-Biggest problem with cyberpunk is: The same way the gravity of superhero games pulls toward in-jokey parody and it takes a lot of set-up to resist, the gravity of cyberpunk games pulls toward dumb escapist "real life just cooler". Since I live in downtown LA (literally where Blade Runner was set, blocks from the Bradbury Building) in 2016 and everyone here is in porn or something and my girlfriend has so many essential tubes in her she technically is a cyborg, this is a very serious problem for both overall setting, character gen, and improvising details.
-Ok, I recognize the gear and brand porn is actually an important setting element: when your characters can casually throw around shared ideas like "oh that Fairlight Excalibur used to be hot shit back when people thought AIs were spinning pyramids made of grey cubes" it really does help make a future of disturbed hypercapitalism come to life. And also, it is interesting as a planning challenge to have a "right tools for the job" approach to weapons. On the other hand, I don't want a simulation of the experience of actually shopping. There are, just like in real capitalism, more weapons than there are proper niches for them. A sci fi game should have each niche:
Long range, light damage, narrow area of effect, slow rate of fire, hard to get (like a sniper rifle)
Short range, heavy damage, wide area of effect, slow rate of fire, easy to get (like a shotgun)
Medium range, heavy damage, narrow area of effect, high rate of fire, hard to get (like a machine gun)
...and every other possible variation on those categories super-clearly laid out. Plus nonlethal weapons like a net gun and weird ones like the one that sends you to dimension 3 or sprays mutagen everywhere or whatever. And if you want to add a shopping-simulating mechanic (like some are cheaper but less reliable, etc) then ok. But actually having to have system mastery in order to get the non-trap weapon should not be a thing.
The reason I don't think this has ever happened is very few game writers are simultaneously old school enough to realize the legitimate world=building and tactical planning purpose of gear porn while also being innovative enough to cut away the parts of gear porn that exist because of sheer inertia. Any game mechanic which rewards having read the manual more carefully is evil.
-Like sex, hacking is more exciting in real life than it is in a game, even when you dress it up so it looks better and involves more robots.
Moreover, computers are kind of boring in general.
-It is definitely fun--and genuinely a challenge of invention--to make up dystopic, satirical versions of places in the actual world. That's fun. That is the tempting part.
-All the hippie shit has to go and you have to somehow make Shadowrun elves feel like elves without it. Which probably means many of them have to be immediately accepted very high into the power structure and establish their specialness right away.
-Do they have cyberware for critters yet? Because if you can't have a half-chrome cockatrice with Judas Priest cover claws what even is the point?
-Cyberpunk miniatures are terrrrrrrible by and large. The sheer volume of people trying to do it has resulted in sculptors able to produce medieval fantasy minis at a fairly high level of quality and the amount of money and talent Games Workshop aimed at them from the beginning has meant the 40k line has developed an idiom for their version of the future that looks pretty good but--as in life--reality is one of the hardest things to romanticize and generations of Cthulhu and Western and Shadowrun sculptors have fell flat on their faces churning out endless series' of grimacing big-headed knob-fisted humunculi that nobody wants a piece of.
-The current state of cyberpunk art in general is far advanced over the state of the art in actual Shadowrun books--which is only a problem as far as showing players the Shadowrun-specific stuff is supposed to look like, that is: the cyberelves and cybertrolls. But: that is a genuine hurdle. If you're gonna have orks, you want people playing them.
Julius Moessel (1871 - 1957)
3 months ago