CyberGeneration by JamieTheD
A Primer on Edition SlumpsOriginal SA post CyberGeneration: A Primer on Edition Slumps
So, what new gem am I going to unfurl? Well, that cover above should give you a clue. CyberGeneration, by R. Talsorian games, is a terrible game that nonetheless means well. Essentially, it was written because Cyberpunk 2020 had two problems:
1) It was Munchkin as fuck. Once players got past a certain point, very early in their careers, GMs had to escalate seriously, just to keep up with the players. As a result of this, the game is now considered a bit adversarial in Gming style. It is, but that's the basic reason why.
2) The 90s style of DMing had come into play, and so Marketing kept telling R Talsorian that a game about cyberpunk supersoldiers shitting on the Man was no longer good enough. There had to be drama , internal politics , and other things that copied the shit out of White Wolf and their particular brand of Goth Nookie attractors.
R Talsorian's answer? Let's have kids fight the Man instead. Kids form groups, so that takes care of the factions... but how about the Superpowers? Well, to answer that, a new “threat” was introduced: The Carbon Plague. The Carbon Plague is basically Grey Goo. But, for some magical plot related reason, it gives some kids between 7 and 19 a list of generic cyberpunk superpowers. Naturally, the Man (the Corporations, who now control the world properly ) don't particularly like this.
R Talsorian then threw it all in their new system (described as Saturday Night Skuffle, a play on their original rules system, Friday Night Firefight (aka the Reflex system)), put character generation as an In-Character thing, and called it a day.
Later, we're going to see why exactly this wasn't the best of ideas. Cyberpunk V 3.0, by the way, the game so bad I found my hardcopy in the “free to take” bin of the last UK GenCon, was also created as a direct response to CyberGen's (lack of) popularity.
Join me, then, as I explore why this had potential... but sucked so hard.
The Drama Before The (Drama) Storm (First Bits)Original SA post CyberGeneration: The Drama Before The (Drama) Storm (First Bits)
The book begins, not with a proper introduction, but a piece of lightly disguised setting fiction, and a comic. The comic already contains hints of the SEKRIT PLOT of CyberGen (Ais created and unleashed the Carbon Plague, because reasons.), but I'll let you see that for yourself ... What's important is that we're told, from the first page after the contents, what a drama ride we're going to be in for. I'll let it, like the comic, speak for itself .
Kaneda hit a new low after Tetsuo died
Then, once all that is out of the way, we're introduced to some terrible art (above), in which somehow Kaneda from Akira is now part of a gang of 80s reject graffiti artists, and the proper introduction begins. Here's what went down in the short 7 years between editions:
- The USA is now the ISA (Incorporated States of America). Nomads, Netrunners, all those lovely character classes you used to love breaking the rules with, are now hunted like dogs, fighting a guerilla war because they didn't manage to bring down the Corps. Somehow, despite every Cyberpunk and their mum having Wired Reflexes out the wazoo, and more guns than any ten National Guard armouries you know... individually.
- No more Eurocorps in the ISA, they all got kicked out before Amur'can concerns. The president (David Whindam) used to be a Corpse himself (of Biotechnica). Obviously, this reinforces the fact that all your hijinks in 2020 is now completely invalid. It didn't do a damn thing. Well done, you CP2020 players, you!
- There's this new thing called the Carbon Plague. As I said before, it's basically viral Grey Goo, and it kills anyone over twenty it infects. People under twenty either die, become Typhoid Maries, or... Change. Yes, with capital letters.
- The ISA can't control these kids (er, we'll see contradiction of this later), and so, it's hunting down the so-called CyberEvolved, and killing them, because reasons. You're one of those, and while before, you played pranks on the Man, and joined gangs because your parents sold out (real reason: Because Daddy didn't buy you a Cyber-Pony), you're now going to have to fight the Man. With your life at stake.
Good start, huh? We're then given an introduction, which tells us that character generation is going to be an in-character thing. There's also a sidebar, basically explaining what I said last update: That CP2020 players got OP, way too quickly, and that didn't fit the “theme” of Cyberpunk. And then the fun begins.
Morgan Blackhand, CyberEvolved Nanny With Big Guns
Grrr, Juves... Grrr, grr, grr, juves... grr.
The beginning scenario is always the same... you're teens, you're hunched around a Virtuality terminal (more on those later), the acid rain is running from the sky, and you're shit scared, because Corporate Security Police (CorpSec) are after you and all the other kids. Because reasons.
And then a figure takes shape in the V-Term, as you shakily dial the number you found (or got handed, or whatever). It's tall, beardy, looks like a cross between Chuck Norris and Snake Plissken, and wears a long black trenchcoat.
HEY, KIDS, IT'S MORGAN BLACKHAND! Remember him from last edition? Best Solo in the setting until you guys came along and stole all his guns/shot him with a railgun/he died saving you from Corpses? Well, he's back, and... no, not larger than life. He's basically going to yak at you a bit, and throw some words in your face that your characters know, but you don't. Here's the situation:
- You're being corralled by CorpSec because they think you have the Carbon Plague (you do), and they're basically rounding up all kids, everywhere, because they're (rightly) scared of getting' all Grey Goo'd.
- You and your YoBros (part of a YoGang), and the other members of other YoGangs (no, I'm not shitting you, this is what they call them) are going to have to get the hell to a safehouse.
This is the bit where you pick your YoGang, special faction skill, and starting equipment. We'll deal with that next time, and we'll deal with the history of Morgan Blackhand much, much later. Suffice to say, him and the bunch of Mary Sues from last time around are big players this time around too, but things have changed somewhat.
Where It Starts Breaking Down (YoGangs Part 1)Original SA post
Oh holy shit. Years ago in Shadis magazine I read some horrible ass fanfic about some teenage girl who gets infected by a "Carbon Plague" and grows boobs and the power to enslave people with a kiss, and ends up on the lam. I thought it was wholly original; I didn't realize that it was somebody else's universe.
Seeing as I have copies of Shadis hiding on my HD, I shall look that up, see how truly bad it is, and perhaps post a side update. But for now... More CyberGen for your delectation (I shall be posting more Hegemony later in the week... they're both hard to get through, but for different reasons. At least until we get to the pre-writtens, then it'll be *exactly* the same reason.
CyberGeneration: Where It Starts Breaking Down (YoGangs Part 1)
Bit late on the title there, bro...
So, YoGangs... they're basically your character type, and each has one gang specific skill, four pieces of equipment chosen from a list, and there are 18 of the little bastards in the core book alone. That's right, 18. You'll see why in a minute, because we're about to go through them... But first, the Code. The Code is the bunch of rules that all YoBros (no, there is no female equivalent, fuck you) follow, at least in the letter. Break or bend these three rules too much, and people stop helping you, because you're a dick.
1) You make a promise, back it the hell up. Easy one to follow, that.
2) Never betray a YoBro to the Man. Well, it's called the Machine in the game, but the basic idea is, don't sell your bros and such out, even to their nanny... except, er, how's the nanny a factor now that the kids are all being corralled or some such? We'll get to that later.
3) “Money isn't worth blood.” Well, some people would argue this one, but basically, don't care about money too much. As we'll see, this isn't a whole lot of an issue.
4) Never take from another Ganger without giving something back. This is the easy one to bend, and it seems to be flexibly interpreted. This is both a good and a bad thing, when you think about the wording...
Anyways, the YoGangs, in all their glory! Also their own slang to add to the slang already in the glossary! Oh, this is also the step where you pick your age. Remember, this is between 19 (at the upper end) and... 7. Yes, that's right, this game is perfectly fine with you being a 7 year old. We'll get to whether they're skeevy about this or not later on.
Each group will briefly be explained, with a pic of a normal dude or dudette of the group, the group's most retarded quote in their section, and the Borken Rating (Made by Professor Borken), a measure of how much they break the game over their knee from just this point.
"This doesn't make sense... they're right in the room with us..."
Most Retarded Quote: “We are total urban animals.”
ArcoRunners are kids who, because they're geeky as fuck, love Arcologies. They love them so much they explore them top to bottom, run races through them, play in the most dangerous areas for the hell of it... you get the picture. Of course, one awkward question arises: If you're an ArcoRunner, what the heck are you doing out of an Arcology when the game begins? Never mind...
Their special skill is called Tunnelling, and it's basically knowledge of urban environments to the point of sperginess. Wanna find a Power Line to tap? Eaaasy. Wanna tap it? Still pretty easy! Wanna know where alarms would be in an urban area? Weeeeelll, we'll get to why that's not actually do-able when we get to the rules...
...Anyways, their pieces of kit to choose four from are nearly all utilitarian, even down to the one universally useful item they can get: The Tech Tool Kit.
Borken Rating: 4/10. Tunnelling is a useful skill, but their kit is mostly boring stuff that doesn't have much application. Tech Tool Kit saves them from being totally mediocre, though.
Most Retarded Quote: “Of course we can get away with it, we're clean, wholesome kids!”
Remember that one kid in school who put stinkbombs in your locker, but you could never get the teachers to believe you because they had a face like butter wouldn't melt in their mouth? Imagine a small army of such demon children, and you have the BeaverBrats. Their entire social life revolves around a) playing pranks, and b) pretending to be innocent. Fuck BeaverBrats so hard.
Their special skill is Suburban Ninja, which is basically thief stuff. This saves on skills, because it's effectively the same in various uses as Athletics, Streetrunning, or Blend, with a little bit of adult version Shadow/Hide/Evade to boot. It's when you get to their kit that you realise the horror that is the BeaverBrats. Shiniest four things on their list? A Snoopbox (Personal Privacy Scanner), a Card Decryptor (opens card-locks), Smart Goggles (think any cyberpunk binoculars that wrap around your head, and you have an idea), and a Cybernetic Claw Grapple (you'd have to drop one of the other three for 10 Magnetic Grapples to add to its broken-ness).
Borken Rating: 7/10. These are the thieves of the game, and if anyone's ever met a player who plays thieves a lot, you'll know that, in the right hands, these guys can wreck anyone's shit. On top of that, their special skill replaces three, and can be broadened into adult skills quite easily... The only thing going against them is that they're generally over-specialised, and thus crap in a straight up fight.
The most broken board, as if it couldn't be hinted enough
Most Retarded Quote: “Fear No Evil!”
BoardPunks are skaters. Except, because it's the future, there are hi-tech boards, waterboards, smartboards... what kind of plank you use defines you, and the use of your plank is all you care about. There's not much else to say about them really...
Their special skill is Thrash, which, as you might have guessed, is to do with using their board to the utmost. You get full skill rating for one type of board, one at 50%, and the rest at 25%. This skill, obviously, is a must have, because with that, and a proper plank, you can do fricking wonders. You even get a free plank instead of one of your four items, and they come in Water, Powered Water, Land, and Air varieties. If you pick anything except Air, you will probably be laughed at. Especially if you pick water. The rest of the items are mostly utilitarian... except the Battarope Tow Cable. And perhaps the Air-pistol, for reasons...
Borken Rating: 5/10. In an environment where they can use their board, they're nigh unstoppable, and if you can't think of 50 uses for a tow cable attached to a large hoverboard, I don't know you. Outside of that, however, they're just like normal kids, which is to say “not very good”.
Most Retarded Quote: “Save a Mink, Skin a Corp” (Really?)
Okay, you knew this was a 90s game, and a lot of 90s games had eco-hippies in one form or another. This is CyberGen's form, and they suck balls. Essentially, think 7 to 19 year old Greenpeace extremists, and you have the idea. They won't even wear artificial clothes, which is kind of a bitch in the resource starved 2020s...
So what's good about them? Well, for a start, their skill, Hayduking, has to do with creatively sabotaging machinery. Not just blowing it up, but making it do things like pump raw sewage into the air filtration, or such malarkey. The kit also has some nice stuff, like an armoured jacket (damn useful), a Snoopbox (in case your BeaverBrat's wasn't enough), an environmental analyzer (guess what it does), and the “Monkeywrench” (combo prybar, wrench, screwdriver, and hammer, if such a thing can be believed).
Borken Rating: 5/10. Their kit's good, and their skill's good too, but if they weren't such fucking hippies, they'd get a 6 or a 7. But they are, so they don't.
Jack Nicholson... still sexy in 2027
Most Retarded Quote: “All the world's a Stage, and all it's people merely Faces”
Facers love celebrity. Or rather, they love the idea of celebrity, how a face can make the world. So they pretend to be other people, sometimes as a parody, sometimes as a trick, and sometimes, as a genuine homage. They spend all their time practicing different voices, different mannerisms, trying to copy people because, to them, everyone is faceless in this Dark Future. They're one of the few YoGangs I actually like.
Their special skill, Face Dance, is basically acting, with a focus on copying other people, and the four pieces of kit everyone who knows Facers chooses is always the same: “Face” and “Wig” (reshapable facemask and wig with some preset patterns), 10 False S.I.N cards (ID Cards) with pre-chosen identities, and a Personal Virtuality-Terminal (makeup is cheap).
Borken Rating: 7/10. Much the same as BeaverBrats, Facers are really open to abuse, but have the same combat problems any other specialist does. But who cares, when you can, with platform soles and other aids, literally become someone else quickly?
"Wake me uup, before you go go..."
Most Retarded Quote: “Have I sold out? No comment.”
Famous kids. Whether from being the child of someone famous (like Derry Eurodyne, Kerry Eurodyne's little brat), or some other thing, you're slightly rich, you're famous, and you fucking love it. That's all that defines them.
Their special skill is Celebrity, which, on the one hand, gets you favours and privileges and free shit from fawning fans (not to mention the fawning fans), but, like everything else a GlitterKid has, its usefulness goes “poof” once it comes out you're CyberEvolved, on the run, or anything similar (unless you really want to try and get help from your skeeviest fans!). Their kit, apart from a snoopbox, lots of money, and personal V-Term, is nothing special, and even those are better used by others.
Borken Rating: 2/10. All their flash is for nothing the moment the GM wants it to be, so they're nigh useless. Also, they're arrogant little bitches, which doesn't help.
One of the many, many, many references to Akira we're going to see here
Most Retarded Quote: “Born against the wall, living on the edge”
They're bosozoku, which is a fancy japanese word for young biker gangs. They ride around, raise hell, and use their bikes to the max. Woooooooo. Essentially, these are a trap for Akira fans, and that is all that needs to be said.
Their special skill is Hotbiking, which is basically doing bike stunts like bootlegger's turns, drifts, and the like at high speed. Woooooo. Their kit, similar to BoardPunks, is mostly blah, being some guns, a special helmet with its own HUD, an armoured jacket (the most useful kit), and, of course, one of four bikes to pick from. Can you tell how much that excites me? Oh, I almost forgot. Woooooo.
Borken Rating: 4/10. Without their bikes, they're normal kids, and if a DMPC working for any authoritarian group doesn't know how to deal with ground bikes, I don't know what to say. The guns don't even help, for reasons we'll get into later, although the armoured jacket for free rescues them from total obscurity.
Dang Kids! (YoGangs Part 2)Original SA post CyberGeneration: Dang Kids! (YoGangs Part 2)
Now, why the hell am I saying how broken these groups are based on their free kit (and skill nobody else has) in the first place? Surely free kit doesn't count, when you can buy or steal more, right? Surely how borked a character is depends on skill and stats, right?
Wrong. Because, against adults, those skills, and perhaps the stats too (the book isn't too clear on that last bit) count as half rating. And, as we'll see when we get to the rules themselves (a ways away), even maxing out both skill and stat isn't very useful. So creative uses of the free kit (plus any other kit you have) is actually your best bet in a game of CyberGen. Anyways, let's continue with the next 6 contestants for “most idiotic stereotype, shall we?”
Note: Retainers Come Separately.
Most Retarded Quote: “I own you. I own everybody, eventually.”
They're rich, and that's the only good thing about them.There's the usual bollocks about how the method of getting your money determines rank, but let's ignore all that, and just say they're fucking parasites.
Their special skill is Contacts, which, like Celebrity, mostly goes “poof” whenever the DM says so or the story demands. Useful. On the other, they do get a cardlock to one of their parents' many apartments, so they're good for establishing a secret base, but everything else is either “blah”, or better used by someone else.
Borken Rating: 2/10. Useless.
Yup, Noooobody will notice we're ridin' the 90's goth-wave...
Most Retarded Quote: “There is no life after death. But there is life during death.”
Oooh, guess which company's writers will never get Goth Nookie again! These goths are basically the gothiest goths to ever goth goth, dumpster diving from apartment buildings for funsies, creeping out other people because its fun, and generally being mopey types who wear frilly black lace.
Their special skill is called “Deathwalk”, but I prefer to call it “Too Stupid to Die”. It's essentially a buff against both fear and pain, allowing them to emulate their biggest hero, Brandon Lee, as they walk into a hail of bullets with no reaction, then promptly fall over when their body can't take it. Their kit is all useless, except for an armoured duster. I shit you not, their best weapon option is “Big-ass crucifix (1d6)”.
Borken Rating: 3/10. Better than GoldenKids or the like only because they are, literally, too stupid to die.
"Okay, boys, we're the law here, look cool..."
Most Retarded Quote: “Take back the night.”
Remember the Guardian Angels? Imagine they set up indoctrination camps, and made an entire generation of them. That's the Guardians. They wear “uniforms” of a sort, walk a beat, and vigilante the fuck out of things.
Their special kit, apart from something armoured, isn't anything special, mostly utilitarian stuff and melee weapons, but their Special Skill is basically the kiddy equivalent of Authority from Cyberpunk: He can add it to face-off type encounters to get a social edge, and is a good enough Law & Order type to easily get info from the citizens of his beat. He could even get money or favours, if he pleaded hard enough.
Borken Rating: 4/10. The Robin Hood thing is kinda useful, but DMPCs can easily counter this, so it's a bit of a high-effort, low-reward skill. Their kit is kinda blah, but they're definitely not as useless as GoldenKids.
Hey, wanna buy a gun? Guy on the right has the receipt...
Most Retarded Quote: “Why go to the Wall when you can go to the Mall?”
Oh, hey, it's the Fixers of this generation! These kids work late nights, using their store's nano-factories and pattern builders to make stuff for other people, and trade, trade, trade! They, like BeaverBrats, prefer to be relatively anonymous, and try to fit in. Their kit is very similar to a BeaverBrat's, with the addition of an AutoFactory key (only works 75% of the time, but that's more than enough, aye?)
Their special skill is a moderately useful one called “Boost”, which is basically the art of making things fall off the back of the lorry in shops without being detected. Obviously, this needs an inside man, which is a bit of a character investment, but, in the end, it's a useful skill with applications both obvious and subtle.
Borken Rating: 6/10. Seeing as they can get things so long as they have some form of insider or pipeline (regardless of the legality), they're actually pretty useful, and their kit just as much. In a tech heavy game, I can see them using the system quite well to their advantage.
DARE TO BE STOOPID, DARE TO BE STOOPID...
Most Retarded Quote: “Hot blood on a knife...”
MegaViolents are the equivalent of proper gangbangers: They're not smart, they're not cunning, they just like to wreck shit for kicks and intimidate people. If you like spiky leather and chains, or things that go boom, these are the YoGang for you. Shame the combat system means you'll only be killing other kids with any regularity though!
Their special skill, like the Goths, is essentially a more focused version of “Too Stupid to Die”, called “Beserk”. It only applies to combat, but it does give you a buff on H2H skills just for having it, so it's not as useless. Their special kit, as you might guess, is high powered melee weaponry, small arms, and armour.
Borken Rating: 5/10. Yeah, sure, they have high powered kit, and their melee skill helps, but they go down in a hail of gunfire like everyone else. If it were against other YoGangers, you could up this by about 3, but since the game definitely isn't about fighting other kids, they're only the most useful direct brawlers of a bad bunch.
Yep, totally innocent, with our packages and trenchcoats... suck it, you animu fucktards...
Most Retarded Quote: None, all the quotes fit, and show the nature of these scheming bastards quite well.
Rads are what BeaverBrats, deep in their hearts, want to be. Short for “Radical Political Club Members”, Rads are the extremist arm of the Sneaky YoGangs. They spread disinformation, bomb places, and walk every time, because there's no evidence. The moment you get caught, you're no longer a member... considering the skill system, either cops are stupid, or membership is somewhat low. But that won't happen to you, surely!
Their special skill, Organise, seems a bit dumb at first, until you realise that inciting a large mass via carefully placed posters, radio messages, and the like, is a fucking powerful ability when used right. They're also one of the few groups to actually have some form of Boom in their kit (4 small explosives), and a paintball gun is a deadly thing in the right hands (especially with the acid and sleep rounds that come free with it). The rest is stuff you'd expect, but nearly all of it is useful in more than just the basic utilitarian fashion.
Borken Rating: 5/10. They're not great, because organising takes time, but they can get information better than Guardians, and they get some good kit right out of the gate. But, as with other “social” YoGangs, it's a high-investment affair.
Next time, we'll finally finish the YoGangs!
Talkin' 'Bout Mah Generation (X) (YoGangs, Part 3)Original SA post CyberGeneration: Talkin' 'Bout Mah Generation (X) (YoGangs, Part 3)
Ah yes, did I mention this game used the term Generation X for the kids? Too late, CyberGen... too late by a long while... Anyways, the final five gangs, for your delectation!
"Ah Cutchoo, Foo'!"
Most Retarded Quote: None.
You're a professional hobo, and you hang out with other hobos. You stink, and you love it.
Your special skill is Scrounge, and it does what it says on the tin. You'll need it, because your starting kit is mostly useless. Good luck!
Borken Rating: 4/10. If it weren't for Scrounge, they'd be normal kids. With it, they're useful resource gatherers, if they max it. Otherwise, this is basically “hard mode”
"GO HOME AND BE A FAMILY... Er, YoBro?"
Most Retarded Quote: All of them.
Imagine an entire gang made of Ryu fanboys and girls. They wear their giri or whatever everywhere, they study martial arts a lot, and perfect their skills against anyone with honour (or without, if challenged).
Their kit is, as you'd expect, mostly trash for the hardcore masochist, but their Special Skill can add a bonus to H2H, equivalent to an adult's Martial Arts skill. There's really not a lot to be said for them otherwise.
Borken Rating: 6/10. The only YoGang able to take on an adult in hand to hand and expect to win... but that's hand to hand, and this is the future, bro.
"Now I can Cosplay as Cyborg, Thanks, Sis!"
Most Retarded Quote: “And only one nut left over!”
Mad scientists. They build shit, repair shit, smell of grease, and fucking love poking at tech. What else do you need?
Their special skill, Kitbash, is basically Invention under a different name, with some tech skills lumped in, but their free kit is where they shine. Techscanners (80% accurate electrical/mechanical analyser), Data Taps (does what it says on the tin), SmartGoggles, and, for maximum anime, a really big wrench. All of their kit, with the exception of the wrench, is useful in some form or other, and, what's more, they have the skills to use it all to the max.
Borken Rating: 7/10. Yup, they're uber-techies. Best class, hands down.
*sigh* No words here...
Most Retarded Quote: “Keep on Truckin...” (what does this have to do with anything?)
Amerindian fetishists. Like the EcoRaiders, they're eco-hippies (which is amusing, when you consider the facts...), and, like the Squats, they're a bit boned from the word go. Their special skill? “Warrior”. Basically, bonus with a longbow, bonus at nonlethal (not really mechanically clarified anywhere I know). Woo. Their best kit is a cyberbike, but we already mentioned those elsewhere. Longbow's alright too (somehow does more damage than a MonoKatana), but that's about it.
Borken Rating: 4/10. Eh.
I wish I'd shown you the whole picture... but no, best not, it's mildly :NMS:
Most Retarded Quote: Eh, none that really stands out.
Imagine you bought the nosiest kid in your neighbourhood a camera and a webpage. Now you have some idea of the terror that is Vidiots. They dress like japanese celebrities, or perhaps certain pro-gaming groups in Korea, and different YoGangs specialise in different news.
Their special skill is Commo, which basically means they know all about comms tech, and cracking it. Damn useful skill, when you think about how wired everything is even today... They also get Data Taps, Snoopboxes, and the fun stuff we've seen elsewhere, but hidden in among them is the scariest thing for a GM... “50 datachips (pick what's on them now)”. Why is that scary? Because, with a good background, you can't say they don't have dirt on anything up to 50 low to middling DMPCs. Which is a living hell.
Borken Rating: 8/10. Jamming comms, blackmail, various comms and personal privacy breakers... They're no good at combat, but combat isn't what we're measuring here, it's how they can bend the setting to their will...
And so, with that, the group of CyberGen players are going to be pitched into their first encounter, without any stats to back them up... we'll deal with that next time...
You, You, You, and You Are Captured, Pick A New Lot (First “Adventure”)Original SA post
and another, because I'm behind...
CyberGeneration: You, You, You, and You Are Captured, Pick A New Lot (First “Adventure”)
Wondered what Morgan Blackhand looks like 7 years after his first appearance? Keep wondering, because his actual art isn't until near the end of the book...
Now, you may have noticed we're going to be put into a scenario before anyone can pick stats or skills. I don't personally have a clue why, but, judging by the rules of this little “game”, it's presumably to hit home precisely how fucked your characters are going to be from this point on.
Essentially, there is a rough map, and the players start at the diamond. The DM then picks one of the three other symbols, which will then represent CorpSec teams of ten members. Despite the V-Sim of Blackhand (for lo, it was a V-Sim... what, you felt special because Morgan Blackhand was talking to you? Nerd) telling you that CorpSec will shoot to kill, what will actually happen is that they will hit you with stun-guns (tazers) on a 1-3 of a d6, and successfully stun you on a 1 or a 2 of a second d6 roll. This means you need to either be carried the rest of the way, or left behind. Sucks to be you...
...But, if one is to skip forward a fair bit (a very fair bit), they will find that this scenario bears as much resemblance to the actual rules as the Elephant Man does to David Duchovny. So it's not even a tutorial of the rules. Still, let's continue summing this up, just to illustrate how boned you are, even now.
You will luckily, only have a 1 in 3 chance of being spotted if you cross a street the CorpSec are watching. Unfortunately, if you pop out of an alleyway right next to them, or try to shoot at them, you're spotted immediately, and they can open fire 10 times a turn to your (at most) 8 (unless you're Eric Wujick, in which case your players outnumber CorpSec every time). What's more, each player has only a 1 in 3 chance of downing an individual CorpSec guy... while the rest carry on shooting.
Ironically, this is actually better odds than you're going to get once you've built your characters, guaranteed. So, let's see if you think you're smart, huh? What's that, you say? Go up to the rooftops? Oh ho ho ho, baaaaad idea. See, move upwards more than 10 feet, and a CorpSec Spinner (Chopper) will instantly spot you and start shooting. It doesn't say they don't have stun-guns, but let's face it, it's a bloody police helicopter in an authoritarian future. It will not have stun-guns.
The Map. Nuff Said.
You'll also note this scenario makes no provision for anything involving your cooler kit, like the longbows or the monokatanas. And finally, if the DM picks the X symbol, you're fucked from the get-go. There's only one upside: CorpSec teams will, for some bizarre reason, not move from their position, but just radio to others that they saw a large gang of juves go past them to [insert location], and that they popped n gangers themselves.
For added funsies for both DM and players, the map isn't totally top down, and you can see a lot of places just waiting for “This isn't an alleyway!” arguments. Reaching the safehouse is apparently enough to end this scenario and move on to character creation... and CorpSec won't try and tail you in, hit you with tracers, or any other fun stuff that CyberPunk police totally do. Well, shucks, guess we found the Stupid Division!
Next time, we actually deal with chargen... Followed by a little interlude.
Being a Teenager Sucks (Chargen)Original SA post Cybergeneration: Being A Teenager Sucks (Chargen)
If she's under 20, I'm Demi Moore...
Okay, we ready for actually generating a character, folks? Well fuck you, because we're actually, according to Morgan “I Have More Guns” Blackhand, doing a military test that he stole ages ago! This military test involves, of all things, allowing soldiers to rate themselves. Unsurprisingly for such a shitty test, he stresses that if you lie about your stats (which, presumably, doesn't happen, because this is the thinly disguised Chargen section), you're going to find yourself in deep drek. So let's make two characters... One of whom is suited to the playstyle the game wants you to play mechanically, and one who is a “combat god”. We shall follow their fortunes as we go.
Our first step is to divide 50 points between 9 stats. Well, actually, our first step is to pick what character types and free kit we receive, so let's do that, and come back to stats. Our first character is called Buck Sexyton (not to be confused with Buck Sex ing ton, alter ego of ex PC Gamer writer Craig Pearson), and he is a TinkerTot. For his free kit, we shall give him a TechScanner (think of it like a tricorder for electronic stuff that works 80% of the time), a DataTap (Does what it says on the tin), a Tech Tool Kit (for obvious reasons), and Smartgoggles (Because special goggles are generically useful). As mentioned before, his special skill is Kitbash, which is an inventor type skill. He is going to be 17.
For our second example character, we're going to go for calling her PMS McRagersdottir . In case you hadn't guessed, she's a MegaViolent, and the only reason her character made it this far is because her slightly more smart buddies dragged her stuttering body to the safehouse when she tried to charge a CorpSec team head on. Considering she was carrying a Kendachi MonoKatana (4d6 damage), a Heavy Pistol (no stats listed yet), and was wearing both Flack Pants and a Heavy ArmourJacket (SP 20, whatever that is, everywhere except the head, hands, and feet), she probably thought she had a chance. Considering that she is 9, however...
There are nine stats, and they each do various things... some of which you may argue overlap. They are:
Intelligence (Int) – Your basic smarts. Go you.
Reflexes (Ref) – How quick you are to react, and your general dexterity.
Cool (Cool) – Your sense of cool. Dwayne Dibbley has a COOL of 2. Because it also measures resistance to psychological stress, so do most Scream Queens.
Technical Ability (Tech) – Does what it says on the tin. Got a low tech in the future? Congratulations, you're effectively a dribbling moron.
Luck (Luck) – A bag o' points to spend on adjusting die rolls, replenished after every session.
Attractiveness (Att) – Does what it says on the tin. Don't discount it, though!
Movement (Move) – “How many meters you can run in 3 seconds.” That's one combat round.
Empathy (Emp) – How aware of social cues, both verbal and nonverbal. Interpersonal skill, basically.
Body Type (Body) – Not so much body type, as a combination of strength, resistance to physical trauma, and physical fitness.
Buck Sexyton notices that there is a minimum of 2 per stat, and a maximum of 8. He quickly calculates the mean point, and comes to the conclusion that people consider 5 an average. This would, if he were only above average in certain areas (as opposed to having some below average), mean that he had a spare 5 points to spare. So, using that as a baseline, he notes down where he is perfectly average (5 ATT, 5 MOVE, 5 BODY), and where he is slightly below average (4 COOL, 4 REF). 7 points remain, so he adds 2 to INT, TECH, and LUCK, and 1 to EMP. He can't shoot a gun too well, but he can handle himself, and still has an advantage over many kids in a fair few areas.
PMS McRagersDottir , on the other hand, starts by maxing out everything she's good at: REF, COOL, LUCK, MOVE, and BODY. Just 18 points remain for... four stats. 4 and a spare point, on average. She puts 4 into TECH, 6 into ATT, 3 into EMP, and 5 into INT. This still turns out to be fairly accurate, as she's not bad looking (for a 9 year old), not too smart, not a people person, but has spent her entire child life kicking the living shit into anything and everything she wants down... and she's gotten good at it.
We'll be showing this again, in the actual rules section... remember it.
Now we come to skills, and two curious notes immediately leap out at Buck. Firstly, he notes that kid skills weren't quite on par with adult learning. He'd read Six Not So Easy Steps and been confused, so he'd worked this out for himself. He also notes that there are 12 skills, counting the one taught to him by his... YoBros and only 40 points to spend in them, minimum 1 in each. He also notes that most of the skills explain themselves, and gets tapping away. Knowing his limits, he assigns the minimum 1 to Fearless Leader, 2 to GoGo (no crazy driver, is Buck), and 3 to Thief Stuff, Jock Stuff, GenSpeak (Kiddie slang), and Street Fighting. 25 points left. Kitbash (his YoGang skill) is a pretty high priority, so it gets 6 (out of a possible 8), Little Angel gets 4 (he's not a great liar, but he has had to explain away the odd explosion or two to his parents), Schoolin' also gets 4, as does Streetsmarts (knowing which YoGang owns what turf, gang rules, etc), Blend gets a 4, and Get A Clue (general perception skill) gets 5.
Once again going for the “Biggest first, work your way down” assessment, PMS gives 8 each to Beserker, Jockstuff, Streetfighting, and Get A Clue. That's more than half the points already... in fact, only 8 remain. So everything else gets a 1. She's not very complicated, really.
So, are there any derived stats? Just one. Well, two, depending on whether you want to use Friday Night Firefight (CP2020's original system) for certain things. This is, for reasons which will become clear, highly recommended, so we'll calculate both. CyberGen uses a Wounds system, which directly correlates to Body. So Buck has the average 5 wounds, while PMS's min-maxing got her... a whole 3 extra wounds. Big woot. In FNF, however, it becomes no more important, Buck having a -2 BTM, PMS having -3. There are also other parts of chargen we haven't mentioned yet, because, despite the summary saying they're there, we don't have any information on them yet, so we're not handling them. Instead, let's talk about the Interlude.
Now, if you're like most roleplayers, you probably don't like being forced into mandatory In-Character sections (about as much as you dislike mandatory anything that isn't a game mechanic... and even then...) , but that's exactly what the book is suggesting you do. Keep in mind, that the chargen section, the class selection, the shitty minigame... all of this has been presented as happening In-Character. Now, of course, the characters are stuck in a safehouse for a few days until the Plague Sweep dies down, and they can make (relatively) safe trips elsewhere. And the book is suggesting you take this opportunity to piss your players off with NPCs. Want to know what they lovingly suggest for IC “moments” to remember your enforced incarceration by?
- A single MegaViolent that taunts, threatens, and tries to cause a fight, even after being dogpiled and beaten the shit out of by everyone else.
- The guy who thinks he's “Bog's Gift to Juvefems”, and annoyingly hits on anything female. I... somehow don't think most GM s are gonna go for that one, considering the lower end of the age-range.
- The guy who really is a suave bastard, and a combat god to boot. He picks up one of the PCs, fights off all competition, then dumps them in time for the next segment. With the right group, this is about the only one I'd suggest.
- The annoying child who latches onto an older character. Think Schnarf from Thundercats at his most annoying, and you'll get why I don't think this is a good option if you want to keep your group together.
- Give them a sample of what's to come. Remember how kids are meant to get this Carbon Plague thing? Give 'em fake symptoms, is the suggestion. Don't take this option, because it will inevitably be taken as shitty foreshadowing or cat-scares. And nobody likes a shitty Cat-Scare.
Instead, take my advice: Don't run this game. If you ignore that, then don't ignore this: Don't do this shitty Interlude. If you ignore that , then don't ignore this : I Told You So. Next time, we deal with the Mall. But not in the way they want us to.
Goin' To The Store, Goin' To The Store... (Kit! Part 1)Original SA post
And, speaking of 90s game design... Man, this is an easy week for segues...
CyberGeneration: Goin' To The Store, Goin' To The Store... (Kit! … Part 1)
I get a distinct feeling the artist for the chapter intros wasn't briefed too well...
Ah yes, the... Virtuality Mall. A place of much drama, that also doubles as the equipment section of the book. There really are no in-character recommendations here, it's just a thinly disguised equipment chapter, but let's get some things out of the way first. For all the “Virtuality” tacked on the beginning, it's deeply implied this is a physical place. And this “Virtuality” business is basically AR, which CyberGen has out of the wazoo. We'll be getting to how confrontational this concept becomes later on, but for now, we're looking at silly kit, and how this affects our two lovely characters, Buck Sexyton and PMS McRagersDottir.
So, in this chapter, we're given $1000 (plus whatever the hell we get from being a GoldenKid or Glitterkid, or whatever), and we're told to go hog-wild... but also to buy “useless” stuff to throw CorpSec off. That's right, there's an IC justification for forcing the players to buy crap they'll never use. Not that there's an amazing amount that isn't useful somehow. Especially once you get a mentor. But more on that later.
The chapter's divided into Morgan's Witterings (as I am now calling the IC intro to each segment), and double page spreads for various stores. I'm not going to be reproducing those spreads, but suffice to say, they look like cheesy anime'd up catalogue pages.
SportsNet , at first glance, is a fairly unassuming place, selling kit for Boardpunks, archery enthusiasts, and general sporting types. Then you take a closer look, and realise there are two pieces of kit that we've seen before, finally described and statted out (this is also the chapter where you work out what the fuck your gear does).
Way back when, we saw that Boardpunks could get Battarope Tow-Grapples. These things attach to anything metal they're aimed at within 50 feet, the cable can take 3,000 Lbs force without snapping (That's 1.5 Tons, for those who don't know). There's no system for judging this, by the way, so either the GM does math during a game (eh), or the GM basically says “Yup, you can stop a car going at 150mph with this rope... providing it's anchored with something that can take that”.
Then comes something you can break quite easily. The monograpple. Imagine a grapnel gun. But the claw on the end is essentially four mono-knives. Let's forget, for a moment, that mono-edges are a) fucking hard to maintain, and b) frictionless. Let's instead go forward a bit, and find the stats for a mono-knife.... huh. 2D6 damage. And there's four of the suckers. Let's now go back to the Monograpple, and note... that it latches onto a “surface” with 80% accuracy. None of this “to-hit” malarkey... just... 80%. It's not statted that way (in fact, the stats are nigh incomprehensible until you get to the rules section... what the fuck does 1 * EX * J * C * NA mean, anyhow?)
Hrrrrrrrmmmm! (Fake Edit: For reasons we'll get into, this isn't nearly as awesome as it sounds...)
The Rockers of the New Generation... We're fucked...
Image & Sound is a combination tech and music shop, and has some overlap with a later store. Most of the stuff here is tat (until you meet a Rocker, and can learn their special skill!), but V-Trodes, V-Glasses, and V-Players are the meat and potatoes of this segment. You always get V-Trodes as standard kit, but all of these allow you to see the wonderful world of AR, with all it implies. We'll be getting to why AR is a massive Player-Adversarial-GM battleground next update, but suffice to say, these things are powerful... both ways.
Awww, yeah, gonna hit that trolleh!
Disposable Futures is mostly utilitarian stuff, but does serve one purpose which I genuinely applaud: Setting info. You see, despite the Corps not being very green, they make it extremely easy to live cheaply. That starting $1000 will get you a trolley that follows a tracker in your pocket (range 20m), a combo mini-fridge, microwave, and cupboard that can either be plugged in, or kept on solar-charged batteries for four hours, and a Cleaning Droid of your very own. You probably will never need a cleaning droid, but hey, it's useful to a clever player! But, in any case, the most important thing to take away from this equipment page is that, in the future, you can just throw shit away, and life is cheap in more ways than one. There's also clothing charts, a good place to spend spare dough, don'tcher think?
Height of 22,000 feet? Range of 22,000 feet? No fucking clue.
RoadTech contains stuff you cannot afford unless you're a GoldenKid, or are a GoGanger, and have it already. It gives top speeds, brief notes on vehicles, and their SDP (a kind of armour which doesn't have any further mention in the 1st edition core rules). This is where we find out that, shockingly, the Akira cyberbike isn't the fastest (130mph, compared to the Hellfire, at 160mph), and that the Apache does 100 miles to the gallon. Shame that, like every other note in this section, it misses many other stats (it doesn't tell us how many gallons an Apache can hold).
Just in case you wondered...
TechShak is where the clever player will shop, as it holds such juicy things as V-Terms (enable you to hack Virtuality in the area, among many other juicy things!), CyberDecks (for the traditionalist), and basically much of the juicy stuff we found in starting kit for the more “broken” classes. A definite stop on your shopping trip.
Bodyshoppe would be where you buy cyberwear... except that, unlike CP2020 (which allowed people of 10 years old to get some cyberwear), kids can only buy cosmetic stuff, like Tech-Hair (Facer's favourite) or SkinWatches (does what it says on the tin... implants a tiny watch under the skin). However, it's also where you get drug analyzers and hypos (see CP2020 for drugs... Yes, it pulls that card on you many a time in this 1st Edition (and the 2nd, if memory serves!))
Simultaneously the doofiest, and most useful picture of this update...
Hot 'Za! , finally, is our weapons and pizza shop. Apart from a helpful sidebar saying “Hey, I don't see any weapons! … Because this is a black market shop, doofus, we're not stupid!”, it's not got a heckuva lot of variety. Weapons do between 1 and 7d6 damage (light Autopistols at the bottom, Assault Rifles at the top), and most of their stats... won't actually matter, for reasons we'll get into. Suffice to say, buying a weapon above 4d6 is nigh impossible for starting characters who aren't GoldenKids or thinking creatively. It also has packs of 12 disposable handcuffs, that are Very Difficult (25 Difficulty) to break, are $20, and have replaced handcuffs. This, for reasons we'll go into, is highly exploitable.
So, before we move on to technological fluff and stuff, let's take a look at what our two example characters are going to buy, huh?
Buck Sexyton , realising that he's going to make things explode, and wanting the best protection money can buy, gets an... armoured codpiece, for $400. This will come in surprisingly useful during the game, for reasons we're going to go into later on. This still leaves him with $600, which he spends on a small V-Term. Not quite as good as a CyberDeck, but he can get one of those when he actually gets a datajack, in about three years time.
PMS McRagersDottir , on the other hand, looks at her guns, her armour, and the like, and is pleased. She buys a monograpple ($150), 50 meters of this SuperString stuff to go with it ($150), a sleeping bag ($20), a mattress ($20), a Movin'CubeTM for carrying this shit ($200), a MiniFone necklace phone ($150), a SnoopBox Personal Privacy Scanner ($200, can sense toxins at 85% accuracy, can be set as a motion alarm, and its third setting jams communications), and the rest is spent on clothes and pizza.
What's New? (Kit Part 2)Original SA post looks at thread ...
...Man, I've been away too long. Here's yer punishment for Wick-Talk, suckers!
(But seriously, enjoy the update!)
CyberGeneration: What's New? (Kit Part 2)
Wow, there's a fair bit of fluff here... it shouldn't surprise me, because this book is 90% fluff, 5% rules, and 5% missing statistics or obscure, yet important rules, but whatever... here's what's new in 2027. Unsurprisingly, it's not a whole lot.
Manufacturing, Touchscreens, and Lil' Robots
Twat-Wave! The Wave of The - Wait... U-Force ?
So, manufacturing... you know those plastic sinter things that make plastic statues with ball bearings, lasers, a griddle, and a CAD program? Well, apparently, in the future, we have several varieties of these, and they all work just fine! Chuck bits in (mostly pre-prepared), get guns/robots/whatever your grubby little heart desires out . Somewhat surprisingly, however, people somehow found holographic keyboards and touch-pads to be popular enough to become a regular thing! Yes, that's right, in the Grim Future, you have no choice but to look like a twat while you wave your fingers through a keyboard made of pretty lights. Go you!
Nanocircuitry was finally sorted in 2027, so you can now get things much smaller! Phones the size of small necklaces! Robots the size of kittens, or even bugs! And computers that fit in the palm of your hand (Disclaimer: Twat-Wave Interface comes extra).
It Gets “Better”
So, already, the future is a pretty horrifying place, with people zoning out in the street, waving their fingers in the air like wankers, and building guns from cheap, disposable kits. But wait, it gets better ! Y'see, you know e-books? CyberGen predicted how swamped you'd be by Digital Publishing way back when, and even has the added feature that any tosser with a keyboard can shit out a novel, sell it online, and print 50 million copies to shove in peoples' faces! Go Humanity!
Also, our dream of VTOL cars finally came true! That's right, we can stick VTOL engines in cars, bikes... even skateboards! Shame it doesn't tell us what we secretly know (that they travel all of 50 miles before falling out of the sky, and wouldn'tcha know it, no fuel gauge!). Seriously, there's no range for them (or the majority of vehicles) anywhere.
Oh, before we forget, Ais are all over the place, and can now control little robots via the magic of Wi-Fi! I've included a picture of how CyberGen wants us to picture this amazing leap forward...
...Magical, isn't it?
Predictably, More Ways To Kill People!
Yes, time marches ever onward, and CyberGen has given us the dreams we always had when we watched particularly natty sci-fi movies... lasers that actually kill people , and guns with homing bullets! For reasons we'll go into, the Genius Gun (because SmartGun was trademarked or something, I don't know?) is quite cack. For reasons we'll go into right fucking now , the Cap-Gun (nice pun there, guys) is just as bad! Essentially “Cap” is short for Capacitor, and it's basically an SMG sized laser gun that comes in two flavours: Scribble, and Blast. Scribble is basically the weapon equivalent of “Laser-Pen” mode, doing very little damage... but over time. This is, for obvious reasons, a bit shit. Blast throws the whole capacitor charge in one go (y'know, like capacitors do), for a somewhat meaty (but still disappointing, considering the rules)... well, blast!
Virtuality: Players' Nightmare
And now we come to Virtuality. Okay, imagine Cyberspace from way back when, all those glowy lights, and Black ICE, and other fun stuff. Now imagine it mostly pussified and translated to AR. You want meaty stuff, you're gonna have to hack Cyberspace like a good little CyberPunk (and coincidentally buy the original CP2020 core book). For everything else (including advertising everywhere ), there's Virtuality. Nobody stores anything truly important in Virtuality, but they do seem to have this silly habit of putting door-locks there... Oh, wait, no, it's just the internet with an AR interface. Go us.
Now, you may be thinking “Okay, so where's the nightmare, Jay?”
CyberGen's Obligatory Stupid "Net = Cubes And Stuff" Image
I'll fucking tell you where it is: Virtuality is often used by the Corpsicles to hide cameras, deathtraps, deathsquads, and other nasty shit, because, in many areas, you're not legally allowed to take your V-Trodes off . V-Trodes, by the way, are induction-based implant jacks... but without the implant bit. They make you see Virtuality, all the time, and, as mentioned a moment ago, the deadlier the area, the more likely the GM is going to fuck you over for taking them off (locking doors, forbidding files, etc), and the more likely Virtuality is hiding the nasty things in the woodshed.
By the way, the splatbooks for this game, EcoFront, MediaFront, and VirtualFront, do not look kindly on you avoiding DM deathtraps, citizen.
Oh, and one final reason Virtuality sucks? Netrunners, Wizards (we'll get to them) and Ais can go anywhere their black hearts desire, while if you're using a V-Term, V-Goggles, or whatnot... you have to be physically present at the location of the .
In short, this was meant to deal with the “Netrunners' Separate Adventure” scenario you often see in CyberPunk, but just ends up being “Wizards' Separate Adventure” with an added dash of Adversarial GM Bullshit.
Join us next time, as we explore the
Brotherhood of (Naff) Mutants (CyberEvolved!)Original SA post CyberGeneration: Brotherhood of (Naff) Mutants (CyberEvolved!)
Chapter Artist: Completely Out of the Loop
Oh, I know people were waiting for this! This, ladies and gents, is the crowning glory of stupidity, of 90s game design. Screw Wick, screw Greenberg... This is where it's at!
So, you may recall that there was all this talk of bringing things down to street level. To removing the whole “Six-Million Dollar Man” aspect of things...
...Yep, that was complete and utter bullshit . I'm going to spare you the IC “Sim” of Rache Bartmoss and Alt Cunningham (two more famous Mary Sues from CP2020) for each of the... things that are to follow, and instead sum them up, with why they are complete and utter bullshit in many ways. Also, I'm going to give one of each to Buck Sexyton and PMS McRagersDottir , the former via choice, the latter via random chance (because I know the odds, and find it hilarious).
They Have No Heart, Just Armoured Arms
Needs No Cutlery!
In case you hadn't guessed by the X-Men jokes, this is where we get to see what the Carbon Plague turns under-20s into. The CyberEvolved. The first of these mutations is the Tinman. His special powers? Well, there's quite a few actually. For a start, they get shiny silver arms and legs, that work like CyberLimbs. Oh, and the arms are armoured with 20 SP/SDP, which, for reasons we'll get into, make them entirely broken from the get go. However, that's not all!
They have three extra “useful” powers and one “useless” one. I'll deal with the useless one first. For the price of (12 - Tinman skill) turns effort (all CyberEvolved skills start at 1, and have to be raised in play), the Tinman can extend the arm material (it's all down to a magical nano-material called Hexite, by the way) over his/her torso and head. For reasons we'll get into in a later update, this is the one ability a Tinman need never use. Be patient, you'll see it. Soon.
The other three things? Turning their arms into sheets or tentacles (oo-er, missus!), and extending their arms like Stretch Armstrong. Yes, that's three powers, because they each have a different entry in the difficulty table. Also, they need to eat, or they'll go beddy byes until someone IV drips them some nutrition.
What, you say I missed one? Yes, alright alright, I did... because it's fucking stupid. Tinmen can... sigh... shape their limbs into hammers and claws and... monoblades. Beginning characters can't do more than hide things in their arms, make clubs and daggers, do the sheet/tentacle thing, and maaaaybe extend their limbs, but, hopefully by the time they're adult (and fully skilled up) they can form MonoKatanas from their arms 2 out of 10 times. Oh, and create armour for themselves in 2 turns, which they'll never do because reasons...
Borken Rating 2.0 : 5/10. They have a lot of potential utility, but their weapon-shaping ability is, again for reasons, quite, quite pants. Their armour on the other hand, knocks them up to “generic utility class” levels of borked...
Aped X-Man: A cheaper man's Colossus.
The Mad Alchemist
Makin' a Knife, Makin' a Knife... Dun dun dun...
Prepare to meet the most broken CyberEvolved type in the game: The Alchemist. These Scummy Mutants are living nanofactories, able to destroy, reshape, or build things by touch. And you're damn lucky that it's by touch, and can't affect living tissue or nanotech, because otherwise, these would be THE most broken thing, in general, in the game! Never mind that they have to eat to maintain their nanites (such and such an amount in 12 hours, or lose 1 BODY worth of nanites every hour afterward), because, let's face it, when will a teenager not eat something?
Here, lemme give you a table to point out why. Remember that body 5 is average. And that Disassembly means changing from a more ordered molecular state (diamond, solids, that sort of thing) to a less ordered state (coal, liquid... basic physics stuff), or just turning the material into a fine dust...
So tell me, thread, or even the new reader... what, pray tell, could you do with the ability to change, say, 500 kg worth of steel into a fine dust? Quite a bit? Yeah, me too. Turning coal into diamonds isn't much harder, and is theoretically within a players' grasp from the beginning. [listens] Wow, I can hear the physics goons' teeth grinding from my little home in Wales, and that's something! But y'know what? R Talsorian says “Fuck you, Nanobots”!
So yeah, then add in the fact that you can affect up to three elements at a time (doesn't specify you can't affect materials of more than three elements (of which there are many), only that you can't use it on living things and nanotech), and recover the nanobots at 10kg worth every 3 seconds... It's no surprise that the
Borken Rating 2.0 : 8/10. Pure. Fucking. Evil. If it weren't touch based, I'd just say “go home”, party's over. As is, you can easily justify fucking with air... because touch!
Aped X-Man: No fucking idea. Husk, maybe? Wish?
No, Their Heads Don't Explode
No shitty art of the Scanner, so have some shitty science art from the rules section for powers instead
In case the header didn't clue you in, the next group are the Scanners. So long as there is only a little EM interference (in what is essentially cyberpunk future San-Francisco, where you can't walk 10 feet without a fucking large streetlight, payphone, or power line), they can easily read minds, sense life, and, if they're really desperate, shock people. Except that their range is a paltry 10 meters, it doesn't really work on other Scanners (the mind reading, that is), and their static shock will hurt them if they use it to shock people at levels that will actually hurt with the combat rules (because they have to touch bare skin to do it, and also because fuck you, that's why)... Go them.
They can also generate their own static fields, to hinder reading (and, coincidentally, generate high EM fields themselves), and, in general, are fucking pathetic.
Borken Rating 2.0 : 3/10. Requires some serious training in GM Bullshitting to use well, and the fact that reading takes time definitely doesn't help. Nor does the fact they have little to no combat application.
Aped X-Man: Psylocke before she was cool, man!
Got My Tazer In Mah... Wristicles?
Even the in-chapter artist gave no fucks by this point...
The next one is a bit of a weirdie... the Bolter. Effectively, they have tasers in their wrists, that they can shoot out, and, furthermore, they can guide the wires. Next to no non-combat applications, although it must be noted they can also shock (power, maybe?) things by contact (so long as they're contacting, y'know, a conductive surface...)
Apart from the being able to change the taser wire's direction (can just about manage 50m straight, or 25m with up to 2 bends in the wire), there's really not a lot to say here.
Borken Rating 2.0 : 4/10. Few if any non-combat applications, but his combat abilities aren't actually bad, unlike the Scanner, so it's more a “narrow specialty” thing.
Aped X-Man: Bound to be someone who did that in the comics!
I Am The Wizard!
For reasons we'll get into in two updates' time... you will never be this kickin' rad...
The Wizard is... a mixed blessing, really. On the one hand, he's on the Net and Virtuality all the time. On the other, he's on the Net and Virtuality all the time . He can, like the Otaku of Shadowrun, create semi-sentient programs to fight for him (just think of Digimon, it'll make it easier), and can talk to computers. At first skill level, though, he's fairly shitty with his natural abilities. Woo, he can just about make a Smart system forget that he existed, can just about “talk” to anything more complicated than a Smart computer, and can get Stupid or Simple machines to either do their thing, or something that's close enough as not to violate their programming.
Like Alchemists, they have to nom to keep things trucking, but, unlike Alchemists, they just straight up lose their abilities 1 hour after the 12 hours are up, until they eat the right amount. There's also, y'know, the fact that any semi-smart computer or hacker can literally attack a Wizard whenever the fuck they want.
Borken Rating 2.0 : 6/10. Sure, they're useful, but, like Netrunners, you don't want one along in the group for fear of an extended “conference” with that player, you don't really want to be one without some serious skills backing you up, and... yeah, they're not great, as cool as they first seem. Also, their best abilities are difficulty 30, and, for reasons we'll get into, that ain't happening.
Aped X-Man: Er... Gunlok, or Deathlok, or whatever?
Buck Sexyton , naturally, goes for the Alchemist CyberEvolved type. It complements his abilties, and, what with everything else he can do, he's now a nigh unstoppable force of nature, and is even useful in combat! Buck's player rubs his hands with glee, and the GM gives PMS McRagersDottir no choice but to roll randomly on a d100.
1-20 : Tinman
Ahahahaaaaa! Yes, that's right, PMS McRagersDottir is now a Scanner! But wait! Basic scanning (sensing people) is an instant action, as opposed to X turns, and she can do that (just about) to anybody, even complete strangers, in a 10m radius! Considering most urban ambush zones are about that size or smaller... She may not be a cyberlimbed nutter, but she's got it where it counts... being able to get the drop on people. Because it's instant, the “one person per scan” limit doesn't apply.
Next time, we'll be talking combat. And after that, we'll learn what the fuck we're meant to be rolling in the first place...
Down The Rabbit Hole (Combat)Original SA post
Same here as with Alchemists, can't seem to find a comparative power anywhere amongst the X-Men that does that and Deathlok doesn't seem to have them either so I dunno really.
Also I spent far too much time looking up that.
That was his fucking name... Warlock! . Techno-virus totally counts, right?
Anyways, I was going to put up more Fading Suns today, but I took one look at the chapter and said "Nope, not fucking doing that on a sunday!". So have some more CyberGen idiocy instead!
CyberGeneration: Down The Rabbit Hole (Combat)
This chapter also has the last V-Morgan bit... we'll talk about that next time.
This update was actually written in the middle of writing the equipment segment. Because a fellow roleplayer asked about Monograpples, and I thought to look at the combat section early...
...This... Is a whole new level of design. In a box, in Groom Lake's Super Secret Warehouse, marked “Too Dumb For Human Consumption”.
A good 60% of the combat rules (entitled “Saturday Night Skuffle”... because CP2020 was Friday Night Firefight, and kids are dumb... geddit? ) are the average stuff you'd expect. Roll to hit, slightly different rules for ranged and melee, and how Genius Guns work (more on that in a bit).
Then we come to the damage and combat rules. Remember all those 2d6s and 4d6s and Sps and SDPs and Ars? None of them apply as they are. So all that shit you wrote down in the kit chapter? You have to cross reference it all. I know this is meant to be dual system, but there are better ways of doing it than this, guys!
But that's just the beginning. I'd like to draw your attention to two tables. This table...
...And this one.
Now add to that, a single note: That, no matter what armour you have, it's assumed to cover the whole body. On the one hand, this means that PMS McRagersDottir wasted one of her equipment slots. On the other, it means that both she and Buck Sexyton can shrug off a Monokatana swipe... 50% of the time... not counting whether it hit or not. Medium SMGs? 80% of the time, they will ping off the faces, hands, and whatnot, because of the magic power of armoured pants/boots/gloves. Also remember that AP doesn't exist in this game, so monoblades? Don't pierce armour like they did in CP2020 and... well, pretty much anywhere else!
Good fucking job, guys. Good. Fucking. Job. Funnily enough, this means that Buck Sexyton's armoured codpiece was a better choice than PMS McRagersDottir's two armoured items. PMS wasted a kit choice, while Buck got a lot of bang for his... self. And if either had been a Tinman, they'd both have fucked themselves out of free or cheap kit.
I'm disappointed you didn't do it the other way with Buck rolling random and PMS McRagerdottir getting Tinman.
Also, we're going to get why Genius Guns are fucking stupid in the next chapter?
As if that weren't weird enough, let's look at Genius Guns, shall we? Genius Guns are basically gyrojet firing hi-ex pistols with computer-guided rocket bullets. Thing is, they're not the “smart” (hoho) purchase they at first seem to be. Because, while they do a shit-ton of damage (6d6 end of the table, which, you'll notice, is a step below “Missiles”), you only ever roll the gun's chance to hit, not yours. And, as we'll see, that sucks massive donkey bollocks. First off, their range. 50 meters. Any more than that, and the bullets can't acquire target (There is nothing to say you can't shoot it like a normal gun... except that you have to use the gun's aiming system, not yours).
You asked for it!
Now, we come to the fun bit. Genies come in three flavours: Shit ($2,000), Not-So-Shit ($3,000), and Eh ($5,000). They range from a base 40% to hit, to a base 60% to hit. This is, however, assuming there's nothing jamming the Genie's system (a single “scrambler” between the gun and its target is -5%, and is one use for no discernible reason except game mechanics). We could get another 20% by having the gun modded with some upgrade (HardMetal), and being within 10m (which kind of defeats the purpose, no?).
Okay, let's assume it misses the first time. The bullet then does a loop-de-loop, or whatever, and tries again, at a -20%. And, if it has any “to-hit” after that, it does it again, for another -20% on top. Then it runs out of fuel. Let's crunch these numbers, shall we?
60% hit --- End. (60%) 40% miss --- 40% hit ---- End. (+8%) 60% miss --- 20% hit --- End (+4.8%)
For 50 meters, with a handgun (much less damage), we're looking at bang on a 1 in 10 chance (20 difficulty, versus 1d10 + 5 + 5). But a handgun doesn't do the damage a smartgun can. Let's pick something that's more appropriate. Like an Assault Rifle (7d6 damage, -1 accuracy, which has no effect in CyberGen, but we'll stick it as a modifier anyways). At 50m, the probability of hitting someone becomes... 90% (they literally have to roll a 1 to miss). Enemy skill doesn't actually have a say in ranged.
Keep in mind, Genius Guns are touted as held by elite units, and basically the one thing that will murder the fuck out of your group. And it's outclassed by something £3,800 cheaper.
So, let's go over this one more time:
- No armour ablation.
- No armour piercing rules for AP guns and monoblades.
- If you have a heavily armoured hat or pair of gloves, you are nigh immune to anything up to Medium SMGs, and even Monokatanas have trouble.
- The supposedly “most 1337 gun in the game” is actually an expensive time waster.
R Talsorian: Wie Rite Gud Cronch! I can picture it now... hordes of armoured hoody wearing children, dual wielding SAWs and yelling “I'M MOTHERFUCKING BATMAN!” at the top of their lungs.
Glorious, guys. Glorious.
Next time, we handle even more basic failures to create a sensible and plausible rules system. Looking forward to it?
(USER WAS PUT ON PROBATION FOR THIS POST)
Math 101... FAILED (Rules)Original SA post CyberGeneration: Math 101... FAILED (Rules)
We're still in chapter 6, but I want the next few updates to be free of this bullshit artist... god-damn, is that an actual teenager on the right?!?
The CyberGen task resolution, and indeed the game system in general, is not that hard to understand...
...But a question I'm going to ask, which will set the tone for this update, is: Game systems aren't that hard to understand, so how in God's name did R Talsorian fuck it up so badly?!?
Want examples? Well, let's get the rules out of the way, then, and then deal with the last IC section (which really does deserve a mention). First off, let's take a look at the basic resolution system. At first, it seems really simple: 1d10 + Stat + Skill, versus a set difficulty ranging from 10 (piss easy) to... 35. Stat and skill limits for kid stats and skills is 8 apiece, so... how do we account for this discrepancy?
With the LUCK stat, that's how. See, LUCK is not so much a stat as a pool of points you can spend per session to add to your die rolls. Theoretically, you can also use this to reduce opponent die rolls, but this isn't explicitly mentioned anywhere, so RAW, you can't (perhaps 2E fixed that). But, again, we run into a problem: Namely that max roll (10) + max stat + max skill (16) + max luck (8) is... 34. Modifiers are extremely rare in 1E, and never go more than +4. And by extremely rare, I mean that something like 8 are mentioned in the entire book, they're all to do with kit upgrades, and are thus useless for a good 90% of skills.
Then you have to factor in the fact that, versus adults, your skill is halved... So, even with max skills and stats, your odds aren't great when an adult is actively opposing you. On the one hand, this encourages creativity. On the other, it definitely discourages a focus on adults as the enemy, which I thought was at least half the point. Still, we're not quite done with skills yet.
Just a reminder of what's goin' on here...
Y'see, once you get an adult mentor, and can convert your skills into adult skills (all adult skills are actively described in the CP2020 corebook... yes, you can't be an adult in this game without owning another core-book), your kid skill is halved (round down), and the points distributed are distributed among the associated adult skills. For some skills, this is fine. But for Streetfighting? You may remember this divides into something like five skills (six, in fact). You actually become worse at combat when you level up! Streetfighting is the only skill this happens for, as the rest have no more than 2 skills to split between.
Of course, while kid skills have a limit, and adult skills have a higher one, there are two skills you will have in your list that don't have analogues in CP2020: Your YoGang skill, and your CyberEvolved skill. The book completely fails to make clear whether these have an adult limit or not. So that's one more “Must Try Harder” sticker. Not to forget that, if you remember that list of adult skills way back when, there isn't any Netrunning, because only Netrunners have Netrunning, amirite? . And we're still not done with skills. Or rather, we're not done with them because of how they improve.
Why you will never get 10 IPs a session.
The XP system, at first glance, is perfectly fine: You get points per session (between 1 and 10) for each individual skill that you use. And then you come to what it takes to upgrade. 10 x your current level of skill . Now, I'd like you to think about this for a second, and remember that anything above 6 points a session is for excellent use of skills that fit your character/the plot, and the DM is going to hand out a 10 for a skill exactly once in a blue moon...
For a level 1 skill (either your CyberEvolved skill, a newly learned Adult skill, or something you're just shit at)... you're going to need 450 points (10+20+30+blah blah blah+90)... a fair bit less if you're levelling a kid skill. Assuming 4 points a session, that's 112 sessions to level someone completely. I mean, I know it should be hard to level someone up for some level of realism's sake, but... let's be honest here, that takes the piss .
And, before we move on from the rules to oodles and boodles of fluff (which will mostly be heavily summarised), let's note something that's missing. Or rather, something I deliberately skipped: Netrunning. Why did I skip this? Because it can be summarised in just a single set of bullet points:
- V-Trodes have automatic safety cutoffs, and aren't as good as interface jacks. Oh, you want to know what the safety cutoff does (mechanically)? Go get a splatbook for CP2020, loser!
- V-Trodes let you see ICE (Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics – Security programs that can hurt or kill you), but it can't touch you. On the other hand, they're hardcoded so you can't hack with them.
- There are things called codeguns that basically “shoot” Denial-Of-Service attacks at programs. They're not really mentioned in the equipment section, and they appear to be a bit pants.
- As you might expect, Ais, Netrunners, and Wizards have quicker initiative in cyber combat than anyone with V-Trodes.
- Virtuality illusions (floors where there's actually an acid pit, walls where actually there's a security room, to use but two examples the game uses) have to be disbelieved or you have to take your v-trodes off to see the reality. The game actively encourages you to stop players doing this when you're about to fuck them over.
- Virtuality illusions like spikes and bullet shots, if you don't disbelieve them, reduce your COOL. Once you're down to 0 COOL, you have to roll on a DM Dick Table for effects. That's right, from virtual things which don't actually impact you, and probably don't leave virtuality wounds on you to make you believe them.
So, overall, the net rules are lighter than CP2020's, give the GM very little help (there's about 15-20 programs, with really basic descriptions), are in a few cases actively adversarial for no good reason, and, overall, it's actually a better idea to use CP2020's netrunning rules (which are well known for ending in “Netrunner's Sub-Adventure” periods, among other things)... which you'll have to use anyway once ( if ) you get to adult skills.
What have I taken away from examing this chapter? That the developers of this game didn't actually want you to play it with these rules, or were too lazy to write things properly and do their math. Considering that CyberGen began with Mike Pondsmith's random houserules for CP2020, this does make a crazy sort of sense. But, even in 2nd edition, there are way too many mentions of “Refer to CP2020 Corebook/Splatbook” for it to actually be workable on its own.
I'd intended to mention the last IC message from Virtual Morgan, but, as you can see, there was a fair bit to discuss of a mere 5 pages of basic mechanics. Suffice to say, the situation is that you're flushed out of the Safehouse into the big bad world, and given a big ol' set of files on what to look for. And, assuming the GM takes this scenario as read, you have to escape from a CorpSec SWAT team.
Oh, well, at least they'll probably have Genius Guns.
Next time, we start summarising what we're meant to know about the world of 2027. I can make one guarantee... there's a lot of for no good reason.
But Wait, How Do GM? (Gming chapter)Original SA post
Right, a fair bit to go through, and only 9 days to do it in! Let's do this shiz!
Cybergeneration: But Wait, How Do GM? (Gming chapter)
Not from the Corebook (EcoFront, actually), but they illustrate CGen's biggest problem
I know I said that there was going to be world fluff here, but unfortunately, the chapter on Gming in-between has some things that sort of need mentioning. I'm just going to sum up claims and stuff for the first part, and the reasons why these are complete bunkum.
The game is about the people , not the hardware, mang! - There are maybe two interaction skills in the core set, and, while it's true the players won't start with the big guns, they can still easily start with middle of the road stuff (read: 4d6 out of a possible 7d6), and armour that will stop a lot of nastiness quite quickly. Then there's the CyberEvolved powers, which make it even less about the drama. It's kind of sad, really.
CyberGen is a lighter setting – Oh yeah? Later, we'll be getting into the various groups that exploit, want to murder, or brainwash the CyberEvolved, and then we'll remember the minimum character age is seven . No amount of “even poor people are well fed” will counter that, and we have the Squats, among other in-setting things, to prove this is all a facade, and it's just as nasty as CP2020 in some ways. Also, the Edgerunners of CP2020 lost, what the hell do you really expect kids to do, even with X-Men powers?
As a YoGanger, you'll be more concerned with people than with euro – Perfectly true if you're roleplaying the character. But then consider that many characters will react with undisguised glee and a power trip when they suddenly find they can disassemble matter. The game's focus is still on combat, superpowers, and kit, telling people different doesn't change that. At least CP2020 had the superpowers actually cost stuff (including, if you got too much cyberware, your sanity.)
Then there's a list of suggestions for CyberGen character stuff... in the GM section. Specifically, how CyberGen kids behave. Most of it we've heard before in some form, but even so, the whole thing gives the lie to the “lighter setting”. Essentially, the kids are meant to be played as borderline terrorist kneejerk anti-capitalists: The number of times they say “money isn't important”, or “You can revive endangered species/clean up pollution/do well meaning stuff that may help the world!” is somewhat amazing... especially considering how they choose to portray the EcoFront portion... I kid you not, the splatbook has a group who swap gene-codes like pokemon, and their illustration is of them coo-ing over a baby raptor . The writers aren't being consistent here, because they're doing it by rule of cool.
To illustrate this, I'd like to point out that one of the headings is “Think Streets of Fire, Not Bladerunner”, and the two portions before that which talk about either bringing down entire corporations, or turning Arasaka into a babysitting service. It's meant to be street level, but they take down corps. It's meant to be black, but also white. Manic, yet depressive at the same time. Oh, and “Never Trust Anyone Over Thirty”. What, like the Edgerunner who saved you? Or his mates who want you to change the world? Oh no, you can trust them , they're on your side!
If this doesn't look familiar enough , remember to add 1d10 at the top left, and number the entries (Love was 7)
Then we get to the Plotpath. Remember how, in CP2020, there was a lifepath, which built you a wonderfully silly and dramatic life? Well, since the kids are, well, kids, they don't get that... instead, they get sections ripped wholesale from it presented as possible plot seeds for the GM to run!
Now we come back to the intro plot they've handily laid out for us for over half the book. Remember how, last time, the safehouse got busted, and you had to get the hell out? Well, this is where the book recommends you force them to run like hell, introduce their personal nemesis, and then think about whether they want to find a place to hide out, or join the Revolution. All plots and adventures written past this point (all splatbooks included) assume the latter, so fuck you if you want to just run and hide (which is the sensible thing). Oh, and if they split up? The book recommends you hammer them with enemies for doing so, with this sanctimonious quote at the end:
”Smug Central” posted:
It's a dangerous world out there, children, so make sure we all hold hands and remember where the bus is...
Fuck you, CyberGen. Fuck you.
Before we go, let's briefly deal with the main Edgerunner personalities, what they're doing, and the basic structure of the Revolution.
What's This “Cell” Stuff, I Wanna Play V-DarkSouls!
Okay, so, as I've mentioned many times before, the Mary Sues from CP2020 are in charge of the CyberRevolution. It has four fronts: EcoFront (making the world a better place, and sabotaging the capitalist pigdog raping of the earth), VirtualFront (data must be free, man!), FreeFront (political activism, the one “Front” that never got a splatbook), and MediaFront (exposing stories the corp-owned media won't touch, again, trying to make the world a better place). All laudable, right? Well, hang on to your hats...
Morgan Blackhand is on the run, one of the last, best Solos around (Solos = Murder machines, btw). He's training Tinmen and Bolters to stick it to the man with 50,000 volts, to become murder machines like he is. Nyuh huh.
Alt Cunningham , having been trapped as a personality engram within the Soulkiller Black ICE, has set herself up as the “Guardian goddess of Virtuality”. She helps all three fronts, really.
Rache Bartmoss is still the lunatic we all know and “love”. His death during one of the splatbook pre-writtens, combined with the consequences of his massive ego sets up the leadup to Cyberpunk v3.0. For this cardinal sin, he is forever tainted in my mind.
Mister John Silverhand is going through his own equivalent of David Bowie's “sensible” phase (although, as we'll see, he has very good reasons). He teaches people how to rock out, although he only plays bittersweet songs now. Must be something to do with his girlfriend being a crazy Virtuality goddess or something...
Next time, we start dealing with the four personalities, and start looking at the organisations.
The Big Four (Edgerunners)Original SA post CyberGeneration: The Big Four (Edgerunners)
Okay, it's time we took a little more of a detailed look at the oh-so-tragic (no really, it is kind of tragic) lives and personalities of the leaders of the Revolution.
Got 99 Problems, But Death Ain't One...
Alt Cunningham is trapped in the Net. She has been for seven years, and she isn't alone. See, she helped develop a very nasty program called SoulKiller, and then Arasaka tried to steal it, and tested it on her. She tried to get back to a new body, but found that her reversal program, Phoenix, only makes copies of the person. So there's a physical Alt running around, and a Net Alt, respectively Alt 2 and Alt 1 . She was going to de-rezz (read: top herself), but then Wizards found the place where Soulkiller personality engrams hang out, and she realised they were kids who traversed the big-bad Net without help or skill.
So she set herself up as an Earth-Goddess style figure to lead a Revolution. She even has a thing called the Eden Dream, where all the world's problems are solved, and man and beast live in harmony. In other words, the leader (and founder) of the Revolution has gone nuts. And this is meant to be one of the ideals the kids aspire to.
Statwise, she has precisely three stats under 9: Tech 8 (explains a bit), Move 4 (don't know why), and Luck 6 (Well... I'd have said it was lower, considering...). She also has a second statbar for being a program, and all her skills are CP2020 skills, including her special ability. So you need CP2020 to use her as anything more than a social character. The same is true for all the characters.
I Am A Replication, Made By Machine
Mister John Silverhand, as he now calls himself, has died twice. Originally an ex cybergrunt turned Rocker called Johnny Silverhand, his albums were politically hot potatoes, and for that, he was assassinated. Well, almost. You see, the assassination was botched, and Silverhand was alive, brain-wise, but his body was trashed. So Alt 1 arranged to have him uploaded and cloned, the same way she did it to herself. Then it happened again when he made more politically charged stuff, and he was cloned again. But this time he knows he's a clone, because Alt 1 told him. What she probably hasn't told him (because the writers ignore this fact only two pages after they mention it) is that this most likely means there's a Johnny Silverhand 1.5 trapped on the Net. With his girlfriend. Aaaaand she decided to top herself why, since the first clone happened before the CyberEvolved were a thing?
Yep, it's our old buddy, inconsistent writing popping up again!
Statwise, he's more reasonable, and nothing more need really be said there. He trains Scanners, Rads, and the like in the Rocker tradition of changing the world via telling it like it is. Of the four, he's possibly the only sane one. Possibly.
Stockholm Syndrome, Embodied.
Morgan Blackhand is the most legendary Solo (read: Dude who kills shit) in the game's setting. This is for two reasons: 1) Because he's still alive, and 2) Because the writers say so. There's really only two things to say about Morgan: That he's basically doing this for the lulz, and that he is training a new generation to be as murderous and maladjusted as he is.
Statwise, he has very few skills below 10, and his only bad stats are TECH, EMPathy, and ATTractiveness.
The Craziest Hobo
Ahhh, Rache Bartmoss. You will forever be noted as one of the most insane (and insanely lucky) NPCs an RPG ever had. He's the genius Mary Sue who stayed plugged in to the Internet to watch it turn into CP2020's Net, and then “banged his head against a wall for an hour because it was so frackin' beautiful”, the one who created the RABIDs (you may remember them if you read CPV3.0), and the guy who has done amazing things while basically being a near-corpse in cryogenic stasis. Unsurprisingly, he has skill points and the like out the wazoo, including an Interface skill of 12 (the highest possible that I'm aware of for old CP2020 skills).
However, he's forever tainted by his death, and what comes afterwards. See, as you might have guessed from that first point, he's pretty much psychotic, and his death triggers two things, one of which was definitely deliberate, and one of which was probably deliberate. First off, he created a program that would trigger on his death, that made all data kept on the Net (IE – a lot) completely unreliable. Then there were the RABIDs, which are basically programs that have most of Rache's ability, and all his psychoses. When he was alive, he would periodically summon them all to a single server, where they'd crash the server in their efforts to kill each other, and then Rache would turn up and murder the last one, usually with a sadistic quip. (He would also run around the Net looking for RABIDs that were too powerful for his liking, and say “Be vewwy vewwy quiet, I'm hunting RABIDs!” while doing so).
He doesn't really train anybody except Wizards who are stupid enough to ask him for his special brand of training (which involves assaulting the deadliest Net-Towers of Black ICE around). His entire purpose seems to be, in CyberGen, of one of those characters who just randomly shakes the setting up.
So anyways, before we end this update and move onto organisations, let's mention one final thing: All four of them have code-names. Why? Because, that's why. Never mind that any Corp worth their salt has a file on them that's several megabytes (in .txt) long, no, they have code-names, and they're silly. Respectively: Alt is Gaia, Mister Silverhand is The Mystic, Rache is Ghostlord, and Morgan is The Hammer. Nyuh-huh...
Push That Evil Button Like You Mean It! (Organisations)Original SA post CyberGeneration: Push That Evil Button Like You Mean It! (Organisations)
Okay, who wants a whistle-stop tour of the bad people that exist in the CyberGen setting? You do, you do? Oh good. Now buckle up, because we're going to get through... pages 171 to 183 (12 pages of bad guys) in a single update! Don't worry, you won't miss that much by me summarising them, they're mostly fairly one-dimensional.
The Ensmuggenest: Mark 2
The ISA – The supposed big bad of the setting. Yes, that's right, your own country is a Big Bad... and it's a popular one, because everyone's fed, most people are paid, and all they had to do was give up any pretence of personal freedom or privacy to do it! President Whindham is the boss, and he's pretty much your standard Carter Burke type: A slimy Corpsicle who'd sell his grandmother for stock options, if the market was good. But, in turn, the ISA is the direct tool now of the Corps, who quite happily order black ops, industrial pollution and shit, and fuck the world up their own special way, in the name of profit. Go Team !
They have a subgroup called the Domestic Security Agency. Do not fuck with them, they are basically wetworks embodied. They will not be silly enough to use Genies, they will use Ars, and hurt you.
Arasaka – Saburo Arasaka and his corporation is one of the few Big Bads that I would actually call a decent villain. Because he actually has a sensible plan that doesn't waste corporate resources for no good reason: “save” kids already in trouble, give them corporate trained foster families who will raise them lovingly (because their pay depends on it, and they've been matched by the best psych-profilers money can buy with each other and the kids), and basically, take the long view: Right now, the kids are like a raging tsunami. Ol' Saburo wants to reap the benefits such a thing could cause in the long term. A clever, clever man.
Edgerunners – Ah, the poster children for Stockholm syndrome... the Edgerunners free kids when they can from internment camps or searches, and mentor them as a form of parental feeling, but all Edgerunners know is being on the Edge, and we all know how well that worked out. Poor guys.
CorpSec: Like the Mafia or the Men In Black, But Not Good At Stuff.
BuReloc – The Bureau of Relocation is... well, picture the CyberEvolved as jewish people from all walks of life, right? BuReloc are the owners of “work camps”. Arbeit Macht Frei, freunden! PS – Most of their workers don't actually know kids can survive the plague, although their bosses do. Nevermind what happens when we kill all the kids, it's :morevil: time!
The CDC , naturally, want to find a cure. But BuReloc (and by extension, the gubmint) wants the kids dead, dead, dead! Which sort of causes problems. So they secretly get groups like the local police or the Plague Survivor's Alliance to kidnap kids for them, feed them well, pay them a healthy amount of money until they're sixteen, in return for being poked and prodded. They know mostly about the later stages, but want to understand vectors (contact/fluid, afaik) and the early stages, and they hope to find a cure. More power to them.
Clarkers , on the other hand, are nutjobs. They think the kids are the dawn of a new uplifted age, and spoil the little sods rotten, setting them up as little tin gods. Worst part is, if the rumours about the metaplot of CyberGen are true, the Clarkers are right. Sort of.
Cops serve the law, which naturally is in conflict with their Corporate masters sometimes, and CorpSec are basically thugs. But the next group are fucking terrifying.
The Scariest People In The Book.
The Hitler Youth... oops, I mean Final Quarantine believe that the only way to save humanity is to kill all the kids. They love their kids, really they do... but it's for their own good. This is another of those well written groups, because this is genuinely the sort of madness that would happen in this sort of situation... doesn't mean I'll ever put them in a campaign, though. Some things are just too for elfgames.
LEDiv is basically the FBI, the CIA, and Mossad all rolled into one. Don't get chased by them. The Military, obviously, is fascinated by military applications of CyberEvolved. Shame they test to destruction a lot of the time... and then we come to the Plague Survivor's Alliance , or PSA. They're a grassroots movement. On the one hand, this is a good thing, because there haven't been any (or so we're told) for six years. On the other, they're thoroughly infiltrated by Final Quarantine, and are about as useful to the players as a wet paper bag (Oh hey, you deserve a chance, but try not to use your Evolved stuffs and try to fit in, and we can help you by moving you to a different county/country/family/whatever)
Aaaand that's the main groups! There follows a section on kit and stats for these guys, but they're basically repainted Solos, Cops, Corps, and Medias. It'd just be better to... wait for it... Use the CP2020 book... aaaand, apart from a page at the end from Akira the AI about the Eden Dream, that's... the end of the book! Bit sudden, wasn't it?
EDIT: Silly me, I forgot one. Thanks to Young Freud for pointing this out!
You forgot a group and it's probably one of the more inconsistent pieces of writing in the game universe. The military have a special unit called the Raptors , made up of military-trained CyberEvolved that hunt down and capture or kill other CyberEvolved. While the other CyberEvolved are Beaver Brats and Squats and maybe the odd Megaviolent and use the kiddified skills and have to train up their power skill, the Raptors have the real Cyberpunk skillset, tend to have their power skill at much higher levels, and, of course, have the backing and support of the U.S. government. And no, you can't play Raptors.
Jay's Take: They take kids, indoctrinate the hell out of them, intensively train them, and then send them to do their dirty work. Not so much inconsistent as as hell... However, they are meant to have adult stats, yet be at the same level. All this really means? Their combat skills are worse than yours are.