Double Cross 3rd Edition : SOLID!
  • So, "DX3" is out, and I've had a chance to go through it. Here's the basics:

    image

    Double Cross, as far as I can tell, is one of FEAR's biggest sellers. There's a lot of play-talk on it, there's DX-only conventions, and overall it's got a theme that's been really popular in the manga/anime world: Mostly teenagers/highschoolers with secret/forbidden powers defeat evil in a world fraught with conspiracy.

    Beyond that, the system was pretty simple and straightforward, focusing on quickly generating dark modern superheroes, with many of the rules focused on the fighty-elements. Having said that, though, it's not a dice slog-fest, and there's a huge amount of rules dedicated to things like personal connections, and maintaining a balance with protecting those you love (if you draw upon your connections too much, they start to hate you).

    DX3 is a revolutionary step forward for FEAR. FEAR has been experimenting with "hand-sized" rulebooks for new games, like Polyphonica and Alshard Gaia: A way to get the game into the hands of potentially new players for a less-than-$10USD (1000 yen) price tag. But this is the first time they've taken the new edition of an existing product, and resized it from a standard A4-sized corebook, into a hand-sized (traditional "bunko" sides) game in a further edition. Bold move, and I hope it plays out. The first rulebook is out now, the second rulebook (which you don't need to play - but it says it has extra powerz for the existing Syndromes, setting info, etc) hits the streets in a few days. Also, an "Advanced Rulebook" in standard A4-format is on its way in September, but I have no information on what it is; perhaps these first two hand-sized rulebooks are the basics you need to get into play, and the Advanced Rulebook is "everything in one, for those used to previous editions"?

    They also simplified the system a deal from the 2nd edition: The core book is far smaller in terms of content compared to the second edition (perhaps to be split across the two core books), but the text that is in the book is solid "get you into playing now" text. The original book's setting section was kinda long winded. The new edition's setting text gives you the rough outline of the world, the organizations, and kicks you into playing in it. The system is also simplified: The "Effects" (think "Powers") of the strains of the Syndromes has gone from something like 40 per Syndrome to 15 for every Syndrome (plus a few extra "General Effects"). They might have farmed others to the second corebook, but the 15 that are in each Syndrome section cover everything pretty well from basic powers ("shoot fire" for the fire-shooting guys) to high level and "ultimate powers".

    Whatsmore, character generation is streamlined even more. To get a DX3 game going... say online... is far easier than in previous versions. I think that this method will work extremely well for this game. Even if the Advanced Rulebook makes DX3 into something resembling the mass amount of data as DX2, at least with the two basic corebooks you can still play solid games.

    More on what DX is (for beginners) and basic rules in a bit.
  • Also, check out some of the character concept sketches (appearing with the second rulebook):

    http://www.fear.co.jp/dbx3rd/about/sc02_info.htm

    image

    image

    Awesome.
  • "Yesterday flows into Today,
    Today flows into Tomorrow,

    And the world continued to turn
    And time passed
    And nothing ever seemed to change.

    But, unnoticed, the world transformed around us."

    The basics of the setting are these: Some 20 or so years ago, this virus codenamed "Renegade" swept through humanity. For the most part people were unaffected, but those that were affected were changed irrevocably; genetic codes re-written, latent physical powers formed. A secret organization called the UGN (Universal Guardian Network) formed, with the task of protecting and training the ones who developed powers. A splinter organization of infected formed called The False Hearts, which threatens to destabilize and destroy the UGN. The characters live in Tokyo's District N (Nippori?), most of them are high-schoolers. Their classmates or teachers might be UGN agents secretly watching over them, protecting them. The infected must protect themselves from all the organizations trying to get their hands on them, while at the same time avoiding being controlled by the very powers they wield.

    Some background terms:
    Renegade: The manmade virus which, through a terrorist act, was leaked into the population. About 80% of all people in the world were affected.
    Overd (Overed, Chojin, Ijin): The ones who were affected with the Renegade Virus, who later developed superpowers.
    Germ (Germed, Germd, Shimire): The Overd who have fallen, and now bound to one or more intense emotions (fear, rage, etc). No longer considered human, and are extremely dangerous.
    Strain: The strain of the renegade virus which their bodies manifest. Each has a name and a power set, so knowing which Strains someone has is a good indicator of what they can do, and possible strategies against them.
    Breed: All Overd fall into three categories of "Breed", which represent the number of Strains which have manifested in them: Purebreed (one single, powerful strain), Crossbreed (two strains), Tribreed (three strains, albeit a little weaker; this is new to DX3 as well)

    Some game terms not common to other RPGs:
    Corrosion: A number (from 0-300%, but few will go above 150) which indicates how much you control Renegade, and how much it controls you. As this percentage goes up, you become more powerful. As you use your Strain Effects (powers), this number increases. However, if you end the game with Corrosion above 100%, you become a Germ.
    Effects: The powers that your strain gives you. Each character starts out with 3 default powers (Resurrect, Warding and Concentrate) and from there get 4 more effects of your choice depending on the strains you pick.
    Lois(Roisu, Connects): The connections to other people that keep you stable. Comes from "Lois Lane"/Superman (will prob rename in a translation, too loaded).
    Titus (Taitasu, Burned): Draw upon your Lois-es too much and they burn out, and become Titus-es (from Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare's first tragedy about gristly revenge).
    Works: What your character really is, underneath. Training, job, role, etc.
    Cover: What your character appears to be to others.

    More on the Syndromes in a bit, as well as other cool rules.
  • OK, been a bit, but I've also been really busy.

    Here's a look at the Syndromes (strains of the Renegade virus; think of them as "power packs", each of which have their own abilities). I've named the syndrome (all of them appear in katakana in the book), as well as a possible rewrite as I would use in an English game:

    Angel Halo (Seraph; Azrael; Uriel): Powers of controlling light, including beams of light/lasers

    Balor: Create an object called an Eye of Darkness, which you use to control or manipulate gravity, or simply suck things/people into black hole-like voids.
    (from the Celt god)

    Black Dog: Control of lightning and electricity.
    (from the English legend of vicious black dogs that ride storms, fog and lightning)

    Bram Stoker (Strigoi; Lamia; Empusa; Sekhmet; Stoker): Blood-related effects; healing, or things like "Cut yourself, then the blood turns into a solid sword you can use to attack foes".

    Chimaera: Change your body into beast-like forms: Wings, claws, scales, senses etc.

    Exile: Manipulate your body through elongation, twisting, etc; can turn limbs, hair, etc into sharpened weapons.
    (from the Japanese legend of Hiruko, the misshapen first son of the first gods, who was cast out)

    Hanuman: Powers of speed.
    (from the Indian god)

    Morpheus: Transforming one thing into another; creating guns from umbrellas, etc. Also, limited psychometry.
    (from the Greek god)

    Neumann: Extremely intelligent computer-like brains. Think River from Firefly (can think faster, shoot accurately, etc)
    (from John von Neumann, the brilliant mathematician)

    Orcus: They draw a circle on the ground, and can control anything that happens in that circle: Control the earth, make attacks or increase defense, summon creatures, etc
    (from the Roman god of the underworld)

    Salamandra: Control fire, using it for attacks and defense.
    (from the mythological fire-breathing lizard)

    Solaris: Control pheromones, use them to heal people or cause them to see illusions/phantasms.
    (from the Stanislaw Lem novel "Solaris")

    When you choose your Breed, you can focus on one breed (called "Pure Breed"), which allows you to exceed the levels of the various syndrome's effetcs, as well as grants access to one special Pure Breed Only power per syndrome. You can become a Cross-Breed, which gives you access to all the effects of two syndromes (save the special Pure Breed one). In DX3, there's a new class called Tri-Breed, who can use the powers of three syndromes, except just a little weaker, and they cannot take the highest 3 powers (of 15) of each of the syndromes.

    The awesome thing is that when you begin play, you know what to expect in your comerades and enemies: Someone who manipulates electricity is likely to have certain effects, and perhaps certain weaknesses as well (in terms of, "If this guy is a purebreed Black Dog, his attacks are going to be ferocious, and he might have the ability to electrically shield himself from incoming attacks, but as long as he's not Morpheus or Solaris he's not going to be able to heal himself. Bum rush!"). Also, it provides a cool unified background for the superpowers, which personally I'm a big fan of.

    On the other hand, it can lead to a bit of a stalemate when trying to create a character: "Which syndromes do I pick?" You can get lost trying to create a character from scratch, when each ability has 15 powers to draw from, and knowing that combining two syndromes can combine effects of various powers. An embarrassment of riches. In the end, though, I recommend simply reading the description of the syndromes, and make your choice there: "I want to shoot lightning and manipulate matter!": Cool, you're going to be Black Dog/Morpheus. THEN start looking through the effects for the powers you want to start out with. If you start by looking at all the powers first to decide which syndrome (and breed: 1, 2, or 3) you want to have, you'll be flipping around for a long, long time: There's 180 total Effects (powers) in the core book.

    There's even more effects in the second rulebook and advanced rulebook, I'd wager: In the 2nd edition (which didn't have such a core book split, and allowed for even more starting effects, which could lead to more stalling as you decide which you want) including Balor in the first supplement, there were about 400 total effects to choose from.
  • Another game that I would like to see in english, jeez, so much wanting. Thanks for showing us those jrpg jewels.
  • I just found this wondrous site: and I have to say DX3 has my attention.

    I got my copy. I can't wait try it out.
  • Sweet!

    Yeah, I meant to update more on this game, but haven't had the time. In my off hours, I've picked up and have been reading every single supplement for DX3. Some are awesome, some are "eh", but man overall the game is tight.

    Plus, the way that it's been published, as two small books, and then larger "full size" books, is interesting and I think really gets people into trying it out. Only issue is that in later books, when they stat out characters and powers and the like, sometimes they have to go back and list several source books (Power X, Book 1 p 127; Power Y, Book 2 p 101; Power Z, This Book p 54; etc).

    They've come up with great ways to tie metaplot into the character creation, though, with the "Pre-made Connects".
  • Just from the tiny bit of flavor I've gotten from observing the shadows cast on the blog-walls, I can tell I really dig this game. It's why I went so far as to impulse ship it from amazon.co.jp and why I now sit here hoping it comes before this Friday... because I'd hate to have it arrive at the start of a work week. ;_;

    I guess I can't blame them for having more material, though. I mean, if I need more powers and setting material than the original books give me, then I guess I've pretty much memorized it and exhausted it, so I'll know what they mean when they reference another earlier power or whatever. Stuff like that has only ever been an absolute overload for me when I start late in a game's history and I just, out of pure collector instinct, grab all the books available. After which, I can't help but look into the later, more wild material and confuse myself when I should have just started with the book everyone else did and work my way outward. =P

    And yeah, I do really like the fact that social connections and the like have some crunch to it. Seemingly not the bad kind either. I've never seen a western TRPG with a good set of charts for creating interesting character background skeletons you can put your own flavor into without too much boiler-plate explanation. I guess a good bit of my love for this type of thing is that it gets people thinking along the same lines and smooths over the character exposition process. Eg. "She's an executive in a secret military organization at 16?!" vs "Oh man, that's so cool! She must be totally badass, I love her already!" Or maybe that's just the Japanese style everyone expects when you sit down for a game like this...
  • Hi everyone,

    sorry this is a bit delayed, but I've put two posts up on my blog about the play-testing experience , one about the game itself and one about the module we used, Scenario Craft. I aim to put another one up about the Lois/Titus thing, and also my character's details.

    Oh, and I put a big chunk of the Angel Halo Effects there too.

    Comments on any and all appreciated, and of course I can answer questions here too.
  • Hi, I've added a description of the the character I played to my blog, with an attempt at creating a back story to match the various life-path triggers I rolled.

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