Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop Gaming thread! Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop games that you nerds might be into. Tell us about the games you’re playing, speculate about future expansions, recruit your fellow Avocados into new groups, whatever you want.
For the header this week, Uh Clem is here to talk about a character Role from Cyberpunk RED, a TTRPG of the Dark Future. Cyberpunk takes place in 2045, in the aftermath of the 4th Corporate War, where the players must navigate the shattered urban landscape and maybe free the world from the grasp of the megacorporations. All credit to Clem for the write-up below–thanks, Clem!
Cyberpunk RED: The Rocker
Also known as the “Rockerboy” after Rockerboy Manson, who famously met his end at an Amnesty International concert when British police beat him to death mid-performance. His death resulted in street riots that shook England to its core. Since then, those performers who fight systemic oppression have adopted his name as a badge of honor.
A Rocker doesn’t have to play punk rock. Hell, a Rocker doesn’t have to be a musician. Comedians, slam poets, DJs, and orators can all consider themselves Rockers if they’re inspiring the masses to bring about change.
Of course, “change” is a nebulous concept and each Rocker’s personal cause can be deep or shallow, considered or ignorant, selfless or self-serving. Even Rocker’s sharing the same cause may have drastically different visions of how to bring it to reality, be it incremental or through violent revolution.
Each role in Cyberpunk RED has a unique ability on which the player can spend improvement points to boost. For the Rocker, the role ability is Charismatic Impact, a gauge of how influential the Rocker is and what sort of venues they can play. Use of this ability depends on the character’s Cool statistic, so make sure your Rocker is the very definition of Cool.
At level one of Charismatic Impact, you can get a gig as an opener at a bar and maybe some fans will share their weed (synth, not grown) after the show. At level ten, you sell out arenas and the adoring masses will kill or even sacrifice their own lives for you. It’s weaponized celebrity. Or, as one of my players put it, “I want to play the cult-leader class!”
Similar to Dungeons & Dragons’ Bard class, it can be tricky for the Rocker to integrate well with other members of the crew. They will tend to grab the spotlight, particularly at higher levels of Charismatic Impact. While the ability has fun possibilities, it can also derail play and the enjoyment of the other players if the Rocker starts a riot every session.
See the Rocker’s influence over fans as a potential threat to be held over the heads of megacorporations and authorities. It’s a nuclear option for when you’re up against the wall. Until then, a throng of fans dancing at an impromptu concert in front of Biotechnica to protest their animal rights abuses could be enough to get a one-on-one audience with the regional vice-president.
A Rocker can also act as the group’s moral center in a game that tends to be more mercenary than virtuous. Even if their moral compass isn’t necessarily the most coherent, at its heart there’s a contempt for the world’s injustice. Pushing your crew to do the right thing can be a powerful role-play angle.
The Mirror Darkly:
The literary cyberpunk movement in the 1980’s was about holding up a mirror to Reagan’s America and the dark promise of dystopia reflected there. Cyberpunk the game works in much the same way, allowing for commentary on the present reality. For inspiration on creating a Rocker, there’s a wealth of real-life examples to consider: Woodie Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, The Fugees, Public Enemy, Billy Bragg, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, and Sinead O’Connor just to list just a few.
The Rocker builds on today’s celebrity culture and all the positive and negative connotations that go along with that. But for Cyberpunk, it also requires a more hands-on approach than bragging about your last brunch with the Dalai Lama. So grab your keytar and your sidearm, chooma. The Revolution isn’t going to happen on its own.
We’re playing through a homebrew story put together and DM’d by TheHayesCode! This story is set in the world of Eberron, and concerns the fates of a group of convicts sentenced with transportation to the exotic continent of Xen’Drik. Here’s a brief run-down of the PCs (all Level 4):
- Kalanyl, a Drow Cleric (Grave Domain) of the scorpion-god Vulkoor and our native guide on Xen’Drik, played by Wafflicious
- Vic Lustig, a nondescript-by-design Human Sorcerer (Wild Magic) counterfeiter, played by JosephusBrown
- Bulwark, a Warforged Paladin of the Silver Flame (Oath of Redemption), played by TheCleverGuy
- Higgins, a malfunctioning Warforged Barbarian (Path of Ancestral Guardian), played by Spiny Creature
- Zumira, a Goblin Wizard (Order of Scribes) serial killer, played by The Wasp
- Jo Bean, a very young-looking Human Rogue (Swashbuckler) with a bad attitude, played by Otto
Our game recap this week comes from Spiny Creature, once again writing as the semi-literate Warforged Barbarian, Higgins. Thanks, Spiny!
I have been thinking about how strange it is to have an emploier that is not Mr. Tomollan. Here on the jail island I sometimes have “emploiers”, and it is kind of like working for Mr. Tomollan because I do what they say and do not ask questions. But it is also not like working for Mr. Tomollan because Mr. Tomollan is the greatest man in all of Sharn and I would kill anyone for him.
Anyway I got a new “emploier” who is a wizard. He wanted me and the other prisoners to get back some
valyiubals valiubles important stuff. He ordered crates of spell components from the mainland and it was going to arrive on the prison ship, but that ship sank during the Sahoggan attack. He gave us a spell to let us breath underwater so that we could search the shipwreck for his stuff.
When we searched the lower decks of the shipwreck, we found dead Sahoggan who died trying to prie open a chest. Kalanyl pried the chest a little more open, but when he did that, stuff started to leak out of it. That stuff annamated the dead Sahoggan, who became zombies.
We also saw what we thot were big crabs but turned out to be big swarms of undead severed hands. Why the Sahoggan had piles of hands just lieing around waiting to be annamated I do not know. They are freaks like that.
Zumira was cot between two undead Sahoggan, including the biggest and most swollen one. Since Zumira is a very small goblin it was important to get her out of there so she could do her wizard stuff more far away. Bulwark helped her by Divine Smiting the giant one so Zumira could cast a mind spell and escape him.
Jo shot and killed a lot of Sahoggan with her crossbow, so all that was left were those swarms of hands wrassling us. Some hands knocked Zumira out and then, while she was unconchess, grappled her and almost killed her. Luckily Bulwark and Kalanyl together could wrassle the hands off her and heal her.1
When everything was dead, we herd a voice from the other room calling out and asking “who’s there?” I thought we should not trust the voice because it could be hands.
Bulwark did not think the voice belonged to hands so he went and talked to it. The voice belonged to a sea elf called Glib, an inmate locked in one of the jail ship’s cells. She survived the wreck because sea elves don’t need to breathe air, but she was starveing to death.
When we let her out, though, she started swimming for the exit. She told us the ship was haunted by something invisabel and right then, the invisabel thing burst a door off its hinges and attacked us.
It was a bad scene because we were already hurt badly and it was invisabel so we could not hit it well. Also it was not really hurt that much by regular weapons like mine. Also it made the water rush around Jo and trapped her in a wirlpool so she couldn’t do anything.
It was very good that Vic was there, because he likes ice and frost spells and we might all be dead if he had not used them! When he used a ice spell, we realized the invisabel “ghost” was actually not invisabel and not a ghost. It was a water elemental that only looked invisabel because it was in the water, blending in! Once it was frozen, we could acshully see it.
Even then, though, it had Jo, Bulwark, and Kalanyl all trapped inside its wirlpool, and it was hurting all of us very badly. Every single one of us were almost unconchious! I pulled Jo and Kalanyl out of the wirlpool, and Kalanyl used his very last spell to kill it with Inflict Wounds. We were very ralieved!
Once we were safe, Zumira found the crate of spell components that the wizard lost. We hauled to the surface that valuabel crate, the little chest with the undead-annamating magic inside it, and a fancy pearl ring. Plus we brought Glib the sea elf to the jail island where she belongs (though I think she’ll probably just swim away if she doesn’t like it there).
I think we did a good job helping the wizard. I wonder what his undead magic and components he would not tell us about were, but also it is not my job to ask. I am sure it will never come up again!