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Geist

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Everything posted by Geist

  1. I'm a very generous GM - I always make sure a corporate PC has all the trappings; some pull, the great car/AV, the swanky pad, hot partner addicted to the lifestyle, access to some sweet resources. It makes them work harder to keep it. Without the job, they're just little people and I make sure that concept scares them. Then, of course, the ruthlessness tends to come naturally… @Companero: And it's bloody hard work. But it's worth it. My player group can't function in Cyberpunk games without that kind of anxiety. It seems to have become their natural state. I just get the NPCs to fan the flames a little… I figure it's obvious to outsiders how fragile the team's relationships are, particularly as they're sometimes not very subtle about it. I must say that the player of the Felix character did agonise a lot about doing the right thing during the campaign, it was just very difficult for him. And he usually regretted it (plus the other PCs would give him hell for his apparent inconsistency - lots of "who's fucking side are you on?" style comments.
  2. In my game, he/she would be unemployed.
  3. Love the latest blog post and the adventure ideas. Sterling stuff sir. I did play a corporate in a game some time ago. I was the go-between for Militech who'd hired (press-ganged) the team. I was privy to things the other PCs were not and was using them for my own agenda (taking down my immediate line manager). They loved the resources I could provide for them, which created an artificial trust that I used to my advantage. The character had the face changing tech outlined in When Gravity Fails. I presented as two different people - one to the company, one to the team. The alterations took some time and were incredibly painful, which made for some interesting tactical decisions. I must say that I really enjoyed playing the team off against my boss and vice versa. I also GMed a successful game with a Biotechnica corporate PC called Felix Winter. His starting write up is in Reservoir Dogs here: http://vfte.cyberpunk.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=7885 The team was constantly pulled between Felix and the group's fixer, Matt Black, who had history. The power plays were brilliant. Our corporate also had to deal with his department manager, his dubious agenda and the manager's cronies and loyalists. They made him dance like a puppet as he lied to the rest of the team so that he could hand over the twin combat clone PCs to the company. Happy times. And yeah, he thought he was the team leader. He didn't survive though… I find corporate PCs are best played by your most ruthless, conniving players, the ones who really enjoy the duplicity, conflicting agendas and are loyal only to themselves. Like me!
  4. Surely a FB page would just distract discussions away from VtfE even more?
  5. Thanks! There's a lot more to come. I've been busy running the game and I've had some serious deadlines at work. More soon.
  6. Not had chance to hit the group with anything from AG Sahel just yet. Too much going on; not enough time has passed. They are slowly forgetting about the event though, which makes me smile. They have no idea what sick shit is heading their way…
  7. I certainly plan to do that so you guys know the consequences of your ideas! Followed by the inevitable law suit! Like it though. Cheers.
  8. Er, yeah… there's a few. Think of it as an homage to the VtfE creative hive-mind. The atmosphere is one of the most important element in my games, on a par with the story. I want my players to be there for a few hours on a Sunday night. And the science fiction is key, otherwise the game can feel too contemporary; 2012 with implants. Which bugs the crap out of me. Initially, I just described the symptoms and the suffering. The players did the rest by running like hell, or putting the carrier down. I also made sure, as in real life, that outbreaks cropped up with no rhyme nor reason. People got sick at random, or so it seemed to the (non-CDC) PCs. News media helps ramp up the threat factor. Mechanically, depending on the disease and it's pathogen, I utilised the existing rules for gas, drugs and physiological addiction. So, if a disease or virus has a vector based on contaminated water for example, such as HIST, I'd go with the physiological addiction mechanics in the Drugs chapter on page 124. The character is infected, and must roll lower than Body Type each hour after contamination (for 48 hours). On a failed roll, early stage symptoms will become apparent (effects and/or damage vary per disease type). The character gets one chance at a Very Difficult Endurance roll. This is, in effect, the PC's immune system fighting the infection. Certain implants may give a bonus at the referee's discretion. Then the fun stuff starts - stats decrease, sickness or bleeds begin, respiratory problems etc. All the good stuff to get the players to panic and be all WTF?! OH SHIT! MEDIC!! I don't have an extensive list of stages of infection, or symptoms. I sort of wing it. I use common sense if an airborne pathogen comes into contact with a character with nasal filters; they get a small bonus to the Body Type roll, or the normal filter % roll. Sprayed with the blood of a VT-HIV sufferer? % chance (or roll under Luck) to determine if the virus has entered the body. For things like The Creep, I just pile up the rads following Near Orbit's guidelines. And sometimes I just make it up to frighten them. I don't think gaming internal bleeding and your body being eaten by aggressive bacteria is that much fun as a player. Believing it's going to happen is another thing entirely… The plagues are really background colour and an environmental threat after all. There are some good rules at The Cutting Edge website regarding disease, based in part on rules from Twilight:2000 http://www.shoestring-graphics.com/CP2020/...res/disease.htm
  9. And I'm so glad I'm here. You guys are a godsend. Cheers all.
  10. I've started to collate some bits on my South Africa campaign: http://vfte.cyberpunk.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=8166
  11. My God Mort, you're a monster! Good stuff sir, good stuff. And thanks.
  12. Some background bits from my current South African Cape Republic campaign. State of the Nation As you would expect, there remain black rebel movements within the SACR, as well as white supremecist paramilitaries and fringe religious groups, cyber-supremacists, and bio-chauvinists. Civil strife is never far away. Conventional sea-borne piracy is also a problem in the region. Famine and conflict constantly seems poised to spill into the cities. You're never very far from a fear-gas enshrouded riot in The Hub. And with simmering unrest there comes a proliferation of illicit pirate broadcasters, such as Channel Zero and the infamous Suppressed Transmissions. Medias from around the globe travel to the SACR to report on the recovery process and the unconventional methods employed. However, establishing the veracity of any information is becoming increasingly difficult in Cape Point and the rest of the country. The old Wasting Plague is still active in the most deprived areas of The Hub, and is a pandemic waiting to explode. Various biotech transnats are watching and waiting to see what develops, patented vaccines at the ready. The whole area was also recently subject to what the media has dubbed the New Plagues. They are officially blamed on the masses of Third World transients, but most suspect the top bionats in the region and their loose self-regulation. These contemporary diseases include Viral Huntingtons Disease (VHD), Adaptive and Variable Transmission HIV variants (AHIV & VT-HIV respectively) and Human Immune System Transmutation (HIST), Ebola III, not to mention all the adapted and evolved artificial parasites, tailored cancers and nano-induced syndromes inadvertently unleashed by calculating transnationals and backstreet clinics. Consequently hand sanitisers, inhalers, disinfectant wipes, immunocules and other hygiene solutions are all available pretty much anywhere there's money. HIST is caused by prolonged exposure to extreme toxicity. The first symptoms include virulent allergies, painful rashes, headaches, muscle cramps, fatigue, diarrhea and sickness. Further symptoms include internal bleeding, weeping sores, blistering, bleeding orifices, blindness and an eventual pain-wracked death. In The Hub, street vendors sell anything and everything without permits, with City Filters being the biggest sellers. There are Hyperlife® coffee dispenseries everywhere, street traders, impromptu markets, hustlers decked out in dollar store bling, prostitutes, their minders, and the down and destitute. Begging is all too common, particularly amongst the street kids; orphans from the war living rough anywhere they can. There are vendomats, dataterms, free kibble dispensers, foil blanket dispensers and automated retail kiosks. All this autonomous equipment will be battered, weather stained, and thick with graffiti. There will be people everywhere; scattered around here and there, some huddled together under blankets or plastic sheeting, some gathered around oil drum fires, others shambling around aimlessly, and at least one poor wretch just standing there shivering and watching the animated signs as if hypnotised. And those animated ads and signs, holographs and the ubiquitous neon will bathe the streets in lurid, heat-distorted colour, the ads' incessant drone a constant beat in the background at all times. If you're tricked out for AR, then the world gets even more confusing, unless you're running some heavy-duty filtering. Everywhere, the smell of chemicals, pollutants and human bodies is all pervasive. The roads are filled with all manner of vehicles, such as battered and dusty 1998 Mazda Ch002 conversions, electric Volksmodules, air cushion vehicles, armoured big-rigs, beat-up old Land Rovers with Ch002 conversion kits glommed onto the roofs, armoured Hyundai 4x4s, old Toyota Hilux technicals, Paladin APC/MRAPs following patrol patterns, Chengdu Motors Pheonix luxury sedans, Ford CMax AV5s, jury rigged AV4s known as hoppers and jumpabouts, illegal hopper cabs, For Hire holo-signs glowing in the dark, Dushambe Motor Industries vehicles, popular and affordable throughout the region, jury rigged rickshaws - half a box van fused with a mountain bike or two, or a surplus PA suit fitted with a passenger cradle, sleek Mercedes electrics quietly gliding past… In the affluent zones, AI controlled unmanned AV cabs circle with unnerving precision, dropping to street level to drum up trade - they won't travel to certain areas and can't be made to (unless they are hacked of course, which is difficult). Plex or PSA patrols pass through the well kept streets, or wait parked by the roadside in milspec SUVs, watching for trouble, hoping it doesn't come. Law & Order SACR law states that clones, dubs, AIs and other artificial life-forms have no rights. Cybernetic regulation is confined to weapons and weapon systems. Private info havens and secure servers are distinct and separate territories and are not subject to Republic legislation. Corporate and Intercon law is a distinctly separate branch of the legal system. The SACR allows the use of Protocol's intrusive GroundScan in it's territories with the correct warrants. Laws change a lot and most law enforcement agencies are corrupt, especially the paramilitary national police force, the Public Security Agency. PSA departments are prefixed with a letter D. These are: D-1 (Patrol), D-2 (Public Order), D-3 (Organic Damage), D-4 (Controlled Substances), D-5 (Transmission Felonies), D-6 (Health & Hygiene), D-7 (Tacticals), D-8 (Commerce), D-9 (Traffic Regulation) and D-10 (Coastals). Where the PSA don't, can't or won't police, a number of Private Law Enforcement Contractor (PLECs or plex) organisations have developed. These contractors include Monarch Law Enforcement, Aries, IntenSecure (small operation), Sentry (Militech), MetaCops (tsotsi funded), Black Eagle Security Group (racist) and Arasaka SA. Health and hygiene regulations are strictly enforced, and are some of the most draconian laws currently in place, thanks to Biocontrol legislative reforms. The Intelligence Directorate is the SACR's intelligence agency, with interests both national and foreign. The Internal Security Service, the city’s equivalent to Special Branch or the FBI, tasked with combating terrorist organisations and reducing the power of the criminal gangs and cartels. The ISS controls the city’s main counter terrorist unit, OSEC (Operations/Security), and has superior net operatives to the PSA. Spoils of War Refugees from the north flood into the SACR and are collected in state holding camps or disappear into the ghettos. The entire SACR is recovering from the Emergency, the conflict they wouldn't call a war. There is evidence of warfare throughout the region - pockmarked buildings, abandoned city areas, rusting tanks, gutted APCs, aerodyne gunship carcasses, ghost towns, skeletal human remains by the less travelled roads etc. Limited tac-nuke use in 2024, further north, has lead to the poisonous and radioactive weather fronts referred to as The Creep. Creep clouds are a toxic soup of rads, nanites and biologicals. Many people have begun to exhibit genetic defects due to the damaged local environment and are known as Twists, and are feared and shunned by both the superstitious and the health conscious. Most local subcultures are involved in illegal activities such as hacking, gangs, gun-running, squatting or drug abuse. These groups form meta-families within the city, often taking in street children and runaways. The Government's orphanages are appallingly under funded, and hellish for the inmates, while charity run homeless shelters have a reputation for being recruiting centres for bizarre cults or even fronts for slavery rings. These subcultures create an ocean of creativity, some of which is exploited by the media, but much remains hidden from the world at large. After the war, the weather patterns of the Western Cape were shot to pieces. The region is plagued by creep clouds, flash floods, acid monsoons, poisonous smog, torrential rains, extreme humidity, corrosive fog, sweltering dry heat, lightening storms, hurricanes, howling gales, dust storms from inland, ice cold nights and oppressively hot days, yet the sun is dull, shining weakly through the polluted haze, giving an orange cast to everything. Light pollution is a way of life in The Hub. Every skyscraper in the corporate zones is lit by searchlights scanning the sky, every squat is illuminated by fires, every commercial street lit by a multitude of neon adverts. Advertising slogans are projected into the sky by searchlights and ad-blimps, or projected onto the side of Table Mountain. Lasers project into the sky from the roofs of clubs. It never seems to grow truly dark in Cape Point. Coming in by air over the bay at night, one does not see the outlines of individual buildings, but rather a vast immaterial, lurid haze. The industrial zones are a polluted yellow, while the corporate zones shine with different colours depending on the buildings. Each corporation seems to project a different colour. Helicopters and AVs flit around them like fireflies or moths. Gunships hover like hunting wasps. Hoppers on full burn careen across the illuminated cityscape. Sakawa Boys: Hacking & the Supernatural Sakawa is a reference to certain types of rituals performed by traditional priests with the specific intention of granting obscene wealth to the petitioner. The belief is that the wealth comes at the cost of an early death, along with a similarly prohibitive bill of livestock, alcohol and the like. The practice has been cut out from the past and pasted onto the future, in a unique fusion between high technology and centuries-old tradition. The cyber-crime epidemic in West Africa has been the main driver of this change, luring untold thousands of young men and women to take the fastest route out of the poverty trap. Although the youth are growing increasingly sophisticated in their schemes, a significant number of them seem to be turning to traditional belief as a means to guarantee a high rate of success. Those who engage in this practice, dubbed sakawa boys, employ the services of traditional priests to supernaturally enforce the co-operation of the targets of their online scams. Sakawa boys have managed to hack Africa’s natural mystique; redefining her unique cosmology, and twisting it to suit their purposes, mediated by technology, in constant exchange with the rest of the world, growing ever more nuanced and intricate with each step forward.
  13. Oh, my hacker PC won't be controlling any kind of anthroform or chimeric. I'll just hit her with the deeply disturbing 'otherness' if she tries it. Then I'll fracture her psyche if she persists… Her player is great, so he'll run with it and have some PTSD-style fun. Reactionary Depression anyone?
  14. Now I like the sound of that… Very useful, and yet so obvious! Thanks Drow.
  15. This is exactly why I moved my campaign from Night City to Cape Town, South Africa. I wanted to enhance the strange and alien along with the futurism. I figured a strong contrast between Third World development and cutting edge cyberpunk would be that blend I was looking for. I did away with The Combat Zone© idea. The townships and Cape Flats covered that. I then divided the city (now known as the Cape Point Transmetropolitan Hub) into distinct zones; Municipal Policed Zones or PeeZees, Filter Zones and NoGos. The MPZs are the affluent areas, with Public Security Agency (PSA) coverage, corporate security and a plethora of Private Law Enforement Contractors (PLECs or plex) hired to provide stable security. Cameras and good lighting are common. Gated communities are popular. Transnational offices are all in peezees, as are all the best hotels and restaurants. AR is commonplace too. The Filters are the normal, everyday joe areas. The PSA are active, but less so than in the PeeZees. There is little to no plex activity unless a business or site owner can afford them. Most Filters are filled with residential tower blocks and SMEs. Shabby hotels and hostels (such as Easy Cube) are the norm. The Government funded mediplexes are located in these areas too. There's some AR, but is confined to badly coded advertising or hacked political messages. Clunky Russian and Chinese implants are common. The NoGos are the poor areas. The PSA avoid them and no plex will go there. Tsotsi gang lords and boosters provide security of a sort. Mercenaries are used by those who can afford them. Large swathes are abandoned and derilict, the haunt of squatters and junkies and refugees from the recent wars. And everyone seems to have an AK and can use it. So far, my players have really lapped up the foreigness of the setting. They appreciate that there's still enough of the familiar cyberpunk urban tropes in place, but now there's a contrasting sense of newness to the campaign. I remind the players of the differences through senses and NPCs. One of my players has spent some time in Johannesberg, and I occasionally catch him nodding his approval. Which is nice! Another spent his early teens over there (we're in the UK) and I find his accent comes back when we play. Strangely, I've never been. God bless the internetz! Granted, it was the overall plot of my previous Night City campaign that paved the way for the PCs to head for Cape Point, but I'm really glad I took the chance and moved them over there. It has made things feel a little fresher again. I'm currently working on developing a version of Tokyo that they will be heading to, before returning to South Africa. I may then take them north into the heart of darkness… Orbit is another direction I'd like to go. There's a lot of high tech shit making it's way down the well already, which is getting my greedy, greedy players into all manner of trouble.
  16. My South African campaign is a real cut and paste job, with ideas cribbed from VftE, Krypter's Neuropolitan, Richard Morgan's Altered Carbon, and many other sources. I did originally intend to do a full campaign diary, but decided against it, due to my stunning lack of originality! I may start a new thread if you guys are interested. I'm about 15 or so sessions in, so events may get summarised somewhat. I'll see what I can do… I'm really stoked by the ideas put forward! So, thanks everyone. I'm actually spoilt for choice… I'm really taken by engineered insect swarms, spider-dogs, 'special' D-Pests, bio-bombs and -drones and the cephalopod mollusc arachno-ninja squad (which would soooo make a great cartoon on Network 54…). @Mort - Out of interest, seeing what freaky shit you've come up with so far, what would you do with 'Scary Efficient'? And should I be afraid? That is a certainty. My group's cutter, Polly Carbon, is obsessed with cybernetic links, DNIs and wireless interfaces. And with Run.Net, she can piss about with all of them! So, yeah, it'll be very funny to watch her hack something 'other than human' and experience the sheer alien horror of it. I look forward to that! (An earlier stage Polly was written up in the Reservoir Dogs section last year, if anyone is interested.) Last night I was considering Mort's hive-man concept. I pictured a dazed looking and unwashed Ethiopian guy staggering into the filter zone clinic set up by the group's medtech for the local township poor (and his own 'experiments'). The skinny kid shambles into the waiting room, silently parts his parched and encrusted lips as if to speak, lifeless cataract eyes staring at nothing. He pulls open his tattered coat, reveals a dirty grey plastic plated abdomen, a series of holes in uniform rows. Then the buzzing starts… Try hacking poisonous wasps ya bitch! Thinking about it, I may use several of the different freak attacks over time.
  17. Efficiency is good, but I want to avoid a TPK. Physically weird is what I'm looking for. A gross out moment. A 'why the fuck would anyone create THAT?!' kind of vibe. I love the freaky scary shit Morf has cooked up and I'm looking forward to a few more. The poisonous wasp vomiter is outstanding! Spider-dogs could be awesome too. I'm after something to scare the crap out of them, horrify them and generally put them in the afore mentioned OMFG zone. I'm not trying to kill them, but it should certainly be a threat. If one of them does die, it'll be because they made a bad call. As for the level of threat, the PCs are slightly above average stats, with special abilities in the low to mid range. They are very trigger-happy though… The company have an idea about a couple of locations the group frequent. They don't have any biometric data on the PCs. They are aware of some, but not all, of their identities, and no idea about possible psych profiles. I imagine with the urgency of response, the company would use something off the rack. I could wait some time and go custom, but I'd rather do it sooner. At a very inconvenient moment! The local Public Security Agency and the varied Private Law Enforcement Contractors in Cape Town would only deal with an immediate public threat scenario. The PSA may investigate further, but it would be slow. An overt attack would be fine. I'm guessing there'd be little to connect 'the thing' to the company. I know a couple of my players don't like spiders, but I intend to make their skin crawl no matter what the ugly freak looks like. All good ideas so far gents! Keep 'em coming!
  18. Guys, In my current campaign, the PCs have just totalled the luxury villa/office complex of AG Sahel Star Development (thanks Companero) in the affluent Sea Point district of Cape Town. The netrunner took control of their system, fired the on-site SAMs into the buildings and then burned their data node beyond recovery (thank you run.net!). The rest of the team performed a textbook assault on the facility, grabbing the Operations Manager for 'questioning'. To be fair, AG Sahel were holding their fixer captive and torturing him in VR at the time. There are only a handful of company survivors left to scrape out of the rubble. Now, the company will want to eliminate the team that did this. And with their background in unorthodox biotechnology and genginering, I thought it might be prudent to throw some sort of fucked up biological horror at the group. The campaign so far has been played pretty straight, so it would come as quite a shock to the players to have an unspeakable genetic heresy gunning for them. I'm looking for ideas on what kind of nasty to unleash on their sorry asses… Thanks in advance. NB: Comp's original Cyber City write up of AIF and AGsahel: http://vfte.cyberpunk.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=7909
  19. That, sir, is an outstanding list of archetypes! And it gives a clear idea of the ability levels available to characters with Interface. Nice one. I look forward to seeing this develop… Personal favourite: AR Janitor When those pricks mess with the Augment Reality adverts, they never think about the guy who has to go clean it up… Grrr. Those pesky kids!
  20. How about having the Reliability number range from 1-10? The netrunner would have to role a D10 equal to, or less than, the Rel score like a Body Save. Perhaps it could degrade like a Body Save too? First 'Crash Save' role vs. REL number, 2nd test is at REL -2, 3rd at REL -4 etc. So once the netrunner starts pushing their deck too far and it starts struggling, it's only a matter of time before it locks up. Sets up a ticking clock for the netrunner player.
  21. It's funny how Africa conjures up ideas about rogue biotech isn't it? I've got my genetic regulatory agency - Biocontrol, the mutated, militant offspring of the old World Health Organisation. Think it was Krypter's idea off one of his excellent sites. And the best thing is, the PCs have already appeared on Biocontrol's radar during the last campaign. Perfectly sums up the feel I'm going for. I'll check out Chaga, Windup Girl and Shadow of the Sun. And thanks for a great response!
  22. I'm currently putting together some notes for a new campaign based in South Africa in November 2026. Our previous campaign has taken the (surviving) PCs from Night City to the Cape Point Transmetropolitan Hub in the South African Cape Republic (was Cape Town). My vision is thus: the SACR is a new 'nation' formed in 2025 after the devolution of the former South Africa at the end of the Third-World Emergency. It maintains an uneasy peace with the neighbouring Incorporated Orange States and the South African Free State. The three regions bare the scars of conflict - pockmarked and ruined buildings, rusting tank carcasses, AV gunship wrecks, abandoned townships etc. The Chinese attempt to exert their influence in the region, countered by the Europeans. The transnationals do as they please, as usual. Biotech companies thrive here due to the sheer amount of new diseases designed during the war and because the local safety regulations are somewhat lacking. Policing is divided up amongst a myriad of law enforcement contractors. I can add more detail or answer any questions as we go along. The Hub will be the centre point for the campaign not unlike Night City previously. I want an uban sprawl, but I need it to feel different. It needs to feel African, rather than just generic cyberpunk. So, I thought I'd ask the collective VftE hive-mind for any ideas that would enhance a cyberpunk city and make it feel distinctly post-war South African. Any and all ideas are welcome!
  23. I envy you and, at the same time, I don't! What a friggin' awesome sounding campaign!
  24. Geist

    Matt Black

    I got details of the club and the strippers from Mockery's site. It was an interesting experience watching the group struggle to keep the place afloat. Great minds think alike my friend!
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