by Gary Astleford
"What's Trinity? Combine the worst of all the evil televangelist ministries on the planet (estimated net worth on the order of billions), throw in a dash of cutthroat corporate ethics (extraction teams who work for the Lord), mix in Valley Bible Death Camps and razorwire towers, a cruciform data fortress staffed by pro-level born-again netrunners, and you're starting to hear the word of Jesus Christ. Can you say Amen, brother?"
-- Jody Morris, aka Virtue
Trinity originally started out as an enemy in an old campaign I ran based on Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime. After that, it became a very vague, yet compelling, presence in my Cyberpunk universe. I'd dismissed it for several years, not thinking anything more of it until the "Coke Madness" game, which happened sometime in mid-1994.
Most of my ideas for Trinity came from events in the news, including Jim Baker and the PTL. Lots of evangelical types added to my brainstorming. I mean, here you've got this completely screwed up society. Modern (ie, 90's) Christians are thinking that it's so bad now, the Rapture is coming any day. So what do these people do when things get worse? They can either turn away from faith, or they can grab onto it tighter, like a drowning man on one of those floating hot dogs.
TRINITY"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"Trinity - Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian Church
-- Isaiah 5:20
Headquarters: Night City, NorCal Regional Offices: New York, NY; Miami, FL; Los Angeles, SoCal; Denver, CO; Austin, TX; Seattle, WA; Mexico City, Mexico;London, England;Toronto, Canada Troops: 500 Total Employees: 60,000 Covert Operatives: 120 Resources: 7 Private Jets, 15 AV-4's, 2 AV-6's, 4 Passenger Helicopters, more than 100 ground vehicles. Symbol: A cross with a flame burning from the top.
HISTORY"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
-- Genesis 1:1
Trinity started out innocently enough as a small church, serving a small community in Southern California, in 1998. Over time, the congregation grew, drawn by the sermons of the pastor, John Tier. Tier was a wholesome man, married, and the father of three handsome sons. He taught that the corruption of the earth was so intolerable that God would soon show the righteous the way home, to Heaven. The Rapture was coming, he warned, and all the faithful should rejoice because they would soon be released from their pain.
One night, he awoke from a dream in which God had spoken to him. The Lord had told him to protect his flock, and that one day soon, when the might of the stars would rain upon the earth, salvation would be theirs. He preached of his dream, and his following grew closer to him. From that point on, he would end every sermon by saying, "...and now, let us wait - and pray. Amen."
In the following years, he became more and more unstable, unflinchingly believing in his vision, and watching the skies for the sign. Most of the congregation became disturbed at what their pastor had become, and left to find their solace elsewhere. A handful of loyal converts stayed, however, including Tier's oldest son, David. Tier's wife filed for divorce in 2004, unable to cope with her husband's vision. His two other children would not see him.
David stayed by his side as the man grew older, his obsession growing with him. Then, one evening in 2008, the ESA dropped a large rock on Colorado Springs. The son came to his father, telling of the sign from above, but John Tier had already seen, and had gone to meet his maker. Only the hint of a smile on his careworn face betrayed the man's feelings at the time of his death. He had been overjoyed.
The remaining congregation, a group of fourteen lost and lonely souls, came uncalled for to Tier's house. What they found was David weeping over his father. When at last they calmed him, he explained that John was the purest among them, and that God had forsaken them for the brilliance of his father's soul. Something had gone wrong, and they were being punished. They spent the rest of the evening on their knees, praying to be forgiven.
It was that night when David had his own prophetic dream. In it, his father came to him, dressed in white. "My son," he said. "All is right with you. The Lord still needs your vision so that you can take the Word to the rest of the world. Take only those who are loyal and good among you, and use Satan's weapons against him, for the good of Heaven's Kingdom."
When David awoke, dripping sweat, he was a changed man. His father had shown him the path and the light, and he wasn't about to pass up his own chance at redemption. Of his father's few remaining followers, David told five of his vision. Together, they vanished for a time, resurfacing in 2016, in Night City.
David, preaching the word of God, cried out to the dispossessed and the lost. Night City was a hotbed of sin, an evil den of wickedness, and through his word they could find the light that they so desperately needed. It was amazing at how fast his calls, first in the streets, and later over the radio airwaves (KTRN), attracted followers, hungry for escape from the world that had sprung up around them.
Within two years, Trinity had grown from David and his five disciples preaching scripture in the streets to an organization with nearly 120,000 members, with more every week. They had erected a "worship center" in Night City's gaslamp district, bought their own television and radio stations, and opened various regional centers nationwide, as well as three in other countries (one in London, another in Toronto, with the third in Mexico City).
In the year 2020, Trinity has nearly 2.2 million members worldwide, every single one of them sending a tithe each month. While the majority of the populace views Trinity as just another evangelist camp, there are a few who view Trinity as a dire threat. Little do they know of what goes on behind those closed doors when the bell stops tolling...
RELIGIOUS BELIEFS"Then Jesus said unto them, My time is not yet come: but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil."
-- John 7:6-7:7
David Tier preaches a unique form of apocalyptic Christianity. The world is ending, he says, but unlike rats aboard a sinking ship, the faithful can be saved from the darkness that awaits everyone else. While the message he sends out is undoubtedly gloomy, it still sells well to the oppressed masses who search for any glimmer of hope as if it were a treasure to cling to. Tier uses this desire to motivate his followers. He cites daily events in his sermons, showing in his own twisted logic that God is at work, bringing about the end of mankind.
Standard Judeo-Christian values are honored (ie, Ten Commandments), but with the times have come new strictures that Trinity members are expected to adhere to. For one, the use of cyberware in any form is strictly forbidden. While the cause for this is uncertain, it is believed that it stems from the fact that Revelations 21:8 condemns the "abominable", and Tier frequently refers to cyberware and cyborgs as "...abominations in the eyes of almighty God. They [cyberware] will not serve you in the glory of the Afterlife." Whatever the reason, new members are required to have all cyberware removed and destroyed before full access to Trinity benefits is made availiable.
Second, since cyberware isn't permitted, niether is cyberspace. All forms of direct access to the cyberspace network are shunned. Tier explains that cyberspace is necessary to maintain links to the rest of the world, but its uses should be restricted to spreading the word of God. Tier has made comments from time to time that "perdition waits for us there [in cyberspace]...it is easy to lose ourselves there. It is not a divine creation, but one made by man in his quest for godhood." He has also stated that opening oneself to the matrix also opens oneself up to possession by demons.
Lastly, Trinity rejects all corporate influence. This has made Tier very few friends in the business community. He has rejected many gratuities aimed at earning his tolerance, stating that "A true servant of God cannot be bought like a whore." While his words are strong and his accusations many, most corporations keep a wary eye looking his way in case he slips too far out of line. Tier is far too large in the public eye to be liquidated without discretion, and he knows it.
THE GLORY OF THE COMING OF THE LORD"And I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him apon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."
-- Revelation 19:11-19:14
While outwardly showing a mask of serene purity, Trinity is (to some) a den of vipers. Trinity is in command of some of the best, most dedicated, and faithful agents availiable. Most of them are wired into discreet cyberware, giving them an edge in any situation requiring them to smite down anyone in their way. David rationalizes this use of cybernetics by what his father told him in his vision: "...use Satan's weapons against him..." These agents are divided into isolated cells, each with its own specialized purpose (ie, security, retirement, retrieval, etc.). There are usually between 4 and 6 agents in each cell, although some have as many as 16 members, while others have as few as 2.
Trinity's netrunning staff is feared just as much, if not more, than its covert sections . These runners are simply some of the best, most trained from childhood and brainwashed with the Blood of Christ. Tier teaches them that cyberspace is where the final battles will be fought, and he refers to it as the "eternal sea" that the Beast will rise from. These cyberspace paladins are typically active at all hours of the day, scouring the net for rumor of the coming war. Tier sees them as his front line against those who would corrupt and destroy his flock.
It is not uncommon for people who publicly oppose Trinity to disappear, die mysteriously, or become financially destroyed. While no evidence ever points to Trinity's involvement, Tier is fond of using such events to show his congregation what God will do to those who don't believe.
RESOURCES"For wisdom is defence, and money is a defense: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it."
-- Ecclesiastes 7:12
"But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money."
-- Acts 8:20
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
-- I Timothy, 6:10
Trinity is very nearly a corporate entity in its very size and scope. It offers its patrons very little in the way of physical materials, but it does sell something that no other corporation can offer: everlasting life. While this sounds rediculous to some, it sells very well to those who have nothing left to lose. Trinity doesn't actively campaign for donations, buy it does require that each member that can afford it must donate 10% or less of their income to the cause ("It's like buying stock in a corporation, with much higher returns." - D. Tier). Though a good deal of this money is put towards Trinity's maintenance costs, building shelters for the homeless, feeding and clothing the poor, and spreading the gosphel, a small percentage is funnelled into security, as well as research and development.
Trinity controls a small army of operatives, armed with state of the art weaponry and modifications. These agents are rarely (if ever) used for covert operations, and when they are, Trinity makes sure that they are deniable. Most operations are clandestine. These agents know this very well, and believe they are doing God's work. In addition to the church's solos, it owns several private jets, a slew of AV's, and a fleet of ground vehicles. These vehicles and security teams are scattered throughout the national and international offices that Trinity controls. In addition, it also controls several radio stations (KRTN 102.5 fm in Night City), and its very own television network which is beamed into every house by a series of sattelites in geostationary orbits around the globe. It is rumored that there has been talk of attempting the construction of a Trinity branch in orbit, but this has not been confirmed.
PROFILES"And of thy mercy cut off mine enemies, and destroy all them that afflict my soul: for I am thy servant."
-- Psalms 143:12
As previously stated, Trinity has nearly 2.2 million followers worldwide. Within this large group, only a handful know of its true power and motivations. Those that work for Trinity put it first on their list of priorities. Following are stats and notes on individuals involved with Trinity, as well as profiles of average Trinity agents.
David Tier, founder
Age: 40 Hair: Brown, going to Gray Eyes: Hazel Height: 5'10" Weight: 165 lbs
INT 8 REF 5 TECH 6 COOL 9 ATTR 7 LUCK 6 MA 6 BOD 5 EMP 9/8
Personal Grooming +5 Persuasion/Fast Talk +7 Wardrobe/Style +5 Accounting +5 Oratory +7 Awareness +3 Resist Torture/Drugs +3 Composition +6 Human Perception +8 Education/General Knowledge +6 Leadership +8 Teaching +6 Social +5 Expert: Christian Theology +8 Driving +2
Basic Hearing Module (HC 6), Radio Link (HC 1), Scrambler (HC .5), Tight Beam Radio Link (HC 2), Voice Stress Analyser (HC 1). Total HC: 10.5
David Tier is the founder of Trinity, as it stands today. He also acts as pastor, and preaches to his congregation daily on international television. He is an attractive man, with a calm face and steady eyes. His sermons are uplifting, and even unbelievers are amazed at his charisma and skill with words. Although he abhors cyberware in all it's forms, he has had a basic hearing module installed some time between 2008 and 2016. The radio in his head is used for communication between himself and the technical crew while he gives his sermons. He prefers to dress casually, in comfortable suits and ties, when among his flock. He believes that jewelry and expensive clothes are extravagant and the eyes of God see through such trappings.
Andy Anderson, security specialist assigned to Cyberspace Division
Age: 34 Hair: Short, Blond Eyes: Brown Height: 6' Weight: 185 lbs
INT 8 REF 6 TECH 6 COOL 8 ATTR 7 LUCK 6 MA 6/4 BOD 6 EMP 9/9
Interrogation +6 Shadow/Track +4 Oratory +4 Teaching +4 Streetwise +7 Athletics +2 Human Perception +6 Brawling +6 Interview +4 Driving +4 Leadership +4 Handgun +7 Persuasion/Fast Talk +6 Melee +2 Education/General Knowledge +4 Rifle +3 Library Search +5 Stealth +4
Neuralware Processor (HC 3), Chipware Socket (HC 2). Total HC: 5
Andy was a disturbed police officer in Night City when Trinity appeared on the scene. He had been wounded during a clean-up operation in 2017, and his broken leg healed poorly. He also suffered extreme guilt for his actions during the clean-up, feeling that the lives lost were somehow his fault. When Trinity set up shop, Andy went to one of Tier's sermons to see what the big deal was. After that, he quit his desk job at NCPD and began helping the Trinity group out with security. After a couple of years, he was in charge of keeping Trinity's netrunner population in line, making sure they were all stable and that net ops were running smoothly.
Average Security/Covert Operative
Age: Between 20 and 30
INT 7 REF 9/12 TECH 7 COOL 8 ATTR 6 LUCK 6 MA 8 BOD 8/10 EMP 8/4
Personal Grooming +2 Handgun +6 Wardrobe/Style +2 Heavy Weapons +2 Intimidate +5 Martial Art +4 Resist Torture/Drugs +5 Melee +5 Streetwise +4 Rifle +4 Awareness/Notice +6 Stealth +5 Shadow/Track +4 Submachinegun +6 Athletics +4 Driving +4 Electronic Security +4 Pick Lock +4
Neuralware Processor (HC 3), Sandevistan Boosterware (HC 1), Pain Editor (HC 6), Smartgun Link (HC 2), Muscle/Bone Lace (HC 1.5), Basic Cybereyes R+L (HC 4/HC 8), Targeting Scope R+L (HC 4), Anti-Dazzle R+L (HC 1), Microvideo R (HC .5), Times Square Marqee L (HC 1), Basic Hearing Module (HC 6), Radio Link (HC 1), Level Damper (HC .5), Rt. Cyberarm (HC 6) w/Realskinn Covering (HC -1.5), Thickened Myomar (HC 2), and Smartgun 2 Smartplate (HC 0, Chromebook 3). Total HC: 46.0
These are Trinity's grunts, police, and field operatives. They are as variable as the falling leaves, though, and the above statistics are a generalization. Most have had some form of military or security training. A few are actually street solos who have been born-again. Security operatives dress in somber suits and patrol the halls of the Trinity HQ, guiding lost patrons and removing troublesome ones. Covert agents either act as freelancers looking for work, or are already plants within corporations and government agencies.
While on duty, medium autopistols are favored. Trinity prefers its agents to use specialized ammunition depending on the circumstances. Medium submachineguns and shotguns are also preferred for close-in fighting. They are trained to be discreet, so silencers for those pistols and SMGs are standard equipment.
Age: Between 16 and 24
INT 9 REF 6 TECH 8 COOL 6 ATTR 6 LUCK 7 MA 6 BOD 6 EMP 8/8
Resist Torture/Drugs +4 System Knowledge +8 Accounting +6 Handgun +2 Awareness/Notice +4 Basic Tech +6 Education/General Knowledge +4 Cyberdeck Design +6 Library Search +6 Electronics +7 Programming +6 Electronic Security +7 Interface +8
Neuralware Processor (HC 3), Cybermodem Link (HC 1), Interface Sockets (HC 3), Chip Socket (HC 1.5). Total HC: 8.5
Trinity's netrunners make the whole carousel go 'round. If Trinity has accessed any information, the 'runners generally know about it. Trinity's datafort in Night City is constantly patrolled by at least four of these fellows working in shifts. Most of them are youngsters with an interest in Trinity that also showed a high proficiency with computers. Individuals will vary from the above mold in both their skills and abilities. Trinity is very tight when it comes to it's 'runners, since they tend to get more exposure to the evils of cyberspace and the devil-may-care attitude that most non-Trinity 'runners profess. They are also given routine psychological tests to make sure they haven't been "possessed" (ie, corrupted) by the "demons" (ie, ideas) in the cyberspace matrix.
These 'runners are supplied with the best equipment possible, depending on individual assignments, ability, and initiative. They never actually own any of their equipment. Expect them to use good decks (+3 Deck Speed, +6 Data Walls) most of the time, with a few using excellent equipment (+4 Deck Speed, +8 Data Walls) and the top echelon using top of the line hardware (+5 Deck Speed, +10 Data Walls).
USING TRINITY IN YOUR GAME
Any GM can use Trinity in their games. It is possible to use them as a villain, as I have done in past games. Or, for a real nice twist, the player characters can actually be part of a Trinity covert cell, doing the bidding of the Lord. Most of the time, though, I just use them for flavoring. I don't know what your religious beliefs are, or how you feel about this organization. However, religion has always been a part of human life, and I don't think that it'll be any different in 2020.