Every game system I’ve encountered over the years has some kind of healer class and Cyberpunk Red is no exception. However, the Medtech Role takes things further, not only preserving the lives of their party members but can also serve as surgeons and ripperdocs (doctors that specialize in cyberware). In the Dark Future of this setting, just being the local Doctor isn’t all its cracked up to be, since Medtechs tend to find themselves in the middle of a firefight more often than not.
Medtech’s cover a wide array of skills, particularly due to their Role Ability Medicine. From a mechanics standpoint, the Medtech shares a similar set up to the Tech Role covered in a previous article. For every Rank in the Medicine Role Ability, the Medtech player gain a point that they can devote to one of three Specialties: Surgery, Medical Tech (Pharmaceuticals), or Medical Tech (Cryosystem Operation).
As they are the closest thing the setting has to an actual Healer class, Medtechs can start off with the Paramedic Skill at character creation (whereas all the roles at least have some ranks in First Aid only). Within the skill list of Cyberpunk Red, First Aid is the skill one would use for stabilize a downed character and keep them from dying. The Paramedic Skill takes this a step further, allowing the player character to treat Critical Injuries that don’t require Surgery to keep the character alive.
The Specialties that Medtechs have access to are the main ways player characters and NPCs are able to survive in the harsh environments that are common in Cyberpunk Red. Surgery is the first option. For each point allocated to Surgery, the Medtech gains two ranks in the Surgery Skill, which is used to treat the most severe Critical Injuries (such as loss of limb) as well as assisting in implanting cyberware in a person’s body. Since Medtechs are the only ones with access to the Surgery Skill, this makes such a character a valuable commodity within the community of Edgerunners and Cyberpunks the players will encounter.
Medical Tech (Pharmaceuticals) works in a similar fashion: for each point allocated to this Specialty, the character gains one point in the Medical Tech Skill, which can be used to operate and repair medical machinery. The Pharmaceutical aspect comes into play when the Medtech decides which drugs they can learn how to synthesize, which requires a Medical Tech check and 200 eurodollars (the currency used in Cyberpunk Red). The Pharmaceuticals available range from Antibiotics that can speed up the natural healing process to Stims, which let the recipient ignore grievous wounds in combat. As a measure to ensure game balance, these Pharmaceuticals can only be used once per day per character, so you can’t keep healing someone multiple times in a given day of gameplay.
From a gameplay standpoint, having a Medtech within your group can be a good way to mitigate (to some degree) the harshness of combat within the system. Unlike some other game systems, combat in Cyberpunk Red is meant to be lethal, with average weapons doing a good amount of damage, particularly in the case of critical hits that can bypass armor and cause devastating injuries to the players. With the ability to provide on-site healing to keep someone in the fight as well as down-time healing assistance to get characters back into things faster, Medtechs make an excellent addition to the party dynamic. When you take into account that Medtechs also have access to heavy weaponry and shields, you have a character that can not only keep the party upright in a fight but can contribute in a major way to the fight.