#RPG – FATE/@ctiv8 – LET’S KILL TRUMP

Obviously don’t actutrumpcoverally kill anyone, but plenty of people all over the political spectrum don’t reckon much to ‘The Donald’ and it’s not like America doesn’t have a history of killing the same people it elects into office.

Rarely has the US been so divided and rarely have so many people wanted to engage in the power fantasy of taking out a head of state.

How hard would it be though? What would stand in your way? How would you penetrate ‘The Beast’, bring down Airforce One or assault The White House?

Now you can! Only not really, this is just a game – a game about political activism and hardcore intervention, but only a game nonetheless.

Due to the political content (though it’s really just information to inform a freeform scenario) this cannot be sold, so please make $0.65 donation to grim@postmort.demon.co.uk or via my Patreon. Patrons get to suggest Youtube video topics and get discounts on Postmortem Studios products every month.

DOWNLOAD ‘LET’S KILL TRUMP’ HERE.

You can get a copy of @ctiv8 2.0 HERE.

Activ8 – Story Seeds

Current events can make good fodder for games, you just need to add a little spice – and perhaps not even that. @ctiv8, now in its second edition, is a game of mine that concerns itself with direct action relating to current events. It’s about making the world a better place, our world, in a real and meaningful way.

The new edition updates with a bunch of new material and ideas, updated from the intervening years that had made the old @ctiv8 a little dated. It also now uses the FATE system – though a little grittier than standard fate.

You can get it HERE.

Inspiration wise…

Immigrant Deaths
Illegal immigrants are taking huge risks and being put in jeopardy by the gangs that bring them into the country. If they are so determined to get into the UK (or any other country) they shouldn’t have to die doing so. Things should be safer and they should be protected from the criminal gangs. An @ctiv8 team made up of former customs and immigration officers, former smugglers, lorry drivers and skilled immigrants could find ways to help people into the country safely, and undermine the criminal gangs taking liberties with peoples’ lives. Though they’re likely to take violent exception to this.

Torture
Revelations about CIA torture and the complicity of other intelligence services has surfaced. An @ctiv8 agent might gain access to a version of the report that has not been redacted and which names names. Nuremberg established that those following orders bear responsibility if those orders are immoral or illegal but these torturers will never be punished or see prison – unless someone outside the government does it. @ctiv8 agents with intelligence backgrounds, ‘enhanced interrogation’ experience or whom have been victims of torture may pursue these lines of enquiry with extreme prejudice. If these men and women can be found and punished, perhaps others will think twice about following these kinds of orders.

Porn Law Protests
People in positions of power are notoriously kinky, especially Conservative politicians. Then there’s the fact that many of those who are the most outspoken against ‘perversion’ are normally rebelling against a part of themselves. It would be a terrible shame if some people began looking into MPs backgrounds, browser histories, affairs and proclivities and found anything useful for blackmail or for discrediting them, wouldn’t it?

#RPG [Chronicle City] @ctiv8 2.0 Released

THIS EDITION FOR FATE CORE

@ctiv8
A global anarchistic conspiracy.
A self-forming collective of individuals willing to do anything that is required to make the world a better place.
A source of consternation to intelligence and law enforcement communities.
A secret computer program, hidden in the darknet.

You can join them.
You can make a difference.
You can make the world a better place.

All you have to do is try.

Betrayed and undone from inside their own organisation, @ctiv8 rises from the ashes like a phoenix. Tighter, leaner, harder, more determined than ever to change the world for the better and accessing bleeding edge technology that authorities cannot keep up with they’ve raised the bar, the stakes and more than a little hell. In a challenging new world of information technology controls, rogue states, the dissolution of national boundaries and a clash between the 20th and 21st centuries a new vision is needed, a new compassion, a new order that can keep up with the changes that happen too fast for conventional forces to react.

A technothriller game about ordinary people making a real difference.
Set in a here and now that could be, but isn’t.
@ctiv8 contains challenging political themes.
Requires FATE Core

Buy it HERE

It will soon be available in our own STORE too, where you can also buy the excellent FOREVER SUMMER.

***

The setting has been updated to take into account developments over the last ten years or so, both in terms of technology and politics. The game setting is now much tighter with more defined goals but still drawing on the day-to-day news for inspiration. @ctiv8 is what might happen if you combined the anarchistic and utopian ideals of the early netizens with the activism of Anonymous and the hands-on approach of direct action groups.

Gameplay is a combination of technothriller, investigation and espionage with a more vicious and deadly rules-set tweak than standard FATE Core.

If you have any questions or queries about the game, the rules or any other aspect, please leave them in the comments below.

You can also follow the game on Twitter.

@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.

@ctiv8: Libya, The Nuclear Option

Briefing

With the rebel forces in Libya advancing on Sirte there’s concern amongst justice and human rights advocates that Gadhaffi and his regime will get away. There’s also concern amongst intelligence agencies that the information that Gadhaffi retains on the international trade in nuclear and biological materials may be lost, information that he was trading prior to the rebellion to bring Libya ‘in from the cold’. This information, including whatever choice bits Gadhaffi was withholding to horse trade with, could buy him protection and ‘exile’ status in a sympathetic country, either in the west where the intelligence is useful or in one of the other ambitious ‘rogue’ states in the world.

@ctiv8 members have resolved to do something about this. While finding Gadhaffi is probably beyond their scope as he will be very well hidden and well defended most of his military assets are currently in Sirte. Loyalist soldiers, tribal members as well as caches of information, Libyan currency, bullion and other assets as Sirte is one of the last places with good access to the sea to be found in the hands of the old regime.

If the nuclear underground information can be found and captured then the intelligence can end up in more responsible hands and Gadhaffi and his sons will have less to trade with to try and secure their protection from the rebels. While outright or even special forces operations by NATO powers is out of the question, @ctiv8 as private individuals with no political or national affiliation as such have no such compunction.

Mission

The @ctiv8 cell’s mission goals are as follows:

  1. Gain access to Libya.
  2. Gain entry to Sirte.
  3. Locate the regime intelligence cache with their nuclear underground information.
  4. Take that information.
  5. Ex-filtrate to a safe country.

Challenges

Gaining access to the country could be difficult. There are western special forces heading over there as trainers and advisers. There are also private contractors and company negotiators entering rebel held areas to try and work on reconstruction negotiations. The transitional government is fairly determined to sort things out for themselves and isn’t particularly welcoming to on-the-ground foreign involvement, though they do welcome the airstrikes. Charity and relief groups, perhaps, represent the best way to get into the country if these other methods (special visas or faking up a military mission) fail. Failing that, infiltration from a neighbouring country (Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Tunisia or Sudan) or across the Meditarranean may be the best bet.

Getting into Sirte may be more difficult. The bulk of the regime’s remaining forces and armaments are there and they’re very much on the alert and the defensive. Waiting for the rebel forces to march on the city may allow the team to infiltrate during the chaos, but it would also be dangerous. If native – or passing for native – they might pretend to be Gadhaffi loyalists and gain access that way, but their story would have to be good and to hold up under reasonable scrutiny. A military style infiltration by sea may be effective, but will also be very difficult.

Locating the intelligence cache will either take luck, tenacity or interrogating their way up the loyalist military food-chain until they get to someone in the know. The cache is also likely to be well hidden and well defended.

Leaving again has all the same problems as getting into the country.

Operatives

Characters with military or intelligence experience are a bonus, as are natives to Libya and those who speak Libyan Arabic or Modern Standard Arabic. Arabs, Berbers, Tuaregs and Tebus can all pass for locals and there were sizeable numbers of foreign nationals in Libya, though these were mostly limited to the capital.

IT/decryption specialists would also be useful as would interrogators or technicians/inventors working on equipment that could give the group an advantage, stealth transport aircraft, rebreathing aqualungs and so forth. Experts in stealth, psychology, misdirection and other specialities might also prove useful as would those with previous corporate contacts with the regime or others they might have reason to think were friendly.

Opposition

‘Amazon’ Bodyguards

Gadhaffi and his sons had/have an elite bodyguard of highly trained, ‘Amazonian’ women soldiers. While there are some claims that some of these women were, in effect, courtesans to be raped and used to amuse Gadhaffi, his sons and his command they did fulfil their bodyguard role and may still be found in numbers (there were originally around forty) protecting key personnel and regime loyalists.

Charm 4 Control 4
Resolve 4 Resistance 4
Dexterity 3 Speed 3
Intelligence 3 Perception 4
Strength 3 Resilience 4
Awareness 4, Firearms 4 (Pistol & SMG), Close Combat 4 (Knife), Athletics 3, Intimidation 3
TT Pistol, FNP90 or FNF2000, Combat Knife

Khamis Brigade

The 32nd Reinforced Brigade of the Armed People, now the Khamis Brigade under the command of Colonol Gadhaffi’s son Khamis, is a special forces brigade and the best armed, best equipped and most loyal of his forces before or after the rebellion. It numbers perhaps 3,000 men, reinforced with unknown numbers of French-speaking mercenaries from Sub Saharan Africa. Technically a Heavy Mechanised unit, thanks to NATO airstrikes the loyalist forces have been unable to use their heavy equipment effectively. Since the rebellion has turned against Gadhaffi’s forces the Khamis brigade has been implicated in the systematic murder of prisoners of war.

Charm 3 Control 4
Resolve 4 Resistance 3
Dexterity 3 Speed 3
Intelligence 3 Perception 3
Strength 3 Resilience 3
Awareness 3, Stealth 2, Firearms 3 (Assault Rifle), Close Combat 3 (Knife) Athletics 3, Intimidation 3
TT Pistol, AKM, Combat Knife.

Regular Soldiers

The regular soldiers that remain loyal to the regime are demoralised but still well equipped, considering.

Charm 3 Control 3
Resolve 2 Resistance 2
Dexterity 3 Speed 3
Intelligence 3 Perception 3
Strength 3 Resilience 3
Awareness 2, Firearms 3, Close Combat 2, Athletics 2
TT Pistol, AK47/FN F2000, Combat Knife

Loyalist Mob

Many of those who remain loyal to Gadhaffi have been armed from supply caches and turned out to fight, albeit undisciplined and not especially under control.

Charm 3 Control 3
Resolve 2 Resistance 2
Dexterity 3 Speed 3
Intelligence 3
Perception 3
Strength 3 Resilience 3
Firearms 1, Brawling 1
SKS or AK47

Typical Arms

TT Pistol – Old fashioned Russian pistol, 8 round magazine 7.62 – Damage 7
Beretta M12 – Robust and compact 9mm SMG, 20/32/40 round magazine – Damage 8
FNP90 – Modern and compact bullpup assault rifle/SMG5.7mm SMG, 50 round magazine – Damage 8 – Autofire, Armour Piercing (-2 Armour).
SKS – Old style semi-Automatic combat rifle, 7.62 rifle, 10 round mag – Damage 12
AK47 – The classic poor-man’s assault rifle.  7.62 Assault Rifle, 10/20/30/40 round magazine – Autofire, Damage 12
AKM – Slightly updated version of the AK47, 7.62 Assault Rifle, 20/30/40 round magazine – Autofire, Damage 12
FN F2000 – Modern bullpup assault rifle, 5.56 Assault Rifle, 30 round magazine – Autofire, Damage 10
RPD – 7.62 Light machine gun, 100 round drum – Autofire, Damage 12
RPK – 7.62 Light machine gun, 40 round mag, 75/100 round drum – Autofire, Damage 12
PK – 7.62 Light machine gun, 100/200/250 round box – Autofire, Damage 12

Machine Gun Toting trucks count as SUV/Pickups.

@ctiv8 – Social Networking

I’m writing this with @ctiv8 in mind but you could easily adapt what I have here to any 1-5 or 1-10 scale. One thing to keep in mind though is that ‘3’ in @ctiv8 is considered average for a stat or ‘professional’ for a skill, while other games lean towards ‘2’ as an average, to allow the higher level to be truly exceptional.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about how the internet is supposedly changing human behaviour. Of particular interest in articles that have come up lately is how unless one’s an expert, one doesn’t seem to memorise details that can be found easily on the internet. In the same way that people drifted from doing mental arithmetic once calculators became ubiquitous, so people have stopped memorising details that can be found easily on the internet.

Gaming hasn’t particularly cottoned onto this, still favouring strong characters with particular fields of expertise but, frankly, if a character in a modern game has access to a smartphone they can grab whatever they need from Wikipedia or – and this is where this article comes in – they can ask people. We can only hold personal relationships with so many people, but our social networks, especially if they cover friends of friends, can get information from a trusted source and allow you to ask follow up questions.

When it comes to @ctiv8, where characters are often battling against the status-quo, using crowdsourcing for funding or information needs to be weighed against the risk of exposure. The larger the group you go to for information the more risk of exposure there is.

A roll to use crowdsourcing for information should be rolled in secret by the Games Master so that they can supply misinformation or account for security services and others being aware of the character that’s asking.

A roll for crowdsourcing is based on computer familiarity and foci that might be useful would be ‘social networking’ and particular social networks. It’s based on social capability rather than intelligence though, it’s more about relationship and public perception of who you are, rather than how clever you are per se.

The difficulty is moderated by two factors. How large of a group you’re asking and how relevant their knowledge is likely to be.

  • Small social circle – 10s of people – +3 difficulty. 1/6 chance of detection.
  • Medium social circle – 100s of people – +2 difficulty. 2/6 chance of detection.
  • Large social circle – 1000s of people – +1 difficulty. 3/6 chance of detection.
  • Huge social circle – 10,000s of people – +0 difficulty. 4/6 chance of detection.
  • Enormous social circle – 100,000s of people -1 Difficulty. 5/6 chance of detection.
  • Stephen Fry – 1,000,000’s of  people -2 Difficulty
  • Specialist Community -2 difficulty
  • Intelligent Community -1 difficulty
  • General Community – +0 difficulty

Using the @ctiv8 network is a medium social circle and full of specialists, so ends up as normal, unaltered difficulty. @ctiv8 has NO chance of being detected. Further difficulties are applied if the information being asked for is rare or specialised, or if you’re being dishonest in any way, something that is likely to be reacted to poorly when it is inevitably found out.

Crowdsourcing funds rapidly raises 10s, 100s, 1000s, 10,000s or 100,000s of pounds with additional successes multiplying the 100s. Penalties and bonuses are applied for sob stories and dishonesty and there’s an inherent -1 penalty before you even start due to people’s wariness of scams, rising to -5 if you’re Nigerian.

Quiet Riot

I’ve never lived in London but I’ve spent a massive amount of time there and have plenty of friends there as well as the other cities affected by the unrest that we’re experiencing in this country. I’m not the kind of person to shy away from talking about things or exploring them just because they’re ‘close’ but I am finding it hard to do some of my work as it relates to London in the wake of unrest and destruction and seeing it happen for real and how ineffective the forces of law and order are in protecting people really brings it all home.

Part of the reason I create is in order to affect people, to make them think. When I run games I like to examine moral issues. When I create settings I try to think about the plausible political and social implications of those settings an the effects of things like magic, gods, monsters, multiple intelligent species and so on.

When I wrote @ctiv8 I hoped that people would take it on board and think about applying some of the ideas of the heroic adventurer in their real lives and make a genuine difference. Naive? Probably. I took some of the ideas from Warren Ellis’ global frequency but where GF is very much based around a hierarchical structure around Miranda Zero, parallel to more conventional structures @ctiv8 was deliberately more of an anarchistic, self-organising structure, inspired by some of the earliest Anonymous actions and the early use of social media in protest movements. If anything those ideas and speculations have been shown to be inadequate compared to what has happened in just a few, short years.

There’s as much bad as good going on using these communications methods. The rioters are using BlackBerry IMs to organise flying raids and to group up to attack places but equally others have used Twitter to organise cleanups and pictures of rioters and looters have shown up all over social media to be identified through crowd sourcing.

The problems that have lead to these riots are societal and exist top to bottom. There are no excuses but there are reasons. Reasons that are being swept under the carpet by the narrative of ‘lawless scum’ and the PM has already made reference to ‘phony human rights concerns’ which is an appalling thing for a Prime Minister of a free country to say. People are being rushed through the courts, there are going to be miscarriages of justice.

@ctiv8 is a game that’s supposed to be about making a change and a difference in the real world and it’s worth just thinking about how that might be done or what might be done. To that end here’s some adventure seeds and ideas for @ctiv8 based around the problems we’re facing.

During the Riots

  • Vigilantism is rarely a good solution but @ctiv8 members who are part of the security services themselves or have appropriate experience may be able to more effectively counter riots and looting in a direct, physical manner.
  • Police and other forces are behind technologically. They’re even behind uneducated street kids when it comes to social media and are restrained legally and technologically from tapping into their information. A skilled @ctiv8 hacker has no such restrictions.
  • Police are often heavy-handed and evidence gathering can prevent miscarriages of justice. An ad-hoc citizen surveillance network, perhaps run over wireless from a cluster of cheap webcams, could protect people from false accusations and help finger genuine culprits.
  • There’s a big threat that the issues that are the root causes of this civil disobedience and thuggery, the reason that there’s these social problems are going to be forgotten in the mainstream media in the overriding scourge of Daily Mail outrage journalism. An @ctiv8 cell with the right skills could insert messages or get information out there that subverts the main narrative.

After the Riots

  • People  have lost a lot and many of them don’t have insurance or a way to rebuild. Some don’t even have homes. They might have had more than the people that robbed them or burned down their shops but now they have nothing. A ‘Robin Hood’ scheme to steal from those who genuinely have too much to help those who have nothing would seem to be the thing to do. A ‘caper’ against the bankers and politicians who created the crisis to redistribute the wealth.
  • People aren’t going to ‘dob in’ those who did these things. Either through fear or a sense of loyalty. There might be other ways to find them that are available to @ctiv8 members and aren’t available to the Powers That Be.
  • So long as the disconnect between the people involved in the rioting and greater society exists these problems will continue. A more long term solution/campaign might be based around trying to re-engage the community with society, deal with some of its problems, ‘take out’ the problem people, drug dealers etc and create a more stable and invested local structure.

 And, if you want to make a real difference in real life, think about these issues. Think about the ‘why’ without excusing the ‘what’. Find local charities and groups in London and the other affected cities and make the world a better place, one gamer at a time.