A few weeks ago, the same GM that runs “Alpha Complex” wrote a one shot entitled “The Simplex Syndicate”. The game is set several hundred years in the future, in a world where mega corps run just about everything including the local governments to various extents. (And yes, if you read the piece about the Titanic Larp, the setting for this game was somewhat inspired by that game).

Hawaii was destroyed a hundred years before the game, and in it’s place sprang up San Fransokyo (SFY), built on half kilometer long floating tiles. The tiles are the trademark invention of Hanatsu corporation.

My character was one Ruzenka Mitsuko. The character introduction that follows is somewhat of a mix of what the GM handed me and what I envisioned myself. I will mask spoilers as this game is still live. Since this is a blending, any future players should not be surprised if any/all of it ends up being completely false because whoever plays Ruzenka next time envisions someone different.

Next week I’ll have a run-down of how the game turned out.

Ruzenka Mitsuko grew up in old Japan (rebuilt after the tsunami caused by the explosion that destroyed Hawaii). She went to some un-named community college because her family couldn’t afford more. She was a logistics wiz though, and had her heart set on SFY, so after getting her bachelors, she took out a couple of big loans (against her parents advice) and enrolled in a night-school masters program. She graduated from that school 15 years before game start. She did so in record time, as valedictorian, with a masters in MS&E, and an offer from Hanatsu Corp to join as manager of the monorail construction division.

From there, Ruzenka moved in leaps and bounds. First to SFY, where she got an apartment all to herself, then up in the company to VP of manufacturing, and finally to Director of Infrastructure. From her new position, which finally challenged her considerable managerial skills, she was perfectly poised to watch with unease as The Simplex Syndicate, with Rosetta Madison as it’s CEO, grew as a rival mega-corp that started to squeeze Hanatsu Corporation from every angle.

I suppose “watch” isn’t quite the right term, as Ruzenka is blind. She wasn’t born blind, but rather, had an accident 11 years before game start. Ruzenka had always done amazing things with lasers (aka, she is a mage that uses lasers as the focus for her magic), but working late one night in her lab, she got a little careless and forgot to unplug a laser before servicing it. Some contraption fell on the laser, turning it on as she was working on the control collar. The pain was immense, and the effect almost instant. Her vision blurred, faded to black, and was gone, and she had a not particularly pleasant scar across her face.

Reconstructive surgery was trivially able to rebuild Ruzenka’s eyelids and hide most of the scar across the bridge of her nose, but since her vision could not be restored, she elected to leave the damaged eyes, with the scar tissue that people tell her looks like jagged, milky white lines across both eyes. The loss of her vision was hardly a set-back as far as Ruzenka was concerned, and while the transition to dependence on auditory information was rough, she crashed through it with the same determination that had defined everything else in her life.

Within a few weeks, she had a prototype of the glasses that she now uses. The glasses are only slightly bulkier than a pair of sunglasses (and honestly look like a pair of sunglasses), and emit an IR beam that a microchip uses to process distance. They don’t have high enough resolution to get images, and the range of focus is limited to the direction the glasses are pointed, but it is more than enough for Ruzenka to move around independently.

The glasses take a little while to process, and Ruzenka certainly can’t run in a crowded building and expect to get feedback fast enough to avoid smacking into things and people, but she can walk. Because of this, she has cultivated an air of calm. She speaks slowly, and moves slowly, and pretends to think slowly. Since what she has to say is therefore always very well thought out, and she is Director of Infrastructure, when Ruzenka does speak, people listen.

Now, with representatives sympathetic to The Simplex Syndicate in control of the SFY government, Hanatsu corporation must act, or see themselves swept off into the obscurity of history.

[SPOILERS below.] If you may end up playing in this game, you don’t want to read any further.

So everything from getting a masters degree in MS&E onward is true. The bit before about growing up in old Japan, and needing to take out loans is absolutely fake. Ruzenka Mitsuko came into existence 15 years ago, invented by Agatha Adams, Rosetta Madison’s ex-best friend. Fifteen years ago, Rose tried to kill Agatha over a policy disagreement for their start-up. Agatha was forced into hiding, brooding and seething for revenge, while Rose went public with the company Agatha had spent a year of her life suffering and struggling and starving to bring into existence.

Agatha fled to Japan, with money she acquired by selling the recipe for the drug she and Rose had fought over. There she fabricated a past, and set her sights on joining Hanatsu Corporation, the only entity with a chance to take Rose and The Simplex Syndicate on. Agatha was obsessed with revenge, consumed by the possibility of teaching Rose how wrong she was to limit herself to drugs that would help people without any chance of hurting them – by harshly compromising the drug’s potential in order to remove all side-effects.