I've owned a copy of the 2nd edition of Cyberpunk (Cyberpunk 2020) for years now but never had the ability or gumption to run a game (same for gurps). Lately though I've been playing and DMing a lot of D&D and I feel that my skills are high enough that I can finally run a CP2020 game. My issue is that the sourcebook itself is clunky in its description of rules and there doesn't seem to be any sort of guide lines for creating fights and challenges that are appropriate for the PCs (mechanically speaking). I know about LUYPS! (Listen Up, You Primitive Screwheads!) and I've read it, but most of the advice in there seems to be story and tone advice (which I don't need being a huge cyberpunk fan already). I'd appreciate any other resources (official and unofficial) that anyone could suggest for me to latch onto to help get this campaign going.
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I've run CP2020 many a time (Usually Trauma Team games) The CP2020 book isn't as nicely edited as it could be it's true; then again it's far better than something that WW usually produce!
The system itself is very simple, but what I'd recommend for a new campaign in the system is:
Finally here are some links for stuff I've found useful for CP:
I'm not a huge 2020 fan (ran it a few times years ago, but I prefer Shadowrun), but a bit of google-fu turned up Datafortress 184.108.40.206. They look to have significant resources from rules, references, new source material, and active forums.
Cyberpunk as a Gaming Genre is not Cyberpunk as a Literary Genre. The two overlap somewhat, but just as D&D and Sword & Sorcery literature only somewhat overlap, so also CP2020 and the Cyberpunk genre only somewhat overlap.
The tone advice in LUYPS is there to illustrate the differences for fans of the literary genre, as much as or more than being there to educate the new-to-the-genre.
Also note that D&D style Grinding is not normative to the CP2020 game - it's deadly, since damages are usually higher than armor values.
That said, there is no mechanical balance written in.
But since you want a system for balance...
You can obtain four key metrics, tho', from the stats:
Assuming even skills, a character hits 45% of the time (defender wins ties - see table for proof, below). Each point of difference in the attacker's favor is a 10% improvement; each in the defender's is a 10% reduction.
Average damage is found easiest by taking the minimum rolled damage (all dice rolled 1), adding the maximum damage (all rolling max) and dividing by two... or just accept that a d6 is average 3.5, and a d10 is 5.5, and total it up.
The damage you do per round is going to average equal to your rate of hits times the average damage minus their AV... with the caveat that the actual average will be higher if the AV exceeds average damage but doesn't exceeed maximum damage, as the formula says "NO!"...
So, find the average damage per hit, and take the percentage of it that would be hits...
Example: Mook M has Ref 5, Weapon Skill 2, dodge skill 2, and a weapon doing 3d6, and 4 AV.
PC A has Ref 7, Skill 4 each weapon and athletics, and a weapon doing 3d6 damage, and 8 AV.
A final warning about balance
There's this neat thing called Synergy... when two things together perform more than the sum of those two together. Characters in combat tend to be somewhat synergistic, especially if the GM runs NPC's as a cohesive whole and is a creative tactician.