I'm running a Cyberpunk Red TTRPG. In the setting:

  1. Combat is mainly ranged with modern/near-future small arms.
  2. Cybernetic limbs and bodies which are equal (in some cases superior) to organic counterparts are commonplace and accepted in society. Fear inhibitors can be installed, and are seen without stigma or glory, just similar to another piece of technology like Night-Vision Goggles (or Night Vision Cybereyes).
  3. Death is permanent. Mortally wounded individuals can be rapidly stabilized with certain technologies and their crippled bodies can be replaced (see 2).
  4. Most combatants will either be untrained (uncohesive) gangers or highly trained (cohesive, moderately motivated, costly) corporate soldiers.
  5. Human lives are seen as more disposable but not that disposable.

How will these things (mainly bulletpoint 2 and 3) affect the willingness of combatants to fight? Say, two squads of 10 corp soldiers, how many casualties will they have to sustain before they start to retreat/rout, compared to real life small squads?

Edit: To provide more details about this world:

These are 20 highly trained soldiers working for a corporation. Some have signed up to be corporate soldiers since economic opportunities are few elsewhere, some sign up from family tradition, and are not necessarily organically loyal to the corporation.

The soldiers should have the social characteristics of an average contemporary military squad. So, late teens to mid 20s, from a variety of social backgrounds. Please let me know what extra information about this world may be needed.

  • $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Nov 1, 2022 at 12:33
  • $\begingroup$ Moral is highly dependent upon the character of the specific individuals in a squad, and their circumstances. The answer to this question seems highly dependent upon the squad's attitude to fear inhibitors, and prosthetics. Being implanted with an inhibitor could be seen as a sign of cowardness, or it could be viewed as guaranteeing that you'll be taking dangerous risk. Without knowing such facts the answer of this question is entirely at the discretion of the worldbuilder. Questions like this where we need to build your world for you to answer, aren't a good fit for this site. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    Nov 1, 2022 at 13:17
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ It's complicated to answer. Personal odds of survival are not necessarily a good measure of likely morale. Compare attitudes towards joining up and fighting in WWI (appalling casualty rates and low medical technology) to Vietnam (lower casualty rates and high medical tech but unpopular war). There is also a huge difference between a squad giving up on attempting a mission with low likelihood of success and routing (= abandoning their squadmates). So it's very hard to give a "one-size-fits-all" answer (I'm guessing for a game mechanic). $\endgroup$ Nov 1, 2022 at 14:20
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Vote to close: The help center states that questions about the decisions of characters are off-topic. What motivates one person to fight/not-fight isn't what will motivate the next. Your proposed ideas are just drops in the decision-making bucket. And asking what will cause any particular group to choose to abandon a fight is even worse. What any of those men will do is a function of off-topic narrative necessity. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Nov 1, 2022 at 20:05
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Morale of soldiers with good healthcare is a fairly well known and studied feature that isn't about one soldier fighting or another. $\endgroup$
    – Nepene Nep
    Nov 2, 2022 at 9:53

2 Answers 2


It would massively increase morale

A huge source of fear for any soldier is crippling injuries that afterwards make you weak and feeble. Many fear that more than death. Good healthcare is a huge factor in improving morale. so if your army group promises to fix any health issues with cybernetics that are superior to human body parts that will substantially increase morale.

A key issue is what happens to families after

If they die, what will happen to their families? Will their daughter with diabetes get a cybernetic pancreas? Will the poor lost mother get a mechanical arm with extension features to help her reach high shelves? Soldiers also need to know that their families will be taken care of if they are gone. If good cybernetics are promised to their children if they die in the line of duty that will help a lot.

They won't care about injuries as much

Death will still be a big barrier, but soldiers will probably be a lot more willing to push through injuries. If you win a fight but get your legs and arms wrecked, you get extremely expensive replacement limbs. That's a win win. How likely they are to rout will vary, but generally people will be a lot more willing to stay in a fight even with crippling injuries, because they can just cyber up.


//How many casualities before these small squads retreat?//


This is not because of the cybernetics. This is because it is a small group. You do not send a small group if you anticipate organized resistance that is expecting you. That is a mission for a larger group. You send a small group because they are predators and expect to have a technological advantage and / or take their prey by surprise.

If you engage and immediately take more than one casualty that means the people who sent you did not understand the situation. Early casualties mean your opponents are ready for you (or if they were not, they probably are now!) and if your opponents are ready the chance for a group of 10 attackers to complete their mission is slim. Better to retreat, regroup and come at this problem a different way at a different time.

Also if your wounded are going to get fixed up they need people to help them get back out of the combat area. With 8 remaining healthy combatants (of a party of 10) that is 2 per wounded person to carry them out and 4 remaining to cover the rear on the way out. As you get more wounded you need more well people to help them retreat which leaves fewer combatants.


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