R. Talasorian's Cyberpunk 2020: Any House rules you enjoy or are really tempted to employ?

Stevethulhu

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Oh, they understand the setting is a divergent future history with a variant tech path (someone like allot of steampunk settings ) I wanted to show them timeline to give them some background and sense of the tone of the setting and the knowledge to tie their characters into the background.



Thanks, I'll check it out!
It's not just a variant tech path. As with almost all near future publications, it goes totally askew from the year of publication. You could say, "Its Blade Runner meets RoboCop in the cities, Mad Max crossed with Convoy outside them and Total Recall meets The Expanse before the potomolecule stuff in space" and not be off the mark.
 

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It's not just a variant tech path. As with almost all near future publications, it goes totally askew from the year of publication.
Yes, that's way I referred to it as an alternate future history. Its a parallel universe where things went differently. That's why they'd like/need an an overview of generally what and how things went differently.

A revamp of the setting to bring it more inline with how technology and events have played out might be cool but is much to big a project for me. I'm still mucking around with Special Abilities. :smile:
 

Stevethulhu

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Yes, that's way I referred to it as an alternate future history. Its a parallel universe where things went differently. That's why they'd like/need an an overview of generally what and how things went differently.

A revamp of the setting to bring it more inline with how technology and events have played out might be cool but is much to big a project for me. I'm still mucking around with Special Abilities. :smile:
Special abilities are fine. Honestly, most of it is fine, all it needs is a cosmetic makeover. Phones need more work than Special Abilities.
 

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A revamp of the setting to bring it more inline with how technology and events have played out might be cool
Inspired by this thread I took a look at the Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit expecting that's what it would be and was surprised and disappointed to find that it really isn't. Instead it looks like they kept the CP2020 text almost exactly and just moved the date ahead 25 years, but (at least as far as I could tell at a glance) nothing significant really happened during those years and the status quo in 2045 is pretty much exactly the same as it was in 2020. I assumed they'd at least start the timeline at 2020 and have all the canonical setting events (the Central American wars, corporate wars, etc.) take place in the 2020s & 2030s, but nope, the timeline still starts in 1990. Since they decided to do that, it would've actually made more sense to just keep the year at 2020 and call it an alternate present. Weird choices.
 

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Special abilities are fine. Honestly, most of it is fine, all it needs is a cosmetic makeover. Phones need more work than Special Abilities.
Its a matter of personal preference but I dont think I'll go too deep. Its just a quick little game S and Gs inspired by the date.
 

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New work-in-progress edition of the game being developed in conjunction with the upcoming CP2077 computer game. So far all that’s been released is a teaser “jumpstart kit” - a partial set of rules with a couple of short adventures. The graphics and art all look good, but the substance is pretty weak - almost all of the text just seems to have been cut & pasted from the CO2020 rulebook and not updated at all to reflect the intervening 30 years.
 

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Phones need more work than Special Abilities.
What changes do you feel phones need>

New work-in-progress edition of the game being developed in conjunction with the upcoming CP2077 computer game. So far all that’s been released is a teaser “jumpstart kit” - a partial set of rules with a couple of short adventures. The graphics and art all look good, but the substance is pretty weak - almost all of the text just seems to have been cut & pasted from the CO2020 rulebook and not updated at all to reflect the intervening 30 years.
Huh, sounds interesting though. Is the jumpstart kit still available?

We've got the PCs backgrounds finished. Pretty colorful lot. All the players went with rolling their Life Paths fully so we ended up with allot of fairly large family, only one 'token' Caucasian and two nudists. :grin:
 

Stevethulhu

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What changes do you feel phones need>
They need bringing out of the 80s. No cameras, net connectivity is $500 extra and only lets you use a cybermodem as a cellular, not thephone itself. A 2 inch screen is a $150 extra.

Phones in 2020 are basically the Brick.

1581947345000.png

And that's why they need updating.
 

Nobby-W

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They need bringing out of the 80s. No cameras, net connectivity is $500 extra and only lets you use a cybermodem as a cellular, not thephone itself. A 2 inch screen is a $150 extra.

Phones in 2020 are basically the Brick.

View attachment 15811

And that's why they need updating.
I dunno. I quite like the idea of doing a retro-cyberpunk campaign with '80s futurist sensibilities. We can have a Cray wall screen.

There was a time when old Cray supers would turn up on Ebay occasionally. Unfortunately they tended to be big and clunky enough that installing it one's living room was never practical, not to mention the cost of shipping or power and cooling.

There is a web site about a kid who got hold of an old IBM mainframe and got it going in his parents' basement, though.

I want an IBM 7030 (Stretch). That was a proper, old-school mainframe. The CPU alone weighed 35 tons.
 
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Stevethulhu

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I dunno. I quite like the idea of doing a retro-cyberpunk campaign with '80s futurist sensibilities. We can have a Cray wall screen.

There was a time when old Cray supers would turn up on Ebay occasionally. Unfortunately they tended to be big and clunky enough that installing it one's living room was never practical, not to mention the cost of shipping or power and cooling.

There is a web site about a kid who got hold of an old IBM mainframe and got it going in his parents' basement, though.

I want an IBM 7030 (Stretch). That was a proper, old-school mainframe. The CPU alone weighed 35 tons.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d run 2020 as is. GURPS or something might get a slicker look, but it’s less hassle and way more charming to use ready made material as it was published.
 

Nexus

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They need bringing out of the 80s. No cameras, net connectivity is $500 extra and only lets you use a cybermodem as a cellular, not thephone itself. A 2 inch screen is a $150 extra.

Phones in 2020 are basically the Brick.

View attachment 15811

And that's why they need updating.
That was am aspect of retro setting for me, like the tech in some of the Batman animated series. A fair number of things in CP 2020 could be different if modernized or made 'realistic'. :smile:
 

Nexus

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I dunno. I quite like the idea of doing a retro-cyberpunk campaign with '80s futurist sensibilities. We can have a Cray wall screen.

There was a time when old Cray supers would turn up on Ebay occasionally. Unfortunately they tended to be big and clunky enough that installing it one's living room was never practical, not to mention the cost of shipping or power and cooling.

There is a web site about a kid who got hold of an old IBM mainframe and got it going in his parents' basement, though.
I have a weird origin for the next AI character to I bring into play. Thanks!
 

Chris Brady

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That was am aspect of retro setting for me, like the tech in some of the Batman animated series. A fair number of things in CP 2020 could be different if modernized or made 'realistic'. :smile:
To be fair, the history diverges long before the advent of the Cell Phone, much less the Smart Phone, so taking liberties with the technology to keep it somewhat retro is fine in my opinion. Especially given the turmoil and conflict that happens in the 30 years since 1990. In fact SOME technologies would improve, while others would stagnate in my opinion.

I personally would update a few things, like make Cyberdecks more akin to smartphones and maybe give the Dataterms a touch screen interface as well, but other than that, most of the stuff could be kept more or less the same. I'd think the Matrix virtual world is a good reference point for most of the tech, I say.

But as always, you do you.
 

Stevethulhu

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That was am aspect of retro setting for me, like the tech in some of the Batman animated series. A fair number of things in CP 2020 could be different if modernized or made 'realistic'. :smile:
I just figure, if you're going to update and tweak the system, you might as well do the same for the setting.
 

Nexus

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I just figure, if you're going to update and tweak the system, you might as well do the same for the setting.
The difference for me is that I like anachronisms in the setting, the look appeals to me, and I can imagine the ripple effects changing a lot of things.The mechanical issues that I'm think of changing are things that really bug me. And I may not be able to change them without to much work for a short, more or less off the cuff game.
 

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Eh, the setting is so different with the literal collapse of the USA, there’s no way that luxury consumer electronics, and social media giants would have developed so quickly and become so ubiquitous.

Megacorps can’t rely on donation/bribes to lawmakers to grant them citizenhood, let them monopolize at will, artificially keep the economy going through the petrodollar, etc. The Megacorps actually have to compete with each other, and a gov’t that doesn’t have the same incestuous relationships it used to. Cyberpunk 2020, hell even 2040, is still partly post-apocalyptic.

2077, on the other hand, I would expect some significant change on the tech front more in line with modern Earth sensibilities of the future.
 

Stevethulhu

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The difference for me is that I like anachronisms in the setting, the look appeals to me, and I can imagine the ripple effects changing a lot of things.The mechanical issues that I'm think of changing are things that really bug me. And I may not be able to change them without to much work for a short, more or less off the cuff game.
The same holds true with the system. As I said, it's like a recipe. You need to try it the way it's intended before you fix what might not be broken.
 

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The same holds true with the system. As I said, it's like a recipe. You need to try it the way it's intended before you fix what might not be broken.
I have played it by RAW before, didn't like it. That's where I ran into some of the aspects I find problematic but the GM was talented, I liked the genre, the group was fun and I was too new to gaming to consider changing anything (and wasn't the gm) so I put the issues I had aside. I can generally deal with it playing a game with mechanical aspects I don't like; gming them is more problematic but often I can deal especially if I like the setting. I think the mechanics for Exalted are garbage fire hit by a train wreck but I've used them years, just as little as possible and duct taping things together and ignoring large parts of them because of the setting and being, frankly, to lazy to convert all that crap to a different and, IMO, superior system.

I don't feel the Special Abilities are 'broken' per-se, they're a section of it I don't find enjoyable, but they're generally functional though how some of them function is iffy, IMO. If I can think of something I like better that isn't too much work I'll use or otherwise, for the purposes of this game I'll put up with them. I hate almost all aspects of D and D but I played with a group for awhile because the rest of game was fun, but I'd never try to gm it.
 

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Another 2 areas that I was somewhat not pleased with and read others issues with over the years was: Humanity Costs and the system designing Drugs. Does anyone have or have seen House rules about those?
 

Stevethulhu

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Another 2 areas that I was somewhat not pleased with and read others issues with over the years was: Humanity Costs and the system designing Drugs. Does anyone have or have seen House rules about those?
Maybe try Interlock Unlimited? Theres tons of optional and house rules content there. Ive got the archive, Inbox me and I'll send you a link to it.
 

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I dig the shit out of CP2020 but do y’all think there is a game out there that does a better job of capturing the literary end of cyberpunk, less the action/adventure of early Gibson and more the noir meets high-tech-strangeness of Effinger, Womack, Sterling, Kadrey.
 

Stevethulhu

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I dig the shit out of CP2020 but do y’all think there is a game out there that does a better job of capturing the literary end of cyberpunk, less the action/adventure of early Gibson and more the noir meets high-tech-strangeness of Effinger, Womack, Sterling, Kadrey.
In a word, GURPS. Either 3rd ed Cyberpunk + Ultra Tech, or the 4th ed one that was in an SJG magazine.
 

Séadna

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I dig the shit out of CP2020 but do y’all think there is a game out there that does a better job of capturing the literary end of cyberpunk, less the action/adventure of early Gibson and more the noir meets high-tech-strangeness of Effinger, Womack, Sterling, Kadrey.
Have you had a look at the Veil? And its supplement "Cascade". Very focused on the core literary conceits I found, or more so has a nice set of tools for making a campaign focused on the conceits. I might be misunderstanding you though.
 

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New work-in-progress edition of the game being developed in conjunction with the upcoming CP2077 computer game. So far all that’s been released is a teaser “jumpstart kit” - a partial set of rules with a couple of short adventures. The graphics and art all look good, but the substance is pretty weak - almost all of the text just seems to have been cut & pasted from the CO2020 rulebook and not updated at all to reflect the intervening 30 years.
Well, the motto IS "style over substance", ain't it now:gunslinger:?
 

Voros

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Have you had a look at the Veil? And its supplement "Cascade". Very focused on the core literary conceits I found, or more so has a nice set of tools for making a campaign focused on the conceits. I might be misunderstanding you though.
I downloaded the quickstart of The Veil but had trouble wrapping my head around its rules but I find that is common with a truly new ruleset, should give it or The Veil’s designer Fraser Simon’s newish Cyberpunk game Retropunk a shot.
 

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In a word, GURPS. Either 3rd ed Cyberpunk + Ultra Tech, or the 4th ed one that was in an SJG magazine.
I appreciate the GURPs books for the setting content but can’t get into the system. Still, I’ve heard the Cyberpunk book is a classic so I should pick it up on pdf.
 

T. Foster

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I dig the shit out of CP2020 but do y’all think there is a game out there that does a better job of capturing the literary end of cyberpunk, less the action/adventure of early Gibson and more the noir meets high-tech-strangeness of Effinger, Womack, Sterling, Kadrey.
That’s the stuff I was mostly into back in the 90s (also Pat Cadigan). I just used CP2020 drifted towards that feel and away from the guns & gear fascination that drove most of the official stuff. It worked well enough for me at the time, but it was sometimes an uphill battle and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. You can make it work, though. Probably easier with CP2020 than, say, Shadowrun.
 
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Stevethulhu

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I appreciate the GURPs books for the setting content but can’t get into the system. Still, I’ve heard the Cyberpunk book is a classic so I should pick it up on pdf.
GURPS 3rd is better than 4th in terms of easy access to the system.

Though I cant help feeling, if you're doing a lot of rewriting and hacking, then maybe 2020 isn't the system for you.

But then, I never got the "Its perfect! I'll rewrite it!" thing a lot of GMs do.
 

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Is there any information about the place of Drones (as defined in the real world) in the 2020 setting?
 

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Is there any information about the place of Drones (as defined in the real world) in the 2020 setting?
Not in the core book. But given how easily they can be hacked and programmed, I'd have them banned by corporations. Or at least a 'shoot on sight' policy.
 

Stevethulhu

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Is there any information about the place of Drones (as defined in the real world) in the 2020 setting?
Theres a couple in Chromebook 2. But they're not modern ones. More like the kind of drones youd see in 80s movies starring Gene Simmons.
 

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I thought there was more on them in Chromebook 3, the WADs. Those were big though, more like the size of the drones DARPA is tossing around as infantry support ground drones.
 

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Since this thread is still getting some action, I'll note that I never used humanity costs when I ran the game. Even with cyberpsychosis as an in world thing, the entire idea that getting a new limb or eyes or whatever would make someone crazy never made any sense to me. That it was blatantly a game balance mechanic annoyed me even more. I just limited access and changed costs if I thought something should be rarer in the setting.
 

Chris Brady

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Since this thread is still getting some action, I'll note that I never used humanity costs when I ran the game. Even with cyberpsychosis as an in world thing, the entire idea that getting a new limb or eyes or whatever would make someone crazy never made any sense to me. That it was blatantly a game balance mechanic annoyed me even more. I just limited access and changed costs if I thought something should be rarer in the setting.
Losing a limb affects a person's mental state. Phantom pain, denial, the feeling of being less than whole, less than human, all things that have been documented. Empathy loss is meant to mimic that, except that instead of feeling less than whole, you're more than human now. You lose touch with what makes you human because parts of you are not.

Is this realistic? Who knows, but it fits with the Noir feel of the genre that Mr. Pondsmith once mentioned in an interview.
 

Stevethulhu

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Losing a limb affects a person's mental state. Phantom pain, denial, the feeling of being less than whole, less than human, all things that have been documented. Empathy loss is meant to mimic that, except that instead of feeling less than whole, you're more than human now. You lose touch with what makes you human because parts of you are not.

Is this realistic? Who knows, but it fits with the Noir feel of the genre that Mr. Pondsmith once mentioned in an interview.
Plus there's ide walk in clinics where you can have a leg cut off and replaced.with a metal thing that has a built in egg whisk. Done while you wait. Right there in the mall.

Its pretty dehumanising if you ask me.
 

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Losing a limb affects a person's mental state. Phantom pain, denial, the feeling of being less than whole, less than human, all things that have been documented. Empathy loss is meant to mimic that, except that instead of feeling less than whole, you're more than human now. You lose touch with what makes you human because parts of you are not.

Is this realistic? Who knows, but it fits with the Noir feel of the genre that Mr. Pondsmith once mentioned in an interview.
No doubt losing a limb would have an effect, but from what I understand even a simple prosthetic tends to uplift people who have had that happen. Which I admit is a more of the "realistic" argument, but even "voluntary replacement" folks I don't see as being traumatized by the act. If they were high or low empathy before it's not like they are going to stop being that way just because they can see in the dark, run faster, or crush beer cans.

Nonetheless I'm down with the idea of dehumanization in the setting, but just not buying it coming from improvements to the baseline from augments (or better replacements in the case of loss). I'm even down with the idea of some elements of the media blaming it on cybernetics and looking for crazy people with cybernetics to create a "cyberpsychosis" fear that helps them sell more ads or a security force using it to militarize themselves more. But I don't want that to have a game system effect.

Plus there's ide walk in clinics where you can have a leg cut off and replaced.with a metal thing that has a built in egg whisk. Done while you wait. Right there in the mall.

Its pretty dehumanising if you ask me.
I'd sign up today for such a thing, especially if it would improve my capabilities. Hopefully without getting too personal, I was in a car wreck that did some permanent damage, I'd gladly fix some of my injuries with something even better (no limbs lost, but tons of physical therapy to compensate). Even if that just makes me weird, it explains why I wouldn't personally see it as dehumanizing (I felt this way before my accident, so it's not the injuries giving me a new perspective).

I also don't love the implication that amputees getting better prosthetics are somehow worse off than they were before. Having it be something someone could do down at the mall would make it even better to my eyes. I'm still not trying to read TOO much into that since I see it a game-balance mechanic, not some kind of viewpoint.

That said, I know some people would see it as dehumanizing, but I think that would be something to work out for an each character played. not something tied to the system. Cyberpsychosis is too cool a term not have in the setting, but I think it's more likely to be applied to the crazy person who cybers up than to be a result of cybering up.
 

Stevethulhu

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No doubt losing a limb would have an effect, but from what I understand even a simple prosthetic tends to uplift people who have had that happen. Which I admit is a more of the "realistic" argument, but even "voluntary replacement" folks I don't see as being traumatized by the act. If they were high or low empathy before it's not like they are going to stop being that way just because they can see in the dark, run faster, or crush beer cans.

Nonetheless I'm down with the idea of dehumanization in the setting, but just not buying it coming from improvements to the baseline from augments (or better replacements in the case of loss). I'm even down with the idea of some elements of the media blaming it on cybernetics and looking for crazy people with cybernetics to create a "cyberpsychosis" fear that helps them sell more ads or a security force using it to militarize themselves more. But I don't want that to have a game system effect.



I'd sign up today for such a thing, especially if it would improve my capabilities. Hopefully without getting too personal, I was in a car wreck that did some permanent damage, I'd gladly fix some of my injuries with something even better (no limbs lost, but tons of physical therapy to compensate). Even if that just makes me weird, it explains why I wouldn't personally see it as dehumanizing (I felt this way before my accident, so it's not the injuries giving me a new perspective).

I also don't love the implication that amputees getting better prosthetics are somehow worse off than they were before. Having it be something someone could do down at the mall would make it even better to my eyes. I'm still not trying to read TOO much into that since I see it a game-balance mechanic, not some kind of viewpoint.

That said, I know some people would see it as dehumanizing, but I think that would be something to work out for an each character played. not something tied to the system. Cyberpsychosis is too cool a term not have in the setting, but I think it's more likely to be applied to the crazy person who cybers up than to be a result of cybering up.
An amputee is a very different beast from someone getting the bionic equivalent of a nose ring, a belly button pierce and some tattoos.

Also in 2020, which is often ignored, they can force grow cloned limbs and organs. Zero Humanity loss, but a month or two wait. Which often makes players think they'll go with the 2d6 Humanity loss.

After all, Emp 6 is pretty good for a Nomad. Dropping to 5 isnt such a big deal, right? And may as well get the eyes done while you're flush. 2d6 per peeper or 3 for the mono vision? No worries.
 

tenbones

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While they assign random humanity costs to specific types of cyberware, this thread gives me the idea that what should happen is that cyberware should have a fixed range of humanity loss, and the player make some kind of check, and based on the results of the check, they'll get whatever falls into the range.

So for example... a Cyberoptic might have a Low/Medium/High value of 1/2/4 with a Loss Difficulty check of 15. Another interesting thing might be some good descriptions in the cyberware of how it might "feel" to first-time owners to help explain why it's disconcerting and therefore different than being "normal". For example a cyberoptic might feel slightly cool in your head, or it might give low-grade buzzing sensations when you're scanning around, they might feel "heavy" or "light", or give a soft click when you blink that only you can perceive. At any rate, these side-effects might be fairly easily ignored, and you have to make a Cool + Empathy check to see how well you adapt to them.

So with a check of >15, you have a harder time getting used to it - you eat 4-points for the cost. 15-19, it takes you a day or so, but you deal with it - and eat 2. If you roll 20+ you acclimate within hours and eat only 1 point.

It's a little more granular, but I think it better represents a lot of the conceits of the genre while allowing for the PC's stats to matter without disregarding the assumption of Humanity loss.
 

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No doubt losing a limb would have an effect, but from what I understand even a simple prosthetic tends to uplift people who have had that happen. Which I admit is a more of the "realistic" argument, but even "voluntary replacement" folks I don't see as being traumatized by the act. If they were high or low empathy before it's not like they are going to stop being that way just because they can see in the dark, run faster, or crush beer cans.

Nonetheless I'm down with the idea of dehumanization in the setting, but just not buying it coming from improvements to the baseline from augments (or better replacements in the case of loss). I'm even down with the idea of some elements of the media blaming it on cybernetics and looking for crazy people with cybernetics to create a "cyberpsychosis" fear that helps them sell more ads or a security force using it to militarize themselves more. But I don't want that to have a game system effect.



I'd sign up today for such a thing, especially if it would improve my capabilities. Hopefully without getting too personal, I was in a car wreck that did some permanent damage, I'd gladly fix some of my injuries with something even better (no limbs lost, but tons of physical therapy to compensate). Even if that just makes me weird, it explains why I wouldn't personally see it as dehumanizing (I felt this way before my accident, so it's not the injuries giving me a new perspective).

I also don't love the implication that amputees getting better prosthetics are somehow worse off than they were before. Having it be something someone could do down at the mall would make it even better to my eyes. I'm still not trying to read TOO much into that since I see it a game-balance mechanic, not some kind of viewpoint.

That said, I know some people would see it as dehumanizing, but I think that would be something to work out for an each character played. not something tied to the system. Cyberpsychosis is too cool a term not have in the setting, but I think it's more likely to be applied to the crazy person who cybers up than to be a result of cybering up.
I agree that mere limb replacement, etc. costing humanity doesn’t really work on any level, realistic or thematic, beyond game balance.

But going full cyborg leading to a loss of humanity strikes me as both probable and genre appropriate, here I’m thinking of Damon Knight’s brilliant sf short story ‘Masks.’

The manga and anime Inuyashiki may have the most interesting take where the effect of suddenly becoming a cyborg tips a troubled otaku teen into full sociopath and pushes a failed middle-aged father into becoming a hero.

The line between some prosthetics and ‘improvements’ and full sanity-endangering cyborg may be hard to gameify but is what Pondsmith was really shooting for, admittedly a bit clumsily, in CP2020 I would guess.
 
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