This article originally appeared in Pyramid #22
Johnny skulked out of the cafeteria serving line, hoping that no other students in the course noticed him. He was running late for his computer mythology class and didn't need any distractions. Setting his tray down carefully at an empty table he snatched the fork before the stuff on the plate could react and started prodding at the shuddering mass, searching for signs of life.
The screams in the cafeteria were punctuated by shots as a firefight broke out in the far corner. Johnny risked a glance up from his plate. Four WUSE majors sporting designer shades and semiautomatic shotguns had some mages under the hammer and trapped behind some tables. They were all in his class. Through the smoke and noise he saw one mage returning fire with a submachine gun from behind an upturned table as his three College of Metaphysics buddies mumbled something.
Time to duck.
The mages yelled a mix of unintelligible syllables and the cafeteria washed out in white light. When his vision returned Johnny found himself against a crumbling wall, eardrums ringing but still able to walk. At ground zero there was nothing of the WUSE majors but a pair of twisted Ray-Bans, and his lunch was now indisputably dead. The metaphysics majors were unscratched and patting themselves on the back as they extracted themselves from the wreckage of chairs and formica table tops. Johnny scrabbled in the debris for his gyroc and picked it up in now steady hands, checking his load and blowing the dust off. The test allowed him to return fire when area effect weapons were used. With a grin he flicked the safety off with his index finger and took aim at the nearest mage . . .
DIE103 — Assassination and You. Lab. 3 credits. Practice and theory of locating and eliminating potential personnel problems.
DIE104 — Hit Squads. Lab. 3 credits. Practice and theory of eliminating personnel problems. Emphasis on small-unit tactics.
At Illuminati University, Killer is a favorite pastime, allowing students to play at the arts of murder, mayhem and booby-trapping with style. The chaotic make-up of
interdepartmental blood feuds insures these skills translate well into daily faculty life. Recognizing the training and profit potential, IOU took it and developed a lab course for applied politics. Thus was born DIE103, which was expanded to cover hit squads and additional profits with DIE104.
Though optimally political science courses, there was originally debate over who would teach the courses (and garner the profits). When the fallout settled, the College of Obscure and Unhealthy Professions had jurisdiction. COUP also succeeded in making these courses prerequisites in other departments, including WUSE's Department of Ultramarine Sciences, the SPCA's film school, and C.T.H.U.L.H.U.'s MS301 — Machiavellian Politics, Staying Alive in 1500s Italy. The varied student body results in a healthy rivalry for grades.
Due to their high-entropy nature and the ArchDean's rules, first semester freshthings are not eligible. Participation is enthusiastic, so the courses are only given once a year in the spring semester, giving construction crews time to repair the campus.
DIE103 and 104 are taught by COUP's Department of Involuntary Expiration, a very small department specializing in "hands on" politics. Hotly contested by every dirty tricks department on campus, they have yet to lose a bloodfeud. Fortunately, they have little ambition to take over anything, being occupied in finding amusing ways of eliminating the annoyingly competent. Professor "Mort" Deumsdey teaches either course and is a typical DIE professor.
"I'm Taking What?"
The astute student may discover this course on his own, but the PCs' first exposure will be when their course counselor informs them that they are required to take DIE103 or 104 (those trying to take DIE103 will find it already filled). The undergrads will then have to find current course catalogs and go to The Administration building to sign up. Eventually the students will find themselves in the proper auditorium in Doe Hall, where Doctor Deumsdey introduces himself as the instructor and passes out the following syllabus:
Read the following aloud to the players or supply them with a copy:
"This is DIE104 — Hit Squads. It is a three semester-hour course on the use of violence in politics. Due to the physically taxing curriculum all students will have to sign the attached waiver." GM note: upon closer examination the waiver denies all liability by the university in case the student is bombed, mangled, electrocuted, or otherwise traumatized while taking DIE104.
"Student Health Insurance is mandatory.
"Course length depends on the length of the lab phase. The first two weeks are spent in classroom lectures, covering basic booby traps, tactics, and public relations. The next week is spent at the tactical test range for weapons familiarization. There are no written tests or graded homework but reading may be assigned. Assigned material will be reserved at the library.
"The only grade is for the lab or practical phase, which is also the final test. Grading is on a curve.
"There are no texts to purchase for the course. Students must obtain their own weapons. A selection is available at the college bookstore.
"Tardiness and absences will be handled as necessary by the teacher. Due to limited lecture time any absences may have a negative impact on student grades.
Looking about the auditorium, the party will notice a diverse student body: Machine Intelligences, hulking Team members, COUP majors in trenchcoats, SPCA majors aspiring to be action stars, and so on. A successful Perception or Survival (IOU) roll allows a PC to notice unusual traits (like the WUSE majors being unusually brawny rather than brainy).
The first two weeks are as advertised, with reading assigned by whim (make a reaction roll). Suggested titles are Martian Killing Techniques Made Easy, and 1001 Means of Oxygen Deprivation. Some of the assigned texts were not put on reserve. The professor never asks questions on the material unless, of course, the student didn't read it. The characters may count up to six total hours (based on attendance) toward any thief or spy skill, plus homework time if they ever find the texts.
The third week is spent at the test range on hot metal bleachers watching demonstrations of everything from blowguns to 20mm .002kt nuclear-delivery chainguns. This week counts as three hours toward any weapon skill, and lets enrollees determine if any gadget really is a weapon — and which end they're looking at.
On Friday morning of the third week the students split into teams (the PCs will all end up on the same one) and pick a team captain and name. After a wait the captain is given a heavy cream-colored envelope. Inside the envelope are two things. The first is a shiny credit-card sized piece of unforgeable, indestructible alloy which has the target team's name imprinted into it. The second is the official test rules.
Read this aloud or supply the players with a copy.
"This is the final exam and lab phase of the DIE104 course. The test commences at 0730 Monday morning, local time. A cease-fire is in effect until then.
"1. The test uses live ammunition. Simulated deaths do not count.
"2. All of the ArchDean's rules are in effect (p. IOU8). Especially number four: 'Thou shalt never lower the ArchDean's stock values.'
"3. For course purposes a student is 'dead' when he is killed by a direct attack or the collateral effects of a direct attack by another student in the course. Whether or not he was the original target does not matter.
"4. Once killed, a resurrected student may not participate in or interfere with further testing. Any students killed by a 'dead' student may continue the test. Offenders will have a personal interview with the COUP dean.
"5. A valid attack is any attack on a member of the currently assigned target team. Any students in the course caught by collateral damage are 'fortunes of war.' Return fire is always valid. See rule (4) above for how mistakes are handled.
"6. When a team is killed, the team targeting them now takes responsibility for the killed team's targets; e.g. A is after B and B is after C. If B is eliminated, then A is now after C.
"7. All kills must be made within ten miles of campus." GM note: this includes the mall.
"8. Students will pay for damages.
"9. Anything not forbidden is allowed."
Now the fun begins. Though there is no more official classroom time in the course, the students are still credited with two hours a week toward Survival (IOU) or thief skills due to checking for traps, members of The Team and other hazards. In any game session during the test, whether the party is actively participating in the game or is dealing with other events, an Enemy (Hit Team) comes after them on a roll of 14 or less. This disadvantage is part of the course and ends when the course does.
The College Bookstore Shopping Guide . . .
Any pyrotechnics the students can get their hands on are legal on campus. The Bookstore supplies weapons and ammunition to those without means of obtaining them elsewhere. Hidden in the back corner, the weapons department is staffed by a compact, muscular ex-marine covered with scars and tattoos. The clerk is familiar with everything in stock and will gladly demonstrate their operation. The bookstore carries weapons up to TL8: lasers, gyrocs, needlers, etc., though not caseless ammunition slugthrowers. New weapons cost list price, but working weapons can always be sold back to the bookstore for half price at the end of the course. Ammunition is not returnable. Pre-owned weapons are available at 60% of list price. Due to possible mistreatment they may have a hidden flaw, reducing the critical failure number by one. (The GM should roll 3d6 when the weapon is purchased. On a 16+, the weapon has such a flaw.)
The Bookstore also sells poisons (p. B132) and explosives at the GM's discretion. Even if the GM does not allow purchase of C-4 or other demolitions, he may find the explosion rules (p. B121) useful for the higher-entropy weapons.
Lastly, the students may be able to find experimental weapons and hardware in WUSE and COM labs and basements. And no one knows exactly what is hidden in the steam tunnels.
Monday morning rolls around as it must for all but C.T.H.U.L.H.U. students, and the test begins. Initial action is short and furious before settling into the long haul, with Halley's Hellcats and The Terminators getting iced right away. Common places for ambushes are:
The Cafeteria: For once there may be something more dangerous than the food. Any student, whether a PC or not, with the Lives on Campus disadvantage will be here at some point in time. The disadvantages? The ArchDean disapproves of firefights in the cafeteria, most of the targets, nominally edible are not, are moving, and students cannot take credit for poisoning each other here.
Building entrances: Waiting outside of an entrance in the bushes is effective, except some of those keep off the grass signs are for the safety of the student, not the "lawn."
The Library: Shhhhhhhh!
Dorms: Ideal for running firefights, ambushes at the elevator, and room-by room search and destroy missions. Old dungeon maps are useful here.
Class: It's considered tacky to blow a student's brains out while it's sleeping through a lecture on Martian psychology, but teachers can be convinced to overlook interruptions.
Administration buildings: Within the limits of the ArchDean's rules, anything goes. Most faculty will react unfavorably to a heavy weapon being pointed at them.
Dances, Dates and other Events: Another place for easy marks. After all, how many thingfriends will understand that a college course is more important than they are?
Spring Break: A golden opportunity to spend a worry-free week outside of the ten-mile free-fire zone. Riiiiigggghht.
Parking Lots: For anyone who drives or has access to a car, main battle tank, or 50-foot tall battle robot, this is a great place to be ambushed. The GM can dig out his favorite combat rules.
Steam Tunnels: If you dare. Another useful place for old dungeon maps.
Other ambushes: Remember test rules three and five. Collateral damage is a great way to thin out future competition. The PC's may observe other ambushes or get sucked into them.
Casualties and Tactics
Roughly one team a week will be eliminated from the test outside of any actions the adventurers take, and most attempts at ambushing the characters will be by teams trying to take out individuals or small groups if possible. The problems that plague PC attempts at ambushes and "hits" should also allow the adventurers to escape the same. Any team killed without inflicting casualties fails. Otherwise the first four teams killed get a "D," the next seven get a "C" and the next two get a "B." The survivors get an "A." The test is monitored by the DIE staff. Anyone breaking rules (4) or (5) on campus will find Dr. Deumsdey hovering nearby. There are no rules against attacking him but it is not advised.
Thursday after the test starts, the students will discover the true nature of the Machine Intelligences and their evil intents. While researching in the library, one character will have a heavy, dusty tome fall on him (causing 2d6 damage — it's a big book). The book falls open to a page detailing a prophecy of invasion by strange shiny beings from beyond the suns. The picture looks like the Machine Intelligences. If confirmation is needed (that is, if the PCs aren't paranoid enough to figure it out), then they will also intercept transmissions from the Machine Intelligence invasion fleet over their stolen cable channels in the dorm room while watching TV, or over a piece of experimental hardware.
Attempts to convince other teams or faculty that the Machine Intelligences are up to no good will be laughed off. Even the normally paranoid COUP is too used to students dissembling to gain an advantage. If the Machine Intelligences become aware of the PCs' knowledge, necessary steps will be taken.
While hiding in a WUSE lab or rummaging through a basement shortly before the big event, the party comes across files on a "doesn't-matter bomb" that when detonated leaves nothing behind, not even debris. The project was shelved because it wasn't spectacular enough to impress anyone.
The bomb is a dual detonation device, the first blast releasing a cloud of doesn't-matter particles which coats everything within 200 feet. One second later, a large (equivalent to a TL7 500-pound bomb) explosion occurs, the shockwave causing all of the doesn't-matter nearby — and anything it adheres to — to pop out of reality and go wherever missing socks do. All that remains is a shallow bowl-shaped depression 400 feet across. The bomb is in a cabinet in the WUSE dean's office (George the Janitor also knows where it is). It weighs 500 pounds, is four feet long, and two feet in diameter. A nameplate mentions the destructive radius of the bomb, and there is a small timer control panel under an access cover (found on a perception roll at -3 or any successful demolitions/bomb related roll). No instructions are available. If the bomb is accidentally activated there will always be enough time for the party to escape the blast radius, unless they deliberately hang around.
The Big Event
When the PCs get around to tackling the WUSE team, a scoutship from the Machine Intelligence invasion fleet lands quietly in front of the fountain and claims the IOU grounds in the name of the great computer, HACK. The scoutship looks like a reflective golf ball fifty feet in diameter, complete with dimples. It has a tripod landing gear that extends straight out from the hull (which is PD 4, DR 1000). Their ultimatum is for unconditional surrender and an "A" in DIE 104, or immediate invasion. The university has four hours to respond. Since the WUSE, COUP and COM teams consider this an unfair way to win, they immediately set off to fix the situation, declaring a temporary cease-fire.
The Final Countdown
The attempt at eliminating the Machine Intelligences will devolve into a mass firefight as the attacking teams violate their truce, and the students will realize portable weapons won't touch the ship. This is an ideal place to use the doesn't-matter bomb. If the students have already used it, then there is always the ace-in-the-hole (see below).
Once planted and successfully detonated near the scoutship everything in the blast radius disappears (including the scoutship). The Machine Intelligences are convinced that invasion would be unprofitable and go away. For their role in stopping the invasion, the ArchDean may see fit to waive some of the reconstruction costs the students owe. If the PCs are caught in the blast, that's another adventure. Let them land on a giant pile of socks on an otherwise featureless plain.
Ace in the Hole
If the doesn't-matter bomb is no longer available, then the ArchDean will calmly walk out of the administration building and explain to the Machine Intelligences that under the terms of the student contract, invasion would be breach of contract and the penalties under interstellar law would be enough to bankrupt them. After a few minutes of debate with HACK, the scoutship quietly withdraws and disconsolately vanishes back into hyperspace.
This adventure is set at Illuminati University, an interdimensional, cross-temporal campus where magic and weird science are the norm. It can be used for cross-campaigning purposes if the GM's party wants something silly and unusual (be careful what you wish for). The best excuse is that a WUSE student working on his doctoral degree is doing a study and has pulled the adventurers out of their continuum into the present-day IOU campus. Another option is the party stumbles across their world's or era's equivalent of IOU (about one or two tech levels higher than the surrounding TL). Once there, the PCs become test subjects who are forcibly enrolled in DIE104 (complete with temporary Student Health Insurance, a.k.a. resurrection) and cannot leave the vicinity of campus since exploding collars have been placed on them. The stated purpose of the test is to measure the performance of people from alternate realities and time periods against a control group of IOU students in combat. The real reason is shrouded in mystery or makes even less sense than what the characters are told. Once the characters end the course, the collars are removed and the adventurers may (or may not) be returned whence they came.
There is no set number of students for the teams, so the GM can change them as necessary to fit the party. The statistics are templates for "typical" team members, with a few roleplaying-oriented advantages, disadvantages and skills thrown in.
The Machine Intelligences.
ST 15 DX 8 IQ 14 HT 10/20
Armor: PD 4, DR 150
These robots come in different shapes but all have legs, two arms, and are roughly human-sized. They are enrolled in the SCA's Department of Empire-Building and are taking DIE104 as a prerequisite for EB204 — Guerrilla Accounting. The business degree is only a cover; they are actually a scout force to evaluate Earth combat capabilities before the Machine Intelligence invasion fleet arrives. Any inquiries will discover that: 1) They come from creator only knows where, and 2) they've paid enough in rare minerals to stay at the university for decades. Though having no sense of humor and lacking in empathy, these robots are definitely sentient. Being robots, they don't need sleep or air. They have Eidetic Memory, Absolute Timing, and are Lightning Calculators. Lest the PCs get discouraged, they cannot heal, and are graduates of the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy (from GURPS:Robots), so they can't hit anything they aim at their first turn in combat.
Department of Military Sciences and Cost Overruns Majors.
ST 14 DX 10 IQ 8 HT 14
Advantages: Toughness (DR 1), High Pain Threshold, Danger Sense.
Disadvantages: Lives on Campus, Duty (to teachers, homework), Bloodlust.
Quirks: Like flexing in front of mirrors.
Skills: Guns (Rifles)/TL8-13, Guns (pistols)/TL8-12, Gunner/TL8-12, Administration-11, Area Knowledge (IOU)-13, Survival (IOU)-12.
Department of Ultramarine Sciences scientific wet work) Majors.
ST 12 DX 13 IQ 12 HT 11
Advantages: Danger Sense, Combat Reflexes.
Disadvantages: Duty (teachers, homework), Lives on Campus, Stubbornness, Paranoia.
Skills: Beam Weapons/TL8-15, Guns (Rifles)/TL8-15, Guns (SMG's)/TL7-15, Karate-14, First Aid/TL8-14, Survival (IOU)-15, Area Knowledge (IOU)-16, Leadership-14, Tactics-10.
WUSE There? is a handful of Weird and Unnatural Sciences and Engineering juniors from MSCO and US posing as freshthings for easy credits and "harmless" fun. US is in direct competition with DIE, and wants to cause as much havoc as possible. The MSCO students have a fondness for large explosions and using machine guns as sidearms. These are the first guys you'd send in after missing POWs, unless you wanted the POWs back alive. Neither smart nor coordinated, they make up for it with mass firepower and large blast radii. Voted most likely team to be testing a strategic portable phaser. Not the typical WUSE weird-science nerds.
Time on our side.
Brenda Burke, D.O.C.T.O.R. major.
ST 9 DX 11 IQ 13 HT 10
Advantages: Gadgeteer, Eidetic Memory (50 points), Unfazeable.
Disadvantages: Absent-Mindedness, Duty (to professors).
Skills: Guns (pistols)/TL8-14, Games (Chess)-21, Games (backgammon)-18, Games (RPGs)-18, Games (INWO)-21, Survival (IOU)-22, Area knowledge (IOU)-20, Computer Operation/TL8-20, Electronics Operation (Temporal Devices)-18, Computer Programming/TL8-18, Mathematics-18, Electronics (Temporal Devices)-18, Fast Talk-18, Temporal Physics-13.
All of the team members look alike despite having different names. Anyone without the Mundane Background disadvantage making a perception roll will realize they are all the same person, time-traveling. Brenda is a senior doing her thesis on "passing a course through repetition," and one of the few D.O.C.T.O.R. students in C.T.H.U.L.H.U. having neither temporal advantages or disadvantages. Her preference is to hide out as much as possible, skipping the course altogether once she makes a kill. If WUSE There? isn't after her due to the bloodfeud, then somebody else from WUSE is.
Style over Substance.
ST 15 DX 13 IQ 10 HT 12
Advantages: Handsome or better Appearance.
Disadvantages: Odious Personal Habit (very vain), Bad Temper, Compulsive Behavior (exercises constantly), Overconfidence.
Quirks: Talk about future film careers, Pose in front of mirrors/cameras, Wear cool shades and leather jackets, Must be "cool," Have gleaming teeth.
Skills: Gun (SMG)/TL8-14, Survival (IOU)-9, Area Knowledge (IOU)-10, Acting-9.
This SPCA team is composed of muscular aspiring action film stars trying to learn how a "real" firefight goes down. They have the potential to be lethal, but pause for any photo opportunities. The best way to slow them up is to tell them their hair is a mess. Some can actually speak fluent English, and all wear either denims and leather or futuristic tough-guy outfits. They are drama students and are prone to theatrics.
ST 14 DX 14 IQ 7 HT 12 (all minimums except IQ)
Advantages: Jock, Cast Iron Stomach, Toughness (DR1), High Pain Threshold.
Disadvantages: Lives On Campus, Duty (professors), Clueless, Gullibility.
Quirks: Like Chasing Cars.
Skills: Running-15, Guns (Rifle)/TL8-14, Writing-6
All students here are typical Team members. Big, rough, tough, and easy to talk into pounding someone else into the dirt while you run away. The Team may be lacking in special abilities, but cafeteria food never eats a Team member for lunch.
ST 10 DX 13 IQ 14 HT 11
Advantages: Charisma (+2).
Disadvantages: Greed, Bully.
Quirks: Skulk about.
Skills: Guns (pistol)/TL8-15, Fast Talk-13, Disguise-11, Shadowing-11.
The COUP teams have been the running champions for the last five years, so all of the really heavy betting is on second place. Composed of students from DIE, the Department of Dirty Tricks and the Department of Technical Difficulties, they are the sneakiest and most underhanded individuals on campus. The group has more gadgets and spy gear than any other three teams combined, though WUSE tends to have more firepower. It is also suspected that COUP professors "help" team members. It would look bad for someone else to win.
ST 10 DX 10 IQ 15 HT 10
Advantages: Mathematical Ability, Eidetic Memory (50 point).
Disadvantages: Absent Minded, Combat Paralysis, Bad Sight.
Quirks: Constantly push glasses into place, Drift off onto tangent regardless of audience.
Skills: Mathematics-23, Area Knowledge (IOU)-19, Survival (IOU)-20, Guns (Pistol)/TL8-10.
No one is sure why these College of Zen Surrealism students are here, or even if they really are. It may be a subtle joke. Nevertheless, these harmless-looking philosophers are surprisingly hard to kill, mostly because they are hard to find. Rumors that shots have gone straight through CZS majors without affecting them are merely that.
The Avenging Angels
ST 12 DX 10 IQ 14 HT 11
Advantages: Magical Aptitude (second level).
Disadvantages: Impulsiveness, Overconfidence.
Quirks: Collect obscure works on the occult.
Skills: Guns (pistol)/TL8-11, Area Knowledge (IOU)-14, Survival (IOU)-13, Up to 16 points of any magical spells.
From the College of Metaphysics, these first-year mages are not shy about materialistic hardware, but have a bias toward alchemy and magic. The team is of mixed colleges, with fire, water, healing and even tech college spells available. Explosions are not as large as WUSE's, but more interesting.
The Business Majors
ST 11 DX 11 IQ 10 HT 10
Advantages: Wealth (Filthy Rich), Voice, Status (5).
Disadvantages: Odious Personal Habit (Flaunts wealth), Overconfidence.
Quirks: Always eat at four-star restaurants, Get lunch for their class every day.
Skills: Administration-10, Diplomacy-9, Fast-Talk-10, Savoir-Faire-11, Guns (lasers)/TL8-13.
Unlike The Team, the name reflects a lack of humor rather than originality. They are here to learn the basic steps of climbing corporate ladders and hostile takeovers. Some are visionaries while others are toadies and sycophants. Voted most likely team to wear Armani body armor.
Other teams. Five other teams exist with a mix of students, usually friends banding together for safety. The PC's are one such group. The others are The Terminators, The Boomers, Halley's Hellcats and The Scum Brigade. Use a mix of the above templates.
Professor "Mort" Deumsdey, PhD.
ST 10, DX 16, IQ 12, HT 12
Advantages: Academic Status +3 (tenured professor), Ally group (students, unwilling, medium, fairly often), Combat Reflexes, Danger Sense, Luck, Social Status +1, Tenure, The Treatment level I, Unfazeable.
Disadvantages: Bloodlust, Compulsive Behavior (constantly sharpens edged weapons), Delusion (ancient ninja spirit guides him as he works), Duty (IOU, quite often), Enemies (underlings, medium group, fairly often), Lecherousness, Odious Personal Habit (Constantly reminisces about prior wet work), Trademark (leaves "dead smiley face" badge with "Have a Nice Day" pinned to victims).
Quirks: Hates Insects, Worships Bruce Lee, Speaks in "Dubbed Karate Movie," Wears "Ninja" outfits constantly.
Skills: Administration-19, Area Knowledge (IOU)-20, Beam Weapons/TL8-20, Blowpipe-15, Camouflage-20, Crossbow-17, Ecology-12, Fast Draw (Magazine, clip, power cell)-20, Fast Draw (Pistol)-20, Fast Draw (Rifle)-17, Guns/TL7-18, Guns/TL8-20, Holdout-16, Karate-20, Knife-20, Motorcycle (medium cycles)-16, NBC Warfare/TL8-12, Short Sword-20, Speed Load (magazine, clip, power cell)-18, Stealth-21, Survival (IOU)-20, Survival (Jungle)-15, Tactics-15, Teaching-21, Traps/TL8-16.
Languages: Japanese (native)-15, English-12, Latin-12.
A short oriental, Dr. Deumsdey is a senior professor in DIE and knows every way there is to take care of those little difficulties that won't go away. His position was earned, and if you need to ask what the credentials are then you obviously aren't qualified. Like most DIE instructors, he has The Treatment and is familiar with every weapon he has the skills for. He suffers no penalty to use any of them. He always leaves a dead "smiley face" pin on each victim, otherwise his sense of humor is reserved for bad puns and ironic one-liners while making hamburger of bodyguards. He usually speaks in "dubbed movie," such as "Want fight? . . . Fight me!" and gives the impression that his mouth and words are not in sync. He has worked for various eco-terrorist groups, and he constantly annoys people by reminiscing about past work. Not only does his house have a shrine to Bruce Lee, but he has seen Enter the Dragon 589 times and is capable of quoting the entire movie, backwards. An outstanding and overly dedicated weapons instructor, he is someone to stay well clear of.
Typical Dialogue: "Reminds me . . . time . . . took out . . .mob boss . . . Loaded claymore . . . with . . . party streamers . . ."
The ArchDean. She knows everything that's going on. If the students can't handle the Machine Intelligences, she will.
COUP. The college is aware of almost everything, including the D.O.C.T.O.R. student and what WUSE There? is up to. Though naturally suspicious of everyone and keeping the whole campus under surveillance, the Machine Intelligences have successfully misled COUP as to their real goals.
Mundanes. Useful as shields.
The Periscopes. Little periscopes pop up out of the ground to observe the more interesting firefights in the course (perception roll to notice). They may be COUP or WUSE students trying to get an upper hand, but they're really just the tunnel rats amusing themselves watching stupid human tricks.
THE Computer. It has long ago infiltrated the Machine Intelligence's electronic hardware and has advised the ArchDean on the matter.
Campus Killer Players. The attitude towards those taking the courses is one of Artistic Disdain. They consider it lacking in aesthetics to actually kill someone when you can argue with them over beers afterward. Besides, cleaning up blood cuts into party time. They play practical jokes on DIE students, like rigging buckets of paint to fall as doors open and stereos to play "I am a thirty-second bomb . . ." when a student enters a room. At least one party member will be the victim of a joke each play session. If actually encountered, a Killer player will have a high IQ, an average or better Dexterity, and an Odious Personal Habit (practical joker). They are good at thief skills (many moonlight as locksmiths and do "printwork") and have a skill at games (Killer) of 15 or better.
Campus Security. During times of turmoil and chaos, these upright defenders of safety and propriety run for cover. If asked by the ArchDean to limit the enthusiasm of DIE104 participants they will travel in large packs, preferably with armored and air cavalry support.
Order of Battle
THE Computer has assigned the following teams to target each other:
Teams and their targets1.Scum Brigade . . . . (The adventurers)
2.(The adventurers) . . . . The Boomers
3.The Boomers . . . . The Business Majors
4.The Business Majors . . . . WUSE There?
5.WUSE There? . . . . Halley's Hellcats
6.Halley's Hellcats . . . . Machine Intelligences
7.Machine Intelligences . . . . The Avenging Angels
8.The Avenging Angels . . . . COUP d' tat
9.COUP d' tat . . . . Style Over Substance
10.Style Over Substance . . . . The Team
11.The Team . . . . The Daily Llamas
12.The Daily Llamas . . . . The Terminators
13.The Terminators . . . . Time on Our Side
14.Time on Our Side . . . . Scum Brigade
Article publication date: November 1, 1996
Copyright © 1996 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.