HUMAN… ALMOST: A Post-Cyberpunk Police Procedural Roleplaying Pamphlet – PLAYTEST VERSION
Publisher: Egg Embry Publishing
PREMISE: Unregulated technocrime endangers The City; state-of-the-art criminals overwhelm the police. To improve their odds, human officers are assigned synthetic partners. Together, humans and machines protect and maintain this promising metropolis from technological chaos.
Human… Almost is a post-cyberpunk police procedural tabletop roleplaying double pamphlet. The GM narrates outrageous crimes, unambiguously evil motivations, second act twists, and final showdowns as your investigators (one human, one synthetic) solve the crimes of the future. Using a streamlined Forged in the Dark variant mixed with TV police procedural tropes, you’ll safeguard The City case by case.
INSPIRATION: An homage to Almost Human, Mann and Machine, Better Than Us, and Minority Report, this post-cyberpunk RPG explores technology employed in crimes. Like its influences, the stories are cautionary tales about what is coming, presented as entertainment.
This project uses a Forged in the Dark variant influenced by Son of Oak’s City of Mists and TOKYO : OTHERSCAPE brilliant tag systems combined with the format of Emanoel Melo’s CBR+PNK and Bammax Gaming’s Operatives and Civilians.
HOW TO INVESTIGATE: Dispatch the crime’s location. Investigate the crime. Offer clues. Roleplay to find out. When the criminal and their motivation are revealed, roleplay the climactic chase, rescue, and arrest.
Your investigator’s personality and experiences are written as short tags. These tags offer roleplaying guidance and directly connect your investigator’s personality to their rolls. Roleplay your TV trope style investigation and apply your investigator’s tags to encounters and situations to form a dice pool. Roll and choose the highest die.
6 is a success
4 or 5 is a success at cost
1 to 3 is a cost
Human… Almost features an ethical question mechanic. Did your investigator fail the roll but want to succeed anyways? There’s always the criminal tag option. If you want to succeed on a roll, commit a crime, police officer, and you’ll gain an automatic success. What lengths will your investigator go to for true justice?
FORMAT: This RPG comes as two black and white PDF brochure/pamphlets. Each brochure is a two-sided 8.5″ x 11″ tri-fold pamphlet. In addition, there’s a mobile PDF that breaks up each brochure into six pages/panels for easier reading on a mobile device.
This playtest RPG features two front and back pamphlets: one for the GM, one for the players. Roleplaying pamphlets limit the amount of prose content expecting the GM and players to fill in with roleplaying experience. At the same time, the tight design unlocks the world for an experienced GM ready to tell their own post-cyberpunk police procedurals.
FEEDBACK: If you are so inclined, please share how I can improve this RPG. As a playtest document, feedback is appreciated. Click this link to share your thoughts via a Google Doc.
CREDITS: Before I get into who did what, thank you for taking the time to check out this RPG! I hope it’s a fun experience!
Designed, written, and illustrated by Egg Embry, @eggembry
Copy edit and layout by Rebecca J Bozarth, @rebeccajbozarth
Published by Egg Embry Publishing
Some artwork in this pamphlet is based on stock images from Pexels.
© 2022 Egg Embry Publishing
This work is based on Blades in the Dark (found at http://www.bladesinthedark.com/), product of One Seven Design, developed and authored by John Harper, and licensed for our use under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).
RECOMMENDATIONS: If full RPGs laid out as brochures interest you, I recommend checking out these great games by other creators:
Emanoel Melo’s CBR+PNK. “Cyberpunk one-shots Forged in the Dark”
Bammax Gaming’s Operatives and Civilians. “A burn notice-inspired lasers & feelings hack”
Micah Anderson’s Dancers in the Dreaming City. “A simple Moorcockian fantasy game”
Benjamín Aníbal Reyna’s Chronicles of Savage Horror. “30 days for the red moon… chaos grows in the city of dys… the hybrids must gather…”
R.E. Davis’ AWESOME D.P.S. (Dice Pool System). “A fast, narrative-driven role-playing framework”
Jacob Marks’ Horrid Mysteries. “A pamphlet of gothic horror”
Ben Milton’s Knave. “A rules toolkit […] for running old school fantasy RPGs without classes.”
While I recommend all of these RPGs, TOKYO : OTHERSCAPE and CBR+PNK are cyberpunk RPGs, specifically. One is an extreme Powered by the Apocalypse variant and the other Forged in the Dark, both highly recommended if cyberpunk and roleplay-to-find-out are your jams.
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