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Discussion Starter #1
Well, between CD Projekt's awesome new Cyberpunk game coming out whenever, and the fact that this is, of course, 2013 (The time in which the original version of the game was set) I've been dusting off the old books and joining a local group for a semi-weekly game.

Just figured I'd see if any of my fellow Heretics had even heard of, let alone were still into the cheezy 80s-90s glory that is Cyberpunk 2020.
 

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i used to play it back in the 90's but i could never get along with it, both as a player and a GM, i proffered Shadowrun....yeah yeah wired shamanic elves, dwarfs, orcs, trolls, humans, dragons......i loved it
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I feel like I missed out on something with Shadowrun. I had the main book, but at the time I was such a stuckup little fanboy for cyberpunk that I never gave it a chance because it felt like a ripoff

And honestly, it was ripoff of cyberpunk, just with magic and elves thrown in.
But that doesn't mean it wasn't also awesome. Because magic and elves are awesome.

I need to find someone who wants to run a game of it sometime and try it out
 

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I feel like I missed out on something with Shadowrun. I had the main book, but at the time I was such a stuckup little fanboy for cyberpunk that I never gave it a chance because it felt like a ripoff

And honestly, it was ripoff of cyberpunk, just with magic and elves thrown in.
But that doesn't mean it wasn't also awesome. Because magic and elves are awesome.

I need to find someone who wants to run a game of it sometime and try it out
It wasn't really a ripoff. It was inherently cyberpunk. But when one game in the genre is CALLED Cyberpunk it's going to look like it.

Personally, I always preferred Shadowrun's system. It was much more fluid and freeform. And you could have a perpetually drunk cyborg dwarf drone-rigger with a nuclear powered schoolbus. With a GAU-8 attached to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It wasn't really a ripoff. It was inherently cyberpunk. But when one game in the genre is CALLED Cyberpunk it's going to look like it.
Cyberpunk came out first, was the first to come up with mechanics for cybernetics reducing your humanity, and if you look at the cybernetics section of shadowrun you'll not only find identical items, but many even have identical in-world names, complete with fake trademarks.

It's one thing to have a game in the cyberpunk genre, and yes there will be some overlap in equipment and cybernetics, but when you can get 'RealSkin(TM)' covering for your cyber-arm and a 'SmartGun(TM)' interface, etc, etc, in both games, it really starts looking like the later one just lifted stuff from the earlier one wholesale.

Personally, I always preferred Shadowrun's system. It was much more fluid and freeform. And you could have a perpetually drunk cyborg dwarf drone-rigger with a nuclear powered schoolbus. With a GAU-8 attached to it.
Cyberpunk was pretty fluid and free-form. In the core book it suggested ways of making up your own classes, and most refs were willing to wirk with you to tailor skills to desired role. You could have an alcoholic Techie with a Dwarf themed Exotic package, a cybernetic liver that lets him drink all day and also run combat drones from his heavily armed bus ;-) It just takes a fuckton of euros and a willing ref.
 

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I've still got my stuff and up until last year, I was on-off running a CP2020 campaign.
I did run a campaign for 7 years in the 90s (1993-2000) - only managed to have one character kill himself through stupidity. The rest got "upgraded" piece by piece. :D

Preferred 2020 to Shadowrun, but when there was a dearth of CP material in the late 80s, and SR snuck a few books in while no-one was looking, I grabbed them and converted them - removing obviously magical/fantasy stuff and substituting the mundane versions.

The ex-president of a games club I used to belong to wrote the first Rigger black book (Phil McGregor - who also wrote stuff for other rpgs back then).
A friend also wrote the Australian bit for the PacRim sourcebook (not well received here, but those people tended to take it too literally - and not take-the-piss-alternate-future-that-wasn't that it was intended as.).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'd been waiting/hoping for you to post, chromedog. Between the name and the avatar, I knew you had to be a CP fan.

So as someone who's run a game that long with such minimal fatalities, any tips for planning combat encounters?

Cyberpunk has an absolutely brutal combat system...right up until you stack on enough SP to make yourself immune to small arms.

My brother started a game recently. Last week we did a refresher/intro session since not everyone had played and most haven't played for ages. Pre-gen characters, just a simple run...ge got inside the door and the solo turned it into a firefight...which was fine for the solo, but not the techie who got both legs blown off right away. After that the place went on alert. We had to have the runner hack the internal auto-guns and turn them on security, but even then most of them just ducked inside offices to lay ambushes and generally make our lives miserable.

Didn't help that the solo tried (and failed) to execute the one or two guys we actually got to surrender, only to catch a grenade for it. He was at critical when the medtechie decided to put him down instead of treat him because he was a liability.

Ideally you want to avoid combat in CP, but if you have to fight the combination of shock rules, wound states and utter lack of on the spot healing make any kind of combat a liability. Even if you make it through with a scratch, it all adds up when you can't heal.

Any advice for rusty vets and newbies?
 

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OK, wall of text time. :D

Pull up a chair, young'uns.

I usually warn my players that I have one main rule.

Stupidity kills. If you go to dead:DEAD, then you are gone. Roll up a new one.
There are no potions of resurrection.
Cloning is still in its infancy. Decades of religious objections and the crash didn't help things. Naturally, the corps aren't always toeing the line, but on the whole, as far as the public is concerned, clones are still SF.

Yes, combat IS lethal. Not quite as lethal as 2013, though.
When EVERY solo was packing a FN-FAL because one shot was enough to turn most people to dogfood at close range. Full auto was just 'fine red mist' time.

I don't go out of my way just to kill them, though. Maim them, hospitalise them (and watch that eat away their creds. Medical care IS expensive. This will probably mean they end up owing someone.) It's all about leverage.

I didn't do the "dim the lights, put on a blacklight and have them all wear shades thing. It's a cliche and you can't see shit.

As for advice ... READ "Listen up, you primitive screwheads". Really read it. Absorb it. There's a lot of useful advice there.
I've had the privilege of GMing MaxMike through a game of 2020, and he was the consummate gamer throughout. He also gave us lots of useful advice. Let me tell you, whilst he's a lot of fun to GM, it's also a lot like inviting Robin Williams and Billy Connolly onto an interview show and expecting to retain control - all you can do is hang on for the ride! He never took direct control, but he wasn't a PASSIVE player.

Don't be afraid to borrow stuff from movies and books you've read. Watch some movies (Watch the remake of Total Recall - JUST for the scenery and work out how to describe life in the colony as opposed to life in the Shiny world.

Decide on a power level. Don't be afraid to set limits. I personally don't let PCs start with a special skill over 6. Yes, they are supposed to be the badasses, but there should always be someone MORE badass than them.

I had what you could call "power gamers" in my campaign. They milked things to get shiny toys. I had them stolen. They did it again, I had a hacker they'd annoyed in the past (they did make enough enemies) zero their accounts.

Above all, you are telling a STORY. The players are the main characters, playing their parts - you just have to maintain the rest of the world. If they get out of line, punish them, but warn them first. Escalate the punishments.

They cross a local mob lord, for example.
Send a couple of bruisers around to rough them up. NOT the combat characters - the non-combatants - the netrunners, the fixers, the techies, etc. If they fail to back off, have one of their apartments blow up, kidnap family, send them body parts, etc.


Give them each time to tell their parts. To grow their characters. It's about them making the best of a bad situation. They are meant to be the heroes in a world without them.

I hope some of that helped. I have no current rpg group - the locals are only interested in D&D or Pathfinder, so I confine my SF gaming to Infinity.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, Chromedog, that does help.

My brother and I have read through screwheads and there is some really good stuff in there....there's also some bad stuff. Like giving characters nanoplagues or cancer or whatever because they bought skinweave.

If skinweave is too powerful then don't let the players have it, or make it more expensive...but screwing players out of something that they bought, paid the HC for and obtained without breaking any rules is a bit lame when you're the one who can't figure out how to deal with it. Likewise the 'random guy in a club gets microwaved next to you' scenario...in which microwavers are called 21st century mace despite the fact the rules say they're ultra rare.

I'm not a fan of the GMing style that calls for screwing players over even though they're playing by the rules. If something in the rules is problematic, change it before the player gets their hands on it, or have a discussion with them about it.

Any advice for making combat a little more survivable without it being a cakewalk?
Giving everyone AP ammo seems like a decent idea. It keeps low-caliber weapons in the game despite skinweave and armored clothing being cheap and easy options, and also halves penetrating damage so even though it makes the players easier to hurt they're less likely to get limbs blown off in one shot.

On a related note, I kind of wish the hit location table used more than just a single d10. It's kinda lame that you're more likely to get hit in a fragile leg than the torso that composes most of your body and can soak damage best. In fact, you've only got a 30% chance of getting a torso wound at all. Anything else is blowing off a limb or your head.

One thing that demo session taught us was always buy all-over armor. The pregen characters had fairly random gear. most had an armor jacket but no leg armor. When almost half the shots are leg hits that's just brutal.
 

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Tips for making combat less lethal?

DON'T engage unless you can control the combat. Use cover.
Don't try to out-fight a combat character. You will lose. You have to out-think them instead.

Most of the tech in cp is computer controlled somewhere. Much of it can be hacked.
Ask the GM what's around you. The more detail you get, the better.

We were a bunch of guys very into the genre, so we had it all covered. The world has changed since those days. The dark future became the bright and shiny - and you also have to adjust the "future tech" a little to update it.

Wifi did not exist back then. Cellphones were new in the 80s, and still prone to connection issues. PDAs did exist, but weren't as powerful as a 2013 smartphone is these days.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The GM decided to keep all the tech the same because it amused him to do so.
I don't think our actual group includes a netrunner though. But we do have a techie who specializes in drones

As far as I know the group contains the techie with combat remotes, a fixer, a panzerboy (played as an ex-nomad, so he has cars and bikes), a medtechie with a cybernetic dog and one I'm not sure of who may or may not be some kind of solo

I'm not even sure if we have a solo.
I'm just hoping the GM knows that not every security guard is going to have combat sense, otherwise we're going to have real issues.
 

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If you don't have a solo, STAY out of combat UNLESS you can make it one-sided.

Combat is lethal because NO human civilisation yet has figured out a way to not make bullets hurt lots.

Your combat remote techie is going to be your pointman. HE will call the shots.
Without a netrunner, though, a lot of stuff is just going to be next to impossible, though. They are one of the two most powerful character types in the game. The other is Fixer. Both are more indirect action, than head-on, but both yield more power than any solo.

They can be used to give you advanced warnings so that you can set up ambushes (hack security cameras). They can remotely lock/unlock doors to get you in/isolate bad guys. They can also take control of remotes for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Unfortunately, reading up on the netrunner section of the book intimidated the person playing the techie (the original plan was to be a netrunner drone operator which makes more sense), so she asked if she could do the drones as a techie instead and the Ref was more than happy to allow it because dealing with netrunners can be a hassle.

But it left the party kind of weak for it.
I checked and apparently we do have a solo, but he's going for long ranged sniper type which sounds cool but my experience in CP says you want pistols and SMGs more than rifles since most of the combat takes place reltively close and it;s very hard to walk around with rifles.
 

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Yeah, the netrunning section is long and complicated but you don't need the netrunning rules to run a drone controlling netrunner.

You need a netrunner character,
Buy a cellular c-modem and a handful of controller programs (p140) and you have THE MENU (p150 in my book).
(ALL netrunners can do this bit) all you need to add are CONTROLLER programs.

The menu has ALL the commonly used non-in-depth-glowy-tronworld stuff they can use as well as the two other commands that people usually gloss over.

THE MENU commands: The first TWO are all you need for remote control operations.
Locate remote: Find ALL remote systems connected to the net within 400m and display a list of them.
Control remote: Activate the program to control that particular device.
This is where the "controller programs" in the master list come in (p142 in the copy of the rules I have). You just roll d10 equal to or LOWER than the program Str and you get it to do whatever. You DO need to have the right controller program - either bought or self written.

(the first is like a wifi - search for hotspot signal thing).

Other commands: These are for netrunning and part of the complicated mess that that entails.

Log on/off
Run program
Long distance link
Copy: Copy programs or files in memory.
Read: open and read any file in memory - you will still have to read and understand the contents.
Edit
Erase
Create/delete: These are for the creation of virtual spaces. Like Vspace in Caprica. Can be left for later when you want to learn it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Unfortunately the characters are already rolled. The Ref allowed the techie to use the Remote Operator skill to control drones.

Hopefully the Ref will take the lack of a real netrunner into consideration when he writes the adventures up. More street action, less B&E. Maybe give the techie access to some kind of basic pre-programmed hacker drone or something.

But in the meantime, it looks like when confronted with a locked door, the answer will be thermite in a tube. (The techie's other specialty is explosives...she's thinking remote controlled spider-mines...which could be an itneresting way to get around some fights)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ok, got a batter idea of the group dynamic now. This week was a 'finish up your sheets and backgrounds' section.

We've got a fixer. Not sure if she has a specialty or schtick. The player was still working out details this week, but to the player's credit, she put quite a few ranks into skills like Human Perception and Persuasion in addition to streatdeal, and she spent a lot of time and money on fashionable armored clothing, so promising. Any tips on getting the most out of a fixer?

The Techie is indeed a drone operator. She has a bell Bumblebee with a Micromissile launcher, sh THAT will be handy, assuming it doesn't get shot down. (But since micromissiles can track around corners and cover, that means it'll also be easy for the drone to maintain cover), the GM also homebrewed some cheap and dirty expendable bots based on the roomba type bots in one of the Chrome books. Basically a couple hundred credits nets you a fragile, not particularly fast remote operated hockey puck...onto which you could mount, say, a grenade. The techie has modeled them as spiders for fun.

He's also stated that as the game goes on he'll work with her to figure out upgrade options for her mail drone, like uparmoring its hull, smartlinking the launcher, militech stealth coating, etc. So that has some possibilities.

We do have a Solo, but he's going for a sniper type...which can work well out in the open, and allow for some nasty ambushes, but if we have to do a B&E or some other kind of indoor run he won't be as useful, but he;s still a solo

We have the Panzerboy, but since he knows that outside of a dedicated vehicular combat scenario he's nearly useless, he focused on social skills, and of course still has a fair emount of combat skill even outside of a car.

I'm player five. I'm running a medtechie specializing in less lethal weapons. (He still carries a 12mm autopistol and has a pair of rippers because you always need lethal options). He's a junkyard cyberdoc mad scientist type. As such he's got high cybernetics, electronics and basic tech skills, so he besides patching people up he can pull double duty as an extra techie...can't jury rig on the spot, but with enough lead time, I can build almost anything that isn't a vehicle. And since Medtechies are rolling in cash, I've got better tools than she does. The downside is, I traded away things like Pharma, so I won't be making my own drugs (which in retrospect was a bad idea if I specialize in less lethal, but I didn't think of that at the time)

He packs a volt pistol with an underbarrel strober made from a salvaged Flasher cyberlimb weapon (Diff ref to cover eyes, if failed, near impossible cool to avoid paralysis, antidazzle makes you immune), and he's got a splatgun loaded mainly with sleep drugs (though I have biotox 1 as an option). Even if they make the save and aren't instantly out of the fight, -2 to all stats is a nasty debuff.

A good chunk of his starting cash was invested in a cyberwolf (I got a discount on his cybernetics since I had the skills to build/salvage them myself). It's fairly tough (Bod 11, SP17, more with some custom armor), very fast (MA12) and its primary weapon is a venomed cyberjaw (Sleep again). It also has a popup cybergun in its front leg, but the bite's usually a better option.

I also gave him a combat harness with a basic medkit, a can of skinfoam (the good kind from SW), a couple packs of tissue glue, an airhypo and a couple doses of Sedative, Stim and Trauma 1, so if the techie is pinned, I can send the dog to a wounded teammate and tell them to load, say, the red vial and dose themselves with Trauma 1, then use the sprayskin and medkit to try and do what they can to stop the bleeding until he can get to them.

I also have a decent Empathy (since I didn't load up on cyb), an excellent cool and some streetwise to go with my gang connections.

So, between the fixer, the social panzerboy and the streetwise doctor with snarling cyberwolf, we should be able to talk or intimidate our way our of or around a lot of direct confrontations.

If it comes to a fight, the sniper and the flying rocket launcher should be obscenely useful, as well as the techie's spider grenades.

If they're chromed up I can try dropping them with the volt pistol, otherwise it's the sleap gun or (if they're close enough) the strobe. Even if I can't drop them out of combat right away I can debuff them...and even full bogs need to breathe.

Rather than the straight 'roll under your bod' save system for drugs, the Ref has opted to use difficulty based Bod+Resist Torture/Drugs rolls since it seems about half the weapons that actually use drugs (like drug-a-thug and some others) specifically state to use that instead. Inhaled (Gas grenades, splatguns, powersquirts) is Diff 15, projectiles are Diff 20 (Dart guns, poisoned arrows, etc), and direct injection (venomed bites, jabbing with a needle or hypo, drug-a-thug, etc) is Diff 25. Obviously the latter two need to get past armor and don;t work on hits to borg parts or against full borgs. Gas works on everything so it has an easier save (full borgs will get a decent bonus in addition to their jacked up bods and any implants since their borged up organs would be hard to drug. Exact rules TBD, in the unlikely event that it ever matters)

Hopefully that all should level the playing field a bit.
 

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I had a techie in my campaign with a power squirtgun loaded with tranq.
'Tranq' was a custom drug load cooked up by the team medtechie. We used the drug rules from one of the Ianus publications books - because they were more realistic. In RL terms, it was an artificial opiate strength tranquliser using DMSO as the carrier fluid. (skin absorbative. V diff. Bod roll or go to sleep.).
Armour? Unless it was sealed, you probably hit them in a location that would allow the drug to work - since ANY skin contact would do.
 
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