Dozens of creators have donated games, music, poetry and more to the Be A Better Cyberpunk Jam to provide an alternative to the recently released Cyberpunk 2077 video game.
The jam is hosted by designer Nate Kiernan and collects 29 tabletop RPGs, video games, albums, poems, short stories and other works from independent artists that explore “identity, artificial intelligence, class, gender, and transhumanism”. The bundle costs $60 (£46) “or one AAA Cyberpunk”, referencing the new video game by Polish studio CD Projekt Red. 2077 is adapted from the TRPG series that includes Cyberpunk 2020 and this year’s Cyberpunk Red.
Be A Better Cyberpunk - a bundle of cyberpunk games, music, TTRPGs, and zines - is available now! Support independent creators exploring identity, class, gender, and transhumanism. https://t.co/xl99zo5Qzd pic.twitter.com/65OZlzOaE5— sacrificial plague bull (@natekiernan) December 10, 2020
Kiernan puts front and centre his and others’ disdain for the content within, and the conditions under which Cyberpunk 2077 was seemingly created. The Itch.io page cites news pieces reporting on the developer’s alleged rampant crunch problem, accusations of racism and transphobia in its story, and how the finished game shipped with an unskippable scene said to have triggered epilepsy in players.
The tabletop games contained in the Be A Better Cyberpunk bundle run the gamut from experimental hacks to full-blown systems. Micro-RPG Silicon Skin contains everything you might need to know in its tagline - sexy android drama for deviant hotties. Players create a “robosona” in the first part and make decisions on the origin and intent of each piece of their inorganic body. Then, they begin inspiring other androids to seize individuality through intimate encounters.
The Queer Cyberpunk’s Guide to Tabletop RPGs puts system-agnostic advice and guides into a zine meant to provide guidance on playing cyberpunk characters while avoiding common narrative pitfalls. Both players and GMs can find information worth considering for their next desperate protest against the mega-corpos in a far-future dystopia.
Public Utility Mechs tells the story of the Filipino government’s inadequate response to extraterrestrial threat and how the people rose up to save themselves, instead. Players helm P.U.M.s, transformable public transportation vehicles, in a last-ditch attempt at success using little more than scrap.
Those looking for more neon than chrome might be interested in The Flower Court, a game about feudal rulers who are also pop idols in a world of over-glossed surface substance. Players create mysterious personas with hidden goals, and play is all about asking questions of each other to uncover the myriad plots spun between everyone at the table.
Rennasistance: The Rough Cut Edition is a work-in-progress setting about the bitter end of ultra-capitalism and the magical tech that keeps its final scions clutching to their hoarded empires. Players use actual musical playlists to fuel their in-game spells as they weave a collaborative story of liberation against all odds.
Those wanting to roleplay solo can try Psyber Knights, a narrative game where you must survive the grueling psionic training regimen that might protect you from mental onslaughts by those at the very top. It’s a game about uncovering hard truths about yourself and using would-be weaknesses - your own memories - as a weapon against power.
The Be A Better Cyberpunk bundle will be available to purchase until December 24th. A complementary bundle offers all the same works for $10 (£7.60) “if you are economically or otherwise marginalized”.