Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Post-Apocalyptic Cybernetics for DCC RPG

Stolen from Image Search

This post mentions the Umerican Survival Guide. It's an excellent third party setting for Dungeon Crawl Classics.

The Umerican Survival Guide is the organized and edited setting book based on the zine, Crawling Under a Broken Moon.

Both of these are great resources for the DCC Judge who wants to add some post-apocalyptic flavor to their games.

Back in the day, I basically grew up playing Rifts and Ninjas & Superspies. Within those two games, cybernetics are featured very prominently. Even though there are classes in those games who specialize in having lots of cybernetic stuff, characters of any class can use cybernetics, albeit to a limited degree.

In a post-apocalyptic world where cybernetics are available, it would make sense for them to be available to everyone, for a price, and full-on cyborgs would be pretty rare (due to initial buy-in cost and then cost of maintenance on top of that).

So in my game, I'm ditching the Cyborg class completely, and making a list of cybernetics that are available to any character. These can be relics from the past found as loot or items that can be purchased and implanted for an expensive fee. Basically, cybernetics in my game are the same as magic items in a fantasy game. Some even have a limited number of 'charges' to use their effects before becoming useless. Some cybernetics are simply mimics of normal biological organs used for medical purposes. Others are tools and others are weapons.

Here is a short list of cybernetic parts organized by body location. I haven't come up with pricing or availability yet. I think it would probably be better for the less complicated items to be used as loot from adventuring (a found pre-apocalypse medical storage facility or something) but I suppose loot could also come from carving stuff out of dead bodies of slain bad guys. It's your group, man.


  • Polarized vision
  • Thermo-Imaging
  • Telescopic
  • Video recording
  • Microscopic
  • Passive Nightvision
  • Panoramic vision
  • Full Spectrum


  • Multi-tool hand
  • Hydrolic extendable arm
  • Jackhammer arm 
  • Sensor hand
  • Forearm computer
  • Climbing cord
  • garrote
  • Finger camera
  • Palm taser
  • Retractable razor nails
  • retractable wrist claws (like Wolverine)
  • Hydrolic and/or myomer musculature for increased strength


  • Hydrolic and/or myomer musculature for increased speed
  • Increased jumping ability
  • Hidden compartment
  • Tank treads instead of legs
  • Four legs instead of two
  • Extendable legs


  • Oxygen storage cell
  • toxin filter
  • Artificial organs
  • Hidden compartment

Regardless of how it is acquired, cybernetics must be installed, and to do that a trained medical technician is necessary. A perfect piece of cybernetics won't work if it is installed incorrectly!
  • Scummy chop shop: Cheapest installation price, part works for d4 weeks, 65% chance of infection from non-sterile equipment.
  • Decent chop shop: a little more expensive, part works as it should, 50% chance of infection.
  • Professional facility: more expensive, parts works as it should, 15% chance of infection.
  • Super deluxe facility: very expensive, part works better than it should, no chance of infection
Maintenance costs would be 10 percent of the "cost" of the part, per week.

So a Wizard with a Microscope eye that has a cost of 1000gp, would have to spend 100gp per week to maintain the eye. 

If the maintenance cost is not met, the part gradually loses its abilities. Use the following as a general guideline
  • All abilities of the part are reduced by 25% after the first week of no maintenance.
  • Reduce by 50% after the second week
  • The part is unusable after the third week
Some parts may not have abilities that track in a way that they can be reduced as above. In those cases, the part simply stops working altogether. 

Friday, September 21, 2018

Science Fiction and DCC RPG

(NOTE: I'm spitballing here. Letting my frustrations out)

I had been puttering away on my own fantasy setting for DCC RPG, it was going to be THE GREATEST FANTASY SETTING EVER!!!

Of course, after making a lot of progress, one of my players said they are tired of fantasy games and want to play science fiction. Others echoed that sentiment.


So, fantasy setting is on the backburner for the time being.

I still want to play DCC, though. What am I to do?

I did some research, that's what I did.

I bought the Crawling Under a Broken Moon companion, the Umerican Survival Guide, Mutant Crawl Classics, and Hubris (for some reason I thought Hubris was a post-apocalyptic setting).

  • The Umerican Survival Guide has some great stuff, but I greatly dislike the Cyborg class. It could be used for a Road Hogs style After the Bomb setting.
  • MCC is disappointing in that virtually none of it is useful to me. The AI Patrons, and animal and plant mutants are interesting.
  • The Murder Machine in Hubris is pretty cool, but the rest of the book isn't geared for what I'm looking for. No fault of it's own.

All have good ideas that I can use. But none of them are really what I'm looking for. I need something else.

So I thought about what I want in a sci-fi game.

  • Energy weapons
  • force fields
  • mecha/giant robots
  • vehicles
  • cybernetics/bionics
  • mutations
  • evil sorcerer/wizard bad guys
  • Influences: Borderlands, Rifts Earth, Mad Max, Turbo Kid, Wizards, The Dying Earth, The Invisibles, After the Bomb

I also thought about what I don't want
  • Fantasy races (dwarves, elves, halflings)
  • Magic in the hands of the player characters. 

So what I'm thinking is having two classes; Warrior and Thief.
As they adventure and loot, they can get cooler and more powerful gear. They can also mutate. They can acquire cybernetic implants and body parts to replace those lost or permanently damaged. 

If I include magic at all, I want to combine the Cleric and Wizard spells and abilities. My idea for that is that a character can learn Patron Bond and attempt to use it. 
  • The character can cast patron spells and use Invoke Patron for its effects. 
  • The character can not learn other spells on their own; they aren't wizards after all.
  • Multiple patrons can be bonded with, determined by character level plus Personality modifier, minimum of one.
  • Only one Patron can be invoked at a time; the effects of the Invoking that patron must expire before another Patron can be invoked. 
  • Patrons are represented as idols/fetishes that the character carries on their physical person. Perhaps these can be used the same as holy symbols.
  • Spell failure works as a Cleric, with Disapproval (but from the Patron)

I like the idea that anyone can use magic, but no one can understand it, and it is very dangerous and unpredictable. 

But the more I think about it, the more difficult it is for me to pin down what, exactly I want, and how to include it. 

Thinking of the Invisibles, I like the idea that otherwise normal people can and do use magic on a daily basis, but don't even realize it. Or that a street kid who is more interested in doing drugs and burning his school is a master magician and an anarchic soldier is his guide into other forms of consciousness. 

Thinking of the Borderlands video game series, mutants abound and millions of gun types are available, each with variations in features and drawbacks. 

Rifts and The Dying Earth treat magic almost as a science, with the world being a shattered and bizarre future version of our own. 

As I sit here and write all this, I'm just getting more frustrated at my inability to focus.

If I could easily adapt After the Bomb to DCC, I would probably be happy with that...