2022: The Year’s Cyberpunk Tabletop RPG Downloads Part Two – Traditional Releases

In the first part of this three-part series, I looked back on 2022 as it impacted cyberpunk tabletop RPGs, specifically its crowdfunding. From Blade Runner: The Roleplaying Game's million dollar achievement to Everyday Heroes: The Roleplaying Game bringing John Carpenter’s Escape from New York to tabletop to the return of Misspent Youth: Fall in Love, Not in Line to the achievement of a one-page cyberpunk RPG with CBR+PNK: Augmented, 2022 was an outstanding year for cyberpunk RPG crowdfunding. In the second part to this series, we’ll look at the traditional releases (non-crowdfunding) from R. Talsorian Games, Catalyst Game Labs, Green Ronin Publishing and more as they continue to show that publishers see the future of cyberpunk in different ways.

Cyberpunk RED.jpg

TRADITIONAL RELEASES

Not every cyberpunk offering came via crowdfunding. The established publishers went the traditional route with their projects, offering them via FLGS and online. Let’s start with the original cyberpunk tabletop RPG publisher, R. Talsorian Games Inc.

Cyberpunk RED Easy Mode.jpg

The Cyberpunk 2077 video game from CD Project RED dropped in late 2020. While reviews were impacted by the video game’s bugs, Cyberpunk 2077 received a second life when Netflix released the anime Cyberpunk: Edgerunners. The show scored highly for Netflix, and reinvigorated interest in the video game. In turn, Cyberpunk RED (the core rulebook and the Jumpstart Kit are Adamantine best-sellers on DriveThruRPG) benefited from that same increased interest. RED’s core rulebook has been in print since the drop of 2077, and 2022 saw R. Talsorian’s continued commitment to the brand through their fan outreach. R. Talsorian did a big piece of that outreach with Cyberpunk RED Easy Mode as a part of Free RPG Day 2022. In one day, that booklet put the core rules, a scenario, pre-generated characters, and maps into the hands of many fans. R Talsorian has since made the same book available as a free PDF via DriveThruRPG. Beyond that freebie, R. Talsorian offers a catalog of free DLC content intended to help you to customized your experiences in Night City. If Cyberpunk RED interests you, Rob Wieland did a review of the game and some of the early supplements to give you an idea of whether this RPG is the cyberpunk your table needs.

Tales of the RED- Street Stories.jpg

Beyond free content, R. Talsorian’s major RED release in 2022 is the adventure collection, Tales of the RED: Street Stories (Platinum best-seller on DriveThruRPG). This is a well laid out book, a solid set of adventures, and a good resource full of NPCs and other useful items. As with the other books, Rob took a look at Tales of the RED so you can decide how much you need these tales.

Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook- City Edition- Seattle.gif

No discussion of tabletop RPG cyberpunk on EN World is complete without Shadowrun. EN World’s Darryl Mott is a longtime fan of the system and discussed some of the offerings from 2022 here and here, among other articles. While many books and Roll20 support came along, Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook: City Edition: Seattle, the revised core rules for Shadowrun 6th Edition, from Catalyst Game Labs dropped last year on September 15, 2021 as a PDF (Mithral best-seller on DriveThruRPG). The print version of the book released in late ‘21 and early ‘22, so Charles Dunwoody was able to talk about the book briefly in his weekly roundup. Between these books and Shadowrun charity bundles created from past and present editions, Shadowrun’s combination of cyberpunk and fantasy continues to be a major player in the genre’s field.

Catalyst Game Labs released a few pieces of Shadowrun prose fiction in 2022. The last of them is Bryan Young's Shadowrun: Mercy Street (A Shadowrun Novella). Released on December 29th, this book continues to tell the story of the Sixth World, expanding the RPG beyond tabletop.

Cyberpunk Slice- Near Futures & Hackable Selves for Modern AGE.jpg

From Green Ronin Publishing comes Cyberpunk Slice: Near Futures & Hackable Selves for Modern AGE (Electrum best-seller on DriveThruRPG). This sourcebook adds to Green Ronin’s Modern AGE ruleset augmenting the cyberpunk options. While they’ve touched on cyberpunk for Modern AGE with the Modern AGE Companion and offered a specific sci-fi/cyberpunk world with Greg Rucka’s World of Lazarus, this toolkit gives you everything cyberpunk they hadn’t already offered. You’ll find everything you need to fight the corps, save for a list of those corps. If you’re interested in more details, I did an interview with Malcolm Sheppard and Troy Hewitt about this sourcebook.

But it’s not all large and mid-tier publishers that bypass crowdfunding to go with a traditional release model. Many publishers self-fund their work to take to market. Jonathan Hicks’ Farsight Games released Cyber Streets - Rules Light Future Noir Roleplaying (Copper best-seller on DriveThruRPG) into the wild of 2022. This RPG uses the FIRETEAM - Rules Light Military Science Fiction Roleplaying (Electrum best-seller on DriveThruRPG) rules system and is perfect for fans of rules-light cyberpunk. The core rulebook has everything you’ll need to run these Cyber Streets without getting bogged down in massive rulesets.

Micro RPG has a line titled Neon Road. The first offering in the line, Neon Road: AN 80s STYLE SOLO GAME, is a Platinum best-seller on DriveThruRPG, which is outstanding for an RPG that debuted in 2022 and forsook crowdfunding. As a solo cyberpunk roleplay, this game exists in a niche space. Add to this, Micro RPG’s mission statement is the stuff that awesome is made of!

HUMAN… ALMOST- A Post-Cyberpunk Police Procedural Roleplaying Pamphlet – PLAYTEST VERSION.png

I’ve talked about my adoration for CBR+PNK: Augmented from The Cabinet of Curiosities, which brings me to my own little piece of cyberpunk, HUMAN… ALMOST: A Post-Cyberpunk Police Procedural Roleplaying Pamphlet – PLAYTEST VERSION from Egg Embry Publishing. Inspired by CBR+PNK plus post-cyberpunk police procedurals like Almost Human, this is my attempt at a Forged in the Dark pamphlet/brochure RPG. I’ve written about the production of the game and its impact while vending at conventions, and with positive reviews from Andrew Peregrine at EN World and Andrew Girdwood of Geek Native matched to its free price point, there’s a lot to offer without any risk for the buyer.

BUT WHAT OF THE CORPOS’ PLIGHT?
In the conclusion to this series, I’ll talk about some of the cyberpunk RPG news from 2022. These are the stories that touch on a few of the more notable tabletop announcements including new projects, new publishing players, and some non-tabletop news.

2022: The Year’s Cyberpunk Tabletop RPG Downloads Article Series:

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.
 
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Egg Embry

Egg Embry

Vincent55

Explorer
Shadow run was one I played back in the day, even had the video game too, and had lots of fun playing a decker but not with every DM. I read through red and found it very generic and compared to other games didn't bring much to the table that couldn't be done with others. The modern age AG system is ok if you like it, but just not my bag really, as to the last one i have to say never seen it so might check it out.
 

Achan hiArusa

Explorer
You do know when other cyberpunk games are asked "Who's your Daddy?" they have to answer with "Cyberpunk 2013". It was the first game and every other cyberpunk game is standing on its giant shoulders.
 


Cergorach

The Laughing One
You do know when other cyberpunk games are asked "Who's your Daddy?" they have to answer with "Cyberpunk 2013". It was the first game and every other cyberpunk game is standing on its giant shoulders.
While the original Cyberpunk dates from 1988 and Shadowrun dates from 1989, a year later. I wonder if they just have a common origin with Bladerunner/Akira and the like, instead of SR building on the Cyberpunk (1988) game. A year for designing, writing, art, layout, printing, etc. for the tome that was SR 1E is a bit of a tall order imho...

I actually suspect that many cyberpunk games don't have their origins with Cyberpunk (1988), but are just based on the same source material...
 

Random Task

Explorer
While the original Cyberpunk dates from 1988 and Shadowrun dates from 1989, a year later. I wonder if they just have a common origin with Bladerunner/Akira and the like, instead of SR building on the Cyberpunk (1988) game. A year for designing, writing, art, layout, printing, etc. for the tome that was SR 1E is a bit of a tall order imho...
From the designers, Shadowrun was supposed to be a standard cyberpunk game until they were beaten to the punch by Cyberpunk, so they added the fantasy elements to differentiate.
 

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