Dive into Cyberpunk: Must you walk before you can Shadowrun?



One of the things about cyberpunk that really makes my imagination spin is the idea of cybernetics. I found this list of cybernetics you guys might like. For ICRPG you could treat a cybernetic enhancement like loot to customize your character.



Very handy list, thank you! :slight_smile:


Good call! Super glad to see another Gogol Bordello fan. And yeah, I totally get the vibe from Fight Club – that booked changed my life. Definitely made me have an anti-establishment awakening. :+1:


More randoms for the high tech low life feels:
The Hotline Miami, Watch Dogs, and Deus Ex video games
Tokyo Ghost and Ronin graphics
Tetsuo, Hackers, Dredd, Running Man, RoboCop, Upgrade, Virtuosity, and Demolition Man movies
. There’s some good episodes of Love, Death , and Robots and Black Mirror on Netflix too.


Oh hells yes! You are the second human being I’ve ever encountered who has seen Tetsuo the Iron Man. :metal:

There’s a fine line between traditional scifi and cyberpunk. That liminal space has a bunch of great works: Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge, Change Agent by Daniel Suarez, even that goofy The Lawnmower Man movie (which is way different from the Stephen King story). You could also make a case that Society of the Mind, A Philosophical Investigation and The Grid would squeak into the genre as well. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m told Psion is also a good candidate (“Psionic powers? But in space? The world has the grit that I want out of cyberpunk, though.” say my friend who recommended this one)

“Dystopia” seems to be a prime component of the genre; but what makes something dystopian can be largely contextual. It doesn’t necessarily need to be “megacorps pursue profit and people eek out lives in the cracks”. Does M. John Harrison’s Light (or the entire Kefahuchi Tract series) qualify? It’s weird, and has dystopian high sci-fi content with a lot of weird ass post-humanism; but is it truly in the cyberpunk genre?

All of this literary reminiscence has me more eager than ever to play a cyberpunk RPG with like-minded folks. Is anyone interested in an async text-only collaborative storytelling game on rolegate.com, perhaps?


Right - when you throw other near subgenres like post-cyberpunk and cyberprep, it gets even fuzzier. I think for our purposes it’s okay: it’s like we all own dogs, but the breeds might be a little different…


Except this. This is universally cyberpunk.


I love all the suggestions on here! Does anyone know if there is a good cyberpunk podcast out there?


Not cyberpunk but ShadowRun (The Neo-Anarchist podcast) it’s a historic view of major events in ShadowRun, some odd music silliness, some character mentions.

As a podcast to introduce you to cyberpunk, don’t know…it’s kind of a dead genre. We are at the point that the suspension of disbelief is becoming near sci-fi instead of cyberpunk.


No one mentioned the movie on Netflix “Bright”? It is Shadowrun as a movie. Will Smith is in it. Great movie!


I’d hoped others would comment, I apear to be the ShadowRun fanboy here…but it is select and very much home rules and such for me. I am ok with their timeline though.

ShadowRun is a world that fell apart trying to deal with the repercussions of magic being back in the world including races of legend.

Bright was a world like ours, but with light magic and races of legend with a slow melding of the culture.

Imagine if all the oddball magic/mystics suddenly had real power…people where transforming over night into races of legend today, and you where playing in a high tech environment 25~40 years from now.
Where the super power nations have all fallen, civil wars hit everyone in some way. Major outbreaks kills off 40 to 50 percent of the population, City states are the strongest government system, and even then by a thread, large multinationals compete with cartel like ruthlessness in the shadows…that’s ShadowRun for me.

So, no, Bright was not like ShadowRun…but it shared a lot of aspects of it. Just not as bleak, not as high tech and a much stronger society.


I’ve never played the shadowrun TTRPG. It seems too in depth with its games systems.
I do enjoy the world building and fiction presented in its rulebooks though and loved the snes game.


Fun world, fun rolling a ton of dice, terrible mechanics in every version, they would fix two things and break 3.


I liked ‘never deal with dragons’ or whatever it was called - the first of the shadowrun novels. The RPG never did it for me.

There was another stand alone shadowrun novel about a troll that was way cool. Like I always LOVED the books - among some of the first things I got into as a young reader finding my way — but the rules never worked for me.


I can go on for weeks about each edition and the rules…novels…hit and miss for me. But lore was decent at the 2000 meter level. But that is what made the subsequent editions soooo bulky, huge lore dumps.

Lore dump to introduce the world and explain why it changed from last edition.
For the 2nd edition fandoms. Initiative and automatic grenade launcher with air burst… not to mention deckers playing a different game then the rest of us.

And the silly musicians running the shadows as their “night job” …first was more silly.
3rd was ok with heavy house rules and a NPC decker…4th lacked a soul, and sacrificed the huge dice pool system…
5th just seemed dated by the time it came out and slowwww as hell combat but seemed to fix most the problems …except it was slowwwww…not going to bother with 6th.


That seemed to me the problem with any tabletop implementation of cyberpunk as a game. I remember trying a suggestion from one of the Cyberpunk 20XX (can’t remember which one), supplements that suggested using cards from the collectible card game to set up the hack…but to do that you had to have the cards you wanted for your decker and their target, requiring buying more cards…


Or Chunks with Tags. Check out Monstro in Vigilante City for a cyberpunked out character. You could actually use the straight Vigilante City Character Build but reduce Stun Points with each Chunk of cyber-wear you attach/graft/surgically implant.


SR 5 did a decent job implementing decking with the rest of the game. But I hated that a decent combat situation took 2+ hours.

I really don’t worry about decking as much now that I’ve seen it done correctly, it’s really a matter of what you want to do. With ShadowRun and Cyberpunk 20xx it was always a matter of speed. But a round of combat for 4 players might include 16 turns. If combat is designed for more than 2 rounds, would be nearly 40 player turns…assuming a great group rolling and knowing what they are doing before their turn…it’s still at least 45 minutes. Not to mention calculating target numbers.

Now a days I almost fall asleep during combat in most games, it’s no longer the fun part for me. So fast deadly combat is where I want to live.


I’m here to chew bubblegum and kill some monsters. And I’m all out of bubblegum.


You are not the only Shadowrun fanboy…

I agree… all version of SR, except SR2, just didn’t get it right. “Fix 2 and break 3” rules happened with every edition and killed the game for me…

SR Anarchy was a novel approach but left me wanting more…

Decking (and Technomancy later) did get better with SR5. I always ran them like all other PC’s. multi actions in real time… none of the sidebar superfests that plagued other editions…

Combat did seem to run a little long with so many multiactions per player…even with XP players it was a chore and not as fun…

ICRPG World Primer: Shadowrun Returns was my answer to all the issues with the various editions. But it’s a conversion and not a new set of rules like runehammer and alex are working on. Only because I liked the lore and story of the world behind SR.

I think the latest movie BRIGHT would be a good way to jump start the SR franchise again after the latest SR6 fiasco… it hits all the right spots (for me)… … Game On!