Tag Archives: cyberpunk

Cyberpunk 2020 ‘Remastered’

I really enjoy noodling over ideas about how older games could be ‘remastered’ (not in terms of rules, purely graphic design). One particular book I’ve been thinking about recently is Cyberpunk 2020, and how it would look if I were given the chance to redesign it.

Now first let me say that I LOVE the original rpg for its evocative design – but it is a bit cramped in places, and very much a product of its time (not that that’s a bad thing). So, I managed to squeeze in a few hours at the computer last night and designed a few pages (for digest/tablets at 6″x9″ instead of 8.5″11″). The art pieces are leftovers that I had planned for my Corporia RPG – which uses a similar graphic design – but I never found a good place to fit them, and I’m not sure what future supplement I might put them in.

I’ve posted the three new design pages here, though you can grab higher-res versions in a PDF from my Google Drive if you want them.

It’s just a draft, and there are some thing I’d tweak if I were doing a full book, but as a design exercise I like the way it turned out.


When I was considering how to tweak the original, I realized that Cyberpunk doesn’t really say ‘punk’ to me as much as ‘cyber’. So, noticing that punk-oriented graphic designs I’ve seen tend to work heavily in black, white, yellow, and pink, I focused on those colors, while keeping the original Cyberpunk-red.

I’m also proud of the new ‘Lena Goldsmith’ quote I came up with for the cover. I think it gives a flavor for the setting as well as the original ‘Johnny Silverhands’, but it scans/flows more smoothly.

Of course, this was made just for my own enjoyment and to stretch my brain creatively. Any sampled logos, text, and such are still trademark and copyright R. Talsorian Games Inc. and respective owners.


“The City” in Corporia – and changing the art…?

Now that I’m getting close to finished with the next PDF supplement for Corporia, I think my next task will be to change the core rulebook dimensions to 7″ x 10″ so they’ll be available on DriveThruRPG as Print-On-Demand books. My current dimensions (6.625″ x 10.125″) don’t have a POD equivalent.

When I make this, I’m considering updating some of the art pieces to better reflect what I see as “The City” in my head. For example, look at the pieces below. The top image is from the video game Mirror’s Edge, and is what “The City” of Corporia looks like in my head – bright, white, clean and outwardly utopian while the populace groans under corporate oppression. The bottom image is from Shadowrun. I think these two images really show how Corporia stands out from most other similar urban fantasy/cyberpunk RPGs.

the city

“The City” of Corporia as I view it in my head (this image from the unreated video game Mirror’s Edge)

The look and feel of Shadowrun (and Cyberpunk, etc.)

The look and feel of Shadowrun (and Cyberpunk, etc.)

Are there any pieces of art in the current edition that you would like to see replaced? What do you really like and what do you hate? Let me know!

Corporia – Agents of Change (and not the small kind)

Here’s a look at the draft cover of the next Corporia supplement, which I’m planning to release in the first quarter of 2015. The actual title may still change, since I’m a bit concerned that the cover implies a product that’s entirely based on spies and spycraft. Although there’s a Spook archetype inside, that isn’t the case. Alternate title ideas include: Fringe Benefits (there is a Fringer archetype inside too), Hazard Pay, and Trade Secrets.

I’d love to hear what you think!

agents draft cover

Corporia – new archetypes and Assets

Wow – I can’t believe it’s been over a month since my last post! Time really has flown by lately.

If you’re following my home renovation blog, you can see what I’ve been doing there. As for Corporia, I’ve been slowly but surely creating new rules and material for the next supplement. I didn’t expect it to take as long as it has, but there are a few things that I really wanted to include, and those are taking a surprising amount of brainpower. So if you have any suggestions feel free to let me know!

For example, and as you may have read here in August, I wanted to add nearly two dozen new pistols. Instead, I’m adding nine specialty pistols spread over three categories (light, medium, and heavy). Barring any last-minute changes, those are completely written.

In addition to the pistols and other equipment, I also plan to add some new character archetypes. One prominent one I’ve been pondering is (was?) an ‘urban druid’ type, but it’s difficult to find powers/spells to give this archetype, since the existing spell disciplines cover a great deal of what this archetype would typically be able to do. Thus, it may not even appear in the next supplement, but in some other supplement (or stand-alone) later on. The same goes for the other magical archetypes I’ve been thinking about: the ‘cleric’ and the ‘vodoun.’

Two other archetypes that are 90%+ written are the Fringer (a sort of homeless ronin) and the Moppet (a kid/preteen). Again, I’m running into problems because each archetype has its own unique or discounted (rule-based) Asset, and the core book already covers so much of the existing and potential rules that it’s been hard to find something to add. I’m not sure if the other three archetypes still in my head – the ‘senior citizen’, ‘delusional superhero’ and ‘socialite’ – will make it onto the pages. At worst, they’ll be replaced by something else.

On a related note, I noticed last week that the Corporia RPG rulebook has reachedsilver seller the silver ‘Best Seller’ status on DriveThruRPG. Considering that it only released a few month ago to a limited audience, I’m quite pleased with that!

Okay, time to sign off. Remember, if you have any suggestions for the above rules, or ideas for something I haven’t mentioned, please let me know!

New Corporia review and PDF update!

If you received a digital PDF copy of Corporia through DriveThruRPG.com (or affiliate like RPGNow.com), then you may receive an email today informing you that the PDF has been updated!

(My apologies if you’re getting this information elsewhere – either from Kickstarter and/or DriveThruRPG – but there may be some of you who’ve turned off your email notifications for those sites.)

You can get the updated PDF now at your “My Library” page on that store site. The PDF change list is as follows:

  •  All page numbers in the Index are now hyperlinked to their respective sections elsewhere in the book
  •  All items in the “Inspirations” appendix are now hyperlinked to their individual Wikipedia or other pages
  •  A sentence now appears in the preface explaining why some text is highlighted in yellow

These are small changes, but good ones! I hadn’t originally hyperlinked all the index items because there were sooooo many of them to link, and I honestly thought it was an unnecessary step with a digital edition. However, based on the reviews and comments I was clearly wrong! Everyone appreciated the extra linking and layout work I did throughout the rest of the book, and thought it was odd that the index wasn’t the same – so in a way I sabotaged myself, which is kind of amusing.

New Review

There’s also a nicely detailed review on Red Dice Diaries’ YouTube page, if you’re interested in checking that out. If you’ve already read the entire book, a lot of it will be stuff you already know, but it’s still nice to get another person’s opinion – and he might point out something you missed!

Also, don’t forget that you can keep up with all of the Corporia reviews on the brabblemark.com site in the “Reviews” section here:

The Next Supplement

As you’ve seen here on the blog, I’m trying to include a good mix of new rules and information in the next supplement, so if you have suggestions to offer on what you want to see, or you’re just curious about what pieces I’m working on, please feel free to keep in touch here, or using Kickstarter or any of the following social media links:

Right now I’m struggling through adding some new specialty firearms without making them too powerful or invalidating other already-existing weapons, and I think it’s going well. More on that as it develops!

Finagling Firearms (RPG gun stats for Corporia)

I’m working on designing some new firearms (handguns/pistols) for an upcoming Corporia RPG supplement, and would welcome any advice my readers might have. (You can comment here, or in the relevant threads on theRPGSite and RPG.net.)

The first draft is in the image shown below. The second draft appears at the end of this post.

(click for full image)

(click for full image)

I used ammo/damage as a starting point, and I think that’s pretty close to correct, so I’d prefer not to tweak that too much, but instead change the other statistics around it. The only one that shouldn’t change at all is the 9mm (highlighted), since it’s the standard pistol from the core rulebook and is the one around which all these new pistols will flow.

So, I need to juggle the numbers to make sure that none of them are outrageously under- or over-powered, and that each has appropriate benefits and negatives – such as a gun that does a lot of damage but has drawbacks elsewhere, such as higher cost, reduced range, limited magazine, and requiring more skill to use. It won’t be completely realistic, of course – I know that. There are too many factors involving types and brands of ammo and firearms for that, so I have to go for balance over realism.

If you’re not already familiar with how Corporia weapons work, here are the basic guidelines for Firearms.

Weapon Skill Rank. You must have a minimum ‘Getting Medieval’ or ‘Firearms’ skill rank to use melee or ranged weapons effectively. These skills and their ranks represent your proficiency with a particular weapon. If you don’t have sufficient experience using and maintaining this type of weapon, you’ll suffer the difference between the skill rank requirement and your skill level as a penalty to your Attack. Dan has a Getting Medieval skill rank of 2. He suffers no penalties when using any melee weapon with a skill rank of 2 or less. However, using a longsword (rank 3) imposes a -1 penalty to his Attack. A war axe (rank 4) causes a -2 penalty, and so on.

Base Range. Attacking a target past base range applies a –2 penalty to both attack and damage. More than double the base range adds another –2 (–4 total), distance x3 adds another –2 (–6 total), and so on to the max effective range x5 (–10 total).

Rate of Fire. Some firearms allow multiple shots per Attack action, but each shot beyond the first suffers a cumulative –2 penalty to the Attack. If you distribute shots among multiple targets, you must attempt a [DFT + Firearms] check for each; target defends as normal. Damage listed is for each individual bullet.

Reload Die (Ammunition). If you don’t want to track ammo consumption, use this simple rule to streamline combat. If your Flux Dice roll on a Firearms attack results in doubles of any kind (1s, 2s, 3s, etc.), roll the Reload Die. On a result of 1-2, it means your weapon is out of ammo, jammed, or overheated (energy weapons). You can reload, unjam, or cool it down by spending one action to do so.

The rules for damage are also included below, in case you want to see those.

Damage. To determine how much damage a successful attack inflicts, the attacker rolls the damage dice for the weapon and adds any modifiers (e.g., STR bonus or extra damage
from head wounds). The defender then subtracts his character’s Damage Reduction
(e.g., armor and/or shield; typically anywhere from 5 to 19, depending on what protection they’re using) from that total. If the remaining damage exceeds the
target’s MTL (typically ranked from 1 to 6), he suffers one wound—along with any hit location penalties.

Damage less than the target’s MTL causes only incidental scratches and bruises
that impose no penalties. Alternatively, for faster combat, your Director might
declare that raises also apply to damage; every 5 points greater than MTL causes an
additional wound (e.g., 8 points of damage against MTL 3 inflicts two wounds).

After a number of wounds equal to his [MTL x 2], he must succeed at a [STR +
MTL] stabilization check vs TN 9 to remain on his feet; the Director may rule that a
higher TN is more appropriate. The PC must attempt this stabilization check at the
end of each turn, until combat ends; it does not count as an action. On a failed check,
he slumps to the ground, conscious and able to speak but too wounded to act. If he’s
lucky, his opponent may spare his life. Note: if the final crippling wound was to a
limb, he can ignore all failed stabilizations at the cost of losing that limb.

When a character’s total number of wounds is greater than [MTL x 2], he goes
into shock (usually hydrostatic or hypovolemic). Fortunately, he may be stabilized if
given medical treatment within a number of minutes equal to his [MTL x 2] score.
Treatment must occur at a clinic or hospital, or be administered on the spot by a
skilled healer, and requires a successful Spiritism spell or Sciences: Medicine check
vs a minimum TN 9. Failures can be re-attempted, but with a cumulative +2 penalty.


I recently spent some time discussing guns with one of my shootist friends, and he suggested that I might just simplify matters by having light, medium, heavy, and extreme (?) categories. The base pistol from the core rulebook would be a ‘medium.’

I’m leaning toward this now, since my main concern has been that trying to be somewhat realistic (at least in terms of caliber and damage) will introduce too many one-shot kills – since the players will naturally gravitate to the big damage pistols.

So, I’d have a few ‘named’ pistols in each category with minor variations in magazine capacity, cost, reload die, and range. It’s still in rough shape, but if I go this way, the main categories will end up looking a bit like:

Corporia caliber draft 2

What do you think?

Sex and race in Corporia

I’ve been delving recently into some tabletop gaming forum posts from the last year or so, reading discussions on racism and the portrayals of race in RPGs. Naturally, this being the internet, parts of these discussions were crazy insane wankery, while other parts made some points I agreed with or at least mentioned incidents that hadn’t occurred to me (wow, there really were no Asian actors anywhere in Firefly!).Corporia NPCs

In turn, that led me to think about the photographic art in my recent Corporia RPG and how various races and sexes were presented in the near-future setting of ‘The City.’ I thought it might make a somewhat interesting blog post, so here’s how I approached that part of the design process.

Even in the early design stages, my ideal goal was to show a roughly equal mix of male and female individuals (heroes, villains, monsters, civilians, etc.) from ethnically diverse backgrounds. However, there were some distinct challenges to doing so.

Unlike perhaps 99%+ of published RPGs, I wasn’t using graphic artists or painters to create new art from scratch, in which I could dictate the character model for every piece of art. Instead, to supply the art in Corporia, I relied heavily on actual photographs supplied by various micro-stock photographers around the world (often in Eastern Europe). And because it would have been incredibly cost-prohibitive for me to commission new photographs, setups, and models for each piece of art, I was limited to tracking down just the right blend of existing material from various portfolios.

While I was able to find much of what I wanted to fit the themes (primarily people in business attire wielding swords and firearms), getting a good blend of human races that also fit the theme was more difficult. Even some photos that did fit the theme (such as an African-American man holding a longsword, and a Latina woman holding a tattooed skull) couldn’t be used in the core rulebook because the clothes didn’t fit the section that I wanted to use the photo in, or a text box (that couldn’t be moved) would have covered a significant part of the photo, or some other design-related reason. I went ahead and purchased some of these anyway, and plan on using them in a future supplement.

Occasionally, of course, I’d find a photograph that had a good model with good weapons, but was just boring or had a poorly rendered futuristic or magical effect. Those I simply didn’t bother with.

Corporia cryptidsSex (i.e., gender) was easier to deal with. After all, most of us males seem to enjoy watching an attractive woman kick ass, and photographers don’t seem to be particularly immune to this trend. However, I also specifically wanted to avoid the classic ‘chainmail bikini’ trope, and have all the women clothed in appropriate attire for the situation. Monsters didn’t always meet this criteria, either because there was body paint involved or because it was appropriate for the situation. The succubus (being a sexual predator) is naturally nude, and the woman turning into a werewolf in her shower is shown more for horror than titillation. There’s also a seamy city district (think the worse parts of Las Vegas) where the photo shows a partially clothed stripper from behind, performing for three private audience members (three men and one woman).

So in the end, if you were to go through each page of Corporia and catalog every human (full body all the way down to just a visible hand, ignoring the same model appearing twice), would you find a perfectly equal mix of fully-clothed genders from all races and continents? Well, no. You’d get this (assuming I didn’t miscount somewhere):

  • Men: 79
  • Women: 61
  • African-American: 6
  • Asian: 4
  • European/American Caucasian (best guess): 114
  • Hispanic/Latin: 2
  • Other: 0
  • Unknown race (fully clothed head to toe, silhouette, etc.): 14

Hell, I didn’t even come close, even with the best intentions. Of course, restricting myself by budget, by what was available/realistically possible, and by what I just thought looked cool meant that there was no way I’d be able to reach even a semblance of a perfectly diverse ideal for every model. Exactly what that ideal is (for any particular RPG or other piece of media), is too big a debate to have on my little blog. This post was just to share what I did, and how, and why.

Should I have a future project where all the art is illustrated and I have full control over every character model, we’ll see how well I do then. Hopefully much better…