Monday, July 5, 2010

The Messari

One of the things that was going to make it into the core rules for Resolute Supers 2E, and then into the Referee’s Sourcebook (but never did), is the whole concept behind the messari. Sure, they’re your standard tentacled aliens who want to devour your brain juices. Pretty standard. However, what motivates them is what may make them a bit different…

The messari are ruled by a godlike creature called the Devourer. The more literal translation of his name is ‘the consumer of all things’. He literally (a la Galactus) eats planets. However, the really juicy part is the wonderful brains of the inhabitants of the planet. Sure, he can eat rocks and trees and all that stuff, but the brains of living creatures are where it’s at. The Devourer has had a good run, making his millions of messari servants find worlds, prep them for him, and then set the stage for him to come in and gobble up all the goodness. Earth was their next target. Until…

The Devourer learned that humans are especially tasty, and that just their psychic residue is more fulfilling than 2/3 of the world’s he’s gorged his appetite upon. In fact, if he could find a way to amp up the psychic resonance and find a safe place to siphon it from… he could live like a king forever! Additionally, he kind of likes humans; they are the only beings he’s encountered that are as wanton in their consumption as he is. He set up camp on a nearby planet, and settled in for a nice, long snack.

The messari are, therefore, the ultimate terrorists. Their true objective is to drive humanity to the brink of absolute desperation- and then leave it there. At this point, they can hang back and let things ride. As long as mankind is chaotic, fearful, and anxious, the Devourer is pleased. If mankind begins to feel comfortable or confident, it’s time for the messari to launch another attack. The psychic bug that destroyed the Citadel of Tomorrow and set thousands of powerful, insane creatures free to wreck havoc upon mankind was better than a dozen invasions. These are the big-ticket things the massari look for in planning their actions; they want the fear to linger for a long time.

Below is a ‘world ranking’ for how resolute humanity is (and there’s the inspiration for the game’s title by the way), knowing that when things hit 10+ on the happy meter, the messari are likely to strike. They’ve still got a few tricks in their back pocket, by the way… and I’ll get to those eventually.

Humanity’s Resolve

Rating - Descriptor - Chance Messari Act - Repercussions
1-2 - Terrified - No Chance - Anarchy in many places
3-5 - Fearful - Low - Pockets of rioting and unrest
6-8 - Tentative - Moderate - General peace and order
9-11 - Secure - High - Conscientious citizenship
12+ - Resolute - Guaranteed - Sweeping progress for mankind

How to use this in your game?

Ironically, the more successful the supers are (and on a larger scale they find success), the more likely they are to spawn a renewed messari assault. For every earth-shaking success the supers enjoy, the more humanity settles into its groove and feels protected. This moves the whole world up on the meter, and the Devourer starts getting itchy.

If you want to attach a mechanic to this, roll 2D at the end of every issue wherein the supers accomplish something exceptional in the defense of humanity (this has to be pretty much worldwide, affecting the emotional state of billions of people- stopping a local gang or defeating a regional threat will not make a blip on the worldwide radar). If you roll the current rating or higher, the overall resolve increases +1. A messari invasion is pretty much guaranteed to knock the scale back down to the 1-2 range, and the supers have to start all over again.