This weekend I played in a new game and, for me, a new gaming genre: cyberpunk. I've written-up that session here.
This was ‘Wasters’. In effect, I’m taking part in the playtesting of a new system by Joseph Norris of Adversity Games adapting B/X rules (in our case, OSE) to a cyberpunk setting. The emphasis is on the exploration vibe of Old-School games.
After just one session’s play it would be silly and unfair to make much comment on the system or game-play. I may do a review later, but for now will limit myself to a basic introduction to the setting and an after-action report.
[Acknowledgement: much of this is copied from v0.1 of Wasters, but in paraphrasing, I may have added my own flavour.]
We are in a dystopian future. Life is governed by controlling authorities, ruthless corporations, organised crime and street gangs. Day-to-day survival is the priority for most. Many do this by being part of the system, and become one of the abusers and exploiters out of desperation. You are not one of these.
The wealthy have withdrawn into their own enclaves, leaving the majority of society living in the Slums. Here, inhabitants find themselves the target of thieves and gangs demanding protection money – not to mention the authorities that will suddenly take an interest if you have anything they can squeeze you for. But there is some order at least: in the Slums you have a reasonable expectation of not being shot unless you provoke someone, enter gang turf without permission, bother the police, or lack the wits to get out of the way when raiders go on a rampage.
Outside the Slums are the Wastes – abandoned by any form of order or protection from economic collapse, disaster, or war. But untold wealth of a previous age lies abandoned in these shattered ruins. There are also wild animals, malfunctioning drones and gangs too unruly even for the Slums.
You were once a Slum-dweller, but through ideology, misfortune, carelessness or disillusionment you have left that behind. Now you use your skills to trawl through ruins, collapsed corporate complexes, buried nuclear bunkers and forgotten headquarters of flavour-of-the-month gangs for long-lost valuables.
Those in the slums call you Wasters. But not to your face, because they’re scared of you.
At this stage in the playtest process, character types are limited to four analogues of B/X Classes; -
- Analyst – Users of tech (analogue of Magic User). They use their devices and skills to support the crew from a safe distance. As they advance in level, they can build and use an increasing number of more powerful functions.
- Infiltrator – A sneak, spy and sniper (analogue of Thief).
- Ronin – Dispossessed soldiers, enforcers or hitmen (analogue of Fighter)
- Sentinel – Wasters who join the front of combat to protect their crew, carrying a jammer to disrupt drones (analogue of Cleric). As they advance, they develop support functions.