GANGS IN CYBERPUNK 2020
by Gary Astleford (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The article is a set of tables that allows you to create quickly some cool and individual gangs for the use in Cyberpunk 2020. Its tells you how big the gang is, what the focus, equipment and power of the gang is going to be.
You may roll the same gang type twice. This means that the gang in question is very narrow in its goals and its means of achieving them. This isn’t a bad thing at all, and it does nothing to make the gang more or less exciting, depending on how the GM interprets his results.
There is, however, a special case. If “Puppet Gang” is rolled, make a note of the result and roll on the chart twice more. The following two rolls indicate the Puppet Gang’s front – the type of gang people perceive them to be. If either of the two rolls result in “Puppet Gang” again, then it is common knowledge that the gang is, in fact, corporate owned and operated.
Note that not all gangs are evil, nasty, antisocial, and violent. Some are merely driven to such a course by outside influence and the pressure of the street. In addition, not all gangs are brought together because of poverty and lack of parental attentions. Imagine a gang made up of spoiled rich kids who douse vagrants with lighter fluid and set them on fire. Sound familiar?
Please note that in the case of Netrunner Gangs, “turf” could (and should) be expressed in Cyber-space terms. For example, the turf chart result “a couple of buildings” would be “a couple of data forts” or netspace bulletin boards, while “two or three city blocks” would be “two or three city grid squares”.
There are six charts used in creating a gang. This section details what each chart means, and how the results could be interpreted.
The “Gang Type Chart” is the heart of the creation process. By rolling on this chart, you’ll be deciding exactly what your gang’s motives might be, what they look like, and what they do. The chart is quite flexible, with each entry being intentionally general.
The “Average Members Age” chart gives you an idea of how old the average gang member is. Younger gang members are liable to be less experienced than their old counterparts. Note that the result of this chart indicates the AVERAGE age, and that it is quite possible that older or younger members do exist within the gang.
Next, we come to the “Gang Age” table. This one will give you a general idea on how long the gang has been around. Older gangs tend to control more turf and have a larger number of members than younger gangs, though this isn’t always the case.
The “Member Chart” tells you how many members a gang has indoctrinated into its ranks.
The “Turf Chart” indicates how much territory within a city that the gang has control of. Gangs must constantly defend their turf from the depredations of other gangs, police, and angry citizens. A gang with lots of turf and few members may have trouble keeping it all under their control.
Lastly, the “Expansion Chart” will give you some idea as to how far the gang in question has spread from its native city. Most gangs will remain confined to one city, but some can grow large enough to branch out and expand their territory on a county-, state-, or nation-wide scale. You have been warned.
Remember that these charts are only here as a guide. If the dice roll a result that you don’t care for, or if you feel you can’t go anywhere due to the randomness of the tables, don’t be afraid to pick the entries you want. After all, this is all about having a good time, remember? Don’t stress on it.
Gang Type Chart
(Roll 1d100 Twice)
|01 – 10||Booster Gang – cybered-up, cyberpsychotic thugs.|
|11 – 20||Chromers – chromatic rock fans.|
|21 – 25||Combat Gangs – street “warriors”.|
|26 – 30||Drug Gangs – dealers, makers, & takers of drugs.|
|31-33||Eco-Gangs – localized eco-terrorists.|
|34 – 36||Exotic Gangs – flaunting far-out biosculpts.|
|37 – 43||Go Gangs – skaters, bikers, & speed racers.|
|44 – 48||Guardian Gangs – guardian angels of the streets.|
|49 – 52||Netrunner Gangs – tight-knit hackers & data thieves.|
|53 – 55||Nihilist Gangs – it’s better to burn out than to fade away…|
|56 – 59||Nostalgia Gangs – groups who dream of yesteryear.|
|60 – 66||Party Gangs – futuristic ravers and party animals.|
|67 – 71||Political Gangs – militant political activists.|
|72 – 75||Poser Gangs – walking in someone else’s shoes.|
|76 – 78||Prank Gangs – street comedians who get the last laugh.|
|79 – 82||Puppet Gangs – corporate controlled youth.|
|83 – 88||Racist Gangs – preaching the superiority of the master race.|
|89 – 94||Taggers – using territorial pissings of spray paint to mark turf.|
|95 – 98||Theo-Gangs – oh yes, He’s testing us! He’s testing us..!|
|99 – 00||Uni-Sex Gangs – futuristic bra-burners and male chauvinists.|
Gang Age / Average Members Age
(Roll 1D10) (Roll 1D10)
|1-4||New, Active 1-12 Months. -2 on Member Chart||1||13 years old|
|5-7||Young, Active 1-4 Years. -1 on Member Chart||2-3||15 years old|
|8-9||Middle Aged, Active 5-10 Years. +0 on Member Chart||4-7||17 years old|
|10||Old, Active 10-20 Years. +1 on Member Chart||8-9||19 years old|
|(Proceed to the Member Chart)||10||21 years old (Note that senior members of a gang may be much older)|
(Roll 1D10 + Modifiers from Gang Age Chart)
|0||Tiny Gang, 1-5 Members. -3 on Turf Chart|
|1||Small Gang, 6-10 Members. -2 on Turf Chart|
|2-5||Mid-Sized Gang, 11-25 Members. -1 on Turf Chart|
|6-8||Large Gang, 26-50 Members. +0 on Turf Chart|
|9||Huge Gang, 51-100 Members. +1 on Turf Chart|
|10+||Gigantic Gang, 101+ members. +2 on Turf Chart (Proceed to the Turf Chart)|
Turf Chart / Expansion Chart
(Roll 1D10 + Modifiers from Member Chart) (Roll 1D6 + Modifiers from Turf Chart)
|0||No Turf. -4 on Expansion Chart||0-3||No External Growth, Confined To One City.|
|1-2||Couple of Buildings. -3 on Expansion Chart||4||Influence in Adjacent City/Town.|
|3-5||1 City Block. -2 on Expansion Chart||5||Influence in 2 or 3 Cities in Same Region.|
|6-8||2 or 3 City Blocks. -1 on Expansion Chart||6+||Influence in Four to Six Cities Nationwide.|
|9||4 to 6 City Blocks. +0 on Expansion Chart|
|10+||7 to 10 City Blocks, Boltholes Everywhere. +1 on Expansion Chart|
(Proceed to the Expansion Chart)
This is your standard cyberpunk street gang. Usual traits include random acts of violence and excessive cyberware installation, riding the “Edge” towards psychosis.
Chromatic rock fans. Prone to idolization of rock stars. Each gang tends to revolve around a specific band or star. Not usually violent (as compared to Boosters), but gang ethics are usually dictated by the attitudes of the worshipped band.
These guys aren’t violent for the sake of violence – they just like to kick ass, preferably against willing opponents, though this isn’t always the case. Most often, they restrict weapons to “honorable” ones (i.e., knives, etc.) and are as likely to go toe-to-toe with boosters as another combat gang. Many street solos find their beginnings in combat gangs.
These lowlives buy, sell, and/or manufacture drugs. Sample groups might include anything from psychedelic cults spaced out on love, to violent meth-heads with dealers all over town.
Environmentalists gone bad. Also includes animal rights activists. Such gangs use radical tactics to get their points across. They’re not all violent and mean (some just get together to go hiking), yet a good deal of the more publicized ones are no better than localized eco-terrorists.
Akin to poser gangs, exotic gangs lean towards the use of exotic biosculpts. Some gangs use animals as a topic for self-expression, while others go for the truly weird (i.e., Martians, mythical beasts, etc.).
These gangs are mobile, whether they use motorcycles, BMX bicycles, skateboards, roller-blades, etc. The go-gang category represents anything from a tight knit group of skaters, Yakuza-sponsored bosozoku, or hillbillies in monster trucks.
These types of gangs protect the weak from the tyranny of other gangs, corporate forces, and law enforcement agencies. They aren’t always well-armed, preferring to utilize martial arts or handguns to get the job done. While usually scrupulous, they can sometimes lose sight of their goals and become no better than just another combat gang. Some actually extort money from the local citizens that they “protect”.
Yes, you’ve read that right. Staking out their turf within the confines of city grids, netrunner gangs are almost exclusively Net-based. Most deal in the free distribution of data and code, though “free” doesn’t always mean that there is no cost. Other groups are software pirates, rogue programmers, or cyberspace “taggers”, using virtual cans of spraypaint to deface datafortress walls.
Members of nihilist groups like to go out in a big bang. They believe that since death is inevitable, existence is futile. Therefore, they will go to great lengths to make their deaths as flashy and destructive as possible. While these gangs have a great tendency for destruction, most don’t last very long since members are constantly dying.
These guys are similar to posers, but without the extensive biosculpts. They try to keep the memories of an idealized past alive, fictional or otherwise. Some slick back their hair, dress like James Dean, and drive ’50’s muscle cars. Others dress like cowboys or wear medieval costumes and wave swords around. Mostly harmless.
These guys want to have a good time, and are more than likely the hedonists of the gang world. They might be considered the “ravers” of the 21st century. Typically, they move as a group from party to party, or create their own decadence in a warehouse downtown, with or without permission. As recreational drug use is pretty common, most of the members burn out or O.D. eventually.
These gangs set a specific political standard or goal for themselves, be it fascism, communism, world peace, neo-luddism, etc. They just want to get their point across, even if you don’t want to hear it. While not normally violent, some groups have resorted to common terrorist tactics.
Posergangs use extensive biosculpts to impersonate celebrities and/or characters from the past or present. Most gangs revolve around a specific topic (dead presidents, serial murderers, etc.) or serial (“Gilligan’s Island”, “Hellraiser”, or the ever popular “Brady Bunch”). Members are typically brainwashed, and are expected to completely become their new persona.
These guys play jokes on people. Not everyone, however, will find their jokes amusing. Some jokes are downright dangerous to the victims involved, while others are mostly harmless.
Specifically, puppet gangs are corporate controlled and sponsored, usually secretly. Corporations use them to distribute experimental drugs, test new weapons, and to neutralize threats on the street. Genuine gangs tend to hate puppets. Some puppet gangs are supported so covertly that only the highest ranking members know who’s pulling their strings.
Any gang that advocates hatred of other races, cultures, and creeds, while maintaining the superiority of their own. Examples could include the famed “Black Panthers” or the more infamous “Nazi Skinheads”.
Taggers are gangs that use graffiti to “tag” or deface a location. Usually, this type of vandalism takes the form of the gang’s sign or initials painted or carved onto a surface that will be seen by a lot of people. In addition to stock taggers, there are also several groups who paint elaborate and striking murals on walls and sidewalks. Most building and business owners don’t take kindly to kids defacing their property, and some taggers have taken to carrying weapons in addition to spray paint.
Any gang that expresses any religious and/or “cultish” behavior is a theo-gang. These gangs can include such diverse factions as the anti-cyberware neo-luddite “Inquisitors”, to right-wing Christian “fundies” who stand on street corners preaching the evils of role-playing games and planning midnight raids on 7-11 porno racks. Most groups attempt to spread their version of salvation peacefully (“Hari Krishna” gangs come to mind), but others attempt to root out the heretics and force them to convert or die.
This includes any gang that expresses a sexual restriction on its members, such as exclusively male or female gangs, for any number of reasons. These reasons include a core belief in the superiority of one sex over the other (i.e., sexism, such as “The He-Man Woman-Hater’s Club” of Little Rascals fame), or a bias in the members’ sexual orientation (i.e., an exclusively homosexual gang).
The following gangs were created using the charts above, as well as a bit of my own twisted imagination. It is suggested that individual CP2020 game masters incorporate Threat Levels and Threat Codes (see the “Night City Sourcebook”, pages 40-41), as well as stats for the “average” gang member. Remember that the number of possible gang ideas is nearly infinite, limited only by your imagination.
Gang Name: Wayne’s Children Type: Poser/Party Gang Average Member’s Age: 21 years Gang Age: 16 years (Old) Members: Between 15 and 20 Turf: 4 City Blocks Expansion: 3 more chapters, nationwide Tag: A Cartoonish Globe
Notes: “Wayne’s Children” is a poser gang that bases itself off of a series of films from the late 20th century titled “Wayne’s World” and ist sequels. The gang’s members, lead by the infamous “Wayne” and his right-hand man, “Garth”, pose as characters from the films. Gang ideals revolve around having a good time and avoiding any corporate influence. The gang is in a constant state of flux, as the old “Waynes” and “Garths” either move on, lose status, or die from drug overdose. The gang (and its other chapters) run pirate television shows by patching into local public broadcasting systems. The shows are fairly banal, and revolve around either sexy women (“Schwing!”) or the latest chromatic rock hit.
Gang Name: Daughters of Eve Type: Uni-Sex/Theo Gang Average Member’s Age: 19 years Gang Age: 2 years (Young) Members: 8 Turf: A Couple of Buildings Expansion: None Tag: An Apple With a Bite Taken Out of It
Notes: The “Daughters of Eve” is a religious gang with very little tolerance for the male sex. Members believe that Eve was actually created before Adam, in God’s image (i.e., female). They also believe that Jesus Christ was actually a woman, that all angels in Heaven are women, and all demons and devils in Hell are men. They trace female oppression to the time of the crucifixion of Christ, and that God’s word was twisted when Satan attempted to wrestle power from Her. The gang has very little hold on any territory, though they have restored a church and converted it to their tastes. They are constantly looking for converts, preferably virgins who have not been spoiled by male corruption. It is a general gang belief that God will gift the purest of Her followers with an immaculate conception, and that the new messiah will be born and lead her followers to glory against the masculinity of Hell.
Gang Name: Snowboyz Type: (Puppet) Drug/Booster Gang Average Member’s Age: 17 years Gang Age: 10 months Members: 22 Turf: Five City Blocks Expansion: None Tag: A Stylized Razorblade on a Chain
Notes: The “Snowboyz” are a Drug/Booster gang sponsored by Arasaka’s Pharmaceuticals Division. While a fairly young gang, due to their corporate backing, they have expanded quickly within the city, controlling a large part of the drug sales in the combat zone. Many of the drugs they distribute are experimental cocktails produced by Arasaka, which the gang claims are their own wicked designs. While most members are under the age of 18, the top echelon are in their mid- to late-twenties, sculpted to look and sound as young as the rest of the group. The gang as a whole is supplied with plenty of black cyberware and automatic weapons to defend their territory.