So Many Cyberpunk Games

Stevethulhu

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The other thing Cyberpunk Red added into the genre is post-apocalyptic landscapes. Just like in Blade Runner 2049, the spaces outside of the cities are blasted zones, with Road Warrior-style vehicle gangs and plenty of ruins to explore.

So if you get bored with neon cities, go out into the wastes!
To be fair, thats in 2020 too. The whole Nomad thing has a very Mad Max, kind of Boy and His Dog post eco apocalypse vibe.

And the cities, with their Combat Zones, felt right out of Terminator, Escape from New York and so on.

The RPG was very much rooted in what I call Movie Cyberpunk. Think 80s action movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger. RoboCop and the like. Or Pitlander, Blade Runner and other more subtle pieces. But not so much the works of Gibson or Sterling.

As for netrunning, I used to ignore the whole crossword grid thing and running all a bit more abstract. It seemed to work well and was way faster.
 

TJS

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To my mind the most Cyberpunk thing I felt I ever read was Sterling's Shaper Mechanus stories - and they're light years away from the typical Cyberpunk rpg setting

Frorm Twenty Evocations.
7. FLOW PATTERNS. "You're worried about something," his wife told him. Nikolai shook his head. "Yes, you are," she persisted. "You're upset because of that deal I made in pirate contraband. You're unhappy because our corporation is profiting from attacks made on your own people." Nikolai smiled ruefully. "I suppose you're right. I never knew anyone who understood my innermost feelings the way you do." He looked at her affectionately. "How do you do it?" "I have infrared scanners," she said. "I read the patterns of blood flow in your face."
 

Baulderstone

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This is where my issues 'cyberpunk' RPGs stem from. They are aping - most of the time in a very surface level way and with what is becoming an increasingly grating and hackneyed aesthetic sensibility - the conventions of the other cyberpunk RPGs, with little understanding of what cyberpunk was (or might have been).
A good example of this is the way so many cyberpunk games have something along the lines of the cyberpsychosis rules from the R. Talsorian’s Cyberpunk. It’s something that makes a useful game balance mechanic, so it it was widely copied, but it has no place I can think of at all in the original genre.
 

Franko77

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A good example of this is the way so many cyberpunk games have something along the lines of the cyberpsychosis rules from the R. Talsorian’s Cyberpunk. It’s something that makes a useful game balance mechanic, so it it was widely copied, but it has no place I can think of at all in the original genre.
Absolutely. And there are more and more games emerging that are aping '2nd generation' CP RPGs (so, the ones that came in the wake of the Cyberpunk 2013/2020) that in themselves aped the 1st gen games. There seemed to be so much bandwagoneering around CP:2077's release, with everyone and their dog bringing something out. And most of them are terrible, derivative rubbish. There was one current one I was looking at recently where I was gnashing my teeth in frustration. The designer had clearly decided to "do a cyberpunk game". But it was all just aesthetics, and the verbiage surrounding it indicated they had no actual understanding of a) what their game was about and b) what other games had done previously. "It does this thing in a unique way!" No, no it doesn't. Hundreds of people have done that. "Here's a cool thing!" Yes, but you've stated that players can't do that cool thing, so why is it central to your game? Old man shaking fist at cloud, yet again.
 

PolarBlues

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The RPG was very much rooted in what I call Movie Cyberpunk. Think 80s action movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger. RoboCop and the like. Or Pitlander, Blade Runner and other more subtle pieces. But not so much the works of Gibson or Sterling.
Good point. But then most cyberpunk roleplaying games lean towards "movie cyberpunk", the term has become a short hand for "near future action/adventure".

I know I am that way too. I can enjoy a serious cyberpunk novel as much as the next guy, but when it comes to games, I like my Johnny Mnemonic to be more Keanu than Gibson. Yes, I actually said that and I am not taking it back.
 

AsenRG

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Is it just me or did we go from just a few cyberpunk games, CP2020, Gurps, Shadowrun if you consider its mashup sufficiently cyberpunk, to a huge number now?

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Cryptomancer, The Veil, Retropunk, The Sprawl, CP Red, the 5e cyberpunk game whose name escapes me, Crystalpunk for 5e, is there a BitD game too (yes there is, Hack the Planet)? and more.

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Which of the more recent games have people tried out and what are your experiences with them? The Sprawl seems tightly designed, The Veil is intriguing but I have trouble wrapping my noggin around its distinct ruleset, Retropunk may be the ticket for me with its stated influences like White Hack.

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I liked CP2020's very deadly combat but like most cyberpunk games hacking seemed half-assed. It is strange to me how important the net and hacking is in a lot of cyberpunk but it continues to get short shrift in most rpgs.

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Cryptomancer remains the best game I've encountered in that regard but it is set in a fantasy cyberpunk mashup setting, I wonder about importing its mechanics into a purely sf setting? Perhaps we need a purely Hacker focused rpg.

How is CP Red? Does it simplify chargen? I liked chargen in CP2020 but it took a long while and PCs could die so easily I felt it should have had quicker character creation.

Have they done anything to make hacking actually worthwhile?
You missed the two games that I would say are actually making hacking fun:thumbsup:.
Fates Worse Than Death and Zaibatsu. The difference is, in FWTD hacking is collective effort that everyone must participate in. Yes, even those PCs that don't know how to switch on the computer can contribute.
Zaibatsu is Gibson-style hacking, and it actually seems (haven't tested it yet) like it might work, but I'm not sure until I try it:shade:.
 

Franko77

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Oops. I wasn’t aware of that.

Yeah I don’t know if other cyberpunk RPGs include that aspect. That’s something for Pondsmith’s score card.
ICE's Cyberspace had an entire Mad Max-esque campaign setting in the form of Death Valley Free Prison. I still have it tucked away in a box. It's not that good.
 

PolarBlues

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ICE's Cyberspace had an entire Mad Max-esque campaign setting in the form of Death Valley Free Prison. I still have it tucked away in a box. It's not that good.
I used to have that. I remember it being very, very detailed with a real desire to make the setting appear workable in real terms. I am sure that appeals to some, but much more of a "just give me the fun, gameable stuff" kid of guy. I am shallow that way.
 

Silverlion

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I may have mentioned it, but I'm working on an end of Cyberpunk era game. New technology is replacing the old, cybernetics are used less; but still, there, body modifications are common though (notably "Lacing" lent to me by a friend is a big thing that changes human chemistry to make them identical to bioroids--think Blade Runner's movie, they can't tell whether your human or not. Even with a genetic test and that's common, White lacing is things wealthy do for themselves and children, Black Lacing is illegally done wetware. Red lacing is a rumor to most--and its purpose is still something unknown)

Uplifted canines wear arm harnesses to give them manipulative limbs (they're still dog shaped.)

Micro-printers that can manufacture almost anything are common, small ones can be wired into a trenchcoat or heavy jacket and manufacture a half dozen small firearms, ammo, and so on and drop it into a holster or your hand. Nanotech existed but it's now very controlled after the 'burn, and outside arcologies clouds of dead rusting nanite of rust turn the landscape red.

Bioroids, humans, and canines are playable. Bigger printers can be carried in a vehicle and produce a lot of things you need for a mission, your characters are Knights, literally caught up in what most think is an A. I. gone mad or a virus it created, that spurred a drive to fight back against the Glass Tower Lords(mid level corporate workers with a LOT of power) and Orbital Kings who oversee the Earth from a distant and detached view from space. Most characters are driven by their Knight status to change the world for the better, since over 3 billion people died in the burn, and another billion suffer from nerve or other damage from nanites.

Cybernetics often won't interface for them anymore, leaving the old guards who are essentially walking wounded. Most people can hack a little, the tools are in their head, and yes hacking other people with mods is allowable. Inspirations are Appleseed, Matrix, Blade Runner, Hardwired, Neuromancer, and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, as well as other things here or there--it's not transhuman, yet, but it's on the edge of that transfiguration if power can be shifted back to the people, rather than being hobbled by the Corporations.
 

Raleel

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I spent a lot of time thinking about the hacking when working on Mythras cyberpunk. I’m still very torn by a full blown Gibson-esque cyberspace using animism as a template or a more D&D rogue thing using folk magic as a template. Even funneling all of the skills (anything you can do with a computer) is remarkably strong.

I have more to say but I’m beat
 

chuckdee

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I've read The Sprawl, Hack the Planet, The Veil (and the offshoots), and CP Red, and they've all just pointed me forward- I like Transhumanist games better. They have a lot in common, but there are some elements of Transhumanism that resonate more with me and my gaming style. I think I realized that with Cybergeneration, which I don't think gets enough credit. For all the focus on cyber in the other games, there is a dissonance between the cyber and the human that Transhumanism does away with, and that appeals to me.
 

chuckdee

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ICE's Cyberspace had an entire Mad Max-esque campaign setting in the form of Death Valley Free Prison. I still have it tucked away in a box. It's not that good.
The supplements didn't rise to the level of the main book- they just seemed rushed. I liked Cyberspace though and ran it. It was a lot like MERP for SpaceMaster.
 

Baulderstone

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I've read The Sprawl, Hack the Planet, The Veil (and the offshoots), and CP Red, and they've all just pointed me forward- I like Transhumanist games better. They have a lot in common, but there are some elements of Transhumanism that resonate more with me and my gaming style. I think I realized that with Cybergeneration, which I don't think gets enough credit. For all the focus on cyber in the other games, there is a dissonance between the cyber and the human that Transhumanism does away with, and that appeals to me.
That really gets to the heart of my problem with the standard template for cyberpunk RPGs. Literary cyberpunk was full of the kind of themes that would later get labelled as transhumanist. The Shaper/Mechanist series by Bruce Sterling is a great example of that. For balance purposes, RPGs tend to wall off the transhumanist themes with mechanics like cyberpsychosis.

My ideal cyberpunk game would be transhumanist as well.
 
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