@ctiv8: Occupy Wall Street

I wrote @ctiv8 in 2005, two years after Anonymous first hit the scene and inspired, in part, by Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency. Where he had it centred around a leader in the form of the organisational knowledge, personal loyalty and dominance of Miranda Zero I wanted to take a more anarchistic slant which, it seems, is what’s tended happen in the real world. Ad hoc groups coming together on particular issues and the use of social media and secure lines of communication to fuel revolts, direct action, alleviate poverty, raise money for causes and so on.

It’s been weird to see so many of the themes and ideas I was playing with come about in real life.

The latest thing that’s triggering these sorts of thoughts is Occupy Wall Street, this is a case study in new media, the ineffectiveness of old forms of protest, the possibilities of new forms, the interplay of stereotype, miss-step, watching the watchmen and so much else. A great case-in-point example of many of these points is found HERE.

This is a perfect set up for an @ctiv8 cell to get involved in. There’s just so many aspects to this where they could make a difference.

The mainstream media paid no real attention until the police were caught on video being heavy handed.

  • Set up some fake police brutality against someone who doesn’t look like a ‘smelly hippy’ and make sure it’s caught on camera.
  • Set up citizen-media resources. The internet and other alternatives are the only way to get on-message info out there.
Should this become a full on confrontation with violence on the part of the protesters it’s likely that public sympathy will rapidly vanish.
  • Make sure that police agitators aren’t amongst the protesters and that, if they are, they’re known and identified.
  • Rein in/delay or stop the black bloc and others who are most likely to kick off.
Turning police tactics against them or finding ways to get leverage – especially over the blue-collar police, may well have a good effect in turning public sympathy and making the protest more effective.
  • Find ‘hooks’ into the working police. Budget cut and layoff documents might help, even if they have to be faked up but look convincing. Blackmail may also be effective against some, especially dirty cops who may well be known on the street and thus can be manipulated.
  • Set your own infiltrators amongst the police to pass intelligence back to the protesters and to instigate events that will make the security forces look bad.
If you want to get involved ‘IRL’ you can donate to this project, or head down to Occupy Wall Street (or one of its mirror protests) yourself. Ordinary people need to get down there if any sort of genuine difference is to be made. I donated what I could and… well, I wrote this. I make games that – hopefully – make people think. That’s what I can do.
Last time I posted something like this, I believe it was about the Royal Wedding and I apparently rubbed a few people up the wrong way. Some people even think that it’s somehow inappropriate for a games writer to put their own religious, philosophical or political slant into their games. You’re free to disagree with me, even to use @ctiv8 to run games based around your own activist tendencies, whatever side of politics you’re on. Just don’t try to tell me that I can’t write about the things that engage and interest me.

Cosmic Encounter Aliens: Dictator

Grotesque creatures rejected by an old and cultured world, the dictators pushed and clawed their way to planetary dominion. Relentless in their demands they turn friend against friend to do their bidding. Recently they have begun to tire of toying with the weak races at home and seek to control the entire universe.



Armoured 1
Flyer – Slow moving drift/hover.
Notable Intelligence & Education +2
Weak Strength & Endurance -2
Power replaces social standing.

Homeworld: Coltara Demesne: B 793969-10 N Hi In R
Starport B, 11.2k km, dense, tainted atmosphere, 30% water, population in the billions, captive government, law level 9, tech level 10.


Dictators have the following traits:

  • Flight (Hover) [Skill]
  • Outer Shell [Stunt]
  • Mind Control [Skill]
  • Dominate Mind [Stunt]
  • Mental Shield [Stunt]
  1. Weak to electrical attacks
  2. Weak to all germs/biological agents
  3. Weak


An ancient, geriatric and inbred race the Dictators ‘Saahim’ in their own language, which means ‘Masters’, are an offshoot of a long departed elder race, the ‘bad part’ that they left behind. Cruel, vindictive, genetically megalomaniacal and sadistic, they are riddled with deformities and congenital problems due to their tiny gene pool, kept alive only through cybernetic implants and hatred of anything ‘other’. Powerfully psychic they dominate and control their thralls through fear, intimidation, technology and direct psychic control.

Pathfinder: Defying the Gods

It was all very well going on about pure logic and how the universe was ruled by logic and the harmony of numbers, but the plain fact of the matter was that the Disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists’ houses and smashing their windows. – The Colour of Magic

As anyone who has known me for any length of time knows I’m an atheist and the insufferable kind of atheist that goes on about it all the time and has the sheer temerity to point out how nonsensical religious beliefs are. I mean, really, what kind of caddish oaf has the gall to point out the world isn’t flat or that there never was a worldwide flood?

Needless to say, this being such a big part of my life it bleeds over into my games, my approach to gods and clerics in games and my thoughts about magic and gods in games and materials that I write. Personally I like to leave gods in my game worlds uncertain, so that faith has a place in it. I don’t like faith, I think it’s a dangerous thing in the real world but in the fantasy worlds it’s usually all too obvious that there are gods around as they clash in the heavens, provide tangible boons to their followers, manifest and can even be visited when you slip and slide into other dimension.

That sets you on another track of thought though. A pantheistic set of gods, as is typical in most generic fantasy worlds, tends to have a lot in common with the Greek or Roman pantheons and/or some version of the Asgardian gods. Many pantheons share a common thread of mythology in that the various gods squabble, produce dozens of demigods, interfere constantly in the world of men and are often rebelled against by mankind, particularly their demigod offspring.

After a particularly heated discussion with someone I realised that even if I could be convinced that there was a god, given the mythologies around so bloody many of them I would view it as the duty of any good, moral human being to oppose them.

Human history is filled with examples of people standing up against overwhelming odds. Starting revolutions from a handful of people, raiding different states in their own country to try and free slaves or standing in front of tanks in a hopeless gesture of defiance.

Even in a world where gods existed, people might well stand up to them…

Godless Feats


You are untouched, uninterfered with, beneath the notice of the gods and they are beneath your notice. Your scorn for them shields you from both the good and bad side of the divine.

Prerequisites: This feat must be taken at character generation. Wis 12+.

Benefit: Any divine magic directly cast against you, whether of benefit or denigrating effect, has no effect.

Moral Relativism

Good, evil, law, chaos, they’re just points of view. There is nothing special or metaphysical about it and you are beyond the concerns of subjective morality.

Prerequisites: Wis 12+, Int 12+

Benefit: You ignore all alignment effects and restrictions on item use.


Others can call upon their gods but in your presence it may well be in vain.

Prerequisites: Wis 12+, Int 12+

Benefits: Your level gives you a pool of points which can be used – in a 24 hour period – to negate a number of cast spell levels equal to your level. EG: If you are level 5 and a cleric casts a level 3 spell, you would spend 3 levels to negate that spell and still have two left.

Faithless Strike (Combat)

Your incisive intelligence and focussed defiance of the gods lets you strike them for great harm.

Prerequisites: Intelligence 14+, Wis 12+,  BAB +5,

Benefits: You do an additional 1d6 damage when striking holy or unholy outsiders (but not elementals).


You apply your mind, rather than your heart, to the problems of the universe and your understanding gives you a degree of power over the world that rivals that of the priests.

Prerequisites: Intelligence 12+, Wis 12+, Cha 12+

Benefits: The godless cannot normally be clerics but philosophers can mimic many of their effects. They use their Int in place of their Wis for determining what spells they can cast but can otherwise cast divine magic.

Doubt (Combat)

Your presence, your existence as a godless figure disconcerts the faithful and makes it difficult for them to maintain their unquestioning faith.

Prerequisites: Wis 12+, Con 12+

Benefits: Any divine magic caster within five feet of you has their DC to cast spells increased by +4.


You can weather the wrath of the gods with a smile on your face and a defiant shout straining from your breast.

Prerequisites: Iron Will, Improved Iron Will

Benefits: Against any divine effect, special ability, magical ability or other effect of a divine source you roll your saving throw twice.

Cosmic Encounter Aliens: Cudgel

The customary greeting amongst Cudgels is a hearty handshake and a solid blow to the head. This long-held tradition – often fatal – is frequently misunderstood by other races, much to the amusement of the Cudgels. Now, having flattened all their closest friends, the gregarious Cudgel look skyward, leaving the debris of their broken planet behind. With fists raised in friendship, they seek out new beings to meet, greet and smash and will not stop until the cosmos itself is shattered.


Armoured: 1
Large: Strength 3d6, Endurance 4d6
Natural Weapon: Horns 1 damage, Melee Natural Weapons 0.
Notable Strength & Endurance +2
Weak Education and Intelligence -2
Brutality replaces social standing

Homeworld: Chod: B0119A0-9 N Hi Ic In Na R

Starport B, Asteroids (multiple), trace atmosphere, hydrographics 10%, population in the billions, charismatic dictatorship, law level 0, tech level 9.


Cudgel have the following traits:

  • Hard Hide [Stunt]
  • Protection [Stunt]
  • Horns [Stunt] (See claws)
  • Oversized [Stunt]
  1. Weak Vs Psi Attacks
  2. Fractious (-2 to Rapport and Empathy rolls).
  3. No Fine Manipulation


The Cudgel, known as Huhn (Hoon) amongst themselves, are massive, brutish, simplistic souls who are prone to a sort of amiable rough housing that many find fatal. Cudgel believing in testing everything to destruction and only that which survives their attentions is worthy. Even their home planet wasn’t worthy, burst asunder into an asteroid field by their own careless weapon testing. Now they quest out into the void seeking new worlds which are worthy enough to be a home to their species.

If you survive the greeting, the Cudgel can be your staunchest allies and greatest friends.

Doxy Released!


A companion game to Tough Justice and Courtesans, Doxy takes you down to the street and the life of the common strumpet and the darkness of the Georgian underworld. Can you make enough to eat? To drink? To drown your sorrows in gin? Can you escape the horrors of the noose or transportation?

Doxy is a fully featured game using the ‘Beer & Crisps’ system, not for the faint hearted or the easily offended.

Buy it HERE

Or in hardcopy HERE

Cosmic Encounter Aliens: Clones

A prolific species on a slowly cooling globe, the Clones traditionally selected the best of their race to represent them in territorial struggles. As the gene-pool thinned, one clan developed techniques to artificially duplicate their champion before battle. Thus, always rejuvenated, they came to dominate their world during the geologic crisis and emerged from it anxious to carry their new knowledge into cosmic competition.


Notable Strength, Dexterity and Endurance: +2
Small: Strength & Endurance 1d6, Dexterity 3d6
Social Standing is replaced by Bloodline

Homeworld: Leepeta: B556A34-A N Ag Ga Hi

Starport B, 8k km, thin atmosphere, 60% water, population in the tens of billions, self-perpetuating oligarchy, Law level 4, tech level 10.


Clones have the following traits:

  • Clones may take an extra (normal) stunt, for free, without impinging on their FATE pool.
  • Small
  1. Due to the highly engineered nature of their bodies, attempts to heal them or do surgery impose a -2 penalty.


Clones have become an almost entirely engineered species and can no longer reproduce normally. Variations are introduced while they are being cloned and main bloodlines control almost everything. New bloodlines must overcome prejudice and prove themselves before being accepted. Clones treat their bloodline almost like an extended family, mirroring the race’s tribal and fractious past.

Wizkid: Cantrip Comprehensive CONFLICT!

All great stories rise out of conflict and, as anyone who wasn’t homeschooled knows, school is full of conflict. This means you can have plenty of adventure without even having to break out the man-eating doll-spiders or bands of killer non-copyright infringing smurf-like micro-demons.

Students Vs Staff

The teachers are, obviously, in positions of authority and that puts them in immediate opposite with students who would rather build paper aeroplanes, sleep, text, smoke, get high, get drunk or cop a feel off each other behind the bike sheds. Some teachers are always worse than others however and certain teachers are set up to be the character’s arch nemesi.

Miss Encephela is an obvious choice, Mr Punch likes to hide away and she’s a hideous, octopoid bitch. She hates children and will go out of her way to come up with cruel and unusual punishments.

Madame Gorget also makes for a nasty and troublesome teacher who is ready to dish out punishments, usually after shouting at the student in a variety of incomprehensible languages, Like Miss Encephela she has a horrific edge which adds tension to her tirades.

Mr McBastard is less sinister and more angry, which makes him good for shouting and/or headbutting people. Given that corporal punishment is still applied in magical schools, he can be scarier than his conventional appearance might suggest.

Mr Noot on the other hand is a complete walkover and can be thoroughly bullied by the students with virtual impunity. As a victim he makes a good comedic punching bag compared to the nastier teachers.

Clique Vs Clique

As well as the specific cliques mentioned in prior articles there are always broad cliques based on academic accomplishment, popularity, fashion and music choices, remedial education status, sexiness, sexuality and just about any division you care to think of. Kids hatred and cruelty to each other is boundless and a rich source of bitter conflict that can last for years and scar for a lifetime, all without anyone getting killed!

School Vs School

Occasionally some teachers, educators or governments get funny ideas about ‘encouraging competition’ and try to get schools to play games against each other or engage in competitions. Cantrip Comprehensive tends to suck at Bigpitch and private schools do so very much love to ‘stick it to the oils’ but they’re willing to be underhanded more than the more privileged and there’s more than one thing they can compete at. Brutality can make up for a lot.

Staff Vs Staff

Teachers often clash over what they think is fair and over educational ideology. Some hate kids, some love them. Some believe in a soft approach, some a hard approach. Some like to punish, others to reward. Some like to threaten, others like to inspire. Canny students can latch on to a favourite teacher in a favourite subject and set the staff against each other, getting away with murder in the crossfire.

School Vs Town

The town is deeply suspicious of the school and the odd people that go there. It might be a Comprehensive but it doesn’t take in people from the local area. What’s all that about then eh? Plus the kids who go there seem to think they’re better than everyone else, which is bound to get someone’s back up. While the local shops are happy to take their money the local youths – and others – have their eye open for trouble, or the opportunity to cause it.

School Vs Government

Schools are subject to a lot of examination and scrutiny and every time the wind changes so does educational policy. It’s no different for magical schools and inspectors, interfering PTA groups and government secretaries are likely to turn up and put the school’s funding or existence under question from time to time. Students and staff will have to club together to keep these evil forces of bureaucracy out of their business.

Cosmic Encounter Aliens: The Citadel

Brilliant architects who obsessively build vast fortresses as they travel through the cosmos, the Citadels are often welcomed with open arms by other races, who are delighted to benefit from the universe’s best defences. Of course, what the Citadels don’t tell them is that these fortifications only work when the Citadels want them to.


Natural Weapon: Venomous bite – Melee Natural (0), damage 1, paralytic poison (as tranq gas).

Homeworld: TekTuk: AA74C55-B N Ga Hi In

Starport A, 16k km, dense tainted atmosphere, 40% water, population in the trillions, feudal technocracy, law level 5, tech level 11.


Citadel’s have the following traits:

  • Fur (+1 bonus to resist extremes of cold) [Stunt]
  • Toxic [Skill]
  • Toxic Bite [Stunt]
  • Enhanced Vision (Low light and UV) [Stunt]
  • Supermind (engineering) [Stunt]
  1. Weakness – Heat
  2. Repulsive (-2 Rapport/Empathy with mammalian species)


Citadels resemble a cross between apes and spiders with large, bulging, compound eyes, spider-like fangs and bodies covered in bristly fur. This somewhat creeps out mammalian species but most get over it as Citadel’s are brilliant engineers and fortifiers. Their own world is almost entirely one giant warren of cities and greenhouses and they tend to build sprawling, strong but lightweight structures that resemble exaggerated cones, ‘webbed’ into position with bucky cables.

New Clip Art Critters and Other Stuff

Check them out, and everything else, HERE.

We’ve also re-indexed all of our clipart with more easily searchable names and have a free catalogue you can get HERE.

We still have a few Deluxe Agents of SWING copies left for those who might want them (Limited number will be available at Dragonmeet & Indiecon).

The deluxe Agents of SWING box contains:

  • Hardback copy of the main book.
  • Copies of the Agent’s Handbook (Character sheets for players)
  • A copy of the Control Handbook (GMs notes and NPCs notebook)
  • Branded pencils.
  • Hand-distressed and liveried box-file
  • Dice for Agents & Control
  • Fate Chips
  • Eraser
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Unique adventure seed

Contact Postmortem directly (grim AT postmort DOT demon DOT co DOT uk) to order. It’s priced at £60 (which includes shipping, anywhere in the world).

There are also a limited number of copies of Call of Cthentacle and its supplement, The Dunbitch Horror, sold together for £15 (again including shipping). Contact at the above address the same if you’re interested in that.

Review: Cadwallon – City of Thieves

Cadwallon: City of Thieves is a board game by Fantasy Flight Games set in the independent city of Cadwallon in the world of Aarkalash, made famous by the now defunct Rackham. FFG, apparently, still has access to a lot of old Rackham IP and in partnership with Dust Games is leveraging some of that into game properties, such as this.

The basic premise of the game is that each player takes the role of a small gang of thieves (each gang is made up of four individuals) and these gangs invade a district wholesale on a variety of missions to steal as much as possible and then have it away on their toes.


  1. Everyone enters the same district to pilfer anything that isn’t nailed down.
  2. The thieves tangle with each other and steal each other’s lewtz.
  3. ?
  4. Profit.

You only get seven actions spread between your four gang members each turn, as well as a random chance of controlling one of the two militia guards that are patrolling. Each individual mission also has its own little foibles as well as little sub-mission cards that reward you for collecting particular treasures or sets of treasures and trading them in early.

You supplement your tactical play with bonuses from ‘Arcana’ cards, special effects that influence your various actions, let you move in particular ways around the board or make your fighting and other abilities better or those of others worse.

Halfway through the whole thieving farce the alarm is raised and a bunch of portcullis gates slam down, cutting off many routes of escape. Your gang then needs to get out before the end of play or they get captured! Oh noes!

It’s worth your while trading in what you have early, according to the little sub-missions as you can then trade them in for Ducats, which are easier to protect from being stolen and free up more space in your ‘inventory’ for pilfering more items before time runs out.

With multiple players I can see this all getting a bit hectic, too hectic even, with a very chaotic board full of minis all running into each other and a lot of opportunity for backstabbing fun and hilarity, not to mention vindictiveness.

The only drawbacks I can see is that gameplay can be quite repetitive, not normally a problem with board games but you expect a little more from these sorts of games. The other problem is that there just isn’t really enough differentiation between the various characters in the gangs. The special skills bring a slight difference but for characters that look so different you’d expect them to be a bit more individual in their capabilities.

All things considered, this is what the game brings to mind…

Style: 4 (Good quality plastic minis, great board).
Substance: 3 (Rising to 4 with the free downloadable extras).
Overall: 3.5