Cyberpunk RED is the newest pen and paper RPG by R. Talsorian Games released on August 1, 2019. It is meant to be the latest edition of the Cyberpunk RPG to coincide with the release of the video game Cyberpunk 2077, and bridge the time gap between the two games.
Very little information was released for the game in 2018 other than it would use the Interlock system. Later in 2020, they released a weekly update about the game that talked about some of the systems before it was released.
In June 2018, RTG reached out to the Cyberpunk community to get their opinions on potential artists to illustrate the upcoming edition. On November 14th, 2020, the digital version of the core rule book was released.
The book presents a streamlined version of the 2020 ruleset, and introduces some mechanics. The game replaces the health track with traditional hit points. However, this change can lead to characters being slightly spongy. To fix this problem, the game's armor SPs have been lowered, and a mechanic was added called the critical wound system. When rolling damage, if two 6's are rolled, your enemy takes 5 damage directly to their HP, and they receive a brutal injury that hurts their stats until they are healed by a skill check (check difficulty depends on injury.).
Weapons have also been streamlined. Instead of individually named weapons, the core book has medium pistol, heavy pistol, very heavy pistol, SMG, heavy SMG, assault rifle, sniper rifle, rocket launcher, etc. Melee weapons are the same way with light, medium, and heavy melee weapons. Basically, weapons are generic, and don't have specific names. The next type is exotic weapons. These weapons are too different to be in a category, such as The Mono-katana, the flamethrower, or the air-pistol. Each of them have their own effects and damage.
The economy has also been streamlined. Lifestyle and housing are simplified, and the game offers an easy fix for items that you are unsure of the price on it. For example, your players wanted to buy a program of your design, but you didn't figure out the price. You then consult a table, and decide that the program is in the "Super Luxury" category. So, you assign the price accordingly.
The lifepath system has been changed, so that it is purely for roleplay reasons, and it doesn't affect your starting stats or skills. There is an additional lifepath option that supplements the core lifepath. These supplementary lifepaths are for the pc's career, like where they work, who they work for, things they sell or create, etc.
Netrunning has been vastly improved from 2020. Netrunners, instead of sitting stationary and being detached from the game, have to wear VR goggles that project the Net over real life. This means that players can be with the rest of the party and run the Net at the same time. On their turn, a Netrunner can take a "meat" action, or a Net action. The Net is treated like an elevator. On each turn, the players can "Go down" a level of the Net architecture (which is the elevator.). Each level has a thing in it, such as a password, a piece of data, hellhound or other defense. Once they complete the "floor", they can descend to the next floor on their next turn. Once a Netrunner reaches the bottom of the Net, they completely descend the architecture and are done with it.
The book also includes a tremendous amount of lore, including the stories Never Fade Away, The Fall Of The Towers, and Black Dog. Each story is set in a different tie period. Never Fade Away is set in 2013 and establishes the tone and feel of the world of Cyberpunk. The Fall Of The Towers explains the operation inside the Arasaka HQ in Night City that ended with the nuke that blew up the Corporate Zone. Black Dog helps you get a feel of 2045, or the time of the Red.
The book is 400 pages long, and includes over 100 pieces of art.
An expansion called Black Chrome is in development, and a supplement for the Cyberpunk 2077 time period is rumored to be in development.
- Michaels, Kirin (2018, June 7). Art Suggestions for upcoming Cyberpunk Red?.
PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk Red Corebook. Kenmore, WA; R. Talsorian Games, 2020.
R. TALSORIAN GAMES. R. Talsorian Games Blog. rtalsoriangames.wordpress.com/cyberpunk. 2018