We will use the Cyberpunk rules from Triple Ace Games with the following additions:
Cyberware costs money, characters start with $500 in gear, and they start as Seasoned (4 Raises), plus Spirit/2 levels of cyberware (all level 1) for free.
Just thinking about the skinweave, subdermal armor, body plating issue. Then looked at the armor rules for the Shaintar setting. I have an answer. Skinweave is as the TAG rules state for cybernetic armor. Since nothing is completely foolproof, you can use a called shot to get past this armor which I always would have allowed. The penalty is -6 for this called shot (you basically target the seam of joints where the skinweave is thinnest, or eyes, inner ears, etc.). Subdermal armor only requires a -4 called shot to bypass the armor but each level is worth 1 extra point of armor, Level 1 is 2pts of armor, level 2 is 3 pts of armor, level 3 is 4 pts of armor. Body plating is a -2 called shot but the armor is another point better, levels 1-3 give 3-5 pts of armor. The various types of cybernetic armor don’t stack with each other but do stack with armored clothing. The called shot penalty stacks with other called shot penalties. For example, a called head shot that hits an unarmored spot against someone with subdermal armor is at -8, -4 for the head shot and -4 for the subdermal armor. So in this case the shooter’s TN ends up basically at 12. Of course, if you try a called shot and fail then you miss entirely.
As for noticing cyberware, I think it is a GM judgement call based on the Player’s stated trappings for their cyberware. The base I would use is a normal Notice roll to see level 2 cyberware. -2 to the roll to notice level 1 cyberware and +2 to notice level 3. I would move this up or down in difficulty based on trapping. For example: Level 1 skinweave is hard to recognize so it would be a Notice roll at -4. Subdermal armor is at -2. Body plating is see with a Notice roll at +2. These rolls assume the person is wearing clothes which conceal their bodies a little. Again, this is the base I would work from but it depends on the trappings. Some cyberware as described might be plainly obvious and other cyberware may not be noticable with an up close, long examination.
Arcane Backgrounds change as follows: AB(Magic) becomes experimental cyberware and uses the arcane skill: Cybernetics(Smarts). AB(Miracles) is not appropriate for this campaign. AB(Psionics) stays the same. AB(Super Powers) becomes genetic engineering. AB(Weird Science) stays the same.
For Weapons, Armor, and Gear give them cyberpunk trappings.
EMP weapons knock out all electronics until a repair roll is made. For those with cyberware, EMPs can cause nonlethal damage as well. Roll damage and ignore armor for damage.
Races and Edges (including Arcane Backgrounds) from the Wizards & Warriors free download are usable as well as races from the SW Revised Rulebook. Races come from new gene modification techniques that have become fashionable. The modification is not hereditary. The process must be started before puberty ends so this is something that must be decided during character creation. Note the Elves’ All-Thumbs Hinderance. Elves guard their gene mod technique and only give it to others who hate the new machine age.
Genetic engineered races. I made it a puberty thing originally because it is easier if PCs don’t go changing races mid campaign. That could be complicated. Then I thought about it and liked the questions that this puberty idea brought which you saw as well. It isn’t common, yet. Some kids request it and some parents choose it for their kids. This does mean nonhuman gangs and sub-cultures. Corp experiments also figure into this with military/labor applications. Nonhuman races are a big political issue because it is done to kids which is an interesting facet as well. It has caught on because it is the wave of the future. Cyberware can’t last forever. Everyone is looking towards bioware and genetic manipulation for the next big thing.
Half-elves? I should have put down my thoughts on them. They aren’t half-elves, they are faux elves. Elves guard thier gene mod and give it to tech haters only. Down with machines! Some rumors say that the elf mod grants extreme longevity as well or maybe it is because elves try to live clean lives away from pollution, eating organic vegan diets, and keeping active. Half-elves are people who get the knock-off elf mod. Some are more human (extra edge) and some are more elf (agility d6). Half-elves don’t have an aversion to tech. They get the outsider hinderance because elves take offense at these tech loving pretenders and others don’t trust them because half-elves are seen as elf wanna-be’s. Elves aren’t really trusted too much because people think elves want to rid the world of all tech (not true of all elves) and people are jealouse of elven beauty and grace (which many people really love). Perhaps we could rename half-elves. Call them Drow. As a side note, I would replace the name half-orc with just plain Orc.
Drugs and Drug Addiction will be used from the Necropolis free download. Cocaine, Morphine, and Opium from Rippers are also available. Drugs cost $100 per dose. The addiction rule will change in that a roll of a natural 1 on the trait die results in addiction and a critical failure results in an overdose/bad reaction where the character goes to incapacitated with 3 Levels of fatigue.
New Cyberware : Low-Lite or Thermal Optics – cost category A (only 1 level)
Tear Gas Grenades Tear gas is used to render suspects unable to resist arresting officers, inducing tightening of breathing passages, tearing eyes, and fits of coughing. Tear Gas grenades have a range of 5/10/20 (although they may be launched from an M79 Grenade Launcher), creating a cloud the size of a Large Burst Template. Anyone underneath not wearing a Gas Mask must make a Vigor check at -2 or become Shaken.
Pepper Spray Police often resort to using this nonlethal spray to subdue suspects. It causes massive irritation if in contact with the face or eyes, similar to Tear Gas. It is fired as normal with a range of 2/4/8. Anyone hit must make a Vigor check at -2 or become Shaken.
Flashbang Grenades Counter-terrorist teams often use Flashbangs to blind and deafen enemies just before their entry. These are thrown like regular grenades with a range of 5/10/ 20. Anyone caught under the Medium burst template that is in line of sight must make an Agility check at -2 or become Shaken for 2d6 rounds.
Grit: PCs gain +1 per Rank to Guts Skill rolls Guts skill is free and set at the same level as Spirit
For money we will use a system that reflects the credit card/loan economy as seen here – Money
Other Links: Test Drive Rules Drugs Martial Arts Edges Wizards & Warriors Cyberpunk Rules
World: Classic cyberpunk
Cities: Glittery downtown sections patrolled by corporate cops and Citycops in tandem, with the ccorps having near sovereign control of the area around their corporate HQ. Even here the dirt and bad air are not entirely avoidable, but cleaner bots work to keep the streets clean, and the greater police presence tends to keep the riff raff from acting up, even if it is hard to keep them out. Most megacorps keep their “public image” HQ’s here, buildings are nearly all very tall (20+floors). Think – Tokyo, Times Square, tall, gleaming buildings, neon, vidscreen adverts instead of billboards, lots of clean middle classish types heading to their drone office jobs, a few blue collar workerbees (servicemen, construction guys, janitors). In some cities (and more and more as time goes by) there are elevated walkways as well, specfiically designed to go from tower to tower… either form luxury penthouse to corner office for the Corp Managers, or from high end corporate sponsored housing for select sararimen to their regular jobs… sidewalks specifically for the middle middle// upper middle class, sidwalks for the lower and mid upper class… because the REALLY upper class either have their own plot of land outside the city, never have to leave their office, or hop a chauffeured av/aircar to work… But as you go further out… you hit sprawl, for miles extending from the downtown section (insome cases nearly blending cities – buildings that are rarely more than 8 stories tall, trash, weaker (but generally more heavily armed and armored) police presence (with more that are closer to nutjob,s or those that have disciplinary problems… you get the picture). Gangs, drug dealers and the dispossessed hold sway here… buildings are burnt out and boarded up rather than repaired, freeways arch overhead so the clean people don’t have to get dirty on the way to work, even the neon signs of the bars seem dull.. adverts are painted on buildings or old school bill boards… the working poor and terminally unlucky scratch to survive both physically and monetarily, to the point that some apartment buildings turn themselves into bunkers manned by the tenants. Of course, this is wher eyou go to find something Illegal. Sprawl is not ALL bad… there are sections of honest, hard working folk trying desperately to stay ahead… but there are the government funded housing areas, largely abandoned areas that (overworked and underpaid) city demolition crews have not knocked down yet (and imagine how reluctant they will be to continue if they come under fire from a gang trying to protect their HQ).
traffic is split between maglev/av/airborne vehicles with their own airspace regs (and generally only affordable for middle class and up… and it is a luxury for middle classers in some cases… anyway, I digress…) and ground traffic, with a distinct increase in “cloverleafs” withint city limits… in order to handle the increased number of cars, some sections are nearly nothing but stacked sections of road at various elevations… as horizontal areas disappeared, they went vertical, like everything else. The ones that are a straight shot to downtown tend to be pretty well looked after (though even they decay if they get too far into the sprawl… with the exception of the yet-to-be-mentioned super highways… which as I think of it are probably toll roads, or travel pass roads….), but any others will range from your average PA road to your average inter-city hazard to near total decay.
Flora – downtown has cultivated trees, planters, etc… has to look pretty, wot wot. Srpawl… well, not all the trees are gone. Inhabited areas (well, areas inhabited by responsibly folks anyway) might have your basic city trees, people might have planter boxes and such. Parks are always an option, and are about the only place to find grass… where they are determines how safe they are, right?
Fauna – Rats. Roaches. Skunks, squirrels, raccoons. Feral dogs and cats. Other than that, zoos. Or pets.
Wastelands: home of the nomads Much of the US has returned to a quasi wild state – as farms moved to arcologies, the need for large, open farms and the farmers to run them made them all but die out… now the areas between cities are mish mash of small towns, not yet swallowed by Sprawl, grimly holding on to small town ideals (ed note: expand this concept), ghost towns, nomad “cities” (think Bartertown in Thunderdome), nomad packs, and mother nature quietly and inexorably reclaiming her own (where the environmental impact of huans allows of course… this is not to say that the world is returning to a green state)... an almost post-apocalyptic approach to life (all the goods go to the big cities, some trickles to the few remaining towns, even less makes it out to where the nomads run… scavenging is a necessary survival skill,). It is not very safe for the average person to stray from the megahighways and their (brutal and well armed) police force, elctro-web barriers, and high elevations (sure there are old exits, and exits to the small towns, as well as “normal” roads heading into the main cities… but why would you wan tto take them? Oh right… you’re an edgerunner… nevermind…)
Arcologies – Farm Collectives: like most things, farming went vertical. As you travel outside cities, you will see large, green areas, giant glass buildings… these are the Farm Collectives, the Arcologies… the place where your food comes from. Here you might even see real farm animals, certainly you would see the animals to be slaughtered for meat. In most cases, you have a large “cube” greenhouse, often as tall as a downtown skyscraper (though rarely more than 40 stories tall), where the year round, general consumption produce and meat animals are grown. Inside may be airy and high tech (think Mothership on the new V series), or old school low tech (clearly defined floors, freight elevators, still well lit but not nearly as “healthy” feeling). In some cases, the area surrounding the central building will be huge, walled open air farming area for your “organic, free range” food. In nearly all cases, this area will also contain parking garages, av pads (and in some cases air strips), maintainance buildings, barracks, living quarters (some Arcos use single family homes, other apartment blocks, still others coffins… you get the idea).
Some Arcos are community owned, springing from the concept of a hippie commune. There may be a board of directors (or council of elders, or a Committee… you get the idea), elected or otherwise, to handle business dealings and day to day governance of the arco. Others are corporate superfarms… yes, imagine arasaka and militech in the food biz. In VERY rare cases, they will forego the giant greenhouse and farm entirely old school… but in many cases, they do this simply as subsistance farming, trading with nomads for the things they need that they can’t make on their own, and for a mercenary defense force.
Racial Mods- still thinking…..
Sidebar – ELVES: elves, as noted in the SavageWiki, are cyberpunk luddites… thus they are perfect for wasteland communes and “old school” arcologies. Their cities tend to be small, and sometimes hidden (thought they could be within reach of a city… they may not like tech, but to a certain extent one cannot escape its use). Some go whole hog, tolkien-esque elf, weaving a home in harmony with the wilderness. Others simply evoke an earlier human time… bricks and mortar, wattle and daub… basic building construction, animal drawn conveyances. (ed note: as an interesting twist, they could easily become slave-owners… lesser races that rely on godless (or whatever) technology get pressed into service so the elves can survive in a technological world without getting any on themselves).
Floaters: Weirdest, and newest relatively speaking, of the cities/arco constructions is the Floater. Originally developed as an alternative to the “Static Fortification Arco” (best defense is to make sure they can’t even reach you), they utilize AV technology on a massive scale (anti-grav? Turbines – spread well out from the complex itself, with a path through to the umbilical) to hold themselves at altitude. Access is strictly controlled (sort of the point, neh?), and often the only way up is through a single “umbilical”… a mag-lev, elevator or some such, connecting a Gateway Building to the entry processing center. The nearest modern approximation to this gateway building would probably be an airport terminal… lots of stuff to do while you wait for your number to be called… express boarding for VIPS… you get the idea. AS suggested previously, of the (number) of floaters, (x) are cities of 150,000 people or less, (y) are arcos that traded extra building cost for easier defense and (marginally) better air…
LEO: what’s cpunk without crystal palaces? Still largely a novelty, used mainly for environmentally toxic industries. There are (choose number) of known LEO complexes, only (number) of which are considered housing. Most are small (Hummelstown-sized) factory complexes, a few are almost entirely automated (needing only a monthly maintenance visit or some such). All contain housing of some sort for techs and worker bees and th\e like, but the main draw for the housing LEOs is “all the wealth without the dregs” (unnofficial, to be sure)... the perception is that you get all the glitter, upper crust glamour and glitz of a bustling, hip downtown without any contact with the people that occasionally make downtown hazardous. While it is true that the incidence of “riff raff incursion” is far less in LEO, the below decks portions that house the workers that make it all possible can take on a tenement apartment feel. Thankfully for the people paying top dollar for the privilege of living there, the access is very tightly controlled, and in all but rare cases the squalor and ugliness stays well out of sight.
There is also a perception that this is the new frontier of the American Dream… many people move up to LEO to work because of a very succesful marketing cmpaign suggesting that it is an easily attainable transition to go from worker to beautiful person in LEO… it is about as likely as it is dirtside, but the ad campaign was masterful, thus insuring a steady supply of people selling everything they have to “Go LEO!”, only to find themselves trapped, and without the means to return dirtside.
Cyberware and Public Perception: and how do the cops feel about those claws, choomba? Most cyberware does not even make it on people’s radar. Interface jacks, chip slots, various stuff (listed aptly aas Day to Day in the supplement) would not even attract notice. High impact stuff (limbs, basically) is noticed, but not unduly… more like wondering why someone got a particular tattoo than “holy crap he has a metal arm”. The warrior stuff though…. lets’ face it, most folks would not bother with skinweave, armor, reflex boosts, targeting scopes and pain editors. You had better have a good story for why you have it… otherwise people stereotype you as a ‘banger (even if reformed), or someone who operates on the wrong side of the law. If you are ex-mil, or ex-cop (or current either), or can do a reasonable facsimile of either, you can bluff your way past most folks who might be concerned.