Friday, May 4, 2012

Reviews - Interface Zero Zeeks (Savage Worlds)

Zeeks! Psionics in 2088 (Interface Zero - Savage Worlds)
Published by GunMetalGames

Once more I'm reviewing a product from my favorite line of products for Savage Worlds. This one is a must have in reality, well must have if you want to run some psionics, and what Cyberpunk is complete without some mind magic?

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/images/2212/88041.jpg

WANNA PLAY SOME MIND GAMES?
When Hernando Vasquez walked into the North American Coalition embassy in Madrid and torched everything just by glaring at it, everybody knew: zeeks are among us. Some people hate 'em; some people love 'em. And make no mistake about it, tomo, that means most people either want to shoot them or use them to their own ends. But then I suppose that just makes life more interesting, ne?


HAVE YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES?
Zeeks: Psionics In 2088 gives you an opportunity to explore the subculture of zeeks, either as a GM wanting to incorporate them into your game or a player wishing to play a psychic character. Whether you want to have a full-blown campaign focusing on the tumultuous world of psions, or just know what might be lurking back there in the shadows, we've got your back -everything from the Psi-Hunters who stalk zeeks to the fringe cults that worship them.

IN THIS BOOK YOU'LL FIND:

  • Loads of information about psions and how they fit into the world of Interface Zero.
  • Rules for creating psionic characters for Interface Zero, including new Edges, Hindrances and Powers.
  • A new system for Savage Psionics, without the Power Points - and still Fast, Furious and Fun!
  • More occupations for your characters, as well as new goodies from Malmart.
  • Two complete Savage Tales and a half-dozen plot hooks to help bring zeeks into your game.
  • Stats for new NPC friends and enemies, as well as stats for a few... other things.
This is an expansion for Savage Worlds Interface Zero, and not a stand-alone game.



Format:
I'm reviewing the PDF format provided to Epic the RPG Blog for review purposes.

Page thru: Paging through this book you'll find it is full-color, and has lots of art, including several full page pieces. I right away notice new edges and hindrances. I also notice several pieces of gear, everyone needs a little bit of gear in a cyrberpunk game.

Main Review: OK we start out the book with some good story fluff. The very first piece of fiction covers what's going on in the picture on the cover. A picture is worth a thousand words, but then you get the words too. The introduction covers research and origins with a historical reference to the research both the US And USSR did during The Cold War. Love that GMG gets those details into IZ.

Chapter 1: 2088 Through the Eyes of a Zeek
This chapter is told from the perspective of a zeek talking about what it's like to live as a zeek in the world of 2088. What countries it pays to be known and what countries it pays to keep the the shadows. It then drops into a section on 'zeekisms', from psychic vampires to religious stigmas clouding the view of what a seek actually is. Every zeek pretty much believes in Shangri La, a place where zeeks are welcomed with open arms, just not too many can actually agree on where it is. (Leaving that up to the GM...I like it.) That section finishes with Psiders, thought eating monsters that love to prey on zeeks. Who's a zeek? Well typically only humans, sims, androids and AIs aren't psions (though there is a direct contradiction about sims, thinking that was an extra that got missed in editing.) What flavors do zeeks come in, well, there's zeeks, freeks, peeks and tweeks. Zeeks being the catch-all term for psions. Peeks are mind readers, psychometers, and clairvoyants. Tweeks have powers that generally cause destruction, like a pyromancer, or cryomancer or any other mancer you can think of. Freeks being the bastard child of psions, they're the ones who exhibit strange powers; teleportation for example. With all these psions running around, there's going to be those who hate them, those that worship them, and those that hunt them. The final sections of Chapter 1 covers Psi-Division, Cults and orders and Hate groups.

Chapter 2: Building a Better Psychic
Best part of this book, is the new Power (psionics) system, it's very familiar but tweaked enough to really change it without making it something you really have to learn. First power points are not used to fuel powers, but as a bonus modifier to cast them, failed rolls can now inflict Fatigue, so they provide an optional rule for adding another level of Fatigue, to make Zeeks a little more durable in that regard. To have a zeek you must choose the Arcane Background (Psionics) Edge, as well as an additional minor hindrance, which doesn't count as a choice, so you can still have additional hindrances as normal.

Five new Hindrances are presented: Debt (LOVE this one, minor nets you a single purchase of up to 15k, but a 500/month upkeep, while major doubles those numbers...fail to keep your upkeep and you might just be getting a house call from your loan shark.), Shakes (which are pretty brutal unless you pay the 500creds per month for your meds.), Stress Trigger (which can cause psychic powers to go off at the wrong time), Weak Zeek (weaker starting power of 1) and Latent Talent (which requires two advances to buy off and lets the GM select your powers, though any powers you haven't had manifest randomly can still be chosen when you buy it off).

Eight new edges are presented in the Edges section, and also points out the ones that do not fit Interface Zero. It overhauls the other Powers Edges to fit the system. Freek, Peek and Tweek give you bonuses when using related powers. If you don't want to be a full blown zeek, Wild Talent gives you a single minor power. Psychic Leech is particularly nasty, causing other people within range to suffer the fatigue when the Zeek uses their powers (it's a contested roll, not automatic). Enhanced Ability allows a zeek to take a power from a higher power level, so a seasoned zeek could take a legendary power, failure costs double fatigue however. Mind over Matter lets the zeek soak fatigue with a successful spirit roll, pretty handy in a drawn out combat. Finally, PSI-Hunter grants bonuses for locating zeeks.

Seven new occupations are presented, from the Fortune Teller to the Waitress. However unlike the occupations presented in the Core rulebook, these have a bit more info included, like suggested pre-reqs. Now I'll have to go back and create the same for the other occupations, however this gives me lots of ideas for my Savage Rifts conversion work.

Some good additional information in this chapter is the Fatigue Results chart and the Oops factor table. Eight additional powers are also presented in this chapter, including such classics as astral projection, and telepathic link. Filling in some needed gaps in powers to bring that classic psion feel to Savage Worlds.

Chapter 3: Malmart 2088 Fall Update
I do love gear, I'm really looking forward to the Malmart book when its coming out, so I enjoy every bit of gear I can read in these books. N-Vogue programmable clothes are pretty epic, and I actually wonder how many years it will be before these are reality. The Lone Rider .30cal rifle is good in either single shot or burst mode. The I-Spex and disposable I-Spex are perfect for those who don't have a TAP, allowing visual interface with the Hyper-reality of 2088. Kilner Specs, Kirilian Damper, Psi Enhancer and Psi-kick fill out the rest of the Malmart update.

Chapter 4: Savage Tales...Zeek Style
Two fleshed out tales are presented in this section as well as seven short plot hooks. Lots of quick to run adventure ideas in here, should help out any game master.

Chapter 5: Friends and Foes
A couple of major players are presented first, they could have used up some additional text space to expand them. Generic Zeek, Psi Division Analyst, Psi Division Soldier, Psider, Psychic Vampire, Zeek Ganger (urban), and Zeek Ganger (wastelander) round out the 'Other Threats' in this section. 



Artwork: GunMetal makes sure great artwork is used in their book, full color with lots of setting specific flavor. There are an awful lot of full page pieces for such a small book. There are 5 full color pages, which are gorgeous pieces, very good quality, but lots of realty space.

Rating: 

of 20


Cost: $8.99 for the PDF at Drive-thru RPG. You can also purchase the print/pdf bundle from Cubicle 7 for $14.99.

Value: If you're wanting to run Psions in Interface Zero, this is not a must have as you can use the normal Arcane Power for it, but it is well worth it for a well-crafted rule addition.