Metroplex: The Edge

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Hildy

  • 25
Metroplex: The Edge
« on: December 20, 2015, 04:01:55 PM »
Hello! I've been working on a hack recently and thought I'd share some of it, and maybe get a little feedback. It's a dystopian, near-future, cyberpunk game. Others have tackled the genre already, but a lot of those stray from AW elements I enjoy or emulate a specific game setting. I really dig the collaborative storytelling of AW, the collective campaign setting design, and the "day in the life" sandbox approach to adventure.

The Metroplex setting assumes it is the near future and that around 50 years ago some trouble befell our world. Humanity fled to cities in safe zones which eventually merged into massive mega cities. Your group decides what the trouble was (i.e. WWIII, global financial collapse, biblical apocalypse, alien invasion, a dimensional merge with the faerie realm, etc..) but, regardless of what happened, the world outside of the city is still a lawless and dangerous place.

Refugee colonies formed on the perimeter of the mega city. Eventually the flow of refugees into the city stopped and those on the outside were left largely to their fate. This became "The Edge"; a sort of demilitarized zone occupied by the poor that insulates the city from the world beyond.

This game focuses on life in The Edge. The characters are inhabitants of a neighborhood there doing what they need to do to survive, find a way out, or maybe even fighting to keep things the way they are.

I have this long term goal of building overlapping games that occur in the same shared setting, each using the AW rules, but with different stats and moves to reflect the most likely forms of conflict in that game. A companion game to this one might focus on the perils of corporate executives, celebrities, and the wealthy elite in the same metroplex.

Re: Metroplex: The Edge
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2015, 04:22:44 PM »
Well, it seems to be your run-of-the-mill cyberpunk setting, but then again, that's what you were going for, right?

If I read this correctly, the game is mostly meant to take place in the slums which have grown between the wilderness and the actual city? You could perhaps emphasize that a bit more, as most cyberpunk takes place deep inside the actual city.

It's a bit vague. I understand that in order to keep it able to emulate as many different settings as possible, you need to keep it that way, but right now you have only given us the broadest of details. Perhaps you could tell more about the tone you are going for. What stats you are going to use, what basic moves, do you have classes thought out?

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Hildy

  • 25
Re: Metroplex: The Edge
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2015, 04:23:39 PM »
The Stats
  • Balls measures a character’s nerve and their willingness to go outside of expected societal bounds
  • Cool measures a character’s composure and professionalism; particularly in instances where those things might be compromised or otherwise tested.
  • Rep measures a character’s social networking skills and credibility. It isn’t about having a good or bad reputation; but about being a known quantity.
  • Sway measures a character’s ability to seduce, manipulate, or otherwise influence others.
  • Wits measures a character’s ability think fast and improvise on the fly. It’s a combination of perception, streetwise, and reasoning skills.

The Moves
  • Act Under Pressure: You make this move when you do something while in imminent danger. You are acting despite the risk of known consequences like exposure to harm, detection by enemies, or some other unwanted situation. This move uses the _Cool_ trait.
  • Avoid Detection: You make this move when you try to do something without being noticed. You might be tailing a mark, escaping an active search, or picking someone’s pocket. This move uses the _Wits_ trait.
  • Consult Contacts: When you need to buy or sell something not readily obtainable, or not otherwise obtainably through legal channels, you make this move to put the word out and find a potential buyer or seller. This move uses the _Rep_ trait.
  • Force Compliance: You make this move when you make it clear that someone needs to do what you want or else they’ll suffer harm. This is not a bluff. If they do not comply; you will inflict the specified harm on them. This move uses the _Balls_ trait.
  • Help or Hinder: You make this move when you need to take actions to assist someone else, or try to cause someone else to fail at something. This move uses the _Cool_ trait.
  • Manipulate Someone: You make this move when you try to convince someone to do what you want; without intending any violent repercussions if they fail to deliver. This includes things like bluffing, planting seeds of doubt, or even outright seduction. This move uses the _Sway_ trait.
  • Scan Surroundings: You make this move when you choose to observe your environment looking to better understand it and whatever is currently occurring in it. This may let you get a read on the current social dynamic between the present characters, or provide tactical options that you would not otherwise have been aware of. This move uses the _Wits_ trait.
  • Seize Something: You make this move when you resort to violent action to take control of the momentum; when opposition exists that is capable of resisting your attempt. The prize itself might be anything that makes sense in the situation. It could be high ground, an object, or just about anything else. So long as you can obtain it; you can seize it. This move uses the _Balls_ trait.

The Playbooks
  • The Bloodhound: You find things that go missing or uncover the secrets others would rather remain hidden. You might do it for paying clients, to sell to the highest bidder, or to blackmail the owner. It doesn’t really matter why you do it; you’re good at what you do.
  • The Commando: You were trained for war. You know how to use heavy weapons, and how to maneuver in combat. Those skills have been in pretty high demand since everything went to shit. If you managed to survive long enough to get good at those things; you’re probably too fucked up to hold down a job doing much else.
  • The Firebrand: You are the charismatic spokesperson of a movement. You recruit others to the cause, force the public to acknowledge your truth, and work to further your movement’s agenda. You might be fighting for change, or you might be fighting the change.
  • The Gangster: You are the head of a criminal organization that supplies vice or other less-than-legal resources to the public. You’ve got a crew of thugs at your disposal and multiple streams of revenue. You aren’t the only game in town though. You’ve got competition for your customers and your turf, and of course the law would probably like to see you shut down for good.
  • The Hustler: You are a master of the grift. Why work for a living when others are all too eager to hand over what they’ve worked for? Your words are your most powerful weapon and with them you can talk yourself into, or out of, just about any situation imaginable. How you choose to use those words, and who you choose to use them on, is entirely up to you.
  • The Smuggler: You get things from one place to another. That may sound like a boring job, but the city is full of “good guys” who would like to stop you and “bad guys” who would like to rob you. Your life is one long high speed chase whether you’re running from the law or hijackers. You, however, are the hottest damn driver in the city and you know exactly how hard you can push your vehicle.
  • The Street Samurai: You are a soldier of the streets. You know how to handle yourself fin a fight, but you are also well versed in the technology that surrounds you and the etiquette of the various social classes you have to interact with. If that wasn’t enough; you’re sporting the most advanced human augmentations money can buy. You didn’t get those for free though. You have a wealthy benefactor who keeps you on the cutting edge in return for your absolute loyalty.
  • The Thief: You take people’s stuff. Expensive stuff is good, but stuff people think is too well protected to be taken is even better. You live for that rush of getting in, getting out, and getting paid. If it wasn’t so damn dangerous; it wouldn’t be so damn fun.
  • The Unborn: You were conceived in a lab and grown in a vat. You were likely an expensive endeavor, and probably made for some specific purpose, but your circumstances have obviously become complicated if you live in this part of town. You likely don’t share your story with many. Some might consider you a freak, while others might see you as a potential payday.
  • The Whiz Kid: You have always been fascinated by technology. You’re a skilled hacker, a mechanical engineering genius, and you probably have a firm grasp on five or six other scientific fields as well. You could make serious money if you went legit, but you can make a whole lot more if you’re wiling to be a little flexible with your ethics.

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Spwack

  • 138
Re: Metroplex: The Edge
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2015, 02:43:55 AM »
Two things, how different are the Hustler and the Smuggler going to be? They both seem to fill the same niche. Not sure how they will differ mechanically, but just something to keep in mind.

And... I really want to play a Street Samurai. I'm a simple man, with simple pleasures, and playing as a cyborg samurai is one of those.

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Hildy

  • 25
Re: Metroplex: The Edge
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2015, 04:43:32 PM »
Well, it seems to be your run-of-the-mill cyberpunk setting, but then again, that's what you were going for, right?
Pretty much. I want to have enough flavor in the final product to reinforce the genre, but I want the group to build the actual setting. The most memorable AW games I've seen are memorable for the interesting takes on playbooks or the evocative setting the group builds together. I want to capture some of that.

I actually intend to provide additional playbooks and such to supplement this and show how it could be used to add some setting/campaign specific flavor. Playbooks currently being considered for that project include:

1. The War Machine: You are a hunter-killer robot with a synthetic human appearance. You might have been the ultimate weapon in a ground war between humans, or you might have been a foot soldier of the AI's when mankind's greatest creation turned on them. Your group should discuss how humans regard artificial intelligences.

2. The Uplifted Beast - You are a beast (e.g. an ape or a canine) that has been engineered to be sapient. You have the equivalence of human intelligence, but your kind has their own culture and social conduct. You and your group should discuss what place uplifted beasts occupy in society, and what their history with humanity is. Why were they created? How did they gain freedom?

3. The Alien Sherif - You are a refugee from another planet. You're stuck here with us now, and neither side is all that happy about it. Tensions run high between humans and the aliens, and your people look to you to protect them and provide for them when human law fails them. Sometimes that may mean you, yourself, have to break human law to see to their needs.

4. The Damned - You look human, but you are a actually monster that feeds upon them in some way. You struggle with your dual nature, your complicated relationships with humans, and the dark machinations or your kind. Was your kind responsible for the trouble that befell the world, or were they also victims; having had to face leaner times after so many humans were killed?

5. The Spellslinger - You have access to Forbidden Knowledge which allows you to call upon magical forces and empower all manner of spell, ritual, and enchantment. You meddle with temperamental and addictive power that could destroy you if you become careless.

6. The Sidhe Rebel - You are an elf, or possibly a human stolen as a child and raised among elves, who has been exposed to the faerie world of Sidhe. When the elves came to conquer humanity; you were among those that opposed the Seelie Court. You carry a powerful relic and are practiced in fairy glamour magics. You are an Unseelie traitor to the people of Sidhe, and a constant reminder of loss to the people of Earth.

7. The Master - You have spent a lifetime training in the martial arts and focusing your mind, body, and spirit to the purity of your purpose. Your dedication to this balance is so great that you are capable of seemingly mystical feats of strength, endurance, and athleticism.

8. The Tormented - You are a powerful psychic antenna capable of interacting with the unseen world to glean deeper insight. You are a psychic, seer, and medium. Your affliction marks you as different and isolates you even if others aren't aware of what you are.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2015, 04:47:42 PM by Hildy »

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Hildy

  • 25
Re: Metroplex: The Edge
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2015, 04:52:45 PM »
Two things, how different are the Hustler and the Smuggler going to be? They both seem to fill the same niche. Not sure how they will differ mechanically, but just something to keep in mind.
I dig that you asked this. I made the decision to not have a "read a person" basic move specifically because this is a setting where nobody is ever really telling the truth. If that move exists it would more likely be a playbook move for the Bloodhound. That has caused me to question if a hustler playbook makes sense in a world where almost everyone hustles to some degree. I chose to include it for now, until I have a chance to dive into it's moves more, but it's the most likely candidate to be cut.
 
And... I really want to play a Street Samurai. I'm a simple man, with simple pleasures, and playing as a cyborg samurai is one of those.
I agree 100%. :)

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Spwack

  • 138
Re: Metroplex: The Edge
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2015, 06:21:40 AM »
To me I feel the Hustler has a wider spread of options available, while the Smuggler is limited to one occupation. If there is no one to sell to, it's much harder to ply your trade. I can see the echoes of Operator and Driver here, so it would be good to see how they compare.

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Hildy

  • 25
Re: Metroplex: The Edge
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2016, 02:47:42 PM »
I've continued to work on this project. I've made some changes since my last post.
  • The Unborn playbook has been renamed The Broken Doll and focuses more on the idea of a clone designed for companionship, display, or other superficial purposes. They have escaped and are considered "damaged goods", so they have been left to fend for themselves.
  • I removed the stat "Rep" which I really liked but felt like it had to much overlap with Sway. I replaced it with "Tech" (potentially to be renamed later) which emphasizes a character's comfort level in an environment where everything down to your underwear is electronic in some way.
  • I've renamed some basic moves and added a basic move, linked to Tech, for data mining.

I'm currently tackling my first draft of human augmentation, which is a necessity for the genre. I currently have 11 base augmentations. One of those is a cybernetic computer which is a prerequisite for all of the other augmentations.

The Street Samurai is the only playbook that always starts with augmentations. They get the cyber computer and three other augmentations. They also have three improvements that allow them to take a new augmentation or upgrade an existing one.

Several other playbooks will have a move available to them that provides a cybernetic computer and a choice between two specific augmentations. (e.g. The Commando has Soldier of Tomorrow which provides a cybernetic computer and either cybernetic senses or cybernetic arms.)

Design Note
None of the augmentations received from Moves, or the improvements in The Street Samurai playbook, require augmentation surgery.


Here are the current concepts for the augmentations.
  • Cybernetic Computer (you get all of these: integrated veil, mic, hud, bio monitor, brain link, induction link)
  • Tactical Processor: Roll+Tech instead of +Balls when you use a weapon with the _Smart_ tag with any move that would normally use Balls to operate it.
  • Reflex Processor: Treat any weapon as if it had the _Area_ tag. You must act under fire to avoid reflexive violence, if startled, rolling+Tech instead of +Cool.
  • Cybernetic Disguise: Roll+Tech instead of +Wits for **Avoid Detection** if changing your weight, voice, hair or eye color would provide sufficient cover.
  • Cybernetic Senses (choose three: high/low frequency audio, audio filters, night vision, thermal vision, ultraviolet vision, vision magnification, audiovisual defenses, analytical taste/smell)
  • Cybernetic Arms (you get: strength mods. then choose one: integrated weapon, integrated storage, detachable hand drone, concealed, armored)
  • Cybernetic Legs (you get: athletics mods. then choose one: integrated storage, concealed, armored)
  • Nanite Colony (choose one: fast heal, limited immunity, alter biometrics, lethal blood)
  • Gene Mods (you get: defect free. then choose one: increased stamina, increased cognition, increased longevity, increased lung capacity, increased durability)
  • Bio Mods (choose one: gills, chemical gland, bio-electric generator, collapsible joints, attraction pheromones, intimidation pheromones, fangs, pigmentation control)
  • Prototype Augmentation: Take a move from another playbook, roll+Tech instead of the stat the move indicates when making that move.

Characters will be allowed to acquire new augmentations or upgrade (select additional choices) existing ones within the game. This is done via a peripheral move.

Augmentation Surgery
Whenever you go under the knife to install an augmentation, upgrade an augmentation, repair an augmentation, or uninstall an augmentation or upgrade; roll+Tech. On a 10+, you pull through the surgery without issue. On a 7-9, you pull through the surgery without issue but the augmentation has the unreliable tag. This means it may fail at some point and require additional augmentation surgery to repair it. On a miss, the augmentation is installed correctly but you must take a debility.

Debilities
Debilities are symptoms of mental trauma that can occur as a result of your mind’s inability to accept the changes augmentations have made to your body. You suffer increasing anxiety, and the feeling of being a stranger in your own body, as you accumulate debilities. These manifest in various ways like depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, reclusive behavior, social awkwardness, post traumatic stress disorder, irrational decision making, selective amnesia, or sociopathy.

Debilities are linked to four of your five stats. You may have one debility each for Balls, Cool, Sway, and Wits. Tech cannot have a debility. Each debility incurs a -1 modifier to both the maximum potential rating of a stat (the maximum becomes +2) and the current rating of that stat (with a lowest possible value of -3).

If you incur a new debility and you already have all four debilities; you expire on the operating table.

Design Note
I am using Luck from Monster of the Week instead of debilities, so I repurposed them within this hack to be specific to augmentation to play the part of the man vs machine trope common within the genre.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 03:11:41 PM by Hildy »