Thursday, December 5, 2019

NR::CRNCH (Aka how to use existing systems to run REVANESCENCE_)

I do not have time to make an entire system for REVANESCENCE_. I am a graduate student in biology (The only true factoid about me on this blog) and both time and energy are sparse. But, what I can make is this.


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This is NR::CRNCH. It's a set of rules which should be true in a RVNS_ game. So, in reality this is "how to hack any other RPG system to become something that you can run RVNS_ as a setting with". A veritable hacking protocol.

Beneykt Szneider
(you need to read this and this post to understand this)


Health is money. Credit. Your funds and your party's sum of health are interchangeable, unless your money is cash. When you're hit you die, and the "damage" you would take in health is instead subtracted from your credit. BIO_ and credit are nigh the same thing. Life is Money. Balance the amount of money you give your players with the amount of health they are supposed to have between them at a certain point in the progression. How and if they share it is their problem.

HEART_ regeneration is near-instant, and the HEART_ posseses limited EMTK (Electromagnetic telekinesis) to ensure that clothing and cybernetics stay in the right place upon regeneration. So dropping your johns the moment you get hit once is entirely on you.


-> This means the players can redivide health pools freely whenever by transfering credit to each other. Keep this in mind for balance.
-> There is no longer a max/full health concept.
-> Health is no longer skill dependent, but money-dependent.
-> You can't heal with "free" skills, like cure wounds spells. You "heal" your lost health/money after a job by selling what loot you got from it. When going on a mission, apart from a combat strategy, players should also have a looting strategy. Even if the mission fails, clever players will make sure they can make off with enough loot to cover the cost of the BIO_ they burned through. 
-> Think about the kind of money you allow your players to gather. Don't give your players large sums of money in a system that deals low damage numbers because it normally has low health numbers. Money and damage need to be of the same degree of magnitude for a mechanic like this to be balanced.


When you get hit with a weapon, there's always a chance your HEART_ gets damaged. HEART_s have a sturdy casing but a direct bullet impact can still put a dent in it. A critical hit can cause:

-> extra damage as the HEART_ malfunctions and uses up more BIO_ than necessary by producing a few failed regenerations before making a proper new you.
-> dead time (badum tss) as the heart needs to reboot/resynch: it takes a round to regenerate instead of being back instantly.
-> flukes or damage in gene data: mutation, perhaps permanent.
-> flukes or damage in neuropattern data: amnesia/personality glitches, perhaps permanent.

Every time you are critically hit you take a strike of permanent damage to your HEART_. Five strikes and you're out. Corporate HEART_ repair is very pricy, but finding an underground Love Doctor (HEART_ mechanic) is extremely risky, and it's impossible to know who you can trust.

You, hacking an rpg with NR::CRNCH

You can play as a synthetic as well as a human being, and they work somewhat similarly. A synthetic has its vital hardware in a resilient casing, a BRAIN_, and an expendable shell body around it. Synthethics' shells are cheaper than BIO_, but they can't regenerate when destroyed. However, a synthetic can swap bodies. Unlike HEART_s, which contain a neuroscan and body plan but no actual living part of you, the BRAIN_ really is a synthetic's working, thinking brain. So they are still conscious (in fact, technically alive at all) without a shell.

A synthetic's BRAIN_ on its own usually has little to no offensive power but high mobility that allows it to swap shells by itself. It can only swap to shells that are built to accomodate it. A BRAIN_ of model x cannot swap to a shell build for model y. It can swap to a shell built for model x.1 or x.2 at best, and that might cause bugs. But you can take shells to a mechanic to be refitted for your BRAIN_ model.

There are two mutation equivalents for synthetics. Bugs, which are tied to a specific shell, and Corruptions, which are in the BRAIN_ and always apply. Cheap shells will have plenty of bugs.

Shells are not necessarily humanoid. They can take many forms and sizes.

Critical hits on synthetics cause corruptions or damage to the BRAIN_'s mobility and/or other abilities. The BRAIN_, like the HEART_, has a five-strikes system, gaining a strike every time when it is hit.


-> Synthetics are more vulnerable in combat than humans because they cannot regenerate when being hit and need to put themselves in a vulnerable position to re-acquire a body. In return, they can have very high versatility by gathering different types of frames.
-> Synthetics are immune to chemical weapons (pheromones, sleeping gas, choking gas and neurotoxin, etc)but they are vulnerable to EMP and cyber- and hacking-type attacks.
-> Synthetics are not directly dependent on the money pool to stay alive. Since the BRAIN_ is built for escaping situations in which a shell may be destroyed, synthetics have a higher chance of making it out alive (though vulnerable) when significantly outgunned.
-> Synthethics' saves, movement, physical stats, everything that's not mental/cybernetic is determined by the shell they are in.

Ghost in the Shell, 1995

Snailing is a soft-hack of the HEART_'s functionalities that isn't technically illegal (because it doesn't actually break into the HEART_), so corporate doesn't get a ping and send repo men after you when you do it. It means that you gradually get your bits replaced with mechanical parts until you're up to three quarters machine, one quarter meat. Basically robocop, but less badass because you're cobbled together from affordable or stolen parts. They could rebuild you, but they only barely had the technology.

What makes this work is that as mentioned, the HEART_ will use EMTK to keep your clothes and cybernetics in place when regenerating. Snailing relies on the fact that most of your body is a cybernetic and exploits that to, when your mechanical shell is shot up, have the HEART_ reassemble your broken shell while only needing you to pay for half the bio because most of you is machinery.

As a snail, you take only three quarters (level 1), half (level 2), or a quarter (level 3) damage to your BIO_ when hit, but regenerating takes respectively one, two, or three turns because the HEART_s EMTK is not terribly powerful/fast. During these turns you are effectively helpless.

As soon as two entire limbs are fully cybernetic, you count as a level 1 snail. All four limbs, a level 2 one, and everything but your head, a level 3. This also applies for different distributions of mechanical bits.

Cybernetic parts that are re-assembled more than three times without repair will not return to functionality even when reassembled by the HEART_: its meat regeneration ability may be extremely precise and sohpisticated, its EMTK remains a side feature of convenience. So you will still need to repair your cybernetics every once in a while.

Jan Buragay

REVANESCENCE_ takes place in the strata of the world: kowloonesque layers of slum housing and such, all stacked and overarched to form what is pretty much a new underground layer of the earth. There is no sky. There is no real soil either, it's just concrete and metal and so on. There is nothing there that's not man-made, and most of it is subject to decades of decay and halfassed maintenance. The crust, where the corporate elite lives, is an entirely different world, that is separated from the strata by a thick military-grade impenetrable ceiling, with only a few elevators and hatches that go through it (which are some of the most high-security sites of the strata). Downwards, in the deepest strata, you have giant abandoned mining and housing complexes that are inhabited by mutants, scavengers, and if you go deeper still, you come into truly bizarre territory, where secret corporate outposts and hidden enclaves of anarchists and ascetic anti-zodiac monks are interspersed on the borders of reality.


-> No sunlight. Solar panel tech is non-existent. Overpriced vitamin capsules and cancer-inducing UV lamp treatments have taken its place.
-> Rain happens, but it's topside water drainages and evaporated water from the layers and layers of strata forming mists and precipitating.
-> There are no CEOs or high-tier corporate moguls that actually live in the strata. All employees down here either are, or answer to, a company synthetic or computer.
-> This is an governmentless capitalistic world. Basically nothing is illegal in the true sense, except for things that clearly jeopardise corporate's dictatorship over people's lives, like HEART_ hacking. Law in the strata comes from the myriad of gangs, triads, and mobs, some of which come from leftovers of old governments and militaries.

Alexis Rives
This is the basic necessities to accomodate REVANESCENCE_. Everything else, from weapons to cybernetics to enemies to whatever, you can keep using from whatever system you use for this. RVNS_ supports/includes a lot of classic cyberpunk and science fiction elements anyway.

More posts about this setting will come, which can help you in enriching the setting, coming up with plots and missions for your players, factions, gadgets, lore, that sort of thing.

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