Savagepunk 2020

This is a work in progress, attempting to recreate the feel of the setting of R. Talsorian's classic Cyberpunk 2020. The goal is to retain "Fast! Furious! Fun!" rather than doing a big clumsy conversion that might technically be more accurate to the subject matter. I figure, if you're playing Savage Worlds, it's cause you prefer SW's lighter system to CP2020's somewhat grittier mechanics - so I'll take care not to mess that up.


1.0 Cybernetics System (Links)

Here's two different possible systems for handling Cyberware in Savage Worlds.
  1. Cybernetics and Cyborg rules by C.A.Pryde, which utilize the Arcane Background system to simulate cybergear.
  2. Cybernetics System by r_b_bergstrom, which does not use the Arcane Background edge for cyberware.
The two systems are both good, but will result in somewhat differing styles of game. The first has the advantage of using tried-and-tested mechanics that are already familiar to the Savage Worlds GM. The second has the advantage of being a little closer to CP2020's conception of Cybernetics, and not just a form of magic with some high-tech trappings, but are a little more experimental and haven't been playtested fully. It's recommended the playgroup (or GM) pick one version to use for the campaign, rather than varying from PC to PC, as a mix-and-match approach might not prove balanced.

2.0 Skills

A cyberpunk-influenced game of Savage Worlds needs a couple of extra skills that aren’t on the normal savage skill list. These are Artistry, Computer, and Image.

2.1 Artistry (Spirit)

This skill governs composition, innovation and style for endeavors of the performing and visual arts. Consider it a gauge of talent and design sense. It does not convey an understanding of art history or musical styles (those would fall under various Knowledge skills), nor does it grant flawless virtuoso performance or photorealistic renderings (either of which is probably best handled by an Agility roll should they ever prove necessary in game). What Artistry does determine is how compelling your style is, and whether or not people think you’re cool. A successful roll of Artistry means the audience likes you. A roll with a raise or two grants you the metaphorical 15 minutes of fame, possibly including glowing reviews, future gigs, lucrative contracts and/or being hounded by the paparazzi as the GM sees fit.

2.2 Computer (Smarts)

This skill governs your ability to use, program, optimize and hack computers. It’s what you roll to break into the enemy datafortress, speed up your own processor, search for hidden files in memory, wipe a drive, or install new software. You can also use this skill to size up a computer system by sight, guessing its likely capabilities. The GM might allow a roll of this skill instead of lockpicking for opening computerized locks.
Internet information searches typically use Investigation, not Computer skill, as Investigation governs your ability to piece together clues and follow leads. If it’s a fairly simple fact-checking or database look-up (the equivalent of a quick google search or wikipedia visit) don’t even roll, just assume anyone with even d4 in Investigation, Computer or any relevant Knowledge can find it.

2.3 Image (Spirit)

This skill is all about what you wear, how you wear it, and how you carry yourself. It’s how you fit in, and how you stand out. It serves as a measure of how well you control your personal image, and also governs your taste in clothing, the size of your wardrobe and the extent of your acting and personal grooming skills. A successful roll of Image can catch someone’s eye, or, if you’d rather, it can hide you in a crowd. Any attempts to disguise yourself use this skill, as well.

In addition, a successful roll of Image just prior to any scene allows you to adjust your wardrobe and perceived style to match (or impress) the group you expect to interact with in that scene. Make the roll as you arrive at the scene’s location, and specify the group/organization/culture your roll applies to. If you succeed on the Image roll, you gain a temporary +1 bonus to your Charisma when interacting with that group. This assumes you have at least a casual awareness of the group. If you’ve been lied to or mislead about their personality or nature, the bonus can’t be used. If you interact with any groups that are radically different from how you've dressed yourself, the bonus becomes a penalty. Dressing to fit in with the Fashion Yakuza won’t do you any good on Posergang turf, or vice versa.

3.0 Professional Edges

Certain classic Cyberpunk character Roles (and the Special Abilities of those Roles) don't have an analog in standard Savage Worlds. Here's some new Professional Edges to empower you to play Cops, Rockerboys, Netrunners, and Medias.

3.1 Badge

(Professional Edge)
Requirements: Novice, Vigor d8+, Guts d8+,
You don’t just have police connections, you’re actually a part of the force. A character with this edge is a cop or a member of a licensed security service with the legal right to use deadly force. It functions like the Connections edge, but if you use these connections to commit a crime, the GM is free to make you the target of a nasty Internal Affairs investigation. In addition, you have a fancy badge you can waive around to make the riff-raff get into line. The authority and power invested in you by your law-enforcement credentials gives you a +2 bonus to rolls of Intimidate and Persuasion whenever the target of your rolls is afraid of being arrested.

3.2 Sway Audience

(Professional Edge)
Requirements: Novice, Spirit d6+, Artistry d8+, a positive Charisma modifier
Your artwork has been known to move people to action. While performing (or via a gallery show or other large exhibition) you can sway the crowd to your way of thinking. With a successful die roll, you can affect larger than normal groups of people. A success on an Artistry roll can affect up to 20 people, a raise brings that up to 100 people. Each additional raise doubles the size of audience you can affect.
You can get people to sing along, inspire the crowd to feel a strong emotion, or even provoke them to riot. Getting more precisely controlled action requires not only an Artistry roll, but also a Persuasion roll. The lower of the two rolls determines the maximum number of people influenced, following the scale sited above.
In order to have this impact, you must have an audience. If no one can see or hear your art or message, it will fail to move them. This is not magic.

3.3 Jacked In

(Professional Edge)
Requirements: Novice, Smarts d6+, Computer d8+, CyberEnhanced
You’ve undergone the necessary cybersurgery and neuroaugmentation to directly interface with computers. You have neural plugs and/or a short-range wireless interface. The upshot of this that you may give commands to computers via thought, rather than keyboard or mouse. You may interact with computers from several feet away, not needing to sit in front of a monitor, and you have an internal heads-up-display of any computer you’re interacting with. What’s more, your reaction speed is much faster than those archaic hardware systems would ever have allowed.
You may take one extra action every round without penalty, but only if that action involves giving a command to a computer or rolling your Computer skill. Therefore you can monitor two computer programs at once, or even search a database while dodging bullets.

3.4 Investigative Reporter

(Professional Edge)
Requirements: Novice, Smarts d8+, Spirit d6+, Guts d8+, Image d6+, Artistry d4+
You’ve established your reputation as a hard-hitting reporter and champion of truth. Your regular column or special reports pull no punches in exposing corruption, incompetence, and evil amidst governments and corporations alike.
This gives you a +1 bonus on Persuasion, Intimidate, Streetwise and Taunt rolls. In order for the bonus to apply, you must be using the name that you publish under – you can’t be entirely anonymous and use your reputation at the same time. Should you make a public statement that is later proven false, you lose this benefit for about a month.
The other benefit of this Edge is that your editor or publisher has great confidence in you. You get a +2 bonus to any rolls you (or they) make to resist pressure to censor your work or pull you off of a case.

Conversion by r_b_bergstrom, based on Cyberpunk 2020 by R. Talsorian Games. No offense or challenge to copyright intended.