MOMMY, I WANT TO BE A SOLO WHEN I GROW UP!
playing younger characters in CP2020 by Gary Astleford
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These rules are designed to give players and GMs the ability to create and play characters younger than the 16-year old maximum set by the CP2020 core rules. Aside from Cybergeneration, I've never seen any other rules for incorporating children into Cyberpunk, which is a shame. Children are all over the place, and this is a fact that is mostly ignored by GMs and players everywhere. Dispossessed children comb the ruins of 20th century America searching for valuables and food. In third-world countries, children as young as 12 years old are conscripted into armies to fight for a cause their young minds may not comprehend. Corporate school kids study in sterile classrooms while their streetwise peers join gangs and try to attain the cyberpunk ideal.

While these rules are designed with the daring player in mind, they also have other uses. Characters with children can watch as their babies grow up. Teaching junior how to cook scrambled synth-eggs can be an episode with its own special memories. Edgerunners with teenage children may have to contend with their kid's new love interest ("So, Cockroach...I hear you run with the Crazy Chickens...").

Whatever you use these rules for, remember -- as with everything I write, they are guidelines. If you don't agree with something, don't use it. It's that easy.

ATTRIBUTES

Fixed Attributes - INT, TECH, ATTR, LUCK

These attributes are determined at birth, and must be rated between 2 and 10. They represent innate quantities and abilities in the child, and a baby born stupid or non-technical will remain so until the end of his days.

Attractive children tend to grow up to be attractive adults. Luck is that special something that some of us have, and some of us don't (ie, "Timmy always was an unlucky boy.").

Maturing Attributes -

Attributes that may get higher as the child grows and develops are called Maturing Attributes. As a child character ages, he gains Maturity Points (MPs) which he assigns to these attributes on his birthday. They are grouped into two categories : Non-Restricted and Restricted.

Non-Restricted Maturing Attributes - COOL, EMP

Non-Restricted Maturing Attributes are those that may rise as a child grows, but which aren't restricted to any fixed level depending on age. In other words, they can have any initial value, and can raise over time as the child matures (to a max of 10). These include both Cool and Empathy. Some children are born more emotionally mature than others, and this might be reflected in high Cool and Empathy statistics. Of course, some kids never grow up (you know who you are).

Restricted Maturing Attributes - REF, MA, BODY

Restricted Maturing Attributes are physical attributes which cannot rise above a certain ceiling depending on the child's age. As the child grows, the player can (if he wishes) assign MPs to these attributes, as long as they don't go above the restriction for the child's age group. These attributes continue to develop until the child is fully mature (in the case of these rules, that will be at age 16).

ROLLING FOR ATTRIBUTES

To generate attributes for your juvebrat, first decide how old he or she will be, and roll the number of dice specified on the chart below :

Age (in years)Attribute DiceMax Attribute Point Total
166d10+3090
156d10+2989
13 -146d10+2888
11- 126d10+2686
106d10+2484
96d10+2282
86d10+2080
76d10+1878
66d10+1575
56d10+1373
46d10+1070
36d10+868
26d10+565
16d10+363

Maturity Points for the age of your youngster have been figured into the rolls above, so don't add them in. Distribute the points as normal, taking careful note that none exceed any of the age restrictions listed on the Maximum Statistics by Age chart (see below). Unless your character is exceptionally young (ie, 1-2 years), you may not have an attribute below 2.

Please note : The number in parenthesis is the highest possible attribute point total for the age group in question, and are not (under any circumstances) the "average." I realize that many of you may be reading this and saying, "Wow, a one year old baby with 63 character points? Please!" However, you have to understand that this 63 point baby is going to grow up to be a 90 point adult. As 90 point adults are rare to come by, so are 63 point babies.

Also note that I don't expect anyone to be playing a one year old child. I included many of the ages (starting from about six and working my way down) to show the logical progression from infant to toddler to kindergartner, etc. It also allows for GMs to generate young children's game stats. Think about it -- sending a trained solo team in to abduct a feisty corporate's three year old daughter. It'd be nice to have stats for the little brat, wouldn't it?

INITIAL SKILL POINTS

Children are young, but they learn quickly. Once you've determined the child's age, look to the Maximum Statistics by Age chart (see below) in order to determine his starting Skill Points and the maximum level he can attain in any skill at his age. Advantages and Disadvantages can be bought normally, and these will either cost or grant the character extra skill points (for more on Advantages and Disadvantages, see Ocelot's Alternate Character Generation rules).

A quick note about skill levels by age before we proceed. Some GMs may wish to limit starting skills to a moderate level. Skills of +8 or higher are extremely rare in this world we live in. It's highly unlikely that anyone under the age twenty will have a skill above +8, but the possibility does exist and depends solely on the realism level of the game you're playing. The GM is the final arbiter of maximum skill levels, and the chart below is only a guideline.

WOUND BOXES

Children are smaller and can take less damage than adults can. This is reflected in the reduction of their wound boxes. Children aged 13-16 are growing taller and stronger as they enter puberty, so their wound boxes remain the same as a typical adult's -- four boxes per wound level. Younger children, ages 6-12, however, are smaller and more easily wounded, and therefore have only three boxes per wound level. The youngest children, ages 2-5, are frail by comparison and can be killed quite easily by any serious damage, which is why they only have 2 wound boxes per level. Infants (aged 1 year or younger) only have 1 wound box per wound level, which is why you shouldn't drop them.

CYBERWARE

Cyberware implanted in children should be extremely rare, and limited to realistic enhancements. The growing body of a child is no place for the static and unchangeable metal and plastics of cybernetics, with few exceptions. Past a certain age, some cyberware isn't a danger to growing boys and girls. For good guidelines on this topic, see Home Of The Brave page 17, titled "FYI : CHILDREN AND CYBERWARE."

MAXIMUM STATISTICS BY AGE

AgeMPsSPsSkillF/NRREFMABODYWBHandKick
16143+101010101041d6/21d6
15140+9101010941d6/21d6
14037+8101010841d6/21d6
13234+7101010841d6/21d6
12031+610109731d6/31d6/2
11228+510109731d6/31d6/2
10225+410108631d6/31d6/2
9222+41098531d6/31d6/2
8219+41088431d6/31d6/2
7316+31077431d6/31d6/2
6213+31066331d6/31d6/2
5310+310553200
428+210442200
336+210332200
224+210221200
132+110111100

Chart Key :

Age - The child's age, which determines the row you use to determine MPs, SPs, and Attributes maximums.

MPs - The amount of Maturity Points (MPs) the character gets on his birthday to raise Maturing Attributes.

SPs - The amount of Skill Points (SPs) the character gets to assign to skills. Note that SPs for a 16 year-old child include the addition of three freebies because of his/her age.

Skill - The maximum level a character can have in any skill depending on age.

F/NR - This is the maximum attribute level for all Fixed/Non-Restricted Attributes.

REF, MA, BODY - These are the maximum attribute levels by age for all Restricted Attributes.

WB - The number of Wound Boxes (WB) per damage level the character has.

Hand - The amount of punching damage possible.

Kick - The amount of kicking damage possible.

GROWING UP

As your character grows up, he will mature and grow. This is reflected in the Maturity Points (MPs) he gets on his birthdays. It's important that you and/or your GM determine when this special day will take place each year. On that day, your child character will gain a number of MPs (between 0 and 3 of them) that he can place in any Maturing Attributes, as long as the attribute in question doesn't go above the restricted level for the child's age. You can only place one point in any given attribute per birthday.

As well as attribute increases, a growing child will also gain an increased amount of Wound Boxes and hand-to-hand damage, depending on age. However, remember that damage is still modified depending on the body type of the person doing the damage, and strikes from young children rarely, if ever, inflict serious damage. Additional skill levels are bought with IP, just as for any other character, and unlike MPs, Skill Points are not granted as the character grows older.

Example : Walter Hayden, an eight year old elementary school student, turns nine years old. He gains two Maturity Points to add to his attributes. He puts one of the points into his Body attribute, raising it to 5, and the other point into his Empathy, raising it to 9. He's only nine, so his wound boxes and hand to hand damage is unaffected.

SAMPLE CHARACTERS

Walter Keith Hayden

Age : 8
INT 7REF 6TECH 8COOL 7ATTR 6LUCK 7MA 7BOD 4EMP 8
W/B : 3/levelPunch : 1d6/3-1Kick : 1d6/2-1

Streetwise +2
Persuasion/Fast Talk +3
Awareness/Notice +1
Education/Gen Knowledge +1
Hide/Evade +2
Athletics +2
Brawling +2
Stealth +2
Basic Tech +2
Play Instrument : Violin +2

Advantages : Technical Aptitude +4

Disadvantages : Impaired Vision -2, Vendetta (Franky Norwood) -2

History -

Walter goes to Pacifica Elementary school, and is in the third grade. His daddy is an automobile mechanic, and sometimes he lets Walter help him fix cars. Walter likes helping his daddy fix cars, and his daddy says that he has a knack for it. However, he's not strong enough to pick up most of the heavy tools and parts, yet. Walter's mom makes him go to Mrs. Bigelow's for violin lessons twice a week after school. He doesn't like the violin, and sometimes he makes believe that he's helping his daddy put an engine together. If Mrs. Bigelow catches him daydreaming, she makes him stand in the corner for a long time. This makes him hate the violin even more. Sometimes Franky Norwood picks on him in the school yard, and if Walter isn't careful, Franky will give him a black eye or a bloody nose. Walter tries to fight back, but Franky is in the fifth grade and is a lot bigger than him. Someday, he'll make Franky Norwood pay.

Franklin "Franky" Norwood

Age : 11
INT 5REF 8TECH 6COOL 7ATTR 7LUCK 6MA 7BOD 7EMP 4
W/B : 4/levelPunch : 1d6/3Kick : 1d6/2

Intimidate +3
Streetwise +3
Leadership +2
Persuasion/Fast Talk +3
Awareness/Notice +2
Education/Gen Knowledge +1
Athletics +4
Brawling +4
Melee +3
Motorcycle +2
Rifle +1

Advantages : Combat Reflexes +2

Disadvantages : Enemy (Walter Hayden) -2

History -

Franky Norwood is the youngest of three boys. He is eleven years of age, but he's only in the fifth grade because he flunked out last year. His father beat him pretty bad when he found that out. Franky hates school, but he likes picking on little nerd wimps like Walter Hayden. Sometimes he and his "gang" steal some of his father's smash. The go to the junkyard, get wasted, smoke cigarettes, and shoot seagulls with Bobby Parker's .22 rifle. Once, Franky and the guys were getting drunk and a derelict from the beach started giving them some trouble. Franky shot him with the rifle, but everyone got scared and ran away. When they came back, the bum was gone, but there was a lot of blood all over the ground. Franky wants to run away from home and join one of the big gangs in Night City, but he's too scared to leave suburbia.


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