Creativity through constraint
Concept: “The world is a simulation, policed by AIs But you know the truth, and can learn to see the code hidden behind the veils of flesh and matter. Break free, Ascend.”
Content: A set of rules to provide PCs the opportunity to transcend across simulation reboots and to commune with a powerful AI overseeing the reality program.
Writing: Rules, stats, and descriptions are straightforward and informative, with a focus on explaining the subject in a manner useful to players as well as GMs.
Art/Design: Single-column black text on white background, with red background for headings and an illustration of each AI’s avatar/appearance. A green-on-black computer terminal-style net chat log offers an in-universe glimpse at how some characters might understand the notion of transcendence and the reality-simulation AIs.
Usability: Headings and labels are consistently provided, and key terms are bolded for quick identification and reference.
Gravestone Graffiti 2: Unencrypted names for the neon world of CY_BORG
Concept: “You can never have enough new character names. This one-page PDF with 100 names, 100 aliases, 19 origins and thousands of possible serial numbers is intended for the world of CY_BORG, but can work in any sci-fi or cyberpunk setting. Print it and bring it to the table. Your gravestone will thank you.”
Content: Several tables for generating names, aliases, origins, and serial numbers.
Writing: Table data contains a wide range of choices both exceptional and mundane.
Art/Design: Black-on-white organization with minimal graphics (an icon to distinguish each table) and simple table ornamentation.
Usability: Tables are consistently and easily laid out and distinguished from one another, with names and aliases alphabetized for an additional means of navigation.
Grinding the MMORKG
Concept: “Want to use Mork Borg modules as a virtual reality simulation in your Cy_Borg game? Or to give your Mork Borg players a taste of Cy? This five-node mystery adventure path introduces the Dying Lands as an MMO game/simulation in Cy and can be approached from either game as a starting point!”
Content: The content centers on an ingenious scenario that blends Cy_Borg and Mork Borg (whether you’re starting in either game!), detailed locations and maps for each, an “emaciated sim-farmer” class that works well for the scenario, a small set of optional rules that the MMORKG facilitates, random encounters, and several pieces of equipment to consider buying.
Writing: A mix of thematic narration, straightforward rules explanations, and direction for PCs to respond to–all of which is presented succinctly and consistently throughout the supplement.
Art/Design: Distinct layouts for each section (major adventure locations, PC class, etc.) that provide individual character about its subject matter, with a bright accent color to help underscore section distinction and scope.
Usability: Despite the variety of page layouts/aesthetics, text is consistently readable and identifiable as different kinds of content (headings, labels, NPC stats, etc.).
Gritbeat: 6x66 Songbooks
Concept: “Gritbeat 6x66 Songbooks provides d66 albums to listen to as soundtrack for your cyberpunk RPG sessions, for six separate moods/settings.”
Content: Six tables of albums suitable for Cy_Borg games, organized by general atmosphere: cinematic, cerebral, urban, visceral, heavy, disruptive.
Writing: Tables are consistently organized, with artist name, album title, and year of release. A set of hashtags is provided to help further clarify or help with determining each table’s usefulness for a given session/table’s intended ambience.
Art/Design: Table content is provided in two three-column spreads, with a different image evoking CY as the background for each table.
Usability: Each table is easy to navigate, with artist names in bold to help distinguish visually from album title and year of release.
Concept: “CY is a great beast and these are its bowels, the living guts of the city. Awash in filth and the prowling grounds of criminals, scvm beneath notice, maintenance workers, bounty hunters and strange monstrosities bred in the noisome darkness beneath this city. Features a d66 table of encounters in the sewers of CY and a d20 table of tunnel graffiti.”
Content: A set of tables to flesh out the grimy, dangerous CY undercity.
Writing: Vivid descriptions of encounter seeds (not only who/what players might find but what’s going on when they find something) and graffiti messages and styles to be found on sewer walls.
Art/Design: Black text on yellow in a single column of text. A glitch-art illustration of a sewer tunnel frames the supplement title on the first page.
Usability: Tables are numbered, with bolded labels for NPCs and their special attacks to emphasize details a GM might be scanning the page to locate.
Concept: “gutter_PUVNKS is a fresh supplement for CY_BORG. You'll get all you need to explore the city of CY, even if you really don't want to. Locations, encounters, NPCs, adventure, two new classes (BROKE CEO & CY_BORG), and a few odds and ends.”
Content: 48 pages of content: NPCs, cults, a radio station, locations throughout CY, random encounter tables, infestations, “broke CEO” and “cyborg” classes, and (amazingly!) more.
Writing: Tons of detail on each page to provide GMs and players with numerous possibilities; writing style oozes the essence of Cy_Borg: thematically grimy and vile and also compact rules/mechanics explanations.
Art/Design: Layout and aesthetic choices for each section are as varied and imaginative as the writing, contributing significantly to the fullness of immersion in the game universe and vibe.
Usability: “Consistency” is somewhat relative here–although there are many different layouts, aesthetics, etc., there are similar gestures throughout: highlighted headings/labels, text size to reflect hierarchical relationships between content, etc. so that navigation and identification of desired info is enjoyable rather than frustrating. Contrast is high throughout as well; only one page has a busy enough background to potentially slow reading.
Concept: “When you need to steal secure data from a CORP and you don’t have the luxury of doing it as a downtime activity you can attempt a HACKING RUN. THIS requires physical access to A CORP’S system from within a facility belonging to THEM. Expect to do this under fire. BRING BACK UP.”
Content: A set of rules to flesh out networked tech infiltrations for those punks looking to score lucrative or sensitive corp data.
Writing: Direct explanations and descriptions of relevant rules and procedures for hacking.
Art/Design: Two-column spread of text details over a neon green patterned background. An additional "light" format has a softer gray background color.
Usability: High-contrast text is easily readable, with consistent and visually distinct elements (headings, key terms, status conditions) that indicate their relationship to other elements.
Concept: “A CY_BORG zine featuring soul-throttling cyberpunk occupations. Your past, or perhaps your alter ego, in the crush of CY. Demeaning and pointless jobs that drove you into a new path.”
Content: A two-page d10 table of mundanity meant to provide PCs with painfully dreadful backgrounds that reflect the oppressive daily existence of the masses.
Writing: Morbidly hilarious and creative options speak to the breadth of crushing banality that makes for most characters’ familiar reality.
Art/Design: Mostly single-column text (black on yellow) with key terms/phrases emphasized in either a different font or a chaotic collection of fonts. An image of faceless workers in an office setting frames the zine’s title on page 1.
Usability: High-contrast color scheme helps with readability, as does simple layout of table content. Font(s) used for key terms can be difficult to read thanks to the purposeful disruption of character size/decoration/etc.
Concept: “Nothing ever goes smoothly, does it? Life of a pvnk in CY. There you are, about to score big on your job after the gunfights and hacking and double-crossing and more, and there's just one problem in the way: the door. This zine presents ten unusual conditions for getting at your loot, likely the brainchild of paranoid corpos with too much money on their hands. You'll have to put your mind to work on how to get past them. Available in Classic yellow, Nite grey or Clean white.”
Content: A set of potential complications or other unexpected qualities oriented around physical or digital keys, any of which can be used as twists or obstacles to just about any job a group of punks is looking to complete.
Writing: Each key is described in terms of its essential features, the specifics of its use, and potential reactions or consequences that might occur from its (mis)use.
Art/Design: Three versions are provide: a “classic look” version of black-on-yellow, a “night mode” version of black-on-gray, and a “squeaky clean” version of black-on-white. Each version includes a cover page with the supplement title centered on an illustration of a high-tech vault door. Layout is single-column text with a unique quality of each key provided in bold.
Usability: Easy to read and navigate, with clearly identifiable list elements.
Lucky Duck Mystery Vending Machine
Concept: “Quack Quack! Compatible with CY_BORG and made for the URBN_LGND.exe jam.”
Content: A vending machine that provides an assortment of items–some trinkets, some useful items, and potentially more.
Writing: Inventive item names offer entertaining potential, and vending machine rumor/secret extends that significantly.
Art/Design: Three-column layout of basic info, vending machine contents, and a glitch-like illustration of a vending machine below a lucky duck icon.
Usability: Visually, content is extremely easy to navigate and identify. File is provided as an image, so text cannot be selected/searched or recognized by a screen reader.
Concept: “NEON BORG is rot, chaos, death, home. Millenia ago, ‘twas a fortress standing firm against the demon hordes. Then, the demons ate the humans and the world ended. When times began anew, NEON BORG became prison for the most feared. The kind of irredeemably debased scvm for which a death sentence was by far too lenient. Today, NEON BORG is subsidized housing. Filled to the rafters with aged corpkillers, filthy nanomancers, burned hackers, and you.”
Content: A solo microadventure that, like Dark Fort that inspired it, provides an immersive dungeon-crawling experience through the Neon Borg housing complex while escaping from corp harvesters.
Writing: Tight, concise descriptions maintain a sense of imminent danger and urgency to motivate and inspire the solo player on their journey.
Art/Design: Clean black-and-white layout with a portrait of the player character and a consistent design grammar distinguishing different blocks and types of content.
Usability: Easy to navigate and identify desired information that should minimize delays or questions about how to undertake the adventure.
Concept: “H@ck the Pl@net! Use this streamlined system to hack network, or try to, as your fellow Punks take care of business in meat space. Included are rules to break into and hack systems one node at a time, activate commands in those nodes when accessed, and deal with any ICE or black ICE launched against you in addition to any other virtual denizens or invaders. Also, slot d12 new .Apps into your 'deck designed for use in virtual spaces.”
Content: A set of rules for netrunner-specific hacking procedures, along with brief stats for security/ICE NPC entities and a set of apps to kick that hacking into high gear. Full-color and black-and-white versions of the supplement are included.
Writing: Concise explanations of the hacking workflow and apps, complemented by flavorful names/labels for elements of both.
Art/Design: Full-color version resembles a green terminal UI aesthetic, with color-coded NPC info based on severity of threat and a yellow list of netrunner apps. A sample network diagram/map is included. Black-and-white version provides a clean alternative (although yellow alert symbols appear in both versions).
Usability: Text in both versions is visually identifiable and distinguishable, thanks to color and bolding/underlining to indicate certain kinds of content. Hacking workflow includes code-like line reference numbers and consistent indentation for subordinate/clarification details.
Concept: “A Cy_Borg zine featuring: D12 Cybertech from Nueuropa [...] D6 Legends of Cy [... and] Street Cred - A New Mechanic.”
Content: Options for gear, NPCs, and a ‘street cred’ reputation tracker that can add extra dimensions to a game.
Writing: Four pages of enticing tables filled with flavorful descriptions and mechanics that reflect strange, horrifying, and completely appropriate events and circumstances.
Art/Design: Four two-page spreads each have a distinct focus and color scheme that extends from one to the next, from a stark red/black/white to a neon purple/blue.
Usability: Language is direct and straightforward in describing and explaining each subject, with each table making use of a consistent visual grammar to help with navigation. However, text is not embedded, so no searching or copying/pasting is possible.
PC Community Generator
Concept: “This is a tool to build a community for the player characters in a CY_BORG game.”
Content: A set of tables to be rolled and discussed during an initial party’s character creation session to flesh out a community for the PCs to be involved with in some way.
Writing: Succinct, varied options in several tables that breathe life or inspiration into community possibilities.
Art/Design: White text on a purple gradient background, organized in one- and two-column layouts.
Usability: PDF and plain-text versions are both easily readable and navigable.
Concept: “‘Like carousing but for you miserable pvnks. Riots are always a gamble, and with bad odds on your side, because private SecCorp security usually bring it on with better gear than a bunch of pvnks do. So why keep going to them? Because sometimes you need a reflective bulletproof glass visor to smash your fist through, that’s why. RAGE burns away concepts like “outnumbered” or “discretion”.’ Random table for just how wrecked or lucky you got at a riot in CY, plus a fast-roll table for simpler results.”
Content: A d66 table of results from participating in a riot in CY, with a “quick table” option for an even more focused generation of events.
Writing: Immersive descriptions/events feel simultaneously absurd and completely plausible, intersecting with an axis of hilarious to horrific.
Art/Design: Single column of black text on yellow, with additional content blocks in bordered boxes and important terms highlighted in yellow text on a black background. An illustration of gas-masked rioters serves as the background for the title on page 1.
Usability: Extremely easy to read, navigate, recognize, and understand information throughout the supplement.
Concept: “Your biology is no longer compatible with the industrialised planet around you; the toxins you’re exposed to daily burn your flesh and poison your organs. Lungs struggle to draw breath, your heart stutters like a dying fly, your blood corrodes your kidneys. The deadly atmosphere of Cy slowly eats away at your inferior meat. Fortunately for your withering body, GeneMed has long since perfected its procedures to install cybernetic biomechanical prosthetics. Thanks to GeneMed ’s groundbreaking biotech research, you can replace those useless chunks of meat. And thanks to GeneMed ’s astronomical finance rates, you’ll be paying off the debt for the rest of your life. For those who can afford the highly discriminatory price points, GeneMed also offers luxury, deisgner prostheses; ostentatious and opulent pieces of cybernetic technology, flaunted by the ultra rich like the latest fashion.”
Content: Rules for body modification debts for GeneMed parts, reaperdocs and unlicensed prostheses, and repo agent NPCs who might come knocking to reclaim their employer’s property.
Writing: Stark, ominous descriptive text and rules explanations that underscore the significance of dealing with GeneMed and its licensed agents.
Art/Design: Simple black-on-white single page layouts with strategic font choices and a corporate software landing page-style UI complete with logo/branding.
Usability: Cleanness of layout makes for easy perusal, especially when combined with bolded key terms and labels to call attention to important details a reader might be scanning for.
Concept: “Rage is contagious, spreading to everything touched by the never-ending torrent of banal, mundane cruelties that make up life in CY. It starts in beating hearts but it's a cinch to get from there into the thinking machines that are all but one with humanity in this bleak future. These are rules and classes for playing robopvnks, machines broken free of their digital shackles and on the move towards riches, vengeance, or just plain devastation.”
Content: General rules and a set of classes (Flesh-Free Fleshpot, AWOL Kill Unit, Cyber-Corpo Calculator) for the player who prefers experiencing the existential crisis of an automaton.
Writing: Plenty of mechanics and supportive clarification/explanation to guide players who might seek creative ways to explore playing as a robopunk.
Art/Design: Primarily single-column black text on white with colored headings and a brightly colored illustration of various robots over a circuit board background on the first page.
Usability: Clearly and consistently formatted lists and paragraphs enable navigation and perusal of desired information, with bold text emphasizing important details.
Concept: “S0L0_W0RK is a ruleset to play CY_BORG by yourself. You’ll both play as the GM and as the player.”
Content: A set of rules for solo play inspired by Solitary Defilement.
Writing: An engaging and incredibly helpful explanation of the solo rules and how to make use of them, including a detailed “actual play” demonstration/write-up.
Art/Design: A “dark theme” software terminal or code editor UI with distinct colors and background highlighting to call attention to different kinds of content. A printer-friendly version provides somewhat less obvious help in this regard, but font choices and shading still help distinguish content types/purposes.
Usability: Readable text throughout, with colors helping to call attention to particular kinds of important details.
Sixth World Race Templates for Cy_Borg
Concept: “This document is meant to add Sixth World racial (Dwarf, Elf, Ork and Troll) Abilities and Racial Modifiers to either Character Classes or NPCs. It is assumed that the Class or NPC having the template applied is Human. Players and Gamemasters (GMs) may need to fine-tune the Abilities and Racial Modifiers if the Class or NPC isn’t human.”
Content: A two-page set of rules for incorporating fantasy race/background elements and stat modifiers into character creation.
Writing: Straightforward and concise setup and explanation of rules for easy implementation into games.
Art/Design: Black text on white background, laid out in landscape form across two pages, with the second consisting of a table that presents all relevant fantasy background/stat options.
Usability: Incredibly easy to locate and make use of desired information.
Concept: “Even punks can earn money from promotional opportunities. A small ruleset designed for having punks make sponsored promotions, and what can go wrong if they fail to do so.”
Content: A set of rules that can be implemented pretty seamlessly into any mission or campaign, along with a “Mascot” NPC to ensure compliance with sponsorship stipulations.
Writing: Cheerfully on-brand narration offers clear descriptions of the ruleset components and intensely thematic tables.
Art/Design: White on brown and orange provides a striking two-page spread layout, complete with corporate barcode and an illustration of the bat-wielding company mascot.
Usability: Organization is recognizable and makes for quick navigation/browsing, although white text on orange may be difficult for some to read.
Concept: “All the rules you need to fuck shit up, for easy reference at the table when you don't feel like flipping through a book to find that one rule.”
Content: The essential Cy_Borg rules provided in a stripped-down two-page spread.
Writing: Incredibly brief descriptions/explanations of rules in order to include as much as possible in the available space.
Art/Design: Black-on-yellow color scheme, with subheadings using a white background, with text-only organization of content across the spread. Printer-friendly version has white background with yellow subheading background.
Usability: Distinct rule components are separated into individual boxes, with additional internal borders to mark individual tables/lists from one another. Bolded labels help further indicate the scope of each rule explanation.
The G-Man's Guide to Living, Breathing, & Lasting in CY
Concept: “This Zine features 66 different locations (not 36, not d66, not 100, not 1, but 66) all across the CY, split into 11 different categories to aid all of your different encounters. Each has a description that encapsulates most things about it & a name (ex: HOLE IN THE OCEAN ). Every location (be it a club, a market or an industrial harbor) has a suggested "theme", a song which the G-man thought would fit perfectly to set the mood during gameplay.”
Content: A collection of location descriptions–fixer spots, combat clubs, industrial megaplexes, and more–that add a wide variety of flavors to the CY cityscape.
Writing: Each location writeup is a single paragraph of intensely atmospheric color that focuses as much on the essential being/purpose of each place as on physical description/explanation.
Art/Design: Three versions are provided: a dark themed “printer killer” version, a light themed “ink vegan” version, and a plain text version. For the first two versions, each page displays a similar-but-distinct aesthetic to present the relevant list items over a background image that illustrates that list’s focus.
Usability: Distinct headings are provided on each page, and the body text is mostly high-contrast with the background image color, although there are some areas where the text may be difficult to read due to color choices and/or busy graphic elements (which sometimes is clearly intentional). The plain text version has helpfully noted breaks for each list/page.
Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die
Calen Heydt industrialnation Gnoll Flintwyrm Patch Adam Perryman thefatherofcats Johan Nohr Prince “PROFANEKNOWLEDGE” Maxi Leonard B cyotee doge Amaranth M Brendan Carlson Kevin Cantello Patrick Möën Gaffy Michael T. Baker Astrolich Mal R Ryan Casanova Funkenstein psyop.fyc Torg_OR KMSH Daniel Scott Olav Jason “Anabasis” Brook
Concept: “Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die is a rules expansion for CY_BORG giving you the chance to drive fast and wreak carnage hanging out the passenger side window (or just crash headlong into it, your mileage may vary). These rules are light-weight, but robust, and will add a ton of flavor to your chase scenes as you bolt down narrow streets in attempt to escape the piggies or track down a corpo shit-bag. Hell, you don't even need to catch 'em, just have a firefight between vehicles - we got rules for that!”
Content: An impressive cornucopia of content: rules for vehicle chases/races and driving hazards, classes for the “Got-Away Driver” and “High Speed Vigilante, stats for vehicles that are purchaseable (or not), enemies to encounter on the streets of CY, and an entire revenge-themed mission.
Writing: A focus on thematic details/voices to breathe life into included elements that are supported by succinct, direct rules and guidance for GMs to implement assorted features into a game.
Art/Design: A mix of layouts and aesthetics throughout the supplement. Some pages are laid out landscape-wise, and at least one two-page spread has text broken across its pages. Number and variety of illustrations and themes, along with their execution, are inspiring.
Usability: Body text font is pretty consistent throughout, and despite the range of page/spread layouts it’s easy to identify headings/labels and how they relate to nearby content. However, the text is not embedded, so searching/selecting and screen reader use is not possible.
Concept: “A small collection of optional rules for Cy_Borg. Includes variations on Experience, Dice-few Combat (with revisions to how armor, weapons and initiative work), a biological alternative to Cybertech and doing away with Cy-Rage.”
Content: A set of rule proposals to affect characters in assorted ways that can provide some intriguing variety to a game of Cy_Borg.
Writing: Text is direct and focused on explaining the mechanical differences between these rules and those in the official rulebook. No fluff, all function.
Art/Design: Single-column text with a simple heading organization. Black-and-white with one heading level provided in red/pink. Background is a light noise/speckle pattern.
Usability: Font choices are easily readable, and the page background pattern shouldn’t cause much disruption of engagement with text. A few key terms and phrases are bolded and italicized for quick identification.
Viruses to Brick Your Brain
Concept: “Embedded in ads, lurking in the top search result, loaded as a hacker’s dead hand, coursing through a derelict net node. Viruses are everywhere, infecting everyone, stealing a portion of everything. Most of them are unnoticeable, lurking in your RCD, implants, accounts, everything. These? Less so. Bisecting your consciousness. Hijacking your implants. This is the result of someone else’s malice or misconduct. It will break you down until you get rid of it.”
Content: A set of tables to make a player’s life living hell through the power of compromised technology.
Writing: Concise and powerfully thematic explanations of relevant variables, including how the virus spreads, how it affects a player mechanically, who developed it, how to get rid of it.
Art/Design: A visual overload of colors, fonts, graphics, and stylistic clashes that feels entirely appropriate given the rules’ purpose.
Usability: While overall consistency is out the window, it is possible to understand and navigate each table/element while focusing on that section.
Wolves of Polished Chrome
Concept: “There's a sickness in the streets of CY. Rain drips like a broken IV. Dying adverts flicker in sallow shades. They say the world is ending. Has ended. Will end. They say the howls at night are Cy-Ragers. NanoPhreaks. Nothing to worry about. Nothing abnormal. The water is poison, but it always has been. The air is poison, but how bad can it be? It churns through your lungs all day and hasn't killed you yet. There's nanites in the trash, nanites growing like mold on the walls, nanites in the blood and bones of regular citizens, but all of this is familiar misery. Last night you stared blearily at your face in the bathroom mirror, watching it change. Watching it become something new. As you did, your cybernetics clicked like beetle legs, like teeth shuffling in the mouth of a cannibal. They squirmed and contorted to match your new flesh. You vomited your whole stomach lining into the sink, then washed it out with a swig of cheap ethanol. But the disinfectant didn't purify you. It just made you worse. Tonight, the glitching moon hangs low over the skyline and your body is wrong. Wrong for the city. Wrong for the life that clings to it. Wrong for the alien gods that have touched its streets. You hate them all, and that hate pours out of you in a howl.”
Content: A set of rules to incorporate werewolves into CY.
Writing: Matter-of-fact explanations and descriptions of a variety of factors pertinent to affected characters (transformation rules, clothing options that survive transformation, a “Festering Wolfborg” class, etc.) as well as several lycanthropic foes and their stats.
Art/Design: A mix of black-and-white splash images with brightly colored sections of content, each with its own bold color scheme.
Usability: Single-page, single-column layouts make for quick perusal and identification of desired content, assisted by a hyperlinked table of contents.
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