We’re playing 2020 in 2020, you can see some earlier posts on this blog about that. As part of that, I thought I’d put a little effort into some campaign material and world-setting (which is an even darker timeline version of our current 2020.
Huawei Backdoor data
Details on the Huawei backdoor could fetch a very high price on the open market, or provide a killer backdoor for any hacker who kept hold of the information.
A darknet broker, BAUHINIA97 claims to know where the information is being held on the Hauwei campus in Shenzen. He’s willing to front transport and expenses in Bitcoin, as a gamble, plus 10% of the final sale price of the data.
UK Arrest Warrants
There are riots, protests, violence and even terrorism all over the UK at the moment. COBRA seems to be in permanent session and this has accelerated the mass flight of capital and industry from the country that was already happening.
Police, reserves and the military have all alread been employed to handle basic duties, while the ‘proper’ police try to quell the riots and disruption, but politically the government cannot put troops ‘on the streets’ and so a great deal has gone out to private contract.
There are strict rules to follow, the warrants are for the individuals to be arrested and turned in to custody, but there’s quite a lot of them and they run anything up to 50,000 pounds reward for the top of the list.
Many different corporations and interests are using the bush inferno as an excuse and opportunity to test out new technology. That creates plenty of opportunities for corporate espionage, especially since communications are a bit unreliable.
One of your brokers is interested in the capture and retrieval of a firefighting exoskeleton being field tested by an Australian startup. The Crow-X1 is cutting edge fire protection, a completely sealed suit that’s supposed to be able to wade deep into the worst chemical fires to attack them at their source.
Reward is likely to run around 100k USD.
Black-market, hidden server farms are highly sought after for lucrative piracy, mob data storage and other illicit purposes. They’re also somewhat vulnerable, for all that there’s a great deal of money sunk into them.
A darknet broker is looking to hire a private group to raid a server farm currently lurking on the edge of Night City’s ‘combat zone’. If they know where it is they could just inform the police, so it seems like they want some incriminating data erased – with extreme prejudice.
10k USD, and preferential treatment for future work – if handled discretely.
One of the many small cryonics facilities that has gone bust has been bought out by Osiris. They’re shipping the ‘high rollers’ from a facility in Scottsdale Arizona to their new headquarters in San Francisco – by road, for the sake of safety.
Your broker has a contracter willing to pay 100k for the retrieval of one, specific high-roller cannister from the truck. If you’re up for it.
As I note in the video, if you want to play The Boys as an RPG, then Aberrant is probably your best option. You should only really need the core book, but the Player’s Guide isn’t a bad idea either. Aberrant isn’t a perfect system by any stretch, but the nature of The Boys helps prevent some of the problems, and Storyteller is a reasonably familiar system to a lot of people.
If you want to make a character, here’s a quick and dirty guide:
Concept: Don’t make a ‘superhero’, make a person. Make a character based on who they were before they got any powers, and then apply those powers. Your concept should, therefore, be something more like ‘Retail Worker’ than ‘Warrior Poet’, though you can reinvent yourself later.
Nature: Again, choose a core personality trait as a normal person, without regard to status as a hero. Everyone in The Boys is flawed, broken, corrupt or abused in some way.
Damage: Every The Boys character needs a reason to hate Superheros. For Butcher it’s the death of his wife. For Wee Hughie its the death of his girlfriend. For Mother’s Milk its the death of his father and the horrendous effects of Compound V on his mother and brother. For The Female its her past status as an ‘experimental animal’. Frenchie is so insane and fucked up, nobody really knows. Damage should act like a second ‘Nature’ in play – giving The Boys motivation and a little edge against Supes.
Attributes, Abilities & Backgrounds: At this stage, just put things in as though you’re making a normal person. Don’t customise or think of your ‘Hero Hunter’ side until later.
Quantum: Call it ‘Mutation’ or something instead, but it can otherwise work in much the same way.
Bonus Points: This is where you can start thinking of your character more in terms of their role in The Boys (or a similar clandestine group). Use your Bonus Points to give you some basic competency in combat and investigation, and to raise your Quantum.
Becoming Super: All superheroes, including The Boys, trace their origins to Compound V – a material created by Nazi scientists and experimented with by all sides during the war. Variations of the drug exist, including a street version, and all mutate your DNA. The Boys are either relatively stable ‘natural’ examples, or people selected and injected with billion-dollar pure versions. Mutations and strange physical traits are more likely to manifest from experimental versions of Compound V (used by Vought-Amercan to create marketable supes) or from ‘street’ versions such as the cocaine-V cocktail known as ‘blue’. Latent abilities tend to manifest during times of stress, horror, excitement etc.
Powers: Characters who form part of The Boys (or similar teams) should limit themselves, at least to start with, to physical Mega-Attributes. The only scaling we really have to compare to is Butcher’s comment to Hughie that Compound V makes you 10-15 times stronger – at least in terms of the pure version. That doesn’t fit neatly into Aberrant’s categories, but Aberrant does seem to better fit that strength as we see it in the comics.
All characters should start with at least Mega Strength 1 and Mega Stamina 1.
Mega Dexterity is another good option and Frenchie appears to exhibit Mega Perception at times – though this may be an affectation related to his madness.
Suggested Enhancements for Mega Strength would include – Crush and Lifter. From the Player’s Guide, Irresistable Force and Precision and Thrower.
Suggested Enhancements for Mega Dexterity would include – Accuracy, Enhanced Movement, Physical Prodigy and Rapid Strike. From the Player’s Guide, Perfect Balance.
Suggested Enhancements for Mega-Stamina would include – Durability, Hardbody and Resiliency. From the Player’s Guide, Health, Immovable Object and Tireless.
Most characters in The Boys won’t have other powers, this would be an exception rather than the rule. Some powers are more acceptable though, and shouldn’t necessarily be quibbled with.
These might include: Armour, Boost, Invulnerability and extras like Impervious, Armour Piercing (applied to Mega Strength) and so on.
Gadgeteering is also possible in this setting (as Tek-Knight shows) but isn’t tied to powers and can’t do anything truly outlandish. GM discretion is going to be very necessary there.
Suggested Starting Power Suite
Mega Strength 2 (6 points)
Mega Stamina 2 (6 points, 12 total)
Mega Strength Enhancement: Crush (3 points, 15 total)
Mega Stamina Enhancement: Durability (3 points, 18 total)
Mega Stamina Enhancement: Hardbody (3 points, 21 total)
3 additional dots in Attributes (1 point, 22 total)
Probably this one. Years back, but it’s showing what I’ve consistently tried to do ever since. To reach across this ‘SJW’ divide and create understanding. No progress has, however, been made. The divisions remain, there’s nobody on the other side really willing to listen – whether it’s in tabletop, video games, fiction writing or anything else.