Art by Jay Libby

Cyberpunk’s White Lotus Windstorm Monk: Bringing Shaolin action to the player

Nearly 28 years ago the Cyberpunk Role-Playing Game launched and with it the hardcore legacy of Mike Pondsmith. In the 1980s just about everyone that gamed had heard of, if not played, Cyberpunk 2020. Fans across the United States and Europe raged over the themes and many of the concepts in the game were visionary of the very technology we have today. It is one of the few classic RPGs that still stand the test of time as is. Cyberpunk is even making a huge comeback with CD PROJEKT RED’s Cyberpunk 2077 (in production). You can watch the teaser here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P99qJGrPNLs

It wasn’t until this year at TotalCon (http://www.totalcon.com/) that I actually experienced Cyberpunk 2020, even though I had worked for R. Talsorian Games for over a decade. When a flight delay almost sunk one of Mike Pondsmith’s scheduled events, I jumped in and ran it with the help of Matthew Fournier, a huge Cyberpunk fan and all around great guy. It was an amazing time made even better when Mike arrived and finished the session.

The TotalCon event opened up another door for me professionally: Cyberpunk. So what better way to get my feet wet than to bring something new to the Cyberpunk fans. When I was drafting Non-Player Characters for the TotalCon game I included a Jet Li style character who worked for the main antagonist. Yet, when I started reading the Cyberpunk 2020 books at home I noticed you really couldn’t play a Jet Li or Jackie Chan style. That’s where the White Lotus Windstorm Monk came to life. Players could now be that Jet Li/Jackie Chan weapon dismantling character, with all the Shaolin moves needed to make the character totally badass. So enough chit-chat, get ZEN!

 

WHITE LOTUS WINDSTORM MONK

“The soul flows like the net, just as our bodies flow like the breeze that carries the cherry blossom petals.”~ Master Tzu

The net is like a flowing breeze, carrying cherry blossom petals of data from one place to another where they shall come to rest where they are needed. As a White Lotus Windstorm Monk you are that breeze that flows through the world with no resistance. You grew up in the mountains of Southern China spending your days honing your abilities in the Shaolin martial arts and when you became a teenager you took the pilgrimage to the city streets of Shanghai, where you applied your training in order to survive. Upon your return to the temple you were indoctrinated into the Order of White Lotus, a secret order of monks who serve the highest bidder, moving data from one place to another, like the cherry petals in the breeze.

To prepare you for that life, you were taught how the net works, spending your meditation times linked to the Shanghai data stream, observing the movement of data from one point to another. And once you found harmony within the net, you were then taken to be instructed in the arts of firearms. You assumed that you would learn how to fire these weapons, but the Windstorm masters instead instructed you in the art of ‘unweaponing’; the White Lotus Windstorm Monk doesn’t need such things, for their bodies are weapon enough. After a year of dedicated training you returned to Shanghai and you were tested on the streets as a currier, running data for the local triads. You learned quickly that one moment of hesitation could mean certain death. Your training kicked in, the poetry lessons made more sense, and soon your were the breeze that your master said you would be, flowing through the streets of Shanghai with your data load. And when confronted by enemies of the triads, you used your Windstorm training to topple them. After six grueling months in Shanghai, you returned to the temple once more where you were acknowledged as a White Lotus Windstorm Monk.

Life outside the Shaolin temple is difficult. Not only must you constantly train and earn for the White Lotus, you must also have a roof over your head. And the enemies keep getting more and more upgraded. Cyber-boosted gangers and jacked up Solos aren’t easy to bring down. So you’ve had no choice but to adapt, adding hardware to your bag of Shaolin tricks. You usually dress in all white silk suits and stay well groomed. When you are working with others you dress as they do. For it is better to blend than stick out as a target. You’ve also made friends along the way. White Lotus Windstorm Monks are rare and highly valuable when it comes to reliability, so you can always charge double for your services. When it comes to weapons, there is your body and other hand held tools at your disposal.

CAREER SKILLS

Awareness/Notice

Athletics

Basic Tech

System Knowledge

Electronics

Tech Skill: Weapons

Martial Arts: Shaolin

Endurance

Shadow/Track

NEW SPECIAL ABILITY

Unweaponing (White Lotus Monk): This is the art of taking a weapon apart using a series of lightning fast maneuvers. You are trained in the engineering design of dozens of firearms and weapons that have moving parts. You know exactly where to push, pull, and squeeze in order to make a firearm not function. This ability is great for close combat style fighting, but doesn’t do much in terms of stopping snipers. However, the knowledge of firearms gives you all the edge you need in order to get out of range of incoming fire or even taking cover behind something that might not look like it can stop a bullet, but can. Any time you are trying to ‘unweapon’ a target, add this ability’s level to your roll. At level +1 you can knock the weapon in a way that keeps it from directly firing at you. At level +3 you can grab the weapon and prevent it from firing at that moment. At +7 you can push a spot on the weapon that causes it to jam so it can’t fire until fixed. At +9 you can make the whole weapon dismantle into its individual parts.