SIMPLE Roleplaying



You have this really cool cyberpunk scenario and want to run it, but you don’t want to bother with too much rules and thick rulebooks? Then this game could be of use to you. [digital_shades] is a compact, fast paced, roleplaying game for the cyberpunk genre. The rules are simple enough that you can start playing instantly. The PDF is available for free in the download section. Print it and fold it to a cool and handy leaflet. When you play, every player needs a leaflet, because it is character sheet and rules in one.

[digital_shades] allows you to run and play all kinds of (post)cyberpunk adventures with focus on your character, the roleplaying and the scenario. No need for dice roll orgies, many pages full of complex rules and time consuming character creations.

But don’t worry, the toys are still in the game. Just make up your (post)cyberpunk setting, a scenario and play! Oh, and no more worries if your idea fits the system… As long you stay in the genre it just does it.

I hope you’ll have fun with this game on your journeys withhin the (post)cyberpunk genre.

Best regards and happy gaming

Michael C. Goran


61 comments on “[digital_shades]

  1. Pascal Teymurian
    January 23, 2015

    At first, thank you for this great role-playing system. I have long wanted something simple yet complex like digita_shades. I have only one question about the system. If you roll a 4 or 5 in a combat there will be either complications or serious complications. What can be complications? Exampel: A player shoots at a opponent standing in front of him without cover.

  2. Prisma
    January 23, 2015

    Hello Pascal, thank you very much, I am happy that you like the game. πŸ™‚
    Complications can be any difficulty that is plausible within the situation. In your example several things may happen: The player’s gun could jam after the shot. The opponent could fall and hit a fire alarm box and alerting his buddies (just by chance). The sprinkler system could be triggered. Or the opponent still manages to trigger something by his own will, maybe a bomb, or an upload, or a flash grenade? Or the player character damages/destroys valuable, needed or dangerous equipment. A ricochet could start a fire in an engine room or in an industrial environment. It could damage a pressure pipe in a tight corridor. Or damage the escape vehicle during shootings in a car park. The list goes on. The complication depends on the circumstances. It may be grim, or funny, or both. Just try to make it interesting within the situation.

  3. Pascal Schubert
    June 18, 2015

    Will there be a fantasy version of Digital_Shades in the future?

    • Prisma
      June 24, 2015

      Actually this is on the “to finish list”, along with a post apocalyptic genre adaption, a vampire genre adaption and some other stuff for digital_shades. Sadly, the development has become very slow due to other work.

      • Pascal Schubert
        July 9, 2015

        Oh wow so many scenarios! Yes thats very much to do. I’ll be patient

  4. Hendrik Thomsen
    December 9, 2015

    I’ve played several sessions using this system and everything worked just fine most of the time. But then we stumbled upon a minor issue. How are we supposed to handle different types of damage occurring in the same fight? For example, the character is first hit by a gun, and after that, he’s knocked down with a blunt leadpipe from behind. Do these damages stack? Can he still take four blunt hits, when he’s received other damage?

    • Prisma
      December 11, 2015

      Hi Hendrik!

      Additional damage simply goes down into the next category. In your example, the character would be in the “Hurts like Hell” category. An additional hit with a leadpipe would make him/her suffer 2 blunt damage points, bringing him/her below “You’re down” and needing medical attention. This is the basic “hard coded rule”.

      Guns are more dangerous than blade oder blunt weapons, because they drop the unprotected character with one hit into dangerous health categories. Additional damage make this even worse.

      However, a GM could always bring the current situation of the character into consideration. The GM could grant a character with some points in “Tough Bastard” a T.B. roll, to continue the fight or get away and collapse later. Or there could be combat drugs flowing through the blood of the charater, granting him/her this kind of rolls. Also, drama and suspense could play a role.

  5. h131v
    February 2, 2016

    Have played this extensively and find it to be an excellent system. It’s very similar to one of my all time favorites, FU. (
    The mechanics are very close. I recommend anyone struggling with the idea of complications to check out FU for some good advice on the subject.

  6. rangereric18
    March 13, 2016

    Firstly, thanks for making this system–it’s great!

    Secondly, I had a quick question; When a character receives a bonus to their dice rolls (+1 let’s say) do they toss in an extra die or do they add one to the result of the highest die? I’m asking because I can see how that could get a little tricky with automatic fire, etc.

    Example: Rags rolls his Military skill of 3 dice and comes up with 3,4 and 6. Does the +1 he gets from his “Virtual Cross-hair Overlay” allow him to roll an additional die or alter the 3 to a 4?

    If the modification of the roll is the correct way to go, would that be applicable to the 4 and 6 as well?

    Lastly, check out Tabletop Talk’s actual play video series “The Fieldman Theory”. Its a cyberpunk game and they’re using Digital Shades to play it. Really good stuff so far.


    PS: I second h131v’s endorsement of the often overlooked FU.

  7. Prisma
    March 29, 2016

    Hi Rangereric18!

    ( I am so sorry, for posting it so late. 😦 I had a turbulent month with some trips and caught a really bad cold. Still fighting it off… )

    A plus bonus just means, that you add the bonus to your roll. You do not roll additional dice.

    So, in your example Rags would get the bonus from the Virtual Cross-hair Overlay to all his three dice results: He rolled 3,4 6. His final results would be 4, 5, 7. (The seven simlpy counts as a six.)

    I must finally check out FU! Thanks for the reminder! πŸ™‚

    Oh, and thank you the the hint about Tabletop Talk! πŸ™‚

    • rangereric18
      July 7, 2016

      Thanks for getting back and no worries about posting late. πŸ™‚

      After having watched all of the Tabletop Talk episodes using Digital Shades, I found that they had an elegant idea for dealing with unskilled rolls; Instead of rolling a d6 and subtracting 2 from the total, they just roll a d4.

      What do you think? Is that feasible?


      • Prisma
        July 9, 2016


        To use a d4 instead of 1d6-2 for an unskilled roll is possible, but it changes the probability of the outcome.

        With 1d6-2 (without upgrades or other bonuses):
        There is a chance for approx. 32% to score a succes and approx. 64% for a fail.

        With 1d4 (without upgrades or other bonuses):
        The chance for a succes or a failure are 50% each.

        I recommend that you use the method you like most. It also depends on the style of play the group likes. When I created the rules, I had in mind that a unskilled attempt should be difficult and have the flavour of danger. So I chose an success rate of about 1/3. But that is just my personal preference. πŸ™‚

      • Andrea Parducci
        June 1, 2017

        About this “But what if you don’t have the competence for the significant action? In this case, your character does not really know what she or he is doing. Roll a single die and substract 2.”
        I suggest to change the rule and roll 2 dice, choosing the lowest one. Elegant solution, no -1 and 0 results, slightly chance to roll a 5 or a 6, and overall still a very difficult roll.
        PS: change the “substract” in “subtract”.

  8. laresgod
    June 25, 2016

    A few questions if you please:
    *Could you give examaples of some NPCs stats ? (I know it is personal, and depends on the type of game we run, but I always have troubles judging how good normal NPCs are compared to Players).
    * How would you rule a decision to target a specifi part of the body (i.e. headshot)?
    a malus (-1/2) to a roll?? an increased damage if the shot is successful?

    By the way, I recreated and uploaded a sheet for your game on roll20, giving you credits for the wonderful little game. I am still waiting for it to be accepted and eligible.

    • Prisma
      June 27, 2016

      Hi laresgod!

      Thank you very much for the roll20 thing! Let me know, if I can help. (I am not on roll20 yet, but I always wanted to check that out.)

      Let’s got to your questions. πŸ™‚


      You can create the stats of an NPC easily if you ask yourself: “Who is that person and how competent would he/she usually be?”

      – One competence box filled means the NPC is trained in that field, but has not much experience. Alternatively, it could just mean talent without training, or a little knowledge of some stuff, a mediocre position within an organisation, or once higher skill that was neglected over time, or simply skill that was not trained above base level.

      – Two boxes filled means the NPC is a professional in that field, or came so far by experience over the time.

      – Three filled boxes represent the skill or position of a master in that field.

      How many competence and upgrade points a NPC has, depends on the GM. NPCs can also have disadvantages, of course.

      Let’s meet some quick NPCs:

      “Razor” is a young ganger who lives several years on the street now. She knows her turf and some fences and smugglers in the area. Razor loves to get drunk with other gangers and to provoke mean knife fights. Stats: Back Ally 1, Bone Breaker 2, Gang 1, Tough Bastard 1. Disadvantage: Always looks guilty or criminal. Upgrades: None.

      “Chief Jericho” is the leading officer of precinct eleven in [future city]. He is an old school cop who doesn’t take any lame ass excuses from his cops and seems always angry. He is well connected within the force and city officials. Over 25 years in the force now, he was shot several times, but always recovered quickly due to his strong will. Stats: Big Money 1 or 2, Badge (more than 3), Bone Breaker 1, Connections 2, Credibility 1, Detective 2, Guns 1, Tough Bastard 2. Disadvantage: Choleric. Upgrades: Enhanced Senses and Voice Stress Analyzer.

      “Mariko Takimoto” is a hard hitting business shark. She is well educated, spirited and deeply corrupt. She holds a Phd in genetics and the position as CEO of New Pharma International. Stats: Big Money X (that stat is not important for Mariko, because she owns millions), Connections (at least) 3, Deals 3, Know How: Genetics 2, Urbane 2. Disadvantage: Always has some financial fraud running. Upgrades: Uplink with A.I. Assistant.

      “JosΓ© Delgrado” aka “ACID” is a respected net jockey in the local hacker scene. He is friednly to newcomers and takes one or two of them sometimes under his wing. ACID has become more like a well known community manager these days, than a heavy hitter in the net. That is the case because he has a dirty little secret. He was caught and made a deal. JosΓ© works now as a secret police informer. Stats: Connections 1, Credibility 2, Gang 1 (local code boyz/girlz), Hacker 2, Show-off 2. Upgrades: Uplink with Advanced Hacking Suite.

      “The Nun” is a professional assassin. You want someone dead? You want it done properly? You pay good? You call The Nun. Period! Her past is a mystery, but there are rumors. She always wears the clothes of a nun and she is always loaded with weapons. She never blinks. Was she in the military? Why the religous outfit? Is she even human or some sort of discharged kill bot? Or is she just a myth? Stats: Bone Breaker 3, Detective 1, Guns 3, Military 2, Runner 1, Shadow 1, Tough Bastard 2. Disadvantage: None. Upgrades: Many.

      Targetig specific Body Parts

      I would use a malus of -1 for legs, torso and arms, during a wiggly streetfight. A headshot needs a total result of 6 (Bullseye effect from the combat table would apply in this case).

      A sniper PC/NPC would take time to aim (+1 on the roll) and could do a headshot with just a successful roll, if the target is unaware. If it is aware and doing counter measures (like running in a zig zag pattern), the headshot would be made at -1 (because of the counter measures) and needs a total result of 6, as above. The sniper could/would again take time to aim to negate the malus.

      I hope I could help. πŸ™‚

  9. TIREFORT Guillaume
    June 28, 2016

    Thank you very much for your reply and all the NPCs , I will be sure to use them in one of my future adventures.

    I plan something simple (run, hide or hit).
    This is my idea for a starting adventure:
    ” Every night after work you go to the bar “the Oasis” to relex, enjoy a drink among friends and check the lastest juicy rumours that could lead to a contract. Tonight is no different but Razor, a young ruffian from the Streets, always looking for trouble, just came in with “business” for Jack the barman and a smile that can only mean trouble. You noticed she was carrying a metallic suitcase, quite unusual for her.
    They have gone to the back for quite some time now. But wait… what now? … Why are the Black Tears gangers showing up now? They don’t come up here…”

    And check your digital sheet on roll20, apparently it has been accepted. In the meantime, this is what it looks like:

    • Prisma
      June 29, 2016

      Very cool! Thank you! I am looking forward to use it on roll20 in the future. πŸ™‚

  10. DreamArgonaut
    August 13, 2016

    Hey there! First thing first, thx for this very cool rules lite system Michael! πŸ˜‰

    So here’s my question : how do you handle the opposition rolls in The Simple System?
    For instance, when two bad asses start fighting each other with katanas, how do you distinguish the good fencer (Samourai skill : 3) of the not so good fencer (skill 1)? Here’s what I suggest : both of them roll and the biggest result wins the round. Plain simple. In case of a tie, the guy with the more dice in his pool, wins it.

    So to follow my example above, let’s say that the better fencer gets a 2, 3 and 5 as a result and the other a 5 as well. That should be a tie but as the first guy’s got 3 dice in his pool, he breaks the tie and inflicts his regular damage to his opponent.
    What do you think?

    • Prisma
      August 14, 2016

      Hi DreamArgonaut! Thanks for the kind words, I am happy that you like the game! πŸ™‚

      I handle opposition rolls at my table exactly as you show in your example. πŸ™‚

      (In case anybody preferes rerolls: To let them both reroll on a tie would work fine too, because the better fencer has still far better chances.)

  11. DreamArgonaut
    August 22, 2016

    Thx for the reply! Actually got my very first game using the SIMPLE system and it worked awesomely great! My player loved it, and so did I and it allowed us to get thru lots of nervous-gritty action sequences very quickly to stay focus on the story.
    So very great job you did here.

    Besides, I’ve got another question : what’s the next setting you’re working on if any? I was thinking, you could do something interesting w/ it for a star-wars (ish) universe? Maybe also for a sword & sorcery style? Well, just some random thoughts!

    • Prisma
      August 25, 2016

      Happy that the game did so well with your session, thanks for the praise! πŸ˜€

      Something like that is already in the pipeline:
      “STARBLIND” will be the next SIMPLE setting adaption. It’s a general Sci Fi version of the SIMPLE system. One could play star-wars-ish or star-trek-is or general sci fi sessions with it. Sven Weber (he made the full color layout for the game) build it and we already playtested it. We have to check some tiny things, and then it will be uploaded on the blog.
      Sven and me also work on a “special / secret” ( πŸ™‚ ) project for [digital_shades]. I hope we will finish it soon.

      Another fan mailed me a fantasy hack of the SIMPLE system called “AVENTURIA”. It is very cool, but currently just an early draft and he still works on it. I would love to post the hack on the blog when it’s finished.

      I am currently working to write fair copys of some [digital_shades] scenarios I wrote and GMed some time ago. They are still a mix of typed and hand written stuff.

      Further, there are two other setting adaptions / creations, but they are still conceptual.

      One (first of all: me) could wish the output to be faster, however, but due to real life things (work and stuff) it takes time. :-/
      But I am so happy because of the people who like SIMPLE and care about the game, people like you and your gaming buddies, and others who play and support it! πŸ™‚

  12. G. Ti.
    August 25, 2016

    I am being curious about AVENTURIA you just mentioned. I am not a fan of medfan but I wondered how to hack and adapt your system.
    Could you give the link?

    • Prisma
      August 25, 2016

      At the moment there is no link available, sorry. Because it is an early draft, the author wants to work on it.
      Currently it’s written only in German, but I can ask him if I can put it online anyway – please tell me if you are still interested and I contact him. πŸ™‚

  13. G. Ti.
    August 25, 2016

    I am, although I can’t read German I could try a google translation just to have a rough understanding.

    • Prisma
      September 4, 2016

      Hi, it will be in the download section soon.

      • Prisma
        September 5, 2016

        It is up now. Please go to the download section and scroll down.

  14. DreamArgonaut
    September 2, 2016

    Hi Michael! So after my last game of DS I’ve been thinking about couple things that may (or better said “will”) happen during a cyberpunk game and would love to get your view about it :
    – how do you deal with two weapons fighting? It’s just a matter of time for one of my player to ask me how he could shoot with his two awesome/deadly looking SMG at the same time! So here’s what I propose : just divide the number of dice you’ve got in Guns between the two weapons? It’s not very helpful, that’s true, in the situation explained above using the burst fire rule but still, if lucky you could get two 6s.
    Another simple way to look at it would be to just increase the damage of such weapons but still counting as one. For instance, if you are using a SMG, it would cause 2damages instead of the regular 1. What do you think?
    – now just to have a bit of a clarification about health and damages : if a character reaches the “hurts like hell” section of his health box and suffers 3 damages (like a 6 dealt with a 2 damages weapon) so he’s dead, plain and simple? Because, as I understood it, after the “hurts like hell” line you get to KO, then to the part when he needs urgent medical attention and then only death. Did I get that right?
    – I know the SIMPLE game system is made to remain well simple and I really do love it as it is now, but would it be maybe possible to add some effects regarding certain weapons, just to get a bit more variety than just the same amount of damage? To give you an example, maybe the shotgun could work like a SMG at close range using the burst fire rule but doing just 1dmg? (for the spread of projectiles this nasty things are capable of dealing) But otherwise it would remain as you said : a 2dmg weapon?
    How many damage do you think a heavy weapon, like a Heavy Machine Gun-like might cause? Last time, my PCs were confronted to a corporate VTOL loaded with such a weapons. When some of them were hit I just asked for a TB check to see if they survived (but still needed medical attention urgently!) or not. Maybe it was overpowered a little bit, hence my question. I was thinking maybe 3 damage points would do the trick w/o the armor being able to protect (unless it’s like a heavy armor type)? Or would deal with it as per the explosive weapon rule? (in short : Hit=dead)
    – Is it possible for a PC (or a NPC as well in that matter) to exceed the 3 skill points cap? And if so does he need just 1xp to reach the 4th point as usual or does he need like 2xps (or more)?

    Thx in advance for ur replies but I have to say that’s what I love about this game : I mean you can easily customize it as you see fit.
    Keep on doing the good work! πŸ™‚

    • Micka9
      September 3, 2016

      I agree with you, heavy weapons and hard armor are need.

      Heavy weapon can do only 2 damage but ignore soft armor ( the default armor in game) .

      Hard armor can stop heavy weapons like default armor in game and can stop one damage of other weapons (all resting damage is blunt). In the same way we can add a new upgrade for android body, the hard armor.

    • Prisma
      September 4, 2016

      Hi Greg and Micka!

      Thank you for the nice words! πŸ™‚
      I will soon give detailed replies on your questions.


  15. Micka
    September 2, 2016

    Hi !

    How “perfect beauty” augmentation is working ? The rules say that give +1 but for what ?

    In the same way, how can be defined a natural beauty without augmentations ?

    • Prisma
      September 4, 2016

      Hi Micka!

      Perfect Beauty may give (GM’s decision depending on the situation) a +1 bonus to social rolls, e.g. to Deals, Credibility, Show-off. Depending the situation of the roll, also to Gang, Know-How and Connections or even Urbane.

      Natural beauty is not mechanically supported by [digital_shades] like in other RPGs. But you can define the beauty of your character in “self”, if you want. The GM may grant you the positive circumstance bonus, depending on the situation, but this should not be a surrogate to Perfect Beauty. Natural beauty is often outmoded by artifical beauty modification in Cyberpunk Stories. Which are sometimes weird, beacuse it is inceredibly beautyful, but too perfect to be true, though.

      • mick934
        September 5, 2016

        Hi !

        Sorry for my multiple posts, I did not see them and I thought they were not posted.

        For beauty, I think that the game could have a new skill to have spΓ©cific application to charm people with boby language. Show-off is for impress like a one man show or a expressive man. I see Show-off like a projection of the personnality not a projection of a sensual approach.

        This new skill could be called : Vamp

        Vamp : Seduce, ask for something with a smile, give pleasure , to attract attention , distract a target.

        Like Tough Bastard that can defined a muscular guy, Vamp can be a combinaison of natural beauty and cosmetic enhancement.

        And, Perfect beauty augmentation can add +1 to this specific skill.

        What do you think about this ?

  16. mick934
    September 3, 2016

    I agree with you heavy weapons and hard armor is needing.

    For exemple heavy weapons can deal 2 damage but regular armor can t stop them. Hard armor can stop heavy weapons and can remove 1 damage from normal weapons before transform to blunt.

    • Prisma
      September 4, 2016

      Hi Mick!
      I will soon reply to that. πŸ™‚

    • G. Ti.
      September 5, 2016

      nice idea about the VAMP skill.

  17. Prisma
    September 5, 2016

    Hi Mick!

    Introducing “Vamp” as a new competence and bringing it in combination with Perfect Beauty is a really good idea. I like it so much, I think I will integrate it in the game. Thank you so much! πŸ˜€

    I can’t tell when I will update the main document. So, I recommend to use it in Know-How so far, until the update will happen and Vamp becomes a standard competence.

    • mick934
      September 5, 2016

      Thank to you for your game πŸ˜‰

      Digital shade is very simple and easy to use. I think use it for cyberpunk 2020 and I would to think about more games options.

      For exemple I think that the game need :
      – Heavy weapons :
      Heavy weapon deal 2 bang damages but soft armor can’t stop them.

      – soft armor : same as default armor.

      – Hard armor :
      If damages are blunt, all of them are stop. If damages are Sharp or bang she stop 1 damage and all resting damage deal blunt damage.

      – A rule about explosive “less deadly” :
      Draw d6 to escape explosiion if you can (hand grenade) on 1 you die, on 2 you take 2 bang damage, on 3 you take 1 bang damage, on 4 you take 2 blunt damages, on 5 you take 1 blunt damage, on 6 you take nothing. Hard armor can reduce damage by 1.

      – A module about hacking ( navigation into system ).
      – A module about vehicles (cars, drones, truck, motorbike, tank, arachnide quadripod of war, Assisted armor, Tachicoma light tank, flying car, airplane…), not a list but a construction rule.

      Eventualy :
      – A more new Cybernetics upgrades (like heavy plated->a hard armor for combat’s cyborgs).

      And don’t forget that the community can help you ;).

      • mick934
        September 6, 2016

        My reflexion about Hacking :

        The architecture of the information system is a canvas as with nodes interconnected around one or more cores.
        Each node represents a terminal like computer, a wifi entry point, a server, or all interactive device where humans could connect or could interact physically. Some terminals can control a device list

        (like databases, gun turrels, cameras, doors, …).
        Each node has security points between 0 and 4. When security points fall to 0, you can take the control of all devices attached to the attacked node.
        Each core has security points between 5 and 10. When security points fall to 0, you can destroy the core. If all system cores are done, all the system is done.

        When you try to enter into the system by a node, or if you try to attack a node or a core. You must be on the node (or the core) to attack it.

        1 : you fail and the system detects you and locates your position.
        2 : you fail and the system detects you. The system locates you, if you fail one of the next hacking rolls, or if you do nothing.
        3 : you fail and the system is on alert.
        4 : Choose: you fail without concequences, or you remove one security point, but the system is on alert.
        5 : you remove one security point.
        6 : you remove two security points.

        Sometime, a user already use the node that you want attack. So your hacking rolls is modified by -1. If your action is too suspicious the user could be alerted and can attack you if he is a hacker too.
        When a hacker attacks another one he must choose type of damages he want dealing : blunt to disable or bang to kill (but you can choose to loose a cognitive upgrade instead).
        1 : You fail your opponent deal you 2 damages of choosing type.
        2 : You fail your opponent deal you 1 damages of choosing type.
        3 : you fail no damages
        4 : Choose : succeed you deal and recieve 1 damages of choosing type.
        5 : You deal 1 damages of choosing type.
        6 : You deal 2 damages of choosing type.

        Once in the system, when you try to move to an adjacent node point you need to make a hacking roll :

        1 : you fail and the system detects you and locates your position.
        2 : you fail and the system detects you. The system locates you, if you fail one of the next hacking rolls, or if you do nothing.
        3 : you fail and the system is on alert.
        4 : Choose: you fail without concequences or you move to an adjacent node, but the system is on alert.
        5 : you move to an adjacent node.
        6 : you move to an adjacent node, and you can repeat this operation.

        When the system is on alert, it modify your next hacking roll by -1.
        When the system detects you, it launches the alert and tries to find the terminal ID which you are connected. You can always act in the matrix, but all the next hacking rolls by -1.
        When the system locates you, you can do nothing except try to log out. The system call the securty agents and can attack you immediately :
        # The White systems just logout intruder and prevents his ID to login again .
        # The Red systems try to make fall the intruders into unconsciousness. They lock the hacker in the matrix, and deal one blunt damages each turn.
        # The black systems try to kills the intruders. They lock the hacker in the matrix, They deal one bang damage each turn, but you can choose to loose a cognitive upgrade instead.

        To logout from the matrix, when you are located, you need a hacking roll :
        1 : you fail, the system inflicts damages to you, and you can not log out anymore.
        2 : you fail and the system inflicts damages to you.
        3 : you fail
        4 : choose : you fail or you succeed but the system inflicts damages to you.
        5 : You succeed.
        6 : you succeed and you bluff the system on your position in the real world.

        NEW Cognitive UPGRADE under Uplink :
        Combat firewall : Convert one bang damage from black system into a blunt damage.

  18. mick934
    September 7, 2016

    Hacking V2

    The architecture of the information system is a canvas with nodes interconnected.
    Each node can represent a terminal. It can be a computer, a wifi door, a server, or all interactive device where humans could interact physically. Some terminal can control some devices like databases, gun turrels, cameras, doors, or others things. If you control a terminal, you have access to the system, but more importantly, you can control its devices.
    Some node are cores, the hearts of system. They can be one or more, but if all of them are disabled, the system is done.
    All Nodes have security points between 0 and 4. To hack a node, you must do fall the node security points to 0. You take the control of it, if it’s a terminal, or you disable it, if it’s a core. Otherwise you need to have the good login ID.

    Once in the system, each turn, you can move on all nodes that accept your current login ID and you can control it. Otherwise you need to sneak with hacking.
    You do not have to take the control of next node, if you just want to go on it. But you need to be on it to hack it.

    When you try…
    …to enter into the system by a terminal, without an authorized login ID
    …to hack the node or the core where you are.
    …to sneak in the matrix.
    Do the same as in “doing things” with hacker competence, but use the hacking table below :

    1 : Bad fail : You miss and the system detects you.
    2 : Fail : You miss and the system is on alert.
    3 : No fail, but no success either : you may transform it into a “brut force”, but the system detect you.
    4 : Brut force: you remove one security point or you can move to an adjacent node, but the system is on alert.
    5 : Success : you remove one security point or you can move to an adjacent node.
    6 : Good success : You remove two security points or you can move to an adjacent node twice or the system loses your track.

    When the system is on alert, it modify your next hacking roll by -1.
    When the system detects you, it tries to find the terminal ID which you are connected. You can always act in the matrix, but all the next hacking rolls by -1 until the system loses your track. If you fail one of the next hacking rolls, or if you do nothing the next turn, the system locates you.
    When the system locates you, it logs you out and banned your login ID. Then he calls securty officers. The White systems do nothing else, but the reds introduces, in addition, a GPS virus into intruder’s devices to find them in the real world. The blacks systems is like the reds but do two bang damages in addition (you can choose to loose a cognitive upgrade instead).

    Sometime, a user already use the node that you want attack. So your hacking rolls is modified by -1. If your action is too suspicious the user could be alerted.

    NEW Cognitive UPGRADE under Uplink :
    Combat firewall : Convert bang damage from black system into a blunt damage.

    #### Work in progress ####

    – battle between hackers

  19. mick934
    September 8, 2016

    Hacking V3

    The architecture of the information system is a canvas with nodes interconnected. It may have one or more layers of colors between white, red and black.
    Each node can represent a core (the hearts of system) or a terminal (all interactive devices where humans could interact physically like a computer). Some terminal can control some devices like

    databases, gun turrels, cameras, doors, or others things. All Nodes have security points between 0 and 4.

    To access the system , you must go physically to a terminal and control it, with a login ID or a hacking.
    Once in the system, at every turn, you can move from one node to another, without the need to control them. They must accept your current login ID. Otherwise, you have to sneak you with hacking.
    To try to take control of a terminal and its attached devices, or disable a core, you must be on his node and hack it, until you drop its security points to 0, or you use an accredited login ID instead.

    If all cores are disabled, the system is done.

    When you try…
    …to enter into the system by a terminal, without an accredited login ID
    …to hack the node or the core.
    …to sneak in the matrix.
    Do the same as in β€œdoing things” with hacker competence, but use the hacking table below :

    1 : Bad fail : You failed and the system detects you.
    2 : Fail : You just failed.
    3 : No fail, but no success either : you may transform it into a β€œForcing”, but the system detect you.
    4 : Forcing: you remove one security point or you can move to an adjacent node, but the system is on alert.
    5 : Success : you remove one security point or you can move to an adjacent node.
    6 : Good success : You remove two security points or you can move to an adjacent node twice or the system loses your track.

    When the system is on alert: It modify your next hacking roll by -1.
    When the system detects you: He moves from one node to another , starting from each cores, until it finds one to which you are connected. All the next hacking rolls by -1 until the system loses your track.
    When the system locates you: it disconnects you banned your login ID and launches Protocol in accordance with its color. Then he called securty officers.
    White systems do nothing else.
    Red systems attempt to know the intruder and his location with spywares or requests the legal databases.
    Blacks systems do 2 “bang” damages to hackers connected by brain (may choose to loose a cognitive upgrade instead), or destroys his device.

    Sometime, a user already use the node that you want attack. So your hacking rolls is modified by -1. If your action is too suspicious the user could be alerted.

    Before going into the matrix, the hacker can selects a combination softwares (that can be them same), equal to twice its hacking competence. They are loaded in the memory of his device, until they are used. The hacker must log out to reload a new list.

    # NEW Toy for hacker:
    this is a list of softwares that can use hackers.

    Cloak: Prevents the system or hackers, to detecting you, this turn.
    Shield: Prevents you or your device taking damage into the matrix, this turn.
    Break: Drop to 0, the security points of the hacked terminal.
    Lure: Gives a false name and a false node location when the system locates you. You are disconnected, but the system can not apply the color’s events.
    Strike: Do 2 “bang” damages at connected human with brain, or ejects it from the matrix.
    Nuke: Destroys a terminal (it can no longer be controlled.), or the connexion’s device of a hacker, or remove two security’s points of a core.
    Beacon: Marks a node in the system that is not a core. When you log in again , you can go to this node instantly. Once started, it remains active, until it is removed, or the system reboot.
    Hoover: Copies a database on your device that you can read later.
    Deamon: Places a daemon on a controlled terminal. You can use its attached devices later, wherever you are in the system.
    Spy: Introduces a spy in a device that you can find later in the matrix. Once started, it remains active, until it is removed.
    Ninja: Move in the matrix, without need hacking, and you are invisible for others hackers. Once started, it remains active, until you hack a node or attacked a hacker.
    Dog: Locates every hackers into the system, that don’t use a ninja software. Once started, it remains active all the time.

    # NEW Cognitive UPGRADE under Uplink :
    Combat firewall : Convert bang damage from black system into a blunt damage.

    # Hackers combat
    You must use a dog software to seek hackers. All hackers can be found instantly if they have been detected by system. To attack another hacker, you must be on the same node. The more skilled hacker can launch its programmes first, and his target launches his programme in response.

  20. Prisma
    September 8, 2016

    Wow folks! Thank you very much for so much imput! Let’s do this systematically.

    First, to DreamArgonaut.

    Clarification on the health meter:
    If a character’s health sinks below K.O. she/he is out and dying, but can still be saved with medical attention. If a character takes another hit she/he is dead. Example: “Razor” is hit by a bullet from a rifle. She is unprotected and takes two bang damage, so she is k.o. After that, she is hit by a bullet from a pistol. Now she is bleeding out and dying. She could be safed, though, but another bullet finds its target and kills her on the spot.

    New Weapon Effects and Two weapons Fighting:
    I am working on an optional rule addon. It will contain rules for machineguns, shotguns, two weapons fighting etc. Currently it is all still experimental, but as an example, a MG would do 3 bang damages per hit. A MG is incredible deadly, unprotected characters would be dying (but still saveable) and protected characters must roll Tough Bastard. Anyway, a MG is fully automatic, so maybe a second salvo hits and kills the particular character.
    A speciality occurs When the character is fighting (only) goons with a MG: You roll the dice as normal, but the numbers of the successful dice count as casualties of the goons. A MG is very good at mowing down enemies, but also player characters.
    Two Weapons Fighting is also a thing, there are multiple solutions. I didn’t decide on one yet, but I would go with the dividing of the number of dice in two rolls (like 1/1 or 1/2). That would keep the damage as standard and give the chance on up to 4 bang damage points.

    Exceed the 3 skill points cap:
    In the basic game, it is not possible to exceed the 3 point cap. Of course, you can modify the game, but the dice propabilities would be changed. As long as you keep that in mind, why not play the game as you like. πŸ™‚
    The propability of reaching 4 (a lower success) is with 1d6 = 49%, with 2d6 = 75% and with 3d6 = 87%. Hence, a character with 3 dots in a competence will succeed most of the time, but there is still room to fail. If you add a fourth dot, the success chance would be 94%. The room to fail would be really small. But if you like to play with a fourth dot, I recommend not to make the players pay two points for the fourth dot. Just let it cost one point as usual, but restrict the cap for starting characters at three dots.
    (Also, don’t forget that an Upgrade basically negates the chance to roll a one.)

  21. mick934
    September 8, 2016

    I also think about how to improve the combat experience with options.

    For example I think about defensive option. When you are attacked in the turn you can escape/dodge/go under cover/ jump to the ground. You don’t need to roll dice, but the attacker modify his roll by -1.

  22. mick934
    September 8, 2016

    For damage weapons, I think that minigun is better with 2 bang damages with automatic tag. But I will be great to introduce hard armor. With it, you can say “Soft armor (default armor in game) is useless versus minigun”. The minigun will dangerous. In this heavy weapon categorie you can add plasma riffle.

    Explosive weapon like rpg or grenade could be deal 1 or 2 damages (the same in blunt if target is out of core explosion). They cannot be stop !!!

    So a RPG with 2 bang damage kill all people !

    And now you can introduce a third type of armor only for vehicle, the plating armor.
    It stop 2 damages and convert the reasting damage to blunt.

    Plating armor stop light gun, rifle (except with a 6 on dice) and reduce heavy weapon effect.

    I will post a better formal rule where I will do a brainstorming.

  23. mick934
    September 9, 2016

    Modified combat rules V1
    (some rule are the sames that originale rules)

    # Initiative:
    People declare their intents, then actions are resolved based on skill rank. If they are not surprised, people with the highest ranking competence , act first.
    People with the same rank at the same skill, act at the same time. People with the same rank at different skill, act in order of the fiction (climb a wall takes more time than a gun shot).

    Each turn , people can make a short movement and perform an action such as do an attack, do a defense , or do something that can be done in one turn.
    Otherwise people can run or do an action that take more that one turn, like a lockpicking.

    # Fighting:
    To attack a target, do the same as in “doing things”, but use the combat table below. Positive or negative circumstances may modify your roll by +1 or –1.

    Your target may declare defend herself before you resolve your action, but she can do nothing else in this turn, except doing a short move. If she do, modify your roll by -1.

    1: Bad Fail: You miss your target and may hit a bystander or one of your team, or your weapon just jams.
    2: Fail: You just missed.
    3: No fail, but no success either: You may transform it into a “glancing blow” but accept a severe complication. But if the target has cover herself, you hit the cover instead anyway, and if the target defends herself, you just missed.
    4: Glancing Blow: You did it, but somehow a complication appears. But if the target has cover, you hit the cover instead anyway, and if the target defends herself, you just missed.
    5: You hit it. Well done.
    6: Bullseye! Do an additional damage point. You may choose to pass on this extra damage, but gain some other advantage, like hitting the target in an unprotected spot or defeating a minor goon instantly.

    When a character hurts someone she / he inflicts one damages point to the relevant health category of the target. The category depends on what kind of damage the weapon inflicts:
    “Blunt” is non-lethal damage, inflicted by punch or contondant weapons.
    “Sharp” is serious damage inflicted by sharp and piercing weapons, include bow.
    “Bang ” is fatal damage inflicted by ballistic or energy weapons.

    # Armor:
    Soft armor transforms sharp and bang damage to blunt damage.
    Hard armor stops one damage and transforms remaining damages, sharp and bang,

    into blunt damage.
    —> New upgrade only for android body : Hard armor plating: Give hard armor to

    your artificial body.

    # Weapons:
    Small weapons like Punchs, knifes, pistols, submachine guns, inflict one points

    of damage.
    Medium weapons like rifles, sword, shotguns, clubs, inflict two points of damage.
    Heavy weapons like machine guns, chainsaws, grenades, sniper or energy rifles, inflict two points of damage, but cannot be stop by soft armor.
    Explosive weapons, like RPG, kill or destroy instantly, but on a “glancing blow” only some splints hit and do two points of sharp damage.

    # Full automatic fire allows as many attacks as dice you roll. In this case each diceresult counts as one attack. These attacks may be distributed between differend targets.

    # Two weapons fighting need a relevant skill rank of 2 or higher. Separate your dice in half and make two attack rolls changed by -1.

    # Aim with firearms, without automatic fire, add a +1 bonus to specific rolls.

    # Special high tech devices may add a +1 bonus to specific rolls.

    # Tear gas makes you substract 1 from all rolls.

    # Toxic gas inflict one “blunt” each turn.

    # Taser weapons knock a character out instantly.

    # Make a Β»Tough BastardΒ« roll to see if she / he can avoid this.

    # EMPs shutdown upgrades and electronic hardware for a scene.

  24. Prisma
    September 9, 2016

    There are a lot of nice and cool ideas, Mick! We could use them to make a “Combat Addon” for [digital_shades]. πŸ™‚ Would you contact me via email, please (trapezoeder[at] ? I also have another question.

  25. Passerby
    November 15, 2016

    Hi. One thing about autofire weapons. I’d change the rules, as they stand a skilled character has higher chances of rolling a fumble at some point than a lowly-skilled character. I think it would work better if an automatic weapon granted a number of attacks equal to the skill dice+1. Each attack is executed using all of the character’s dice as usual.

    • Prisma
      November 28, 2016

      Hi, Passerby,

      I was unavailable for some longer time. :-/

      The autofire and unskilled rules are currently under revision anyway, because there are some issues.

      I am open to suggestions, so thank you for your very interesting idea. It flows straight into consideration. πŸ™‚

  26. GholasRak
    December 4, 2016

    Loving the simplicity of the system. I plan on testing it out on a few friends of mine soon. They were impressed with the pamphlets I made and how everything you need to know is all right there.

    After reading through the rules, I’ve already created some of my own home brew rules and equipment lists to flesh the game out a bit more. I know my players love shopping for stuff. If you’re interested in what I’ve come up with so far just let me know.

  27. Wayne Rankin
    December 4, 2016

    Been reading the rules and I really like how simple the system is, but flexible enough to where you can add more complexity if you really wanted to. I’ve been showing my players the system and they like the pamphlet setup. We’re looking for an alternative to Shadowrun, as some of my players are a bit daunted by the system and I think this may fit in nicely.

    To add a bit more complexity to the game, I’ve created some house rules and an equipment list with price tags to give the setting a bit more substance. Nothing too far out there, but something to differentiate the weapons. If anyone is interested in what I’ve come up with I can post it.

  28. Prisma
    December 7, 2016

    Thank you very much, guys! Of course I am interested in your stuff and I am sure others are too, so please post! πŸ™‚

  29. Wayne Rankin
    December 8, 2016

    Awesome! πŸ™‚

    Here’s a link to my work in progress on Google Drive:

    If you would prefer, I can just copy and paste the text on the message board. If anyone has any questions on what I’ve got in the file, just let me know.

    All items are priced in a currency I call Creds, as well as the level of authority needed to have the item without legal ramifications. The weapon names are generic so you can create your own using the list for that weapon. There are at least 3 kinds of weapons per type to keep them varied and any additional modifications can be made at the GMs discretion. I’ve also invented a few special rules for weapons, as well as optional rules for complications to make weapons unique. Weapon types range from standard to high powered experimental weapons for truly brutal scenarios.

    I also have armor rules, but I need to do some play testing to see if they are balanced correctly. The next part I’m working on is equipment items and additional upgrade options.

    It’s all a work in progress, so any suggestions would be appreciated. Please feel free to use any of my rules or modify them as you see fit.

    • mick934
      December 8, 2016

      Sorry but I dislike your idea.

      I have read your document and it feel like a cyberpunk 2020 catalogue.

      Weapons and armor must be simple. Just put into few categorie (light weapon, medium, heavy and explosive). Indeed some weapons could have some precision like a EMP riffle but don’t need to detail all weapons type.

      This is my way with Digital Shade Cyborg edition that I write with Prisma. Add somes details but stay generic.

      • Wayne Rankin
        December 8, 2016

        Thanks for your feedback and I understand the need to keep things simple. There is a kind of freedom when you distill the game to its basic elements and don’t sweat the minutia.

        Most of the rules I came up with and weapon lists are really advanced options in case my players want a little bit more chunky bits to the game. My players come from a Cyberpunk/Shadowrun environment (you spotted how my list looks like a Cyberpunk catalog, which was intentional) , so I thought I would come up with some similar rules, yet not be as complex as the fore mentioned RPG systems. The complexity of those systems kept slowing down the game to the point I started throwing out rules or just home brewing. That’s what I love about the Digital Shades system, it’s modular enough to handle advanced rules if needed, but the core is solid and straightforward. The rules and lists I came up with won’t be for everyone, but there are some idea to spark home brew rules, which I am a big fan of. Like any RPG system, treat is like a salad bar; take what you want and leave the rest.

        Regardless, I can’t wait to see what revisions and options you and Prisma come up with. It’s even possible my players may like the core mechanics so much all my advance work could be for nothing. We’ll find out during our first play though after the holidays when I wrap up my campaign. Even if they don’t use my rules, it felt good being creative, which is what RPGing is all about.

      • mick934
        December 9, 2016

        Dont worry I like you, I come from Cyberpunk 2020 game. If I like the background and if when I had 15 I like big gun and lot of stuff, now I find something like simple. It’s for this explanation that I like D_S, because you can be concentrated in the story not in the stuff.

        Even in the Cyborg version you have some specific weapons with description as EMP gun or very heavy sniper (tank killer).

        I think that the Cyborg version will be available soon. With Prisma, we have some points to discute before, because in the playtest some details, coming from the normal version, ask us. I speak about autofire and unskilled check.

        When this points and all correction are done (and some graphical design) the cyborg version will be here, but not to remplace the normal version. It will be a new version that will exist with the normal version.

        Players will choose.

  30. Prisma
    December 14, 2016

    Thanks for sharing, Wayne! πŸ™‚ I think every group has its own needs and preferences. About the different editions: Like Mick wrote, “the cyborg edition” of [digital_shades] is a more fleshed out / advanced edition with additional stuff and rules. While the cyborg edition will be around 4-5 pages long, the classic edition of [digital_shades] will keep its one sheet of paper layout. Players and GMs will decide which edition they prefere for the scenario and the circumstances of play. The base of both editions is still the same, so one should feel comfortable with both versions and even switching between them.

  31. rangereric18
    January 14, 2017

    Hey Mike, quick mechanics question;

    How do you handle two or more characters using competencies to achieve the same goal?
    Bad example, but if they’re all trying to move some heavy furniture, do they all roll TB and keep the highest result? Do you just add a flat bonus to the lead rolling character based on how many helpers he has?

    • Prisma
      January 17, 2017

      Hi, you can use what you like more. In the past I used this method: To achive the heavy goal, the PCs have to bring X successes (e.g. two or three). Each player rolls and see if s/he can contribute. A result of six helps more, of course.

  32. Thomas Giles
    May 18, 2017

    Looks good! Presumably you can use the rules with any setting you like (steampunk, fantasy, military, whatever), by just changing the abilities/upgrades?

    • Prisma
      May 19, 2017

      Hi Thomas!

      Indeed, easy modification is intended. πŸ™‚

  33. Chris H
    January 7, 2018

    This system is awesome! Friends and I played a short 6-installment campaign. I love that digital_shades gives a cool cyberpunk scaffolding without getting lost in the weeds. Most the adventure has been rad conversation and roleplaying punctuated by hacking and/or punching peoples’ faces off. So thank you!

    • Prisma
      January 14, 2018

      Dear Chris H, thank you very much! I’m happy that you guys like the game! πŸ˜€

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