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Author Topic: K-Punk - a cyberpunk tabletop RPG I'm making  (Read 270 times)

oddtail

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K-Punk - a cyberpunk tabletop RPG I'm making
« on: 19 Feb 2021, 04:00 »

I mentioned this a (long) while back, and there was some interest, so here goes.

On a whim, I created and started testing a tabletop game, with a working title of "K-Punk". I'm at the second iteration of (most of) basic rules, and I'll share them soon.

For now, a brief summary:

The game is set in Seoul, in the year 20XX. It's a cyberpunk game about a group of merceneries outside the law and outside mainstream society*. The core principles that both design and intended play follow are:

1) Youíre a Team and you work as a Team.
2) Two things matter: survival and staying true to who you are.
3) Youíre skilled, but youíre small-time; fighting the big players is pointless.
4) When it matters, youíll end up fighting them anyway.

In terms of game rules, the game stands on three main elements:

1) You don't roll dice to see how well you succeed. Dice are rolled for everyone present and stay on the table, representing opportunities to act and story developments.
2) There's no "damage" you could heal. Impactful events and consequences, in principle, can't be easily remedied or undone and cause permanent stat changes.
3) Scenes in the game are well-defined, mechanically impactful, and sharply separated. There are no "downtime" or "just talking" scenes where nothing happens - even a breather moment will have consequences.

That's it for now. More details in the next post.

*which should kinda go without saying given the "punk" part, but I digress.
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Thrillho

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Re: K-Punk - a cyberpunk tabletop RPG I'm making
« Reply #1 on: 19 Feb 2021, 14:20 »

I am very much interested in this.

Will it be possible to play this game as a pacifist, or group thereof?

Farideh

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Re: K-Punk - a cyberpunk tabletop RPG I'm making
« Reply #2 on: 19 Feb 2021, 14:36 »

I'd love to hear more about this game.
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oddtail

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Re: K-Punk - a cyberpunk tabletop RPG I'm making
« Reply #3 on: 19 Feb 2021, 17:44 »

Will it be possible to play this game as a pacifist, or group thereof?

There is nothing in the game mechanics that *strictly* necessitates violence, so possibly. But I'd have to think about how that interacts with game rules, because I honestly didn't think of it as an option.

But tentatively - yes, I can see pacifist characters in the framework that already exists.
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厚目眠子

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Re: K-Punk - a cyberpunk tabletop RPG I'm making
« Reply #4 on: 19 Feb 2021, 18:38 »

Will it be possible to play this game as a pacifist, or group thereof?
I too, potentially, eccentric. I might play a "realistic" "everyday" role.
Example, a "cyberpunk" area schoolteacher. Activities include teaching schoolwork, safety drills, preserving innocence or teaching reality as appropriate per student. Sometimes a "cyberpunk" event occurs at or near school, therefore activities include preventing harm or protecting students.
Example, an opera assistant. Activities include choosing a gig, working with directors or divas, keeping devices operating during rehearsal or performance, helping audience or guests. A person might be "evil", therefore activities include undermining "evil" persons but according to contract.

3) Scenes in the game are well-defined, mechanically impactful, and sharply separated. There are no "downtime" or "just talking" scenes where nothing happens - even a breather moment will have consequences.
This sentence, the word "impactful", understanding was difficult. Sometimes it is "effective". Here, seems, not "effective". My inference, seems, "mechanically impactful" related to "chekhov's gun".
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oddtail

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Re: K-Punk - a cyberpunk tabletop RPG I'm making
« Reply #5 on: 20 Feb 2021, 03:19 »

In this case "mechanically impactful" means that what happens during a scene has consequences in the game mechanics (as opposed to something happening in the story and not being reflected in the game's rules at all).
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cybersmurf

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Re: K-Punk - a cyberpunk tabletop RPG I'm making
« Reply #6 on: 21 Feb 2021, 03:00 »

If you need someone to play-test this, message me please.
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oddtail

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Re: K-Punk - a cyberpunk tabletop RPG I'm making
« Reply #7 on: 21 Feb 2021, 03:03 »

Still in the process of refining and writing down the rules after the last round of feedback, so here's another teaser to keep the thread going.

The game is about being mercenaries (core principle 1) and about navigating your life as one (principle 2). Scenes in the game are made to reflect this, and are a bit... specialised.

In most games, a scene is a loose concept, mostly related to game pacing, but without rules governing what the scene *does*. It's a framework for doing other, more mechanically importan stuff.

Not so in K-Punk. Here, a scene is a measure of goals and progress not unlike a dungeon level or a monster encounter might be in D&D. And each scene is defined by what it "does" for the game.

Here's how it works:

1) PCs roll dice based on both their competence in a given situation and how engaged/invested a given PC is. All those dice form a pool for the entire Team.
2) Another dice pool is (usually) rolled that represents the environment, less important people, innocent bystanders and the general flow of time and the story.
3) If there are any major antagonists or allies or other interested parties, they each get their own dice pool.

The scene progresses through phases. Phase one means going through all dice that rolled a 1, Phase two all dice that rolled 2 and so on.

You go through each die in turn - if a die belongs to the Team, one member of the Team gets to act once. This is relatively abstract, one "action" may take seconds or days, depending on the scene, but in game terms - the character gets to try and change one thing. It usually means interacting with dice already on the table - rerolling them, removing them, adding new ones.

If a die represents another group - it means the Game Master gets to act once, as an NPC or a group of them.

If a "situation" die comes up - the GM explains what happens in that moment, and may give the Team opportunities to do something or dangers to face, depending on the circumstances.

Numbers on dice represent chronology (hence why you start with 1s rolled), with 1-2 representing things that happened well before or *just* at the start of the main action, 3-4 reflecting the bulk of the events, and 5-6 things that happen either late in the scene or afterwards, after most of the tension is gone.

Goals of a scene vary depending on its type (more on that another time), but in general the scene ends either when all characters make the decision to "bail" (exit the scene), which may be dangerous or costly, or when all neutral, "situation" dice are removed via player actions.

This leads to a resolution of the scene of some sort, and setting up the next scene. New dice are rolled and, in some cases, a portion of the dice may progress from scene to scene.

So for example, if there's a scene with some tension and goals, but no major opposition, the Team may roll (for instance) 4 dice, and there might be 5 situation dice. Let's say the dice come up like this:

Team dice: 1,4,1,6.
Situation dice: 2,2,6,4,3.

The way it would go is that the Team gets to act twice in phase one (because they have two 1s), then two events happen in phase two based on the rules and GM's judgment, followed by one event i phase 3. In phase 4, both the Team and the GM get one die each, similarly in phase 6. In phase 5, nothing much happens.

This is the initial setup - the whole point of getting to act is that the dice will change based on player decisions. So some dice may not come up at all, some may be rerolled and probably at least a few will be added during the scene. The scene will end once all 5 situation dice are removec (dice are *not* removed automatically after they come up), or when all Team members decide to cut their losses and "bail".

That's the gist of how the game works, minus what specific player actions do. More on that next time.
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oddtail

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Re: K-Punk - a cyberpunk tabletop RPG I'm making
« Reply #8 on: 21 Feb 2021, 03:04 »

If you need someone to play-test this, message me please.

Gladly! I'm at the stage when I'm still just playtesting the game just on my own, with a bunch of friends, but I *will* soon have a version I'll be comfortable showing other people.

I do absolutely want to see how the game works when someone who is not me is running it - if nothing else, because I'll make unconscious assumptions on how things "should" work that are not necessarily explicitly stated in the game rules.
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