Monday, March 6, 2017

QAGS: Get Cybered


Get Cybered

A Quick Start Guide to Cyberpunk & QAGS

Precis: How to quickly get into Cyberpunk using the QAGS rules by Hex Games.

Conspectus: Cyberpunk is one of those genres that, to me, fit in a strange part of science-fiction gaming. It typically takes place on Earth, but it isn't quite the blasted out ruin of Gamma World, nor is it the utopia found in Star Trek. It's kind of corrupt, kind of dirty, and the players are often criminals with a shade more honor that their opponents. Hopefully these notes can offer some ideas of how to quickly get into this world using the QAGS system.

Character Creation

Character creation in this case is standard found in the QAGS rulebook. A reminder that heroic characters who are a shade above the common folk typically get 100 YY to build their character. The details of how to make a character are found in the QAGS core, which you can purchase from that nice link I put up. Below are some things specific to Cyberpunk:

Sample Jobs

Assassin - As an Assassin you are a professional lifetaker who is either freelance to the highest bidder or a corporate gun who is working on the behest of your paymasters. Actions labeled under the Assassin include acrobatics, lockpicking, stealth, gunplay, hand-to-hand, and carousing. Actions that you might not be quite as good at (thus operating at half-class or half-attribute depending on complexity) include any hacking feature. You are leave computer skills, besides lockpicking, to the deckers and stick to taking care of flesh.

Netrunner - Also known as a 'Decker' you are a master of the computer. If it's electronic, you probably can influence it in someway. Your best actions include Computer Skills, Robotics, & Lockpicking. Actions that typically are default to a Decker include a lot of combat skills, acrobatics, or carousing. You could be a socially minded hacker, but you probably lack the silver tongue to work the crowd like a good corporate type.

Reporter - Reporters serve either as corporate stooges or fringe conspiracy nuts who are trying to bring 'the truth' to the citizenry of this dreary world. Reporters shine when dealing in social skills or survival skills such as stealth, with some hints of expertise when it comes to computer usage. They are not combat power houses and probably are not stunt drivers or acrobatic enthusiasts either.

Cop - Your job either pertains to being a corporate agent enforcing the rules of the board. A overworked, underpaid beat cop employed by either city or whatever enterprise has been contracted to serve as a city's police force. Your lucky break probably won't be retirement, instead when you are cut down you can made into a cybernetic police unit. Your best skills can include combat, detective, drive with some hand-to-hand, but you probably lack computer skills unless you specialize in cybernetics division.

Mercenary - Also known as a 'Street Operative' you fulfill a number of jobs. You could be a 'Street Samurai' sticking to a code to your employers as you use blades and guns to enforce their will. You can be a standard merc, using guns and explosives to take care of rival crime bosses. As a mercenary you're a combat type who is in it for some level of personal reason (either due to personal honor or credits). Your best skills are combat and survival skills at the cost of persuading or netrunning.

Splicer - Splicers are also known as 'Shot Docs' or 'Healers'. You are a freelance biotics agent who deals in healing or repairing replicants (androids that are very human-like). Splicers' best features include healing, science, and some computer skills and less emphasis on combat or intimidation.

Thief - This job ranges from conmen with silver tongues to second-story burglars who know how to slip in and slip out with the object in the question. Thieves typically offer their services freelance to steal information for rival corporations or rich individuals. They have skills much like an assassin, but are less interested in leaving a body count.

Sample Gimmicks

Resources - This Gimmick is for those born with a silver spoon in the mouth. They have a major credit line that is in good standing and can be used to purchase items for the team. While most major cities might recognize the banking corporation that is backing you, this resource might drain or be less effective in a different city or the pockets of rural countryside in the world.

Cool Toy - This can range from a signature weapon to a piece of cyberware outside of what anyone can buy. This weapon or item is probably a step better than consumer grade material. In a cyberpunk future that has unlocked psychic potential, this gimmick might include a certain psychic power the character has unlocked.

A Friend in Every Bar - No matter which bar, dive, or club the characters enters they probably have a contact that can do them in a favor or pass some information. Of course, this friend might not come through without some credits or doing a job for them. Plus, they probably will hightail it if they see you're being followed by the goon squad.

Sample Equipment

Notes

Ammo Die: This is borrowed from 'The Black Hack' and follows the idea that whenever a special maneuver or after a battle using ranged weapons, the ammo die should be check. Ammo range from d12 to d4 and are rolled after any fight. On a 1, the weapon die shrinks by one step. Shrinking lower than d4 means the weapon is out of ammo. Rolls such as a Natural 20 or Natural 1 can cause the weapon's ammo to shrink mid-fight.

Monofilament Blade
Falcon .45
Base Damage: +3
Modifiers: Gun (+1); Prolific (+2)
Semi-Auto: +4
Full-Auto: +6
Ammo Die: d8 (see note above)

-Standard slugthrower used by police and operatives a like. This weapon can be fitted at extra cost with a flash and noise suppressor to make the weapon less torturous on the ears. Falcon's include both a semi-automatic and full-auto mode. Any full-auto burst requires an immediate ammo die check.

Vibro-knife
Base Damage: +1
Modifiers: Sharp (+1), Mechanical (+1)
Slash: +2 / +3

-Vibro-daggers use micro vibrations to increase the damage when they strike the target. The specialized batters are long lasting, but can shorten out and reduce the damage bonus by 1 as the weapon loses its mechanical modifier.

Monofilament Sword
Base Damage: +2
Modifiers: Sharp (+1), Prolific (+3)
Slash: +6

-With a blade so sharp it cuts molecules, the monofilament blade is a mainstay of assassins and street samurai. This blade technically has restrictive legal codes against it, and while the weapon is  collapsible is not the easiest thing to hide.

Combat Vest
Base Protection: +3

This vest is as light as undercover Kevlar of the previous age but has the protective purposes of military grade Kevlar. This is the standard vest for operatives and cops.

Cyberware

Humanity Score: One of the facets of Cyberpunk is the theme of where does the man end and the machine begin? You cannot just start replacing body parts with synthetic, less your body or spirit become overwhelmed by the stress. At the start of play a GM gives players a Humanity score that is reduced by 1 for every piece of cyberware you install. This score may be increased (at GM's discretion) at the cost of 3 YY per increase.

At 0 Humanity the character becomes robotic and takes penalties to interact with humans. They also can fall victim of cybernetic psychosis - they become murderously psychotic unless they make a Smarts or Spirit roll (either the strength of their logic or strength of their personality keeps the cybernetics from overwhelming them). Below 0 the character has one episode and can further stoop down the psychotic rabbit hole unless cybernetics are removed.

Sample Pieces

Bionic Eyes
Humanity Cost: -1

Bionic Eyes are programmable but typically come installed with the ability to see in low light and dark conditions. Other programs can be purchased with either in-game money, doing favors, or working for the corporations. This can include: 

Weapon Link (adds +1 or +2 depending on the grade of program to range attack rolls)

Thermal Imaging (can see body heat through walls) 

Biotic HUD (Can monitor heartbeat and location of targets who are programmed at creation. Targets must agree to take the nanite injection that broadcasts this information to the biotic eyes.

Hidden Weapon
Humanity Cost: -1 per weapon installed

This is catchall for hidden knives, guns, or reinforced clubbing knuckles on the body. These weapons are typically small (+1 Damage) with additional modifiers depending on sharpness and material. Price or favors should increase depending on what's being asked.

Sample weapon - Razor Nails: These diamond coated blades are hidden just underneath the fingernails and can be activated with a thought. The nails are used as a melee attack. The Base Damage is +0 (tiny) but adds the modifiers Sharp (+1) and Prolific (+3 - from the diamond coating). This makes the weapon a +4 damage bonus slash attack.

Bionic Limbs
Humanity Cost: -1 per limb

These include replaced arms or legs that are faster or stronger. Depending on the quality of the job they add a +1 or +2 to feats such as running, lifting, gripping. For cybernetic arms or hands these could add a +1 damage to melee attacks as they are no longer limited in placing extra force into an attack like a normal arm would be.

Datajack
Humanity Cost: -2

This is an internal electronic probe and computer that allows a netrunner to lockpick or hack into a system without carrying the computer with them.

Synthetic Skin
Humanity Cost: -1 per level

This skin is typically a Kevlar weave that adds DR +1 or +2. This weave stacks with any armor the character might be wearing.

Skill Chips
Humanity Cost: -1 per chip

This chip adds a +1 to +5 skill depending on the chip programmed. For instance a +3 Shooting chip will add +3 to any Shooting based skill made. The chip, regardless of the bonus, takes away 1 humanity but the monetary cost should rise depending on the level. Unlike other skill bonuses, skill chip bonuses can not be traded in to increase a Job score.

Netrunning

... It's just a computer check. Very few people want to sit through elaborate Netrunning rules and I don't blame them.

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