Sunday, 6 August 2017

Cyberpunk 2020: Introducing Aki

So back in May I started a Cyberpunk 2020 Campaign, with a friend from High School.  I've run one other Cyberpunk campaign in my time as a GM.  That one was a game centred upon a squad of Specialists within the Night City Police Department.  The concept drew rather heavily from Ghost in the Shell Stand-Alone Complex, which at the time had been my only exposure to Cyberpunk fiction.  By and large it was a disaster!  I couldn't gather enough players, the players I did manage to gather weren't playing characters with Combat-focused rolls.  (The group consisted of a MedTech and a Netrunner, our one Solo ended up dropping out before the first session even started!)

This time I decided that I wanted to take another crack at running Cyberpunk 2020.  I got in contact with one of the players from my previous campaign (that group's Netrunner).  I went over to her house with my revision of the Cyberpunk character generation rules (you can that them here).  Since we didn't have any other players in the group I decided that this would be a single-player campaign.  Focusing on the single character, I didn't go in with any preconceived notions about what the campaign would be about.  I would leave it entirely up to the die-rolls of the Lifepath.  If the die-rolls indicated that this would be a campaign of Corporate intrigue, then that is what I would run.  If they came up indicating a game of gutter-punk survival then that is what I would run.  The end result was Aki (you can see her stats here).

A closer approximation to what
Aki looks like than anything else
I could find on Google Images.
Aki ended up being a Japanese ex-corporate Street Samurai.  The results of her Lifepath indicated that the campaign I would run, would be a "street" campaign.  She ended up with a lot of emotional baggage (which is great since this campaign has the luxury of being able to focus on a single character).  A devoted girlfriend named Rinchen (who Aki constantly cheats on) Aki's most valued person and the source of her Close Personal Tie disadvantage.  An enemy in the form of her old Corporate handler Ingrid Zackova (who Aki blinded in one eye and has sworn revenge against).  As well as a serious personality flaw of perpetual unfaithfulness to her girlfriend (in the form of sexual addiction).

There's a lot about Aki that makes you think that her life is the plot to a bad romance drama.  Which a lot of people would think doesn't fit into the Cyberpunk genre.  Personally I think nothing could be further from the truth.  Take a look at Neuromancer that book is full of failed romances.  Chase's betrayal at the hands of Linda Lee, his short on-the-job romance with Molly.  Molly herself has a past as a meat-puppet and a dead boyfriend Johnny (last name Mnemonic).  Hell even the back-stabbing Riviera has a background of betraying his lovers to the Turkish MPs.  Cyberpunk also borrows a lot from Film Noir, where there never seems to be a happy or "normal" relationship.  In fact that often ends up serving as a source of conflict.  In Brick (an unusual example of Film Noir set in a modern high school), an ex-girlfriend's phone call pleading for help.  Leads the protagonist on his path to take revenge on the drug-ring that killed her.  While in Sin City Goldie comes to Marv in hopes that he'll protect her from a silent killer that wants her dead.  I personally hope to use Aki's relationship with Rinchen for all that it's worth, in terms of story.

In terms of skillset, Aki isn't a particularly versatile character.  I'll have to restrict myself to problems that can be solved through the following options.  Physical Violence, social maneuvering (intimidation or persuasion) or critical thinking (street-smarts).  She has absolutely no skill when it comes to hacking or technology of any kind (her dump-stat is Tech for crying out loud).  Also Aki probably isn't going to be taking on any jobs that resemble the typical Cyberpunk 2020/Shadowrun missions.  (Bust into Corporate Facility X and extract the macguffin (scientist, information, prototype)).  In terms of jobs she'll probably be doing contract killings, bounty hunting, private investigations, debt collection and some light body guarding work.  While this kind of work can be incredibly straight-forward, it'll be my job to make it complicated.  Example: Debt-Collecting it's never as simple as knock on the guy's door and ask him to hand over the money he owes.  The punk most definitely owes money to a number of people all over the city.  Problem is that the majority of them have decided that today is the final day to collect.  So you gotta contend with the competition.  Also he just borrowed money from another guy (unaware of his outstanding debts) and used the money to hire some gangers to keep his creditors at bay.

Most of Aki's equipment is pretty standard for a Street Samurai.  In terms of Cybernetics she has the basics, Sandevistan Boosterware, a Universal Link, Biomonitor and some Lite-Tattooes.  The player ended up rolling pretty poorly for Alienation, so they decided to get Smart-Glasses (Goggles in the Corebook) instead of investing in full-blown Cyberoptics.  She wields a Kukri Knife, because the player didn't put any skill points into Fencing for a Katana.  She wields a Smart-gun conversion of the Sig Sauer 210-2 (or rather a 3rd party clone of it), loaded with base exploder rounds.  (Deals with armour great, packs a little more wallop and doesn't leave fingerprints).  She also has a (roughly) 3 carat diamond engagement ring (for her girlfriend when the time is right) in retrospect that shifty street-vendor overcharged her.  The most expensive purchase (other than the cyberware) has to be the Mitsubishi Kaneda motorcycle with cyber controls.  I hope to get this beauty involved in some high-speed chases.  I just hope Aki doesn't end up like Toe-Cutter from the first Mad Max movie.
A recurring nightmare I have about how the game will end.        

So there you have it a brief overview of the heroine of my new Cyberpunk  2020 campaign.  After some communication with the game's one player, we're finally ready to sit down and play the first session.  I can't wait, I've been sitting on the first scenario for the majority of the summer.  Now my hard work will finally pay off.  The game is scheduled to happen Thursday the 17th, I'll be sure to post an Actual Play.  Things should be good as long as neither of us dies.  So until then have a good day and good gaming.  Be sure to +1, reshare, comment and follow as you see fit.