Playing the game
The action takes place in cities that have been touched and transformed by unknown forces. Cities have become dark and isolating places. Take any city and imagine half the inhabitants taken over by thoughts of chaos and despair. Their perception has been altered and corrupted in a way where very little makes sense. Their understanding of the world around them becomes surreal, which makes the horrible things around them even more frightening. Some people experience moments of clarity, but as time goes on, the shifts between intermittent normalcy and deranged lunacy become fewer and fewer. People are changing for no obvious reason, and seemingly always for the worse – especially people who were already a little out there to begin with. Somehow, they have been given a push in the wrong direction. Whatever was making them odd to begin with has been given a free pass to take over completely.
You know that weird old kook down the street who everybody are a little afraid of because he is a little off? Or that crazy lady across the hall who is always screaming to herself in the middle of the night? Something terrible has happened to the world that has caused those people to lose that last semblance of control. That crazy, scary side of theirs has been let loose unto the world, and it is vicious, cruel and sadistic.
The people living on the fringe of society and people with latent psychotic and violent tendencies have all been pushed over the edge. That last inch of self has been taken away from them, and they have turned into human monsters. They pose a threat to society, and it is the players’ job to stop them.
They are referred to as the afflicted, the crazies or the corrupted; broad descriptors given to all permutations of those who have lost their connection to the real world and delved into insanity and psychopathic behavior.
Ideas and thoughts can take on infectious forms, which is bad news for those who live side by side with the corrupted. To make matters worse, some of the most dangerous and demented people seem to pull people into their world of insanity. The mere vicinity of the most corrupted can have nasty effects on other people. What makes sense in the world of the corrupted sometimes begin to make sense to the people around them. Some say the really insane bad guys have the ability to shape reality so it fits with their delusions. This idea is widely believed to be caused by stress-related anxiety disorders by authorities, but some cops insist that they have seen things that should not have existed outside of the mind of the corrupted. Some learn the hard way. They might find themselves caught inside conflicts created by the afflicted and only too late realize that the way in was a lot easier to find than the way out.
Civilians who fight the corrupted are usually divided into small cells of men and women who seek to destroy the threats of the corrupted as quickly as they can. They are stretched to the limit, sometimes because of a lack of organization, sometimes because they die trying to defeat the evil they come across. Some call them vigilantes, others call them saviors. They are all correct; the people who patrol the streets and seek out the threats come from different walks of life. They all hang on to what little good is left in the world. However, the police has a ambiguous view of these groups. When they break the law, the police cannot ignore it, even though the group’s intentions are good. The police turns a blind eye to much of what goes on, but certain law enforcement agents have a much more non-pragmatic attitude towards them.
Indeed, sometimes it is necessary to shake loose the rotten apples from the ranks of the vigilante groups. These bad people are dealt with swiftly, as they are presumed to be corrupted to some degree. The point is, no one ever really feels safe, even when they are around comrades in arm, because every once in a while, a fellow guardian turns out to be that kid-killing psycho you are after.