Sunday, 28 September 2014

No War but Generation War! (Bounty Board, West Palm Beach edition)

The middle of the 21st century is a great time to be a bounty hunter in the United States. The laws are looser, the targets are more numerous, the paycops less capable of doing their job than ever before. Easy money!

The middle of the 21st century is a terrible time to be a bounty hunter in the United States. The target might be more numerous, but they're also better armed. It's a relatively simple matter for a fugitive with a few friends and a 3d printer to blanket his surroundings in sousveillance systems, giving advanced warning of any arrest attempt. A thousand separatist gangs and survivalist militias will gladly shoot any jumped up Boba Fett wannabe who tries to grab a criminal in their midst.

Bounty hunting takes guts. Or idiocy. Probably more idiocy. Let's be honest here...

The hunters have descended on West Palm Beach in pursuit of two separate targets; the rogue New York ripperdoc Standish Haley and a local gang of online blackmailers called the GitBits

(...of course, the town doesn't have to be West Palm Beach. You could use this motley crew of NPCs anywhere. But you don't need to be told that...)

(...also, while I'm breaking the fourth wall in italics, I have to thank VFTE's very own Interrupt for the gang name "GitBits" and every single one of their hacker handles. Blame him!)

But first, there's one dirty piece of business to take care of....


Saturday, 27 September 2014

Power Dressing! Linear Frames Revisited

Linear Frames. Metal Gear. Power Armour. Powered Spacesuits. Powered Sportsuits! Deep Sea Pressure Suits. Articulated Smartgun Harnesses. Iron Man...

We might not have our flying cars yet, but Cyberpunk 2020's linear frames are just around the corner - there's Lockheed Martin's HULC, the Japanese Hybrid Assistive Limb, the Raytheon Sarcos, to name a few. These things have so many potential uses, I imagine they'll be fairly common within a decade. I imagine them serving dockworkers, construction workers, search and rescue crews, line infantry soldiers, fire fighters, EMTs...

I've been intermittently engaged in a sisyphean task to expand and update the CP2020 equipment lists whenever I have the time and inclination (which isn't often, to be fair!). Powered suits of one sort or other keep coming up - linear frames, but also space suits, environment suits, "metal gear" and others. Each of these systems seemed to require separate rules, so I've decided to condense them. I'm always in favour of reducing everything down to a short statline! 

The rules below cover everything from Vasquez's smartgun harness in Aliens to the Knight Saber suits in Bubblegum Crisis to the deep sea hardsuits in Blue Planet. Personally, I intend to use them as a much simpler alternative to the ACPA rules in Maximum Metal, treating PA suits as Shells with massive SP values and lots of internal option slots. 

In general, I've erred on the side of simplicity. I absolutely did not want to apply any kind of technology assumptions to the rules - they should be able to handle anything from vanilla CP2020 technology through Crysis through Starcraft - or change the rules according to the designed function of the suit. That last decision is down to ideology: as far as I'm concerned, the street finds its own use for things, and that "sports" harness could become an "assault" harness in the hands of a techie very quickly!

It's for all of those reasons that I've decided to ignore the "power question" altogether. The technological variables determining how long a frame's internal batteries should last make my head hurt, frankly. There's an argument for adding an extra segment to the statline - "Power," a number indicating how long a frame will run on a full charge. If you want to, add that with my blessing. As far I'm concerned, a PA's internal batteries last as long as necessary, or until an exciting narrative demands otherwise!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the prototype rules below (and in this googledoc)! I've included a few sample suits at the bottom, and might just manage to create a follow-up post with more in the next few days...