Rache Bartmoss is back and just as controversal as ever. This book is a collection of all 'netware' from previously-published Cyberpunk books, plus a selection from the Netrunner CCG from Wizards of the Coast (complete with the necessary game mechanics, of course). There's a couple of warnings: the Netrunner material may be overpowered and you should consider each item carefully before allowing it into your game and the Wiseman Full 'Borg from Chromebook 3 has been omitted due to the large amount of information that's needed to run it.
Naturally, though, it starts with a rant from Rache. He'd be at home on Twitter although he might find the character limit a bit of a bind, he does tend to go on a bit. Whatever he's on, well, it must be interesting. The rant is mostly an old-timer's distain for the current generation of netrunners, the diatribe of one who does it for fun at all those prosaic types who netrun to find information or even worse, for pay. Enjoy. Plenty of ideas in case your Netrunners even encounter Rache, though...
And then on to the catalogue, with the first part being Hardware. Each entry is referenced with the original source, provides cost and game information wrapped up in a fairly chatty account of what that item is that makes this book very 'player-friendly'. There are some illustrations, particularly of cyberdecks. The hardware section includes modifications to stanard cyberdecks and other computer equipment like desktop PCs and mobile devices. It's interesting to compare real-world 2019 kit with what was imagined for the game's 2020 - much is more advanced, but we still don't 'netrun' alas... I'm still typing on a keyboard to write this review! Yet there are some devices about which they brag of the capability to run all of THREE programs at once! However, if your character really wants to netrun from their PC, this explains how. There's also some new high-powered machines for office and studio use here.
The next section is software, which gets much the same treatment. As well as commercial software, the rules for writing your own are reprinted from the core rulebook. There's a new rules option concerning software upgrades and a very comprehensive list of available software, with entries classified by the nature of the software in question. There's a vast array of them.
Next is From Netrunner to Cyberpunk. This Netrunner is a collectable card game made by Wizards of the Coast under licence from R.Talsorian Games, in which players compete as Netrunner v. Corporation in a simulation of an online battle. Now it comes full circle, with software and hardware depicted on cards translated to work with the role-playing game. Illustrated with images from the cards it's an interesting addition, although there's a warning that things could disturb game balance and it's up to the Referee to decide what is and isn't allowed in their game. Of course, if you get this book before your Netrunner does, you can have fun throwing things at them that they have never seen before! There's also a method for converting a human being into an AI. Think long and hard before you let your 'punks loose with that! We end this section with vehicles and NPC sysops - also from Netrunner - these last should prove interesting if encountered in or out of the Net.
Finally, there are some notes should you feel moved to use Netrunner as a campaign aid rather than a stand-alone game. Perhaps you can use it to simulate netruns, or at least to build corporate datafortress to be attacked. Several campaign ideas are presented here. Maybe a plot device or quick adventure generator is what you need. There are lots of ideas here... maybe it's time to track down a set of Netrunner cards!
Rounding out with a few indices, that's it. A find collection of netrunner 'stuff' to ensure that this area of the game is not neglected. It was always one of my favourite aspects, when I could persuade the Referee to let me be a Netrunner... and this is just the resource to persuade them that, yes, it is a good idea!
Return to Rache Bartmoss' Brainware Blowout page.
Reviewed: 26 February 2019