Nine days ago the leaders of the free world were simultaneously wiped out by a terrorist group calling themselves The Yellow Sign. Prime Ministers, Presidents, First Citizens and assorted staff. The power vacuum was incredible. Inexperienced politicians were forced into lofty roles, enterprising despots seized power. It was chaos.
And worst of all, The Yellow Sign don’t exist. The reality was much worse: First contact. Life beyond the Earth. Hostile life. They came. They saw. They destroyed.
A single craft that appeared at a major international peace summit in Basel, Switzerland. Unfathomable weaponry that left over a smoldering pile of radioactive slag. The craft was annihilated minutes later as it maneuvered to return from once it came. The full brunt of all available surface to air systems brought to bear.
Nine days. Covering the incident was a triumph of the scattered governments that remained. Panic must be avoided. This was an understandable and hateful act perpetrated by undefined extremists. If they came once what was stopping them from returning? It was a race against time.
When the extraterrestrials came back Earth would be ready. Armed and ready. They would not go quietly into the night. They would not vanish without a fight! They decided to to live on! They decided to survive!
II. What is this?
This is a Choose Your Own Adventure
(CYOA) game. It’s sort of like a Play By Post
but more freeform and with no defined player list. Every turn I’ll post an update, with a few options and then you lot get to decide what you would like to happen. With your choices determining the fate of our luckless planet. Anybody can jump in and have their say on the direction taken by the Earth Defense Agency in a given turn. I'll go for whatever gets a majority.
I also encourage you guys to post little side stories, or drawings or whatever. I’m just arbitrating. it’s your agency to run. Also, it helps me to know what you guys want so I can swing my options to fit that better.
This idea is something certain forums used to do quite a bit. I even ran one a while back,if anybody remembers it [http://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/150613/cyoa-space-australia-game-set-match]it
was the story of the future of humanity, or at least its criminals. It was called Space Australia. I think it came out okay[/url].
III. The Rules
Here's a brief explanation of a set of rules that I’m largely typing off the top of my head. It's not really important, but there will be some method to the madness. Generally, you can just go right to the latest post I’ve made, look at your options and vote for whatever sounds the most entertaining. That is A-Ok.
So do not feel obligated to open this spoiler. Those that do are in for a world of poor grammar and ill-considered ramblings.
IV. Can I play?
Sometimes, we’ll want chance to play a part in what happens. In such cases, I’ll roll dice (3d6). That gives us a nice shaped curve between 3 and 18, where the extremes are pretty unlikely but you’ve got a solid chance of beating a 10. Situations will make that target number higher or lower, and you may get bonuses to those dice.
The game is divided into turns. Every turn you can perform a single action. Don’t worry about the length of “real time” this represents, it’s not important.
You need to be funded to stay as a global defense agency. The Earth is composed of eight government councils:
Each of these can potentially squeeze their combined budgets to fund the kind of shadowy extra-governmental agencies that have started appearing out of the woodwork. A fresh agency will only have the support one of the eight councils, but as they work hard and shoot aliens they can increase their funding allocation and even appeal to a broader audience. Each turn the agency earns [Sum of all funding levels] * €25M, + €25M income from your host agency, You start with level 1 funding with a single government council, for a total of fifty million euros a turn.
Beyond this there’s also Morale. Every region has a status that reflect how its people are doing and how much they suspect about the terrors that haunt the night. Ignorant people are happy people. Knowing too much (as happens when alien menaces seize the Eiffel tower) results in instability, which reduces income (as a funding level modifier) and if it gets really low can mean that something really terrible is about to happen. This starts are zero and goes to 1 (for super happy and productive people) to -1 (for when the bad thing happens). Funding from a region directly scales with Morale.
You also have a research income. This is a bit like money, but you put it towards specific goals that have certain costs. It’s also variable. So I’ll roll dice to decide how many research points you get per turn. You can increase the number and size of dice you get to roll by investing in this area.
Similarly you have an engineering income. This represents how quickly you can build ultra-high tech laser rifles and state of the art missile defense systems as not everything can be bought on the open market. Certain projects will have a cost in both funds and engineering. You pay the money up front and then each subsequent turn your engineering points add up until you pass the threshold and it’s production complete.
Beyond money, engineers and scientists though, you also have your feet on the ground. You start with five soldiers. One even starts at Rank I! That means he has a special power. Combat is quite simple, for each soldier I roll d20. I also roll a d20 for each enemy. Every unit has a target number. Beating that number means that they score a wound against an enemy, Wounds will be handed out randomly. There might be multiple phases of this. The reason that this doesn’t use the 3d6 bell curve is just an efficiency thing for me (one dice per unit makes potential large combats more straight forward for me to resolve)
A soldier with zero wounds is dead. A soldier with less than his maximum needs to spend a few turns in hospital to recover.
Fighting terrors from unknown solar systems doesn’t just strain the body though, it strains the mind. Soldiers also have a psyche score and this can go down from a number of things that aren’t quite attacks and we won’t go in to here. At zero psyche your soldier has freaked out. He’s panicking. Maybe he’ll try to seize the transport and return to the safety of the home base (leaving his friends to die), maybe he’ll just go foetal. Who knows! Psyche damage needs to be treated just like physical damage.
Soldiers will, be default, have 3 wounds and 3 psyche. Each time a soldier gains a rank he gains a random special ability. This is so you grow attached to them and become angry and sad when they inevitably have their brain eaten. Starting equipment for this squad are Combat Rifles (target number 10), except for one who has an autocannon (target 16 but fires three times)
I’m not sure we really need a map, but maybe I’ll do one for the home base. I should describe that a bit too really. You have a home base which you can populate with research labs, training centres, radar systems and all the other gubbins you like. These will be explained as you encounter them really but to start off you have:
Research labs [+1d10 RP/turn]
Engineering bay [+1d10 EP/turn]
Radar Antenna Array [Allows detection of enemy vessels]
Hanger [Can maintain/hold 2 aircraft]
Sickbay [Treats 1 wound or psyche damage / turn]
All very basic to start with obviously. You’ll have an assault transport and an interceptor in the hangar. The former being able to hold your entire initial team of five soldiers to investigate crash sites, landings and whatnot and the latter to cause crash sites.
Yes, just look at my latest post and tell me which option you want. Even better, do it in bold and red so I can see it.
For instance, if the last post ended with:
A - Build particle accelerator [€200M, +1d10 RP/turn]
B - Build Orbital Defense Node [€100M, +1 on checks to intercept incoming craft]
C - Build listening post (specify continent) [€200M, +2 on checks to detect stealth craft]
D - Focused Research [+1d10 RP]
E - Focused Training (specify soldier) [Check against difficulty 15 to promote]
F - Focused Diplomacy (specify continent) [Check against difficulty 13+Rank to improve funding]
You could say something like:
V. How do we start?
B: Our orbital network is too thin and it’s doing us no good if it’s not actually blowing up any UFOs
Well, we need to know where your agency came from. So that means voting on a faction type (a letter), picking a flaw (a number) and then choosing where you’ll be sticking your home base (vote with the name). Post your votes in bold and red
so I don't miss them when I'm counting up the votes.
Like this: B 5 Africa
Also, it might be an idea to try and marry those three things into some kind of vision, that way you can try to sell your fellow voters on your vision.
Faction Types (what type of company/instituion was responsible for forming your agency?)
A: Church - All soldiers have +1 psyche
B: High Tech - All research (RP) dice are one size higher and you start with a more advanced set of labs [+2d12 RP/turn]
C: Criminals - Variable “host agency” income [1d10 * €10M rather than €50M], can spend money to directly speed up engineering projects [1EP = €10M]
D: Government - No internal funding, but level 3 funding from one council. A +2 on all checks to resist funding cuts.
E: Media - The home region of the agency starts with elevated morale [+0.2]. A +2 on any checks to avoid any region’s morale decreasing
F: Private military - All five starting soldiers are Rank 1 (rather than one Rank 1 and four zeroes). Hired soldiers have a chance [difficulty 15] to gain a free rank.
Flaws (what are your agency bad at?)
1: Smiling accountants - All funding levels worth €20M rather than €25M
2: Bad blood - -5 on all rolls to increase funding for one specific council and their morale lowered by 0.5
3: Continental engineering - All engineering (EP) dice are one size smaller [Start with 1d8 EP/turn]
4: Commercial pilots - -2 on all aerial combat rolls
5: Medical cutbacks - Wounds/Psyche damage recovers at half speed
Home regional council (where are they based?)
Antarctica [This region has no council, so you won't start with any external funding]