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Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. The Second Edition, Version 2.01
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Michael d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/06/2021 16:11:47

This game is broken in many many ways. You're much better with the new RED Rules they are a clear upgrade in every imaginable way. There is no reason to continue playing 2020 in 2021.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk 2.0.2.0. The Second Edition, Version 2.01
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Cyberpunk RED
Publisher: R. Talsorian Games Inc.
by Michael d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/06/2021 16:08:23

Cyberpunk RED is great. This is by far the best edition to get into the game. I'm running 3 games on Roll20 as a DM and can't complain.

THE GOOD

  • Lifepaths are brilliant!
  • RED feels and plays like a fixed CP 2020 game.
  • New FNFF (Friday Night Fire Fight) rules ar much simpler and play better and faster: Hitzones and armor are simplified which is a big plus, Critical hit tables are cheesy! Autofire skill is a cool fix for what used to be an OP "delete oponent" option.
  • 2X skills bring balance to combat oriented play and put a real constraints on munchkin builds.
  • Role abilities are meaningfull and relevant. The solo is no longer the best role.
  • Martial and Melee combat are actually balanced vs gunfighting - which wasn't the case before.
  • Multiple ways to build a character. PROTIP: use the streetrat tables for your NPCs.

THE BAD

  • The "hold" action is the single most important battle-action in this game. If you play RAW and are entirely new or you join from 2020 this is far from clear. It took my group multiple sessions to figure this out. Basically following RAW you can't hit anybody who is in cover. You need to use the hold action to hit your target when he pops out of cover to do his thing. This makes combat VERY tactical but this is ABSOLUTELY unclear when reading the rules during a first pass. At the start this is a bit weird to manage but once you get the hang of it everything gells together for the better.
  • Recommended starting stats are WAAAAAY too low. At 62 points you won't hit anything. As a result combat is a bit of a drag. Start as a minor hero at 72 stat points and go full cheese from there. It seems like the game wasn't playtested at these lower stat builds.
  • They should have diversified the stats even more. Splitting REF into REF and DEX is smart but they should have doubled down on this concept. Why not tie the Autofire skill to the BODY stat (like you need a big frame to handle the recoil). Social encounters suffer a smililar problem and are very bland as all skills are tied to the same stat. I'm missing a seduction skill (based off COOL) and the persuasion and interogation skill should have had different underlying stats.
  • Not enough emphasis on non-combat play. D&D has the same problem yet cyberpunk is in a unique position to fix this but doesn't.
  • This game could have been more self-critical/self-reflective. RED is a 2020 Fix and Pondsmith could have added a chapter to explain how he fixed things and why. This could have helped many new GM/DMs run better games.

THE UGLY

  • The Netrunning role still breaks the action economy. This is still an example of bad game design. However I suspect Pondsmith to have settled on this version as Netrunning is such an integral part of the lore/setting. Word of advice though - do not allow an unexperienced player to run a Netrunner and limit the amount of Netrunners at your table to one.
  • The rules are all over the place. This sourcebook is hard to navigate even with the linked index.
  • The game lacks advice for new GM/DMs on how to handle classic cyberpunk problems such as how to handle the parts/hardware hoarder and the player that wants to cut everybody open for parts. Weirdly the solution is in the book but this is not addressed explicitly. Just give all enemies inferior quality gear. As a seasoned GM/DM I would have liked that Pondsmith would have made this more clear.
  • Pondsmith needs to look real hard at the Dark Horse Cyberpunk 2077 Worldbook. That's how you do a sourcebook/splatbook in 2020. Missed opportunity! The lore is way to dense. In 2020 people don't/can't read anymore.
  • Where are the adventure modules?
  • Limited Roll20/VTT support.


Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Cyberpunk RED
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Shadowrun: Mercurial
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Michael d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/06/2021 10:48:06

This is an absolute classic shadowrun adventure. It oozes atmosphere and the scenes that are provided are actually quite good and are really on point (from a thematic perspective). At the same time this adventure can be easily reskinned or lifted into another ruleset. There's very little that ties this to the shadowrun universe (there's a dragon but you can change her into a firespitting drone if needed or leave this out entirely). If you're looking for a Cyberpunk RED/2020/2077 adventure this really is a treasure trove.

If you're going to play this "as is" watch out for the plot. There's a huge (back)plot that is very difficult to share with your table. Without this plot it's almost impossible to set up the emotional pay-off that makes a good adventure brilliant. There's about a 99% chance that your table won't get it. If you're a new DM/GM you'll be disappointed in yourself. As a DM/GM you have access to the plot and will wonder why it didn't come together during play. Spoiler-alert: it's not your fault so don't blame yourself. Mercurial relies on a 2+ page piece of written exposition at the start of the book that is hidden and will most likely remain hidden even if your table pokes around for it. To bring the plot forward you need to totally reskin the adventure, provide a plot hand-out, or do the exposition at the table - none of these solutions are ideal. The best solution I have found is to spin out the background story/plot in a seperate one-shot with disposable characters and run it as a session zero or as a pallete cleanser. This won't work at every table and requires a lot of work even for a seasoned DM/GM. Yet with all it's imperfections this is an absolutely brilliant adventure that is absolutly worth to be ran in 2021 (modified) at your table! Also - at it's current price this is an absolute bargain so there's very littly that should stop your from picking this up.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Mercurial
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Evil Tide (2e)
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
by Michael d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/06/2021 10:13:03

This is a forgotten gem of an adventure. It has a very good structure and provides you a good platform to launch a bigger campaign and it's an excellent adventure for "newer" DMs that don't want to play the substandard fare WoTC is printing these days. The book itself can be split into two distinct parts. The first part is a bit of an open sandbox (on the island) and the second part is a classic cavern crawl. This adventure is really oozing style and atmosphere and mixes in some Lovecraftian horror with some very evocative underwater elements. For me and my table this turned out to be a neccesary palette cleanser. It stays true to the standard RPG tropes but doesn't overly rely on swords, skeletons and undermountain dungeons. This adventure is perfect for reskinning and you can absolutely update this to 5E. While doing that you can easily fix the loot issue (too much, too specific and too fast) and fix the adventure's overreliance on the NPC Wizard (who you can kill, but then you will die very fast once in the caverns). All in all a very good adventure that is absolutely worth picking up in 2021. A hidden classic IMHO.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Evil Tide (2e)
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Shadowrun: Dreamchipper
Publisher: Catalyst Game Labs
by Michael d. V. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/09/2020 16:25:28

This is an underapreciated module. The structure is really well done, the plot is quite simple and not overly convoluted. The debugging sections offer enough tips and tricks to get the module back on the rails (in case your players throw a monkey wrench at you). The story can be easily lifted and ported to later editions of shadowrun and or other systems. The stat blocks are something else entirly. However, this is an absolute classic and is one of my go-to adventures when running one-offs and (re)introducting players to the game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Dreamchipper
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