C&S as engine for cyberpunk game



I’m reading through the rulebook right now and the attrition system seems perfect for a cyberpunk-style game. Flesh attrition would work really well IMO for capturing those cinematic fight scenes in Ghost In The Shell or Cyberpunk Edgerunners where a character’s cybernetic limb is destroyed, while skill attrition would make sense as a character sustains physical or hacking damage. Wondering if anyone else has had similar thoughts on this.


I’ve only read the quickstart for now, but I did think that sci-fi would be a great fit for this system. I’ve even had the idea for a Starfinder-ish kind of game, where each player can customize their alien by giving them weirdly specific custom skills. Like a ooze-person, with a “Digest” and “Split” skills!


The skill list is not exhaustive here in Crown & Skull. Running a Cyberpunk game in it would be fairly easily as long as you managed the numbers properly (no crazy amounts of damage for weapons or crazy ATK values for Foes).

Keeping it like Shadowrun would allow you to keep the same spell structure. Otherwise, a Cyberpunk Edgerunners game would use the Magic System to create cyberware. You could also use the Magic system for Hacking skills as well.


Yeah that’s my thought, as well. I was thinking something more Cyberpunk Red/2020/2077-inspired with the magic system being used to create custom hacks/daemons. I also could have sworn I saw a magical backlash table in C&S (though it’s easy enough to find and import from other systems) that could represent the user encountering black ICE.


You may be referring to unstable or infernal magic limitations.


@nonja_au_lait, Because I can’t leave things undone for something I would be interested in, I reviewed the total list of skills in Cyberpunk RED vs. Crown & Skull Standard Skill list (not including Crown or Skull Skills).

CP Red has base 66 Skills and C&S has Base 41 Skills (I say base because there are skills like Language and Knowledge in each one that can be individually split). There are 7 skills that are Combat-Accuracy skills that can probably be reduced to 2 or 3 skills. Perception can also be thrown out the window, as it is not necessary in C&S. This can bring us down to 62 skills.

At GMs’ Discretion, they can also lump in a few of these skills together (many control or social skills can be condensed).

Start players off with 50 points still and go from there. let them get some gnarly Flaws and you got yourself a stew goin’.

Here’s the sheet of skill comparison for your pleasure. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1aDAFp1XAP0GoYV2ZO4pdg2iVE3AQgaJ9EsdMk60dV4s/edit?usp=sharing


Omg thank you for putting that together! I’m definitely going to look these over in more detail once I get a chance to really devote a couple of hours to this.

I’m also ruminating on whether some kind of strain/cyberpsychosis mechanic might be worth implementing for those who install cyberware but I’m leaning towards no. I love the idea of cyberware coming with a cost but I think layering on complexity would be contrary to the concept of simplicity inherent in C&S’s design. It would probably be better handled narratively more so than mechanically. The only thing I can imagine without layering on systems for the sake of layering on systems is to add some kind of limitation. For example, for every piece of gear with the limitation, once per scene, perhaps roll on some kind of mishap chart or have a % chance to go berserk, or maybe put it more in the GM’s hands giving them a lever they can pull manually once per session. For example, maybe during a combat scene the GM narrates how the PC’s vision begins to distort and all PCs/NPCs appear as threatening shadow monsters indistinguishable from one another. If the PC decides to make an attack, the GM rolls to see which PC or NPC is attacked. If the PC decides to shake it off or use some item that alleviates the cyberpsychosis, perhaps that’s a roll and it eats that action. That way we stay relatively within the framework of the game as written without adding much more in the way of bookkeeping or math.


You could also easily port the Crown/Skull duality/choice. At a certain point, the megacorps approach you with an offer of a full-time position with all associated benefits and perks. It doesn’t matter which megacorp; even rival megacorps will respect your position and status while those against the megacorps will see you as a sellout. If you turn them down, you get blacklisted; no other megacorp will ever approach you with that offer again as they see you as irredeemably against the system. But doing so will signal to the various powers aligned against the megacorps that you’re no corpo stooge and you’ll find yourself getting access to gear, contacts, services, etc from the shadowy organizations that oppose the corporate oligarchy.


Cyber Strain or Cyberpsychosis can be related to a Skill that needs heavy investment in. This could work much like the MAGIC skill or FAITH skill when you have Unstable or Infernal spell restrictions. Make all Cyberware have the restriction of “CYBER STRAIN”, requiring a “Cyber-Compatibility” (or whatever clever name) check to use successfully.

If you are in a hard situation and you’ve taken a lot of attrition, there is good possibility that you’ve lost access to your Cyber-Compatibility skill, making it VERY DANGEROUS and easy to lose control of your Cyberware if used in excess.


Hmm that’s an interesting way of handling it. I wonder if that would make that skill too vital in certain cyberpunk settings, though. It might depend on the setting. In Cyberpunk (at least in 2077 and Edgerunners), everyone seems to be augmented in some way. So in a low- or no-magic setting where cyberware is the norm, I fear this skill might be too central and losing it on a random attrition roll might be too punishing as it’ll cause a cascade. It might work in a more cyberpunk/fantasy setting like Shadowrun, though, where characters are less augmented/some even not augmented at all and really chromed-out characters are both not the norm and a conscious build choice.


There are two ways of handling the common nature of Cyberware in certain settings:

  • Cyberware is low-powered, mostly available, and stable
  • Cyberware is high-powered, affordable, relatively available, but unstable
  • Cyberware is high-powered, expensive AF, restricted, and stable
  • Perfect cyberware that is high-powered, expensive AF, Nearly impossible to find, but perfectly integrated.


  • Any Cosmetic Cyberware is just that: Cosmetic. You can’t flub control of your glowing mohawk.
    • Pretty much freebie
  • AR Eye implant or Smartlink system is low-powered and relatively available. You can make it dirt cheap, but you make it Unstable with a limitation. Or you pay full market price and it’s reliable.
    • Starts at 3 Hero Points and you can add Unstable to make it 1 Hero Point
  • Smashfist Arms are powerful, but usually illegal so they become restricted. This means you gotta pay enough Eddies (Hero Points) to be able to find and get them installed, though they may be unstable.
    • Starts at 3 Hero Points, +3 for Restricted Class, +3 for Brutal Strength and high damage, -3 for Unstable (Total of 6pts)
  • Same Smashfists, but you have a hookup and a fine quality version. They’re damn expensive, Chummer, but worth the proper installation and stability!
    • Starts at 3, +3 Restricted, +3 Brutal Strength and high damage, +3 Proper Installation (total of 12 points!)

You could also make Cyber-Compatibility be a derived value like DEFENSE and start at 6 + Special Equipment/meds