Thursday, October 23, 2008

Savagetics (Updated)

Update/Edit: This post is a nightmare. You'd be far better to use my new system, which is far more elegant, and doesn't add all this unnecessary complication to the character creation process. I'm leaving this old post here for posterity, but the new Cyber Die system is a huge improvement. It puts Cybernetics into Savage Worlds without adding ridiculous numbers of Edges to your typical character, as the system below did...

Background: as seen in previous post, I'm toying with the notion of Cyberpunk in the Savage Worlds setting. So I'll need rules for Cybernetics, Genetic Modification, Bioware, Wetware, and the like.

A quick search of the interwebs turned up Cyborgs as a monster trait and Cybernetics as an Arcane Background on Savagepedia. Neither is quite what I want, but it's got my brain cells running.

I don't want Cybernetics as an Arcane Background. Specifically, I don't think Power Points really capture the feel of CP2020 cybernetics. Your standard cyberarm doesn't run out of power and need to shut down for an hour. For that matter, most of the 31 powers in the Explorer's Edition don't match up to Cybernetics terribly well. Your cyberarm's extra strength doesn't line up well with Boost/Lower Trait. My cyberarm doesn't make my legs stronger, or make your arms stronger, or make you weaker, or make me Smarter, all of which can be done with Boost/LowerTrait. Sure, Trappings can reign that in, but you'd have to pump up theother aspects of the Power to balance. If you're gonna do that, why notjust make a Cyberarm Edge that does it for less complexity. There maybe Cybernetics that make sense as a Power or Arcane Background, butthat'd be the exception.

Afterall, I'm not looking for CP V3 level supertech. I'm looking for good old fashioned chrome and bolts.It's not Clarkean, it's not the Lost In Space remake, it's not sonic screwdrivers. It's mostly just wires and bitz where your flesh used to be.



That said, here's my gut instinct / second draft.

Players start off by making normal novice characters. There are no Arcane Backgrounds, and it’s generally understood that at this point they are buying the “meat capabilities” of their characters, un/pre-cybered.

Once normal character creation is done, everyone get’s cybered up. They get the following Edge for free: Cybernetically Enhanced.

Cybernetically Enhanced (Background Edge)
Requirements: Novice
You’re wired in, chromed up, and/or cyber-enhanced. Some portion of your flesh has been cut out and replaced with metal, and/or your nervous system has been computer integrated. No doubt about it, the machines have made you better than you were before, but some would say you’ve lost a bit of your soul in the process.
Your Charisma is reduced/penalized by –1. This cannot be removed, but it does not prevent you from taking other Edges that give you Charisma bonuses. You’re no longer entirely human, and that makes you a little cold.
As compensation, you gain 4 bonus Edges. Most often these will be Cybernetic Edges, a special category of Edge that represents hardened components and cyborg devices integrated into your body. However, you may actually take any Edge you want for the bonuses, provided you can justify it by pointing to a cyber device in a Cyberpunk book and explaining that the Edge is a logical benefit of having that bit of cyberware.
Examples: You could take Ambidextrous, and explain it’s a result of your advanced neural processor and targeting link. You could take Jack-Of-All-Trades to represent your “skillsoft” chipware and augmented memory database. Trying to justify “Noble” and “Filthy Rich” as the result of your cyberware might be more than the GM is willing to accept.
Cybernetic Edges may not normally be taken unless you have this Edge first.
Any time a Cybernetically Enhanced character takes a 3rd wound or is incapacitated, it is assumed their Cyberware is badly damaged in the process. The GM selects one of their bonus Edges to be deactivated by the damage (two if a single fight did a 3rd wound and incapacitated them. They cannot use or access that Edge until it has been repaired. Getting it fixed takes a Repair skill roll, with a –2 penalty if not done at a properly staffed and resourced cyberware facility, and 1d6 hours of work per Cybernetic Edge being repaired.
If the PC party makes a big score, the GM may choose to reward them with some number of bonus Edges to represent new cybernetic upgrades. Other than such awards, cybernetics can’t be purchased. This perhaps doesn’t make a lot of sense from an in-character and monetary viewpoint, but it is required for the sake of character balance and avoiding rampant inflation within the campaign. Savage Worlds is a light system, not intended for lots of economic book-keeping.
Bonus edges do not count as advancements, nor do they affect a character’s Rank. Starting characters still count as Novices, regardless of cyberlimbs and gadgetry, until they’ve accumulated 20 xp (and the 4 advancements that come with those XP).

Update/Edit: This post is a nightmare. You'd be far better to use my new system, which is far more elegant, and doesn't add all this unnecessary complication to the character creation process. I'm leaving this old post here for posterity, but the new Cyber Die system is a huge improvement. It puts Cybernetics into Savage Worlds without adding ridiculous numbers of Edges to your typical character, as the system you just read did...

3 comments:

r_b_bergstrom said...

Thinking of this in the context of the laws of 7 and 3, I realize that I may have just created a monster. Adding 4 Edges to each PC might prove to be a nightmare, just because it complicates character creation. Part of what's so cool about Savage Worlds is the simplicity and low bar to entry. I may have just ruined that.

r_b_bergstrom said...

Found a better solution. Will post about it soon.

(tomorrow?)

r_b_bergstrom said...

Update/Edit: This post is a nightmare. You'd be far better to use my new system, which is far more elegant, and doesn't add all this unnecessary complication to the character creation process. I'm leaving this old post here for posterity, but the new Cyber Die system is a huge improvement. It puts Cybernetics into Savage Worlds without adding ridiculous numbers of Edges to your typical character, as the system in the original post did...