"When You're Addicted to Invictus"

One of the NPCs in the Phoenix Academy game is addicted to Invictus, a drug of alien origin that gives you super powers… sometimes. Maybe.

Some of this isn’t relevant, since it’s an NPC, but I’m messing around with a related move, because one of the PCs wants to help him.

When you’re addicted to Invictus, either physically, psychologically, or both, Invictus has Influence over you.

  • It can use its Influence to shift your labels by making you believe you know how the world works.
  • It can and will use it’s Influence to Provoke you to rash action.
  • The roll to reject Influence against Invictus is always -Conditions.
  • Per the original Invictus rules, you may have super powers while Invictus has influence over you.
  • Invictus must be given influence over you at the end of every session where you could give influence to someone on your team, if you want to keep the powers. If you do so, keep your powers, and Invictus shifts your labels (always Freak up, Mundane down).
  • You never keep your powers if Invictus does not have Influence over you. That is a lie told by Invictus dealers - the powers never ‘stick’. Ever.

You can remove Invictus’s Influence as the result of rejecting its influence, but that influence can (and probably will) come back as the result certain 6- rolls (or even a 7-9, if you ignore the impending threat). The only mechanical way to permanently remove the threat of Invictus Influence is using a “permanently remove someone’s influence” playbook advance - assuming that advance is also reflected within the fiction.

If someone Comforts and Supports you while Invictus has influence over you, on a 6-, Invictus may now have influence over them . (You can roll to Defend them from this.)

Somebody can help you remove Invictus’s influence (again, not permanently - only you can do that), if you are currently free of Conditions. The roll will probably be either +Freak or +Mundane, depending on the fiction, rolling against Unleash Your Powers results. 6- results may extend Invictus influence to them.) If they successfully help you remove Invictus’s influence, they mark potential, and you gain Influence with them.

  • You can always give Invictus influence over you for a +2 on any roll, including a roll you have just made. If Invictus already has influence over you, it will shift your lables instead (1 up, 1 down), and then give you a condition.
  • You can give Invictus influence to use any other playbook’s move you don’t have, “just this once.” Take a condition.
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It should be noted that introducing Invictus to Earth (and Halcyon City in particular) is intentionally happening as a precursor to the arrival of Vanquish. The players and PCs know this.

Also, in case it’s not clear, I’m soliciting thoughts/input on this one.

Looks cool to me. Maybe a bit complex, but what you’re trying to do here is complex (both in effect and in simulating addiction).

I’m taking out the bits about “on a 6-, it may spread to the person helping you” for now. I think they’re too much right now.

If the invictus plot thread becomes a big ‘thing’, I’ll talk to the players about introducing those additions to the move as ‘the drug mutates’ or whatever (it’s a alien-bio-derived compound).

If I want to go full comics, it might ultimately be a zombifying thing that drags all users into a hivemind, kind of like a Starro thing or something, but again that only matters if the players want to pursue it in more depth than “get my boyfriend clean and clear out the local dealers”.

Taking a page from the Fate Bronze rule, it feels like you are treating “Invictus Addiction” as its own NPC, with influence over anyone using it. In that case you can just refer to the general rules on influence, including label shifts: “Invictus is making you feel brave but mean! Shift Danger up and Mundane down.” It can also spend team on your behalf, just like any other NPCs.

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Now that seems very clever.