Cyberpunk Purple RPG is a funhouse replicate model of our afflicted, fashionable global

Cyberpunk Purple, the newest tabletop role-playing recreation from R. Talsorian Video games, is large and brash. The 458-page quantity is a lot more than a recreation handbook. It’s additionally a number of brief tales, vignettes that reduce to the core of a glitzy dystopian global that’s reached some degree of equilibrium between an ongoing disaster and an outright crisis.

It additionally manages to totally flesh out the methods most effective hinted at within the Cyberpunk Purple Jumpstart Equipment, launched in the summertime of final yr. It’s a forged tabletop RPG, very best for making a super one-shot or kicking off an epic marketing campaign. For keen lovers champing on the bit for a style of Cyberpunk 2077, it additionally serves as the easiest prequel to the yr’s maximum expected online game.

After all, it’s now not all new subject matter right here so far as backstory is going. Should you’ve learn my overview of the Jumpstart Equipment, you’ll be able to be expecting the fluff and the artwork to be considerably expanded and smartly value your time — even simply as a espresso desk guide. What’s so putting concerning the Cyberpunk Purple rulebook as a file is simply how readable it’s.

R. Talsorian has crafted it like {a magazine} — large pleasant textual content bracketed with in-fiction slang and embedded advertisements (however now not too many). There’s additionally a Starship Soldiers-style ethos all over, with daring textual content that will get referred to as out in a thesaurus on the again and a bevy of web page numbers discussed as asides so you’ll be able to skip forward for those who’d like to understand extra. It straddles the road between a excellent learn in and of itself and a reference handbook in ways in which publishers like Wizards of the Coast (Dungeons & Dragons) and Paizo (Pathfinder, Starfinder) can most effective dream of.

However in point of fact, it’s Cyberpunk’s slyness about its imaginative and prescient of the long run that sells the entire package deal. This model of the tabletop recreation isn’t a relic of the 1980s with a contemporary coat of paint. Likewise, it’s now not a ripped from-the-headlines tabloid goof intended to be disposable. It’s a continuation of a franchise with a rebellious, counter-culture standpoint. Cyberpunk Purple pushes its personal trade long term timeline ahead some distance sufficient to stay other and thrilling when in comparison to our personal, whilst ultimate a funhouse replicate symbol of the similar afflicted global we nonetheless reside in.

A woman in a lavish garden stands in front of a red car, her poodle in the foreground.

A lady in a pricey get dressed, status subsequent to a pricey automobile. It leads off a bit titled The Damaged Global of 2020.
Symbol: Eddie Mendoza/R. Talsorian Video games

“Have in mind; the Cyberpunk long term is a caution; now not an aspiration,” wrote writer Mike Pondsmith in June, as america erupted in large protests induced via the police killing of George Floyd. “Whether or not we listen the caution is as much as you.” The fashionable hard work and sophistication struggles, sexual politics, problems with equality, democracy, and tyranny are all represented in this guide’s pages — and used as inspiration for hooks that may encourage compelling player-generated content material.

Easiest of all are the gritty bits of recreation mechanics that occupy the center 0.33 of the guide. I’m particularly speaking concerning the made over battle device (referred to as Friday Evening Firefight) and the evocative new regulations for hacking (referred to as Netrunning).

In contrast to the nature era device in Cyberpunk Purple — which is full of dozens of tables and flowcharts that let gamers to create myriad other personalities — aiming and firing a gun within the recreation is rather easy. A unmarried, one-third web page desk handles ballistic engagements from 0 out to 800 yards with the entire recreation’s main weapon methods. If that’s all you wish to have to fret about as the sport grasp (GM), it will be simple to depart it at that.

However, Cyberpunk Purple shall we gamers move even deeper. There are regulations for guns with more than one hearth modes, for arrows and thrown explosives, and for gamers who need to deliver their knives to a gunfight. There are regulations for vital accidents, regulations for destructible terrain, and regulations for preventing from and with cars. The sport device will get extra accomplished in more or less 70 pages than some miniatures skirmish video games do in complete splatbooks.

Most fun of all are the finalized regulations for Netrunning. Hacking on the planet of Cyberpunk Purple is set navigating a related sequence of mini-games that exist inside the higher recreation itself. Gamers use press-your-luck genre cube mechanics to navigate its complicated puzzles.

A tattooed woman with a guitar and a microphone headset.

Cyberpunk Purple contains 10 categories, with some very strange ones, like Rockerboy.
Symbol: Alexander Dudar/R. Talsorian Video games

Netrunning is evocative, a parallel digital global stuffed with slavering code-based assault canine and floating cyber ninjas. Checking out it out all the way through a demo recreation with co-author Cody Pondsmith because the GM, I didn’t really feel like a wizard casting Magic Missile again and again, nor did I believe like I used to be trapped inside of Lawnmower Guy. Encounters with methods and different Netrunners had been fast, demanding, and required a strategic thoughts. It additionally didn’t sluggish issues down for everybody else on the desk, which saved the motion shifting.

The ones new to the pastime, or the ones coming from different merchandise like D&D or Pathfinder, will discover a decently top studying curve — particularly for those who’re working the sport. To provide a excellent, tactical recreation of Cyberpunk Purple, GMs will want to get a hold of greater than only a easy grid of one-inch squares and a handful of non-player characters. There’s additionally a complete different panorama that’s invisible to each different participant on the desk but even so the celebration’s Netrunner. Making that area simply as thrilling because the “actual” global the remainder of your gamers exist in is a tall order, whilst mixing the 2 layers in combination into one thing dramatic is tougher nonetheless. Cyberpunk Purple offers excellent recommendation for engaging in each.

Extra fascinating is the inclusion in Cyberpunk Purple of one of those in-game post-traumatic rigidity dysfunction. Empathy is an in-game statistic that gamers will observe on their stat sheet, and accounts for the person participant’s stage of humanity. Cybernetic implants, drug use, in addition to main bodily and psychological traumas encountered all the way through a gameplay consultation all whittle away at a personality’s psychological steadiness. Be expecting to make a couple of cube rolls to peer how your between-game treatment affects your persona’s psychological state earlier than the following consultation.

A grizzled reporter in a flack jacket.

Medias are there for the tale, and depend on fast wits and a community of contacts. There are, in fact, extra conventional damage-dealing categories as smartly.
Symbol: Alexander Dudar/R. Talsorian Video games

The chapters on treatment and “cyberpsychosis” because it’s referred to as are simple sections of the guide to skip, particularly if it detracts from your own sense of escapism. It’s additionally a possibility for R. Talsorian to emphasise the concept that of “strains and veils” — a not unusual technique of protecting gamers protected on the desk when the sport strikes towards uncomfortable or triggering topics. In contrast to Vampire: The Masquerade’s fifth version, which openly contains delicate problems like sexual violence and consent, there’s little of that roughly content material within the core gameplay loop of Cyberpunk Purple. However protecting participant protection best of thoughts is excellent tradecraft, and the writers do a tight process of it right here.

If I’ve any proceedings, it’s that the guide doesn’t include all that a lot in the way in which of introductory adventures. Whilst there’s numerous discrete hooks and encounters, together with instruction for fledgling GMs on easy methods to use them, there’s now not a ton of prefabricated gameplay. There are most effective 3 beginning situations wedged right into a narrow 10-page segment in the back of the guide, and a large number of that content material is one-page fluff paperwork meant to be handouts for gamers. That complaint apart, it’s a fabulous product general and required studying — for my part — for development a personality in CD Projekt Purple’s upcoming Cyberpunk 2077.

Cyberpunk Purple will move reside as a $30 downloadable PDF on Nov. 14. Bodily books will have to hit retailer cabinets in america, and R. Talsorian’s personal on-line storefront, Nov. 19 at $60. Cyberpunk 2077 used to be not too long ago not on time — for a 3rd time — till Dec. 10.


Cyberpunk Purple used to be reviewed with a last PDF model equipped via R. Talsorian Video games. Vox Media has associate partnerships. Those don’t affect editorial content material, regardless that Vox Media might earn commissions for merchandise bought by the use of associate hyperlinks. You’ll in finding further details about Polygon’s ethics coverage right here.

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