||Disclaimer: Provided by GunMetal Games for review purposes.
First Glance: With bright red background and heavy borders, this appears to be a bit cluttered at first. The graphics are top notch for a small company. Better than the art for many major game companies really. Only Paizo and Alderac come to mind right off the bat with consistent awesome artwork. It's 67 pages of crunchy, meaty, savage goodness. (Note: As this PDF is layered properly it was easy to turn off the background and borders layers for ease of viewing...This is a bonus, not a bummer.)
Core Review: This product delivers from the word go. The fictional writing is great, especially with the interaction of the hackers in the sidebars, which runs the entire book, from the neighborhoods to the NPCs. Pages 5-15 are neighborhoods, from Chinatown to Pacific Heights this gives a good indication of what you're in for in San Fran. The next 7 pages cover the organizations operating in San Fran, there's 13 of them, so you can imagine there's plenty of space for conflict.
The next 8 pages are what I usually look for first...crunchy character info. First we start out with a neat hindrance called: Nano-infection, a nanite virus, totally cool, totally futuristic and affects the wild die associated with a specific trait. (This could easily be worked into a normal hindrance such as a chronic disease for your non-scifi games). Next is the new edges. Four of them, Bedroom Eyes (Social), Bounty Hunter (Professional), Feral Throwback (Racial) and the Sword-Whip Training (Combat) edge for the swip from the equipment section. The next thing covered is the Occupations. These are one of the unique elements of IZ, making it slightly more complex than a standard SW game, but I like it, gives clarity of a purpose in life, without nailing you down to a class. The two introduced here are the Caravan Guard and the Professional Escort...yes that kind of professional escort, a companion you might say. Next up...Mad Max style gear from Road Wear, a new Armored jacket and Armor suit...plus wasteland survival wear. Only three new weapons, but man, start with the SWHIP, the sword whip, a heavy blade that can extend out to have reach 1 (with reduced dmg.) and you should probably pick up the edge as well. Next up is a big beefy carving knife...a 3 lb twin titanium blade with a carver motor in it...YIKES! I love it. Last up is a 50Cal sniper rifle...makes big holes in things including heavy armor, it's effectively a Barrett 82. Two new vehicles, the bay runner (a sea motorcycle effectively) and the Wasteland chopper, complete with gorgeous artwork show a nice chopper mounting a mini-gun on the handle bars...Then there's the designer drug, Black Zombie, nasty stuff, which is perfect for sadistic gamemasters. The final piece of gear is "Pipe Cleaners" a catchy name for a hacking filter for the less than perfect San Fran local web. [Also provided in the book are the racial templates for Rat Hybrid (pg 6) and Bull Hybrid (pg 28) characters]
The next section is pure genius!! City Trappings. Really this is brilliant, effectively it is templates for anything from a building to an entire nation. Each trapping has unique characteristics based upon it's trapping, so a building that has brown-outs obviously has power issues, unreliable power makes hacking a little more risky. The trappings are Black Market, Brown Outs, Combat Zone, Humans Only, Hybrids Only, Interdicted Zone, Kingpin, Martial Law, Military Base, Slum Dogs and Wilderness. Really these are awesome and worth the $8.99 in and of themselves.
Next up is "Salvage Tales" 4 pages of crunch for rummaging through ruins. These are also rules that can easily be used in other SW games, or even converted for scrounging rules for other systems. A quick bounty generator for those bounty hunter characters is provided, then we're on to Plot Hooks. Seven plot hooks are provided, not bad at all. The book rounds out with almost 30 NPC stat blocks, some of which are unique NPCs, typically leaders or major contact for an organization and typical members of those organizations.
Artwork: As I said in the Quick Glance, GMG puts out top-notch artwork that surpasses a lot of Big Game companies...The cover is awesome with the Bull hybrid toting the mini gun...
Family Rating: TEEN! With drugs, violence, and sex this supplement, like its parent setting, screams parental discretion advised.
Value: Oh yeah this is easily worth the $8.99 the PDF costs!
For more in depth reviews, visit EpicRPGBlog.blogspot.com
[5 of 5 Stars!]