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La Reina Del Sol

“You’d like to think you know my block. Truth is, the only person who knows Sol is me. Everyone else just sees what I want them to see.”

— La Reina Del Sol

THE EASTERN SEABOARD ALLIANCE

In 2264, the Eastern Seaboard Alliance (ESA) implemented legislation to dramatically expand subsidized housing across previously condemned areas of what was once known as New Jersey. Following the nuclear detonations that accompanied the Sheffield Rebellion in 2229, large sections of the area had been condemned as unlivable; the ESA’s “starfield legislation” dedicated billions of public dollars toward new megadevelopments that would make better use of the irradiated countryside through public housing.

The Starfield

Friends and foes alike call the area “the starfield” because of the bill’s unfortunate acronym, a result of a late-night committee meeting: Special Trust Agreement for Reclamation and Recovery Yards (STARRY). Not to be deterred, the ESA Senator who shepherded the agreement through committee doubled down on the imagery: the various blocks of development—each miles wide and hundreds of stories tall—were named after star systems (Sol, Centauri, Sirius, etc.).

The starfield has stood for nearly thirty years, but little has been done to maintain or improve it after the initial legislation. The unemployment rate across the ESA spiked last year to 63%; millions of people live crammed into small areas rife with crime, drugs, and other unsavory shadow economies. Machines do the work that employed millions of people just a century ago, but that doesn’t mean that the surpluses of the automated economy are distributed evenly. Or at all, really.

La Reina del Sol

With the emergence of those underground economies came powerful cartels, arising throughout the starfield to traffic in guns, drugs, and other illicit goods. In the first few years, the police did their best to regulate such organizations, but the amount of money moving through these dense areas was overwhelming: drug organizations bribed all the police they needed to do their business virtually without interruption.

And as these organizations flourished, so did the fortunes of narcas like Erika Ramos, La Reina del Sol (The Queen of Sol). Rising to power on a wave of murders, power grabs, and innovative financing schemes, La Reina is the “unofficial” mayor of Sol, the person you need in your corner if you want to get ahead in a criminal enterprise. Cold, cruel, and paranoid, La Reina is a perfect shark, never sleeping in the same place twice, living on the edges of society, and always looking for prey.

Power and Pride

La Reina is a relatively young, light-skinned Latina—her black hair usually worn shoulder length—with a nasty scar encircling her left eye. She’s fond of combat boots and dresses, but more for the ease of use in both cases than any particular fashion sense. She spends a great deal of time absorbing video streams from across Sol, looking for patterns, following up on hunches. She’s brutally effective at discovering trouble before it strikes and she’s rarely seen without her two-headed dog, Ciccio.

Rumors abound now that La Reina was married to the former head narco in Sol, a man named Ricardo Reyes. Patriarchal assumptions aside, many had seen them together in the weeks before his death and assumed that Reyes had taken an interest in the young woman who had climbed the ranks of his organization so quickly. Anyone in the know says without hesitation that Ramos and Reyes weren’t an item…but they shut up quick when conversation turns to her role in his death.

The truth is that Reina has only been married once before…to the man who gave her the scars around her left eye. His fate was bloody and swift, and La Reina refuses to talk about exactly what led to the scar…or where his body ended up. She’s given orders that no one speak his name in her block; he’s merely el hombre muerto if someone needs to make reference to him.

ERIKA “LA REINA DEL SOL”  RAMOS                                             

ASPECTS                                                                                            

La Reina del SolLoyal to a FaultThe Perfect PredatorStill Got Love for the StreetsUnder Surveillance

SKILLS                                                                                                

Superb (+5): Resources

Great (+4): Provoke, Will

Good (+3): Deceive, Empathy, Rapport

Fair (+2): Burglary, Contacts, Notice, Shoot

Average (+1): Athletics, Crafts, Fight, Investigate, Lore

STUNTS                                                                                              

More Than a Pretty Face: Add +2 to attacks with Provoke when you lash out at someone unexpectedly or with inappropriate force relative to the conflict.

Sol-bound: Roll with Resources instead of Contacts when you defend against someone trying to look into your criminal organization.

STRESS 

Physical: □□□ Mental: □□□□□                                                                                     

FRONT: HUNTING MOLYNEUX

La Reina does more than just control Sol. She works to keep her hold secure and her rule unchallenged, eliminating threats before they can blossom and expanding her power base within the nearby Centauri and Sirius blocks of the starfield. No one has yet ruled multiple blocks in the starfield, but La Reina figures that a queen can hold any space on the chessboard she wants, and she’s willing to risk it all to claim more territory.

No one lives forever, cabrón. Not even a queen.

What is a Front?

A front paces the plots and schemes of villains or the terrible doom awaiting the PCs if they don’t engage with the problems emerging within the setting. Think of a front like a train, hurtling down the tracks toward a brick wall, ready to smash through everything unless the PCs get in the way.

Each front features a countdown clock, a prescriptive and descriptive measure of both what will happen if the front is left unchecked and how much more time is left before the front is fully realized. If the front is ignored, you tick down each section of the clock, until it reaches the doom that awaits the PCs (prescriptive); if something achieves a portion of the front’s future plans early, move the clock directly to that section (descriptive).

As the clock gets closer to midnight, the action becomes more elevated and the stakes become more dire. If the PCs can stop the front early, they may be able to avoid the worst of the consequences; waiting to intervene until the clock is nearly exhausted means that the front will have permanent effects on the setting even if the PCs manage to stop it.

Description

La Reina has put a plan in motion to assassinate a rival drug kingpin operating out of Centauri: Mr. Elad “Monet” Molyneux. An amateur painter and educated gentleman, Molyneux is a charming contrast to Ramos, a well-protected member of the elite whose holdings happen to be slums throughout the starfield. Nevertheless, his control of the police makes an assassination attempt both difficult and expensive; La Reina has gone to great lengths to ensure he meets an unpleasant fate while attracting little attention to her own activities.

Cast

Erika “La Reina del Sol” Ramos, the cruel queen of Sol’s criminal underbelly; Mr. Elad “Monet” Molyneux, artist and drug kingpin of Centauri; Roberta Perez, sicaria for La Reina hunting Molyneux; Detective Claudia Byrne, an unwitting accomplice to La Reina’s plot.

12:00–3:00: Perez captures one of Molyneux’s money couriers working in Sol, disrupting a number of bribes Molyneux needed to keep the police away from his distribution centers around the Sol/Centauri border.

3:00–6:00: Det. Byrne, acting on an anonymous tip, requests a warrant for one of Molyneux’s distribution centers. To her surprise, the warrant is approved.

6:00–9:00: Det. Byrne raids the distribution facility, interrupting the supply of drugs flowing throughout both Centauri and Sol and sending Molyneux’s holdings into disarray.

9:00–10:00: Molyneux moves to lock down his control over his territory and travels into Sol to reprimand his lieutenant who oversees their border operations. Shortly after crossing the border, Perez and her gang attack his convoy.

10:00–11:00: Molyneux, disoriented and alone, tries to find cover at a local safehouse in Sol. Neighborhood kids see him enter and quickly spread the word to his enemies.

11:00–12:00: Perez finds and kills Molyneux. His lieutenants in Centauri split: some swear fealty to La Reina while others go to war to avenge Molyneux’s death. Chaos ensues.

Special Rules

In addition to a countdown clock, fronts also contain a number of special rules revisions that focus play on the important themes of the setting:

Too Many: La Reina’s forces in Sol are too numerous to be directly defeated. It is impossible to start a conflict with her forces inside her home block. Any fights are treated as contests (Fate Core System, page

150) to escape or evade her nearly infinite supply of goons.

Overdue Bills: Anyone looking for information on Molyneux’s activities within Centauri may roll Resources instead of Contacts by bribing the disgruntled police.

Fronts in play

When events in the front tick down toward the 12:00 doom, make sure the PCs are aware of the events. Depending on their position in the fiction, they might hear about something through the grapevine or directly witness one of the NPCs making a move. Give them chances to interrupt and get mixed up in the plot!

ENGAGING LA REINA DEL SOL

La Reina focuses on asymmetrical power: she always shows up with a crew, even when it’s probably not needed, and she’d rather have discussions in her territory than make herself vulnerable. She’s not worried about law enforcement, but she also doesn’t take chances that don’t have a significant upside. That said, she’s got a number of buttons that are fairly easy to push; she’ll go to great lengths to pursue someone if she feels that they undermined her authority in Sol.

Building blocks offer interesting characters and locations, but it’s up to the GM to integrate them into a game of Fate. Sometimes the integration is obvious—an urban crime lord is an obvious addition to any modern or near-future setting—but here are a few ideas to help you generate interesting PCs to engage this building block if you aren’t already running a game in an appropriate setting.

Antagonists

The PCs might be directly opposed to La Reina, characters that will work to not only stop her from assassinating Molyneux but also to bring her to justice. For some, this may mean working through a chain of evidence that would hold up in court; others may be happy merely killing her before she can do any more harm to the people of Sol. Of course, La Reina wasn’t born yesterday; she’s well prepared for attempts to disrupt her hold on Sol, even if they’re coming from official personnel.

Examples: law enforcement, restrained vigilantes, private security, secret agents

Rivals

Rather than direct antagonists, the PCs might be rivals to La Reina, characters who would benefit from her fall but who aren’t willing to work directly against her…yet. For example, Ramos has a number of rival drug lords all over the starfield in addition to Molyneux. Players looking to play rivals of La Reina ought to prepare themselves for a different and difficult setting in which they may not emerge victorious!

Examples: other drug lords, vengeful vigilantes, local street toughs

Lackeys

The PCs might also play characters who work directly for La Reina’s gang, ranging from enforcers and street soldiers to freelancers who are sent on special missions to give La Reina plausible deniability. Remember to give these folks strong reasons to care about the front if you make use of it in your game; most of La Reina’s employees won’t be upset if a tragedy befalls Mr. Molyneux unexpectedly.

Examples: street soldiers, hired mercenaries, cartel operatives

Mixed Groups

It’s also possible to construct a group of PCs who have competing interests around La Reina’s activities, such as several vigilantes who are mixed up with law enforcement, rival cartels, and folks inside the criminal organization. Be careful with such mixed character types; make sure that there are plenty of character ties between each character and that all the players are prepared for the inevitable increase in player vs. player conflicts.

ADAPTING LA REINA DEL SOL

While La Reina is a perfect fit for the nearly post-apocalyptic urban blight of the starfield, she’s also an excellent villain and antagonist across settings. Here are some ideas for adapting La Reina to other environments. Note the additional stunt that would make her character a more natural fit for the alternate setting.

Space Station

The starfield is easy to translate to a space station or small moon for games with a far-future setting. It may be necessary to replace a few skills—Crafts and Lore might be more specific skills like Engineering or Science—but overall La Reina can be queen of literal stars as easily as she controls Sol. In fact, it might make it more interesting for her to control an entire station, since the PCs ought to be surrounded at all times by her lackeys and potential allies.

ALTERNATE STUNT

Freshly Transported: Add +2 to creating an advantage with Resources when you pursue opportunities to make use of  “lost”  or  “surplus” trade goods.

Western

La Reina’s casual violence would fit well with a western setting, but the lack of a complex social structure would require her to have more personal strength: swap both Shoot and Fight up in her skill tree to replace Resources and Contacts, respectively. That’s not to say she can’t have a gang—she might be an outlaw more than the head of a criminal organization—but she won’t have dozens of killers at her disposal.

ALTERNATE STUNT

At Dawn: When you challenge someone to a duel, treat any success to create advantage with Provoke as a success with style. If the opponent wins the roll, they cannot add any free invokes but still may create an aspect on the scene.

Medieval Fantasy

La Reina might also be well-represented as a literal queen or military leader in a low-fantasy setting. Like the western, you’ll need to find a way to convey the scope of an organization in a setting that doesn’t have an infinite number of goons, but La Reina can plot from the shadows with far fewer legal restraints. She can be a member of a court, for example, plotting just off screen to secure the throne for herself.

ALTERNATE STUNT

Distractions: Roll with Resources instead of Burglary when you wastefully display a resource to create an advantage for yourself.