Do you like cyberpunk? Do you like post-apocalyptic settings? Well then, I may have found something that might interest you. Interface Zero: San Francisco is a city book for Interface Zero by Gunmetal Games. In case you were wondering, Interface Zero is a setting that utilizes the Savage World rules. The year is 2088 and the world is a very different place. global warming has taken its toll, devastating many coastal cities. Many areas of the world have been ravaged by nuclear war, leaving them nothing but irradiated wastelands. The United States has broken into several small warring factions due to these events and large corporations have as much power as nations in this new world. Interface Zero: San Francisco provides a more in-depth look at a different type of city for this setting.
San Francisco, The city by the bay, is not the metropolis that it was in the past. As a coastal city, Its suffering began with global warming as it lost large tracts of real estate to the rising waters. The city was further victimized by both war and natural disasters. The city was hit by several nukes during the war and was later struck by the strongest and longest earthquake on record. All these things have worked to put the city of San Francisco on life support, but it isn’t dead yet. This book provides a more detailed look at the San Francisco of 2088. It breaks down the city into smaller geographic areas and groups them around recognizable areas of San Francisco such as The Presidio or Castro. Each section provides a physical description of the area, hazards that a visitor may face, and what faction, if any is in control of the region. In addition to this, there is a scrolling conversation down the side of the text in a fashion similar to Cyberpunk and Shadowrun books. These conversations are from people accessing this information via the Deep and adding their comments as the book progresses. After giving you a look at the areas that make up San Francisco the books shines a light on each of the organizations that have been shown to either control one of these distinct districts or are someone that might be of interest to visitors. If you have found the city to your liking, new character options are provided to allow for the creation of characters that live in or at least hail from this area. In addition to these character options, we are also given the mechanic of city trappings which allows for adding a descriptor to an area that provides a mechanical effect in game. The books is capped off by a collection of important NPCs in the city.
I really liked this book. I am a fan of both Cyberpunk and Shadowrun and was pleased that they kept that feel with the design of this book. The information was presented well and communicated the feel of the city in a manner that was easy to understand. I was a especially enamored with the Castro area. In the book they point out that this area is actually made up of the Castro and Haight-Ashbury districts which were the home of the counter-culture in the past and is now controlled by the Union of Peace Love and Understanding. This organization is accepting of all those that are seen as second class citizens elsewhere in the world and strives to give them a better place to reside. This flower child philosophy is given a distinct post-apocalyptic feel in that these down-trodden are given preferential treatment at the expense of others and the ideals espoused by the Union are taught in a fashion reminiscent of the charismatic religions that put down those in the counter-culture. The theme of the broken city is clearly illustrated throughout the book but is most in evidence in the number and variety of organizations set forth. This diversity of power reflects the fractured nature of the geography and makes it much simpler for a reader to get a feel for the city. Instead of a melting pot where everything comes together to create a more interesting whole, you are given a broken mirror with the sharp divides seen in the differences in philosophies of the various organizations. This strength of vision was nice to see in a city book. The addition of city trappings is also welcome. This mechanic allows the storyteller to add descriptors to his creations that also provides mechanical benefit. It is reminiscent of the scene aspects that one can create in the Fate system and its execution in this book is well done.
Even if you aren’t playing in the interface Zero setting, this book is chock full of ideas for a San Francisco in a post-apocalyptic world. The mechanics presented allow for easy transition to any other Savage World setting and are system neutral enough to allow for easy transition to any other system you may desire. This is a source book well worth picking up, especially if you are a fan of the Savage World system.