[Area 51 Dark] 3 characters in one body

Started by David Berg, April 14, 2012, 01:41:39 AM

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David Berg

In 1955, the Govt set up Area 51, a giant area in southern Nevada where strange lights and sounds are occasionally seen and heard for miles around.  Nearby towns have been evacuated, quarantined, and cut off from the world.  Rumors of alien technology run amok start small, grow larger, and are then silenced.  The President has come on the radio many times to explain to the citizens that the Govt has the situation well in hand.  He assures us that, although details cannot be released for security reasons, our best men are hard at work in Area 51, following a plan to make America stronger and safer than ever.

By late 1957, a strange structure at the center of Area 51 has grown tall enough to be glimpsed from beyond the wall.  It looks unearthly.  The Govt refers to it as a project.  The doubters refer to it as The Ship.

It is now March, 1958.  The bright lights, incessant buzzing and thrumming, and occasional flashes of Area 51 all suddenly stop.  Alarms sound briefly and then are silent.

This is your opportunity.

There are three of you: an Expert, an Innocent, and a Volunteer.

The Expert knows all that any civilian knows about Area 51.  They have kept notes on all the Govt actions and conspiracy rumors, searching for patterns.  They have folders bursting with news articles and photos, grabbed from early editions before the papers were "corrected".  The Expert is quite certain that the Govt has something in Area 51 that does not belong to them.  Something they are not equipped to understand.  With Area 51 shut down, this is the Expert's chance to learn the truth of the marvels inside, to learn their powers and secrets, and perhaps to join with them.

The Innocent has championed the Govt's claims that everything is fine.  They've calmed their nervous neighbors, rebuked the conspiracy theorists, saluted the men in office, and held the soldiers and scientists at Area 51 as national heroes.  What's there?  That's frightening to think about, so thank goodness we don't have to.  Our leaders have it all under control.  Except suddenly, now they don't.  The mission is clear: do everything possible to help the Govt get Area 51 back up and running and under control.

The Volunteer has had enough.  They've witnessed the unearthly lights and noises and the abomination that is The Ship.  They've seen the lying eyes and heard the trembling voices of the politicians.  They know the President is trying to blind the people to an abomination, one that chews up American homes and families as Area 51 expands.  The Volunteer's entire community lives in fear of the danger and oppression that Area 51 has produced, and the Volunteer has taken a stand to make things right, and reclaim America for good, hard-working Americans.  Area 51 has got to go.  Every last soldier, scientist, general, plane, tank, and especially the mysterious horrors they're hiding.  Time to burn 'em all down.

Arriving on the scene shortly after the lights of Area 51 went out, you felt a strange sensation, like the world became vague and far away.  When it ceased, you were disoriented, reeling with vertigo.  And then two of you realized, your body was moving without your control.  And all of you realized you were not alone in your head.

Somehow, the three of you now share a body, a body you each recognize as your own.  Only one of you can control it at a time.  You may speak to each other.  You may shut each other out.  You may voluntarily give control to each other.

Only with your combined skills can you enter Area 51 and do something about the situation before it's too late.
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

David Berg

This is a game for 3-6 players: 3 character-players and 0 to 3 GMs.

Each character-player's objective is to pursue their ideal outcome on three competing fronts:

- Dealing with the problem in the specific way their character wants

- Dealing with the problem at all

- Holding control of the characters' body


I've figured out how I want these objectives to progress (more on that in subsequent posts), but I'm not sure how I want the body control to end up. 

Maybe if the Area 51 blackout is successfully dealt with in any fashion, the characters split into 3 separate bodies?  Maybe if you deal with it in your way, you keep the body, and the other two characters are condemned to spend the body's life as voices in your head? 

The key is to balance the characters' competing urges to cooperate and work at cross purposes, so neither ever becomes the obvious right thing to do.

Any thoughts on that are welcome!
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

David Berg

You make progress in dealing with the situation by winning social encounters with NPCs.  You'll also do lots of other stuff, but that will come without mechanical opposition, as a reward for winning the last NPC encounter.

Each NPC has one of 4 profiles:

Hostile Alpha: +1 to Deal with them, -1 to get them to Help you
Hostile Beta: +1 to Coerce them, -1 to Befriend them
Neutral Alpha: +1 Help, -1 Coerce
Neutral Beta: +1 Befriend, -1 Deal

The profile is not stated by the GM, but is portrayed via roleplay.  The character who controls the body must then choose how to approach the NPC: Befriend, Coerce, Deal, or try to get them to want to Help you.

The 3 player characters have these profiles:

Very sensible (+3 Deal)
Not pitiable (-3 get Help)
Somewhat scary
Somewhat likable

Very likable (+3 Befriend)
Very pitiable (+3 get Help)
Not scary (-3 Coerce)
Not sensible (-3 Deal)

Very scary (+3 Coerce)
Not likable (-3 Befriend)
Somewhat pitiable
Somewhat sensible

Core mechanics:

When you are in control, choose an approach, and then choose whether you want to channel another character's skills, replacing your rating with their own for this encounter (example: the Volunteer decides that it's time to make a Deal with this NPC, and channels the Expert's "Very sensible" nature for a +3).  Then roll 2d6 + modifier.

12+ success, and
11-10 success
8-9 success, but
6-7 failure, but
4-5 failure
3-   failure, and

If you choose to channel another character, and the adjusted roll result is even, you lose Control.  Roll a d20 to see which of the other two characters takes advantage of this opportunity.

1-10 player to your left
11-20 player to your right

If the d20 result is nullified due to another player's Control Penalty, you retain Control.

Blocking and Control Penalties:
When you are not in Control, you may exert your influence to Block the active character from doing one thing.  That character may not attempt that goal again during this scene.  When you Block, mark down one point of Control Penalty.  These points lower your d20 range, eliminating from the middle (so a 1-10 range becomes 1-9, and an 11-20 range becomes 12-20).
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

David Berg

Name changes:

"Area 51 Blackout"

Volunteer is now the Crusader
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development