This is the game that was confiscated by the US Secret Service because they believed it to be "a handbook for computer crime." You can imagine how freaked out they must have been when they learned that Loyd Blankenship, former Legion of Doom member, was writing a book called "Cyberpunk: High-Tech Low-life Roleplaying Sourcebook".
So what is the game that caused all this controversy really like? Well it's probably not what the Secret Service had in mind (one can imagine the feds sitting around late at night, playing Cyberpunk, waiting to be taken over some spell of subversion hidden within its pages.)
"GURPS Cyberpunk" is not really a game, but rather a "Sourcebook" for a larger game called GURPS (Generic Universal RolePlaying System). GURPS is a set of roleplaying game rules that apply to any adventure setting or time period. Most roleplaying games are specific to a genre (fantasy, sci-fi, horror, super heroes) and you need to learn a whole new set of (usually complex) rules for each game. The "GURPS Basic Set" covers all the rules that are universal to these different genres and then presents genre-specific rules in supplemental books. "GURPS Basic Set" includes the main game mechanics of character creation, combat, and methods of task resolution. The rules are structured so that you can start simply and add more detail as you go. Sections cover character advantages/ disadvantages, skills, vehicles and equipment, and information on creating your own adventures. It is clearly designed, heavily indexed, and arranged to allow easy rule access during the game. To play, all you need is a pile of six-sided dice, some paper and pencils and a small group of willing eggheads.
"GURPS Cyberpunk" is a sourcebook that can be used with any of the sci-fi-oriented GURPS worlds. It includes a set of additional rules specific to cyberpunk adventuring, such as cyberwear technology, netrunning, and brain implants. Character types include techs, reporters, spies, mercenaries, and netrunners. The writing in GURPS Cyberpunk is excellent and obviously penned by a fan of the genre. There are extensive side-bars on many aspects of the milieu, ingenious rules for navigating and adventuring in cyberspace, and a bibliography of cyberpunk material.
GURPS games are available at most hobby/game stores and should be available at your local Waldenbooks or B.Dalton. You can also write the company directly (address below). The company also operates a BBS with discussions about their games and their current suit against the Secret Service. Call 512-447-4449.
GURPS Basic Set
Steve Jackson, 3rd Edition, 1989
Loyd Blankenship, 1990
David Pulver, 1989
(future tech sourcebook)
and other SF RPG sourcebooks
Steve Jackson Games
PO Box 18957
Austin, TX 78760
Here is the TEXT POPUP for GURPS Cyberpunk:
Welcome to the edge...be careful you don't slip.
In a cyberpunk world...the human body becomes infinitely changeable. These changes are not limited to mechanical implants; there are other possibilities [such as] cosmetics, biosculpting, sex changes, [and even] new bodies.
With direct access to the brain, a wide variety of psychedelic effects can be produced without having to ingest chemicals. A character can never experience any physical damage due to withdrawal from an electronic drug addiction - psychological dependency, however can be real.
In a cyberpunk world, the development of hardware and software speeds along at the same pace that everything else does. Attack and defense programs become less effective with age, because human hot-shots and dedicated AI's are constantly finding faults and releasing new versions. Your Codewall may stand up against a new ICEpick, but it will laugh at last year's model.