I would like to run an Interface Zero campaign, but it is my first contact with the game and I have played Cyberpunk 2020 years ago. Could you describe some good concept for introductory campaign, that would allow me and my players to gently embrace the concept of the game?


2 Answers 2


There are two systems for interface zero. Savage Worlds and True20. In order to provide an answer that fits both concepts, I shall be vague on mechanical details.

The genre of Interface Zero is summarized thus:

What is Interface-Zero?

Interface-Zero is the True20 cyberpunk game from Reality Deviant Publications, combining elements of classic cyberpunk, post-cyberpunk, bio-punk and a touch of Japanese anime.

The world of 2088 is filled with adventure from the formerly-United States of North America, to the state run business arcologies of the New Chinese Mandarinate, from the Deep Net, to deep space and beyond.

The first commandment when running a game that you and your players are unfamiliar with is: Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity. Blatantly steal a plot from a novel. Looking at the TAP, my first thought is to steal the plot of Vernor Vinge's Rainbows End. It's trivial to adapt that world into cyberpunk, and offers a refreshing take on augmented reality separate from the one that the more traditional books (Shadowrun, for example) offer.

Don't start with a campaign. Start with a series of 1-2 session games designed to familiarize everyone with the rules and the settings. Run a game with the TAP, run a game with Corporate Espionage, run a game in the Sprawl. Encourage your characters to make throw away characters for each of these.

Once you've calibrated the groups' expectations and formed either an implicit or explicit social contract, sit down with your players and ask /them/ what they want their game to be about. If you've run vivid (yet simple) games, there will be aspects that have "hooked" them. If they want to be part of an organization, let them forge the history of the organization through a game of Microscope. Especially with cyberpunk (with its many options for "naah, we don't want to do that", you are at your players' mercy, and that's the best way to have it.


Rough Campaign Map The Curious Case of Edwin Rashomon

Roughly modeled after Rashomon, it's a great way to have the players explore a scenario with different characters (across multiple games) but a consistent theme. Watch the movie first.

Act 1: The court case, an exploration of a TAP enabled crime scene.

This first game, players will be corporate types, hackers, tagging crime scene for a criminal case. They will chat with the various investigating officers, and play with the TAP rules to create a scene for the court. You'll want a hacker, an icon, and a technician at least, and play them off the competing lawyers.

Act 2: The Husband's tale

The bodyguards and troubleshooters of the husband. They'll explore corporate politics and some troubleshooting. End the act with the encounter with the bandits.

Act 3: The Bandit's tale

Gritty gangland. A gang, taking the role of the bandit, doing shady work with their own views on what really happened. End the act with the encounter with the husband and wife. Make sure that the players can play the encounter out the way they want to, identical results are not very interesting.

Act 4: The Wife's tale, reconstructed

TAP and hacking. Get a visual reconstruction of the event from the wife's implant and associated devices. Lots of hacking, some palm-greasing. End the encounter with explorations from different feeds, presenting the wife's view.

Act 5: The court case. Let each player take a different side and have them argue it out.

This is designed so that you can show the players many different and vital aspects of the setting around some consistent narrative, but it may be a bit ambitious.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am using Savage Worlds edition. \$\endgroup\$
    – gruszczy
    Commented Oct 30, 2010 at 11:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ Are my suggestions sufficient? Or do you have any more direct questions? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 30, 2010 at 12:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, I'd love to see a simple, one paragraph premise of a short campaign (even 2 - 3 session long) you would use. \$\endgroup\$
    – gruszczy
    Commented Oct 30, 2010 at 21:01

Here's an old favorite. It assumes the PCs are on the wrong side of the law, and are a group.

The PCs come across a top-flight industrial espionage guy dying in an alley. There's another such guy there, too; they've just killed each other. In between them lies a dataROM/diskette/whatever; it's obvious they fought over this diskette. The cops are coming. Like, NOW.

Obviously, that ROM is worth a lot of money. If the PCs don't pick it up, they are stupid and you should not play with them any more. Once they do pick it up, the following things become evident:

  1. The ROM is protected by some totally high-end black ICE, and it'll take some real chops to crack it;

  2. A lot of people are looking for this thing -- everyone from fellow hustlers and shady-types to expensive corporate retrieval teams;

  3. The ROM came straight from the desk of a high-ranking corporate VP in some corp's weapons/ICE/etc. division; and

  4. They're gonna hafta hustle to keep this thing, open it up, make a buck from it and not get killed.

Let your players plot and scheme and call in favors and have cool fights, which gives you a handy excuse to lay out your cyberpunk setting for them. In essence, they take a mostly-self-guided whirlwind tour of whatever dystopian near-future you've devised for them. Amp up the stakes, ramp up the danger...you know.

Finally -- finally...! Finally, the PCs manage to crack the ROM, preferably during/immediately following the biggest fight in the game (I always pictured the end of Leon aka The Professional, with a healthy heapin' dose of the subway chase from The Warriors). What's on this? What cost so much blood, so much money? What caused all these betrayals, all this mayhem?

It's the corporate guy's home videos of his grandmother, the last time he saw her, before she died.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I played similar thing, but with ritual scorpions of some corporation for CP 2020. I remember some lost limbs and calling favors to get hospitalized in some private clinic. It was nice. \$\endgroup\$
    – gruszczy
    Commented Oct 31, 2010 at 17:32

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