Wednesday, March 28, 2012


That didn't take long. The consolidated revised Cyborg file is about 10 pages in length. It covers just about everything at a high level that it needs to. However there are some things left out:

1. The opening "connective tissue." I didn't write it--but it's pretty clear what I want to do there ("Hello, this chapter is for cyberpunk, science fiction, or anime games ...")

2. Cyber Weapons. Originally I was going to have a lot of ultra-tech guns (lasers, flechette rounds, etc.) However--it is not clear to me how this is not just a semi-world-specific gear list. The only "cyber weapons" I can think of are cybernetic 'gladitorial' weapons--things no one but a cyborg would carry. Anyone can have a laser (whether it is built-in or not). However having a buzz-saw hand seems fairly cyber-specific.

I don't really plan on putting the entire "high tech gun list" into Archetype book. That can go anywhere else (Have Not, space book, etc.).

3. Super Hacking gear. Cyborg hackers would have a few advantages over non cyber-hackers. In addition to presumably getting pluses due to having "Leet wet-ware gear" they would also, for example, be able to remotely access secure networks and the like.

I have some notes on "Quantum Decrypter" suites of gear that allow the cyborg to bypass ordinary encryption and do things like listen in on cell phones or otherwise bypass a lot of security.

The Big Question
So the big question is: for your X-points where X is like 4 or 8 (a lot for a non-combat power) what exactly are you buying? How does "hacking" work? Here is where we are thus far:

  • There are some powers that "make you rich." Things like Clairvoyance + Las Vegas would make most people a lot of money. If you have one of those powers we can just "factor in" the cost of being rich--especially if there is a note or section that talks about money in the game so that the GM and other players realize "if you have this power set you are expected to be using it to make money." So, okay: if super hackers can bring in a haul regularly they either pay for being very rich--or they just have a "decent income" but don't work at it very hard (do a few jobs a year).
  • What about secrets? If there are super hackers--even if their gear is prototype and illegal--it would mean that big secrets would not be kept, if possible, in accessible places. So if these guys can penetrate heavy electronic security and get secret information then that will "blow up the world." There are actually several powers that "blow up the world." The ability to bring the dead back to life in anything that doesn't look like AD&D would blow-up-the-world since it would, necessarily, wreak havoc with human ideas of morality and mortality. The same thing goes for reproducible fusion power: the world would not look like we know it to look today. So can super hackers "upset the balance of power?" The easy answer is "No." You can get into -some- places but not -any- place. But if that's true, are they "super hackers" or not?
  • Electronic Omniscience. This isn't exactly "hacking" but what if the gear allows things like tapping into traffic cameras and security systems so you can track people. What if you can activate cell phones to listen in at range on private discussions. These techniques exist to a degree today (visitors to China are apparently told to bring disposable devices, throw them away after visiting, and take the batteries out during private meetings--because the cell systems are so compromised). What is this worth? If you can do it easily--whenever you need to--it becomes a potentially huge advantage over your opponents. If you can hear everything they say--or track people from the safety of your apartment then (a) unless they know you can do this, you will dominate them if they have to plan to any degree and (b) if they do know you can do this, their behavior will change a lot. Do we presume that is the case?
The real problems here are not the good-ness of super hacking but the fact that generic super-hacking rules are hard to envision. A slightly post-modern world will look a lot like one of today. Hacking in a science fiction universe could look totally different. I don't want Cybernetics to be a world book so much as a generic resource-springboard.

So I've yet to close it out until I can decide if I want some generic hacking dramas or just use a specific one. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Turning A Corner

I have completed the next draft of Innate Powers. It clocks in at 60 pages--probably the largest single chapter of JAGS Revised Archetypes. It is a combination of super powers, some magical stuff, and animal creation. It is not 'fully' complete because there were several abilities put in as place-holders for when we have a chance to simulate them. These are:

  • Regeneration
  • The Liquid, Gas, and Energy body powers.
  • A few other odds and ends.
There are a few abilties that are not in there that I would like to know how they work. These are:

Duplication: Clearly you do something like divide up your APs by duplicate and then pay a sur-chrage of some amount in order to reflect that each set of say 10 AP (assume a 40 AP character who can create 4 10-AP versions of himself) is attached to a "standard character" (an extra 10 REA and so on).

That said, how should it work? In the example above a guy built on 40 AP who splits into two 20 AP versions is going to lose badly to a peer who has it all in one character. The 40 AP guy, assuming a 50/50 Offense/Defense spit will have as much in his attack and defense as the 20 AP guy has in his whole character.

I think we can simulate this though: if Duplication creates 1/2 power versions of you, the Simulator should be able to tell how many of those stack up to a single whole-points version. We could then run that against the herds ... But I haven't done that yet.

Absorption: There are several powers around this. The one I am interested in is the one where "I get hit and get stronger." Where "stronger" can apply to a lot of different things--but mainly, I get hit and then hit harder.

The issues around this are:

  • How does it function mechanically? Do I buy Absorption Armor and every point of damage stopped goes ... into what? An Absorption pool ... which then ... what? Gets translated into AP somehow? 
  • Adding AP's point-by-point to attack abilities is a pain in the ass: that's a lot of math. Maybe you just have like Standing Level, Charged, Fully Charged, and Super-Charged? To make it easier to keep track of?
  • Having damage convert into AP would be good--because you could use it to activate or charge up other powers (like, say, Flight). But, again--how do I do that? What if Absorption enhances defenses?
At any rate--this represents a big step forward, whether it's complete or not. I'm going to move on. Remaining is:
  1. Cybernetics--pretty up to date already. A document was done that was -almost- current.
  2. Psionics: Telepathy. A fairly modern version.
  3. Psionics: Telekinesis. Not yet done--not too long.
  4. Psionics: Mind Over Matter. A big section. All the "flame control" and Time Control and Liquid/Water Control stuff. It's big and complex.
  5. Psionics: ESP. We've been working on this and I still don't have a great model in my head of how it should work. This is partially because I'm not sure how games with Espers work vs. games for Espers (where use of ESP is built into the game in some way). Basically, I'm not sure what these guys play like.
  6. Magic: Here's stuff like illusions, summoning, some specifically "undead" powers, and so on.
  7. Gear: I want to do a small chapter of gear to cover things like specific kinds of guns, armor, etc. So that if you are playing a game and want some AP costs to get started with "standard gear" you can choose off the list.
  8. Back of the Book: This chapter is going to have all the rules that were alluded to in the front of the book but didn't get fleshed out there. It'll also have changes to the basic book's rules until I can do a JAGS Revised v2.
  9. Chi Martial Arts: This is last because I'm not sure it's going in yet. I have looked it over and I think it might be well served with some more "Exotic Combat GATs" and some Innate Powers (to simulate, for example, a Chi Fireball)--and that's it. The idea of having this great tactical game 'inside' the JAGS combat system is cool--but I'm not sure it's necessary or that anyone really wants it. If you can play Ken and Ryu do you need to have super complex rules to better emulate the specifics? I don't know.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I'm almost done with the Innate Power's list of energy attacks. It's lengthy and fairly rich. I'm mostly pleased with it.

Once that is done I'll be putting together the rest of the abilities (senses, movement powers, etc.) and the largest and most complex part of JAGS Revised Archetypes will be done.

NOTE: Next most is Mind-Over-Matter abilities which is also a long list of complex powers.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


I'm back! I've been working my way through the Big List of Attacks putting them into the Innate Powers document. It's tedious work but having a good, solid, and hopefully colorful list of powers will be great. I've finished basic energy and "plasma" attacks, fire attacks, and am now on frost attacks.

Also: if you want to know what I think JAGS Have-Not looks like? It's like this: