It's a classic of spy movies: A character suddenly reaches for the back of his neck and tears off a latex mask he was wearing, which was perfectly imitating someone else's face, revealing that he had been the big bad/hero in disguise since the beginning. How would you run that in Cyberpunk 2020?

In the Fixer extension book Wildside, there are plenty of options for altering your biometrics (changing your fingerprints, voice, iris)... but I couldn't find anything for the face, apart from heavy cosmetic surgery.

Did I miss something somewhere? Is there another way I could run something like this, with cybernetics for example?


2 Answers 2


I have a lot of books from the R.Talsorian CP2020 collection and I don't remember anything like that mentioned. Here's how I'd approach that if it came up. This comes from about a decade of running CP2020 games, mostly without pre-planning "adventures".

Doing that today takes a whole day of painstaking work by a team of skilled artists. And it still doesn't hold up to close scurtiny. Plus, the mask/makeup doesn't come off that cleanly. Removing it leaves behind a lot of adhesive/gunk that needs cleaning up with (hopefully skin-friendly) solvents.

I believe that (now that we are here) in an alternate 2020, there would be some advanced robotic setup that could do the same, but much faster than what the holywood-pro makeup team could manage today. So in 10-15 minutes, you could walk away with a new disposable face.

Being Mike's version of 2020, I'm sure there would be walk-in booths in malls where you could get a new face for 50 Eb and more upscale establishments that turn out tailor-made faces for around 500 Eb. With posergangs around, this could be an cheaper point of entry before laying down the thousands of eurobucks needed for full transformation surgery.

Most regular people would be probably be using this to look like a more "perfect" version of themselves though. Still, you wouldn't get weird looks just by walking around in a latex face. Ordinary people could see the latex but they wouldn't mind, and they certainly couldn't tell easily if that's just regular makeup for yourself or an entirely different face.

If you are imitating someone else though, you would have a hard time fooling people who know them. You probably couldn't get their input/output to go along with you. They would notice the fishiness right away, unless you support it with some voice alteration and very accurate acting.

It would be so prevalent that any sort of biometric identification would be designed to see through it. Fooling scanners requires other stuff as you mentioned.

It would still be good for ditching someone on your tail. You could easily get lost in a crowd. Just hope they don't have any olfactory enhancement installed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Ha ha ! You really did nail the Cyberpunk writing style. Yeah, that's kind of what I had in mind.. too bad there isn't any official material for it. It's so strange, given how varied and extensive the equipment list is, that there's nothing for this. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20, 2020 at 12:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've read the books so many times that all my writing still has that flavor :D \$\endgroup\$
    – edgerunner
    Jul 20, 2020 at 13:09

Maybe you need a bit of house ruling, I didn't remember anything specific for this, but maybe a version of the RealSkin stuff used to hide cyberlimbs combined with a some surgery (to make the realskin facade another face) and you put a difficulty based on the job done, or maybe a price:

Method 1 - Do it yourself:

  • Roll skill/stat of the surgeon (1D10+INT/TECH+Skill appropiate+bonus for equipment) = Diff to Awareness/Notice

Method 2 - Go buy it:

  • Base Diff to Awareness/Notice 15 = 10000 eb
  • Each extra point = 2000 eb

So a high-end 30 Diff mask of RealSkin = 10000 (base 15) + 30000 (+15) = 40000 eb

You can add some electronics of cyber skill related to the roll as for adding some cybers of voice modulator and eyes (to bypass retinal scans) and the like...

NOTE: Sometimes I use the rule that the equipment really limits your skill roll besides giving some bonus (+1 to +3), so you can be a INT 10 Surgery 10 guy who can make a great mask... but if you only have some cardboard and news papers...

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    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately I'm just a player and the GM only plays RAW. But I like your suggestion, especially that it uses player's skill. Although that would be the perfect occasion to use the skill: Attractiveness - Personal Grooming, which is otherwise completely useless.Maybe it's a bit too costly, given that having altered retina is 800eb and programmable ones are 1600eb. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 20, 2020 at 12:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ The prices were thought on the fly while I was writing, just tweak it and present the possibility to your GM, I hardly can think on anyone playing CP2020 RAW because is full of holes that almost anyone patches his own way. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 21, 2020 at 15:45

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