AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming: Yig Snake Granddaddy, Part 27

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.

Uh Clem is back this week with another look at a Cyberpunk Role, the Solo. Thanks, Clem!

Cyberpunk RED: The Solo

War is a recurring fact of life in the world of Cyberpunk. In the time of the Red, it’s been a couple of decades since the Fourth Corporate War devastated the world, with Arasaka and Militech sparking conflicts across the globe, ultimately ending with a mini-nuke detonating atop Arasaka Tower in Night City. Not to mention there’s still plenty of good old-fashioned nation state warfare. In most every case though, there’s a similar story to the lifecycle of war’s basic resource: the soldier.

Regularly, the young, the poor, and the desperate are enticed to sign on, train, and deploy in whatever the conflict du jour is currently brewing. Once physical or mental trauma has rendered them unfit for duty, they are readily cast off by their employers with no pension or support. Some manage to leave their old life behind, whereas others apply their acquired skills to new causes as Solos.

A Solo finds their skills in ready demand in the year 2045. Be it as a mercenary, extraction specialist, body guard, assassin or edgerunner, the question is less about getting the job, but rather what it will cost to see it to its violent ends. At their disposal are their hard-earned skills, personal arsenal, and the cybernetic limbs replacing what they lost in the war.

Role Ability:

Any gonk can strap iron to their hip and play soldier boy, but it’s the instincts and savvy that turn a near miss into a decisive hit, determines weak points in the enemy’s defenses, and provides a second sense as to when trouble is about to throw down. The Combat Awareness role ability represents the Solo’s years of training and experience under fire.

A number of points equal to the level of Combat Awareness can be distributed across a range of capabilities that give the Solo an edge in responding quickly, fighting defensively, landing attacks, making said attacks hurt, and heightening awareness. These points can be reallocated instantly when not in combat or when combat first begins. If the Solo finds themself in a fluid situation during combat — say a heavily armored cyberpsycho enters the fray — using an Action also allows them to calibrate their readiness to the changing reality.

Party Dynamic:

There’s no great mystery as to what the Solo provides to their crew:

  1. They have a very particular set of skills.
  2. They use them. Repeatedly.

By investing their Combat Awareness into boosting Perception checks, they’ll sense trouble and alert the party to ready themselves. In combat, the can reallocate those points to bypass enemy armor or keep themselves on their feet longer. Those who invest in the Autofire skill can also lay down suppressing fire, an ammo-hungry technique which can force enemies to seek out the nearest cover.

Outside of combat, the Solo should feel free to engage in the social side of edgerunning. Why let the Rocker have all the fun? Typical Solos will have skill points invested in Interrogation for when the crew’s next lead proves unwilling to part with information. Also, as a character gains in Reputation, combat can be bypassed entirely during a Facedown encounter.

The Mirror Darkly:

We’ve no end of examples of wars, both historic and recent, to draw inspiration from for a Solo’s origins. However, the Solo is not a war hero. This isn’t the game for heroes. Even if they’re cinematic and larger-than-life, they need to be fleshed out with what drove them to enlist, the good and bad that happened to them as they served, their flaws and weaknesses. Emotional scars and the deadening effects of cyberware can make for a hollow existence, with some attempting to fill that void with drugs, or booze, or the adrenaline of their next score. And some will try to rise above it by finding a cause to ally themselves.

There’s just one constant: War. War never chan…

Sorry, wrong franchise.

Players and Characters

Wafflicious is back in the DM’s seat this week to continue our 5e Cthulhu Mythos adventure. Our players include:

  • JosephusBrown as Anton Illinois (Human Inquisitive Rogue/Fighter), a disgraced archaeology professor who has turned to seeking arcane rituals
  • CleverGuy as Bastian Updelver (Deep Gnome Alchemist Artificer), an eccentric local potionmaker
  • TheHayesCode as Hazel Green (Dhampir Spirits Bard), a flapper, séance MC, and aspiring spiritualist
  • Spiny Creature as Ku (Kenku Twilight Cleric), a local priestess of Bastet, goddess of protection
  • The Wasp as Leah Zann (Tiefling Great Old One Warlock), a professor from Miskatonic University who accepted a deal with Yog Sothoth to get an advantage over her male colleagues
  • The Ugly One with the Jewels as Minty Rocksmasher (Dwarf Berserker Barbarian), survivor of an eldritch accident which decimated her tribe

Credit for this week’s game recap goes to Otto (aka The Ugly One with the Jewels), writing from the perspective of Minty Rocksmasher. Minty isn’t really one for writing stuff down, so this is more of an oral report, with a little bit of help from Bastian.

Minty's Report

We woke up from those big damn cats to another big damn cat that did not give good instructions for the next damn thing that was going to happen:

I am NOT thinking these big damn cats are good at their damn jobs, because we woke up and there was already a mess of things on us. You seen those blink dogs? The things can disappear and reappear around you? There was a couple of those, but they’re lizards now. Lizards that don’t just got teeth longer than blink dogs, but teeth the size of your hand, and they run around on their back legs, so they got claws in the mix. AND they had company.

One of the company they had was riding on this , like, larger version of the blink dogs, except it didn’t blink, it spit poison. And ANOTHER bit of the company we had was this damn . . . I dunno, this damn thing built like a house that spit lightning out of its back.

[Bastian: “Ankylosaur.”]

Yeah, an ankle sore that was trying to fry us for a while. And ANOTHER bit of the company we had was this WHOLE BIG dinosaur that was on its hind legs. Bigger than the little ones we’re fighting, smaller than the one that chewed me up for a while.

[Bastian: “An allosaur. Kind of.”]

Well, yeah, because it wasn’t built right, was it? It didn’t have those little front claws it’s supposed to have, it had some weird damn tentacle things instead. Right? Like, octopus things coming out of its elbows. Anyway, it had a snake person riding it, and it took off into the woods I guess to report us to whatever runs it and the thing that rides it. So after that, we were just fighting the blinky dinosaurs and the poison-spitting thing with the rider, and the lighting house.

I . . . I’m not sure what happened for a little bit. You know what it’s like when I feel the spirits of my clan and I go to my special place and I just hurt things for a while.


[Bastian, tapping pen: Yes, I know]

Okay, then, so it’s kind of a blur, but I guess the lightning house really hurt some folks. Lit them up good. Pretty well smashed Hazel. But I think the spell people were doing pretty good at hurting it – right, like you and Leah?

[Bastian: Thank you, yes.]

And Anton was just stabbing, oh, damn, that stabbing was SO GOOD. He is SO FAST.  And the spells and the stabbing were just making this like background music when I felt my axe meet meat.

And when I was thinking kind of straight again, we’d killed everything except that damn Snerson on the damn Snailsaur –

[Bastian: Snake person on the allosaur]

Right, and we were all thinking it was riding off to warn its damn boss, so I went off after it, but I wasn’t thinking right, so we didn’t find it. So I guess the damn dinosaurs and  Gehir and stuff know where we were. And then I kind of . . . well, I cut down a couple trees because I was mad, and then Hazel was there, and we went back to the camp. We had a little talk, and we decided we were gonna head back to the first snake statue we saw like . . . I dunno, FOREVER ago, way down south. South of the big old red tower that I guess is Monster City right now.

So we headed west, to try to get to it away from Monster City, and it didn’t look like we were being followed, but then we ran into a couple of damn snakes on top of some MORE big spitty dinosaurs, and things got a little blurry again for me. We killed all them?

[Bastian: We did, yes.]

Well, I bet that was pretty great. But we were pretty tired by then, right? And we need Ku, the bird person, to do some of the special things that Ku can do, like talking to people far away and letting us cross the river so we can sneak up on that damn statue from behind, outside of Monster City.

I feel like we had a good couple of days. Though I guess that damn snake on that damn lizard is probably already back at its damn headquarters telling everyone where we were.