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Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. The Second Edition, Version 2.01
by Randoloph K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/16/2020 09:54:46

Overall great reprint. The only negative were a few torn corners.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. The Second Edition, Version 2.01
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Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. The Second Edition, Version 2.01
by Astro F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/14/2020 14:35:24

As good as it was in the days it came out. This reignighted my love for the genre.

Now, if only Mike Pondsmith and R.Talsorian could make an Aliens (Old school, like the movies Alien, and Aliens) Tabletop RPG instead of the other peeps. I need a reason to bust out my Xenomorph and Colonial Marine minis!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
by Ivan R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/13/2020 16:09:52

I think this is my favorite trad game. I love the setting and the lore presented and it was clear for a table who had never played an RPG. I'm much more of the GMless or PbtA-like games but I'll gladly play and GM Cyberpunk Red when it finally releases



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
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Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
by Ryan S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2020 22:01:12

I played the previous version of Cyberpunk, and I am a fan. This version is the "Jump Start" version has limited version of the rules (hence the Jump Start), so you cannot make a character. That disapointed me more than anything; in most quick start version of games they give you more options and give you a little insight into how characters are made. I am assuming it is similar to the previous version, but I don't have any idea how to make a character based on this version, which is less than a lot of free versions in other game systems; kind of stingy.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cut outs and maps included in this edition. It is great for online games or even games at the table. It has some maps appropriate to the setting at included, but it doesn't have anwhere to go from there. It seems a bit pricy for what it is (maybe if you had two more scenarios included with some character advancement or gear offered it would be worth it?), but the maps and tokens definately add to the value.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Teenagers from Outerspace
by Ryan S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2020 21:23:37

This one is a goof RPG. It works very well for that, an as long as you understand that this is meant to be a comedy game, you will have a blast. I do not think the tone of the book is condusive for a "serious game" but it works for a general anime style RPG where you want to fight with giant mechs in a life and death struggle, then be hit with a paper fan by your high school crush. It does what it sets out to do, so I think it is a good game for a very specific type of game.

My group would find it hard to do a long term campaign with this game, but personal tastes vary. I am deffinatley adding it to the one shot palate cleanser. The possibility for comedy is just too high.

I have enjoyed every game I have played in this syste.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Teenagers from Outerspace
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The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/15/2020 13:30:33

Monster-hunting in a grim fantasy world - a Mephisto review

# The Witcher The witchers are a special species. Originally they were bred to hunt monsters that were born through something called the conjunction of the spheres. The witchers are no longer normal humans, but mutants with lightning-fast reflexes and enhanced senses. Well equipped and perfectly trained, they face the fight against all kinds of monsters that terrorize the world. However, as these monsters become increasingly rare, the services of the witchers are also less and less needed. In the meantime, they became also feared and hated as mutants.

In fact, mistrust and hatred are omnipresent in the world of Witcher, because there are always open conflicts between the humans on one side and the elves and dwarves on the other side. Elves and dwarves have been pushed back into a niche and sometimes face open persecution. Some of them, therefore, resist with violence. After the betrayal of some mages, most of the magic users are now suspicious and feared in many places. The fact that the northern kingdoms are divided, and there is the threat of war with the empire of Nilfgaard has made times even darker. All this provides the dark backdrop against which adventurers can try to make their fortune - or simply survive.

The Witcher in roleplaying

The Witcher has become a well-known figure in the roleplaying scene - probably less because of the original novels by Andrzej Sapkowski, but more because of the computer roleplaying game series. In the meantime, a pen&paper roleplaying game has been released, which takes place in the world of the monster hunter.

The roleplaying game presents itself as a typical fantasy roleplaying game in which the players first choose one of the races and then a profession accordingly. When choosing whether characters are humans, witchers, elves, or dwarves, not only their abilities play a role, but also the social status of the individual groups. For example, in the north, elves are hated, and dwarves are only tolerated, while in the empire of Nilfgaard, these races are considered equal. Before the profession is chosen, the so-called life path is followed, where random dice results and tables can be used to define the background. This is about what happened to the family, the status of the family, friends, descendants, etc. and what special events happened in the life of the character.

The next step is to choose the professions, which always have a defining special skill that only they can master and which can later be expanded in three directions. It also determines which skills the character can invest points for at the beginning, which magical abilities (if any) are available, and which starting equipment can be selected. The professions include classics like bards, mages, fighters, priests, and, of course, witchers. But also professions like merchants, doctors, or craftsmen are available. In the game, the statistics are represented by attributes and skills. Tests always work according to the principle that an attribute and a skill are combined and added to the roll of a ten-sided die. The result must either beat a fixed difficulty or achieve a higher value than the opponent.

A special feature of the special abilities of each profession is that they can be expanded from their starting value in three different ways in three levels so that a fighter can develop more easily into a marksman, a bounty hunter, or a melee fighter.

The world of Witcher

The game provides a large arsenal of equipment, here above all weapons and armor, which besides the usual suspects, also contain the specialties typical for the setting. In the case of armor and weapons, there is the possibility of upgrading them. In general, Witcher offers a system to create or improve items by crafting yourself. Crafting always assumes that you have a so-called diagram (i.e., a kind of building instruction) and the necessary raw materials. Besides the production of equipment, an alchemy system also offers the possibility to produce special mystical brews.

In Witcher, magic works in such a way that a mage has to channel the magical energies through his body, which is a risk. If these energies become too strong and get out of control, they can cause damage. Magic is divided into four elements and their mixture. It offers different spells at three levels. In addition, there are the priests, who have their invocations, the quick, magical gestures of the Witcher, as well as rituals and witchcraft, which all work a little differently and offer many possibilities for magic.

Tough battles in a dangerous world

A large part of the rules is devoted to the topic of combat. The combat system is designed in such a way that both hit zones play a role, and critical hits can quickly lead to heavy damage. The approach of this fighting system is that fights should remain dangerous and always unpredictable to pose a threat in the brutal world of Witcher.

The rest of the book introduces the northern kingdoms and the empire of Nilfgaard. It also provides the character profiles of the most important characters from the Witcher series at the beginning of the book. In a separate chapter, the game master is taken by the hand and gets hints on how to deal with topics such as racism between humans, elves and dwarves, and the dark setting. Of course, the book does not do without a whole series of monsters that can serve as enemies. Especially the Witchers get their own chapter because their character creation is a bit different, and they can have special equipment. A short adventure provides a practical start for the setting.

The Witcher picks up a popular novel and computer game setting and presents it as a game for classic pen&paper gaming. It is a little bit striking that here the Witchers represent the most exciting game characters at first sight, but usually, only one Witcher should be included in the group. This can lead to imbalances in the group, even if the other professions are not really disadvantaged. The rules are based on classic concepts like professions, etc., but present them in their own style. Even when the setting is introduced, the reader quickly realizes that knowledge of computer games and/or novels is certainly an advantage. For example, the typical weapons of the country are described, but illustrations are missing. The short sections about the local kingdoms rather overwhelm the reader with facts than to create a picture in his head. It was undoubtedly a challenge for the authors to write something about the areas that have not been in focus in novels and computer games so far. With its solid layout and well-presented color illustrations, Witcher is visually well designed.

In my opinion, the fantasy system is mainly aimed at those who specifically want to play within the setting of Witcher. But also those who are looking for a dark fantasy setting, where intrigues threaten before a looming war, where monsters roam the countryside, where nobody can really trust anybody, and where a fight ends badly often, should take a look at this system.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
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Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
by Jason S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/12/2020 19:24:02

I am really sad having to give this product 2 stars. I bought it several months ago, and was super excited to run it for my group in a one shot adventure. Now, don't get me wrong, the artwork is absolutely amazing, the setting is great, the rules are easy enough to understand, and combat can flow quite easily.

It is true though, that the JumpStart Kit does not hold your hand, or offer much replayability, but I kind of saw this as a sort of "Early Access" play test. Now, I ran this for my group last night, and we quickly realized a few things that felt off about the product. I will cover each area seperately.

Combat: 3 round bursts are broken. Simple as that. We don't know for certain in this kit how much ammo a gun holds, but even if we gave real world averages, a three round burst has the potential of murdering an average character in 1 turn, and that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, but it is TOO EASY TO HIT WITH. At short range with an assault rifle, difficulty 12 to hit with a three round burst. For each +1 over 12, an extra bullet hits. My goon rolls... 15. 15 is not really a hard roll, so all 3 bullets connect and almost instantly murder the player character. I feel that if that was to become more balanced, it needs to either require a higher incriment between each bullet that hits, or at least just make the 3 round burst difficulties require the same difficulties as the single shot ranges, but at a +X difficulty. Also, punching people in the face apparently is far more effective then stabbing them with a knife, as long as you are built like a refrigerator. If I have to choose between 1d6 damage (knife) and 4d6 damage (fist), why would I ever stab? Shouldn't your melee weapons get some sort of damage bonus according to your Body maybe? Maybe that is just me, but it feels unbalanced.

The Characters: Pregenerated characters. Ok, I like the fact that they added a little wiggle room to see what stats you end up with, but the stats are super varied in usefulness, where some rows are just simply worse then others, making you feel super ripped off if that d6 roll gives you the worst row (which 2 of my players got). I did like the extra flavor of the lifepath system (I bought Cyberpunk 2020 to see how it was in that edition, and am super enthusiastic about how that was done too. This one version seems a little more streamlined, but thats ok, its also just a starter kit). Now lets talk about balance. My Netrunner Player felt absolutely useless in the scenario. They were expecting to be able to access and hack alot more different things, what was offered. It seems there arent enough things that have nodes, and having to get so close to hack becomes a detriment. Now I know they changed it so that Netrunners become a real member of a team, and have to go WITH a group to get to a node to make their hacks now, but the pregenerated character does not have the survivability to do so. With only a bare minimum to actually do with her netrunning skills, the Netrunner ended up hiding when bullets started flying, because they already took one wound earlier, and could not risk getting murdered in a straight up fight while being useless. I feel this could be fixed by maybe adding smaller nodes for smaller things that could be hacked, and maybe hacked a slightly bigger distance. Like say "Oh look, auto turrets! Sure each has a node, and you could try to hack one at 20 squares and take over and try ot use it to help the group!". I dunno, minor things, maybe with higher difficulty because of range? I understand the Netrunner had to change so that we didn't send the rest of the group home the moment they jacked into the net, but now it's like sending the Netrunner home whenever the group wants to get serious.

WARNING! THE FOLLOWING SECTION HAS SPOILERS FOR THE SCENARIO INCLUDED!

The Scenario: Ok, let's talk about the scenario, shall we? I am really on the fence about it being the best "starting point" for any Cyberpunk game. I like the idea of a kind of house warming party and getting the characters to know eachother and neighbors, as it is a different way of groups meeting that are less cliché? But you are giving starter characters alot of power and riches that they normally wouldn't have when one of them suddenly inherits an entire apartment building that adds to their income. Ok the idea of a Corp wanting to take the place and use for a comm tower, also not too bad. The execution of this scenario? More then a little sloppy. After introducing about 8 to 9 NPCS that are at least a little more memorable then the walking faceless meat zombies that are the rest of the buildings tennants, we are told by the scenario about how someone might notice the car outside and the suspicious behavior. Fine. Once that is investigated, the players get information or not, fine. When they get back, and things get really dangerous? Thats when things fall apart. You have several different possible approaches from the CORP at your disposal, and all of them seem silly when you look at what is REALLY in that building. I feel a Corp would do their homework better if they found out that a building has potentially 2 Solos (one PC and one NPC, if a player chose a Solo), a Rockerboy, a Nomad, a Netrunner... you get the drift, the player characters alone would get them to think "we should re-evaluate this", but now the NPCs add an entire BOOSTER GANG to the mix that could defend the building (The Handersons) along with the previously mentioned NPC Solo, and possibly even the Local Fixer getting involved if he is nearby. Apparently, every single NPC in this scenario will take up arms when the building is attacked, making the whole 5 strike force members that the scenario offers to throw against the building feel silly and lackluster. Sure, the scenario offers to throw more then one possible outcome at them... what happens then? An all out royal smackdown of dicerolling that would get a potentially new group and GM absolutely frustrated, for the amount of NPCs needing to be run in combat, that are probably doing most of the potential heavy lifting. All the while, the Netrunner only has something to do if you choose ONE of the outcomes. Considering my Netrunner almost got murdered by going out onto the street and trying to see what those people were up to, I kind of went with another outcome, because with them down to almost half their health, if they had to go up against another NPC Netrunner that was using the SAME STATS AS THE PREGENERATED NET RUNNER PC, then they would have been obliterated. With absolutely NOTHING else for a Netrunner to do in the building while her allies are having a grindfest, they end up just sitting there, possibly flickering lights on and off.... at best. I think that GMs need to adapt the scenario ALOT in order for it to be more fun for a group. Maybe install another level or two into the Net with "Cameras" or "Door Locks" or something... ANYTHING that could make the Netrunner actually feel like they could contribute to the session more then turning sprinklers on and off.

END OF SPOILERS

End Result: Maybe fans of Cyberpunk will be better at running this then me. Maybe I failed as a GM. Maybe I am not familiar enough with the setting, or the rules. But, look at it this way. If a GM new to the setting has all of these concerns, it might be concerns that other new players or GMs have. I know this is supposed to be a gritty world that tosses characters into a constant meat grinder... but if that is the case, we should make sure they are somewhat equiped for it, no? As the system is right now, I sadly cannot quite recommend it. I feel some of the combat system, and the "classes" need some work, in specific, the Netrunner.

I wrote this review with a heavy heart, because I really wanted to love this game. I mean the rules are far more refined (in my opinion) then Shadowrun.... now if we could fix some ballance issues, I am sure I could potentially LOVE this game.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
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Home of the Brave
by John B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/10/2020 23:08:39

A quintessential sourcebook for any edgerunners looking to set their campaigns outside of the usual Night City setting. The year-by-year timeline of America's fall likewise offers opportunities to set adventures at different periods of the collapse, such as in the Central American Wars or during the Gang of Four's martial law over the United States. Seriously, this is one of the best Cyberpunk 2020 sourcebooks out there, offering meticulous and interesting details about the game's wider lore, much like the phenomenal Protect and Serve sourcebook. Home of the Brave is a MUST HAVE for the cyberpunk in us all.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Home of the Brave
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Firearms & Margarine
by Paul L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/08/2020 11:45:25

This a pretty good adventure, which might serve as inspiration for stumped Hosts, bundled with a very nice guide to the city of Paris. The adventure is fairly well designed, and seems to allow for some amount of freedom rather than just shoving the party from one scripted event to another. That said, this PDF is also wracked with the same laggy scrolling and long 'loading times' in Foxit Reader as Curious Creatures, which is a bit of a shame



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firearms & Margarine
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Curious Creatures
by Paul L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/08/2020 10:30:28

I bought this book because it was cheap; a bestiary didn't seem like something Castle Falkenstein needed, and I was not expecting it to be a great enhancement to the gameline. I was wrong. This book does so very much to make Falkenstien's world more strange and magical, and has provided me with a wealth of inspiration. And it manages to do this while maintaining Falkenstein's tradition of having a strong feeling of in-universe authorship, without succumbing to the pitfalls usually associated with that approach (which is to say, Tom Olam's constant asides about how technology is bad and Thomas Edison is a witch). Honestly, this is probably one of my favorite RPG supplements of all time, and I highly reccomend it to anyone who is considering Hosting a game of Castle Falkenstein. ...HOWEVER, there is one significant technological issue that I must mention: On my preferred PDF reader of choice (Foxit), this is the single slowest and laggiest PDF that I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. There is significant lag while scrolling as well as long 'load times' on each individual page. The issues are better when opening the PDF in Microsoft Edge, however, so I am willing to concede that this may be an issue with Foxit and not deduct any stars from this review.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Curious Creatures
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Babbage's Engine
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/09/2020 12:09:12

An Endzeitgeist.com review of the revised edition

Ladies and gentlemen, gather round, as we elucidate upon this latest adventure entertainment provided for your edification! Formerly released by Fat Goblin Games, the adventure entertainment in question has been revised in its journey towards the scribes at R. Talsorian Games, Inc. The adventure entertainment now covers a total of 25 pages, with a total of 2 of the pages being devoted to the paraphernalia of such tomes, thus making the totality of the content span 23 pages.

In case your undoubtedly busy schedules should have prevented you from crafting sample dramatic characters, no less than 6 of these have been provided for your immediate enjoyment. These include lavish pieces of artwork and photography and some guidance to properly depict these fine individuals of, as a whole, more or less proper breeding and education, in the entertainment to commence. These individuals are obviously presented in proper hand-out format, as well as in a form that collates the more mundane information in a few pages, as is proper: After all, the host should have an idea of the capabilities and peculiarities of the dramatic characters. It should be noted that these individuals include the rather outrageous “Duck”, obviously a member of the Faerie, a so-called Padfoot, in case you are not familiar with said individuals; interestingly, this individual does look like a right dapper fellow of the canine profession. Speaking of dapper: Fellow dwarven master Edelweiss, who does have a most suave beard of which I am quite jealous. It should also be mentioned that the former chef of the Kongolese embassy, one Ms Maria Banza, recognized by the Druidic Temple, is included here. And no, your memory does not deceive you, mademoiselles et messieurs, the revised iteration does indeed feature much more colorful (pardon my bad pun) and interesting dramatic characters for our perusal.

Now, obviously only the most dastardly scoundrel of questionable morale would engage in the heinous behavior of reading an adventure entertainment’s pages with the intent of participating in it as a player. However, as a reviewer, I feel it is my duty to inform hosts properly and thus, I will have to discuss the subject matter within these pages. I do strongly encourage all individuals of upright morals and proper standing to avoid reading the following. Instead, let me bid you adieu for now – we will see each other in the conclusion. Hosts, on the other hand, should very much continue reading, this section, so profanely littered with what the common man considers to be SPOILERS in today’s parlance.

… .. .

Are only hosts left at this point? Marvelous! We begin this adventure entertainment with an alphabetical list of the dramatis personae, with full ability-sets included – for the dramatic characters will have plenty of interaction opportunity as they board the Duchess Elizabeth (yep, named after Sissi, empress of hearts) on her maiden journey on the Paris-München-Wien (funnily called Paris-München-Vienna in a bit of a linguistic inconsistency) express line – propelled forward by the revolutionary, eponymous Babbage’s engine in record time; it should be noted that this adventure entertainment is for once not based on the notes of Tom Olam – and while this may sound sacrilegious to some, Grandmaster Stephen Kenson’s notes do act as a more than adequate substitution.

So, the dramatic characters are witnesses and guests of the maiden voyage of the Duchess Elizabeth and they will have a chance to prove their proper upbringing and character by defending Professor Karla Reinhard from some lower class ruffians – upon doing so, they will have an easy means/hook to get aboard, in the case the host has not yet provided such an angle to pursue. The Professor’s child Mau Sascha Reinhardt has also been changed – the individual now eschews traditional gender-binaries, dressing and behaving as fancy strikes them. The eccentric duo is here to install the Automated Telegraphic Punched Card Shuffler, a device crucial to the speedy and remote operation of the eponymous Babbage’s engine powering the train. One nice aspect of the revision pertains to the explicit notion that the train was constructed by dwarven metallurgists, which renders this particular means of industrial propulsion less inimical to the faerie, allowing such dramatic characters to participate in the adventure entertainment in a less challenging manner.

A vast improvement undertaken by the honorable individuals tasked with improving this experience, would be the fact that we now do get proper maps for the Duchess Elisabeth, making the adventure entertainment significantly less work-intense to research for the host who is not into cutting-edge technology such as the Duchess Elisabeth. Of course, it is only a matter of time before the inevitable arrival of some dastardly rogues hell-bent on attempting to kidnap the professor…which, after a scuffle, results in the train’s entire car being stolen via the massive airship that he dastardly villain of this tale commands! Apologies, my dear hosts, for I am getting ahead of myself, failing to note that the train can act as a perfect way to introduce some of the famous individuals of our age – from Arsène Lupin to Mark Twain, there are more than a few famous individuals on board, though these colorful persons and their involvement in the proceedings to come ultimately depend on the needs of the host.

I was elaborating on the vile mind behind this most despicable ploy, correct? Well, one Lord Anton Dire, indubitably of questionable parentage, lord of a tin-pot Germano-Slavic micro-nation, has managed to construct this airship, courtesy of a strange material called Radium -and he considers Babbage’s engine to be one step towards his imminent rise to power. The whole capture of the dramatic characters, alas, lacks crucial freedom for the respective guests entertained; it is simply assumed that they are overwhelmed and brought into the hidden hangar of aforementioned lord – at this point, I distinctly recalled Mr. Olam telling of a series of tales of a man named “Bond”, projected in moving images, not unlike those generated by a laterna magica; the similarities are peculiar indeed, including an all but moustache-twirling villain-monologue. This exceedingly galling piece of railroading, if you pardon my excursion into puerile humor, has, much to my chagrin, not been rectified. While the adventure entertainment does feature a few pieces of advice for handling such digressions from the plotted course, I nonetheless cannot help but consider it less than proper to be forced to impinge in a thus pronounced manner upon the freedom of choice expected by the guests of my soirées.

The inevitable escape of the dramatic characters from the map-less base of the archfiend is, alas, once again glossed over. This can prove puzzling, to say the least, for we are living in an age of high adventure and it is hard to picture something as adventurous as climbing outside of a train car, hijacked by evil forces unknown, to bring righteous battle to the adversaries, whether to the devious devices, or within the labyrinthine fortress…but I digress. The escape is supposed to be relatively easy for the dramatic characters, though I do consider it to be similarly still lacking in depth – while Lord Dire does adhere to at least basic premises of honorable conduct, I nevertheless found myself to be a bit flustered here: The adventure entertainment does try to justify the lack of a map for the baron’s fortress, but considering the tropes of espionage, a proper means to plan for the dramatic characters would have greatly enhanced the experience here. On the plus side, the revised edition does account for the notion of a proper duel, though it does turn out that my assertion did hold true – Mr. Dire, yes, I will not dignify his delusions of grandeur, has no noble bone in his body, going to far as to renege on his most sacred of words! For shame, Mr. Dire, for shame!

Ultimately, the dramatic characters will have to attempt to pursue the Reinhards and the Baron onto his flying platform (which receives the proper statistics for use in the Grand Game, and this iteration does indeed also provide rather nice cartography of said marvel), where the villain escapes with the younger Reinhard as hostage on an ornithopter – and potentially, an interesting chase begins, concluding this brief adventure entertainment with a well-written epilogue.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good, I noticed no serious issues. Layout adheres to a beautiful, elegant 2-column full-color standard and the artworks constitute a wonderfully chosen blend of period piece photography and fitting art. The electronic format sports navigation helpers, commonly referred to as bookmarks, for your convenience, and the inclusion of more cartography does increase the utility of this humble offering.

The revision of grandmaster Stephen Kenson and Mister J Gray provide an adventure entertainment, which structurally mirrors the means of propulsion that is at the center of the proceedings depicted: To put it bluntly, this is a railroad. If an engagement of your higher faculties is what you are looking for, then I do suggest “Firearms & Margarine” instead – which, to me, is the vastly superior offering. Why? Well, this, as the pedestrians would call it, thrill-ride sprints from evocative scene to evocative scene and paints in gorgeous colors a vision that makes great use of the unique peculiarities of this gorgeous world of ours, capturing the spirit of high adventure rather well; alas, while the prose paints the proceedings of the plot in poignant highlights, the details that are expected, if we remain within the metaphor employed, remain sketches that are not filled out, an issue that has not been rectified in this novel representation of the adventure entertainment.

As long as the dramatic characters follow the linear structure of the plot, this works brilliantly, and does have a proper raison d’être as an entertainment for those conglomerations commonly referred to as “conventions.” For the more cerebral of hosts and guests, however, there are plenty of times when the proposed course of action may not necessarily make sense from the dramatic character’s perspective. Here, the illusion of choice remains very thin indeed and as a whole, even in the more open sections of this offering, the host will have to engage in A LOT of improvisation.

To cut my lengthy and sufficiently verbose analysis short: While the revised iteration of this adventure entertainment has improved a lot of details, its structural shortcomings remain: It buckles under the weight of its own ideas and simply does not spend enough time and pages to adequately develop the respective scenes. As long as the host can maintain a brisk pace and sweep the dramatic characters from scene to scene, all’s well…but there are plenty of potential hiccups if the protagonists-turned-watchers start tugging at the very thin curtain that’s hiding the proverbial wizard.

All of these criticisms may not apply to some groups out there, but the sense of dissatisfaction on a high level remained with me – with about twice the pages allotted for the details, more freedom of choice, and less automated scenes and progressions from scene to scene, this could have easily went down in the annals as a true masterpiece. In its current state, however, I cannot rate this adventure higher than 3.5 stars. Now, the improvements in the details, as well as the fact that this is offered for our perusal for FREE, does render this an improvement, which is why I will round up. If your group prefers action, then you should round up as well; if you’re like me and prefer Castle Falkenstein of a more versatile, cerebral bent, then I’d recommend another adventure entertainment over this one.

I bid you adieu for now, Mesdames et Messieurs,

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Babbage's Engine
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Lords and Lands: a Witcher TRPG Expansion
by Thilo G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 03/04/2020 05:29:13

An Endzeitgeist.com review

Okay, so, first things first: Since getting The Witcher RPG review done in time for the start of the Netflix show, and since I am pretty OCD, this review was moved up in my reviewing queue as well.

What is this? It is a GM’s screen for The Witcher RPG, with a 4-page pdf that includes the player-facing side, and one 4-page pdf for the GM-facing side. The player-facing side features, unsurprisingly, only artworks. This front is also included as a jpg.

The screen is accompanied by the “Lords & Lands”-booklet – which clocks in at 16 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 12 pages of content.

My review is based on the electronic version of this supplement – I don’t own the physical screen (since it is pretty expensive), and thus can’t comment on durability, material, etc.

All right, so, let’s start with the screen: On the first page, we have a list of actions you can take on the left-hand side; Default DCs and modifiers/light levels are included alongside ranges, damage locations and common cover tables.

The second page has all the information regarding healing, wounds and magical fumbles. The third page contains the rules for fixing broken gear…and also the basic guidelines for monsters per encounter, which struck me as odd. Currency conversion? Makes sense. The table for awarding I.P.? Less so, since it’s ultra generic anyways. The screen has a few peculiarities: For one, it sports several text blocks that are hard to parse in-game, and of dubious value regarding their information:

“By declaring a Fast Draw at the start of the round, you raise your initiative by +3 for that round by taking a -3 to your attack. However, you must make an attack and you cannot benefit from aiming or any other aim-related ability. If your weapon is not drawn, you may draw it as part of this action.”

You can’t tell me that you can’t present this information in a way that is easier to parse. That’s also a lot of real estate for a core rule.

Speaking of real estate: Know what’s not on the screen? A table that tells you what plants/critter parts, etc.contain Fulgur, Queberith, etc. Yes, this’d take up room – and there is none.

Know what we get instead of these actually useful things? An artwork on every page of the inside of the GM-screen.

-.-

I like artworks as much as the next guy, but these artworks are USELESS, and GM-screens are all about…UTILITY. Combine all artworks, and we have almost an entire (!!!) page of real estate LOST. That is a most puzzling, and imho rather bass-ackwards design decision.

Speaking of which: Puzzlingly, we begin the booklet with everyman NPC stats BEFORE we get the player-facing material – that makes no sense, and if you’re like me and prefer that players not have this information, it will annoy you to no end.

After this, we get the new halfling race, who receive +1 to Athletics, +2 to Wilderness Survival when calming, taming or controlling animals, and +5 to Resist Magic AND they may check to avoid mental control, even when this would usually not be allowed. Halflings can’t benefit from the positive effects of Witcher potions. They also enjoy near universal equality, and are even tolerated in the xenophobic North. Okay, does this mean halflings can see through e.g. Afan’s Mirror? Does it exclude them from using Vaults of Knowledge? I have no idea. In the absence of a proper descriptor in the base engine, this needs clarification. The write-up does not note how many siblings haflings are supposed to have; I assume human default, but it feels odd to me.

The booklet also features a new profession, the Noble, a profession that REALLY should have been in the core book. The noble’s defining signature skill is Notoriety, which is also added to the Reputation in their own and allied countries, half the value in hostile territories. I assume rounded down here, but the pdf doesn’t state as much. The skill tree includes gaining servants and an estate; really cool: There is a means to dabble in skills: If you invest in Dabble, you get two skill points in skills you have 0 ranks in, making them the jack-of-all-trades, if desired. One of the progressions of the skill tree focuses more on combat utility, on armored mounted combat, to be precise – so if you wanted to make a pompous knight from Toussaint? There you go.

But wait, estate? Yeah, there is a very basic one-page estate-building engine here, with 8 additions provided, ranging from barracks to greenhouse, etc. The estate is weird, in that it’ll be either overpowered, or nigh useless: If the party is moving a lot, it won’t matter as much – or at all, if the war engulfs it. What happens if an estate is lost? Can nobles be excommunicated by e.g. our friends of the flaming rose and lose their estate? Conversely, if nothing goes wrong and you play a gritty witcher game of survival, scrounging stuff together, etc., you get free resources without limits. The estate’s benefits should most assuredly have a cooldown or the like.

On the other hand, there are no costs to maintaining an estate, which make it feel somewhat cosmetic, like it’s generating materials ex nihilo. There are means to enhance locks to DC 18 and 20, but annoyingly, these do not further enhance the security for the torture chamber or secret room, if present – this can result, funnily enough, in the torture chamber having a worse lock than the rest of the estate. The low maximum DC here is also a bit lame. Where is the means to make a dungeon? A dimeritium-based magic-creature/mage-confinement cell? Where is the banquet hall that enhances the Host ability from another part of the skill tree? This is all so half-done, so opaque.

The final section of the book is probably the best – we get stats for flails, lamia, whips, etc, as well as 4 new alchemical items, which include berserker’s brew, celestine, cadaverine solution and summer ointment. From jars of leeches and masquerade masks to false coins, plague masks and vials of gut worms, we also get a couple of cool items regarding other gear – and yes, the weapons come with proper crafting diagram information, including costs for the diagrams.

Conclusion: Editing and formatting are very good on a formal level; on a rules-language level, I was less excited by what I found here. Layout adheres to the game’s two-column full-color standard, and the booklet sports two full-page full-color artworks, as well as a couple of smaller ones. The booklet comes fully bookmarked, in spite of its brevity.

Cody Pondsmith’s Witcher GM-screen and its associated booklet leave me in an odd place: I don’t think the GM-screen does a bad job, but neither does it do a good one. The amount of wasted space is strange, and the inclusion of these real-estate consuming textblocks of basic rules feels even stranger. The booklet suffers from the nonsensical decision of front-loading NPC-stats. I was not impressed by the halflings. The noble profession should have been in the core book, and the estate-running rules, sorry to say, are a joke – detailed estate rules could have easily filled a booklet of the entire size of this supplement. Easily.

This leaves me with only the NPCs and items to be excited about, which isn’t exactly a lot.

Don’t get me wrong, The Witcher RPG needed such an expansion – but it needed a proper one. Can you play Thronebreaker-like games with this? NO. Does it have a robust “command your own units”-engine? NO. Does it have proper estate-rules? NO.

This is a flimsy, flimsy and somewhat half-hearted attempt at making estates and Nobles work in the game. If you handwave a lot of things, then this might work for you. It does not work for me. At all.

As a whole, this supplement feels like a patch, like a mini-DLC, and not like one of the CD Projekt RED-variety with tons of content.

This is NOT per se a bad supplement, mind you – but it’s also not even close to being a good one. It doesn’t make me think I need the screen, and the booklet, as noted, failed to impress me.

All in all, my final verdict can’t exceed 2.5 stars, rounded down.

Endzeitgeist out.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Lords and Lands: a Witcher TRPG Expansion
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Castle Falkenstein
by Rory H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/19/2020 05:21:42

Ideal purchase in PDF, as the physical book always used to fall apart when you touched it.

Lots of cool ideas, and a terrifically colourful, card based magic system. I like the narrative-based character generation too, and have run some entertaining sessions from it in the past. It was ahead of it's time, for sure. Ultimately, the fairy-tale, faux-Victorian setting isn't may not appeal to everybody. Very much worth buying though, and the updated file makes everything feel quite spectacular again..



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
Castle Falkenstein
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Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
by Roger L. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 02/19/2020 01:30:11

https://www.teilzeithelden.de/2020/02/04/ersteindruck-cyberpunk-red-jumpstart-kit-r-talsorian-games/

Cyberpunk-Fans weltweit erwarten sehnlich das Release von Cyberpunk 2077. Der Rollenspiel-Shooter schreibt die Geschichte des Rollenspiel-Klassikers Cyberpunk 2020 fort, spielt allerdings satte 57 Jahre später. Mit Cyberpunk Red schlägt R. Talsorian die Brücke zwischen dem alten Cyberpunk-Lore und dem kommenden Videospiel und versucht sich zugleich an einem neuen, zeitgemäßen Cyberpunk-Regelwerk.

Mit Cyberpunk Red unternimmt R. Talsorian Games den Versuch, dem 90er-Jahre-System neues Leben einzuhauchen und zugleich sein Lore weiterzuentwickeln – denn immerhin klafft zwischen Cyberpunk 2020, dessen Metaplot im Jahr 2022 endete, und Cyberpunk 2077 eine Story-Lücke von rund 55 Jahren. Cyberpunk RED, dessen Handlung im Jahr 2045 angesiedelt ist, füllt diese Lücke zumindest teilweise und knüpft dabei unmittelbar da an, wo Cyberpunk 2020 endete. Die Spin-Offs CyberGeneration und Cyberpunk V3.0 bleiben alternative Settings ohne Einfluss auf den Kanon.

Die Spielwelt Das Jahr 2045: Der Vierte Konzernkrieg ist vorbei. Ein Vierteljahrhundert, nachdem die Megakonzerne Arasaka und Militech in Firestorm, der Abschlusskampagne zu Cyberpunk 2020, den Globus verwüstet haben, kehrt die Welt immer noch die Scherben zusammen.

Cyberpunk trifft Postapokalypse Auf 28 Seiten beschreibt das Worldbook des Jumpstart Kits in groben Zügen die Spielwelt und Cyberpunks alternative Geschichtsschreibung von 1990 bis 2045. Die Entwicklungen seit dem Konzernkrieg stehen dabei im Mittelpunkt. Auch der Name der Nachkriegs-Ära, der „Time of the Red“, und sogar der Titel Cyberpunk Red führt sich darauf zurück: Eine taktische Atombombe hat 2022 die Innenstadt der ikonischen Cyberpunk-Modellmetropole Night City (vergleichbar etwa mit Seattle im Shadowrun-Universum) dem Erdboden gleichgemacht. Die dabei in die Atmosphäre geschleuderten Partikel sorgen noch 2045 für intensiv rote Sonnenauf- und Untergänge.

Night City ist 2045 übrigens weitgehend wiederaufgebaut, hat mit der Stadt von damals aber nur noch entfernte Ähnlichkeit. Diese Metamorphose ist symptomatisch für die gesamte Welt von Cyberpunk Red, das beim klassischen Cyberpunk-Setting einen Gang herunterschaltet und stattdessen eine ordentliche Portion Wildwest-Flair und Postapokalypse untermischt.

Infolge des Konzernkriegs steht die globalisierte Welt am Abgrund. Internationale Warenströme sind versiegt und das weltumspannende NET wurde von einem Supervirus nahezu vollständig und irreparabel zerstört. Die Megakonzerne sind entweder untergegangen oder haben sich in etliche national operierende „Corpos“ aufgespalten – ohne quasi-staatliche Privilegien, Privatarmeen und uneinnehmbare Firmen-Festungen. Auch viele Staaten sind kollabiert, darunter die USA, deren mehr oder weniger heil gebliebene Überreste an der Ostküste, nun faktisch eine Militärdiktatur, die Kontrolle über den gesetzlosen „wilden Westen“ weitgehend verloren haben.

Power to the Punks Die Intention dahinter ist deutlich und wurde von Mike Pondsmith so auch formuliert: Cyberpunk Red soll klarere Verhältnisse und einen übersichtlicheren Rahmen schaffen. Dabei soll es eine Spielwelt bieten, die mehr Fokus auf lokale Ereignisse und Akteure legt und mehr Freiräume für die eigentlichen Stars des Systems schafft: Die „Edgerunner“ und Cyberpunks, Söldner und Revolverhelden, Nomaden, Rockerboys und Guerilla-Reporter, kurzum die ikonischen Rebellentypen des Cyberpunk-Genres. Die „Time of the Red“ schafft für diese Untergrund-Antihelden deutlich mehr Freiheiten, mehr Spielräume, mehr jagen und weniger gejagt werden.

Dem Durchschnitts-Bürger geht es angesichts des allgemeinen Zerfalls sogar besser als in den 20er-Jahren, dank im Dachgarten gezogenem Gemüse, geklauten Solarkollektoren und irgendwo geplündertem Vorkriegs-Tech. Moderne Kommunikationsgeräte, Waffen, Munition, Cybertech und Fahrzeuge gibt es aber nach wie vor – auf der Straße oder dem Schwarzmarkt, denn reguläre Geschäfte kennt die „Time of the Red“ praktisch nicht mehr.

Wie genau die Spielwelt den Spagat zwischen Untergang und Fortschritt schafft, bleibt unkonkret. Die USA und die restliche Welt werden jeweils nur auf etwas mehr als einer Seite in groben Zügen beschrieben, dazu kommen noch ein paar Seiten Weltgeschichte und ein wenig Fluff, der das Alltagsleben im Jahr 2045 grob umreißt. Vermutlich wird man, um die „Time of the Red“ wirklich verstehen zu können, auf das Grundregelwerk warten müssen.

Die Regeln Wie an mehreren Stellen in den Büchern betont wird, ist das Jumpstart Kit gewissermaßen eine Demo für das kommende Grundregelwerk, vereinfacht und gekürzt, um leichter in das System einsteigen zu können. Allerdings entsteht beim Lesen schnell die Frage, wie hilfreich das Jumpstart Kit für den Einstieg ins eigentliche Cyberpunk Red sein wird, denn an einigen Stellen erwecken Formulierungen den Eindruck, dass bestimmte Regeln womöglich im Grundregelwerk anders funktionieren werden. Es wird aber nicht wirklich transparent gemacht, welche Regeln das sind und wie weitreichend die möglichen Abweichungen sind.

Das Interlock-System Cyberpunk Red verwendet, wie schon Cyberpunk 2020 und auch das The Witcher TRPG, das Interlock-System, das allerdings grundlegend überarbeitet, angepasst und gestrafft wurde. Charaktere basieren auf neun Attributen und einer Reihe von Skills, jeweils mit einem Wert zwischen 0 und 10. Bei Proben werden Attribut und zugehöriger Skill summiert, ein W10 addiert und die Summe mit einem festgelegten Zielwert verglichen. In Konfliktsituationen wird stattdessen direkt vergleichend gewürfelt, der höhere Wurf setzt sich durch.

Das Jumpstart Kit listet insgesamt 22 Skills auf, das Grundregelwerk wird aber deutlich mehr Skills enthalten. Alle Charaktere erhalten bei der Erschaffung Gratis-Ränge in verschiedenen Skills, beispielsweise in „Wahrnehmung“, „Allgemeinbildung“, „Athletik“ und „Waffenloser Kampf“. Für das Jumpstart Kit spielt das aber eigentlich keine Rolle, denn es gibt keine Regeln zur Charaktererschaffung.

Charakterklassen

Cyberpunk Red behält das Klassensystem von Cyberpunk 2020 bei und umfasst neun Charakterklassen, von denen aber nur sechs im Jumpstart Kit spielbar sind: Rockerboy (Musiker und andere Entertainer), Solo (Söldner, Profikiller und andere Kämpfer), Tech (Mechaniker, Bastler und Mediziner), Nomad (Profi-Fahrer und Straßenkrieger à la Mad Max), Fixer (Info-Broker, Hehler und Schmuggler) und Netrunner (Hacker). Im Grundregelwerk wird jede Klasse einen exklusiven Spezial-Skill haben, diese kommen im Jumpstart Kit aber nicht zum Einsatz – mit Ausnahme des Netrunners, dessen Klassenskill ihm das Hacken überhaupt erst ermöglicht.

Zu jeder Charakterklasse enthält das Jumpstart Kit einen fertig ausgearbeiteten Archetypen. Skills, Ausrüstung und Cyberware stehen fest, Einfluss nehmen kann der Spieler auf die Attribute und auf die Persönlichkeit und Vita seines Charakters. Jeder Charakterbogen kommt mit sechs unterschiedlichen Attributs-Blöcken, der Spieler kann sich einen Block aussuchen oder auswürfeln.

Charakterbogen Der vorgefertigte Charakterbogen des Solo-Archetypen mit verschiedenen Attributs-Blöcken und freien Feldern für den Charakterhintergrund.

Mit dem „Lifepath“-Modul kann sich der Spieler außerdem eine Persönlichkeit und eine Lebensgeschichte für seinen Charakter entweder aussuchen oder erwürfeln. Spieltechnische Auswirkungen hat das Modul nicht.

Die Kampfregeln Für Kämpfe verwendet Cyberpunk Red eine weiterentwickelte und deutlich abgespeckte Version des Kampfsystems von Cyberpunk 2020. Vor allem die Regeln zu Automatikfeuer wurden stark vereinfacht und entschärft – pro Angriff treffen in Cyberpunk Red maximal eine Handvoll Kugeln das Ziel. Angriffe laufen ab wie alle anderen Skill-Proben auch der Zielwert von der verwendeten Waffe und der Entfernung zum Ziel ab. Nur Charaktere mit sehr hohem Reflex-Attribut können im Fernkampf aktiv ausweichen, dann wird aus dem Angriffswurf eine vergleichende Probe. Im Nahkampf wird grundsätzlich vergleichend gewürfelt.

CyborgEs gibt zwei Trefferzonen: Kopf und Körper. Kopftreffer sind schwieriger, richten aber mehr Schaden an. Beide Trefferzonen können individuell gepanzert werden. Die Panzerung zählt als passiver Bonus und wird vom erlittenen Waffenschaden abgezogen. Überzähliger Schaden reduziert dann die Lebenspunkte des Charakters. Charaktere, deren Lebenspunkte auf 0 sinken, sterben früher oder später, wenn sie keine Erste Hilfe erhalten.

Die Waffen werden in Klassen eingeteilt, die sich in Schaden, Reichweite und dem Feuermodus unterscheiden. Waffen selbst bleiben abstrakte Platzhalter; spezifische Modelle mit Bild oder Beschreibung stehen nicht zur Wahl.

Cyberware Die vorgefertigten Charaktere (und auch verschiedene NSC) verfügen jeweils über eine Handvoll Cyberware-Implantate, die jeweils bestimmte spieltechnische Boni liefern oder als Waffe eingesetzt werden können. Zu jedem Implantat gibt es eine knappe Beschreibung.

Diese Implantate sind festgelegt: Sich weiter vercybern zu lassen ist im Einsteiger-Regelwerk keine Option.

Netrunning Das weltweite NET ist in der „Time of the Red“ ebenso Geschichte wie der Cyberspace, in dem man gedankenschnell und körperlos herumfliegen konnte. Öffentliche Netzwerke sind beschränkt auf regionale Informationsplattformen auf dem technischen Niveau des heutigen Internets. Das „echte“ NET, in das sich Netrunner mental einstöpseln können, existiert nur noch in Form lokaler Netzwerke.

Wortwörtlich einstöpseln muss sich aber niemand mehr, denn das neue NET ist eine kabellose Augmented-Reality-Umgebung, die der Netrunner durch eine Datenbrille sieht. Eine WiFi-Welt analog zu Shadowrun, in der sich nahezu alles hacken lässt, ist das kabellose NET aber nicht; Hacking bleibt auf Systeme wie Firmennetzwerke beschränkt. Zugangspunkte zu solchen Systemen haben in der Regel eine Reichweite von lediglich sechs Metern. Für die Netrunner heißt das: Keine Hacks mehr vom heimischen Sofa aus, sondern raus an die Front.

Hacken funktioniert nach dem „Fahrstuhl“-System: Computersysteme staffeln sich in übereinander liegende Level, die der Netrunner der Reihe nach von oben nach unten erkundet. Auf jedem Level können dann Dateien und der Zugriff auf Sicherheitssysteme und Ähnliches liegen, aber auch Passwortsperren oder „Black ICE“ (aggressive und potentiell tödliche Verteidigungsprogramme).

Abenteuer Das Jumpstart Kit enthält ein längeres, viereinhalbseitiges Abenteuerszenario sowie als Zugabe drei kürzere Szenarien auf jeweils etwa einer Seite zuzüglich Fluff-Text, die der SL als Grundlage für weitere Abenteuer verwenden kann. R. Talsorian verspricht vorgefertigte Abenteuer, die sich „out of the box“ spielen lassen. Falls man darunter Abenteuer versteht, die so umfassend ausgearbeitet und durchstrukturiert sind, dass sie ohne nennenswerte Vorbereitung und zusätzliche Ausgestaltung spielbar sind, dann ist das eindeutig nicht der Fall. Fehlende Details und Hintergrundinformationen fordern dem Spielleiter viel Improvisationstalent und/oder gründliche Vorarbeit ab – das genaue Gegenteil von „out of the box“. Dass der eigentliche Plot auf Schienen läuft und oft Handlungen der Spieler voraussetzt oder gleich vorwegnimmt, macht es für einen unerfahrenen Spielleiter nicht leichter.

Eins haben die Szenarien im Jumpstart Kit alle gemein: Es sind Schießbuden. Eigentlich in jedem Fall läuft nach kurzer, linearer Einleitung die Lösung auf einen oder mehrere Kämpfe hinaus. Andere Optionen werden oft gar nicht erst erwähnt oder sogar durch das festgeschriebene Verhalten der NSC aktiv ausgeschlossen. Unter diesem Licht betrachtet ist es dann auch nicht verwunderlich, dass ausnahmslos alle vorgefertigten Charaktere vom Rockerboy bis zum Tech schwer bewaffnet und von Kopf bis Fuß solide gepanzert sind.

Erscheinungsbild Umfang Eine Anmerkung vorweg: Die Druckversion des Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit präsentiert sich als Box mit Softcover-Heften, Broschüren und losen Blättern. In der digitalen Version sind die einzelnen Dokumente stattdessen jeweils als separate PDFs enthalten. Da wir für diese Rezension nur die digitale Version vorliegen hatten, können wir zur Qualität der gedruckten Produkte keine Aussagen treffen.

Das Jumpstart Kit umfasst zwei Bücher: Das Worldbook liefert auf 53 Seiten einen Überblick über die Hintergrundwelt von Cyberpunk Red, die Geschichte, ein Profil der Stadt Night City sowie Tipps zum Spielleiten. Außerdem sind hier das Start-Abenteuer und die weiteren Szenarien enthalten. Das 45-Seitige Rulebook enthält die Spielregeln inklusive Kampf- und Netrunning-System sowie einige weitere Erklärungen zur Cyberpunk-Spielwelt. Hinzu kommen die sechs vorgefertigten Charaktere, jeweils mit einer Seite Fluff-Text und Bild und einer Seite Charakterbogen, ein doppelseitiges Handout mit Regel-Kurzübersicht für Spieler und ein vierseitiges Heft für den SL mit Regelübersicht und anderen hilfreichen Tabellen. Alle Dokumente kommen in DIN A4; lediglich das Kartenpaket, mit dem das das Paket abgerundet wird, kommt im A3-Format und enthält vier Bodenpläne: eine generische Straßenecke, ein Stück staubiger Highway, eine Bar und ein Bürogebäude.

Layout

Das gesamte Jumpstart Kit präsentiert sich in Farbe. Das Layout ist klar und nüchtern, aber wenig aufregend. Rot und weiß dominieren das Seitenbild mit hin und wieder eingestreuten Info-Kästen, Zitaten (von denen so einige dem Cyberpunk 2020-Grundregelwerk entnommen sind) oder Illustrationen. Nennenswerte Layout-Schnitzer sind nicht aufgefallen, wohl aber einige Wort-Doppelungen oder Tippfehler.

Die Bebilderung wirkt durch die Bank solide, die Bildqualität ist gut. Die Illustrationen stammen von verschiedenen Künstlern mit ganz unterschiedlichen Stilen, die gezeigten Motive erinnern an Vorlagen von Ghost in the Shell über Elysium und Blade Runner bis hin zu Mad Max.

Sowohl Worldbook als auch Rulebook haben ein Inhaltsverzeichnis, aber keinen Index. Die Regel-Tabellen der Übersichts-Handouts enthalten keine Seitenverweise zum Regelbuch, was dem schnellen Nachschlagen am Spieltisch sicher gutgetan hätte.

Bonus/Downloadcontent Kürzlich ist auf R. Talsorians Homepage das Download-Kurzabenteuer Red Chrome Cargo für das Jumpstart Kit erschienen. Außerdem gibt es auf der Homepage die Developer‘s Logs mit Einblicken in die Entwicklung von Cyberpunk und den Q&A-Podcast Listen Up!, in dem Mike und Cody Pondsmith unter anderem über Fragen zu Cyberpunk Red diskutieren.

Fazit Das Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit ist eine kostenpflichtige Demo – nicht mehr, nicht weniger. Es liefert in aller Kürze einen Einblick in die Spielregeln, die das kommende Grundregelwerk enthalten wird, macht aber keinen Hehl daraus, dass der Großteil eben erst mit diesem Buch erscheinen wird. Das reduzierte Interlock-System ist unkompliziert und dürfte auch für absolute Einsteiger leicht zu erlernen sein. Der Überblick über die Spielwelt hingegen fällt ziemlich grob aus, gerade bei Einsteigern ohne Cyberpunk-Vorerfahrung dürften viele Fragen offen bleiben.

Die im Worldbook enthaltenen Abenteuer-Szenarien machen einen durchaus spielbaren Eindruck, sind aber sehr auf Kampf zugespitzt und nur rudimentär ausgearbeitet – Einsteigerrunden dürften hier schnell überfordert sein. Die enthaltenen Regeln ermöglichen durchaus, auch eigene Szenarien zu spielen, das Regelwerk schränkt die Möglichkeiten aber deutlich ein. Eine längere Kampagne abwechslungsreich zu gestalten dürfte deshalb schwierig werden, auch mangels Ausbau- und Entwicklungsmöglichkeiten für die Charaktere.

Für die ersten Schritte und eine grobe Orientierung in der neuen „Time of the Red“ und der nächsten Edition des Cyberpunk-Rollenspiels ist das Jumpstart Kit aber allemal geeignet und es macht neugierig auf das kommende Grundregelwerk. Ein Spielwert über einige Spielabende hinaus ist aber eher nicht in Sicht, zumal die Box mit dem Erscheinen des Grundregelwerks weitgehend obsolet werden dürfte. Den Preis von knapp 30 US-Dollar erscheint daran gemessen ziemlich hoch. Bei der PDF-Version, die es auf unabsehbare Zeit für knapp 10 US-Dollar gibt, stimmt das Preis-Leistungs-Verhältnis schon eher.

Die Endwertung fällt deshalb alles in allem durchwachsen aus. Das Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit ist vor allem ein Produkt für alte Cyberpunk-Fans, die wissen wollen, wie die Geschichte weitergeht, und für alle, die sich mental schon mal auf Cyberpunk 2077 einstimmen und mehr über R. Talsorians Cyberpunk-Welt erfahren wollen. Für Einsteiger, die einfach neugierig auf das Cyberpunk-Genre insgesamt sind, ist das Jumpstart Kit definitiv eine Option, aber nicht unbedingt der Geheimtipp des Jahres.



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[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk Red Jumpstart Kit
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The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
by Jonathan S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/08/2020 22:06:11

Physical Book: Physical book craft is akin to a poor quaility modern magazine. Ink smudges, the pages are thin, feel cheap and are easy to tear. The printing ink warped the pages so they are slightly wavy. The Upside is the High Quaility images, though not a huge fan of the extreemly clean modern art style. I wish the art in the book was like the front cover art which imo is incredible. 2/10

PDF: Layout is uninspired. It is difficult to get excited about playing the game by reading the book due to the blandness. The complexity of the system is simply unessesary. Why do I need to know what the Control Modifer for a Horse or an OX is? Charts everywhere throughout the book which means u will be flipping through the book in the middle of the game constantly. Thus grinding the game to a halt, (if you want to play the game as 'Rules intended'). Most GM's won't run the game like this which will lead to imo over half the rules never being used and ignored. This leads to wasted pages in the book which could have been filled with useful content like adventures or towns. The character sheet hurts the eyes. The World lore section is nice though too brief and generally lack many adventure hooks. Life paths are interesting. Rolling for your defense in combat is very fun (as opposed to a static AC). There are some great ideas in this book but it will take a lot of homebrewing and changing to cut the junk and have a reasonably clean running system. 2.5/10

I'm very confused as to why there are so many positive reviews on this game... The witcher universe is great, and I am very happy this book was made! There are the bones of a great witcher game here, but you need to rip out a lot of pointless rules, charts and spend a lot of time creating your own content from scratch before you can enjoy this game. Not something I think is worth the price tag unless you are desperarte.



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[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Witcher Pen & Paper RPG
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