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Technoir
by Loris G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/05/2015 03:21:32
I rated this product 4 after reading it. Then I tried it and oh boy ! What a treat !!

The systems works to the perfection to create cyberpunk characters (in the Neuromancer/HardWired/When Gravity Fails original flavour of CyberPunk) : you play someone efficient, who looks cool and is one of the best at what he/she does with lots of debts and favors to return, wrapped in a net of vicious relationships from contacts who wants more than they show.

At the end of character creation, you've got a relationship map that will do all the work of the adventure design, characters completely immersed in the setting and that map. The systems is perfectly for the Noir/Hardboiled style : characters will take a lot before getting down.
The Transmissions system for providing sandboxed settings is just perfect.

What I could reproach to the game is the lack of a small cheat sheet included or available on the website and new transmissions or hacks (to play fantasy, western, etc. or to play new things, like the author did with MechNoir).

I think TechNoir is the CyberPunk game I've been looking for a very long time and I'm already working on two transmissions of my own (Paris and the Budayeen).

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Technoir
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City Supplement 1: Dweredell
by Singh K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2015 13:49:55
Dweredell is another of this publisher's bare-bones 'city' offerings, however, it's priced fairly at $2.00 for what you are (and are not) getting. On the positive side, you're getting a beautiful map of a city, it's original and interesting in it's layout. Kudos for that. On the negative side, the publisher doesn't even bother to give most of the streets a name, there's only one map and that map has the encounters clearly marked on it, so you can't show it to your players. If you buy this looking for a fantasy city that you can actually use in your game, this is going to disappoint you (as it did me). However, if you get this as a short adventure module to run your players through, expecting to exit and move on after a session, this will do just fine.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
City Supplement 1: Dweredell
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City Supplement 3: Anyoc
by Singh K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 02/07/2015 13:42:14
This book is billed as a city, and if you consider a brightly colored map that doesn't even bother to delineate buildings, and leaves 3/4s of the streets unnamed, to be a 'city', then this module is for you! I hate to give anyone a 1-star rating because every product here takes work, but in this module, they did as little work as they could. There are some points of interest that are described, but the great mapping triumph of this product lies in the floorplan of a gatehouse. Had they put that much work into the rest of the city, this would have been a great product. Had it been priced at the $1 point, the value here might have risen to a 4, but at $7.99, it's simply a rip off. There's simply not enough actual material in this product to justify it's cost.

Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
City Supplement 3: Anyoc
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City Supplement 1: Dweredell
by Mark S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/26/2013 02:37:08
Dweredell is inexpensive and it is a fair value for the money.

I rate it at two stars because it has some good flavor text and does not cost much.

The city map is OK, but there is a major flaw that limits its usefulness: Encounter areas are marked on the maps with numbers.

This city map is the most important part of the publication. The numbers on the map render it useless as a game aid. This is a huge and glaring problem.

The publishers should revise this publication so it has two maps. One map should show encounter areas and/or areas of interest. The other map should show the city without notations.

An unmarked map is so elementary, so standard, so essential, so necessary, so obvious that one wonders why it did not occur to the authors.

Please fix it!

Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
City Supplement 1: Dweredell
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City Supplement 3: Anyoc
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/26/2013 06:10:26
A description of a moderately large city, this supplement has 19 pages of text, and a further 10 pages of maps, plus the floorplan of a guardhouse. Six of the maps are of the city as a whole - with numbered labels, text labels, and no labels, each in colour and black-and-white. The remaining four are expanded versions of the main maps, each showing a quarter of the city, in larger size for printing, but without extra detail.

The city itself seems suited to a high fantasy world, due primarily to the vast scale of the architecture. The governor's palace, for instance, is ten stories high, and the city walls tower 300' (higher than the spires of many medieval cathedrals, in the real world). All of which is perfectly reasonable for a high fantasy setting - and the walls, in particular, are implied to partly magical in construction - but not, perhaps, for more low fantasy campaigns.

Having said that, a few tweaks to the descriptions is all you'd really need to change it. Beyond the architecture (which is atmospherically described) the basic concept of the city is that is largely ruled by three noble families that don't entirely get on, and that it is built on the ruins of a much older city, dedicated to the forces of evil before its eventual destruction. Unfortunately, not a lot is made of the latter point, it's more of a plot hook than something that is really explored in the supplement.

There are full page stat blocks of the heads of the three noble houses, the governor, the commander of the city guard, and the high priest of the main temple. All, except maybe the priest, seem surprisingly low level for the size of the city. (The population isn't given, but we know the guard force is 250-strong, so it's surprising that the guy in charge of it is only 4th level). But they are at least well thought out and distinctive.

A number of locations, including all the shops along one street, are given brief descriptions, which can add flavour to the setting. There are also discussions on some unusual local flora, a mildly narcotic drink (no worse than alcohol, really), and some unique architectural materials, as well as things like the sewers and the water supply. Again, some of this implies a high fantasy setting, but nothing too far out of the ordinary.

There is also a page of scenario ideas, some of which would work in any city, and some of which are more specifically tailored to this one.

All in all, not bad if you're looking for a fair sized, but not huge, city to put down in a fantasy campaign. The setting it is part of seems fairly generic, so there should be little difficulty in applying to most campaigns. The maps are reasonable, and the layout and proof-reading are both good. It doesn't, perhaps, have a true 'wow' factor, but it's quite good of its type.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City Supplement 3: Anyoc
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Mini-Adventure 2: The Black Mist
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/27/2013 06:25:32
Although described as a "mini-adventure" this is really a sandbox setting - albeit one based around a series of events rather than a specific locality. It's also worth noting that that, of the 65 pages, only 45 are actual content (indeed, many of the other 20 are entirely blank), and 4 of those are duplicate copies of player handouts in slightly different formats. The font size is quite large too, so, again, the book isn't as large as it appears at first glance. Still, for $5, the length is quite reasonable.

The book concerns the effects of a terrible plague on a fantasy city. The plague, of course, has to be immune to Cure Disease, and similar spells, or it frankly wouldn't be much of a threat. Which means that you would have to able to accept that such things are possible within your game world. The source of the plague is never explained, although there are some suggestions as to what it might be; however, the intent is clearly to bring some of the horror of real-world medieval plagues (the black death, the sweating sickness, and so on) to a game. In other words, its supposed to be about how the PCs react to something beyond their power to prevent, only to mitigate. This might not work well for all groups.

The content covers the course of the plague, including a whole series of events that occur throughout the city as it progresses. These include rioting, fires, unpopular civil ordinances, and, of course, the fact that the city is quarantined from the outside world. Although PCs might be helping to enforce, or possibly break, the quarantine, the main piece of "traditional" D&D action is the potential fight with some necromancers who briefly try to take advantage of the plague to unleash a horde of zombies from the mass graves. Like the other scenes in the book, though, this will need fleshing out by the GM, although stats are provided.

The book has new rules as well. Obviously, there's the plague itself, but there are also rules for mob action, rioting and urban conflagrations, as well as four new spells and a template for applying to undead. A major issue here may well be the plague rules; since it obviously can't be fought with magic, and has to be deadly to be scary, there's no obvious reason that the PCs won't catch it, with potentially disastrous consequences.

I like this book because it's original and different. It tries to bring something that medieval people were genuinely, and rightly, scared of, and tries to bring that same sense into a d20 fantasy setting. It sweeps the characters up in a horrific situation, giving them the opportunity to focus on the small aspects of life, presenting them with individual challenges framed against a larger, and more implacable, backdrop.

But it won't be to everyone's taste, and a GM may need to approach with caution.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Adventure 2: The Black Mist
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City Supplement 1: Dweredell
by JK R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/30/2012 03:52:38
This is a simple city supplement, one that provides only a broad overview of the location. It is, in other words, a city to briefly visit, but not one to serve as the basis of even a short a campaign. The central theme is that is a decaying and dying city, one that used to rely on a trade route that no longer exists.

The booklet is 10 pages long, and includes 4 NPC descriptions, 14 locations and the stats for a magical drug, all for D20. The map of the city looks quite nice, but the detail is vague. That goes for the locations, too, which have only a few short paragraphs of text at most. One location has floor-plans, but these are unlabelled, and there is no room-by-room description of it. Considering the short length of the booklet, there is a reasonable description of the city politics. It rounds out with a few suggestions for plot hooks and some suggestions for placing it in a GM's own campaign world.

This is not a detailed city book, more a collection of ideas and some hints for directions you could take stories in. The concept for the city is a good one, and one not often seen - most cities with any detail in fantasy supplements tend to be bustling places, and this one is dying on its feet.

Taking it on this basis - as a single location that you might stop off at on the way to somewhere else - it's actually quite well thought out. The $2 price tag fits that, and earns it a 4-star rating.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City Supplement 1: Dweredell
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Technoir
by Nearly e. D. P. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 11/24/2012 09:01:17
Overview
One of the early RPG successes from Kickstarter Technoir is a cyberpunk styled game heavily flavoured by hard boiled detective fiction and film noir. The game is presented in a compact and beautifully laid out form, small enough that its easy to just slip the book into a bag just in case you get a chance to play it. If you're looking for long sessions of planning, stealthy infiltration and stats for an endless list of cybernetics then I suggest sticking to Shadowrun. Technoir is about bold and reckless action, its about causing trouble because you can and flinging accusations just to see what sticks.

Rules
Technoir uses a lightweight rules system built around the use of Adjectives, which describe the result of actions, properties of objects and relationships between characters and their connections. Want to shoot somebody? Then you might apply the adjectives of Suppressed, Bleeding or even Scared; it all depends on how you want to affect the target and how long you want the Adjective to last. In a similar fashion Adjectives may be applied to represent emotional or situational (Distracted, bored, lustful etc) effects, describe the properties of items (Sharp, Rapid-fire, Expensive etc), and define the relationships between characters and their connections (Respectful, Loyal, Indebted etc).
Actions are attempted by generating a pool of d6's, formed from characters attributes (Action dice), positive adjectives they can draw on (Push dice) and negative adjectives affecting the character (Harm dice, of which a character has a limited number). These are rolled together, with Harm dice cancelling out any positive dice of equal value, and the highest remaining die then compared to the target number. If successful the adjective is applied as desired.
It is here however that the Push dice really come into play as by default Adjectives applied through a successful action don't last for long. If you wish to extend the duration of the effect, for example upgrade a 'Suppressed' to 'Bleeding', it requires that a Push die be spent, transferring it from the Player to the GM. In this way the game brings in an ebb and flow of power that fits well with the noir genre implied by the games title. At the start of each adventure Push dice reside with the PCs, allowing them to quickly investigate and get the information required to work out what is going on. As the dice flow to the GM the balance shifts and the PCs start to run up against larger challenges, difficult to overcome without the boost provided by Push dice. Here the GM can then start to really hurt the PCs, applying longer lasting adjectives (which confer Harm dice) but in order to do so must once again spend the Push dice, returning them to the control of the players. Finally the PCs, bruised and beaten but in possession of the Push dice, are in a position to uncover the truth and take out the bad guy at the centre of their troubles.
All in all the system works well and finds a good balance by bringing together traditional mechanics (rolling dice), player narrative (adding adjectives) and genre (the Push dice economy) into a single cohesive system. My experience with the system so far is that it works best when an adventure is spread over 2 or 3 sessions, one shots limit the impact of longer lasting adjectives on NPCs as they don't appear in enough scenes. Longer adventures however and the PCs build up too many negative adjectives, severely limiting their effectiveness. The only real issue I've had with the system is getting to grips with the focus on character versus character conflicts, as the GM is advised to avoid rolls that don't involve manipulating / affecting another character in some way. This makes sense from both a genre and system perspective, as applying adjectives to say, pick a lock, doesn't make a big impact if that lock is never encountered again. I suspect part of my issue with this is that my NPCs are probably the weakest aspect of my GMing so only time will tell as to whether I can get a handle on this aspect of the game.

Transmissions
Transmissions, which make up a substantial portion of the book, are a system for the generation of on the fly adventures which are generated as information is uncovered by the characters. Each Transmission forms a small setting, something which is mostly absent from the main game, however even these settings leave much up to the imagination of the GM. There are 3 Transmissions included in the book itself and each contains within it a series of contacts (NPCs who can provide favours to the PCs), locations, events, factions, threats and objects. At the start of the adventure the GM takes 3 of these elements and uses them to form a story seed, as the PCs explore and investigate they draw in further elements which the GM connects to that initial seed. For example if a PC goes to a contact to borrow some money that NPC is added to the plot map and suddenly they may be connected to a spate of kidnappings the PCs are investigating, maybe she's involved in laundering the money of the gang involved or her son is one of the individuals who has been taken. The plot map, generated from each of these elements merely provides the links between points in the adventure, its up to the GM to decide what those connections are.
The Transmission system works extremely well, allowing a GM to generate a plot as it unfolds and as the PCs are drawn into the adventure. Of course this requires the GM be comfortable with working out details on the fly but even if you're not comfortable with this the framework provides an easy to use, pre-generated set of points which can be used ahead of time to plan an adventure. There are a number of Transmissions which are already available and with their simplicity its easy to write more focused around your city or setting of choice.

Customisation
While the game is written from a cyberpunk perspective the relatively limited nature of the setting material makes the system extremely easy to adapt to other settings. As part of the Kickstarter project the author has already released MechNoir, which shifts the focus to Mars and adds in rules for the use of Mecha and is planning to release HexNoir, a magic / fantasy based adaptation for the game. From a personal angle I've been working on an adaptation for running games within the Dresden Files universe (which can be found over on my personal blog). This coupled to the compact size of the book and ease of writing new transmissions means the game is on my list of systems I'm happy to pack in my bag while travelling just in case I can slot a session of it in.

Wrap Up
Technoir is a game that I would definitely recommend to those who are fans of the cyberpunk genre, especially if they'd rather focus on the motivations and conflicts of characters as opposed to the stats of a particular piece of cyberware. The system underlying the game is distinct, easy to learn and encourages the styles of play expected of by the genre, with the added bonus of being easily hacked to fit other noir influenced settings. All in all definitely a game that I am glad to have taken that Kickstarter gamble on.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Technoir
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Technoir
by Ubiratan A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/27/2012 13:58:29
This is a blast to read, and it gets the feel of classic cyberpunk just right. The system seems pretty fun and workable, centered around building a story the whole table can agree on while following the game's main themes. If you don't want to use it, though, the game's mechanics for generating a plot on the fly based on the PC's connections are more or less independent from the rest of the rules, and could easily be lifted for use in other games.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Technoir
by Sean D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2012 11:44:41
This is the game that you want when you want to emulate Blade Runner, Neuromancer and almost any novel of the cyberpunk genre. This game brings the idea forth that characters are not created in a vacuum and without relationships are little more than wannabes walking the street talking to themselves.

Technoir has a simple tool for game masters to create a plot and allows the player characters to get involved quickly once the plot map has been completed. This very same plot map is used to show the web of relationships within your individual game and how it relates to the city guide (termed as Transmission in the game) your group is using.

The book is simplistic in its layout and structure. It's art is stock standard except for the chapter dividers which beautifully evoke the cyberpunk/noir feel by showing active life in each of the cities described in the Transmissions. Much like the cover of the book.

One of the major flaws of this game is its focus on character-character interaction and that it only wants scenes to develop towards conflict with two living things. You cannot roll the dice to affect a lock, you simply pick that lock to get into the building, but you will have to face off against the guards inside if they catch you. This is something for players to get used to and can detract from the first few games.

Long term play could also be seen as a flaw but this game would be excellent in a convention or for a short campaign with regular players.

I would recommend this game to anyone wanting to play a cyberpunk game and especially those who have played Shadowrun or Cyberpunk for a long period of time to see how this game uses the tropes of the genre differently.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Adventure 1: The Complex of Zombies
by Jonathan N. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 03/03/2012 01:00:17
Coming from one of my favorite game theory and commentary websites The Alexandrian, I decided to give this adventure a go despite no longer having anything to do with the D20/3rd edition ruleset. I converted the numbers as best I could to 4th edition D&D and plunked it down in the middle of a sandbox campaign. When the heroes found it the place inspired horror, most especially with the very detailed table of chaotic magic changes that might occur while casting a spell or from prolonged exposure to a pool of elemental chaos. The rest of the complex was interesting in its own right as well, and since it's on sale right now for a measly two bucks I definitely recommend it, even if you have to do a bit of legwork converting to your system of choice, if for no other reason than for the clear and well made dungeon history (open enough to plant nearly anywhere, but logical and detailed enough that you know why things are in the state they are) and table of random effects for overexposure to chaotic magic.

There were a couple problems with clarity (it was confusing whether room 1 is where the adventurers were expected to begin or end up later due to some conflicting information), and trying to remember the big ol' chart for use when your players inevitably poke the pool of chaos (or spend too long dungeon delving - I found that OSRIC's exploration timing rules helped keep track of game time here) is darn near impossible without flipping around between the pages a few times, but on the whole this adventure had some cool elements to it as well as helpful advice in running things. Alas my players have long since learned to leave spiked doors shut, but perhaps one day they will return to finish what they started...

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Mini-Adventure 1: The Complex of Zombies
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Technoir
by VileTerror E. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/19/2011 12:25:46
Overall the system looks very promising as an interactive storytelling medium, although an errata to clarify some of the ambiguous rules would be appreciated.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Technoir
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Technoir
by Judd G. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/15/2011 22:33:51
Overview: Technoir blends the concepts of cyberpunk with film noir with a tight and flexible game system that rewards play within the conventions of both genres. The system is easy to learn, allows for all sorts of strategic play within the fiction of the world, and ties the characters into the setting using a system that lets a GM build a plot-line as play evolves, if desired. The game is very customizable and developing new content is extremely easy.

Rules: Technoir's rules system is based on verbs and adjectives. The verbs are the things the characters do in the setting and you will see all the cyberpunk/noir regulars featured: Fight, Hack, Prowl, and Operate (drive drones and vehicles). These verbs are the WHAT you and your opponents do, the adjectives are (as you would expect) the HOW. Characters, equipment, and contacts all have adjectives that allow the player or GM extra resource options in the games fast-playing resolution system.

The effect of every contentious action from combat to verbal sparring is an attempt to put an adjective on your opponent. Use your "Fight" verb (and maybe help it out with your 'accurate' gun and your 'steady' personal adjective) to place the adjective 'shot' on your target. How bad the effect is and how long it lingers is based on a dice resource called Push that gets traded as adjectives are made to linger longer on the target. The PCs start with the Push advantage, but as they get embroiled in the plot, they start to give it over to the GM, whose NPCs start making life tough on the PCs, giving the dice back. The ebb and flow of Push keeps the game's pitch dead-on as the plot resolves to a good climax.

The game also has a system of favor trading with NPC contacts that keeps the PCs tied into the community they live in and beholden to players that become more involved in events the more they are consulted. Money is always tight and favors help get the right tools in your hands. The gear system is very intuitive and many cyberpunk classics are represented as well as some new takes on the cutting edge.


Presentation: The game is very cleanly laid-out and attractive to the eye. There are some full-color images in the text, but most of the art is very tasteful tri-tone images that set the tone for each section, demonstrate game-play, or show examples of the equipment in the game. As an added bonus to those of us who like a printout at the table, the raster graphics are on a layer in the PDF that can be switched off to save toner./ink. The text is clear and has clear examples of play close to each section of rules.

Portability: Similar to game like 'Fiasco', Technoir comes with setting bibles called "Transmissions" that make game setup and prep easy and organic, even during play. These setting manuals allow for the fan community to create and share their own Transmission with others and integrating other people's transmissions into your own game is a snap. Also, the system hackers out there will recognize that a few tweaks to the starting verbs and training programs allows a group to run a number of other genres.

I recommend the game for fans of cyberpunk gaming who want a more streamlined system or a system that is less about the shopping list and more about the motives of the characters. I also recommend the game to those who like modern noir movies like "Blade Runner" or "Brick" (both obvious inspirations for this game) or the classic noir films. Story gamers will find much here to love, as the game centers on the character's and their goals, even while keeping that cybernetic edge you need for good cyberpunk.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
City Supplement 2: Aerie
by Kenneth A. C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 07/11/2009 03:11:44
A great little city for use with any system. It has everything that a city of this size needs, and a few cool maps. Only problem I may with this are the names, which seem a little too generic (and cliche) for my liking.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City Supplement 2: Aerie
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City Supplement 3: Anyoc
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/31/2008 09:52:16
This product presents an exotic and colourful fantasy city which manages both to have a lot going on within and yet be self-contained enough to be dropped into an existing campaign world. Its history is rich and strange, as the multicoloured stones of which it is built are unique in the way they were mined and treated by unknown ancients, successive peoples have inhabited and used what these ancients left behind.

Opening with evocative descriptions that could be used as 'read aloud' text as the characters arrive for the first time, there is a brief introduction to the history and architecture of the city before a discussion of its current governance (neatly tied in to the historical record). Next some leading figures in town are described, beginning with the Governor himself, and including leading nobles, clerics and the guard commander.

This is followed by a more detailed gazetteer. Here you can find out about different parts of the city including plenty of tradesmen and others that your characters might wish to visit. Many of the locations described already spawn ideas for possible adventure, while numerous sidebars describe things - such as a special ruby crystal material (a bit like amber) and goodberries - common here but perhaps not encountered elsewhere. But if the descriptions don't give you ideas, there are quite a few specific adventure seeds provided for you to embroil characters in, most not requiring them to know much about the city or its inhabitants before they start. The work ends with a selection of maps of the city, in colour and in black and white, labelled and unlabelled to suit your needs, including one over 4 pages which can be stuck together to make a poster.

As presented, there's enough to drop the city into your campaign world and let characters pay a visit or two; while there is plenty of potential and scope for you to expand on the detail should they - or you - decide to make it a more focal point of your adventures.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
City Supplement 3: Anyoc
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