Rebel Runners – Mod Story Idea

9th May 2008

Rebel Runners

I have decide to publish an idea I have been playing with on and off for a while but now realize I have little chance of completing.

I have done this in the hope that somebody with the required skills and motivation will choose to work on it.

I have little doubt that there are some technical challenges that need to be solved before it can be completed but those challenges are not insurmountable.


I started with the premise that it can be hard for mod makers to create mods that told stories because finding voice actors can be difficult. Of course there are other ways of telling stories rather than voice actors but in general it’s the best way.

The simplest solution would be to find voice actors and offer their services and that’s exactly what The Turbine Collective hopes to do. But I wanted something more than just a list of voice actors, I wanted something integral to Half-Life itself. Something with its own story and even its own mini-mod.

I kept thinking about solutions and eventually created the concept below.

Background Story

Colonel Babbage is a veteran of the Seven Hour War. He has seen first hand the destruction the Combine can reek. All of his friends and family have been killed or taken away for questioning, never to be seen again.

As a rebel he has also seen how communication between various rebel groups is of vital importance. Radio and other forms of electronic communication have been intercepted too many times and the Rebel Command charged him with finding alternative solutions.

Various attempts were made to pass messages between groups but most failed, until one day an idea popped into his head.

Why not try verbal messages delivered in person?

A swift, agile and lightly armed rebel could be warped into the approximate region and the runner could then do the rest. The messages would of course be encrypted, with only a few people knowing the encryption. The encryption was actually quite simple but because the Combine were always looking for sophisticated methods the encryption alluded them.

A few trials and the method proved more successful than every method tested so far. The only problem was the accuracy of the portals. Runners often found themselves quite a way awya from the intended zone and had to cross dangerous territory to reach the destination.

Portals had of course been tried before but the Combine had somehow developed the ability to listen in on the transmissions. That’s why a simpler method was needed.

The Colonel was given authority to set up a base hundreds of miles from any Combine Facility and for a time even considered using Black Mesa but decided against it. Eventually a small coastal fishing village was chosen and the required equipment installed at great personal cost to the rebels.

From his base Colonel Babbage commands a small group of technicians and a group of volunteer runners. Who take chances with their lives many times per day.

Volunteers are getting fewer and fewer and hopefully the arrival of this Freeman character can make a difference. He seems to have done a lot of damage already and taken the heat of his runners. The Combine had to focus their efforts on neutralizing him as quickly as possible.

Actual Use

The idea was to find a small group of dedicated voice actors who would record various scripts requested by mod makers. During their mod a rebel runner could appear and pass on information to the player. This runner would then exit the scene and disappear.

Now, because I wanted to add a little humour I decided that the portals should be too accurate. It fitted with the general feeling that using portals in Half-Life 2 was never really controlled. This would allow the runners to appear in strange situations without seeming too contrived. It would also allow the runner to have a small collection of funny lines, that would be mod specific.

In fact mod makers could use the runners even if they didn’t have specific information to give.

In Depth

I hoped that custom rebels could have been made, along with a new texture for the rebel suit. Almost like a tracksuit. I even dreamt that custom animations could have been made to allow the runners to run and jump in a more natural way. These rebels only carry a pistol because their primary role is get in and get out. They are not supposed to stop and fight, just pass messages on.

Each voice actor would have their own character who could be developed slowly. Perhaps adding personal information occasionally. Stuff like, “Hey Freeman. Have you seen my brother? Short Brown hair, about so high, smiles a lot – dumb ass? He is supposed to be around here. Anyway, if you see him say Jack said good luck, and remind him he owes me money. Thanks”

Playable Level

I even planned a detailed mini-mod that would allow Freeman to encounter the Rebel Runners and visit the base. This would allow me to explain to players who the runners were and why they started to appear. I feel that this is quite important because otherwise a player might be a little confused.


Anyway, there you have it, 90% of the idea. I still have the details of the level if anybody expresses a serious interest in taking this project idea on.

Hopefully The Turbine Collective will become successful but I would still definitely like to see Rebel Runners made.


  1. with only a few people knowing the encryption…. With only certain people knowing parts of the encryption…One of your jobs.. To keep them alive because you don’t who knows what.

    It would be a killer mod… I’ll hope… One day you may find the time…

  2. Sounds like a cool idea, if the rebels started to use that form of comunication. It would be something I would put in a mod I make.

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