SYSTEM: Brave New World SETTING: Ravaged Planet NUMBER OF PLAYERS: ~4
ASK NOT WHAT YOUR COUNTRY COULD DO FOR YOU.
ASK INSTEAD WHAT YOUR COUNTRY COULD DO TO YOU.
It is the turn of the millenium. This New Year will mark President John F. Kennedy's thirty-ninth year in office. Thirty-nine years since the United States last had a leader elected to office by democratic vote. Thirty-seven years since five percent of the world's population was officially declared to be without rights. Thirty-six years since Kennedy declared martial law and officially abolished the Bill of Rights for all American citizens.
November the twenty-second, nineteen sixty-three. That's when it all went to hell. You know the story. President Kennedy, his wife Jackie, the motorcade, the crowds...
The Devastator was the one behind it, but the one leading the terrorists on that day was a man named Lee Harvey Oswald. A delta - a super-human, a "paranormal", a homo sapiens delta, whatever you want to call them. He wasn't the first delta, but he was the one firing that rocket into the President's vehicle. He was the one who put Kennedy into that three-day coma, and the one responsible for Kennedy's hatred of all things delta upon waking.
After all, the first lady died that day. Of course he was going to be mad.
But he abused it. Sent the Delta Registration Act down to Congress, pushed it through on the back of the emotional tidal wave that the American public was giving him. No one was about to say no to that man, not after you saw the pictures of his little boy saluting his mother's casket. The day that bill was signed into law, five percent of America's population - every single delta - had their rights declared null and void.
Register with the government. Have all your movements tracked, every single fact about your life kept on a public, unprotected database. Let every crook you've stopped over the years, every guy you ticked off in high school, every man whom you ever turned down for a date know exactly where you live, where your children go to school, and where your wife does her shopping. Let them know your exact powers, your weaknesses.
Your other option: be declared an enemy of the state, and spend the rest of your life rotting in jail, hiding your powers or on the run.
Welcome to the year 1999. Location: America the beautiful.
Brave New World is a superhero RPG created by Matt Forbeck. In it, the players take on the role of "deltas", known in regular human words as "superheroes". But the government - and the public - does not like superheroes. When you discover your powers, you have seven days to register yourself with the government or be declared a federal criminal.
Once you've registered, though, things don't get any better. You have to tell the government everything you do: where you go, who you're dating, when you deposit a paycheck. And anyone, anywhere, can access this information any time.
Not surprisingly, most deltas don't like this idea. So they go underground - either literally running from the police or hiding their powers as best they can, hoping not to be spotted. It's not an easy life, though, especially when everyone around you has been brought up to believe that unregistered deltas are inhuman monsters. You're not people. You're "the delta menace, the greatest threat to our nation today", and no one will hesitate to turn you in.
More than that, you're a Defiant.
The "Defiance" is President Kennedy's worst nightmare - an organization of underground, unregistered deltas who devote their lives to getting him out of office. The damage from their conflicts with Delta Prime - the U.S. government's personal delta army - has reduced much of America to wreckage.
Then there is Delta Prime, the selfless, patriotic deltas who have pledged themselves to supporting the country's government. They do their best to bring an end to the delta menace in general and the Defiance in particular. If you are an unregistered delta, it's their job to haul you in or kill you in the attempt.
Brave New World uses an extremely simple d6-based system. It's very easy to learn - the rules that the players need to know can be explained in a page or less - so not having used the system before is not a problem.
The chief criticism leveled against Brave New World is that its character creation system is extremely limited, and lacks opportunities for players to create their own heroes. Instead, you pick hero types from a list of pre-created power packages, such as Blaster, Goliath, and Healer. To get around this, I am allowing homebrew power packages under the condition that they first be reviewed by me and that I reserve the right to alter them at later points if they are too over- or under-powered.
Players who wish to join the game should post here with a short description of their character. This should include:
Name, appearance, age, occupation, etc.
Desired power "type": You don't have to know the power packages yet. Instead, let me know what type of hero you'd like to play. Spider-Man? Batman? Wolverine? Cyclops? The Thing? Let me know, and I'll let you know if I have a power package for it. If I don't, we can work on homebrewing one once the game is ready to go. Backstory: This should include a few things. First, and most important, is your character's current status with the government. Did you just discover your powers, and have a few days left to decide whether you are registering or not? Are you already registered, but not a Delta Prime member? Are you unregistered, but not a Defiant? Are you a Defiant? A Primer?
Second is your character's personal history. Detailed backstories containing opportunities for plot hooks are the ones that will get my attention.
Thirdly, and probably least important, is your character's "awakening". All deltas "awaken" to their powers at some point. The one universal factor is that it is always while under extreme stress. A car accident, for example, or drowning, or - yes - even being bitten by a radioactive spider.
Now, keep in mind that while I just made a Spider-Man joke, this isn't a "let's make fun of superhero cliches" game. An obvious comic-book-character ripoff will probably be turned down in favor of other, more original heroes.