I want a simple cyberpunk game; one that isn't just gun/gear porn or two completely different roleplaying games that you play at the same time (the hacker doing things and everybody else doing things) I've been waiting for this for a couple of years, but I'm not hopeful that I'll see it anytime soon. A few years ago I did a Shadowrun conversion for Stars Without Number, but in retrospect I'm not at all happy with it. I'm also thinking I want something modular that starts out more like Cyberpunk 2020, with the elves/magic stuff from Shadowrun as an optional add-on.
Given my recent proclivity for Swords & Wizardry White Box, I started working on a write-up WB style.
I'll start with the classes: enforcer, face, and neuromancer. The enforcer is basically this game's version of the fighter. The face and neuromancer two approaches to having a rogue/thief type class; the face is more of a bard/social class with some traditional sneaky type thief abilities, whereas the neuromancer is meant to be more of a dungeon type thief. (The dungeon being the corporate megaplex or whatever) When you get right down to it, what does a thief do? Pick locks, find and disarm traps, make sneak attacks...and my neuromancer write up does the digital equivalent of these.
A note on "contacts," a column you'll see in the class writeups- rules for these are forthcoming, but here is the short version: characters can allocate points into contacts of various categories (criminal, dealers, etc) A character can call in a favor from a contact by rolling the contact number or less on a d6.
I had originally planned to have the neuromancer's programs work like spells, but that made zero sense and renaming/reflavoring all the spells started to get tedious. On the other hand, perhaps I could introduce a saving throw-based mechanic to determine if the programs are effective. Some of the spells could be repurposed to work as 'realspace hacks,' like turning hold person into a program that can paralyze someone with cybernetic limbs or an exoskeleton.
I had also considered a fourth character class, the hijacker, based on the Shadowrun concept of the rigger. This is a specialized hacker who essentially takes over drones/vehicles. I had planned to use the turn undead tables as a basis for their attempts to invade and control those systems. Perhaps I should give the ability to the neuromancer, using the character's level vs. the complexity of the system, measured roughly in HD.
My two main concerns with the first draft are thus: that the neuromancer doesn't have enough to do in realspace (although this has proven to be a problem in both early editions of Shadowrun and in Cyberpunk 2020), that the face is too unfocused, and that the enforcer is boring. (This, of course, parallels the argument that playing a plain ol' fighter is boring.) Any thoughts are welcome...
JB, your thoughts are especially welcome due to your work on Cry Dark Future.
Below are the first draft write ups for the three main classes.
Some call them street samurai, some call them solos, but enforcers are the muscle of the underworld, specializing in violence.
Level XP Hit Dice BHB ST Contacts
1 0 1+1 +0 16 1
2 2,000 2 +1 15 +1
3 4,000 3 +2 14 +1
4 8,000 4 +2 13 +1
5 16,000 5 +3 12 +1
6 32,000 6 +4 11 +1
7 64,000 7 +4 10 +1
8 128,000 8 +5 9 +1
9 256,000 9 +6 8 +1
10 512,000 10 +6 7 +1
Enforcer Class Abilities
Weapon/Armor Restrictions: Enforcers are able to use any weapons or armor.
Combat Machine: Against enemies of one Hit Die or fewer, Enforcers get one attack per level each combat round.
Saving Throw: Enforcers receive +2 to saving throws vs. death
Specialization: Enforcers receive a +1 to hit with either ranged weapons or melee weapons. This bonus is chosen at character creation and cannot be changed.
XP Bonus: Enforcers receive XP bonus for either a high strength score or a high dexterity score. This is chosen at character creation and cannot be changed.
Faces are social chameleons, able to navigate the various factions of the underworld. Well-connected and suave, they gain information the old-fashioned way.
Level XP Hit Dice BHB ST Contacts Talents
1 0 1 +0 14 3 4
2 1250 2 +0 13 +1 +2
3 2500 2 +1 +1 12 +2 +2
4 5000 3 +1 11 +1 +2
5 10000 3+1 +2 10 +2 +2
6 20000 4 +2 9 +1 +2
7 40000 4+1 +3 8 +2 +2
8 80000 5 +3 7 +1 +2
9 160000 5+1 +4 6 +2 +2
10 320000 6 +4 5 +1 +2
Face Class Abilities
Weapons/Armor: Faces prefer light weapons, but can use medium ones as well. They likewise prefer light armor but can wear medium. They don't use heavy arms or armor.
Saving Throws: Faces gain +2 to any saving throw against an effect that would confuse, deceive, or charm them.
XP Bonus: Faces get an experience bonus for having a high charisma score.
Talents: Faces are skilled in carousing and deception. At first level, they can use the following talents. The base chance of success for each is 1 in 6, though they gain 4 points to spend on raising talents. Faces also gain 2 extra points each level to raise whichever talents they choose. A talent with a 6-in-6 chance can only fail if two consecutive 6's are rolled.
-A Thousand Faces: A face can also use this ability to disguise themselves, though posing as a specific individual usually won't work if scrutinized by someone who knows the impersonated individual.
-Face in the Crowd: Faces can blend into a crowd or highly public area, becoming impossible to spot unless they attack or otherwise give themselves away. They can follow individuals through a crowd without being detected so long as they stay a reasonable distance back and don't call attention to themselves.
-Fast-Talk: Faces are masters of talking their way out of situations. On a successful roll, the face is able to shift an NPCs reaction one way or the other: hostile NPCs can become neutral, neutral can be friendly, etc. This cannot be done in combat.
-Skulk: Faces can move around without making much noise or being noticed. They must have reasonable cover or low lighting to use this ability.
-Sticky Fingers: The face can pick pockets, palm objects, plant things on someone, or otherwise perform feats of prestidigitation.
Strange Luck: Faces get by on wits, luck, and treachery. They may re-roll one attack roll or saving throw per game session.
Level XP Hit Dice BHB ST Contacts Hacking
1 0 1 +0 15 2 4
2 1500 1+1 +0 14 +1 +2
3 3000 2 +0 13 +1 +2
4 6000 2+1 +1 12 +1 +2
5 12000 3 +1 11 +2 +2
6 24000 3+1 +1 10 +1 +2
7 48000 4 +2 9 +1 +2
8 96000 4+1 +2 8 +1 +2
9 192000 5 +2 7 +1 +2
10 384000 5+1 +3 6 +2 +2
Neuromancers Class Abilities
Weapons/Armor Restrictions: Neuromancers are techies, not fighters. They can employ only light weapons and light armor.
Saving Throw: Neuromancers receive +2 on any saving throw vs. technology
Implants: Neuromancers begin with a Data Jack, free of charge.
XP Bonus: Neuromancers receive an XP bonus from having a high intelligence attribute.
Hacking: With a cyber-rig, neuromancers can attempt the following actions within a system. The neuromancer must be jacked in to the network and have a grid-capable device on hand. Each task generally takes only a single combat round.
-Crack- The neuromancer can gain access to a restricted system or open a secured door in realspace.
-Decrypt- The neuromancer can decode data nodes and copy, delete, manipulate, or otherwise meddle with information. Failure to decrypt often triggers security measures.
-Killer- If undetected, a neuromancer can launch a surprise attack against an IC program or an enemy neuromancer. On a successful check, the neuromancer makes the attack roll at +4 and inflicts double damage. On a failure, the neuromancer can still make an attack, but the bonus is only +2 and inflicts normal damage.
-Spoof- The neuromancer becomes undetectable by IC and enemy neuromancers, unless they reveal themselves via an attack or are detected by sniffing.
-Sniff- Find enemy IC and spoofed runners in the same node.
-Spring- The neuromancer can disable security systems or traps on realspace by accessing their interfaces through the grid.
Each task begins with a 1 in 6 chance of success. Neuromancers receive 4 points to distribute among their tasks, and an additional two points with every earned experience level after 1st. The maximum value for a task is 6-in-6. In this case, the neuromancer fails only if they roll two consecutive 6's on a d6.