Sunday, January 26, 2014

Threat Analysis: Hominid review

Sla Industries is a game known for coming back to life in strange bursts. Although it never lumbers itself into forward progression for long the game seems to never die. The latest is a pdf release titled 'Threat Analysis Hominid' presented in the data packet form the company has used for it's last few releases. At least in this format they have kept with a basic layout and a feeling of uniformity. One change they did was to release this one with the 'Pay What You Want' pricing which is probably getting the game a bit more attention than usual.
I can't go into to much detail on this review as the packet itself isn't very big and I don't want to ruin all of it's little secrets. But there is some mention of things from previous packets although they aren't necessary to use this one. It's also rather 'truthy', if you don't know what I'm talking about... well then you haven't been following Sla Industries over it's up and down lifetime.
In a nutshell we are introduced to a threat from White Earth itself. Creatures summoned to Mort by the Shi'An blood cult (which we get another few fragments of info about them as well) that have a brutality and anger streak matched by no others. We are given complete information on how they get here, their motivations and behavior. Four different Hominid types are stated out and introduce us to something called White Earth Abilities which we'll probably see more of in future material.
They make a nice, more savage, addition to the threats the PC's have to face on Mort. Also they are the harbingers of the winds of change that seem to be blowing across the World of Progress. I have to give this packet two thumbs up. However their very origins are Truth based and may not be a fit for all groups.
You can find it on Drivethrurpg here:
Or on RPGNOW here:

Also with this release Nightfall Games has made the Sla Industries core rule book 'Pay What You Want' as well.

You can find it on Drivethrurpg here:
Or on RPGNOW here:

Cyberpunk Sunday 3.04 - Blackmail, Big Brother and Fashion

Some people still have this romantic image of all hackers as white hat good guys fighting the power.  Well they definitely are not all like that.  Some use their skill in attempt to make themselves rich through whatever means they can find.  Here is a case of Chinese hackers blackmailing a man for a pretty good sum of cash.

Of course the governments want in on the control as well using the most Big Brother means necessary.  This time the Ukraine goes to show us just how far they will take to intimidate the masses they wish to control.  If you think the major governments of the world haven't tried anything like this you are only fooling yourself.  Only they probably didn't let anybody know they were monitoring, just stored up all the phones being used and added those people to a watch list.

Now for something a little less along the lines of 'Oh shit' and back towards 'Oh cool'.  More development into the area of wearable tech.  How about some Bluetooth rigged jewelry that is fashionable and functional.  Also probably easier to access by hackers and government than ever before as well....

That's is this weeks Cyberpunk Sunday.  See you next week for three more.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cyberpunk Character Classes by System

Cyberpunk Character Classes

This is a quick collection of character class names (or archetypes, whatever name they are given) from various cyberpunk rpgs.  This is not by any means an exhaustive list but simply a list from the books I have handy.  If you have a list from your favorite cyberpunk game please just add it in the comments section.

Cyberpunk 2020



Net Junkie
Tech Rat

Digital Burn


Interface Zero 2.0

Bounty Hunter
Drone Jockey
Investigative Journalist
Patch Man
Sector Cop
Street Rat

GURPS Cyberpunk

Street Op

Black Marketeer
Contract Worker
Private Investigator
Rogue Scientist
Soldier of Fortune
Special Forces
Spin Consultant
Virtual Personality

OGL Cybernet

 The Connection
The Corporate
The Jacker
The Soldier
The WebCrawler
The Professional 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cyberpunk Sunday 3.03 Digital Sun, Smart Spam and the NSA.

The smog continues to grow thick in China.  Last year the levels broke all recordable records and the systems sat up to measure it simply couldn't measure high enough.  Now the government is piping in the sunrise for it's people to see... on a big television screen.  The land of no corporate regulations sees everything through a gray haze that shows no signs of letting up.

Digital sunise screens in Tiananmen Square.

Ah yes smart devices.  Little security and even less foresight in design.  Now these wonderful things crowding our homes are being turned into zombie systems to send out spam and other such things.  Even a refrigerator is getting in on the act.  How many things in your home are all ready to be turned into spam spewing hotspots?

Someone's refrigerator just performed a cyberattack.

Oh and the NSA.  When they aren't collecting up every single scrap of data they are able to they are busy telling lies about doing it.  Everytime we turn around there is more revealed about the depths to which the government agency has sank.  Big Brother is indeed alive and well in the United States and he is watching everyone.

The NSA continues to tell even more lies.

Okay that's it for this Sunday.  See you in another week.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cyberware and Mental Stability

One of the common staples in the cyberpunk genre of gaming is cyberware and with it, the slow process of becoming an emotionless, psychopathic killing machine. The idea that once a person becomes more man than machine their sanity drops off at a drastic rate. To be honest this is one staple that I would like to see pulled out and tossed away.

The main reason behind this in roleplaying games is for game balance. Cyberware can really pump up a characters abilities and lethality along with making them damn hard to kill at the same time. So making each bit a risk of sending the player character off to NPC land as a raving lunatic does make one stop and pause when thinking of the chrome warrior image. The question is how do you handle it differently or what do you put in place to replace it?

This time I'll focus on the handling it different part. No hard stats for games or anything, just some thinking out loud on the subject.

Very first and foremost should be Why. Why is the character getting a chunk of machine added to their body? To me this is the big one because if I lost my arm in a car wreck but was able to have it replaced by a working replacement that moved and looked just like my original arm, well I would be seeing that as a miracle of modern science and be happy about it. Now by the same token if somebody opts out to have a perfectly good limb sawed off and replaced.... well they probably had some mental problems to begin with.

Cybernetic replacement by necessity due to injuries or health problem shouldn't be a huge hit to ones mental well being. Sometimes it may even increase their mental stability by improving their quality of life. While cybernetic replacement for the sake of getting a metal part should be a bigger kick in the brain.

Now my second thought is on common cyberware that many people receive to perform daily tasks easier or for a job. Things like a neural link, data plugs, neuralware processors, etc; these would be something popular culture would make readily available with society ready to accept them as the 'next big tech to improve your life' thing. Getting something that nearly everybody else has shouldn't make you feel less human or unhinge your psyche. Especially if they become needed for a workplace, using advanced equipment and competing in the job market. It's an edge that shouldn't cut you back.

Other pop culture fueled cyberware range from the glowing tattoos, implanted time displays on your wrists, or even having the color of your eyes change. It's what the latest reality television star has along with the new wave of rockerboys coming onto the scene. They're popular, their cool, their neat. Why would these cost some sanity again?

Finally the last thing on my mind is all the other stuff. The things that aren't replacement parts or pop culture bling. Subdermal plating, wired reflexes and adrenalin boosters. These seem to have one focus in mind and that's to make you better at the job of hurting other people. Either through making you faster, bullet proof to a point or just the ability to pull out a gun faster than most people can blink. This is a tough one to make a call on. One could say the person who would get these things may not be in their right mind already, but another could also counter that with the fact that it increases their ability to survive, a base instinct.

So my end thoughts on this would be that I would definitely use the 'Why' as a modifier for any sort of mental affect. How much detail you would want to work into the rules for this is completely up to the ruleset I suppose. That or you could simply do the GM 'handwave' and say no loss for replacing something that actually needed replacing.

What are your thoughts on all this?

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Baalarashi bare bones write up

Been working on the GMC write ups for the playtest of 'Question of Faith'.  Just some quick baddies for the characters to fight to try out the mechanics and the mods put in place for the setting.

Here is the bare bones write up for the Baalarashi.  It will be expanded later on giving more details, including habits of the Demon, ways to spot it and a lot more description on it's abilities.  Right now it's just the basics so I can get the alpha playtest rules done and ready to go.


These are demons that infect a normal person. Strands of black tight flesh grow through the body making it tougher and giving them some very disturbing abilities. Control is total as this demon even takes complete control of their mind. Once infected there is no way to be cured.

Attack and Defense: Stay the same as they were prior to infection.

Hit Points: There is a ten point gain due to the strands being tougher than normal flesh.

Traits: Stay the same as they were prior to infection.

Special abilities:

Vomit guts: 3 dice – The demon literally vomits the intestines of the body out onto an attacker. The initial hit does no damage but instead wraps around the target. After that they squeeze for 3 dice each round, older Baalarashi may have a damage multiplier of X2 or even X3 at the GM's discretion. Armor offers no defense against this damage unless it is plate. After a target is dead the demon sucks it's guts back into itself.

Contortionist: 3 dice – The demon can use the strands in itself to force the body to move in directions not normal. Even damaging itself in the process. This makes the thing very hard to imprison or restrain.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cyberpunk Sunday 3.02 Contacts, Armstar and reflections

First up is the developing technology of hi-tech contact lenses.  Currently in development are lenses with curved LCD displays in them.  While the article doesn't give a lot of 'where they are at right now' on the development phase the sure do have some high hopes for these.  Be kind of neat to get driving directions this way.  Although one has to wonder about glitches, or the contact slipping and an image suddenly blocking an essential field of view.

High Tech Contact Lenses

Next up is the Armstar wearable self defense system.  It's a lot of tech and some taser built into a device you wear on your wrist.  First saw mention of this over on the Twitter feed of Seattle super hero Phoenix Jones as he is apparently getting one of the first commercial models.  I am wonder about how durable they are, like if you hit it against something or block a blow with it. 

Armstar - The Future of Self Defense

Lets get down to really pulling every bit of information out of a picture now.  How about seeing who was watching the picture get take by identifying them through their reflection in a persons eye.  Right now they are only able to do this with some very specific camera set ups.  But as camera tech continues to improve this may be something that can be done with any photograph down the road.

Reflections on the Eyeball

That is it for todays short and sweet installment of Cyberpunk Sunday.  See you next week.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year, New Game sale

In case anybody hasn't noticed this.  Drivethrurpg is having a pretty good sale going on now.  Called the 'New Year, New Game' sale.  Basically it's 80+ core rulebooks at half price.  Books like Legend of the Five Rings 4th edition, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, Werewold: The Apocalypse 20th anniversary edition and even (grumble grumble) Numenera.  Trust me there are some really good deals.

Here is a link to the sale:

Drivethrurpg New Year, New Game sale.

So grab up some goodies on the cheap before their prices return to normal.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cyberpunk Sunday 3.01 Replacement Parts

Today for Cyberpunk Sunday I'll be firing off three quick links and then letting you get back to your day.  Although my day isn't going anywhere as I'm watching the snow fall and seal me deeper and deeper in my home.  Can it be summer soon I need to take a break from complaining about the cold so I can complain about the heat for a while.

First up.  First full on artificial heart transplant.  Not meant to be an aid to keep you going until the donor for transplant comes along but a full on replacement for good.  Supposed to keep pumping for at least five years but in reality they really don't know until it's been five years.  Organ replacement technology onward!

Next up is a little video of the worlds first bionic mind controlled leg goes for a walk.  Tricky business here because the slightest mistake could send the amputee wearing it tumbling down a set of stairs or tumbling sidewise into traffic.  Limb replacement technology onward!

Now for some full on transhumanism roots.  The artificial womb.  Now of course this has started up the proverbial shitstorm among religious beliefs, discussions on morale and on and on.  Personally I'm on the fence on this but not for the reasons many others are stating.  I mean the good old fashion way of reproduction is not something I would want to give up as it's probably one of the best feeling activities to engage in.  Replacement for reproduction ... um... wait...

That's all for this week.  Hope to be back in seven for another installment. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts review

Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts

by Dyson Logos via ZERO/Barrier

Do you run old school Dungeons and Dragons or any of the retroclones like Labyrinth Lords? Do you want more variety in your magic using classes? If the answer is 'yes' then this book is definitely for you. It is very clear cut in it's goals and designs giving you a whole truck load of information and rules for expanding the roles of the Magic User.

First off we are given the base two classes of Cleric and Wizard, followed by eleven more classes each with their own specializations. From the dark Pact-Bound to the fighting Elven Swordmage and everything in between. My personal favorite being the Unseen, a mix of a thief and spellcaster with some special abilities to make them extra sneaky. You get everything necessary, spell lists, experience chart, saving throws, etc. These are fully finished classes and not just half thought up ideas.

Following up this is the full list and description of spells. All of them for all the classes are included here. No “See book XX” here, you get it all. Some of these I have never seen or thought of before along side the old standards and commons. A very nice meaty list to say the least.

Then we move onto Magic Items. Covering how spell adders work, ways to make magic items more unique in your game world and limits on using some items at the same time. Again we are treated to a good list of items, all detailed out and ready to be used. The variety alone covering all the item types provides more than enough to fill a campaign or two with. Again lots of usable material ready to go right now.

In the last few pages we get a bit about special summonable creatures like Elementals and the Flesh Beast. Plus a short two page section on converting this information into the more advanced editions of the retroclone games (namely the AEC for Labyrinth Lord).

Now the only cons I have for this book is the lack of any artwork. While I am perfectly happy with this good chunk of usable information in one tome there are some out there who want to see a few illustrations from time to time. Well there aren't any here, just lots of game material.

All in all I have to give this book two thumbs up. It delivers exactly what it claims and it does so with plenty more than expected. Especially if you are an old school dungeon crawling fan who wants to branch out their character options.

You can purchase it via these channels:

In PDF at Drivethrurpg

in PDF at RPGNow

In PRINT at lulu dot com.

Also be sure to check out the authors excellent blog:

Dyson's Dodecahedron

Hope you enjoyed the review.