Saturday, 15 November 2014

Cyberpunk 2020 PreGens: Rockerboys

...or girls!

This post contains two part. It begins with three pre-generated characters for Cyberpunk 2020. Being me, I couldn't just post some stat blocks without following it with a bunch of sample contacts, places and villains below, which should be useful to fans of any cyberpunk genre game.

Because I'm going through the roles in the order they appear in the corebook, I'm starting with Cyberpunk 2020's most quixotic class, the Rockerboy. This post includes three Rockerboy Archetypes: the Street Fighting Punk, the Rock and Roll Hero and the Spiritual Warrior MC.

So G+ gaming has exponentially increased the amount I actually get to play games. It's allowed me to run much longer and more regular campaign games than ever before, and try new games I would never have tried for simple opportunity cost reasons. 

At some point I'd like to actually use this space to run Cyberpunk 2020. One of the things getting in the way is the lack of pre-generated characters for the game: Cyberpunk 2020 character creation can take awhile, especially if you aren't familiar with the game. I need characters to hand to people at the beginning of a session (Hardwired had a few, but they seem too specific - I'd like some "archetypes").

So I've decided to make some, and post them here so that anyone and everyone can use them. While my own games tend to have a lot of house rules, I've avoided them here in order that they be as useful to as many people as possible.


The characters below are mostly RAW (Rules As Written), straight out of the Corebook. They are certainly a lot more RAW than anything that gets run in my home game (I haven't used Roles since my second campaign, for one thing...).  

A few things that aren't RAW:

1. I haven't taken the time to accurately calculate the amount of money and equipment each character has. I've just given everyone a fairly balanced set of cyberware and gear roughly based on the "Quick and Dirty" character generation guide. This is because, frankly, I can't be bothered to spend hours counting fake dollars.

2. Everyone gets 20 pick-up skill points. I hate the way people get penalised for not taking REF 10/INT 10 characters. I can live with Roles and even Special Abilities, but that... I have limits, dammit! (cough)

Each character begins with 60 Attribute Points and 60 Skill Points (40 Career Points and 20 Pick-Up Points).

I haven't rolled the dice for Humanity Loss or the Lifepath tables. Leave that to the players! 

One last thing. There are certain problems associated with the Rockerboy role - how to fit them into a team or even a game, how their skill set allows them to move through the world or balance with other players, and so forth. 

This post doesn't attempt to answer any of those questions. I'll save that for some future Archetypes post. The characters here are classic rockerboy builds designed to do classic rockerboy things. I'll leave it to the GM to fit them into a campaign.

ROCKERBOYS

The strangest role in Cyberpunk 2020. Often, when asked to explain how this role might actually fit into the game, players (and sourcebook writers) panic and say "oh, they don't have to play musicians. They can be political agitators and politicians anFUCK THAT.

These characters are all unashamedly musicians. Every one of them could perform a show on top of the Arc De Triomphe between two oncoming neo-Nazi super-tanks (bonus IP to anyone who actually understands that reference!). 

This post includes three pre-generated characters:

The STREET FIGHTING PUNK, an unsubtle hard fighting punk rebel, focused on street brawling, scene building and rabble rousing. S/he might not be able to actually play but since when did that matter?

The ROCK AND ROLL HERO, the "classic" Johnny Silverhand rocker hero straight out of A Song Called Youth and a dozen Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2020 adventures written in the 1980s. Focused on the music, maaan, and the pose, and the style, and the social skills needed to pull it all together.

The SPIRITUAL WARRIOR MC, a rapper who lives up to the hype. Martial Arts, poetry, machine pistols; an MC from the street with street skills and street connections. Inspired by the Wu Tang Clan, Public Enemy, Deltron 3030...

STREET FIGHTING PUNK

The Street Fighting Punk is a radical, an agitator and a brawler. S/he's at the centre of the local community or scene, fighting against the thugs and the paid scabs and the Nazis and all the violence of the Cyberpunk world. 

The immediate inspiration for this character is archetype is Dietrich in Shadowrun Returns: Dragonfall. Beyond that, there's the whole world of Antifa and Black Bloc punk music, anti-corporate anarchists and strident redskins, the entire mythology of street war against the National Front and the White Power Movement and the Golden Dawn. Punk is fast and loud and "musically" simple - make the music you can with the tools and skills you already have. Sing about the experience of being in the audience, on the street, dealing with oppression and emotional chaos. 

This archetype is dedicated to teenagers who thought Hanin Elias was the coolest person on the planet, even (especially!) when the rest of the Atari Teenage Riot were screaming anarchist slogans at her unborn baby through a megaphone.

STREET FIGHTING PUNK

ATTRIBUTES

INT:REF:COOL:TECH:LK:ATT:MA:EMP:BT: 8

SAVE: 8 BTM: -3

CAREER SKILLS

Charismatic Leadership (COOL): 5
Awareness/Notice (INT): 4 
Perform (EMP): 6 
Wardrobe & Style (ATTR): 1
Composition (INT): 4 
Brawling (REF): 6 
Play Instrument (TECH): 2
Streetwise (COOL): 6
Persuasion (EMP): 5
Seduction (EMP): 1

PICK UP SKILLS

Intimidate (COOL): 4
Resist Torture/Drugs: 2
Accounting (INT): 2
History (INT): 2
Handgun (REF): 3
Athletics (REF): 3
Rifle (REF): 1
Drive (REF): 1
First Aid: 2


The punk is good at brawling, screaming, and facing people down. He makes a decent team leader and knows his way around the mean streets. In a "gutterpunk" campaign she might well be "the face."

Those Accounting skill aren't as strange as they may seem. Lots of people in the hardcore scene run their own labels and produce their own records, learning the business side as they go. Those History points go towards knowing the history of the scene, the community and the movements the punk is affiliated with.

It's always been a little unclear what skill characters use when throwing grenades (or in this case, rocks and molotov cocktails!) as opposed to launching them, which comes under Heavy Weapons. My reading of the rules is that Athletics covers "throwing." 

EQUIPMENT

Cellphone, Pocket Computer, Beat-Up Van, $300 worth of Merch, Microphone, Guitar, Amp, $2000

SP 4 Heavy Leather Jacket and Trousers, SP 10 Armour T-Shirt, lots of Band T-Shirts.

12x Molotov Cocktails (2d10 damage), 6x Gas Grenades

Sternmeyer Type 35 Pistol
P 0 7 C 3d6(11mm) 8 2 VR
3 spare magazines, 160 rounds.

Sternmeyer Stakeout 10
SHT -2 N R 4d6(00) 10 2 ST
24 Shells

Knuckledusters (1d6+2 damage, use Brawling)

Squat or small rented apartment.

CYBERWARE

Nasal Filters (HC 2) 

Being somewhat reliant on her EMP attribute (and financially poor with it) the Punk doesn't have that much cyberware. Still, nasal filters help when police tear gas grenades are falling across the street...

ROCK AND ROLL HERO


The Rock and Roll Hero is the rockerboy archetype presented in the original Cyberpunk 2020 corebook - Johnny Silverhand, Kerry Eurodyne, Jack Entropy. The famous "hair metal" guitar warrior image that defines the game's imagery - for better or worse! - in the eyes of many! That said, this isn't just a Cyberpunk 2020 thing - early Shadowrun had Dark Angel and JetBlack

The Rock and Roll Hero actually knows how to play his instrument. He turns himself into a Nietzschean ubermensch, a god for the crowd to worship. He probably sings about dragons or some shit. 

The other big inspiration for this character is A Song Called Youth by John Shirley. Like Rick Rickenharp, this character might be fighting a lone crusade for ROCK AND ROLL in the face of manufactured electronic pop. If your campaign world is based on Streets of Fire, this is the archetype for you!


ATTRIBUTES

INT: 6 REF: 7 COOL: 8 TECH: 8 LK: 5 ATT: 8 MA: 6 EMP: 6 BT: 6

SAVE: 5 BTM: -2

CAREER SKILLS

Charismatic Leadership (COOL): 5
Awareness/Notice (INT): 3
Perform (EMP): 5
Wardrobe & Style (ATTR): 6 
Composition (INT): 4 
Play Instrument (TECH): 5
Streetwise (COOL): 2
Persuasion (EMP): 4
Seduction (EMP): 6

PICK UP SKILLS

Personal Grooming (ATTR): 4
Resist Torture/Drugs (COOL): 3
Handgun (REF): 4
Human Perception (EMP): 2
Social (EMP): 2
Dance (REF): 1
Motorcycle (REF): 3
Drive (REF): 1

Our Rock and Roll Hero is actually focused on the music and the image, spending lots of time and money creating both. S/he has the social skills to ascend to the highest echelons of society - if only as an ornament for the grasping wealthy - and will have to tangle with conniving executives, manipulative agents, seductive drug dealers and terrifying fans. The real cause the Rock and Roll Hero must fight for is personal integrity, when confronted with such dramatic temptation.

EQUIPMENT

Cellphone, Laptop Computer, Sport-Touring Motorcycle, Drug Analyser, $300 worth of merch, Guitar, Microphone, Amp, $200 worth of [recreational drugs], $3000

SP 10 Armour T-Shirt, 2x stage costumes, varied wardrobe including at least 2 high fashion outfits

Armalite 44
P 0 J E 4d6+1(12mm) 8 1 VR
3 spare magazines, 120 rounds.

A touring Rock and Roll Hero probably has a stage team with a van and a lot of assorted technical gear. That might well be the rest of the PC team!

CYBERWARE

Cyberaudio (applies to both ears) with Level Damping, Amplified Hearing, Phone Splice, Enhanced Hearing Range, Wearman (2d6 + 3 HC)

Toxin Binders (1d6/2 HC)

The Rock and Roll Hero can afford ear protecting cyberware. He'd never buy "Audiovox" implants - they'd be "betraying the music."

Toxin Binders are listed on her tax return as a "business expense."

SPIRITUAL WARRIOR MC

The Spiritual Warrior MC is a rapper from the streets committed to some higher cause - Public Enemy style revolutionary politics, 5%er spirituality, Wu Tang style martial arts philosophy or simply the application of elite discipline towards artistic, financial or criminal goals. 

More willing than most "rockers" to install 'ware, the MC may come across as cold, without empathy - perhaps as a result of zen conditioning or simple sociopathy. Statwise, they look much the same.

                                      Del Tha Funkee Homosapien - Cyberpunks

ATTRIBUTES

INT: 7 REF: 7 COOL: 8 TECH: 7 LK: 4 ATT: 6 MA: 7 EMP: 6 BT: 8

SAVE: 8 BTM: -3

CAREER SKILLS

Charismatic Leadership (COOL): 6
Awareness/Notice (INT): 5
Perform (EMP): 2
Wardrobe & Style (ATTR): 3
Composition (INT): 6
Streetwise (COOL): 7
Play Instrument (TECH): 6
Seduction (EMP): 5

PICK UP SKILLS

Martial Arts (Animal Kung Fu) (REF): 7
Intimidate (COOL): 6
Oratory (COOL): 1
Resist Torture/Drugs (COOL): 2
Mathematics (INT): 1
Submachine Gun (REF): 2
Drive (REF): 1

So you'll notice that the Spiritual Warrior MC isn't the greatest performer in the world. More than any other genre Hip Hop is a studio form, and frankly the New York scene artists who inspired this archetype aren't renowned for putting on great stage shows. However, his command over his beats and lyrics is second to none, and his knowledge of the streets is unparalleled. No-one can express the truth about the combat zone like he can, and he can use those Composition and Charismatic Leadership skills to swing any battle.

Given his cyberware and his lack of Empathy, he has chosen to focus on COOL related social skills. He is smooth, ice-cold and pretty fucking terrifying when he chooses to be.

That point of Mathematics allows him to spout the sort of crazy nonsense that RZA and GZA do, at will

EQUIPMENT

Cellphone, Mic, Mixing Deck with Smartlink, SUV, $200

SP 10 Armour T-Shirt, varied wardrobe

Ingram MAC 14
SMG -2 L E 4d6+1(12mm) 20 10 ST
3 spare magazines, 120 rounds, chrome finish, smartgun link

Squat or small rented apartment

CYBERWARE

Basic Processor, Smartgun Link, Machine/Tech Link, Interface Plugs, Audio Recorder
Voice Synthesiser, AudioVox (5d6+6 Humanity Cost)

Cyberaudio with Enhanced Hearing Range, Amplified Hearing, Sound Editing, Digital Recording Link, Level Damper (2d6+4.5 Humanity Cost)

A rapper's voice has always been understood to be a percussion instrument, and for that reason hip hop MCs were quick to embrace voice synthesiser and audioVox technologies in their music. Together with sampling of heard sound, these technologies revolutionised the genre in the early 2020s. The Spiritual Warrior MC composes beats using his smartlink'd mixing deck, using audio heard and recorded on the street. 

The fact that most of this cyberware can be misused for nefarious purposes by a crafty, espionage focused runner team... well, that's just a happy coincidence.

NPCS, CONTACTS AND ALLIES


Rockerboys meet a lot of people as they tour the world (or even just the city). Here are a few sample NPCs from across the scene...

QUICK CONTACTS

Sarah Al-Arabi: runs a local studio space. A bit heady, when she isn't completely spaced out on the weed she grows in an aquaculture box in the back.

Chad Mangan: runs a hipster bar called The Steelworks. As awful as it might be, the pay check is always reliable. Has a beard made of tech-hair.

Aimee Callister: an effective promoter who knows how to get gigs and draw crowds - unlike most of her competitors from this generation, her company still knows how to send people out of Facebook and onto the streets.

Callister knows every club owner in the city and is a great source of weird geographical knowledge.

Karim Davis: "Karim" (as everyone calls him) is a drug dealer. A really successful drug dealer, and a ruthless man. Except he also funds gigs, runs battle nights and is a big part of the local music community. He used to employ half the MCs in the local scene at one point or other. 

Greg Grundie: aging guitar geek, knows everything about every type of guitar. THE person to speak to when searching out new instruments. Crippled by sadness, because he believes himself to be a failure as a father - his son has joined a white supremacist group called WHITE FIST.

Kandi Day: an autonomist terrorist, dedicated to fighting the fascists and the corporations and the police and any of a dozen other enemies. Knowing her and her friends is a mixed blessing - they have lots of contacts and lots of firepower, but they'll turn up at the squat looking for somewhere to hide from time to time, risking a massive police response.

Candle Johnson: Candle is a corporate fixer sent out to recruit talent for corporate shows. She'll offer a huge amount of money to perform exclusive gigs to high ranking executives.

Brin Daniels: talent scout from a production company with a big ad budget and clear distribution channels. 

Joey-Ray Ray: hairy roadie. If all his stories are true, he's at least 75. Not all of his stories are true.

India Liesel: precocious teenage girl runs an online/offline punk zine called Ziezel. Interviews everyone, knows everything in the scene.

Maria Bryant: techie runs an electronics shop specialising in sound equipment, naturally called "AMPlitude." The person to see when your mixing deck gets infected with a virus and starts downloading mutant sound into your speech centres.

The Wu Tang Clan: Wu Tang is forever. Unless you cut off your own penis during a mental health issue, in which case they'll quickly disown you BEFORE offering sympathy.

QUICK ANTAGONISTS


First of all who's your A&R
A mountain climber who plays electric guitar
But he don't know the meaning of dope
When he's looking for a suit and tie rapper that's cleaner than a bar of soap - GZA

Bobby Grundie: Bobby Grundie is a member of WHITE FIST (their capitals), the local Aryan Nation affiliate. He has covert surveillance cyberware and lots of it - when WF members cause trouble he records the subsequent street fighting and then feeds edited footage to extreme-right police officers, hoping to have prominent members of the punk scene arrested.

Lil' TAO: Lil' TAO is a battle rapper with a rising reputation. Calm, cool, collected. Physically intimidating not so much because of his size but because of his stillness

Charlie Kim: a psychopathic (ex)fan, reacted badly to the last release. Wants to override the rocker's personality with skill chips and moddies, to return him/her to the mental state that produced their debut. 

Cash: a local thug who heard you've made some money and might be leaving the neighbourhood. Plans to violently divest you of it as soon as possible.

Gary McIneary: Gary McIneary is a piece of shit working for one of the biggest promotional companies in the city. The punk will likely never meet him. 

McIneary is a sleazeball. He's one of those people who likes to raise the "casting couch" when talking about career advancement, and takes rejection very badly. Not only can he seriously derail a career via his contacts in the rumour press, but he's been known to indulge in "Drone Stalking" and harassment-by-'runner.

To avoid legal repercussions for this behaviour, he tends to work through a couple of fixers. It's possible the 'runners have worked for him in the past and not known exactly what they were doing.

Ginger: slick dude with a bike who wants to go out with your girl/boy/other. May challenge you to a motorbike race down an empty river bed. 

Falk: a corporate assassin sent after you because of the truths you put in your last record. Actually likes your music, and believes that killing you is a righteous act since it will prevent you from ever growing stagnant. "You'll live on in perfection forever, like Tupac and Cobain."

Kannibal: a battle rapper. Gang affiliated 'Hood patriot. Really, really doesn't like being humiliated on stage.

Recently had major cybernetic surgery on his mouth, for reasons unknown.

Officer Chort: Randall Chort is a member of the Committee for Public Decency and a front-line crusader in their war against rock and roll, hippityhop and dancing of any kind. Uses his status as a police officer to fuck with venues.

Brothers of the Crimson Fist: a collective of MCs dedicated to martial arts. Inexplicably hate YOU, challenge you to contests of skill (also verse).

As ever, thanks for reading!