Quandry

So, I am in a quandry.  I am now getting more gaming than you could possibly poke a stick at but I need to play to the markets whims.  That means that I am running a DnD 5E adventure and a Pathfinder Adventure Path (two actually but who is counting?).  I was running a FATE adventure but I have a feeling that life got too much in the way of the players and that this will not be going ahead anymore.  I have been playing a lot of Android Netrunner (card game pretty much based on William Gibson’s Neuromancer books) and I have desperately been wanting to run a serious cyberpunk game.  And then there is my love for Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, a game that I actually think would do well in the store.

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In a quandry

So to my quandry, what do I do?  I have three role playing nights at the store and they are all well represented.  I normally have about 10 in the DnD group and the Pathfinder group and the other GM has a solid 6.  Role playing is in demand but what do I run?  I think that the cyberpunk setting would do really well but I want it to be gritty and realistic to suit the setting.  That immediately discounts Shadowrun as a system as it is nowhere near real enough and I literally can not stand Cyberpunk 2020 (or whatever that system is).  So I look at Cypher and FATE and do not feel that it would give me the super realistic feel that I want for this game.  Before any of you even mention it, I loathe GURPS too.  Have found it way too clunky to create the characters I need.  Is there another system out there that would do this?  I am thinking of tailoring a sci-fi system like Era the Consortium to it but it is not built for that rigid an application to the ‘net’ and its effect on the world?  If not do I create one?  I suppose I would have the ability to do it justice having a Bachelor of Computing and the like but is this a good use of my time?

On the drive to the store this morning I was turning the leaves over of this very quandry when I thought to myself that I should just run Lords of Gossamer and Shadow.  This town of Burnie that I have set up in is known for its trade disputes, bigotism, homophobia and hoons historically but it really seems to have turned a corner over the past 10 years.  I have people coming in to this store keen to learn about what I have been living for the past thirty years and it is an exciting time for the hobby.  But is Burnie ready for a Diceless game?

That plus the fact that although I have tried on several occasions to get the publisher to allow me to buy hard copies of the game for sale in my store there is always some miscommunication.  I want to be able to sell this game as I really believe it is one of the best games on the market and I truly believe that it has a long way to go and a big part to play in the development of RPG’s in the future.  Plus, this is the system that I have written a book for and I would love to sell my own book off of my role playing shelves.  Certainly, playing this game would not feel like work but is it feasible to spend time in store with a game I do not stock?

Let me know what you think I should do in this situation.  Especially let me know if you have some system ideas because I am at an impasse and would like your assistance!  Keep rolling.

5 Comments


  1. For cyberpunk I like Torg. You have two options here. The first is the Cyberpapacy’s GodNet (which is described in the Cyberpapacy and The GodNet sourcebooks, or the more realistic tech-horror realm of Tharkold (the Tharkhold sourcebook). You can strip the fantasy elements out easily (although the presence of actual demons in the GodNet (rather than daemons) is fun. Incidentally the (relatively realistic) cyber-intrusion system in Tharkhold was what Paul Hume originally wanted for Shadowrun. Although given that it is not relaunching to slightly later this year this may be problematic (they are also changing the rule systems). Although Ulisses Spiele has put the old versions up on DriveThruRPG.

    [The GodNet is a “magical” net but quite fun because of the Cyberpapacy which meshes medieval monks with cyperpunk.]

    2300AD features Cybertech in the Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook. Similarly Stars Without Number does cybertech in Polychrome (as well as associated PreTech bits and pieces). Similarly there is a cybertech supplement for Mongoose Traveller. Personally I like Dark Conspiracy but I suspect it is not realistic enough.

    TechNoir is an indie game, but more Forge-kin than simulation. The Sprawl is the only PbtA version I know, but no doubt there are more home brews available.

    I’ve seen a home-brew adaption for Leverage that worked well (it is a game about heists after all), except the MWP no longer has the licence.

    [Oops. Must run.]

    Reply

    1. [Part 2]

      These are some of the stuff that doesn’t immediately spring to mind.

      Atomik Cybertek has a big list of systemless cybertech but no real flavour behind it. Still can be useful for a checklist (as in do I have rules for this component).

      Iron Crown produced Cyber Space which has the presentation of the original Cyberpunk (and much the same feel, including system complexity, so it’s probably not to your taste.

      [Oh, and if you go Leverage steal some of the appropriate superpowers from Smallville (which is a great game in its own right that transcends the source material).]

      There is WOTC’s d20 Cyberscape and Mongoose’s OGL Cybernet if you like 3E/d20 variants. And Neurospastica for Pathfinder.

      And Interface Zero comes in more game systems than you can shake a memory stick at.

      Eclipse Phase deals with some of this, particularly with the Panopticon sourcebook that looks at habitat systems and surveillance regimes.

      John Harper did some nice character sheet for a Shadowrun inspired hack of Mouse Guard. Given the nature of Mouse Guard (and the One Ring for that matter), I can see this working well. Although there were never any details made public to my knowledge, but interpretation is fairly easy. However like most Burning Wheel games the play tends to be very formulaic – as in specific Moves (to borrow AWe terminology are used).

      Greg Hutton’s Remember Tomorrow from the person that brought you 3:16

      I’m currently having fun reading Retrofutur, a 1950’s cyberpunkish world. Emphasis on the ish. And probably not enough cyber. It’s also in French so probably no help for you.

      Shatterzone boorows heavily from the Masterbook version of Torg (and which was passed down into some of the free WEG D6 books). In particular the commo officer in the Ships sourcebook is supposed to hack the enemy ship, and they had a Hardwear Softweal cyber equipment guide.

      Underground has cyber rules (especially in the Techno sourcebook include system infiltration software. But more than that I can’t really tell you.

      Reply

  2. Eclipse Phase toned down. Problem with EP is that it is too much, but you can tone it down.

    Corporation would also be another option, but I havent actually played that myself.

    Corporia is another game that looks interesting, and has a hardcover (was a KSer).

    I do like TechNoir.

    Interface Zero 2 is ok, especially if you like Savage Worlds, but I found the logic of the cyberworld somewhat flawed.

    Verging on cyberpunk…
    Frankenstein Atomic Frontier could be interesting game.
    SLA is fun, lots of material out there.

    I think you need to overcome your personal urges and think solidly about what others want. Usually when I have tried to push a game I like on my players it dies a slow horrible awkward death. Perhaps a night of one offs, make up a list of a dozen games and run one offs and get feedback. You are trying to sell a multitude of games, not just one.

    Social games, like Fiasco, might be good also, for a more mature audience.

    Reply

  3. You are running a shop – there is no point in running stuff that you cant sell. Can you get your hands on DW or AW physical books? I *know* you want to throw some dice yourself by DW is so much fun.

    And what about some Call of Cthulhu? 7e has started shipping to kickstarters – it should be available now or very soon.

    Reply

  4. Got to agree with Damian running stuff you can not sell in your store seems like a bit of a waste be it in a system you make or one you can just not stock

    Diceless games are nice to play but not sure how many people would keep playing a one shot would be a good way to test the waters

    Call of Cthulhu would be fun to play again

    Reply

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