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Posts posted by MonSTeR

  1. You've got to remember this is all pseudoscience written 20 to 25 years ago in which we ran out of fossil fuels, all live in a virtual reality internet, but have to spend a month's wages to buy a cell phone.


    Cyberpunk canon comes from a divergent past in the same way that "2001 - A Space Odyssey" had manned trips to other planets.


    It's all powered by "SmarTECH TM ®" batteries that use zinc.lithium.obtainium power cells fuelled by superconductingmicrothermocouples installed in the liver of the cyborg. Or something... ;)

  2. It would mean you would get a lot hungrier after using those devices though.


    It'll be the next weightloss thing. The devices can be used to power some semi-redundant device when their real job is to simply burn off calories. Maybe a really inefficient bioluminescent subdermal monitor that counts the calouries and tells folks how much they've lost all the while burning the excess sugar for them!

  3. if past industry practice is any indication, that means it will be developed specifically for the xbox, up speced for the PC, and the playstation will have a sub standard conversion performed by some outside firm.


    That's what I was afraid of :(

  4. Sweet Jehovah. I think I've made a mess of myself. Please let it be real, available on the PC, and something to redeem the franchise from the disappointment that was Invisible War


    There have allegedly been a LOT of changes to the system from the first DX game, but apparently the feel is supposed to be more like the original than the sequel, which in my book is a good thing.


    I bought a new gaming PC a year ago on the promise that this game's release was just months away. i'm going to need to do some serious upgrades when this actually does arrive :D


    I'm hoping its PC and not PS3 based anyway :(

  5. CP 2013, John "Dagger" McCall, a cop. (should have been a fixer or a solo with intimidate, but I wanted to be able to "authority" people into backing down)


    No cyberwear but he had a 12mm pistol because big guns are cool ;)


    He ended up flying an AV into a skyscraper in order to kill the corp that double crossed the team. No political agenda, purely personal.

  6. Unfortunately no matter how much you and I might want to keep a clean line between player thought processes and character thought processes, its impossible. Even if we don't have puzzles for the PCs to solve, we have plots - and unless you allow the players to make a roll for "figure out plot" you are stuck with them using their own mental capacity to do so. Its unavoidable.


    "Is this guy going to backstab us?"


    "Is that the corporation behind the nanovirus?"


    "Are they working in league with each other?"


    These are riddles too, and there is no roll you can allow to let the character sheets figure it out for the players. They have to go through the story themselves and unfold it as they go. Every time a combat scene happens, the players are using their own strategic ability and not their character's (unless they are purposefully dumbing down) to survive the situation. There is no way to roll for making better strategic decisions, you just do your best to survive with the kit you chose, and the positioning you chose hitting the targets you chose and hope it works out for the best. That is also a type of puzzle.


    So I do agree with you that it's ideal to utilize character capabilities over player capabilities, but since the line is blurred anyway - I find it to be fun sometimes to drop some puzzles into the game for the players to solve. After all, if they want to play it in-character they can always dumb-down their attempts even if they can't smart them up. ;)


    For things like


    "Is this guy going to backstab us?"


    "Is that the corporation behind the nanovirus?"


    "Are they working in league with each other?"


    When it comes to these sorts of issues I'd tend to give the players clues based on their character backgrounds and skills things like "there's something not right about Jimmy, you can't put your finger on it, but there's something!" or a solo might notice "the big guy's not the threat his postures wrong, it's the wiry little one who looks like he knows how to handle himself"


    In the past i'd done "table of secret dice rolls" (I get the players to roll say 25 D10 and record them in order so they don't even know I'm checking against various skills) so I know when guys have fumbled. then the clue is "you already feel like you and Jimmy go way back" that sort of thing.


    I make tasks easier for those characters who should "be in the know" and do it that way,


    But yeah I agree the whole GAME is a "puzzle" so it's very hard to always keep player and character separate.


    It's a fine line,, but if folks are really trying to ROLE play, then they can sometimes have to rely on ROLL play to put what their character would know into context.

  7. I like the substitution code idea interrupt, but take it a bit farther, the first note (easily cracked) leads them etc. see how far the players can do it before resorting to throwing dice for Int checks, etc. :)


    This is completely different from how I run "riddles and puzzles". One of my biggest pet hates is the player/character mixup.


    I tend to keep dice rolls simple but crucial on these sorts of things. Characters are cracking codes not players. so Give them eacha diceroll to see how much of it they can solve, or even distribute different degrees of back-substitued codes based on the character's stats. I'll again use the example of a post doctoral researcher in artificial intelligence playing a street solo. I personally if you're going to other having character sheets, you have to use them to keep the story consistent.


    BTW. just to elaborate on a different discussion altogether....... the entire three session epsiode (in an ongoing series of about a year and half now) that made up this "Case" was entirely made up as I went along, no scripting, hell not even any notes other than NPC names as I made them up.


    OK if you can sandbox that, major kudos to you!!! I'd need more time to plan that, simply as my players would ask for more detail than I could handle on the fly for that length of adventure.


    apologies for hijacking but... Do you "write up" after the session to make sure things are consistent for next week, and then produce maps or... or just wing it next week as well?

  8. It's fun watching the players screw each other over. Like offer to install cyberware, and a small bomb that will go off unless the character does what they want!!!



    About the least fun I can think of in a CP RPG. It's much more fun when the players work together and have their characters voluntarily on the same side. If folks want to start playing against each other, WH40K is that way -->

  9. I'd also say avoid 3 players unless they're good IRL friends!


    In my experience that's the number most likely to have issues.


    the trouble comes when two of them want to do one thing leaving the other feeling like an odd one out. If there're 4 players, then you either get 2 teams of 2 or the 3:1 ratio sways the lone wolf into thinking the flock has the best idea.




  10. I meant to say characters, not players there. When I post at this forum it is usually while I am doing 10 other things at once.


    Other than that, I stand by my statements.


    Glad sandboxing still works for you. I've come to outgrow that style of game though, and have gone back to more scripted adventures as I've found having something completely tailored to the characters makes for more involving play.


    Whilst I agree that you can't have A leads to B leads to C, and force the players to have their characters do the steps in turn, I've found that predefining A and B and C and having those events happen irrespective of the characters works best. A is the catalyst to get them involved. If they never make it to B, B still happens and they have to live with the consequences which may or may not be there when they get to C, depending on how long it takes them.


    The trick is to make A so appealing to the players (not the characters) that that is what they want to do, because they know what you have planned is worth it.

  11. This is all great stuff.


    However I would like to gently guide the conversation away from a debate about scripting versus Improvising. Its clear that both have their place and when used correctly both are vital to a great (and fun) game.


    I am hoping to have a more practical exchange of ideas here. I like the snippets that people have been including from their own games and I am hoping to get more of that.


    I will try to add in some of my own as well:



    For instance, during my current campaign I did my first car chase scene. I tried to use the IU rules for running it, but I found the charts nearly impossible to use quickly on the fly so I ended up scrapping them and just winging it without telling my players. Not only did they not notice, but it was a really fun sequence that they all enjoyed.


    I am making use of the Luck Deck rules variation which I can't recommend highly enough. This element alone has added more fun to the games than almost anything else. It takes the luck stat and makes it much more dynamic and interesting without unbalancing the game in the process. (if you are unfamiliar with the Luck Deck, you can find it mentioned elsewhere on this board, as well as on Wisdom000's Datafortress 2020 site or you can just ask).


    The driver in this scene (they were all in one van) rolled terribly the whole night. He was dropping so many fumbles it was absurd. It was through his, and the other player's, use of the Luck Deck that saved their asses and got the battered party to safety in the end. I never thought it would be so fun to watch someone botching roll after roll only to come out of it by the skin of their teeth.


    I think the whole party blew through all of their luck that night.


    Sure it stretched believability, but not any more than your average blockbuster movie and it was a hell of a lot more fun! The players were fully engaged as they rode the edge between disastrous failure and desperate survival.



    Another scene that ended up being a lot of fun to play was a party scene. I moved the table off to one side of the room and we all just role-played out the party (this is about as close to LARPing that I have or probably ever will get). The team had to procure an item that they knew to be on the premises and in the possession of the hostess. I conscripted one of the players (my wife) to play the wealthy socialite hostess but I only gave her enough info to play the character but not giver her any secrets about my plot.


    We had a theme drink for the evening served in very cyberpunk looking glass ware and I gave out IP for each drink consumed. That was a fun element because the players continued to loosen up and roleplay more as they got increasingly drunk. But it also worked with the theme of the party given that the hostess was actively trying to get people to drink as well. In order for the team to keep up their ruse and fit in they had to drink, the more they drank the more... interesting.. the game got.


    In the end it was the character everyone least expected who managed to talk the hostess into giving up the item. The smooth-talking fixer ended up making a powerful enemy and the borderline cyberpsycho broke someone's arm, nearly risking the entire operation.


    To spice all of this up I had literally hidden several remote-drone sized toys around my place. I gave more IP for those players who noticed them and mentioned them to me privately. All of these elements were a lot of fun and there was a lot of spontineity, but none of it took away from my carefully scripted over-all plot and in fact moved the story along perfectly.




    I hope those examples can help get us past the debate of script versus improve and back towards scenes and sequences.


    Those elements can be used in a wide variety of games with different play styles and different character backgrounds, but yet the mechanical aspects (luck decks, car chase, drinking for IP, hidden props, using a player as an NPC, etc) of each one are a lot of fun to use.


    Now I want to hear more of yours.


    I've done lots of car chase scenes similar to the one you describe, one guy driving, another guy on a mobile netrun trying to alter traffic signals and scramble satnav and cyberdrive systems of the opposition. Opposed rolls, stacked multiple action penalties for the driver as he weaves in and out of traffic. Snapshots being fired out of the windows.


    Cliche? Yes.

    Fun? definately.


    Lots of fun to be had by all players involved.


    What I do stay away from is character/player confusion, just because the player is a Postdoctoral researcher in artificial intelligence, doesn't mean his character is. Likewise because I forgot my glasses, doesn't mean that my character isn't in a pseudo paranoid state of hyperwareness... So I'd have steared well/b] clear of other situations descibed above, they tend to cause more trouble than they're worth in my experience.

  12. I find a fairly well scripted game based on a formula works best with the best roleplayers. there's always room for improvisation, but if you're trying to tell a story with challenge and resolution (as most cyberpunk tends to have) then you need something concrete.


    I disagree with you so completely I don't know where to start.




    This is not a slam on you, this is personal experience and my own observations from my years of playing and running. And maybe I have misunderstood completely what you are trying to say, I have done such things before. I am not saying my brand of fun is right and yours isn't, just saying that in my experience, the players most interested in actually exploring their characters ROLES and personality, prefer the freedom only a sandbox inclined game can provide.


    No slam taken at all amigo, different strokes and all that, but I think the issue that I’m having with the “freeform sandbox” style you’re saying works best for you is this...

    It's great if the players have careers or well stated goals that you can use to guide adventures, like say, if they are cops, but even then they are going to want to do things every now and then that come completely out of left field.


    In roleplaying, you’re not dealing with the goals of the players goals you’re dealing with the goals of the characters!! The characters will have motivations, desires, past histories, scores to settle and a well scripted adventure makes sure that those are borne in mind so that all aspects of the story relate to the characters at hand.


    I’d also say that decent gamers recognise this and instead of having to be railroaded in a scripted adventure, they see it as an open road and can really begin to get into their characters and then don’t feel the need to do something out of left field as you say. They stay in role.


    It’s great to be able to ad lib a few scenes here and there, absolutely. But I’ve never seen games go so well as when he campaign is written around the characters and their motivations.


    If you want to be telling a story about a heartbroken rocker who’s trying to overthrow the corporation that killed his lover (because that’s the character’s driving force) then having him go mountain biking when he’s got these fires of revenge burning, probably isn’t in character, and in truth, probably isn’t cyberpunk.


  13. Now, who's copping out? That "Script" takes anywhere from weeks to years, getting to know him, her, hem, or hir. Meanwhile, "The Game" promises to do the same in one night, one drink, one line. Find me a script that seduces anyone by getting to know them, and the world will beat a path to your door, or about half of it, anyway. In other words, nice try, but next time, rely on actual wit.


    I think you just demonstrated that you're not able to come up with a good enough script!!!


    The right script, takes just the right amount of time, delivers just the right lines, lets folks get to know each other just well enough and leaves everyone feeling like they've had the time of their life.


    But now we're just battling each other so I'm going to leave it there on the real world analogies and get back to answering Wisdom's earlier post

  14. EhhhhH, it's hard to mechanicly generate "fun." Rote actions, and ladder logic, as usefull as the are for generating random encounters, and running pathological characters like the Cyberserkers, are about as much entertainment value as trying to tickle someone with a feather coated rotating drum. While I could write an algorythm to crank out dialog, or exciting action, I've had a lot more success with winging it, spontenaety, and random surprises.


    About the only player types this really works for are Munchkins, who're satisfied with an ever escalating pagent of big guns, cyberaugmentation, and more powerfull enemies in ever greater numbers. I Can generate that kind of Dungeon crawl, but I tend towards cerebral games, players, and characters. The only way to create interesting dialog, humerous encounters, and enjoyable scenes is by being a good talker, joker, and planner respectively.


    It's kinda like picking up a chick at a bar. You can buy teh Instakit { Sykospark}, and read scripts from "The Game" {© Neil Strauss}, but that's not actually going to make you a truly interesting, and attractive person.


    These things like hollywood blockbusters can be boiled down to a formula. Sure you need to put flesh on the bones, but a skeleton is a good arrangement for those bones to start with!


    Most things that I've ever seen that rely on "winging it" fall flat on their faces through a lack of continuity. Its great to be spontaneous, but you've got to know where it's taking you. If it's a "random surprise" what relevance does it have to the plot?


    I find a fairly well scripted game based on a formula works best with the best roleplayers. there's always room for improvisation, but if you're trying to tell a story with challenge and resolution (as most cyberpunk tends to have) then you need something concrete.


    To use your analogy, if you try and be spontaneous when "picking up chicks" unless you're Johnny Depp, most of the time she's just going to think you're a wanker. ;)

  15. I know this isn't exactly what you were after, but what the hell and I apologise now for this sounding arrogant, I know it will, but these are "my golden rules" so to speak


    The best games I've played in and run all revolved around cinematic set pieces stung together with coerced interactions - in that players often need some help to set their characters off "adventuring" remember cyberpunk should have a purpose to it, whether it's revenge, duty, love, or nihilistic anarchy. If players aren't into a “higher” purpose, have the purpose be their reputation, it can’t just be another job. It can “start out” that way, but there needs to be something more actually “driving” the characters for it to be cyberpunk.


    The campaign should follow the up-down-up pattern, like Starwars did


    up -you blow up the death star,

    down - the bad guy deep-freezes your only friend, cuts off your hand then tells you he's your father,

    up - then you rescue your best friend, redeem your father and save the universe


    (I purposefully missed out the bit about snogging your sister)


    Each of the ups and downs is an adventure and each of the adventures themselves should have several set pieces,


    I also think it works best when the adventure is written for the characters and that the characters are created as a team, or loose series of partners so there's a real bond between them, to encourage interaction and role playing. When I first started Reffing, I often made the mistake of trying to let players make their own characters. This is the biggest mistake in my book. IMHO Character creation needs to be a collaborative process between the GM, and the player and the OTHER players. What's more the characters need to be written around the adventure OR the adventure around the characters, one or the other and usually the characters should come first, because the players are more involved with them that way. I also think it helps to have a focus for the team. They could be a crew of professional edgerunners, they could all be a part of the same street racing team or whatever but having a central theme tying them all together I’ve found really helps the players have their characters act like a team.


    Settings can also be very important, whether it's cityscape, out in the woods or whatever, then match a few scenes into the settings. But also to the skills of the characters. If your PCs are all nomads, don't have all the scenes in the high levels of city buildings - it's more likely that the players want to race mad max style muscle cars than compare tailors.


    If you're in a city center, you might want to go for something like "negotiations in a bar" followed by "losing a tail through traffic" followed by "running gunfight in city streets" followed by "looking for clues on who is reallyafter them"


    Things I've enjoyed have been car chases lots of compared driving rolls and narrative to describe the results of the PC vs NPC manouvres. AV chases will make for an even more cyberpunk feel.


    Bar scenes, are good, because most players have never been in a car chase or a gunfight, but most have been in a bar and all RPGers like to "talk the talk" bar scenes can all be as different as the bars in a major city, they can be roof top lounges overlooking the heart of the city where the aged single malt costs $500 a glass, or they can be combat zone dives, depending on what the scene needs.


    Gunfights are good and essentially cyberpunk (go watch the scene in "the matrix" where they storm the FBI building if you've forgotten), but you have to make sure that it's balanced, so either the whole team wants to see their supersoldier in action and is prepared to act as the supporting cast, or the team as a whole has to be able to handle the fight in one way or another. Remember goons don’t have to have combat sense. A good map, I find tends to help play out a firefight, so you can know ranges and just where the cover is.

    I also think an investigative phase often works well, and can be tailored to the characters. Either roughing up low level bad guys for info, or snooping on the net or physically infiltrating the “bad guys’ lair”, or a mixture of all 3. Have various clues written down that can be discovered depending on the success levels involved and let the players piece it all together. But... remember if a character would be able to piece things together that their player couldn’t, give them a hint or two, a roleplayer should play his character as smart as his character, not as smart as he is, and the GM should help out there. (I can play a netrunner, but I can’t actually hack a computer etc...) I’ve found that it’s hardest with intellect and problem solving for players to differentiate between themselves and their characters, so the GM needs to step in sometimes.

    But remember that for it actually to be cyberpunk, it all has to have an actual purpose (regardless of what that purpose is) otherwise it's just ultramodern or near future scifi and not really 'punk.


    Here endeth the lesson


  16. Once someone goes operational they start sending out red flags and they leave signs that can be tracked by those who know what to look for.


    Thus with Edgerunners they do have identities on the grid no matter what they do. It's just a matter if the people in charge of the local area care to put a real name to a target profile.


    These are the critical points in my opinion, it's not "not having" an identity on the grid, it's whether anyone or anything is looking for that identity.

  17. I'd say my biggest and most beneficial house rule is a more detailled version of the combat/initiative section.


    Subsequent actions within one turn are subject to the -3 penalty to hit / succeed. I follow this through in initiative phases. each subsequent action happens 3 "phases" of a turn later.


    It makes for a great cinematic feel and as a game mechanic keeps things nice and orderly.




  18. If you ask me a person willing to fight and kill for money may have other nasty habits!


    Jokes aside, the problem with mercs is that the modern battlefield has become way to professional.

    We are hiring ex-delta force to guard convoys and protect rear-echelon nobodies.


    I mean Blackwater(or whatever) do important work, but its not like it can't be done by a 19-year old conscript from Podunk Nebraska


    If you want it done right, why leave it to an amateur? Sure that kid from Nebraska could get the job done, but a professional would get the job done much more quickly and efficiently.


    How can you guard something "more quickly"?

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