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About StrayCatalyst

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  • Birthday 09/01/1970

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  • Location
    New England
  • Interests
    World Domination

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  1. Probability chart of results with 3d6 Lumps in the output will tend to cancel each other out, as you're using the same rules for players and NPCs, I'd guess. I prefer the 3d6 as opposed to d6x3 for predictability - if my health plus armor will allow me to withstand 11 points of damage, I have a bit better than a 50% chance of surviving a 3d6 or d6x3, but if health+armor will allow me to survive 15 points, I have either 35/120 (120 possible die results, counting 6,5,4 as a different result from 6,4,5) with the 3d6, while I have 1/3 chances with d6x3. Not a huge difference, but statistically significant. But if I can handle 16 points of damage... 3d6 gives me 10/120 chances, while d6x3 gives me 1/6. If I can handle 18 points, I have a 1/120 chance of dying from that hit. And a 1/6 chance with d6x3, which makes it 20 times as probable. The probabilities will balance, as everybody follows the same rules in the game, but IMHO the variety results of the 3d6 system makes it easier to quickly calculate the odds of surviving a round of combat. I want my players to be scared when guns come into play - CP2020 is a meat grinder, which rewards the ambushers and snipers and anybody else who finds a way to shoot first then fade like a ghost.
  2. I can see the appeal of simplifying - but as your chart shows, 3d6 does not give a linear set of results. Rolling three dice, you have a 1 in 54 of getting a specific combination. But there's only ONE combination (6,6,6) that gives you 18, and ONE combination (1,1,1) that gives you 3 as a result. 10, OTOH, has six different combinations (6,3,1),(6,2,2),(5,4,1),(5,3,2),(4,4.2),(4,3,3). If you don't mind changing probabilities, then simplifying would work. But it will make 18 as common as 9 or 12. (Don't make me get into the factorials behind this, college and discrete math/probability theory were a long time ago.)
  3. IMHO, if you have the choose between using anything related to Cybergenerations, or making it up yourself, you're MUCH better off with your own work. I was seriously unimpressed with CG.
  4. It always sucks to pour your heart and effort into a game, then to have your players flake. While it's tempting to find ways to pay back the would-be players, better to find a group that takes the game seriously enough. Video games and all the various trading-card games are draining the life out of roleplaying, as they cater to ever-shorter spans of attention. GMs are a dying breed, in part due to this. Keep your enthusiasm if you can - your ideas have provoked a lot of thought and debate (and some outright arguments) over the years, regardless of flaky players. If I lived close enough to join your games without a passport and airfare, I'd be delighted to be there.
  5. The reason I stopped playing CP2020 was that dystopia seems less and less fictional as time passes. It's like roleplaying a 40 hour work week at a McJob.
  6. A lot of the answers depend on how dangerous the road is - and what the dangers are. I've lived on the road, though only as an individual - where I slept depended on the area, and sometimes involved finding a quiet place far from lights or highways. As an individual, I was making 5-600 miles a day in a slow van, but a convoy is much slower. Water - keeping in mind that this is a small town that changes address every night, they aren't just going to be consuming water and leaving waste behind - there MUST be infrastructure. Each truck will generate its own electricity, and as an ag family they can probably depend on getting food from the farms where they work, but they will definitely be recycling water. Unless it is widely available, clean, and cheap, the pack would run out rapidly if stranded, or turned away from a town where they'd planned to spend lots of money buying water. 3-4 metric tons of water, per day. Buying that, and then paying for the fuel to carry that much water, every day, would lead to a family hemorrhaging money. I would guess each vehicle would have grey-water tanks that would be drained to one specific trailer that's a water treatment plant, which can filter and dispense the 3-4000 litres a day needed.
  7. 3-400 people, ten semi trucks - I would expect dozens of motorcycles (mostly small ratty dirtbike types, but able to go highway speed) and at least a dozen cars/pickup trucks/vans. The mechanic(s) would probably have a van with tools, so they can go to the broken down vehicles - of the family is well organized, the mechanics may even have a tow truck or at least a flatbed trailer with ramps. The doctor might have an older ambulance, or might simply have another innocuous vehicle - the Geneva Convention doesn't protect medics in the post-apo wasteland, and the doc may not want to advertise that this is the vehicle most likely to have painkillers and other drugs. At least one of the trailers is probably dedicated to food production - chickens, rabbits, SCOP, and hydroponic veggies are likely, with a roof covered in solar panels (if there's the money) or clear plastic to let the sunlight in. Age would be a bell curve, slanted towards young adults but including the whole range from infant to ancient. Nomads are family oriented, so it's likely that the pack would split up if ambushed, with the soft targets and a handful of guard vehicles taking off for safety while the rest of the associated pack vehicles counterattack, or at least perform a delaying action to allow the noncombatants the best chance of escaping. If this is just a road family with no specific goals beyond "stay alive and earn enough money to keep the vehicles running" then there's no need for specialities beyond the usual, but if they're a construction family. they'll have some heavy equipment. Ag families may have tractors or even combines. Drug labs are a source of income, but if they're found they're a source of legal problems. Some nomads may work static jobs via telecommuting, and whole packs may salvage abandoned farms and buildings - some packs are a little less picky about "abandoned" and give a bad rep to all nomads. Nomads are rarely merchants or transporters in any large respect, as big shipping emporiums can always undercut them, but occasional refugee smuggling can earn the pack money and/or favors. A nomad camp moves a lot, so it's likely they will travel as a careful group, without stragglers but with small packs of vehicles well in front of and behind maintaining radio contact to warn of ambushes, road conditions, police speed traps or other nomads in the area. The camps will be surrounded with a wall made of semis, and guards will be posted, their number varying depending on how dangerous the area appears. Most packs will leave behind a fairly tidy campground, knowing that they're likely to use it again in the future.
  8. Transport: 6. Fast food (pizza, tacos, etc) - these would likely be the most commonly seen transport drones. 7. Tow truck (why risk an expensive human driver?) 8. Hazmat transporter (fuel, or liquid nitrogen, or crated carboys of hydrochloric acid, etc) 9. Trash/recycling pickup (either small litter-grabbers or larger transporters) 10. Mail/UPS/FedEx/Amazon/BlackBall Express or other low-security package delivery service Construction/Maintenance: 1. Graffiti removers (mobile pressure washers, mostly) 2. Sweepers/auto-mops 3. Wall-climbing window cleaners 4. Vermin hunters (anti-rat, anti-insect, anti-homeless-person) 5. Bulk material transporters 6. Bricklayers, concrete-finishers, pavement repair 7. Skyscraper frame welders, stairway welders, fire escape makers, etc (good way to get up a wall if you have a decker handy) 8. Earth-moving equipment 9. Concrete saws (make a door, wherever you want one) 10. Sensory equipment (ground-penetrating radar, etc for finding buried pipes and/or leaks) Commerce: 1. Ad-blimps and similar (almost ALWAYS with cheery pop music) 2. Small package delivery (fast food, other low-value stuff) 3. Grocery delivery 4. Larger packages, furniture, etc 5. Bulk delivery (40' shipping containers, mostly) 6. Market research (spy on shoppers, try to harvest emails and marketing info) 7. Spoof adblimp (smear campaigns, false advertising) 8. Shoplifting detection, theft prevention, basic surveillance 9. Shelf-stocking 10. Sales (point-of-contact, these will run a script to try to sell to customers, with a human salesperson in some hellish third-world callcenter ready to take over when needed)
  9. America is not one homogenized, identical culture. Gun laws are too complicated for a soundbyte solution - and our incompetent power-hungry government is too nonfunctional to pass even simple, non-controversial laws. The various states aren't going to cede that much power to DC and the angry orange clown. Besides - legality of weapons has as little effect on their availability as it does on meth, which is illegal everywhere and yet is an epidemic. If you take the five cities in America that have the strictest gun laws, you'll find that they have the highest crime rates... and usually criminals are well armed wile law abiding citizens are "disarmed for their own protection" and instead can hope the cops take less than half an hour to show up if there's a crime. Americans have a LOT of guns, and not a lot of trust for the government. Trump is too busy trying to damage foreign relations with his vanity project to fuck with gun laws - that would cost him his negligible chances at having a second term in office.
  10. Van Atta is right - MM is for military hardware, both in cost and in size. Drones today are already far from that concept - I have a drone the size of a slice of toast, that cost me less than dinner at a sushi bar. Too small to weponize, but it could serve for scouting, perhaps even forward observation for artillery. Drones may follow some similar development patterns to aircraft, but there are differences that are fundamental - drones don't need to carry 150 lbs of fragile meat, for example. Drones are cheap enough to sacrifice as many as needed to accomplish a mission, and one drone pilot can crash a hundred drones without any injury beyond carpal tunnel syndrome. A piloted aircraft has ways to resist hacking, while a drone is just another remote unit for deckers to seize and use. Drones and piloted aircraft can both carry weapons (if large enough) but the drone can also be outfitted with an explosive charge to be a weapon in and of itself. Rules: Well, size is the first question. Drones can be any size, from tiny 40 gram microdrones to the Goodyear Blimp. The size determines the weight, cargo capacity, maneuverability, etc, along with the cost. This chart mostly applies to quadcopters. Size Cost Cargo Maneuver Notes Tiny 100eb 5 grams +2 Cheap and common Small 200eb 50 grams +1 similar to 5 inch racing drones Med 400eb 500 grams 0 Large 4000 5 kg -2 Bumblebee (CB2) Huge 2.5M Lots! -3 Madison Ave Advertblimp(CB2) Cost modifiers would need to be applied for things like EMP hardening, better encryption and security, etc. Cheaper drones won't be weatherproof, and are easy to hack, while fancier drones will have many useful features but will certainly attract more attention from security types, who aren't going to ignore a potentially weaponized drone in their airspace. Many drones will be commercially available, but the armed ones will never be on the public market for anybody except corporations, governments, and the incredibly rich. Modified or home-made drones will have plenty of options but require a techie with some serious skills, and/or some Streetdeal skill to find that techie. IMHO, weapons are NOT the best use of drones - when you can fly a tiny drone to a spot and use it for surveillance, scouting, or simply to have a way to hook into an unsecured wireless network too dangerous to approach with your meat body. On the other hand, having a drone that's basically a grenade that can chase its target at 75 MPH or so could change the course of a battle in a hurry.
  11. Fanny pack pistol concealment holsters are widely available - while they'd probably count as a penalty to wardrobe/style, they do hold a full frame handgun. Off-body concealment is a different skill, IMHO. I've seen modified briefcases, for example, that were made to hold an MP-5 with a remote trigger - no means of aiming, but for spray and pray, it's a lot of firepower. It's a little alarming how large an SMG will fit into a laptop bag without leaving a hint, and laptop bags are often padded enough that it's not suspicious. At gutterpunk levels, you might be making wardrobe/style rolls to make bulges look more obviously weapon-like - not to conceal, but to make yourself look more armed than you actually are. Like Superchrome on cyberware, it's specifically to call attention to the apparent dangerousness of the wielder.
  12. I don't see much of anything dealing with the level of criminality - which would modify a lot of different aspects of an NPC. Not simply the three sorts of job skills (which I do like!) but the motivations, the aggression level, etc. If an administrator punches a customer, he's likely to lose his job. If a mugger punches a "customer", it's business as usual. Motivations - shouldn't they include drug addiction, revenge, religious reasons, psychosis (cyber or the garden-variety sort), and fear? I've seen people do some fairly extreme things in pursuit of those five. For cyberware - there's a sharp dividing line amongst cybernetically enhanced people. Poor/disenfranchised are big on appearance - superchrome, BigRipps, monoptic implants, and body plating. The rich, on the other hand - if they have cybernetics that show, they're almost a fashion statement, and most won't be visible without a medscanner. If your NPC is the CFO's secretary, she isn't going to be some chromed up booster lookalike. I could see a superstore with no actual living staff, assuming the computer that runs the business has a way to deal with rowdy customers, which could be as simple as locking the door and calling security forces, or as complex as defense turrets. Realistically, it's the direction businesses have always wanted to go, as employees are expensive, and it's a very cyberpunk idea, as corporations dehumanize in a new way. I've used some smaller businesses as exemplars of this, but scaling it up to a Walmart or similar scale would be interesting. I usually include one live employee in an armored booth, with a loooong line of angry customers. That employee is the lowest one on the totem pole in that company, that's why he's stuck in that booth - he hates his job and his customers but needs the money, and it's obvious to anybody who waits through that 90 minute long line. As there are random name generators all over the internet, I don't think we need to add one here - simpler to go out and grab names from one or more of them. I disagree with classes, I guess I'm more Interlock than CP2020. If you want something similar to that, you'd need at least a d100 table, featuring something about the expected skills, motivations, etc of that particular class. Most people don't fit neatly into these archetypes - look around you next time you're on the street and ask yourself how many of the people around you would count as corps, solos, etc? Even with a broad definition of each, you'll still find more that don't fit into categories. That homeless panhandler isn't a fixer, or he'd at least live indoors. The delivery driver isn't a rigger, even if he's got a vehicle link - he drives 40 hours a week but probably doesn't race. Teachers, retirees, tourists, etc - there are more counterexamples in every crowd.
  13. Part of what makes CP2020 different from most other games, is the fact that ethics are involved. If you're playing AD&D, chopping up orcs and goblins, you're not thinking about ethics - they're monsters, you're the good guy. But when the "monsters" are other humans who work for the corporation you're going to hit? Is it okay to kill armed guards but not janitors and office drones? How about unarmed guards? Is secrecy worth more to you than the lives of any witnesses? Several years ago, I ran a modified version of "Thicker Than Blood" with my usual party. I dropped hints along the way to set up the path of the story - the "kidnapped" kid they were "rescuing" was actually running away with his bio mother, fleeing the corporation that had hired the players. When the players reached this scene, I watched the first player to realize - watched his face fall as he realized that this job, so close to completion that they could practically count the reward money... was to kidnap a child from his mother and give him back to the faceless corporation that used him as a high end lab rat. He called me a wide variety of unkind things, which clued the rest of the players into the quandary facing them. The party immediately fell to bickering - the players who ran their characters as soulless monsters didn't want to give up that lucrative reward money. The players whose characters were human-like didn't want that kind of stain on their souls. One player who wasn't big on making decisions as a committee let the mother and kid run away while everybody else was bickering, which didn't actually quiet down the argument but did cost them their reward money and gained them a corporate enemy who was fond of sending small teams of assassins to show up and inopportune moments. If the game had been AD&D, it's likely that the whole problem could have been circumvented by some clever magic spell, or slaughtering a horde of bad guys, or appealing to some arbitrary deity. CP2020 isn't AD&D - and the biggest difference in that game was the ethics involved. PCs aren't called heroes in this game, for a good reason. Case, Molly, Armitage, Wintermute, Lonny Zone, all the Panther Moderns - not a hero amongst the lot of them.
  14. StrayCatalyst


    The video is short on dialog, and I can't read Vietnamese, so I don't have much info yet - but it looks like a jetpack with simpler controls and much longer flights than the previous silver/hydrogen peroxide ones. https://youtu.be/BX3QDa2tx2g From the video, this appears to have at least several minutes of flight time, and speeds that I'd estimate are around 40 mph. One larger jet motor in the backpack, and two smaller motors on either each arm or all four smaller motors in a foot platform. In game terms, the only way to get one of these is if the GM feels like making it available - this isn't something you can just order out of a catalog. It would use its own specialized skill for flying, and would be most likely used by a small percentage of special forces units, super-wealthy idle rich, or for fast-deployment security types with a huge budget. But it's the kind of thing the GM could offer by way of a fixer, for a different way to noisily circumvent barriers. PS - found some info about these - the American name is Flyboard Air. They currently cost about five grand used. https://zapata.com/air-products/flyboardair
  15. 106 lbs, not including ammunition, for the lighter version. That's Metalhead portable, but not man portable.
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