Early Look: “The Neumann Protocol” for COVERT OPS

The hombres over at DwD Studios continue to dish out the awesome support and new content for their games.  Some of these new releases include the Opperational Addendum series. Instead of forcing the consumer to purchase huge books of content they’d never use for that one chapter they are interested in, they’ve decided to release small expanded titles for cheap, allowing GMs to cherry pick the stuff that interests them. Next week, The Neumann Protocol will hit the information super highway, and there will be much rejoicing.

What It Isnumannprotocol

The Neumann Protocol is a 20 page supplement for Covert Ops, DwD Studios’ awesome new espionage and paramilitary rpg. This addendum focuses on cybernetic implants and augmentations, and how to work them into your CO campaigns. The back story is that John von Neumann, a key researcher in the Manhattan Project, had inspired a whole field of bionic research that became blacklisted during the cold war era. The protocols live on underground and off the record, and have re-emerged in the shadow wars of our modern era.

What You Get

After the brief history of the protocols, we’re thrown immediately into the good stuff. We’re introduced to the basic breakdown of implants — all of them broken down into three categories (Prosthetic, Bionic and Cybernetic) as well as three ranks/tiers of implant: Minor, Moderate, and Major. Depending and the category and rank of the implant, you’ll have varying price tags. The price isn’t just in monetary value, but how much the body can maintain before reacting and shutting down. Guidelines for damaged parts, and rules for “cyber sickness” are also included.

Following the run down of the mechanics, we have fifteen pages filled with various implants, augmentations, and cybernetic enhancements. Fans of cyberpunk and near-future settings will recognize many hallmarks: hand claws, targeting systems, reflex implants, they’re all here. But there’s a lot more fun stuff, too: flamefingers, knuckleplating, retractable glass cutters — things any kind of covert operative would want in their arsenal. There’s even some creative takes on old staples that help add a unique spin and flavor, allowing the Covert Ops versions of these implants to stand out from other game lines in the style.

Punk Not Included

When I was whipping up my own cyberpunk games, I’ve joked time and time again that I was going to need to stop calling them cyberpunk, and instead bill them as “modern day espionage.” While the angsty “fight the system” dystopian flavor isn’t here, the cyber definitely is. Those just wanting cybernetic ninja spies kicking ass will be pleased; those wanting “d00Lite cyberpunk” should be happy here, too, though. But to be fair, there is something to be said about “cybernetic spy-fi” in its own light. Bringing cybernetics to the modern game has its own implications and plot hooks, and it’s a concept I’m excited to explore at the table.

Bottom Line

I’m impressed with the work here. For $2.99, you’ll get a PDF chock full of new implants to expand the gadgetry and arsenal of your Covert Ops operatives. Fans who’ve been wanting to make the game system their new cyberpunk alternative shouldn’t be disheartened by the more “near-modern” implied setting, and folks who’ve been wanting a hint of science fiction without the dystopian angst will be pleased as well. In short, for a few bucks you can infuse your Covert Ops game with some hard-hitting implants to raise the threat level a few notches. Get on it!

This product will be available on RPGNow this coming Monday.
If you haven’t already, go grab yourself a copy of Covert Ops!



2 thoughts on “Early Look: “The Neumann Protocol” for COVERT OPS”

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