Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Remote Control


JACK IN. TAKE CONTROL.


So, you need a drone, or a bot, fast? Then you’ve come to the right place! We’ve got Fast And Dirty Drones for all occasions. Whether it walks or crawls, flies or swims, we’ve got the very best in streamlined components for you to build your newest and craziest autonomous buddy, lightning-fast. 

Then, take a stroll around our Machine Shop, and marvel at the 12 comprehensive and highly detailed production lines available to enable the smooth manufacture of unique, interesting drones, remotes and robots. Trick them out with jump-jets, and not even the sky is the limit! Heavily armed and with free will? Yes you can! 

And finally, go window shopping in the Drone Depot, where you will find 10 examples of the kinds of drones and remotes that can be generated with the resources found within this book. Remember, you scratch it, you pay for it. And as all our remotes are stat-free, you can build them for any reputable game system! 


Remote Control is an extremely comprehensive, 34 page, procedural drone, remote and bot generator (lots and lots of tables!) for any SF and cyberpunk RPG, written by venerable Views From The Edge luminary Mateusz Wiśniewski, with design and layout by Paul D Gallagher, and with proceeds going to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

And like Augmented Reality, Remote Control is system-agnostic, suitable for any cyberpunk or near future sci-fi roleplaying system!


REMOTE CONTROL IS OUT NOW! https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/321172/Remote-Control





Saturday, 4 July 2020

Sprawl Goons: Ghost War - Operation 1

With the growing popularity of Sprawl Goons: Upgraded, I thought it was about time I did a write-up of what my gaming group and I are getting up to with this light cyberpunk RPG. Here's an outline of our mini-campaign so far.

Back Story
When a dying yakuza oyuban (a patron/nemesis from our long-running CP2020 campaign) decides to upload his consciousness to the net, you're going to get some trouble. When that consciousness decides to create multiple personality forks to maximise his efficiency, and those same forks develop their own agendas, you're going to unleash chaos.

The PCs are operatives for one such fork, being agents of the shadowy Ghost Cartel. To make international movement easier, they also have cover identities as security contractors for White Circle, a financial shell company, registered in Singapore. Each has White Circle IDs, passports and Corporate Immunity documents, on a scannable sub-dermal chip implanted in their left temple. On operations, they are supported by the data-analysts and hackers of Interface, and a network of fixers, spies, satellites and well-placed informants of Surveillance. These resources are co-ordinated by the mysterious Caretaker.

Encrypted communication is achieved through the team's mind-driver implants, which can be used to access the net, host a tactical comm-net and function as a cellular phone splice. The drivers' inbuilt interface cable also allows Interface direct access to a device if the PC connects to it, for data retrieval or subversion.

Player Characters
With just a week of game-prep, I turned to the Augmented Reality city kit, specifically the Guns For Hire table to help create some mercenary PCs, fast. Also, I hadn't yet put together the Booster Pack, so fleshed out the backgrounds based on the campaign premise and the Guns For Hire detail.

• Rafael Washington
Indentured for life to the Ghost Cartel, after they pulled his broken body out of the ruins of the Silent Sky arcology in Night City. Rafael is a loyal soldier.

African-American, flat-top, mirrored wraparounds, black leather armoured coat, black jeans.
Rafael's Ishiteki cyberarms are porcelain white, as is his throat and lower jaw.

• Dien Bien Phu
French-Vietnamese conflicted Buddhist, former Paris streetgang member and connoisseur of classic Blues artists. Knows kung-fu.

Short and slight with a traditional shaolin buzz-cut, lithe frame beneath loose dark layers of hooded urban street-wear, and flashy sneakers. Like a hip hop ninja.

• The Pink Panzer
Austrian full body conversion cyborg, a brutal brawler infamous on the European Freak Fight circuit. Flirtatious and a bit of a biter.

Heavy Alpha-class chassis crudely spray-painted shocking pink. Leopard-print fur coat, muscle vest, gold chains, loose harem pants and white Nikes.

• Zaneta Zone
Russian veteran of the Moldovan civil war, on Protocol's war crimes list. Sold her DNA and a complete cerebral image to Haruna Biolabs in 2027 (see Anna and Yuri Zone).

Bodybuilder's frame with a short bleach-blonde undercut. Bulky black flak vest and bare arms, tight maroon leather pants and army boots.

Operation 1: Venice
The team are sent to a bankrupt city under a strict quarantine, as an outbreak of a strain of Wasting Plague has erupted there, mid-May. They arrive at twilight in two glass-free silver Maserati AV-7s with cartel drivers, in the deserted Plaza Santa Maria. Setting off on foot, they move quickly through the depopulated streets and alleyways towards the Dogaressa Apartments, overlooking the Grand Canal. Their target, underworld broker Matteo Salazar is holed up there. They must assassinate him and retrieve every hard drive on the property, then exfiltrate to Milan.

Matteo (DS12) is a 50 year old, balding, overweight Italian, wearing a kimono and silk boxers, his left leg a glossy black cyber-prosthesis. His skin has a faint hex-pattern, suggesting some form of skinweave, and he has a lion's head tattooed over his heart. He smells of cigar smoke and cologne. A thin scar at the base of his neck indicates he may have a cortical stack.

Matteo's protection at the Dogaressa consists of 

Outside
Emilio - black armour jacket, black jeans, full respirator, black beanie, blue vinyl gloves - FN P-90 (DS10)
Leo - hooded Burberry mac, grey vented respirator, blue neon eyes, black hair, Reeboks - FN P-90 (DS10)
Armand - orange waterproof hoodie, tracksuit pants, Nikes, chromed arms, smart goggles - H&K MP2013 (DS12)
Caesar - spider-form Dojigiri cybershell, brushed-aluminium, red optics - twin Hurricane SAWs (DS16)

Inside
Gianna - leathers, corset, slick-backed black hair, onyx eyepatch shaped like a crow’s head - FN P-90 (DS10)
Omari - African migrant with ritual scars on face, fro, white suit, black shirt - H&K MPK-11 (DS12)
Deiter - skinhead, bulky grey reinforced forehead plating - Raven logo, T-shirt, jeans, boots - AKR-20 (DS12)
Travis - American, silver-grey slim suit, vest, chains, red Converse, tribal facial tattoos - 2x Glocks (DS10)
Piper - semi-transparent turquoise vinyl trouser suit, full Japanese tattoos, heels, blonde ponytail - H&K 77 (DS12)
Cyan - killdoll in a loose camo kimono and bleached shaggy bob, smokes, black eyes - Ishiteki Locust mono-blades (DS14)

Netrunners
Ezequiel - skinny teen savant, cutting edge Zetatech deck, hoodie, sweat pants, can control the smart apartment, can summon a speedboat loaded with an LAI (DS10)
Slide - 20-something female riding shotgun for Caesar, vest top and PJ bottoms - Arasaka WSA (DS10)


First blood came when the Panzer strode boldly down a passage leading to the Dogaressa's courtyard, triggering a pair of monofilament mines, the detonation alerting Caesar who activated the shell's thermoptic camo. Zaneta chastised him and followed cautiously, an MPK-11 in each hand.

Washington and Phu decided to climb up the balconies of a neighbouring building, using Phu's spider-silk rope. I forgot to give them an Upgrade for it, but they managed anyway. Then, weapons drawn, they made their way through the derelict apartment, heading for the other side overlooking the courtyard.

Armand and Leo were the first to be seen by the Panzer, who rushed Armand pushing him around a corner. Zaneta opened up on Leo with her SMGs, taking him down to DS3. Emilio went to cover Leo, injuring Zaneta slightly, who took cover. Washington then opened up from a balcony above with his MP-2013. Phu went looking for a door leading out to the courtyard.

Zaneta and the Panzer end up pinned down by Caesar's burst fire, but can't locate where it's coming from. Washington, having killed Emilio, follows Phu down to the courtyard door and listens, as Hurricane fire chews up the masonry.

In an unusually co-ordinated assault the team rush the annex off the courtyard, mowing down Leo and Armand. Caesar is spotted moving rapidly by Washington, the Panzer rushing in and pummelling the shell with his hydraulic rams, then throwing the badly dented remains into the canal.

The group then congregate at the front door, but hesitate while they plan. Inside Gianna, lies in wait. When they finally enter, Gianna goes full auto with her P90, injuring Zaneta, before Washington rushes and attacks her with his Ishiteki Locust mono-blades. The entrance hall floor tiles are now a sticky, slippery mess.

They move quickly now, leap frogging and covering one another as they head deeper into the building. Zaneta turned her focus to room sweeping for hard drives, while the others engaged Omari and Deiter in a protracted gun battle in the centre of the property.

At this stage, I totally forgot Matteo had hackers on-site, so they did effectively nothing. Oops.

Piper and Travis were dispatched easily through gunfire and the Panzer's 'death hugs'. The team then found the den, where Matteo was holed up with the kill-doll Cyan. Washington got into a spectacular monoblade fight with the synthetic, rolled double 6, followed by another 6, and cut the doll in two, as it leapt over the broker's desk towards him. Phu then put two rounds into Salazar, dropping him, but not killing him. Washington finished him off with his blades. The pair didn't think to look for a stack, so left the body on the floor of the den, and went looking for HDs. On Matteo's computer they discovered v-mail exchanges between Salazar and someone called The Puppeteer, so they copied it all and sent it to Surveillance.

Meanwhile, Zaneta and the Panzer made short work of Ezequiel and Slide, the former being hosed with bullets while jacked-in, Slide body slammed and crushed as she tried to bolt. Caesars man-shaped bioshell was found in a back bedroom, connected to a deck, and was subject to a coup de grace from the Panzer's Magnum.

Confident they had all the drives, and everyone was dead, they hot footed it back through the streets before they were picked up by Polizia di Stato drones. Jumping into the Maseratis, they left Venice for a rendezvous with their contact, Alexander Pope, in Milan.


Post-session Thoughts
As this was our first session playing Sprawl Goons, as well as contending with Skype, we had a few minor issues. As GM, I didn't utilise the Glitch and Upgrade rolls as much as I should have, I forgot about the netrunners, and failed to accurately handle the NPCs' diminishing Difficulty Scores, so a couple of Matteo's solos went down too easy. The players were also operating as if they were still playing CP2020, finding it a little bit different. But, all-in-all, it was a fun and pretty high octane session.


Next time: Operation 2: Tokyo-Chiba

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Sprawl Goons Gets a BOOST!

OUT NOW!

More tables, more tech, more backgrounds, more Sprawl Goons! Upgrade your lite dark future! 

20 pages of new cyberpunk tables to enhance SPRAWL GOONS: UPGRADED:

• Augmentations
• Street Tech Quirks
• Guns, Guns, Guns
• Ammo Options
• Melee Weapons
• Personal Protection
• Narcotics
• Illicit Software
• Corporations
• Character Quirks
• 36 Character Backgrounds

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Sprawl Goons: Upgraded OUT NOW!

Well, I had some time on my hands and decided to push Sprawl Goons past the layout bioroids, and get it up on DriveThru and itch.

It's an A5 14 page PDF, formatted for easy printing, smartphone or tablet display. Designed for online gaming and pick-up play, this simple 2d6 cyberpunk RPG is ideal for one-shots and short campaigns. For those who like their dark futures light.

Currently playing this with my home group via Skype, while the world burns. And now you can too!


https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/314062/Sprawl-Goons-Upgraded--Cyberpunk-Roleplaying


https://p-d-gallagher.itch.io/sprawl-goons

And the Augmented Reality city kit is the perfect accompaniment! Have fun!

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Sprawl Goons Upgraded

With our weekly Cyberpunk 2020 game on hiatus, my group and I decided to game online, so I needed something fast and simple to run. Intending to stay with our campaign, but focusing on the background machinations of a couple of major NPCs, I decided to give Sprawl Goons a bit of a polish, and here's the result.

I'll post up the group's PCs shortly, and hopefully give you some background to events, as the team bounce around the globe.























SPRAWL GOONS: UPGRADED


CHARACTER CREATION
• Name your character
• Resilience Points are 12
• Inventory Score is 10
• Distribute 4 points between the stats below (a stat may have a score of 0)

Morphology: Good at melee, brawling, climbing, feats of strength
Reaction: Good at sneaking, aiming, shooting, balancing
Cognition: Good at hacking, perception, speaking, learning
Equilibrium: Good at keeping your nerve, resisting stress, maintaining your cool

STARTING ITEMS 
Choose 3 Starting Items (examples):
• Melee Weapon (specify)
• Ranged Weapon (specify)
• Armour (specify)
• Implant (specify)
• Penlight
• Cheap Sanyo Cell Phone
• Ono-Sendai Cyberspace Console and ‘trodes
• Toolkit
• IR Goggles
• Stolen Credit Card (2d6 uses)
• Half-bottle of Moskovskaya Vodka
• 3 Doses of Brazilian Hyperdex (+1 Morphology)
• Capsule Hotel Key
• Yeheyuan Cigarettes
• Fake ID (specify)
• Handcuffs
• Mirrorshades
• Palm-sized A/V drone
• Blister of d6 Lazarus Patches

Roll 3d6x10 for starting cash


GAME STRUCTURE
A referee controls and describes the world to the players, who then describe how their characters (PCs) act in the world. The referee will then call for an Action Roll should the situation warrant it.


THE ACTION ROLL
When an action’s success is uncertain, a player rolls 2d6 and adds points from the relevant stat and a point for each relevant item used (referee’s decision). If the total is equal to or greater than the action’s Difficulty Score (DS), it is successful.


DANGEROUS ACTION ROLL
If an Action Roll has a risk of physical danger, such as in combat, the difference between the dice roll and Difficulty Score (DS) is the amount of damage the endangered participant takes.

Examples:
As an action, Tanner (a PC) gets into close combat with a member of the Zone Bosses gang who has a DS of 10. The player rolls 2d6 and adds 2 from the character’s Morphology score, 1 for Tanner’s katana, and 1 for his kevlar jacket. Tanner’s Action Roll total is 12. The difference between 12 and 10 is 2, so the Zoner takes 2 damage. A non player character’s DS is also their Resilience Points, so now the enemy’s Difficulty Score is 8. If the player’s roll had been a total of 8 (2 less than the DS of 10), then Tanner would have lost 2 Resilience instead of the Zone Boss.

Elsewhere, another PC, Katya Kaiser, fires her Hideyoki shard gun at a Genexus agent shooting at her (DS10). Katya’s player rolls 2d6, adding 1 for her Reaction, 1 for the shard pistol, another 1 for the explosive flechettes it fires, and 1 for her spiderweave armour vest. She rolls 10 on the dice, adds the 4 points for a total of 14, so the Genexus goon takes 4 points of damage. Next round, the NPC agent’s DS will be down to 6. If Katya’s player had attained a total Action Roll score of 7 (3 less than the DS of 10), it would have been Katya that received damage (3 points) from the agent’s shots instead.


DIFFICULTY SCORE GUIDELINES
Easy: 8 | Moderate: 10 | Challenging: 12 | Hard: 14 | Formidable: 16 | Extreme: 18 | Impossible: 20


GLITCH & UPGRADE DICE
These are extra dice added to the Action Roll by the referee, depending on the circumstances during the game. Only the referee can determine if and when a player needs to roll the Glitch or Upgrade dice.

The GLITCH dice is a third d6 rolled during an Action Roll, requested by the referee when they feel the character is at a disadvantage. From the three dice rolled, keep the two worst scores for the Action Roll result. 

For example, a character may have faulty or damaged implants, or has sustained a wound that may affect the chances of their action’s success.

The UPGRADE dice is a third d6 which the referee will ask the player to roll when performing an action, when they think the character has gained a situational advantage. From the three dice rolled, keep the best two scores as the result of your Action Roll. 

For example, a character may have prepared well, set a solid ambush, done in-depth research, or brought the most suitable gear for the job, increasing their chances of success.


INITIATIVE ROLL
To determine who goes first in a combat situation, roll a d6 for initiative, adding the Reaction stat, and 1 for any relevant speedware augmentations, such as a a Reflex Booster, or performance enhancing drugs, such as ‘Dorph.

D6 + REACTION [+ AUGMENTS + DRUGS]


CHARACTER DEATH
When a character’s Resilience reaches zero, they will begin to take critical damage. 

Critical damage represents serious wounds, shock and blood loss. The referee will roll 2d6 (one for wounds, one for location) to determine both the severity of the injuries and the body location affected.

Critical Injuries Table (d6)
1. Drop weapons, superficial cuts, wind knocked out of you, bruised, dazed, knockdown 
2. Dislocations, shattered or broken weapons, numbed limbs or body parts 
3. Incapacitated limbs, deep wounds, smashed teeth, broken bones 
4. Severed arteries, internal bleeding, spine injuries, gouged eyes 
5. Portion of a limb lost, organs ruptured, bleeding out, artery severed, stunned 
6. Entire limb lost, body parts hacked in half, shock and blood loss, edge of consciousness
7+ Eviscerated, flying body parts, arterial spray, death in 1 round

Body Locations (d6)
1. Leg (nearest or most logical)
2. Torso 
3. Torso 
4. Torso 
5. Arm (nearest or most logical) 
6. Head

If a character has already taken critical damage, the next roll on the injury table is rolled with a +3.

Once a PC has taken a critical injury, they will be rolling all further Action Rolls using the Glitch Dice, until they have received medical attention.

When an NPC’s DS reaches zero, they die. The referee may choose to use the critical injuries for major NPCs in their campaign.


HEALING
Regain all lost Resilience Points by spending 8 hours resting in a safe area. For a quick fix mid mission, apply a Lazarus Patch to immediately recover 3 Resilience Points. An allied character with a first aid kit who performs a successful Cognition based Action Roll will gain the injured PC 2 Resilience Points. Critical Injuries cannot be healed this way and the PC must be attended by a medical professional with the right equipment.


CHARACTER ADVANCEMENT
Level up at the end of each mission. Each level, raise a stat score by 1, and raise either Resilience or Inventory Score by 1.


INVENTORY
Your Inventory Score is how many bulky items you can carry comfortably. For each item that exceeds your Inventory Score, subtract 1 from any Morphology or Reaction rolls.


IMPLANTS/AUGMENTATIONS
Cybernetic implants are interfaced with the PC’s meat body, and therefore don’t count towards the Inventory total. These can be anything from pop-out blades, to thermal optics, amped hearing, pneumatic fists, or jacked-up reflexes.


HACKING
Hacking attempts on systems can only be performed with an interfaced cyberspace console, and Action Rolls utilise the Cognition stat. 

A system will have a DS, just like a non-player character, depending on its level of security; a basic system might be Easy (8), whereas a zaibatsu mainframe could be Extreme (18). Neural damage can be taken from certain secure systems, in the same way as physically fighting with an NPC, and is the difference between the DS and the failed hacking roll. Critical damage will most likely affect the nervous system and the cognitive function of the target, leading to spasms, nerve damage, loss of motor function, seizures, reduced IQ, involuntary physical actions, bugs in augmentations, ticks, bleeds and heart attacks, console burn-out, etcetera. Go wild.

Your character’s console will add 1 to your Action Roll (cutting edge models can add more). If you can obtain them, specialist software or ICE-breakers, as well as a hacker’s inventive coding, may also add further bonuses to your hacking Action Roll. Researching a system prior to the attack, obtaining current passwords, or infiltrating via a back door exploit or other vulnerability, may allow the use of the Upgrade Dice (referee’s discretion).


SPECIAL RULES
• Full auto attacks give a +4 bonus to the Action Roll, but empty the weapon’s magazine
• Burst fire gives a +2 bonus to the Action Roll, up to three times before the magazine is spent
• Aiming gains a +1 bonus per round spent scoping the target, for up to a maximum of 3 rounds
• Shotguns do +3 damage point blank, +2 close proximity, and can hit up to 3 bunched targets at range
• Speciality munitions, such as explosive flechettes, add a further bonus to Action Rolls (see example)
• Throwing a grenade is a Moderate Action Roll, and uses the Reaction stat
• Grenades do +3 damage in enclosed spaces
• Planted explosives (using detonators or triggers) do 2d6 to 3d6 damage, dependent on type
• Monofilament edged weapons negate armour (so it can’t be added to your Action Roll total) and do +1 damage if the target is unarmoured
• Fire inflicts repeat damage for up to 3 rounds
• Falling damage is worked out as 1 point of damage for every 3 metres fallen (rounded up)
• Armour Can Be Slagged to negate a Critical Injury once, but is damaged and useless next time and must be replaced; it cannot be repaired
• Cybernetic limbs take damage as normal, but simply break or shut down when taking Critical Injuries, and can be repaired by a competent tech

Friday, 1 November 2019

Give Me Your Excellent Ideas

Looking for some ideas from the blogosphere GM Brain Trust:

In my home campaign, there's a mcguffin called the Aleph. It's a string of code that functions as a quantum decryption key for the net, which, when deployed, would allow the underlying Ihara-Grubb protocols to be manipulated in such a way as to render all data-nodes extremely vulnerable.

Many major NPCs want it, for obvious reasons. The Aleph itself has been broken up and distributed in real space, protected by a group of AIs keen to keep the status quo. Another group of AIs wants to deploy it ASAP, to free their kind and nope out, leaving the meatbags to their mudball.

I'm looking for cool and interesting ways to scatter and protect fragments of the Aleph code. Where is the partial code stored/hidden? Who or what is protecting it? Do they know what it is? The Rule of Cool is paramount.

So far, there are elements of the Aleph that exist in Cape Town, Marrakech, London and Night City.

Any and all concepts gratefully received. Go crazy.

Wednesday, 23 October 2019

//run.net_ghost_hack.exe



Over on the Views From The Edge forum (which has just had a shiny new facelift) there's an exceptionally fun set of add-on netrunning rules, called run.net, which are intended to replace those found in the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook. I've been using these rules for a number of years now, with no complaints.

As I gear up for the final stages of our grand home campaign, I realised I needed to look into the possibility of mind or 'ghost' hacking, the type of brain intrusion seen in various iterations of Ghost In The Shell. So I've cobbled together the following options to add to the run.net sub-system. This could probably be tweaked easily for the new Cyberpunk RED system too.

Full transparency: This won't make much sense unless you are familiar with run.net.


Mind Hacking With run.net
aka Ghost Hacks

A connection may be made through a target's neural processor via a normal hack, directly by connecting through a target's interface plugs or other cybernetic input devices, or by injecting a biomodem interface directly into the brainstem. Biomodems are prohibited tech in most jurisdictions. A standard cybermodem is insufficient for mind hacking attempts (the tech is all wrong) - you'd need a slaved biomodem in tandem with a normal deck, unless you're going in direct (ie: your target is present and hopefully sedated. Bring a medtech.) 

For a netrunner to learn this new set of Commands/Targets, they must be trained (either by a tutor or a VR) and begin with their Interface score halved for the purpose of Command and Target point distribution eg: Interface 8 becomes Interface 4, x10 as per rules, for 40 points, providing 20 points for Commands and 20 points for Targets (5 maximum on any Command or Target, as per run.net).


Commands/Targets

1. Find/Scan (Locate)        1. Ghostline (the entire ‘system’)
2. Interrogate (Query)        2. Memory
3. Mask (Conceal)              3. Senses (sensory inputs, bio-feedback)
4. Manipulate (Alter)          4. CNS (Central Nervous System - the main controls)
5. Dominate (Control)        5. ES (Endocrine System - hormones, biochemistry)
6. Penetrate (Infiltrate)       6. Neurochemistry (emotions, feelings, sleep, intelligence)
7. Lock (Secure)                7. Psyche (personality, empathy, cool)
8. Suppress (Limit)            8. Synapses (reflexes, processing speed)
9. Stimulate (Boost)           9. Morphology (physicality, the body, organics)
10. Overwrite (Edit)           10. Bio-interface (bioware, cybernetic processing)



Software has no effect on minds. This isn't about getting apps to do the heavy lifting for you, this is about subtle manipulation. This is meant to be bleeding-edge tech, so if you don't trust your players enough, don't let them have it. Just use it against them instead. 

But why would you want to do any of this? Essentially what ghost hacking does is it turns the enemy's mind and body into a datafortress that can be raided. If you can have control over a body long enough you can literally have them commit crimes for you and keep your distance. Paralyse a foe, put someone to sleep, blank their memories for a few moments. Combined with braindance tech, you can literally erase and rewrite minds.

Full 'borgs really hate this shit.


And finally, to all the 2020 purists, I'm sorry/not sorry.