T H E B A S I C G A M E
Ghost in the Shell requires the D20 Modern rules to fully take advantage of all the aspects of the Game. One could, of course, use the D20 Modern SRD or even the Dungeons and Dragon 3.0 or 3.5 Players Handbook. However, this game was created using the D20 core book and it is advised above all others. This might come to a surprise to some as level-based gaming does not seem to fit in with this universe. GITS does re-imagine and re-interpret the rules in a new way, looking at the game at a different angle.
Many pages from the OLG SRD are recreated here for ease of reference. Those rules that are modified are presented here. Otherwise, just flip through your D20 Modern book.
Basic points: Because of the power level, a PCs base attack bonus stops at +11. Class limits stop at 15. Because all PCs begin at zero level with their starting occupation. All the basic classes of D20 modern are gone. Now one can go into a prestige class from D20 modern immediately at level 1. Advanced classes for GITS are 5-level based. One attack bonus can surely rise above +11 with feats and cybernetic enhancements.
Experience Points can now be spent on feats and equipment as well as earning levels. One must choose where to invest their points. When one spends it on a class, they may never use those points again. XP can also translate to money, allowing for cybernetic implants. Starting characters get an XP bonus anywhere from 4000 to 10000 to spend on cybernetics, equipment, or Level adjustment. Disadvantages may be taken, allowing bonus XP to be spent in other areas.
To that end, the PC character sheet is virtually unchanged. However, one should split Experience Points in 3 subgroups: Used, Unused, and Total.
Used XP: This is XP set aside for level development. It tells you what XP you have invested into advancing levels and indicate how long you are from achieving the next desired level.
Unused: This is XP being saved for future use, like spending it on Cybernetics or equipment.
Total: This is all the XP earned in total during adventuring and PC creation. This tells what power level (using the same table) the PC is at and assists in judging ones Encounter Level.
A B I L I T Y S C O R E S
Ability Modifiers: Each ability, after changes made because of race, has a modifier ranging from –5 to +5 (or more).
The modifier is the number you apply to the die roll when your character tries to do something related to that ability. You also use the modifier with some numbers that aren’t die rolls. A positive modifier is called a bonus, and a negative modifier is called a penalty.
# Hack Attacks: The number of Cyberbrain actions a character can take / round. It is initially based off one’s Intelligence but may be modified later with feats and / or character abilities.
Hit Points / Defense: This is connected to Wisdom and is added to all Barrier Defense Numbers. It is also connected to Constituion as the Hit Point bonus per level (see later).
Hack Actions: This is the maximum number of Hacks per DC the Character can know. Certain feats, racial templates, and character classes may modify these numbers. It is initially based off one’s Intelligence but may be modified later with feats and / or character abilities.
Rolling for abilities: Because a character’s physical abilities may be dumped when adopting cybernetics, a player is not allowed to shift the poor abilities to Constitution, Dexterity, or Strength when designing a character. The preferred way to roll of the basic six are as follows:
Wisdom & Intelligence: Of all the abilities, none can really be more important than Wisdom and Intelligence. Both are required for Hacking and computer use.
A C T I O N P O I N T S
Action points provide characters with the means to affect game play in significant ways. A character always has a limited amount of action points, and while the character replenishes this supply with every new level he or she attains, the character must use them wisely. A character can spend 1 action point to do one of these things:
Alter a single d20 roll used to make an attack, a skill check, an ability check, a level check, or a saving throw. Use a class talent or class feature during your turn for which the expenditure of 1 action point is required.
When a character spends 1 action point to improve a d20 roll, add 1d6 to the d20 roll to help meet or exceed the target number. A character can declare the use of 1 action point to alter a d20 roll after the roll is made—but only before the GM reveals the result of that roll (whether the attack or check or saving throw succeeded or failed). A character can’t use an action point on a skill check or ability check when he or she is taking 10 or taking 20. When a character spends 1 action point to use a class feature, he or she gains the benefit of the feature but doesn’t roll a d6. In this case, the action point is not a bonus to a d20 roll.
A character can only spend 1 action point in a round. If a character spends a point to use a class feature, he or she can’t spend another one in the same round to improve a die roll, and vice versa.
Depending on the hero’s character level (see the table below), he or she may be able to roll more than one d6 when spending 1 action point. If the character does so, apply the highest result and disregard the other rolls.
R E P U T A T I O N
Reputation is used to determine whether another character (a GM character) recognizes a character. Those who recognize the hero are more likely to help the hero or do what he or she asks, provided the reputation has a positive connotation to the character that recognizes the hero. A high Reputation bonus also makes it difficult for the hero to mask his or her identity.
Most of the time, a hero doesn’t decide to use his or her reputation. The GM decides when a hero’s reputation can be relevant to a scene or encounter. At the moment it becomes relevant, the GM makes a Reputation check for a GM character who might be influenced in some fashion due to the hero’s fame or notoriety, as detailed below.
Fame and Infamy: Most characters with a high Reputation bonus (+4 or higher) are considered well known within their profession or social circle. Whether this has a positive or negative connotation depends on the point of view of the person who recognizes the hero.
When a character has a positive opinion of a hero’s reputation, the hero is considered famous by that character. Fame, when recognized, provides a bonus to certain Charisma-based skill checks.
When a character has a negative opinion of a hero’s reputation, the hero is considered infamous by that character. In addition, at the GM’s option, a hero might be considered infamous in certain situations due to events that have transpired in the campaign. Infamy, when recognized, provides a penalty to certain Charisma-based skill checks.
Using the Reputation Bonus: Whenever the GM decides that a character’s reputation can be a factor in an encounter, the GM makes a Reputation check (DC 25) for the GM character involved. A Reputation check is 1d20 + the hero’s Reputation bonus + the GM character’s Int modifier. (Some Knowledge skill modifiers might apply instead of the Int modifier, if the hero would be well known in the field covered by the Knowledge skill.) Modifiers to the Reputation check depend on the hero and the GM character in question, as shown below. Note that if the GM character has no possible way of recognizing a hero, then the Reputation check automatically fails. If the GM character succeeds at the Reputation check, he or she recognizes the hero. This provides a +4 bonus or a –4 penalty on checks involving the following skills for the duration of the encounter: Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, and Perform.
Situation Reputation Check Modifier
GM character is part of the hero’s professional or +5 social circle
The hero has some small amount of fame or notoriety +2
The GM must decide that a character’s fame or infamy can come into play in a given situation to make a Reputation check necessary. A character that doesn’t know, or know of, the hero can’t be influenced by his or her reputation.
H I T P O I N T S A N D D E F E N S E
As you read this book, you will notice a few alterations in the way the game works regarding Hit Points and Defense. The broad points are as follows: Hit points are lower, Defense is higher, Armor increases Hardness rather than Defense.
1: No Class-based Hit points. Classes don’t denote hit points. Starting character hit points = one’s Constitution score. This ability is flat at first level and is not altered by the constitution modifier. Only the Toughness feat or the Constitution Increase advantage can boost this. Increasing one’s Constitution score later (from leveling or cybernetics) only adds the difference and not a whole new number. Each level gained offers the Constitution Hit Point Bonus from the “Hit Points / Defense” column on the previous page. This is to prevent level advancing characters to lose hit points every level gained. However, increasing your CON later on only gains the difference in starting hit points as well as further level bonuses and does not offer retroactive hit points from the previous levels.
EG: A character with a CON of 20 has 20 hit points at first level and gains 5 hit points every level past that. If CON rises to 22 a few levels later, the character gains 2 hit points and 6 hit points with further levels but does not get +1 hit point for each of the previous levels.
2: Equipment Defense = Hardness. Defense (or AC) is based only on the Dexterity and the Class Defense Bonuses. Equipment Defense from armor and shields are used as hardness and do not contribute to the AC or Defense of the target. All Hardness compounds but be aware that few armor can be worn in layers.
3: Defense is a base 20 system. Usually, AC or Defense is added onto a base 10 number. With the removal of AC and the lower hit points, evasion becomes ever more important. Now the Dexterity bonus and the Class Defense Bonus (and any other bonus that are non-armor) are added to 20 rather than 10. Flat Footed characters still have a 20 Defense. Touch Defense is not longer applicable.
EG: A 1 st level character with an 18 Dexterity has a Defense of 24.