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New Release: Spectres of Mars

Spectres of MarsA Cold War with Mars

Set in a gloriously retro-future 2068, Spectres of Mars follows the Cold War between Earth and the Strangers, a race of incorporeal Martians able to possess human bodies. When the first human explorers accidentally desecrate a sacred dead city on Mars, the Strangers vow revenge and launch a series of reprisals against Earth. These are countered by Myriad, a global defence organization created to root out alien infiltrators and terrorists.

About Spectres of Mars

Spectres of Mars is an espionage and counter-terrorism setting with a science fiction twist. Player characters are agents of Myriad, a joint operation of the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. It’s inspired by Gerry Anderson’s Captain Scarlet and UFO, the mythology of The X-Files, the film version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and every conceivable version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

About DoubleZero

DoubleZero is a percentile based, skill-driven modern action thriller tabletop roleplaying game. All manner of suspense and intrigue are possible. This sourcebook requires the use of the DoubleZero Core Book.

Download your copy of now from DriveThruRPG
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Four DoubleZero Setting Ideas


First, a caveat: none of these are on the production schedule. I’m not adding anything new to my plate until the Hippogryph Codex, the Adventure Generator, and Building Monsters are done. While the odds are high that I’ll likely pick one of these as my next DoubleZero-based project, the world is a strange and unpredictable place right now.

The X-Files / Captain Scarlet / UFO

UPDATE: This one now exists. This would be a near-future, possibly retro-future setting where aliens have infiltrated humanity. There’s an agency that will likely be more akin to SPECTRUM from Captain Scarlet than Mulder and Scully’s FBI tasks with uncovering them. Like in all of the cited inspirations, you never see the aliens or learn what they look like. They’re spirits or energy beings that possess human beings, permanently assuming their identities. So no actual aliens, no weird powers, no body-snatcher pods. I’m thinking retro-future because it could be fun to play around with the obvious Cold War “who’s secretly a commie” tropes.

The Prisoner / Lost

You wake up on a strange island with no idea how you got there. Weird stuff happens. There are places to explore and things to find as you try to piece together where you are, what’s going on, and how to escape. Be a secret agent like in The Prisoner, be a random person like on Lost, overlay whatever other ideas you like. This one would have to be written like a puzzle. I wouldn’t expressly have a reveal, but would drop clues and hints throughout for people that want an official answer. Otherwise, you can run it with whatever explanation you want, or none at all.

Danger 5 / Venture Bros. / Archer

The ridiculousness of pulpish spy stuff, men’s adventure novels, and and rampant anachronisms. There would be a lot of canon and continuity presented, but a lot of things would be left unexplained (What year is this? Why do we have 70s cars, 80s computers, and early 2000s flip phones? How come all of the offices look like sets from Mad Men?). There would be lots of opportunity for thrilling heroics and serious action, but mostly it would be silly. Perfect tabletop roleplaying fodder.

World War Z / Pandemic (the Board Game)

Hear me out, this could borrow from both the book and the movie. You play spies working for an agencies that’s trying to suppress a zombie apocalypse. There have been outbreaks, but they get contained, put down, and covered up quickly. A bad guy agency is the zombie virus and trying to weaponize it. You need to deal less with surviving the apocalypse and more with the political fallout of things starting to fall apart. Recover the plans from the base overrun by zombies before the enemy agents do, rescue the scientist that might have a cure, get past enemy soldiers to steal their macguffin, that sort of thing.