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Thread: Best game for Ghost in the Shell style play?

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    Best game for Ghost in the Shell style play?

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    Shadowrun? Cyberpunk? Cyberspace? What do you like?
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    It depends on style. What kind of rules does your group like? What are they more focused on- action/combat, espionage/intrigue, drama, story?

    Shadowrun 4e is solid and has the potential for GitS style drama. AI, Full conversion cyborgs (you would need to just give that out in char gen, I don't think a starting character could afford it), genetic experiments, corporate greed. The setting could support a GitS-style game, but I wouldn't try "porting" it over. I think if you focused your Shadowrun missions on the tech vs. humanity drama, you could easily invoke the moods and themes in GitS.

    Cyberpunk 2020 could also accomplish this and there are conversions out there for the actual universe. There is a new fan-created version of Interlock (the system in CP2020) called Interlock Unlimited. And it's free! It still has a solid fan base. Also, that gentlemen (known as Wisdom000) also did some online conversion stuff for various Anime to Interlock including GitS IIRC. He is a great fan of the game and he ran playtests and online groups to vet the updates to the system.

    Now, for a less rules intense game, I would recommend you check out PDQ by Atomic Sock Monkey Press. This game is really hitting my happy buttons right now. It is a more story-focused ruleset and I think would make for a perfect GitS-Style game. You can download the PDQ (and the newer PDQ#) rules from the ASMP website for free!

    Also, FATE 3.0 as found in Starblazer Adventures is another great story-focused rules-set. It's actually a tad crunchier than PDQ and has plenty of options to pull off all kinds of sci-fi gaming. Worth checking out. I just got my hard cover from my pre-order and it's one awesomely huge book (also fun to read btw)!

    Actually as I think more about how PDQ and FATE handle cinematic action, mooks, and the like, they would make a really good fit. The main characters can do awesome stuff AND survive plenty of punishment while mooks are mowed down like flowers...

    In the future, I think I am moving away from more traditional style medium/heavy crunch games to lighter more story-focused games. These last 2 games support more player-centric gaming, player control over plot and scenes, encourage roleplaying both the bad stuff as well as the heroic, and get the game focused back on that collaborative story creation that I want. I have grown tired of arguing about range modifiers and subsystems. I want drama and adventure!

    If I was to run a Cyberpunk GitS style game, I personally would try either PDQ or SBA.
    Trentin C Bergeron (TreChriron)
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    Depends. Ghost in the Shell, or GitS: Stand-Alone Complex? Which feel are you going for?

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    SAC/2nd Gig
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    Quote Originally Posted by trechriron View Post
    Cyberpunk 2020 could also accomplish this and there are conversions out there for the actual universe. There is a new fan-created version of Interlock (the system in CP2020) called Interlock Unlimited. And it's free! It still has a solid fan base. Also, that gentlemen (known as Wisdom000) also did some online conversion stuff for various Anime to Interlock including GitS IIRC. He is a great fan of the game and he ran playtests and online groups to vet the updates to the system.
    I just went over to Interlock Unlimited since I played a lot of R. Talsorian games back in the day. Unfortunately, a lot of links, including both links under the first link you gave, take me to some site called Dreamstock which wants to sell me web templates for a couple thousand bucks a pop. If this is some ad that I'm supposed to skip through, I couldn't find the "skip" button.

    Also, what is "Ghost in the Shell style play?" I'm thinking, especially for Standalone Complex, that it's concept-heavy, tech-heavy, spec-heavy, with a dash of epistemological philosophy, in a setting of hard sf that's transitional between cyberpunk and transhumanism. What's your take on it?
    Last edited by Umiushi; 06-19-2009 at 09:43 PM.

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    My preference for you then would be Spycraft 2.0, or HERO, or much lesser Shadowrun, though as Trech said, I think you'd be best off playing true Shadowrun, focusing on GitS themes and whatnot. My nod actually goes to HERO in this case with a heavy emphasis on the bionics/robotics side, with Spycraft 2.0 as a very close second because it is so easily modable and uses a very modular ruleset you can tweak to your desired feel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umiushi View Post
    I just went over to Interlock Unlimited since I played a lot of R. Talsorian games back in the day. Unfortunately, a lot of links, including both links under the first link you gave, take me to some site called Dreamstock which wants to sell me web templates for a couple thousand bucks a pop. If this is some ad that I'm supposed to skip through, I couldn't find the "skip" button.
    ...
    The links are working, you may have hit my post before I edited it. I made like 4 edits.


    Quote Originally Posted by Umiushi View Post
    ...

    Also, what is "Ghost in the Shell style play?" I'm thinking, especially for Standalone Complex, that it's concept-heavy, tech-heavy, spec-heavy, with a dash of epistemological philosophy, in a setting of hard sf that's transitional between cyberpunk and transhumanism. What's your take on it?
    Concept heavy epistemological surreal sci-fi cyberpunk/transhumanist philosophy. Yeah, that should cover it. I think it has a hard edge but I am not convinced the technology is true "hard sci-fi" but something in-between. More to the point, I think that GitS-style play (mood? theme?) would focus on that tech vs humanity tech AS humanity interpersonal what is human why do I love (him/her/that) what's the point I must fight because I care dramatic flash point. It should be heavy. Heavy shit is going to happen and the players deal with it with all thier angst and flaws and kick ass and save...

    Themselves.

    At least, that's what I feel it is.
    Last edited by trechriron; 06-20-2009 at 01:19 AM. Reason: Broke up the quote so my reply made more sense...
    Trentin C Bergeron (TreChriron)
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    Quote Originally Posted by trechriron View Post
    The links are working, you may have hit my post before I edited it. I made like 4 edits.

    Concept heavy epistemological surreal sci-fi cyberpunk/transhumanist philosophy. Yeah, that should cover it. I think it has a hard edge but I am not convinced the technology is true "hard sci-fi" but something in-between. More to the point, I think that GitS-style play (mood? theme?) would focus on that tech vs humanity tech AS humanity interpersonal what is human why do I love (him/her/that) what's the point I must fight because I care dramatic flash point. It should be heavy. Heavy shit is going to happen and the players deal with it with all thier angst and flaws and kick ass and save...

    Themselves.

    At least, that's what I feel it is.
    It's not a problem with your links. At least, I checked just now and your links are still taking me to the pages they were taking me to before. My problem is the links I find on those pages, especially the first one, take me to what looks like some squatter ad site.

    When you mentioned humanity, you totally reminded me of the mechanics that do not work in Cyberpunk and Shadowrun as applied to Ghost in the Shell. In Cyberpunk, I think it was called Empathy. In Shadowrun, I don't really remember clearly, but I think it was called Essence? In both games, the idea was that the more cybered-up a character got, the lower their Empathy/Essence(?). Empathy was basically your humanity. Essence may have just been a character's link to magical power, but I seem to recall that if you lost all of it, bad stuff would happen to you.

    One of the major themes of Standalone Complex is the complete repudiation of the Cyberpunk Empathy concept. Some of the most empathic characters in the series are the ones with the full cyborg bodies. At a bare minimum, it's repeatedly shown that they operate on the same level of humanity as the characters who have little to no cybernetic enhancement.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Umiushi View Post
    ... My problem is the links I find on those pages, especially the first one, take me to what looks like some squatter ad site.

    ...

    One of the major themes of Standalone Complex is the complete repudiation of the Cyberpunk Empathy concept. Some of the most empathic characters in the series are the ones with the full cyborg bodies. At a bare minimum, it's repeatedly shown that they operate on the same level of humanity as the characters who have little to no cybernetic enhancement.
    1) Yeah. It happens. Could you find any of the files or conversions?

    2) Yes. I agree. In terms of Interlock or Fuzion you could just ignore empathy/humanity costs for cyberware/bioware. I agree, that would be important to emulate GitS. You could devise something where $ = character points (as a cost) to put back in some "balance" (where the humanity cost was originally designed as the "balancing" factor).

    If you use FATE or PDQ then there's no problem.
    Trentin C Bergeron (TreChriron)
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    And then there is this up and coming RPG from Catalyst Game Labs...

    Eclipse Phase.

    Looks interesting.
    Trentin C Bergeron (TreChriron)
    Bard, Dreamer & RPG Enthusiast
    October Northwest

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    i think amber, or a variant thereof would be the best to represent a ghost in the shell type game.
    nijineko the gm: AG16, CoS. nijineko the player: AtG, RttToH; . The Journal of Tala'elowar Kiyiik! .
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    Quote Originally Posted by nijineko View Post
    i think amber, or a variant thereof would be the best to represent a ghost in the shell type game.
    If you like dice-less systems. "Fate" resolution (my sword skill is better than yours - so I win) can cause some people to balk at it. I also have several friends who have played Amber for years and LOVE IT!!!! YMMV and all that.

    BTW - where are good places to find the core book?
    Trentin C Bergeron (TreChriron)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Umiushi View Post
    One of the major themes of Standalone Complex is the complete repudiation of the Cyberpunk Empathy concept.

    then explain Togusa? The whole reason hes on the team is his lack of "ware" because it gives him a different perspective. Not saying that the Major or anyone are not emotional just that they certainly set up that Togusa and the Major approach situations in a different way.

    For your essence question, you died if you lost all of it in Shadowrun unless you used magic to put your soul back in the machine.

    [edit] update so I'm ruling out cyberpunk, pdq, amber so far but still not thinking anything is just totally perfect for it.
    Last edited by MortonStromgal; 06-26-2009 at 12:43 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MortonStromgal View Post
    then explain Togusa? The whole reason hes on the team is his lack of "ware" because it gives him a different perspective. Not saying that the Major or anyone are not emotional just that they certainly set up that Togusa and the Major approach situations in a different way.

    For your essence question, you died if you lost all of it in Shadowrun unless you used magic to put your soul back in the machine.

    [edit] update so I'm ruling out cyberpunk, pdq, amber so far but still not thinking anything is just totally perfect for it.
    I'll be happy to explain Togusa, since I was thinking of him when I wrote my piece in the first place. However, it appears you have answered your own question: his lack of cybernetics gives him a different perspective in the same way someone who rarely uses a computer has a different perspective from someone who goes online every day. There's no hint that he's somehow got a higher level of whatever quality would translate into Empathy or Essence from these games than Kusanagi, Batou, Kuze, or any of the other heavily cybernetic individuals.

    Thanks for the clarification concerning Essence. I'm going to stick to Empathy now, because it's hard to discuss Essence, since it seems inextricably tied in with Shadowrun's systems. Rather than being merely hinted at, it's explicitly demonstrated, again and again, that cyborgs are in complete possession of every favorable trait people traditionally ascribe to "humanity" when used in the positive sense. Furthermore, by the end of the series, the AIs and bioroids, as they gain experience from the world, develop these traits, too.

    It's a good parallel to Blade Runner, now that I think about it. The Replicants don't have human empathy, not because they are artificial, but because they have short lifespans. Replicants with false memories demonstrate empathy, regardless of their engineered origins.

    Wouldn't you agree that this theme forms one of the cornerstones of the Ghost in the Shell series? Isn't empathy, along with intuition, altruism, self-awareness, and other similar traits, another aspect of the "Ghost" that even the Tachikoma claim to possess in the end? I apologize for dumping a load of counterfactuals, but with cripplingly low Empathy scores, Kuze and Kusanagi wouldn't have the relationship they did; the Tachikoma wouldn't have independently chosen to sacrifice themselves; and Aramaki, with all that headware of his, wouldn't be a driving force for justice behind Section Nine.
    Last edited by Umiushi; 06-27-2009 at 11:35 AM.

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    Earlier I recommended Spycraft 2.0, and I'll recommend it again. I also recommend reviewing this thread: http://www.crafty-games.com/forum/index.php?topic=646.0
    This thread contains a homebrew cybernetics system that fits perfectly into the spirit and feel of Spycraft. Not to mention one of the Expert Classes in the core book was the Raptor... basically a cyberninja. I think you'll find it works really well for you.

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