#0: A Cyberpunk 2020 Intro

So, I’ve been running a Cyberpunk 2020 introduction in the lead up to Cyberpunk Red. When I started this I hoped that Red would be released at Gencon, no such luck. Talking to my local game store I’ve managed to get five players…

Session Zero. The team consists of

  • “The Chemist”, a Medtech
  • Yuri “The Russian” Kolganon, a Cop
  • “Grush”, a Solo
  • Tracer Naught, a Nomad
  • Mr White, a Fixer

And 3 of them decided to sell out for extra cyberware and cash. Which is how I get to the name of this group because they sold out to the same group, the Russian Marfia, or Bratva. And this connection will influence the entire series of games from this point onwards. So, I needed to do some research to add flavor to the game;

#0: Initial Combat & Job Offer

Once the characters were created the players wanted to have a go at combat. So using the random encounter table, I had the Inquisitors attack the Corporate they were meeting. After a few rounds of a brutally one side combat with the Inquistors, the players gain a small bonus for saving the corp’s life. An extra 450eb.

The Job is simple, get the band and persuade them to come meet the corporate for an offer. He was happy to pay a finders fee for 50eb for a quick collection of the band and their van.

DM’s Encounter Sheet

A friend asked me to create an Encounter sheet for his D&D game. So I had a quick hunt around for appropriate resources and assembled the following sheet. There are 3 versions up on DriveThruRPG.

During the process I found some useful D&D fonts;

A Cyberpunk Update

Wow, it’s been a month already. Ok, time for a Cyberpunk Update. I’m now involved in a podcast, it’s weird how it started. But the Tannhauser Connection (via Soundcloud) is focused on Cyberpunk Red by R. Talsorian Games. Now, Red has not been released yet, but a Jumpstart Kit has. I’m happy with the results as it gives a good overview of the changes to the system and the world. And this hasn’t been hard, since I was going to get Cyberpunk Red anyway and now I get to talk about it.

So, my other goal has been to put together what I need for my local gaming group. Which means that I’ve been updating my stuff for the new version. This has prompted by to go into overdrive with putting together resources for Cyberpunk 2020, and my best guess at what Cyberpunk Red will look like. And I’ve shared a few pieces with the various FB groups I’m part of., and now put them up on DrivethruRPG.

I’ve created two things for Cyberpunk Red in Affinity Publisher and released them on DriveThruRPG…

Finally, I’ve released my first supplement for Cyberpunk 2020. Cyberpunk: Session Zero is a collection of my notes for the game, but written up nice like…

There are other things going on in the background, but I’ll try to make it back here semi-regularly.

Mixed Martial Arts for Cyberpunk 2020

While I love the cyberpunk 2020 system, I feel that the Martial Arts part of it has a few problems and does not deal with Mixed Martial Arts.
Firstly, many Martial Arts are just variations of a theme as there are only so many ways to injure someone. And taking multiple Martial Art Skills, your character ends up wasting IP (ie Experience). So as it stands, CP2020 does not deal with mixing martial arts together that well.
Secondary, most Martial Arts start with the foundations and then include weapon training at higher levels of skill. Having chosen a Martial Art, a character is almost locked into that path. So the form does not grow or evolve as the character does.
And finally, it cuts down on the roleplaying opportunities as a character does not need to learn from others. To find the master that can teach them that final technique to become the ultimate killing machine.

A Mixed Martial Arts poster...

So the goal of this is to retain the feel of the CP2020 martial arts while allowing character growth. To simplify the system. And to give the cool feel of the H2H from movies like John Wick (1, 2, 3, & soon 4), The Raid, & soo many other movies…

This is the Art-less edition (ie No Art)

Creative thinking techniques for RPGs

Once you have got some time & space to be creative, now it is time to use some tools to make the process easier. Even though there are many online tools (and explanations) to help you, they can also lead to distraction. So I’ve found the quickest way is pencil & paper as it does not interrupt my flow. Digital tools are great when creating the finished form and should be saved for later in the process.

Random (Encounter) tables

This is something that seems to have disappeared from most game systems over the years, and I can see why with the shift in focus towards narrative storytelling in RPGs. However, they can act as a prompt to help build the encounter or session.

For example, in one session of AD&D (I’m showing my age here). One of the encounters our party had was during the night once the campsite was set up and the watches allocated. A terrified hedgehog races through followed a few seconds later by a giant bear limping after it. We’d grabbed our weapons expecting violence but took a step back to let the bear go on its way, as it was too worked up to help. After the session, the GM said she rolled up the two creatures and mashed them together into a single non-combat encounter.

This shows how random encounter tables and for that matter, any table can be used to spawn ideas. It also demonstrates that not all encounters need to end in violence.


Flowcharts are closely related to Mindmaps in look and simply add a direction of flow from concept to concept. The ones used in programming have a set of symbols to describe the flow of control in a program but in the case of RPGs it could show the direction of flow for a plot. The main difference is the arrows that are used to visually show the connection.


Usually built around a single question, phrase, or idea brainstorming is just throwing as many variations down as possible.

Word Salad

Is a free association technique where you throw random words together to see what happens. A great example of this is on the Runehqmmer channel.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmlaGD2hOxg?t=2m[/embedyt]

Mind mapping

In it’s simplest form a Mindmap links together ideas.  I tend to think of it as labels & links. The labels are the word, concept or idea that represents a thing such as an NPC, room, or event. While the link is how the labels are connected, which could be a relationship between NPCs, connecting corridors between rooms, or possible repercussions from events.

For example, In the review of Oath of the Frozen King, there is this picture.

It shows a collection of dice linked together by lines and when developed it becomes a series of rooms or dungeon.


Each of these techniques is a starting point for the GM to develop their ideas from and requires a little time to polish them up into an encounter, plot point, or some other part of the game.

Selling out

One of the choices a Player Character can have in Cyberpunk 2020 is to sell out. Basically, it’s more chrome for young punks at the cost for servitude to the Corporation, Covert Military, or Organised Crime. New players can access these easy packages of cyberware. Providing them with Cyber-Soldier, Netrunner, Tech Support, Faceman, and a Bioware focused pack.

Pages 93 & 94 cover the details of selling out and as a GM it does provide many opportunities to make the character’s lives more difficult. An organization’s coercion technique is hidden in the GM’s notes adds some paranoia to the game.

An example of a corporate’s holdover a character is Case from Necromancer. Having been locked out of the net by his past, Armitage offers a treatment to give him what he wants. As always, life is not that simple as the treatment is temporary, requiring Armitage’s cure.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHQqm6ijntg[/embedyt]

Having a character selling out leads to some interesting adventure hooks.

  • Forced employment or jobs you can refuse is a starting point to kick off an adventure.
  • What about a list of the ’employees’ gets out…
    • into the hands of the PCs. With them discovering who’s working for who,
    • or into the hands of their enemies,
    • The question can become what information…
    • Names, Locations, Tracking signal, or Kill codes?
  • How could a PC escape their employer?
  • How can you remove a corporation’s hooks in a character,
    while existing under their watchful gaze?