"Finite games are played for the purpose of winning. Infinite
games are played for the purpose of continuing play."
Finite & Infinite Games
Neon Twilight employs a system based on the d6. Skills and Specials
are usually rated 1-10, with 1 being pathetic and 10 being amazingly good.
Attributes are rated (for normal humans) from -5 (pathetic) to +5 (amazing),
representing a range of 11 points, with 0 being considered average.
Tasks are accomplished by adding Attribute + Skill + d6 and beating
a Difficulty ranging from 6 (simple) to 18 (nearly impossible). When faced with
an opponent the player rolls as normal against a Difficulty based on the opponent's
Skill + Attribute + d6. This system is fairly easy and similar to many other
ones on the market, so most roleplayers will be familiar with it already.
The final roll result when everything is added together is called the Action Total.
The difference between the player's roll and the opponent's roll is called the
Degree of Success. Example:
Shenkiller wants to sneak past a security guard. His
Stealth is 6 and his Dexterity is +2. The guard's
Alertness is 5, and his Perception is 0. Shenkiller
rolls a 6. The guard rolls a 3. Shenkiller's Action
Total is 6+2+6 = 14. The guard's Action Total is 5+0+3
= 8. Shenkiller's Degree of Success is 14 - 8 = 6.
Very good. Shenkiller sneaks by without a squeak.
The Difficulty chart:
6 - Easy
8 - Normal
10 - Tricky
12 - Challenging
14 - Hard
16 - Very Hard
18 - Extreme
The Degree of Success:
-6 or less = disastrous mishap.
-4 to 0 = failure.
1 to 2 = barely made it. some complications should be added
3 to 5 = good result. no complications
6 or more = critical success. bonus effects should be added.
Neon Twilight is a unique world and should not be played like
a typical cyberpunk world. When describing the world, keep in
mind the following:
Intercons (megacorporations) are generally benign profit-seekers; it is the
Clans and Governments who are truly ruthless. Intercons wield
great power in many areas, and even have their enclaves, but their
influence pales in comparison to the major Powers on the world
stage, such as the Medical Collegium or the Apparatus.
Government is not your friend. Even a government agent will
find that the bureaucratic nature of his employer will sometimes
thwart the player's plans or lead to his ruin. Governments
range from totalitarian dictatorships (Imperial China) to
intrusive demi-democracies (Germany) to Machiavellian bureaucracies (America);
none are benign. All
governments are paranoid following the New Mutation. Most will
go to extreme measures to protect their territories (though
not necessarily their citizens). All governments are highly
intrusive, secretive, and put many restrictions on all facets
America's litiginous nature has made most citizens afraid of
breaking any infraction - no matter how trivial - or of
offending any other person or institution. As a consequence
most people tend to repeat bland cliches, only entertain
government-approved ideas, and use only supersafe corporate doublespeak.
Fringers and Clan-members are the only exception to this.
"Work. Earn. Buy."
Society has become very conservative. With the emergence of
powerful traditional Clans such as the Heartlanders, the Neo-Victorians,
the Afrikaaners, and the Confucians, liberal ideas have been
gradually marginalized in favour of 'time-tested' formulaic
platitudes. The veneer of conservatism and self-repression often conceals a
secret drive towards domination and innovation. New ideas are
not welcomed, unless they can be secretly used to defeat your enemies.
Mavericks and deviants are vilified as 'terrorists'.
The nail that sticks out gets hammered back in. The Research Control
Regime perfectly exemplies this attitude.
Nevertheless, society is much stranger than Twencen people would
believe. There are many alien customs, especially among the
disenfranchised Fringer communities. Scar-tattooes, acceptance
of parent-child marriages (incest), revulsion at unpurified products
(foods grown naturally without protection from bio-organisms),
and bizarre religious cults are the norm in the lower strata of
society. Amongst the upper echelons the use of strong narcotics
has become acceptable, even respectable, considering the necessity
of protecting oneself from parasites. Most middle- and upper-class
persons are incredibly polite and civil by today's standards,
and would never dream of swearing or approaching (let alone touching)
you without permission. This serenity is punctuated by stress-driven
episodes of extreme violence, a phenomena referred to as Muckers (from amok).
Such is the level of hive-stress in the cities that a whole franchise
specializes in redirecting violence in acceptable ways. Rampage World
provides its clients with an arena where they may kill, destroy, gouge,
burn, and mutilate any number of pacific or aggressive animals, from
cats to lions to strange chimerics. Needless to say, Rampage World is
banned in many places and firebombed on a regular basis in many more,
but its appeal seems to be increasing.
Flexibility is important here. Allow your players a lot of leeway in making
characters. Since players are often pitted against massive organizations,
their power level will never approach that of the Clans or Intercontinentals.
Remember to instill a sense of foreboding and paranoia during the game.
Neon Twilight positively festers with secretive cabals and oppressive techno-
bureaucracies which will take every opportunity to humiliate, denigrate, ignore,
trivialize and exterminate the characters.
Every player should have an Agenda and a Dark Secret. This makes the game
more exciting that simple profit-driven adventuring. The Agenda has to be
specific and do-able within the character's immediate future. Examples:
'infiltrate the higher echelons of the Security Franchise and start a war
in Lithuania to regain my ancestral castle', 'assassinate Ken Wilder, the
head of Experimental Research at Eagle Corp', 'expose the fact that the
Apparatus is pulling Synthesia's strings in Asia and playing with war parasites',
'crack Undernet's encryption schemes and reach Level 36'.
Neon Twilight can be played in two ways: Gritty and Cinematic. In the gritty world
each player is a mere human, subject to life's misfortune and the laws of reality.
A player can be killed by a stupid street punk with a streetline .22, an Apparatus
sniper can take you out from a skyscraper without flinching, and you have to
struggle to pay the rent. The Cinematic style is more like a Hollywood action movie.
Players are heroes and major players in the grand scheme of things, ready to take
on the Clans and governments. Players can fly through a hail of bullets and survive,
enemy goons go down like nine-pins, and things blow up real good. In the cinematic
version, double the players' (and major NPCs) Health points, add bonuses for cool
stylistic effects (such as going "KA-CHING" with your pump-action shotgun), and
lower difficulties by 2. It's your choice.
Here are some rules that we found to be especially useful or amusing
in our games:
1. You say it twice, even in jest, and your character does it.
2. You can only raise a character's attributes by 1 point ever. Cybernetics does not
count against this.
3. If you don't have a required skill, you can default to a related skill and
roll at a +2 Difficulty penalty.
4. If you live in a shitty place (Wealth 1 or 2), then there is a 1in6/1in10 chance
that your home will be burglarized/vandalized.
5. Lockpicking or overriding maglocks takes approximately 2 minutes divided by the # of successes.
6. Nervers also speed up technical/physical skills such as lock-picking, but
never knowledge skills.
7. People with low Psyche incur a -1 penalty to social interactions. Same thing
for people with Nervers (because of short attention span, fast speech, etc.)
8. Repeating an action incurs a +1 cumulative Difficulty because of frustration.
9. Murder and sadism result in a loss of Psyche.
10. An ammo clip runs out after approximately 4 uses - to keep things simple, unless
the character says that they're firing only single shots.