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Aberrant: 200X - Let Slip The Gods of War [Series OOC Thread]


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What if they gave a war, and everybody came?

Picture the Congo. Tons of mineral rich areas. Lush jungles still with indigenous peoples, including the Pygmies, living in them. A corrupt government headed by a Taint-maddened nova. (No, really, it's in the Elites book). Envious enemies on all sides wanting a slice of the vast mineral wealth. Huge nature reserves and a delicate ecosystem that could easily be disrupted by nova-scale conflict. Grasping foreign mineral companies that can hire their own private armies to defend 'their territories' from all who would try to seize them.

I hope everyone can see where this is going?

A war series. Protracted, nasty, vicious and gritty. It might start with Elites, but would spiral on to involve potentially anyone: Utopians might try to stop the fighting, eco-conscious novas would be up in arms, Terats and Sphinx-types might get involved with an eye to the main chance, and anyone with even vaguely humanitarian ideals would be horrified at the catastrophic effect on the people living there.

Given the narrative-over-mechanics nature of 200X, I think this series could kick a lot of ass. What this thread is for is to discuss a few points together, as writers.

1: Who's interested, or can see their characters getting interested, in this?

So far, we have (and including their consent status):

Einherjar: ex-Elite, free agent, up to something - Hardcore!

Evo: elite, on hiatus and playing Batman - Hardcore!

WhiteRain: Artist and Terat - Hardcore!

Dozer: Construction Worker/elite, is discovering the joy of SMASH! - Hardcore!

Bombshell: Actress, Model, XWF Star, part-time hippo-thrower - Hardcore!

The Morrigan: elite, stabs things a lot - Hardcore!

Sean "Loki" McCline: Elite, DeVries Rookie of the Year - Hardcore!

Kazuo "Kurusu" Kanai: Elite, bad-ass, drinks like a fish - Hardcore!

Aušrine Vasiliauskiute: Elite, Model, ex-T2Mer, long-suffering professional partner of Kazuo - Hardcore!

Mahdi Diamant: Avenging Spirit of the Congo - Hardcore!

2: Where do we want this to finish? Options could include:

The Congo turning into a wasteland...

Utopia/The First World/God putting a stop to it with a massive amount of intervention and huge loss of life...

One faction or another winning decisively, the Congo being split up between several victors, or (and this is a nice possibility)...

The PC's (or a portion thereof) deciding the issue by joining forces and choosing the friendships they make over their faction loyalty, then taking control themselves. (This will be the hardest to write and portray accurately, and could end up with the characters involved having to run their own Third World country.)

On level of involvement:

Naturally, in wars people die, and not all of them are the other guy. In 200X there is a spirit of consent, but for this series to be the powerful story I and other envision, there has to be an element of danger. To that end, I'm suggesting three levels of involvement.

- First: None. Your character doesn't get involved. Simple.

- Second: Normal. If your character is "killed" by virtue of die rolls, mechanics, etc. then they're considered to be just short of mortally-wounded, but out of the rest of the war.

- Third: Hardcore! You are butt-nekkid with your arse in the breeze. Your character can die. Taking this option means that yes, you could lose your character to another PC as well as to NPC action. We expect anyone who takes this option to write with that in mind! As an 'escape clause', if you don't want the character to die you can tap out. Tapping out means that you live, but are out of the war. In addition, your character's reputation and associated aspects take a hit worldwide. Unlike the Second level folks, you decided to go Commando, so tapping out is a wuss move and should be treated as one. wink

Important: If you exercise the tap-out, you must actually state "Tap-Out" in a spoiler box. Successfully escaping death through your own abilities and/or wits is not a tap-out. Your character can evade their enemy and escape, but they don't suffer for it.

OH! One issue that needs to be nipped in the bud before anyone raises it: If your PC is on the Normal setting, they cannot kill another PC any more than they can in turn be killed. And for the Hardcore! characters, a defeat that doesn't end in death does NOT put them out of the series automatically (of course, they could be injured for a long period of time, which might be the same thing technically). The only way for them to be knocked out is by them exercising their 'tap-out' option. Or dying, of course. And they can die at the hands of NPC's, all of whom are considered to be Hardcore! setting. Major canon NPC's might be involved, which is up to the Mods, but I recommend that they be given a Normal setting unless we as a writing community are willing to have the sword swing both ways and a major NPC killed by a player.

Example of this consent system: Einherjar (Hardcore!) is ambushed by Blackthorn (Normal) as he tries to intercept a CZM weapons shipment. Blackthorn manages to put Ein down, but due to his own consent level cannot kill the Elite. Ein is assumed to somehow crawl away, play possum, or whatever (details worked out by the two characters in narrative fashion), recovers at whatever his health regen allows, then can rejoin the war.

If Ein put Blackthorn down, the CZM dude would be out of the war. How this is written-up is up to the characters to decide. Perhaps Blackthorn is taken into custody by P.U, perhaps the Family pulls him out of there because he's too valuable to waste in some dirtwad country. Either way, he's out, but not dead, and he receives IC reward commensurate for his efforts, no disgrace attached.

If both combatants were Hardcore!, they could choose to kill each other. The only way to avoid this would be by exercising the tap-out. This means that the guy who tapped out is somewhat lower on the totem pole than they were before, as word gets around that they basically begged for their lives, or ran, etc. Expect IC consequences, to be decided by the Mods. This doesn't take into account the fact that one might escape without tapping out, or the victor might CHOOSE to spare the other and let them fight another day. In that instance, the PC remains in the war and owes the other guy one (if they're the sort to express gratitude. There's no guarantee that just because you spare an enemy, he'll spare you.)

Yes, the Hardcore mode is daunting. It's supposed to be. If you're not interested in making the choice between death or ignominy when your character goes down, stick to Normal mode.


The rewards should be commensurate with the risk. For the Normal folks, maybe a small increase in appropriate skills or backgrounds (Fame for their bravery/moral courage/ etc, or Backing, or Resources). For the Hardcore guys, I suggest more of the same, plus a potential XP/NP bonus to be decided by the Mods.

In the case of character death: I propose that the player gets a bonus amount of XP/NP to apply to their replacement character. It takes stones to put our blood, sweat and tears on the block, and that should be rewarded rather than ignored. We're not here to punish people for falling foul of game mechanics, but to have a rewarding experience telling a really epic tale of war, human drama, and loss.

NOTE: This does not apply to any character made after this proposal was posted. Only established 'iconic' PC's, whose players stand to lose more than half an hour's work or so, can receive this bonus to a replacement character.

Through these fields of destruction,

Baptisms of fire.

Ive watched all your suffering

As the battles raged higher.

And though they did hurt me so bad,

In the fear and alarm.

You did not desert me -

My brothers in arms.

Have at it!

UPDATE: Factions & Power Players in the Congo

The Interahamwe meaning "those who stand/work/fight/attack together" is a Hutu paramilitary organization. The militia enjoyed the backing of the Hutu-led government leading up to, during, and after the Rwandan Genocide. Since the genocide, they have been forced out of Rwanda, and have sought asylum in Congo. They are currently a terrorist group hiding in the Congo and the Ugandan forest.

Equipment: Varies. Third-world chic (AK's, RPGs,WW2 model pistols and rifles and smgs like the Schmeisser) to machetes and hatchets for when they want to save ammo. Some of the bands are better funded due to other activities such as slave running, organ-legging, and baraka cultist style nova-napping. Expect those bands to have good modern weapons, maybe even a piece of blacktech or two, and make use of Mite and Red-7 if they can get it. The most successful bands have novas leading them, naturally. Regardless of equipment, they tend to be undisciplined, vicious and non-professional. A charismatic leader can keep them in line, especially if he's successful in his ventures. But they're pretty much 21st century barbarian hordes with guns.

Motivations: They claim to be fighting against the Tutsi-led government of Asani, but in reality the interhamwe are little more than bandits who use their 'war' as an excuse to attack defenseless settlement, loot, kill and rape. Once in a while they will ambush military forces or raid mining installations, but are careful not to be too big a thorn in the side of Asani or his foreign partners, who have deep pockets and lots of novas. They are mainly active in the east, where they disrupt humanitarian aid and raid the scattered farming settlements, but can be found all over the Congo.

While the intehamwe lacks overt contacts with novas, a charismatic leader (especially a Mega-Charismatic one) could bring organization to this scattered threat. The interhamwe certainly has the numbers, the equipment and the fanaticism to depose Asani. All it lacks is the organization. In the absence of a figurehead, however, its members are left to disrupt trade routes, bomb the occasional government building and squabble among themselves.

The True Democratic Republic: are rebels, seeing themselves as fighting for the democracy that Lambert Asani promised when he first came to power. Led by Alima Laurent, one of Asani's 'Six Heads', the novas who helped him into power now under a death sentence for sedition. The TDR is well-funded from an unknown source and regularly does business with Elite agencies, including DeVries, to hire elites to make surgical assaults on key Asani assets, particularly the Asani Mineral Industries' mines. DeVries happily supplies its elites for such a task, then turns around and offers Asani elites for 'security' purposes... in exchange for favorable shares in mineral rights.

The TDR has no real soldiers of its own, mainly relying on CFF (see below) and mercenaries as well as elites to fight battles. The TDR is mainly comprised of intellectuals, frustrated statesmen and upper classes. They say that if they come to power they will finally bring democracy to the Congo. Which is the same thing the last three regimes, Asani's included, claimed also.

The Congolese Freedom Front: By far the most active insurgent group in the Congo. the CFF draws its soldiers from villages all over the country. While Asani underestimates them as a gang of gun-toting children, the CFF is well supplied by at least half a dozen African nations and the United States. Most of its cash goes to hiring novas, who are key to the group's strategic attacks on targets across the country. It is headquartered in Gemena, where its members engage in daily shootouts with Congolese police and border patrols. Efforts in the east have been frustrated by the interhamwe. While it despises the DeVries Agency for its role in Asani's rise to power, they CFF has begun an independent search for elites willing to assist its cause.

Mineral Interests: The mineral-rich nation of Congo was divided up by wealthy families after the colonists pulled out, but not evenly. Now that the Asani family is raking in money and taxing the profits of other interests, some mining operations have begun to hire their own novas to give them the clout (and sometimes the Mega-Manipulation) to influence the political process and earn them more profits. In the east, some mines have novas acting as glorified security to prevent attacks by the interhamwe, for Asani, as head of the Congo's largest mineral corporation, certainly does nothing to protect rival interests.

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I'd be in for this (having two Elite characters, and all). I don't think either of my characters would be very quick to become personally interested in it, but it wouldn't be at all difficult to get them involved, and then interested from there.

The third option you listed is the outcome I think I'd most enjoy as a writer and reader. Wars rarely end as neatly or tidily as everyone hopes at their beginnings. No reason for this one to be an exception.

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Please confirm solidly which characters you want to be involved. Can we also get people thinking about what consent level they're going for with their characters?

Remember, this will determine your risk to reward ratio. And you don't have to be a combat character to go 'Hardcore' either. In Third World wars, non-combatants tend to be the targets of choice for some of the so-called 'soldiers' who like to shoot things, rape and steal.

I'll keep updating the names in the list above along with people's level setting.

Edit: Updated and clarified some rules in the top post. Let me know what you all think.

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I'll be creating a new character as well for this story. That character will be all in.

I take it that if the new character dies as part of this story, that means you can create another new character to replace them and don't have to wait till next year? Since we only get one per year by the rules?

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Originally Posted By: Mr Fox

I take it that if the new character dies as part of this story, that means you can create another new character to replace them and don't have to wait till next year? Since we only get one per year by the rules?

Yes. I'd say that's only fair. wink
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A caveat on the issue of making a character to specifically take part in the War.

Yes, it would be perfectly in-theme to make an Elite who specialises in killing other novas, throw your points in to make them a regular player-slayer, and have a blast 'pwning' the other PC's in glorious combat.

It would also, by the same token, be perfectly in-theme for someone to bring their seriously sick little psycho mega-social mindbender to the Congo and have them make your war machine into a sock puppet. With no friends. And a gorilla fetish.

Now that we've established what is possible and in-theme...

We are not starting this series to commence a PC arms race. I'm half-tempted to say "Hey, if your currently existing character(s) doesn't have any reason to join in, then sit on the sidelines and kibitz." But that would be showing a lack of faith in people.

All of the current 200X-ers, including Elites like Ein and Kazuo, are balanced rounded characters. Please make your new characters up as if the war was not going to happen. Otherwise...

Well, I don't need to say more than "Sock Puppet" now do I?

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  • 2 years later...

Donald/Evo is in, certainly... at the moment, Hardcore. I'll take that chance. And there are ways to leave without tapping out, I just hope the missions aren't ones that make that impossible.

Edit: Separate question, I'm going to write an intro for Donald... separate fic or in the [intro] thread?

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Make it seperate for now. The Congo is a big place and there's a lot going on. Ein's actions are going to start trouble in North Kivu, Evo could be getting involved in something else entirely.

The aim is to highlight how the chaos can build from half a dozen flashpoints into an inferno. grin

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Alrighty. I've dusted off the thread, updated the involved characters list in the first post, and I'm now throwing the floor open.

Here is where anyone, 200X player or not, involved in Gods of War or not, can make suggestions and give opinions -constructive ones, naturally.

If you think a faction, whether the government, a foreign government, a corporation, one of the resistance movements - Anyone at all - would take a certain action or react a certain way to events, then say so here. Remember, whilst we would like things to be realistic enough to allow suspension of disbelief, naysaying everything as 'that wouldn't happen' is not constructive. We're trying to build a series arc that may potentially reshape the Aberrant setting here, not get bogged down with canon.

Right now, as the fics with [intro] markers suggest, Gods of War is in the lead-up phase. Countries don't just fall into civil war overnight. In the case of the Congo, there's stockpiles of flammable situations all over the place and those PCs writing the Intro sequences are, wittingly or not, part of the ignition of those fires.

Want to join in starting the mayhem? It's easy.

Obviously, Elites are most likely to be in the Congo, and the ways they'll contribute to the brushfires are many and varied. But any nova is a power, regardless of combat ability. The Congo is the most unstable and yet potentially the richest country in the world. 80% of the world's cobalt alone is in the ground there. It's kept unstable by foreign interests both corporate and governmental, who can take advantage of the shaky power structure to acquire bogglingly expensive mineral rights at rock bottom prices.

As stated above, and yes I'm repeating myself, there's room for medical, scientific, and ecologically driven novas too. There's endangered species, valuable minerals with properties that may be valuable to hyperscience, and of course thousands and thousands of people living in squalor and lacking basic human rights. Utopia keeps the place at arms length, devoting only enough effort to stop the Congo becoming the puppet of a superpower. The surrounding African nations all hate Asani, and constantly switch their support between the various factions opposed to him. And someone is supplying those factions with blacktech nova-killing weapons...

DeVries? They've got valuable interests in the Congo, striking deals with Asani to help him in exchange for more. The Teragen? May not care right now, but if and when the place falls into chaos, perhaps the One Race can take advantage of humanity's folly. The Aberrant faction may seek evidence of Utopia's shady dealings with different factions, seeking to rub the Project's nose in their moral hypocrisy.


Einherjar has gone rogue. He's taking on the Congolese army, forcing DeVries to disavow him and even send novas after him if they want to keep their plum contracts with Asani. The Congo forces want nothing less than to exterminate the people Ein is protecting like vermin, to stop them settling elsewhere. Of course, DV and Congolese will tell the world that it's a large band of ruthless terrorists led by a rogue nova who's gone Kurtz on them.

Doctors Without Borders are going to be releasing a press conference very soon, telling the outside world what's going on in the jungle. (as much as they know). As a result, DWB will be declared persona non grata in Kinshasa, and forbidden to enter the country. Of course, they'll try to sneak in anyway to help people, so Evo's going to have his hands full... grin

Confusion, fun and games. If anyone else wants to get in on the [intro] phase, go right ahead. Bear in mind that these things are happening at roughly the same time. The goal of an Intro fic is to highlight a different flashpoint to the ones already covered. We can start having showdowns and team-ups later on. wink

Have at thee!

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I will add my own current events update, building off of Ein's starter to fully cover more what's going on for Evo and in Kinshasa. Feel free to suggest revisions.

Currently, Part 2:

On the day that Einherjar goes rogue, Alima Laurent's True Democratic Republic unleashes the work of years upon Kinshasa. Much of the city's population rises, aided by hired soldiers armed with some black-market 'Nova Smasher' rifles. The police and Elites stamp down the flames in the city within a day, but enough Elites are seriously injured, and the spark was lit too soon to be stopped. Over the course of the war and certainly for the following few weeks, Kinshasa and the surrounding region becomes comparable to RL's Basra, Iraq of several years past. Roadside bombs, shootings, and urban insurgency.

Donald 'Evo' Wallace had enough time to get his current client out to the airport before joining DWB. Going into the press conference, they are aware of the consequences, and are already set to pull up stakes prior to the official pronouncement that Asani wants DWB out. Of course, they are taking advantage of Evo's willingness to help and John Argyle's humanitarian side to leverage him to help (plus the added inducement of a fat fee). wink

The price is that DWB's new national status and loss of a main HQ has forced their efforts to become more decentralized, and prepping their teams to become more autonomous. Thus, Evo is not just security, guide and a lookout, but security, guide, lookout and a high-speed, tireless messenger. All eight of his hands will be full. laugh

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Behind the scenes update on The Line:

Ein's storm has wiped out close to 3000 men. Maybe 600 survived the relentless battering, flooding and chaos. A large stretch of jungle has been virtually flattened.

Meteorological organisations are curious about the sudden appearance of a hurricane over continental Africa. Hurricanes are supposed to form over oceans and even small ones are much bigger than Ein's effort. Nova activity is suspected.

Note that Ein's ability to alter the weather is not public knowledge. In fact, it was not known by anyone but Ein himself before he used it in The Line. Still, if anyone's following the situation in the Congo closely, the hurricane DID occur in a remote part of North Kivu.

By now DeVries insiders (anyone with Backing 3 or more) will be aware that Ein is considered a rogue Elite. For whatever reason, Carrington and Anna DeVries are treating his defection/resignation very seriously. Rumor is that Ein has cost Anna a considerable amount of money by messing up an arrangement.

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Behind the scenes update on The Line:

Einherjar is heading to Uganda, being tailed by two DeVries elites and with a large (but understandably very nervous) baseline force waiting for him ten miles short of the border.

The two Elites are Steelbolt (Metal Form, super-strong, super-tough) and Scalp, described as a 'poor man's Totentanz'. He's incredibly fast, and stealthy, and mean, but he's not as smart, skilled or disciplined as Totentanz. Still, between the two of them they have more strength and more speed than Einherjar...

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Behind the Scenes Update on Chaos in Kinshasa

After a failed Congolese Army special unit attack on the DWB personnel outside Kinshasa, they have now sent an Elite to do the job right. On his part Evo has come to the conclusion that the DWB group he is accompanying cannot be protected for much longer, so he has forced them to grudgingly leave for the nearby border with the Republic of Congo, where they will be safe.

As fortune will have it, he has to fight when the trek is almost done...

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XP awards? Man, I wish I could get Chang in this... *sadface*

Geography is one of my weakest points, but if I remember correctly the Congo and Nigeria are close to one another. Wouldn't that perhaps touch on a certain mr. El Sango?

I could see him deciding to 'restore peace' to 'keep his people safe' the way dictators often do to thinly disguise a land grab.

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Nigeria doesn't share a border with the Congo, but everyone's favorite 'President for Life' is sure to send some of his covert-ops elites to stir things up to his own benefit. Same could be said for a lot of Asani's neighbours. He doesn't have a lot of friends...

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Behind the scenes update on The Line, circa May 14th:

As the OpNet news broadcast suggests, it's now out in the open that Einherjar and DeVries are at odds. The eyes of the world are slowly taking more interest in the shenanigans in the eastern Congo. Unbeknownst to DeVries, Einherjar successfully dealt with the two novas they sent to kill him, and is about to emerge from the jungle with 12,000 people at his back.

It's not all over yet though. Between Ein and the border is a prepared force of soldiers, artillery, tanks and one or two of Asani's elites. And beyond them at the Ugandan border, that country is massing it's own army, and has called for aid from Team Tomorrow, nervous about the huge force of 'terrorists' reputed to be approaching their country...

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I was just thinking... shouldn't xp rewards be standardized? I know what you mean by having the 'normal' and 'hardcore' modes, but doesn't that just give a somewhat unfair advantage to combat characters, to the point of having a situation where only combat characters can even really apply?

Einherjar is a stompy mofo. So you can happily go in on hardcore with a moderate degree of confidence that Ein'll be fine whatever gets thrown at him. I mean really the point is still roleplaying isn't it, rather than having an event that's a shooting gallery for combat novas?

The problem I see is that you've got multiple 200xers with high levels of combat relevant abilities, so the novas who'll be doing the attacking have to be able to both hurt and be hurt by those characters. Which rules out any non-combat nova instantly. There's no way to balance that so that everyone has fair access to the same rewards (because however you swing it, a non-combat nova is in infinitely more danger than a combat one since a single combat turn can kill them with no hope of reprise).

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I never recall saying that the bonuses would be 'Kill XP' or 'Combat XP'.

The bonuses, whether XP or otherwise, will be for roleplaying a character who for whatever reason found themselves in the middle of this situation.

For non-combat novas, having to deal with baseline death squads and Baraka cultists would probably be sufficient risk on Hardcore mode. When confronted with other more dangerous novas, the smart move (and the one that will let them survive to spend the XP) will be to neutralise the threat, avoid it, or try to turn it to their advantage whilst maintaining their goals.

For example, if WR wanted to get some war photography done, she would have to get into dangerous areas, avoid the notice of those who could squash her like a bug, and find the truly meaningful artistic shots in a place that is hellish to say the least.

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Behind the Scenes Update on Chaos in Kinshasa, May 12th

Though Evo badly injuries the unknown enemy Elite, he is nearly slain and is only rescued through the timely gunfire of Jerry and Franklin the leading baseline guards of the group. After establishing themselves safely in the territory of the Republic of the Congo, Evo assesses his options and comes to a decision.

Within the next day, he is off to the northwestern province of Equateur, where he plans to guard some local villages from marauding combatants through jungle stealth and surprise while he develops the skills needed to challenge other Elites properly.

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Alright, well I might regret this horribly but I'll stick myself in on HARDCORE MODE.


Oh yeah, and I'm thinking she's kicking off with about 8 quantum in her pool and having taken four levels of lethal at least. Maybe five.

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Update in the first post with highlights of major players in the Congo. If you have a faction you want to get involved, feel free to suggest it here along with their motivations, and if it's not too outlandish I'll put it in laugh

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