We have an Artist for the Empathic Guide (we hope)

Just a note to say that the draft is in review and proofing. It is a lot bigger than we anticipated when we thought of it. We have also opened negotiations with David Lee Ingersoll for the artwork. He did the art and covers on two other adventures for us and we are very pleased with his work.

http://www.davidleeingersoll.com/

Yes, although free, this book will be done right. It is to be a part of Conspiracy Lives when we unravel it. But a teaser now is a good thing!

 

Cheers!
Norm

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DC3 Empathic Potpourri: Anyone Interested?

Wondering if anyone is interested in a pre-release package containing the specialty empathic careers from the soon-to-be-released(?) Conspiracy Lives!

The package will contain background on the four specialty empath, career definitions to get characters started, and updated psionic skills. This would be free for download as it would be incorporated into the Conspiracy Lives! book when it comes out. It will be a downloadable pdf available here and through DriveThruRPG / RPGNow.

Some changes:

The generic Dimension Walk (human) skill now only allows in-plane travel through temporary quantum dimensions (pale shadows of the Prime Dimension that warps space relative to it) — for example, zipping into the vault and back with the cash. Dimension Walk does not allow creation of permanent portals or gates, nor temporary ones to other dimensions/proto-dimensions. It does allow use of existing portals and gates. A different skill creates portals and gates, a new one.

Some darklings will have psion- or sorcerer-like skills to open temporary portals to other dimensions, possibly in addition to Dimension Walk to the same dimension. While the science may be the same, having a dimensional/positional frame of reference to another dimension is much different than one to the same dimension.

Psionicists are now called Psions (compatibility with House Rules).

In addition to awakening, neuropaths can take the Psychic Test Subject career. This career with the neuropath branch, reflects the forced testing, training, and experimentation that the “company” might do. The PTS career is also available to Psions, but their experience in the career is based on volunteering to test, train, be experimented on, etc.

The other thing about neuropaths…we are making them more like those from the movies Scanners (1981) and Firestarter (1984). When a neuropath awakens or when they enter the PTS career, they concentrate on a capability: fire, compulsion, psychokinetics, psychoelectropathy, etc. Neuropaths also get an unasked-for bonus on the Power Level roll–stages on 9 and 10. But they cannot throttle back the results. There will be plenty of exploding heads…!

Note that the neuropath has to escape if he is not kicked out of the PTS career. The psion can leave voluntarily, but they usually join up (see Psychic Researcher, below).

Psions will also have their own career: Psychic Researcher (or some such). In this one they are the scientist pushing the test subjects around.

The difference between Psions and Mystics will be even more pronounced. There will be a significant division concerning gates and portals. Mystics can use existing portals and gates, but cannot create gates. Psions can create gates and portals, but cannot enter the Astral Plane. Psions still get the check before they actually try something, reducing backlash due to Catastrophic rolls.

Sorcerers are all about the dimensions. Their capabilities will include the former concepts of drawing stuff out of elemental dimensions (fire, ice, gravity, etc.) to effect environment, but now they will have access to less purely elemental ones. In effect they can gate things into and out dimensions. They can also manipulate all the little nano-portals that are floating around. Sorcerers rely on rituals and symbols making them, for the most part, appear as occultists, but not necessarily with the religious/demonological flavor. Although, if a referee wanted to add in a dark lord or two along those lines, it would certainly appear that way.

So, is anyone interested?

Cheers!
Norm

 

 

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Conspiracy Lives — The Dark Earth

The following is from our draft of the setting history for Conspiracy Lives.


Dark Earth

Dark Earth is an alternate history extrapolated into the near future. The timeline forks in 1947 and deals with the emergence of a new science and the unbidden guests that come with it. Deep secrets are being kept from the people in this history by governments, corporations, and other powers that be. The common man (or more politically correct, common person) has no inkling of how deep the secrets run. Preoccupied with keeping conveniently in the dark about The Dark, the average man or woman goes about his business never looking too closely at the weirdness emerging around him.

But humanity cannot do this forever. Beings that are extremely hostile towards humans have begun their invasion. Using human dupes—called igors after the mad doctor sidekick from that classic horror motion picture—and other nefarious minions, the Dark is working its way to the total domination or destruction of humanity.

But, stalwart warriors have emerged to combat this growing menace. Minion Hunters combat the Dark at every turn, seeking out weirdness, rooting out its sources, and cleaning up by blasting light (or bullets, bullets work too) upon the ruthless invaders and their proxies. You will assume the role of these characters to play knowledgeable Minion Hunters combating forces of the Dark that have been the source of the recent and rapid decline of human civilization. Using your wits, skills, and the few resources available to you, you will unfold and roll-up this evil conspiracy one minion at a time if need be, for if you do not the outcome is an inconceivable future horror.

History of Conspiracy

The decline of the world leading up to the Dark Conspiracy III setting started with the often confusing and suspicious Roswell Incident of 1947. From there the normal timeline diverges quite a bit because the truth behind the Roswell Incident is different than what is currently believed.

1947 to 1976

In 1947 an extraterrestrial spacecraft crashed in Roswell, New Mexico. The ET pilots of that spacecraft were taken into custody and questioned. One died under interrogation due to its wounds from the crash. However, the other two were diplomats sent to negotiate relations between humans and the ETs—so called Grays by the USAF. These relations were communicated to the Soviet Union and major European powers as well as China. The ETs promised an exchange of technology for information concerning certain human biological features, like DNA. To collect and funnel this technology and to ensure that no one nation received a lopsided benefit, a secret Interface Security Agency, Aerospace Command (ISAAC) was formed to study and assimilate bargained ET technology. The ISAAC shepherded the development of electronics and other materials science received from the Grays, including lasers. But by far, the ISAAC managed the study of Empathic energies and forces that Gray technology allowed to be detected and manipulated.

Even though China was included in the initial ET communications, their civil war prevented them from full participation in the ISAAC. At one point China was actually voted out of the ISAAC, but cooler heads prevailed. However, China took slight at these actions prompting a degree of mistrust among the other participants of the ISAAC. In 1949, the ISAAC developed an empathic research facility on the southern Korean peninsula to test a Gate capable of rapidly transporting large numbers of troops and equipment—on to or off of the peninsula is not clear. The paranoia inherent in Chairman Mao’s government in the wake of China’s civil war became unbearable. China urged their North Korean ideology partners to take out this gate resulting in the invasion of Seoul in the summer of 1950. However, when UN counterattacks prevented the transport of the gate technology out of the South, China decided to go get it themselves in the winter of 1950. Once the technology was taken, China was pushed back to the original frontiers prompting peace talks with the UN.

The governments of the ISAAC realized that to keep their mission secret they had to motivate their constituents into paying large amounts into clandestine ISAAC programs. To this end, the ISAAC decided that member countries to the ISAAC each had to have a shadow government capable of consistent and secret long-term activities. Collectively these shadow governments would refer to themselves as the New World Order. Richard Nixon, Vice President at the time, led the initial US shadow government whose sole purpose was to enable and advance ISAAC initiatives. It was an inkling about the US shadow government that led Joseph McCarthy, who was not a party to the New World Order, to hold his Un-American Activities trials. When he got too close to the shadow government, he was shut down.

As a result of the Korean debacle, the New World Order member states decided upon the whole-scale polarization of world politics—and so the Cold War was started. It was believed that massive polarization would allow focusing of funding and resources on both sides of the Cold War. So, after posturing throughout the 1950s, US President Kennedy and Soviet General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev played out their nuclear brinkmanship in 1963 using the Cuban Missile Crisis to weld their governments into the patterns of defense spending that would ensure ISAAC’s continued mission success. Kennedy did not like the deadly nature of this game and took a hard stand with the shadow government. He was assassinated by the New World Order in 1963.

The member state’s shadow governments agreed that one nation had to take the lead on space technology development. The US was voted the one to lead the charge and the ISAAC then sought the means to fund the space program. Political polarization required the Soviets to likewise develop space programs, but the bulk of the effort was laid on the shoulders of the US. So the New World Order decided to manipulate a little known political refugee and brand new communists into an adversary for the US to galvanize defense expenditures around. With the New World Order’s resources and encouragement, Ho Chi Minh moved the Viet Nam war from a concept of freedom in 1941 to its heyday in the late 1960s to its conclusion in 1975. During this time the US and other countries designated by the ISAAC developed advanced technology, e.g. advanced radars, laser and optically guided missiles, advanced propulsion systems. All this technology advancement was the result of artificially created tensions between the East and the West with the covert introduction of ET technologies—the sole purpose being the first major ISAAC mission—put a Gate on the moon.

To place an empathic gate on the moon, the US—at the direction of the New World Order—started the Apollo program. The US nationalism intentionally sparked by the Cuban Missile Crisis and a well-timed launch by the Soviets, sparked the cover drives to get into space. As a result, in 1971 Apollo 16 deployed a “particle and fields” sub-satellite into lunar orbit. This satellite contained a working Gate powered by a miniature nuclear reactor. This sub-satellite was injected into an orbit intended for it to land on the dark side of the moon (the side that does not face the earth). This satellite was declared a failed experiment although fake data were collected for the year as a cover. As part of Apollo 17, astronaut Ron Evans tested the gate from lunar orbit (while in the lunar shadow) using a portable gate in the orbiting Command/Service Module. With testing complete ISAAC started using the lunar gate to build the next step—a lunar base. With a working gate on the moon, the Apollo program was shut down.

The lunar base was declared operational in 1973 against the desires of then President Nixon who was increasingly paranoid and distrusted the Grays. The ISAAC used their influence with the New World Order to have Nixon neutralized and the ISAAC commenced construction of their very first spacecraft on the dark side of the moon. It is significant to note that the Pink Floyd album by the same name was conceived, written, and performed by empaths. The energies and forces that were emerging from ISAAC studies and assimilation “infected” creative types for the whole decade of the 1960s and early 1970s. Pink Floyd’s Waters, Gilmour, Mason and Wright were operating from their strong empathic sense of foreboding along with the concepts and experiences of Syd Barrett, an emotional victim of his empathic powers who was later seen wandering the streets of London acting more or less as a vagrant.

The ISAAC launched their first Interface Space Agency Spacecraft, the ISAS Pioneer, from lunar base in 1974. The second, the Voyager, and third, the Mariner II, were launched in 1975 and 1976. The ISAAC used NASA space probe programs of the same name as cover for the development of these manned space vehicles.

The Grays had reported to the ISAAC that advanced alien technology, alien to the Grays that is, had been located on Io—a moon of Jupiter—and ISAS Pioneer was deployed there to support the Gray investigation. The Gray excavation revealed a Gate of obvious alien manufacture and of a scale not believed possible, especially in the extreme environment of Io. The ISAAC and the Grays were excited that the Gate could be used as a portal back to Earth allowing expansion into the outer solar system. The coalition of ISAAC and the Grays started planning a base around the Gate on Io.  In August of 1976 ISAS Pioneer was in a complicated orbit between Jupiter and Io when the Grays energized the Gate. That was when, as Captain John Young, commander of the Pioneer put it, “all hell literally broke loose”.


 

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Beastie Stats in Conspiracy Rules

Just a note, as there has been a little confusion on the stats for Creatures. First edition, where most of the beastie stats come from, was a D10 system. It made sense to have an attack (Skill stat) number rolled on a D10. That stat has survived through to Conspiracy Rules without any change. What has changed, is that the stat given for a beastie should be added to its governing attribute to get the D20 number currently used.

For Dogs, the “skill” is 7. The Dog’s STR is 3. The asset to use for a melee attack is 10 as shown:

Beastie-Stat-example
Say for example, the Dog will Dodge a Leaping Kick. The test for this is a Difficult [AGL] or an Average [Acrobatics]. The referee may use either based on the dog and at her discretion. Note that the Average [Acrobatics] for the Dog is Average [ 3 + 7 = 10 ], the Dog’s skill plus AGL attribute, and is much more advantageous for the Dog than a Difficult [ 3 ].

Cheers!
Norm

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Forgotten Product Update

If you subscribe to the email notifications from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow, and you purchased Conspiracy Lives, you should have received notification that the file has been updated. The current version is shown on the title page as Version 1.1.

As always we are interested in your comments. Check us out on Facebook (Dark Conspiracy group or the 3Hombres page) if you have comments. There is an unofficial discussion forum at DarkConspiracyTheRPG.info

Cheers!
Norm

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Site Update — Better Mobile Experience

Ok, so I have not updated this site in 3 months. My bad.

Two things:

1.  I have added a plugin (WPtouch)  that provides for better viewing on mobile devices.

2. I promise to update this site more often, as in, at least 3 times per month, hopefully more.

You are going to get a lot of discussion on <Dark> Conspiracy Lives. I may even turn on comments here. I haven’t yet because spammers are such a pain. (right now one is slowing the internet to a crawl out of spite, the filthy bastards)

Cheers!
Norm

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Character experience (correcting an omission)

The following fills in missing information from Conspiracy Rules. It will be included in the next printing, due before year’s end. The next printing will be available free as an updated file from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow. Sorry for the inconvenience–we are just too close to the game rules to see the missing piece.

Cheers!
Norm and Lee

 

Character Advancement

Characters advance by receiving points as a result of their role play. The referee awards points or not for various reasons. The referee does not have to award any points, but may choose to reward good role play, resolving game challenges, and general success. Some guidance for point awards is given in “Experience Point Award Recommendation”, below, but the referee is not constrained by this table.

The referee should base the number of experience points awarded to the characters on the quality of their play. However, for campaigns where character advancement is important, players should be rewarded to consistently showing up to play, especially good examples of teamwork, and willingness to forward the story from their character’s point of view. Typically the character should have reason for receiving the skill point. The referee may even specify that the experience point has to be spent on a skill or influence.

Spending Experience Points

Players can “bank” experience points to improve contact influence,  skill levels, initiative, and attribute increases. The player improves their character by “spending’ experience points in these areas.

Improving Influence

Alternately these skill points can be traded into Influence Points. One skill point can be traded for three Influence Points. This is enough for one solid contact or three generic contacts. Spending points in this way represents time and money spent by the character to develop the contact to the new level.

Improving Skill Levels

A player can improve their character by spending enough experience points on a skill to reach the next level. The cost to raise a skill level equals the value of the new level. For example, to raise Streetwise 3 to Streetwise 4 costs four experience points.

Improving a skill is not instantaneous, but rather the result of study, training, practice, and experience. The player should develop a story explaining how the skill was raised and spend sufficient between time—the time between adventures—to account for a reasonable improvement.

Improving Initiative

A human character’s Initiative can be raised to a maximum of six. To raise the initiative higher requires augmentation. To raise initiative higher requires experience equal to double the new level. For example, to raise Initiative 5 to Initiative 6 costs 12 experience points. In order to raise Initiative, the character must experienced tactical situations involving Initiative Order.

Improving Attributes

Attributes are organic to the character and improving them changes the character dramatically. To raise an attribute costs ten-times the new attribute level. STR 8 to STR 9 costs 90 experience points.

 

Experience Point Award Recommendation
Reason Number of Points
Attending a Session 1*
Surviving an encounter or adventure 1
Completing a minor goal 1
Completing a major goal 3
Exceptional skill use 1**
Exceptional combat actions 1***
Good example of role play 1
Advancing the story 1
* Specially during a multi-session campaign

** High difficulty level success. Point could be specified to be spent on the skill .

*** Situations where Initiave order was used. Could be specified to be spent on a combat skill or initiative.

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The Conspiracy Lives: Professional Sports (preview)

Just a preview from our current drafts:

Professional sports

Blood and excessive injuries became acceptable with the introduction of Street Ball in the mid-teens. Street Ball began as a reality show later popularized into a complete sport, including dedicated venues, charismatic players, and all the televised violence that the public craved. Other sports became increasingly violent, US Football, Championship Wrestling, Mixed-Martial Arts, all allowed and in most cases demanded an increased level of personal violence to the participants. Deaths in the ring for MMA cage matches were not uncommon. The fighters signed all the right forms for a potentially deadly match so that death and permanent injury were allowed outcomes. The GlobeNet entertainment rating system was off the chart for the first Street Ball League competitive match. Institutionalized betting, once only allowed through at select establishments, became commonplace and standardized. Placing bets through GlobeNet became very easy. Enforcing payment of losses is now a “normal” occupation for mercenaries and private investigators.

Sports figures had already risen to celebrity status with paparazzi, reporters, and followers galore, but after the Greater Depressions, they became legends. Gone is the demure athlete staying to himself, fumbling over words in an interview. Replacing them are the smooth publicity seekers, using their abilities to propel themselves onto the latest vid feed. More important than scoring a lot of points is the manner in which the points were scored—fans demand flair and flamboyance.

Street Ball

Natural and not-so-natural disasters plagued the populations of earth throughout the time of the Greater Depression. All of these disasters were broadcast on the news networks and channels. It seemed that the public could not satisfy their morbid appetite for seeing other’s maladies—and the news services were very eager to provide coverage to this hungry audience.

Often providing coverage in depth with slick mobile production units providing multiple, coordinated cameras and angles, the news services went to burned out or destroyed urban locations to “get the story.” The news services fed a recurring paradigm of scrambling populations trying to salvage resources and save their children. These productions were broadcast on the GlobeNet by news organizations and featured real people trying to save themselves amidst the disaster around them. People clamored for more of this drama—it appeared that their own woes were forgotten when watching the woes of others.

It was Calvin Chu, a Global News Network (GNN) executive that first pitched a staged survival scene as a reality-type show. Reality shows were very popular in the early decades of the 21st century. Chu’s production was staged in a destroyed urban section of LA devastated by the Last Great Quake where 40% of southern California was destroyed. The ruined setting was never rebuilt as there was no corporate interest and the government’s emergency aid had been defunded decades ago. Chu outlined an area for the production with emplaced remotely controlled cameras and microphones. All aspects of the anticipated drama could get “coverage.”

To bolster his drama, Chu developed two competing “factions” in this local area. These factions consisted of out of work and very hungry actors, including the Bairn, the real child that one side was supposed to save. So the actors were placed in the “street,” and had the rules explained to them. The drama would begin at daybreak the next day.

Chu also hired a panel of publicity-seeking celebrities to review each day’s highlights and score each team on their performance. Teams would accumulate a running score over several days of play. In the closing show on the last day the producers calculated totals for each side. The celebrities would award the winning side with new living quarters, considerable bonuses, and other prizes. The losers got a somewhat lower bonus and were placed on a list for future consideration should the show be approved for another season. Many teams won their next engagement after learning from their loss what it takes to win.

In the second season, some of the reality-actors broke into scuffles for possession of recovered supplies and for possession of the child they were to save. At this point Chu decided to add in enforcers and emergency medical technicians to each side. Nothing sells like a little blood on the streets.

However, it was in the third season when one of the actors was killed in a melee over a cache of water. Chu and GNN bought the rights to the investigation, squashed it, and established an agreement with law enforcement that they would try and punish the murder on the show. A few greased palms later, and the highest show views and reviews were the result.

Chu’s success spawned a series of exploitational look-alike shows. Corporate interest peaked, when the gambling interests in Vegas ran an odds board for the shows. The ratings were high and the advertising income immense. Soon each corporation was sponsoring a competition of their own. There were enough ruins to go around, enough desperate players waiting in the wings, so the concept took off as a competition. Soon play and news for these independent venues were covered on the GlobeNet Sports Channels to generate more interest and viewers. Eventually, the talking-head sports pundits proposed a playoff between two corporations to see who had the better team. The corporations agreed to an event whose success in ratings and revenue spawned the league.

As a sport, Street Ball took off. Corporate sponsors removed the child and replaced it with the Bairn (the Ball) when the violence grew too great, but the basic rules set forth by Chu remain—a bit more formalized, but mostly unchanged.

Competition among the corporations was very strong—in the league and out—so members of the burgeoning Street Ball League decided to double the stakes and put a corporate dispute on the line. The public loved it. At last, the actions of individuals could affect corporate outcomes.

Currently there is an international major league, called the Street Ball League and a fair number of national and regional minor leagues. There are a lot of bush leagues and some standing all-comer events. Televising the majors, and regionally the minors, has proven very lucrative for the event sponsors and the sports networks. The gambling factions have made a fat profit off league play as well, with many unresolved homicides apparently resulting from gambling fixes or other impacts to the gambling profit as the likely motive.

Death Driving

Racing is still a common and popular sport activity, but the demand for violence has added things like active/reactive barriers, inter-vehicle weapons, and “demolition” grands prix. In the twenties, the death-race concept took off with races where modified armored passenger cars studded with “defensive” weapons were driven around a demolition course. The last car running was declared the winner. In the first televised match two deaths, one permanent coma victim, and several severed spinal cords resulted from the production of the most popular GlobeNet ratings ever seen. Public sentiment decrying the violence was drowned in a general blood lust that followed. Now every level from dirt track survival circuits to mega-media international grudge death matches flood vids in every anthill all over the world—at least the ones with electricity.

Overdrive

When the personal violence and a track can be combined, sometimes the public literally goes crazy. In the desire for media heroes, the public has embraced Overdrive, a team sport of individuals playing on sides that combines basketball, US football, roller derby, and NASCAR. There is no limit to the technology that can be used in Overdrive, but all players must be on wheels of some sort and the player’s rig cannot mass more than 50 kg. Powered unicycles, motorcycles, powered roller skates are just some of the tek that is used in Overdrive.

Players drive around a track. When one team has the “ball,” movement is in one direction. When the other side takes possession, travel is in the other direction. There is no limit on the violence, so players are heavily armed and armored. The object is to circle the track one or more times, then attempt a shot on goal. The “ball” is a 15-cm diameter wooden ball covered in synthetic leather and having a 3-cm solid steel core for weight. The “goal” varies by the venue, but the average is a 75-cm diameter ring on the wall.

The “track” used in Overdrive also varies by the venue and can have multiple curves and crossing paths. One promoter had the track use jumps and elevated raceways, but the public could not get the viewing angles and still be close to the action, so relatively flat tracks are still the standard. Scoring involved a go once around the track, a great deal of hitting, shoving, and so forth, only to throw the ball through the goal for a score.

 

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Oops. Missed that.

Due to my bad editing. (I should stick to rocket science), we have set up an email to for you, the fans, to help me out and to show me how much I stink. The email is simple:

errata email address

 

 

It is Kinstaff Media because we (3Hombres) are just an imprint. If you receive notices from DriveThruRPG or RPGNow, you will receive an email that a new revision is available for download.

Cheers!
Norm
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Conspiracy Rules is available for purchase!

At last, after all the ups and downs and ifs and buts and maybes…

Tentacular ET peering through the window!

3Hombres Games are happy to announce the core rulebook for DARK CONSPIRACY® III is now available! Entitled CONSPIRACY RULES, it is the first book of the Dark Conspiracy III series, an update to the original and in many ways ground-breaking urban horror RPG of the 1990s. This update brings the rules into alignment with Traveller: The New Era® and Twilight 2000®, version 2.2.

Featuring internal fiction by such names as Jason L. Blair and Matt Forbeck with new and original artwork by David Lee Ingersoll (who also did the cover), Bradley K. McDevitt, and Earl Geier who also worked on the first edition, this rules set contains a modified character generation system, updated management of Contacts and clarified rules for automatic gunfire and initiative, and several other minor changes.

CONSPIRACY RULES can be obtained as a PDF from the DriveThru RPG/RPG Now webstores.

Look for the expanded background and setting book CONSPIRACY LIVES, coming soon.

Thanks to all our friends and supporters, old and new, for keeping the faith! Cheers!Animated banner for 3Hombres' DriveThruRPG web store

Banner add for Conspiracy Rules

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