Cyberpunk RPGs

Mon 06 May 2013

I was going to ask those of you who are roleplayers for some cyberpunk game recommendations, but when I looked through my library I realised I had most of the recent offerings, which is depressing as none of them really appeal, at least not as a complete package.

For whatever reason Savage Worlds and me are destined never to get on, thus ruling out both the excellent Interface Zero from Gun Metal Games and Daring Tales of the Sprawl from Triple Ace Games. I have a selection of products from both ranges, and backed the Interface Zero 2.0 Kickstarter, so I have stuff to draw on for inspiration at least.

Both Remember Tomorrow and Technoir look interesting, but neither have grabbed me. I suspect that’s because I’m not really a big indie/story game fan and that would seem to be where their appeal lies. Again, more source material at least.

There seem to be a number of other games out there, but from browsing RPGNow nothing has jumped out as being outstanding. I could be missing a real gem but it’s very hard to tell and splashing out on every possibility is just not an option.

Oh, before you ask, no Shadowrun is not an option either.

So that all leads me to my two currently most likely system candidates: Fate (specifically Fate Accelerated Edition) and Cortex+. Now neither have a fully fledged cyberpunk offering, so there is going to be a certain amount of DIY required. How much depends on your starting point.

For Fate there are a couple of good places to begin: Nova Praxis and Edgerunner. Nova Praxis is a transhuman RPG that is closely based on Fate Core and Strands of Fate. As such it’s probably the easiest to hack into a FAE cyberpunk game. As a completed published product it’s also had the most work done on it, making it a hopefully solid foundation.

Edgerunner on the other hand is a fan produced work in progressed based off the Dispora iteration of Fate. Last updated in February 2013 it may actually prove to be the best place to begin. And as it’s all hosted on a web page, grabbing it and hacking it about should be a breeze. Just need to read the current version all the way through to make a proper judgement.

That just leaves Cortex+. Here things are far less formalized. The most logical place to start is a combination of the Leverage RPG and the forthcoming Cortex+ Hackers Guide (another backed Kickstarter). In actual fact the CPHG contains a sample cyberpunk hack, but that is based on a hack of the Smallville RPG, the engine of which is being included in the CPHG as the Cortex+ Drama System. Whilst I am sure it has a lot going for it, I’m not sure that’s the feel and direction I want from my gaming. So if I was to go down this route, I would need to undertake a fair amount of work. Tempting but not necessarily my strong point.

So for now it looks like my best best is to fully read through Edgerunner, work on porting it to FAE and then possibly adding elements from Nova Praxis as appropriate. This would never be a commercial endeavour, but I would intend to share as much as I could, licenses permitting.

Suggestions, comments and brickbats can be directed at me via Twitter.