Although this is a collection of eight ready-to-run adventures, this book is a bit more than that. Whatever backgrounds your party has, it's assumed they like to hang out at a bar called The Forlorn Hope, which is owned and operated by veterans of the Central American Wars. They have gravitated to the life of a Solo, and it's a good place for rumours and job opportunities for anyone able to prove their worth in the shady world of the cyberpunk. Your party probably fits right in.
To that end, the book opens with extensive details of the Forlorn Hope itself, and a whole bunch of NPCs found there. Most of it (apart from game mechanical bits) is presented as an article about the place: you might even want to share that with your players. There are even interviews with the NPCs that help bring them to life. Floorplans and notes on setting up your game - this is intended for fairly new if not beginning characters, but you might have a more experienced party so there are notes on how to accommodate them - are also provided.
It's not all 'local colour', though. Now for the neat bit. Each adventure is linked to at least one of the NPCs. This helps the party develop a feeling of investment, the fellow at the centre of whatever's going on right now is someone they drink with regularly. The adventures are designed to be run in a single session, but of course could be expanded on if you wish. Reading the first adventure - Agency Job - it all sounds very familiar: I think I played it many years ago. It involves raiding a consulate to get information on some foreign government's clandestine activities, and then putting paid to them by sinking a boat that's pivotal to their operations. When I played it we attacked by swimming underwater, and my character enjoyed it so much she kept the skill chips and SCUBA equipment in lieu of her fee!
Other adventures follow thick and fast. Each comes with ideas for both expanding the actual scenario and for follow-up adventures. There's A Hard Road to Go, which takes the party on a simple convoy escort job (yeah, right!). The Impalers involves a trip to Europe to find one of the regulars' missing brother. Girls' Night Out is an extraction mission. Colombian Cookout is a mercenary mission in South America (but there's scope for non-combat-oriented characters as well). Fall of the Axeman is a detective job, the party needs to find out who killed one of the Forlorn Hope regulars, and why. Street smarts and a spot of netrunning will come in useful for this one, but there's brawling as well. Tough as Nails involves helping a Federal Marshal clear a friend's name in a battle against corruption in law enforcement, and finally The Last Long Rider sends the party after a cyberpsychotic veteran. Each adventure is packed with detail, maps, believable NPCs, and more.
This gets to the core of Cyberpunk. Characters living in a gig economy, picking up dangerous jobs where they can, and living a life that's fast and exciting... but perhaps not very long. A good way to get started, especially if you don't have a grand campaign arc in mind right away.
Return to Tales from the Forlorn Hope page.
Reviewed: 15 November 2018