Greeting, GUEST.
Consulate of Greater MTL, CA.
17°
Sunny

SAFEHOUSES & FOLLOWERS

A homebrew conversion of the ideas and mechanics of MCDM's Strongholds & Followers's book to the Cyberpunk Red TTRPG system and setting.

In this article:
Acquiring Safehouses
Building a Safehouse
Upgrading your Safehouse
Hideouts: Complex Safehouses
Claiming an Abandoned Safehouse
Awarding a Safehouse
Acquiring properties for a Safehouse
Example scenario
Consequences of acquiring a Safehouse

ACQUIRING SAFEHOUSES

There is a number of ways to obtain a Safehouse. The metropolis-based setting of Cyberpunk Red changes how safehouses can be acquired, so this section differs quite drastically from the source material.

There are two main ways to become the owner of a Safehouse:

You can buy a Property and repurpose it into a Safehouse, which is cheaper and takes less time, but severely limits how much you can expand your safehouse. This will probably be your first safehouse.

You can build a whole new standalone Safehouse or repair an abandoned Safehouse. This is more costly and time-consuming, as you need to do a lot of construction work, but the Safehouse will be made exactly to your specifications and there are no limits on how big the Safehouse (or Hideout) can become.

TYPES OF SAFEHOUSES

There are four types of basic safehouses, which can be combined into complex safehouses of many varieties. Although some character roles might have more affinity with some safehouse types, every role can build every safehouse types.

A Workshop is a tinkerer’s cave, for characters who want to have space for specialized tools and to research new items.

An Establishment is a public-facing commercial venture, which generates revenue and reputation.

An Office is a place where people work to gather information, do paperwork, and accomplish things for players.

A Hangout is a chill place where gossip is gathered, and new followers can be recruited.

A Hideout combines two or more of the above into a large complex run by many characters.

COSTS ARE ABSTRACTED

After you buy a safehouse, you do not need to worry about things like rent, expenses, and revenue. All safehouses (except the establishment) are assumed to pay for themselves in some way or another. This include the cost of paying for the employees who maintain your safehouse while you are away.

YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE LOYAL ENOUGH

Safehouses have employees which take care of your Safehouse while you are away. Bartenders and bouncers manage your establishment, clerks run your office and technicians repair the machines of your workshop. While these people might not take a bullet for you, they should be considered “loyal”. They will do their job efficiently unless something dramatic happens to them.

These employees will not attempt to betray you without something happening to them. They might do it if you treat them badly, for example, or they might do it if one of your enemies threatens their family.

WHO OWNS A SAFEHOUSE?

The person who pays for the safehouse is considered to be its Owner, but, of course, deciding who the Owner is up to the players. The Owner of a safehouse chooses who gains the benefits of the Safehouse.

Each Safehouse has one Owner, but the Owner can choose any number of PCs who become Co-Owners of the Safehouse. Co-Owners gain some benefits from the Safehouse, but not all of them.

For example, Able the solo builds an Establishment (a nightclub in downtown Night City) and will thus be the one who gains reputation and receives the revenue from the Safehouse. Able, however, elects to have her fixer buddy Scarab and her Tech ally Hoplite become Co-Owners. While the reputation bonus and the money generated from the Establishment go into Able's pockets, Scarab and Hoplite still gain bonus Role Abilities and Safehouse Actions.

If the players operate a Hideout, each safehouse in the hideout has its own Owner.

YOUR SAFEHOUSE’S SPHERE OF INFLUENCE

A Safehouse’s sphere of influence is the area in which the Safehouse can project power in some way. It is the area in and around the Safehouse, which your player characters will become deeply attuned to after they establish their safehouse somewhere. Some abilities use your Safehouse’s sphere of influence to determine if you have access to them.  

When your Safehouse or hideout has a total level of 1 to 3, its sphere of influences stretches for a few blocks around the Safehouse. When your Safehouse or Hideout has a total level of 4 to 6, its sphere of influence covers the whole neighborhood. If it is higher, its sphere of influence covers a big part of the city or the whole city.

If your Safehouse is not in a city, this scale doesn’t work. In a more sparsely populated region (such as the outskirts), when your Safehouse or Hideout has a total level of 1 to 3, its sphere of influence stretches 5 miles around it. When your Safehouse or Hideout has a total level of 4 to 6, its sphere of influence stretches 100 miles. If it is higher, its sphere of influence stretches across the whole region.

SAFEHOUSES ARE USABLE BEFORE THEY ARE DONE

Anyone who has moved to a new apartment knows that a place is usable way before everything is unpacked. This is true here as well. Safehouses start providing their benefits halfway through their construction time. The Establishment and the Hangout are exceptions to this, as they are meant to attract customers and therefore need to be 100% done before providing their benefits.

There might be a few laborers stomping around the Office from time to time, but you can still get some work done, you know? Make sure to bring noise cancelling headphones or get a cyberaudio module with noise cancelling, though.

REPURPOSING A PROPERTY INTO A SAFEHOUSE

We’re not all rich enough to get exactly what we want. A property is a room, an apartment, or a section of a building that you buy and quickly convert into the type of Safehouse that you choose. You will quickly find that these properties were not made to accommodate such projects, and that every type of property limits how big your Safehouse can become.

When you acquire a property for a Safehouse, you either choose a room, an apartment, a commercial unit, a floor in a building or a whole building. Then, you choose in which neighborhood you want to install your Safehouse in. You then add to the cost of that property the cost of repurposing it into the Safehouse of your choice. These costs and time to builds of Safehouses are described in the ACQUIRING A PROPERTY FOR A SAFEHOUSE section.

BUILDING A SAFEHOUSE

Building a Safehouse entails having a new building constructed. This implies hiring contractors, drawing up floor plans and choosing a location. This is the most expensive option, and it is not available everywhere, but it provides a lot of control to players.

While building a compound like a Safehouse can take a long time in real life, this resource tries to balance between realistic costs and time schedules with the realities of playing an RPG. If it takes 5 years to build a mountain Hideout, no player would choose to do it. So, all safehouse types have unrealisticly shrunken down construction times and cost.

Workshops require the most work, because they need to be able to accommodate complex machines and specialized tools. Workshops will generally need to have access to high-voltage electricity, abundant water and other considerations, making them the costliest to build: 180 days.

Establishments need to be carefully designed and must include a variety of features to be usable as public-facing commercial ventures: 150 days

Offices and Hangouts are smaller in scope, requiring a lot fewer special features than the other safehouse types: 90 days.

SAFEHOUSE CONSTRUCTION
SafehouseCost to build (eb.)Time to build (days)
Workshop200,000 eb.180 days
Establishment175,000 eb.150 days
Office125,000 eb.90 days
Hangout125,000 eb.90 days

THESE THINGS TAKE TIME, CHOOMBA

Those corpo kids among you might ask why can’t they pay more to get the job done quicker?

This resource assumes that building or upgrading a Safehouse means that you employ specialized workers, like electricians, contractors, plumbers, and carpenters who are working optimally. Paying them more will make them happier, true, but they won’t work faster. Construction work and renovations just take a long of time. Paying more workers would actually complicate things and would slow down the whole process, due to all the management and communication issues that would emerge!

NARRATIVE REASONS FOR DIFFERENT COSTS AND TIMES

Of course, the costs and times to build shown in the tables here are subject to the specific context of your game. Maybe a major construction corporation has laid off thousands of workers, so labor is cheap right now. Maybe there are no available workers, or maybe only Nomad Families are willing to help the Players. Maybe there’s an electronics shortage, meaning that the parts needed for a Workshop will be more expensive. As Referee, feel free to modify the costs shown here depending on the narrative context that surrounds the creation of the Safehouse.

UPGRADING YOUR SAFEHOUSE

Safehouses can be upgraded at the cost of time and money. This provides different benefits, based on the type of safehouse you own. When you first build a safehouse, you can choose to spend more money and build a safehouse of a higher level from the get-go, but this does not provide any cost or time reduction: the cost and time are simply added to the total.

COST TO UPGRADE (EB.)
Safehouse1st to 2nd level2nd to 3rd level3rd to 4th level4th to 5th level
Workshop25,00090,000200,000500,000
Establishment20,00075,000150,000400,000
Office15,00060,000125,000300,000
Hangout15,00060,000125,000300,000
TIME TO UPGRADE (DAYS)
Safehouse1st to 2nd level2nd to 3rd level3rd to 4th level4th to 5th level
Workshop60100150210
Establishment5080120180
Office306090150
Hangout306090150

HIDEOUTS: COMPLEX SAFEHOUSES

A Hideout is comprised of two or more Safehouses located on the same location, which each provide their benefits to their respective Owner. A Hideout is more complex, because it needs to accommodate different tools, needs and purposes. Constructing Safehouses and upgrading them is therefore more expensive in a hideout. It is 10% more expensive to upgrade or build new Safehouses in a Hideout and it takes 10% more time.

Hideouts cannot contain more than one of each type of Safehouse.

CLAIMING AN ABANDONED SAFEHOUSE

Urban life is fast, dirty, expensive, and leaves many things behind to rot. Abandoned Safehouses are buildings which have been left to decay, with no actual owners to speak of. While some people will want to buy completely functional properties, other enterprising players might choose to adopt an abandoned Safehouse and build it back up into a usable shape. Repairing an Abandoned Safehouse saves you half the time and cost of the Safehouse. This is true even if the Safehouse was of a different type before it became ruined.

The Referee decides how damaged the Safehouse actually is. Referees should shave off 5,000 eb. and 5 days for every room or floor of the Safehouse that is still intact. Of course, this is only a suggestion and Referees should feel free to decide if other factors influence the price and time needed.

For example, Able. Scarab and Toredo find an abandoned warehouse in the Combat Zone inhabited by a combat gang. They chase the gang out and decide to re-purpose the recently vacated decaying building into their new Safehouse. They choose to build it into a lvl 2 Workshop which Toredo, their Tech, will own. This would normally cost 225,000 eb. and take 240 days, but, because they are repairing an abandoned Safehouse, the cost is reduced to 112,500 eb. and it will take 120 days. Construction starts immediately.

AWARDING A SAFEHOUSE

All Safehouses which are in good enough shape to not need repairs already belong to someone. Legally, I mean.You can, of course, end up being in possession of such a Safehouse. The Safehouse might have been overrun with a combat gang or have been used illegally for other purposes, but after that bothersome problem is dealt with, it becomes unforgotten. The corporation who owns the block will want to get involved, an organized crime syndicate will suddenly show up. Whoever has an excuse will want to ensure they get the benefits of your work.

This might not mean that they will want to take it away from you, however. After all, if you cleared out a violent gang from a location, the group that actually owns the place might prefer having your group of edgerunners as allies or subordinates, rather than enemies.

If your interests line up with theirs, they might nominate one character (the one they judge to be the most agreeable to them) to become the "representative" of the Safehouse. Owning that Safehouse might also entail for the players having to perform other benefits, such as working for the group of interest, providing them a service, giving them a cut of what the Safehouse does, etc.

Furthermore, the local powers can simply award the players a Safehouse as payment for their services. This, of course, is a tainted gift. The corporation or gang that hands out this Safehouse has a reason why they do not want it. Maybe its an abandoned Safehouse, maybe there are dozens of squatters there, maybe a gang has made it their home.

Ultimately, the point is that getting a Safehouse always involve a cost, wether it is in eurodollars or in risk. Things aren't just "free" for people like us.

ACQUIRING A PROPERTY FOR A SAFEHOUSE

In Strongholds & Followers, it is basically assumed that the players will build or acquire a standalone building in which their stronghold will exist. In the dark future, however, such things as “being a landowner” and “owning a whole building” are ridiculous luxuries. Your first safehouse will probably be installed in a building that was already there, such as in an apartment or in a commercial unit.

Properties are located in a specific area of the city and come with baggage and quirks. There is no mechanical impact to these aspects of the property, other than geographically deciding where the player’s Sphere of Influence will be located. An Establishment in the Badlands will make just as much money as an Establishment in City Center, for example, but an Establishment in the Badlands will only be able to project power around itself… in the Badlands.

The price of acquiring property varies based on location. The initial cost is based on the type of property and its location in the city.

Getting a safehouse this way entails first buying a property and then re-purposing the space for your safehouse. This is generally much cheaper than building a safehouse.

WHAT TYPE OF PROPERTY IS IT?

Properties come in various forms and sizes. The type of Property limits the level at which the safehouses can be raised to.

  • A room is is the equivalent of buying a garage, a shipping container or maybe renting out a room in somebody else’s apartment. The level of the safehouse cannot be raised above 1. Rooms cannot accommodate an Establishment.
  • An apartment is a 3 ½ to 6 ½ apartment renovated to accommodate a safehouse. This type of property can fit up to 2 levels of safehouses of different types. For example, it can fit a level 2 safehouse, or it can be a Hideout with two different level 1 Safehouses.
  • A commercial unit is a section of a building zoned for commercial purposes, which includes large rooms (both customer-facing rooms and a backroom for merchandise) and a large parking for deliveries.  This type of property can fit up to 5 levels of safehouses of different types. For example, it can fit a level 5 Safehouse, or it can be a Hideout with a mix of different Safehouse types which can have up to 5 levels combined.
  • A floor in a building is a whole story of a high-rise or a large building renovated to accommodate the safehouse. This type of property can fit up to 3 levels of safehouses of different types. Once a floor has been bought in a building, other floors in that building are less expensive to purchase.
  • A whole building is now yours to manage. A building with more than two floors works exactly like a standalone safehouse, except that it has quirks and baggage.
COST PER PROPERTY TYPE (EB.) 
TypePriceSpace available
Room5,0001 level (no Establishments)
Apartment15,0002 Levels
Commercial Unit50,0005 Levels
Floor in a building35,000 + 20,000 for each floor after the first3 Levels
Building100,000 + 25,000 per floorVaries

WHERE IS THE PROPERTY LOCATED?

The location of the Property modifies the cost of acquiring it. This modifier is decided by the Threat Rating (see p.297) of the area where the Property is located. We use Threat Rating because it better accounts for the sort of things that would modify the price of property (nearby violence, local median income, etc.)

  • The cheapest option is acquiring property in the Combat Zone, but those savings will probably need to be used to pay for good defense systems instead. The cost of acquiring property in areas with this Threat Rating is multiplied by 0,5.
  • The outskirts contain a few small, scattered buildings built by the people who have made their homes in the inhospitable Badlands. The cost of acquiring property in areas with this Threat Rating is multiplied by 0,75.
  • Moderate Areas are the densest parts of the city and provide relative safety. The cost of acquiring property in areas with this Threat Rating is not modified.
  • Areas with Corporate rating are often patrolled by corporate enforcers and are safer. The cost of acquiring property in areas with this Threat Rating is multiplied by 1,5.
  • The Executive zone are cordoned off areas under corporate control. These zones are heavy supervised and exclusionary. The cost of acquiring property in areas with this Threat Rating is multiplied by 4.

RE-PURPOSING A PROPERTY INTO A SAFEHOUSE

Once the Property is bought by a player, an additional cost is needed to adapt the property into a Safehouse. It costs 15,000 eb. to adapt a Property into a Workshop or an Establishment and 10,000 eb. to adapt it into an Office or a Hangout. Building a Safehouse in a Property takes 60 days.  

MOVING FROM ONE PROPERTY TO ANOTHER

After a while, players might want to pack up and move their things from their original property to a new, hopefully better, one. When the players choose to do so, they can choose to sell the property in which their Safehouse was installed, gaining back the money they paid to acquire the property.

Moving a Safehouse from one Property to another takes 30 days and costs 2,000 eb. per safehouse level that you move.  If the players choose not to move all of their safehouse levels, those levels are lost forever.

QUIRKS OF THE PROPERTY

All properties have quirks, things that give them a bit of personality and make them stand out a bit. Roll on this table.

1d10Quirk
1The property has an inconvenient entrypoint
2The property has a labyrinthine layout
3The property has noisy neighbors
4The property has very few windows
5The property is connected to another property
6The property has one too many back doors
7The property is really high up
8The property is a 20th century construction
9The property has noticeably crooked floors.
10The property is really quirky. Roll twice on this table.

BAGGAGE OF THE PROPERTY

What has happened to this property in the past and how does that past affect its appearance? Roll on this table to find out.

1d10Baggage
1This property saw a shootout. There are still bullet holes in some of the walls.
2This property was a gang hideout. The graffiti are still visible even though it was all painted over.
3The property was available because the owner was murdered.
4The property partly burnt down. Some of the walls are visibly more recent than the others
5The property was owned by very untidy owners. Some of the stains won’t come out.
6The property has been unused for a while. You’ll have a lot of cleaning to do when moving in.
7The property was enlarged at some point in the past. Beams and girders are visible.
8The property was rented out by the owner. The paints on the walls are distinctly not the same shade of white.
9The property was used by a netrunner. The electronic wiring in the wall is expertly done.
10This property has a lot of history. Roll twice.

AN EXAMPLE SCENARIO OF BUYING A PROPERTY

The Media Goro wants to build an office safehouse to get a little team of journalists together to help in his investigations. He chooses to buy an Apartment in the Watson Development neighborhood of Night City. This is a zone with a Corporate Threat Rating. This whole operation will cost him 24,500 eb. and will take 60 days.

It costs him 24,500 eb. He buys an Apartment (15,000 eb.), whose price is then multiplied by the Threat Rating of the area (1,5x). He also adds the cost of 10,000 eb. needed to build a level 1 office safehouse. The Referee rolls on the quirks and baggage table and tells the player that the property he bought can only be accessed through the emergency fire exit in a nearby alleyway and that it had been left unused for a long while. Goro himself spends a good three days cleaning the apartment while the construction workers start adapting the property into a safehouse.

CONSEQUENCES OF ACQUIRING A SAFEHOUSE

Safehouses should never come without generating unintended consequences. If your players built an office and lived happily ever after, the story would be awfully boring.

WELCOME TO POLITICS

Safehouses are much smaller in scale than Strongholds from the original book. Safehouses are bars, nightclubs, drug dens and offices. Compare that to the political significance of owning a castle and this becomes obvious. Building something of the political importance of a Keep from Strongholds and Followers would be like founding a new corporation.

Safehouses, while they are much smaller in scope, still send a message to those around it: "we're here and we're staying!"

THE LOCAL POWERS

THE POWERS THAT BE

CERTIFYING OWNERSHIP

Next section: safehouse types and their benefits

<-- Introduction // Safehouse types -->

Disclaimer

This is a fan project for our game of the Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop role-playing game. Most corporations, game rules and in-universe references are the intellectual property of R. Taslorian Games. Some graphical assets are created by Cédric Duchaineau and Alejandro Olivares were inspired by assets created by CD Projekt Red or R. Taslorian Games.

Disclaimer

This is a fan project for our game of the Cyberpunk 2020 tabletop role-playing game. Most corporations, game rules and in-universe references are the intellectual property of R. Taslorian Games. Some graphical assets are created by Cédric Duchaineau and Alejandro Olivares were inspired by assets created by CD Projekt Red or R. Taslorian Games.