The Infinity roleplaying game will give you all the tools you need to create an exciting campaign set anywhere within the Human Sphere: Play as Hassassin Govads seeking to recover the lost Cubes of their former brothers from the Equinox terrorists who stole them. Join the crew of the Go-Go Marlene! Show as location scouts. Journey into the depths of Acontecimento’s oceans in aquatic Apsara Lhosts. Hunt Shasvastii Speculo Killers through the shattered planetoids of Human Edge. Sign up for a PanOceanian mercenary company fighting Libertos rebels on Varuna, then steal a spaceship and become Haqqislamite privateers!
The default mode of play for the game, however, assumes that you are agents working for Bureau Noir, O-12’s Secret Service. Bureau Noir’s operative teams are flexibly liaised through the other O-12 Bureaus, which means that their duties can effectively take them anywhere in the Human Sphere.
Theoretically, Bureau Noir — like O-12 itself — is a neutral agency and its agents are impartial and unaligned. In reality, the Human Sphere is wracked with factions and every PC will belong to one of them. Their loyalties will be divided and their true agendas will be hidden.
We call this the Wilderness of Mirrors.
In addition to their primary mission objective, scenarios for the Infinity roleplaying game are designed with multiple faction goals. (For example, the primary mission objective might be to protect media tycoon Charles Angleton from threats made by the criminal AI Svengali. Yu Jing agents, however, have a faction goal to insert an eavesdropping virus onto Angleton’s comlog, and Nomad agents have a faction goal to retrieve intel on Angleton’s suspected collaboration with Svengali.)
When running an Infinity scenario, the GM needs to decide how many of these faction goals they’re going to use. Using a single faction goal for each mission (while perhaps rotating which team member has a faction goal for each mission), for example, will lightly spice the campaign with complications. On the other hand, if every PC receives a faction goal then the mission becomes laced with paranoia in a complicated loop of espionage and counter-intelligence.
The GM will also want to decide on the paranoia level for their campaign.
In Deep Cover campaigns, the faction loyalties of the PCs are concealed and their secret agendas for each mission are kept hidden.
In Diplomatic Immunity campaigns, the PCs know the faction loyalties of their compatriots, but everybody smiles at the polite fiction that they are all loyal, unbiased O-12 agents. (In a campaign like this, it is even possible that the faction agendas are openly known at the gaming table, even if the characters are not aware of them.)
In a Faction United campaign, all of the PCs belong to a single faction and they’re all working together to pursue both their primary mission objective and their faction goal. (This method also allows the GM to easily repurpose published scenarios for Infinity for campaigns that aren’t using the O-12 framing device. For example, if the PCs are working for Yănjīng, the Yu Jing Military Intelligence Service, the GM can simply use the Yu Jing faction goal as the scenario hook.)
Finally, in a Loyal Agents campaign the PCs have no faction goals and their only objective is the primary mission.
USING THE WILDERNESS OF MIRRORS
Setting the right subterfuge intensity and paranoia level for your group and your campaign may require a little bit of fine-tuning, but once you dial in the right values your players will feel the weight of the increased stakes in every action that they take, and the conflicting agendas will heighten the dramatic tension of every decision. The Wilderness of Mirrors will bring the broken alliances and fraught tensions of the Infinity universe to burning life at your gaming table!
As I’ve previously discussed at length, one of the most overlooked aspects in the design and play of traditional roleplaying games is the underlying game structures that we use in play. In adapting the incredibly rich universe of Infinity into a roleplaying game, there were two key things that I considered of vital importance:
First, to guarantee that Infinity didn’t simply become “yet another science fiction RPG”. There are a lot of SF roleplaying games on the shelves, but Infinity is too cool for people to just glaze over it as one option among many.
Second, to capture the high-stakes, faction-vs-faction tensions of the miniatures game in a context that made sense for an RPG. (I also recognized that current players of the miniatures game have already chosen “their” faction in the universe, and I wanted to make sure that a group of those existing Infinity players could come together to form a roleplaying group with everyone playing a character belonging to their faction of choice.)
Hopefully you can immediately see how the Wilderness of Mirrors helps us accomplish both of these goals. It emphasizes the inter-factional conflicts and maintains them as a persistent, underlying theme. The Bureau Noir structure makes it trivial for characters with diverse backgrounds and allegiances to come together. And the hidden faction goals add a unique spice that will make a game of Infinity feel very different from a generic science fiction game.
But the Wilderness of Mirrors won’t be the only place that you’ll see Infinity presenting strong game structures for you to build your campaigns around. For example, the Tactical Assault Gear sourcebook will be describing the mecha warsuits of the setting. The scenario structures required to support campaigns revolving around TAG pilots routinely jumping into their armored suits are fairly unique, and so we’ll be creating a game structure specifically to support those campaigns. We’ll be doing the same thing for Corsair space pirates and Hypercorp raiders and mercenaries plying their services on the War Market. (And I think things will get really interesting once you can start mixing and matching these scenario structures together.)