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View Full Version : "Shadowrun" themed RPG system, but lighter



Madeiner
2016-03-12, 04:44 PM
Hi there!
I'm considering doing a small campaign in a custom setting that has elements of sci-fi/fantasy/cyperpunk.
In general the campaign would be very similar to a shadowrun campaign, where PCs take on specific missions and try to kill/stealth/assassinate through them.

I had a brief look at Shadowrun rpg (and read some reviews about it) but it's way to complex for what i want to do.
We are currently running 5e; that is just about right with regards to system complexity and tactical possibilities (the same cannot be said for pathfinder/3.5; i don't want anything as complex as that)

For infiltration parts, i've considered using the DREAD rules (Jenga; if the tower falls, you are discovered) and integrating them with the system's stealth skill (more skill, less blocks to pull for a given action) if the system i end up using is lacking in that department.

So what i'm looking for is a system that allows for cinematic action; discouraging all-out combat; encouraging stealthy approaches and assassinations. Preferably in a cyberpunk-like setting. Must not be more complex than 5e, but neither narrative/too simple like numenera.

Can anybody suggest me something to look at?

ImNotTrevor
2016-03-12, 04:55 PM
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/986437/sixth_world_revised.pdf

Reskin of Apocalypse World that turns it into Shadowrun.

You may need to pick up Apocalypse World for maximum understanding.

But it's probably not what you're looking for because it is narrative focused, not mechanics focused. And I guess simpler than Numenera. (I wouldn't call it simpler, personally. Just way less numbery.)

Madeiner
2016-03-13, 07:12 AM
Thanks; i will read this one up in the following days.
I checked out Technoir for now, but i'm not really convinced it's the right one. I also found some titles to skim: The sprawl, WOIN future, cyberpunk 2020 and a few more. If anyone has info about these, please share :)

How do you feel about Sixth's world (or Apoc world's) lethality and stealth options?

ImNotTrevor
2016-03-13, 07:56 AM
Thanks; i will read this one up in the following days.
I checked out Technoir for now, but i'm not really convinced it's the right one. I also found some titles to skim: The sprawl, WOIN future, cyberpunk 2020 and a few more. If anyone has info about these, please share :)

How do you feel about Sixth's world (or Apoc world's) lethality and stealth options?

Depends on how you use your moves. But every player has the option to ignore potentially lethal damage in exchange for a permanent loss to one of their stats. If you houserule this out it can make things more Lethal, but honestly death is the LEAST interesting tool Apocalypse World systems give you to make your players sweat. They tend more towards making their lives miserable, complicated, and self-destructive before anything else.

Stealth is handled with one roll (Act Under Fire) and is based on the Cool stat in AW. Of course, this is easily changed according to the required pace of the narrative. (Ie, they roll it for each floor of the building, or just once for a simple break in.)
Working in disguises and such is easy to craft out of the moves or a couple of custom moves.

(Something like...
When you DON A DISGUISE and use it to fool someone, roll +Hot. On a 10+, they buy it. You are who you say. On a 7-9, the MC picks one:
-They confront you about their doubts
-They let you pass but call it in
-They make a more thorough search, just to be sure.
On a miss, they see right through it. )

I'm not sure how well it would work for Heist-centric play, because I've never tried it for that. For lots of Heist stuff I could recommend reskinning Blades in the Dark, but I don't think that's the exact feel desired.

Apocalypse World and its hacks tend to be more focused on the interpersonal and the narrative portions of the fiction, rather than the action scenes. It would be really good for introducing someone to the feeling of the Shadowrun world, first and foremost. The world and its secrets, emotions, dramas, and dangers will be pulled open and brougut to the players. If that means heists, then it means heists. But it can mean a lot of things.

Mark Hall
2016-03-14, 12:04 PM
My go-to in a lot of these is "Savage Worlds". I think it would be relatively easy to hack (no pun intended) into a Shadowrun expy. Apocalypse World could work well, though.

Madeiner
2016-03-14, 12:51 PM
A few more days have passed; i know quite a lot more about systems.

I read up on apocalypse world and savage worlds.
I like them both, but i feel savage world is "just another" d&d, looks quite a bit crunchy. I read up Interface zero 2.0, which is basically savage worlds with cyberpunk equipment. Looks very "scalable" (my setting will have the government very strong, through superior equipment) which is perfect for me.

I also read sixth world, and i read up the base rules for dungeon worlds (which should be the same as apoc world).
I really like what i see. When i want to climb in savage worlds, i make a check to measure distance travelled. When i do so in apocalypse world, i make a check to see which interesting thing is going to happen.
This is great! I like that a lot. I can get the feel that i want by creating new moves (i just made one: Assassinate: rolled when target is surprised. Pick 1/2 between: Target cannot take any action before death; The kill is clean; You cover all your traces) which is just so perfect.
A couple of custom stealthy moves would cover most of what i want to emphasize in my specific setting.

However, sixth world is way too tied in the shadowrun setting. Classes are pretty specific (my group will start as common people) and there's too much material i would not use (virtual reality, spirits, astral plane, possibly magic) which is built into the classes.
I also still feel i don't quite "get" the apoc world engine yet. I don't know how to initiate MC actions, nor how to make stronger or weaker enemies, but that will probably come with time. Some things seems to be missing (what move do we use for trying to open an alarmed door?)

Can you guys suggest me another apocalypse world hack, with more generic cyberpunk rules?
I'm looking for something that allows high-tech equipment to make a big difference, and to make people heavily dependant on what gear they carry for their power level.
Also, some trick on how to make everything deadlier (but not unbalanced)?

ImNotTrevor
2016-03-14, 02:15 PM
A few more days have passed; i know quite a lot more about systems.

I read up on apocalypse world and savage worlds.
I like them both, but i feel savage world is "just another" d&d, looks quite a bit crunchy. I read up Interface zero 2.0, which is basically savage worlds with cyberpunk equipment. Looks very "scalable" (my setting will have the government very strong, through superior equipment) which is perfect for me.

I also read sixth world, and i read up the base rules for dungeon worlds (which should be the same as apoc world).
I really like what i see. When i want to climb in savage worlds, i make a check to measure distance travelled. When i do so in apocalypse world, i make a check to see which interesting thing is going to happen.
This is great! I like that a lot. I can get the feel that i want by creating new moves (i just made one: Assassinate: rolled when target is surprised. Pick 1/2 between: Target cannot take any action before death; The kill is clean; You cover all your traces) which is just so perfect.
A couple of custom stealthy moves would cover most of what i want to emphasize in my specific setting.

However, sixth world is way too tied in the shadowrun setting. Classes are pretty specific (my group will start as common people) and there's too much material i would not use (virtual reality, spirits, astral plane, possibly magic) which is built into the classes.
I also still feel i don't quite "get" the apoc world engine yet. I don't know how to initiate MC actions, nor how to make stronger or weaker enemies, but that will probably come with time. Some things seems to be missing (what move do we use for trying to open an alarmed door?)

Can you guys suggest me another apocalypse world hack, with more generic cyberpunk rules?
I'm looking for something that allows high-tech equipment to make a big difference, and to make people heavily dependant on what gear they carry for their power level.
Also, some trick on how to make everything deadlier (but not unbalanced)?

Opening and Alarmed Door is still Act Under Fire (or Defy Danger in Dungeon World terms).

Here, the Fire is "The Alarm Goes Off."

MC moves are activated as a response to failed rolls, or to start a cascade of moves and counter-moves. And pretty much whenever applicable.

Stronger enemies have higher Armor and deal more Harm. As you develop Threats, they may get custome moves.

I can actually link you to...https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1whsN3C5e31CZfo8hqlJbiKTPBX9kkCDSEG_An9FlP5s/edit?usp=docslist_api

A big spreadsheet of every Apocalypse World hack. Just look for Shadowrun/Cyberpumk/Sci Fi under the Genre column. Examples are:
Anonimos
Headspace
Running in New Orleans
Sixth World
The Sprawl
Wired World

Although, one of the premises for PbtA systems is that the characters are special in some way to start. So you may want to do the "Average Joes" thing with a simple class that has only Basic Moves and +0 in everything, then let them pick a class when you fast forward to them being hardcore.

Quertus
2016-03-14, 04:14 PM
I was just talking with a group about which system to use for playing in a futuristic setting. We discussed shadow run, cp2020, mutants and masterminds, fate, and d20. I'll have to take a look at the other systems mentioned here.

Lentrax
2016-03-14, 04:19 PM
Must not be more complex than 5e, but neither narrative/too simple like numenera.

Can anybody suggest me something to look at?

In all honesty, this pretty much rules out anything written explicitly for a cyberpunk world.

I don't know much about the complexity of 5E, but d20 modern with d20 future may be worth the look. Same basic mechanics and plenty of flexibility along with the ability to be a 'random Joe' at low level.

Madeiner
2016-03-14, 04:41 PM
In all honesty, this pretty much rules out anything written explicitly for a cyberpunk world.

I don't know much about the complexity of 5E, but d20 modern with d20 future may be worth the look. Same basic mechanics and plenty of flexibility along with the ability to be a 'random Joe' at low level.

Well actually interface zero 2.0 is cyberpunk specific (savage worlds hack) and looks pretty similar to 5e in terms of complexity. Maybe a bit less but not much.



Thanks for the links and explanation, Trevor :) Much appreciated
Also the no-class beginning looks a simple but effective way to handle starting average joes.

ImNotTrevor
2016-03-14, 05:35 PM
Well actually interface zero 2.0 is cyberpunk specific (savage worlds hack) and looks pretty similar to 5e in terms of complexity. Maybe a bit less but not much.



Thanks for the links and explanation, Trevor :) Much appreciated
Also the no-class beginning looks a simple but effective way to handle starting average joes.

No problem, broski.

One thing that is important to know about PbtA systems is that one of the only things they DO NOT do well is plots established in advance. It is good to have ideas for fronts and threats, but pre-written plots don't work well. So keep that in mind.

Madeiner
2016-03-21, 04:16 AM
Ok well, i'm ready to give sixth world a try :)
Can anyone suggest a simple one-session adventure to allow me to playtest the system with my players?

ImNotTrevor
2016-03-21, 04:34 AM
Ok well, i'm ready to give sixth world a try :)
Can anyone suggest a simple one-session adventure to allow me to playtest the system with my players?

A Johnson contacts the group's Fixer with a job opportunity. There's a low-brow bar in a high-brow neighborhood, and they want it gone. They don't care how. It just has to go.

Madeiner
2016-03-30, 02:08 PM
Just a report of what we did here :)

We playtested sixth world. I liked it a lot, even if the ruleset is full of bugs and small mistakes, but nothing too hard to fix.
Some rules are clearly not working, but again, i might decide to fix them. I've tried to contact the authors and, since they are not updating the project, i wanted to ask if they could clarify a few things to me, but i got no answers.

I still liked the generic ruleset a lot. It just has potential. My players were not convinced, and felt something was wrong, especially when combat broke out. They found the system too lethal, and seemed like the enemies were getting to many "moves" or turns.
I read up the dungeon world guide before playing, which explains *world systems, and i thought i followed it pretty closely, but i will have to have another playtest to confirm it.

Another thing that i feel we will change is the dice. We feel that a +1 on a roll means you are an amateur, and a +3 or +4 means you are a master. I want more granularity than that, in order for more character/gear progression, so i might remake the math to use 2d10 or 2d12 and use more granular stats numbers.

Anyway, i basically prepped an adventure in less than 1 hour, and we had a very interesting turn of events. That would have been impossible in d&d, and it would have taken me 4-5 hours to make the same adventure.
The fact that you CANNOT plan in this game is very, very much true. Much more than i imagined. Also, way more fun than i imagined.

ImNotTrevor
2016-03-30, 08:08 PM
I would recommend having the badguys only take turns and do harm in response to failed rolls from the characters or partial successes. (As the hitch.)

Remember, dealing Harm is one of your GM moves and it is a VERY intense move in this system. Try utilizing other moves in combat to make it feel more dynamic. Remember, death should feel like the boring option. Because it is. It's way more fun to put them into difficult situations.

As for granularity, most PbtA systems cap at +3. For this reason they're best at short campaigns rather than long ones, unless characters swap out a lot.

As for moves, i can recommend the Barf Forth Apocalyptica forums. They discuss crap like that all the time. I'm sure someone will have ideas for you. I might take a look at some of the things in Sixth World myself, because as it stands it is just a reskin, not a standalone system on the PbtA framework. I'm working on a PbtA system in my spare time, but it's not compatible with what you want. (Sadly)

Madeiner
2016-04-01, 06:31 PM
Thanks again :)

I read up some more, made more tests, and found out i wasn't playing the game right the first time around.
I used defy danger in combat way too much, when i shouldn't. Dungeon world specifies that there should be ANOTHER danger other than the one you are addressing right now, in order to need to roll defy danger.

I also found out a few different versions of sixth world floating around, and i studied dungeon world. Will also study the original Apocalypse world, then likely design a modification of Sixth world exactly the way i want it.

About the distribution, since i plan for a longer game, i made some math and discovered i can use 2d10 instead of 2d6; with target numbers 11 and 16 (instead of 7 and 10) and i get the same distribution, but more granularity (bonuses can get up to +6, with each plus being worth about half of a plus in 2d6).

Still, i think PbtA has GREAT potential. Depending on how the next 6 months go, i might throw out DnD entirely in favor of dungeon world. You made me discover a great system :D

Ravian
2016-04-03, 08:51 PM
I'm currently making a conversion of Shadowrun. But I'm not sure that you'll be interested in it. The new system (Deadlands Classic if anyone's interested) isn't really rules-light. It's basically a more crunchy version of Savage Worlds, so if you think that's too crunchy, you probably aren't going to be interested in Deadlands. The main reason I'm converting it is because I'm really used to Deadlands Classic, and I'm not really interested in learning a new really crunchy setting like Shadowrun.

Nifft
2016-04-03, 09:14 PM
A vaguely Cyberpunk rules-not-that-heavy system I've enjoyed is Leverage, which uses the Cortex system.

It supported the "heist" play-style quite well, though it's sorely lacking in some areas -- such as magic and cybernetic rules.

I suspect that the missing elements -- including the Rigger, Shaman, and Mage -- could be hacked into Cortex, since they seem to exist in other Cortext games, while preserving the overall heist-centric play-style support.