The Danger Gal Dossier has dropped and it’s time to dig into it!
Danger Gal is a Neocorp, one of the new, smaller, and theoretically better regulated, breed of megacorps that emerged from the wreckage of the 4th Corporate War. Gal presents itself as a high end private investigation and security service to the public, but is in actuality a high end private intelligence and security firm. Its founder is Michiko Sanderson né Arasaka, who, in my honest opinion, is probably the most dangerous member of the Arasaka family in the game. The book is, as many things in Cyberpunk have been in the past, framed as an in-world document, complete with in-world commentary.
As a book itself, the Danger Gal Dossier is breaking new ground for R. Talsorian Games. It’s a book solely of characters who could be opponents, allies, contacts, or what have you to the player characters. And that’s a good thing. As they themselves point out, the basic opponents in the core book get a bit dull, and the hardened mook DLC didn’t really fix that. So it’s good to see this as a development.
This is the big book of opps, and that’s good! One of the issues that Cyberpunk and many other modern/near future games have historically suffered is a lack of ready made opponents to throw at players. The Danger Gal Dossier substantially lightens the GM’s workload for this. It also gives several venues of opponents from street to corp level, so it can stay fresh.
The book also, very carefully, addresses the reality of yogangs, youth gangs, in Night City, and how to integrate children as NPCs and opponents into a game. There’s a whole safety page about it, and it shows both sensitivity to the subject and stresses that if the players and/or GM aren’t into it, it’s not a requirement. And where I think this comes from partially is the older CyberGeneration book where the characters were teens and tweens.
World building ahoy! Cyberpunk, like other sci-fi and sci-fantasy games that emerged in the same era, does a lot of world building “between the lines” so to speak. And by that I mean it’s not all cleanly presented like in the core rulebook. This book does that all over the place, filling in gaps with information from the POV of people living it. It’s rock solid and good to see. It also offers up the early forms of 6th Street, Tyger Claws, and Maelstrom; gangs still present and active in 2077 and Edgerunners.
The first issue here is that the book is Night City centric. I get that Night City is the default/de facto setting to the game, but Cyberpunk is such a bigger world! I was hoping there’d be at least one or two international level operations in it, but no luck. Now I’m hoping that this becomes “Dossier 1” of a series of books or DLC that expand not just on Night City but on other locations around the world and in orbit.
We also see a return to generic descriptions for weapons and equipment, which I get to a degree; but as I noted before in the review of the core rulebook, this hurts the “style over substance” vibe of the setting. I think that part of the issue is that there’s not an “armoury” for artists to check out and use, so they’re just drawing “EQ Sniper Rifle” or “PQ Heavy Pistol” and calling it a day. But even a low-end booster ganger is going to be proud they’re packing an “American Sparta Armory Kopis K-1A 11mm” as opposed to just “PQ Heavy Pistol”. We don’t even need a full write up for it, just a note that it’s a PQ heavy pistol, using those stats. It’s a bit of extra ink that makes the setting feel right.
Danger Gal Dossier brings home a rare L for the art in the series. The cover, art for the Danger Gal Puma Squad, and few individuals in the other gangs, units, and so on? Good. Well within the arcs established elsewhere in the series and matching the overarching aesthetic. Then there’s everything else. Literally everything else. It’s blocky, cartoonish, and is the sort of art I would expect to see in a FASA era Shadowrun book, not in a Cyberpunk product. It’s disconcerting in the sense that it breaks the vibe that Cyberpunk has maintained so well to this point. I did a side-by-side comparison with art from the core rulebook and the last release, Black Chrome, and yeah, a huge departure from the established look and vibe.
This is a good book. It’s not great, but it’s good. It’s solid. It is exactly what it says it is on the cover and stays in those arcs. For a Night City based game, this book is gold. It’s filling in blanks, adding connective tissue to Edgerunners and 2077, and adding important world building information. If you’re running your game outside of Night City? The book still has value if you’re cool with palette swapping the contents to match the needs of your game mechanically. So overall, I’d say this is a strong B Rank book; it’s good, it’s worth the money to buy as a GM, but it’s got a few rough spots keep it from A Rank.