1987. Cyberpunk and cybernetics are hot, and Gary needs a new gig now that he’s been pushed out from TSR and suddenly can’t keep writing Dungeons & Dragons books and articles. Then the aliens invade and our only defense is cybernetically enhanced humans and new dice curve algorithms.
Welcome to Cyborg Commando by Gary Gygax, Frank Mentzer and Kim Mohan – a veritable triumverate of awesome from the old days at TSR. And now the authors of a really bizarre and ultimately forgettable RPG that is claimed by many to be one of the worst RPGs ever to be published. Highlighted in the game is the new d10x system, where rolls are made by rolling 2d10 and multiplying the results which produces a weird inverse exponential function with most of the results being in the low end of the scale, with weird outliers spiking in at 80, 81, 90 and 100. And I emphasize the “highlighted” here, because there are three pages of the book dedicated to explaining how awesome this new die mechanic is.
Anyways, in order to fight off the Xenoborg invasion in 2035, humanity now relies on the Cyborg Commandos, our last defenders in a post-apocalyptic alien-infested wasteland. By shooting lasers out of their fingers.
Character creation is quite simple (although there is an advanced character creation system, it really only makes it so you have to deal with three times as many stats and the use of skill categories instead of just skills). I’m going to go with a female cyborg commando, because a chick robocop would have been eight and a half times better than a guy. And since Mentzer is on the writing crew, I’m thinking of using one of the other Basic D&D editors for her name… Moldvay or Holmes. Holmes sounds like a porn star reference, so Moldvay it is.
Commando Moldvay gets 60 points to buy stats and skills. There are three stats (Mental, Neural and Physical) and she can spend a max of 50 points on them, with the other points left over for skills. I’ll go with 40 points in stats, 20 in skills. Which gives her stats of Mental 12, Neural 20 and Physical 8 (5 points better than human average for a woman… talk about heroic!). Her “Psychogenics” score (measured in Psychons of power!) is equal to her Neural stat – this is used for ESP and other cool and highly scientifically-based stuff.
I went with Mental of 12 because I cheated and read the skill section. She gets a number of skills equal to her Mental / 3 (4 in this case), and I also determine that it takes her 88 hours of training per point of skill gained (100 – mental). With her Neural of 20, she gets 2 points each for Actions, Rest & Speed.
For her 4 skills, she gets to spend those last 20 points. We’ll go with Personal Weapons, Law Enforcement, Vehicles, and Unarmed Combat – for that whole Robocop vibe. Obviously she was a police officer prior to her career as a Cyborg Commando. She starts with all skills at level 1 as a CC, and the 20 points get spent to bring them up to 10, 7, 4, and 3.
Once she gets converted into a Cyborg, however, her Physical stat jumps from 8 to 108. Why didn’t I just put it at 1 to begin with? Oh well… Hand to hand damage and healing rate is equal to Physical / 10, and Integrity Points (hit points, anyone?) is equal to Physical x 2.
As part of the Cyborg Commando conversion process, Moldvay was also implanted with a MadMac computer that also has a bunch of skills at level 10. This enhanced Unarmed Combat skill gives her a damage bonus of +5
The CC body has batteries that provide 200 Power Units of electricity. These can be recharged by sticking your fingers in an outlet, or by swapping batteries. PU are spent to fire onboard weapon systems or to move at hyperspeeds.
With that done, Franky Moldvay is ready to head out and fight the Xenoborgs… A hideous alien race that uses organic technology and who are detailed down to the cellular level in the GM’s book.
Seriously, the cellular level.
It’s all “hard science” you know. Cyborgs and giant invading bugs made of 3.5cm X-cells that it can turn into microwave emitters.
Francine “Franky” Moldvay
Psychogenics: 20 Psychons
Training Time: 88 hours
Power Units: 200
Unamed Combat – 3 (Total 12)
Personal Weapons – 10 (Total 10)
Law Enforcement – 7 (Total 16)
Vehicles – 4 (Total 4)
Strategy & Tactics – 10
Unarmed Combat – 10
Communications – 10
Energy Sciences – 10
Law Enforcement – 10