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20 hours ago, Vile said:

I think cyberpunk tends to be conflated with any near-future dystopian science fiction, which is misleading. To my mind the cyberspace aspect is a defining element, which is not present in Blade Runner (although it was, to some extent, central to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Judge Dredd, Akira, or the like. It's also the aspect most difficult to capture in a tabletop RPG, where at best you tended to get a situation where adventures wer split into real-world and cyberspace elements, with each of the characters taking part in one but not the other.

This was often the problem in our shadowrun and cyberpunk games. Hackers were useless in meatspace and powerful in cyberspace. Other characters were the reverse. Each group were bored when the game was operating in the space where they were powerless. An analogy for fantasy games is 'spirit combat', except that shamans tend to have a few useful 'real-world' skills as well.

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54 minutes ago, Questbird said:

This was often the problem in our shadowrun and cyberpunk games. Hackers were useless in meatspace and powerful in cyberspace. Other characters were the reverse. Each group were bored when the game was operating in the space where they were powerless. An analogy for fantasy games is 'spirit combat', except that shamans tend to have a few useful 'real-world' skills as well.

I've come to the conclusion that hacking rules need to be simple and abstracted. Having a hacker play a whole long scene in cyberspace while they sit and watch is never fun. You can always try to cut back forth between the hacker and the party, but that is iffy. If the pacing works perfectly, it's great, but you can't guarantee it will line up well without railroading. 

This issue of hackers sucking outside of cyberspace doesn't need to be an issue in BRP. You aren't playing a class, so you can easily be good at shooting people as well.

Without classes, there isn't any reason you couldn't have everyone be of some degree of use in cyberspace as well. If it is important to have full, detailed scenes in cyberspace, have a variety of niches players can fill, just like in physical combat. Someone is good at infiltrating networks. Another guy is good at shutting down security bots and/or rival users that are opposing them. Someone else is good at whipping up scripts to make infiltrated systems do what they want. Then you have someone on defense, blocking counter attacks aimed at the PCs system. 

There is no real reason why everyone can't have something to do in both the real world and cyberspace. 

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I too have experienced -- and disliked -- the cyberspace/meatspace disconnect.

Personally, I am forced to note that "hacking" is typically an extended / long-term endeavor -- typically days or weeks -- unless you have a VERY "soft" target with known vulnerabilities.  Fewer and fewer corp/govt targets are that way... and I presume this trend will continue.  So "realtime" hacks -- simultaneous with covert ops, gunfights, etc -- are looking less and less realistic.  Thus, this falls (for me) into the same genre-based "willing suspension of disbelief" realm as, for example, combat spellcasting.

HOWEVER, the time needed to get really good at "hacking" IMHO precludes most people from being really good at most physical conflicts.  Someone who has a reasonable shot at penetrating a firewall and evading malware-detection will VERY rarely also have a reasonable shot at silently eliminating an alert guard.  An entire TEAM of people with dual specializations in cyber and physical realms of conflict honestly breaks my "suspension of disbelief" even worse than magic does... or realtime-hacking.

I don't have an actual solution that I've tested... but when/if I do GM a "cyber" game, I suspect that I may go with 2 complete sets of PC's:  every player has a PC on the "hack team" and every player has a PC on the "meat team."

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15 hours ago, rsanford said:

... They all agree there should be no magic or elves, but two want cybernetics like cyberpunk 2020 while the others are thinking something more akin to Bladerunner with bio-enhancements. I am not sure there is a setting out there that does both... As a matter of fact I can't think of a Bladerunner type game at all.

So can the differing camps come to some agreement?  Maybe both cyberlimbs AND bio-ware?  Or ... ?

Cyberpunk tends to center on tech/gear issues, which you'll need to take care to keep in mind and in the game-theme in-play...  Offhand, I don't recall any BRP systems that will inherently support this (where some of the dedicated cyberpunk games do, with "cyberpsychosis" & "humanity" & "essence"  and so forth).

Shadowrun has (at least prior ed's had) point-buy chargen; if you just don't buy races & magic, you can drop all that from the game and it should still work OK; re-implementing into BRP char-gen is a bit of a challenge, IMHO, but not beyond management... specially if some of the other players are willing to do some of the work! 

Edit:  Also, look into the "Eclipse Phase" game-world; Rob Boyle has most of the books available as free PDF's!  It's a bit post-cyberpunk... labeled as "transhuman" but IMHO not REALLY quite there yet, it sits between the fully-transhuman and the cyberpunk genre's; the game owes a LOT of the conceptual framework and game-world "feel" to Shadowrun (even the gear-porn character-generation feels SR-ish).  I think you could probably run Bladerunner straight from the EP books, if you just ignored the extensive EP setting materials in favor of the movie.

Edited by g33k
replied RE "Bladerunner"

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18 minutes ago, g33k said:

Cyberpunk tends to center on tech/gear issues, which you'll need to take care to keep in mind and in the game-theme in-play...  Offhand, I don't recall any BRP systems that will inherently support this (where some of the dedicated cyberpunk games do, with "cyberpsychosis" & "humanity" & "essence"  and so forth).

 

You could use SAN as the humanity-loss factor. Years ago, Sandy Antunes wrote a home-brew "Cyberthulhu" ruleset. This had cyberware implants causing loss of SAN. I used the same idea in my BRP/40K crossover rules. (I remember asking for permission to borrow the idea but never got a reply.)

Regarding the difference between cyberware and bioware, IIRC, in Shadowrun, bioware cost lower essence loss than the equivalent cyberware device. 

Colin

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3 hours ago, g33k said:

I HOWEVER, the time needed to get really good at "hacking" IMHO precludes most people from being really good at most physical conflicts.  Someone who has a reasonable shot at penetrating a firewall and evading malware-detection will VERY rarely also have a reasonable shot at silently eliminating an alert guard.  An entire TEAM of people with dual specializations in cyber and physical realms of conflict honestly breaks my "suspension of disbelief" even worse than magic does... or realtime-hacking.

We are talking about a genre where people plug skills into the their brains like software. I think it is reasonable for cyberpunk characters to an "unrealistic" base of skills to draw upon. 

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9 hours ago, g33k said:

I too have experienced -- and disliked -- the cyberspace/meatspace disconnect.

Personally, I am forced to note that "hacking" is typically an extended / long-term endeavor -- typically days or weeks -- unless you have a VERY "soft" target with known vulnerabilities.  Fewer and fewer corp/govt targets are that way... and I presume this trend will continue.  So "realtime" hacks -- simultaneous with covert ops, gunfights, etc -- are looking less and less realistic.  Thus, this falls (for me) into the same genre-based "willing suspension of disbelief" realm as, for example, combat spellcasting.

HOWEVER, the time needed to get really good at "hacking" IMHO precludes most people from being really good at most physical conflicts.  Someone who has a reasonable shot at penetrating a firewall and evading malware-detection will VERY rarely also have a reasonable shot at silently eliminating an alert guard.  An entire TEAM of people with dual specializations in cyber and physical realms of conflict honestly breaks my "suspension of disbelief" even worse than magic does... or realtime-hacking.

I don't have an actual solution that I've tested... but when/if I do GM a "cyber" game, I suspect that I may go with 2 complete sets of PC's:  every player has a PC on the "hack team" and every player has a PC on the "meat team."

I agree that real hacking occurs over a longer period. The TV show Mr Robot is a good example for the modern world or near future, although we are talking about cyberspace hackers here. It's notable that the main character of that show, despite being socially awkward, paranoid and at times delusional, also has excellent observational skills and insight into character. Remember that the biggest security vulnerability in any organisation (now or in the future) is 'Layer 8' -- the people. People who forget passwords or use silly ones related to their childrens' birthdays; people who are venal and easily bribed, coerced or seduced. People whose online activities, bank accounts, daily habits, stock holdings, medical records, addresses and contact details are readily available to the determined (or these days, even the lazy) hacker, today and in the future. People who also may also hold various levels of access to your real target.

So for hackers, I guess this could still be a fun game, of research, clues and subtle infiltration. In game terms it still leaves the meatspace players out in the cold. Hacking and real-world action are still out of sync. The experts in each field cannot really help each other at the same time. There can be teamwork, but not exactly fun teamwork in the context of an RPG. The two team approach might work, not sure. The risk might be dilution of roleplaying of both characters.

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On 8/16/2016 at 8:55 PM, Questbird said:

I agree that real hacking occurs over a longer period. The TV show Mr Robot is a good example for the modern world or near future, although we are talking about cyberspace hackers here. It's notable that the main character of that show, despite being socially awkward, paranoid and at times delusional, also has excellent observational skills and insight into character. Remember that the biggest security vulnerability in any organisation (now or in the future) is 'Layer 8' -- the people. People who forget passwords or use silly ones related to their childrens' birthdays; people who are venal and easily bribed, coerced or seduced. People whose online activities, bank accounts, daily habits, stock holdings, medical records, addresses and contact details are readily available to the determined (or these days, even the lazy) hacker, today and in the future. People who also may also hold various levels of access to your real target.

So for hackers, I guess this could still be a fun game, of research, clues and subtle infiltration. In game terms it still leaves the meatspace players out in the cold. Hacking and real-world action are still out of sync. The experts in each field cannot really help each other at the same time. There can be teamwork, but not exactly fun teamwork in the context of an RPG. The two team approach might work, not sure. The risk might be dilution of roleplaying of both characters.

I remember that GURPS Cyberpunk emphasized the value of "social engineering" and dumpster diving in hacking. It is a good way to add variety to what could otherwise just be a series of dice rolls while using a computer. 

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I've started work on this and have made some progress with roles and skills. Attached are two plain text files which may be useful. Also, I found these links:

1) Sandy Antunes' Cyberthulhu rules

https://www.rpg.net/realm/cyber

A PDF available at:

https://img.fireden.net/tg/image/1461/69/1461696561546.pdf
 

I have emailed Sandy regarding his Cyberthulhu rules for "Cyberware costs SAN" and hope to have permission to borrow those ideas. 

The next step is Netrunning. I've had the idea of the hacker's presence in cyberspace represented as an icon with a full set of characteristics and therefore being able to make Cybercombat the same as physical combat. Would this be viable?

Regards,

Colin

 

roles.txt

skills.txt

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Hi All,

Attached is a very rough draft of the computer hacking rules. It needs an awful lot of tidying up but I thought I'd post this version and ask for feedback if anyone can contribute.

In essence, computer systems and cyberdecks are treated as NPCs (with most standard characteristics) and cybercombat works like Magic: a skill roll to get a program running, then a Resistance Table roll to see if the program takes effect. I thought this was the simplest way of approaching the problem but I'm open to suggestions.

Regards,

Colin

cybernet1.txt

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There is a great-looking Cyberpunk game from Gun Metal Games called Interface Zero 2.0. They have it for Fate and Savage Worlds, but setting material -- of which they have several volumes -- is of course rules-neutral. It's set in 2090 so should be an updated take (I like Cyberpunk 202, but it's dated, they have printers and no wireless, it's 80s as other posters mentioned).

Also, the recent River of Heaven core book has BRP/D100 character generation rules Cyberware and Bioware enhancement rules, as it is designed to be usable in any sci-fi setting from Cyberpunk through to just before singularity. Check it out. It doesn't have enough Cyberwarfare for me so I am currently converting the excellent Hacking rules from the Infinity skirmish game into BRP.  I'm pretty much done and am at the playtest stage, but I don't know if I can post the link to my rules here because of copyright concerns.

I also plan to use the Cybergear supplement Atomik CyberTek, which is system-neutral and has loads of gear and enhancements in it. So those three rulesets comprise the system I'm putting together. There's also Atomik Psioniks if you want that in there. Pretty simple to convert anything to BRP/D100, really.

Edited by Ganaud

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Incidentally I'm not having a SAN cost for cyberimplants. Smartphones are essentially Cybergear and while I do think they make people appreciably less human, it's just not that much fun in game terms -- having Humanity or SAN cost really only works if you want the philosophical journey into whether tech makes us less human to feature as a major theme in your game. I think there are plenty of ways to touch on that lightly without having an overbearing Humanity loss mechanic that limits players  from making the PCs they want.

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6 hours ago, Ganaud said:

Incidentally I'm not having a SAN cost for cyberimplants. Smartphones are essentially Cybergear and while I do think they make people appreciably less human, it's just not that much fun in game terms -- having Humanity or SAN cost really only works if you want the philosophical journey into whether tech makes us less human to feature as a major theme in your game. I think there are plenty of ways to touch on that lightly without having an overbearing Humanity loss mechanic that limits players  from making the PCs they want.

+1 for the phones comment

The SAN/humanity cost is also a balancing thing. A lot of this cyber stuff makes your character objectively more powerful than the average human. If there's no cost other than money, why wouldn't you replace your entire body with tech? That is a question at the heart of cyberpunk.

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16 hours ago, Questbird said:

+1 for the phones comment

The SAN/humanity cost is also a balancing thing. A lot of this cyber stuff makes your character objectively more powerful than the average human. If there's no cost other than money, why wouldn't you replace your entire body with tech? That is a question at the heart of cyberpunk.

Yes, that is true, it is balancing. I like the way River of Heaven does it. Instead of Augmentations making you less human, they consume BioEnergy points, determined in a similar  way to SAN, based on POW (In 6e BRP it would be POW x 3, in 7e it would be equal to POW.) So using your active augmentations exhausts you -- you burn the BE points until you have none left, then you need to rest. Interestingly, having passive 'always-on' augmentations reduces your overall BioEnergy Pool, so you have fewer points set aside to activate active augmentations. I vastly prefer the BioEnergy physical exhaustion rule to the 'augmentations make you less human' rule because i just feel that fear of tech dehumanizing us was something that was very topical in the 80s and 90s but is less so now -- especially since, as Atomik CyberTek points out, the focus in much fiction is on bioware and nanoware rather than chrome arms. Bringing us to the next point: I think the BE system works great for bioware and nanos -- BUT maybe less so for cybernetics. Would using a cyberweapon or an implanted data chip make you tired? Nah, it doesn't really work. But players will still want chrome arms because they're cool, so I suppose one does need to come up with a balance for cyberware as well. What COULD work is that cyberware have no activation costs -- but they do, like passive augmentations, reduce your available BioEnergy pool.

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On 9/2/2016 at 5:27 AM, ColinBrett said:

The next step is Netrunning. I've had the idea of the hacker's presence in cyberspace represented as an icon with a full set of characteristics and therefore being able to make Cybercombat the same as physical combat. Would this be viable?

 

I think it's an excellent idea to have it be the same -- one less system to learn. Not having to add subsystems is one of the things I like best about BRP -- it means I can always have the rules in my tiny brain, and adjudicate on the fly.

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20 hours ago, Ganaud said:

That said, there is Non combat Hacking (Netrunning) and Combat Hacking (getting the edge in a firefight). I have a full system for Combat Hacking based on Infinity skirmish game, and am working on the Non-combat hacking system now. Instead of having the hacking terminal have stats, I chose to have it add to the user's Computer Use (Hacking) skill. The right tool in the right hands, so to speak. All the crunch will be in the Hacking Program descriptions, so I don't need a lot of Attributes for the terminal itself (which basically creates another PC to operate). I think this will speed up game play.  That said, my system is much less detailed than yours.

 

Edited by Ganaud

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On 7/28/2016 at 6:26 PM, Mankcam said:

Personaly I would use River of Heaven, and design my own Cybersprawl setting, perhaps using some pdf resources from Cyberspace if I needed further information.

Or just use Cyberspace as is.

RoH is great but it's really far future. I'm currently adding in near-future Cyberpunk content to it. The good thing is RoH has a great balancing mechanic, so I'm slotting in third-party Cyberpunk content (Atomik CyberTek and Infinity skirmish) and it's going well. 

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Hi All,

I've put some more work into the Netrunning/Hacking rules. Attached is a plain text file, which is quite long. It covers cyberdecks, systems, programs, the basics of netrunning and cybercombat. It touches on AIs as NPCs.

As before, I'd appreciate any thoughts and suggestions. 

Next stage is cyberware/bionics/augmetics and I will use the "cyberware costs SAN" rules and try to work in something new.

Regards,

Colin

cybernet2.txt

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I've just had a thought about "cyberware costs SAN". It could be done the opposite way.

Rather than taking SAN, cyberware adds to a "Techno" Allegiance score. The more cyberware is added, the higher Techno Allegiance becomes. The benefits of Allegiance, described on BGB p.316-317, might need some work, however, as Allegiance points can be expended: cyberware is a permanent implant, so the Allegiance points should also be permanent. When the score reaches 100, Apotheosis would equate to a CP2020 "full borg conversion".

The "balance point" for this approach would be to make (some, if not all) Cyberware cost Power Points e.g. a reflex booster might cost 2 PP per combat round it is activated to give +2 to the character's initiative rolls or strike ranks.

EDIT: Thinking about it, if a character with +50 Techno Allegiance draws on 10% of that total for increased Power Points, Allegiance decreases by 5 points, and this could be seen as the struggle between man and machine aspects. Cyberpsychosis could occur when Techno Allegiance exceeds the character's SAN.

Would this be workable, do you think?

Colin

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On 9/18/2016 at 5:24 AM, ColinBrett said:

I've just had a thought about "cyberware costs SAN". It could be done the opposite way.

Rather than taking SAN, cyberware adds to a "Techno" Allegiance score. The more cyberware is added, the higher Techno Allegiance becomes. The benefits of Allegiance, described on BGB p.316-317, might need some work, however, as Allegiance points can be expended: cyberware is a permanent implant, so the Allegiance points should also be permanent. When the score reaches 100, Apotheosis would equate to a CP2020 "full borg conversion".

The "balance point" for this approach would be to make (some, if not all) Cyberware cost Power Points e.g. a reflex booster might cost 2 PP per combat round it is activated to give +2 to the character's initiative rolls or strike ranks.

EDIT: Thinking about it, if a character with +50 Techno Allegiance draws on 10% of that total for increased Power Points, Allegiance decreases by 5 points, and this could be seen as the struggle between man and machine aspects. Cyberpsychosis could occur when Techno Allegiance exceeds the character's SAN.

Would this be workable, do you think?

Colin

It works mechanically.

I just think the whole "cybernetics make you crazy" angle has been worked to death; I don't know if it really grabs people. Is man versus metal the most exciting thing happening in the setting? It may have been in 1989. I haven't read too many gamers saying they like what Cyberpsychosis adds to the game. These days it's becoming somewhat moot since a lot of the augmentations are bioware or nanoware -- replacing limbs with chrome seems to have become a less attractive option than growing or regrowing a limb in in a vat, or spiking the adrenal system, or injecting nanomachines. And people don't talk about these types of augmentations making us prone to psychosis. 

In my game Cybernetics take from your pool of available BioEnergy Points (POW x 3) that you use to activate biotechnology or nanotechnology augmentations. They sort of reduce your potential to use more biologically friendly augmentation powers, because they reduce how much body you have.

Edited by Ganaud

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7 hours ago, Ganaud said:

It works mechanically.

I just think the whole "cybernetics make you crazy" angle has been worked to death; I don't know if it really grabs people. Is man versus metal the most exciting thing happening in the setting? It may have been in 1989. I haven't read too many gamers saying they like what Cyberpsychosis adds to the game. These days it's becoming somewhat moot since a lot of the augmentations are bioware or nanoware -- replacing limbs with chrome seems to have become a less attractive option than growing or regrowing a limb in in a vat, or spiking the adrenal system, or injecting nanomachines. And people don't talk about these types of augmentations making us prone to psychosis. 

In my game Cybernetics take from your pool of available BioEnergy Points (POW x 3) that you use to activate biotechnology or nanotechnology augmentations. They sort of reduce your potential to use more biologically friendly augmentation powers, because they reduce how much body you have.

It may have been "worked to death" but that may also mean that it's just one of the tropes without which "cyberpunk" isn't really "cyberpunk."  Or not, of course!  But not EVERYTHING has to be Fresh and Original, after all...

Personally, I find the bio/nano stuff is transitional toward transhumanism, and away from "cyberpunk."

 

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Fair point that it moves away from Cyberpunk, though I think it's because we as a culture are moving away from Cyberpunk. So it's that tension between creating a classic Cyberpunk feel and making it also feel fresh and current. I also feel like Cyberpunk can be viewed as baby transhumanism, especially when you link your consciousness to the net (less the physical side, having a chrome arm, and all that). In designing a game I try to cater to anything gamers might want. Which is why even though a security expert told me that pure virtual hacking (without a team breaking into a physical installation to get the hacker network access) was a thing of the past (or "future past" ha) I still made rules for it.

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Cyberpunk and transhumanism are quite different. In Cyberpunk the value of human life is zero; the machines become the heroes. It's baby Terminator not transhumanism. The AIs are emerging and they're not necessarily friendly. Megacorps, mercenaries, gangers are all predators who feed on normal humans. The 'punk' in cyberpunk wants to fight the power even if it's hopeless. By contrast those who embrace transhumanism (and there will always be those in their shadow who don't) are becoming the machine rather than fighting it.

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