By Anthony “LibrariaNPC” DeMinico, 4 May 2021
It’s no small secret that I love sci-fi, and there’s a bit of love for Cyberpunk in my collection. Whether it’s a video game (or anime), tabletop RPG, zine, and of course the aptly named Cyberpunk franchise, you’ll find me at least considering it.
So don’t be shocked: another cyberpunk RPG crossed my path that was affordably priced, referenced work by devs I appreciate, and had a pitch I couldn’t say no do.
Welcome to the life of being Augmented.
Augmented is a short RPG in which players take the role of Agents, individuals that have lost their lives and were rebuilt by the Corporations they work for. For all intents and purposes, you’re already dead, have been assigned a new name, and a collection of enhancements to better serve in your new role.
Of course, it’s not all superpowers and enhancements: the fine print makes it clear that if you stop working, you don’t get the medication that keeps augmentation-caused cancer at bay. You may not have asked for this, but this is your life now.
==What You Get==
Augmented is a 36 page zine-sized PDF, full of vibrant colors, Cyberpunk-levels of neon, and everything you need to dive right into your new life as corporate property, with a few pages of Optional Rules to round out your experience.
The mechanic is a simple 2d6+Mods, includes a psuedo opposed-die mechanic, and is completely devoid of numerical stats.
Looking at the greater product, Augmented is an interesting journey that made it worth the price of admission.
Art-wise, the game is a treat. Each spread has a new bit of art stretched between the two pages (which would look amazing in a print run; hint hint, go follow the upcoming Kickstarter!). The contrast of dark colors with bright neon shades, splashed on one page set and boldly showing action on the next, is just ideal for the genre and is, simply put, a treat.
Mechanically, the game is an interesting experience. Without stats, I was a bit wary of what would happen in the game, especially seeing it as a 2d6 vs flat difficulties (i.e. a set number between 6-12 set by the GM), but seeing how it works gives me some hope while keeping the gritty feel. By granting mods based on situations, additional dice due to Augments, and the Danger Die mechanic, it actually works our surprisingly well.
Which brings me to, by far, my favorite mechanic: The Danger Die. Without giving too much away, the Danger Die is one of your 2d6, and should it be higher than your other die, it creates…problems. These problems can include injuries, being discovered while hacking, losing all your money to pay a bribe, and more. This happens enough, and you can be removed from the scene, whether temporarily (kidnapped, knocked out, etc) or permanently. Gritty, but rather apropros.
Overall, Augmented is easy to grok and hack, quick to read and understand, has everything you need for your game, and has a superbly low price of admission (the book + 2d6).
One thing that stands out while reading Augmented is the font choice. While it is stylistically fitting, it’s a bit difficult to read at times, and I don’t just mean the black font on an opaque background overlaying a bold image. I’m referring to letters and numbers that can be confused for one another (“D” and “O” have a very subtle difference), which would drive my dyslexic friends up a wall.
Thankfully, this issue is slightly alleviated with a “text only” version of the game presented in a more readable font, but it lacks all of the layout, art, or anything that makes it better than a text document. If we could get a balance between formatting and and readability, I’d be all for it!
Beyond this, there is one other issue present in Augmented: it doesn’t quite give enough. While it openly states that setting and rules are light on purpose, there is an issue for those who are not familiar with the genre, and the crumbs the book provides just aren’t enough to run a campaign if you aren’t invested in the genre. There is a campaign setting guide that was also released to alleviate this for an additional fee.
All said and done, I have to give Augmented 4 Buns.
An easy to pick up, affordably accessible, and stat-less cyberpunk RPG is not something I find frequently, and combined with an interesting set of mechanics and nice art, Augmented absolutely deserves four buns, even with the readability issue.
If you are a fan of cyberpunk RPGs, want to see something in the statless category, and want extra tables to make your life easier, you should pick up Augmented.
If cyberpunk is not your jam (or if you are new to it), or if you prefer your games with more mechanical and mathematical crunch, you’ll want to give Augmented a pass.
Augmented, written by Benjamin Spurduto and released by Last Redoubt Games, is currently available in PDF-only via itch.io for only $7, with an upcoming Kickstarter to fund a print run.
Anthony, better known as LibrariaNPC, wears many hats: librarian, gamemaster, playtester, NPC, game designer, and our Editor-In-Chief. You can support his work on Patreon, his tip jar, via Ko-Fi, or by buying his games.