Tuesday, March 29, 2016

White Box Cyberpunk: Common Tasks V.3

Since I've revised the classes,  (see my earlier post from today) I'm also revising the "common activities" / tasks system. The basic idea is still swiped straight from Lamentations. A basic recap of the system:

Everyone has a base 1-in-6 chance to perform these tasks, with the following exceptions:
-Enforcers have a 2-in-6 for sneak attack.
-Neuromancers have a 2-in-6 for bypass and decrypt.
-The infiltrator may use the covert ops ability to replace acrobatics, bypass, climbing, decrypt, skulk,  slight of hand, and sneak attack. All of these tasks are essentially covered.

Each task has a linked ability score. Characters who have a score of 15 or greater in the linked ability score receive +1 to their score for that task.

Acrobatics   [Dex] - Used for balance, tumbling, jumping, and other such feats. A successful acrobatics check might allow a character to roll past an enemy, impose a penalty on an enemy's attack rolls, or other effects determined by the GM.

Bypass  [Int]- A character with a wireless device or electronic tools can use this skill to bypass doors, cameras, and other security measures. Failure may trigger the trap or alarm if there is one.

Climbing [Str]- The ability to make an ascent or descent without climbing gear. Failure might result in being unable to climb, getting stuck halfway, or falling, depending on the circumstances and the GM's discretion.

Decrypt  [Int]- The ability to unscramble downloaded data that has been encrypted.

Jury-Rig [Int]- The ability to make a quick and dirty repair; hotwire a car, patch up a damaged weapon, etc. These repairs are basic and temporary.

Medic |Int|- This is immediate first aid, meant to prevent characters from bleeding out.

Skulk  [Dex]- The ability to move quietly or hide in shadows.

Sleight of Hand [Dex]- The ability to palm objects, pick pockets, and other surreptitious tasks.

Sneak Attack [Dex]- When attacking a target that is unaware of the character's presence, a successful sneak attack roll grants the character a +4 to hit and will double the amount of damage rolled on the dice. On a failure, the character still receives +2 for the opponent being unaware. This can be used with a ranged weapon, but only out to the weapon's short range increment.

Perception [Wis]- This will allow a character to notice hidden things or observe minute details. (A humming invisible laser barrier, approaching guards, conversation on the other side of the door, etc)


  1. Should everyone at least have some chance of Influencing reactions of NPCs or is that different than the face's ability?

  2. Ok, devil's advocate time. Youve simplified your classes and gotren rid of the skill points they received before, and lost the skill monkey class as well. Why do you need theis skill list at all? Just say everyine has a 1 in 6 chance to try anything (or 2 in 6 as noted). Make them ability checks instead.

    1. @Nathan- I'm going to use a reaction roll table similar to old D&D (2d6, modified by spokesperson's charisma and other factors) The face's ability to shift NPC reactions is something you do after-the-fact, so a hostile NPC can be talked down to cautious or neutral, and a neutral NPC can be shifted into friendly status.

      Reese- I'm kind of going with the way things worked in old D&D for tasks such as listening at doors, forcing doors, searching, etc. Abilities are taken into account since they can potentially give a little bonus. I don't use raw ability checks in old D&D very much, but that's just kind of my style.
      That being said, I sometimes eyeball a character's ability scores to determine if they even need to make a roll at all.

    2. @Weig-
      Sorry, my response got cut short earlier and I meant to expand upon it - just hadn't gotten back here yet.
      "Ability Check" is a poor choice of words. Really, I meant to simply use a base 1-in-6 chance to try to do just about anything, and bump that with a +1 if the base ability behind that check is high enough. So, rather than spelling out abilities like Climbing, Skulking and Sneak Attack as you have up above, you leave it more nebulous.

      Player 1 (Enforcer): Since the two security guards are looking the other way, I'm going to try and sneak up behind them and knock him out with the butt of my assault rifle. Shooting him will be too noisy.
      Player 2 (infiltrator): I'll sneak up along with muscles here, and hit the other guard at the same time.
      DM: OK, a sneak attack is Dex-based. Player 1, you're Dex is a 15 so you'll have a 2-in-6 chance to sneak up on them. Player 2, as an Infiltrator with a 17 Dex, your chance is actually 3-in-6. Roll 'em and see if you got behind them undetected or not.

      Do the same with just about any "skill" check. Decide what ability in maps to (as above) but you wouldn't need your list of defined skills at all really.

      My point is that without any of the classes receiving skill points to improve the base chance as they level, you don't need to define the skills at all.

  3. @Laundry-
    I get what you're saying now. I like it. In Lamentations, the inspiration for this mechanic, they are defined as "common activities" and not "skills." There are even blank spots on the official character sheets for things that might be common activities in a given GM's particular campaign. We could say that my list is just a suggestion or an outline.

    I might also be taking sneak attack off the list and making it work a little bit differently; I'm not sure I like having two die rolls to activate it... just something to consider.

  4. I definitely know where you're coming from, having seen the LofFP system. Again, I just don't know that you need to spell out "common activities" if anyone can do them, and everyone has the same chances. Lamentations needed to spell them out since they could be improved, by the Specialist at least. Without any options to improve these in your version, I'm just not sure it's needed at all. For those two cases where a particular class starts at 2-in-6, you can add comment that to the class details.

    All that said, I do like the idea of letting readers know what are considered common activities in a cyberpunk setting. More along the lines of guidance, as in "here are some of the types of things a character can do, but this list is not exhaustive by any means..."

    It's been fun and interesting to see your evolving ideas for the game and how you incorporate reader feedback. I think one of the big reasons I don't make more progress with CHROME is the lack of interaction. I really should get more of my own ideas into the public at an early stage - via blog, on G+ or whatever.

    I'd also recommend you share these blog posts into the S&W community on G+. I'd bet you'll get some good feedback there to, rather than just from people who've found your blog. If JB hadn't linked back here from his blog, I'd have never known you were doing this.


    1. I'll take a look at the G+ community.

      I think I might let the list stand as a sample of common tasks and linked attributes. I still waver back and forth between putting some small improvement potential back in for the other classes. I briefly considered using a version of the task resolution system from Skyscrapers & Sorcery, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

    2. I have a copy of S&S, but didn't do more than glance at it yet - I should take a closer look.

      I like the idea of some improvement as well. Characters should get better, in general, as they advance - it's part of becoming more experienced at everything you do. Start at 1-in-6, up to 2-in-6 at 4th or 5th, and 3-in-6 at 8th or 9th? On top of the ability score and class-based bonuses, that seems sufficient.