Monday, 3 October 2011

Redpill Diary #1: Identity

I am the Warden!!

If you didn't read yesterday's announcement of my first fully detailed Optional System setting, then this might be a bit confusing at first. Go ahead, click here, scroll down to the bottom, then come back. All good? Let's continue.

Seeing as the first question players ask when you tell them about a new game is "What can I play?" it only makes sense to make this the first priority for Redpill. What do the players play? As leading as the title to this project may be, I want to have as much variety and exposure to the entire world of the Matrix as possible. It's not just about playing everything exactly as the films, but creating a vivid, expansive universe where players can mix it up and try something new.

Creeds are the best tool for demonstrating character options, a shorthand for defining who plays what role in your Redpill campaign. After spending a portion of yesterday tearing the entire trilogy apart, I came up with two sources for creeds: origins and paths. An origin is a character's connection to the Matrix and the real world, normally leaning heavily towards one or the other. A path is the means by which they interact with their original world, such as the monitor hacking into the Matrix to jump farther and run on walls.

There are two worlds in Redpill; the surreal world of the Matrix and the gritty landscape of the real world. Each provides its own dangers and excitement and only one of these worlds can be a character's origin. Either you were born in the Matrix or you were born in the real world.

Redpills: These titular characters were "hatched" in the Matrix and grew up as part of the grid. The term "redpill" stems from the choice made to take the red pill and escape imprisonment at the mechanical hands of the Machines. Having since been liberated, redpills have learned to use their innate gifts for interactive with the Matrix to hack inside and alter their bodies through amazing feats of strength, dexterity, and violence. The majority of redpill options and powers focus on hacking into the Matrix, leaving them rather ordinary in the real world.

Bluepills: If a redpill escaped from the clutches of the Matrix, then a bluepills are humans still trapped inside. At the beginning of their career, they may be completely unaware of the truth or became suspicious of the great conspiracy before finding their way to a Team of redpills. All redpills were once bluepills. On the surface, the idea of playing a bluepill seems redundant, but it does offer the more immersive roleplayer opportunity to start their character from the very beginning before converting into a redpill or they can try their hand as potentials (see below).

Freeborn: These last batch of humans have never known the Matrix as anything more than a prison enslaving their brethren. Freeborn are humans born in Zion, the last human city placed hundreds of miles underground. They have no headjacks to hack into the Matrix with, so they remain in the real world at all times to act as liberators and operators (see below). While a redpill may be all-powerful in the make-believe Matrix, freeborn are stark defenders of reality and take the fight to the Machines' constructs, such as Sentinels.

From there, additional creeds pinpoint how a character will interact with the game and invoke their own series of powers. An important key to mention is while there may be fewer creeds than I would like in most games, each creed will be designed to feature a large number of trained options, powers, skills, and more. Each path will fill an expansive role within their Team and it will be possible for a mixed bag of creeds to work together in a single career.

Monitors: If you've been on this blog before, you know exactly what I'm talking about. These are the standard characters we all fell in love with from the films, the front-line troops in the war against the Machines. 'Nuff said. Only redpills need apply.

Operators: Freeborn have their part to play in the Matrix too, even if they can't hack in themselves. Operators are the guides, overseers, and last minute saviors for all redpills in the Matrix illicitly. Taught to read the code, recognize weak points, and warn their fellow of approaching danger, the goal of an operator creed is to create a character boosting the efforts of their redpill companions. If you have a player joining your game online, this is the perfect concept for adding an operator.

Potential: Think bluepills have nothing to contribute to the Matrix? Oh, how wrong you are. Potentials are those rare bluepills achieving awareness of the truth without disconnecting or taking the red pill. Those who believe in the Oracle's Prophecy look to potentials for the next One and there are quite a few standing in line to become humanity's next prophet. Unlike their redpill cousins, potentials' powers in the Matrix are less dramatic and more enlightened, shall we say.

Liberators: It's from here that we start to stray from the films a bit and delve into new territory for those players looking to keep things fresh and unique. Not exactly a new concept, but one I'm hopeful for, are liberators. Well-armed freeborns taking the fight to the Machines themselves. They played a heavy part in Matrix: Revolutions and now I want to bring them aboard the hovercrafts and use them as part of a larger Team.

Clones: Redpill spies operating in the Matrix for long periods of time without attracting attention, a clone hacks into well-protected zones of the computer world through assimilation, subterfuge, and identity theft. They can change their appearance, store information in their brains, and adapt to their environment like no other.

Virus: And now for something really different. A virus is a hardcore redpill taking the war to the next level. Viruses band into paramilitary units to infiltrate deep pockets of the Matrix, retrieve data files, and bring it down piece by piece. Think of them as redpill SWAT, relying on heavy weaponry and military tactics to engage the Machines head on. Their specialty: Agents.

I'd like to have a couple more creeds to work from, but this is a good start. A little of the old mixed in with a little of the new. What do you think? Any other creeds you can think of?