[systems initiated]
[system power-up successful]
[initiating external systems]
three forms... empty room... brightness...
[pattern matching operational - scanning]
an opening door... a mainframe, somewhere...
...time to go
[mapping system functional]
[control delegated to biological systems]


what is neo-troops?
Neo-Troops is a fast and simple RPG game situated to undefined scifi-environment. Player characters are bioengineered super varans created only to finish their missions, which usually includes shooting tens, even hundreds of humans or other things. The game can be played as mindless killing game, a much like boardgame with GM, or it can be used as deep roleplaying experience, players playing varans trying to construct their own identity and place in the world. This is up to the players, but neverthless the system is fast and deadly, and thus combats are short and easily handled, whatever was the desired gaming type.

why varans?
Well, it has to be something with scales. And reptiles are too general name, but varans... they are large, scaly and nice to pronounce.

naming convention
For convenience, all references to humans, 3-legged aliens, varans and other creatures are with 'he'. And as a sidenote (not about naming convention but this is a good place to say it), no big efforts are made to distinguish players from player characters in some places. Use your common sense.

dice and modifiers
All test rolls in Neo-Troops are made with a standard six-sided die (referred as d6). If ever multiple dice are thrown, they are not added together but instead one or more of them are used as a separate result (usually selecting, say 2, highest numbers and discarding the rest). The dice result or the target number might be modified by some number, like an armor save with -1. In all such cases, negative numbers are penalties and make the test harder, while positive numbers are bonuses and make the test easier to succeed. So, add the number to appropriate place. Likewise, most test are marked like '3+' which means that a result of 3 or more must be rolled.
In addition to test number modifiers, some things add or reduce the number of dice thrown. See details from the system page.

game history
This is the second edition of Neo-Troops. The first version is quite similar, but has a less streamlined combat system and it was written in Finnish. It can be found from The original Neo-Troops was written summer 1998 and several scenarios were held. The original idea was to make a simple shoot-them-up type RPG, with very little character creation, with acceptable reason why there is no need to design a history or personality of your character (I have some players who dislike that). In addition, it is suitable for one-shot scenarios, so there is no need to get the same players around the same table every session, which has proven to be a problem in many of my campaigns.

about the author
Neo-Troops is entirely made by the same person, Kalle Marjola, who have also written other roleplaying games like Syndicate and RIP. His career as RPG designer extends back to '80, but the major breakthrough was Syndicate back to 1993. All the game systems have some common themes: simple game system and GM discretion. All new versions of the game systems have simplifier and faster systems than earlier ones.

the world

campaign setting
Varans live in an undefined scifi universum. It means spaceships, lasers, plasma weapons and food pills. Or something like that. There might be teleporters, maybe anti-material convertors, maybe non-crashing work stations. And then there are Them, those who have created cybervarans. They might be humans, aliens or even robots. No one knows. Maybe not even your gamemaster. But They have created cybervarans, and use them to perform various missions which are simply too hard for common troops. Or too suicidal. Or perhaps there are no common troops. Nobody knows.

existence of the cybervaran
Cybervarans are weapons. Biological weapons, that is. They are bred in a laboratory and held in stasis, coma or simulated sleep between their missions. The mission data is loaded into the memory bank of their implanted computer, which watches over the enhanced varan brain. Varans are sent to their mission and after the mission, if they survive, they are healed and repaired in the laboratory and put away to wait for the next assignment. The time delay between the missions is undetermined. As the 'career' of the cybervarans is what is it, dying of old age is not an issue.
But the biological brain-computer interaction has a problem. As the brain must have enough freedom to allow organic thinking, learning and partial consciousness, there is always a possibility and danger that the varan can reach some kind of self-consciousness. And start to think other things than his name (code), mission and team.

playing the cybervaran

Cybervarans have no name, no personality, no history. But it may develop, over the time. If the varan was 'B5' in the last few missions and it is now 'E3', it might wonder that. Maybe. And perhaps some kind of survival instinct may awake. Perhaps.

Cybervarans are made only to accomplish their missions. They live only to accomplish missions. Thus, unless noted otherwise, mission priorities are:
  1. Mission accomplishment
  2. Own survival
So, do not cling on your precious cybervaran. It is most important to get the mission done than to stay alive. And when required, sacrifice yourself. If your gaming group uses experience, a kind GM should grant any collected experience to your next varan, if the last one was selflessly sacrificied.

stealthy approach
Although cybervarans are tough, resilient and armored and have no real brains, it does not mean that they must be played dumb. They have tactical insight and make their best to accomplish the mission. And that does not always mean a walk into a room full of goons and opening fire. No, use your cloaking device for best effect, and even more important is to use the team for its full effect.

[NEO-TROOPS © Kalle Marjola 1998-1999. All rights reserved]