Martial Arts

Later I will try to expand on this, but for now I want to write some concerns about martial arts and non martial arts.

There are a few skills I find poorly conceived.

Brawling, Melee, Fencing and Martial Arts ... on one side we have the enormous difference between Brawling and Martial Arts ... on the other the inexistent difference between Melee and Fencing.

As a Skill Brawling is quite mediocre, even easy MA are fairly superior to it and cost the same to learn. Meanwhile, Melee and Fencing doesn't even have a difference apart from name (and ignoring the optional rule from the GM guide).

My proposal is to convert Fencing to a martial arts (Pacific Rim style) so swords become more fearsome and Fencing more useful.

And merging Brawling with Melee ... so maybe you cannot do the same damage, but at least you can fight with anything that comes to your hands.

A little adventure (Part 1b)

I have to continue the adventure, but as the first week ended, so did my free time.

Eventually I will manage to write it XD

The schematics for the adventure are:
Chapter 1: Meeting Jaws - Player's get a contract and find a hacker dead.
Chapter 2: Searching for clues - Player's need to get in a remote datafortress where Jaws stored valuable secrets from a corporation. They are encrypted with strong keys, they will need a supercomputer to read it's contents.
Chapter 3: Creepers - Someone tries to kill the player's using cheap full borgs with brains that self destruct when dead. Attacks repeat during the rest of the adventure at random intervals.
Chapter 4: Light on the matter - Player's infiltrate or negotiate to access a supercomputer and decrypt Jaw files. They learn that a corporation is utilizing a variation of Soul Killer to copy minds to computers installed on full prosthetic bodies. The corporation is accused of kidnapping and killing famous people to acquire his minds.
Chapter 5: Revenge - Player's get to attack/infiltrate the secret laboratories of the corporation to blow of his experiments/projects. Lot's of C6 involved.


A little adventure (Part 1)

Players get a notification from Edgerunners Inc., someone needs a group of edgerunners to check for the welfare of a lost friend. The contact is from Japan, and while he will hide his identity he will pose as Totoro (with according avatar).

Edgerunners Inc is a good way to incorporate adventures into a game. They can be exchanged rather easily to conform existing campaigns NPCs, and they are a never ending source of missions for the players. So you should feel free to change them if you like.

George "Jaws" Fredderick
Totoro has a friend named George "Jaws" Fredderick who have been missed for a few weeks now.

Jaws was a netrunner from nightcity, he was into something big. Totoro doesn't know if he is alive, hidden or flatlined and frozen in a life support system. Edgerunners should go to the last known apartment, investigate and report to the contractor (Totoro).

It's a simple go and spot mission so the reward is low, 1000 eb. If Jaws has been killed, Totoro will post a new revenge mission for a greater reward.

Getting to Jaws apartment could be a problem bi itself. Jaws was a resident in Little Italy (A1 in map), the building is the territory of Marchelo's boys a little gang dealing with protection rackets, drugs and muscle bikes ... they inhabit between Mob buildings and under they law. Jaws have done some jobs for them so they don't touch his dwelling.

Average member:
INT 5, REF 6, TECH 4, COOL 6, ATTR 6, MA 6, BODY 6, LUCK 6, EMP 5
SKILLS: Awareness 4, Melee weapons 6, Handgun 5, Brawling 6, Intimidate 7, Human perception 5, Persuasion 7, Dodge 5, Stealth 7, Streetwise 5
CYBERWARE: Optishields (ChrBk1, pg31) are common, and other usually low-level modifications, ciberaudio, etc.

They roam on that area and don't let anybody who they don't know to enter the building. There area 2d10 members at any hour of the day. Player's can get violent or try a more stealthy option.

For example they could go to the surrounding buildings and try to jump to the top (if they can jump the gap). Or maybe climb one of the walls on a side street.

The building were Jaw is is the nº 26, it's an empty building waiting for it's proprietary to decide if he want's to build an hotel (with gangs messing with his attempts). Meanwhile it's occupied with the gangs and other nice guys.

The nº 27 houses a series of upscale condominiums. Many upper-level mobsters live here, with the occasional well-to-do outsider thrown in for cover.

The right building, nº 24, it's Balboa Aeronautics. This is nominally a designer and manufacturer of aircraft, but the premises also serve as offices for many illicit Mob enterprises. Most Mob netrunners use Balboa's back room as base of operations.

Jaws was not with the mob so he didn't use those installations. The back building, nº 20, is Tamalpias Crimson Winery a business used by Mob accountants to launder illicit funds. In addition, the winery actually ferments grapes and markets an annual vintage.

Player's should be wary about the Mob goons. They are not particularly dangerous, but making enemies with them isn't a casual affair. Someone with good persuasion and social skills could convince them to access to the top of one of those buildings (dif. 20).

The door on the nº26 roof is closed (dif. 20).

Also, they could provoke distractions on the street and sneak in while they are not watching. This is a stealth check opposed to their awareness roll.

Jaw door is closed with an electric lock with a pad. It's quite difficult to bypass (Dif. 25), and doing so can activate alarms on the building alerting everybody. Breaking the door will cause the alarms to jump too. But the walls between condos aren't worth a shit, so player's could sneak to a side door and break the wall (Strength Feat Dif. 15 ... or SP 2, SDP 20).

Climbing down the wall to enter from the window is a Dif. 17 test. The window is flimsy and can be broken quite easily.

Once inside the air is stale and dust covers everything, although there isn't much to cover. Jaws is sitting on his couch, head hanging inert and with his corpse dried. His interface plugs have signs of being burned and his terminal has a blinking light of an unread message waiting.

The life support seems to have failed, unsurprisingly as it is a cheap replica.

The message is a Watchdog program alerting on an attempt to access a remote Datafortress. This is the only thing in the terminal, all programs have been erased by outside forces and even the terminal is half fried by anti-system programs.

There are a bunch of chips scattered on a table nearby full of documents, reports and forms. The information in them is thick and require long hours of work to understand what they mean.

Contacting Totoro about the fate of Jaws grants them the reward and the next mission.

The files are about brainwashing technology of an undisclosed corporation, there seems to be something odd about them. Someone who has read the files and make a programming dif. 25 check can understand the technology is oriented to some kind of human digital minds.


ACPA Base Suit

I find ACPA designs quite questionable ... if you draw one of the models presented and a human silhouette on top of it, there is no way it can be operated without crushing every bone of that unfortunate pilot.

Landmates, from Masamune Shirow, are a more realistic approach.

Datafortress have some interpretations on Landmates using Maximun Metal rules. But I found them to exaggerated ... if you read some of the data notes about Landmates by Masamune, you can read a 20 mm canon is a serious menace for a Landmate.

I don't think a 50SP, -11 Toughness "light" Landmate has that much of a problem with a 20mm auto-canon (8d10) which average 44 points of damage (you should do a 8 on every d10 to do something).

Even more, I find them expensive ... I know it's cool to pack the better gear when mounting something. But haven seen how real manufacturers work, is safer to assume the designers will go for the cheapest components.

So here comes my approximation for a basic Landmate without extras, with the following annotations : Pilot resides only on the torso+legs area of the Landmate. Impacts on arms/head won't touch the pilot. Likewise, while I'm not posting control arms as external devices, they are considered part of the torso ... if the impact touch a pilot arm, it is supposed to impact the control arm (with the same SP as the torso).

Chassis : STR 25 Militech's Gunslinger
Toughness : -7
Punch : 3d10; Kick : 4d10; Crush : 4d10
Capacity : 1250; Carry : 375
Trooper Size : 110 kg reserved space.
Weight : 413 kg
SIB/DFB : -2/+1

Armor : Militech's KromGear (SP 30)

Head : SP 30, SDP 6 (2 spaces)
- Wideband aperture SDP 15 (1/2 space)
- Sensory Extensions (external) SP 15, SDP 15 (1/2 space)

Torso : SP 30, SDP 19 (4 spaces)
- Advanced control system (no space)
- RussianArms KwikFix SDP 15 (1/2 space)
- Escape Hatch SDP 30 (1/2 space)
- Military radio SDP 10 (1/2 space)

Arms : SP 30, SDP 6 (3 spaces)

Legs : SP 30, SDP 13 (3 spaces)

Price : 48.000 eb

That's it. I find in a more manageable price range, and combat wise it isn't that powerful it could obliterate a whole city. After all, a STR 52, SP 100 machine is impressive, but boring.

It's important to note that usually I tend to halve SP numbers on most armor because they are to powerful compared to the examples provided in the book. This Landmate is made with low SP in mind ... if you want to halve SP remember to equip it with a heavier armor or it will be vulnerable to small arms fire.


Less combat ready borgs

Full body conversions are a quite combat focused (SP 25 alpha model?), so I put a version more suited for domestic use.

Model: DOMO CP2060 series
Physical Stats: REF 6, ATR 6, MOV 6, BOD 8
Option Packages: None
Physical Structure:
 - Head : SP 0, SDP 20/30 (Optic 4+4 options, Audio 6 options)
 - R.Arm (w/hand) : SP 0, SDP 20/30 (3 options)
 - L.Arm (w/hand) : SP 0, SDP 20/30 (3 options)
 - Torso : SP 0, SDP 30/40 (4 options)
 - R.Leg (w/foot) : SP 0, SDP 20/30 (2 options)
 - L.Leg (w/foot) : SP 0, SDP 20/30 (2 options)
Total package cost: 20.900 eb
Humanity cost: 9d6+3

The DOMO model comes in a few varieties, Merlin, Jack, Tetsu, Susan, Annie, Mya. All models from the DOMO series have the same faces/body types ... is virtually impossible to distinguish two Jack models (to name one of them).

If you want custom face, voice and body you will need body-sculpting.

DOMO series uses realskin, it's a DIFFICULT check to spot it's true nature (although anybody who have seen the ads will recognize them). This only means plastic flesh, no body temperature, no breath simulation, etc

If you want to really feel "human" buy Gemini.

French are cool people

Today I discovered a weird thing. Cyberpunk v3 looks better in french. It still have a weird setting and dumb assumptions (paper virus and all), but at least no french can call it "barbiepunk".

The small handgun

I'm looking at you little 5mm handgun.

How many time have you seen a gun like BudgetArms C-13 used as a handgun, even a secondary one ... or emergency ... or whatever. Not much I believe.

One of the problems it's Cyberpunk 2020 armors being a little bit overpowered,in fact it's not hard to see people halving armor SP (a rule I myself have applied more than one time).

But even shooting against someone unarmored it's not going to do a lot of damage, unless you point it between the eyes. And even there it will hardly kill anyone.

There are inventive ways to use small handguns. One of my personal uses (in game of course) was a hidden gun in a flesh pocket packed with acid ammunition to soften hard targets.

Sadly small caliber guns cannot be used with Chromebook weapon modification for militech 25 pistol grenades (image on right is based on this). Which is a shame, it would be ironic to pack HEP ammunition with such a small pistol and to blow up a heavy cyborg with it.

Well ... I suppose small caliber is relegated to specific targeting and special ammunition. A shame really.

It's a shame because there are a series of implants that utilize small caliber ammunition. And ... to be sincere, are quite useless. Well, not useless at all, but only useful in certain specific context.

Let's look at One-shoot special from Dynalar Techonolgies series "Digits". You have only one shot (unless you have more than one finger installed), so we have to make it count.

From all ammunition, Acid, API and Fragmentation Flechette seems to be the more dangerous, but still won't make your day ... maybe you could use it to break a lock, blow someone eye or some thing like this. Still ... missed opportunity.

Of course I could make some special ammunition, but it would feel cheap ...

Bank Robbery

Making a digital robbery ...

The bank is guarded by Pitbulls, SeeYa apps and a few utilities to restore files and stop viruses. The exterior area is open to the public unless an attack is detected, in that case everyone is ejected and codegates get closed until further analysis from the system.

The inner area is restricted and only someone with the appropriate code and brainwaves can access it (which can be denied) even in that case you have to make a call to alert the sysops of your access. The voice is scanned too.

The public zone have virtual office to everyday jobs and contracts, and terminal let you access (with code & brainwave restrictions) to your account. Anyone detected doing wrong things get smacked by the system ASAP.

The restricted area has the funny things and a terminal with access to all accounts. Antipersonnel programs too.

And about those changes on the rules ... adding Interface to infiltration tests? Not sure about it ... maybe I should change what Interface do for you. Something like :

Every 2 ranks in interface skill let you chose one of the following benefits:
- Database manager : Gain 1UM on your terminal.
- Program master : Choose one program category (utility, anti-personnel, etc), your programs on that category gains +1 to STR.
- Net Demon : Gain +1 to initiative on the net.
- Mind fortress : Your robust brain equals a Shield program with STR 1


Netrunning, to easy?

Netrunning ...

Going classless ... in general Cyberpunk 2020 benefit a lot for being classless. But there is an instance where it gets a bit uncomfortable. Netrunning let you control remotes quite easily. You put the program on, it does the rest of the job.

This means anybody with 1 rank in Interface can get to control remotes without any kind of problem.

In fact, having 1 rank in interface let you do quite a lot of things into the interwebz ... and it feels cheap. The only moment where you need you Interface is when things get ugly. But not everybody uses black programs.

For a while I was wondering about expanding netrunning skills, adding skills like "infiltrating", "antisystem", "antipersonnel", etc. On top of that, change the rules so every task at hand requires an appropriate skill roll adding the program STR vs predetermined difficulty.

It didn't feel bad at all ... but, it has 2 things I don't like at all.

First, it forces the netrunner to spend a lot of skills to be competent in his job. A netrunner that don't even know how to walk maybe realistic ... but for adventure purposes is a pain in the ass.

The other point is ... you kill the possibility of script kiddies populating the net. And there is charm in this.

So by now I'm thinking in merely add more programs and a few checks more to make infiltration a bit more complicated, because I feel is one of the aspects less interesting about the rules.

When Cyberpunk 2020 was created there was that concept of wirehead people connecting to BBS. Right now, Internet is more like anybody has access to the web and have public faces for them. So changing a bit about datafortress construction should be enough. And proxies (prior LDC) procedures too.

Later I will try to put an example of an assault to a digital fortress. A bank nonetheless!


Wireless plugs

So let's begin ...

Technology wise, it my seem strange that in a not to far future people plug to his gadgets (guns, cars, etc) ... and it is. So ...

Wireless switch - Surg:N - Cost:100ed - H.L.:1
This implant let you connect wirelessly to any device prepared for it (50-500ed). The Wireless Switch must be used in along an appropriate link (cybermodem, vehicle, smartgun, etc) and have a 5m range.

That's all? Not exactly. This technology is useful for the average Joe, but anybody who expect to be in daily firefights would be wiser to pack old interface plugs. "Why?" you should ask. Because wireless signals can be disrupted, or worse, hacked.

Signal disrupter - Cost 295ed
This small gadget (the size of and old PDA) has the capability to disrupt signals in a 30m radius. His rechargeable batteries last for 3 hours of continual use. Ideal to disable phones on theaters, cinemas and the like.

Hacking a wireless connection.

Now, you are wondering how you can hack a wireless smartgun or smartcar. It's quite easy, really.

You will need to locate wireless spots (LOCATE REMOTE), sniff the wireless signals, decrypt them and fake them so the device believes you are the legitimate proprietary. Or you could assault it's datawalls and the use a CONTROL REMOTE command.

To sniff signals you need a specialized program, and have to succeed in a STR test (1D10 <= Program STR), then you need to decrypt the acquired data as usual, finally fake the signal with another specialized program and succeed on an opposed test (1d10+Attack STR vs 1d10+Defense INT).

Sniffer v1 - STR 3; UM 1; Cost 300ed
Sniffer v2 - STR 5; UM 2; Cost 500ed
Signal faker v1 - STR 3; UM 2; Cost 400ed
Signal faker v2 - STR 4; UM 3; Cost 600ed
Signal faker v3 - STR 5; UM 4; Cost 850ed

To randomly determine the defenses of a wireless ready item, roll 1d6+2+nº CPU as the Datawall STR. Most wireless apparels use a single CPU to manage the comunication between devices, so it's INT is +3. Secure devices use more than one CPU, strengthening it's defenses and improving it's capabilities.

So ... wireless things not that cool anymore, uh?


Well ... hi.

Why a new blog and why in English? That's a good question. One I will not answer at all :)

The thing is, I want to write some articles for some RPG systems (Cyberpunk 2020 right now) and ... as I am building some kind of web, I will use this blog to post the material for later use.

How much I will work in this? Don't know. As long as real life work and inspiration let me do it.

Another question could be, "Why cyberpunk?" ... I could say I have fond memories of that game. Good gaming years. And while I have been on greener pastures the game is still deep in my heart.

Even more ... when Cyberpunk v3 was released I was quite excited ... until I managed to read it. That was a point of no return. A "Jimmy is dead" scenario.

But recently I have played a Cyberpunk game and fond memories came again in me. Even more, I found rumors of a new setting for the old interlock system (Genesis Descent) ... a nice surprise, followed by dissappoinment.

It seems the game has been delayed for years and ... not even know if they are working on it. I believe the guy who started is not working there anymore. Bad news I suppose. But that got me thinking.

Maybe I could do something, rewrite parts, update technologies, etc.

I suppose I could use Interlock Unlimited (Fanmade version) but I think those rules have fallen on a "to much complex" side of system. And in fact, my primary concern is the setting, not the system.

Yeah, I even like netrunning.