Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Outside Men

by Mike Sugarbaker

In 2006, the former employees of PowerLink, an Anchorage tech startup that folded amidst charges of fraud and outlandish experiments, started showing up in a tiny Alaskan town, on the other side of Chugach State Park, bringing with them small, immaculate white trailers full of things they wouldn’t talk about.

In Alaskan towns like these, strangers – anyone who comes into town to stay and isn’t from Alaska – are named “Outside men,” for the place they came from and the apartness they maintain as they do whatever business they came to do. They have no wives, no families. After a few years, they’re either residents – outsiders no longer – or they’re gone.

The Outside Men from PowerLink are stranger than most strangers. They don’t just take temporary jobs managing the forest or what have you; they take them in town, at shops, restaurants, and businesses. But even if their jobs put them inside town, their hearts are Outside. There’s fear or sadness in their eyes when they look at a townie, and there’s a flat, cold hardness in their gazes, their faces and voices, their every movement, every thought.

In Outside Men, the game, you play one of these newcomers to a little backwoods town, former PowerLink employees. You can choose to play a living one or a dead one. The dead Outside Men are sustained by PowerLink’s strange technology, which keeps them thinking and acting and makes them unnaturally strong. They have come to use large devices called Injectors to electrically transmit incantations in an ancient language deep into the ground. They believe this will raise a huge, terrible power from its slumber in the waters of the Cook Inlet. The other Outside Men, the living who quit PowerLink just before the horrible transformation of the dead, have come to stop them… that is, if they can figure for sure who’s on which side.

Facts

The following things are always true about the situation. Details, and anything unspecified, are up to the players.

  • PowerLink’s founder is not in or near town. Dead characters may communicate with him via non-supernatural, electronic means, but the founder’s words should not be spoken to the players at the table. Living characters have no contact with him.
  • Injectors are large, heavy, and take time to aim and fire.
  • Injection points are ten miles apart, or further, and not generally accessible by car or truck (snowmobile-esque vehicles or smaller are okay). More than one of them is in Chugach State Park.
  • The code to be injected via Injectors is a strange amalgam of programming logic and the Dena’ina Athabascan language. All Outside Men have fast, capable, durable laptop computers, and there is a small Internet cafe in town.
  • DEAD Outside Men are stronger and tougher than ALIVE Outside Men and, while they can be killed by conventional means, it is more difficult.
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