VCOM: Reality Defense
- 1 Background
- 2 Thematics
- 3 Character Generation
- 3.1 Acceptable Mages
- 3.2 Recommended Backgrounds
- 3.3 Base Chargen
- 3.4 Character Generation Freebies
- 3.5 Character Archetypes
- 3.6 The One Important Chargen Question That Everyone Should Answer
- 4 House Rules
- 5 Characters
- 6 Enemy Dossiers
There are two wars being fought. The first is the Ascension War, a war for the hearts and minds of the Sleepers. Subtlety and guile rule the day, and Paradox slaps down those who seek to escalate too far. The second is the war in space, an overt war. In space, there is no paradox, no need for subtlety. There is a storm coming, a twisted mockery of the Technocracy, seeking to consume everything in stasis.
And you are the last line of defense.
Threat Null is coming. The Void Engineers are running out of time, beset by internal conflict. They have turned to the most unorthodox sources for help.
This is not your normal game of mage. Forget the conspiracy, forget the shadowy urban fantasy. Trenchcoats and Desert Eagles aren't going to do shit to a Threat Null posthuman. You're going to want the big guns, the cyberware, whatever little advantage you can throw at the problem. Threat Null doesn't care. If you care, you will probably die. Forget permanent paradox points. You chose to give your bodies as the weapons for this war, and your sacrifice will be remembered.
Of course, that doesn't mean you'll never get to do things on Earth. Trying to figure out how to operate on that old dirtball with ten points of permanent paradox is definitely something that'll happen. Don't worry too much about it though! You'll be fine.
Having a good backstory will tentatively grant XP to spend on useless Merits and Abilities such as Newspeak, Stone Lore, and Supportive Family.
You can either play a Void Engineer or a Traditionalist. Yes, you heard that right. As in the Revised book, the VE's closest relations are typically with Euthanatoi, Etherites, and Orphans.
Legitimate 'defectors' from other Conventions are allowed. Why yes, this is sounding awfully like the Void Engineers are trusting the Traditions more than the Technocracy.
Devices, Requisitions, Enhancement. Those are all sold at half-cost.
You're playing hardcore veterans. Westin is essentially chargen-OK for VCOM.
Attributes: 8/6/4 primary/secondary/tertiary
Abilities: 20/15/10 primary/secondary/tertiary
Backgrounds: 12 background dots.
Enlightened Science and Spheres: Starting Arete 4. Choose a sphere setup below.
- Specialized: 4/3/2/1
- Normal: 3/3/3/2/1
- Broad: 3/2/2/2/2/1/1
Freebie Points: 25
- Attributes cost 4/dot.
- Abilities cost 1/dot up to 3.
- Willpower costs 2/dot instead of 1/dot.
- You can buy +1 Arete for 10 freebie points, but only once.
- Spheres cost 4/dot up to 3, and normal cost for raising spheres to 4 or 5.
- Maximum 7 points of flaws.
Character Generation Freebies
The Void Engineers are now a military unit with a civilian wing. There are essentially no noncombatant Voids, just some who are okay at it and others who are very, very good at it. All characters get these Abilities for free:
- Firearms 2
- Melee 1
- Pilot 1
- Athletics 2
- Brawl 1
- Dodge 2
- Medicine 1
Instead of the normal 'abilities may not be raised higher than 3 in chargen without freebie points', abilities may not be raised by more than 3 dots beyond what you get free in chargen. Yes, you can start with Firearms 5.
Pick one as primary, and one as secondary. Add the bonuses to your character. Answer the core question of both.
"We need a leader, and surround him with the brightest, the toughest, the deadliest allies we can find. The team will have to be strong, their resolve unquestionable."
You probably grew up watching reruns of Star Trek. You always wanted to be Captain Kirk, or maybe Picard, exploring the galaxy, planting cute flags on new planets, banging alien space babes, or alien space dudes if that's your thing. You knew you were set out to be a main character. Your aptitudes showed your talents, and they made you a leader. Maybe from the rear, maybe by example. You knew that being captain might mean a lot of hard decisions. Except now you feel a lot more like Captain Walker than Captain Kirk most of the time. You've had to kill your own men. Sometimes it was by spending their lives. Other times, you had to put a bullet in their head. You've had to do terrible things to win this war. No matter how it ends, you know that your dreams will never be achieved in your lifetime.
Special: Only one person can take this archetype.
Question: You lost someone closer than a brother in arms to Threat Null. Who was it? A lover? A childhood friend? Your mentor? A sibling or parent? And could you pull the trigger on them if they showed up again?
Primary: +3 Willpower, +1 Charisma, Leadership 3, Legendary Attribute (Any).
*singing Kenny Loggins*
There are pilots and helmsmen. And then there are those who can make vessels dance. You can take a multi-kiloton Voidcruiser and maneuver it like a fighter. You could beat a Technocracy Aurora with a F-16 and no missiles.
The Core Question: Given your skills, you were probably a military pilot back on Earth. Something happened back there which might cause you some serious problems. What was it? Did you accidentally run off with a vampire's favorite blood doll? Bomb a werewolf caern?
Primary: +1 Dexterity, Helmsman 3, Pilot 3, Prodigy (Pilot or Helmsman, choose one)
Secondary: Helmsman or Pilot 3, Prodigy (Pilot or Helmsman, choose one).
"Better men than you have tried to kill me. Men, and things so far beyond men you can't even imagine."
Some people would balk at the idea of fighting an army that outnumbers and outguns you. You? That's called Tuesday. You're a consummate kicker of ass and kicker of names. You are Duke Nukem, the Doom Guy, every Modern Warfare protagonist, Lo Wang, Solid Snake. You don't need Enlightened Science to strangle a werewolf with its own intestines. And you still have Enlightened Science.
Question: You weren't always like this. What catalyzed this change? What drove you to the breaking point and beyond?
Primary: +5 Willpower, Legendary Attribute (any physical), Prodigy (any combat ability)
Secondary: +2 Willpower, either Prodigy (any combat ability) and +1 to a physical attribute OR Legendary Attribute (any physical)
"It must be nice having a family."
They built you. You had no family, instead having a personality constructed via rapid brain imprinting. Your first memory is waking up, wet and naked, to see a lab full of people who looked at you like a tool. You were constructed for a purpose. You were programmed to do something well, whether that was combat, research, infiltration, whatever.
Question: What were you built for? Are you still doing it? Or did you evolve beyond your specifications?
Primary: Enhancements 3. 8 dots of Abilities which relate to your purpose. +1 attribute dot to something relevant to your purpose. Construct flaw.
Secondary: Enhancements 1. 4 dots of Abilities which relate to your purpose. +1 attribute dot to something relevant to your purpose. Construct flaw.
Special Secondary: If you want to play an unenlightened Construct you can with permission. You take the Secondary benefits and then convert all spheres and Enlightenment (i.e. arete) into freebie points. Yes, this means you will end up with an inordinately huge amount of freebie points. You aren't playing a regular HITMark, you're playing something like the AI avatar of the warship you have (you guys are pooling points to get a warship right?), a HITMark VII ("as destructive as a tactical nuke but causes 99.999% less collateral damage"), or a psychic war squid. Or something.
Ad finem terram. Fidelis tamquam post mortem.
You are the example the Technocracy holds up. The shining light of science, illuminating the darkness (with 10 million degree plasma). You are the hero they need... but perhaps not the hero they deserve. You have access to equipment, to allies, to influence, to secrets. You set an example for everyone. An example not even you probably live up to... and you know this, because every day you worry that it will all be taken away from you.
Question: Every true loyalist has had their faith shaken. What happened in the recent past which made you doubt your loyalty? What did you do about it?
Primary: 7 additional background dots to be spread between Device, Influence, Requisitions, Secret Weapons, and other Technocratically kosher backgrounds. Master of Red Tape merit.
Secondary: 5 additional background dots to be spread between Technocratic backgrounds.
"Never tell me the odds."
If this was Star Wars, you'd be Han Solo. Unfortunately, it isn't Star Wars. You're still a lovable rogue, though, even if lovable often ends up in quote marks. When they need a problem talked to death, they call you in. When they need an appropriations committee convinced that they need to throw a few billion more dollars into building warships? They call you in. RD they need convincing? Well, yeah... you get the idea.
Question: Once, you made a promise that if you had to keep, would greatly inconvenience you or worse. If you didn't keep it, you might turn an ally into an enemy. What was that promise, and to who?
Primary: +1 to all social attributes. Etiquette 2, Subterfuge 2, Stealth 2.
Secondary: +1 to any one social attribute. Etiquette 1, Subterfuge 1, Stealth 1.
"Look, give me access to the reactor core. If I explain what I need to do it'll start sounding like a bad Star Trek episode, so just do it."
No, you're not the regular kind of scientist. You're the kind that exists in fiction. The kind who can yell "SCIENCE!" in all capital letters and jimmy up a solution. You're an Enlightened Scientist. Although geniuses like you are extremely valuable, often too valuable to expend. But here you are, fighting on the front lines against an enemy which seems to mock you and your utopian ideals by its very existence.
Question: With your Enlightenment and knowledge, you could be anywhere. Why are you on the front lines of this war, fighting an enemy which could kill you at any moment? Did you piss someone off in the chain of command? Are you too unreliable to be anywhere else? Or maybe you chose to do this. If so, why?
Primary: +1 Enlightenment.
Secondary: +1 Sphere.
The Post-Human Warrior
"This isn't a war ordinary humans can win."
In slightly different circumstances you might have become a card-carrying member of Iteration X. Or maybe you nearly died and this was the most expedient way to save you. Maybe you realized that the enemy was too much for merely human hands. Whatever the case, you made a choice. You signed away your old life at the operating table, and now you're here. More machine than man. You get looks from the others, you know the kind. "He's probably a traitor or a sleeper agent." It galls you that people trust Reality Deviants more than you, but it doesn't matter. The ones who've fought with you? They know where your loyalties lie. And as for the rest, to hell with them.
Question: Given how inhuman the threats you face are, and how that inhumanity is very easily taken as a warning, why did you commit to such radical enhancement?
Primary: You're either an exojock, probably left over from the old days when the Void Engineers and Iteration X were the best of friends, or you're a Progenitor combat construct. You have Enhancements 6, of which 6 or 8 points is reserved for either Exomuscle or Exoarmor (or the biological equivalent). You have 2 additional dots in combat-related Abilities (Firearms, Melee, Heavy Weapons, Dodge, Brawl, etc.)
Secondary: You've got an absolute ton of combat-relevant Enhancements and the combat experience to match. You have Enhancements 3 and 2 additional dots in combat-related Abilities (Firearms, Melee, Heavy Weapons, Dodge, Brawl, etc.)
The Odd Man Out
"Can you please stop calling them extradimensional entities? They're demons."
If you were around two decades ago, you'd probably have been on the other side of these ships, seeking to destroy it and its inhabitants. Now there is a greater foe. As they say, the Technos are only seeking to push their ideas of what is right and proper on you whether you like it or not. The other guys are here to set everything you loved and ever wished for on fire and possibly torture it a few times for kicks.
Question: Why is it that you're working with the Technocracy? What made you decide this was better than fighting them, or fighting on your own?
Primary: You get a powerful magic artifact (Talisman 5), a powerful avatar (Avatar 5), or a Destiny (Destiny 5). You may not buy Technocratic backgrounds, such as Enhancement, without good reason, but get an additional 4 freebie points. You also get Lore (Your Tradition) at 3, and Lore (Something Supernatural) at 3. You probably have Spirit instead of dimensional science. Everyone thinks you might stab them in the back and they don't trust you much (effectively the "Probationary Member" flaw).
Secondary: You were a novice member of your Tradition but got poached by the Void Engineers. You have Dual Traditions (Void Engineers/your previous Tradition), and Lore (Your previous Tradition) at 2. You may purchase Spirit alongside Dimensional Science. If you have both, you raise the lower of the two at half-cost.
The One Important Chargen Question That Everyone Should Answer
On a Voidship, there's not much space. Thus, any personal effects and belongings you have are likely incredibly meaningful to you. How are your quarters decorated and what's the meaning of the decorations you have in them?
Enhancements costs 1 paradox or 1 point in flaws for every dot in the background. Given this, instead of giving 3 points of implanted Devices per dot, Enhancements gives 4 points of implanted Devices per dot. Raising mental and social attributes via Enhancement costs 3 points per +1.
All ranged weapons are now governed by either Heavy Weapons or Firearms. Use Heavy Weapons for big crew-served weapons (mortars, missile launchers, Voidship guns), use Firearms for man-portable weapons (like guns and infantry plasma rifles).
HEX Missile Launchers and Micromissile Launchers integrate a single-purpose nanofabrication unit which has the sole purpose of making more missiles. In lieu of firing them, a crewmember may use Intelligence + Hypertechnology (diff 6) or Intelligence + Technology (diff 8) to build more missiles. Each success replenishes 1 micromissile, every 2 successes a full-sized HEX missile. Alternatively, a crewmember without those skills may roll Arete at difficulty 7 (coincidental Matter 4), with each Arete success producing either 1 HEX missile or 2 micromissiles.
Ship Size & Combat
Larger warships are easier to hit and find it harder to evade incoming enemy attacks, but are conversely harder to damage. Because I am not going to be building hyper-complex naval warfare rules, there are four rough size categories:
Very Small: People.
Small: Fighters, Void Engines. Giant robots. Small dragons.
Medium: Corvettes, most Etherite ships, most dragons.
Large: Qui La Machinae, larger Etherite cruisers.
Huge: Autopolitan Leviathan-class assault vessels, Terror Stars, Traditionalist Chantries, Technocratic Bases, Space Battleship Hindenberg.
Fighting a vessel that is larger means your attack and dodge rolls have their difficulties reduced by 1 but your soak rolls are also at +1 difficulty.
Fighting a smaller vessel means you soak their attacks at -1 difficulty per size category but any attack rolls based on Helmsman (ramming, spinal weapons) are at +1 difficulty per size category and attempts to dodge enemy fire are at +1 difficulty against smaller ships as well.
Missiles ignore attack/dodge difficulty penalties. Attacking fighter targets with most Voidship (or Ethership) weapons is base Difficulty 7, attacking human-sized targets with them is base Difficulty 9.
Some spheres which may allow magic to reduce or negate these difficulties include Entropy ("Golden BBs"/Lucky shots), Time (predictive targeting), Correspondence (attacking multiple points simultaneously/guidance), or Matter (weakening the hull). Forces 4 & 5 negate lowered soak difficulties due to brute force.
Weapon Crew Requirements
Normally, firing a weapon requires an action. This is why most Void Engineer ships have actual crews on them (that, and because AI warships are generally vulnerable to Threat Null and/or Reality Deviants). However, this does not have to be the captain of the ship-anyone on the ship can fire weapons from the bridge. Most weapons are considered to be Rate 1-they may only fire once per turn. However, KKVs may fire any or all of their salvos in a single turn and Gamma-class PBWs are considered Rate 1/2 (firing once every other turn).
Fire-and-forget missiles, like the HEX series, can be launched reflexively (without an action). A ship may launch as many missiles as it wants to and currently possesses in a single turn.
Wynne Garland - The Captain
Kirie Millard Tecklenburg - The Odd Man Out
Feng Xiao (VE) - Political Officer
Almacia - Ship's AI, pilot, and totally better in every way than those useless stupid Iteration X AIs who couldn't navigate their way through a dimension made of chocolate.
Kessler Battle Hardened Ex-Iterator
A basic Autopolitan grunt. Good news: They're slow and their initiative isn't great. Bad news: They're very tough, well-armed, and come in massive numbers due to all the clones they have thanks to the Transhumans. Oh, and did I mention that the more of them there are, the deadlier they become?
- Strength 4/Dexterity 2/Stamina 4
- Charisma 1/Manipulation 1/Appearance 2-5
- Perception 2/Intelligence 1/Wits 2
- Alertness 2, Firearms 3, Energy Weapons 3, Athletics 3, Dodge 2
- Armor 3 (7d soak)
- Health Levels: -0 x 2/-1 x 2/-2 x 2/-5 x 1/Incapacitated/Destroyed
- "Arete" 2
- Forces 1 sensors
- Mind 1/Correspondence 1 Hivemind Intelligence: Cyborgs gain a -1 difficulty reduction to their combat dice pools for every doubling of their numbers actively engaged in the fight, up to -3 (at 8).
- Light Plasma Cannon: Difficulty 5, Arete 4 Forces 3/Prime 2 aggravated damage, 10 shots
- Minigun: Difficulty 4, Damage 8L, Rate 5A (auto only), Range 100, Magazine 20 (bursts)
- Gyrojet Launcher: Difficulty 8, Damage 16L (AP 4), Rate 3B, Range 250, Magazine 6
- Railgun: Difficulty 8, Damage 18L (AP 6), Rate 1, Range 1000, Magazine 4
The "Stalker" cyborgs (official VE Codex designation: Type-8 Autopolitan, Covert Operations Strain) are fast and strong but relatively frail cyborg ninjas that move ridiculously fast and are exclusively equipped with melee weapons. Their armor is more or less a joke, but their cloaking systems are incredibly good. Keep sensors overwatch.
- Strength 4/Dexterity 6/Stamina 3
- Charisma 1/Manipulation 1/Appearance 4-5 (Hexagon Spy Catsuit Skin)
- Perception 4/Intelligence 2/Wits 4
- Alertness 3, Awareness 3, Athletics 6, Brawl 3, Dodge 3, Firearms 2
- Armor 2 (5d soak), Primium 2
- Health Levels: -0 x 3/-1 x 3/Incapacitated/Destroyed
- Arete 3
- Life 1/Mind 1 Prey Sense
- Permanent Forces 2 Improved Agility (-3 to Athletics difficulties, can crawl up walls or along ceilings)
- Permanent Forces 2 Cloaking (-3 to Stealth difficulties)
- Vibroblades: Str + 4L damage, ignores non-Primium armor
- Suppressed SMG: 6L damage (AP 1), RoF 5A, Magazine 100
Hey, remember that time when we took convicted Japanese war criminals from WWII and stuck them into giant robots? No? Well good. Because who the fuck thought that was a good idea? Oh yeah, the same guys who are now Threat Null. No wonder they went cuckoo. Samurais are incredibly fast, tough, and devastatingly powerful. Expanded from the old war criminal roots to broader piloting subjects, these cyborg killing machines are nasty pieces of work. Pilots are drugged up, nigh-lobotomized and definitely not very social, but they're very good at ruining the shit out of your day. Bring plasma cannons or other incredibly heavy weapons, these assault walkers can kill an entire squad of space marines in an instant. On the other hand, each one of these is a wealth of war-grade salvage that we can use for improving warships or personal equipment. Keep the cost-benefit in mind.
- Strength 12/Dexterity 5/Stamina 10
- Charisma 1/Manipulation 1/Appearance N/A
- Perception 6/Intelligence 1/Wits 5
- All combat abilities 5
- Armor 10 (20d soak), Primium 5
- Health Levels: -0 x 10/-1 x 4/-2 x 4/-5 x 2/Crippled x 6/Destroyed
- Arete 6
- Forces 1/Correspondence 1 targeting sensors
- Forces 3 maneuvering thrusters
- 1-4 additional effects
- Gatling Cannon: Difficulty 4, Damage 12L (AP 3), Rate 5A (auto only), Range 100, Magazine 50 (bursts)
- Long Range Plasma Cannon: Arete 6 Forces 3/Correspondence 2/Prime 2 aggravated damage, can engage at naval combat ranges
- Vibrokatana: Damage Str + 5A, ignores non-primium armor
Optional Equipment 2-4 optional gear systems
- Anti-Ship Assault Cannon: Equivalent to a Gamma-class particle cannon. -3 Dexterity for all combat rolls until ejected.
- Energy Shield: Each success reduces damage by 2 HL per success.
- Enhanced Countermagic: +3 Primium
- Improved Sensors: +2 Perception
- Heavy Armor: +5d soak, -2 Dexterity, -2 Perception
- Wired Reflexes: Time 3 extra actions
Hard Light Entities/Holograms
Holographic Extradimensional Entities are apparently Digital Web "AIs" that can possess various effects. However, they are extremely limited outside of their purview and literally cannot act outside of it without direct control. A Combat Hologram, for example, may only fight-it cannot use its dice pool for anything else. A navigation hologram can only navigate, it can't even try to roll for anything else. An interface AI can attempt to use computers and... not much else. These entities look like anything, from abstract geometry to glowing humanoids, and are exceptionally resistant to any non Dimensional Science attacks.
Dice pool of 8d in a single category, nothing else. 10 Health Levels, up to 3 Arete 4 Sphere 3 individual effects.
- Special: Attack Immunity. Holograms are immune to most forms of normal weaponry and magical attack due to their hard light nature and their ability to reflexively and reliably phase in and out of space. An attack must generally use conjunctional Spirit/Dimensional Science to deal damage, and even then deal half damage. Dimensional Science 3 deals full damage, as does Entropy 4/Spirit 2 or Prime 5.
Ex-NWO Tactical Units are MiB genetically profiled for lower subtlety, higher aggression, and improved physical resilience and endurance. Loaded with exceptionally heavy cutting-edge combat spacesuits they nevertheless are fast and surprisingly lethal.
- Strength 4/Dexterity 4/Stamina 5
- Charisma 2/Manipulation 2/Appearance 1-5
- Perception 4/Intelligence 3/Wits 4
- Alertness 4, Awareness 3, Athletics 3, Brawl 4, Dodge 4, Firearms 4, Melee 4
- Armor 6 (6d soak + 5d Stamina soak)
- Health Levels: -0 x 2/-1 x 2/-2 x 2/-5 x 1/Incap/Dead
- Arete 2
- Life 2 self-healing
- Mind 1/Time 1/Entropy 1 Advanced Combat Training (-1 difficulty to combat rolls per success, maxes at -3)
- Combat Knife: Damage 6L
- Frag Grenades: Damage 12L
- Heavy Assault Rifle: Damage 8L, RoF 3A, Magazine 50