Interface Zero, a True20 Adventure Roleplaying campaign setting by Matt Conklin, Hal Maclean, Patrick Smith and David Jarvis, published by Reality Deviant Publications. It is a 165-page product (160 after covers and OGL) with a clean layout though there is a smattering of “see page XX errors.” The cover is a full color piece to set the cyberpunk mood while the interior art is B&W but thematic.
Who says cyberpunk is dead? Interface Zero is a noble effort to keep the genre alive . . . at least for roleplaying purposes.
The book begins with a piece of fiction and then glossary of terms, skim them first, it will help to understand what follows. Next come history of the future charting the evolution of the Interface Zero future, it is a year by year chronicle of events from 2011 to 2088, when the game is set. Various sidebars explain the most important events and changes in more detail.
With Chapter Two, Hero Creation, the system starts becoming integrated with the setting. It starts with advice on how to build a place in the campaign for your character. New backgrounds linked to the setting are made available: cultural ones such as conglomerate raised or ganglander, biologicals ones such as the improved human 2.0 or those gene-spliced with animals or technological ones such as simulacrums (created humans) or AIs. Six new roles are included, each with a specific place in the IZ future: Hacker, Icon, Martial Adept, Rake, Technician and Tough. Several new feats are provided, covering both technological and societal options, even a few combat related ones. A good chapter with many new and interesting options for characters.
Chapter Three explores the World in greater detail. Giving an overview of the regions of the world and highlighting a few important areas in each one. The world of IZ is quite different from ours, the US has shattered into smaller states, Africa is an up and coming power, China is ruled by the New Mandarins and Japan by the Techno-Shogunate. Opportunities for adventures abound in 2088.
Chapter Four gets into mechanics, the major portion being on how to run and envision the omnipresent virtual world and “the Deep,” this includes programming, hacking and information gathering. Equipment is also included in this section from chain-swords to powered armor, from hover bikes to high fashion, cyberware and bioware.
Chapter Five is advice for narrating the game and includes good, sensible advice, nothing really new but useful for new narrators and to review for experienced ones. What is most important is that it talks about the styles of play for the IZ setting, suggestion for themes and tricks to enhance play. A solid chapter. Chapter Six provides premade adversaries and allies, very useful. An Appendix lists inspirational media and a character sheet rounds out the product.
Interface Zero is an excellent cyberpunk/post-cyberpunk worldbook and a most interesting read for those who like the genre. If such a setting interests you, give Interface Zero a try.
[4 of 5 Stars!]