What is this game?
BLOOD CHROME NEON is a tabletop roleplaying game system for a cyberpunk setting, inspired by the likes of Cyberpunk 2020, Shadowrun, and Deus Ex. It is designed from the ground up to be simple to learn and easy to hack.
This being Zine Quest, the entire thing should fit in a zine of about 24 pages.
The game needs 3-7 players, with one player serving as Game Master. A session takes 2-4 hours, typically. The game exclusively uses six-sided dice: you will probably want about a dozen to play.
How do you play?
It's an RPG. You narrate what your character does, the Game Master responds, and then you keep narrating. There's action and laughter and drama.
The game uses a basic system of checks to play. Whenever you do something that has an uncertain outcome, you make a check: you add together the relevant stat and skill, and then roll that many dice. For each die that rolls a 4 or higher, count it as one hit, or success. If your total hits equal or exceed the threshold determined by the GM, that check succeeds and you get the outcome you want. Otherwise, it fails.
That’s it, really. Everything else is gravy.
For example: Z, a roof-runner, needs to leap from the top of one building across the street to the window of another building. The GM says that this will be a Strength check using Jump; they figure this check will have a threshold of about 2. Z has a Strength stat of 3 and a Jump skill of 2, so she rolls 5 dice total. She gets a 1, 2, 4, 4, 6: three dice rolled a 4 or higher, and so she rolled three hits. Since Z scored more hits than the threshold, she succeeds on the check, and so easily makes the leap to the window.
What's the setting?
Cyberpunk. That means:
- Giant, evil megacorporations
- Towering, radiant skyscrapers
- Vast, urban sprawl
- Angry, riotous counterculture
- Vicious, backstabbing espionage
- Grimy, tricked-out cybernetics
- Pulsing, vibrant networks
- Observant, omnipresent drones
- Brutal, dangerous crime
These feelings are universal, but the precise strokes are left up to you.
The game can be used to tell stories of all stripes and styles of cyberpunk. If you want to tell a story that is outside that range, the system is robust enough to handle alterations, modifications, and tweaks easily. You can and should feel free to make hacks as you please.
What's it got inside?
A bunch of stuff:
- Basic stats and rules for playing the game
- A collection of skills and a quick explanation of each
- Rules for contacts, stealth, social interaction, and combat
- Rules for weapons, armor, gear, vehicles, drones, and cybernetics
- Options for all of the above, plus a bunch of other goods & services
- Myriad choices for aesthetic character customization
- Suggestions, guidelines, and advice for GMs in running the game
- Pillars, details, and examples for building a cyberpunk world and story
- Various appendices full of useful and interesting tidbits
Most of the stretch goals involve adding more content, which will expand this list.
Why play this game?
Because it’s rad. You play as criminals, free spirits, renegades, outlaws--you fight the man, and if you’re lucky, you might actually win.
Because it’s relevant. As we inch ever closer towards the end of the 21st century, the questions cyberpunk pose become increasingly pressing.
Because it’s painless. The game is easy to learn, and simple to run; everything is designed to be fast, lightweight, and robust. If you want to play a cyberpunk RPG but have been turned off by the density and size of that endeavor, this is the game for you.
The zine will be:
- About 24 pages
- Printed in 8.5” x 5.5” paper
- Black and white in the interior
- Purple and white on the cover
Reaching stretch goals will likely increase the page count.
The printing and shipping will be done by DriveThruRPG. This will likely slow the process down somewhat, but it is reliable: I’ve worked with DriveThru before, and so have many others. Also, I'm still a student, and so have minimal access to printing and shipping facilities otherwise.
All printing and shipping costs will be included in your pledge; there will be no costs otherwise.
Your zine can be shipped to anywhere in the world.
Now that the main goal is complete, we can advance on to stretch goals. Each of these will likely increase the page count in some capacity, so expect a heftier, juicier zine. They also trend towards more esoteric, niche, and non-mainstream elements of cyberpunk; these rules will likely be designed to exist at least somewhat in their own space, so you can add or remove them at your leisure.
The first stretch goal, DECEIT, covers rules and options for artificial intelligences, androids, synthetic humans, more complex social cybernetics, and other forms of trickery.
DECEIT has been funded! Get ready for new levels of uncertainty added to your game, as you decipher who is human and who is machine.
The second stretch goal, FREEFALL, covers rules and options for drugs, enhancers, stimulants, narcotics, and other forms of physical and mental enhancements.
FREEFALL has been funded! Prepare your mind and body alike for new experiences, visions, enhancements, abilities, and feelings.
The third stretch goal, ETERNITY, covers rules and options for genetic modification, cloning, immortality, space travel, and other distant technologies.
ETERNITY has been funded! Brace yourself for undying overlords, bodily manipulation, cloned assassins, space stations, and other tools for the rich and powerful
At this point, I'm growing more cautious about my ability to deliver, so future stretch goals will be a little lighter on the page count than the original three. (We're also in the final 24 hours, so the likelihood of making it significantly farther is a bit unlikely--but I was surprised we made this far, so who knows?)
Don't let that dissuade you, though! The fourth stretch goal, PSYCHE, covers rules and options for psionics, neuromancy, technomancers, and other semi-magical abilities.
Thanks again for reaching the initial goal!
Hello there! I’m Sam. The team is just me. I'll do the writing, design, playtesting, editing, and layout. Part of what the funding for this project will go towards is sweet art for the cover. If we push past the goal, there might be more art as well.
I’m a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where I study game design & development. My focus is in roleplaying games, both the theory and praxis. I’ve taken multiple RPG design classes and have been running and hacking games for years, so I like to think I know what I’m about.
You can find some my other work and projects here.
If you’ve got questions, comments, or just want to talk, you can find me on Twitter at @HeadOfTheGoat. I'm not a super experienced social media user so I might miss your tweet, but I assure you I'm trying.
Risks and challenges
This is my first ever Kickstarter project, and it’s just me. That said, I’ve published to DriveThruRPG before, I’ve made RPG content with hard deadlines and requirements, and this is a project of a manageable scope, I think.
I’ve allotted myself multiple months to finish this. A significant chunk of the content is already done or through several iterations, and the playtests so far have been successful.
There is still a chance that things will go awry--life happens. Still, I’ve done everything I can to mitigate those chances, and done as much research and preparation as I can to ensure this goes smoothly.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (14 days)