Exploring the rainy streets of Cyberpunk Manchester in Jeff Noon's Vurt: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game
  • Exploring the rainy streets of Cyberpunk Manchester in Jeff Noon's Vurt: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game


    Next week sees the retail release of Vurt: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game. A cyberpunk roleplaying game based on the novels of Jeff Noon and using Monte Cook Games Cypher System. The game was funded on Kickstarter and designed by US company Ravendesk Games. Below we take a look at some of the art from the book and hear from Ravendesks’ Lee Pruitt about the game…


    Vurt: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game is the very first game released fully licensing the Cypher System by Monte Cook Games. The Cypher System is the rule set that powers the hugely popular RPGs Numenera and The Strange and now it breathes gaming life into the twisted featherpunk dreams of Jeff Noon's Arthur C. Clark award-winning fiction as well.


    The rainy streets of Manchester England are teeming with dreamers, hopelessly addicted to traveling into The Vurt. Cyberpunk Manchester is buzzing with robotic insects who fill the skies with advertisements and your ears with jingles. The alleyways and canals are home to dreamsnakes, ghost cats, robodog traveler bazaars and crazed street gangs. But, through the use of Vurt feathers, you will cross from these dark streets into the twisted world of The Vurt - exploring lands engineered from the dreams of the real world. Welcome to a place of horrors and fantasies which are just as real and dangerous as the one you were born into.


    “The ability to seamlessly transition to the shared dreamscapes of The Vurt and then back to Manchester’s gritty cyberpunk scene without missing a beat - without having to change the game in any way or fumble with different sets of rules - is what makes Vurt: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game so perfectly suited to the incredible versatility of the Cypher System by Monte Cook Games,” said Ravendesk Games co-founder and Project Manager Lee Pruitt.




    "The worlds Jeff Noon conjured up are ideal not just for roleplaying games, but for playing those games however you want. In our game, as in the novels, issues of gender and race as we understand them today are nonexistent. This is a world where you’ll find that genetic recombination of humans with other species, technologies, and even aliens indigenous to The Vurt itself have resulted in dozens of unique beings with their own abilities, cultures, ethics, and technologies. And that frees players from the limitations and constricting tropes of other RPGs."


    The party of adventurous nerds at Ravendesk Games developed Vurt: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game in collaboration with author Jeff Noon, who has not only contributed original material and concepts for the game, but also exclusive short stories which are dispersed throughout the book's 426 pages.




    “The team at Ravendesk have delved into the novels with great creative passion and expertise. They've explored every aspect in fine detail, staying 100% true to the spirit of the imagined world, whilst at the same time allowing the characters and locations to really live off the page. I'm happy to be contributing short stories and other material to the gaming books. In all honesty, I think these guys know more about my novels than I do!” said Jeff Noon.








    Vurt: The Tabletop Roleplaying Game is available in stores from Monday 16th October 2017.
    Comments 9 Comments
    1. Ravendesk_Lee's Avatar
      Ravendesk_Lee -
      Howdy all,

      Lee from Ravendesk Games here. If you have any questions about Vurt the RPG, I'd be delighted to answer them. Feel free!

      Lee
    1. TailleferTheWise's Avatar
      TailleferTheWise -
      I remember reading Vurt years ago as a teenager in the early 90's (the simplistic orange and blue cover featuring the feathers is still very striking in my mind) and loving it. More recently, I've wanted to dive back in and read the other books. Holding adventures in this world would be pretty damn cool, IMO, I might have to pick this up.
    1. Yaarel -
      This setting looks awesome. It is want I want for a D&D near future setting. Note, Noon tends to be grim-dark dystopian.

      For my campaign, I want a more ‘points of light’ setting with more idealism, where technotopian communities flourish here and there, who are trying to make the world a better place, in divergent ways, with some success. These technotopian oases have limited resources and must cope with, and sometimes fend against, the aggressive populations of the dystopian wildernesses. But the technotopians are trying and reach out when they can. Within these oases, the enlightened civilization often resembles that of Star Trek, rational, compassionate, freedom loving, and well organized.
    1. Yaarel -
      Is there anywhere I can read critiques about the mechanics of the Cyber system. I am interested. I am looking for systems that are robustly balanced, while also versatile.
    1. TheFool1972's Avatar
      TheFool1972 -
      So, how did you link cipher, which are heavily tied onto cipher items, into the cyberpunk genre?
    1. Yaarel -
      The fun thing about the Near Future setting is, you can have Elf races too.

      They are simply engineered species that evolved artificially as products of special communities, such as D&D enthusiast association, or academic folklorists.
    1. Ravendesk_Lee's Avatar
      Ravendesk_Lee -
      TheFool1972: The disposable item (cypher) mechanic actually works brilliantly for a cyberpunk setting. The reason being that cyberpunk is, in part, a disposable future, where technology is cheap and streets are littered with discarded junk. The Vurt setting is a bit more unique and strange, so the cyphers include mathemagical items that work kind of like magic in other games, lots of drug cyphers and then cheaply made, disposable tech.
      Other than the cypher mechanic, the system is ideal for Vurt because the game takes place in two worlds: the Vurt dreamworld and the real world. The system is designed with a focus on narrative so when you go into a dream and *poof* you're a different entity entirely, it's easy to determine the difficulty of tasks and the effect of items. Not all the Vurt dreams (discovered through feathers!) change your character, but the Cypher System allows you to go nuts describing dream logic and doesn't bog you down with loads of maths.
    1. irrg's Avatar
      irrg -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ravendesk_Lee View Post
      TheFool1972: The disposable item (cypher) mechanic actually works brilliantly for a cyberpunk setting. The reason being that cyberpunk is, in part, a disposable future, where technology is cheap and streets are littered with discarded junk. The Vurt setting is a bit more unique and strange, so the cyphers include mathemagical items that work kind of like magic in other games, lots of drug cyphers and then cheaply made, disposable tech.
      Other than the cypher mechanic, the system is ideal for Vurt because the game takes place in two worlds: the Vurt dreamworld and the real world. The system is designed with a focus on narrative so when you go into a dream and *poof* you're a different entity entirely, it's easy to determine the difficulty of tasks and the effect of items. Not all the Vurt dreams (discovered through feathers!) change your character, but the Cypher System allows you to go nuts describing dream logic and doesn't bog you down with loads of maths.
      I can speak to this a little if Lee doesn't mind… previously I've played The Strange, Numenera and for the past two years had the pleasure of being in two of Ravendesk's Gen Con sessions. The first year, it was just me and my wife and this past August we dragged a whole group into the Saturday session. Between the group, we had about 3 or 4 games together in various numbers and after our Vurt session, we all agreed it was the high point of our Con.

      I mention The Strange as there are some simularities (real world/Vurt could, with some effort, be seen as similar to The Strange's recursions, if you want). Cypher feels very fitting for Vurt's setting and I think it's actually feel like a more clean system than The Strange (sorry, MCG!). The 'modes' (e.g. Human, Dog, Cyberdog, Shadow, etc) extend the base Cypher concept with more vertatility but they really make character creation any harder. My character, Oedipus Jones a Robodogman Speaker who Tops Gears, was a new character that i put together in 15-30 minutes the night before our Vurt game.

      Jeff Noon's Vurt world feels somewhat light on actually 'science', but it makes up for it with tons of crazy fiction. the Vurt Cypher implementation feels the same way—it's not crunchy, it doesn't get in the way.

      Our group had a good pull from a big list of random cyphers. There's a lot of 'fun drugs' in the cypher list, that helped us with rolls or allowed us to do some crazy stuff during the Gen Con scenario.

      Example: My driver character ended up with an unlabeled blue Vurt feather. It turned out to be a 'lucid blue' Vurt feather called Baby Driver (Baby Driver is featured in the first Vurt book). A lucid blue feather keeps you in the real world, but at the same time, plugs you into the Vurt—think lucid dreaming.

      We were in a bind with several Manchester police cars coming our way, and I hopped in our car with our entire crew (including a shadowman holding on to the roof and a dogman undercover cop in the trunk), activated Baby Driver, and started imagining the world as a super simple, almost Roger Rabbit Toontown-esque world where I was the best driver in the world. I drove the car right inbetween the tiny space between two Manchester Police vehicles (Lancelots, I think— think Hummer-on-crack), rolled great, and blasted out of the area we were in at top speed while completely ignoring danger and, I guess, physics (and only losing our side mirrors). Once we were safe, we jumped out the car, I gave a salute to the car (obviously looking to me, to my simplistic lucid blue Baby Driver world view & skills as a anthropomorphized car with headlight-eyes and smiling grill) before the entire car fell apart in a final cartoon-esque scene.

      I've used Cyphers in MCG games before, and nothing will compare to using the feather to save our entire gang while high on life.

      Another of our crew randomly ended up with three drug-related cyphers (which is good, since she was a tweaker low on highs). She was able to stack two of the cyphers, one cancelled out the side effects of the other, to save our bacon in one of the scenes.

      Random, but, I wanted to mention the super smart implementation of guns in Vurt—Guns are rare. Setting off a gun (if you have one) will have the Manchester police at your location in 60 seconds). This pushes your group to be a little more creative (melee weapons are still available. Brass knuckles for everyone!) and you end up being more strategy and less brute force should you find yourself in a scrap.
    1. Ravendesk_Lee's Avatar
      Ravendesk_Lee -
      The way guns work is something I really like about Vurt too. We really wanted to create a realistic reaction to guns based on their lethality and the settings reaction to them. In real life if you're in a fist fight and someone pulls out a gun, it would be serious change to the scene. I always think of the movie "Warriors," where it's rumble after rumble but when a little revolver comes out everyone is like "Woah man! Chill!" I can't even remember if that was a scene in the movie at this point, but it's what I picture for Vurt. A gunshot is very likely to cause lasting damage and it's likely to bring the heat in a major way, unless you're in a no-go section of town, like Bottletown.
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