Yes, I wrote this because I’ve been gushing fanboy for Mad Max: Fury Road. Honestly though I’ve been kicking these thoughts around any time I fire up Fallout or Borderlands. Regardless, I present to you a 3-page hack for REWIRED describing how I would run post-apoc wasteland using the rules. Honestly, going from cybernetic urban sprawl to post-collapse anarchy isn’t that far of a stretch. Even my base campaign setting was practically on the edge — this just allows us to kick that bastard over and watch it fall face first.
The largest change isn’t mechanical, just in attitude: it’s no longer about acquiring new drugs, new tech, more bullets and more connections on the neon-lit rainy streets. It’s about acquiring the right supplies in the hopes of getting to live another day in the radioactive fallout. To reflect this, I replaced the Wealth skill with Resources, which is broken up into three tracks: Scrap, Food and Fuel. “Cred” don’t mean shit in this type of setting — coin metal is melted down, paper money is good to wipe your ass with.
I also tossed in a couple new equipment Tags and a few Perks. For those wanting mutations, I pretty much put in a perk that reskins bionetic augmentations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of bonkers/gonzo, weird-as-fuck super mutant settings. But there are far better games out there for that kind of thing. REWIRED works as a quick, gritty, low-powered action game.
The zip file includes the three page document and an altered character sheet.
Years before I would know who Molly Millions was, I was a dorky 9 year old kid who laughed when my dad referred to my older brother’s weekend pastime as “Dungeons & Dumbass.” But then one Saturday morning, my brother had left out a book he borrowed from a friend. A book with a hot elf chick on the cover in cut off jeans, a book filled with gritty sci-fi urban landscapes, tribal shamans, and fantasy characters with electrodes plugged into their skull. And as I flipped through the full-color archetypes, the I saw turned the page to see this menacing commando with chrome eyes and wolverine claws. And at that moment I thought to myself: “WOW! I WANT TO PLAY THIS!”
And go figure… any time I showed my pre-pubescent friends the book, they all wanted to be that guy. And then I showed them trolls and they wanted to be a Troll version of that guy. (Except for the one friend who wanted to play a Dwarf Mage. That guy is a famous musician now.) Anyways, my rambling point is: When you say Shadowrun, the first thing that pops into my head is this artwork of the street samurai. Sure, he’s not an SR universe exclusive. But the Sixth World was my introduction to both role-playing games and the cyberpunk genre (which would lead me to other awesome sci-fi settings and concepts.) I didn’t even know cyberpunk was a thing, until I saw Cyberpunk 2020 and was like “What? That’s just Shadowrun without magic!” And my brother corrected me, and my fragile little mind was blown.
So today, you don’t get a cool character name or a back story. You just see the fruits of me sitting down and going: I want to recreate THAT GUY!
(And by That Guy, I mean the photo and not the original pre-made character.)
Race: Human Origin: Military Veteran (Perk: Trained Soldier) Archetype: Street Samurai
Descriptors*: Can be really nasty when backed into a corner.
Impulsive; hates to sit around planning.
Likes to drink, hates to be drunk.
Soldier Level 1 (Primary): 65%
Martial Artist Level 1 (Secondary): 53%
Thief Level 1: 45% Implants:
Subdermal Armor (Moderate)
Targeting System (Moderate)
Claws (2D+1 Damage)
Light Amplification Eyes Maneuvers:
Move-by (allows a free sprint action with a martial attack.)
Point-Blank Shot (+10 to shoot a target 2 spaces away)
9mm Master Key
Gear & Resources:
Runner Pack, Assault Rifle (Heavier Caliber, 5 clips of ammo), Muscle Car, Infiltration Pack, Fake SIN (Complex Cover Identity), Pistol (Heavier Caliber, w/ Concealed Spring Holster, 4 clips of ammo) DocWagon Contract (treated as “Commandos” Backup purchase, except all medics.) Low-rent apartment (Traveller’s Lifestyle), four fragmentation grenades, Underworld Connections (Basic Contact Group), 4140¥ remaining. Notes:
+2 STR Damage
+3 DEX Damage
Moderate Targeting System grants +10 to firearms checks, may ricochet bullets off nearby environment. -10 per bounce, -2 damage per bounce.
Quick Thoughts after creating That Guy:
Neumann Protocol implants versus SR Cyberware has a distinct difference in feel, but I kinda dig it. Eye implants are pretty invasive versus SR’s cybereyes, and the Targeting System is brutal on the cost compared to Smartgun Links. But there’s also a bit of “oomph” to these implants — the ricochet feature from Neumann Protocol is kickass imo (I always play cinematic rule of cool, even in dark gritty settings.)
Subdermal Armor made me realize I needed to make a house calling on stacking armor. In SR, dermal plating added to the stat that was used to roll to resist physical damage, whereas in CO subdermal armor straight up adds to how much damage gets soaked. It’s a difference in mechanic, but it made me realize that it opens the floodgates for someone to take subdermal armor, but on full Body Armor, and in doing so easily have a DR of 20-30.So, I’m contemplating a house rule that a character is only allowed to stack one piece of “natural” armor (Troll’s natural Dermal Plating) and one piece of “unnatural” armor (subdermal armor implants, armor jackets etc.)
So, after playing Shadowrun Chronicles: Boston Lockdown a bunch this week with Tim Kirk (of Silverlion Studios), I was inspired to whip-up SHADOW OPS: Covert Ops in the Sixth World. It’s a fan tribute to the Shadowrun franchise, inspired by the gameplay of the recent PC games using a mash-up of COVERT OPS and BareBones Fantasy from DwD Studios. I’m pretty happy with what I threw together between studying for finals, and the initial reactions from the BBF Community on G+ have been stellar. You can download the fan supplement from its page on this site.
Instead of rambling to you about how I did things (you can download it and read it yourself, chummer) I’ve decided to instead devote time over the next several days to bring you some pre-made characters. This is taking the d00lite system and cranking it up to 11, using a plethora of different options all at once. May be meaty compared to a normal BBF or Covert Ops character, but it sure as hell still feels elegant compared to a typical Shadowrun character sheet. (I say that with love.)
So to start things off, I’m bringing an Elven Adept by the name of Hideaki. He’s a former member of the Scarlet Strike gang, lucky to be alive after failing to take out their leader, Katsuo, in a bold power play. With ambitions to someday run Katsuo off their turf, Hideaki turned to a life in the shadows with ambitions of restoring his reputation, making powerful connections, and turning Katsuo’s own allies against him.
Hideaki is cold, ambitious, and domineering. He excels at hand-to-hand combat, but can also be quite crafty with a sidearm. A noteable talent is his uncanny talent for fighting in the dark, making him a deadly stalker in the shadows. He’s also quite influential, as has managed to keep some connections with former Scarlet Strikers and various dealers back on his home turf.
Race: Elf Origin: Ganger (Perk: Alpha) Archetype: Adept Descriptors:
+ Those who’ve heard of me, respect me.
– Some Scarlet Strikers still have it out for me.
This week’s REWIRED Wednesday caught me off guard, so my next supplemental article won’t hit the datasphere until next week.
In the mean time — how about some mood music? Spotify listeners can enjoy my REWIRED playlist:
If you’re needing more atmospheric, less intense background music for your games — I recommend this Cyberpunk playlist by James Wong. Over 38 hours of tracks have been collected (and he continues to add more!)
What artists do you listen for your cyberpunk role-playing? Feel free to recommend some noise in the comments!