Sunday, October 30, 2016

Cyberpunk Sunday: Blackhands Street Weapons review.



Ah something about those old 80's and 90's RPGs that are such a guilty pleasure. Especially when it comes to the ever expanding lists of weapons and equipment.  Paging through books to find just the right gun with just the right attachments so you can get that extra point or two of damage AND a plus to hit.  Now days people like to turn their nose up to such things but those of us who remember still love to blow the dust off our books and get down to some gear buying bliss.

For Cyberpunk 2020 most groups drool over the Chromebooks and, of course, Blackhands Street Weapons.  The quintessential gun book for the game as it collected every firearm, knife and oddball weapons system into one volume.  Oh and it gave us a brand new gun as well. 

Now don't go buying this expecting some long written out source material.  This is simply a compendium of weapons and ammunition.  Each weapon has a little blurb with a bit of flavor, complete set of stats and costs.  Along with a bit about recoil on the big guns and that's about it.  This keeps the book slim and compact which makes it great for at the table reference when somebody forgot (or can't find) their weapon stats.  This is what I consider to be a major selling point.  No frills just giving you exactly what you want.

For those who love to run their Cyberpunk 2020 'by the book' in all it's glory this book is a must have at your table... or at least in your GM stash. 

Available in pdf format AND in print via POD at a very reasonable price.

Find it at DriveThruRPG.

Find it at RPGNow.

Good luck on the streets until next Sunday chummers.

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For those who enjoy this blog, the various articles and session recaps and wish to show some support.  The DrivethruRPG and RPGNow links over on the right are tagged with my affiliate code.  Simply click through to their site and buy whatever you normally buy from them and I'll get a few pennies as a kickback.  Or if you don't like Onebookshelf you can paypal me directly at peteramthor@trulyrural.com as well.  Currently this is how I am purchasing new gaming material.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some stuff and start doing short reviews once again in the future.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Kult: Trimming the fat part one.


Skinning the fat from the rules of Kult.


The very basic system for the Kult rpg isn't actually to bad. It's pretty simple, roll a D20 and get under your skill. Damage uses a wounds system. You have some added flavor like Advantages, Disadvantages, mental balance and, of course, your dark secret. However a lot of that the simple ideas are buried under some mid to late 80's game design. So I started cutting down on what is there and I'll go over it bit by bit one blog post at a time.

First off I'm giving the skill section an overhaul. Games from this time period loved their skill lists and man does it show with the pages and pages of them. Don't get me wrong I used to love them as well and would go through all my games and compile a master skill list for everything.... yeah but I got over that. Vampire: TM was the game that sort of opened my eyes to the 'simpler is better' approach. Their base list of thirty skills covered a lot of what was ever necessary in most games. Not to mention tossing what other games had several skills for under one title. Like just having 'firearms' instead of pistol, long gun, shotgun, etc.


So going with the simpler is better approach works best in this area. Athletics can cover swimming, climbing, etc; anything sports of physical activity related is good to throw into there. Firearms replacing all the different gun types. Brawling and Martial Arts replace all the special maneuvers and strange attacks (more on how I work them specifically will be in a future article).


Now I know combining them like this isn't realistic. But I toss realistic out the window when it comes to making something smoother, faster and easier to use.


Then I also remove another part of old style game design. I remove the skills based on attributes or special stats idea altogether. No more CHA based, or MOVE based, etc. They stand alone from your attributes in every way. How this changes attributes I'll have to go over later.


In the end I have a half made list that is strangely like that of the old World of Darkness games. Plus being open to player suggestions or specialization. If it's not on the list they can ask if they can buy it and then I say yes or tell them which existing skill it falls under or suggest a better broader skill to buy. Example: Say a player wants Acupuncture as a skill, I could either let them buy it or suggest that they buy Eastern Medicine as it will give them Acupuncture along with some other handy stuff.


I'm not posting up a skill list yet as I'm still revising and tossing ideas around. Currently playtesting with pregenerated characters and getting feedback. But when I'm all done I will make a final suggested list.

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For those who enjoy this blog, the various articles and session recaps and wish to show some support.  The DrivethruRPG and RPGNow links over on the right are tagged with my affiliate code.  Simply click through to their site and buy whatever you normally buy from them and I'll get a few pennies as a kickback.  Or if you don't like Onebookshelf you can paypal me directly at peteramthor@trulyrural.com as well.  Currently this is how I am purchasing new gaming material.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some stuff and start doing short reviews once again in the future.

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cyberpunk Sunday robots, sex and cyberpunk



Some thoughts on Cyberpunk, Sex, AI and robots in a cyberpunk game world.

Inspired by this article about a conference on future tech and basically sex with robots: London sex robot conference.

First I will say this is inevitable and to a limited scale is already happening.  Basically it comes down to the simple old saying 'Sex Sells'.  Mix that with humankinds ever increasing desire for more dazzling technology and we are on the road to sexbots.  But I'll not focus on the real world here and move on into the gaming aspects.

Now one must also look at the kind of clientele businesses will attract with these and the kind of people they will sell to.  Those who are lonely, socially inept and desperate will be the initial people with cash in hand to use AI sex bots when they become available. Coming in right behind those very quickly will be people with any sort of kink that most of society finds a bit 'taboo'. 

So in your cyberpunk world you need to imagine the kind of shops that will be seen using these and how creepy they could appear to your characters.  Imagine seeing a building set up to look like a school where all the bots are made to appear as young 'under the legal age' school girls.  Double the creepy if the person paying for the time is allowed to stalk down their bot victims in a form of rape simulation.  I mean unless a lot of detailed laws are passed this would all be legal.

Sex dungeons would be normal all of sudden.  Attracting all of those with kinks or fetishes who were afraid to admit to what they wanted to a real partner because of the risk of rejection.  Entire harems could be rented out to those with the cash.  Let's not even begin to discuss celebrity look alike bots or even those who would be setting robot animals for use.

In some various society set ups it could make sex with a 'real woman or man' become a hot commodity.  Or drive the prices for human sex workers further down since bots wouldn't complain and can just be used over and over again by a line of customers all night long. 

Also, as the article linked to points out, there is some thought about the risk of being disconnected from humanity if you limit your sexual interactions with just the robot kind.  So in games like Cyberpunk 2020 there could be a chance of humanity loss after a while.  Or a development of mental issues in other games.  Another affect could be similar to those that were shown in the movie Surrogate but more limited.  Where the character would be at a loss and suffer from severe anxiety when it comes to sexual encounters with a real flesh and blood person. 

So before you introduce them into your setting be sure to think out how they fit into that society you are building.  What kind of economic side effects would be generated.  What people think of those who choose to have artificial partners over actual ones.  Not to mention classic scifi tropes like the robot that goes on a killing spree or becomes completely aware and doesn't want to do this anymore.  Also while this sort of thing adds in some great seedy under belly of society story into your games it may not be for your players. 

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For those who enjoy this blog, the various articles and session recaps and wish to show some support.  The DrivethruRPG and RPGNow links over on the right are tagged with my affiliate code.  Simply click through to their site and buy whatever you normally buy from them and I'll get a few pennies as a kickback.  Or if you don't like Onebookshelf you can paypal me directly at peteramthor@trulyrural.com as well.  Currently this is how I am purchasing new gaming material.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some stuff and start doing short reviews once again in the future.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Kult There Will be Blood session one



Finally got a group of players together for Kult.  Most of which had never played it before, some of which had never gamed with me before at all and some who had only been in games when I was another player.

Group breakdown.

Katie - My wife.  Hadn't gamed in many years and then had only played DnD.
Zach - Katie's son, known him for a few years, never gamed with me other than CCGs.
Lori - Old friend, had played in a few of my Kult campaigns before.
Jason - Old friend, had played in a few of my Kult campaigns before.
Sarah - Jason's girlfriend, never played in a game with before ever.
Josh - Friend who I gamed with under another a great GM for years.

Used pregenerated characters for them all.  Partly because many were unfamiliar with Kult and also because I was using a alpha version of my streamlined Kult system.  Made little name stand ups and they picked their characters solely based on their names.  They were handed a filled out character sheet and another sheet with their character history, dark secret and what they thought of the other players on it.  The stand ups were left in front of each player so they knew who was who.

All of the characters were criminals working for the same crime boss. 

Basically they were sent down to find out what happened to a guy who acts like a mule transporting drugs from the warehouse out to the dealers.  Their boss, Donavan Hume, cares more about getting what he had back rather than the actual person.  Also missing in that same area is a girl who was a local sex worker who helped other girls hook up with johns and watched over them. 

After a bit of questioning they discovered there was a new group in that area dealing a new drug and, according to rumors, eliminating some of the competition through other means.  This led them to the supposed location of operations for this new group.  They discovered the new drug was inhaled from a giant sized hookah sat up in an abandoned tenement building.  One player who took a hit had flashes of memories that weren't her own and thought it was one of the best highs she had ever had.

An eventual meeting was sat up between the guy in charge there and the group for a price that will be named at the meeting.  The boss admitted to killing both the mule and the sex worker along with selling off all the drugs he had been carrying.  When the players asked for him to pay back what they were worth he said no.  Then said the cost of the meeting was for one of them to die before they leave.  No hurry though, they can make a decision as a group who they want to kill among their ranks. 

A short bit of gunplay happened leaving the players with the upper hand.  Well until the boss vomited up his own guts onto one of the players and they started constricting around her.  Ego throws were made... not everyone made theirs... one freaked out pretty good.  Somehow the one with the guts wrapped around her held their cool.  There was more gunplay a bit of stabbing and a whole lot of panic.

The illusion buckled and glimpses of the other side were seen for a brief moment or two as the players fled the scene with very few injuries (not due to people not trying but due to my dice betraying me).  After mental balances were readjusted the players make it back to their boss, some still covered in blood splatters and some gore.  He wants the players to find out what is going on and who this new group is. 

Investigations and calling up contacts occurred over the next day or so.  They discover that not enough bodies were recovered from the scene by the police which they are afraid my be the boss.  The building is owned by a company known as Philanthropist Inc who run a high class club scene for millionaires and celebrities.  Local gun dealers haven't sold anything to anybody new lately at all so they must be from out of town OR buying their weapons from an outside source.  Drug dealers have lost business in that area because whatever the new drug is people are leaving their other addictions behind and going for that.

Session ended with the investigation going on for a couple more days which will be taken care via emails and Facebook messenger between now and the next game.

For those who enjoy this blog and session recaps and wish to show some support.  The DrivethruRPG and RPGNow links over on the right are tagged with my affiliate code.  Simply click through to their site and buy whatever you normally buy from them and I'll get a few pennies as a kickback.  Currently this is how I am purchasing new gaming material.  Hopefully I'll be able to get some stuff and start doing short reviews once again in the future.