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Cyberpunk in Bite-Sized Chunks? Cyberpunk RED: Interface RED, Volume One Reviewed

Cyberpunk RED Interface RED Volume 1 (R. Talsorian Games)Title: Cyberpunk RED – Interface RED, Volume One

Publisher: R. Talsorian Games

Authors: Mike Pondsmith, James Hutt, Cody Pondsmith, J. Gray, Sara Thompson, and Melissa Wong

Artists: Richard Bagnall, Santiago Betancur, Neil Branquinho, Adrian Marc, Dolan Pondsmith, Eddie Mendoza, and Sebastian Szmyd

Year: 2021

Pages: 64 pages

Price: $17.00 in softcover or $8.50 in PDF from DriveThruRPG

Interface RED, Volume One collects the first six DLC PDFs for Cyberpunk RED in one convenient, easy to navigate volume and adds in a brand new article for the road. While it may be a tougher sell for fans in its digital format when free copies of the content are available directly from the publisher, the decision to release a physical edition will be welcomed by those who tend toward completionism.

Volume One’s most substantive addition is Elflines Online, an in-world MMO faced with many of the same boons and banes as their real world counterparts. The R. Talsorian team has taken pains to make Elflines easy to integrate; its character creation Cyberpunk RED Interface RED Volume 1 Interior (R. Talsorian Games)closely resembles the base game’s and the team has included a helpful guide for generating in-game adventures and encounters from Cyberpunk RED itself. In addition, the collection also includes a variety of online and offline Elflines NPCs and storyhooks. The material feels rooted in real world MMO experience from the developers and the system fits organically into the broader Cyberpunk: RED world. It’s a totally optional system that expands the storytelling possibilities without adding on mechanics that feel removed from the standard ruleset.

Also noteworthy is the addition of cyberpunk-ready wheelchairs —dubbed cyberchairs— into the setting, thanks in part, to the work of Sara Thompson. The chairs are a masterful bit of gameplay balance as well as visible message that, even in a world of untold possibility for cybernetic augmentation, it is not about “curing” disability, but expanding access.

Even the supplement’s less immediately noteworthy inclusions pack value into a small package. The weapon conversion guide makes porting your trusty Cyberpunk 2020 gun into the future a painless process with step-by-step instructions and a clear example to cross-reference. Red Chrome Cargo is a short but action-packed mini adventure, perfect to run as a one shot, while the pregenerated characters and net architectures included in the Single Shot Pack help to pad out a GM’s bag of tricks.

The new chapter on drones includes a detailed look at the GRAF3, as well as two additional security drones, the “My First GRAF3,”a three-foot tall version of its full-size cousin, and the Observer and Transporter personal drones.

The book’s only real problem is rooted in R. Talsorian’s generosity: by first offering most of the material as free PDFs, they have possibly curtailed the book’s audience. Certainly, the additional material on drones is a value add (and might make you wish for a miniature GRAF3 of your own) and the PDF has been thoughtfully hot-linked to support quick reference needs, but Interface: RED, Volume One may be a title best suited for print completionists and those wanting to reward R. Talsorian Games for their hard work and good faith.

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    Cyberpunk in Bite-Sized Chunks? Cyberpunk RED: Interface RED, Volume One Reviewed

    Cyberpunk RED - Interface RED, Volume 1 serves up bite sized expansions ready to slot into your cyberpunk games, offering up a mix guaranteed to serve a variety of GM needs.
    7.5
    10
    Good

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