A dark cyberpunk cityscape, with two human figures in the foreground.

Cyberpunk RED Frequently Asked Questions

Our Cyberpunk RED Frequently Asked Questions page features the answers to the questions we had while prepping for our Cyberpunk RED campaign, as well as the questions people asked us once they found out we were playing the game. Looking for more cyberpunk goodness? Check out our Cyberpunk RED resources page and our Cyberpunk RED Screamsheets page.

Cyberpunk RED FAQ Menu

Is Cyberpunk RED good?

Yes.

Whether it is good for you and your group depends on you and your gaming group’s preferences and expectations. RED’s rules are an echo of an earlier, crunchier era of role-playing. The game’s core mechanic – roll a d10, add some modifiers, compare it to a target number – is easy to grasp. It gets more interesting (or complicated) as you add in cyberware, different kinds of weapons, and more complex combat scenarios.

It’s a game where different guns are optimized for different ranges, with pistols and shotguns best in close quarters, and assault rifles and sniper rifles best at long range. It’s intuitive, but it adds mechanical complexity and a need for game masters to thoughtfully plan out their battle fields so that players can take advantage of their weapons’ sweet spots (or not).

The game represents a downgrade from the tech of Cyberpunk 2077, so players expecting to recreate the video game setting will be disappointed. This is particularly true of netrunning; in 2045 there is no quick hacking; netrunners need to jack into a network with their cyberdecks and navigate an “architecture” to co-opt system. RED also has much more of a post-apocalypse feel to it, with many regions of the United States cutoff from one another in the aftermath of a massive corporate war.

Fans of earlier iterations of the RPG will find RED more streamlined than its predecessors, but that may have eliminated complexity that they appreciated.

The one downside to Cyberpunk RED is the organization of the rulebook, which isn’t labeled intuitively:

  • Character creation is cryptically labeled “Fitted for the Future”
  • The general rules section is titled “Getting it Done”
  • The combat section is called “Friday Night Firefight”

There are also no visual indicators (like colored borders) to help differentiate the sections and the index tends toward Cyberpunk RPG jargon rather than player-friendly generic terms (e.g. “improvement points” instead of “experience)

All of this keeps with Cyberpunk’s previous naming conventions, but it makes learning the game (and the book) harder for new players. These quibbles aside, it’s a fun game that does a solid job of capturing its signature dark future.

How do I get started with Cyberpunk RED?

The fastest, cheapest way is the free Cyberpunk RED Easy Mode, a PDF available through DriveThruRPG that includes the basic rules (minus netrunning), a history of the Cyberpunk world and Night City, pre-gen characters, and a scenario. There is also the older Cyberpunk RED Jumpstart Kit (aka Starter Kit) but 1) it’s sold out and 2) it features an older, pre-Cyberpunk RED full release version of the rules.

The core Cyberpunk RED rule book expands on Easy Mode and the Jumpstart Kit, with the missing netrunning rules as well as more weapons, gear, and everything else needed to run a campaign. It also includes an intro scenario.

Where can I find Cyberpunk RED actual plays or streaming games?

R. Talsorian Games maintains an Actual Play List for all of their games (Witcher, Cyberpunk RED, etc.). Here are some of our favorites:

How many roles are there in Cyberpunk RED?

There are ten roles (which are like character classes in Dungeons & Dragons).

  • Rockerboys: Charismatic rebels with or without a clue, your choice. Their role ability is “Charismatic Impact” which lets them recruit fans … and then manipulate them to further the cause (or at least, the rockerboy’s ego).
  • Solos: The war machines of the Cyberpunk world specialize in getting into – and ending – fights. Their role ability is “Combat Awareness”, a fluid ability that lets them pick various in-combat abilities that soak damage, recover from fumbles, get a bonus to initiative roles, make precision attacks, and more.
  • Netrunners: The only character capable of hacking network architectures, Netrunners have the “Interface” role ability. With the ability, they can command computers and electronics as well as retrieve secure data.
  • Techs: If it’s broke, they’ll fix it. And if it’s fixed … they may break it. Techs are the tinkers of Cyberpunk RED. Their “Maker” role ability let’s them create, repair, hack, and upgrade items.
  • Medtechs: Cyberpunk RED is so deadly that many crews actively avoid combat. Those who take damage are at serious risk of a critical injury or death. For a combat-heavy crew, Medtechs could be the difference between survival and rolling up new characters. The Medtech “Medicine” role ability lets theme specialize in surgery, pharmaceuticals, or cryosystems.
  • Medias: Someone’s got to ask the tough questions; in the Time of the Red, that’s the Medias job. When they start out, they may only have a neighborhood-level following, but as they level up, they can become city-wide celebrities. Their “Credibility” role ability helps them convince people of the truth (or at least, their truth) as well as picking up rumors and sniffing out hidden information.
  • Execs: The ones who get things done. Executives work for the corporations and excel at getting crews to work together. Their “Teamwork” ability exchanges loyalty to a corporation for a nice suit, free housing (a big deal in RED), corporate insurance, and even their own team members.
  • Lawmen: Law enforcement is in dire straights in 2045. The NCPD still exists, but its ranks are diminished. There’s also a ton of corporate – and ex-corporate – security officers providing backup for Execs, celebrities, and whomever else has the right amount of Eurobucks. Their “Backup” role ability lets them summon like-minded Lawmen to help out in a fight or confrontation.
  • Fixers: The ones with the connections. If you need to find someone, locate some gear, get a job, or hire someone for a job, they’re your people. Their role ability is “Operator” which allows them to work their network for contacts and clients, establishes their ability to acquire increasingly rare gear, and helps them grease the wheels of commerce and conversation.
  • Nomads: Transportation is at a premium in 2045. With the national highway grid smashed, interstate commerce falls largely to the Nomads, traveling clans that get goods from one place to another. The Nomad’s “Family Motorpool” role ability gives them access to a variety of different vehicles.

Can I run a Cyberpunk 2077 campaign with the Cyberpunk RED rules?Can I run a Cyberpunk 2077 campaign with the Cyberpunk RED rules?

Sort of. Cyberpunk RED is set in 2045, which is 20 years after Johnny Silverhand nuked Arasaka Tower and 32 years before the events of the 2077 video game.

Tech levels in the Time of the Red (named for the red skies and fallout from the Fourth Corporate War) are lower than in the earlier Cyberpunk 2020 RPG and the later 2077 setting. Characters can’t quick hack enemies or devices. Instead they have to jack into a network and seize control of its nodes to be able to hack cameras, drones, and defense.

The lower tech level means fewer high-end cyber implants and other high-tech toys. Even vehicles are at a premium (most characters are assumed to not have a vehicle).

The Cyberpunk RED rules are pretty straightforward, but it would require a fair amount of development by game masters to achieve the tech level and feel of a 2077-era game.

R. Talsorian announced the Cyberpunk Edgerunners Mission Kit, which is currently in development and will serve as a starter set for roleplaying in 2077. It also promises that “existing players of Cyberpunk RED will get their first glimpse into the cyberware, firepower, and netrunning skills of the 2077 era.”

That implies we won’t get a full set of 2077-compatible rules with the mission kit, but it may be enough to bootstrap such a campaign.

Which Virtual Tabletops (VTT) support Cyberpunk RED?

There are several options.

Where can I find Cyberpunk RED battle maps?

There are numerous companies and patron-based creators forging maps for Cyberpunk RED.

What tools can I use to make my own Cyberpunk battle maps?

There are several cyberpunk map making tools available:

  • Arkenforge provides a cyberpunk tool set for 2D battle maps. The art style is a little cartoony/sci-fi-ish, but gets the job done.
  • DungeonFog also creates 2D cyberpunk. battle maps. Their art style hews more to the dark future vibe of Cyberpunk RED.
  • Chronos Builder includes cyberpunk assets as part of the base packaged. While still in beta, the tool is capable to rendering 3D or 2D maps. It’s built in AI also populates those rooms with objects.
  • TalesSpire is a combination mapmaker/virtual tabletop and also includes cyberpunk assets as part of the base tool. The learning curve is higher than other mapping tools/VTTs.

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A cyberpunk city scape by Anselm Ziolonka. Credit: R. Talsorian Games

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