Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

Another day, another RPG bundle - Cyperpunk 2020

This is a bit of a blast from the past - 1993's Cyberpunk 2020 RPG from R. Talsorian Games, visualising the far distant world of... um... three years in our future. This is another that I already own in dead tree format. It's notable for a series of entertainingly wrong guesses about the future it described, with the occasional bit that comes close to accuracy. As with some of the other offerings in these bundles, the pages are graphics scans of the original books so not perfect quality, but usable enough for most purposes:

This offer presents the 1993 Second Edition of Mike Pondsmith's classic RPG of the dark future, Cyberpunk 2020 from R. Talsorian Games.

As the back cover of Cyberpunk 2020 tells us, "the Corporations control the world from their skyscraper fortresses, enforcing their rule with armies of cyborg assassins. On the Street, boostergangs roam a shattered urban wilderness, killing and looting. The rest of the world is a perpetual party, as fashion-model techies in the hottest clubs rub biosculpt jobs with battle-armored roadwarriors. The future never looked so bad -- but you can change it. You've got interface plugs in your wrists, weapons in your arms, lasers in your eyes, biochips in your brain. You're wired in, cyberenhanced, and solid state. Take it to the fatal Edge where only the toughest and coolest can go -- because you're Cyberpunk."

This huge collection provides DRM-free, non-watermarked .PDFs of the complete 258-page Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook and over a dozen supplements for both First and Second Editions -- everything you need for a life on the fatal Edge where attitude is everything. Warm up your cyberwear and faxprinter, grab your mirrorshades and Dai Lung Magnum, tell the ripperdoc to stand by, and hit Night City's mean streets and hot clubs in the unimaginably faraway time of AD 2020.

These are acceptable-quality .PDF image scans of the original 1990s hardcopies with OCR (optical character recognition) applied. Text is light but readable and can be copied.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this offer's designated charity, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$113.50. Customers who pay just US$14.95 get all six titles in our Player's Collection (retail value $48) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks:

  • Cyberpunk Second Edition (retail $15): The core rulebook for this quintessentially '90s RPG of high-tech lowlifes.
  • Four role guides (total retail $27) adding options for individual character classes: Solo of Fortune (mercenaries), Protect & Serve (law enforcement), Wild Side (fixers), and Rockerboy (rock'n'roll will never die!).
  • Blackhand's Street Weapons 2020 (retail $6): The big book of guns and every kind of armament.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $24.95 to start, also get our entire Referee's Collection with seven more titles worth an additional $65.50:

  • Night City (retail $9): One of the best city sourcebooks for Cyberpunk or any modern-day RPG, this jam-packed 180-page sourcebook covers Cyberpunk's signature urban sprawl.
  • Three 2020 worldbooks (total retail $23) looking at life on the edge outside the US: Pacific Rim Sourcebook, Eurosource Plus, and Rough Guide to the UK.
  • Rache Bartmoss's Guide to the Net (retail $9): Rache Bartmoss (the world's greatest netrunner) is dead -- which finally gives him time to write this acidulous, gonzo-journalist tour of the information superhighway.
  • Land of the Free and Home of the Brave (total retail $20.50): Two linked supplements on fallen America. Home of the Brave covers NPCs, plot hooks, and more from this fractured union. Land of the Free presents a sprawling road-trip campaign.
  • Listen Up, You Primitive Screwheads! (retail $7): The unexpurgated Cyberpunk referee's guide with some of the best GM advice for this or any RPG.

At least one more title will be added later: "When a title is added after launch, ALL customers who previously purchased the bundle automatically receive the newly added title, REGARDLESS of whether or not they paid more than average. This is their reward for buying early."

Cyberpunk 2020 resources

I'm not sure about this one - it's well out of date, Cyberpunk in general is a fairly marginal genre these days, you have to think of it as an alternate world because most of the history it describes went wildly differently, and the rules set is a little clunky. If you're starting from scratch and want a modern cyberpunk system GURPS is probably a better bet, since new material occasionally appears and there are endless resources - but I'd suggest going with GURPS Cyberpunk plus Transhuman Space, which adds a lot more fun things for a cyberpunk-style setting. On the other hand, there's some fun stuff here, and it handles the actual business of hacking etc. about as well as GURPS.

If you can find them there were also some fun supplements based on classic cyberpunk novels; Hardwired, based on the novel by Walter John Williams, and another based on Effinger's When Gravity Fails. Neither is included in this bundle, but so far as I know this is the only system that covers them.

On the whole I think I'd give this an "OK if you like that sort of thing" rating; it's the only way you're probably going to get this stuff now, but do you really need it? Possibly worth it if you don't have much and want to see more, and get in early before the prices rise.

As usual your mileage won't be mine!

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Tags: rpg

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