Double Cross

Elevator Pitch: A mysterious virus gives people superpowers at the risk of turning into monsters; shounen-anime-style heroics ensue.

Core Mechanic: Attribute exploding-d10s pick-one dicepool + Skill mod vs. Target Number

Dice Used: Many d10s, occasionally d100

Summary

Today is a repeat of yesterday. Tomorrow will be a repeat of today. This mundane cycle has made the world seem stagnate. Who could have suspected that the world has been horribly warped?

The mysterious explosion of a plane carrying an artifact unearthed from an unimaginably ancient ruin has spread the Renegade Virus across the world. Although 80% of the population are now carriers, in most people the virus remains dormant, leaving them blissfully unaware of the way the world has changed. In those in whom the virus becomes active, it causes strange mutations, granting its host incredible powers based on which Syndrome they develop, turning them into the supernaturally powerful Overed. But when the Renegade grows too strong, whether through reckless use of powers or by otherwise being overly active, it infects the mind so heavily that the person becomes a slave to their base desires, becoming a creature known as a Gjaum. Gjaum often also mutate further, becoming as horrific in appearance as they become inside. Overed who fight to protect humanity from the depredations of Gjaum are called Double-Crossers, because they betray monsters by fighting for humanity, and humanity by becoming closer to the monsters.

Players portray Overed who are in some way working for the United Guardian Network (UGN), a loose international confederation of agencies which try to protect people from both the Gjaum themselves, and the knowledge of how the world has changed. Overed must carefully balance themselves between worlds, maintaining personal connections to keep themselves from succumbing to their Impulses while still using their powers to protect people from Gjaums. They are opposed by False Hearts, an organization of Gjaums and other Overeds who reject their humanity and consider themselves above ordinary humans. To the side is Xenos, a mysterious group of Renegade Beings: sentiences born from the Renegade Virus itself, who have their own inscrutable agendas but are ultimately as varied in outlook and personality as humans.

System Features

Characters pick Syndromes, which serve as frameworks from which they can select powers. A character can be a Purebreed, possessing only a single syndrome but able to gain more powerful versions of its tricks and special powers exclusive to them, Crossbreeds, the most common type who can draw powers from two different Syndromes, or Tri-Breeds, who gain access to a third, weaker syndrome in exchange for giving up some of their maximum potential.

Sydromes are collections of powers based around a common theme, such as Angel Halo, which allows for control of light and sensory enhancement, or Balor, which summons an evil eye that controls gravity. Each Syndrome is robust and varied enough to make a character competent as a Purebreed, but also offered options to combine powers together to achieve incredible results for Tri-Breeds. A character’s Syndromes also determine her starting Attributes, which describe the starting size of her dice pools (though powers of course modify them).

The basic system involves rolling a number of d10s equal to the relevant Attribute to the task, rerolling and adding 10 to the value of any that hit the critical threshold (usually 10, but with ample options to expand!), and then picking the highest value and adding the character’s rating in a relevant Skill to get the Result, which is compared to whatever the Difficulty is. The number dice, critical rating, points added, etc, can all be added to by using powers, but activating a power increases the character’s Encroachment rating. Encroachment rating grants its own bonuses, but also makes it more difficult to the character’s destructive Impulse. In fact, Encroachment increases every time a character appears in a scene, even before using any powers. And if a character is unable to get her Encroachment rating below 100% at the end of a scenario, she becomes a Gjaum and is no longer playable.

To reduce her Encroachment, a character relies on her relationships with other people. These people are called a character’s “Lois”, and the more she maintains, the more she can reduce her final Encroachment. A relationship with a Lois isn’t necessarily a positive one; a Lois just as easily be a rival or someone you’re hunting; the important factor is that the relationship you have is one that helps you maintain your connection to your human side. But if a relationship is broken, the Lois becomes a Titus. Tituses don’t help you resist Encroachment, but these relationships can be discarded to provide a one-time bonus similar to a free level of a buff power, meaning they have one more chance to really matter. Balancing Titus and Lois relationships forms the narrative backbone of the game.

Scenario

Truth or Fiction (Double Cross main book)

Half a year ago, a girl was killed by a man who switched to Fals Hearts. However, the girl was given another chance at life. Is this girl real, or a lie that will fade away like an illusion? Those that live in the twisted side of the world will now uncover the mystery behind her resurrection.

Getting the Game

You can order the game from Amazon. Unfortunately, there’s no official PDF release for this game.

Double Cross

Ann Arbor Game Day zcipher