Cyberpunk Genre RPGs
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  1. #1
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    Cyberpunk Genre RPGs

    So, I've always been fascinated by the genre and am looking to get involved in or start up an RPG game, but I'm not sure what system I should look into.

    What I'm looking for;
    • An aesthetic & setting like the book Neuromancer, the movie Johnny Mnemonic, etc. Part of this means no elves, no magic, but the possibility of psionics, aliens or other races is ok.
    • A balanced game, where character selection matters, but players don't have to worry about making choices that are going to make their characters obsolete/useless. I'm not into optimization, so every character should be playable without spending loads of time figuring out mechanical advantages.
    • Something where a group of 4-6 players can all be engaged at the same time (I'm a bit concerned with the little 2020 reading I've done that many times the characters will be split up doing different things.)
    • Available adventures. Since I'm new, I want a basis for how to setup and run adventures, Sure I'll end up modifying things, but good starting examples are important. Other resources,such as gear books and maps, etc are important too.


    From the research I've done, I've found the following rule systems, but don't know anything about them and how good/bad or how they might fit into what I'm looking for.
    Feedback/opinions appreciated!
    • Cyberpunk RPG (aka Cyperpunk 2013, published 1988)
    • Cyberpunk 2020 (published 1990)
    • Cyberpunk V3 (published 2005)
    • GURPS Cyberpunk (published 1990, 3e GURPS)
    • Shadowrun (5 editions...) I'd probably pull out the magic and elves portions, but...? And then which edition?
    • Traveler - Does this even count or it it really just sci-fi? If so, what edition and/or options?
    • Corporation RPG (2006 by Brutal Games)

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    May I highly, highly recommend the Interface Zero campaign setting for Savage Worlds?

    The Interface Zero 2.0 campaign book is one of my favorite RPG sourcebooks of all time. It's seriously brilliant in every way.

    The other thing you might want to look at is Genesys + the Android Netrunner sourcebook, Shadow of the Beanstalk​.
    Last edited by innerdude; Tuesday, 18th June, 2019 at 11:00 PM.
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    If you're not opposed to PbtA games, I'd highly recommend The Veil. I've also heard good things about The Sprawl; from what I've heard, The Sprawl is the more traditional, mission-based Cyberpunk while The Veil is definitely leans harder into the weirder, more philosophical stuff about self and identity and the like.

    Edit: Just read a comment that compared The Sprawl to Gibson, so that might be up your alley.
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    Quote Originally Posted by innerdude View Post
    May I highly, highly recommend the Interface Zero campaign setting for Savage Worlds?

    The Interface Zero 2.0 campaign book is one of my favorite RPG sourcebooks of all time. It's seriously brilliant in every way.

    The other thing you might want to look at is Genesys + the Android Netrunner sourcebook, Shadow of the Beanstalk​.
    Absolutely! I'll add those to my list to consider

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradine View Post
    If you're not opposed to PbtA games, I'd highly recommend The Veil. I've also heard good things about The Sprawl; from what I've heard, The Sprawl is the more traditional, mission-based Cyberpunk while The Veil is definitely leans harder into the weirder, more philosophical stuff about self and identity and the like.

    Edit: Just read a comment that compared The Sprawl to Gibson, so that might be up your alley.
    Never played PbtA, so I'm open to the idea. Anything you can comment on about the system?

    I saw another reference to The Sprawl, but the link was bad (wikipedia). Do you know if its still around or have a link for it?

    Gibson? That's new to me...

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    Quote Originally Posted by LordEntrails View Post
    Never played PbtA, so I'm open to the idea. Anything you can comment on about the system?
    Not a ton of mechanical crunch. Only players roll dice, which is 2d6. DMs get to use "Moves" based on consequences brought about by rolls. The Veil is about transhumanism and identity; "stats" are emotional states which are regularly shifting. The Sprawl is mission-based cyberpunk, more traditional in its conception of stats and playbooks. Everything revolves around performing merc jobs in a fairly classic cyberpunk setting.

    I saw another reference to The Sprawl, but the link was bad (wikipedia). Do you know if its still around or have a link for it?
    Sure, here's The Veil and here's The Sprawl.

    Gibson? That's new to me...
    William Gibson? Wrote Neuromancer?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gradine View Post
    William Gibson? Wrote Neuromancer?
    *lol* Oh, I thought you were referring to a game called Gibson. I couldn't find it

    I admit I just read Nueromancer for the first time a couple weeks ago. So I'm still pretty uninformed
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  7. #7
    Just from my experience with the various systems here are my 2 cents

    1) Cyberpunk RPG - Skip this one, 2020 does everything this version does, but better, classes, combat, etc.
    2) Somewhat balanced, if you want the party to stick together you'll want to focus on a specific area and minimize hacking, 2020 is better then cyberpunk RPG since you can use the Netrunner abilities in combat. Lots of supplements (horror, near earth orbit, Hardwired just to name a few). The supplements are also individuated enough that you can really focus on a specific area and avoid party splitting. 2020 had a ton of support in its day so finding adventures is really easy. If I where to do a pure Cyberpunk campaign I would consider playing this again. One supplement for GMs, "Listen up You Primitive Screwheads" is a great tool for GMing any Cyberpunk campaign, available as a POD on drivethrough RPG. Additionally, 2020 had decent 3rd Party support that you can get fairly cheap.
    3) No clue, if its backwards compatible with 2020, thumbs up, but very little support material, would probably give it a pass.
    4) Aesthetic is good, if you go this route you'll want CyberWorld, only one published adventure though (includes 3 adventures I only remember one being very good), and sometimes party cohesion can be a problem if you use hacking. Combat can be slow, if you're not already familiar with GURPS there's a larger learning curve. Because it is GURPS you can have Psionics, Magic, Aliens, Martial Arts, etc. Vehicle construction is a PITA, but it isn't a huge part of the game.
    5) Shadowrun is perfect for aesthetic, but the magic and Elves and whatnot actually enhance as opposed to hinder. I prefer 3rd Edition, but 5th is really tight. I would recommend playing Shadowrun Returns (I think its like 5 bucks on Steam) to give you an idea for the Campaign world and how the elements fit together. If you want to cut out the Magic, would not recommend sticking with Shadowrun, since modifying the supplemental material requires removing the magic and supernatural elements generally at the core of the adventure.
    6) Skip Traveller, The current Mongoose version is the best, but hacking/computer rules are almost non-existent, tons of adventures but 90 percent are take the Scout Ship to your Mom's house and deliver groceries and avoid the ancient alien monster on the way. There was a version (Traveller Next Generation or something) was a little more in the C-Punk aesthetic with Computer Viruses and what not, but not a great system. Traveller 2300 might be a good choice, I think they even have a Cyberpunk type supplement, but would recommend Shadowrun or R. Talsorian over Traveller.
    7) No clue.

    Hope this helps, I really felt that R. Talsorian Cyberpunk 2020 nailed the elements of Cyberpunk and used a lot of the tropes of the genre successfully going so far as to make supplemental material based on the books. Similarly I think Shadowrun has as well even with the Magic elements, which sort of adds to the aesthetic (e.g. The Troll Bouncer is a serious menace and could exist in a regular C-Punk campaign as a genetic anomaly.) They borrow heavily from the jargon William Gibson created in his early novels and short stories.
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    I’ll just say that if you’re contemplating GURPS, any toolkit system you feel comfy using should work as well- especially if you have a strong idea for how you want your campaign to run.

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    Similarly I think Shadowrun has as well even with the Magic elements, which sort of adds to the aesthetic (e.g. The Troll Bouncer is a serious menace and could exist in a regular C-Punk campaign as a genetic anomaly.) They borrow heavily from the jargon William Gibson created in his early novels and short stories.
    Genetic anomaly, black ops super soldier AWOL/reject/merc...

    Just do some Clarkian reskinning of the magic as experimental tech, and you’re golden. Even the dragons could be biotech gone wild.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anthony Benassi View Post
    Just from my experience with the various systems here are my 2 cents...

    Hope this helps, ....
    Excellent. Absolutely helps and the type of input I was hoping for.

    Really helps me narrow it to 2020 or SR 3 or 5. I'll have to read some setting materials to see if I'm comfortable with the races and magic in SR.

    I also have to say the C-Punk 2077 that is coming out next year might be well timed for me.

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