Cover of GURPS Cyberpunk
|Publisher(s)||Steve Jackson Games|
GURPS Cyberpunk is a genre toolkit for cyberpunk-themed role-playing games set in a near-future dystopia, such as that envisioned by William Gibson in his influential novel Neuromancer. It was published in 1990 after a significant delay caused by the original draft being a primary piece of evidence in Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service.
In 1993, GURPS Cyberpunk Adventures — a collection of three RPG scenarios in the GURPS Cyberpunk line — won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Adventure of 1992.
Unlike most commercially successful books from the third edition of the game, there is currently no Cyberpunk sourcebook for its fourth edition, as of 2018. Similar rules for advanced technology can be found in GURPS Ultra-Tech, from gadgets to cyberwear, but there aren't, for example, rules for netrunning which are essential for such games.
Besides the main chapters detailed below, GURPS Cyberpunk contains a glossary of common cyberpunk terms, an index, and a bibliography of relevant media.
- This chapter describes some of the most common character archetypes (netrunner, corp(orate), cop, celebrity, etc.) and their typical skills, advantages, and disadvantages. It also provides a guideline about how much money a given job might bring or cost.
- Rules for and descriptions of bionic enhancements.
- Technology & Equipment
- Lists many sorts of near-future gadgets.
- The longest in the book, it details rules for realistic computer networks as well as fantastic cyberspaces accessible only through a neural interface. It describes what types of system can be found in the Net and how the characters can act (and fight) there.
- World Design
- Gives guidelines for designing your own cyberpunk world.
- Helps the Gamemaster in running a longer series of adventures.
U.S. Secret Service seizure
Loyd Blankenship, who was hired by Steve Jackson Games in 1989, was close to finishing GURPS Cyberpunk later that year, which was intended both to get SJG into the cyberpunk genre which had been popular in the RPG industry for the last two years, and to help SJG get over a financial hurdle and back into the black.:108
GURPS Cyberpunk received notoriety when the Austin headquarters of Steve Jackson Games was raided by the U.S. Secret Service in 1990. The authorities seized the manuscript for the sourcebook, which was under development at the time, asserting that it was a "handbook for computer crime". The book was reconstructed and rewritten from older drafts when the manuscript was not returned. The seizure delayed publication for six weeks. This raid is often wrongly attributed to Operation Sundevil, a nationwide crackdown on illegal computer hacking activities that was occurring about this time.
The main sourcebook for the line (ISBN 1-55634-168-7) was written by Loyd Blankenship and published by Steve Jackson Games in 1990, as a part of the extensive (3rd-edition) GURPS generic role-playing game system.
The book was reviewed in White Wolf #23.
- "GURPS Ultra-Tech". www.sjgames.com. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- "Complaint in SJ Games v. Secret Service". Steve Jackson Games.
(g) By their conduct, defendants prevented SJG from delivering GURPS Cyberpunk to the printer on schedule, and caused SJG to miss its publication deadline.
(h) As a result of defendants' conduct, and in an attempt to minimize damages, SJG and its employees reconstructed and rewrote GURPS Cyberpunk from older drafts.
(i) As a result of defendants' conduct, the publication of GURPS Cyberpunk was delayed for six weeks.
- "The Top Ten Media Errors About the SJ Games Raid". Steve Jackson Games. 1994-10-12.
- "Steve Jackson Games Awards". Steve Jackson Games. Retrieved 27 May 2019.