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Neon Black (working title)

In the year 21XX freelancers struggle to survive in a city-state controlled by corporations, underground gangs, and artificial intelligences.

You can find updates on the project, links to play test documents, and short fiction inspired by the world of Neon Black on my Patreon.

I've been hacking away at this game for over a year now. It started as a basic reskin of BitD and has grown into it's own beast as I learn from other designers and study games like Scum & Villainy and The Sprawl and see how different FitD and PbtA games can look and feel. Currently working on v 4.0, hoping to have it done by the end of the month so I can get back to testing.

Here's the bullet points for major changes:

Current Character Playbooks:

  • Ranks: dangerous and intimidating fighters
  • Hackers: software and ‘Net experts
  • Splicers:  gifted mechanics and chemists
  • Suits: charismatic and influential speakers
  • Synths: radically augmented operatives

Current Crew Playbooks:

  • Punks: activists and anarchists who steal and sabotage corporate assets.
  • Mercs: bounty hunters and extraction specialists.
  • Start-Up: entrepreneurs looking to compete for a share of Prime City’s wealth.

Misc. Changes:

  • Cohort's edges and flaws all have mechanical benefits. For example a cohort or expert could have "Adept: The cohort is especially helpful in their role. They can suffer a level of harm to assist a character when they make a suitable roll" and "Distinct: The cohort has memorable features and is easy to recognize. Take +1 heat when used any number of times during a job." This is to cover the fact that a cohort could be anything from a group of thugs, a swarm of drones, or an autonomous vehicle.
  • Integrated the Poor Beginnings and Tier Tied to Lifestyle optional rules from Blades in the Dark. There is no rep track for crews, you increase in tier when the crew advances and each character has stash greater than or equal to the crew' next tier.
  • Heat is tracked on the faction sheet. Similar to Scum & Villainy, except heat is accrued against the three major corporations and their subsidiaries, as well as the various underground factions of Prime City.
  • 9 Actions rather than 12:
    • Clout
      • Command
      • Connect
      • Spin
    • Intellect
      • Analyze
      • Hack
      • Tinker
    • Prowess
      • Assault
      • Move
      • Sneak
  • Cyberware. You can acquire various augmentations if you have a contact, character, or asset who can perform the surgery and you've already acquired the chrome. Cyberware grants you a 4th dot in an action or attribute rating and some other special abilities depending on the flavour of cyberware.
  • Crew claims and turf are going to be replaced with something like crew connections or assets. Not sure about this yet, but each crew will only have 4, and each one will cost 1 cred to keep around (paid during the payoff after a job). They will each grant significant mechanical or fictional benefits to offset this cost.
  • Traumas changed to Glitches. I love the trauma system in Blades but I felt it was a bit narrow, and thought I could represent a greater field of character development that would still create problems in a crew of cyberpunk freelancers. Current glitches:
    • Arrogant: You are uncompromising in your beliefs and actions.
    • Cold: You’re not moved by emotions or social connections. 
    • Greedy: You don’t share with others and deny others your time and resources. 
    • Idealistic: There are morals or principles you will not betray. 
    • Obsessed: You’re enthralled by one thing: an activity, a person, an ideology. 
    • Open: You are empathetic and unwilling to keep secrets from anyone.  
    • Reckless: You have little regard for your own safety or best interests. 
    • Vicious: You seek out opportunities to hurt people, even for no good reason.
  • Changed Devil's Bargain to Selling Out. Mechanically works the same way, but puts the pressure on the player to offer something help for the extra die, and highlights the fact that it should hurt.

There's probably more, but I've got to get to my day job soon.