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Land of the Free
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Land of the Free
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Land of the Free
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/19/2018 13:56:12

This book contains a vast continent-spanning adventure that all begins with a 'simple' extraction... but they're never that simple, are they? The adventure comes in five parts, and is intended to be played as a whole... almost a mini-campaign really. As the mission involves travelling across the continent, access to the Home of the Brave sourcebook will enhance your game considerably but it's not necessary, there are plenty of resources herein to keep you going as the party encounters bizarre cults, renegade military officers, trail worn nomads, jealous corporations, and many of the splintered, often antagonistic cultures that America has fractured into. They'll need to master the skills of diplomacy as well as those of combat to survive, let alone accomplish their mission.

Although the adventures takes the party cross-country on a fairly defined route - clues in one location lead them naturally to another - there's plenty of scope for side-adventures and other incidents, not part of the main plot, along the way. Some are provided here, more can be gleaned from Home of the Brave if you have it, and of course you can mix in your own ideas.

Designed to accommodate any party irrespective of character experience, there are extensive notes on how to provide an appropriate level of challenge, including a mechanism called Character Party Strength (CPS) which enables you to compare the strength of the party to the strength of the opposition facing them, and so adjust said opposition depending on how much challenge you want them to pose. There's also some general advice about running the adventure, this support continues throughout with specific notes as to how to deal with likely outcomes and issues as they arise in each section of the adventure.

Next, there's a lot of background for the campaign. It's the sort of campaign where background, atmosphere, recurring NPCs and the like are important, so immerse yourself in it. The science of cloning is integral to the plot, so there's plenty of background on advances and attitudes towards it. So far, nobody's managed a viable fully-functional sentient human clone... or have they? It is someone closely associated with cloning experiments that the party are contracted to extract in New York and transport across country to Night City in an airship. Of course, nothing ever quite works to plan...

The journey, as written, takes the party to various locations such as Nashville and Memphis across America, but copious notes are provided to help you should they not go where intended or otherwise try to find some way to thwart the adventure. Some are suggestions for how to get them back on track without making them feel railroaded, others supply inspiration for taking the adventure to them wherever they've chosen to go. Very helpful, and provides ideas for any adventure where the party deviates from the plot... a frequent occurance in my games. This support begins at the beginning with a myriad suggestions as to why they are in New York to begin with, and enabling you to work with an existing team or a group of complete strangers with equal facility. This level of support extends to the adventure itself, seemingly everything is catered for with extensive clues, descriptions, layouts... just about all you need to run each encounter with ease.

Study the adventure well beforehand, then you will be able to take advantage of this wealth of detail, whether the party follows the planned intinerary via Nashville, Memphis, down the river to New Orleans, across the Gulf to Galveston or Corpus Christi and thence on to Night City. There are optional events and encounters galore. Use them. They enhance the adventure no end... especially the chance of doing time in a Texas gaol! Many of the encounters are potentially deadly, in some even an unlucky die roll rather than a poor decision can result in death or serious injury. That's life in 2020 for you! Even once they reach Night City it's not all plain sailing.

This adventure involves combat, intrigue, negotiation, netrunning... the entire gamut of roles and skills will find something to do. Events pour out one upon another in quick succession, there's little chance to get bored in the five to eight sessions this adventure is intended to take. It is cinematic in its intensity, but perhaps better viewed as a mini-series rather than a movie. It's highly recommended, the pinnacle of the published adventures.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
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