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Introduction to HexGen: Cyberpunk

When I was in high school (back in the early 1990s) a friend came to me with a sleek black book. On the cover was a man with glowing eyes and a blocky-looking handgun – Cyberpunk

I had already tried several other RPG systems such as Dungeons and Dragons, RuneQuest, and Twilight 2000 before finding my home with AD&D, and was hesitant to change the game we all liked. My friend loaned me the book for the weekend and after reading it, I was excited to try it out!

The new game seemed really cool! The characters it portrayed felt different and fresh! They carried themselves with an attitude and they were “badass”. For a nerd in the 90s, the game offered a much-needed chance to be the hero in an action movie! We played Cyberpunk for a while and had a blast, but after a year or so we began to lose interest. Everyone wanted to be the Solo, characters didn’t really evolve and the cybernetics tended to drive everyone insane.

So we went back to AD&D. Over the years I played D&D Skills & Powers, made a homebrewed system called Drugs & Demolitions 2000 based on Skills & Powers, played a LOT of D&D 3rd Editions & Pathfinder, d20 Modern, had fun with Conspiracy X, Alternity, Call of Cthulhu, Rolemaster, D&D 4th Edition, G.U.R.P.S, Shadowrun and most recently Delta Green, D&D 5th Edition and Fate Core.

When Cyberpunk Red was first announced I was over the moon! Maybe they will remake the cult classic into a more in-depth game.

I have always loved to create my own worlds as a Game Master. After I had browsed through all the “fluff” about Night City and the campaign setting, I was left disappointed. The core rules were still lackluster and dated. And then after playing Cyberpunk 2077, which in my opinion had a GREAT advancement system, the let-down felt even bigger.

I decided to research other current game systems, looking for a better system for running my dream campaign in Cybernetic Dystopian Future. Most modern role-playing games seem to focus on collaborative storytelling without offering a robust ruleset to handle the specifics. On the other end of the spectrum, you have G.U.R.P.S., which is can be a mad maze of disconnected rules and minute details and revisions on previous rules. G.U.R.P.S., in my opinion, has a great and deep character creation system – albeit very heavy.

Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own.

Bruce Lee, 1940-1973

The HexGen System

Since 2014 I have been experimenting with using a HexGrid for character development. At the core of HexGen, is the Hexagonal Character Sheet called HexGrid that expands from your Background in the center to Primary and Secondary skills and to Character Upgrades as you learn new skills and abilities. HexGen uses broad skills and simple D6 die mechanics to keep the speed of play fast. The characters will become more powerful as the campaign progresses, but the power curve is low and you will always feel vulnerable in combat.

So here we are, making a new system for role-playing in a Cybernetic Dystopian Future! We will release a Playtest Kit (for free) with everything you need to play a full-length campaign in June 2021. You are welcome to join us for the ride!

Tommi Tossavainen
Lead Designer

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