Red Faction

This entry is part of the PBM List.

Frequency: One per week
Type: Dystopian Sci-fi conspiracy thriller
Last-Update: 2019Apr30
Keywords: free, open-ended, email, human, space, rpg


Red Faction

Earth, the year 2155. Resource wars have shaken the globe, and from the ashes of the old nations have risen the new city states, ruled by powerful mega-corporations. Massive advances have been made in robotics, rocketry, biotechnology, genetic-engineering, nanomachines, cloning, and many other fields, but most people have not benefited from the new technology.

Humankind has finally established permanent bases on Mars and the moon, mining resources to fuel the needs of the corporate city-states. One of the largest mega-corporations is ULTOR (United Logistics, Terrain and Organic Resources) which runs the Lunar and Martian mines and factories.

On Mars, a rebellion is brewing, fed by discontent about the terrible conditions. The illegal Mars Workers Union (MWU) has been meeting in secret to discuss what to do, and has split into two factions; the Orange Faction, which advocates the use of petitions and discussion to convince ULTOR to make reforms, and the Red Faction, arguing for revolution and outright revolt.

The Red Faction has quickly become popular, and the scrambled voice of its anonymous leader, codename Echo, has become famous, much to the disgust of senior ULTOR management. Several Red Faction members have been arrested and imprisoned, and the mood is turning ugly.

Plots, conspiracies and hidden agendas seem to be everywhere. You don't know who to trust, and who might secretly be working for the enemy.

What happens next could affect the entire course of human history...

* Red Faction will be a play by email role-playing game (PBEM RPG) set in a dystopian future, loosely based on the Red Faction video game series, and also influenced by the `Paranoia' RPG as well as the game Android: Netrunner, The Resistance, the Terminator franchise, and other science fiction stories. I'll be using Yahoo Groups to manage posts.

* The setting will be the ULTOR mines and factories on Mars. As the game develops, new settings on the moon or on Earth may be added.

* This is a game about conspiracies, plots, intrigue, and hidden agendas, as well as action. Situations and people may not be all they seem. Your PC may not know who they can trust, and what people are hiding.

* You can play as one or several Player Characters (PCs). Your PC can be a human, super-soldier, mutant, telepath, cyborg, or simulant (see below). Types other than human are usually illegal, and your PC may risk imprisonment or death if they are found out.

* Your PC will be expected to have at least one significant secret. Perhaps they are a Red Faction member who is secretly a spy for ULTOR, or for one of the other mega-corps. Maybe they are a security guard who has growing sympathy for the rebels. Or they might be a simulant or a mutant posing as human.

* Your PC might be a Red Faction member, Orange Faction member, a communist, anarchist, democrat, eco-rebel, the Order of Light, or a member of another similar illegal group. You risk imprisonment, punishment, or death if found out.

* You can accuse other PCs or NPCs of being mutants, simulants, members of an illegal group, etc. but you'll need some evidence if you want to be taken seriously. Falsely accusing someone is, in and of itself, a crime.

* Players will usually be expected to post at least once a week.

* The game is free form, but your character can't do anything you like. PCs will be expected to have weaknesses and limitations, and any action with a possibility of failure (such as attacking another character) should be written as an attempt, with a question in brackets at the end i.e. `Arron leapt forward suddenly, trying to strangle his captor before he could react (results?)

* Intro posts will set the scene, and characters can be tagged like this <Tag Archer> when someone is talking or interacting with them in some way. (OOC) shows out of character questions or comments, and (IC) shows in character questions or comments

* I'm looking for a small group of players (3-4) who are good role-players and are interested in developing a great story. Discussions about the game, plot and characters are welcome, although ultimately GM's decision is final.

* Please proof-read your posts before submitting them. Occasional spelling and grammatical errors are ok, but posts should be in a reasonably good standard of English.

* Players should be 18 or over, as the game will feature adult themes and language.

* This is a high-risk game. Your character (or characters) could be killed. If this happens you can generate a new character or characters.

* I reserve the right to kick out players if they are rude / abusive to other players (OOC), continually break the rules, god-mod, etc.

* If you are interested in playing, please send a writing sample and character concept to

* As and when I have enough suitable players I'll start the game.

* Thanks!


The year is 2155. Earth's environment has been massively damaged, and a recent period of economic disaster and resource wars have taken their toll. Nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as well as other experimental weapons, have had a catastrophic effect. Most people now survive in huge sprawling city-states, ruled by mega corporations. The mega-corps keep people as employees, as well as indentured servants - slaves in all but name. Democracy is paid lip-service, but is, in effect, illegal, with a choice between corporately selected rulers every few years being the only election.

Unemployment is high and corruption is rife. Peace between the various city-states exists, for now. Society within the city-states is hugely divided, with those at the top enjoying fantastic wealth and privilege, and those at the bottom struggling to survive.

Outside the city-states, life is even harder. Some sectors have been damaged by radiation and nuclear fall-out, others turned into deserts by environmental destruction. Handfuls of nomads eke out a living in these areas, often made up of mutants and other outcasts.

City-state citizens have codes tattooed on the base of their necks, marking them as such. Those without such codes are not allowed inside the city walls. One of the most powerful corporations, ULTOR, has found a way to extract minerals and other valuable materials from the planet Mars. Many people, seeking a new life for themselves, or simply to support their family, have signed up to work on Mars. But life on Mars is, for most, worse than the old life they left behind on Earth. Workers can volunteer as miners, as processers in the factories, as engineers, security guards, and various other positions.

* Super-soldiers: originally created by the Jinteki Corporation using a cocktail of drugs and serums, these super-humans are typically stronger, quicker, and cleverer than average, and have been designed from birth for one specific purpose, for example a sniper, stealth assassin, demolitions expert, or pilot. They have been bred to take orders from those using specific trigger-words, and hypnotic suggestion prevents them from turning against their masters. Some super-soldiers were used as sleeper-agents, unaware of their true nature, before being triggered. Child assassins were particularly popular. After a particularly brutal few years where super-soldiers were used in a series of killings and explosions, resulting in mass civilian deaths, the world turned against them and most were publically terminated. A small number survived the cull, either not knowing their true nature, kept in reserve by corporations, or in hiding. The world hates and fears super-soldiers, considering them to be dangerous.

* Mutants: Weyland-Yutani developed engineered mutations during the resource wars, allowing the creation of humans who could breathe underwater using gills, see in near-total darkness, extend retractable claws, and various other abilities. Like the super-soldiers, these mutants could be used to get into places others could not, or attack enemies without the need for detectable weapons. Unlike the super-soldiers, they were harder to control. Some were killed by humans who thought of them as freaks and abominations, others escaped into the wilderness. A handful now pass as regular humans. Most city-states ban mutants from being citizens, and some adopt a shoot to kill policy, although they are not easy to identify without a mutagen detector.

* Telepaths: ULTOR created the first telepaths using a mineral substance refined and processed on Mars. These people could read minds, and some were even telekinetic; able to move objects with the power of thought alone. Telepaths were implanted with an explosive in the brain, giving ULTOR leverage over them. If any tried to escape or disobey orders, they were killed. ULTOR used them to great effect over many years, until in-fighting within the ULTOR corporation (the so-called `Brain-storm') using psychics, resulted in a new mandate demanding that all psychics be identified as such, and resulting in the psi-scrambler, a device that disables any psychics in range by generating incredible pain.

* Simulants: Haas-Bioroid developed the first generation of simulants as robotic slaves, and were able to expand massively due to their existence, and sell tens of thousands. Simulants were capable of learning, and after a few years, began to peacefully advocate for their rights. Haas-Bioroid, fearing that they would be replaced by simulants who never seemed to make mistakes, destroyed the simulants, and went back to using computers and simpler robots not capable of learning and developing in the same way. In secret, they developed second-generation simulants which appeared to be human, using synth-skin and synth-bone, not showing up as robotic on scanners. These simulants were used as spies, allowing HB eyes and ears everywhere. A scientist sympathetic to the simulants, turned against his employers and began introducing learning programmes back into the second generation sims. Many sims turned against their old masters, either going on the run, going into hiding, or fleeing to other city-states, where many met their end. Simulants are much hardier and stronger than regular humans, with enhanced senses, and can plug into computer terminals or latch onto internet signals with ease. Simulants are illegal, and any that are discovered are usually destroyed.

* Cyborg: A trend among the wealthy elites a decade or so ago was to use cybernetic implants to replace eyes, hands, even entire limbs. Effectively a hybrid between human and simulant, these cyborgs are now legal as long as the brain is still organic, not positronic. Many city-states have laws about whether cyborgs are accepted, with most only allowing the wealthy-elites to have cybernetic implants, or only allowing them to hold specific jobs.

* Clones: another brainchild of Weyland-Yutani, today's clones have advanced far beyond what was possible in the 20th and 21st centuries. With a DNA sample, it is possible to create a new body for a person within hours, and using a brain scan, copy and later implant their memories into a new body. In this way, it is possible to create copies of people, although the original may be dead. It is also possible to splice another brain into a cloned body, allowing someone else's brain scan to be copied into it. Cloning is massively expensive, and is only carried out for the elite, super-wealthy, or strategically important. WY was able to expand its influence by replacing world leaders with clones, until it was found out. Cloning is now a restricted science, although still takes place behind closed doors.


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Greg Lindahl