"There is no light or dark, only power and those too weak to seek it" (or in short: PC as the bad guys)

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Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
"There is no light or dark, only power and those too weak to seek it" (or in short: PC as the bad guys)

While reading Titans Annual #1, a though came to my mind.
No, I wasn't wondering if I have been basilisk hacked (that's gonna be in September)!
I was wondering if if some of you have played groups of characters that are decidedly bad guys, criminals or plainly evil.

I don't mean good characters that happen to have good G-rep and connection, but character who indulge in piracy and ego smuggling for 9 Lives, data theft for ID Crew, downright terrorists, even. the real nasty stuff.

Please tell me -and us- about it? how did it go? what did you do?

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Unity Unity's picture
Re: "There is no light or dark, only power and those too ...

Sadly my only example is in a Star Wars/Eclipse Phase crossover solo game that I'm co-running with the only other person involved.

AGI borganism copyration (think Pax Familiae) crimelords that do all of the above except terrorism: for the win.

Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: "There is no light or dark, only power and those too ...

Most of my players' characters are a bit on the grey side of morality, occasionally doing things that are downright villainous (putting a fork of another PC into virtual hell forever, trying to sabotage the reactor of the ship so the others will be killed and the saboteur could claim a treasure for himself). But this is more like selfishness or inter-group conflict (and in one memorable case, one fork of a PC hiring an assassin to kill another PC in order to get his other fork out of 'bad company'!)

I wonder what a truly good villain campaign would be. The court of a gerontocrat? The PCs are hangers-on and experts working for The Old Man, both trying to advance his sinister agendas and look good at the expense of others. Everything from corporate intrigue to managing wayward family members ("My nephew went too far with his playmates *again*. Clean up the mess, and make sure no journalist ever writes about it.")

Mad Science Federation: the PCs are argonauts, trying to do research into the vast vistas opened by the Fall. But they need to keep those pesky Firewall sentinels away - those ignoramuses are trying to stop the Science!

Exhuman, all too human: the PCs are singularity seekers, trying to become exhumans. They are on the trail of technologies and artefacts that might help them, like the Automated Transcendence Machine, the Fornjot Manuscript or seed AGI code. Can they avoid their numerous enemies and avoid going mad as they change themselves - and can they tell the difference?

King of all what you see: The PCs are planning and executing a coup on a habitat or exoplanet, trying to gain power. Maybe they have a nice cover story, but deep down it is all about lust for power and fear of other fractions.

Again, the problem with villain stories is that they need to have enough cohesion to avoid backstabbing each other *too* much. Maybe having them work for an evil organisation is the best solution - it is still a bit too easy to advance in triads and syndicates through "klingon promotion", but security agencies might be better. Beside Ozma, what about a game set within Jovian Security, trying to keep the Junta in power (sure, some PCs might be true believers, but the rest of the group knows that the real goal is keeping the boot stomping the face forever) or the remnants of Chinese intelligence, now hiding Fall criminals and doing crime in order to fund an eventual resurgence of the People's Republic?

Extropian

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: "There is no light or dark, only power and those too ...

One of my EP games moves at approximately .5c, so we're already at 14AF. Anyway, one of the PCs has destroyed Progress and is considered a terrorist (although they did it to protect a major artifact the Consortium was after, and just because the Consortium sucks butt).

Quincey Forder Quincey Forder's picture
Re: "There is no light or dark, only power and those too ...

Nezumi, you have to tell us about that! I'd love to hear how he managed to destroy a whole bloody moon!

on the 'Old man' mention, that made me think of a Renegade Shepard I once played, a few months ago in Mass Effect 2. Should have seen his face! red glowing scars and eyes. really spooky. Anyway, he always teamed up with Morinth and Jack, completely betrayed Tali (during the loyalty quest, to boot!), ignoring Ash, sold Legion to Cerberus, didn't blow the station...
Every renegade decision to make he did!
So I began to wonder how such character would do in the EP verse. A member of the Ultimates, maybe?

Inspiration wise, for bad guys team there are several around
-Injustice Society
-Suicide Squad (though it's more of a quest for redemption theme there)
- Titans (Deathstroke's team with Arsenal, Cheshire and Cinder. Slade Wilson and Roy Harper would both make great NPC, imho)
-The Secret Six (DC)
-DV8
-Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
-Sinister Six (Marvel)

A special mention for the team of the bad guys in Artefact. They despise each other, pretty much, but are all looking for the 13 Treasures. that'd made a cool concept for rogue artifact hunting gatecrashers based on Carnival

Great characters to "play" in solo games would be Hush and Red Hood
Hush would be an Argonaut genehacker who's gone rogue and became a (serial) killer, opposed to a hypercorporate mogul whom he grew up with
Red Hood could be a former cop and adopted son of the aforementioned mogul left for dead during the Fall, but who survived and started to resume his work as bounty hunter, but willing to kill his marks permenantly. Even if these are Firewall Agents

Q U I N C E Y ^_*_^ F O R D E R

Remember The Cant!

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Re: "There is no light or dark, only power and those too ...

nezumi.hebereke wrote:
One of my EP games moves at approximately .5c, so we're already at 14AF.

Time dilation at .5c is very weak, only a 15% difference. You might want to dial up the speed if you want time dilation to be significant.

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
Re: "There is no light or dark, only power and those too ...

Quincey Forder wrote:
Nezumi, you have to tell us about that! I'd love to hear how he managed to destroy a whole bloody moon!

Well this is with my wife, whose campaign started as a Victorian-era magicpunk game, advanced through time until she was a colonist on Mars in 2060, backed up at a Jovian research station her great granddaughter worked at, then returned to Mars to kill a giant, magic dragon that was eating people (she herself dying in the process). All this before EP's core book came out.

Then I got into EP and, to support my freelancing, she agreed to come along after. So she was resleeved after the Fall. And while it's EP, it tends to run to the epic scale, and I gave my nod to the sudden loss of magic by basically saying the TITANs broke it.

So anyway, after several years in game of bopping around, they recover a magical 'world tree', which permits access to magic again, if they can get energy to feed it. They deploy probes around Jupiter (who they've won over by pissing on the Consortium previously) which harvest energy and feed it to the tree. They discretely use nanotech to make a LOT of them. The Factors and the Consortium both are playing gunboat tactics for the tree. They pull an awesome scam, then provide cover by converting power to magic to a beam of destruction. So the Jovians now love her (both for her working against the Factors and Consortium, and for some of her humanitarian work), but tend to quarantine her when she visits. The PC hates her. (And in our campaign now, the TITANs have exploded out of the Martian QE, which ultimately is killing the PC altogether.)

I'm not familiar with ME or any of the characters you mention. But I can definitely imagine those characters (a suicide bomber would be especially frightening, since he can keep coming back). And if you accept that the big governments are doing really dirty stuff (which seems reasonable) this sort of behavior could be morally justified. Cognite is harvesting brains for an involuntary ego-modification project, and the Consortium is politely ignoring them. The Jovians are creating and broadcasting hostile memes to 'demonstrate infrastructure vulnerabilities'. That they are permanently corrupting and destroying egos is brushed away under the rationale that those people are already dead. What are you supposed to do there? The common man has no way to make that right. So perhaps you need to start breaking some rules. And a few unfortunates having to be restored from backup is justified if you can end this torture and destruction.