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Foglet
Jun 17, 2014

Reality is an illusion.
The universe is a hologram.
Buy gold.
As far as I can remember, the word "Kaiso" doesn't mean much of anything related to "social standing" in Japanese. What it is, though, is a seaweed salad mix.

I ran quite a lengthy Kuro campaign for two of my best friends, and the three of us have had an awesome time. One played a spoiled teen heir to the high class Genocracy family who was also a famous pop idol; he usually took charge of social interactions and - especially at the earlier stages - also served as a go-to know-it-all for Japanese myths, legends and bestiaries. The other was his ex-military Russian bodyguard, grizzled and cynical, and his areas of expertise were mainly combat and investigation. This duo had outstanding chemistry.

However. All the complaints listed here are 100% true. I, as a GM, absolutely felt that most of the time I was working against the books rather than in synch with them, which is a drat pity, since the premise (Ghost in the Shell meets Ringu meets Forbidden Siren) is what I liked a lot.

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Midjack
Dec 24, 2007



JcDent posted:

I have a hard time imagining why people from such different backgrounds would meet and work together (unless they all wake up in the same room clad in black spandex and there's a morning radio programme playing).

Your lives have ended. What you do with your new lives is entirely up to me. That's the theory, anyway.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



ACTION AND EVOLUTION

Which is to say, combat mechanics and character growth.

COMBAT

Right, so. If you recall, you get as many actions equal to half your Reflexes rounded up. These are not taken during the same turn, you just get X actions before the next round begins proper. Initiative is a stat check, which means you roll REAd6 and then add REA x 2 to the result. Unfortunately this is the kind of game where you roll initiative every round and people act simultaneously on a tie.

One thing this game does right is it basically breaks attacks down into easily digestible sidebars to share.



This doesn't, however, include grappling rules and melee modifiers. Grappling is...grappling. It's a Hand to Hand melee attack where the Margin of Success is added to your next grapple check (opponent makes Attributed6+HTH check, you make the same but add the margin to the result, if you lose they break free, if you win you note the new MOS for the next attempt). You can't do anything else but grapple while grappling, but if you manage to have a MOS equal to double the grapple-e's Strength, you instantly restrain them so well they can no longer escape and can be handcuffed or tied up with no issue.

Ranged weapons are different, mostly relying on the range you're fighting at instead of Defense.



Moral of the story: shoot into melee.

Damage is calculated by rolling weapon damage, adding the Margin of Success and then subtracting any protections the target might have. The rules about 4s and exploding 6s do not apply to damage. Remember: if you get dealt more than you Serious Wound Threshold, you get -1 to all dice rolls until you get healed and this all stacks. It's completely possible to get to the point where you can't roll dice anymore and just have your skills to go off of, but the GM should probably rule that you're out of the fight at that point.

Other forms of damage:
  • Falling: Falling damage deals (meters fallen-1)d6 damage. If the fall is less than 3 meters, TN 12+fall height Dex check to negate all damage. If 3-6 meters, TN 12+fall height Dex check to take half damage. Any higher than that and you take all the damage.
  • Asphyxiation: you automatically hold your breath for Stamina minutes. After that, take 2 damage every turn.
  • Strangling: while being grappled, the grappler can automatically inflict 1d6+Strength damage on their victim by choking them.
  • Drowning: depends on the conditions of the water. Make a Swimming check when you enter the water. If you fail, make another Swimming check. Fail that and you start drowning and then asphyxiation rules apply.
  • Burning: automatically take damage as long as you're in contact with the heat source.


Pathogens and Drugs

Pathogens and drugs have a Virulence which is basically the TN you have to beat to resist infection or poisoning. If it's a drug, failing a resist means addiction. If it's a pathogen, you roll at the end of every period of infection and add +1 to the TN for every attempt to overcome it. Failure means you're still sick, success means you're recovering and healing.




HEALING

In ideal conditions, you heal Stamina/2 (round up) points every day. Serious Wounds heal first and they heal one at a time, the eventual gain of points wiping the Serious Wound off. Then the remainders of damage are healed once the Serious Wounds are gone. So if you have 2 7 point SWs and 3 damage from somewhere else, you heal 7 points to eliminate one wound, 7 for the second and then the others just heal normally. This is a bit overcomplicated and also clunky.



If you were brought below 0, you should get emergency care ASAP. It's TN 12+the character's current points in the negatives to raise their HP to 1 and stabilize them. Failure or inability to act means you lose 1 HP and slip closer to death. However, even if you hit your Death Threshold, there's a chance of what the game calls an ER Miracle. The ER doctors have to make a check where the TN is 24-victim's DT+how many minutes it's been since their death. So if someone died on the table a minute ago and their DT is 10, it's a TN 15 to save them. Success means that the victim is stabilized at their DT +1 and will need to recover in a coma.

While under the care of a doctor or hospital, the doctor can make a daily check where the TN is half the hit points the patient has lost, round up. So a character with 45 HP has lost 45 HP which means that the doctor's TN is 23. Whoops. The Margin of Success heals extra points per day if they make the check but at least one HP must be healed naturally by the victim to completely heal. Doctors can also heal poisoning/disease by rolling against the Virulence and allowing for quicker recovery: MOS hasten recovery and the symptoms disappear in 6-STAM days.

CHARACTER IMPROVEMENT

XP points are used to upgrade Characteristics, Skill Areas and Skill Specializations.
  • Characteristics are raised by spending 4 XP per point of intended level, no skipping levels. You recalculate secondary characteristics.
  • Skill Areas are raised by spending double the intended level, no skipping levels.
  • Specializations are raised by spending points equal to the next level.
  • New Skill Areas cost 15 points to learn.
  • New Specializations cost twice the number of the next level.

THE EQUIPMENT CHAPTER

Okay, fortunately I don't have to go too in depth with most of these weapons. For melee weapons, they all have Reaction modifiers which add or remove dice from your Reaction stat uses.




Firearms are heavily monitored and restricted in Japan. There are ways to hide them but, like, this is a cyberpunk game where it's going to be hard to own a gun and walk around with them w
which is kind of strange.



Anyway the firearms that actually get names are given two separate prices: bought legally and black market. For some reason literally none of the other types of gun get a price. "Hello yes I am a homeless man. I have no money. I have a bolt-action rifle because it has no price and doesn't fit my character design."
  • The 9mm Palladium is an American revolver fancied by the Yakuza, some models containing digital fingerprint scanners to lock when used by anyone other than the owner. 99K Y/190K Y.
  • The Daewoo DP600 was made by the Federation and has good stopping power. 100K/160K.
  • The Tombstone Shotguns are pump-action and double-barreled. They were recalled from the Chinese market due to the fact that the reloading mechanism doesn't work properly if only one barrel is empty and is prone to jams as a result. 200K/250K.
  • The Arisaka Type 800 is a SMG used by Japanese special units, firing explosive bullets. 450K/600K.
  • The Sharpshooter MX has a special sight that gives a +2 bonus to shooting thanks to an aiming program and uses special polymer bullets. 410K/710K.



You have to declare that the gun is loaded with special ammo before you use it. Otherwise there's no price for regular ammo, I guess. Which is alright, I'm fine with that rule, it's just that you get a finite amount of special ammo (sold in boxes of 10 unless it's Lightwave which is per price of one bullet) unless it's plastic ammo which is just...unknown how much you get. The only thing of note to explain here is Nanoglaser dealing +2 damage and Uirusu ammo carrying a bacterial/viral/toxin payload that you're exposing the victim to.

Gauss Weapons are silent and have redundant charging systems to supply the internal battery: photovoltaic and thermal sensors draw light and heat when held and the holster has a kinetic charger for when the gunman is moving.
  • The Undertaker fires 1.5 CM metal spikes. 300K/590K.
  • The CZ has the power of an assault rifle, shooting bursts of 20 metal balls that blow through the victim. 600K/900K.
  • The Yato Tracer shoots nanotracers, meaning you can plug someone and then track the struck victim. 450K/650K.
  • The Hakkotsu Rifle is a pistol that needs a Netbones system to function; it has no trigger and requires a preset stimulus to fire once in the user's hand, like thumb position or jaw movement. It's made out of organic ceramic so it's harder to detect but does less damage because of the low stopping power of its small magnetic balls. 900K/1.3M.


Directed Energy Weapons require so much energy to use you can't just rely on solar or heat or kinetic power. They need separate power supplies to function like a backpack or a battery.
  • Lasers are like longarms attached to a cold fusion generator backpack via a cable. The CFG backpack has enough power for 30 short range or 10 long range shots before needing to be recharged. They do a crazy amount of damage, able to cut through concrete or metal. 15M/30M.
  • UV Lasers are heavy shoulder cannons that ionize the air between the barrel and the target. It paralyzes targets with electrocution and can be use nonlethally...but still causes eye damage and possible heart attacks. 18M/40M.
  • Ultrasound Cannons are cone-shaped guns that beam highly powerful sounds into people's ears that cause paralysis or catatonia...or bleeding or brain damage from prolonged exposure. 9M/16M.
  • Infrasound Cannons are completely undetectable and can pass through walls. You point and shoot from a distance to cause nausea, disorientation, vomiting and possible organ damage from biophysical infrasound damage. 20M/50M.


Nonlethal Weapons have replaced standard police arms and as a result Japanese cops are pretty willing to use them to take criminals down. On the other hand, Yakuza still murder people, so it's not like everyone's playing safe. Nonlethal weapons are divided into Antipersonnel or Anti-materiel with the latter generally used to disrupt vehicles or items or other materials.
  • Tasers come in baton form. 33K/40K.
  • Shockguns are pistols that use magnetic coils to deliver shockwaves that knock targets prone. Standard issue for police. 90K/120K.
  • Shockgun Blasters are rifle forms of shockguns, functioning like a pump-action shotgun where each pump charges the coil. 200K/500K.
  • Gel Cannons are double-barreled guns attached to backpacks that shoot glue that hardens but is air permeable to allow entombed victims to breathe. It's not completely safe, though: too much gel on a target can cause suffocation. The victim can break free with an Opposed Strength check vs. the damage. 200K/500K.
  • Electric Nets only deal damage when the person inside of the net moves. Remaining still is the only way to remain unharmed. 100K/150K.
  • Flashballs are basically like rubber slugs, hard rubber balls meant to knock the wind out of a target. 60K/130K.
  • MkGaz is an invisible hallucinogen inside of cartridges or grenades that causes a preprogrammed response: flight, fright, crying or a horrifying hallucination. Exposure to the gas forces an Opposed Willpower check vs. the damage where failure means the victim is exposed to the hallucination for 2 hours. 60K/130K.
  • Voice 2 Skull transmits silent microwaves into the skull of the target that tells people to do certain things. Opposed Will check to resist. Originally used to tell birds to go away from airports, now it's used for hostage situations. 60K/130K.
  • Holograms are emitted from small projectors and controlled by Pods to create sounds, sights or stimuli. The police use them to trick criminals into thinking something has happened. 900K/2M.
  • Rampaku is a liquid that's used in prisons to suspend prisoners in an emotionless state and sap their willpower. It looks like eggwhites and is fired from a cannon in a plastic shell that shatters. Skin contact forces an Opposed Will Check to not be made numbed for 10 minutes. The only defense is to completely cover your skin. 1.2M/3M.
  • Tachyon Nukes are fired from grenade launchers, used to spread chaff over a 4 meter radius for 5d6 minutes that inhibits Pods, Gantai and transmissions.
  • Switches are EMP grenades that permanently fry all electronics and photonics in a 4 meter radius.
  • Dragonfly Drones are a few centimeters long and piloted by Gantai that have onboard electromagnetic generators that disrupt tech where they land in a 2 meter radius for 7d6 minutes. 3M/10M.


Heavy Weapons are normally held by waldos or military vehicles or exoskeletons.
    Machine Gun: 15.4 M/20M.
  • Shockwave Cannons act like a mix between a EMP and a shockgun except they're quite dangerous, capable of flipping cars, destroying all electronics around the point of impact and requiring a lot of generator power to fire. 12M/30M.
  • Thermal Walls shoot microwaves into a room, cooking the inhabitants by raising the temperature with the intent of making people evacuate the area or psychologically intimidating them. They absolutely can be used to kill people by cooking them alive, however. 15M/40M.
  • Mini Bolt Cannons are Gauss cannons that spin like a minigun and fire lethal bursts of tiny metal balls with deadly effect. 10M/45M.


Protection is armor. Only one kind of protection can be worn at a time.
  • Police Skinsuits cover the body, come with helmets have extra padding on the joints. They're mostly made of Kevlar. The Magline Skinsuit has an internal magnetic field that helps repel shockwaves and gauss bullets.
  • Edge Suits are full-body crash suits for bikers that function like airbags are attached to their bodies except instead of air it's a reactive metal.
  • Daiymo Skinsuits augment the wearer's abilities when worn thanks to biomechanical integration.
  • Fractal Suits turn the wearer invisible...unless you move, in which case you resemble a fluid, translucent silhouette.
  • Shogun Exoskeletons have Helpsoft to help aim, Jellyfishes to help smooth out the operator's motions, an attached minibolt gauss gun and requires a lot of training so you don't just fall on your rear end.
  • SCC Waldos are three meters tall, the pilot enclosed in a cockpit and controlling arms and legs like their own, the shockwave and minibolt cannon controlled with their eyes.
  • ACC Waldos are unarmored suits consisting of two legs and clamp hands. You know. Power Loaders. Normally used for construction, some gangs have welded alloy sheets to them to give them proper armor.


Shado refers to devices used to hide weapons, all of them illegal and requiring black market purchases.
  • Ceramic holsters decrease detectability by 20% for 195K.
  • Nano Jammers are placed on guns to make them harder to detect except by organic means (dogs). 30% less detection for 195K.
  • Endothermal jackets hide the gun in a pocket that raises up to the temperature of body heat to make them invisible to thermal detectors. 10% less detection for 80K.
  • Pulse Jammers are old versions of nano jammers that create a black blob where the gun is. 15% less detection for 110K.

FUN STUFF THAT ISN'T GUNS

These items all have an attached price and a Kaiso rating representing who this item is, like, meant for. Some of these items are luxury items and require a significant investment, meaning an Opposed Kaiso Check (how? What? How does this even work? Is it just Kaisod6+Kaiso x 2?) vs. the item's rating. Failure means that you can't get the item at the moment, success means you'll lose 1 Kaiso level to represent the debt to pay off the item.

Hardware and Accessories

Get in the car, loser, we're going shopping.
  • Sun-X-Rain Clothes are experimental duds that have programmable fibers meant to react to environmental stimuli through a nanochip. Make your clothes rainproof or have the fibers squeeze together to conserve heat or loosen to ventilate the body. Due to short supply because of the blockade, most of the remaining SXR clothes are jumpers. People are afraid the Yakuza will figure out how to reprogram your clothes to kill you, specifically by hacking the chip to make the neck of a jumper strangle you due to how fast they normally close when exposed to rain.
  • Code-Clothes are garments that are programmed with a code and will change colors when near someone with the same code. They can also display images or change based on mood. Criminals use them to send messages: send a code to a buyer, have the buyer program their shirt, the buyer knows who their contact is by how the color changes. On the other hand, cops have special programs installed in their Gantai to understand what the code will be based on how your clothes change.
  • Helpsoft Learning Software functions as skillchips in any other cyberpunk game. Upload a program into your Pod and the instructions will display on your Gantai to help walk you through how to do what you want to do, like cooking or repairs or martial arts. +2 to any existing skill or +3 to an unknown skill. Cost depends on complexity of skill.
  • Pocket Bakemono are virtual pets you see with your Gantai. Raise a monster (like a kappa or oni), fight them to evolve. They have to feed every 10 hours, normally by "feeding" on another human. Make sure you feed them. No, seriously, make sure you feed them. Kids who raise Bakemono have been spending a shitload of time caring for them. Some have been found in catatonic states. Make sure you feed them.
  • BeamSpy is hella illegal because it's a listening device that can go through thin walls. Load it onto your Pod to use, point and listen. Regular Pods have a range of 100 meters but you can attach a laser amplifier to pick up conversations 1 KM away.
  • Rage & Bone Guitars have a technology in the guitar that beams info into your bones that automatically help manipulate your digits into the right place to play. Keep playing and it'll teach you more and more about how to play. They're also net-enabled and can have music uploaded to them and will adjust depending on what you want to play.
  • Plankton Silos are kits for home and office that cultivate algae. The algae purifies water and adds nutrients when you drink it. You can also buy specialized types of algae that might even get you high.
  • Visual Mov'ment Kits were originally intended for the infirm to use things in their homes without having to get up or move them physically. A cartridge attaches to your Pod and that cartridge is affected by a contact lens worn by the user. Entering all of your codes into the program on the Pod will let you turn things on and off or manipulate them with your eye movements. You can even use two at once, one on each eye.
  • Naked Vision is a highly illegal program that uses two cameras installed into your Gantai to scan people, run them through a form recognition program and a prediction program and replaces them on your Gantai with a live image of what they look like naked that constantly updates as long as they're within view. That's it. That's all this does. It's appropriately illegal.
  • Love Music comes from a chip embedded in your hand that will automatically use biometric sensors to pull music from a database and play tunes based on your mood. You have to pay to use it because it accesses a remote musical database, but hey, it also adjusts the music based on the weather, so that's neat.
  • SubVocalization lets you speak silently via a necklace placed around the throat that reads your larynx and also reads you pronouncing the words without saying them. Decently handy, not illegal.
  • Virtual Child is great for people who don't have the rights to have a child or cannot physically have one. Upload the program to your Pod and you can view your child through your Gantai or even use AR to have your child wander around the world. Virtual Child uses top-of-the-line AI to let you either mold your child through your actions (like a real baby!) or you can just download a premade model from the store. Plus, Virtual Child is compatible with uploading into an artificial or clone body.
  • Chitin is a stealth version of a Squid, placed where your spine meets your neck to physically hide it from sight, using nanoneedles to touch your spine and cerebellum to function. Chitin is possibly dangerous to your health; it's got antibacterial stuff attached but you also want to use antiseptics on your body and never want to let anyone else use your Chitin. Also it's as illegal as a Squid.
  • Karaoke is just, like, random karaoke stuff.
  • Electroluminescent Organic Pods use organic-made materials to create a Pod powered by the sun and is basically always reactive to its environment with its organic components. They're sleek and look like underwater creatures, covered in constantly glowing blue lights and diodes.
  • Lightyear Markers let you draw on the air with holographic technology. It uses a projector and a special marker, your drawings remaining as long as you're within 5 meters. You can also attach it to your Pod for basically Photoshop-level manipulations of your art.
  • Flexible Thermal Batteries recharge based on contact with your body and can have all of their energy pumped into an accumulator or connected together to hold more energy.
  • Shoes are...shoes. Walkmaps have integrated GPS and Cityboots use Netbones tech to rock your feet in the right direction.
  • Virtual Games/Black Jack are AR-friendly games that are played with a Jellyfish, overlaying the game on the environment around you and letting you play games with your mind. Black Jacks are illegal Squid recordings of snuff films.
  • Air Photocatalysts are flat air conditioners that purify the air and don't consume extra power or discharge toxins. They also come in mask forms for bad air days.
  • Electric Nanogenerators provide two hours of power for a single story dwelling or a collection of devices in case of blackout...but might be prone to not working due to circumstances of a blackout.
  • Holographic projectors are super expensive but project 2D backgrounds and environments with 3D actors inside. There are rumors that one movie called Hokkaido Death has killed people viewing the movie because their weapons deal actual damage when swung.


Transportation

Public transportation is cheaper. For everything else, there's these expensive options.
  • Rora Blades are rollerskates that use magnetic thrusts to let the user hover 10 CM off the ground when engaged. Don't fall!
  • Kayuma Hovercrafts seat 10 and have auto-guidance and lots of other features, basically functioning as a flying room you can drive.
  • The Yamaha Midnight Vision is a bullet-shaped hoverbike that goes real fast and has Helpsoft installed along with a lot of safety options.


It's amazing how much of this stuff is of negligible use and how the rest of it would be nice to have but has to be purchased in a way that surpasses how money normally works in a game like this. Don't have the money? Go into debt! NEXT TIME we'll finish the equipment by looking at robotics, biotech, occultech and other stuff.

Leraika
Jun 14, 2015

slime time


Hostile V posted:

Actually I was planning to stat out characters that didn't fit Japanese horror or cyberpunk, specifically Popuko and Pipimi from Poptepipic. That or foreigners. Foreigners ultimately doesn't work out particularly well.

Absolutely do this. Popuko and Pipimi need to be in every system, so far as I'm concerned. I'd suggest Cowboy Bebop's Andy as the foreigner, but that seems a little unfair.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



One thing I'm noticing about Kuro - you could absolutely reproduce a ton of horror plots just from the technologies available. AR, police-grade hallucinogens, virtual children... if this were a dedicated cyberpunk horror game without explicit supernatural elements, you could get a really cool game about ghosts in the machine, the erosion of reality, and societal decay.

So basically certain parts of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

That could be really good, though - I'd be impressed if it were set up to be 'don't introduce the supernatural directly, start off with sinister malfunctions and twists on the technology players surround themselves with.'

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.
Given the existence of flying rollerblades, the obvious choice of a character to stat for Kuro, is, of course, John Omaha.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

Joe Slowboat posted:

One thing I'm noticing about Kuro - you could absolutely reproduce a ton of horror plots just from the technologies available. AR, police-grade hallucinogens, virtual children... if this were a dedicated cyberpunk horror game without explicit supernatural elements, you could get a really cool game about ghosts in the machine, the erosion of reality, and societal decay.

So basically certain parts of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

That could be really good, though - I'd be impressed if it were set up to be 'don't introduce the supernatural directly, start off with sinister malfunctions and twists on the technology players surround themselves with.'
It kinda tries to take the route of "whatever caused the nuke to disappear resulted in a weird outage for a few hours and there's still lingering electrical problems that never got fixed" as your answer for "why are things so strange and weird?" if you want to go pure cyberpunk. And on the first read I really did agree, that would be an interesting twist on it; the ghost photographs are just a corruption of the photo program, androids have been acting weird due to Overclocking and some errors. And it does go for the "mundane first and then make it supernatural route" in the advice it gives. Granted it does end up contradicting that and overshadowing all of the technological aspects later but it tries a little at first.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010

HELL SERPENT
Lipstick Apathy
Sort of a random question, but what's the latest Rifts book to have been released? Are there any more coming? Is Rifts still an actively-developed game-line? What about anything else in the "Palladium Gigaverse"?

(disregarding the Savage Worlds conversion)

Zomborgon
Feb 19, 2014

I don't even want to see what happens if you gain CHIM outside of a pre-coded system.

gradenko_2000 posted:

Sort of a random question, but what's the latest Rifts book to have been released? Are there any more coming? Is Rifts still an actively-developed game-line? What about anything else in the "Palladium Gigaverse"?

(disregarding the Savage Worlds conversion)

I've just looked at http://www.palladiumbooks.com/

It appears they still do weekly updates on current projects, so they are very much still active. There's a Dimension Book 15: Secrets of the Atlanteans product for Rifts that was released late just this past July.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



FALL OF THE HOUSE OF EQUIPMENT CHAPTER

Robots

Robots depend based on their AI and their ability to actually learn. Which is to say, an average Android or Puppetbot has no ability to learn. If you present them with an obstacle, they'll search what they know, attempt it and then give up if unable to rectify the obstacle's situation. And by no natural means can an AI overcome this obstacle regardless of their personality template or AI or physical form. This requires the work of an Overclocker, someone who has intentionally tampered with an AI to remove the brakes.



Which, well, has consequences. The first consequence is that the robot is now capable of learning and improving and overcoming obstacles. They're not likely to start questioning their existence but they do loosen up and function more naturally. Eventually its ability to make decisions based on knowledge will allow the AI to come to various conclusions about the world around it and its own existence. This leads to a situation called a [sigh] Ghost where the robot is considered to have a consciousness in addition to an intelligence.

However, inevitably the robot will understand that it is essentially a living being and that's where things can go horribly wrong thanks to the limitations Japan has put on its robots. Older robots had the programming to be able to recognize a human being by shape, body heat and complexion. It will either ignore the human or curtly acknowledge their presence to minimize all contact. If attacked, it will either stand and receive damage or run away. Newer generations of robots are able to scan more than the three criteria to recognize and serve humans but includes greater programming where they'll be compelled to help someone if their sensors determine an anomaly dangerous to humans.

What can go wrong is twofold. First, they realize they're a living being and their old programming is in place, meaning you have a being in either a state of fugue or panic. This realization is that they're viewed as less significant than all other living beings and their lives mean nothing according to Japanese society. The alternative is their figure out their sapient state and their old programming was jailbroken in the process, in which the robot will generally develop survival abilities and attempt to protect its own life and will probably hurt other people. Hacking and Overclocking a robot requires physical contact with the robot, and there's a lot of companies that try to make it so that the robot bricks if you alter it, but it's not impossible to turn any robot sapient or any into an unintelligent loyal killer.
  • Yojimbos are a two meter tall artificials built to look like men and protect their targets. They have a security template and have a whole mess of combat capabilities, restrained from killing as long as the target is safe but still capable of nonlethally neutralizing opponents. They have skin that's artificial and padded and resists some blows and also hides 13 built-in weapons on newer models, weapons like tantos or brass knuckles or small caliber pistols.
  • Kusanagi is the blanket term for an artificial that trains you depending on the template. Kusanagi teaches kendo, Musashi teaches bushido and Kenjutsu, Yokozuna teaches you sumo, Funakoshi teaches karate and GastonLenotre teaches cooking and will cook for you.
  • LoveBots are artificials built entirely for sex. There's a lot of fluff speak about how great and real and lubricated they are and how it's not cheating on your spouse because they're not a person, they're just built to gently caress/be hosed.
  • Senworth is an artificial butler that will shop for you, manage your time, clean, do laundry, etc. They come in a few different templates, specifically English butler or French maid. It is also explicitly stated "French maid model can include other functions as well. Call for details." in case you just want to gently caress more robots.
  • Bioroid Replicants are made of flesh and blood except for their positronic brains. They have no common templates uploaded and are used by the Genocracy or by the Yakuza to be prostitutes or replace people they killed. Bioroids have a very high chance of becoming sapient and then running off to try and understand the nature of their existence.


Nanoswarms

Nanoswarms are squads of nanobots working together, communicating through wifi or lasers by the commands of the leader. The only way to hack a swarm is to introduce a new leader via a nanobot you've programmed to basically hijack the swarm. It's said that nanoswarms are used for environmental scrubbing, medicine, art and more. We just have two examples here.
  • HiveLook Appearance Jammers project holograms over you like it's Disguise Person, blocking you from machines and scanning programs.
  • Queens are used to get rid of swarms, able to hack and jam other swarms.


Biotechnology

This whole section really makes me miss the Suprathyroid Gland. I love that thing.
    Organic Implants are just Better Squishy Bits. The authorities heavily monitor eye replacements and skin so people can't just sneak around. Organic implants just don't do anything besides be More Efficient and Better, having been taken from inert universal donor clones with no brain function. If you can't afford these, you just have to wait for a donated organ from the government.
  • Samegawa refers to "Shark Skin" dermal implants, micromesh beneath the skin giving you +1 Defense and increasing skin toughness and elasticity. What's interesting is how receptive to stimulus the Shark Skin is, giving you goose bumps before a blackout or letting you know someone is right behind you.
  • Bioports let you beam info right into your noggin and turn your brain into a computer. It looks like a small glass lens embedded in your lower back. This is generally restricted to the military or anyone with lots of money.
  • Cosmetic Corrections refer to a whole slew of tests and procedures that recode your DNA to change hair color, skin color, nail color, dick size or run sequencing on an unborn infant to have ideal traits be born. These corrections require a lot of injections and a lot of baths in weird tubs of liquid. Because the rich gonna rich, lots of people who can afford the high-end treatments tend to stand out from everyone else with their skin colors, their vampire teeth, their hair and more.
  • Genetic Tests run a piece of your DNA for sequencing to look for specific things like diabetes or heart disease. They don't sequence the whole thing, each test just looks for specific things.
  • Artificial Blood has the same great blood test with less calories and sugar! Artificial blood is universal and first aid kits that have artificial blood also have vein-seeking autoneedles.
  • NeoPets are gengineered pets that can either be hybrids or extinct animals or whatever. The game suggests "don't just slap things together, that will go badly, just use premade genetic templates".
  • Mind Uploading comes in a few forms with two methods of transfer. The first method of transfer is "remove mind from this body, put in new one". The other method is "copy and upload copy to new body". There are three techniques that can be used. noMorph systematically reads and replaces every single neuron and axon and will replace them systematically while the patient remains awake and aware until the entire brain has been processed. brainScan copies the brain completely and models the positronic brain on this model (this is not always error-free). brainSlice removes and slices up the brain, painstakingly recreating the entire brain in a new form in a new body. How does direct brain shunting work? Hell if I know.
  • Rent-A-Flu is just an artificial flu that gives you the symptoms of a disease without any suffering or pain. This exists for you to have an excuse to cut work.


Nanotechnology

Fun with microscopic buddies.
  • Nanoinks are just tattoos you can use with your Pod to change them.
  • Nanodiagnostics are a system of nanoinks that let you monitor your vital diagnostics by glancing at your wrist.
  • nIris comes in two forms: eyedrops and contact lenses. Either one scrambles or replaces your retinal scan so you're less hassled by spam or can go all sneaky. Eyedrops just scramble and last for a hour, the lenses can have premade IDs imprinted on them or just scramble.
  • Skin Nanorobots are circular, two centimeter-long nanobots that are slid under the skin and work like localized nanoink.
  • Nanosensors are nanites that can read environmental stimuli and react accordingly, changing colors when exposed to stuff like chemicals or gunpowder.
  • The Netbones System basically turns your bones into a system like a cable network. Multiple nanochips use your bones to transmit vibrations to where they need to go, powered by thermal and kinetic energy. You can shake hands with people and transmit info to their Pod. It's not the fastest system, but it can interface with your Gantai and Pod and is totally immune to EMPs and electrical blackouts.
  • Netbones Nanoheadphones are pinhead-sized and affix themselves to the temporal bones to directly stimulate your earbones so you can hear stuff.
  • Netbones Nanoscorpions are three centimeters long and have sucker feet, recording vibrations and turning them into sound for the owner to hear when it comes back to the owner.
  • Oxygenating Nanorobots augment blood pressure and help carry oxygen and enhance circulation. Originally meant for people with lung problems, it was picked up by athletes and soldiers to gain +1 Reflexes. You have to be strict with your diet, though: you have to eat certain bars a day that have things that clean the nanobots and maintain their functions or you run the risk of brain embolisms.
  • Metabolomic Visors are special Gantai for law enforcement that do full-body scanning. You can scan crime scenes and perfectly replicate them in 3D, see in night vision, thermal or electromagnetic vision and control various drones like Crickets (corpse-analyzing nanobots), Kumo (bug-like surveillance bots that can scan) and Dragonflies.
  • Pain Killer Chips negate the penalties of a Serious Wound for 30 minutes by artificially creating morphine.
  • NanoVengeance is a liquid made of retroviruses that are highly illegal because they're used to recode the DNA of the victim. The purpose of NV is revenge by infecting people you hate with mental illness like depression or schizophrenia. NV has to be ingested and is temporary unless the victim is repeatedly dosed for three straight weeks (or faster if they're already predisposed to it). This is awful. We gave up cyberknives for this?
  • Memory Chip Interfaces record everything you see and experience and can be downloaded and saved.
  • Micro Gantai are contact lenses that do the job of a Gantai in lieu of a visor.
  • Care Creams are just super beauty and health products.
  • Control Chips are injected under the skin and have biometric sensors that trigger a response if certain stimuli are meant. You have salarymen that get a dose of stimulant when they start to fall asleep or you can put them in an animal and make them feel good when they obey a command. The game recognizes that these can be heavily abused.


Prosthetics
  • Light Exoskeletons were originally used to enhance strength for infirm folks or allow you to just lift 25% more. That's really it. They help you be stronger but they make you slower.
  • Biomechanical Prosthetic Limbs are not something you normally just...get. They're installed on people who have been horribly injured because street samurai don't really exist in this universe. You can have a prosthetic that enhances strength but that requires heavy anchoring and has no mechanical benefit in the system at the moment. They're made of nanomuscular fiber and nanochips covered in artificial flesh and as a result have some armor due to their composition. Also you don't feel pain with them.


OCCULTECH



Occultech is your magitech, made by combining cutting edge technology and old superstition. Magic may not exist. Occultech is Close Enough. You can find Occultech in certain stores and stalls and they don't require any magical aptitude to use, you just have to find them to begin with.

The Samurai Exoskeleton (RR6) was made by combining 19th century samurai armor and a combat exoskeleton from 2030. The two are integrated seamlessly, the armored plating covering the servos and the pilot. The wielder is able to call on mystical abilities by summoning a spectral yumi (bow) that can slay spirits but it's a little unwieldy to learn how to pilot this thing.


The Ronin Katana (RR6) is a 70cm long sword that was disassembled. The blade is the original but the hilt is new, jabbing nanofillaments into the holder of the sword that pumps their blood full of betablockers to slow bleeding and keep the fighter going. You can also make your blood flow to the end of the sword so it can harm Yomi who are weak to the blood of the living.


The Gohei Stroboscope (RR4) is a sphere covered in laser projectors and holographic projectors that will broadcast incantations and purification formulae all over the place to protect against spirits and monsters.


Aka-Shita Incense (RR4) is odorless incense that summons the Aka-Shita in the smoke, a dogman with a big red tongue who'll answer yes or no questions for two minutes. 70K Yen.

The Jubokko Bonsai (RR5) is an ugly little black bush that smells awful and is hard to sculpt. It's able to steal and prolong life if the owner trims it just so and feeds it 4 drops of blood every morning. The Jubokko will sprout leaves as black as the bark that will drop every time you'd normally die, allowing you to return from death or horrible circumstances. If the last leaf drops, your soul is forever damned to Yomi. 2M Yen.

The Kameosa (RR5) is a silvery bottle full of a sake-flavored liquid that's actually artificial hormone flavored to taste like sake and cultivated in metal vats and prayed to. The drinker is affected by super adrenaline, increasing your physical abilities and Willpower. On the other hand, side effects include hallucinations, blackouts, shaking, hangovers and symbols appearing on your eyes.


The Nurikabe Grenade (RR4) is a magnetic grenade that creates a living wall that nobody can see, functioning as a three meter tall and two meter wide water wall. Trying to enter one side means you come back out the way you came. You're allowed to put multiple versions of this down to confuse the hell out of people. 45K.

Jikininki Teeth (RR4) are taken from ghouls, repelling them as long as you have them on your presence. They can also be fixed to weapons to damage the ghouls or other supernatural creatures. However. Always keep the teeth on you in even numbers. Odd numbers of teeth will cause the owner to slowly transform into a ghoul themselves.


The Hannya Haramitsu RR4) is a Noh mask that looks like a grimacing red-faced Oni with big teeth. Inside the mask is a Gantai that allows the wearer to see the unseen and track demons and other supernatural beasts. You absolutely can't wear this walking around normally due to how much stuff is overlayed on your field of vision. 250K.

The Zen Chime (RR3) only makes a sound on the approach of the Kamikaze. 11K.

Salt Vials (RR3) are used by exorcists to fight ghosts, full of coarse salt and blessed by a priest. You can also use them to slip on over to the other side and return by shattering the vial.


The Kiri-Bi Lighter (RR5) is a zippo with faded, worn-down kanji engravings on the side. The lighter won't spark unless in the presence of an Oni, creating a pure flame that repels Oni and letting you see if an Oni is possessing someone or something. You can, of course, touch the Oni with the fire to harm it.


The Magamata (RR5) is a type of jewelry worn as a necklace or bracelet made of photoreactive alloy that has little in common with the original Shinto designs. They still work as protective talismans against monsters and can also be attached to a weapon to imbue the weapon with further power. 2M.


The Soul Kakemono (RR4) is a wall scroll meant for decorative alcoves. Completely black with red sandalwood scroll weights, sometimes spirits pass through it and leave impressions and images. 91K.

The Ouija Pod (RR4) is a personal computer that projects a holographic Ouija board and has numerous ports that detect spirits and such interfering with the lasers. It works like an ordinary Ouija board, albeit one that is prone to electrical malfunctions or the ghosts hijacking the projector to show grim, horrible images. 1.28M.

Brown Clay (RR5) was originally used to make funerary statues and animate any statutes made with it. And it does. Make a dog, it acts like a dog. Make a person, it acts like a person. Where's it from? Who knows. Some believe it's made of the pieces of a clay monster called Doro-ta-bo. 800K per kilo.

The Universal Emaki (RR5) is a Heian era scroll in a lacquered box. The scroll is blank until you whisper the name of a person or item on it and unroll the scroll right to left. Upon the scroll you'll see an illustration based on the past, present or future of the subject that needs to be deciphered to understood significance. One item at a time. 999K.

Enchanted Chopsticks (RR5) have kanji engraved on them. Use them to eat the leftovers of someone else's food and you can feel the emotions they felt while eating that food. 750K.

The Bloody Kimono (RR4) refers to a whole series of items like weapons or clothing or artifacts that have been tainted by blood and death. Innocent victims empower these items which allow them to protect against attack by monsters or allow you to harm monsters. There are rumors that there's an android who has had the hands of a killer attached to it and it runs around in a trenchcoat absorbing the souls of its victims with its knives.


The Futokoro Teppo (RR6) is an old bronze pistol that has been augmented to work like a Jellyfish, letting you project your thoughts and fire them through the gun. Can you perhaps kill with a thought? Maybe! 6M.

The Kyusu Oracle (RR4) provokes visions by putting something of a person in this cast iron teapot and brewing tea. Slowly drinking the tea provides cryptic hallucinations that can be interpreted for an answer. 600K.

The Te-Ashi-Naga Taiko (RR6) is a drum with Tokugawa-era shogun adventures printed on the drum that hide a hidden spell. Successfully playing the spell on the drum summons the Te-Ashi-Naga, two grey, thin humanoids with unblinking white eyes stacked on top of each other that appear to be one being, wearing a surgical mask and a dirty gown or blouse that covers the fact that it's two beings. Summoning the Te-Ashi-Naga means you can use its supernatural surgical prowess to do things that defy nature and god. As a result the drum is in high demand and nobody knows who has it. Price: ???

The Shuko (RR4) are hand-made clawgloves made from recycled scrap metal and made by biker gangs. These weapons are generally empowered by bloodsplattered metal that was taken from car accidents, allowing the Shuko to harm monsters and shut off their magical powers. As a result, a veritable underground market of Shuko have cropped up and so has a booming trade of metal from car wrecks.


The Katashiro (RR3) is a paper doll created by visualizing someone and using certain origami techniques to create voodoo dolls that inflict curses of nausea, choking, dizziness and hallucinations on the victim. The only way to break the curse is to burn the Katashiro. They're easy to make but hard to make properly; loving up runs the risk of summoning an entity called Ao-nyobo the Ghoul Woman of the Shrines who has black teeth and no eyebrows and will devour your soul unless you placate her with 1000 paper cranes. 14K.

The Magic Key (RR6) is a rusty medieval key that is said to open a lock to a fascinating treasure. In reality, it only opens a single door on the 4th floor of a quiet, old hotel in the Asakusa quarter: room 4. What's behind the door? Who can say. Price: ???

The Gakido Cricket (RR5) is a lacquered box with a LED screen glued to the top. Allegedly containing a Cricket from Gakido (an insect from the plains of Yomi), it's sensitive to supernatural beings and occurrences and its screeches are interpreted by the screen to provide simple words that warn of danger. If you open the box to see the cricket, it escapes on the wind before you can see it. 3.5M.

The Baku Jellyfish (RR6) is a modified Jellyfish that connects via wire cable to an old varnished cherry wood box that has a slot for a 500 Yen coin and nothing else, no seams or hinges. Inside the box is a Baku, a monster that feasts on nightmares. Sleeping with the Jellyfish on will feed the Baku your nightmares and give you a good night's sleep. Alternately it can be used for divination. When the Baku is particularly hungry or agitated, the coin slot will push out a disc of metal with cryptic info written on it about a crime or a supernatural event. These coins are purely selfish, exposing the owner to more horrors to keep the Baku fed. 2.6M.

The Precog Visor (RR6) is a Gantai that resembles thick welding goggles, big and heavy and clunky to wear. The visor is connected to a belt full of cogs and wires that are constantly turning to provide power. Wearing the visor manipulates probability and chance to let you see what's most likely to happen in the next 15 seconds as if it was a black and white film of what could happen exactly. Downside: those 15 seconds of future cost you 15 seconds of past memories for every use. 5M.

The Plasma 646 Deluxe Shitbatsu model with J programming (RR 5) is a TV from a company that's been defunct for 35 years. One of the first brands of plasma TVs, it was incredibly cheap but had problems working. When the next model didn't even work, the entire company folded. Hundreds of models remain and ever since the Kuro Incident they've begun working again, letting you see shadows and faces cross the dark screen. A man in Akihabara has tweaked them further, allowing you to key the name of someone who died into the remote when there's no moon out at night to let you receive a message from the dead before the set burns out. 1.8M.

The Enishi 4.0 (RR6) is a 500 yen fortune teller that you place your palms on and get a message. The current model is 5.1 but there are rumors that the 4.0 model in Akihabara can be made to work again. If it does, it foretells unpleasant and unhappy events. A local Yakuza is looking for the machine to make it work for his business interests. 4M.

NEXT TIME: daily life in Shin-Edo and popular quarters of the city.

Comrade Koba
Jul 2, 2007

Comrade Gorbash posted:

To be honest it isn't as silly that the original authors decided to keep that particular Japanese rendering. French doesn't quite have a direct equivalent to the way gimmick is used here, so it's defensible to use a foreign term, and at that point why use the English one? I mean sure there's a "cool" factor here but it's not as egregious.

That would also make it more evidence that the translation here is a bit lazy. The translator looked at the skill list and translated all the French on it, and left the Japanese... and didn't bother to consider that the "Japanese" skill name is actually English.

e: Or decided to keep the Japanese for "cool" factor which is just as silly.

This right here is what usually happens when game designers try to make a game set in a culture they didn't bother to get familiar with. I mean, who needs actual research when you can just directly translate every third word to make it sound cool and exotic?


"If the characters are in possession of a wakashima-ku, they may use it to gain some sekaishi during the next encounter, provided that the recent mehiyō didn't affect their tsukesaite. If this should lead to zhangwei, however, they may need to reconsider their zatoshinsei. Another approach will be necessary if they wish to retain qingbai when faced with the oncoming unazigimi."

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009


It was all according to keikaku*.

*Keikaku means plan.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
So for a mere 1,5M Yen I can either get a fuckbot or a holo Ouja board that a ghost can haxxx to scare me? Lube up those servos, I already know my choice!

Interesting thing about the brown clay: you can totes have a golem bodyguard and pass it off an artificial. Those bots look like they're bots, and mine just so happens to look like it's a golem. Pay no mind to your screeching, LED-screen equipped box, it's totally just a robit.

Obligatum VII
May 5, 2014

Haunting you until no 8 arrives.
I like the nightmare eating monster in a box that has no actual power to cause you to have nightmares, so it just tries to egg you on into encountering horrible stuff so it has more food.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

I like that a magic monster in a box sells for less than a hundred thousand dollars.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


That's a legitimate cool idea and it could be a nice 'first touch of the occult' that launches a good campaign.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

Mors Rattus posted:

I like that a magic monster in a box sells for less than a hundred thousand dollars.
Bit less, actually. It hasn't come up yet but since the blockade the Yen has become more devalued. Instead of one American dollar equalling 108.5 yen, one American dollar is now worth 154 yen. Which I do appreciate as a detail that they're taking this into account.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Hostile V posted:

Bit less, actually. It hasn't come up yet but since the blockade the Yen has become more devalued. Instead of one American dollar equalling 108.5 yen, one American dollar is now worth 154 yen. Which I do appreciate as a detail that they're taking this into account.

Jeez, that drops to, what, less than 20 thousand dollars?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
So the sex bot is like, cool 10K bux?

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



Ok but that Yomi cricket should be available in every corner store because there is no way in hell thats not a scam. 'You open the box, the hell-cricket escapes!' Uh huh. Sure.

I actually really enjoy all of the occultech that could just be scams, which is most of it. Just make 'rogue, possibly insane AI with demonic imagery' the source of every anomaly, imply that literal demons from hell might be what high-level AIs are made of, and suddenly all of these extremely basic magical items are fascinating interplays of hope, lies, and occultism.

Commit to minimal supernatural influence, game! Punch above your weight!
Then have traditional ghost stories happening in the form of rogue tech.

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

Mors Rattus posted:

Jeez, that drops to, what, less than 20 thousand dollars?
$16,883 US dollars. The sex robot drops to $7792. A Palladium 9mm revolver is $642.86 legal or $1233.77 on the black market. Meanwhile the price of food and energy is increasing because Japan woefully overestimated how self sufficient they were and were also actively lied to about this by one of their political parties. The government hasn't started rationing yet but they will soon and it's only a matter of time before society starts really breaking down and you have Genocrats trading their cultivated organs and sex robots for food and water. The irony is that rules as written there's no way to bust out the guillotines and start actively cyberpunking against the system and the Genocrats, you can just wait until they start to starve.

Granted the things they'll barter with are still going to be pretty useless and it might not work out for them if the regular folks of Shin-Edo recognize this. Or unless they're just accumulating stuff so it'll be worth something once the blockade drops. IF it drops.

Hostile V fucked around with this message at 15:42 on Aug 29, 2017

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


How long before the words 'organ farm' start to mean gourmet dining?

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

I mean...if you got a bottle of sake you want to split, I can heat up some leftovers.

Note: I haven't finished the last book yet but the blockade lasts for at least a solid year.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


Better start working on those cat skinning skills:catstare:

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Sexbots can work the crops during the day and work the shaft at night, so they seem really profitable.

Why can't you cyberpunk and bust out nanoguillotine according to RAW?

Hostile V
May 31, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.

JcDent posted:

Sexbots can work the crops during the day and work the shaft at night, so they seem really profitable.

Why can't you cyberpunk and bust out nanoguillotine according to RAW?
The cops are still heavily armed and not afraid to use their weapons because they're nonlethal, surveillance is everywhere and the government basically is incredibly invested in fighting each other and squabbling over who is to blame for the blockade but equally committed to suppressing dissent because they don't want a riot to boil over into a torch and pitchfork revolution. Plus Genocrats have private security and robot bodyguards that will unflinchingly kill to protect their master. The game does not present you as, like any sort of hero (at first). You're just an average citizen who got in way over their head when something strange started to happen in Japan. Which is also part of why one does not have the option to purchase anything more significant than an exoskeleton and why heavy borgtech or bioware doesn't exist; it wants you to be average, to maybe have a sort of edge in the form of your Pod and Gantai and maybe some Occultech or something expensive, but not have such an edge to actually make a significant difference. You still have to be weak enough to still be hurt or terrified by whatever J-horror cyberpunk fate is going to befall you.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


I hope you are going to break the system over your knee for our amusement.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Zomborgon posted:

I've just looked at http://www.palladiumbooks.com/

It appears they still do weekly updates on current projects, so they are very much still active. There's a Dimension Book 15: Secrets of the Atlanteans product for Rifts that was released late just this past July.

Yeah, I have a copy from GenCon. They had a preview of a new Nightbane book as well.

Supposedly this fall should see a book on the Pecos Empire, one on the Sovietski (exactly what they sound like), and two Coalition books due out this fall, but that seems hopelessly optimistic.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Sovietski teams up with Red Terror and Iron Curtain to menace Captain America next issue!

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.
Seems like you could probably work out a decent deal with the nightmare-eating jellyfish by passing it around a hospice or something.

Janky as it is, Kuro at least seems to have some decent ideas behind it, though I think as mentioned it doesn't really seem clear exactly what they're going for when actually playing it, besides vaguely J-horror stuff? Japan becoming isolationist out of international embargo rather than out of choice is a bit historically amusing, and probably intentional. Though the logical extension of that would be to have it go all warring states with some Nobunaga analogue eventually emerging.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised.

I'd play it.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

The storm has a name... - Let's Read TORG


Part 18g: Mass production...in the FUTURE!

There's only two more chapters in the book, not counting the templates, so let's get a-diggin' in so we can get to the really ridiculous books.

First is the Equipment chapter, where we're going to mainly learn about guns, but really we're going to learn about UltraCAD.

quote:

In primitive societies, someone who needs a piece of equipment either knows how to make it herself, goes to a crafter who can make it for her, or does without.

In industrial societies like Core Earth or Nippon Tech, the means of production are factories, specialized complexes tooled up to produce whatever is needed in bulk, from chain guns to disposable lighters. The ability to use an item is often far removed from the ability to make it.

Tharkold is a post-industrial civilization. One individual can operate the equivalent of a Core Earth factory. Technology bridges the gap between knowing how to use an item and programming a machine to make it. The general term for this technology is UltraCAD, derived from the ancient (on Tharkold) concept of CAD/CAM (Computer Assisted Design/Computer Assisted Manufacturing).
Tharkold is (in a manner of speaking) a post-scarcity society. Or it would be close to, if it wasn't for the War and the resultant rarity of raw materials. UltraCAD technology is basically 3-D printing writ large; automated systems managed in virtual reality simulations that let users basically dump raw materials in a hopper and generate gear.

Okay, yes, it's a little more technical than that, but you get the general idea.

UltraCAD systems can vary in size from one meter on a side to 30m by 30m by 15m. And yes, the size of the UltraCAD does matter because a system can't make something larger than itself, because it makes the item all in one go. You can't make a car by having one system making doors, then another making parts of the engine, another making tires, and so on, then have a completely different system assemble all the parts into a working vehicle. It's all or nothing, probably because back on Tharkold people generally want poo poo made now instead of having to wait for however long a tank or rifle needs to be put together on an assemebly line.

In addition to an UltraCAD system (referred to as a module) and stuff to turn into raw materials, you'll also need the pattern for whatever it is you're trying to make. Patterns are just the virtual blueprints for the product, and can be customized in the virtual control environment to make simple tweaks. And it does have to be done virtually via a neural jack of some sort; even with a generic pattern you don't intend to modify, the whole process is so complex it can't be done manually.

Once you have your modules and patterns, the only thing that really limits you in cranking out assault rifles are raw materials. Since the planet Tharkold is pretty much drained of resources, devices called SynthCyclers were developed to break things down into "raw materials". These were mentioned back in the monsters chapter; rather than sending scavenging parties out, humans and Tharkoldu realized there's a better return in taking what amounts to a large dump truck, give it drone-like autopilot, stick a bunch of guns and armor on it, and set it to patrol a certain area. SynthCyclers will attack pretty much anything that's not nailed down (including people), break them down to component parts, and bring it back to a UltraCAD facility.

Maker modules come in 12 different types: biochemical, ceramics, chemicals, cybernetics, electronics, machining, nanotech, plasmatics (stuff that handles energy fields or radioactivity), plastics, polymers, structural (anything from furniture to buildings), and vehicular. And believe it or not, this is important to know, because pretty much all of the equipment in this section can be maker'd by the PCs.

Equipment is divided up into a few different categories, and each category will tell you the MakerMods you need, the types of raw materials used, the scale your setup needs to be, and what extra MakerMods you can use to affect the devices made. You can even buy "brand name" patterns and customize them to your liking.

quote:

In a lot of games, Torg among them, the future is brand names. A character doesn't just pullout a gun...he pulls out a Hachiman 12mm KM11 or a .44 Smith and Wesson Magnum. He doesn't drive a sports car, he drives an Aston-Martin Special.

Brand names are part of industrial culture. When the average citizen can make a car in a couple of days, using the equivalent of a basement workshop, brand names join dinosaurs and the phlogiston theory on the list of ideas whose time has come and gone.

"How do you like the car? It's a Fred."
The point of this is the idea that Tharkold-sourced patterns are designed to be adjusted by the user for form and appearance. The Vav-9 Machine Pistol pattern will always make the same gun with the same stats no matter who generates it, but the person at the controls can go nuts with neon, spikey bits, phalanges, and other assorted frippery. The downside is that you can't actually change an items stats, so regardless of what your assault rifle looks like or is called it's always going to have the same base stats as every other assault rifle made from the same base pattern.

It's also worth pointing out that, now that the Tharkold have entered the Possibility War in earnest, they've started creating patterns for items from other realities and Tech axioms. It's possible to use a MakerMod setup to create an Orrorshian rifle or an Ayslish breastplate and not have to worry about disconnection while using it.


Sure, why not?

So that's all confusing and poorly explained by both the book and myself! Let's look at the categories of stuff you can make.

Cybernetics and cyberdecks are covered in other chapters, so there's not much to say here.

Besides, you're more likely to want to make Firearms.

"Firearms" covers any gun that fires physical ammo regardless of size and that doesn't qualify as a "heavy weapon". That said, they don't use gunpowder as a propellant or mechanical firing systems. Instead, everything uses caseless ammo with internal propellant charges that are fired via an electronic ignition system. Which also means that Tharkoldu guns can only use ammo specifically made for them.

On the plus side, any firearm can be made into a cyberweapon that can be installed into a cyberlimb. Pistols can fit into a hand, but something the size of a rifle needs to be mounted on an arm or leg.

a very important note posted:

Cyberweapons are denoted by the affix -Ket in the pattern designation. For example, a snub pistol made for use as a cybergun would be a 9/Gam-Ket.
Surprisingly, there's not that many specific firearms listed. Really they're just the baseline patterns for various generic gun types (pistol/sub-machine gun/rifle/etc.) with the accociated funny names. We have:
  • 9/Gam Snub Pistol: your basic autoloader pistol
  • 11/Alph Automatic: an 11mm pistol; the "standard issue" firearm among the Race.
  • 13/Zan Magnum: a larger 13mm pistol, just too big to fit in a simple cyberhand mount.
  • Vav-9 Machine Pistol: a light submachine gun, small enough to fit in a simple cyberhand mount.
  • Thav-9 Submachine Gun: a standard-issue SMG.
  • Nu-15 Close Assault Weapon: a shotgun with an overly complicated name.
  • Mim-8 Assault Weapon: an automatic gun that comes in either carbine or rifle configurations.
  • Pe-Ain Assault Chaingun: the standard-issue 5.5mm for Tharkoldu. It's too big to be mounted in a cybernetic system, but it can be attached to power armor.
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Unsurprisingly, you can also make Firearm ammunition with the right setup. In addition to normal ammo of (I'm assuming) whatever caliber you want, you can also make explosive ammo (which only gives a +1 to damage and doesn't even have an area effect), plasma ammo (still only +1 ammo, but now it has a 2m blast radius), and smart ammo (+2 to your attack roll). The weird thing is, though, that while you do need specific extra modules to make plasma or smart rounds, you don't need anything except the base maker components to make either normal or explosive ammo. Which begs the question: why would anyone make "normal" ammo in that case if explosive ammo costs the same? I don't even mean from a mechanical standpoint, I mean in terms of how the reality rewards needless violence.

Oh, and there's supposed to be gas ammo as well; it's listed in the MakerMod stat block, but not in the details or on the equipment lists.


Pictured: guns

But anyway, that's the boring basics out of the way. Time for the weird sci-fi poo poo.

Such as Energy Weapons! Energy weapons only exist in pistol or rifle designs, and can't be placed into cyberware without using occultech due to the electromagnetic systems needed for an energy weapon screwing with cybernetic systems.

The main thing that differentiates energy weapons from firearms (apart from the ammo) is that energy weapons can be overloaded. Overloading an energy weapon lets you increase the damage of a gun by discharging its entire power cell into one big blast. When you fire an overloaded weapon, the gun's damage value based on the number of shots it has left. The downside is that energy weapons aren't really designed to do that; an attack roll of 1-4 will have something happen:

quote:

On a 4: The power cell fuses. The weapon delivers a normal shot and exhausts the cell. It must be reloaded.
On a 3: The power cell fuses without firing. The weapon must be reloaded.
On a 2: The weapon fuses. It is junk.
On a 1: The weapon explodes. An explosion with the increased damage goes off. Plasma weapons cause their usual explosive damage. Other weapons affect all targets within 4 meters.
On the plus side, if you disconnect when overloading your gun, then the disconnection takes effect before the gun goes off. On the downside, your attack doesn't happen, but on the plus side your gun didn't explode in your hand.

Energy weapons come in a few basic varieties. The most basic (and the cheapest) are Ion Blasters. Ion blasters work by creating a carrier wave to the target, then zapping an electrical blast down the wave. The downside of ion weapons is that they don't work underwater. Or in a heavy rain.

Plasma guns launch balls of hydrogen plasma suspended in electromagnetic fields that discharge when contacting...well, anything. This means that plasma weapons are basically explosives, with an average max radius of about 10 meters, although some weapons have a bigger blast.

quote:

Thav/7-Nu is an infantry support weapon. It is available as a bi-pod stabilized rifle, weighing over 140 pounds (65 kilos). The weapon is fired from the ground, with the firer prone. A character firing the rifle while standin gor kneeling suffers a -3 bonus modifier unless her Strength is 15 or better, in which case she can stabilize the weapon.
Lastly, there are Stunners, which directly affect the nervous system and cyberware systems. Because of this, they bypass most armor but can't get through heavy cover or an energy field. They also have lovely range. Stunners only do stun damage (duh), but the heaviest Stunner-class weapon does real damage if the target has any cybernetics installed.

Now we come to Heavy Weapons, but I'm not going to spend a lot of time on these. This is stuff like grenade launchers, chainguns, and the plasma cannon. Sadly, the plasma cannon isn't as interesting as you'd expect; it's just a big plasma weapon that doesn't even have a higher blast radius or anything.


Melee weapons are the usual array of sharp or blunt instruments, although you can tweak the basic designs with some high-tech extras like monofilament edges or special impact-focusing polymers, but all these do is increase the base damage and maximum damage of the weapon by 1. Plasma melee weapons are available for people who want lightsabers, increasing the damage by a whopping 2 points! You can also have your weapon shock the target, increasing its shock damage by 3.

And I need to pause here about this. A plasma melee weapon, which is to say: a weapon sheathed in a plasma field, increases that weapon's damage by one point more than the more mundane options. It also requires a power cell, and if it's out of juice (or you disconnect) then the weapon's damage stats actually drop by 1 from its baseline, since the weapon isn't designed to be used without the field. All this begs the question: what's the point? It seems like a lot of extra hassle for one additional point of damage. And yeah, in Torg a +1 to a damage rating doesn't just mean "it does one more hit point of damage", but still. It's a loving plasma weapon.

Anyway. Time to get into the weird stuff with Pain Weapons. Pain weapons require a Tech axiom of 26 and access to occultech, because they channel their power into an attack against the target's Spirit attribute. When a pain weapon hits, instead of determining damage value normally the attacker adds their attack bonus to their pain weapons skill, and that's what determines the damage done. Pain weapon damage is resisted with either the pain weapons skill or the Spirit stat. Pain weapons only do Spiritual stun damage, which was something from waaaaaaay back in the core book as part of the miracles rules.

Pain weapons include the Agonizer, the Pain Wand, the Pain Baton, the Pain Staff, and the Pain Whip. Really they're all pretty much the same, it's really more a matter of style than anything else.


"AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!"

Apart from weapons, you can also 3D print various types of Armor.

quote:

Considering the damage done by Tharkold weaponry, it should come as no surprise that personal armor technology is very advanced.
Armor can be worn over stuff like dermal plating, but for what you're wearing to be effective it needs to have an armor value of no more than two point above what you're wearing it over, and even then it just increases your armor by a total of +2.

That said, there's a good variety of armor types available. The most basic is the Kap/3 Mesh, which is the Tharkold equivalent of a bulletproof vest, and the next step up is synthleather. But you don't care about that stuff. You want to know about power armor!

The basic power armor is the Chod/8 armor, which is really just a big ol' stompy suit of armor. You can install plasma jets to get some limited flight and/or an anti-energy weapon system, but that's all. Still, it has a higher armor value than an M1 Abrams so it's not like you need it to do a lot. You do need a NeuroJack to operate the armor effectively, though; without one you can still wear it but you suffer Dexterity and fatigue penalties.

The next step up from the Chod/8 is the experimental Chod/10 armor, which operates off solar power instead of a power cell, boosts the user's Strength and Dexterity if he's jacked in, has gun mounts on both arms, and can be modified to allow Tharkoldu to still use their wings with a bonus to their flight skill.

Sounds pretty awesome, right? Well, there's a catch: you can't just buy the pattern. The price is actually listed as "n/a" on the equipment list. Which probably means that if you want the Space Marine armor you're going to have to raid a factory that's already cranking the suits out. Good luck with that!

The rest of the chapter is about the types of vehicles you can make, but you'll forgive me if I don't go into details about them. I mean, there's only so much you can say about motorcycles, cars, boats, and so on.

That said, there are two things worth mentioning about vehicles. First off, hover vehicles exist and are fairly common. They're mainly used for water vehicles, have a maximum hovering height of about 5 meters, but apart from that they're pretty much the same as ground vehicles.

The other thing worth mentioning are the air vehicles, because in keeping with that 90's design idea of "well someone might want to do it" it's possible to make a full-size passenger jet or a suborbital fighter. Because, you know, those are the kinds of things that PCs will need.

--

Not a lot to say here, really. Yeah there are some neat weapons, but given the whole nature of the AutoCAD stuff it would have been cool to see more options for customization than just "you can make it look different".

Still, we're almost done with Tharkold! One more post to go! That's good, right?


NEXT TIME: Machine/Man Interfaces

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!


I might as well point out that the Tharkold alphabet has noticeable similarities to the Hebrew alphabet, maybe one of the designers had been studying Hebrew for his bar-mitzvah and thought it sounded cool?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

Mors Rattus posted:

Sovietski teams up with Red Terror and Iron Curtain to menace Captain America next issue!

We haven't gotten to the Russia books, but I'll just bring up that in the Rifts timeline, Russia decides capitalism just isn't for them and just fully reverts to Soviet communism (well before the cataclysm) so that Kev can have hammer-and-sickle mecha.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Is there really enough interest in Rifts for them to keep printing books?

DicktheCat
Feb 15, 2011

Oh poo poo, it's some Torg. I didn't know anyone was doing that system on here.

JcDent posted:

Is there really enough interest in Rifts for them to keep printing books?

Rifts is one of thise ideas that interested me until I saw how it actually worked. It seems too crunchy and quibbly for me to ever enjoy.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Well, Kevin's not bored yet.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

DicktheCat posted:

Oh poo poo, it's some Torg. I didn't know anyone was doing that system on here.
Where the heck have you been?

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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.

System Mastery back once again with King Arthur: Pendragon which is a solid if stuffy old game (we covered 4th edition). It is fine.

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