Out of the depths of Nikoli’s memory steps forth a futuristic/science fantasy setting, 2115, one in which elements of Shadowrun and CyberPunk blend with a post apocalyptic world. Quite how this world came to be is a tale in itself!
To an extent, the problematic issues in cyberpunk are different in tone and type to those in OSR. You can read more about our stance regarding ethical issues here.
The History: Reaching 2115
I’ve always loved the concept behind Cyberpunk. From the concept as simple as gang warfare to characters fully decked out with cybernetic enhancement that can rip car doors from their hinges or hack into the most advanced of computer systems, the sheer concept of having no limits and an excuse to be as devious as possible in the GM chair – what can I say, I love it. Having played D&D for many years now I found the concept good but it was lacking... something. There was no “edge of the seat” feeling with it. Yeah, a beholder might be in the next room but traps aren’t going to fly from the floor and a teammates not going to turn on you midway through a fight because they want to loot first... or could they..
After revamping a version of cyberpunk v.3.0 into a “bare bones” version, I decided it had finally come the time to do it all again. Only this time instead of just having classes, I'd give each a background class too. This would hopefully work by removing some of the generic-ness from each class. I then added a pile of new skills in from the vast selection of the original cyberpunk v3.0 so that players could choose different skills from each other and it would no longer just become a “ the medic always does X Y and Z, the mech always does A, B and C”. This was a chance to rewrite an entire book of cyberpunk with my own personal twists of film obsession, love of comics and sci-fi lore, personal thoughts and paranoia about the world and adding elements of fantasy and Shadowrun
The back-story is completely fictional, no characters mentioned by name are real... well some are in films but I’m sure you’ll all spot them. And if my story even glimpses the sheer terror about what the future could hold then I feel I’ve done my part as a game writer.
It all changed in the year 2027, where a bill was pushed through in the US making it illegal for new books and newspapers to be printed, making them only available through a digital download system. With this in place many companies felt that paper was useless and went to being totally digital with no paper backups being kept. Music, film and gaming soon followed with all future releases being only available as digital only. New colossal empires formed as companies like Netflix and iTunes became even more powerful in this new supply and demand. Banks continue to close local branches as more and more only use banking online. Trials are conducted to replace money with “smart chips” installed in the thumb to debit the account when scanned, becomes the new “must have” gadget
Subway introduces a new cost-saving system by which modern robotic technology can supply food at 3x the speed of a human worker, first shop opens in New York and by the end of the year has resulted in global redundancy as other companies are quick to offer the same system. Power stations switch to online monitoring via internet from the company headquarters.
Nearly all fast food restaurants are replaced by smaller more compact vending machines, increasing the number that can be installed in retail outlets, retail rent and taxes increase to match, leading to closure of many Independent stores who are unable to match the figure. All banks are now online only. Global unemployment spikes at a new high, riots begin to break out across the world.
Following 2 years of riots many corporations spend billions installing anti-riot equipment to their headquarters and submit contracts for underground employee housing beneath these buildings. Many governments begin to discuss the plans for censoring the internet.
Cities now consist of bulletproof skyscrapers, vending machines and market stalls as the physical retail market continues to fall. Digital billboards advertise websites. The internet itself has become somewhat censored, with free speech a far forgotten dream. Cybercrime has become the new staple, programs have been created to turn users computers into a medium sized bomb upon detection of wrongdoing. Many police forces have been closed or auctioned off to private investors.
From attempting to supply the 9.7 billion people on earth the internet implodes. Worldwide panic, riots and destruction as millions are plunged into darkness and poverty. North Korea bombs America, blaming them for the drain on the internet. Those within underground corporate housing survive, outside the survivors become sick from radiation poisoning, the seas become black and contaminated with nuclear waste. Retaliation from Europe causes the Middle East to become a desolate lifeless wasteland. Canada briefly becomes the new global superpower until it is bombed to ashes by Russia. Nuclear power stations meltdown across the world, leaving clouds of acid rain and nuclear fallout.
The corporation buildings still stand but the surrounding buildings are shells, all those in residence in the private underground corporation buildings have survived. All those who were not so lucky were either killed or mutated beyond reproduction. Although there is still a high concentration of radioactive material contained within the outside air it has been proven by many scientists that if subjects were only to endure this air for 5, maybe 10 years maximum, then they could technically be treated and potentially cured of the radiation poisoning by undergoing a two year quarantine and scrubbing process upon their return to the company. Upon the agreement of this news, many businesses have looked into obtaining surrounding land for private testing of genetic and cybernetic weaponry they have developed in the last 50 years. The young generation are immediately conscripted and then extradited onto the streets with the vague promise that if they survive the 5 year minimum and can bring enough value; in either goods, intelligence or status, then they can buy themselves a place back within the hallowed walls of one of the corporations. “Happy Deathday” collars or cuffs, containing an inbuilt countdown timer with optional automatic detonators were fitted to each subject before they were discharged from the company. Work starts to rebuild the internet.
Twenty years have passed and many of the shelled buildings have been rebuilt into bars, labs and shops. Many of these are fronts for corporation scientists attempting to sell their lifetime of research to the highest bidder whether that has been the creation of artificial limbs, elixir of life or alcohol made from purest rohypnol there is always the belief someone will buy it. Many of the young who had been released have found a way to remove or reset their countdown timers. Some however have kept them as a time limit for their attempts to regain a life back on the inside. Attempts continue to restore the still failing internet, however LAN networking within the corporations themselves has been restored through the most basic of cabling. Rumours fly through the world that the nuclear radiation has created armies of Bug-like creatures who have devoured most of Europe and swept as far as India.
The year is now 2115, and you have just been released into the world. Use your time wisely....