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Shadowrun: Renraku Arcology: Shutdown
by Forest L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/23/2023 12:47:44

Physical copy. One of my favorite adventures ever printed, and honestly surpised it's STILL in print. Has some page clarity issues, so if you're looking for a crisp book it's better to attempt yourself.

This is the powder keg moment for Shadowrun, particularly around Technomancer, and one of the few adventures I think can translate into systems other than Shadowrun.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Renraku Arcology: Shutdown
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Shadowrun: Hack and Slash (Core Matrix Rulebook)
by Sean H. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/05/2023 13:49:48

Shadowrun: Hack & Slash is a sourcebook, specifically a “Core Matrix Rulebook” for the Sixth World Edition of Shadowrun covering, well, the Matrix and computer system in general as well as how to mess with them. It contains much useful information and the Matrix and those who use it and some of those who try and defend it from hackers. Players of hackers and, especially, technomancers will want this book and GM should have it on their to acquire at some point list as well.

Shadowrun: Hack & Slash, is the Core Matrix Rulebook for Shadowrun, Sixth World Edition, providing a look at the wonderful world of computers, telecommunications and hacking, as well as the more mystical parts of the Matrix for technomancers and their friends.

It begins with an introduction, as expected, this one talks about how the book is organized. One of the ubiquitous fiction sections follows then we begin with the actual material with a section called Wild & Free, which talks about what the Matrix is from an in-game perspective. The answer to that is a bit of a mess as they have decided the divorce the Matrix from anything resembling a technological underpinning and making it all technomanctic woo instead. Not a decision I agree with and it does not make a lot of sense, totally a violation of the law of conservation of energy as well as creating a host of other issues. That being said, it is a good attempt to try and make some sort of sense of it and provide both context and potential adventure ideas (the section on Virtual World Disney is quite good for example).

Next is a Field Guide to Hacking, which talks about what hackers do and how their do it (from an in-game world perspective) and then a bunch of new and clarified rules about how to do so. With some mention of the value of working with a team for various ends, especially for social engineering, as it is almost always easier initially to hack people than systems. There are new matrix actions, including fairly absure “cinematic” ones which I am sort of surprised were not better constructed as option edge actions rather than just randomly tacked on at end. There is also a glossary which is interesting and amusing, as among other things it defines “brick” only as “slang phrase for an optical chip stack” even though it earlier books it is used in the modern way to describe a piece of electronics made inoperable. Well, I found it amusing.

Gadgets & Gizmos follow providing new, well, gadgets and such. It starts with cyber-heck, an attempt to get some of the functionality of a cyberjack implant without all the messy surgery. New rules for building custom cyberdecks and having them built in all sorts of things to carry it in (including building your deck into a keytar!) which is fun. I think they could have done more with how to make interesting runs about getting vital components and materials for building decks but it is a useful enough chapter. There are also new ways to tap into systems, new uses for RFID tags and how to make your comlink better. All good things and allow more variety but expect it to become more difficult to hack that executives comlink, I bet the corp has installed the latest securelink on it.

Elegant Architecture looks at hosts in the Sixth World, which, just as in today’s world, hold all the tasty data that criminals want. It explains the game rules and prices to build various aspects of hosts, which are interesting but more examples would have been good also with advice for how various corporations use these in practice. It ends with a section on ultra-violet hosts which create a specific new reality more real than real to those plugged in, so if you want to play another genre within Shadowrun, here is how you do it.

Digital Toolbox looks at the wonderful world of writing your own code and programs. After setting some basic ground rules it moves into new Commlink Apps, which has some fun things and helps commlinks be more than just phones and Ids. Next, new cyberprograms including a bunch that do there thing and then crash and must be reloaded before using them again, which is an interesting idea. Lastly, there are rule for programing agents and how they work, a useful tool but potentially a lot to keep track of for both the GM and player. It interesting subcase of agent in the ‘cyberkit’, an agent loaded into a portable device and usable as a limited plug and play ‘hacker in a box’.

Techno Tools looks at new tricks for the technomancers, all rules, no world explanation, starting with new complex form, many of these are new ways to act as a team and support player, ways to manipulate programs and hardware to help friends. But also some that will, in all likelihood, annoy and frustrate a GM, forms that get around data bom book. Lastly, there are data structures, which are in essence, foci for technomancers because technomancer bs, negate encryption and lock down IC, and even one that lets them take control of another’s cyberware and use them as a puppet. The new echoes primarily build and expand on the existing one in the core did not already have enough advantages over decker, why not give them more? If you get the impression that I am not a particular fan of the data structures section of the chapter, you would be correct. Unlike magical focis they do not scale in cost with usefulness and you get to bond (sorry “integrate”) with them for free if you are the one who made them, oh, and you do not have to have any special skill, it uses Tasking to make them. There are no limits on the number of data structures a technomancer can have, no NuYen cost if you make your own, nor is there an equivalent of foci addiction to worry about, all the bang for none of the bucks.

Points of Sprite covers, you guessed it, new sprites: Assassin, probably unnecessary. Defender, sure, this one makes sense. Modular, for flexibility when you do not know how the situation will changes. Music, for creative pursuits, an especially nice add. And Primal, chaos manifested and often uncontrollable. Ther are new ways to use spirits, new commands and the addition of Sprite Reputation to mirror how spirits feel about their summoners. Also rules for free and ally sprites, just to make the sprite equals spirit formula complete.

Quality Hacking covers new qualities, both positive and negative. There are twenty-three new positive qualities unsurprisingly almost all are tied to the Matrix, a few are only usable by those using a cyberdeck, but a few can be used by all, such as Data Haven membership. Good to see Online Fame back as well. Overall a good selection and incorporate some interesting new ways to gain Edge, tied to specific actions, which is a good design space I think. Only thirteen negative qualitites most of which are interesting though Data Liberator is an odd one and one that it would be best to discuss with your play group before taking (especially if it is roleplayed and not just used mechanically). There is a new Quality Path for Cyberadepts, technomancers who integrate themselves with cyberware, which seems like an interesting path. This section ends with some advice about designing your own Quality Paths, which is a good chance for GM and player to make a unique character development path.

Union Forever looks at various groups especially Emergent Groups which are (by definition) comprised of technomancers and others who can be part of the Matrix naturally. Emergent Groups again mirror magical groups providing many of the same benefits and, indeed, the rules here are incomplete without those in Street Wyrd which discuss gaining a losing loyalty within a group. Some of the example groups are interesting including a group of Triad technomancers and more information of the group that created the new Matrix.

Virtual Life looks first at protosapients, life forms that exist in the Matrix, and xenosapients, intelligent beings that exist in the Matrix, and technocritter, animals that have abilities that interact with the Matrix and electronics in various ways. The protosapients are often pests and occasionally dangerous predators in the Matrix, all are dangerous in their own ways and should be used lightly. The xenosapients are being from the Null Sect, a set of intelligent digital lifeforms that have their own, mysterious, agenda but who are usually hostile to people. Xenosapients, and the Null Sect, seem that they are really designed to be a campaign of their own. Technocritters take advantage of technology to further their own purposes ranging from Bastet, awakened cats who use their ability to manipulate technology to make their lives easier, to Pachyderm, emergent elephant who actually like protect data There is potential for interesting complications on runs from technocritter, but, again, they probably should be used with a ligth hand. All of thes new creatures have new powers which are defined.

After the creatures are defined, there is a section on Intelligence Revealed, providing rules for Artificial and Emergent Intelligences, emergent ones being artificial intlligences with access to the resonance and thus technomancer-like abilities. This really needed to be its own chapter with a lot more information on what being an AI means, thoughts on how they percieve the world and so on. There are five listed types of AI/EI with different ranges of statistic and innate abilities, but they are only defined, sort of by their innate abilities, there are no suggestion for how roleplaying a Pilot AI (which have evolved from piloting software) might be different from a Realms AI (no idea what they evolved from). They get access to their own positive and negative qualities, specialized rules for advancement and healing, and codemods, the AI version of cyberware. So much packed in and almost all of it mechanics. How are these intelligences viewed by the world? What might they want? What are some themes to explore if playing an AI or using one as a GMC?

Last, in this overstuffed Virtual Life chapter, there are Paragons, essentially mentor spirits for technomancers (because anything a magic user has, the technomances has to have an equivalent of) and new Technomancer quality of Resonance Streams which allow a technomancer to become exceptional in one aspect of technomantic abilities, such as the Technoshamans who can do things with sprites that no one else can.

At the Base looks at the foundations of the new resonance built Matrix and what has changed (since it was last looked at back in the 5th edition sourcebook Data Trails) It starts with a discussion of how it is thought that the foundation Matrix works, probably, maybe. It also provides a framework, and then rules, for delving into the deep resonance and ways to bring your friends along too, as their skills can be useful even if they are not technomancers or hackers in the strange resonance realms. This could lead to some potentially interesting adventure ideas and missions. It also includes rule for a foundation destroying weapon, which is an excellent plot device, though probably not something you want to let your player characters to get hold of . . .

Infinite Memory looks at technomancers (“which should not exist according to physics” according to the first section in this chapter) and how they do what they do. Probably, maybe? It remains slightly mysterious. After that, it is straight into the Resonance Realms, the places beyond . . . well, somewhere. There is first a travelog of the various places you can go from an in-game world perspective and then the rules for traveling there and why you might want to.

Know your Enemy looks at the scourge of hackers everywhere the Grid Overwatch Division or, as they are known, GOD. This gives the GM some more options in using this organization, and not just as a giant boot to stomp on the team hacker/technomacer, but also provide the information for the full boot treatment. There is also new IC including psychotropic IC which can temporarily reprogram the brain of those subject to it, icky.

The product end with Matrix Business, a set of fout short adventures, a bit more than seeds and much less than full modules. I am honestly not sure how usable any of them are. The first is suppose to highlight than everyone can be useful in the Matrix but does not give useful advice on how to make that happen in play. The third requires the players know information from the Shadowrun: Dragonfall video-game to really make it sing which seems poor design for book based roleplaying.

Naturally, there is no index or gathering of charts at the end, as is too often the case.

Overall, a useful sourcebook but it does not come across to me as vital as some of the other core books. Obviously, if you are running a decker-centric campaign or, especially, a technomancer focused game, this book will be of great help. But instead of adventures, this reviewer would have liked more information on AI and how they interact with the world and how people in the Sixth World use and experience the Matrix that would have been much more useful. I feel that technomancers are given way too much and on a platter, while tech users are left behind even with cyberjacks that eat money and essence and cyberhacks that just eat money even if agents very slightly close the gap between the two. And, yes, I continue to harp on this in my reviews, the idea is that there should be some parity between the two paths, technology and magic (which technomancy is, and this product entirely reinforces), but the recent editions have privileged magic at every opportunity making magic always the right choice mechanically which violates the basic duality of the setting.

Read more reviews and other gaming stuff at my gaming journal: https://seaofstarsrpg.wordpress.com/



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Hack and Slash (Core Matrix Rulebook)
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Shadowrun: Cannon Companion
by Troy P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/01/2023 13:08:51

So I received this as a Print On Demand and I have to say it is an amazing print. I love the gold border on the front and back covers. This book is clear to read and looks great on my gaming table. Glad I got it in print.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Cannon Companion
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Ergo
by Philip W. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/29/2022 21:08:26

The Dice Tower review of this game is very helpful to understanding what this game is about, and that it probably has a rather limited intended audience (of which I'm a member).

BE FOREWARNED, HOWEVER! Purchasing a "hard copy" of the cards only gets you the cards (and the box to store them in, if you wish) -- IT DOES NOT INCLUDE A HARD COPY OF THE RULES! Generally if I purchase a game, I expect the rules to the game to come with said game, in the same form (digital or hard copy) as the form I purchased, and I find it bad form that that is not the case here, and that it should be up to a customer's review to make that clear. The "Alternate Preview" link provides the full rules, so one simply needs to download that PDF and print it oneself, but I really feel that should be explicitly pointed out. Caveat emptor! Aside from this concern, I would give the game a 5 star rating -- with the understanding that this IS a game for those who enjoy formal logic, and perhaps had a little introduction to that in school through math class, computer programming, or a class explicitly in formal logic.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Ergo
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Shadowrun: Double Clutch (Core Rigger Rulebook)
by Seth S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 12/09/2022 08:58:22

If you just want to drive or use combat drones, you probably don't need this rulebook. If you want to do anything else with drones or vehicles (and there are a lot of options) you need this book.

My main criticism is that some of the information in this book feels like it really should have been in the Core rulebook and not suplimental. But for the most part the content is very good for edge case character/vehicle/drone builds. It also has a lot of extreeme case examples which offer up a lot of great ideas for GMs.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Double Clutch (Core Rigger Rulebook)
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BattleTech: Shrapnel, Issue #1
by Mike B. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/19/2022 21:10:40

I wasn't sure what to expect, but this was a really good collection!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Shrapnel, Issue #1
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BattleTech: Onikuma
by Andrew K. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 11/04/2022 22:47:55

If you think this is a Halloween themed scenario for Battletech you are in for a disappointment. It's a mediocre at best short story without even a resolution at the end. Even free the cost is to much since the time it costs you to read it is nonrefundable.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Onikuma
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Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook: City Edition: Seattle
by Carl A. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/28/2022 20:43:32

First, the good:

Really interesting ideas on integrating real world technology changes into the technology of the near future. When I first played Shadowrun in 1989 there was no wifi. Most people didn't even have home computers, much less networks of them in their home. Fast forward 10 years and it wasn't uncommon to have a home network, but it was a wired one. Fast foward another 10 years and people routinely had personal wireless devices in their pockets with more computing power than basically anything anyone had when the game came out. A setting that tries to predict what techology and society could be like 70 years in the future is likely to need tweaks from time to time, and I like a lot of the metaplot in Shadowrun and how its adapted concepts like wireless computing and the Cloud™. Then add in Magic and how old beliefs are seen in a new light and you have room for a lot of chaos. Yet, the world is still somewhat recognizible. People are still people, for the good and bad that brings.

Some of the new mechanics are interesting. Edge actions are interesting. You benfit from having a high Edge stat, but its not insane to not build your character around it. You'll be able to build up Edge points to spend over the course of a confrontation (physical, magical, technological, or social) if you are in an arena you excel in compared to your opposition, but it will take time. Time you might not have. And there's uses for anything from 1 to 5 points of Edge. So if you only have Edge 1, you might not be able to easily pull out that utlimate move right out the gate, but some creative thinking and planning might let you do it by shifting the arena mid confrontation. I generally like this, at least as a concept.

The books look nice and high quality in layout. Art is good (but sometimes not great), and evocative. It feels professional at first glance. But see below.

And the bad:

There are unacceptable problems with the editing that do not really get addressed, and this is true throughout the line. Having some typos is expected, even with professional editing in a paid product. But many other things are never addressed and really shouldn't have made it beyond the proof-reading stage. But the core PDF not having bookmarks added, even years after being released? That's not just a low bar, that's the bar still being on the floor. Add in the problems that aren't really addressed. Can a hacker hack your cyberarm? Yes, but what can they do other than brick it? I have no idea in the core book! Maybe they can control it like a drone and make you keep hitting yourself over and over, or shoot your friend? That's not really addressed until the Matrix book that didn't come out until very recently, and only as a Technomancer ability. That's not really something that should be left up to each GM because it has really fundamental effects on the game.

Some parts of the changes to combat really strain the suspension of disbelief. Armor doesn't provide direct protection anymore, it instead only helps prevent the enemy from gaining Edge when they attack you? For some weapons that might make sense, but for others it feels far too strange. A average person using a knife to stab someone with heavy security armor probably should have more trouble than just giving the target one or maybe 2 points of edge (which they could then use to attack someone other than the knife wielder on their turn!). That seems all kinds of wrong to me. It's also ripe for abuse, which they had to call out in the rules, so obviously was a problem during playtesting. They propbably should have reworked that part opf the system rather than releasing it, though I also get the problem earlier editions had where someone could be so tough and armored it was really hard to hurt them, which isn't fun and could make combat really bogged down without progress on either side at times.

Overall: If this is your first exposure to Shadowrun you will be confused. There's important things left in the air that are not defined but should be. There's some very dense lore that won't make sense without the context of prior editions. But you will probably have less frustration with some of the changes from earlier editions.

If you've been playing SR for a long time, you will probably like the setting advancements and plot development. You'll probably find lots of Easter Eggs that will bring back fond memories of ealrier editions. You will probably also had a lot of the new rules, at least at first, and maybe forever. I'm currently in a love/hate relationship with the combat system in general.

Verdict: Interesting ideas, but the execution is defintely lacking. I honestly don't know if the problem is CGL, but if it isn't they should have addressed these problems through updates by now. It might be worth picking up for the lore updates and finding ideas to mine for other systems (or earlier editions).



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun, Sixth World Core Rulebook: City Edition: Seattle
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Shadowrun: Hack and Slash (Core Matrix Rulebook)
by Rion S. Date Added: 10/27/2022 01:44:57

Don't just stay away from this one, RUN away from this one.

While the content is interesting in places, the editing here is so very poor it rivals the problems the core book had on it's first release. Some sections can't communicate the ideas they are trying to explain, others have examples of rules that are harder to parse than the core concept and use different modifiers than the tables they reference. Rules that are intended to connect to each other go by different names in two sections of the book and are never connected in the text. Some rules are simply absent or too vague to be meaningful. In one part, the text switches from prose to rules in mid-paragraph like it was copy-pasted into the wrong place. This is beyond bad from an editing perspective, which is a shame because it's got some interesting ideas under all the jargon, insider references, poor organization, problematic layout, edition blindness, missed spellchecking, and odd art choices. I thought at first those owuld be enough to salvage this book a s purchase for me, but it just isn't.

This feels like someone posted an early draft by mistake. The editors and proofreaders really did their authors no favors here. In a perfect world, CGL would fix this up and re-upload it, but let's face it, that has no chance of happening. Poor quality (particularly in editing) is a staple of CGLs Shadowrun products, and this one is a big example of how bad it can be. I'm totally fine with the occasional typoes and missed table updates from any publisher. It happens. This is a whole step beyond that.

If you still want this book for some reason, at least wait for a sale or a bundle. This is really bad shape for any game book. I'd honestly suggest DTRPG remove it until it's given a proper do-over. I would say it's hard to believe this was released in this state, but it sadly is totally believable. I had higher hopes after seeing how nice Sixth World Companion was, but this shows how illusory that was. I've never requested a refund on any gaming product before. I am today.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
Shadowrun: Hack and Slash (Core Matrix Rulebook)
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BattleTech: Empire Alone
by Trevor R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 10/26/2022 10:11:29

Excellent product for the 3051 ilClan era. Just disappointed that there was not more Wolf's Dragoons material in the book, especially after the new novel.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Empire Alone
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BattleTech: 1st Somerset Strikers
by Simon C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 09/17/2022 05:47:58

In my childhood, there was a cartoon that played on a cable network for kids. A cartoon with eye catching CGI battle sequences. Battletech. It would be years later I would discover it is based on a tabletop war game with an expansive universe. The series this suppliment is based on it on youtube so can be watched by anything, but this book is a must have for fans of the toon, and a curiousity for the TT game purists. Sadly though, there have been updates to the game which leaves this book behind. While the scenerios based on battles in the eps are still playable, you will need tweeks to use some of the other things. For example, there are stats for the MW3 RPG (Which can be found here on drivethrurpg as Classic Battletech RPG) but if you want to use these characters in ATOW, you may want to run them through the update guide in the ATOW Companion book. (Also making Clan chars Trueborn and such) Perhaps what makes this book interesting is the designers notes in which why the dicisions made in the series were made. For example, as kids cartoons need clear and consistant groups of good and bad guys, the choice to set it during the Clan Invasion seemed obvious. So yeah, give this book a look over, especially if you remember the cartoon. After all, Star Colonel Nicholi Malthus gets mad if you refuse his batchal.



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[4 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: 1st Somerset Strikers
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BattleTech: Redemption Rites
by Trevor R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2022 11:44:31

Excellent work, cleans up previous story lines from Hour of the Wolf and Redeption Rift. It was good seeing Wolf's Dragoons reborn for the IlClan Era.



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[5 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Redemption Rites
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BattleTech: Technical Readout: 2750
by Nicholas L. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/30/2022 01:56:28

This book has nostalgia values to me. Once upon a time I owned a second-hand well-thumbed and used dead-tree copy of it. Over the years, it was lost and now that I'm given a chance, bought the PDF version of it.

Content-wise, this book is jam-packed with Mech details. An absolute must for any Battletech tabletop or RPG fans. However, the scan (as mentioned by another reviewer) is horrible! There's a faded shadow underlay of each characters in the book that make reading difficult (especially for these pair of eyes belonging to a 50+ years old man).

Please produce an updated version with crispier scan, let this avid fan download it again and feast upon the content and reminiscene his childhood dreams in clear details instead of a blurry mess.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Technical Readout: 2750
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BattleTech: Strategic Operations
by Michael [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2022 15:26:01

Book cut from 450 to 186 after purchased without a change in price and currently on sale for $15 with an original price of $15, which is damn near an FTC violation.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: Strategic Operations
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BattleTech: A Question of Survival
by Trevor R. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/28/2022 13:25:38

Boring story, with boring characters. The least enjoyable story written in the IlClan Era, BattleTech: Elements of Treason: Duty is similar story much better written with far more intriguing characters. Jason Schmetzer and Blaine Pardoe are much better BTech writers.



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[1 of 5 Stars!]
BattleTech: A Question of Survival
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