The members of Blue Rose Import/Export were enjoying a meal in the back room of The Osaka Shuffle when a smartly dressed woman approached them. She apologized for interrupting, sat down and explained with great hesitation she needed their help to locate her missing daughter.
“It’s been a week, no one’s heard from her. None of her friends. Not her Boss or her apartment manager. The police let me file a Missing Persons report but they won’t do anything because she’s an adult. They say she probably ran off with some new boyfriend and will turn up later. But that’s not like her. She wasn’t dating anyone and she doesn’t just leave like that. I just know something’s wrong. Will you help me? I can pay you.”
A 1,500 Yuan advance is a great incentive. Add expenses plus another 1,500 when they find her.
So yeah, you took the job.
The evening unfolded as the team split up – one half to her place of employment, the other to the club she frequented. (Gentleman Loser) Leads in both locations point to her apartment building in District 6. It seemed like straightforward easy money job, a “Where’s Waldo” or in this case “Where’s Sun Dai Yu?”
Until they picked up a tail.
I won’t bore you with details, but the evening’s session ended in a messy, back alley brawl as the tail turned out to be a private investigator contracted by the Asian-Pacific military to track down AWOL combat simulacra. He flashed his credentials and a general purpose warrant that would allow him to run ID tests on Derek’s character, C33r. (that’s ‘Seer” to you)
The members of Blue Rose were disinclined to acquiesce to his request.
Part 1 ended with C33r shooting one very nosy drone out of the air and Other Pat’s character, Marlow, using his shot-fist on the investigator’s head. Shot-Fist: 1 Head: 0
The team left District 6 in a hurry with Dai Yu’s laptop. (stolen from her apartment, btw)
Are you kidding? If you have ever played any of the STALKER PC games, you shouldn’t be asking that question. And if you haven’t played STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl, Call of Pripyat, or Clear Sky, you need to get on that. Right now.
Dark, brooding, creeping dread punctuated by moments of pulse-spiking terror as you scavenge the irradiated countryside around Chernobyl searching for valuable, other-worldly artifacts.
Face down bandits, blind, feral dogs, mutant boars, and shuffling waves of mind-wiped zombified soldiers. Hunt invisible, swamp-dwelling Cthulhu-esque bloodsuckers, collect the bounty on deformed psychic horrors, and always watch out for Snorks.
Zona Perestrelki (Russian for ‘Zone Firefights’) will combine the solid game engine of our “Cleared To Engage” rules with the distinct STALKER-themed hostile environment and a simple campaign system that will allow you to transform a bumbling group of Molodovs into Zone-hardened veterans – if they live long enough.
My Chechen Wars Kickstarter miniatures are slated to arrive first of the year, so look for them in AARs of our ZP playtest games Q1 2018.
Character figs for our upcoming Interface Zero 2.0games set in New Kowloon 2069.
Blue Rose I/E is one of New Kowloon’s finest independent trade services, offering secure storage, fast transport, and outstanding turnaround time for all your goods and products. Stop by our warehouse at Dock 5H – 37. North Pier, Lower New Kowloon. Or visit our VR office on the Grid at BR_EI.LNK.COM.
More RPG game prep last Tuesday evening. We finished up Character Creation then read through a bit of game setting fluff on New Hong Kong in 2069. After, we ran through another simple scenario to hammer out the combat mechanics. (It’s taking me a bit to wrap my head around the granularity and pace of a RPG game)
The fight took place at the Docks in Lower New Kong with the Ebony Hand crew fending off the Trade and Transit Security forces for four turns. The TTS outnumbered the EH slightly, plus they were kitted out with Kevlar. While vicious as wharf rats, the gangers’ main advantage was their hacker, who could splice into the docks loading array and shift Conex containers to block or funnel the security into EH lanes of fire.
Here are some pictures.
Long story short, the Ebony Hand made quick work of the Dock rent-a-cops, blasting away and using the Conex containers to shove them aside or even squish them on a couple occasions. (Shaken cops who couldn’t crawl away fast enough were turned into tarmac pizza. Eeeew.)
Easy win for the chrome and mirror shade punks.
First RPG session is in two weeks. For now, here’s the New Hong Kong fluff and a short list of cyberpunk slang to get you in the mood.
Til then, have a large one, omae.
NEW HONG KONG IN 2069
Considered Asia’s premier ‘International City’ and the financial capital of the Eastern Hemisphere, New Hong Kong was originally conceived in 2027 as a large-scale urban expansion to the original city. However, explosive population growth and increasing market dominance from the development of advancing technologies ensured the new metropolitan area received formal recognition as a separate municipality in 2041.
With an estimated population of 8.3 million between the Upper and Lower sector in a total area of just over 900 square miles, New Hong Kong (or ‘NK’ as it is known) is literally a ‘City of the Future.’
The Ground Sector, or Lower City, is constructed on existing landmass south of old Hong Kong with parts extending over the South China Sea. The Sky Sector, or Upper City, is built on a massive platform called the ‘Terrace’ which rests 7,000 feet (2 kilometers) above sea level. The Terrace is supported by twelve gigantic pillars called spindles, each one covering twelve city blocks. Internationally, New Hong Kong’s dual sectors are designated LNK and UNK for Lower and Upper New Kong.
UNK is home to the world’s largest and most prestigious corporate, commercial, and financial entities. With available space at a premium, residence on the Terrace is restricted and possible only to the world’s most famous, well-connected, and affluent individuals.
LNK is divided into twelve numbered districts, designated by the Terrace Spindle inside its zone. While the Lower City contains numerous upscale residential areas and exclusive corporate arcologies, it is primarily home to a vast multitude of laborers, merchants, wage-slaves, and workers who either make the daily commute as service personnel in the Terrace, or are employed in one of the hundreds of factories and dock-related industries on the ground level. Because large portions of the Lower City are in shadow most of the day, LNK is nicknamed ‘Dark Town’ and it lives up to this moniker in more ways than one.
Aside from the usual range of carnal entertainment and distraction like casinos, bars, pharma-dens, brothels of every type, and simsense arcades, Dark Town also specializes in illicit Gray and Black Market cyberware, biotech, robotics, and nanotech. Traditional Triad families keep a tight rein on all criminal and semi-legal activity, although recently both the Japanese Yakuza and Russian Bratva have been stepping up their attempts to gain control of the docks and airports.
The team operates a legitimate cover business registered as ‘Blue Rose Import Export.’ They maintain a nice but standard virtual office staffed with a commercial level business A.I. and they lease a mid-sized warehouse near the LNK North Docks. They also have a safe house in District 5 behind the Hong Ying Rice and Noodle Shop on Shenghua Street. This safe house is reasonably secure and is equipped with additional gear, medical supplies, weapons and ammunition. The Blue Rose is fronted by Matt’s character, a Human 2.0. It falls then that this small trade and transport company operating in LNK would employ a Repair Android, a Cybernetics Technician, and a Security/Bodyguard.
The crew has a solid working relationship with the local Triad boss, having done a number of security, delivery, and exchange jobs for them over the past two years. The team, while new, is considered reliable and enjoys a reputation for quick, clean work and while having scruples, doesn’t hesitate to get stuck in if necessary.
CYBERPUNK SLANG (Mostly Shadowrun ‘verse)
Angel: usually an (unknown) benefactor
Buzz: go away
Chipped: Senses, skills, reflexes, muscles, and so on, enhanced by cyberware.
Chummer: Pal, Buddy
Cleaner: assassin (or team) used to eliminate all traces of a mission, including the participants.
Comm: any device that allows direct communication
Corp: anything related to corporations
Dataslave: Corporate decker or other data processing employee.
Datasteal: Theft of data from a computer, usually by decking.
Deck: Cyberdeck or its use.
Decker: Cyberdeck user.
Deckhead: Simsense abuser; anyone with a datajack or chipjack.
Dumped: Involuntarily ejected from the Matrix.
Dumpshock: Nausea and disorientation from being dumped out of a simsense interface (usually the Matrix or a remote control rig)
Exec: Corporate executive.
Frag: Common swear word; Someones (desired) death in a disrespectfully rejoicing context.
Geek: To kill. (outdated)
Go-go-go: A bike gang or gang member.
Heatwave: Police crackdown.
Hose: Screw up.
Ice: Security software. “Intrusion Countermeasures,” or IC.
Jack In: enter cyberspace
Jack out: to leave cyberspace.
Jander: to walk in an arrogant yet casual manner
Kobun: Member of a Yakuza clan.
Mr. Johnson: an anonymous employer or corporate agent.
Nutrisoy: Cheaply processed food product, derived from soybeans
Nuyen: World standard of currency.
Oyabun: Head of a Yakuza clan.
Panzer: Any ground-effect combat vehicle.
Paydata: A datafile worth brouzouf on the black market.
Plex: A metropolitan complex, or “metroplex”.
Poli: A policlub or policlub member.
Razorguy: Heavily cybered samurai or other muscle.
Samurai: Mercenary or muscle for hire. Implies honor code.
Sarariman: From “salaryman.” A corporate employee.
Screamer: Credstick or other ID that triggers computer alarms if used.
Seoul Man: A member of a Seoulpa ring.
Seoulpa ring: A small criminal gang with connections to others like it.
Shaikujin: “Honest citizen.” A corporate employee.
Simsense: ASIST sensory broadcast or recording.
SINless: Lacking a System Identification Number.
Slot: Mild curse word.
Slot and Run: Hurry up. Get to the point.
So ka: I understand. I get it.
Soykaf: Ersatz coffee substitute made from soybeans.
Sprawl: a metroplex
Squatter: to fraternize below one’s social level.
Suit: A “straight citizen.”
System Identification Number (SIN): Identification number assigned to each person in the society.
T-bird: Low-altitude vehicle (LAV), usually vectored thrust.
Trid, Trideo: Holographic animated media; Three-dimensional successor to video.
Vatjob: A person with extensive cyberware replacement, reference is to a portion of the process during which the patient must be submerged in nutrient fluid.
Wetwork: Assassination. Murder.
Wired: Equipped with cyberware, especially increased reflexes.
Yak: Yakuza. Either a clan member or a clan itself.
In preparation for our upcoming cyberpunk RPG games, (both Pathfinder and Savage Worlds iterations) the tabletop miniature gamer in me demanded suitable 3D terrain. Can’t have chrome and mirrorshade minis blasting away on mere gridded map tiles, can we?
So I went for a low cost, minimal labor 2 x 3 playing area using WorldWorks ‘Streets of Titan’ tiles and Plast Craft buildings. Added some posters, some scatter terrain, and it’s starting to take shape. There’s another pile of inexpensive Mantic plastic scenics in the queue, and I’d love to pick up at least two suitable vehicles, but it’s pretty much done. Let me know your thoughts.
Couple things I learned:
Paper terrain hint: get matt sticker paper (full sheet) for your printer. Probably obvious to you all, (bit slow, I am) but it made the whole process far easier and cleaner.
Plast Craft Pre-colored Buildings are pretty cool. Got mine at Miniature Market. Price is good, pre-cut, printed colors and details are crisp. Easy assembly with super glue, add some posters and scenics to taste, and you’re good to go. Highly recommend.
A root canal and a light work schedule for a couple days gave me some time at the painting desk.
First, here’s my take GW’s new super-sized Primaris Marines. Stock color schemes, I have to say they paint up easily and make a table top quality painter like myself look good. Blue with darker shoulder pads for the line troops, stealth blue/black for the Reivers, add a Command type and they’ll make a nice little recon force to face the Space Hulk genestealers I picked up off eBay. Time to break out my Interior Boards.
Next are some fast-n-easy Objective markers for my grandsons’ Battle for Vedros set. A tarted up Ork glyph and UM banner swiped from the internet, they’re basically plastic sprue, cardboard, and a few bitz on 50mm bases. It’s ‘Capture the Flag’ time now, fellas. That should introduce more fun plus a hint of tactical thinking to our slugfests. They came out alright and should stand up to repeated use.
40 years wargaming and playing with toy soldiers, I’m still not a WH/40K tabletop player. I tried several times and it never took. But when Grandsons 1 and 2 caught me playing the PC game “Warhammer 40,000 : Armageddon”, they were so taken by the epic battles between Space Marines and Orks, I seized the opportunity and grabbed the “Battle for Vedros” starter game to see if I couldn’t channel some of that interest from the screen to the game table.
Well it worked. We’ve been playing very simple slugfests when they visit and they love it. They split command of the mighty Space Marines while I Warboss my way into their fields of fire and lose with all the appropriate sound effects and over-dramatized anguish.
All things considered, the Battle for Vedros set is the perfect starter for something like this: decent price point (especially if you find it on sale) a good amount of easy-assemble models, dice, a simple rule book. Terrain would have been helpful, but hey… The models have nice detail but are robust enough to stand up to rough play by 6 and 7-year old boys. Now of course I had to ‘reinforce’ the box armies, which meant a Killa Kan and an Attack Bike for sheer coolness quotient. Then a few more infantry to round out the foot sloggers. But that’s just me…
There’s lots to be said about getting kids to play a table top or board game: it gets them away from a screen, interacting with other actual people. They learn about fair play, taking chances, planning moves, accepting loss when the dice don’t roll their way, being gracious when they win, and most of all, having a blast with friends and family over little army men. They’re already leafing through the booklet, pouring over the pictures, and lobbying for more reinforcements. (“Grandpa, that tank looks cool.”)
Yes it does. It does indeed.
But I better buy some decent terrain first. Something cool looking but simple and robust, without fiddly bits that break easily. I’m open to suggestions here.
Anyway, Hats off to Games Workshop for a great little starter set. The Battle for Vedros made my grandsons quite happy.