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Cyberpunk: From the Mayor’s Desk 3.5.21

Today, in Balance Town, we recognize an amazing achievement. This morning, at 6am, a rocket was fired into our local NCART station. It was a perfect shot, carefully placed and timed exactly at the height of rush hour. The rocket cleared an amazing eight flights of stairs before meeting its mark, the exact center of Pondsmith Station. Forty one participants died in the blast, and twenty more were critically injured. We believe the genius marksman rolled a 30 for the shot. I will be unveiling a statue of her at the location of impact once the damage is repaired.

Amid tears of joy this morning, I have had time this morning to answer some more of your questions. But still I crave more. Please send any questions you have about Cyberpunk RED to:

I look forward to answering them.

Your Questions

Tyrone Williams asks: Would a Solo’s Combat Awareness Threat Detection apply to Human Perception or is it just Perception Only? And does it apply to all Perception Checks or just those specifically related to combat like detecting an ambush?

The Solo’s Threat Detection applies to all Perception Checks, although not Human Perception Checks. Those are two different Skills.

SlightlyTV asks: Do martial arts crits stack? For example, If a PC rolls Bone Breaking Strike and is successful then applies the bonus 5 Damage directly to HP and the broken ribs Critical Injury and then rolls 2 6s on the damage roll, do you apply another 5 damage and an extra crit? Seems unlikely that a strike specifically targeting the ribs could also apply Dismembered Leg.

If the damage you roll for Bone Breaking Strike gets double 6’s, you get both Broken Ribs and another Critical Injury, which you roll for. The GM is always free to throw out a Critical Injury result they feel doesn’t make sense but feel free to get creative and descriptive. Sure, you broke their ribs but maybe in the process they dropped their machete and mangled their leg? Or maybe just after you broke their ribs they staggered back into that jagged piece of metal left over when someone blew up their Cover earlier.

Matt Ventre asks: What are the consequences of living an exclusively kibble lifestyle? Why would an edgerunner choose to live better than that if there’s no reason to spend the eddies?

Living a Kibble Lifestyle is detailed on page 377. Whenever you live above the lifestyle you pay for at the beginning of the month, the GM charges you for all expenditures. However, the GM won’t charge you when your expenditures are considered “within your lifestyle”. Kibble is the most restrictive Lifestyle you can live. It is described on page 337 as:

“You eat horrible food that you might not buy for a dog you liked. Once a month, you can see a movie or braindance”

So, living the Kibble Lifestyle, you are paying for every drink, club fee, taxi fare, meal that doesn’t come from a bag, almost anything on page 376… That can add up. You can see how a Fixer, Rockerboy, Media, etc. might find it hard to work under these restrictions… But a gritty gutterpunk Solo might not give a damn.

Bug asks: Can we get some clarification on how Black ICE lying in wait works? Can it only be triggered by a netrunner or can it be triggered by a netrunner’s Black ICE? If you put your Black ICE on a floor, will it attack enemy Black ICE that travels to that floor?

Anti-personnel Black ICE will be triggered only by an enemy Netrunner. Anti-program Black ICE will trigger on any enemy program that comes to the floor, be it enemy Black ICE or a enemy Netrunner’s non-Black ICE programs. So, yes, that means if your Netrunner comes across an Anti-program Black ICE and has no programs currently running, the Black ICE won’t attack.

Häxprocess asks: Can someone with a REF of 8 dodge an indefinite amount of bullets in a turn, or will they tire out after a set number?

Somebody with REF 8 can theoretically dodge an indefinite amount of bullets in a turn, but they will eventually roll a one and get shot of course…

Professor Yins asks: I’ve been thinking about inventions. Did you purposefully make it so that DEX is not an improvable statistic (via drugs, items, cybernetics, skills) or is that something that will eventually be added, and inbounds for tech inventions. Also is tech inventions where you would go for inventing new techniques/abilities that operate similar to items. like say a preshow routine that effects Rockerboy stats, or meditations/training for martial arts.

With the core book, we designed it to be a great foundation to build upon, both by Techs and for expansion in future supplements. The Tech role ability is specifically designed for creating objects. I believe the two examples you bring up would work best as Complimentary Skill Checks (pg 130), not new abilities, and their strength is the flavor they would bring to the story, as style rather than substance. In my opinion, not everything needs mechanics. Your thoughts may differ, of course, and it is ultimately up to a GM to rule at their table.

Plate-Rogue asks: If the same piece of cyberware is uninstalled and reinstalled later without therapy to recover Humanity in between would the person take Humanity Loss again?

Yep, you would take that Humanity Loss again! Although some cyberware breaks this rule: notably Chipware and arms using the Quick Change Mount. It’s also important to mention that this is only the case if the cyber was uninstalled, not severed or ripped out. Reattaching a severed cyberarm, for instance, does not count as installing it, as once a cyberarm is installed it is considered a part of you, even if it’s just been cut off and is now on the floor.

jennyglitz asks: The Operator feature “Grease” for ranks 5 and 6 says the following: “You know how to get along perfectly with 2 additional cultures (3 in total) in your area as well as gaining a single language which you don’t already know associated with each culture at Skill Level 4.” Does this mean you get one new language each culture has in common, or one new language per new culture you learn to get along with?

You get one Language Skill at Level 4 per culture you “get along well with” in Grease as you level up your Role Ability. The only limiting sentence is that the languages you choose must be from the cultures you “get along well with”. You also can’t pick the same language twice, or otherwise pick a language you already have levels in. For example, upon reaching Operator Rank 3 our Fixer, Three Piece, picks up Spanish at Level 4 because of their familiarity with a Nomad Pack that regularly travels between Night City and Mexico City. Later, upon reaching Operator Rank 5, Three Piece gains Russian at Level 4 because of regular dealings with contacts at Zhirafa and Portuguese at Level 4 because they have spent a significant amount of time working with a local community of Brazilian expats.

jennyglitz asks: I’ve been having a problem with Netrunners trivializing my architectures. My players have adopted a strategy wherein they deploy Killers to lie in wait in the lobby, then they pull ICE into the Killers, reset the Killers, and repeat. The only thing that seems to challenge them is putting an enemy Netrunner inside, in which case they either ask the crew to kill them in meatspace or refuse to engage with the architecture since they aren’t set up for anti-personnel netrunning. It feels like it’s not supposed to be this easy, but I struggle to come up with challenges that would give them a fighting chance or be interesting in some regard. What can I do to make netrunning more interesting?

You don’t have a problem with Netrunners trivializing your architectures… Your Corporations have a problem with a new team of fantastic Netrunners that are making them look like chumps! As you describe them, they are using the most broken ability in gaming: teamwork, and have set up their decks for anti-program Netrunning at the moment, and they jack out whenever they are set upon by an enemy Netrunner. Well, sucks for them, now the whole corporate world is in a tizzy about their exploits, and anybody who can afford it has an on-site sysadmin Netrunner protecting their precious NET Architectures. They’ll have to evolve into real badasses… or I guess, give up, which is exactly when you should make it personal. Attack those Lifepaths, send assassins, not to them, but to someone they care about. Have their loved ones call and tell them that there’s a strange black van outside that’s been there all morning.

But don’t just up the stakes in meat space! Up them inside the NET too. If you have a multi-Netrunner party, they can handle Advanced and Uncommon Difficulty netruns much earlier than a single-Netrunner party can, comfortably Uncommon at 4 and Advanced at 6 Interface. I also recommend you make some spicy mega-archetectures that don’t follow my generator on page 211. Make them long, twisting, and hellish, but also full of awesome loot… use… multiple enemy Netrunners with Glue. You have an amazing party that is asking you for more difficulty, which is one of coolest challenges you can have as a GM.

Your main challenge will be looping your other non-Netrunner players into this “fun”, and I recommend you do so using their Lifepath. As a twist, bring the Corporate forces to bear. Sure, your Netrunners shut down a Corp’s research facility but in return, maybe the Corp will hit back by buying out the Crew’s entire neighborhood in the name of “urban renewel”. It will bring the team together against a common adversary and you’ll get your chance to run the heist of a lifetime. They won’t be able to escape the fun.

Dario T asks: I’m new to GMing so I apologize if this is a boring question, but what is the best way to create an adventure that captures “ad hoc” the themes and tones of Cyberpunk RED?

I recommend you try the Screamsheet “Smash the Box”. (pg429 – 430) It’s easy to run, and helps introduce the themes of Night City in 2045. After you run it, you’ll have introduced two gangs and a Corp, which you can build on in the session following the Screamsheet, and go from there. Photocopy page 429 and hand it out to your Players to read with their morning coffee. Before you run the session, make sure the Players know they each have to make 1000eb for rent by the first of next month or be evicted. Page 377 – 379 should be reviewed so you know how to scare them properly, especially the section Living on the Street. You should know the key locations of Night City (pg 310 – 314) so you can bookend the Screamsheet with some cool locations, know where the player’s Cargo Container apartments are, and where The Box is located. If they go off the rails, your backup plan should be the random encounters on page 417. The mooks you’ll need to reference start on page 412. Good luck in there, Dario. Any GM willing to ask for help is only a single year from being the GM everybody wants to play with.

The Mayor’s Award for Service to Balance Town

As always, I’d like to highlight the fine contributions made by the Citizens of Balance Town to our fair metropolis.  This week, we’re honoring the fine volunteers who make our community space the place to be for Night City denizens.

Thank you to Azalah, Boss Angler, Druttercup, Jay, JasontheCraftsman, and Prax for their hard work in maintaining and boosting the official R. Talsorian Games Discord Server. Without them, this community wouldn’t be half as great as it is.

That’s all for this week! See you next time, choombas.

James Hutt, Mayor of Balance Town

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