Playing all the games with It’s All Just Saves From Here On Out: for instance, Cyberpunk 2020

Some readers asked me, ‘hey can I play ‘IAJSFHOO‘ (pronounced: I-jeff-shoo – don’t ask me why) and use another game’s attributes?

Sure, you absolutely can – and sometimes, you maybe even should.

Let’s take Cyberpunk 2020, for instance.

CP2020 characters have Intelligence, Reflexes, Coolness, Technical Ability, Luck, Attractiveness, Movement, Empathy, Body Type.

Let’s IAJSFHOO-ify this and roll the stats with 3d6:

Intelligence: 8
Reflexes: 15
Coolness: 8
Technical Ability: 12
Attractiveness: 8
Movement: 15
Empathy: 12
Body Type (strength, endurance, constitution): 17

I’m not interested in Luck points, so they’re not available in ma game.

Weeeeeiiird spread. Moving on.

Let’s pick a character class first:
CP2020 offers these classes:

  • Solos
  • Netrunners
  • Techies
  • Medias
  • Cops
  • Corporates
  • Fixers
  • Nomads

Our character is really not very bright or cool, so netrunners, techies, medias, corporates and fixers are right out. Solos, cops and nomads stay. This character is immensely strong and resilient, so I choose a career as solo.

Let’s pick skills next.
Conveniently, CP2020 characters start out with 10 skills, as do IAJSFHOO characters. I pick all ten skills from the Solo career skills package:

  • Awareness/Notice
  • Handgun
  • Brawling/Martial Arts
  • Melee 
  • Weapons Tech
  • Rifle
  • Athletics
  • Submachinegun
  • Stealth
  • Combat Sense

It’s also very convenient that each CP2020 skill is assigned to a stat – just like in IAJSFHOO:

  • Awareness/Notice (INT)
  • Handgun (REF)
  • Brawling/Martial Arts (REF)
  • Melee (REF)
  • Weapons Tech (TECH)
  • Rifle (REF)
  • Athletics (REF)
  • Submachinegun (REF)
  • Stealth (REF)
  • Combat Sense: increases Awareness and Initiative.
IAJSFHOO characters start at Level 1. This Level adds to stats.
So far, our character looks like this:
Solo, Level 1
Intelligence: 8 (Awareness/Notice)
Reflexes: 15 (Handgun, Brawling,Melee, Rifle, Athletics; SMG, Stealth)
Coolness: 8
Technical Ability: 12 (Weapons Tech)
Attractiveness: 8
Movement: 15
Empathy: 12
Body Type: 17

I pick (2d6 =) 5 gear items from the book.
1. Budget Arms Auto 3 pistol
2. Sternmeyer SMG 21
3. FN-RAL Heavy Assault Rifle
4. Knife
5. Kevlar vest

Now, I lose (1d6=) 2 of them:
the knife , Sternmeyer SMG 21

So this means my character starts with a Budget Arms Auto 3 pistol (d8 damage),  an FN RAL Heavy Assault Rifle (damage 1d12), and a kevlar vest (armor 3 against bullets)

Next, I’ll pick 2 “Powers”. I decide to get two pieces of cyberware implanted:
1. Kerenzikov Booster Level 3 (Humanity Loss 15, including neuralware processor)
2. Smartgun Link (Humanity Loss 2)

In CP2020, you lose 1 point of Empathy for every 10 points of Humanity you lose. CP2020 works with a 2–10 stat range, IAJSFHOO uses 3–20, so roughly twice as much. So, for every 10 points of Humanity my characters loses, he also loses 2 points of Empathy.

He has a total Humanity Loss of 17 points, which means his Empathy is down to 10. That’s average and no reason to worry – yet. With Empathy 6, a character turns into a “cold fish”, as the rulebook calls it, with Empathy 4, he becomes chilly, and distinctly unpleasant for others, with Empathy 2, he’s usually violent and sociopathic, and with 2 or lower, he becomes a cyberpsychopath and his life as a player character is over.

So, in closing, this is how our CP2020 player character looks like:

Solo, Level 1

Intelligence: 8 (Awareness/Notice)
Reflexes: 15 (Handgun, Brawling,Melee, Rifle, Athletics; SMG, Stealth)
Coolness: 8
Technical Ability: 12 (Weapons Tech)
Attractiveness: 8
Movement: 15
Empathy: 10
Body Type: 17

Budget Arms Auto 3 pistol (d8 damage),  
FN RAL Heavy Assault Rifle (damage 1d12)
kevlar vest (armor 3 against bullets)

Cyberware (Humanity Loss 17)
Kerenzikov Booster Level 3 (Humanity Loss 15, including neuralware processor)
Smartgun Link (Humanity Loss 2)

It’s all just saves from here on out

My roleplaying game socialization happened in 1984, with a game that used stats between 8 and 20, and roll-on-or-under saves. This mechanic is probably the single most important imprint on my gaming DNA.

Add hit points, and you already have a system that works.

The outcast-whose-name-shall-not-be-mentioned came up with a pretty cool idea on freeform rpgs many months ago. I’m riffing off of these now.

You start at 1.

Each player: Roll six times 3d6 and write down the numbers. Invent six stats, assign each one a number. If the referee thinks you’re trying to fuck with him, you might lose that stat. AND the number.

You get 10 skills, each linked to one of your stats. If you save against a skill, save against the stat+Level.

Pick 2d6 items from an rpg book. Then, lose 1d6 of them. If gear can be destroyed, assign hit points to it. Or assign stats, just like characters have.

Pick 1d4. These can be cyberware, mutations, spells, PSI, connections, special backgrounds, whatever your group thinks is Cool.

Roll ad20 on or under the most appropriate stat. If you don’t have any, save vs. 4.

Small weapons: 1d6; medium weapons: d8; large weapons: d10; some weapons might have smaller or bigger dice than that.

Damage comes off a random stat. One stat at 0: scratched. Two stats at 0: unconscious. Three stats at 0: serious wound. Four stats at 0: dead.

Light: reduce damage by 1. Medium: reduce damage by 2. Heavy: reduce damage by 3 or even more.

Save vs. your most appropriate stat, opponent does the same. The highest, but still successful roll hits and rolls damage.

Unimportant NPCs
Assign stats and numbers as you need them. Give them between 5 and 20 hit points. Make a KO save vs. 10 each time they are hit and have less than half of their hp left. or simply drop them after one hit.

Important NPCS
Treat them like player characters.

Instead of rolling damage and subtracting it from stats, simply make a save vs. the most appropriate stat. The referee may slap modifiers on the roll. A successful roll means you took the damage quite well. A failed roll means it got you good. The exact number of hits a character can take varies from setting to setting, but 4 is a good number.

Example character (for Shadowrun) 
Fatback McCormic, Overweight Elven Gang Member Level 1 
(and hell yeah, I rolled great!)

STATS and (Skills) 

  • Brute Force 15 (Brawling, Steamrolling opponents) 
  • Agility 14 (Bando Bull Kung Fu, Freeclimbing, Shooting Pistols) 
  • Eye for Opportunities 12 (Help friends in combat) 
  • Stubborness 12 (Immovable) 
  • Leadership 8 (Intimidate bigger opponents) 
  • Smarts 12 (Tamper with electronics, speaks English, Russian and Chinese)

GEAR (picked from SR1e)
Knife d6
Expandable Baton d6
Browning Max-Power d8
Yamaha Rapier

Cyberware: Dermal Plating (counts as Armor 3)

Example combat, no fluff text
Fatback McCormick against T-Rex, a small arms dealer (20 hp, armed with a pistol)

Fatback sees T-Rex with a pistol closing in on him, draws his Browning Max-Power and squeezes off three shots. T-Rex also tries to shoot. As Fatback shoots three times, my ruling is that he has to roll with disadvantage (roll 2d20, pick the worse number).
Fatback: rolls save vs. is Shooting Pistols 15, gets a 12 and an 11.
T-Rex: rolls save vs. 10, fails the roll. 
Fatback hits with all three bullets.
Fatback rolls for damage: 6,3,8.
T-Rex now has (20 hp – 17=) 3 hp left. I roll a save vs. 10 to see if he remains conscious, but I fail. 
T-rex drops to the ground.