The Game: Cybergeneration: Revolution 2
The Publisher: R. Talsorian Games
Degree of Familiarity: Played it a couple of times at university, and I've done a couple of one-shots since.
Books Required: Just the corebook; the original was a supplement but this is all-in-one
I like Cybergeneration. It's eight years after the Cyberpunk time period, and the revolution's sold itself out. There's a nanotech virus going around killing adults and changing children, giving them strange powers. They hook up with the remains of the cyberpunk underground against the fascist government.
To be honest, I like it because it's a straight alternate world, rather than an attempt to tap into what gamers think of as "cyberpunk", a vision of a possible future rooted in the literature, attitudes, and politics of the early 1980s. Those were well and good in their time, but that future has happened and been discredited. Ultimately, gamer-cyberpunk is worthless wank that should be shot through the head. Cybergeneration takes that laughably shallow world to it's logical conclusion, and does so with wonderfully human protagonists.
The character's a kid between 7 and 19, a member of a youth gang in hyper-corporate America, 2028. The first step is selecting concept and what kind of gang. Concept isn't explicitly spelled out, but it helps to know who you're playing rather than just picking a splat.
Firstly, we start out on the run. Morgan Blackhand has a watcher program looking over us, and that's going to take us through chargen. We pause on the street to define our very basics: name, age, gender, and what youth gang we belong to.
First thing's first. How old is this kid? I'm thinking 13 or so, and I'm definitely going for a boy—playing a teenage girl isn't the sort of thing I could do with any ability. Parents are distant, cogs in the corporate machine. They've got no time for their lone kid. He goes all out looking for attention and looking for a rush, and he finds it in his gang. He's in a rebellious phase, but he knows better than to spend too long away from home; his folks can still guilt him, especially because they wanted him to have a brother or sister but it never happened.
For a gang, I figure he's out to push himself as far as he'll go. He wants to define his own rules and screw what the adults think. That puts him on a board, and probably an aeroboard. Not content with throwing himself around the city on wheels, the real test is when you're in the sky with only your wits keeping you alive. That makes him a Boardpunk.
As a Boardpunk, I get the Thrash skill keyed to Reflexes. That covers working a board as well as the cajones to ride a board anywhere. I get the full rating for aeroboards, half-skill for smartboards (futuristic skateboards) and quarter-skill with anything else. I get v-trodes (for accessing augmented reality), a roadrasher bodysuit, and a paintball pistol along with an aeroboard.
Finally, name and description: Shane Lopez, 13 years old. Scruffy rather than stylish, old jeans and a leather jacket over a roadrasher bodysuit. Shoulder-length sandy hair, tied back with a headband when it goes under a helmet.
Next, we have a quick run to the safehouse. It's a fun intro to the game without having to finish character creation, but it doesn't have any mechanics.
In the safehouse, we move on to the rest of character creation. There's 9 stats, and 50 points to go between them on a 2-to-8 scale. 5 is average, and I can drop that in every stat and have 5 points spare. Playing things around, I put the maximum of 8 points in Reflexes, because you need to be fucking good to control that aeroboard, and Shane's really that good. He's worked on his co-ordination and dexterity. Seven points into Cool and Luck—you need stones to stand on a lump of aerodynamic plastic and fly it above buildings, and you need a fair dose of luck to stay on the board rather than suffering the final wipeout. I figure he's got fairly good at tuning his own board, so he gets 6 points in Technical Ability. To pay for these above-average stats, I reduce Empathy to 3—he's an only child and can't be fucked with rules, including rules of social engagement. He's also lithe but not particularly strong, so Body drops to 4. All the others get five points.
I now have 40 points to drop between 12 skills including the skill from the Yogang. As a kid, if I go against anyone with an adult version of the skill, I'm at half rank. All skills are rated between 1 and 8.
First thing's first. Thrash, the Yogang skill, gets six points. Shane lives on that board. That carries over to general balance and athletic ability, so I drop five into Jock Stuff. He spends plenty of time with just his gangers around, and he knows the lingo, so four points go into GenSpeak. Four points also go into Get A Clue, the awareness skill.I drop three points in Schoolin', because he doesn't cut class all the time, and three in Streetsmarts, because he cuts class enough. Fortunately, he's got enough face to convince most adults that he couldn't be doing anything bad, giving me enough of an excuse to drop three points into Little Angel.
28 points down and only five skills to go. I think three points into Streetfighting and another three into Thiefstuff—he's quick and knows how to capitalize on what he can do. Each skill needs at least one point, so I put two each into the remaining skills and that' s me done.
Now there's another interlude, this one in the safehouse to give everyone a chance to flesh out their characters. As that happens, the characters get sick, hallucinating weird things and sweating silver. They've got the plague for sure, and that means they're going to get changed.
Now's a fun bit: equipment. Everyone gets a grand and a chance to spend it. Rather than the generic equipment lists of other games, this one's actually set up as a whole bunch of storefronts with the products on display. I like that.
From the sportsgear store I note that the roadrasher suite has an AR of 3. I also note the stats of that paintball gun. Noting that I can get acid rounds, I spring for three acid clips and two paint (it comes with one clip of paint already). That sets me back $110. I next go for a sleep-pad ($20) and a decent pendant phone ($150). My big expenditure is a D-tech Tracker and a pack of tracerpins—I'm likely to be the only one who can follow someone just about anywhere using the aeroboard. Thing is, that hits to the tune of $550. Only a hundred-seventy left. When acid painballs aren't good enough, it's time to get serious. A light autopistol with two spare clips and is a hundred and forty. With the remaining thirty bucks, I spring for four-topping pizza and soft drinks for the rest of the gang. Because I really, really like that you can get pizza and black-market guns from the same place.
The Carbon Plague
I don't have any strong feelings about what I want Sean to be. Fortunately, I can do it randomly by rolling a single d10—or, in my case, going to random.org, my one-stop shop for high-quality entropy when I don't have dice to hand. I roll because ultimately, the Carbon Plague is a bastard. It generates random changes in people. If I were doing this with a group, I'd consider building a balanced party, but as I'm doing this alone a die roll suffices.
I roll. Alchemist. He shoots, he scores. The power to dissolve and reshape matter on an atomic level. Rockawesome. This gives me the Manipulation skill, keyed off Tech, at 1. Ideally, I'd have liked to know that I was getting this earlier, so I could have made a character with more Schooling (6 points minimum to create something from something else). On the other hand, as long as there's something on hand to use as a reference things should be fine—and I can store 10 of those "blueprints" at any one time.
Character creation's over. The intro story moves on to the combat system, but that doesn't matter for these purposes.
Name: Shane Lopez
Carbon Plague: Alchemist
Thief Stuff 3
Jock Stuff 5
Get A Clue 4
Street Smarts 3
Fearless Leader 2
Little Angel 3
Thunderstrike Aeroboard (200mph/20 mins, SDP 6)
Roadrasher suit (AR 3)
Paintball Pistol (P 0 J C Special 20 1 ST), 3x acid rounds, 3x paint
Tracker & 6 tracer-pins
Light autopistol (P 0 J E DC3 10 2 UR), 2x clips
I enjoyed that. I really need to run this game again.