Good systems for playing Cyberpunk games

So, for a cyberpunk game these days, here are my thoughts:

  1. My top choice would likely be Stars Without Number with Polychrome and maybe a few other supplements (Darkness Visible comes to mind). It’s basically B/X-flavored D&D passed through a sci-fi filter, and Kevin Crawford has some of the best sandbox game mastery advice around. For anything sci-fi, SWN is my go-to system, especially since there are great supplements for different flavors (military, trader, spies, and so forth).

  2. @LizardMan has a neat minimalist cyberpunk system that’s worth checking out. It’s not exactly the system I want to play with, but his procedural content generation is top notch, and I respect the purity of his rules approaches.

  3. If you want to use an actual old school ruleset, Cyberpunk 2020 has some flaws, but the character creation creates a lot of great hooks, and the combat system is detailed in a way that can be fun (check out Noisms thoughts on it here and linked from there). If that doesn’t work for you, the Fuzion rules were R. Talsorian’s attempt to take the best of Cyberpunk 2020 and Champions and produce a generic RPG system. I had a lot of good gaming with the Bubblegum Crisis RPG using the Fuzion system. It’s a D10+attribute+skill system, which is great if you like a nicely systematized ruleset, and BBC was itself a Cyberpunk+Mecha setting.

  4. The Black Hack Cyber-Hacked is a nice minimalist ruleset with a strong old school flavor.

  5. I’ve given some thought to running Blades in the Dark as a cyberpunk game, but I haven’t tried it. The mission-based and team-focused structure would work especially well for a Shadowrun style game where the players are a team of mercs that regularly get jobs. That would take some work to convert, though.

  6. You could always use one of the versions of Shadowrun, but it’s a fairly clunky system with its own challenges (I don’t know the newer editions particularly well). It’s a die pool system, and the die pools can get out of control pretty easily.


Somebody already did that

I read the first one before it was moved on, but it looked really good. I suppose it has been refined after being sold.

As for the second one, I didn’t really like the tone (as a Computer Scientist, I’m extremely picky with fake-technical jargon).

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I backed Dancing with Bullets Under a Neon Sun, which sounded cool. I also have (part of) Cyberpunk 2185 which ended up being a disaster as far as fulfillment went. Can’t comment on either rule system yet as I’m still waiting on the rest of my 2185 stuff.


Same, been holding out on a cyberpunk session until I get this in my hands. And blasting that epic cassette out of my boom box.

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Kris from (not sure if they post here) is working on a system called Chromatic Shadows that I’ve had the privilege of getting a sneak preview of. It’s very inspired by Shadowrun (d6 dice pools and 5,6s = hits) but looks infinitely more manageable to run. Kind of the overhaul of Shadowrun I’ve always been interested in. There’s a bunch of useful recent posts on their blog too.

My cyberpunk game, Shit Future (thanks for linking) was basically designed for me to do one shot pick up games as quick and easy as possible for when I needed a break from my chunkier main campaigns (I really need to get the last couple of tables done so it the project is actually finished).


For Forged in the Dark games there’s also Neon Black:


I don’t have much experience with the genre, but Paul Elliot’s Zaibatzu is hella cool, and y’all should check it out.