Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Street Fighter: the Storytelling Game 20th Anniversary Edition

White Wolf made one great game. Street Fighter: the Storytelling Game. It was a bright, colorful spot of adventure in their relentlessly dreary catalog. Released the same year as that dire gray thing, Wraith: the Oblivion, accompanied by apologetic articles in their magazine about how it wasn't a case of selling out, and tied in its advertising to that embarrassing 1994 Street Fighter live action movie, maybe it never had a chance. And perhaps because they didn't know any better, they made it a very ugly book, with a very ugly cover and very ugly original interior art alongside some good official Capcom artworks.

Yet they also made it glossy and full color in a world where there were few full color gamebooks, and it was sold at a low price point even in its day ($14.94).

Who knows what White Wolf was thinking?

It went out of print more or less immediately. Most of White Wolf's fanbase wasn't going for it, and the gamers who wanted a fun action adventure game weren't going for it either -- it couldn't possibly be a game that embraced actual fun -- it was a White Wolf game. Right?

But the game! The game was better than it had any right to be. A modern martial arts action adventure game, a game in which you got bonuses for shouting out the name of your martial art move when doing it (shoooooryuuuuuuuken!), a game featuring a cutaway map of the villain's evil lair in its antagonists book, a game in which you can get in a fistfight with a robot to see who is the best at punching!

Goddamn, White Wolf. You did something right.

Now a fan has drawn together all the game's core rules into a single re-release. All the genius of the fast playing martial arts action adventure game that still stands as the best entry into the field of martial arts RPGs.

Nothing before or since has gotten kung fu roleplaying so right.

Download it here!

Download it. Play it. Remix the source files to make your own personal Street Fighter dream game.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Montana Event

We've lost Montana. 

Our current intelligence is limited, but communications from our embedded agent at Malmstrom Air Force Base strongly support the theory that a xenothropic entity has control of most of the state. Satellite imagery corroborates that large parts of the state are currently reality adjacent. Ordinary Americans are finding the idea of visiting the region subconsciously abhorrent and are cancelling family vacations, rerouting road trips, and electing to stay at college during the summer instead of returning home. More worryingly, our agents in homeland security have identified a number of suspected basement-infected military contractors, rogue agents, and global "adventurers" who have entered the U.S. via PDX, SLC, or DEN. Given these entry points, the conspiracy suspects that these rogue elements are converging on the region.  

Malmstrom Air Force Base remains under our control. This will be your entry point. From that site, you will be equipped for your insertion at the Berkeley Pit, which we believe to be the center of the incursion. 

All communications into and out of the Berkeley Pit area have gone silent. You are to verify whether this is the source of the breach, analyze the xeno-etiology of the event, estimate the percentage of the state population that has become infected, and identify the nature of the xenothropic entity at its origin. You are then tasked with a safe return to Malmstrom base for debriefing and extraction.

This mission is categorized high risk for UAS. Proceed with caution regarding the behaviors of yourself and your fire team.  

Good luck and Godspeed.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"Theists are not Clerics," and other inchoate first steps toward religions, doctrines, rituals, myths and other sacred things for a RuneQuest campaign

Clerics belong to churches. They have doctrines. They devote their worship to a single deity to the exclusion of others, even in worlds with a diverse plurality of gods with different spheres of influence. Clerics evangelize. They pray. They hold services for congregations in buildings dedicated to worship in little pseudo-medieval villages.

The moustache is one of the vestments.
Basically, clerics are Christian, with church hierarchies and sacred doctrines that compete with other belief systems in a zero sum game to collect the largest number of followers. Admittedly, many do have a veneer of non-Christianity through their spheres of influence: Bane is a god of strife, hatred, and tyranny. His rites involve ritual human sacrifice and torture, which are not recognized ideals in Christian doctrine. Yet Bane still has a church. It has a priesthood organized around the equivalent of bishops and a high priest ("high imperceptor"), with cathedrals of a sort, and with an orthodoxy and a schism between the orthodox and "transformed" church. His priests are priests, with vestments, who pray to their god for spells. Clerical prayer -- even in the church of Bane, where its done at midnight -- fits comfortably into a mainstream Christian conception of what prayer is. It is a basically private, individual conversation between deity and follower, wherein the follower asks the god for things and the god answers. Clerics of Bane have a personal relationship with their god.

Sound familiar? 

Bane is just an example. D&D clerics are Odo Van Helsings, after all, and culturally gamers are a pretty Christian bunch. It's what we know, and it's hard to imagine other ways of thinking about religion, especially organized religion.

Now I've never really thought about this much, beyond the basic observation that clerics are boring, which you already knew.

Our game reflects this. Our clerics are pretty Christian, just like our characters are pretty modern and pretty western in their worldviews. Our clerics tend to have an evangelical habit. If there are followers of other religions in their same party, they try to convert each other, or they try to pick apart their respective imaginary religions with clever metaphysical arguments that no fantasy faith could possibly stand up to. They go on holy crusades against evil (the "fanatical fire and brimstone inquisitor type" being a classic result), and so on. It's really hard to see beyond your culture, you know? And in D&D this may or may not be a problem, depending on your goals.

For me it's mostly not a problem, in spite of what the preceding paragraphs may have suggested, as long as I don't have to play a cleric. Because clerics are boring. Which you already knew.  

And actually, this post isn't about clerics.

It's about theists and theistic magic and cults and myths and rituals in RuneQuest. I'm trying to get a better handle on these things. And the first part of doing so is recognizing that theists aren't clerics. (Except when they are, of course, but that's on me for putting a Christian church in my RuneQuest game, and I get that.) The second part of doing so will be communicating the fact that theists aren't clerics to my group (with the ultimate goal of convincing them that theists aren't boring). But let's focus on the first part first. 

So here's a thing. When the vikings were messing about in Northern England and Scotland and Ireland and places (I will stop this list here it will get too long), what were they up to? Well they were killing people and taking their stuff, and they were shaking down local big men, and they were burning things, and they were making great heathen armies, and they were calling places names like Something-by, and they were saying "their" a lot. So they were doing these things and other things, but it looks like they weren't evangelizing. You just didn't go around trying to convert people to worship of Odin. I mean, you didn't even extoll the virtue of Odin to Anglo-Saxons, who were getting pretty Christian by this time and should have known better! It just wasn't a thing you did as a matter of habit. Can you imagine that? Meanwhile, the Christians were busy extolling their doctrines to you. And eventually a bunch of people evangelizing about Christ managed to repeat their case enough and throw in enough fringe benefits (convenient church locations on top of your sacred sites, for starters, and some good Christian sacred kingship as well. Maybe wine? I don't know.) to get you to trade off your weird old gods for their one true God. What does that tell us? It tells us (among other things) that these heathen religions were different in this way from the frame we're used to using to think about religion.

And that's not the only thing that's going to be different. 

Statue of Freyja. Maybe.
So here I am wanting to make a bunch of Runequest religious cults that are pseudo-viking-y, and what am I trying to accomplish here,what is worship like, and what are the worshippers like? Well, part of the problem is we don't know much actually about heathen religious practices of Northern Europe. I mean we find statues of Freyja and we only know that they're statues of Freyja because, well, we don't know actually. They're statues of women, and Freyja was a woman, so we say they are statues of Freyja. Because why would anyone craft a little statue of a woman who isn't a goddess anyway? They must be statues of Freyja. Or at least of some goddess. Anyway, we know Freyja's name, so let's go with that.

So we don't actually have a lot to work with, in practical terms, other than a whole lot of conjecture and some imagery and a few words written about some gods hundreds of years later by Christians, and some actual objects that didn't happen to rot away and that we have found.

Ask me about the religious beliefs in Michigan a couple hundred years ago. We have really good records about this but if you tried to reconstruct the religious practices of 19th century Michigan people from what I told you about them after you first lost most of the pages of my notes, plus maybe a cross pendant you found, you'd be doing something sort of like what we're doing when we try to figure out heathen beliefs. You'd have conjecture and imagery and pieces of actual objects that didn't happen to rot away and that we have found. 

Fortunately for us, conjecture and imagery and pieces of actual objects that didn't happen to rot away are pretty good working material for fantasy gaming. Way better than they are for humanistic research because we don't actually have to try to say true things based on these scraps, we just have to do interesting things with them, where "interesting" is defined as "it worked at Friday night's game with my friends and was not boring, like clerics."

So that is a reasonable goal, and I will adopt it.

But this post is long enough, so I'll drop some images in and post it. I will come back with something more constructive later, using RuneQuest to structure it. I can't promise I'll follow up soon (the beauty of blogging is that it's on my own schedule, and my schedule is slow). But I promise I will get back to trying my hand at this. I have started. In the meantime, my first draft attempt at a pseudo-viking-y cult is this Cult of the Gullet. It's still underspecified for a RuneQuest cult, but it's a gesture in that direction.

In the meantime, feel free to tell me that this has already been done, and where this has already been done, and who has already done this. Glorantha, I know, this is Glorantha's whole thing, so of course it's no accident that RuneQuest is making me think about it. Others?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Orc Soldiers of the North

But the victory of the Elves was dear-bought. For those of Ossiriand were light-armed, and no match for the Orcs, who were shod with iron and iron-shielded and bore great spears with broad blades...
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

Orcs are born soldiers, created by the elves from mannish and goblin stock to march in the elven wars of conquest. Most still live and die in the service of their cold elven lords. Orcs are born of magic fully grown and begin life as members of military bands of eight to twelve soldiers. This is the orc’s born warband. While they are not bound magically to the service of the elves, most orcs know no other life, and the bonds of camaraderie within their units hold them together. In many ways, orcs fight not for their elven masters but for their brothers in the warband. Some orcs whose units have been decimated find themselves adrift in the lands of men, lost, vagabond. These may take up work as mercenaries, join bandit groups, work as trainers for local militias, wander as adventurers, or even join the armies of men. They are rarely trusted, and even among those who find some acceptance in human lands, few ever regain the camaraderie they knew in their warbands.

Orcs are born nameless, and until they distinguish themselves within their unit, they remain so. Orcs have names like Whiskey, Buzzard, Poet, Red, Savvy, Croaker, One-Eye, and Raven. Orcs have no families other than their bands. They travel as military bands, live in military camps, and conduct themselves as soldiers in the field. Orc bands (8-12) are further organized into hosts (of 8-12 bands).

Physically, orcs are the size and build of men, and through the dark glamours of the elves, orcs are cloaked by night with the appearance of men. Only the light of the sun strips away the elven glamours and reveals them to be orcs. Thus the elves sow discord in human lands, sending orc spies, saboteurs, and assassins to cause chaos and seed suspicion among men.

STR    2d6+6    7-18
CON    3d6+3    4-21
SIZ    2d6+6    7-18
DEX    3d6      3-18
INT    2d6+6    7-18
POW    3d6      3-18
CHA    2d6 (orc visage) / 3d6 (human visage)    2-12/3-18

TRAITS: Night sight, thick skin 1 AP, incorruptible (immune to disease), unstoppable (as Resilience, RQ6, p. 292), born to die (immune to fear)

One of the greatest killers of armies is disease. The orc does not fall prey to it. Orcs must survive long marches and punishing conditions. The body of an orc is incorruptible. Every orc is immune to all forms of disease.

Orcs may fall in battle, but they stand again. Orcs are unstoppable. An orc can endure any pain. He never needs to check Endurance to prevent unconsciousness when wounded, and is immune to torture.

Created by dark magics, orcs are born to die, and they know it in their souls. Orcs are immune to all natural and magical fear effects. Orc units may make a strategic retreat to gain advantage, but they never need do so through fear or hesitation.
Orcs fight, and orcs die. It is the way of the world. When using the rules from Ships & Shield Walls, orcs do not begin making morale checks until they have suffered 30% losses, and even when they do quit the field due to failed morale checks, they make an strategic withdrawal.

Orc (Nomadic Culture)
Standard Skills
Athletics, Brawn, Endurance, Evade, Ride, Unarmed, Willpower  

Combat Style: Orc Soldier
Orcs are born to war. And then they train for it. To maximize their flexibility on the field, they are trained in the use of all weapons and armor. Equipped with light armor and a bow, any orc is an archer or skirmisher. Equipped with heavy armor, shield, and blade, that same orc is a heavy foot soldier. Cloaked as a man, carrying a wicked curved knife, the orc is an assassin in the night. On the back a great dire wolf, the orc is cavalry.

Born for Battle (Benefit)
The combat style benefit of being an orc is their training to use any weapon. This adaptability carries over to mass battles. Orc forces can use any of the formations detailed on pp. 19-20 of Ships & Shield Walls.

Professional Skills
Craft (any), Engineering, Healing, Language (any), Lore (Strategy and Tactics), Seamanship, Survival

Orc Soldier (Orc Career)     

Standard Skills
Athletics, Endurance, Evade, Ride, Unarmed, Willpower; Combat Style (Orc Soldier)  

Combat Style: Orc Soldier
Orcs are born to war. And then they train for it. To maximize their flexibility on the field, they are trained in the use of all weapons and armor. Equipped with light armor and a bow, any orc is an archer or skirmisher. Equipped with heavy armor, shield, and blade, that same orc is a heavy foot soldier. Cloaked as a man, carrying a wicked curved knife, the orc is an assassin in the night. On the back a great dire wolf, the orc is cavalry.

Born for Battle (Benefit)
The combat style benefit of being an orc is their training to use any weapon. This adaptability carries over to mass battles. Orc forces can use any of the formations detailed on pp. 19-20 of Ships & Shield Walls.

Professional Skills
Craft (any with a military field application), Engineering, Healing, Language (any), Lore (Strategy and Tactics), Seamanship, Survival

This is a RuneQuest 6 version of the Orc Soldier character class I made back when I thought the war in the north campaign would use ACKS. It, in turn, implements my love of the "soldier orc" archetype.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Cultures of the North: Thulean

Thulean (Primitive Culture)

Standard Skills
Athletics, Endurance, First Aid, Locale, Perception, Stealth, Swim

Combat Style: Thule Hunter
Longspear, shortspear, javelin, sling, dagger, hatchet.

Knockout Blow (Benefit)
When attacking with surprise treat any Stun Location as lasting minutes instead of turns.

Professional Skills
Craft (any), Culture (any), Language (any), Lore (any), Navigate, Survival, Track

The Thule are the old people. They were here when Hyperborea was at its height. They are a people diminished, but they are here still, nomads wandering the north.

They have always stayed apart, keeping to their own people. Never instigating war. Moving on when their territories are threatened.

But things have changed. The Thule have been seen moving quietly along the borders of Snow Elf controlled territories. Watching the elves. And waiting.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Cultures of the North: Dwarf

Dwarf (Nomadic Culture)     

Standard Skills
Athletics, Conceal, Deceit, Endurance, Insight, Perception, Stealth   

Combat Style: Dwarven Raiding
Dwarves favor weapons kept easily at hand. The Knife. The Dagger. The Club. The Hatchet. The Sling. They also train to fight with Short Sword, Long Sword, and Short Bow.

Scrapper (Benefit)
When using the Change Range action, the foe’s opposed roll to maintain range (Evade) or meet the character with an attack are made at one difficulty grade higher.     

Professional Skills
Art (any), Craft (any), Commerce, Culture, Language (any), Lore (any, esp. Dwarves, Dragons), Navigation, Survival   

Dwarfs are a vagabond people. They are wanderers and merchants, crafters and teachers of the secret crafts. Their skills are highly valued, though they are feared as well. For it is well known that the dwarfs hold an unnatural awe of the dragons and their hoards. When dwarfs find a dragon, they steal away its hoard to attract it to a sacred cave where they will worship it. This is dangerous work, and it can lead to an angry worm that brings ruin to all the people of a region, dwarf and man alike. Dwarfish sojourners scour the north, often traveling alone or with a few trusted brethren, seeking the dragons. Dwarfish clans live nomadic lives too, traveling throughout the north on strange pilgrimages to worship their wormish gods.

Dwarf Characteristics
STR    1d6+8    9-14
CON    2d6+9    11-21
SIZ    1d3+6    7-10
DEX    3d6      3-18
INT    2d6+6    7-18
POW    2d6+6    3-18
CHA    3d6      3-18

TRAITS: Night sight, earth sense

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cultures of the North: Vandal

Vandal (Civilized Culture)     

Standard Skills
Athletics, Endurance, Deceit, Influence, Insight, Locale, Willpower   

Combat Style: Vandal Soldier
Primarily fight with Shortspear and Viking Shield or Longsword and Viking Shield; also trained with Longspear, Javelin, Dagger, Hatchet, Battle Axe, Great Axe.

Formation Fighting (Benefit)
Permits a group of three or more warriors to draw into close formation, placing more open or disordered opponents at a disadvantage (provided the ‘unit’ cannot be outflanked) and thus reducing each foe’s Action Points by one if they engage.   

Professional Skills
Art (any), Commerce, Craft (any), Courtesy, Language (any), Lore (any), Seamanship, Streetwise   

The Vandals first served as mercenaries in Atlantean armies hundreds of years ago. Today, there is a Vandal kingdom on the northwest coast of Atlantis itself. Vandals still fight alongside Atlantean Kingdoms against the rising threat of the Asturian Empire, with its undead hordes.

Vandals are rare in the north. When seen, it is often in the company of Atlanteans, either as traders themselves, as bodyguards, or as mercenary recruiters. Their tongue is related to the tongues of the Hothar, Iotar, and Thiudar, and so they often serve as translators and go-betweens in dealings between Atlantis and the north.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cultures of the North: Atlantean

Atlantean (Civilized Culture)

Standard Skills
Customs, Influence, Insight, Locale, Native Language, Ride, Willpower

Combat Style: Atlantean Guard
Quarterstaff. Also Dagger, Knife, Shortsword, and Trident and Net. At war, Pike, Glaive, Longspear. At range, Sling or Short Bow.

Cautious Fighter (Benefit)
Can use the Change Range action to automatically withdraw from engagement with no need to roll.

Professional Skills
Craft (any), Healing, Lore (any), Musicianship, Navigate, Seamanship, Survival, Track

Atlanteans are strangers to the north, hailing from the distant south, a land of glittering cities and sorceries undreamt of in our lands. Already in the days of Old Hyperborea, Atlantis stood. Today it stands still. Yet even Atlantis does not stand untroubled. The Atlantean Kingdoms fight a war on two fronts, one with the rising Asturian Empire and its undead legions, another with the Serpent Kingdoms that sit at the heart of the continent of Atlantis.

Atlanteans are very rare in the north. Most who appear are merchants. Some are here to recruit northmen warriors as mercenaries for their armies. Some, it is said, are here to plunder the treasures of lost Hyperborea, the only kingdom whose sorceries ever rivaled those of Atlantis.

Atlanteans do not worship the gods, nor do they worship Sol, nor do they worship the spirits of the land. Each Atlantean worships “the god inside.” They believe themselves to be a divine people, and through proper rites and practices, their divinity can be brought forth into the mortal world.

Into the Breach Debriefing and a Few D&D 5 Post-Game Observations

We played Into the Breach with Basic D&D 5 last Friday. Since then, I've updated the "Into the Breach" rules notes in that blog post to bring the backgrounds more closely into line with the final version of backgrounds in D&D 5 (two skills and two tools and/or languages) and made some modifications to gun things thanks to +Charles King. A pdf copy can be found here for easy printing.

The Squad

Codename: Mountain Man
Primary Military Specialty: Architect
Acclimation: Rogue

Codename: Black Eagle
Primary Military Specialty: Search and Rescue Inferus
Acclimation: Rogue

Codename: Silkscreen
Primary Military Specialty: Cleaner
Acclimation: Rogue

Codename: Sand Viper
Primary Military Specialty: Soldier (Automatic Riflewoman)
Acclimation: Fighter

Codename: Lead Balloon
Primary Military Specialty: Sapper
Acclimation: (Mountain Dwarf) Fighter

Acclimations were rolled randomly, as planned, but on a larger table that put (human) cleric, fighter, rogue, and wizard with equal probabilities (20%) and distributed the remaining 20% across a few different demihuman + class acclimation possibilities. Demihuman acclimations don't change character appearance at all -- they just add a bit of strangeness to the character's abilities. We didn't end up with any casters, so we didn't see any spellcasting in play.

Here's what we did see: 

  • A Dyson Class Stairwell's main hallways collapsed with explosives
  • Murder most foul at the hands of a drug lord with access to Guenhwyvar class xenotech
  • And the use of said xenotech as a hood ornament
  • A warehouse full of custom speedboats used for drug and xenotech smuggling
  • A lost island that has to be sailed to in a ritual pattern in order to reach it, containing a breach
  • Orcs with automatic weapons
  • Velociraptors eating drug lords
  • Hijackings on the high seas

Here's what I learned:
  • Advantage is really great. It is easy to keep track of even when drinking, and it keeps things moving. These things are very important to me because we typically have 8-9 players + the GM. (Last Friday was the 4th of July, which is why we were down to 5 players + GM.)
  • Orcs with automatic weapons are scary. Players may even make a tactical retreat while collapsing the tunnel behind them.
  • If you introduce an Onyx Panther Figurine of Wondrous Power and call it a "Guenhwyvar Class Xenotech," it cannot be scary. It will be treated with disdain regardless of its actual danger level to the party. 
  • You deserve that.
  • Giving a Dyson Class Breach Database (copy of Dyson's Delves I) to a player will slow initial dungeon exploration until the breach type is identified. After that, things pick up. 
  • Project Long Stair Breach Closures are plausible. The players actually set charges to close the main entrance tunnels to the dungeon they found and collapsed the tunnels without exploring the dungeon first. (In The Cinder Throne map, they blew the tunnel at location of the first side door in each primary entrance tunnel.)
  • It will still be very tempting for them to go in, and they may leave a side passage unsealed "just in case we want to go back." (The players knew about the secret door entrance thanks to the Architect, but they chose not to seal it.)
  • You don't need any extra rules to set up an interesting tension between "Do we do our jobs and shut down this breach and do a veil out" vs "Do we explore this dungeon just a little bit and maybe find a treasure xenotech artifact or two... for scientific purposes of course." All you really need is a set of "Mission Rules" that are directly at odds with the things D&D PCs do. The players will do the rest to make that interesting. (I used the "Ethics Code" from p. 42 of the Esoterrorists, and it was perfect.)
  • Rogues are pretty great at the things they are great at, even at 3rd level, but it feels right.
  • Backgrounds are really easy to create and are an invitation to make your own stuff that tailors the game to your setting. I will have a lot of fun with them.
  • Inspiration is easy for me to forget because I'm not used to it. I'm not opposed to its presence in 5th edition, but I'm not acclimated to tracking it. Also, only one player filled in the ideals, bonds, flaws stuff that links into it. Partly I think the other players just didn't think to do that, since bonds, ideals, and so on are a new addition to the game. Partly I think it was because it is a thing that slows down character creation. Bonds, ideals, and flaws are very open-ended, and open-ended decisions are not as easy to make quickly as closed-set decisions. Some people will want to spend a little time mulling them over, and . Also, players may not have a clear image of the character yet and are painting with broad strokes during character creation, so they may be a bit hard to pin down. As far as Inspiration goes, so far I could take or leave it. Time will tell which one.
  • Monsters are not that hard to just make up on the fly, at least at low level. I used "Hobgoblin" stats for my orcs and those were fine but I also was ready for just about anything because I know what AC range, Hit Points, attack rolls, and damage values characters have and can use those benchmarks to spitball monsters. Bounded accuracy helps a lot with this, I think.
D&D 5th edition is pretty good Dungeons & Dragons. It'll be a while before I'm able to say for sure, but it has a real shot of joining ACKS as one of my top two choices for playing D&D.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Alignment and Psychological Health in Into the Breach

"Into the Breach" uses "capital A" Alignment.

Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- who has always lived upstairs and has never encountered a basement dweller or piece of basement tech is Unaligned. It doesn't matter how "good" or "evil" they are in colloquial terms. 

However, Long Stair veterans often come back up... changed. Aligned somehow to weird forces. In fact, one way to test whether you're dealing with a basement dweller in disguise or long stair acclimated individual is the tried and true set of detect alignment spells. 

You may choose one of the standard D&D alignments for your character, or you may choose to have remained Unaligned. 

The conspiracy recruits both aligned and unaligned individuals -- they can hardly avoid it -- but aligned agents are watched more closely than those who went down and returned unaligned. Aligned individuals are connected to a still poorly understood xenocosmic war or fate of some kind, and that makes a lot of folks upstairs more than a little nervous. Observational reports also suggest that their actions, when driven by Alignment, may increase the likelihood of breaches. They have to be monitored, and any unaligned individuals on a team will be assigned to monitor the aligned ones for possible breach-provoking behaviors.

Agents and Psychological Health
Similarly, the conspiracy keeps a close eye on any signs of "Underground Acculturation Syndrome" (UAS), a syndrome of behaviors and psychological traits that appear to be a form of basement-specific PTSD, and that soldiers sometimes refer to as "going native" or (in more extreme cases) "going full murderhobo." Development of an alignment is one sign of the potential for developing UAS. Another indicator of UAS is the display of a marked preference for archaic weaponry and tools. Other, more serious behaviors, may develop. The conspiracy has very strict rules against agents looting the dead, as this behavior in particular is associated with UAS, and its occurrence is correlated with the creation of new breaches. The maintenance of real human relationships, in particular familial relationships, appears to act as a countermeasure, which is one of the reasons that agents are never employed full-time as counter-breach operators and are rotated through cycles of activation and rest. Rest phases are extremely important to the maintenance of psychological health. Team members are encouraged to report risk factors for UAS in their colleagues in an effort to get them counselling and appropriate help as soon as possible. In practice, team members sometimes cover up signs of UAS in their colleagues, failing to report indicators of the syndrome. There are known cases of entire teams going rogue, and in most of these cases, UAS has been implicated. 

The conspiracy tacitly allows for some levels of (properly managed and balanced) UAS in its agents, however, in part because some level of UAS is unavoidable in agents and in part because it is often those agents who display signs of UAS who are the most effective operatives.