Variants on the Combat System in Cyberpunk 2020

Variants on the Combat System in Cyberpunk 2020

Author: M. Thomas a.k.a. Realityhack.


Alternate Damage System

Gun Licence

Armor (Corrects Chrome 4 Armor Costs.)

Alternate Damage System

Please note that in my games we use 2D10 for most rolls including skill rolls and saves. I chose this because it maintains simplicity and game speed while providing a nicer statistical distribution of results. Therefore the numbers presented may have to be altered for your game.

The main problem our group had with the Cyberpunk book system was that characters could throw on some common medium body armor and ignore a hail of 9 and 10mm bullets. This was resulting in unrealistic behavior and hurting role-playing. To remedy this we made two alterations.

First the standard 2020 armor values are multiplied by two-thirds. While this can be a pain to compute it is done before the game so it isn’t a big deal.

Secondly damage is divided into kill and bruise damage. This allows armor to stop the lethal damage of a bullet while passing on the less dangerous impact damage still hurting the character. I also think that it provides a more accurate representation of the results of bludgeoning attacks such as punches, kicks and clubbing that typically take huge numbers of attacks to kill and can be recovered from much more quickly than gunshots or stab wounds.

The system works as follows:

Kill damage refers to all firearms and knife damage as well as martial arts damage. As a rule this is the type of damage that tears open the victim and kills quickly.

Bruise damage is not as severe as it is basically bludgeon damage.

The standard Cyberpunk damage chart is replaced by a similar chart that has three additional boxes under each damage check box. Thus creating a four by four grid in each damage category. Kill damage is recorded horizontally and bruise damage is recorded vertically. If kill damage is taken the last point should be checked off all the way down the column to avoid confusion.

Armor changes Kill damage to Bruise damage up to its SP rating. Any remaining damage is taken as is. If taking bruise damage it stops up to its SP points of damage unless noted otherwise. If you take less than your armors SP rating in kill damage the leftover SP after converting from kill to bruise damage may be used to cancel bruise damage.


You have Armor with SP 8 at the target location. You take 8 Kill damage points. It becomes 6 bruise with 2 SP left which cancels 2 bruise points so the final damage before BTM is 4 bruise).

Note: If any kill damage penetrates the armor consider the bullet to have passed through the armor.

Body type modifier is used whenever damage is taken. If kill damage is taken the BTM acts as armor converting up to BTM points of damage to bruise. If bruise or stun damage is taken subtract its value from the damage taken. BTM can NOT reduce damage below 1 point. This should be explained as many people have discussed either scrapping BTM or using it for bruise damage only. As far as scrapping BTM I don’t see this as a good idea. If you look away from the middle of the bell curve look at a scrawny skinny guy and a huge body builder then imagine what their arms would look like the next day after you hit them with a lead pipe.

My experience is that significantly larger people can usually absorb at least a bit more impact than a small person without feeling the effects. As for the kill damage the larger person has more muscle to cut through before you hit something critical. While this won’t slow a bullet down much it will have some effect as muscle is torn apart instead of something more vital. However if you don’t like this try just using BTM for bruise damage and let me know how it goes.

We also use different numbers than 2020 for stun and death checks. These are recorded for convenience below the damage chart. Stun checks start on the third kill point at a -10 (making it easier) and go up by 2 each 2 kill points from there on. Death checks start on 9 kill points at -12 and also go up by 2 every 2 kill points from there. As for skill roll modifiers they start at 0 at 1 kill point and go up by 1 for every 2 kill points of damage.

In terms of tradeoffs this system is intended to keep things simple and fast, which I find important for maintaining the feeling of combat. Therefore it does not correct every minor flaw in the damage system. We decided to use the standard hit location charts as they are close enough to crime stats for game purposes. And as stated above we allow BTM for kill damage partly to keep the characters from becoming too paranoid and bogging down the game. As stated above if you use this system please post your experiences.

Also note if bruise damage penetrates the armor it is degraded 1SP. If kill damage penetrates the armor it is degraded 2SP.

Gun Licence

I had this player one time who wanted to get a LICENSE for his guns. No, really, this guy wanted to OBEY the law. So after a good laugh I came up with a system. Perhaps it could be of use with the forgery skill.

Class A

Owners Permit
Gun may not be removed from case in city limits unless inside licensed firing range or the owners domicile.

Class B

Carry Permit
Gun may be carried in an obvious unconcealed, and non-threatening manner within city limits excluding secure areas (ie. if you draw and point it at someone it will be considered brandishing a firearm)

Class C

Concealed Carry Permit
Gun may be carried concealed within city limits. With the exception of secure areas (ie the airport, government buildings etc.)

Class D

Restricted Carry Permit
Gun may be carried in an obvious unconcealed, and non-threatening manner within city limits to include secure areas

Class E

Restricted Concealed Carry Permit
Gun may be carried concealed within city limits to include secure areas.

Type 1

Semiautomatic pistols up to 9mm,
semiautomatic single shot rifles up to 4D6 and
up to 20 gauge semiautomatic non-clip fed shotguns.

Type 2

Semiautomatic pistols from 9mm up to 11mm,
semiautomatic rifles up to 5D6+1 and
semiautomatic non-clip fed shotguns from 20-12guage

Type 3

Semiautomatic pistols from 11mm to 14mm,
semiautomatic rifles from 5D6+1 to 7D6,
semiautomatic clip fed shotguns from 20 – 12 gauge and
semiautomatic non-clip fed shotguns from 12 – 10 gauge

Type 4

Automatic pistols sub-machineguns and rifles up to 5.56mm,
and auto-shotguns up to 12 gauge

Type 5

Automatic sub-machineguns and rifles in excess of 5.56mm (to exclude heavy weapons),
rifles in excess of 7D6,
auto-shotguns from 12 to 10 gauge and
semiautomatic shotguns in excess of 10 gauge

Type 6

Non-vehicular or mounted heavy weapons


Collector – this endorsement allows the bearer to own more than the maximum 10 weapons per individual. However the bearer is still limited to a maximum of one buy or sell in a given week.

Dealer – This is one of the hardest endorsements to obtain. It allows the bearer to exceed both the 10 gun limit and the 1per week buy/sell limit. The barer is still subject to these restrictions on their privat collection (eg dealer is class A only) and the dealers personal and dealer permits can be revoked for selling to an unlicensed customer or violating other regulations.

Gunsmith – this endorsement allows the user to service other individuals guns at a predestinated location (their shop). This is a type A only endorsement. There is a limit of 30 weapons per Gunsmith licensed individual at a location. Many Dealers carry the gunsmith endorsement. Note that many upgrades must be reported.

Experimental – This difficult to obtain endorsement allows the bearer to manufacture their own weapons. Any weapons created must be brought in for identification before they may be carried in any manner except as a Class A.

SA1 – Specialized ammunition one this endorsement allows the carry of armor defeating and hollow point ammunition.

SA2 – Specialized ammunition two this endorsement allows the carry of military grade specialized ammunition.

Getting a gun license in most jurisdictions involves first being 21 years old (The exception is a Type 1 Class A license which can often be obtained at 18), a 1 day gun safety course, a test on legal issues surrounding guns, a Blood sample from a Vein for a DNA ID (borgs have much more stringent requirements often involving the implantation of a homing tracer or explosive pack) fingerprinting, a mug shot, a through background check including other jurisdictions and Europe, a rudimentary sanity test that weeds out low EMP applicants (EMP 5-6 50% chance of passing EMP 1-4 automatically fails. Note: these numbers assume a 0-20 stat scale. In CP2020 terms EMP 1-2 fails, EMP 3= 50% chance) and then you have your stock 30-90 day waiting period.

In many jurisdictions you must first have a lower level license for 90days to a year before you may obtain the next level or endorsement. Also note that it is possible to have different levels of permit for different types of weapons. Also note that corporations and the government may circumvent these rules to varying degrees and there are those who don’t exactly have a license for what they use.


All guns must have their type, serial number, owner, and ballistic sample filed with the police.

Possession of a gun missing its serial number is a serious Felony.

All gun purchases and sales must be authenticated by the police.

All stolen arms must be reported immediately (inability to account for a firearm can result in being charged with crimes it was involved in, or as an accessory to those crimes)

Gun accidents are the responsibility of the registered owner unless the gun is previously reported stolen.

Some jurisdictions require 911 chipping on all registered guns. Others require a gun cam (it takes the picture a split second BEFORE the gun fires) tampering with these devices is a felony in such jurisdictions and can bring a lengthy prison sentence.

Private Property owners (such as the mega corp that owns the mallplex) may prohibit the possession of guns on their property.


I have heard some complaints regarding the new chrome 4 clothing system from players who believe that that even a designer label off the shelf stylish armorjack (such as a cryo-max) with a few options shouldn’t cost them 16-17 thousand Euro. I have also heard complaints that this new system makes older armors too inexpensive. There have been some attempts to correct this including Hound’s poorly thought out piece “chrome 4 armor revised&” in which he simply makes armored clothing extraordinarily expensive.

As I see it there are three problems one is that under the new system a high-end off the shelf jacket

Designer x4
Leather x2
Jacket 35eb
Edgerunner Styling x3
Light panels x5
Reactimesh x2
armored to SP16 x2

would cost (35x2x4x3x5x2x2)=16,800eb. About the same as a sportscar?

(Under Hound’s system this same jacket would cost 23,100eb).

The second problem is that under the new system a 100eb CP2020 sp10 t-shirt (vest if you read the description) costs only

25 vest
x1.5 armor
x1 average quality
x1 generic style =

37.50eb (I have no idea where hound got 32.50eb).

The third problem is that under either system armor stopping powers are far too high. A CP2020 Light armor vest (SP14) will stop a 9mm bullet cold (1pt penetrating) at point blank range (max damage). I like even well funded players to be afraid of guns described as “solid solo’s weapons”.

The system I have been using (see above) corrects the first two problems (I multiply SP by 2/3 and use a bruise damage system to take care of the third see my other post). Here is how it works.

I use the numbers directly out of Chrome 4 (keeps things kiss) but I multiply the base cost by quality and by any leather/natural fiber modifier, then add all of the other modifiers together, multiply by 100 and add this percentage on (sounds kind of complicated but its actually simple) ex.

The above Jacket would be

x2 for leather
x4 for designer

= 280eb + (3+5+2+2=12*100)=1200%
= 3640eb a much more reasonable price.

The SP10 vest would cost

25eb base + 250% (generic style 1 + Armor 1.5) = 87.5eb

It’s not the list price in CP2020 but close enough. (And no offense to Hound a lot of his stuff is good but I call it as I see it).