a Cyberpunk 2020 game
first run by Gary Astleford in November 1994
This was a small game, run with only two players. Neither player knew his/her character's full stats, just their base attributes. They did not know what skills they had, what they could and couldn't do, nothing. A few things were obvious - some cyberware, certain disadvantages, and equipment. The following is a summary of my idea for the game, the characters and their full statistics, and a summary of what happened in the end. The idea for this game originally sprang from the movie Surviving The Game, which starred (I believe) Ice-T, Gary Busy, and Rutger Hauer. The John Woo film Hard Target also contributed a little bit, but as I despise the movie a LOT, I have a hard time admitting the fact.
THE HUNT IS ON!
The two characters in this little mini-adventure are (or were) workgangers on Crystal Palace. Work was short, and they were cajolled into participating in a raid on a corporate labsat workshack. The raid went awry, and they were the only two survivors. They were captured, interrogated, and artificially turned into amnesiacs with no knowledge of their past. Minor nanosurgery was performed on both subjects and a passcode was applied for security reasons. If the passcode is spoken aloud to either of the characters, their memories will come flooding back in a giant, overwhelming wave. Unless they make IMPOSSIBLE Cool rolls, they will be overcome by their memories, starting with childhood and ending with the raid on the labsat (which will be relived as a memory, possibly a segment unto itself).
Anyway, the corporation in question has several legal (and illegal) subsidiaries, one of which is Survival Games, Inc. SGI (legally) manufactures and sells paint guns and survival equipment, as well as supplying paint gun courses and rings throughout the USA and Canada, and chartering legitimate hunts in the virgin forests that still remain in North America. On the side, however, they have a shady habit of chartering hunts where the prey is a little more intelligent. These jaunts don't usually last more than a day. They take unwilling subjects, nanotechnically erase their memories, and set them free in the combat zone of the customer's choice. If a client is unable to kill the prey, a team is released to find and capture the prey alive. Once captured, the prey is again afflicted with another amnesia block, this one cutting off all memory up to that point and locking it with the rest. They are again dropped wherever the next client wishes. Some prey have lasted as many as six hunts. The more hunts a particular prey survives, the higher the fee charged to the next client(s). SGI creates a new "menu" every twelve hours, updating the old data. Some prey are kept in cryogenic suspension until they are to be used.
Buckeye Blue - Client/Sportsman
INT 8 REF 7 TECH 5 COOL 6 ATTR 6 LUCK 6 MA 6 BOD 6 EMP 6
Human Perception +3
Wilderness Survival +6
Basic Tech +4
Equipment: Militech 5.56mm "Plainsman" (RIF +2 N C 5D6 10 2 VR 400m.), 3 ten-shot clips (2 Ball, 1 AP) Computerized Rifle Sight w/Low Lite and Laser Range Finder, (+3 To Hit Extreme Range, +2 To Hit Medium/Long Range). FN High Power 9mm Pistol (P +1 J C 2D6+1 14 2 VR 50m.), 3 fourteen-shot clips, dual purpose ammo. Trench-Style Fighting Knife (1d6+2 blade, +2 punch damage). Light Armor Hunting Vest (14 SP Torso Only).
Description: Age 36, ht 5'10", wt. 160, brown hair, brown eyes, Portugese/American
Buckeye Blue is the pseudonym given to Juan Juarez by SGI on his hunt for the two characters. BB is paying about fifty thousand euro for a shot at these two. He'll probably stalk them for short periods of time, trying to keep an eye on them. He'll play God for a while, sighting in on them but not firing. After a while, the tension will get so high that he has no choice but to attack. He won't attack from afar, though...tonight, he's in the mood to get close and personal with his handgun and trench knife.
Between waking up and getting killed (or whatever), we have to have some fun encounters with the natives. Lessee.
1) Gang members, hostile. Buckeye might actually toast anyone who looks like they might even be close to whacking his targets. What fun. 2) Gang members, neutral. Yeah, right. 3) Gang members, friendly. A guardian gang, like the Golden Knights or the Silver Slash or something. They'll probably help if the players are under assault, and depending on their losses, they may or may not go any further with the good samaritan act. 4) Fixer. This guy wants to buy or sell. He'll offer to help the players if they ask for it, but he'll be thinking more about the skinsuits they're wearing (if they aren't too damaged). He'll ask for money, of course. He could set the players up with a ripper doc or net runner. 5) Ripperdoc or Netrunner. Both are groovy. The doc can tell the players what's wrong with them, cybernetically. He can't reverse it, though, without the code, and he doesn't specialize in "orbital nanotech", as he puts it. The netrunner, though, might be able to send a "rooter" (ie, a system-scouring program which looks for gaps in code and encrypted files) into one of the players' neural jacks. If the players know SGI's name and involvment, they could have the 'runner hit the data fortress and possibly find the data there. Neither of these options is particularly cheap, either, so the players better have a good wit explaining how they'll pay for the help.
THE PLAYER CHARACTERS:
Character #1 -
Name: Ajani Kotto (Player: Amy Luther)
20 Years Old, Afro-Orbital Salver
Hair: Bald, Eyes: Brown, Ht: 6'1", Wt: 204lbs (93kg)
Clothes are Jumpsuits, T-Shirts
Affectations are Tribal Scarring on Face
Language is Swahili/English
Traits are Moody, Rash
Valued Person is Lover (Eva)
Value Most is Honor
How He Feels About People is Untrustworthy
Valued Posession is Nothing.
Advantages: Bilingual Background (5)
Disadvantages: Unmistakable Feature - Tribal Scarring -1 ATT (-3)
0G Maneuver +5
INT 8 REF 8/9 TECH 6 COOL 7 ATTR 6/5 LUCK 8 MA 10 BOD 8 EMP 8/7
0G Combat +3
Space Survival +4
Persuasion/Fast Talk +2
Education/Gen Know +3
Cyberware: Neuralware Processor w/Kerenzikov Boost (+1); Basic Hearing Module w/Radio Link, Tight Beam Radio Link, Wide Band Scanner, Scrambler; Total HC 19.5
Equipment: Skinsuit (Safety Red, SP6) w/booties
Notes: Starts the game with 2 points of damage and a bruised left eye and face.
Character #2 -
Name: Eva Tapov (Player: Joseph Kilcoyne)
26 Years Old, Romanian-Orbital Pilot
Hair: Short Spiked Brown, Eyes: Blue, Ht: 5'7", Wt: 110lbs (50kg)
Clothes are Jumpsuits and Leotards
Affectation is an Eastern Orthodox Cross Pendant
Language is Romanian/English
Traits are Arrogant, Snotty
Valued Person is Lover (Ajani)
Value Most is Honesty
How She Feels About People is Neutral
Valued Posession is Cross on Chain
Advantages: Bilingual Background (5)
Disadvantages: Deaf - Left Ear (-5)
0G Maneuver +6
INT 9 REF 7/8 TECH 9 COOL 9 ATTR 5 LUCK 6 MA 5 BOD 6 EMP 10/9
0G Combat +4
Space Survival +6
Spaceplane/Shuttle Pilot +6
Human Perception +3
Persuasion/Fast Talk +4
Education/Gen Know +3
Basic Tech +5
Cyberware: Neuralware Processor w/Vehicle Link, Int. Plugs (Temple), and Chip Socket; Adrenal Booster. Total HC: 18.5
Equipment: Skinsuit (Safety Red, SP6) w/booties
Notes on the PC's:
For the most part, they knew nothing about themselves or each other. If you plan on running the scenario, only allow them to know their attributes, and any apparent defects, as well as equipment. Let them search themselves to find cyberware that isn't obvious. Cyberware would most likely be something they would unconsciously think of using, but only under the right circumstances (ie, Eva might use her adrenal booster out of instinct in a combat situation, but don't let the player know about it). If a player rolls a "10" when trying any skill, allow them to know the skill's value. If and when the characters come to their senses, allow them full access to their character stats, skills, attitudes, etc. It was interesting to watch the players when they found out they were lovers, and to see their attitudes change when their loyalties were confirmed.
HOW THE FIRST HALF OF THE GAME WENT:
It was actually a pretty short game that covered one full evening. It was just a diversion. The absolute first game was abruptly cut off when the players assaulted a local law enforcement officer and were shot dead in the streets like mongrel dogs. This lead to two crumpled character sheets and two disappointed players begging, "Can we try it again? PLEASE!?" I relented, but not on that evening. The next week, we started over again, with both of them lying unconscious in an alley.
The second game went a little more smoothly. They wandered the streets a while, avoiding potential gang and police encounters. As it turned out, they ran into the man that was hunting them. The hunter chased them into an abandoned building, and they ended up killing him after much difficulty and more than a couple tense moments. They stripped him of anything of value and went into the streets to seek help, where they met up with a fixer-type, who (for a price, one of the skinsuits) took them to a ripperdoc and netrunner who worked as a team.
As established in the premise (above), the ripperdoc and netrunner poked, prodded, and scanned them. Through all this, they found that the characters were wired wierd in the brain. Nanoid memory block showed up as hazy portions in their grey matter. The 'runner successfully rerouted the blocks, digging the password from their cluttered brains. When he told them the password, they blacked out and into a memory flashback, which encompassed the second half of the game... read on...
Ok, this time the players know their full stats. They'll start out with a little background, and then I'll throw them on an OTV headed for a workshack. Their mission is to take out the scientists on the shack, steal all the information in the shack's memory, and then wipe the banks clean. They are then to plant small charges to breach the shack's hull and leave it a lifeless hulk. Finally, they are to escape to Crystal Palace. Sounds easy, eh?
The Players' Allies - Their Workgang
#1: Tran - Medtech
Age: 23, Ht: 5'9", Wt: 160lbs, Hair: Black, Eyes: Brn
Race: Korean, Sex: Male, ATT: 6
Character Notes: Happy, cheerful, smiles a lot
#2: Bruno - Electrician
Age: 25, Ht: 5'11", Wt: 170lbs, Hair: Brn, Eyes: Green
Race: French, Sex: Male, ATT: 5
Character Notes: Tense, Nervous, and Impatient
#3: Mariette - Engineer
Age: 21, Ht 5'3", Wt: 114lbs, Hair: Blond, Eyes: Brown
Race: French, Sex: Female, ATT: 7
Character Notes: Energetic, Smug, and Confident
#4: Olo - Computer Tech
Age: 20, Ht: 5'8", Wt: 155lbs, Hair: Black, Eyes: Black
Race: African, Sex: Male, ATT: 6
Character Notes: Nerdish, Serious, Knowledgable
#5: Oni - Engineer
Age: 18, Ht: 5'6", Wt: 135lbs, Hair: Black/Brown, Eyes: Black
Race: African, Sex: Female, ATT 8
Character Notes: Naive, Overconfident
#6: Kylie - Cybertech
Age: 22, Ht: 5'8", Wt: 140lbs, Hair: Red/Blonde, Eyes: Blue
Race: Kiwi, Sex: Female, ATT: 7
Character Notes: Quiet, Intense, Cute
#7: Erik - OTV Tech Age: 35, Ht: 6'2", Wt: 210lbs, Hair: Grey/Black, Eyes: Blue
Race: German, Sex: Male, ATT: 5
Character Notes: Depressed, Gloomy
#8: Kenjii - Pilot
Age: 31, Ht: 5'7", Wt: 145lbs, Hair: Bald, Eyes: Brown
Race: Japanese, Sex: Male, ATT: 6
Character Notes: Wise-ass, comedian
#9 & #10: Asabi and Nala (Identical Twins) - Salvers
Age: 26/26, Ht: 5'9", Wt: 135lbs, Hair: Brown, Eyes: Brown
Race: African, Sex: Female, ATT: 4
Character Notes: Loyal, Obnoxious, Playful
#11: Chinua - Security/Workganger
Age: 28, Ht: 5'10", Wt: 180lbs, Hair: Black, Eyes: Brown
Race: African, Sex: Male, ATT: 7
Character Notes: Serious, Grim, and Determined
#12: Konstantin - Security/Workganger
Age: 21, Ht: 5'11", Wt: 170lbs, Hair: Brown, Eyes: Brown
Race: Russian, Sex: Male, ATT: 8
Character Notes: Nice Guy, Amiable
#13: Jodi - OTV Pilot
Age: 26, Ht: 5'9", Wt: 145lbs, Hair: Blond, Eyes: Green
Race: American, Sex: Female, ATT: 6
Character Notes: Doesn't like Eva, Vindictive, Bright, Pessimistic
Workgang Notes: At the start of this half, we did some introductory roleplaying where I introduced the other 'gangers. The two security fellows, Konstantin and Chinua, bring news of the mission that is being offered to them. The 'gang is having financial difficulties, as jobs have been scarce. They've resorted to hiring themselves out separately for freelance duty. This job will pay enough to keep them covered until they can regain their feet. A few of the 'gang declined to go (Bruno, Oni, and Erik, I believe).
The rest agreed to do the deed. At the most, they are armed with knives, bolters, and some needlers. Konstantin and Chinua had shotguns armed with flechette shells.
Chain of events follows:
1.) The OTV approaches within 50km. of the shack. A jamming pod is used to restrict the shack's communications and sensor gear. 2.) The OTV docks with the shack. The gang will have to force the airlock open. Inside the shack, its crew is frantically trying to contact someone, anyone, for help. 3.) The gang gets the airlock doors open. There is brief gunplay as the shack crew fires at the group as they retreat to the second module. One or more shack and/or work gang members might die in this exchange. 4.) A quick recon of this module's habitats reveals that an armed shack member has dug himself in quite well, and intends to stay that way. He is armed with a shotgun. If the players don't kill him within a few rounds, one of the gang members decides that they could seal off his habitat and flush it out. This works, of course, and kills the shack member. 5.) By this time, the players have killed just about everyone in the shack (11 people -- four scientists, four technicians, two guards, and a netrunner), with minimal loss of life. 6.) They begin the download and database purge. While they've been busy, the jammer pod has gone dead. There is a brief message from their pilot that she has to detach, filled with much hysteria. If the players watch from a viewport, they can see the OTV lift off and turn away from the shack before a sleek, white dart hits it midships, cracking it in two. A black, armed OTV comes into view with one more missile under one of its "arms". 7.) The new OTV docks, and forces entrance. Inside are six men in combat skinsuits (SP14) armed with shotguns and Tsunami Arms pistols. They will kill most of the group, leaving the players (and another NPC if I wish). 8.) They are waylaid, captured, and wake up strapped to medical tables. They are interrogated, threatened, and then immobilized while a heavy dose of nanoids are injected into their necks. They spend the next few hours in a state of catatonia, until all memory is removed. 9.) They remember waking up in an alley in a hot place, evading a group of hunters, and finally, killing them. They are then waylaid by men in black clamshell armor who give them a good fight. They are taken back, interrogated again, and injected again. 10.) They remember waking up in an alley in a very cold place. They are tracked by a man with red eyes and a penchant for knives. They kill him, and are soon apprehended by the clamshell boys again. Amy's character suffers from a nasty black eye. Interrogation and memory wipe again. 11.) They remember waking up in the Night City alley. They remember everything up until now.
What happens now depends on the time limit left.
A) The clamshell boys track them down and capture them.
B) They search out their oppressors, possibly capturing one of the clamshell boys and interrogating him.
One way or another, I want a good fight. I want them to think themselves dead, only to have them wake up in an alley somewhere, unaware of all that has happened to them...
They'll hate me.
HOW THE LAST HALF WENT:
The players relived their history. It was a long and fruitless battle. The characters did a job clearing the workshack, but at a horrible loss of life on their own part (due to some really lucky rolls on the part of the workshack security). Mid-way through the fight, the OTV took off, but was hit by a missile (killing the pilot, Jodi). The other OTV docked, and the troops therein descended upon the players like a plague. The characters were allowed a little "script immunity" so that the adventure could continue.
Once the flashback ended, the characters asked the 'doc and 'runner to help them scoot outta town. In exchange for the last remaining skinsuit and what parts of the hunter's equipment they would part with, the two good samaritan NPCs took them to the night city docks and got them a ride on a local fishing boat, run by four guys: Ozzy, Frank, Berry, and Derek. The boat crew agreed to transport the PCs to a Mexican beach on their next outing.
An hour outside of port, while the players were resting below deck, the fishing boat was stopped by a very fast hydroplane owned by SGI. The SGI group, aside from having many guns and many men in clamshell armor, offered the fishermen a decent amount of money to take the players. The fishermen wisely agreed, and the characters were re-captured after a brief struggle and a few doses of sleep agent.
At the end of the game, I told them: "You wake up in an alley. You don't know who you are, where you are, or why you're here."
Anyone interested in running this as a scenario is encouraged to modify it to suit their gaming needs. It's easiest with two people, but three or four could work just fine. Just increase the number of hunters. Overall, it was a fun scenario to run, and it didn't take too much thought. The players especially liked the flashback sequence, which was something I'd never done before, but which worked wonderfully.