You're corpslime for life.
Whatever you tell yourself in the mirror, you're not a decent person. You're not fixing the system from the inside. You're not even saving up to retire. You're going to ride this executive elevator of blood and agony just as far as it goes.
This is your story, and it doesn’t have a happy ending.
The Bad Guys Won. Welcome to the Firm.
Deniable Assets is a tabletop RPG about the unglimpsed mid-tier villains of the cyberpunk genre. As rank-and-file megacorporate rats you'll blow money you don't have, fund technology you can't control, lie to everyone, and dodge spies, grifters, and kill-teams as you strive for power in a rigged and amoral system.
Every character's goal is the same: win one real leather seat on the top floor's Executive Board. Board members don't die of old age anymore, so replacing one takes some real vicious stick-to-itiveness. Falling off that ladder means being ruined, arrested, or murdered at best. Those who beat the odds and claim their throne are promoted into hellish, immortal NPCs that help bring about your next character's downfall.
Fortunately for you, you're not your character's friend. You're their witness. Their spectator. Their enabler. You give them what they want and let it ring in their doom; you play to see what happens next and enjoy the mayhem.
There will be fireworks. You'll be holding the match. The question is, who goes up in the blaze?
Unlike their characters, everyone playing Deniable Assets is very much on the same team: Team Outrageous Spectacle. That means the player characters and GM (aka "The Board") work together to create the best story possible.
Players generate a setting, corporation, and "floor" of NPCs and player characters with an eye for scattering as many ticking time bombs as possible. They can customize these completely, tick off preset boxes, or use provided scenarios. Once the maze is complete and the rats are scurrying through, The Board throws down poisoned cheese and land mines to keep things interesting.
Nobody can predict how a session of Deniable Assets will go, especially not The Board. There are no unimportant rolls. Whenever the dice clatter, things will happen.
Let's consider one of the central moves of The Keymaster, one of the many playable archetypes in the game. Keymasters are the heads of security for their divisions, so their special moves control force, safety, and information. Obviously these create drama when they're misused--and they will be--but even if the Keymaster has the best of intentions, the dice might have other plans.
In the first session The Keymaster customizes her team of "security" mercenaries to be well-equipped but brutish. Whenever she gives them orders, she rolls to see how well they follow through. If she gets a full success:
- They neutralize a target, contain a breach, or secure an area.
- They don’t make a mess.
- They don't pull any heat onto The Keymaster personally.
But if she only gets a partial success, she gets to pick exactly one of those things. Based on her choice, and the qualities she picked out for her team, The Board and player dictate where things go wrong.
If the roll comes up a full-on failure, everyone really gets a show. Blown rolls are always welcome in Deniable Assets.
As in other Powered by the Apocalypsegames, The Board never rolls dice. The Board presents dangers, opportunities, complications, twists, and outrageous situations. It's up to players to determine how their characters respond and the dice to keep things tense and volatile.
Conflict, plot twists, hard choices, and unforeseen consequences are baked into every roll in Deniable Assets. You can't have an uneventful session...even if your characters wish they could.
Let's break down the rewards. All the standard Deniable Assets content there is will be available to backers who give at least $5:
In the first week of the Kickstarter, you'll get your very first Deniable Assets playtesting kit. This will be a micro-version of the game suitable for reviewing or enjoying with your group. You're free either to enjoy it for what it is or submit feedback through a provided Google Form.
Throughout development, you'll receive regular rounds of playtest updates and errata as they become available, right up until the game's final and polished release as a handsome .pdf complete with:
- Full overview and rules tutorial
- Premade characters, corporations, and scenarios
- Succulent lore nuggets to steal and repurpose
- Printer-attractive playbooks and references
- Options and best practices for running a game about the megacorporate future
After the game's release, any content expansions guaranteed by stretch goals will be developed and delivered to all backers at or above $5.
You can get custom-designed content like NPCs, character classes, and even entire campaigns by backing at the higher levels! Availability for these is limited, so get in early.
I'm Adam "Rutskarn" DeCamp. I've been developing RPG content for twenty years, although at present I've no plans to release the D&D monster based on my first grade teacher. I also wrote Arvind Yadav's Kickstarter-backed, story-based CRPG Unrest.
I'm a big fan of Powered by the Apocalypse games, tabletop games about catastrophe, rat-bastard schemes, and roleplaying games where you don't share your character's goals. Mix them up with the bloodier parts of RoboCop and you've pretty much got the inspiration for this game.
You can contact me at email@example.com. Also, I'm on Twitter.
Risks and challenges
There's already a functioning, stable iteration available for playtest use, and I've got a broad enough skillset that I can personally complete every mission-critical aspect of design, development, and publication without requiring outside assistance. The game will release, 100%. My challenges are to a) next-to-perfect the game through refinement, research, and rigorous playtesting, and b) present it as cleanly as possible.
If there's a risk, it's that these standards will result in a delayed publication date for the final ruleset. However, it's worth pointing out that the game will actually launch much EARLIER than the listed date through increasingly complete and finalized playtest packets. If you don't mind some rough edges, you can get started with Deniable Assets either before or very soon after the end of this campaign.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)