as sex, almost none of them can afford not to stab you in the back if paid to do so. Life as a Contract Killer is a solitary one. And, of course, your sponsors and SLA Industries will be holding your leash at all times.
Contract Killers are mad. This is not figurative, but literal: the entire program started as a way to find useful work for operatives driven mad by the job, and all Contract Killers have to get a Psychological Examination and Evaluation Exception Certificate as their very first requirement. Eventually, these maddened operatives (tasked with suicidal, high-violence jobs) started fighting among each other in the streets, and the media took over - but that doesn't mean Killers have stopped working for SLA. However, Contract Killers are locked out of SLA's information services: their SCL is effectively locked at 11 (basic employee, whereas even a rookie regular operative has a SCL of 10) for information retrieval purposes because SLA judges Killers to be mentally ill and untrustworthy. In fact, learning stuff over their SCL, even accidentally in the course of their duties, is grounds for financial fines depending on the SCL of the piece of info. Contract Killers soon learn to be deaf and blind when it counts.
While Contract Killers can get money by completing Hunter Sheets, which are basically WANTED DEAD posters, the real credits are in Circuit fights. Payment will depend on the type of match, as a tame 20-man first-blood novice fight won't pay as much as a no holds barred deathmatch against a superior Killer. Those details are handled by the Killer's agent, and the Killer will need to prove their worth in order to get better matches. The Street Circuit, Killer brawls that can break out anywhere in Downtown, is also an option. Sponsors will also have plenty of work to do for the Killer, pushing the merchandise, working the celebrity angle... and doing certain little jobs. They're kind of non-optional, both the PR work and the 'jobs.'
DO YOU EVEN HAIR
Sponsors! Contract Killers live and die by sponsorship, and companies also rely a lot on the Killers they sponsor - they're image, and in SLA Industries, image is all. Full sponsorship gets the company 30 hours a week of the Killer's time for their exclusive use, or 10 hours for a partial sponsorship contract, as well as the right to arrange fights, events and public appearances without previous arrangement or notice. Ah, corporates! The potential sponsors are divided in five sets depending on the Killer's reputation ranks: a rookie starts at Rank 1 and they better start working it up fast.
Set 1 (Rep 1-3) companies are the least important, and usually provide free supplies of their product along with their money. Example: Coffee Cigarettes .
Set 2 (Rep 4-5) companies are similar to Set 1, but their products tend to be better quality or more useful for a Killer. Example: Track Optics .
Set 3 (Rep 6-7) companies are the media. They'll get the Killer as much airtime as possible as long as they make the company look good, and try to get the Killer to go to certain places to 'look good'. Places like GoreZones. Example: Gorezone .
Set 4 (Rep 8-9) companies are arms manufacturers. Now we're talking. They will get their 'field agent' examples of what they produce, and perhaps even prototype equipment. Example: FEN .
Finally, Set 5 (Rep 10) belongs to SLA's own departments. The sponsoring department will be favorably disposed to their Killer, which counts quite a bit if people like Cloak Division are footing the bill, and provide valuable gear if they produce it (Karma, Dark Lament)
Of course, all of this actually requires that the Killer wears the company logos on their stuff. A full sponsorship deal means that the Killer only wears a single company's logo, and it's kind of frowned upon because apparently it makes them 'corporate sellouts.' Partial sponsorships pay a percentage of their full sponsorship price depending on the place their logo goes: possible locations include shoulders, torso (front and back), head, groin, arms and legs. This kind of sponsorship is what Killers that want to be seen as independent want. Of course, they will have to juggle duties for all of their sponsors, and they better not be creating a conflict of interest by taking money from rival companies at the same time.
The Killers need to be on camera, too. Lower rank Killers only get the auspices of a single Videodrone, a remote controlled robot camera, and their footage is amateur quality at best. Good footage means more drones are assigned to the killer, and at Rep 5+ camera crews are permanently assigned. As a matter of fact, since Killers are supposed to be always on camera, they can make some money off non-Circuit appearances (say, if footage of them is used in a film, or if they try to do some, ahem, 'adult entertainment' shots) Of course, the camera pressure can be too much for them, and recently fines have been introduced to discourage 'accidents' against the Videodrones... or the camera crews.
And speaking of cameras, let's look at the main Contract Circuit TV shows!
Gorezone is open to regular operatives and even civilians as well as Killers. The oldest gig in the Circuit, with many people saying it's the best. We know how it goes - crew opens the hatches in Lower Downtown, mutants and worse enter the city, Killers clean house. Rinse, wash and repeat. Torture Trail involves 10-15 Killers: each of them is given the identity of a single other Killer, and must try to extract the identity of the next one in the chain from that Killer. By any means necessary. Prizes are awarded to the winner, as well as the (public-rated) most impressive victim. Kill Zone is open to experienced Killers and operatives only, and tracks the players for 36 hours as they murder their way through their enemies. Sponsorship contracts always carry bonuses for successful Kill Zone appearances. Slaughterhouse Six is open to all 'citizens' of Mort through a selection process, and is about taking out a group of six targets voted from the public. Players spend as much time wasting each other as well as the targets. Metal Murder is a blades-only countdown deathmatch. Players are expected to make kills with style and obscure bladed weapons. Last Man Standing is fairly self explanatory, but requires qualifying in Circuit fixtures or a direct invitation by Third Eye. If more than one Killer survives the 3-6 hours it last, no one gets anything. Blood Money is an interactive show where the viewers offer money as bounty on those taking part in the game. For extra excitement, the names and addresses of those offering the money are revealed publicly. Players can include Props, gangsters and just plain crazy citizens. Alpha Wolf is an objective-based game where players have to team up, take out prey in dangerous places like the Cannibal Sectors, and complete their objective. Viewers then vote for the team's "Alpha Wolf", the MVP. Demolition is a deathmatch hosted in a condemned building, where players have to take each other out while avoiding the demolition charges blasting around them. There is a parallel quiz show where winners get to choose which charges explode - with a bonus if they get a Killer in the process. Saviours and Sinners have one citizen and 15 Killers as the players: the citizen has to run a designated course and pick up an object from each checkpoint. Meanwhile, the Killers are divided in Saviours, who protect the citizen, and Sinners, who try to kill the citizen and the Saviours. For extra fun, the audience can vote to turn a Saviour into a Sinner and vice versa, though at least three of each side can never be turned in order to give the contestant a chance. Finally, The Counter has a 'lucky' contestant chosen as a target: they get to choose two participating Killers to protect them, and the audience chooses five Killers to take them out. It last for three days, and the audience can also bid to bring more Killers into the game.
I thought this wasn't the 90s! It says 2001 there!
Next: The Circuit!
Good fight, good night!Original SA post SLA Industries: The Contract Directory
Good fight, good night!
Sanction, Human Contract Killer (Rep 6) posted:
There's a hundred thousand people out there screaming your name, looking at you, worshipping you. Everything else is driven out of your mind. It's like being a god. That's what it's all about. It makes the bullshit and the signing tours and the cloak-n-dagger crap all worth while. I sold my soul for that kick. It's worth every penny.
Arena combat! Think wrasslin' matches only times A THOUSAND , riding a motorcycle on fire and doing backflips in the air while screaming Anarchy in the UK to the top of your lungs. When Killers reach the arena, it's time to show the audience what they're made of - not just as fighters, but as stars and entertainers. Arena combat is as much showmanship and image as actual fighting, and the secret is appealing to the cameras and doing anything that promotes your image. No one knows what may happen in the arena - maybe the audience intervenes, maybe an agent is trying to throw the fight, maybe a weapon malfunctions. Hell, maybe the audience wants you to kill your opponent, but you want to spare their life. One thing arena combat never is, though, is dull.
There are arenas all over Mort City, and the biggest and greatest is THE Arena, the Circuit-1 Arena in Uptown. With more than 30 different fighting venues, an auditorium that seats 250,000 people, restaurants, arcades, casinos and more, it's the mecca for Contract Circuit aficionados. Killers love The Arena, as it's clean, reputable, well paid and has some serious media coverage. Of course, only the best of the best and the shiniest of the shiniest fight in The Arena: to qualify, a Killer must have a Charisma of at least 6, and an edge that makes them specifically interesting. The Arena normally only hosts matches for Rep 7+ fighters, with occasional exceptions.
In Upper Downtown, there are also lots of arenas, descending in sophistication the lower you go (Level 10 arenas are cleared streets, basically.) The main Downtown arena is Tynes Complex , a huge, sprawling maze of venues, bars and betting parlors stretching across three levels and with many, many secret exits and corridors leading to another twelve levels. The reason for this is that Tynes Complex is responsible for the Circuit Amnesty, under which any renegade, subversive or criminal can register as a Killer and gain immunity from SLA prosecution while in Circuit grounds. So long as they don't commit illegal acts while in Circuit territory, they cannot be held accountable for previous crimes while within a Circuit building, and at Rep 9+ this immunity is extended to cover all locations. This means that people can watch in relative safety at Tynes Complex some of SLA's greatest enemies squaring off with their heroes: DarkNight's own Lisa Foden chewing out SLA journalists, Thresher pilots arm wrestling with SLA pilots, and more. To the frustration of certain operatives, the Amnesty is policed by an ostentatious number of Dark Finders and Ebon Guards retained by the Complex management, who take their neutrality very seriously.
What the fuck is the guy in the middle shooting at?
So, about the games in the Arena Circuit! Kinetic Pit is one of the oldest and most loved contests, and it's basically unarmed combat on fighting platforms. These usually come in one-to-one matches and tag team battles, where Killers square off and fight until one fighter (or side) resigns, falls unconscious or some other objective is met, like being the last one standing in the fighting platform. Kinetic Pits can also host Melees (20-man free for all punchfests) and Brawls (like Melees only team based). Tag team matches in particular attract the most crowds, surprisingly enough - as Kinetic Pits are the games with the least bloodshed and fatalities. Weapons and combat drugs are not allowed, and they are usually designated No Kill Zones. Of course, 'accidents' happen.
Hades Hole follows similar principles as Kinetic Pit, only that weapons, drugs and armor are allowed. Okay, ballistic weapons and heavy (PV 10+) armor are restricted, but anything else goes. As such, Hades Holes are the most violent events in the arenas. The fights are usually administrated through a handicap system where fighters of similar prowess are matched together, though grudge challenges are the most popular type of fight. The Pendulum is an exhausting event where Killers are strapped by one arm to a frame suspended over the ring. Once the frame is elevated from the ground, the Killer's strap is extended down, so that they can start swinging around to strike at their opponent or grab one of the weapons on the cage walls. Weapons are allowed, with the exception of jolt gloves. The most common injury is, of course, the loss of the arm. Multi-limbed Killers are only paired off against opponents with the same characteristics, and Vevaphons can only fight other Vevaphons. The Gauntlet is a 100m track where the first 50m are free and the last 50 are surrounded by a crowd of randomly selected audience volunteers. The Killers have to run to the end without getting kicked and punched to death by the crowd: while frowned upon, some Killers do strike back, which does nothing to deter volunteers for The Gauntlet. Fish in a Barrel is one of the newest events, and it's on the rise. Twenty-ish Killers are locked in a blast-proof room, which is in complete darkness. The room is flooded up to knee level, and the Killers must stand against the walls of the room until the buzzer sounds - at which moment, everyone runs to get one of the weapons piled at the center of the room. These are mostly unpowered close combat weapons, with the odd pistol or two for extra excitement. 313 Stormers are the only ones allowed to participate for obvious reasons, though sometimes Stormer-only matches are held. The Hunt is a very tense event with little room for stage chewing or showmanship, attracting some of the best snipers and combat experts of SLA and the Soft Companies. It takes place in specially designed areas that mimic Downtown, jungles, the Cannibal Sectors and other places. The Hunt is usually run as a multi-player event that may last for days or minutes, depending on the number and skill of the Killers. Common variations include team deathmatches and 'fox and hounds' events where one skilled Killer faces a group of Domino Dogs or other cannon fodder and newcomer Killers. The most popular variant, of course, is last man standing deathmatch. The ones that make the most money from the Hunt, though, are Contract Hunters - specially designated Killers that bring in exotic alien animals from all over the universe to fight in the arenas.
Challenges! These are a must to stay in the Circuit, and since major events like Fish in a Barrel and The Hunt are oversubscribed, Killers need to forge their reputations to get in, and that means getting into fights. Wise Killers soon learn not to accept every single challenge offered, though - those young hopefuls that do tend not to last very long. Rules-wise, challenges are Rep rolls (2d10+Rep), with a +1 for each media appearance in the month and +3 if the Killer's agent is arranging a specific match, versus a difficulty of 10 + twice the challenged Killer's Rep, +7 if it's a grudge match to the death. The default challenge is Kinetic Pit, while special challenges like Hades Hole and The Pendulum add to the difficulty. Getting into the big multiplayer events depends on the event (for instance, getting into The Gauntlet is solved as a challenge against a Rep 6 Killer)
"Get me a chance to smash Bob's head in, and I will shill for all the insurance scams you want."
Circuit Law is the framework of rules around the Circuit. They were made not to protect the Killers or the audience, but to make sure fights last as long as possible and are as impressive as possible. Failure to entertain will bring stern responses. Despite differences on how the referees of particular arenas stick to them, Circuit Law is respected all over the World of Progress, and violation is punished heavily.
Killers have the right to wear the logos of any sponsors with which they have an official contract. Killers may take the life of another Killer if the contest they are into is to the death. If a Killer takes a life in a contest that is not to the death, they might be subject to a disciplinary hearing. Death of a Killer in Circuit grounds, but not on a designated event, is treated very harshly - anyone caught killing a Killer this way is summarily executed. Some areas are designated No-Kill Zones - fights may take place in them, but only up to unconsciousness. Physical or brain death is punishable by a ban from the Circuit. Killers can also be temporarily suspended from the Circuit for a variety of reasons, which tends to hit them in the wallet as they also lose on sponsorship deals while the suspension is in effect.
The handicap system is there so that situations like a Chagrin hooked up on Ultraviolence doesn't end up fighting an unpowered human armed only with a dagger. It works well at lower levels, less so as Rep increases. Rules-wise, Rep 1-5 characters will be placed against opponents of similar characteristics (STR, DEX and best fighting skill within 2 points of each) and armament (weapons, if used, will have DMG and PEN within one point of each other). At Rep 6-8, GM fiat takes over, and if things don't end up entirely balanced, eh, it's all in the game. Rep 9+ characters will usually have enough clout to know all their possible opponents and pick their fights as they please. Weaker Killers can use whatever a stronger opponent uses in a match, though if a challenger takes on a stronger Killer in a grudge match, handicap benefits are completely waived.
As for Ebb users, the problem is that Ebb use is almost impossible to monitor. Currently, the Circuit disallows Ebb in any match that has Ebbless fighters, but tends to pair Ebb users against other Ebb users only. The Arena has a Glyph Pillar like the ones that protect the Pit, but other venues are not as fortunate. Many other solutions have been tried, including asking Dark Lament for a piece of equipment that could somehow absorb offensive Ebb abilities. Dark Lament was interested, but Preceptor Teeth shut down the project for obvious reasons. Currently, there are secret talks between Circuit authorities and Karma searching for a solution.
Let's go away from Mort! Meny and Orienta have their own Circuits, and events there usually work as regional qualifiers, with the best Killers moving on to Uptown's Arena. Offworld, the Circuits are affected by the planet's culture: for instance New Paris (the 'Poseurs Circuit') is as much about having the Killers show off the latest fashion designs as competing for the title of New Paris Champion, while Hades, an industrial world full of Ebons and Brain Wasters, holds brutal mental contests to decide which one of them is the strongest. The world of Polo has the most variety in events, and more often than not they are about testing the speed and agility of the Killers rather than their strength. The Run, for instance, is a 3D maze full of traps that Killers need to negotiate in the least time possible. Even in the War World of Dante can one find a Contract Circuit, where Killers duke it out against DarkNight and Thresher opponents in the middle of battlefields. I wonder who watches Dante matches, though, since no one ever gives a fuck about War Worlds.
Life in Downtown: still shitty.
Other exotic locations include Cyrus III , a world ruined after DarkNight corruption and subsequent SLA retaliation. The scenic architectural ruins are a great plus, though Killers have to be wary of unstable structures, unexploded ammo and wild animals and scavengers. Customs Station L-6 Echo 5 is one of the stations that surround Mort as first line of defense and as a deterrent to contraband. Zero-g combat is an exciting challenge, and special gravity-enabled corridors are prepared to familiarize newcomer Killers with the rigors of fighting in outer space. The Barrows Gauntlet was a luxury housing project in Downtown that went down the crapper, metaphorically as funds were slashed and the project turned into low rent housing, and then literally as terrorist bombs ended up sinking the project into the sewers. Killers face unstable footing, rubble, and aggressive Carriens and Scavs. Morlos Fortress is a structure of alien origin found on the planet of the same name, a world surrounded by mystery after two archeology teams and one armed squad were lost to [D-NOTICE]. Its rich vegetation and atmosphere has proven shocking to Mort residents, not used to the cleanness or the smell. Killers here have to deal with the heat, humidity, and the tactical environment (dig site, tree canopy and jungle ground), as well as the possibility of meeting whatever disappeared the original teams. Theros 4 is a hellhole that somehow manages to be impressively beautiful, as long as you keep your protective suit and respirator working. Fighters here have to be wary of lava spouts, fissures, edged surfaces and attacks against their protective gear. Finally, The Swamps are in Downtown near the bottom of the perimeter wall separating it from Cannibal Sector 3. It's a tapestry of island-like masses of junk and debris floating over centuries of drainage, and hostile lifeforms abound in the form of carnivorous pigs and mythological creatures such as giant squids and three-headed alligators. There are also four local cannibal clans to deal with: trespassers into Circuit fights are valid targets for Killers. Oh, and hopefully, the Killers know how to swim.
Next: street fighting! Only not with Street Fighters.
Light up the nightOriginal SA post SLA Industries: The Contract Directory
Light up the night
Mr. Pokey Hat, Contract Killer, 872SD-903SD posted:
Sometimes, you get a taste of the fame, sometimes the fame takes a taste of you...
Oh, yeah, the timeline has moved forward. While the previous two books couldn't make their minds about being set in 900, 901 or 902SD, Contract Directory is solidly set in 905SD. Metaplot, ho!
So hardcore he has teeth for eyes.
Let's talk about the Street Circuit . It's anywhere the Killers want it to be, as long as it's not an arena or the home of a Killer. Fights can break out at any time, and Rep matters a lot less than in the Arena Circuit , but there are rules here that don't apply anywhere else. First, challenges must be open: no sniping a Killer from a mile away while he's out for groceries. The challenge must state the stakes and weaponry used ("Blades to the death, asshole"), the Circuit must be informed prior to the fight, and the challenged Killer must be given enough time to prepare if necessary, up to 30 minutes. Challenges can always be refused, but do it too often and people will treat you as a poseur and a coward. If both parties are looking for a fight, though, all it takes it's the challenger yelling "Die!" and the challenged curtly informing Control of their consent. Beyond that, anything goes in a fight.
Second, Killers are accountable for collateral damage. Casualties are expected, but the Killer must be ready to pay: civilians cost 50c, SLA employees 500c, Shivers 850c, operatives 2500c/SCL level and corporates 5000c/SCL level. So yeah, no going on a rampage thinking you will be protected by Circuit Law. The fine can be waived for 'unimportant' persons killed in a particularly accidental (or spectacular ) manner, but important casualties may be considered treasonous. Fines can be waived depending on the nature of the contest and the location - a civvie or an op in a Gorezone is there at their own risk, for instance. Property damage also comes out of the Killers' pockets. but it can also be waived if damage exemptions are a possibility, though Killers are never informed of the full extent of the coverage so that they restrain themselves from blowing things up. Oh, SLA, you can be so innocent at times.
Individual sectors have their own particular rules for street fighting (no ranged weapons, first to successfully perform a signature move wins, etc.) and savvy Killers will pay close attention to them. Some zones are designated Safe Zones where Killers may neither challenge or be challenged, with the penalty being expulsion from the Circuit. These zones are reassigned throughout the day, and some Killers are known to stake out safe zones until they stop being safe. A Killer's home is always a sanctuary.
Covert Games are an oddity in that they don't take place within view of the camera lens, at least not until the very end. Essentially, they are a codified set of rules for ambushes and hide-and-seek games, set so that Killers don't simply assassinate each other. A Contract Killer executing a covert attack must first state their intentions towards the victim. This usually takes the form of a cryptic message or warning that informs the victim that they will soon come under attack, and the level of threat involved. Most covert games are about proving a point, and so the victim is only to be wounded or humiliated, but covert games to the death are not uncommon. However, the challenger must make the stakes perfectly clear, or else their Rep will go down the drain and Cloak Division will be asking uncomfortable questions. Which doesn't stop the media from trying to up the stakes, so that they get better footage from the attacker's point of view. Oh, and speaking of footage, while a high rep Killer challenged in a covert game can be followed by the media, the challenger's footage is usually only released after the game is over in order to keep the challenged from gaining an unfair advantage.
Once the declaration is made, it's up to the victim to determine who is behind the attack and how it will take place. The challenger may never hurt innocents in a covert game, though, and they must also give the victim one final warning before the actual ambush. Like the declaration, this final warning is cryptic, but it should at least in hindsight provide a clue as to the nature of the attack. The attack itself can involve boobytraps, leading the victim into nests of carnivorous pigs to soften them up, and more, though it it usually accepted that projectile weapons and explosives are off-limits.
Hunter Sheets are also part of the Street Circuit, but they are open to everyone, not just Killers. They are execution warrants for people that SLA wants dead, and they may be sponsored by private individuals, companies and departments, as long as Cloak Division approves. Cloak Division does keep an eye out for people that are basically serial killing by proxy, or those who seriously sponsor sheets against SLA bigwigs like Mr. Slayer. Sheets are not reserved to any single individual or group for completion, and since they are first come, first serve, they are often fiercely contested. Typically they are issued against targets not worth the hassle of a Grey BPN, too hard to track down for a BPN to be profitable, too dangerous to risk operatives on, or for certain high-profile targets. Hunter Sheets can go from bottom feeders worth 100 credits ("Kill the gang member that poisoned my dog plox") up to 100,000 credits or more for really high value targets, though the average values is in the low thousands. Sometimes media companies may sponsor a Sheet with an inflated value for the publicity, and some sheets are a plain joke - Halloween Jack has a two million bounty on his head, and so far no one has collected it. Living on Sheets is hard work as they have no support from control agencies compared to a BPN, and so many people are trying to beat you to the punch. It's enough to drive operatives used to the more secure BPN lifestyle mad, though what the smart ones do is keep an eye out for Sheets issued in a sector they have a BPN on. You never know who you may bump into.
Payment! Street fights are usually only worth half of the standard fee, and that is if they actually get screen time (50% chance) On the other hand, particularly awesome fights can be worth the normal rate, or even double or quadruple the usual fees if high-profile Killers are involved. Civil courts may still try to sue a Killer for loss of property or life, though. Even the most basic covert game pays the standard fee to the attacker and double for the victim, and rewards may rise up to five times that amount for particularly convoluted games. If sponsors are requesting the game, merchandise or credit bonuses may be involved. Sponsors may also offer rewards for taking out Killers sponsored by rival companies, but these are usually in a legal grey area and thus offered in secret.
Other considerations! As mentioned earlier, a Contract Killer's SCL is locked at 11, the bottom line of the SLA Industries hierarchy. Their actual SCL is kept on file for area access and communication within the chain of command. SLA doesn't mind letting Killers into high-SCL areas that much, they know that the Killers will only have eyes for their targets and will do their best to ignore anything that is beyond their paygrade. Just in case, though, Internal Affairs scours through Killer footage regularly for any clues that Killers may have picked up information they should not have learned. Killers for the most part try their best to do so: sponsors just don't pay well enough to flaunt the knowledge fines, and eventually punishment may take the form of a compulsory mission or Hunter Sheet. Killers can actually rise in SCL, though, by accident (a Killer with time off was in the right place to help operatives with a BPN) or design (operatives hiring Killers as extra muscle for a BPN) Taking part in a successful BPN counts as a 0.1 SCL increase, but SLA intelligence is always looking out for Killers more concerned about raising their SCLs than doing their jobs, and those are usually rooted out and dealt with quickly. The Cannibal Sectors can be pretty lonely this time of the year.
Kill Krazy will give you wings.
So what does a Killer do for their sponsor? The sponsorship contracts get the sponsor a number of hours of the Killer's time for their exclusive use. For the most part, sponsors try to keep their Killers happy, and use their time in having the Killer maintain a public profile and do PR work. Not all sponsors are pleasant, though, and not all assignments are easy to tolerate. Those who abuse their Killers make financial arrangements with their agents, and since the agent is paid a bonus if their Killer dies in a sponsor assignment, they are all too willing to agree.
While technically illegal, Killers have been sent on sabotage missions against rival companies. They're unofficial assignments, with the understanding that refusal will bring an official assignment to the Cannibal Sectors. The sponsor will normally cover any fine the Killer racks up while on 'duty' and everyone involved will get a rap on the knuckles, but continued abuse may lead to the Killer's execution and a Cloak Division investigation of the sponsor. Killers may also find themselves working security for sponsor VIPs and facilities. Sponsors have also been known to demand that their Killers grant sexual access to executives, important clients, general staff stress relief or even paying members of the public. Particularly short-staffed sponsors may even bring in the Killer to do regular office work or help in the production lines. Sponsors do tend to forget, though, that Killers are by definition professional psychopaths. They can be pushed too far.
SLA Industries can also give Killers direct missions of their own. Of course, they can hardly be refused. The three main types are Ultraviolence assignments, where someone needs to die as painfully and publicly as possible (think 40K's Eversors); Suicide missions, used as punishment for a Killer fallen into disfavor or where the possible benefits outweigh the Killer's market value; and PR Tasks , that rely more on the Killer's charm and presence than combat abilities. Killers are handpicked for Ultraviolence and PR Task assignments based on their skills and public image, and Suicide missions are obviously 'open' to everyone.
CLEANSE AND PURGE
Retirement! Yes, you can retire from the Circuit. If a Killer has not been memorable enough, they will simply be allowed to leave - they are just not worth the bother. Third Eye won't want successful Killers to retire, they will offer them more money, free implants, whatever is necessary to get them to stay. Threats and blackmail are always an option as well. If none of these work, the Killer can be either reclassified to non-exempt status and given a job in the Circuit staff as presenter, journalist, trainer or official, or just sent into a particularly vicious grudge match. A Killer retiring from the circuit hands over the rights to their Killer persona to the Circuit administration, and they can only be reinstated for special guest appearances if the administration wishes so. The ex-Killer is returned to Operative status, their SCL is restored to their official level, and their psychological exemption certificate is revoked. About 50% of all Killers manage to retire from the Circuit.
As for death, the Killer's agent can also profit from it. Agents are paid a bonus if the Killer dies and is brought back through LAD, but is put out of the Circuit for an extended period of time due to injuries and psychological scarring. This bonus equals what the Killer was supposed to earn during their time out, and is normally paid by the agent of the Killer that did them in. If no LAD is possible, agents get a hefty bonus based on the dead Killer's Rep (a month's average earnings per Rep point), which is paid by the agents of the winning Killer or the sub-company or department that authorized the assignment in the case of a Suicide mission. Agents and sponsors can and do get kill insurance for their Killers because of this. Agents have also been known to sabotage their own fighters' gear in order to cash in their death bonus, but this is frowned upon.
Hobo With A FEN Gun.
Next: a metric fuckton of NPCs.
A collection of horrible peopleOriginal SA post SLA Industries: The Contract Directory
A collection of horrible people
Fiction! This story is narrated by one Todd Argus, aka Hunter, a rookie Contract Killer that joined the Circuit five months ago. This story happened three months ago, when he was even more green. While waiting for a fight, he meets Johnny Automatic, a legendary, wizened Killer, who seems to take a shine to him for some reason. Automatic asks him if he has ever seen 'the ghost' prowling around Downtown. No one has seen him, but Automatic knows , and says Todd will know when he is around too. Automatic was a Dante veteran, but everyone knew he was sane... right? Anyway, Todd's scheduled fight comes around (a Last Man Standing contest in Downtown sewers), and it becomes pretty clear from the reader's POV that he is being stalked by something. Todd manages to bring down a Killer, but then is jumped on by Screech, a dangerous Vevaphon, and just as he waits for the killing blow... it doesn't come. Something takes Screech away, and Todd barely manages to make it back topside. While recuperating in the hospital he meets Automatic again, who is very interested in how he is doing. He tells Todd not to worry, as 'it's all a game.' Later, Todd is booked for a first blood match in Downtown ruins against a bunch of high-profile names, Screech included again. Again, something stalks Todd, and Screech jumps him again, but he manages to nick it with his blade. Screech goes in for the kill, but Todd is saved by Deity, another famous Contract Killer. Deity gives him a thumbs-up, and walks away.
So, who works the Circuit along with the Killers? First, there are the Agents , the ones that handle the paperwork and, in a way, hold the real power in the Circuit. Agents make and break Killers, and a fighter better have a good agent if they want to make it big. Killers start with a basic agent provided by the Circuit, but rookie agents are of little use and don't care much for their charges, so getting a better agent is essential. Agents as a group are very powerful, very rich and - though they hate each other's guts - very tight-knit: corruption investigations conducted against them go nowhere and no agent would ever betray another to Cloak Division. They all have too much to hide. Hunters are, as mentioned earlier, special Contract Killers that travel the World of Progress searching for strange, dangerous creatures. Anyone can try becoming a Hunter, but only the best remain there. Many Hunters are ex-operatives, reformed serial killers or War World survivors that enjoy the challenge, and anyone can try joining a hunting expedition or ponying up the money and go off on their own, but unsanctioned hunts are not recommendable if you appreciate your job. The most experienced hunters travel to the far reaches of the World of Progress, and at least three of them have tried going for the Holy Grail - creatures from White Earth itself. The three are retired now. Hunters tend to become like the bounty hunters and mercenaries from the Conflict Wars, detached individuals with little respect for SLA Industries and its rules, and are treated with suspicion by its intelligence agencies.
Is that a gunblade?
Medical Teams are theoretically there to save Killers' lives. In reality, they are a cutthroat lot, all too willing to undercut, poison, stab and even explode the competition in order to secure a contract. They also have a policy of extracting payment before healing, which leads to things like Killers bleeding to death while the paramedics wave forms to sign in their face. The term 'vackal' (vulture + jackal) is a common nickname for these assholes. Pushers supply the right drug at the right time for a very high cost. They are little loved by Agents or Killers, as their presence usually means doping tests and bad news, but some desperate Killers would still try their luck with a pusher's unreliable drugs. They can supply everything illegal and legal under the sun, and even mix their own dangerous cocktails. Security is handled by The Institute, a security company that works solely for the Circuit and employs operatives on a permanent Blue BPN for the Circuit. They have a very poor safety record but investigations on them have reached no conclusions. Institute guards are paired up in teams of two, a Stormer and a Brain Waster, and armed with less-lethal weaponry, though when "less-lethal" involves wired up Frothers... The sample guard team, Boskii and Fry, are a couple of bullies and assholes, though they are unique in that Boskii the Stormer is definitely the most unpleasant member compared to Fry the Brain Waster.
I don't know what the cables are supposed to do.
Referees have the unenviable job of trying to enforce the rules of the Circuit on a bunch of psychopath murderers that sometimes fail to understand even the concept of 'rules'. They also supervise the use of illegal drugs and monitor contestants so that no undeclared implants are used. They are assisted by Spot-bee drone cameras, which can't be bribed or threatened - but they can be tampered with, and Killers do not forget that some cameras carry Power Reaper machine guns to 'persuade' Killers when necessary. Franchisers are the middlemen between Killers and sponsors and they can have very profitable jobs, particularly if they can close a deal with a Killer before their agent butts in. They are a slimy bunch known for their shady contracts that end up slaving unwary Killers to the whims of the sponsor. Runners are lesser corporates working for the Agents, the errand boys and girls of the Circuit. They have access to very sensitive information, but keep their mouths shut for fear of retribution. Besides, talking for free isn't good business. Runners can also make money from Killers by buying KLIPs, which are sort of shares of a Killer's contract. A runner can become an agent on their own by buying a Killer's contract KLIP by KLIP.
TIME OUT ILLEGAL BEHEADING
Bookies are the lowest form of life in the Circuit, scumbags that do anything they can to fix the fights and know the results beforehand. How else are you going to make a profit from gambling, if you don't know who is going to win? Bookies are officially SLA corporates, but have little experience with office life, dealing instead with in-Circuit bribing, blackmail and threats. A bookie caught fixing a fight is kicked out of the Circuit for good, and most do not survive long out of it. Finally, Talent Scouts are feared by Agents because most of them are there to recruit civilians for SLA as operatives, thus depriving them of potential Killers. Scouts consider the Circuit to be a waste of resources, and spend a lot of time convincing SLA Killers to return to the operative fold. Some agents use scouts to tempt Killers away from their agents, though - either as genuine headhunting deals or as a way to ruin unwary Killers and their agents.
Oh fuck BLACK HAT
And about those NPCs! Chuerrin is a sadistic, villainous Stormer, the only member of the failed 704 Kelpie variant. He is very smart and cunning, but aggressive and malicious, and is hated and loved by the audience. Refs and security want him banned for good due to the large number of deaths he causes, and some Necanthropes hint there is something far darker inside of Chuerrin that they tell the media about. Slander is a human Killer that once was a forensics operative for a regular squad. His squad got cocky and took on a high profile Black BPN against a Cannibal Sector cognate group, and got wiped out with the exception of their sole forensics operative and acting medic. The dead squad was made a laughingstock by the media, and he turned to the Contract Circuit. He despises the media and does everything to make their lives hell, particularly by describing the gruesome details of a deathmatch in painful, visceral detail to weak-stomached journalists. His post-Gorezone TV show is popular, disgusting and educative. Mags is billed as the 'girl next door that made good' by the Circuit, a pleasant, petite girl popular with the media. She owns a personal 'tank' named ANDI, made from a customized Battle Taxi APC and oh my fuck she is Leona from Dominion Tank Police. Holy fuck. She is also good as a foot soldier, fighting with MAL Shock Armor and MAL Assault Cannon, and leaves nothing to chance. MAL loves her.
Leona is cuter, though
Tachi the Reaver is a popular Contract Killer, a Frother that first started as an op along with his brother Faraegio in the Industrial World of Xaime. The Zanetti brothers had it made until they went after a DarkNight spy, but the latter managed to subvert Faraegio, who ambushed and left his brother for dead. Tachi survived, and to prove his loyalty he walked away from the hospital with most of his life support gear still on and joined the Contract Circuit. His wounds have healed now, but he still wears the gear for image reasons. He hates DarkNight's guts, and will do free hits for any info that will lead him closer to his brother. Bushmaster is a Xeno fond of The Hunt, a Killer that dislikes guns and prefers to get up close and personal with his prey. He is merciless, but approaches the Circuit as a hunter and tries to make his kills as merciful and painless as possible. Most of his kills never knew what hit thm. Top Notch is an accomplished sniper and a rising star that may be undone by her own success. She loves to boast, and once made the dire mistake of claiming to be better than Delia the Destroyer herself. Delia hospitalized her in a bar brawl and promised to kill her in the Circuit. Top Notch knows she's not good enough to take Delia on, but the media continues to put on pressure on her for a grudge match.
Mr. Consequence is an feared Ebon that strangely seems to win most of his matches by default. Initially, he was seen as nothing but another Ebon Killer, though more arrogant than most. When he crossed too many lines, a veteran Shaktar killer was sent in to put him back in his place. Consequence took him on in the arena, and won easily, carving up his terrified, helpless opponent at his leisure. Even Killers that have challenged have been known to surrender right before their matches begin. Preacher is a fanatic Wraith Raider that dresses as a Dark Finder and idolizes Mr. Slayer almost religiously. He never fights against other SLA Killers (he thinks he is bad for public morale) and takes great delight in killing subversive Killers. He has a particular grudge against Mr. Midnight, who killed two of his siblings, but the DarkNight murderer trolls him by never taking up his challenges.
Don't fuck with Kitty Torquemada.
Tig is another rising star, sister to Ultra Violet, a veteran Frother Killer. She is talented, but inexperienced and brash, and more than once her sister has had to save her from challenges she could not afford to make. She has even challenged Chuerrin, who will take her up on it one day when he feels particularly bored though honestly, if it weren't for Ultra Violet he would have killed her months ago. Ultra Violet herself is an acrobatic, athletic, dual-wielding warrior trying to keep her family from falling apart around her. Her parents died on a black BPN years ago, her boyfriend is addicted to all sorts of Karma drugs and Tig is Tig. She had to grow up too fast. Brazil is Ultra Violet's friend, an old-fashioned Stormer with the guts to patrol the Cannibal Sectors on his own during his operative days. Even now, though he has money to spare, he lives in Cannibal Sector Four, where the inhabitants give the Stormer a very wide berth. He has been killed once by Digger and brought back by LAD, but he holds no particular grudge against the Manchine. He prefers the Downtown circuit as there are plenty of subversives to deal with, and is personal friends with Taarnish himself, who appreciates his 'young' friend's loyalty to SLA. Screech , who we know from the fiction up there, is a malformed, vicious Vevaphon that cannot talk due to his deformities and enjoys creeping out his prey with his looks. He's an ass.
The Bond is an honorable Shaktar warrior, member of the honor guard of Lord Shahanti, a high-rank Shaktar and one of the few people to plumb the depths of Lower Downtown and return to tell the tale. Shaktars tend to stay clear of the Circuit because of its flagrant abuse of honor, but The Bond has a special dispensation. He is there to hunt down and destroy the heretical Shaktars of the Eighth Moon. The terms of his dispensation prohibit him to profit from the Circuit or bear sponsor logos, however, and once he is done with the heretics he will have to return to the Shaktar home world and begin his career from scratch. His patience and loyalty are legendary. Delia the Destroyer returns from the Karma sourcebook, a far cry from the charming girl she used to be. Now, she is a bloodthirsty killer, both obsessed and afraid of her killer, Icon. They have spoken since their initial encounter, and they will have a fight to the death, but Delia is afraid Icon will kill her for good this time. The Ebon kid seems to have an unexplainable hold on Delia's mind. Perhaps he is not what he seems. Perhaps Delia knows that something is wrong, and perhaps SLA Industries doesn't want her to find out the truth. That would explain why so many Stigmartyr agents watch over her arena fights.
She's still kind of hot, headshot and all.
Johnny Automatic is old and relentless, looking for an overdue bullet with his name on it. Of course, he wants to go down fighting, and will not make it easy: he is superbly skilled, and even when facing those with greater skills than him his mastery of tactics gives him the upper hand. He changes his fighting style often so that no opponents can learn his moves in advance as well. He is a war veteran from Dante, and managed to stay sane because of the unit of Shaktars he fought with during his tour of duty. They taught him about honor, courage and loyalty, and helped him keep his head on. However, they were ambushed and murdered by a Thresher kill squad, a blow he would have never managed to recover from if it had not been for the assistance of Lord Shahanti himself. Sour Blood is a sleazy Killer, a former Dark Finder expelled from the force when he was found out selling Karma drugs on the side. He hooked up with the then equally sleazy Channel 69, and did all the dirty work his sponsor demanded of him with gusto. Now, he employs low-ranking operatives and even Shivers to do his dirty work, and Channel 69 is worried that he will end up bringing Cloak Division retribution upon them. Hassen Alba is a Chagrin from a backwater world, sole survivor of a Karma base attacked by a local Soft Company. He set himself against all the subversives in his planet, and after many years took them all out, only to set towards Mort to continue his quest. He is a giant, honorable and beloved warrior of SLA. Deity is a consummate professional, who speaks precious little and makes even less noise when on a mission. He is very good at his job, but knows his limitations and won't take contracts he knows he is not good enough for, which isn't too often. Outside the Circuit, he has a wife and two kids who don't know anything about his real job (they believe him to be a sales analyst), and he enjoys a good book and a warm sweater on weekends.
Quill is a sadistic Wraith Raider nicknamed for the mutated Karma quills on his arms. Other Wraith Raiders avoid him, and he has very few friends. His tendency to devour fallen enemies may have something to do with it. Rumors about supposed dealings with DarkNight abound, though investigations have not panned out. He seems to enjoy his infamy a lot. Kansa is a pretty young Killer that would probably be a serial killer if she were not working for SLA. She is pure and naive outside of combat, but she becomes a vicious killer while in the Arena, slaughtering opponents with a smile. She claims not to be sure why she kills the way she does, and it doesn't seem to affect her social life. She is fond of killing mutants in Cannibal Sector Five, and her goal is to eventually tag along with Contract Hunters on an offworld trip. The Spinner is the old man of the Circuit, an ancient Necanthrope of fearsome skill and power. He has never been defeated, and stands at the top of his dark stair waiting for would-be champions to challenge him. He never loses. The Spinner upholds the name of the Ebon races at the top of the Circuit as his duty to Preceptor Teeth, and if he ever is defeated his fate will be terrible indeed. Oh, and he has a reputation of 20. Keep this in mind for later.
I like to think he has no other facial expression, ever. Not even when doing child charity tours.
Next: another metric fuckton of NPCs.
More horrible peopleOriginal SA post SLA Industries: The Contract Directory
More horrible people
Let's take a look at some of the 'heel' Contract Killers. Mr. Midnight was once a Dark Finder agent, set up to die by corrupt SLA employees because he was about to shut down a drugs Soft Company they had an interest in. He was ambushed by Downtown Props in the company's main plant, riddled with 10mm rounds, and killed - at least, officially. He was found unconscious by DarkNight agents in a vat of healing chemicals. They took him in, patching him up as best they could. Now, he burns with hatred for the Company that betrayed him, and gladly fights for DarkNight. His partner in crime is The Jitter Man , a Stormer patched together from several strands of DNA by accident. Vicious, deadly and lacking any loyalty to SLA, he was unable to be experimented on and in the end Karma threw him away to the Cannibal Sectors, but his days are numbered: Karma will recapture him when the controversy dies down.
330 Gators are cuter.
Snake Eyes is a true rarity: a Carrien. And not just that, but a Carrien that speaks intelligibly and walks like a human, while retaining the ferocity of his race. Snake Eyes is the first Advanced Carrien known to Mort society (though not the only one) and he feels the need to prove his potential to all comers. He is still an unpleasant asshole all too eager to rip flesh off the bones of his enemies, but he has made a true friend in Tig the Frother. Bloody Valentine is a serial killer who you might recall from the Karma fiction extracts. She joined the Circuit after that incident for safety, though she has already made enemies even within the criminal Killers. One of them, Morbid, even claims that Valentine is no serial killer, but an operative for SLA, and speculates that she works for Cloak Division. She intends to fight up to Rep rank 9, then return to her home city of Orienta to carve a turf for herself. Lucky Die is an Abhorrent, a beast that only understands the words "eat" "kill" and "sleep." It is the main source of income of its handler, Contract Hunter Asaki Mishua, who is always complaining about referee decisions and fighting conditions. Asaki has illegally addicted Lucky to Ultraviolence drugs, but the beast is becoming more and more uncontrollable.
Laser bears on drugs. SLA does not fuck around.
Pig Man is fuck this son of a cock with a rusty chainsaw. He is smelly, uncharismatic and indistinguishable from the ranks... except that he is the most lethal enforcer for the Skin Trade. He uses his irregular Circuit appearances just as a way to capture fresh meat for the Trade. He has a standing offer of a first blood match: if Pig Man loses, the Skin Trade will release a prisoner of the challenger's choice. If he wins, the challenger will become a slave. This is very safe for him as the challengers are almost always just desperate, untrained civilians, and he has lost only a hundred or so of his over two thousand challenges. Oh, and due to a loophole in Circuit Law, the administration cannot do anything if he chooses to, say, knock a Killer out in another match and make off with them. And he is skilled enough to do so. Savvy Killers give him a wide berth, but there's always some up and coming kid that wants to prove their worth only to never be seen again and why haven't you blown this son of a bitch to bits already I mean seriously fuck .
This is the first time SLA Industries has seriously pissed me off. Fucking Pig Man.
Fox Glove is a Frother, and loathes her nature. She considered herself more sophisticated than her relatives, who laughed at her interest in etiquette and elocution. She eventually set fire to the family mansion and escaped Mort as a Contract Hunter, but that was not enough for her. She returned under the Tynes Amnesty as a standard Killer, but she is still the target of many Frother assassination attempts. Meny and New Paris are her favorite haunts. The Frown is one of the aforementioned Shaktars of the Eighth Moon, a real bastard that strives for anything that will disgust or disgrace the Shaktar race. He is huge even for a Shaktar, and DarkNight quickly gave him a position as an enforcer when he arrived in Mort. He wishes to kill Lord Shahanti himself to prove himself a hero to his people, but in all honesty, he doesn't give a real fuck about the heresy. He's in it for himself alone and if the heretics support him, so much the better.
The Perfectionist is like the DarkNight version of Deity, a relentless killing machine that speaks little and fires with deadly accuracy. His problem, though, is that he doesn't want to be that. He actually wants to work for SLA, and joined the Circuit to be noticed by talent scouts, but he is ultimately too good at killing SLA Killers to prove himself capable of loyalty. He cannot discuss this with anyone or DarkNight would murder him as well. Video Nasty is a maniac Frother of royal bloodline, scion of Clan McGyver. Forcibly addicted to UV since an early age, he and his twin brother murdered their parents and sisters, and were cast out of the clan by their uncle. Video Nasty joined the Circuit to escape prosecution and by now has enough Rep to gain full amnesty, while his brother escaped offworld and is now a serial killer that not even Nasty will touch. Shade Maker is an ex-War Criminal, but instead of the classic heavily armed berserker persona, he is more like Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill's lovechild. He is a stable sociopath, his psychosis enhanced by the corrosion of the chromium implants on his groin and head. His madness began as the result of a Thresher chemical attack on the unit he lead in the world of Charlie's Point. Shade lost his shit and began hunting down and devouring his maddened unit and then anyone and anything he could catch to survive. He eventually returned as a war hero ten years later, but killed his guards and fled into Downtown as soon as he landed in Mort. He never washes himself, and many organizers want him banned on the grounds of hygiene. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Burn is a renegade Brain Waster that turned her back on SLA simply because she couldn't take orders from anyone, not even Necanthropes. She didn't want to become one anyway, so she fled into the safety of the Downtown Circuit from her harsh home world of Caria, where unrest and subversion were everywhere. She still fights honorably and competently, though, as if there still was a spark of decency in her. The Lash is a captive mutant from Cannibal Sector Five, a dog-like creature with human-like instincts. Actually, he was a former Karma employee, Dr. Raymond Ark, who worked on a variant mutant toxin that would improve the human body instead of degrading it. Karma, however, was not willing to weaken Phantom Pregnancy's work, and set Ark and his team up for a deadly fall, infecting them with their own toxin. The infected team fled into the Cannibal Sector, racing to find a cure, but failed before their minds were lost to the mutation.
READY STEADY GOOOOOOOO
Fritz is... wait, I thought Fritz robots were mass produced? Well, apparently it's an one-off robot, remote controlled by Tek Trex terrorist Puppeteer. She wants to get revenge on SLA for their rejection of her work in cybernetics, and loves using Fritz for mauling biogenetic opponents. Planting bugs on Fritz may be the only way leading back to her, but that's easier said than done. Vigadeth is a Downtown serial killer that once studied in Meny. When he was a child, he had a run in with serial killer Sonny Boy, who corrupted the impressionable kid into becoming someone like him. Vigo Mortensen (yeah, I know) completed his courses at Meny and vanished, only to reappear as the vicious Vigadeath in the Circuit. Quote Throat is a deadly Thresher powersuit pilot, loved by bookies because he is almost guaranteed to slaughter any opponent he faces. He doesn't want to be a Contract Killer, though. He fancies himself a poet, and writes awful verses to recite at the end of his battles. He refuses to accept he sucks at poetry, though, and any critics or hecklers end up very, very dead.
I can't help but picture him as that one bard in Oglaf.
Babyface is a malformed cannibal mutant, and one of the Circuit's most mystifying Killers. More and more serial killers are appearing in Downtown, and Babyface is regarded as a vanguard for his kind. Apparently, they are getting organized in numbers never seen before, even beyond cognate gangs. It is known that Babyface once led a cognate, most of which was destroyed during a SLA raid. One prisoner claims that Babyface is a fallen SLA genius that somehow spoke to her through telepathy, though nothing suggests he was once an Ebon. Morbid is a wise old cannibal, traveling every month from Cannibal Sector Four to make money with slaughter and some gems of information traded for the right price. He was once a SLA operative that worked the Cannibal Sectors a lot, but the environment eventually got to him. He fled into the Sectors, only to be infected by a twisted virus. His brain hasn't deteriorated like other cannibals, mostly because he can afford better food than them. Holocaust is a Greater Carrien, a self serving, violent asshole. He is kind of Downtown's version of Cherruin, and organizers have tried to push for a fight between them. Holocaust refuses because he would never stoop so 'low' as to fight in Uptown, but the truth is that he fears the Stormer. He also hates Snake Eyes' guts because of the Advanced Carrien's intelligence and cunning - and because Bloodhorn, the leader of the Carriens, favors him greatly. PLOOOOOOOT
The Bad Thing is a Mutant Carrien, and less of a Killer than an attack animal. It is older than any human organizer or Killer alive today, and is seemingly indestructible. SLA scientist believe The Bad Thing to be three Carriens fused into one, with three brains to match, which would explain why repeated headshots do nothing to faze it. Finally, Thread is a Stormer and none other than Taarnish's own arch-enemy. He was one of the original Stormers that brought down the Conflict Societies to make way for the World of Progress, but he was always jealous of the first 313 Stormer and determined to prove himself better than him. Eventually, this jealousy gave way to betrayal, and he made a complex deal with DarkNight and Thresher so that Taarnish would never escape a raid he had planned. However, he underestimated the toughness of Taarnish and his fellow Stormers, who repelled the DarkNight and Thresher ambushes while Thread fled the scene. He spent the next 250 years rebuilding his strength and contacts, and when the Arena Circuit was first formed, he joined immediately. He eventually built the Downtown Circuit, creating its law and negotiating the Tynes Amnesty with Cloak Division, and still runs it to this day. He maintains good relations with current SLA representatives, but Taarnish hates him and wishes he had died before he became this powerful. Thread is very well educated, conducting himself with charm beyond that of a regular Stormer, and his voice is smooth like Mechazawa.
Fiction! Todd has won his match and meets in the locker room a meek envoy from Power Projects, offering him a sponsorship deal. The envoy is quickly made to flee by Johnny Automatic, who forces Todd to read the actual contract - it was a ruinous deal with a third-rate outfit. Real companies don't send runts to represent them. Days later, after no new fights pan out for Todd, he gets a new message in his mail: 'Get a real agent.' He meets with Automatic in an Uptown restaurant, where the old Killer uses his contacts to get Todd a real sponsorship with PP. Later, Todd asks Automatic why he didn't take the contract, and gets a long lesson on what's really important in life - it's not the money, it never is. It can't buy the really important things. Automatic asks about the ghost again, and thinks it is after Todd for some reason. Why is Automatic doing all of this for a rookie like him? He likes the kid, and it's all in the game. When Todd leaves for his home (after Automatic advises him to get a new, safer apartment), it becomes clear that 'the ghost' is after him again, and Todd is unarmed. With the ghost in his heels, he flees for his apartment, but the ghost doesn't give a fuck about Killer sanctuary. Desperate, he calls in his emergency medical service: he has to pay a fine, but at least he survives. Calling Automatic for assistance, the old man puts him on a match to be held offworld in a jungle arena, a perfect trap to catch the ghost in. When Todd arrives in the world of Varish, some of the other killers there are Tachi The Reaver, Bushmaster and, of course, Screech. Todd is not amused.
Oh, coming to think of it: Blue Sky, the Uptown Arena champion mentioned in the Mort sourcebook, is nowhere to be seen. Oh well, they can't last forever.
Approach me, O brother.
Next: wait, so that NPC was illegal?
Know Your Killer 0E was the best edition, you dirty DarkNight storygaming swineOriginal SA post SLA Industries: The Contract Directory
Know Your Killer 0E was the best edition, you dirty DarkNight storygaming swine
Reputation! So apparently no one can start with a Rep at chargen, you have to buy rank 1 for 1 XP when you sign up with your first agent. It is limited by Charisma, because image is everything for a Killer and they must always be trying to improve it... wait a second. Some character races have hardcoded limits on Charisma: hell, Chagrins have a maximum racial CHA of three . So I guess poor Hassen Alba can never be SLA's barbarian hero of badass after all! This is even confirmed by the mention that Ebons can have a theoretical max Rep of 11 owing to their CHA maximum, though no Killer currently has a Rep beyond 10 other than The Spinner. To rise your Rep, you must have enough CHA for the new rank, challenge and win against a number of higher-ranked opponents equal to the new rank, and spend a number of XP equal to the new rank. So, to rise from Rank 4 to 5, it takes 5 successful challenges, a minimum CHA of 5 and 5 XP. Killers also need to maintain their rank by accepting and winning a number of challenges from equal or lower ranking Killers equal to their current rank per month: failure to take the challenges or losing three fights in a row immediately drops the Killer one Rep rank. Oh, and XP is not refunded. At least ranking matches don't need to be to the death and usually aren't. Circuit organizers offer the Killer 3 times their Rep rank in challenges for them to choose from each month, but agents or sponsors can also organize fights that have not been chosen by them. A Killer may never challenge downwards in Rep rank.
Apart from the challenge and event rolls, Rep also has a definite use in combat: the difference between the Rep of two challengers is applied as a bonus to hit for the higher-ranked Killer and as a penalty for the lower-ranked Killer. So Delia (Rep 10) going against Tig (Rep 5) has a +5 bonus to hit rolls against the Frother, while Tig has a -5 penalty against The Destroyer. Remember how The Spinner has Rep 20? Yeah. Fortunately, this only applies in official Circuit matches, with the pressure of the crowd cheering for the higher-ranked Killer and the pithy lines of the commentators bearing down on the lesser Killer. In, say, a random bar brawl, the only factor in a Delia vs. Tig fight will be their own skills.
Advanced Class: Iron Pumper.
Killers need to stay fit too: at least two hours a week of gym exercise per Rep rank in order to maintain their Rep. Training harder will not help, but Killers doing proper exercise will gain ranks in Good Body equal to their Rep rank. Good Body is nice in that Killers can also make rolls based on it to automatically make some money per month from media appearances and such. A loss in Rep will bring about a loss of Good Body, however.
So, new gear! Apart from designer, low-profile armor outfits made to look good and protect the wearer at the same time (with higher end models protecting as much as Exo armor), there are new weapons! Axes are a new entrance, in Battle, Emergency Fire Axe and Pick forms.
Note that the axe used by Fire Shivers is closer to a Battle Axe than it is to a standard Emergency Fire Axe.
Other RPG melee weapon standbys are there, like Lochaber axes, maces, flails and warhammers. There is a special category of Industrial weaponry, for wannabe Isaac Clarkes: specially modified variations of power tools suitable for combat. Did you ever want to sand an enemy's armor, or weld a dog to their head? There you have it. Other miscellaneous weapons are stuff like bolas, nets, shields and bows.
Merchandising! We get a little history on how franchise deals came to be, and then we take a look at the kind of Killer swag available on the market. 15 UNI for your own Killer action figure, 50 for the full arena set! Killer costumes for the kids with "Stick-on Injuries for that Gorealistic(TM) Effect"! Videogames are available too, with beat 'em ups and "covert roleplay" (adventure) games being the most popular. I could use some more adventure games. Of course, even failure products like a 25 UNI Sewers and Killers game can become collectible items. And speaking of collectibles, a company called "Off Shore Ebons" once started including cards with statistics with their candy. Eventually, the candy became an unnecessary expense, and a Killer magazine published a game to be used with these cards. It was wildly successful until Off Shore Ebons began printing subversive Killer cards, arguing that evil 'opponents' should be represented. Cloak Division disagreed.
Dismembered head trophies sold separately.
Not everything is child friendly, though. There is a wide range of Killer-themed sex toys available, with realistic, accurate biogenetic Killer RealDolls available from Karma at the top end, complete with semi-sentient conversational skills and signature moves. Killers prefer to pretend they don't care about them. Fortunately (?) they are seriously expensive.
Some new drugs are available: Barezark improves unarmed damage and resistence, Metaboost grants Stormer regeneration, Nitelite provides night vision and Vox-Plus lets you be your own megaphone. A voice-activated drug dispenser is available as well. Weapons can be customized, depending on the size and nature of the weapon. They go from the practical (upgraded cutting surfaces, etc.) to the cosmetic (SFX generators activated with each blow and such.) Armor can be upgraded as well, and its rules seem to be simpler than the armor upgrade rules in Karma. Somewhat.
Designer weapons! Yes, you can buy perfectly customized weapons for you and you only, from prestigious design salons up to master Shaktar weaponsmiths. They won't sell to unproven Killers, however. Designer weapons start from a basic weapon (which even without any mods is basically a master-crafted version of a regular weapon), adjusted personally so that it grants inherent bonuses to the user (to the point that using other weapons apart from the designer weapon will come with a penalty because it feels that good ), and then buying enhancements and customizations to the user's taste. Better be prepared to pay through the nose, though - The Bond's personal katana costs 140,000+ credits.
Murder has never been so fashionable!
How to game with a bunch of psychopaths besides your PCsOriginal SA post SLA Industries: The Contract Directory
How to game with a bunch of psychopaths besides your PCs
BRUTAL DELUXE AGAIN
Let's get into the final stretch. There is a chapter on tactical considerations to be had. It's all pretty damn interesting to read, not so much to write up about. There's advice here on how to fight on the street, industrial zones (with active and inactive factories), wastelands, wilderness arenas, Upper and Lower Downtown, alien planets, zero-g scenarios and more. Some interesting bits to be found here are that there are still wild areas in Mort, despite the general breakdown of the ecosystem. There are also suspension platforms floating high above the skies of Mort, held there by SCL 5 rated technology, only recently cleared for Circuit use after the "Stolze Sector Disaster" of 640SD. Oh, and LAD rescue doesn't go below Downtown Level 3. There are also some rules for zero-g combat - don't get your suit punctured. Unless you're a Necanthrope, but then again Necs give zero fucks about decompression.
Fiction! The scenario Todd and company will take part in is a non-adversarial competition. The first to kill ten of the dangerous razorheads (basically mouths with a quadruped body) wins. After a warning not to kill each other as the arena will be dangerous enough, the game is on! And once again, Screech ambushes Todd. Our killer manages to repel the Vevaphon, and luckily a local tree comes alive and holds it with its tendrils. Todd takes the chance to escape. Later, after capping some razorheads and checking the score table (4 dead Killers, Screech and two others out but alive, 1 retired, Bushmaster leading with 7 kills), Todd finds the razorheads' huge, sprawling nest. And guess what, the ghost is around too! This time, Todd had been warned in advance by the organizers of a strange presence (Automatic got them to help him), but the ghost is still hard to make out due to some strange ECM camouflage. A cat and mouse game begins until finally the ghost gets the jump on Todd. The fight is short, and the ghost finally kills the poor Contract Killer. Fortunately, he is brought back to life by the wonders of LAD: he wakes up in a hospital bed, Johnny Automatic at his side. PP will foot the hospital bill as long as Todd shills about the quality of their armor. Again, Automatic says it's all part of the game, and a annoyed Todd grunts it's easy to say so when you're the best player.
Johnny Automatic posted:
"[...] If I'm good, it's because I don't play the game."
I am the game.
Oh, did I mention the ghost's thoughts were there in the story like that? SO JOHNNY AUTOMATIC WAS THE GHOST ALL ALONG or something I don't know what. The intro fiction with the girl-killing creeper was less confusing than this ending.
Let's talk rules! These are meant to be a 'patch', upgrading SLA Industries to its 1.2 version (the credits page at the beginning even had a crack of the "please close all other books before opening this one" type). First, Martial Arts : characters can buy different moves for their character depending on the ranks they have in Unarmed Combat, Martial Arts and Wrestling. It's actually kind of fluffy, with different moves for each skill. You get one move for each point in an unarmed skill, though some special moves take two points. Learn to headbutt like only a Frother can! There might also be SEKRIT MARTIAL ARTS with WICKED MOVES out there, as well. They're obviously not mentioned.
I don't think stabbing yourself in the forearm is tactically wise!
Signature moves are critical hits, basically. They are activated when a successful attack roll comes up doubles, representing the opponent overextending their reach and the character taking up the opportunity to strike hard . It doesn't actually come out and say it, but this is meant for melee attacks. A Contract Killer can also try to deliberately perform a signature move with an attack roll and a Rep roll at -6 each: both must succeed, and attacks made against the Killer during that phase have a +4 bonus. Killers also have access to finishers, which are particularly flashy signature moves made for crowd pleasing. They don't have extra rules, but finishers are serious business, protected by copyright and such. A character can only pick up one signature move at chargen and that's it. The signature moves are Big Smash (extra damage), Impale (extra penetration), Rend (extra armor damage), Dazed and Confused (opponent may not take an action in their next phase), Throw Away (opponent is thrown (2xSTR bonus) feet away and knocked prone), Impact Strike (a balance between the first three moves), Jangler (hitting a nerve cluster to provide penalties to the opponent's next action) and Spot On (choose where the blow lands). Spot On in particular lets you behead to your heart's content, though it bears noting that in the age of LAD it's not a certain kill.
Stress rules are there to represent the toll the lives of Slops and Killers take on their minds. They basically replace the original Fear rules. Characters have a breaking point equal to twice their COOL (+10 for humans): when they accumulate enough stress points to reach their breaking point, one failed COOL roll caused by a stress source will cause the character to break down temporarily, flying into a rage, fleeing in terror, or collapsing into catatonia. This last for as many rounds as stress points you have: if the episode follows its course freely, all stress points are lost. If the character is somehow restrained, they only lose half of that. Either way, the breaking point is reduced by 1 point permanently and the GM gets to pick an insanity for the character. Stress events can provide Potential Stress (COOL against 20 to ignore) and Automatic Stress (unignorable). Stressful events include stuff like finding a dead body (1PS) and running out of bullets (3PS) to going below Downtown Level 20 (1AS, 1PS) and being interrogated by Cloak Division (2PS) to dying and receiving LAD (8AS) or Mr. Slayer himself waking you up (10AS, 20PS). Events that can remove stress include having sex (more if if it's with someone you genuinely love), taking relaxing drugs, going on shopping sprees, destroying stuff and going into The Pit.
Insanity! Oh, this is not going to end---
IMPORTANT NOTE. Mental illness in the real world is tragic and horrifying. and blights the lives of sufferers and their families. This section is not meant to be an accurate or clinical representation of mental illness, nor is intended, in any way, to belittle the agony that it causes. This is a set of rules for use in games of SLA Industries, and attempts only to provide some interesting rules. [...] Insanity is not endearing, cute, amusing or wacky. Those things can only be associated with eccentricities. Insanity is disturbing, distressing and frequently terrifying.
...you know what? There are entire fucking game lines that have had less thought put into the real effects of mental illness than these paragraphs, and they are from an ultraviolent gun porn game with biogenetic dildos. Kudos, SLA, for real.
Anyway, insanities come in sub-clinical , chronic and acute versions. Subclinical insanities are minor, but still important penalties. Chronic insanities severely impair your character, and acute insanities basically render them unplayable. They can be reduced in level with therapy, thank goodness, though it seems they can never go below sub-clinical. These insanity rules replace the mental disadvantages from the corebook, though it does mention that there are no equivalents here for phobia, arrogance, perversion, psychopathy, sociopathy and compulsion. Apparently, these conditions don't confer any particular disadvantage to ops or Killers.
I bet this guy talks in the voice of the Human Peasant from Warcraft 2. "More work?"
New skills are here, covering the new weapons and relevant knowledge like Contract Circuit Info. Extreme Violence lets you be, well, extremely violent - it doesn't let you deal more damage or anything, but it looks flashy on camera and may even intimidate some people. Telegenics is basically professional camera mugging, while Drunken Fighting lets you ignore negative penalties for a single combat skill while inebriated. Actually, you may even end up fighting better drunk than sober.
New race! Advanced Carriens . They crawl out of Carrien packs, hated and mistrusted because of their superior intelligence and cunning, and join SLA Industries, only too willing to use that intelligence and cunning against its enemies. Advanced Carriens have above average STR and DIA, below average CONC and COOL, and regular everything else. They get two signature moves because they fight dirty as fuck, have good night vision, natural armor and Good Luck, as well as the ability to use LAD, Finance Chips and all human-compatible Nuke Tendon implants. On the flip side, they have a Bad Rep of 5 with almost everyone and Bad Vision in the sunlight.
Humans : "Extremely versatile creatures. Go very nicely with a light, creamy sauce. Rump, belly and flank are the best cuts. The taste has been compared to carnivorous pig, but don't let that put you off. A timeless classic, however you prepare them."
Frothers : "Volatile, liable to sudden explosion due to chemical imbalance, so stand well back during cooking. Often taste rancid, and a few may even have pharmaceutical effects. Avoid the liver, spleen and kidneys due to risk of serious toxicity. Come in many colours, which can be useful for creative recipes."
Ebons : "Insipid, pale little things. Not really worth the effort. Most of the meat is too milky on the tongue. Calfs, biceps and brains have the most flavour. Somehow dissatisfying; finish one and you'll be hungry again in half an hour."
Brain Wasters : "Unpredictable, with a bitter aftertaste and a gritty texture. Best reserved for when you're serving a wine that has a powerful flavor of its own."
Shaktars : "Reliable. A good choice if you don't mind the time it takes to clean the scales off first. The meat is white when cooked, and tastes almost exactly like chicken."
Wraith Raiders : "Quick and easy, they're so slender that they cook through in no time at all. Properly done, the meat is delicious and juicy, but you have to be careful not to overcook them. Be patient and keep the heat down and you'll find it worthwhile."
Stormers : "Big and strong, so one goes a long way at a party. The meat has an interesting aftertaste, harking back to greener, more pleasant times. Economy-minded cooks may like to keep one staked out in the fridge and slice chunks off when necessary, secure in the knowledge that the meat will have regenerated by the following morning."
Xeno : "Resilient. Well armored, so peel before preparation, or have a really good carving knife ready. They can take a lot of heat without desiccating, so they are perfect for recipes where spices are to be cooked into the meat. As a bonus, you get a lot of eyes per head to share with everyone. The ideal pilaf."
Chagrins : "Thick and muscular, so they're perfect for cutting into steaks. There's a lot to them, and you can easily get a forty-person barbecue out of one. They have a faintly sulphurous aftertaste, so charcoal is a good cooking method anyway. Don't forget to invite the neighbours round!"
Vevaphons : "Thoroughly unpleasant. The meat is gelatinous and without structure, rather like one gigantic DAC liver, and it's rotten to the core. Can leave a very sour taste in the mouth. On the other hand, they do come pre-boned and ready for slicing, so they can be useful as a handy sandwich filler. Just make sure you have a strong seasoner ready. Watch out for drug ampules, SCL cards and other bits and pieces inside the carcass."
So how do you get these assholes in play, anyway? Life in the Circuit can be more than ultraviolent shenanigans, you know. There's all sort of cloak and dagger and political stuff apart from the matches, so Contract Circuit games don't have to be an endless series of fights. Party-wise, Killers can form into teams that take on challenges as one, as well as combined Hunter Sheets and events (a holy grail of an agent is getting an entire team of Killers working for them in a single, exclusive event like a Gorezone). Operatives can also take time off to work their stress off as Killers, doing sporadic appearances as 'independents' or working for some of the shadier agents. Operatives can and do collaborate with Killers: a squad may bring a Killer in as extra muscle for a job, or be hired for a Circuit-related BPN. A solo Op may hire an entire Killer pack as well, or you may get an unholy alliance of Slop squad and Killer pack. Friction may come from the fact that Killers tend to have an attitude, used to their high profile lifestyle, and deliberately try not to learn stuff because of knowledge fines so they can be less than helpful in more cerebral jobs. On the other hand, operatives can be so plain boring.
The Safeguard, on their team try-outs.
There are some sample Hunter sheets here, from low-level scumbags all the way to rogue Necanthropes, and with that, The Contract Directory is done! Thanks for following us, and stick around for [D-NOTICE]!
Next: THE TRUTH (for real)