The Velvet Diner, ‘Jump-chan’ and Universal Drawbacks
I awaken to find myself sitting in a small, classy cafe. Confused, I look around worriedly. I am the only one here, and yet it doesn't feel lonely. The decor is dominated with various shades of blue, the lights, chairs and tables the only occasional splash of white. In the background, a blues-y version of a familiar, slow song plays, with a nice guitar replacing the usual operatic female voice, making the place seem less oppressive and more inviting. The sound of someone clearing their throat catches my attention, startling me and causing me to turn around quickly to see the source. A young, lean, androgynous person with pale skin, white hair and golden eyes is standing beside my table. They are dressed as a waiter, a blue bow tie on blue and black long-sleeved shirt, a half apron on their waist and a slight smile on their features complete the look as they hold out several laminated menus. Emblazoned across the top of each in elegant calligraphy is the word 'CHAIN'. "Welcome, Sir, to your own personal Jumpchain." They say in a soothing tenor, still not hinting one way or the other on their gender. "I shall be your 'Jump-chan' for the length of your journey. Since you already seem familiar with the process, I shall skip the exposition and instead leave the rules on the wall for review later. Instead, I am to inform you that you have a lovely array of choices for Drawbacks that will affect the entirety of your Jump. You may even replace me with another 'Jump-chan' should you so wish." Glancing down at the menus, I contemplate how to take advantage of the Universal Drawback Menu.
Single-Shot (+100 CP) Death is no longer a revolving door for your Companions. Companions that die in a Jump stay dead until the end of the Jump, rather than respawning after a day or three. If they have a Perk, Power, or Item that allows them to respawn (a 1-up), that works as normal. If you have Rez abilities, you can use them, though it is actively draining to do so. Incompatible with All By Yourself or Kidnapper-San. All your Companions gain 100 CP automatically every jump this is active for. If taken with Hate Squad, they gain an additional 200 CP every jump, just to annoy you more. If a companion is not imported, they cannot get freebies or origins. If you don’t have any current companions, this cannot be taken as a Jump Drawback.
One and Done (+100 CP) Your Companions don’t respawn at all without a Perk, Power, or Items that allows them to. This must be a Perk, Power, or Item they own. Once they die in a Jump, just like you, they’re dead (insert Dead Parrot Joke here). Requires and Replaces the effects of Single-Shot. This gives any Companions you have an extra 300 CP automatically every jump (in addition to whatever CP they may or may not receive for being imported). Cannot be taken with Hate Squad. If not imported, they cannot get freebies or origins.
One Life to Lose (0) If a Companion dies (beyond medically dead) they are returned to their reality of origin and can only be reclaimed via Return or by successfully earning your spark. This increases the Companion reward from One and Done to 600 CP per jump. Powers, Perks, and Items must stop them from dying in the first place to be effective. This grants your companions a form of low grade plot armor. They will not die randomly to accidents, casual sickness, age related complications, etc. Only deliberate action or plot level complications (a plague for instance) will kill them. Cannot be put on Hiatus if it’s a Chain Drawback.
Limited Access (+100 CP) You can only access your Warehouse once a month. If this is Chain Drawback, you also gain a one time +10 Warehouse Points. Replenishing stocks of things, such as Food Supply and Ammo Supply items you’ve purchased are exempted from this and you’ll receive a daily or weekly allowance wherever you’re staying. Destroyed or lost items will respawn in your warehouse as normal.
Really Limited Access (+50 CP) You can instead only access your Warehouse once a year. Requires and Modifies the effects of Limited Access. If this is a Chain Drawback you gain another +20 Warehouse Points. Replenishing Stock items still function as per Limited Access.
Trouble Magnet (+200 CP) Bad things will always cluster around you. Things will not go smooth. There is a +10% cumulative chance per week of something personally happening to you, The Jumper, that will personally inconvenience or annoy you. Thus if you have the base, the chance each week is 10%, but if nothing happened to you in week 1, there’s a 20% chance in week 2, and a 30% chance in week 3. This resets to the baseline once something bad happens to you.
Cannot Into Drop (Special) You cannot be a Drop-In… ever. In exchange, you gain a 50% discount on any origin that costs more than 100 and can take any 100 CP or less origin for free. If the jump has 2 origin types (Race and Occupation perhaps), this applies to only whichever one has the drop-in option for that jump. If the Jump has no Drop-in options or only drop-in options, this has no effect. You may treat any two Drop-In perks or items as if they were discounted for you in each jump. Chain-Only. Putting this on Hiatus costs you 300 CP.
Coin Flip (+50 CP) Every jump you must flip a coin to see if you’re male or female. Such sex-changes are free but cannot be bought off with CP for any reason. All alt-forms become the assigned sex if possible. Voluntary Gendershifting doesn’t change your actual sex, merely your outward appearance. If a form belongs to a single sexed race (Asari, Hutt… Dwarves?), obviously this doesn’t apply. Chain-Only.
Drawback Keeper (Variable) Is there a drawback in a specific jump you really really like? Do you think it would provide a recurring source of amusement or annoyance? Then you can keep it. The amount of CP you gain is based on how profound the effect is. If the drawback in question is a toggle (+0), you have to pay 50CP from this supplement to maintain it. If it’s something easily dealt with or ignored, you can maintain it for -50% of its initial value (+100’s become +50’s, +200’s become +100’s, etc.). If it’s an ongoing irritant or challenge to overcome you can maintain it for -50 CP off it’s original value. If the Drawback is something setting specific, it will always adapt to the new reality. It cannot be a drawback that gives you a bonus for completing the jump it is contained within, nor anything else covered elsewhere in this supplement… even if keeping it would give you less points than buying it here. You do not get these CP until the jump after the one where you picked up the Drawback in Question… and you must have taken it in that jump. At the end of any given jump, you may drop a kept Drawback… but once dropped, it cannot be resumed without finding a new jump to gain a similar drawback in, or using a Return or Sequel jump to return to where you got it originally. Each Drawback preserved takes its own drawback slot.
Making my selection, the menus are taken away, replaced instead with a thick catalog of various worlds. "Excellent choices. Please remember that you will not get points for the Companion Drawbacks until you have companions. Nor will Drawback Keeper be valid until you keep a Drawback. I shall remind you of the latter between Jumps. Also, Sir, do not worry about missed opportunities. You will be able to access these Menus again whenever you wish. Now then, since you have not chosen to replace me with any of my counterparts, where shall we go?" Looking around curiously, I cannot help but ask my gracious server that had been niggling at my mind since arriving at this place. "Excuse me... um... Jump-chan, but is there an Igor here?" My Jump-chan blinks, before giving me an amused smile and shaking their head. "No, Sir. This is merely an extension of your inner mind and soul. This is not the true Velvet Room. Though I must say, it certainly has a sense of refinement to it, does it not?" Another patient smile before they motion to the catalog before me once more. Grinning, I already have a place in mind. Opening the catalog, I start flipping through it, the entire thing thankfully kept in alphabetical order. Finding the right page, I tap my finger on it, causing my Jump-chan to nod and motion me to follow them. We leave the cozy cafe and enter a plain white room. Various screens open up, detailing choices... while a large electronic counter can be seen above it all. 1400 CP. "When you are finished, simply walk through the door on the other side of the room. I shall see you after ten years." With a deep bow, they walks back through to the cafe, the door closing behind them and vanishing as if it didn't even exist. Looking to the decisions that lay before me, I grinned and started to craft my very own Superhero.
To be continued…