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[Gun Metal Games] So, a 3rd edition of Interface Zero...

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  • #31
    So...here's a small teaser of the intro to the alternate setting. I hope you like it.

    __________________________________________

    Welcome to 2092!

    Imagine if they had cryo a hundred years ago and they thawed some guy out today.

    Everyone has a place to live. There’s a machine in every kitchen that makes foods and clothes and whatever else you need for free. If it’s too small there’s a larger one down the hall and even bigger ones in the basement for everyone to share. We all have little robots in our blood to keep us healthy and in our brains to give us hyper reality. Want to learn quantum physics? Summon an avatar and start asking questions. Don’t like your walls? Make your place look like a jungle. If you can look and touch and taste and smell how is hyper real different from just plain old real?

    Seventy-five million people live on mars.

    That guy would think we lived in a paradise.

    Idiot.

    There are fifteen billion of us almost all crowded into just a handful of cities. Most of the world that isn’t flooded or poisoned is crammed full of trees trying to suck carbon back out of the air. Sure no one goes hungry, but how many of us have a job? And who wants to be the kind of nano trash that eats food from a machine or wears clothes covered in nothing but brands?

    Learned a useful skill? Want a job? The corps only hire people with real diplomas. Yeah, an avatar can teach you anything but ever since the Statue of Liberty melted poking into the wrong kind of tech is a good way to get pinged. I don’t care what they say after a while you start to feel that signal to the cops every minute.

    If you don’t keep your filters updated hyper real can stop your heart. If you’re lucky. My sister got spammed so hard she joined a cult. Something about Nigerians. She didn’t make a lot of sense before she disappeared.

    Want to get out? Sell yourself to a corp. Debt. Wage slave. Just remember, those nanos that keep you healthy? Once you sign on the dotted line they get control of them. Miss a payment and cancer eats your guts out. Painful but slow enough for you to get caught up; hopefully. The bottom line is all about percentages so not everyone makes it. And if you mess up at work they call you in sick. A week wishing you were dead is a pretty good teacher.

    And guess who pays for those tickets to mars?

    Comment


    • Skubmarine
      Skubmarine commented
      Editing a comment
      I'm having a hard time reconciling this with cyberpunk as a genre, to be frank I don't like it very much.

      I think the biggest problem I have with it is that the question of subsistence is answered in the form of nanites. No one goes hungry, no one goes sick, so no one out and dies because of who they were born to. If you are fed, clothed, housed, and have access to a magic make anything machine, and damn near unlimited knowledge and entertainment at your call, in hyper reality no less, is there a reason to sell yourself to a corp other than your own hubris?

      The difference between the haves and have-nots is actually smaller in this universe, no one has to question where their next meal comes from or if they have the right clothing for the coming winter, its not even a question of opportunity either, you are free to learn almost anything, the only time you need to pay out is if you want a diploma.
      I think nanites should be handled very carefully in cyberpunk settings. I think that nano fabricators can lead to much towards a more idealized version of the future, more Star Trek than Blade Runner.

    • Monkey
      Monkey commented
      Editing a comment
      I was thinking about Skubmarine's comments and the idea of nanoproduction in cyberpunk. It occurred to me that you can have both, if you treat it much like automation happened in the real world. Back in the day, everyone thought we were going to have all this leisure time because of automation. Instead, we have less. Rather than everyone having a nano-fac in their kitchen, what if Malmart has a couple of big ones in their store. They can print out whatever the customer wants right there. Low materials cost, no shipping or storage costs and all the savings from that gets passed on to the corp and it's shareholders, not to the consumer. The corps get richer and the poor get cheap products that break quickly, but boy is it convenient that you can get anything you want right at your local Malmart!

    • Gunmetalgames
      Gunmetalgames commented
      Editing a comment
      I agree with both of you. There's so much planning going into this, that right now everything I discuss should be considered theory, and not set in stone.

  • #32
    I'm a HUGE fan of Interface Zero 2.0 -- it and Low Life are the two settings that brought me to Savage Worlds, and continue to be the only pre-made settings I use. That being said, one of the things that I've always enjoyed about Interface Zero is the layer of complexity it adds to Savage Worlds. Savage Worlds, while intended to be "fast, furious, and fun", is also a toolbox and designed to turn the crunch up and down depending on the GM and group's tastes.

    I hope 3.0 doesn't go too far in wiping out what the rules-light brigade deems "not savage". My group enjoys the tension, complications, and stories that come from things like counting bullets, not having the appropriate skill specialization to crack this system, managing finances and taking the underpaying job to be able to finally afford that shiny new cybernetic, etc...

    Have you thought about the size format the new book will use? While I love the look of the current letter-size book, it would be nice if 3.0 somehow matched the dimensions of the new Savage Worlds Black core book. Out of all the RPGs I've collected, the Savage Worlds books look the most like a row of mismatched Legos.
    Last edited by lazergoblin; 06-09-2018, 09:09 PM.

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    • #33
      Hi sir, thanks for your support! I'm sorry about the late response; I've been pretty swamped lately. A fair bit of granularity is expected from sci-fi/cyberpunk games, and we'll have some of that, though the more detail we write, the less savage the book gets, and that runs counter to what we want to do with the 3rd edition.

      Skill specializations MAY stay, but I'm going on the record to state that I don't like them. I lost track of how many questions I received asking what a proper specialization for a given skill would be. To me, it's just not fun when you have to constantly track what specialization works for what skill, what you need to do to get that specialization, etc.

      The size of the book will ultimately be determined by the size of the manuscript. It's size will also determine whether whether we do 2 books ( a Players guide and Gm guide like many Pinnacle settings do) or one big book. Going with a smaller format is good for books that don't have a large page count, but they can have issues if you push above 300 pages.

      Comment


      • Doomande
        Doomande commented
        Editing a comment
        I would personally see it as a big loss if skill specialization goes away. While it can lead to some frustration about what specialization does what, especially with hacking, is it really weird in my book when a character suddenly can pilot any vehicle, or pick up every weapon in existence with just a single skill.

        Right now is it an optional rule, so let it stay like that and write a comment about how if there is a lot of confusion at the table can the rule go out the window, as any other rule in the rulebook.

      • lazergoblin
        lazergoblin commented
        Editing a comment
        Exactly! I feel like if any setting has skill sets as a defined trope, it would be cyberpunk. Typically you're characters who form a team of specialists because of their proficiency in a given field. If everyone is an excellent driver of every vehicle, uses every weapon with military precision, and can hack with the best of them --- well that just sounds like a bunch of Mary Sues. Keeping skill specializations as an optional rule is a must for me. It's not unique to IZ, hell it's in the core SW rule book. If people don't want to use them, they can revert to the regular skills - as you already explained in the current version of IZ.

        Speaking of which, cyberpunk is very easily pulled off with just the core SW rulebook. It's simple to trap a few weapons and vehicles with near-future descriptions, slap on a few setting rules and you're good to go. Why I run Interface Zero is because it adds definition, crunch and mild complexity that doesn't exist in the core rules.
        Last edited by lazergoblin; 06-24-2018, 07:04 AM.

    • #34
      Originally posted by Gunmetalgames View Post
      Mara: Much of what you want to see can be done, but I'd stress that "unique" options for things like weapons add a level of complexity to what is supposed to be a pretty streamlined game system. Under the Savage Worlds rules, many guns, rifles, etc are straight forward, so when it comes to new mechanics, I'm not quite sure what you mean there. If you mean MORE and DIFFERENT types of weapons, sure, that's doable. If you want ways to upgrade weapons, add special mods to weapons, that's doable too, but writing mechanics that fundamentally alter HOW guns work is counter-intuitive to the goals of this new edition.

      As for unique Psychic Powers, well, that can also be tricky, because the Savage Worlds power structure is generic enough that you can just add trappings to a power to make it unique rather than writing a new power.
      Well that is the balancing act isn't it? You need to justify the complexity that you add to the game while at the same time you may want to add complexity to entice purchasers like myself who are vastly more interested in crunch than setting.

      Have you seen Low-Life's weapon tables? It's basically a building your own weapon table to increase cost. Something like that can generate hundreds of weapons in the space of a page. Now, it's very easy to mess that up, but those are the kind of design accomplishments I am most interested in purchasing. That does remove the ability to write setting lore for each gun. but honestly I prefer letting my players handle trappings like that and their guns backstory is something they can add to the game world with little disruption.

      I do want to see more cybernetics (not necessarily more pages, Savage Worlds in general seems to get more done with less rules and pages). I do not have a good idea what that would look like. This is where I would suspect more setting information comes in. Like maybe there is bioware for breathing the radioactive waste surrounding a sunken city (no rules for breathing radioactive water) that was a failed experiment to create more land for people to live on in the crowded world and this creates a whole caste of sea people that have a hostile relationship with those on land like how the Belters dislike in the Inners in the Expanse series.
      Also, I missed the malfunction rules for cyberware. I only heard about them in 1.0, but it seems like a level of complexity totally warranted for a cyberpunk game and creates that niche that sets you apart from the Sci-fi Companion. (Also with malfunctions, cyberware can do more and be more interesting without busting the game).

      For Psychic Powers, have you seen Nova Praxis' "magic system"? It's one of the best I've seen and it's not really magic but it's brimming with unique powers and some powers just masquerading as unique (but in such a way as to justify printing them). (Nova Praxis in general is the game pushing yours down the queue for table time, though I did buy both. My request for more crunch is because that is why Nova Praxis won out. I can make cyborgs with wheels)

      Comment


      • #35
        Originally posted by Mara View Post

        Well that is the balancing act isn't it? You need to justify the complexity that you add to the game while at the same time you may want to add complexity to entice purchasers like myself who are vastly more interested in crunch than setting.

        Have you seen Low-Life's weapon tables? It's basically a building your own weapon table to increase cost. Something like that can generate hundreds of weapons in the space of a page. Now, it's very easy to mess that up, but those are the kind of design accomplishments I am most interested in purchasing. That does remove the ability to write setting lore for each gun. but honestly I prefer letting my players handle trappings like that and their guns backstory is something they can add to the game world with little disruption.

        I do want to see more cybernetics (not necessarily more pages, Savage Worlds in general seems to get more done with less rules and pages). I do not have a good idea what that would look like. This is where I would suspect more setting information comes in. Like maybe there is bioware for breathing the radioactive waste surrounding a sunken city (no rules for breathing radioactive water) that was a failed experiment to create more land for people to live on in the crowded world and this creates a whole caste of sea people that have a hostile relationship with those on land like how the Belters dislike in the Inners in the Expanse series.

        Also, I missed the malfunction rules for cyberware. I only heard about them in 1.0, but it seems like a level of complexity totally warranted for a cyberpunk game and creates that niche that sets you apart from the Sci-fi Companion. (Also with malfunctions, cyberware can do more and be more interesting without busting the game).

        For Psychic Powers, have you seen Nova Praxis' "magic system"? It's one of the best I've seen and it's not really magic but it's brimming with unique powers and some powers just masquerading as unique (but in such a way as to justify printing them). (Nova Praxis in general is the game pushing yours down the queue for table time, though I did buy both. My request for more crunch is because that is why Nova Praxis won out. I can make cyborgs with wheels)
        I haven't looked at Low Life, and have only skimmed through Nova Praxis so I can't comment on the rules you mentioned.

        I like the idea of "create your own weapon" tables, but you're right; that sort of thing can get hosed really easily. Item scaling in terms of damage has to be taken into account, as does cost, range increments, and a host of other things I can't even think of right now. You are right in that guns and backstory can be more generic, but keep in mind, gun popularity (especially in a cyberpunk game) is based on name recognition, and that to a certain extent is something of a parody of life.

        If I say "I pull out my handgun," that doesn't have as much narrative impact as it would if I say I pull out my .50 desert eagle. If a Shadowrun character pulls out his Ares Predator, npcs tend to take notice, because they are powerful weapons. Moreover, most talk about assault rifles these days specifically references AR-15s, and that's partly due to name recognition. We're being conditioned to fear the weapon because so many people use it in mass shootings.

        I like cybernetics, and I like bioware, and maybe even nanoware similar to some stuff in Deus EX, but the challenge is always about developing more and varied types that you can give some type of benefit to. It's easier to do that in say, Starfinder, but MUCH more difficult in Savage Worlds, where every tiny bonus becomes HUGE as you rise in rank. Different categories of augments (cyber,bio,nano) suffer alot, because you're getting into situations where theoretically you can have bioware that effectively does the same types of things as cybernetics, and to make sure that people can't power game and start stacking bonuses, you have to write more rules about what can stack, what can't, and so on and so forth.

        The end result isn't anywhere close to what Savage Worlds is as a game system. So, while I REALLY want to do this stuff, it has to be handled with extreme caution.

        I might write rules for malfunctions, but I'm more interested in dealing with them in terms of how they are linked/unlinked to the Tendril Access Processor. It's something I've been dealing with in my work for Starfinder, and I think it will be a lot of fun to explore for Savage Worlds.

        Edit: I really hope I didn't come across like I was "Mansplaining." Based on your username, I was assuming you were female, but it was never my intention to talk down to you. I'm simply trying to convey the things I think about when it comes top these types of subjects.
        Last edited by Gunmetalgames; 07-12-2018, 05:08 PM.

        Comment


        • #36
          The Sci-fi companion and your previous work has things like bonuses covered. Creating more niche (like +2 to dodge a grenade) bonuses is not only difficult to balance, but boring. When I ask for new kinds of cybernetics, I mean incomparables like water breathing or flight or having wheels instead of legs or replacing your arms with spider legs.
          Things like Metallo, radiating radiation at will. Or something like having a fire breathe or poison claws. With Psionics being a thing, negation fields would be cool. Or an inflatable sack that makes the user weightless. Things like grapple wires coming out your wrist or perhaps spitting sticky goo at people.

          I personally consider cybernetics and bioware to just be trappings. I wouldn't mind something like "modification bonuses don't stack". But I do understand keeping them separate in a Cyberpunk game. Nova Praxis got away with making it just a trapping distinction by being a far far future setting where technology is basically magic. Cyberware generating spider threads require far more advance tech than someone scaling up the spider organ and implanting it (with the central conceit of the genre being that the bio-compatibility issues have just been solved and can be ignored).

          Comment


          • Gunmetalgames
            Gunmetalgames commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for the feedback. I think I have an idea of what you're looking for now.

          • Doomande
            Doomande commented
            Editing a comment
            I could see the difference between cyber, bio and nanoware being trappings, that way can you not buy multiples of the same system and stack bonuses. Each trapping could have their own drawback and flair, different healing times, one trapping working better with cyborgs, other with hybrids, some few items being trapping specific perhaps. Sorry its late over here and I am just spitballing
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