During Virtual GaryCon, Mike Pondsmith ran a game of Cyberpunk for several amazing gamers, including Luke Gygax, Noura Ibrahim, and Matthew Lillard. Set during the Time of the Red and played using rules from the upcoming Cyberpunk Red core rulebook, the game offered an action-filled glimpse of what’s in store for the new edition.
You can watch the game here: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/579410251
We thought it would be fun to watch through the video and take notes on what new lore and mechanics (fluff and crunch) Mike revealed during play. And we’re going to share those notes with you.
Two caveats before we begin.
- There’s an old saying in the industry. Nothing’s final until the book’s at the printer. Thus, everything is potentially subject to change.
- Mike, like a lot of GMs, streamlines on the fly at the table. He follows the rule of cool and there will be times when he changes the rules a bit because it makes sense in the moment. When it comes to rules, we’re only noting new information that comes specifically from the book.
- As Mike notes at the start of the game, the time of Cyberpunk Red isn’t post-holocaust. Civilization has gone on. It is just harder to get things. New things aren’t being made often and, when they are, it is often on a more local level.
- The New Harbor Mall is gone. Construction is going on there to fill part of the harbor with rubble from the nuked Corporate Center. Construction mechs are involved.
- The original Forlorn Hope was destroyed. There is a new Forlorn Hope, located on the edge of the old Corporate Center in a bomb shelter. Getting in requires being registered with the bar’s optical scanner and anyone who goes in runs through a decontamination process and a weapon scan (though they don’t actually take the weapon).
- Sometimes, it rains red. Called blood rain, this crimson precipitation contains particles still floating in the upper atmosphere due to the 4th Corporate War. It is greasy and smells horrible. It sticks to everything and might be radioactive.
- Nomads serve as the lifeblood of commerce, making sure there’s trade and travel between urban centers. They also have contact and deals with the highriders in orbit.
- The Yakuza still exists and is active in Night City. No word on if the Night City branch is actively in contact with Japan.
- Combat Cab still exists and is in operation.
- We can confirm skate feet are a core rulebook cyberware option.
- Speedware exists and is used to boost initiative.
- Combat Awareness, the new Solo Special Ability, featured several times during the game. We’re going to share some of the text of how the ability works here.
When combat begins, anytime outside of combat, or in combat with an Action, a Solo may divide the total number of points they have in their Combat Awareness Role Ability among the following abilities. If a Solo chooses not to change their point assignments, their previous ones persist. Activating some of these abilities will cost the Solo more points than others.
The abilities are: Threat Detection (enhanced situational awareness), Initiative Reaction (bonus to initiative), Precision Attack (bonus to attacks made), Spot Weakness (bonus to damage), Damage Deflection (reduce damage to you), Fumble Recovery (ignore critical failures)
Some of the abilities work on a 1 point gets you +1 basis. Others work differently, with multiple points being required to get a bonus.
- Autofire exists in Cyberpunk Red and is governed by its own skill, simply called Autofire.
- Luck continues to function as it always has, though the team explains they’ve tightened the math of the game. Even small bonuses mean a lot now and a little Luck can go a long way.
- Among the programs available to Netrunners is Worm, which gives a bonus to performing the Backdoor action when cracking passwords.
That’s it for now, choombas! We’ll be back again in the future with new stuff but, for now, stay safe indoors and off the streets.