Deathwatch Program is an adventure that makes considerable use of the 'cyberpunk' feel and the Introduction talks about how important it is to keep events moving quickly, giving the characters the feeling that the world is literally changing and developing about their ears as you run them through the adventure. It ought to feel as if they are being bombarded with new information in an almost out-of-control stream... which of course means that you, as referee, need to be completely IN control! Having a copy of the Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook will be useful for the cyberpunk rules therein, which are built on and expanded in this adventure.
Most of the adventure is set on Earth, but to bring matters to a conclusion the party will have to venture into space, and even engage in some ship-to-ship combat. It all begins with the offer of a simple job from an old friend or former colleague who's now freelancing in the 'troubleshooter' business...
As you might expect, hardly anything is what it seems. You can say that about many adventures, but in this one it is not even completely clear what the adventure proper actually is, as external events conspire against the party without their knowledge... this is quite hard to explain without giving the whole plot away! It does give an excellent feel of the world carrying on around the party irrespective of what they do or even whether or not they are there, providing a real air of reality to the game.
Resources provided are good, with maps and plans and plenty of NPCs and encounters... some are connected with the adventure, some don't appear to be and some have nothing to do with it at all. Some events are intended, others are random and may be used as and when desired. The party can be easily given the impression that they are free to do whatever they want, despite the fact that the plot is rolling along merrily in the background. With time to wander around Corpus Christi in Texas, a jaunt over the border to Mexico to carry out the mission they've been hired for and then some... unexpected... events when they get back to Corpus Christi, they will have plenty to keep them entertained, with a balanced mix of interaction and combat with which to exercise their skills. NPCs are well-rounded, with background detail to make them appear 'real' people, not just there for their purpose in the immediate plot (which means, of course, that survivors may turn up in future adventures if you deem it appropriate!). Everything is tightly-paced, but the information you'll need to run each event is provided just where you need it.
If the party succeeds, they have the chance to literally save Earth from disaster... and sow the seeds for further adventure if those they have thwarted survive long enough to seek revenge! Overall, it's a cracking adventure and well worth a look... and if you don't run 2300 AD there are notes on converting it to another system!
Return to Deathwatch Program page.
Reviewed: 3 November 2015