Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back to Cybersavage

Here's a far better Cyberware system for Savagepunk 2020 then that dreadful thing I'd put together last month. This version is super elegant (but has yet to be playtested, and will result in a very cinematic campaign if used), and doesn't require making a Savage Worlds equivalent of the Chrome Books.

The Cyber-Die
The Cyber-Die works very much like the normal Wild Die in Savage Worlds - having cyberware is very much like having a second Wild Die. You roll it in addition to your Trait die and Wild Die for anything that the character's cyberware could effect. As with the Wild Die, you keep only the highest die rolled. PCs will frequently roll three dice and use just the single highest die.

Categories of Cyberware
Cyberware falls into a few basic categories, and these types determine what sort of rolls the corresponding Cyber Die can be rolled with.
  • Cyber-Legs: Applies to Climbing and Swimming checks. May also be used on running rolls, adding the better of two dice to your base Pace. Since a large amount of your flesh has been replaced with metal, you may use it on your Soak rolls, too.
  • Cyber-Arm: Applies to Climbing and Fighting skills (the later of which makes the Full Defense combat option a bit more attractive than normal). You may roll and add your Cyber Die to the damage total of your unarmed attacks. Since a large amount of your flesh has been replaced with metal, you may use it on your Soak rolls, too.
  • Cyber-Senses: Applies to Notice and Tracking skills. Can also be used to resist Smarts and Agility tricks. The GM may allow you to use it to resist social rolls when someone is lying to you, as the improved senses will pick up their tells better.
  • Neural Ware: Applies to Agility rolls (but not to skills). Applies to Spirit rolls made to recover from being Shaken. Can be used on Shooting rolls on any smartgun you plug into.
  • Cosmetic Enhancements: Applies to Image rolls, and to any roll where your Charisma Modifier could be applied. If you're gaming with a silly group that rolls to find out how good the sex was, this would certainly apply.
  • Synthetic Organs: Applies to Vigor rolls to resist Diseases, Poisons, Fatigue, and environmental effects. Also applies to Soak rolls, and rolls to recover from being incapacitated.
Starting Cyberware:
The default assumption is that PCs begin with one of the above categories of Cyberware, and a Cyber Die of d6. A cash-poor campaign about characters struggling to survive in the gutters (like the old MOC game) might restrict them to a d4. A campaign about more afluent characters at the tops of their careers would still start with a d6, but PCs would get more than one category of cyberware at the start of the campaign.

Increasing Cyberware:
For game balance reasons, additional cyberware is increased by Rank, not money. Once per Rank, a PC may spend an Advancement to either increase the size of their Cyber Die, or to pick up an additional category of cyberware. The Cyber Die represents not just the tech, but also how well you've acclimated and mastered the use of your enhancements.

Optional Money Rule:
Still only allow the Cyber Die to be increased by Rank/Advancement, but you could allow someone to buy the parts

Humanity Loss and Cyber Psychosis:
Willingly having parts of your body carved out and replaced with chrome and circuitry takes a psychological toll, making you cold, distant, and inhuman. Every time you improve or increase your Cyberware (except via minor Chrome, see below), you gain a permenant -1 penalty to your Charisma.

Installing Chrome:
You don't just want better eyes, you want better eyes with telescoping infrared vision. You don't just want a cyber-arm, you want one with a digital "kill counter" that ticks up every time you grease another scumbag. Part of the fun of having a Cybered character is the various options, gadgets and subsystems. For simplicity, we'll call all that good stuff "Chrome".
Chrome is primarily cosmetic and minor. Chrome almost never gives mechanical benefit (if you want your cyberware option to give some extra benefit, take an Edge to represent that boost), but they can give narrative/flavor benefits, similar to the way players can decide on the Trappings of their PC's Powers. If the narrative benefit seems too potent, the GM can deny a particular bit of Chrome, or choose to allow it only if the PC takes an additional -1 penalty to Charisma as a trade off or some other penalty to balance it.
Chrome is free, but you are restricted in how much you can have. At character creation, characters may choose two bits of Chrome. Every time they go up a rank, they may choose one more. Every time they increase or expand their Cyberware, they may choose another.

Chrome Examples:
Players are encouraged to make up their own Options, but here's some short lists to get the pumps primed for you...
  • Cyber-Legs: Spring legs. Telescoping legs. Talons. Built-in spike heels. Skatefeet. Hoverskirt. Cyberlegs that look human and normal.
  • Cyber-Arm: Digital kill display. Tool hands. Detachable fingers. Concealed weapons. Pneumatic Piston Arms. Telescoping arms. Joints that rotate nearly 360ยบ . Four arms.
  • Cyber-Senses: Telescopic. Microscopic. UV. IR. Recording devices. Nasal filters. Eyes that change colors or display messages on the iris.
  • Neural Ware: Reflex boosters. Datachip sockets. Math processors. Smartgun link. Remote piloting. Built-in phone or modem. Music database.
  • Cosmetic Enhancements: Grooming nanites. Mood skin. Furry. Adjustable cup size. "Mr Stud" implant. Pheromones. Concealing your other Cyberware.
  • Synthetic Organs: Communicable antibodies. Ultra-efficient digestion. Perfect bladder control. Internal air bladder. The ability to mentally shut off circulation to wounded areas.
Further ideas for Chrome can be found in any Cyberpunk 2020 book.

The point isn't to have Chrome add extra powers. Instead, Chrome does two things:
It looks cool and is fun to narrate.
It explains why and how you get the benefit of rolling a Cyber Die.

Cyber Weapons and Cyber Armor:
Any armor or weapon can be installed as cyberware, and so can most bits of equipment. Doing so costs 10% more than the mundane equivalent. The benefit is you can't accidentally leave home without it, and you can't be disarmed.
There's two drawbacks:
  1. Each such built-in item inflicts a -1 Charisma penalty as it edges you deeper in Cyber Psychosis.
  2. It's pretty obvious. A cyberlimb can hide a weapon or two via Chrome, provide they aren't big anti-tank weapons. Cosmetic Enhancements can use Chrome to make armor look decorative, or hide a few small weapons or gadgets. Beyond that, if you're a walking tank, it's probably obvious to any cop, bouncer or booster that sees you.

In Summary:
Wow. I wrote a lot of words, but the overall concept is pretty simple and there's not much added to character creation. You get a Cyber Die and a couple of fluffy "Chrome" options. The Cyber Die can be improved (to a higher die, or to apply to more types of rolls) once per Rank. To "balance", you get -1 to your Charisma. You get another free bit of Chrome at each rank and each time you improve your Cyber Die. Have fun making up your own Chrome.

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