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The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
by Patrick M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/11/2018 15:09:08

Unfortunaly a number of ugly warts that makes this product fall short of (my) expectations:

  • A D10+attribute+skill vs Difficulty system where the fixed stats quickly make the D10 meaningless (which is already apparent in the first examples to explain the system in the rulebook, where a D10+26 is rolled against a difficulty of 19 (i.e. missing fit of stat range to standard deviation of randomizer)

  • Too many detailed modifiers (which will be eyeballed anyway in real game)

  • Crits and calld shots don't match

  • Too little choice in character design to allow e.g. a group of Witchers

  • Ugly layout choices (2-3 columns with changing width and overuse of italics; ugly coloured tables, totally unispiring character sheet) - look like straight from the 80s in a bad way

On the plus side is a treatment of the setting which is evicative and good crafting/alchemy rule



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
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The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
by Spike H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/07/2018 20:12:45

I really like it. Have been GM'ing for many years now and although I need to run with this a LOT more before it settles into a "favourite system" niche then it looks promising.

Calling something a favourite system is EXTREMELY subjective though so here's why I like it. The entire system is based of a simple core mechanic of a skill plus stat plus D10. Everything else that I've read is the sort of thing that you could then add on should you desire. If you want the lean and simple then it can be boiled down to that core. If you want more crunch then you can add the extra combat mechanics like criticals, combat maneouvers and the rest. Things like alchemy, magic and crafting are there if you want them but they don't need to be integral to the game if you don't want them to. It can, if you want, just keep bringing things back to that basic simple mechanic.

Delving into some of those more advandced mechanics though, I like that the combat is fast, brutal and deadly meaning that players will want to think their way round problems rather than wading in while assuming success. Even when fights are inevitable, people need to think tactically as well which I really like. But again, this could be modified or ignored by a GM who wants a slightly different flavour to things.

Just off the top of my head you could easily make the game less deadly by making the "death state" more forgiving, increasing the HP ratio or removing "injured status"

My main frustration is also a selling point. I have read that the writers were determined to have everything in the book so that you could just pick up this one book and run/play a game out of it. This is a good thing, however, it also means that there's a lot of detail that's been left out. I would have liked more monsters, more spells, more character stats, in depth discussions of the countries and their nobilities. In short, I wanted a bit more.

Don't get me wrong, I am well aware that at some point you need to stop writing a book and publsih it ina manageable format. But I wanted a bit more and am looking forward to/hoping for so more supplements to help with this.

I have one significant problem which is that there is a missing character class that one of my players was looking forward to being able to plat. He's a player that likes to play politics and and courtly games. To do that in this game you have to be a bard, or a mage. He wanted to be neither, he wanted to be a professional politician. The kind of sycophant that hangs around with Kings and ambassadors all the time that might be sent out with a party to "facillitate their endeavours". This is missing despite there being several characters in the source material that fulfill this role and we both found that disappointing.

Yes, I understand that anyone can take the diplomacy skills but it's the mage that gets the "Politician" skill tree. So at the moment, I'm having to work on a different class for him. This is why I've rated this four out of five stars because it seems like a fairly obvious to me.

Other than that I like it. It's obviously the result of a small number of people's work. I understand that updates with bookmarks and formatting will be released soon and I look forward to reading, and GM'ing more from this team



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
by Rufus D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/04/2018 18:55:22

I've been following the development of this book ever since it was announced, and I was skeptical about it from the beginning. I'm not overly impressed with the previous works of the creators, so there is definitely some bias here, but I try to divorce myself from it as much as possible.

The Looks 2/5

The book is not a nice book. The layout feels puritan, and unadorned, sometimes confusing. It isn't unreadable, or distracting... But really there is not much to say about how this book presents itself. Almost all of the art is taken from the various CD Project games, which results in artwork of varying quality, lacking a strong aesthetic element all together. It just looks cheap. Uninspired text boxes, boring headers, and art taken from other sources... Meh.

The System 3/5

Not having played it yet, these are my first impressions of the system. It looks like it should work. It isn't an inspired system, or anything new, but it was changed enough so the setting fits with it comfortably. A single strike could end the career of an adventurer, or indeed any NPC, and the world of the Witcher lends itself really well to games where the system might not the the most important thing... It is crunchy, but it is mostly a question of understanding the rules and utilizing the right ones in any given moment. Since combat seems like something that ends very quickly, and has lasting consequences, much like in the novels, the tension leading up to the confrontation is where the game will truly shine. Character creation is really nothing new, but it creates flavorful characters with interesting backstories (as much as rolling on tables constitutes creating characters... I digress... It gives a good baseline) that fit into the world. The classes are fairly limited in their uniqueness, but they all sound kinda useful, and allow your character to develop a personality.. You won't be overshined by your own abilities in this game, that's for sure. Overall, it seems like system that does the job... like an old shovel. It might not be pretty, or fancy or new, but it can dig a hole. What else do you want?

Faithfulness 4/5

I'm not gonna talk about the setting, instead I will talk about how the setting is represeted in the book. Pretty good actually. You have descriptions of all major powers and places, something that this setting was missing A LOT. It isn't an encyclopedia of knowledge, but it is better than anything we had before. The monsters are given dual descriptions, both from the point of view of the everyman narrator of the book, Rodolf Kazmer, and from the POV of a Witcher, giving you both flavor and information in an entertaining manner. Rodolf also talks about pretty much everything else in the book, giving you his 2 copper pieces which makes a surprisingly interesting read, and helps the potential players orient themselves within the setting. The game is clearly drawing strongly from the CDProjectRed version of the world, which is apparent in many cases. I don't think this is a problem, because: A, it is a curated and more cohesive version of the setting, B, it is obviously tied to the success of the franchise for most places in the world. The few discrepancies between the world of the novels and the games, I am willing to let go.

Overall, I would recommend this book if:

  • You are interested in playing in the world of the Witcher (with any system), and want to use the setting described in the book.
  • You are interested in playing with kinda crunchy game systems, and like gritty, dark fantasy settings where things can go seriously wrong quickly.
  • You are bored with D&D, and you want to experiment with some new variations on the fantasy genre, and you don't mind spending a few bucks on the book.

Don't buy this book if:

  • You are into rules-light, narrative systems
  • You want to play the heroes journey in a high fantasy game
  • You never played an RPG before. Seriously, this ain't for beginners.
  • You like products with strong aesthetic values. You will never take this book out to admire it's beauty.

PS. Do yourself a favor and read the novels and play the Witcher III. If you enjoy fantasy, you will have a great time with either of those.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
by Thomas v. I. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/04/2018 05:57:56

First of all I'd like to state I'm very happy with the current discount of the PDF. I am planning on buying the hardcopy version in 2-3 weeks as well so would not have bought the PDF at full price. And I do not like waiting. At all.

So about 3 weeks ago I had a chat with 2 of my friends, one a massive Witcher fan, with a massive concern about this RPG. Everybody will want to be a bloody Witcher won't they? And that won't work since witchers aren't much liked (understatement) in most parts of the continent. "I hope they make the other classes interesting enough".

3 weeks later I am refreshing the hell out of drivethru and R. Talsorian's Facebook page and suddenly my 'witcher' search comes up with a hit. Oh god I hope it isn't Witcher: The Witchering and the 7 Witchers playing Witchers. And it wasn't....

Besides publishing 9 professions (classes) of which the witcher is 1, I feel they made every class fun to play and fun to play WITH: Has your merry band of travelers just arrived at the small town of [insert random name that is typically used for small towns, something without -grad .... I don't know ... Glenfield!] yes the small town of Glenfield! Ah, let us settle down for some ale and food. What is this you say? No coin? But we have a witcher in the group (there will often be 1 witcher in a group of +-4 people, seeing as theyre just too good when dealing with monsters, but hey if your campaign does not involve fighting monsters, why have a monster ahum mutant in your party?), he is sure to have some coinage from his last monster hunt? He slayed that Grave hag for 800 crowns! ...he spent how much on buying that sword? Eighthun.......son of a whOkay who has crowns? "Give me an hour" Says your bard, as he walks out into the town square of Glenfield (yes I know it's a small town but it has a square okay, just go along with it) he raises a crowd and captivates a group of 20 commoners and merchants, who seem to be able to do nothing but watch him perform a sad song about friendships lost and lack of coin to drown his sorrows. Half weeping the crowd puts crowns in his hat as he bows and thanks them. Or perhaps the bard has a raspy voice that day, or mocked the town patron saint, after which you are very much NOT welcome anymore in any establishment and it's best to keep travelling. Really though who has a patron saint called Dingus?

Now that you have all this coin, where do you spend it? Maybe the merchant of your group is well connected in this area and knows a craftsman who is willing to give him gear with a promise to pay the rest of the fee later! Maybe you have a craftsman with a knack for master crafting! Or you could donate it all to the priest as tithe so you can AHAHAHAHA NO, WE'RE NOT DOING THAT AHAHAHA

I could go on and on but in short: all classes add a nice roleplay element to the story. Of course it is up to the DM/players to actively use this but heyho that's in most games.

The harshness of the environments from the witcher books/games is portrayed accurately as well, it reminded me a bit of Kingdom Come: Deliverance, or Call of Cthulhu RPG, where death comes easy and things 'suck' a lot. No hot water, no food, no rest, no safety, let's go! See a group of bandits? Run. See 2 vampires skulking? Get out. If you get into combat, be SMART about it, don't just run in and spin-to-win around the battlefield, or you're losing that left arm. Lost a left arm? Have I told you about that Doctor profession that can operate on you and.... okay okay I'll stop selling the professions.

Are there things I dislike about the book? Definitely. The layout is indeed a bit basic, there are some font differences with center-page text and text on the side of the pages (center looks good, side font is a no). The colours used in the layout are bit run-of-the-mill and I feel the page numbers should have been stylised/painted. Yes there are some typos, yes the bookmarks are missing (I added them myself manually via Acrobat, since I could wait for them to do it and upload the new version, which they will, but as my first sentence says: I do not like waiting)but all of those things can be fixed, as long as the game rests on a strong heart. The art, however, is bloody gorgeous! No critique there at all, it's a wonderful job, and exactly what I was hoping it would be. The non-art aesthetics need a bit of a brush up methinks. Oh and about 90% of Rodolf's "heh"s need to be removed, it's tiring and annoying.

A lot of info has been included on gear, items, the intricacies of spells, witcher signs, alchemy, crafting, you name it. This combined with the information on what place magic holds in this world and the chapters on the continent/nations/inhabitants/creatures really makes this an interesting book for me. I was NOT looking forward to Witcher: The Witchering. We heard you liked the Witcher, so we put Witchers in your Witcher RPG so you could Witcher while your friends Witcher even harder! Brought to you by Witcher. No. This book sets us up for roleplaying in the world of the books/games that I love so much, and I am very happy that they did. The system works well with it too, it's a new system for me but I found no issues/hardships so far. I like the idea of a skill tree (long time mmorpg player, skill trees are my secret love) and I appreciate the character creation possibilities concerning where you were born, family situation etc. You could also skip some of this if you're not interested in stats as much, but they're good bases for backstories or applications of lore within the sessions.

So all in all: I am very very happy this book is finally here. Looking forward to seeing how they deal with community tips/ideas/further books with adventures (this book also contains one, good move!) and or expansions on the world. Now I am off to roll a Witcher cuz OMG DID YOU HEAR YOU CAN PLAY A WITCHER IN THIS ONE OMG I CAN BE A WITCHER!!!!!



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
by Marco K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2018 16:40:11

Why do we buy this? Because we want The Witcher TRPG to happen and produce lots of additional Sourcebooks!

Why do I like to buy PDF? Because you can download the revised version free of charge!

Is 25 bucks too much? Nope, because I know that none of my Munchkin-Players will spend money on things that matter (like this book)!

Should you buy this? Yes! There are a few typos on the first few pages that (sadly) really stick out, which is no problem, because you bought an PDF (remember?) and those will be revised in due time! It feels like they really wanted to get it out on time for Gen-Con (a mistake WH 4th designers did not make) and I hope this doesn't fire back too hard. I'm a Die-Hard Warhammer Fan (go buy 4th Edition, fohr ze Emprah, btw.), but The Witcher PC Games left me deeply impressed with a world that is somewhere between my (preferred) High-Fantasy Warhammer und Low-Fantasy Game of Thrones (which is awesome to watch, but kinda less interesting to actually play). It offers a unique blend of these two worlds and after going through this book, I cannot help but feel that they really caught the essence of The Witcher.

Do I like the design of this book? Erm... well... njet! For the same reasons that I did not like die Green Ronin GoT books. It looks somewhat "too tidy", "too clean" and too “hastily made PowerPoint” for a medieval-style fantasy setting. WH 4th did this considerably better, for my taste – and they only published a Preview Version so far. Still, the rules capture everything I liked and loved about The Witcher Games: it's dark (rolling dat lifepath...), gritty (combat is wow, so much ouch) and (man, boo... eh, bombs O_O) it seems a little unfair at times. But what I really cherish - especially as a GM - is the way they handle classes. First off (jup, WH Fan!), I don't really like classes (srsly, screw you DnD! No wan in Tschörmanie laiks ju äniwäi!!!), but this feels just right: Every class has a unique perk that makes it stand out (only a Doctor can treat really nasty wounds properly) and three distinct and unique progression tables (which look really ugly, duh) but if you can ignore the awkward design choices, you'll get a really exciting roleplaying system with social skills that do actually matter (a thing I always incorporated in my PnP games).

Content – wow. No, seriously. I am impressed. Did I say that I did not like the design? Well, this book makes that up for content! Equipment, Magic, Crafting, Alchemy, Combat, World, GM Guide, Witchers, Relics, Bestiary… Call me a Witcher Fan-Boy, if you like, but I think they nailed it! Even when you’re of the not too creative type, with that kind of source material, you should be able to make the real Witcher experience happen!

The layout needs some re-design for future publications and bookmarks. Nevertheless – shut up and take my money!

And now, stop looking you turd, go buy this thing!

Yeah, you got me, I WANT this to be successful so they keep making stuff I can waste time and money on…



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
by Jeff W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2018 15:35:44

As a fan of The Witcher games and novels I was excited for this to drop. My biggest concern was that they would use some sort of narrative system or the custom dice that seem so popular these days. Fortunately it does not.

The system may seem a bit crunchy, but is pretty straightforward. D10+Skill+Attribute+Mod > TN, no big deal. Combat has some nice granulatiry and looks to be something you don't want to just jump into much like Cyberpunk 2020 which this is similar to. Character creation doesn't appear to be overly involved and doesn't include much randomization except for some lifepath style background tables. The game includes 20ish monsters, which should be enough considering that a large portion of enemies are going to be normal people, and that they should prove easy to customize. I am still hoping for a monster book though.

All around pretty happy with the purchase, I'll update when I get some play behind it.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
by Charlie S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2018 14:19:57

Only having skimmed it so far, but i love the art style, the content looks fine, and the feel is there... at least for me. The bookmark thing is annoying, but in no way a dealbreaker.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
by Yennefer V. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/03/2018 13:54:21

I'm a huge fan of the Witcher series. I've played all of the games several times and have read the Witcher books. I am extremely disappointed in the way this book looks and feels. It is hard to tell what this game is about. My friends and I want to play as witchers in the Witcher universe but this game seems more about playing a commoner NPC in the Witcher games. The mechanics are even more confusing. It feels like a generic reskinned game from the 90's and it is not intentionally or ironically marketed as retro. It features archaic randomization elements and convoluted crunch. Even the layout of the book feels amateur and it looks like a layman's homebrew with stolen CD Projekt Red art slapped on. I'd consider paying this much for a modern and professional tabletop rpg but this "game" is far from it.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. The Second Edition, Version 2.01
by Jamie L. R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/14/2018 20:39:48

Others have written about the Cyberpunk genre and how well this system grabs it with murderous intent. Over the years I've played and run a mix of senarios from High Tech/Low Life to the Euro Golden Childern destorying the world for the corporations. However, I'd rather focus of the system itself:

On the plus side;

  • Character creation can be quick, fast & dirty for your punks, Or fill out the details with Lifepaths, skills, equipment, cyberware etc.
  • Combat is quick, brutal and deadly, which suits the genre.
  • The list of Cyberware gives PCs everything that need and opens the door to some cool ideas.
  • There is a community that have produced a lot of cool things. Like the Cyberpunk Refernce Book V5, a massive collection of notees about Cyberpunk and which source books have the information. And Datafort2020.com is a large archieve of useful material.

On the downside;

  • The technology... it's dated. Some of the tech talked about is VERY '80s, while others are right on the mark. Either way it's an interesting take on the future that is only just over a year away.
  • Netrunning. It does exprerss the idea of a digital space well, but it does create a game within the game that only Netrunners can play. This has the effect of slowing the game to a halt. So unless you have a team of netrunners PCs or it's all handled by an NPC Hacker. Moving neturunnering to the background allows the team to focus on the mean streets slick with rain.

Overall, I have many memories of the game. The system is generally simple and consisitent handling a number of genres beyond cyberpunk's distopian future. And rocks the Cyberpunk aesthetic.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. The Second Edition, Version 2.01
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Blackhand's Street Weapons 2020
by Christian N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/09/2018 10:24:36

I Purchased the print on deman + PDF option. Very good price and the quality of the PDF is fantastic, looks like it couold have been an original copy, rather than a PDF scan. The Print on demand option is also very good too, i purchased it in the UK and took less than two weeks for print and delivery. Print quality is excellent, almost looks as if it came from the original publisher. For anyone in the UK wanting to get the books, i highly reccomend getting them from here, rather than pay the extortionate ebay prices, or the high shipping prices from the official talsorian store.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Blackhand's Street Weapons 2020
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Rockerboy
by Christopher L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/04/2018 10:32:51

I've been looking for this supplement for about 25 years now. Fantastic resource, sadly prophetic. Great scan and easier to keep up with than hardcopy.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Rockerboy
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Mekton Zeta
by Carlos G. P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/04/2018 16:47:14

They fix the issues I mentioned in my review long ago, the pages look much better, even more sharper. They add bookmarks so you can find all information and tables quick without the problem of memorize or go to index. They really check the review of people, that purchase the book, and they keep them in mind. Great work and I really appreciate it

Old review

I give it 3 stars, because the system is simple, so everyone could play without problems, the ambience is detail in every aspect even they take care about fuel and size of mechas and spaceship and pilots habilities. if you love series about mechas such as gundam, patlabor, etc. and you want to create your own universe about them, this is perfect. Although the system and the details are perfect; the pdf is not so great, the scan pages have some white lines, also you can see the page of the other side, and there is no bookmarks that could help you to find quickly some tables or information.

I hope they'll fix these little problems, even if they are making a new version.

However is worth to buy it.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mekton Zeta
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Mekton Zeta Plus
by Lee C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/08/2017 14:10:54

An amazing expansion to a solid game. Because I somehow didn't notice this previously, I was trying to make the Techbook for Mekton 2 work with Zeta. Aside from the difficulty of that, this book is simply so much better. The sheer variety of options lets you build nearly any mecha you can think of. And if that isn't enough, there are several pages of optional rules, just in case you want to do something really out there. If you can imagine it, then there is probably some way to make it in Mekton Zeta Plus. If you like Mekton Zeta, but think that the options for building your mecha are too limited, this is the book for you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Mekton Zeta Plus
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Bastille Day
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 08/08/2017 04:48:15

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This adventure/sourcebook for the Cybergeneration 2027 game clocks in at 50 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial/ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 46 pages of content, so let's take a look!

Well, at least, let's try. You see, the scan this time around is not particularly good, which makes the letters come out a bit pale and gray/blurry, which proved to be a considerate hassle while reading this as a pdf. Perhaps it's me being sensitive to the like, but I considered this to be somewhat exhausting for the eyes. Anyways, this is a module, but it also features two new yogangs, so I'll start with those, all right?

Oh yeah, before I forget: This was moved up in my review-queue as a prioritized review at the request of my patreons.

The yogangs are presented in the same style as those in other Cybergeneration-supplements, with a write-up, slang, etc. The first of these yogangs would be the moshers, the party hard crew - as heirs to punks, metal heads and the like, the yogang is something I can relate with: Using music as a vehicle to navigate the harsh realities of life makes sense to me. The yogang skill they get is pretty powerful - more so than I'*m comfortable with: It's called Mosh (BODY) and does not mean going into a pogo or doing some headbanging - it's whenever you do something reckless. It contains some martial arts uses, halving impact damage, staying awake - in short, it is a very wide open skill, one that may be considered to be OP, depending on how you read it.

The second yogang presented herein would be the trogs, somewhat akin to subterranean ArcoRunners - basically, trogs are the sewer/cavern-dweller, the guys and gals that creep out of maintenance shafts - think of them as Nosferatu, minus vampirism and curse-based disfigurement. Their yogang skill, Spelunking (INT), is pretty potent as well, though more situational: It lets you determine airborne toxins, nets you a spidey sense for nearby threats and the option to stare down some deadly critters. Basically, think of these guys and gals as subterranean rangers or guerillas.

Unlike other yogangs presented throughout the Cybergeneration-supplements, we don't get new tools or pieces of equipment for these guys, though, which makes them slightly less well-rounded in that regard.

Anyways, this is pretty much as far as I can go without going into SPOILERS. The following discussion of the adventure-section contains these in spades, so if you're planning on playing this module, please skip ahead to the conclusion NOW.

...

..

.

All righty, only GMs around? Great! So, legends Rache Batmoss, Spider Murphy and Dog have their hands full: California has recently lost its sovereignty , and thus, the BuReloc (Federal Bureau of Relocation and Housing Security Services) activity is spiking. During a run on a CorpSec server, Spider Murphy, strangely, seems to have vanished/jacked out. Unfortunately, Spider has been captured, as she was running from the perceived anonymity of a secured, rundown locale - and has midrun, alongside a ton of others, been captured for reeducation. Thankfully, BuReloc and CorpSec don't like each other very much - and while CorpSec knows that BuReloc has Spider, they don't know who she is...and thus, they have sent a spy in deep cover to the facility - which, thankfully, has not yet been completed, using the captured undesirables as forced labor to build their own camp.

The task, for the kids, will be, obviously, to infiltrate this camp and the set-up provided for this is pretty modular. If you want to, you can include Dog as a chaperone for the PCs to make the module easier- but after the detailed and extended briefing, the book presents the full freedom of choice: Even getting to Spider's apartment to have an initial angle to start their investigation is already rather modular: Depending on the route chosen, different, fully-depicted encounters await and at Spider's place - which is now under the control of BuReloc - so the PCs will have some interesting time on their hands trying to infiltrate the fully mapped complex.

Having slipped, hopefully, through the nets of BuReloc, the PCs will have a trail to pursue - though, alas, Nomad Santiago is also MIA, potentially injured...The legwork is rather detailed as well - and once the PCs have exhausted their options, they can begin with the BuReloc camp infiltration - the camp is once again fully mapped and the supplement does take a lot of details into account - including e.g. the potential for wizards to use their gifts to reprogram the addictive indoctrination booths. Indeed, the module feels very much like an early adventure, sine the book contains a lot of tricks for the creative use of the special abilities of the kids...however, this very much shows that it is an early supplement - it doesn't use Cybergeneration on its own, often referencing Cyberpunk books and the aforementioned, unique tricks don't always come with rules to back them up. Take the mentioned, intriguing reprogramming example as one instance of this - no clue is provided on how difficult that would be.

While the CorpSec spy makes for an interesting complication, the other4 people mentioned only remain pale, with one sentence provided for them - a table of fluff-only characteristics for the NPCs would have been nice, if to make it harder to differentiate important from unimportant NPCs.

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are good - I noticed a couple of minor glitches and hiccups regarding rules-coverage, but as a whole, not too many jarring instances. Layout adheres to Cybergeneration's 2-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes with nice, original b/w-artworks. The scanning quality isn't too good, though, and the lack of bookmarks represents a serious comfort detriment.

Edward Bolme's Bastille Day is by far the weakest Cybergeneration supplement I have read so far. The new yogangs feel like afterthoughts that are tacked on and don't really have a good reason to be in the book. More importantly, the adventure feels weird to me: The kids act as help for the "big guys" and I never managed to shake the impression that they're not the heroes, but rather the b-team of sidekicks. You know, like in many a cartoon-series, when the hero's captured and the annoying sidekick gets the spotlight to save them, often to "prove their value" - I always hated that in kid's shows. (No, we didn't want to be Robin - we still wanted to be Batman. And most of the time, we still considered the sidekicks to be annoying after that...)

The name is also WEIRD. When I read "Bastille Day", I think of something more important, monumental, of something actually important, when this module presents a pretty run of the mill jailbreak scenario. The BuReloc-camp is depicted in lavish detail and I really enjoy the sandboxy nature of the module, but it is pretty much a standard extraction for Cybergeneration - it doesn't have anything cool or unique to set it apart. It does this standard-trope well, all right - I'll give it that. But any halfway decent GM who's played a couple of Cyberpunk or Shadowrun adventures can basically improvise such a scenario. I know that, particularly in comparison with the "-front"-books and modules therein, this felt rather bland.

Not bad, but similarly, not mind-blowing. Add to that the serious issues of scan-quality and lack of bookmarks and we have a supplement I really can't recommend. I love Cybergeneration and its ideas and books, but unless you're a completionist, I'd recommend to skip this. My final verdict will clock in at 2.5 stars, and I can't find it in me to round up.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Bastille Day
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MediaFront
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 07/05/2017 05:33:49

An Endzeitgeist.com review

This expansion for Cybergeneration 2027 clocks in at 82 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 1 page editorial/introduction, 1 page ToC, 2 pages of index, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 75 pages of content, so let's take a look!

This book was gifted to me by one of my patreons for the purpose of a prioritized review.

Ah, cybergeneration 2027 - here we are again, and this time, we're talking about media and its role in the comparatively now retro and not-so-far future of 2027, and, once again, the sourcebook has undoubtedly aged a bit - but actually less than what one would consider at first. The introductory, in-character chapter that highlights the status quo of the combat against the powers-that-be is interesting, in that what it says, criticism-wise about TV and the like, still holds true to this date - as a n indoctrination form of media and as a kind of sedative, its social ramifications are pretty much as anticipated. Similarly, the notion of subliminal messages, while different in how it is considered today, has found application in psychology, advertisement, etc. - the way in which the like works may be different in reality, but the notion of messages and impulses being conveyed via non-explicit means is very much one that we can observe every day.

The book does contain rules to resist the more explicit and powerful subliminal messages that are considered to be existing in the game-world and the pdf also talks about music - here, the predictions ring less true than regarding other media: Considering the way in which MP3s and the internet in general have acted as a democratizing factor for the various types of music, the notion of corporate-controlled audio-media seems ridiculous from the perspective of these days, at least if you're like me and deeply entrenched in the more obscure types of music out there. Then again, it is hardly the book's fault that it could not anticipate e.g. the existence of obscure styles like doom jazz, the infinite iterations of strange music and the like. Taking a cue from Philip K. Dick, the addictive idea of braindance, addictive control over one's endorphins via so-called braindance chips, can be found here: Not as destructive as Shadowrun's BTL-chips, but still dangerous.

The way in which virtuality is depicted is another one that has not yet aligned properly - the virtual reality here is not yet a thoroughly suffused space, though the consequences of advertisement and its less nice components in the real world should allow for plenty of inspiration to further modify this particular section. Beyond this general overview, the media stations, as presented, make for perhaps the component of the book, where dystopia and reality come most disturbingly close: The big media agencies and how they cater to ideologies and agendas. You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduct how Fox News, tabloid newspapers and private persons, politicians and terrorists alike nowadays spin media, how they bury crucial information.

Here's a disturbing experiment for you: Remember in the 80s and 90s, when we all were afraid of surveillance of the Orwellian Big Brother? During the war on terror and our panic, governments throughout the world have started using surveillance methods that would have resulted in massive protests a few years before that...and worse, due to the digital revolution in social media, we don't even need to be surveyed any more: For the most part, we take care of that ourselves via our accounts, our constant sharing of even the most ill-conceived of opinions...and we thus engage in struggles we wouldn't have a few years back. Worse, at one point, we, as a collective conglomerate of cultures, seem to have lost, at least to a degree, the ability to engage in a critical discussion. It took me many years to realize that, what at one point was simply a discussion on different points of view, is nowadays considered to be "rude", that discussing politics, faith, belief etc. has become all but impossible with many folks, as any diverging opinion leads to the fear of offending one another.

I frankly don't get it. This polarization is poison for the democratic process...but, to a degree, it is instilled by media, it is the product of a dystopian vision that is much closer to our state of affairs than the Orwellian: Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" - as he correctly predicted back in interviews (you can look those up on youtube),. we have arrived at a state, where the issue is not that valid and viable information cannot be found, but rather at a state where we have a VERY hard time distinguishing correct and crucial information from the incessant flood of meaningless drivel. It is this concept that has given rise to the notion of "fake News" in the first place - and it is devious. Why? Because the first thing any autocratic government needs to do, is to discredit media supportive of a non-autocratic stance; it is, to a certain degree, an immunization and indoctrination via doubts that hampers the ability of the opposed forces to act, while at the same time fortifying the resolve of one's followers. Never mind that, once sufficient disparity has been created, these very forces will generate what you'd consider "Fake News" by an objective point of view. As an aside, the same process has been applied, for many years, towards sciences, slowly undermining the credibility of FACTS in the public eye...but that is something for a different rant.

Sorry for the digression, but there's a reason for it: This book depicts a media-landscape that is very much the product of such a process - and as such, it remains frighteningly topical, at least as far as I'm concerned. Once again, btw., we have the respective media-outlets discussed in a way that shows players how to make use of them. Beyond these, different strategies of resistance are discussed from ski patrolling to the shotgun approach of CyberRevolution propaganda championed in Baton Rouge. We learn about erasing subliminal messages, about inserting their own in broadcasts (slippery slope there, from an ethical perspective...).

The state of the media and the history of its development (including direct cable and HDTV!) are talked about and while not all achievements of modern media structures have been anticipated, enough have been featured. Granted, the RAM-sizes discussed in the equipment-section, and the like don't look so staggering as they once might have, but as a whole, this chapter still holds up rather well, with small HDs, flatcams and the like. The pdf also explains, in detail, the jargon associated with the media landscape, which is a nice plus indeed. Media manipulation skill checks, cracking encoded information, the interaction with different forms of media - the chapter is pretty comprehensive and should allow for a rather easy upgrade to include changes since the book's original publication.

Signal piracy and all the tools for the trade are included in the respective chapter, featuring the shop-window-dressing-style classic visual representations of quite a bunch of the respective tools. Beyond these, we also are introduced to two new yogangs, the first of whom would be the lookers, who basically have mastered the art of manipulation - their yogang skill is based on ATT and is called The Look - it lets them bypass age-restrictions, score modeling contracts, money, etc. - basically, they are the good-looking style-guide. The taggers take the graffiti and tagging aspect and their yogang skill is based on EMP, allowing them to read and conceal messages in tags....which is significantly less useful than most yogang skills.

Beyond these two yogangs, we do get a new type of cyberevolved, the Jammer, a converter of sonic energy, both on the receiving and transmitting end, allowing for the modulation of one's voice, reception and stunning screams etc. The hexite-lined throat also lets them swallow contraband...some other interesting uses for the effects of the Carbon Plague have also been provided, but, as a whole, I wasn't too impressed by the jammer.

The Gen GM-section provides rules for audience approval...and it helps codifying tasks and tells the Gm to NOT follow the rules when it would hamper their enjoyment of the system. Sample NPCs are up next, with two fully depicted, including stats...

...and this is how far I can go without delving into MASSIVE SPOILER TERRITORY. The book's final third is taken up by the module "Occult of Personality" - and if you want to play this, you should jump to the conclusion RIGHT NOW.

...

..

.

All right, only GMs around? Great! We begin this module with propaganda: A whole bunch of it, including buzzwords etc. - namely pertaining the persecution of the Evolved, which has been on the rise for a while. The sample angles for the various forms of media we receive here add a nice level of detail (and probably uncomfortable feelings) to the proceedings. If the characters have partaken in EcoFront's module, they will remember the vidiot-yogang nightcrawlers, who are embarking on a counter-propaganda wave. The module then assumes that a family member (or nearby NPC) embraces the cold, hard logic of the propaganda and turns them in - which results in a fun assassination attempt. Yay. While the book does mention the serious impact this can have on trust between PCs and adults, it is also a VERY dark turn - not all cybergeneration games will be particularly stoked by it. Particularly if you're running the game for kids, it should be mentioned that I'd strongly suggest toning down the potentially rather disturbing fallout this can have. (Then again, a lot of movies do exactly this plotline, so I'm not penalizing the module for it - it's just something to bear in mind...)

The module continues with the nightcrawlers trying to deduce what happened, to a pretty solid guy from the CDC who vanished at one point - Dr. David Chiang. The trail leads to a killed Facer and from there, it is a series of interactions, not all of them nonviolent, with aspects of yogang street-culture, all in order to gain a V-card...and there's a mole subplot here as well. Ultimately, the information and potential crackdows should make clear that they are on to something - and while they do have the information to proof media manipulation, Chiang is still missing - and the legwork to ferret out leads is very detailed and requires some serious skill on parts of the players. With some serious legwork, the PCs can piece together enough of Chiang to make a digital V-Chiang to get on air and fight a propaganda battle - and that makes for a rather amazing and uncommon climax indeed. I really, really liked it - and yes, I only grazed at the subplots and actual tasks before the PCs...but you do want to play this, right?

Conclusion:

Editing and formatting are a bit less concise than usual for Cybergeneration supplements - I noticed a few typos here and there. Layout adheres to the nice, classic 2-column b/w-standard with a lot of original, well-made and internally concise artworks. The scan this time around is qualitatively solid and didn't sport blemishes. As a huge downside, though, we get NO BOOKMARKS. Pdfs sans bookmarks make navigation a big hassle. I can't comment on the dead tree version, since I do not own it.

Edward Bolme, Will Moss, David Ackerman, Justin Schmid and Eric Heisserer's MediaFront is actually my favorite of the 3 "-Front"-expansion books. It has aged remarkably well regarding its tone and overall tropes. While its module requires some tact to pull off properly, it is also one of my favorites, as its focus on legwork and being smart is very pronounced; the uncommon finale in particular adds a sense of unconventional gravitas and tension to the proceedings, one beyond "bad guys shoot at us" - this makes the book, as a whole, by far my favorite in the expansion-series. That being said, at the same, there are aspects here where the book has aged, and where a careful facelift would make sense. The new CyberEvolved isn't that glorious and I'm not the biggest fan of the taggers either, but those remain two minor complaints in an otherwise compelling and interesting sourcebook that is well worth checking out, even beyond the confines of the rules-system.

The flaws, however, in conjunction with the lack of bookmarks for the pdf, do unfortunately prohibit me from rating this as highly as I'd like to - hence, my final verdict will clock in at 4.5 stars, rounded down for the purpose of this platform.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
MediaFront
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