Modempunk is, in the words of one suptgian, "radical computer hackers in a totalitarian '80s that never was." The default setting is an alternate-reality 1986 where the computer curve ran a few decades earlier than in our world, but the system can be used for any early computer-age setting like Hackers.
The game runs on a very simple d12-only system where all conflicts are handled with a single die. All characters have 8 statistics (rated from 1-10) that serve as both attributes and skills:
- Athletics (dexterity, mobility, and melee combat)
- Computers (hacking and general computer knowledge)
- Guns (shooting combat)
- Health (constitution and hit points)
- Phreaking (unauthorized co-opting of physical systems like telephones)
- Presence (charisma and appearance)
- Talking (lying and subterfuge, either online or offline)
- Unique (a stat that reflects something that would be identified with your character specifically)
To attempt an action, a character rolls the d12. If the result is equal or less than their stat, they succeed.
Objects like computers, guns, and other useful items raise (or sometimes lower) the character's stat for the purpose of that roll. For example, a character with a Phreaking stat of 7 is using a modified Walkman that raises her Phreaking stat by +3 whenever she uses it on telephone systems. If there are no penalties imposed by the GM, she needs to roll a 10 (7+3) or less on the d12 to successfully place free phone calls.
A newer version can be found here, bundled with Joints & Jivers.
According to rumor, Viral will be putting Joints & Jivers/ Modempunk up as a stretch goal for the Engine Heart Kickstarter!