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HappyDaze

What do PCs do in the Android setting?

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I have SotB coming in on Tuesday (I think), but in the meantime, what are the "standard" PC group themes for the Android setting? I know in SR, the idea was that the group were extra-legal deniable assets hired by corps for naughty stuff. I guess that could work here too, but the setting seems (after a reading of Worlds of Android) to be a little less anarchic than SR. I have lots of ideas that could work for a solo PC or even a pair of them, but I'm wondering if there are any solid group roles for parties of 3-5 PCs.

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You could try an Inception'esque scenario? A group of experts have been hired by someone who wants you to hack the mind of some important corps board member? Could be they want intel on the competition, or maybe it's an inside job trying to masque it as if it was from an outside source?  The group will maybe try to kidnap said board member, or try to infiltrate their building? Maybe lure them to a fancy club, with our without a favor from the club owner/bouncer, spike the drink of the board member and hack the brain in the restroom?

Or maybe your group has been hired to sabotage something, and then become involved in an unintended terrorist attack as they were led to believe by their employer that the job wasn't that big of a deal?

Or they are hired to find and retrieve a rogue bioroid, and will then have to ask themselves the question whether or not A.I. is considered on equal footing as standard humans, sharing the same rights?

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I plan to run my players in a similar vein as Shadowrun. The idea will be they are low people on the totem pole and just kind of doing whatever jobs they can get. The employers will specifically be looking to hire multiple people (the PC's) separately. Ideally they'll find working together more lucrative than working alone. 

 

I think I'm going to also handle rewards similar to Shadowrun. Where some jobs award more XP, and some more money. The only hard part I'm trying to learn is properly balancing currency, because the costs seem a little low in the book. 

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I think a number of cyberpunk frames and adventure seeds would work. Outside of the usual tropes, maybe try something on a more positive note - a team of 3 - 5 could cover an emergency rescue / ambulance team or maybe a courier group.  Something where you can show off the setting a bit and give them a little tour. 

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8 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

extra-legal deniable assets hired by corps for naughty stuff

This is of course the meat an potatoes of any near-future dystopian scifi rpg, but it feels like there's lots of breathing room in this setting.  It's not so grimdark as the mainline cyberpunk fiction.  While doing the bidding of Mr. Johnson and being an edgerunner is likely going to be a recurring theme, it seems like there's so many hooks in the fiction that warrant pursuit. 

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I'd make all characters members of a (private) investigative agency. They all would fill a different specialty (private eye, data analyst, runner, driver, muscle...) and could be hired or drawn into a new case by accident, thus allowing both for gm or player driven stories. And I think it nicely fits the noir theme the Android setting is built on.

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Private contractors hired to do 'X' is the obvious straightforward organizing theme.

Running episodic/semi-episodic sessions won't be hard to dream up. A long term campaign needs the GM to take what's presented and use that as a springboard.

I think the setting is ripe for secret societies and zealots. Artificial life? Genetic mods? I can definitely see the religious secret society there. 

The politics and feel is pretty close to The Expanse and the Alien franchises, so the steps leading to interstellar travel are good fodder as well. Pretty sure there'd be some competition around FTL capability

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My character was a bioroid courier who had been contracted to deliver a top-secret package from one of the corp offices to another location. Unfortunately, he was intercepted and 'killed' by some people of unknown allegiances who stole his package and dumped his body in the undercity. He was found by Green and Black gangsters who brought his body to a chop-shop mechanic who fixed him up sort-of-correct. Now, he owes his life to the Green and Black so I'm sure they'll keep him hopping. In the meantime, he's also going to see about tracking down his attackers and beating them to a pulp.

Edited by ghost warlock

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I haven't got the book yet, but from the snippets I have seen in the marketing and from people who have it, the book seems to not really have a hard set structure for games. I believe one of the articles described the players as more or less being everyday (future) people trying to get by day to day, not rich, but not destitue either.

I have a four frameworks I have been thinking about using, one of which I actually ran a short game with to test out the Genesys systme, when it first released.
There is the first, tried and true, method that others have mentioned. The group is deniable assests, troubleshooters, shadowrunners etc, that do jobs for shadowy corp reps. I would equate this to the dungeon crawl or kick in the door approach in D&D, lots of action and easy to set up plot hooks. Given that raids on corp compounds can be set up as dungeons and the PC will just be hired for each mission. While the setting certainly allows for this sort of play, it does not seem to be the main focus, things seem a little bit more organized and clean than the usual cyberpunk aesthetic.

My second is having the PC be a gang or the leaders of a gang. This would be more gritty and involve the players setting up their operation and organizing their manpower. I would be stealing the rules for setting up a colony or buisness from Far Horizons, the sourcebook for colonists for EOTE. And have the PCs control gang memebers as minions when going into battle with rival gangs (or Globalsec or private corp military etc).

The third one is the PCs wokring for an agency of some kind, it could be the police as a special investigative unit, a government black ops anti terror unit (inspired by Ghost in The Shell) or the same, but wokring for Globalsec. The focus would be on investigation and solving crimes and mysteries, with the option to go more action oriented on occasion.

The last one is similar to the third one, but with a few differences and it comes in two main varities. It has the players working as a special task force for a corp, the main choice the players would have to make is if they wanted to work for one of the big four or other large established corps or would make their own smaller corp from the ground up. This could give the players an opportunity to step into the role of, what is usually depicted as the bad guys, in cyberpunk fiction.  This would be a mix of the types of play I mnetioned above, running a business, controlling underlings, investigation and action.
The last one is also the style I ran my first trial game with. The player chose to make their own small corp, "Human Solutions". One of the players had latched on the idea of the changing nature of labor itself and how it was all pretty much controleld by two megacorps. He wanted to make a corp that competed with them. At first I was a bit baffled, seeing as any small corp making clones or bioroids would soon be destroyed or bought out by Jinteki or HB. But his idea was to focus on, as the name implies, human solutions. High end service specialists trained by them and rented out for special events or on longer contracts. So if you hired a cook, he would not only be a cook but also have some deeper knowledge of chemistry and be trained to be empathetic and easy to talk to.
Human solutions employees would be trained to not only match androids in certain areas, but also exceed them by still having that real human element: "I have hired a real human to tutor my kid in math" etc.
To accommodate the players who wanted to make a clone of bioroid character, I also had the corp function as a sort of underground railroad for escaped androids. So they were not directly hostile to androids themselves, but saw it as sticking it to HB and Jinteki when they freed or hired those twos former "products". This also opens up room for some Human First plot hooks, maybe they are a bit pissed why Human Solutions will not endorse them and maybe there actually some Human First adherents already working inside Human Solutions.

 

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Since my campaign is open, with rotating teams from mission to mission, the group decided on the following IC explanation:

Several months ago, an app known as Crewzr popped up in New Angeles. While ignored by law enforcement as yet another random addition to the countless hook-up apps popular in the city, Crewzr has more in common with rideshares. However, instead of matching hovercar drivers with riders, Crewzr matches skilled professionals across multiple disciplines for dangerous, often clandestine jobs that pay well, and at least on the surface, seem to benefit the common people of New Angeles, rather than the corporations. It has also been observed to match independent clones and bioroids with humans who are at least ambivalent regarding their rights, rather than actively hostile. It is unknown who created or maintains the app, but the service and the professionals it matches are highly regarded.

Edited by verdantsf

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1 hour ago, verdantsf said:

Since my campaign is open, with rotating teams from mission to mission, the group decided on the following IC explanation:

Several months ago, an app known as Crewzr started to pop up in New Angeles. While ignored by law enforcement as yet another random addition to the countless hook-up apps popular in the city, Crewzr has more in common with rideshares. However, instead of matching hovercar drivers and riders, Crewzr matches skilled professionals across multiple disciplines for dangerous, often clandestine jobs that pay well, and at least on the surface, seem to benefit the common people of New Angeles, rather than the corporations. It has also been observed to match independent clones and bioroids with humans who are at least ambivalent regarding their rights, rather than actively hostile. It is unknown who created or maintains the app, but the service and the professionals it matches are highly regarded.

Brilliant idea!  If you can manage to wrap at the end of each session, this is the perfect way to set the stage for episodic play with a rotating cast of PCs.  It sure beats meeting in the saloon.   Well, okay, not always.  Consider this yoinked!

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Thanks! As a bonus, this also provides a plot mystery that directly affects all of the characters. Just who created this app? Is it as benevolent as it seems? Are certain targets favored over others? What is its true purpose?

Edited by verdantsf

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I plan to incorporate (steal) a concept from SLA Industries: the sanctioned operative. In the sci-fi/horror RPG SLA Industries, the PCs play sanctioned operatives, who are essentially freelance contractors working for one of the many divisions of SLA Industries. Initially, operatives get low-tier, inglorious jobs (like clearing out infestations of carnivorous pigs), but eventually, with persistence and luck, they'll start to pull better gigs that pay more. The most exceptional operatives can earn sponsorships and media coverage of their exploits, which is where things really take off.

That's an aspect that I think is perfect for a technology- and media-saturated setting like Android: the concept of operative teams live-streaming their exploits for their fans, wearing the gear of their corporate sponsors, getting paid to take care of business and look good while doing so. These operatives could either do entirely legal stuff, like full-scale non-lethal combat matches against other operatives in real time, or they could do less legal stuff (which would definitely make for some compelling entertainment).

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If you are more in Shadowrun, you could look around and pull the someone's conversion over into Android. I might actually do that myself since I have a good copy of Shadowrun Genesys. Or you could do the opposite, and pull stuff from Android over into Seattle. For the most part it looks like Android is a tone down version of Shadowrun minus the Metatypes and Magic but it is very fixable and others would help with adapting all the systems to what you want to do. There is a Shadowrun Conversion up in the Settings forum and is actually a nice conversion.

  The author is allowing you to do whatever you want to his version, I started working on adapting the Qualities and am helping bring the Physical Adept to the conversion as well, so there is alot that can be done in the Genesys system to get what you want to do. Android just get deeper into the Network system then the core rules did.

Edited by gilbur
added more information

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Not totally on topic, but...

As the book did not hit Germany yet: Aren't Bioroids and androids supposed to be property which (or who?) have to show up for maintenance and updates (and control!) at their respective corporations in set intervals? And can they not be ordered around by said corporate operatives? And aren't they not hunted down if they violate obove mentioned directives?

How is that handled in the rules for characters with such a background?

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5 hours ago, 2P51 said:

You pick your character's background and, whether they're emancipated or still on a leash.

Even then though, doesn't the law (and the vast majority of society) consider you property rather than a person? I mean, sure you can think you're a person (or even a god if that's your thing), but the guy that puts a few bullets in you and then runs over you with his hopper is only getting charged for discharging a weapon, reckless driving, and/or destruction of property rather than murder. Also, as property, you technically can't own any property yourself either. As for the directives, my understanding is that if you are known to not be bound by them, you're considered a hazard or public menace that needs to be destroyed for the safety of all.

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8 hours ago, Seam said:

Not totally on topic, but...

As the book did not hit Germany yet: Aren't Bioroids and androids supposed to be property which (or who?) have to show up for maintenance and updates (and control!) at their respective corporations in set intervals? And can they not be ordered around by said corporate operatives? And aren't they not hunted down if they violate obove mentioned directives?

How is that handled in the rules for characters with such a background?

A topic like this deserves its own thread, my friend! 

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3 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

As for the directives, my understanding is that if you are known to not be bound by them, you're considered a hazard or public menace that needs to be destroyed for the safety of all.

Misbehaving Clones and Bioroids are also PR and political problems for Jinteki and Haas Bioroid, so expect them to hunt for any emancipated android that has come to the public's attention.  On the other hand, the fact that there are so few free androids in New Angeles means that the average person takes little note of them, and may be less on guard around them.

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My group mostly does one-shots, so I've been pondering this same question since I picked up the book yesterday...

Here's the plot seed I came up with, if you're interested:

A sentient security AI discovers that it was based on a human mind template. It attempts to learn more about the person on which it was based, but this trips failsafe systems cutting off the AI from this avenue of exploration. Before these take full effect, the AI sends a message to the PCs requesting assistance: it has inadvertently put this person in danger and asks the PCs to get them to safety.

The urgency comes from the corp that owns the AI. Because the AI is an essential security system, the existence of this unknown person represents a significant security threat and a team is assembled to eliminate that threat. The PCs are on a time limit, can they resolve this in time?

I think there's some good room to play with here:

Who is the template? Are they a man, woman, non-binary? Are they important or inconsequential? The age of the AI is unknown, so who how old are they? Are they even the same person they were at the time (or altered genetically, mentally or physically?) Is one of the PCs the template?

What does the corp security team intend to do? Kill the template? Capture/incarcerate? or secure them? Is there goal to protect the knowledge of this person from getting out (i.e. are they more interested in shutting down the PCs?) Does the corp hire one of the PCs at the same time they are helping the AI?

I'm happiest when there are reasons for antagonism between groups in the adventure that make sense, without being "these guys are bad" and I think there's some leeway for that here. Cyberpunk works great with ambiguity.

This (hopefully) will also support a good range of PC types, as there would be research, investigation, and action. Also they mix of PCs can be randomized or specific depending on how the AI's message goes out...

 

 

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On 2/13/2019 at 9:41 AM, virtron said:

Who is the template? Are they a man, woman, non-binary? Are they important or inconsequential? The age of the AI is unknown, so who how old are they? Are they even the same person they were at the time (or altered genetically, mentally or physically?) Is one of the PCs the template?

What does the corp security team intend to do? Kill the template? Capture/incarcerate? or secure them? Is there goal to protect the knowledge of this person from getting out (i.e. are they more interested in shutting down the PCs?) Does the corp hire one of the PCs at the same time they are helping the AI?

Wouldn't the template be a corporate employee? One of the main researchers? Or an executive? Head of R&D? I can't imagine that their template would be some person that the corp is just allowing to be out and living their lives. Even a retired scientist is still likely to be monitored and still may be working. 

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Android the board game was originally an almost direct analogue to Blade Runner.  All the characters in the board game were investigators of some sort, and they attempted to explore what it means to be human in a world where AI, robotics and genetic engineering was common place.  In the card games Netrunner, Mainframe and Infiltration the players are hackers and/or criminals attempting to steal or expose so me plot element held by the corporations.  In New Angeles the board game the players are all corporations in competition with each other for dominance of New Angeles.

So the first obvious approach would be a group of investigators either with the NAPD, a corporation or their own freelance firm.  They could be investigating a crime and/or some sort of conspiracy.  That would very much be in the wheel house of the Android board game.

The second and most obvious route would be to follow the Netrunner card game and make your characters activists and/or outlaws who hack/infiltrate the corporations.  They may do this for some moral and/or political reason.  They may do this to establish a reputation.  They may do this for a purely financial gain.  This would be pretty similar to how a Shadow Run game would be structured.

the third obvious structure for an Android game would be to play corporate employees tasked with securing some plot element from criminals and/or other corporations trying to steal it away or exposing it.

Edited by phillos

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