Inside Pulse 12

Tabletop Review: The ShadowPunk GM’s Cyber Hand

The ShadowPunk GM’s Cyber Hand
Publisher: Black Shark Enterprises
Cost: $2.99
Page Count: 20
Release Date: 07/16/2015
Get it Here: DriveThruRPG.com

Well, I haven’t received any Shadowrun review copies in a while and I’ve been itching for some Cyberpunk, so I picked this up on a lark. The ShadowPunk GM’s Cyber Hand is a system agnostic piece of Cyberpunk (my guess because there isn’t any licensed third party Shadowrun stuff) and consists of twenty tables for use with any “dark future” RPG. Now, if you’re not in need of random generation of things, you can skip this. I personally don’t use randomization for generation unless it is TSR’s old Marvel Super Heroes RPG.

While the PDF of The ShadowPunk GM’s Cyber Hand is twenty pages long, do NOT expect one large table per page. In fact, half the pages of the PDF are nothing but filler. The first four pages are a cover, two different title pages(?) and a table of contents, so the actual content doesn’t start until page five. Then the last five pages are other filler. There’s a page of author’s notes, two pages of the WotC’s Open Game License (even though this is system agnostic. That’s weird) and then two pages of ads. So be warned ahead of time that the page count is a bit misleading in terms of how much content is actually in this PDF.

So now, let’s talk the actual content. First up is a two page piece of fiction called “A Piece of Cake.” One of the title pages calls it “Award-Winning,” but there is no indication of what award it won or from who. Without being insulting, I can honestly say it wouldn’t be an award contender for the gaming fiction we look at every year here at Diehard GameFAN. Let’s leave it at that. It’s a piece about an extraction (kidnapping), but it was painful to read.

After that come the twenty tables. Each one is either d12 or d20. Most of the charts are fairly simple, like random Gang Names, Corporation Names, Night Club Names and Street Encounters. It’s all stuff that you wouldn’t ever need unless you were really suffering from a creative block. There are some more detailed lists however. The Safehouses list is definitely the best of the bunch and shows a lot of creativity. The list for Virtual Realities is also quite detailed, but isn’t as flexible in its use towards other systems simply due to how different the Matrix/VR can be in the different Cyberpunk products out there. Small Time Gigs might be the most useful chart in the list, as you can easily use it for quick, one session runs. Roll a die and slap something together for a night of cheap entertainment with you and your buds. Most of the lists, however, simply aren’t worth it, as they aren’t things you would ever need to roll or they suffer from a lack of anything interesting being on the charts. So the quality in this list of tables varies wildly, but really, what hodge podge of random rolling charts doesn’t suffer from that?

For three dollars, I can’t really recommend this. That’s a lot of money for twenty charts and a heaping dose of filler. $2.99 can buy you some old Shadowrun Missions adventures, and that’s a much better use of your money. As well, DriveThruRPG.com is littered with random generation products for under a buck, so The ShadowPunk GM’s Cyber Hand comes off as inordinately expensive for what you get. Again, I couldn’t get much use out of this, but perhaps fledging gamers new to Cyberpunk games could. Still, for three dollars you can do a LOT better than this. It’s not quite mediocre, but with a little polish, more content and a lower cost I could probably call it that. Right now, what’s in this piece just isn’t worth the five to ten minutes it takes to read it. Hell, reading this review might actually take you longer than flipping through the PDF. Keep your money.