The AI who puts these posts together has requested tomorrow off, so we’re going to be doing our weekly Cyberpunk RED Alert today instead! We’re going to talk about gangs and, since you rarely meet gangs without fighting, combat!
First, an Important Announcement
R. Talsorian Games will be participating in the Bits and Mortar program! Retail stores were hit pretty hard this year and we’ve always tried to be a friend to the many Friendly Local Gaming Stores (FLGS) out there so, after investigation, deliberation, and consultation, we’ve decided this is the best way to go. Here’s the breakdown of our participation in bullet point.
If you go to a FLGS that participates in Bits and Mortar and purchase either the Cyberpunk RED Jumpstart Kit or the Cyberpunk RED core rulebook, you will receive a code for a free download of the digital version (or a direct digital copy, depending on how the retailer operates).
For now, only the Jumpstart Kit and the core rulebook will be enrolled in the program. We might look at expanding it to other products in the future, though.
We’re only doing this through participating retailers. If your retailer isn’t participating, please suggest they sign up with the Bits and Mortar program.
Technically, R. Talsorian Games is a retailer since you can order products directly from our webstore but we will NOT be participating in the Bits and Mortar program as a seller. You will be able to order Cyberpunk RED and the Cyberpunk RED Jumpstart Kit from our webstore and, if you do, we appreciate the support! However, the main reason we enrolled in Bits and Mortar is to support FLGSs. We want you to go in (properly socially distanced and wearing a mask) and buy from them, or get curbside pickup, or delivery. However your store works, we want you to buy from them if possible. Gaming stores are a core heart of our hobby so, please, support them.
To repeat: You can buy Cyberpunk RED from the RTG webstore and we will love you for it but we will not be giving out digital codes for the PDF version ourselves. You only get those by going to a FLGS who are participating in the Bits and Mortar program.
Now, onto the Cyberpunk RED Alert info dump!
Booster Gangs, 2045 Style
If you’re going to operate in Night City you need a score card. Some groups prefer to advertise with spraypaint on brick and concrete walls instead of on billboards and on Data Pool sites.
We’re talking about gangs, of course. They rule Night City after the sun sets and anyone who walks the streets after dark deals with them one way or another. Here’s some of the better known, are just plain weirder, gangs of Night City in the Time of the Red.
6th Street: Veterans of the 4th Corporate War, 6th Street decided that if no one else was going to protect the streets, they would. They tend to be well-armed and heavily cybered.
Albino Alligators: Rumor has it this gang adapted their identity from the mascot of an old car wash. They all wear identical t-shirts with the cartoon mascot on the chest. No matter how many are killed, more pop up and there’s always more shirts.
The Bozos: Still a prankster gang. Still bio-sculpted clowns. Still terrifying.
Inquisitors: The Inquisitors believe cyberware defiles the human body and degrades the human soul. They’re glad to help you see the light if you’ve got chrome implanted in your flesh. Violently.
Iron Sights: Small. Tough and borderline cyberpsycho. The Iron Sights used to have a sugar daddy in the form of Arasaka but rumor has it someone else is funding them these days.
Maelstrom: Post-war, the Maelstrom have absorbed new members from defeated gangs and that’s only accelerated their belief in the superiority of metal over meat. Of course, this has only intensified their conflict with the Inquisitors.
Philharmonic Vampyres: The pranksters who like to dress in tuxedos and fangs are still around. Or are they? As with all things involving the Vampyres, their very existence in the Time of the Red is ambigious.
Piranhas: Somehow, this party gang has survived nuclear fallout, blood rain, and rival gangs. They continue to party hard in 2045.
The Prime-Time Players: To survive the Time of the Red, different poser gangs have banded together into the Prime-Time Players. Every member is biosculpted to resemble celebrities or characters from old shows and movies. There’s dozens of branches all around Night City, each centered on different themes.
Reckoners: An apocalyptic cult, the Reckoners roam the streets, preaching about the upcoming Harvest of Souls. They’ll happily take donations, often from your unconscious body.
Red Chrome Legion: A neo-fascist hate gang. Uniforms. Military slogan. They’ll attack anything or anyone they don’t think is “right”.
Scavvers: Not really a gang. Scavvers scour the ruins of Night City looking for old weapons, old materials, old tech… anything they can sell.
Steel Vaqueros: Also not a gang but a Nomad Pack that makes runs up and down the coast. They have deals with several Reclaimer groups in Night City.
Tyger Claws: A dangerous gang that claims to protect the Asian community in Night City. They control Old Japantown but can be found in Watson as well.
Voodoo Boys: White boys pretending to be something they’re not, the Voodoo Boys still deal drugs. As migrants from the Caribbean begin flow into Night City, though, the Voodoo Boys are discovering some groups are willing to display their dislike of the cultural appropriation violently.
Comat in Cyberpunk RED remains Friday Night Firefight. Still fast. Still furious. Still dangerous. We aren’t going to go over the whole system now but we can give you some peeks and throw some As at your Qs.
Q: How Does Movement Work?
A: Your Turn equals 1 Move Action and 1 other Action. You can “split Movement” however you like. If you’re wielding a weapon with a 2 Rate of Fire you can move a few m/yds, take a shot, move a few more m/yds, take another shot, and move a few more m/yds to end your Turn. So long as you haven’t used up your Movement allotment, are capable of Movement, and it is your Turn, you can still keep moving.
Q: What’s the mechanics behind shooting people?
A: There’s 5 ranged weapon Skills: Handguns, Shoulder Arms, Archery, Heavy Weapons, and Autofire. You’ll be rolling STAT + SKILL + 1d10 against a Difficulty Value (DV) based on your weapon type and range from the target. If your target has a high enough REF, they can choose to roll DEX + Evasion + 1d10 to get out of the way instead.
Q: How many dice will I need for Autofire damage?
A: Gone are the days of rolling damage for every bullet. If you hit with Autofire, you’ll be multiplying damage based on how high you rolled above the DV (up to a maximum based on the weapon type).
Q: What if I wanna get in close and personal?
A: There are 3 close combat Skills: Brawling, Melee Weapon, and Martial Arts. All of them require opposed Checks of STAT + SKILL + 1d10 vs. DEX + Evasion + 1d10. Melee weapon attacks and Martial Arts attacks ignore half armor rating. Brawling goes up against full armor (unlike in the Jumpstart Kit, where armor nullifies it) but has special maneuvers that allow for Grabbing, Choking, and Throwing. As for Martial Arts, there are a number of Martial Arts and each has two special maneuvers with unique flair and mechanics.
Q: Are branded weapons still a thing?
A: Absolutely! At their basic level, weapons are divided by category: Heavy Pistols, Assault Rifles, Grenade Launchers, and so forth. You can buy a generic Very Heavy Pistol, for example, and it’ll fire any type of ammunition you can fit into it. Maybe what you’ve got is a Militech brand weapon or maybe it is something the local Tech built for you. That’s flavor and up to you and the GM.
The nice thing is, with the base level weapons you can upgrade and modify them.
When it comes to specific, branded weapons we have two options for you. The first is what we call Exotic Weapons. These are either unusual generic weapons (like say, a Flamethrower or a Stun Baton) or specific branded weapons already set up with upgrades and modifications like the Kendachi Mono-Three (a Very Heavy Melee Weapon that ignores armor below a certain rating entirely) or the famous Malorian Arms 3516 (a Very Heavy Pistol that comes pre-equipped with a Smartgun Link). Exotic weapons generally can’t be modified and many are locked to specific types of ammunition.
The other option for branding weapons comes in the form of Weapon Quality. Poor Quality weapons are cheaper but come with flaws. Excellent Quality weapons are so well made you get a bonus to attack with them. We give brand examples for each type of Ranged Weapon available on page 342 of the core rulebook. Want a cheap Medium Pistol? You’ll get a Dai Lung Streetmaster. Need the best possible sniper rifle? You’ll be looking for an Arasaka WSSA Sniper System.
Q: The Jumpstart Kit didn’t have cover rules, so how does it work in the core rulebook?
A: In Cyberpunk RED, if someone has line of sight on you, you aren’t in cover. If you are in cover, an opponent can’t target you directly and has two basic choices: reposition and reestablish line of sight or attack the cover, destroy it, and remove it from the equation so you’ve got nothing to hide behind. There’s a lot of destructible environment work going on in RED. Combine this with the split movement up above and there’s a lot of tactical work happening in the field during a RED fight.
Q: Does Cyberpunk RED still have random hit locations? What about armor layering?
A: The days of complex armor layering armor formulas are over. In RED, you use the SP of the toughest layer of armor you’re wearing (or have implanted). We’ve also removed random hit locations. You’re always aiming for the torso unless you make a called shot to the head, legs, or a held item. Each type of called shot has a specific purpose beyond simple damage multipliers.
Q: The Mayor of Balance Town said something about Critical Injuries. Tell me more!
A: Yep! We’ve implemented a Critical Injury system in Cyberpunk RED. Roll 2 or more 6s on your damage dice and you not chip away at an enemy’s Hit Points, you also a) do bonus damage that ignores armor and b) inflict a Critical Injury that has some sort of in game consequence by lowering STATs, making certain actions impossible, and other nasty little surprises. Some Critical Injuries can be temporarily treated in the field by a good First Aid or Paramedic Check but many require actual Surgery to fix in the long term. Medtechs have never been more important.
That’s all we have for today, choomba. We’ll see you back here next week. Until then, stay safe on the streets!