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Hacking in Cyberpunk (Opinion Poll)

Jared Rascher

For this week's poll, I'm hoping to gather some opinions about what makes hacking feel "right" in a cyberpunk setting. How much detail do you need, how many special rules, and what kind of resolution should it have?

I also added a section on your formative cyberpunk influences, just to see how that might play into your opinions on hacking works.

Thanks for your time, and I'm looking forward to digging into these responses.

Hacking In Cyberpunk

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If you're looking for that old school feeling, hacking looks like the GM spending 45 minutes running the netrunner through his own private session breaking through ICE and avoiding demons while the rest of us sat around and did nothing. For hacking to look right, the the user must directly interface with the computer via a mindlink, they must be at risk of real physical damage from enemy programs, and they surface the net with kickass avatars and other visual representations.


One nice concept I saw in a D&D 5e Cyberpunk system that sadly fluffed its Kickstarter was the idea of using the same skills in cyberspace as in normal play. So rather than having, say, a Computers skill and just rolling that for everything, if you're trying to sneak around a security daemon you roll Stealth, if you're trying to spoof a password check you roll Deception, or if you're trying to locate a particular data file you roll Investigation.

It helped that they based their Hacker subclass off the Rogue class.


I don't know if this has been tried but if the hacker brought the whole party into cyberspace (everyone had a cyberspace version of their character) then the hacking part of the plan involves everyone.


Shadowrun and 80s punkish dystopias, possibly Bladerunner but definitely Max Headroom were pretty much foundational for me. Neuromancer, Philip K. Dick stories, Transmetropolitan, Snowcrash, GURPS Cyperpunk,and the Cyberpunk RPG all came later. Wargames and Tron added to the hacking foundations even though they were not cyberpunk. Sneakers came later along with a lot of terrible movie hacking stuff.

In Shadowrun I disliked the game flow of stopping the rest of the party for hacking/decking and astral solo quests. Cyberpunk is more about street level stuff intersecting with corporate stuff in a dark dystopic backdrop for me, so Bladerunner sums it up well, which had no hacking.

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