Roleplaying In A

Posts Tagged ‘Cyberpunk 2020’

Style Over Substance

In General on April 12, 2010 at 10:17 am

I was reading a post at RPG in Progress about Cyberpunk this morning and in the comments, Thaumiel Nerub reminded us of the Cyberpunk 2020 rules.

1) Style over substance
2) Attitude is everything
3) Always take it to the edge
4) Break the rules

It suddenly gelled for me why I dislike games with tactical rules so much – the style, the fast-paced, seat-of-your-pants, am-I-gonna-die-now feel that I find in more abstract systems is nearly impossible to duplicate in more tactical systems like 3.5 or Pathfinder. I suspect 4E (assuming there were a modern version of 4E available) would be worse yet.

I’ve played d20 Modern and Future and found them lacking and lackluster for a Cyberpunk game.

They lost the attitude.

I haven’t tried the newer versions such as True20 or Shadowrun 4th Edition. No one in my area is interested in playing those games and I haven’t the resources to buy books that half my players will outright reject. I understand there are efforts underway to revive d20 Modern but unless they rethink the approach the game takes to the genre, these efforts are doomed to failure.

d20 Modern itself really misses the point. There are 6 basic classes and all are named for the stats they’re based on – Strong Hero, Tough Hero, Smart Hero, etc. Bleh! The whole book is just as generic with no real inspiration. These authors just ported a system without really thinking about the games that would be played with it.

Rules #1 of the Cyberpunk genre really is “Style Over Substance”. Flavor and attitude are almost more important than mechanics and a good setting can almost completely over-shadow a bad system.

That’s not entirely true, no but I’d rather have good flavor than a good system. Good flavor, attitude, will inspire me to explore the system and fix the broken bits where a good system with no style has left me cold and uninterested.

A good example of this in action is Eberron. That setting is everything d20 needed to really show off the fantasy side of what those mechanics were capable of.

I hope the new efforts at reviving the d20 system for modern settings takes this to heart and doesn’t just serve us the same plain mashed potatoes for dinner that we’ve had for 8 years now. Do an Emeril, guys.

Kick it up a notch!

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Life In A World of Corruption

In General on February 22, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Hi, this Viri from “The Bard of Valiant“. Fans of that blog will notice the last post was made back in early December. Honestly, I lost my passion for the fantasy game that I was writing about and for. My real love is, and always has been science fiction – Cyberpunk in particular.

The title is inspired by Billy Idol‘s song “Neuromancer“.

It’s the age of destruction
In a world of corruption
It’s the age of destruction
And they hand us oblivion

My system of choice for most games right now is some version of Cyberpunk 2020. It’s an awesome system that doesn’t rely on levels where classes are used in character creation but as a mechanic, can easily be ignored. Advancement has almost everything to do with what the character actually does in a game.

My experience mechanic for Cyberpunk 2020 is not the standard one found in the book. Instead, players make tics by skills they use during a game and every tick converts over to a 1d10 roll for Improvement Points in that skill at the end of a session. Yes, players try to cheese it. Experienced GMs can knock them down when they do 🙂

Campaigns I run are quasi-sandbox games. Because Cyberpunk is set in the modern world, things are going on around the players that they have to deal with, no matter what their actual plans might be. If an asteroid hits the planet, life is gonna suck, choomba. Get over it.

I also tend to cross-genre alot. My most successful campaign ever ran for 10 years and was a Cyberpunk/Vampire crossover. The Cyberpunk 2020 system is streamlined enough that it’s easily modified for this kind of thing. My current plan is to develop a Shadowrun theme but play the game through the change, starting in a normal world and ending in one very different and magical but still dirty, nasty and lethal.

Welcome to a World of Corruption. Enjoy the ride!

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