Double Cross

ダブルクロス “Double Cross” (2001) was Shunsaku Yano’s entry in an RPG contest conducted by F.E.A.R. Originally called “Universal Guardian”, it did not win the contest but it would prove more popular than the winner as scores of supplements and two subsequent editions attest.

The game takes place in a world like our own except for the presence of a superpower-inducing virus. The player gets to choose which of nine syndromes are caused by the virus, each with its own sphere of power: angel halo (light), black dog (electricity), bram stoker (blood), chimera (bestial body), exile (shapechanger), hanuman (reflexes), neumann (intelligence), salamandar (heat), or solaris (drugs). The player also chooses one of 46 occupations (mostly adult occupations, though student, even elementary school student, are available). The syndrome and occupation determine the character’s 4 abilities scores: physique, intuition, will, and sociability. HP is a sum of physique and will; initiative is a sum of intuition and will. Whether an action is successful is determined by rolling one or more ten-sided dice and taking the highest, the number of dice determined by one of the character’s 4 ability scores.

Using special abilities conferred by the virus will increase a character’s encroachment rate; if this reaches 100%, the character becomes a germ, which is an NPC monster. However, the character has relationships with three NPCs called Loises (a Superman reference) who help the character stay human. For each Lois a positive and negative emotion experienced by the character is randomly determined. The player chooses one emotion to be conscious and the other to be subconscious. Death of the Lois or rejection by the Lois can trigger more super powers.

Like several other modern Japanese RPGs, Double Cross uses the scene system: instead of an open world for characters to explore, there are only 4 scenes in a scenario that the character can visit, and the game “cuts” between scenes. In the interest of dramatic effect, a character’s powers or encroachment rate may change from scene to scene.

B5 perfect bound softcover, 210 pp.