View Full Version : Original System A original system for Syndicate game, by Bullfrog (1994)

2018-01-16, 06:54 PM

This system is based on the classic isometric RPG/god-game Syndicate, by Bullfrog. I played a lot on my 486 back in 1994 and always remembered the clever mechanics and distinct dynamic sound effects. In the game, you are a faceless CEO of a thriving mega-corporation, trying to dominate the territories occupied by other corps around the world. To achieve your goal you have at your disposal special agents capable of dealing with a multitude of situations. These agents are mindless puppets, taken by force and turn into robots awaiting for your commands. And more: assassination, kidnapping, sabotage, etc, are all fair game in your war for world domination.

That was the plot of the game but players can come out with different approaches to the conflict. Fredon fighter trying to reverse the tide of increasing corporates ethics and morals, seclusive religious groups trying to bring humanity back to a New Age God fortune, anti-technological movements calling for the end of human augmentation and many more options are viable. The mechanics can be tweaked to allow the use of humans or other shapes, not just witless cyborgs.

My idea behind this was to create a simple yet fun set of rules to grab the feel that I felt while playing this game back in the day. No tables or special cases, just a fistful of parameters and a powerful mechanic. I am looking for players to test this thing that enjoys experimentation and dystopian futures. We will be playing at the virtual table from the Rolld20 site and talk through audio if my rust English allows it.

Agents respond based on four basic variables:

- Health: Capacity of sustaining ordinary damage. agents are able to sustain blood loss, pain and tiredness to a point, normally much greater than what an unmodified human would cope with. However, even them have their limitations. Nonordinary damage like burning, dismembering, sense mutilation, etc., produce special effects beyond the health damage. Health is related to the levels of the other three variables and the extent of augmentation an agent can sustain. When the health drop to 0, the agent falls unconscious.

- Intelligence: Degree of tactical thinking and risk assessment. Higher values mean that the agent will take extra steps to not get hit, like taking cover and moving while shooting, judge better situations and will understand complex commands more completely.

- Perception: Awareness and precision. Higher values mean the agent will more easily hit attacks.

- Adrenaline: Reaction speed and muscle explosiveness. Higher values mean the agent will be able to produce peak feats of strength (lifting, dragging, sprinting, etc.) and act faster than his opponents.

IPA levels are not static. On his turn, or after if the situation allows it, the player may increase the IPA levels by activating drug dispenser inside the body of the agent. Larger doses give larger results but take longer to recuperate from overdose effects, if any, and increases resistance to new applications. Resistance to drugs means that larger doses are needed to achieve the same effect. The opposite can be done too. By forcibly removing the number of linked substances (aka blocking) in the bloodstream, the puppeteer may turn the agent more sensible to smaller doses.

All agents start with 5 levels in each IPA variable. An increase of 1 point on any of the IPA variables creates 1 point of resistance, a blocking of 1 decreases 1 point of resistance or turns the subject more sensitive to drugs, doubling the effects. It is considered susceptible to drugs the agent with IPA levels of 4 or less. Resistance and susceptibility don't come all at once, increasing 1 step at a time. So, if a dose of 5 is applied, the resistance will increase by 5, 1 level by turn. The same happens with the opposite, susceptibility. The intensity of an application decays 1 point per turn as well, therefore, a dose of 5 will take 5 rounds to cease and the intensity will decrease to 4 after 1 round, 3 after 2 and so on. The amount of drug at disposable at any given time is twice the current health value of the agent.

In a game, IPA variables are the main way of interacting with the world and their objects. The dice used is preferably the d100 or d10, but d20 and d6 can be used too. Players roll the dice and add to the result any value linked to the save like one or more IPA, environmental and conditional variables. For example, the GM asks a player to roll if their agent is able to jump across a gap between two buildings. The difficulty is based upon a generic scale, 0 to 10 by default. He may ask the player an obvious adrenaline skill save or mix it with other variables like a howling wind that blows perpendicularly to the gap, a heavily injured leg that severely diminishes the power the limb can produce, etc. To keep things simple, every variable will be gauged on a scale of 0 to 10. If players decide to increase the math involved, higher ranges can be used instead.

Puppeteers command their agents through actions. Actions are specific orders (attack this thug, climb this wall, etc) and can happen during the player's turn, after or in parallel with other actions done by other players. Some actions progress very fast (reload a handgun or draw a knife), others may take more than the players turn to conclude (crossing the street while suppress firing). GM and players are encouraged to discuss the time needed in cases where good sense don't present an obvious answer. Adrenaline has great importance in this part. Higher levels of this hormone allow the agent to act first and even twice if an exceptionally good situation happens.

"Agents interact with the world through an arsenal of weapons, protective armors, body modifications and gadgets, puppeteers through an arsenal of social skills and plotting".

Weapons and armors come in several forms and functionalities, even more, if one considers the modifications at disposable. Gadgets are specialized devices, developed to solve a specific problem and also come in different forms and shapes. Grafts or augmentations are the pinnacle of the technology and dramatically alters the capacities of agents, at cost of their overall health (and resources, a lot).

Summary of Weapons:

Ordinary guns: melee weapons, handguns, and submachine guns, saw off shotguns, deer hunting rifles, etc. In sum anything that can be hidden under a trenchcoat and available to anyone with good contacts and/or money.

Handgun -> concealable, damage 1d3, medium range
Shotgun, 12 gauge -> damage 1d5, cripple, short range
SMG -> concealable, damage 1d3, medium range
Knife -> concealable, 1d3, cripple, sneaky attack (+4)
Hunting Rifle -> 1d6, very long range, sneacky attack (+4)

Special Guns: Military degree weapons like assault rifles, explosives, and launchers, machine guns with belt feeding, etc. Basically what someone would expect in an army and not in the backyard of someone cousin.

Assault Rifle -> 1d5, long range, armor piercing (3)
Grenade launcher -> 1d8, explosive damage, medium range, cripple, AoE, knockdown
Sniper Rifle -> 1d8, very long range, armor piercing (4), sneaky attack (+4)

Summary of Armors:

Light Armors: Protective clothing, high-density non-metal materials (HDNM), etc. Light, malleable and concealable, they can save a regular person from a small gunshot.

Reinforced Trench Coat -> AC 2, light, malleable, concealable.
HDNM Body Armor -> AC 4, light.
Riot Shield -> AC 3, handheld.

Heavy Armors: Steel and ceramics plates, breaching shields, anti fragments vest, etc. Heavy, hard and tiresome, just what should you wear in case of a war inside of your bedroom erupts.

Tactical Infantry Body Armor -> AC 6, heavy, impervious to ordinary guns.
Anti-Bomb Squad Vest -> AC 8, very heavy, tiresome, IOG, reflective plates (4).

Augmentations or Grafts:

Allows faster movement and reduce the difficulty of tasks related to movement.

Allows carrying heavier weapons without slowing down and reduce the difficulty of tasks related to strength.

Decrease damage is taken from enemy bullets. Regenerate damage.

Longer sustenance of the intelligence hormone.

Longer sustenance of the adrenaline hormone.

Longer sustenance of the perception hormone.