Monday, September 27, 2021

Review & Commentary On Michael Brown's New World: 2D6 Adventure in a Cyberpunk America For Cepheus Engine rpg or Your Old School 2d6 Science Fiction rpgs

 Oh, beautiful for spacious skies

Skies that are colored gray, not like that of a dead channel, but from rain trying in vain to wash away the grime and evil of the streets below.

For amber waves of grain

Grain used to make “food” to feed America’s 430+ million people; and of course, the fatcats still get the first — and sometimes the only — mouthfuls.

"For purple mountains’ majesties

That the average person will never get to see, because they’re too busy with their noses to the grindstone, pleasing their corporate masters. If the skies were even clear enough, that is.

Above the fruited plain

At least those plains that haven’t been devastated by the worsening weather events brought on by climate change.

America, America

No longer exists in a recognizable form, ever since becoming a mere fascist shell of itself under the boot heel of an ascendant China."

"God shed his grace on thee

The gods now live above the masses in their mighty towers of polycarbon and glass, imposing their will through tyrannical (and compliant) politicians and legions of armored federal agents.

And crown thy good with brotherhood

There’s very little good in the world anymore and “brotherhood” is a joke. There is only destroy or be destroyed, succeed or fail...and the system is rigged to make you fail.

From sea to shining sea

Which (also thanks to climate change) comes a little closer every year, flooding once-habitable land"

"New World is a cyberpunk campaign framework based on the Traveller SRD (which is itself based on The Original Science Fiction Roleplaying Game published in the 1970s) and the Cepheus Engine SRD. Set in the middle of the 21st century in an America rendered almost unrecognizable by past events, the campaign features many of the tropes commonly expected in a cyberpunk world, along with some developed expecially for New World:

  • A timeline based on and extrapolated from real-life events
  • A familiar lifepath character generation system
  • A generous selection of cybernetic modifications, mundane equipment, and vehicles
  • Simplified rules for computer use and cyber-combat
  • A discussion of mid-21st century American life and culture, including a glossary of slang terms
  • A look at the changes wrought on America and the rest of the world
  • A system for mapping sections of the “Net (aka cyberspace)
  • A system for determining spontaneous radicalization, one of the worst scourges of the future age
  • And much, much more

It’s a new world, just around the corner. Welcome to the future, daoren…hope you survive it!" 

Someone once told me that all good cyberpunk rpg's are a political statement. And this is true but not in the way that you might think! Michael Brown's New World: 2D6 Adventure in a Cyberpunk America does what some games take pages & pages to do in sixty eight pages of Cepheus Engine rpg goodness. And it does it by hitting all of the usual  Cepheus Engine & Traveller notes. 

And Mr.Brown lays it out in the first campaign overview; "The High Concept: The heroes are high-tech lowlifes navigating precarious existences in an authoritarian, China-influenced United States. Setting: America, in the near future (within the next 50 years.) America is a “soft” vassal state of China, now the world’s premier superpower. Social and financial breakdowns have produced a dystopian society of haves and have-nots, overseen by megacorporation executives in their mighty towers and preyed upon by organized crime and a puppet US government. However, America still views itself (and behaves) as a mover-and-shaker in global politics; the general public is unaware that the impetus for American policy often begins in the halls of Beijing. Scope: (Suggested) Local at first (one or two cities), perhaps becoming international as the party gains more power and influence and begins tackling larger and more complex adventures." 
Make no mistake New World: 2D6 Adventure in a Cyberpunk America  isn't your usual cyberpunk style game setting. This is an America that is past its prime, seen better days, & is very dangerous. The setting is part action movie & part thinking man's cyberpunk campaign. Brown's design & writing is tight, solid, & easy to incorporate into a 2d6 campaign. Michael Brown is easily one of the least appreciated Cepheus Engine rpg designers using the 2d6 rpg platform today in my opinion. And that's a true shame. The man know what he's doing and  New World: 2D6 Adventure in a Cyberpunk America  shows this.  New World: 2D6 Adventure in a Cyberpunk America   is expansive and very well done.  New World: 2D6 Adventure in a Cyberpunk America  showcases the strengths of the 2d6 system with solid career paths, an extensive cyberpunk array across the board. And a very dangerous setting. In point of fact one could add in either Cepheus Atom or Mr. Brown's Afterday to show areas that have broken down in society. While you don't need either of these products they can easily slot in.

Michael Brown's New World: 2D6 Adventure in a Cyberpunk America uses its cyberpunk aesthetic to its advantage taking carefully created & crafted rules that are perfect for a short beer with pretzels game night. Or as a part of an extensive cyberpunk campaign that could last years. I highly recommend  Michael Brown's New World: 2D6 Adventure in a Cyberpunk America New World: 2D6 Adventure in a Cyberpunk America  is a reliable, playable, easy to run, & fun game campaign setting. At eight dollars this is a steal for a fun & very dangerous cyberpunk rpg campaign setting to add to your Cepheus Engine rpg collection! 

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