Equilibrium 3A: Setting Rules

Okay, so here’s the Setting Rules, including two optional rules (simply for giving out Bennies), and a few, “Non-Negotiables.” I was originally planning to make ‘Corruption’ a mechanic for people playing Angels or Demons… but it just seemed way too convoluted, so I just did something simpler and adjusted how Mutations work in this game compared to Hell on Earth.

“Equilibrium,” is sticking around, though… mostly because the Setting Rule is sort of the setting Basis (basically, SPOILER ALERT, a massive “Equilibrium” Incident was what happened at the Battle of Armageddon), and it’s also very relevant to a particular group’s goals.

****

**Optional Rules**
These Setting Rules are optional. You should include these when you either have trouble giving out Bennies, or just want them to keep flowing.

“Joker’s Wild” – Anytime a PC draws a Joker in Combat, all the PCs get a Benny. This road goes both ways, though… so if a non-friendly NPC gets a Joker, then the GM gets a Benny.

“Benny for your Hindrance?” – If a PC role-plays their Hindrances in such a way it’s inconvenient to them, you should give them a Benny. Of course, this can lead to a little problem called, “Hindrance-Milking,” but if a player wants to string themselves up for a shiny little token… hey, it’s their funeral.

**Mandatory Rules**

“Micromanaging Not Needed” – You don’t have to worry about mundane equipment. Unless it’s narratively relevant, it can be safely assume that you have the bare essentials. You should still keep track of things like Ammunition and Power Points, however.

“Scavenging (Hell on Earth)” – The rules for Scavenging are in play here

“Mutations (Hell on Earth)” – Mutation works a little differently here…
-You cannot die from mutation. Instead of death when you draw a 2, you just have to draw two cards and take both Mutations instead (for good or ill).
-You must keep track of how many Mutations you have overall. If this amount ever exceeds 2 + half your Spirit Die, you can no longer withstand the effects of the Radiation on your body and mind, becoming a Feral Mutant (thus an NPC under the GM’s control)
-To offset this, Mutations can be cleansed via the Healing and Greater Healings powers. The person must make an Arcane Skill roll at a penalty equal to the number of Mutations the recipient has (Greater Healing makes the same roll at no penalty whatsoever). For a success, and every Raise thereafter, you remove a Mutation. Keep in mind, this starts with the most recent mutations received, so it doesn’t discriminate between, “Beneficial,” and, “Harmful,” mutations.

“Equilibrium” – Whenever a Mutant Angel and a Mutant Demon get near each other, there’s always a risk of something called, “Equilibrium,” occurring. Basically, they each have to make a Vigor Roll every round that they’re melee range of each other. Should one of them fail, a Holy/Unholy/Radioactive explosion occurs centering on the combatants, dealing damage equal to 2d10 + the Number of Mutations each character has. The size of this explosion is equal to double a Large Burst Template (so 12″ in Diameter). This also forces people in the Blast Radius to make a Vigor roll or undergo a Mutation. This also counts as a Heavy Weapon, should such consideration be necessary.

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Why I Prefer Fate Accelerated Edition for Supers

So, full disclosure: I like me some Superhero games. From Street-Level Pulp Fests to Earth-Shattering Cosmic Capers and everything in-between, there’s just something satisfying about it all. Most of my experience in the Table-Top area is with Mutants and Masterminds, but I’ve dabbled in ICONS as well. Marvel Heroic is one that I’ve wanted to try (those games are harder to find than hens’ teeth… and it doesn’t help the books aren’t in print anymore), and I’ve got a copy of the Savage Worlds Super Power Companion sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be taken for a spin.

Now, each of those systems has their ups and downs… but I’m not here to talk to you about those. Today? I’m here to talk to you about the system that’s become my preference for Running Supers games: Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE, for short).

Yeah, it seems like an odd choice, but hear me out.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Fate, check out the Link Here if you want detailed information. Fate and it’s variants are basically a Narrative System that uses Fudge Dice (6 Sides, 2 of which are Blank, 2 are ‘+’, 2 are ‘-‘), as well as Aspects (Descriptive Phrases), Skills/Approaches, and Stunts (‘Feats’ by Any Other Name). Yes, I realize that Venture City is a thing… but- while it’s a cool concept- I’m not wholly convinced their additions are entirely necessary to run a good Supers game.

There really is only one reason that I like using FAE: it’s a REALLY simple system to use, both as a player and a GM. In theory, you could use the System As-Is without any problems (5 Aspects/6 Approaches/3 Refresh/3 Stunts). You’ll probably have to give a brief list of powers that your character has (and justify them via your Aspects) and provide an Origin story, but that’s it. There’s very little need for GM oversight, unless someone wants to play an impossible concept… but that’s a problem that even more mechanically-inclined Supers games have.

If you want to add a little more meat or riff on a few things, go nuts. It’s darned easy to do…

-Want to write up a Team Charter with a couple Aspects and Consequences, all of which can be used by Team Members? Go right Ahead.
-Want to add some Collateral Consequences that PCs or NPCs alike can use to avoid getting Taken Out? I won’t stop you.
-Want to Change the Approaches? Make stunts stronger? Give players more Refresh, or just more Free Stunts? That’s up to you. Just make sure you know what you’re getting into because that can really change (but not break) the game.
-Want to add a Power-Buy system where you get, like, 10 Points to buy Powers and Power Ranks that you can roll in place of Approaches? Not my cup of tea, but if you want to put that in your Game, that’s your call.

Now, FAE isn’t perfect. There’s still the ever-present problem in Supers games of keeping the party together, as well as having players keeping their inner Loot-Happy Murder Hobo satiated. But that can be easily resolved by having a Patron (like a retired Super) or a similar Goal (taking down a local crime syndicate), as well as providing some tangible rewards. There’s also the innate issue of One-Approach Ponies, but that’s been touched on elsewhere by other folks so I’ll defer to their wisdom on the subject.

To finish things off, let me provide an example of what a character would look like… Say hello to The Ferrous Fists, a character I used for a 1930’s One Shot set in a universe we were using for a campaign. The “3×3” (Three By Three) was something I did voluntarily, just to help flesh out the character some in case he was used later.


Name: The Ferrous Fists
Played by: CanaDave
Refresh: 3

High Concept: Pugilistic Robot Vigilante
Trouble: What are these, “Laws of Robotics,” You Speak of?
Aspect 1: Experimental Technology
Aspect 2: Boxes like a Swarmer
Aspect 3: Always Learning from Humans, especially Quinn.

**Approaches** (+3, +2, +2, +1, +1, 0)
Careful +2
Clever +1
Flashy +1
Forceful +2
Quick +3
Sneaky +0

**Stunts**
Because I Box like a Swarmer, I gain +2 to Quickly Create an Advantage on a foe involving overwhelming them with punches.
Because I’m built with Experimental Technology, once per session I can Create an Advantage with Style based on my technological features.
Because I’m a Robot, Specifically of the Pugilistic Robot Vigilante type, I can take an extra Stress Level

**Powers/Abilities**
Robot: Because FF is a robot, he’s got perks that most organic life-forms do not, specifically…
-Enhanced Durability: His body is built from an experimental alloy that renders his body insanely sturdy.
-Immunity: He can’t be affected by diseases, and doesn’t need to eat or breathe.
-Enhanced Senses: His enhanced sensors can pick up things in the infrared spectrum, and has a Night-Vision feature
-Enhanced Mobility: FF has enhanced mobility, specifically jump-jets and a top running speed of 100 kph. In the Ring, however, these don’t get much use.
-Vulnerabilities: While he doesn’t need to eat or sleep, he still does need to, “Recharge,” from time to time to rest his Nuclear Reactor. He’s also susceptible to computer viruses (as well as occasionally having trouble reading innuendo and the like)

Boxer: FF is a Boxer who uses a Swarming style, resorting to overwhelming his foes with flurries of punches as he darts in and around.

**Origin**
FF was originally designed as a government experiment (dubbed, “The Scrimmage Affair”) to tinker with a line of Combat AIs. He was built to test out close-quarter combat, and his designer- Ulysses Quinn- had a soft spot for the Sweet Science.

The project was prematurely disbanded due to funding issues (officially, anyway. Unofficially, the big-wigs were concerned about the potential of foreign espionage and there were rumors of Rogue AIs), and Quinn wasn’t going to let his hard work go to waste (nor was FF willing to be deactivated). They both escaped, and eventually found an underground metahuman fight ring, and FF found himself putting his knowledge of Boxing to use as, “Kid Kilobyte.”

One night, one of the opponents got a little too upset over his loss and attacked Quinn and FF with the help of his buddies. He was nearly victorious, until a massive rainstorm hit and FF got the upper hand with his enhanced vision. He would have killed them all, had Quinn not been there to stop him.

Later on, they were approached by a mysterious individual with an offer… they were observed by a local street vigilante the night they were jumped, and said they had potential for a new project: a group of extraordinary individuals that desired to keep people safe and exact JUSTICE.

**Ferrous Fist’s 3×3**
*3 Friends*
“Ulysses Quinn” – The original Designer of FF back in the days of the Scrimmage Affair. He’s not only the chief repairman of Ferrous Fists, but he’s also the conscience of the mechanical man.
“Ol’ Willy” – Local mechanic that lets FF and Ulysses operate out of his basement. Despite being old-fashioned and leery of the concept, he’s grown fond of the robot that sticks around to help ward off goons and the like.
“Crazy Herm” – A wino that FF saved from a gang of punks at one point. Owes FF his life, so he’s been known to stick his neck out from time to time.

*3 Contacts*
“Smiley Kramer” – The owner of the underground fighting ring. He’s always willing to share some information with a former contender… for a price.
“Francis Fense” – A local fence that Quinn gets his parts and other gear from. Got all sorts of underworld connections, but always demands reciprocation.
“Officer Coolidge” – A beat Cop that’s aware of Quinn and Ferrous’s doings. As long as they make his turf easier to live in, he’s content to leave them be.

*3 Rivals*
“The Janitor” – A Black Ops agent with the sole directive to clean up the remains of any defunct government projects. Coincidentally, Ferrous Fists meets the qualifications of a defunct government project.
“Two-Ton Tommy” – A local mutant pit fighter that also happens to be a sore loser. He’s still got a beef with FF over that last match where he got his keister handed to him.
“Rogue AI” – Back when the Scrimmage Affair was shut down, there were rumors that one of the AIs in the project went rogue. Unfortunately, it’s a VERY well-grounded rumor.


 

Equilibrium, Chapter 2: Character Creation

Allrighty, here’s a ye olde crude layout on how to build a character for this particular setting.

EDITED 2/26/2017: Removed, “Corrupted,” Hindrance due to a revision of a Setting Rule.

***
Legal Books:
Books that are, ‘Legal,’ for this Universe are, “Savage Worlds: Deluxe Edition,” and, “Hell on Earth: Reloaded.” There will be some things that are changed or outright removed due to narrative issues, and these exceptions will be noted. For instance… This world has different Arcane Backgrounds, and I’ve changed how, “Veteran o’ the Wasted West” works).

A) Race

**Humans**
Appearance: Blue/Brown/Green/Hazel Eyes. Complexion between Dark to Pale. Hair is anywhere from Black to White.

Ah, mankind… No matter how badly you try to stomp them out, they seem to survive even the harshest of trials and tribulations. The End of Days was proven to be no exception to this rule. Despite the major disasters, not to mention the Mass Crisis’ of Faith that the servants of all sides suffered during the Battle of Armageddon, they’ve managed to keep on trucking.

(+2 Freebie) Diverse and Flexible: As usual, Humans start with a Free Edge.

**Angel**
Appearance: White-Haired, Golden-Eyed. Skin is usually a shade of Bronze.
The original Heavenly Hosts. Originally servants of God, these beings were shocked and appalled at what happened during the battle of Armageddon. Since then, they’ve been wandering the Earth, attempting to find their place in the near-desolate world. While some have no remorse over the collateral damage caused, many Angels seek to make amends with the inhabitants of the world they wrecked.

(+2 Freebie) Angelic Wings: Angels have the “Flight” Monstrous Ability
(+3) Supernatural Spirit: Angels have a starting Spirit of d8, which can be Raised to d12 + 2. The Expert and Master Edges can raise this to d12 + 4.
(-2) Self-Righteousness Demeanor: Angels have the Arrogant Hindrance to signify their perceived moral superiority.
(-1) Hated Enemy (Demons): Angels are at -4 Charisma when Interacting with Demons.

**Demon**
Appearance: Black-Haired, Red-Eyed. Skin is usually a shade of red.
These Fallen Angels were promised power and authority under Lucifer’s Rule. After his first failed coup, they were banished to Hell after getting their wings clipped. After the shocking effects of Armageddon, these Infernal wanderers attempt to carve out an existence in a Post-Doomsday Earth. While many continue to seek more power and authority, many Demons have decided that such endeavors are nothing more than a wild goose chase and plan to atone for their prior mistakes.

(+2 Freebie) Infernal Nature: Demons have Natural Weapons (STR + d6, Typically Retractable Claws) and are Resistant to Heat, gaining +4 against Heat-Based Environmental Hazards.
(+3) Supernatural Vigor: Demons have a starting Vigor of d8, which can be Raised to d12 + 2. Expert and Master can raise this to d12 + 4.
(-2) Failed Usurper: Demons are the kind of unholy bastards that can hold a grudge for a long, LONG time. Gain the Vengeful (Major) Hindrance.
(-1) Hated Enemy (Angels): Demons are at -4 Charisma when Interacting with Angels.

**Nephalem** (Only Available during the, “Recovery Era”)
Appearance: They look like normal humans, though they typically have Red Eyes/Black Hair or Gold Eyes/White Hair to signify their Heritage.
You want to know how long the first Nephalem was around? No one knows the exact time, but everyone would say they appeared about nine months after the first Human and Angel/Demon couple found out they could safely knock boots.

(+2 Freebie) Human Heritage: Nephalem get a Free Edge.
(+2) Celestial/Infernal Heritage: You start with a d6 in one Attribute, depending on whether your Nephalem has Angel (Spirit) or Demon (Vigor) Heritage.
(-2) Taboo Existence: The Nephalem are perceived as abominations by select groups. You have the Enemy (Major) Hindrance.

B) Traits
*Attributes*
Heroes get the usual five points to put into Agility, Smarts, Spirit, Strength, and Vigor.

*Skills*
As per usual, Heroes get fifteen points to put into their Skills.

C) Edges & Hindrances
**Unavailable Hindrances**
The following Core Book Hindrances are Unavailable:

“Doubting Thomas” – Due to the Supernatural Nature of this world’s Doomsday, characters who question- or outright deny- the existence of the supernatural are considered to be on the same credibility level as someone with a tin-foil hat… You want to play a character like that? Take the Delusional Hindrance instead.

The Following HoE: RL Hindrances are Unavailable: Any Hindrances related to Arcane Backgrounds.

**New Hindrances**
“Blacklisted (Major)” *Requires: Angel or Demon* – While most Angels/Demons each treat others of their own kind with respect as fellow veterans… You done did something during Armageddon to piss off the people on your side. Regardless of what that is, NPCs who are the same race as you start one step down the Reaction Table than they normally would (Helpful > Friendly > Neutral > Uncooperative > Hostile). If they are already Hostile, they will target you first in combat.

“Supernaturally Sensitive (Minor/Major)” *Requires Human* – You’ve always been more susceptible to the Supernatural phenomena around you… this sensitivity is just made more obvious after the cavalcade of activity since Doomsday. For the Minor version, you’re at -1 to resist Powers and take +1 Damage from them. For the Major version, it’s -2 Resistance/+2 Damage. Characters with this Hindrance cannot take Arcane Resistance.

**Unavailable Edges**
The only Edge unavailable from the Core book is, “Mentalist.”

As for HoE: Reloaded…
Any Edge found in No Man’s Land, any Edge related to Fear Levels, as well as, “Operation Damocles Soldier,” “Tale Teller,” and, “Harrowed.”

**Modified Edges**
“Arcane Background” – The Arcane Backgrounds available for this Campaign are detailed Elsewhere, but here’s a quick list:
Vessels – These Humans are able to communicate to the spirits of long-lost folks- be they Human, Celestial, or Infernal- with unresolved tasks, and in exchange the spirits provide aid in the form of supernatural powers.
Seraphim – You’re one of the chosen few Seraphim, or at the very least, you’ve descended from them. You’re imbued with the magical power of Angels or Demons, and you can whip out some impressive wonders.
Rad Scientist – You’re a Scientist that specializes in bizarre devices powered by Radiation. You’re constantly exposed to the volatile mutagen, but that has resulted in your body adapting to it, and that means you have more control over your mutations.

“Veteran o’ the Wasted West” – Renamed to, “Disgruntled Armageddon Survivor,” and now considered a free Edge (as in, “It doesn’t cost Hindrance Points or have any other requirements beyond being allowed ONLY at Character Creation”)… but you must let the GM know you’re taking it before you create your character (and don’t get your hopes up too high on a Character concept).

**New Edges**
“Supernatural Enforcer” – *Requires: Brawny, Vigor d8+, Celestial or Infernal.*
Okay… this Edge isn’t technically, “New,” but it’s not in either the Core Rules or the Hell on Earth books. It’s the, “Up-Sized,” Edge from the Interface Zero 2.0 Book.
D) Gear
Characters start with $500 worth of gear.

Equilibrium, Chapter 1: Introduction

Allrighty, so here’s the first Chapter of one of the PPCs I’ve been working on. The premise behind this one is that God and Satan got offed in the Final Battle, so now Humans, Angels, and Demons have to learn to live together in a Post-Armageddon world. I’m thinking I’ll make two campaigns for this setting… One closer to the end of Armageddon, and one that takes place after things get vaguely settled down.

***

The End of Days had started. All sorts of strange phenomena had occurred. Angels and Demons started slugging it out on Earth.

The Four Horsemen- a pack of supernatural sellswords- started wreaking havoc on behalf of both sides of the war.

Two thirds of the world’s natural resources were obliterated in the Meteor Shower that has since been dubbed, “The Wormwood Incident.”

Terrifying creatures started appearing from said fallen Meteorites, amongst other places, and sadistically torturing or slaying anyone they could find.

Men and Women were picking sides in the war. Some were for God and the Angels, and some allied themselves with Satan and the Demons, while still others made a futile attempt to fight both sides or attempt diplomatic relations (with all attempts either being undermined or just failing horribly).

Then, finally, came the Battle of Armageddon. Two mighty armies of great strength and fury, fighting to the death.

Next thing you know, Jehovah and the Usurper made their presences known and started to exchange blows. The clashing of steel, the collision of fists, the fireworks of holy and unholy energy… it was a sight to behold for anyone spectating. But before either of them could gain the upper hand, there was a massive explosion at the heart of the battle. It was later discovered that a radical group known as Humanity’s Legion had hijacked and deployed an experimental nuke where God and Satan had been battling. The leaders of both armies and their front-line soldiers had been miraculously atomized during the event, with nothing resembling an adequate chain of command left remaining in either side.

After the event now known as Equilibrium, everyone had to let things sink in… Humans never got their promised rewards, and the remaining soldiers of both Heaven and Hell were without leaders and without purpose. They realized that the groups had one thing in common:

They all now have to learn to live in a world that has been scorched, ravaged, and irradiated by their own hands.