Last modified 4 years ago Last modified on 2016-01-30 19:14:03

CHRIS NOTE: While I get that we want pages to be generally humorous or at least entertaining to read, I generally tried to withhold comedy and sarcasm to ensure first that as a team we're all totally clear what the plan is. If everyone's good with it, I don't mind going back later and modifying to be in a more entertaining style, but for now I went with a more formal tone.

403 Aurelius 403 Aurelius is a Source Engine Total Conversion mod and experimental project by PSR. Taking place in the year 2021, our nameless protagonist? - an investigative reporter - acts on the instructions of an anonymous source and infiltrates the Harland Broadcasting Corporation HQ building. After some super-sleuthing around, they discover that there's additional layers to the corporation beneath the surface. Like an onion. And that the deeper you look, the more you want to cry. Like an onion.
Developer: PSR
Release Date: TBD
Writers: Jeff "JeffMOD" Lyons, Stephen Wimmer


403 Aurelius was initially thought up of as a way for PSR to run an open-development experiment without spending years on a full-scale project. As such, it is expected to be a relatively short mod.


Our protagonist? is an investigative reporter in the northern United States during the year 2021. She receives a tip from an anonymous source (MT) that a local media conglomerate, the Harland Broadcasting Corporation is undertaking an unspecified conspiracy. The two arrange a meeting, and Reporter is instructed to infiltrate the HBC HQ during the graveyard shift (using a disguise and equipment provided) to retrieve the evidence of the conspiracy.

Reporter makes her way to the accounting floor? where she finds evidence that HBC is laundering millions of dollars. Through further snooping through classified emails, she discovers reference to a secret door in a conference room to an area not shown on the building's blueprints.

Examining the referenced door, she discovers a large area? that appears to be a base of operations for Caecus Group, a terrorist organization thought to be stationed in Canada. While gathering evidence she learns that the group has become aware of her presence and Caecus troops have arrived to silence her. Aided by the MT's hacking skill, Reporter fights through the Caecus forces and escapes through the building's loading dock. Shortly after stepping outside, Reporter finds police surrounding the building and is taken into custody.


Mission List: Missions and Plot

The first half of the game focuses primarily on stealth and achieving objectives by infiltration. The player will need to gain access to secured areas of the building, avoid HBC's surveillance systems as well as night shift security guards patrolling the building, collect information about the company conspiracy and perform strange hacking tasks for the Mysterious Tipster.

The latter half is traditional, guns-blazing? FPS gameplay. Once the Caecus Group realizes what the player has discovered, the militant Caecus Troops are sent to the HBC headquarters, bent on taking down the player along with their secrets.


Related: Script

The year is 2021. An investigative reporter in an unspecified city in the northern United States receives a call from a mysterious tipster ("MT") who informs her of a conspiracy being undertaken by a local media conglomerate, the Harland Broadcasting Corporation. Being promised evidence of the conspiracy that MT's acquired, she agrees to meet MT in an unmarked van inside of the basement parking garage of the HBC HQ building for further discussion.

Upon arriving, however, she finds the MT isn't present in the van. A nearby emergency phone in the garage rings and Reporter answers it. MT explains that inside of the van they've left a supply cache. Reporter enters the van to find a bag containing an HBC IT employee disguise and an IT clearance keycard, as well as a custom hacked smartphone. The phone rings and MT explains that they weren't able to secure the evidence they'd promised, and that instead Reporter needs to follow their instructions to infiltrate the HBC HQ building and retrieve the evidence for herself. Reassuring that the evidence is worth the risk, MT explains that the IT disguise will allow her to move freely around some floors of building, and that the keycard will allow her to take elevators to some authorized floors. MT continues to explain that Reporter will need additional equipment - which he's dropped in a package located in the building's mail room - in order to gather the evidence.

After roaming the 1st floor? under the guise of IT, Reporter reaches the mail room, and begins opening random boxes until MT's admits his package is an envelope. Opening the envelope, she finds it contains a pair of non-consumer smart glasses? and a bootable USB drive. MT's explains to Reporter that the drive will allow them to access any HBC company servers it's plugged into, allowing them to disable or circumvent security when necessary.

Having been given instructions to access the main server in the IT Operations department on the 20th floor?, Reporter makes her way up the building, without arousing suspicion thanks to the IT disguise. Connecting the USB drive to the server, a backdoor is installed to the HBC company web server, giving MT access to the office's internal network, granting them access to some general security systems throughout the building, and allowing them to register Reporter's smart glasses as an approved company device on the building's wireless network. (CHRIS NOTE: lol.)

MT explains that the evidence Reporter wants is located on the 32nd floor? - accounting - but the IT disguise only authorizes access to floors 1, 20, and 25. In order to reach the floor unnoticed she'll need to go through areas she's not permitted to access overnight as an IT employee. Furthermore, security is making their rounds with the specific intent of checking up on her, and while they won't boot her from the building, won't allow her to leave the area, (CHRIS NOTE: Why is security alerted? Why won't they be suspicious if they're alerted? Why won't they allow her access to areas she's authorized to be? Is this supposed to make sense?) (JEFF NOTE: It's more of the guard is just doing his rounds, maybe making a special trip because he's a horndog and heard there was a lady present over the radio. You won't be allowed to go to floors you don't have security clearance for while security has their eye on you, because it's kind of their job to make sure that doesn't happen. Perhaps if you don't follow MT's instructions fast enough the guard chats you up for a while, then goes to wait by the elevator/stairwell to escort you downstairs for a coffee, giving you a second chance to escape through the floor.) so she'll have to find a way around them. Following instructions from MT, she traverses the false floor in the server room and climbs down through the ventilation network to reach the mechanical floor? which contains maintenance access to an elevator shaft. Using the elevator shaft, Reporter climbs into an elevator and rides to the 25th floor?, the only remaining area her IT disguise authorizes her access to.

After sneaking around HBC security and climbing floors in the building, Reporter reaches the 32nd floor. Snooping around on the floor she discovers logs of huge amounts of money flowing through the company with unexplained origins. She takes to examining confidential emails where she discovers not only evidence of but also direct references to money laundering within HBC as well as a hidden entry point to a secret part of the floor, hidden in the executive conference room.

MT claims to be examining building blueprints, and that floor plan shows nothing in the referenced area (CHRIS NOTE: Perhaps instead the documented floor plan could be entirely different than actual floor?) (JEFF NOTE: Could be better. More room for us.). Searching the conference room, Reporter stumbles across a hidden staircase leading into the undocumented area. (CHRIS NOTE: How come you writer guys didn't include any details regarding this super important area (barring an implied execution) in the original documentation? FIRED.) (JEFF NOTE: Well there's more now. Happy?)

Investigating the area, Reporter gradually learns that HBC is a front for Caecus Group, and that this largely undocumented floor is actually a base of operations for the group, containing a soundstage for propaganda and broadcasted execution (which contains a fresh body), a holding cell, a control room for coordinating operations, a compact, soundproofed firing range, and multiple small combination office/quarters, as well as secret entry points and an elevator not marked on blueprints or floor plans. As Reporter collects evidence, MT realizes Caecus has discovered her intrusion and that troops are arriving to give her the ol' shooty shooty. (CHRIS NOTE: Been holding humor to ensure clarity, but this one's staying.) MT sends Reporter's smart glasses a combat-oriented firmware update shortly before Caecus troops cut the building's power.

With the power out, MT can't assist Reporter with security measures, so she's instructed to make her way to the rooftop? to restore power to the building by activating the backup generator. (CHRIS NOTE: Does that second half really make sense?) (JEFF NOTE: Added the bit we decided on about the backup jenny. Does it work now?) Fighting through the troops, she restarts power to the building, reconnecting MT to the network. MT begins using HBC's security against the Caecus troops to keep as many of them out of Reporters path as possible.

Fighting back down to escape the building, Caecus takes further measures to ensure Reporter can't escape and disables elevators and begins barricading stairwell, leaving her with no way to leave the dining floor or escape the building. With Reporter trapped and fending off troops, MT begins searching blueprints for an escape plan. They piece together that an unmarked corner on each floor of the building must be the secret express elevator for furtive access to the Caecus segment of the building. MT informs Reporter of a Caecus supply cache containing trooper explosives which she can use to blow a hole in the elevator shaft wall. MT remotely calls the elevator to the dining floor allowing Reporter to escape the floor.

During the elevator ride down, MT admits that they didn't really need Reporter beyond accessing the initial main server, and that they only continued to work with her because she was a good cover for them. MT reasons that Reporter shouldn't hold hard feelings because now she has the biggest story she could possibly ask for. Reporter escapes through the building's loading dock, only to be blinded by floodlights waiting outside. The city's law enforcement has surrounded the building, and begin to take Reporter into custody. MT downloads the evidence Reporter gathered from her smartphone, and then wipes the device, leaving her to her fate. (CHRIS NOTE: What a dick.)



  • The original idea for the story stems from JeffMOD's floor in TWHL Tower, an unrelated Half-Life 1 mod.

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