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Cyberpunk RPG Random Scenario Generator

AntonyJohnston May 29th, 2018 (edited) 104 Never
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  1. CYBERPUNK RANDOM SCENARIO GENERATOR
  2. ===================================
  3.  
  4. by Antony Johnston
  5. May 1997
  6.  
  7. http://antonyjohnston.com/
  8.  
  9.  
  10. How many times have you sat at your desk the night before a game and stared at a blank piece of paper? Started counting the hairs on the back of your hand, consumed three packs of cookies and fifteen cups of coffee, smoked forty cigarettes and played Tetris till you've got tunnel vision before you realize it's two-thirty in the morning and you STILL haven't thought of a scenario.
  11.  
  12. Cool it, choomba. GMs block happens to the best of us, and this scenario generator is for just those moments.
  13.  
  14. You can take it literally or simply use it as a source of ideas. We're assuming you know how to write a plot and run a scenario - what you're short on is inspiration. So we won't lecture you about how to put these together, or the direction of the story. Just raw data.
  15.  
  16. Now relax, pick up your d100 and get rolling...
  17.  
  18.  
  19. Using this Scenario Generator
  20. =============================
  21.  
  22. It's so simple, it's criminal. Roll once on each table and follow the instructions.
  23.  
  24. TABLE 1 tells you what the situation is, from a gang war in the streets to a media celebrity coming to town. Try to get the PCs involved directly in these situations (some suggestions for this are given with the entry descriptions), even if it's not their usual line of work. At worst, it should happen around them as they try to get on with their normal business.
  25.  
  26. TABLE 2 will tell you who's involved in this situation besides the PCs. These will most likely end up as the main adversaries, so again try to make them significant to the PCs in some way.
  27.  
  28. TABLE 3 decides where the majority of the action takes place, whether that's at the beginning of the scenario, the climax, or both. Don't always go for the obvious, here - if there's a bent cop on the streets and the table says "diner", maybe he's got a contact there, or he could be using the back room to stash his gear. If you roll "rooftops" he might be paragliding around the city during his dubious business, or have a base of operations on a rooftop somewhere.
  29.  
  30. TABLE 4 is an optional table that tells you what the REAL reason is for all of this, because in cyberpunk nothing is ever what it seems. If you choose to use this table, the result will either describe the real POWER behind the problem and/or the real REASON for the situation in the first place.
  31.  
  32.  
  33. 1. WHAT'S GOING DOWN?
  34. =====================
  35.  
  36. 01-05 Corp extraction
  37. 06-10 Celebrity under threat
  38. 11-15 Decker causing havoc
  39. 16-20 PC's past catches up with them
  40. 21-25 Valuable item suddenly within reach
  41. 26-30 Media circus comes to town
  42. 31-35 Corp going bust
  43. 36-40 New drug hits the streets
  44. 41-45 Gang war
  45. 46-50 Bent cop/s
  46. 51-55 The Mob throws its muscle around
  47. 56-60 An outsider comes to town
  48. 61-65 Nomads on the warpath
  49. 66-70 New hardware hits the streets
  50. 71-75 Crime Boss goes legit
  51. 76-80 Cops purge the underworld
  52. 81-85 Old girlfriends never die
  53. 86-90 Megalomaniac out to destroy the world
  54. 91-95 Serial Killer
  55. 96-00 Roll again twice, combine the two if possible
  56.  
  57.  
  58. 2. WHO'S UP FOR IT?
  59. ===================
  60.  
  61. 01-05 The Mob
  62. 06-10 Military Corp
  63. 11-15 Biotech Corp
  64. 16-20 The Government
  65. 21-25 Booster Gang
  66. 26-30 Solo
  67. 31-35 Merc Outfit
  68. 36-40 Media/s
  69. 41-45 Fixer
  70. 46-50 Decker
  71. 51-55 Foreign Government
  72. 56-60 Eco-guerrillas
  73. 61-65 Nomad Family
  74. 66-70 Police Force
  75. 71-75 Rogue Cops
  76. 76-80 Cyberpsycho
  77. 81-85 Rockerboy/Gang
  78. 86-90 Conspiracy Theorist
  79. 91-95 Rogue Government Agents
  80. 96-00 Roll again twice, combine the two if possible
  81.  
  82.  
  83. 3. WHERE'S IT AT?
  84. =================
  85.  
  86. 01-05 Warehouse
  87. 06-10 Corp HQ
  88. 11-15 Government HQ
  89. 16-20 Nightclub
  90. 21-25 Docks
  91. 26-30 Mob HQ
  92. 31-35 Combat Zone
  93. 36-40 Dustzone
  94. 41-45 Airport
  95. 46-50 The Net
  96. 51-55 Media HQ
  97. 56-60 Rooftops
  98. 61-65 Subways
  99. 66-70 Police Station
  100. 71-75 Diner/Restaurant
  101. 76-80 Concert Hall
  102. 81-85 Hotel
  103. 86-90 Lab
  104. 91-95 Mall
  105. 96-00 Roll again twice, combine the two if possible
  106.  
  107.  
  108. 4. WHAT'S THE REAL STORY?
  109. =========================
  110.  
  111. 01-05 Government cover-up *
  112. 06-10 Corp extraction
  113. 11-15 Corp takeover
  114. 16-20 Bent cop/s
  115. 21-25 Smuggling
  116. 26-30 Gang infiltration
  117. 31-35 Blackmail
  118. 36-40 Decker causing havoc
  119. 41-45 Old enemy
  120. 46-50 Old friend
  121. 51-55 New drug
  122. 56-60 New hardware
  123. 61-65 Solo on the warpath
  124. 66-70 Medias "creating" news (i.e. hoax)
  125. 71-75 The Mob
  126. 76-80 Biotech corp "experimenting"
  127. 81-85 Cultists
  128. 86-90 All for love
  129. 91-95 Nothing. It really is what it appears **
  130. 96-00 Roll again twice, combine the two if possible
  131.  
  132. * You may want to roll again on [1] to see what they're covering up...
  133. ** This'll REALLY make 'em paranoid!
  134.  
  135.  
  136. SITUATION DESCRIPTIONS
  137. ======================
  138.  
  139. # Corp Extraction
  140.  
  141. Corp A has decided it wants Employee X (currently working for Corp B) to work for them instead. Corp B refuses to let him go, so Corp A is using a black ops team to kidnap, er, extract him.
  142.  
  143. - The PCs are the black ops team
  144. - Employee X is a friend of one of the PCs
  145. - The PCs work for Corp B
  146.  
  147. # Celebrity Under Threat
  148.  
  149. A major media celebrity is being stalked/receiving death threats/in a dispute with an employer/the target of an assassination.
  150.  
  151. - The PCs are hired as bodyguards
  152. - One of the PCs knows who is behind the situation
  153. - The PCs are covering the story
  154.  
  155. # Decker Causing Havoc
  156.  
  157. A hot whizkid is disrupting something via the net. This could be inside the net itself (crashing a Corp's system, stealing data, crossing routelines) or something in real life affected by the net (misdirecting deliveries, aiding a team of burglars by disabling alarms, messing up credit accounts).
  158.  
  159. - The PCs are hired by the main sufferer to find and eliminate the decker
  160. - The PCs are the main sufferer
  161. - The PCs know the decker
  162.  
  163. # PC's Past Catches up with Them
  164.  
  165. An old friend/enemy/relative/colleague of one of the PCs turns up out of the blue and starts causing problems.
  166.  
  167. - The PC has a past they'd rather forget
  168. - The NPC wants vengeance on the PC for something
  169. - The NPC wants the PCs help for something
  170.  
  171. # Valuable Item Suddenly Within Reach
  172.  
  173. Something valuable to one or more of the PCs becomes available, but not legally. Something they'd kill to get their hands on.
  174.  
  175. - Brand new proto ICEbreaker
  176. - Military firearms
  177. - Classified documents
  178.  
  179. # Media Circus Comes to Town
  180.  
  181. Something is happening in the PCs city that brings all the media buzzards in. A hip music scene emerges (cf Manchester 1988, Seattle 1991); a personal appearance by a major celebrity; a new invention; perhaps even a disaster.
  182.  
  183. - The PCs are embroiled in the event
  184. - The PCs are involved in something completely irrelevant but highly sensitive, and there are too many media snooping around
  185.  
  186. # Corp Going Bust
  187.  
  188. A major Corp has gone into liquidation. Maybe this has been on the cards for a while, or perhaps it's entirely unexpected. Either way it's trouble.
  189.  
  190. - It's the PCs employer
  191. - It was the PCs actions that brought it down
  192.  
  193. # New Drug Hits the Streets
  194.  
  195. ...And becomes so popular it's a MAJOR problem.
  196.  
  197. - One of the PCs is a junkie
  198. - The PCs are cops, trying to curb its spread
  199. - One of the PCs is a fixer selling it
  200.  
  201. # Gang War
  202.  
  203. Two or more gangs have decided enough is enough and are going to battle it out.
  204.  
  205. - The PCs have a vested interest in one of the gangs
  206. - The PCs have a vested interest in TWO of the gangs (!)
  207. - The PCs live in the zone where the battle takes place
  208.  
  209. # Bent Cop/s
  210.  
  211. Somewhere in the city are one or more rogue cops. They may have gone vigilante or (more likely) they're corrupt.
  212.  
  213. - The PCs are one of the cops' targets
  214. - The cops are friends of the PCs
  215.  
  216. # The Mob Throws its Muscle Around
  217.  
  218. ...And the PCs are on the receiving end of some/all of it.
  219.  
  220. - The PCs are cutting in on the Mob's business
  221. - They insulted/killed someone the Mob holds in high regard
  222.  
  223. # An Outsider Comes to Town
  224.  
  225. Out of nowhere comes someone who upsets the status quo. A foreign diplomat stirring trouble, or a hotshot solo gunning for the top jobs. Maybe a new Chief of Police who won't honor the "arrangement" the PCs had with the previous one...
  226.  
  227. # Nomads on the Warpath
  228.  
  229. Somehow the PCs have earned the wrath of a nomad family. They're coming to town.
  230.  
  231. - One of the PCs spurned the amorous advances of the leader's son/daughter
  232. - The PCs embarrassed a "brother"
  233. - The PCs have initiated a project nomads object to
  234.  
  235. # New Hardware Hits the Streets
  236.  
  237. Your tek is suddenly obsolete, and you can't afford the nutek. Time to start falling behind.
  238.  
  239. - Your cybermodem has been ousted by one twice as fast
  240. - New armor renders all your expensive ammo useless
  241.  
  242. # Crime Boss Goes Legit
  243.  
  244. Big media story - Don Acapulco has declared he's going straight. Why? And if it's true, how come no-one has taken his place at the head?
  245.  
  246. - The PCs are medias covering the story
  247. - The PCs work for Don Acapulco's rival
  248.  
  249. # Cops Purge the Underworld
  250.  
  251. Bowing to public pressure, the cops undertake a massive effort to clean up. Long-forgotten misdemeanors are re-investigated. "Arrangements" suddenly cease to be effective. Favors are forgotten.
  252.  
  253. - The PCs are the cops
  254. - The PCs are responsible for a list of unsolved crimes as long as your arm
  255.  
  256. # Old Girlfriends Never Die (flip gender if necessary/more interesting)
  257.  
  258. ...They just re-emerge when you're in flagrante with your new input (never should have let her keep that keycard). Or they come running to you when they're in big trouble.
  259.  
  260. - She's on the run from the cops
  261. - Her new boyfriend is a psycho
  262. - She wants to use the PC for something (but of course won't tell him that)
  263.  
  264. # Megalomaniac Out to Destroy the World
  265.  
  266. ...And only the PCs can stop him. Think James Bond.
  267.  
  268. - Madman threatens nuclear devastation
  269. - Eco-guerrilla plans to unleash a bioplague
  270.  
  271. # Serial Killer
  272.  
  273. Someone in the city is working their way through a list...
  274.  
  275. - The PCs are on the list
  276. - The PCs are cops trying to catch him
  277. - The PCs are medias covering the story
  278.  
  279.  
  280. NOW WHAT?
  281. =========
  282.  
  283. So you've rolled your dice and got your results. Now you've got to combine them in some way, and you're wondering how the Government is behind a Corp going bust, why it all takes place in a police station, and what the hell it's got to do with smuggling.
  284.  
  285. Hey, that's why we're here. Let's take a look:
  286.  
  287. [1] Corp going bust. OK, so pick a corp. Let's take a military weapons developer that was doing well until very recently. We'll call them Firearms, Inc.
  288.  
  289. [2] The Government. So maybe Firearms, Inc used to have the Government contract, and now they haven't, hence the sudden liquidation. Simple enough so far.
  290.  
  291. [3] Police Station. A bit trickier, this. Let's check number 4 first and come back.
  292.  
  293. [4] Smuggling. A-ha! Check this out:
  294.  
  295. The Government was quite happy buying guns off Firearms, Inc. But then a foreign developer offered them the same guns for half the price. Firearms, Inc couldn't match the price so they lost the contract.
  296.  
  297. But the reason the foreign company was offering the guns so cheaply is because in each shipment of firearms there's about half a million's worth of dope coming into the country.
  298.  
  299. This can now go a number of ways, depending on who your PCs are:
  300.  
  301. - If they're Corps, it's their company that's going bust. It's up to them to do some dirt-digging on the foreign corp.
  302.  
  303. - If they're cops, they might receive an anonymous tip-off.
  304.  
  305. - Maybe the Government KNOWS about the dope, but is quite happy to let it pass because they're getting their guns cheap. Ideal if your PCs are medias...
  306.  
  307. You may have noticed I've ditched the police station (unless your PCs are cops, of course). It's OK, that's what it's all there for - inspiration. If only three out of the four match up, it's enough. Hell, if only one of the rolls gives you an idea, it's better than a blank page, right?
  308.  
  309. Let's try one more:
  310.  
  311. [1] Decker Causing Havoc. Well, this could be anything, so let's get some more info.
  312.  
  313. [2] Medias. But why?
  314.  
  315. [3] Airport. So we can safely assume that's what their decker's disrupting, whether it be data or operational systems.
  316.  
  317. [4] All For Love. Here we go:
  318.  
  319. Donna White, media extraordinaire, has a domestic problem; her girlfriend Maria is leaving her for another woman. Donna is understandably cut up about this, but Maria has made her mind up and is leaving on the 2230 flight to Atlanta tonight.
  320.  
  321. Not if Donna can help it. She's hired a decker to screw up the airport's control systems, cause a snarl-up, and delay all flights. She's not sure how she can persuade Maria to stay, but she's not letting that flight take off before she's had a chance to try.
  322.  
  323. But to make things complex, the decker has a compulsion to use this as an opportunity for infamy, and goes one step further. Planes start colliding in the air, people start dying. And Donna's media boss wants her to cover the story.
  324.  
  325. How do you get your PCs involved? Maybe they're waiting for a flight themselves. Maybe they're a rival media team. Maybe Maria is one PC's cousin, and calls them for a shoulder to cry on; or maybe they're already at the airport to see her off. Maybe your PC decker notices all the strange activity at the airport. Maybe your merc group is called in by airport security to eliminate the problem. Maybe...
  326.  
  327. Use your imagination, and don't be afraid to use and discard ideas as necessary. Your PCs will thank you for it... and you'll never have to stare at that blank page again.
  328.  
  329. // ENDS
  330.  
  331. 2350 words
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