|RPG published by
Fujimi Shobo/Ver. Blue Amusement
|Authors||Shunsaku Yano, F.E.A.R.|
|First Publication||2001, 2013 (English ver.)|
|Essential Books||Double Cross Core Rulebook
Double Cross Advanced Rulebook
Double Cross is a Japanese superhero RPG about biological monsters. It is made of random tables and weeaboo. Unlike the other Japanese RPG fa/tg/uys are familar with, the mechanics and fluff largely survive being taken out of Japan even if the books offer zero support for it. Because Japan is a horrible place where fun is considered a sign of laziness, the game is designed from the outset for one-shots over prolonged campaigns, to the point that the players are the ones who gain experience instead of the characters. PCs are Overeds, random shonen protagonists infected with the Renegade Virus, which gives you superpowers but also drives you crazy and can turn you into a mindless monster if you use them too much. It's currently in its third edition, which is also the only edition to have been translated into English so far. The English core rulebook was infamously rushed to the printers without an editing pass, so it's absolutely chock full of misprints and typos; fortunately every copy is packaged with an errata booklet.
The dice pool system Double Cross uses for checks is a little goofy; you roll a number of d10s equal to your stat, take only the highest result you rolled and then add your skill rating to get your final result. This makes a high rating in whatever skill you're trying to use much more reliable than a high stat, because even with a maxed stat there's still a significant chance of getting fucked by the dice. Rolls of 10 explode, counting as a roll of 10 plus the result from rolling the number of dice that came up 10, which can recurse infinitely until you stop rolling 10s.
20 years ago, an archaeological team was shot down in the crossfire of a civil war in the Middle East. The artifacts their plane was carrying contained the ancient Renegade Virus, which was scattered in the high atmosphere and quickly infected 80% of the Earth's population. In times of extreme stress, the Renegade Virus can activate and one of two things can happen; either the carrier dies messily, or the carrier survives and becomes an Overed. The Renegade grants amazing powers, but the simple act of using those powers progresses the Renegade infection and will eventually turn an Overed into a Gjaum: an insane menace that hopefully is too overcome by its base urges to do anything other than smash shit. The real nasty ones are the ones that look and act human.
The Renegade Virus is kept secret by the UGN, an international organization that recruits Overeds to combat the Gjaum threat on level ground. They are opposed by False Hearts, who are basically the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from X-Men and provide a haven for the more controlled Gjaums. Just in case this isn't crazy enough, there's also a third group called Xenos, a secret society for living avatars of the Renegade Virus that seeks to advance their collective evolution and is also led by a 10-year-old looking Renegade Being known as The Planner. The premade material usually assumes the PCs are UGN agents recruited shortly after they became Overeds to have epic anime battles with False Hearts members and Gjaums.
Double Cross gives you three ways to build a character, depending on how much you want to customize.
Pick your favorite anime cliche from the list of pregens available and generate Personal Data (see below) for whoever you picked. Boom, you're done. Great for one-shots and trying to convince your group to play this crazy thing.
The skill-package method of character creation. Choose your Syndromes, Cover (what everyone thinks you do) and Work (what you actually do; gives you free skills and a stat bonus), then calculate your stats based on your Syndromes. Grab four powers, then distribute your five skill points. (Refreshingly, the system admits that being able to paint really well isn't as useful in an action game as shooting guns, so each point in a non-combat skill buys you two ranks.) Generate Personal Data and you're done.
The GURPS method. You get a big bag of experience to spend however you want, then you generate Personal Data.
Here the tables be. This is where the game generates much of your character's personality for you; fortunately the book fully expects you to pick and choose instead of rolling randomly for everything. The big thing happening here from a mechanical standpoint is that this is where you build your Loises. Loises are the relationships your character has with other people and are composed of a positive emotion and a negative emotion associated with that relationship. Loises are important because they give the GM easy plot hooks and they help keep the virus from taking over your character completely. The different components of your Personal Data are:
- Origin: Your upbringing
- Experience: A defining event in your character's life
- Encounter: A relationship with a setting NPC
- Awakening: What caused the Renegade Virus to activate and turn you into a Bleach character
- Impulse: What the Renegade Virus tries to make you do; this table is full of fun things like drinking blood and torturing people so you want to avoid having to act on your Impulse
Sometimes the Renegade Virus infects something that isn't human and kind of extrudes a human-shaped blob of virus with free will and a mind of its own. This called a Renegade Being. To play one of these you just pick "Renegade Being" as your character's Work during chargen, then decide what your Origin (whatever the hell you were before you were infected with Renegade; this can be anything from animals and trees to rocks, websites, and urban legends. That's right, you can play as 4chan) is and roll on the alternate Personal Data tables for Renegade Beings. Being a Renegade Being gives you two bonus powers (one that guarantees that you will always be able to pass as human and one that gives you a combat form based on your Origin) and access to exclusive powers that directly manipulate the Renegade Virus around you. Renegade Beings still have to deal with an Impulse and all the other risks the Renegade Virus carries with it.
Renegade powers are grouped into Syndromes; you can pick one to three of them at character creation. If you only choose one, you are considered "Pure" and can access bonus powers from the Syndrome you chose. If you choose three, your power selection is limited and one must be a "Sub-Syndrome" that's even more limited. NPCs get access to special Enemy Powers, which can do all kinds of plot-device shit that a crafty player could never be trusted with. These run the gamut from lifting entire buildings to shutting off the Renegade Virus for the rest of the fight to crashing the national economy.
- Angel Halo: You control light, like a non-sucky version of Jubilee. This is where invisibility goes, along with laser eyes and for some reason illusion powers that manipulate senses that aren't sight.
- Balor: You control gravity with little balls of dark matter called "evil eyes." It's exactly as potentially broken as it sounds; you go from fucking with acceleration and momentum to making time and space your bitch.
- Black Dog: You control your own bioelectricity. Shoot lightning at a fool already. This also lets you do super hacking bullshit and make cyberware that actually works, so if you want to be a cyberpunk this is where you go.
- Bram Stoker: Use of this Syndrome comes with a sweet red trenchcoat and the acting talents of Crispin Freeman. Stab a bitch with your own fucking blood or sic your Red Servants on your enemies while you give a dramatic speech about just how irretrievably fucked they are.
- Chimera: A fleshwarper is you. You want wings? Grow some wings! You want scything claws? Go nuts! This is also where the super-strength powers go, and the Syndrome you want to take if you want to turn into a bestial murder machine thanks to the Complete Therianthropy power.
- Exile: This Syndrome is also about fleshwarping yourself, but it's a lot more subtle about it. This is where things like turning your bones into rubber to crawl into impossibly tight spaces or making your nails as sharp as Wolverine's claws go. Combine with Chimera to become za ultimate shingu.
- Hanuman: GOTTA GO FAST! Everything to do with speed and sonic vibrations is in here. An all-Hanuman build is basically the Flash, if the Flash was a Noise Marine and also Guile.
- Morpheus: This is where you go to make the law of conservation of mass your bitch. You can create objects from nothing or do things like make any car you drive Formula 1 material. Whenever you create something it leaves this weird sandy shit as a byproduct, and there are powers for manipulating it in combat.
- Neumann: A genius is you. Most of the stuff you can do is support; super mentalism, seeing the weak points in that Renegade Being's carapace, stuff like that. This doesn't mean you're useless in combat; on the contrary, you have a ton of combat powers that let you fight like Ozymandias from Watchmen.
- Orcus: With this Syndrome you mark out a patch of land as your Domain, and then you can do all kinds of old-school fantasy realm magic with your Domain. Make the animals in your Domain do your bidding, sense the presence of your enemies, bend space and distance to turn your Domain into Escher's wet dream or just make the earth itself stab people. Watch out for Rangers.
- Salamandra: This is where you go to make the laws of thermodynamics your bitch. Burninate dudes, freezinate dudes, burninate and freezinate dudes at the same time. Also deals with emotional control for some reason, so have fun with spontaneously inducing BURNING JUSTICE in your allies.
- Solaris: You make all the drugs. Expel super pheromones to calm down an angry mob, give people amnesia drugs so they forget why they were fighting you in the first place. Also turn the aforementioned angry mob into your drugged-up, brainwashed zombie slaves. Slaanesh approves!