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Tabletop Game / Cyberpunk
aka: Cyberpunk 2020

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Cyberpunk is a tabletop roleplaying game created by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games, with the first edition releasing in 1988. The game, as the title might indicate, is based heavily upon the work of William Gibson and Bruce Sterling, to the point where Gibson is often referred to as "Saint Willie" in the various sourcebooks.

Set in 2013/2020/2045, the players are mercenaries, criminals, and vagabonds in the cyberpunk street culture of the period. American society has broken down, the government is ineffectual, and anything resembling a good life must be obtained by doing dirty work for one of the numerous corporations that quietly control the world. It's become trendy to heavily modify one's body with any number of cybernetic augmentations, whether it's designer eyes, replacement limbs, or combat-ready military gear, but stacking up too much "cyberware" causes a person to enter "cyber-psychosis" and go full-tilt insane.

As the games are a very deliberate, self-aware attempt to capture the feel of the then-burgeoning cyberpunk genre, it can be comfortably assumed that any trope from that particular genre that isn't mentioned will fit neatly here. Supplements to the game allow you to play in specific author's 'verses, such as George Alec Effinger's Marîd Audran.


A videogame set in the Cyberpunk setting was announced by CD Projekt RED, known as Cyberpunk 2077 and appropriately released in 2020. Later on, a fourth edition for the tabletop with a new system, Cyberpunk Red, was announced. It released digitally on November 14th, 2020 . An anime by Studio TRIGGER called Cyberpunk: Edgerunners in collaboration with CD Projekt RED, with Akira Yamaoka as composer was announced to premier on Netflix in 2022.


This game provides examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future — The original tabletop game took place in 2013, the second and most well known version takes place in 2020, which both seemed to be quite far away back in 1988 & 1990 when they were written. To avoid zeerust with the videogame adaptation that was released in the real world year 2020, things were fast-forwarded the year to 2077. Alongside the video game adaption, the new tabletop version simply known as Cyberpunk RED was announced and released, taking place during the period of 2035 to 2049 known in universe as the Time of the Red. Red is meant to give context to 2077 as well as explain developments in the universe and update technology with inventions made in our world between the early 90s and 2020 to not become zeerust on that front.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Monoswords, which, as their name suggests, are Sharpened to a Single Atom. In 2077 they're joined by the Mantis blades & Thermal Katana, both of which can dismember with ease.
  • Alcohol is Gasoline: Justified example: because of energy crisis issues, many vehicles in the setting utilize a blend of high-powered alcohol named CHOOH-2 as fuel.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: In V3.0, one of the Alternate Cultures, or "AltCults," is the Desnai, a tribe of Humongous Mecha pilots who rule "Desnai World."
  • Alternate History: Courtesy of a late 80s/early 90s vision of the future.
  • Arbitrary Augmentation Limit: Cybernetic augmentations decrease a character's Humanity score, running the risk of "Cyber-Psychosis", though unlike other games, it is possible to restore lost humanity (usually through expensive and long-term therapy, which neatly averts There Are No Therapists. If you're too far gone, however, the therapy comes with the drawback of disabling your augmentations or outright removing them).
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. Body armor is a necessity to survive even a weak holdout pistol without a lengthy trip to a hospital/medtech, even if AP bullets reduce its effectiveness.
  • Artificial Limbs: All over the place and often used to replace lost limbs, though cloned (or possibly stolen) limbs may also be used. The prosthetics are also presented somewhat more realistically than usual, with the guide correctly noting that a pair of cyber-arms would not give you Super Strength, as just because your arms are strong, doesn't mean your spine is.
  • Ax-Crazy: Cyber Psychos are humans that have gone completely batshit crazy and now shoot up anything in sight with their ridiculous hardware. The Psycho Squads dedicated to capturing them are often made up of cops and reformed criminals who are very nearly cyberpsychotic themselves. The fluff explains that making yourself more than human makes it less possible to understand humans: if you have an augmentation that improves your reaction time, everyone else seems to be completely slow and painfully dull, and you have to adjust to it (the augmentation in question has one of the biggest possible hits to Humanity when installed): cyber-psychosis is the manifestation of the belief that these meatbags are just in your way, for whatever reason. The Player Characters can become this as well when their Empathy (or EMP) stat drops too low. Such as 
  • Bio-Augmentation: Biotech, which are enhancements based around biology rather than technology, often using nanomachines, which has the handy benefit of minimizing humanity loss. These can range from antibodies and nanosurgeons that speed up your healing processes to custom organs that replace your original ones, often with bonus features (Want an appendix that lets you process dietary fiber for nutrients? Or how about lungs with improved oxygen capacity?). This is taken Up to Eleven in the Eurosource sourcebooks, as Europeans disapprove of cybernetics, so cyberware is either well hidden or replaced with biotech and also genetic engineering, which isn't readily available outside Europe.
  • Biotech Is Better: Downplayed. The only real upshot of bioware over cyberware is partially side-stepping Cybernetics Eat Your Soul, since having polymers and metal woven through your flesh and bones by nanosurgeons is less mentally taxing than having your arms lopped off and replaced with mechanical substitutes. Though, some of the biotech option are still rather practical. (Have a gland implanted that secretes non-toxic antifreeze making you immune to frostbite; get a bunch of nanoids injected that style your hair, brush your teeth, and clear up your acne for you; have the left and right sides of your brain routed together so you become naturally ambidextrous. The list goes on.)
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: In several different varieties, from Molly Millions-style finger razors, to Adam Jensen-esque arm swords, to a knuckle-deploying blade trio subtly named "Wolvers".
  • Character Class: Unlike Shadowrun, Cyberpunk characters have dedicated classes, the main difference between them being their unique skill and different stat priorities:
    • Rockerboys are both underground musicians and political agitators, using their music to challenge corporate authority and rile up people. They can commandeer crowds with their Charismatic Leadership.
    • Solos are guns/swords for hire, selling their combat skills and cyberware-enhanced bodies to the highest bidder, no questions asked. They can strike first in battle with their Combat Sense.
    • Netrunners are hackers who enjoy cracking online countermeasures and facing other hackers, while making cash in the process. They can use the Menu while browsing the Net to perform their hacks.
    • Techies are tinkerers and builders who make a living by fixing items or, in the case of Medtechies, people. They can use their Jury Rig or Medical Tech to patch up things or people.
    • Medias are investigative journalists set out to reveal the corporations' dirty laundry and show it to the world, consequences be damned. Their Credibility makes their stories more popular towards the common folk and the powers that be.
    • Cops are, well, beat cops and detectives who try their best to uphold the law and protect citizens from gang violence and cyberpsychos. Their Authority makes them extra intimidating for criminals of all kinds.
    • Corporates are executives who juggle between climbing the company ladder and work on more or less legal "department projects". The corporation's assets can be requisitioned for their use with their Resources.
    • Fixers are the go-to people to get in touch with people in the underbelly of society, arrange for a bit of smuggling or both. With Streetdeal, they can learn what's the word on the streets or be the word.
    • Nomads are wanderers who live on the roads in what's left outside of the cities, part scavengers, part traders and part bandits. Like Corporates above, they can use their Family resources to help them.
  • The City Narrows: "Combat Zones," run-down, crime-ridden districts that exist in every major urban sprawl, where gangs hold sway and the cops only enter in force (if at all). Overlaps with Gateless Ghetto in some cities, where the areas are walled off and the inhabitants are left to their own devices.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Rache Bartmoss, one of the most brilliant Netrunners of the setting. Also, he's far less harmless than most examples of this trope, if he is to be believed. In Cyberpunk Red it's revealed he died in a corporate raid but in his wisdom, he had set a Dead Man's Switch that triggered the DataKash virus to be unleashed on the whole internet two weeks after he died. It crippled 78.2% of the internet as it stood in 2022 and the world in universe never fully recovered as of 2077's opening with the Blackwall representing a barrier from the wider web and local networks in Night City.
  • Colony Drop: ESA's controlled lunar massdriver was used to lob a substantial lump of rock at Washington DC. The rock was deflected by orbital defences, and instead hit Colorado Springs (or rather "Colorado Sprung"). Cyberpunk RED backstory mentions more lunar rocks having been lobbed that way and other strikes from orbit, Rache Bartmoss having been killed that way by Arasaka.
  • Corporate Warfare: A war between two of the biggest companies in the world is a major background event. Earlier on there were others, starting with the one between Petrochem and SovOil.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: All over the setting with special mentions going to Saburo Arasaka, CEO of the corporation of the same name, and Colin Powers who works for IEC.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The European Community according to the EurosourcePlus splatbook. If you're poor you can get free housing, food, healthcare, entertainment, and more but among other problems food is just good enough to support your body, healthcare is practiced by Medicine students will all that entails, and you're fed with EU-sourced propaganda about how great is life there (which is not very far away from the truth given the sorry state of Eastern Europe).
  • Crapsack World: A cyberpunk hallmark. Life is cheap, corporations run everything, and violence is a fact of everyday life.
  • Creator Cameo: The cover art of Listen Up, You Primitive Screwheads! Polish edition, itself a touched-up version of one of black-and-white illustrations, depicts a man very similar to the game's creator, Mike Pondsmith.
  • Cross Cultural Kerfuffle: Occasionally, young nomads will go off and live in "static" society, trying to get a new handle on a foreign culture and try to figure out what is so great about some places that millions of people are willing to spend their entire lives there. They are inevitably approached by young, rebellious statics who see being a nomad as the ultimate form of rebellion and (at least claim to) dream of running off and joining a nomad pack. These relationships almost always end in tears, as the statics realize that nomads in general are rule-abiding and collectivist, and the nomads they have met are the nomad equivalent of rich kids on a gap year in Europe.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The game was the Trope Codifier for this idea, but also explored the reasons and ramifications far more than alter imitators.
    • Each item you install comes with a cost to your humanity. It's not hard to skirt that restriction, and some degree of augmentation is absolutely necessary to compete, but too much of it and you go Ax-Crazy and turn you into a "Cyber Psycho". This is typically guaranteed to end in a showdown with heavily armed, very paranoid cops (several of whom may be on the edge of aug-induced craziness themselves, if they weren't Cyber Psychos themselves before they became cops [Which is also very likely]). The good news, however, is that humanity lost can be regained by shelling out cash for therapy (which is mandatory for Full Conversion Borgs).
    • This is downplayed if you have your Cyberware installed in a Scandinavian cyber clinic. Due to specialist therapies, you roll humanity loss twice, and take the value of the second away from the first, with the possible result of no humanity loss at all. Although this is costly, as to get access to these clinics, as well as having to be in Scandinavia, it takes one day per maximum humanity loss, at a cost of 1000 eurobucks per day plus operation costs, and to even get into the clinic requires a six month wait (which can be reduced by 1D6 months by paying an extra 10%). And illegal cyberware isn't available.
    • Similar to the above are therapy programs which can potentially be associated with any cyberware, and available much more widely. The downsides are (aside from cost) that they can only mitigate humanity loss up to 50%, and they are realistically intensive and long-term. At worst (and best) you will be spending several months at a facility you are not allowed to leave.
    • One of the major selling points or bioware is actively side-stepping this as much as possible. That muscle and bone lace may not make you as strong as cyberlimbs will, nor will that nanooptical reconstruction surgery give you as good of sight as a cybereye, but they are still your limbs and your eyes, which means you'll be less likely to disassociate from humanity and thus less likely to go on a killing spree.
    • Some of the ramifications are related to how those toys often require maintenance. It is quite helpful to have under the skin some sort of Kevlar until you awake one morning, find you're sweating black -such thing decomposing- and have to eat a nanoid supplement in order to stop that.
    • Cyberpunk RED Built on the concept as its original version could come off as somewhat ablist due to modern understandings of prosthetics and the like. The humanity loss is not just from getting the chrome but when that chrome is meant to go beyond the flesh it's replacing. In a practical sense, this means that you can replace that arm that got shot off last job with a medical-grade cyberarm without any humanity loss, just that it'll function exactly like the flesh-and-blood one some poor sap's probably had to clean up. But if you go installing a concealed weapon into that cyberarm, that's when the humanity loss kicks in as you're going beyond what a "baseline" human body is capable of. Likewise you could start with medical-grade 'ware to replace limbs your character was born lacking entirely with no cost in humanity or starting cash (all but one of the edgerunners in the Black Dog short story at the end of the RED corebook were born with absent body parts that were replaced with cyberware).
  • Cyberpunk: It's even in the title!
  • Cyberspace: Being heavily influenced by William Gibson's writings, this is how computer hacking works in-game.
  • Cyborg: Very easy for people to become one to some extent, and many people are already this.
  • Divided States of America: Alaska, Texas, Utah, Nevada and California (which further divided itself into North and South) have seceded and become free states. Additionally, Wyoming is a Socialist republic that pays token service to the Federal government, and Idaho was briefly taken over by neo-Nazis, who have since been deposed. Also, while corporate enclaves are in theory still part of the US, in practice the only government there is the corporation. In 2077 during the late 2060s an attempt at a "unification" effort was made by a puppet version of the US government controlled by Militech via War. The attempt was unsuccessful in it's goal and actually helped Night City declare itself fully independent from any governing body outside of it's city walls.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Sort of for the megacorps EBM, the most powerful 2020 one, Info Comp and IEC. [1] states the first tried a coup in the time between both games and what wiped out of the face of Earth as a result while the second one, being dedicated to trafficking with information, was bankrupted by the Data Krash virus and the third one caught in the crossfire of the war between Arasaka and Militech and destroyed.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Though the option for characters to use drugs is there (wouldn't be cyberpunk if it wasn't), doing so is strongly discouraged (as in the writers directly tell players that it's a very good way to kill their characters, side effects being also particularly nasty). To be fair, the game was released during the height of the Moral Guardians crusade against roleplaying games, when the idea that Dungeons & Dragons led to witchcraft and Satanism was actually taken seriously.
  • Everyone Is Armed: It's basically required for anyone who wants to survive in the Cyberpunk world. From fixers to solos, gangs to police, adults to teenagers, to even the children and the elderly; everyone has something to protect themselves from someone else. The only ones who don't carry around guns are the wealthy elites and celebrities, who hire muscle and gunmen to protect them instead.
  • Everything Is Online: Played with; while there's plenty of stuff kept off the wider 'net, Rache Bartmoss' Guide to the Net notes some things that shouldn't be online are. This includes the environmental systems of the space colonies and the ESA's lunar mass driver controls. (Rache's commentary notes that he routinely runs the ESA's security on the mass driver to make sure it's up to his standards, implying he keeps an eye on it as well.)
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The skyscrapers of the different MegaCorps and especially those of Arasaka, that are designed to look as intimidating as possible being black and usually the tallest buildings of the cities they're located on.
  • Expy:
    • The game's main setting, Night City, is fairly obviously based on San Francisco. The Night City sourcebook even spotlights Expies of other Bay Area cities, such as South San Francisco, Pacifica and Oakland.
    • Likewise Saburo Arasaka's backstory mimics in part the one of Real Life World War II Japanese ace Saburo Sakai, the former having also fought in said conflict piloting a Zero and having also to fly several hundreds miles over the ocean badly wounded before arriving to his base.
    • The splatbook series Solo Of Fortune is presented as an in-universe publication that has a similar premise and format to the infamous Soldier of Fortune military magazine, complete with a classifieds section for readers looking for security and mercenary work.
    • Euro Business Machines is clearly a stand-out for real-world IBM, up to using a similar logo.
  • Full-Conversion Cyborg: Adam Smasher debuted in the RPG Cyberpunk 2020, but he was one of many "full conversion" or "full 'borgs". There was the Gemini that was made to look like a human, several that looked robotic, an aircraft and the fearsome Dragoon. The Dragoon was a 7-8 foot tall killing machine barely controlled by cyberware and drugs, the only organic part was human brain that controlled it. Many "full 'borgs" opted for a Brain in a Jar system where they could swap bodies.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: Downplayed. Food comes in three varieties, "kibble", "prepack" and "fresh". Kibble is described as having the appearance smell, and flavor of the dog food from which it takes its name, and only the truly destitute and desperate reduce themselves to actually eating it. "Prepack" is generally based around soy- and insect-based meat substitutes and artificially textured "vegetables", and varies in quality from "edible" to "actually quite good". "Fresh" is real food, fresh fruit and veg, naturally grown grains and real (though quite likely vat- or aquarium-grown) meat and fish. "Fresh" is a near-unattainable luxury to most of the world's population, and cooking "fresh" is an artform few people bother to master.
  • Futuristic Jet Injector: The jet injection technology is directly inspired by Star Trek to the point that the injection devices have the street nickname of "Bones McCoy".
  • Gaia's Lament: The world's in pretty rough shape in the near future. A good chunk of the American Midwest is undergoing desertification and the rain is more acidic than not. Meanwhile loss of the ozone layer is so serious that cities in Scandinavian countries had to be placed under plastic domes to protect people from the Sun's UV rays and trees in Europe have to be sprayed to protect them from acid rain. The world's fauna also took a major hit, thanks to the aforementioned environmental devastation and several wildlife-borne diseases that not only further reduced the population but also resulted in several human pandemics which were met with sanctioned exterminations in an attempt to stem the tide. As a result, by 2077, several previously common species of wildlife in the former United States are all but extinct.
  • Gang of Hats: Most of the gangs in Night City have a theme, from the DJs to the Juillard to the Bozos. The Bozos are a gang that's had themselves biosculpted into clowns. Those big red noses? Real. Those big floppy shoes? Their feet.
  • History Repeats: For anyone who is knowledgeable in regards to Japanese history, then they will see very stark parallels between the Empire of Japan and the Arasaka Corporation. Both were created as a counter to Western aggression; both saw massive industrial and technological growth in a short hundred years; both became a dominate super power in the same regions of the world; and both of them started a war with America who they had little hope of winning against.
    • Japan was also completely dependent on The Arasaka Corporation for their economic stability. In the third rule set, after The Arasaka Corporation was destroyed, Japan fell into a total recession. Which has basically turned Japan from a relatively prosperous First World country, to a Third World one in less than a year. What makes this worse however, is that Japan has no reliable outside assistance to help rebuild their economy this time. Meaning that Japan was effectively kicked right back into the Dark Ages without any safety net.
  • Hidden Backup Prince: Queen Victoria II of the UK, known in real life as Princess Beatrice, was the ninth successor to the throne before the country went under martial rule following an armed rebellion by Scotland, an opportunity used by the military rulers to assasinate the royal family. Victoria and her sister survived by being sent to the USA before things went sour.
  • Irony: The genetically engineered grain that is the foundation of CHOOH-2 production is actually not only more nutritious than nearly all other grains, but is also very tasty and makes excellent bread. However, the demand for CHOOH-2 means that no-one, not even corporate heads, can actually afford to eat itnote 
  • I Love Nuclear Power: The supplement Home of the Brave mentions how the US Navy counts beside nuclear-powered carriers with four nuclear-powered battleshipsnote .
  • I Meant to Do That: Explicitly mentioned as part of the attitude edgerunners need to have: anyone can walk into a bar with a gun, but a true Cyberpunk needs to walk in with a gun and an attitude that explicitly says "don't fuck with me" to survive. Cool is a stat in this game, and represents how you handle yourself in good and bad situations.
  • Japan Takes Over the World: Played with, surprisingly enough. Many of the megacorporations are wholly or partially owned by the Japanese, but the European Union has become the dominant superpower, with euros in use as the new global currency. Played Straight in Night City as a setting where the Japanese made and controlled Arasaka Corporation's grip on Night City tightens after the 4th Corporate War, until 2077 where they literally have a whole section of the city dedicated to their facilities. Though depending on ending this may begin to shift away from them.
  • Just a Flesh Wound: Averted. Combat is deadly, and every time a character takes damage, they have to determine if they succumb to shock and black out or find the willpower to keep going. The best armor in the world will only protect you so long: eventually, a shot is getting through, and if you're not ready for it with the appropriate stats and some lucky rolls, you're down and out. Even the most basic pistol can trigger shock with a single bullet.
    • Played close to straight in the Red ruleset. While there are penalties to all actions when a character loses half of their HP, an ordinary hit won't do anything other than just do damage to HP - and those are plenty enough that, especially with armor, an average character can usually take a few hits from 9mm bullets with no big problems. Though any hit that rolls two or more sixes for damage (a chance for all but the lightest melee weapons) does risk taking a body part out of commission until someone with medical training can get to it.
  • Land Down Under: Australia is very much a confused and divided country in 2020. Not only is it physically divided between the Federal Republic and the Republic of West Australia, but divided between foreign-owned investments and the slums. Feuding gangs are also divided along ethnic lines.
  • Long-Runners: Cyberpunk was first published in 1988, and the most recent edition, Cyberpunk Red, was published in 2020 (and there are still supplements coming out as of 2022).
  • Magnetic Weapons: The ESA has a mass driver on the moon which they use to keep the peace.
  • Mechanical Muscles: "Fleshweave" cyberlimbs are disturbing prosthetics designed to look like the obviously mechanical parts are growing out of the user's natural limbs. The "full conversion" cyborg the Gemini had the entire body replaced except for the brain. The artwork was a cut-away with the metal parts made to resemble a normal human's muscles.
  • Mega-Corp: Plenty; This IS Cyberpunk after all. One of (if not the) largest has to be Arasaka, who unfortunately is also quite evil. Others Mega-Corp's include Militech, the International Electric Corporation, the Lazarus Group, Petrochem and SovOil.
  • Min-Maxing: A common fan criticism is that the game's "Character Role" class system (which gives certain starting skill sets and unique abilities to characters of a certain class) leads to balance issues, the most frequent being that Solos (aka: mercenaries) are the only viable character types for combat situations (thanks to their special ability which gives bonuses to their spot checks and initiative rolls), and that consequently most Solo builds end up looking very similar (high Reflex attributes & combat skills + low social skills + reflex boosting augmentations). As a result, a number of fan-made rule modifications exist that remove the Character Roles entirely and allow players to build characters from scratch, similar to Cyberpunk's chief rival, Shadowrun. However, the sourcebook explicitly states that an adventure should be less about combat and more about story, and the Referee should make everyone in an adventure feel like they are contributing. That being said, Solos are intended to be combat masters, likely cyber'd up to the gills with low humanity and a literal hair-trigger temper, so it can be argued that they're actually shoehorned into the role, rather than dominating the gameplay. It's worth noting that Solos are experts at combat and everything to do with fighting- so while they're dangerous in combat, they suck at everything else. This means that while Solos can start and finish fights, they are poor at avoiding them, pushing situations away from combat, and dealing with the (often messy) aftermath.
    • In the fluff, Morgan Blackhand argues against this trope, pointing out that while most solos believe that all they need to be able to do is push violence, and that they can just bully the nerds into dealing with the technical stuff, not knowing how your cybernetics, i.e. your body works and exactly what you've put into it is a Bad Thing, and no solo is going to intimidate anyone when that super-reflex-boosting cybernetic spine of theirs decides to seize up.
  • Mobile City: Road Cities came around after biker gangs became extremely popular, with campers and caravans eventually being traded for this trope. The faction in-game is known as the Rolling State.
  • Nuke 'em: The Mideast Meltdown of 1997 resulted in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Chad and the UAE being turned into radioactive slag.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Reflex and Empathy. Reflex so that you can shoot first, faster, and more accurately than anyone else, and Empathy because that increases the amount of cyberware you can implant into yourself before going cyberpsycho. Solos have a profession skill which is added on top of reflexes for combat initiative. Combat rounds usually go "solos first, then everyone else".
  • Organ Theft: There are rules for selling organs to organ banks and there is mention of an organ lottery. Officially, you need a deceased donor card to donate organs and get a reward, but this can be faked rather easily.
  • Post-Peak Oil: Subverted. Demand for petroleum sank as CHOOH-2 replaced gasoline and diesel as the fuels of choice. However, petroleum is still a valuable raw material for producing all manner of chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and SovOil is considered a Mega-Corp pretty much on the size and value of its untapped oil deposits alone.
  • Poverty Food: Kibble. Kibble is a foodstuff that takes its name from having the exact smell, taste and texture of the dog food with the same name even if Cyberpunk RED suggests it has other tastes. Kibble is nutritionally complete, and it is possible to live on indefintely, but everything about it makes you wish you hadn't. Most people who aren't utterly destitute opt for the more palatable low-end "prepacks". They might consist of a food paste that resembles instant ramen-flavored sealing foam, but at least they aren't kibble.
  • Pocket Rocket Launcher: The game features gyrojet weaponry, and its upgraded variant, ramjet weaponry, which uses a rocket to get the projectile up to speed until the ramjet can take over, increasing its bullet speed and damage. By ''Cybergeneration,'" Gyrojet weapons have become a standard firearm alongside regular lead-spitters (the Hand Wave being that technology has finally advanced enough to iron out the weapon's inherent bugs). Two advantages the weapon has is the capacity to launch a variety of warheads (including of course high explosives) and that they are conventionally set to "fire-and-forget" mode.
    • In the Cyberpunk rebranding, mini-missile launchers are a ubiquitous heavy weapon of the setting, available both as a regular weapon and as an option for cybernetic limbs.
  • Powered Armor: Two types in the form of ACPA and Hardsuits (Heavy armor with an exoskeleton for support.) Linear Frames are essentially unarmored powered exoskeletons that are clunky to operate without a man-machine interface port.
  • Private Military Contractors: Militech and Arasaka, with the Lazarus Group being a fully fledged private army.
  • Psycho Serum: A wide variety of ones to choose from, ranging from relatively mild ones like Slammer (temporarily increases speed and reduces intelligence) to really nasty stuff like Black Lace (turns you into a super-fast berserker and causes permanent mental damage, potentially driving you crazy.)
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The supplement Deep Space allows adventures to be run on the final frontier. It's a hard science fiction with almost all the technologies featured there either existing in Real Life (chemical and ionic drives) or having been researched but cancelled (nuclear propulsion), and touching issues as the effects of microgravity on the human body and the finiteness of the speed of light (read: radio communications) among others. It also mentions some elements have been simplified for game purposes.
  • Regional Redecoration: After the Mideast Meltdown of 1997, most of the region was reduced to radioactive glass-like fields.
  • Retcon: Cyberpunk Red removes Cyberpunk v3 and its apocalypse setting in favor creating a prequel setting for Cyberpunk 2077. However, it will reintroduce some of the technology that was previously established in Cyberpunk v3's rulebook as well as new technology from the real world that's been developed since then such as 3D printed pistols.
  • Reversible Roboticizing: "Fleshing out" is a possible operation, whether by Brain Uploading in a clone or grafting the brain (who was usualy conserved during the Full Body Conversion) in a human body, though it might be dangerous if the brain is rejected.
  • Roguish Romani: The Nomads are those who took to the open road after the Collapse (of U.S. society). Over time they took on a number of stereotypical Romani traits because of their situation. They are hated, feared, distrusted and misunderstood by "statics" (those who don't travel around), they're divided up into clans, and two ways they make money are criminal acts (including con games and theft) and entertaining the "statics" with carnivals. The Romani themselves are one of the major components of Nomad culture, and the other Nomads have adopted many of their ways.
  • Shout-Out:
  • The Plague: The backstory mentions several examples of it, most notably a variant of AIDS transmitted through air and the known as "Wasting Plague".
  • The Sociopath: Low Empathy characters are assumed to be this or something similar. Low Humanity characters are this, either temporarily or permanently.
  • Squad Nickname: The C-SWAT,note  PSYCHE-DIV, CYBEnforcement, and MAX-TAC note  are all colloquially known as "(Cyber) Psycho Squads" as they are special police squads who capture rogue cyberpsychos and who are just barely cyberpsychotic themselves, some of whom are rehabilitated cyberpsychos.
  • Super Reflexes: Combat in the setting is set up to be won by whoever gets to go first in a turn, due to its overwhelming lethality. As such, a number of augmentations exist to improve a character's initiative roll and you would have to be crazy not to take them.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Starting combat by delivering your character’s Catchphrase or a (potential) Pre-Mortem One-Liner under the Friday Night Firefight rules doesn’t end your round.
  • Transferable Memory: Through the use of an Alternative Reality Process (colloquially referred to as "braindancing") people can record, edit and distribute tactile experiences to others - including the sensation of death. Those who experience a braindance resulting in death can have their own heart stop from just the visceral reaction.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Skillsofts, chips with software that conveys skill in certain areas as long as they're plugged in. There's two variants: skill chips and knowledge chips. Skill chips give you a bonus as long as they're slotted, but they override any actual skill you have and have a hard cap: the best (and most expensive) chips give a +3 bonus to a skill, but if you have a +4 or higher bonus naturally, the chip forces you back down to +3 at best. Knowledge chips give you a bonus to any non-physical skill (such as special lore or important history) and do stack with your natural skill, acting more like having an encyclopedia in your head that you can access at will.
  • Wandering Culture: The Nomads are descendants of the US citizens who chose not to reintegrate into the NUSA after the collapse of the original United States. Instead, they band together in large clans and rove the wastelands that span the space between megacities of North America in heavily-customized cars and trailers.
  • Zeerust: As of 2020, many of the elements depicted in Cyberpunk 2020 or even Cyberpunk 2013 still have yet to become reality while others have aged like milk. For this reason, the videogame adaptation had its date pushed towards 2077 and the new tabletop edition set in the period between 2035 & 2049.

Alternative Title(s): Cyberpunk 2020