The BlackHammer CyberPunk Project

Change For The Machines
Alternate rules from the
BlackHammer CyberPunk Project
for handling Humanity and Empathy Loss from cybernetic augmentation and drug use in CyberPunk 2020.

Based on rules in Grimm's CyberTales by Justin Schmidt

Before reading the rules contained in this article, we also recommend you read the article "Thesis Of Change", by Denise Robinson, defending the concept of humanity loss caused by implants and personal body modifications as detailed in the CyberPunk game and the Grimm's Cybertales rules. These rules represent several hundred hours of playtesting the Grimm's CyberTales rules for cyberpsychosis and represent some fine-tuning we've worked into the rules over that time.


These rules expand on the rules given for Humanity Loss and the effect on Empathy thereof. (for every 10 full points of Humanity Loss collected from cybernetics or drug use, the character loses 1 point of Empathy until the character's Empathy is reduced to Zero and complete cyberpsychosis sets in). In addition to standard Humanity Loss the character must also record what kind of humanity loss it represents. In our current system we have four kinds of Humanity Loss (the same four as from Grimm's CyberTales), Alienation, Egotism, Obsession and Paranoia.

Starting Characters start with a predetermined amount of points divided as they please between the four types of Humanity Loss. This amount is calculated as (EMP-10)x5 - or it can be checked on the table at right. (Remember not to apply this HL against their Humanity, it exists to represent their slight separation from the rest of humanity)

Different types of cybernetics cause different types of humanity loss. In some cases cyberware may cause Humanity Loss from more than one category, in these cases the player divides the Humanity Loss between the categories based on the character's personality. Since these psychoses can become dominant parts of a character's persona, having a high Alienation will make other Humanity Loss more often be Alienation too, and so on...

FashionWareAlienation, Obsession
NeuralWareAlienation, Obsession, Paranoia, Egotism
CyberOpticsParanoia, Alienation, Obsession
CyberAudioParanoia, Alienation, Obsession
ImplantsParanoia, Alienation, Obsession, Egotism
CyberLimbsEgotism, Obsession
Linear FramesEgotism, Alienation, Obsession, Egotism
CyberWeaponsEgotism, Obsession
Body PlatingEgotism, Paranoia

The Effects Of Humanity Loss: There are four types of humanity loss, the character's current total in any one type of HL describes how their seperation from humanity is affecting them.

0 - 5 points   NORMAL
The character shows no effect of his alienation

6 - 15 points   DISTANT
The character is a little distant, but no more than is common in the Cyberpunk world

16 - 25 points   ABSENT
The character's memory of existance prior to his augmentation or drug use is easily forgotten. The character is unlikely to notice things that seem unimportant to his current main focus (-2 on memory checks and rolls to notice clues and things he is not looking for).

26 - 35 points   ECCENTRIC
The character develops a quirk or quirks that seperate him from "other" people. He is drawing himself away from society and has built up a wall of defense that includes this eccentricity to mark his change. Quite often he will no longer refer to his life prior to his augmentation after this point (if he hasn't repressed all memories thereof already).

36 - 45 points   DELUSIONS
The character gains a firmly-held false belief about the world or himself. Examples include thinking many of his actions are controlled by the cyberware, that he can pick up top secret transmissions on his wearman, that he can see people's auras with his cyberoptics, etc.

46-55 points   HALLUCINATIONS
The character begins seeing things that aren't there, or that the character thinks should be there. Hallucinations last D6 turns and are usually triggered by stress, and require a successful save vs COOL to avoid in nasty situations. By now the character has probably created an entirely new history for himself prior to his implantations.

56+ points   SCHIZOPHRENIC
At this point the character has his own reality. The character must make an INT check at -2 to do anything constructive. If the roll is failed by 4 or more, the character does something destructive.

0 - 5 points   NORMAL
The character shows no effect of his egotism

6 - 15 points   ARROGANT
The character is a little arrogant, but no more than is common amongst the self-centred dreggs of humanity.

16 - 25 points   STUBBORN
The character is more self-involved and stubborn. The character usually thinks he is smarter and / or stronger than the others, and his ideas are better. A routine Leadership or Persuasion roll will get the character in line usually.

26 - 35 points   CONCEITED
The character's stubborness takes a new turn and the character begins thinking and acting as if he is in fact better than others. The character will make sure that his efforts are rewarded, and may take skills to improve his appearance or reputation.

36 - 45 points   EGOCENTRIC
The character views things only as they relate to himself. Others' needs and desires are neglected for his own desires. An average Leadership or Persuasion roll will be required to convince the character that another plan is in their best interest.

46-55 points   NARCISSISTIC
The character becomes obsessed with his own appearance, skills, comfort and/or reputation. The character will be hard-pressed (Difficult Leadership or Persuasion) to do anything for other people.

56+ points   MEGALOMANIA
The character has delusions of grandeyr. As such, everyone else is inferior and can be neglected. The character also seems himself as immortal or at least bullet-proof. The caharcter will ignore risks, seeing himself as impervious to danger.

0 - 5 points   NORMAL
The character shows no effect of his obsessions.

6 - 15 points   HAPPY
The character is pleased with his cybernetics or drugs, and likes to play with them, but without interfering in his normal life.

16 - 25 points   DISTRACTED
The character likes to play with his cybernetics or drugs, using them whenever free time presents itself. Unless the character is concentrating, he receives a -1 on all rolls (usually applicable when things get boring or people start talking about other stuff).

26 - 35 points   COMPULSIVE
The character compulsively plays with the cybernetics or drugs, using them whenever possible. Others will find this irritating as he is constantly showing off or tripping out.

36 - 45 points   ADDICT
The charcter has to play with the cybernetics or drugs. It starts taking over his life, and acts as a serious distraction (as DISTRACTED, but a -2 penalty). The character's COOL drops by 1 for every 6 hours not allowed to play with the cybernetic or using drugs.

46-55 points   OBSESSIVE
The character does play with the cybernetics or drugs, playing with them all the time. This interferes in social activities (-2 on most social rolls) and will probably ostracize the character from scenes that do not like the same drugs or cyberware as the character. COOL drops by 1 for every 3 hours not allowed to play with the cyberware or drugs.

56+ points   MONOMANIA
The character must play with the cybernetics or drugs all the time. This is a serious distraction, with a penalty of -3 applied to all actions not directly related to the cyberware or drugs. The cahracter's COOL drops by 1 point every hour he goes without. The character is essentially a vegetable, 100% addicted and dedicating his entire life to the addiction.

0 - 5 points   NORMAL
The character shows no effect of his paranoia.

6 - 15 points   NERVOUS
The character is a little nervous, but this is healthy in the Cyberpunk world

16 - 25 points   EDGY
The character is a little more nervous than the average person, seeing things, shapes, stalkers, etc. The character has a -2 penatly on fright checks.

26 - 35 points   HYPOCHONDRIA
The character now is always afraid that he is getting sick or being ambushed or some such. The character feels the symptoms of various diseases, spots ambushes and so on.

36 - 45 points   PHOBIA
The character now develops a severe phobia...

46-55 points   PARANOID
The character begins to think that people are out to get him, that he is the target of some conspiracy. Any time a character does something selfless towards this character, he must make a successful COOL-2 check or learn to hate that cahracter, as he is obviously part of the conspiracy. The character gets a -4 penalty on all Fright checks and the character's effective COOL decreases by 1.

56+ points   HOMOCIDAL
Fearing that people are secretly plotting against him, the takes things into his own hands and begins to hunt them down.

These rules are based in part upon the works of both RTG and Justin Schmidt and are not meant as a challenge to their respective copyrights