Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Black Chrome Is Here To Give You More Cyberpunk RED Lore, Gear, And Wacky Guns

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Trigger Warning: Guns, Mentions of Death, Police Bruality and Violence

Welcome back everybody. It’s been a while. As if to further emphasize that little theme, we’ll be taking a look at something I haven’t in a while, a TTRPG! Well, more accurately, we’ll be looking at a supplement book for a TTRPG, Black Chrome.

Yes, we will be returning to the world of Cyberpunk RED. For those who need a quick refresher, Cyberpunk RED is the tale of what the world of the Cyberpunk franchise was like in 2045, after the Fourth Corporate War ravaged much of the world, a glimpse between the previous edition of Cyberpunk and the then upcoming Cyberpunk 2077.

Black Chrome is a tech and style guide for Cyberpunk RED. It will tell you all about new gear, as well as the new economy of Cyberpunk RED after the weakening of the Megacorps and the destruction of the NET, and the freelance merchants and markets where you can find these things.

Black Chrome cover

There is lore to be had in Black Chrome, as well as new characters. Six Night Markets are added here, and each is run by a freelance merchant, a Fixer, boss. Likewise there’s stories aplenty about the Megacorps, both the ones that survived the disastrous Fourth Corporate War and those that have just gotten off the ground.

The meat of it though, is a catalog. As the introduction states, Cyberpunk veterans will recognize this as an evolution of the old Chromebook. For newcomers, Black Chrome is presented and formatted (mostly) as an in-universe catalog, a list of gear you can buy with descriptions written to resemble a manufacturer’s descriptions and advertisements. You’ll find a picture of the product, the manufacturer’s name, its price, and, most usefully, an italicized description of how it actually functions in gameplay. From apps to cybernetic parts to weapons to vehicles, it’s in here. And it’s all quite impressively laid out and formatted to resemble the online marketplace this book is meant to represent.

Cyberpunk Black Chrome SUV

All these aspects make Black Chrome quite useful for those invested in Cyberpunk RED. But it makes it kind of hard to review. It’s a catalog with lore in it, no more and no less. So, instead of the traditional review format, here are the top five wildest, craziest guns in Black Chrome. Because what’s good for you might change depending on the build, but what’s absolutely nuts never changes.

Number Five: Rostović Ulični Uništitelj (aka the Street Destroyer)

Number 5, The Street Destroyer from Black Chrome

Manufactured by the Serbian company Rostović, the Street Destroyer is a shotgun with a damn magnetic rail system in its barrel. This was intended as simply an extra tweak to enhance the stability of the pellets, but it was quickly discovered that this could be repurposed into a makeshift railgun, just by dumping metal scrap down the barrel.

In all honesty, functionality wise this isn’t that much more outlandish than most of the other guns in Black Chrome, hence its low placement on this list. However, what it lacks in functionality insanity it makes up for in design insanity. Remember, Black Chrome is an official in-universe catalog on an official app. That thing looks like a Nerf gun or a Super Soaker, and it’s supposed to.

Number Four: Georgia Arms Matchmaker

Number Four, Georgia Arms Matchmaker from Black Chrome

Coming to us from, well, Georgia Arms, the Matchmaker is an odd, cheap thing, made entirely out of common plumbing supplies. It was created by dissidents who needed arms to use against the Megacorp SovOil, and it earns its place on this list partly for being made out of plumbing supplies, and partly for being single use. In game it has exactly one shot (but is quite cheap) and in-universe it’s ideally meant to land one quick kill so you can steal a Megacorp operative’s gun.

Number Three: Pursuit Security Incorporated Crowd Buster

Number Three, Crowd Buster from Black Chrome

Now, admittedly, in the terms of Black Chrome’s wackier guns, this might not rank that highly to some of y’all. This is an inherently subjective list after all. But I’m sorry, I’ve got to give full wacky points to the assault rifle with a loudspeaker built in. Now, admittedly, the thing was built for security forces to use against loud crowds, and there’s some damn dystopian flavor text to its entry in the catalog. But still, for the visual absurdity alone, I rank it at number three.

Number Two: The Tommyknocker

Number Two, Tommyknocker

Black Chrome brings us the finest in tacticool nonsense with the Tommyknocker, brought to us by Centurion Essentials. Described in Black Chrome itself as ‘incredibly impractical’ and ‘the guilty pleasure firearm of the rich’, the Tommyknocker is a pistol with an underslung shotgun. Reportedly the pistol works fine but the shotgun pump tends to stick, and when fired it will likely fly out of your hands unless you have a strong grip on it. For being both stupid and somehow less useful than the gun made out of plumbing supplies, it earns the number two spot on the list.

Number One: Sanroo Hello Cutie Ultra-K8 Assault Pistol

Number One, Hello Cutie Assault Pistol

…are words required here? It’s a bright pink pistol themed to ‘I can’t believe it’s not Hello Kitty!’

Well, yes, actually, words are required here because there’s more that makes this thing Black Chrome’s wackiest gun than just the aesthetic. No, see, in-universe this thing was marketed towards the cosplay gangs that apparently plague Japan in this setting, and as such allows one to record and play back recordings of their own voice with anime filters for said voice, and it giggles when you reload it! It’s a rare collector’s item in-universe, but it’s actually good and dangerous as well.

And where else could I put Harley Quinn’s dream pistol but at number one?

Final Thoughts

Coming in at $20 for a PDF (available at DriveThruRPG) and $40 for the hardcover, Black Chrome provides the Cyberpunk RED player quite a bit for their buck. I may have chosen to focus on the guns, but there’s some incredible vehicles, gear, and cybernetic equipment in here. It is well made, aesthetically and thematically fantastic, and well, well worth your time if you’re the person who wants more of everything in your Cyberpunk RED experience.

Images and Review Copy provided by R. Talsorian Games

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