XCOM: Gray Dawn

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The ride to the landing zone is often the hardest part of the fight, and sometimes a gentle reminder never hurts.

XCOM: Gray Dawn is a new experimental alien invasion game testing some variants of the Cyberpunk 2020 system.


A meteor shower approaches Earth out of the blue. Astronomers believe it must be a long-period orbital cloud that has not been seen in hundreds or perhaps thousands of years. Amateur sky-watchers prepare for a surprise mid-winter light show, and no one is much alarmed.

The first meteors strike, and a significant portion of London is destroyed. As the Earth rotates, the stream of meteors continues to pepper our planet's surface, sweeping from one time zone to the next. The East coast of America is hit a few hours later. Within a day, no corner of the world is left untouched.

Unbeknownst to the people of Earth, this meteor shower is not a natural phenomena. It is an alien planetary assault program unleashed in pursuit of The Mercenary that landed undetected on our planet a few days before. In his possession is the superweapon stolen from his enemies that could be their undoing. They will stop at nothing to get it back.

The Mercenary's plan, which has slowly been unfolding across the galaxy for hundreds of our years, did not take into account one important variable: Humanity. He did not--could not--know Earth was populated before he embarked on the long, slow voyage to our world across three-quarters the span of our galaxy. When he absconded with the weapon nearly a century ago, the people of Earth had just barely made it into the skies with airplanes; radio waves that could be detected by alien long-range probes would not come for many years.

Earth is The Mercenary's hot landing zone, and he realizes that he has placed this innocent civilization in great peril. He knows that his enemies would gladly destroy humanity in pursuit of him, but even worse, they would enslave us first. We are just the sort of specimen they are looking for.

The alien Collective is not the only threat, though. The Mercenary sent advance scouts to Earth several decades ago to establish bases and gather resources that would allow him to use Earth as the launch-point of his counterattack. Those bases were never built, that part of his plan failed. Certain factions have not been so ignorant of the existence of extraterrestrial life, and those ripples of influence in the shadows have created even more Byzantine agencies to hide among them.

A group of civilians find The Mercenary's hiding place on Earth, and with The Mercenary's help, they become the heart of the resistance against the Collective. X-Com: Gray Dawn is the story of this group of resistance fighters.

Game Mechanics

In X-Com: Gray Dawn we will use the Cyberpunk 2020 game system with a few modifications. For further details, check out the X-Com: Gray Dawn Player Handout.

There are no classes or "special abilities." There are no solos, no fixers or medtechs, etc. One's "class" will largely be determined by their chosen skills and proclivities. Additionally, there is a list of perks to help further customize each character.

Some modifications to the combat system are made to honor the "spirit" of the original PC game so many grew to know and love, with certain nods given in recognition of the more recent reboot. Major features include: a tactical cover system to encourage combatants to play it safe; mechanics for suppression to reflect that getting shot at will rattle a combatant in ways other than just getting hit and doing damage; an alternate damage system that allows for heroic (or lucky) survival in the face of overwhelming punishment and lastly, a more "tactical" feel to the move and action system.

Dramatis Personae

These are the primary actors (Player Characters) in the story of X-Com: Gray Dawn.

(Listed alphabetically)
Alonzo Jerome "AJ" Kamastafall...played by Jason

Brevet Captain Caesar "The Lion" Ramierez...formerly played by Dieter, now an NPC

Brock Jankins...formerly played by Scott, formerly an NPC, formerly played by Nate, once again an NPC

Douglas "Real Doug" Wilson...played by Dieter

Fauxglas "Doug" Wilson...formerly played by Dieter, now an NPC

Fayth Wilson...played by Rumi

Mal'K'Rettt (the last "t" is silent), AKA "Frank"...Played by Justin

Marie Curie "Curry" Kjelstad...formerly played by Anna, now played by Madison

Supporting Cast

The link above leads to a list of the supporting actors (NPCs) in the story of X-Com: Gray Dawn.

Research and Development Lab

The link above leads to a list of technologies the team has encountered, technologies currently available for research and items available for manufacture.

Alien Containment Facility/Xenopaedia

The link above leads to a list of various groups and factions the team has encountered, as well as containing information on any XTs interrogated or autopsied.

Arsenal of the Elma Resistance

The following is a working list of resources gathered by and/or available to the Elma Resistance. This does not include personal gear owned or in the specific possession of the players or NPCs.

Miscellaneous Gear

Current Projects

This is a good place for the players to chime in and make notes of any particular projects or plans their characters might be working on, you know, in case the Ref loses the scrap of paper you wrote that secret note on three game sessions ago.

Research Projects:
Manufacturing Projects
Building/Facilities Projects
Public Relations Projects
Infrastructure Projects
Personal Projects
Miscellaneous Projects


Starting with our second game session, I began reciting to all the players a quick recap of the events of the previous game, told in the style of a serial radio program. I started off doing this because in my recent gaming experiences (as a player), it was too easy to forget what the hell was going on without a bit of a reminder, especially when a couple weeks or more had passed since we met last (I greatly appreciate the fact that our current group meets with such regularity, and I hope the trend can continue!) I haven't heard any complaints about eating up a few of the players' minutes at the beginning of each session while I talk at them, so I will probably continue until they tell me to shut up.

There is also the added advantage that this kind of prop/supplement for the players also gives me/us a relatively detailed written record of the PCs adventures.

Season One

Episode 1: Before the Gray: Dawn Cometh From Above
Episode 2: The Dawn Breaks
Episode 3: To Gray or Not to Gray
Episode 4: Gray New World
Episode 5: Operation Torchlight
Episode 6: Volare!
Episode 7: Shades of Gray
Episode 8: Gray Matters
Episode 9: Uneasy Alliances
Episode 10: The Delicate Art of Treason
Episode 11: The Last Suit You'll Ever Wear: Welcome to X-Com
Episode 12: The War Hits Home
Episode 13: Operation: Repo!
Episode 14: Mouths to Feed
Episode 15: Terror from the Deep
Episode 16: The Crawling Chaos
Episode 17: News from the Front
Episode 18: Faraday Cage
Episode 19: Recruitment Drive, part I
Episode 20: Recruitment Drive, part II
Episode 21: Recruitment Drive, part III
Episode 22: O Brother, Who Art Thou?
Episode 23: The Enemy You Know
Episode 24:(Season finale!) News from the Front, part II

Season Two

Episode 0: Training Day
Episode 1: Tranquility Lane
Episode 2: Strangers in A Strange Land
Episode 3: Back in the Saddle
Episode 4: No Place Like Home
Episode 5: 6/13/15

Project Covenant After Action Reports

01/31/14: Operation Torchlight
02/11/14: Operation Trespass
02/11/14: Operation Antidote
02/12/14: Operation Repo
03/03/14: Operation Final Mile
03/03/14: Operation Wounded Thief
03/03/14: Operation Blue Sky

The Doom Tracker

On the Horizon...

Gathering 'round the campfire and listening to the stories of the Elma Resistance is a fine way to pass the evening, but what do our heroes have in store for them next? Here, we can find clues as to where the story might take us next.

In next week's episode: