In Avalidad there are urban legends about Agartha, an underground town inhabited by mutants and other outcasts.
It is not a myth.
As Above so Below is an adventure for the psipunk, Burroughsian Postcards from Avalidad game setting.
In Avalidad there are urban legends about Agartha, an underground town inhabited by mutants and other outcasts.
It is not a myth.
As Above so Below is an adventure for the psipunk, Burroughsian Postcards from Avalidad game setting.
Postcards from Avalidad is a darkly surreal Tech-Noir game setting and adventure context for Punk (included) and Actual Fcking Monsters.
Avalidad combines cyber, bio and psi punk to create a Burroughsian nightmare world of decadence, drugs, Libertarianism, violence, glamour and oppression.
You will delve into the strange lives of Avalidad’s celebrities, fiscal royalty and seedy underbelly in this unique game setting.
A Retroclone RPG system for you to make your own *Punk games – typically modern, alt history or near future.
Atompunk, Biopunk, Clockpunk, Cyber noir, Cyberprep, Cyberpunk, Decopunk, Dieselpunk, Dungeonpunk, Elfpunk, Islandpunk, Lunarpunk, Mythpunk, Nanopunk, Necropunk, Nowpunk, Postcyberpunk, Raypunk, Retrofuture, Rococopunk, Solarpunk, Steampunk, Steelpunk, Stonepunk, Transhuman.
*Punk will NOT be available through Amazon due to affordability and shipping issues.
Simple to use, the Homesplice clones and incubates small creatures, one at a time, no creature larger than a chicken egg.
The homesplice allows the mix-and-match of various genetic elements between standardised gene-patterns (50eb each), sold by Biotechnia. It alsos requires genetic feedstock (5eb for enough to build 2d6 sequences) and artificial eggs with nutrients (10eb each).
The basic kit can only grow animals that naturally grow in eggs. That means fish, birds, amphibians and lizards. Limited editing and swapping of traits is possible with the kit. Moreso if you jailbreak it. Doing so is highly illegal, due to the dangers of foisting new species into already disrupted ecosystems.
The homesplice is only supposed to produce sterile creatures, but a jailbroken device may be able to do more.
Monotreme Upgrade: 250 eb.
New Species code-kits: 50eb each (comes with domestic chicken, gekko and salamander).
Comes with an extensive library of genes and can accept samples to sequence. Traits can be isolated and transposed, building a genetic template from the ground up. Modelled in Augmented Reality.
Creating designer organisms requires rolls of Difficulty 17-24 at each stage, and even the computer models are no guarantee. Genes will still need implanting into an artificial womb or maturation chamber.
As good as your own!
Can grow a human (or humanoid, or human-sized) embryo to birth-readiness in a shock-protected, armoured pod. Can travel with its own batteries and feedstock, enough to last a week. SP10, SDP 30.
This version of an exowomb is big enough to grow livestock such as sheep, cows, goats, ostriches, llamas etc, though you’ll need to provide ova or coded biotech sequences.
Produces artificial meat from a selection of genetic sequences, from generic feedstock. (Chicken, Beef, Pork, tilapia, shrimp).
500g of feedstock 1eb
Recycler Unit: 100eb, can break down and recycle any animal protein into feedstock. Including human flesh.
Animal Protein Codes 10-50eb (more specialist meats or rare breeds).
Black market Protein Codes 100-1,000eb (exotic animals, artificial gene codes or even human sequences. Black market biotechs will grow low quality replacement skin and muscle in these things).
A wrist mounted sling, using high tech materials. 25 yards range, wrist-braced, can fire a variety of ammo or even be used to fling small grenades. 1d6 damage.
A personal jet-pack using drone-like fan blades instead of ducted AV-style fans. 10,000eb, 100kph, 300m flight ceiling, 30 damage, total flight time 15 minutes.
An pen cockpit walker with no limbers, -2 penalty to operate, top speed 30kph, SDP 60, SP 18. Sometimes used with forklift attachments or loaded with goods for remote or hilly areas.
Wireless smart skateboard, +1-3 to rolls, +3-5 if plugged in, can go up to 25kph (self powered) and handle up to 150kph – towed. SDP 10
A high speed, very dangerous ducted fan board, like a one-man AV. 250 kph for 20 minutes, ceiling 600m. SDP 25
Ducted fan bike, 350kph, three hour flight time, SDP 25
Ducted fan two-seater. 400kph, three hour flight time, SDP 50
1000eb/2500eb/5000eb, 20%/40%/%60% chance to hit, 5 shots, 3d6 damage, pistol/SMG/Rifle
Lasers 1-5d6 per shot (8d6 to completely burn out the gun) 10/20/30 shots. Innate +2 to hit, can be fired automatic in a ‘scribble’ mode, using 5d6 and counting as autofire.
Unlike home printers, microfacs can both produce parts, and assemble them, up to the size of a small two-seater citycar (3m cubed). Larger machinery will need to be printed in sections and them assembled.
In running my 2020 in 2020 campaign I’ve noticed something. Even accounting for the relative levels of expertise amongst Player Characters, shooting people is profoundly easy.
This simply doesn’t marry up with what I know from the statistics, regarding soldiers and police forces (police situations being closest to Player Character situations).
American police, who are habitually armed, trained and prone to resort to using their weapons, have a typical shot-to-hit percentage around 30%. That drops to around 18% if it’s a two-way firefight.
If we take the base scenario of these police firefights to be close ranged (0-12 metres) using a pistol, without fire being returned, then our average member of the plod should be hittin 30% of the time. In d10 terms, that would be needing an 8-10 on a d10. If we assume a standard copper has Reflexes 7 and a Handgun skill of 6 (Protect and Serve p22), that gives them a base of 13 as their total score.
Currently the base difficulty for a close range pistol shot is 15, which means our beat cop is going to be landing 80% of hits, not 30%. Something they typically only achieve while straddling a target with their body-cams off.
The easiest way to fix that is simply to raise all the difficulties by 5, which would reduce the 80% to 30% right away.
This still assumes certain things, like that the target is moving, but not returning fire, so you can still alter things on that basis (-2 difficulty for static targets, +1 difficulty if under fire), and all the other legacy modifiers from CP2020. It also makes the accuracy of truly hardcore, cybernetically boosed Solos, genuinely impressive.
Still, if you’re after something a bit more like gritty realism, +5 to the base difficulty seems to be the way to go, which also makes melee more of a compelling option.
We’re playing 2020 in 2020, you can see some earlier posts on this blog about that. As part of that, I thought I’d put a little effort into some campaign material and world-setting (which is an even darker timeline version of our current 2020.
Details on the Huawei backdoor could fetch a very high price on the open market, or provide a killer backdoor for any hacker who kept hold of the information.
A darknet broker, BAUHINIA97 claims to know where the information is being held on the Hauwei campus in Shenzen. He’s willing to front transport and expenses in Bitcoin, as a gamble, plus 10% of the final sale price of the data.
There are riots, protests, violence and even terrorism all over the UK at the moment. COBRA seems to be in permanent session and this has accelerated the mass flight of capital and industry from the country that was already happening.
Police, reserves and the military have all alread been employed to handle basic duties, while the ‘proper’ police try to quell the riots and disruption, but politically the government cannot put troops ‘on the streets’ and so a great deal has gone out to private contract.
There are strict rules to follow, the warrants are for the individuals to be arrested and turned in to custody, but there’s quite a lot of them and they run anything up to 50,000 pounds reward for the top of the list.
Many different corporations and interests are using the bush inferno as an excuse and opportunity to test out new technology. That creates plenty of opportunities for corporate espionage, especially since communications are a bit unreliable.
One of your brokers is interested in the capture and retrieval of a firefighting exoskeleton being field tested by an Australian startup. The Crow-X1 is cutting edge fire protection, a completely sealed suit that’s supposed to be able to wade deep into the worst chemical fires to attack them at their source.
Reward is likely to run around 100k USD.
Black-market, hidden server farms are highly sought after for lucrative piracy, mob data storage and other illicit purposes. They’re also somewhat vulnerable, for all that there’s a great deal of money sunk into them.
A darknet broker is looking to hire a private group to raid a server farm currently lurking on the edge of Night City’s ‘combat zone’. If they know where it is they could just inform the police, so it seems like they want some incriminating data erased – with extreme prejudice.
10k USD, and preferential treatment for future work – if handled discretely.
One of the many small cryonics facilities that has gone bust has been bought out by Osiris. They’re shipping the ‘high rollers’ from a facility in Scottsdale Arizona to their new headquarters in San Francisco – by road, for the sake of safety.
Your broker has a contracter willing to pay 100k for the retrieval of one, specific high-roller cannister from the truck. If you’re up for it.
The next couple of days are the last days that you can pre-order Election Party, and we’re also looking for reviewers with reasonable traction to review the game. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re in a position to play and/or review the game.
I’m also doing a giveaway to promote the game, all you have to do is retweet this post, and you could win over 70 quid’s worth of gaming stuff!
Check it out HERE.
My gaming group and I played Cyberpunk to death back in the day, and given that it’s now 2020, we’re playing ‘2020 in 2020’. I’ve also been considering creating a Cyberpunk Retroclone, for some time, but had been somewhat dubious about doing so. The time feels, sort of, right now though.
My intent is to produce a generic, broadly compatible rules-set that can be applied to many different settings (*punk) and then – perhaps – to provide different prefixes as supplemental material. (Cyber*, Steam*, Bamboo*, Bio*) that can be ‘plugged in’.
Some of this will be produced as a side-effect of me creating and running this campaign. I’ll blog about it a bit more, as I go.
9d10, re-roll rolls of 2 or less and assign as desired. Minimum total 70 pts. Reroll lowest score and add on until you get over 75.
EG: Dana is rolling up what she hopes will be a Cyberninja.
She rolls: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 8, 9
Immediately, she needs two re-rolls, which score 9 and 6.
That gives her an array of: 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 8, 8, 9, 9.
That’s still only a total score of 58, she needs to gain another 15 total points.
Re-rolling the lowest score each time until it hits 70 continues until the array is: 6, 6, 6, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, which is bang on 70.
Roll as per normal, but potentially try to tie it to the background timeline.
Ignore the normal rules and treat everything as pickup skills. So you get 40+Int+Ref (before modifications and cybernetics) to spend where you like. Your Role skill cannot be higher than +5 and no other skill higher than +8 (so you have room to grow).
Netrunning will mostly be more like ‘real’ hacking, to do with prep and programs so it doesn’t drag down on the spot play, though on the spot hacking using field effects will also be an option.
Roles & Special Skills:
Influence Level/Followers/Direct Influence
You start with a base of €6,000 derived from your Special Ability (Limited to a starting value of 5).
Choose a second skill upon which you have earned your more legitimate income on top (other skills are capped at 8).
Skill Level/Starting Cash Bonus
Big Ticket Items
If you have an essential, big-ticket item integral to your character concept, you can have a single item, vehicle or other asset with a value of no more than €50,000, but it technically, really, is on loan from a criminal, intelligence, corporate or other group who demand favours etc in exchange until you pay it off.
Note on Cyberpsychosis and Therapy
Cybertherapists are expensive specialists and a weekly one-hour session will set you back at least €200. In a month of sessions (€800) you can regain one point of Humanity, but NOT Empathy. Empathy can only be recovered by a combination of removing cybernetics and therapy.
EG: Tony’s Empathy drops from 6 to 5, following the installation of a new cyberarm. His current Humanity is 52. After seven months of therapy his Humanity is back up to 59, but he can gain no further benefit from Therapy, nor regain his lost point of Empathy.
Characters reduced to 2 Empathy manifest mental illness and tics – you can decide what, you know your character’s mental fracture points. At Empathy 1 that illness becomes full blown. At 0 it becomes a full blown and permanent derangement. This is separate to any other mental illnesses your character might suffer from. Losing additional points of Empathy stacks on more insanity until you decide to retire the character.
Wounds, Damage and Armour
We’ll start out by trying the Wounds/Threshold system from the Red jumpstart kit, which is kind of like 4e’s Health/Bloodied/Down system. It’s not really any less abstract than wound levels, and a bit easier on the bookkeeping.
It does also mean that armour SP is ‘compressed’ however. Armour SPs convert roughly like so…
Original SP/New SP
I’m running a Cyberpunk 2020 game for my regular group next year, the appeal of ‘2020 in 2020’ was too strong.
My game will be set in an alternative, cyberpunky version of the real world, more like an alternate timeline, with certain technology being 5, 10, 15 or even 20 years ahead of now.
I’ve justified this by removing a few setbacks for the space industry and having a second ‘leap’ in technology, similar to that enjoyed by piggybacking off the Nazis, with a piggybacking off the USSR’s unethical experimentation after their collapse. Add a little dystopian corporate statehood, and you’re away to the races.
Some of what I create for this game will likely end up forming a ‘retroclone’ Cyberpunk rules set, that I primarily want to use for a Steampunk setting.
2020 Global Warming
The Oceans have risen by around 1m, leading to catastrophic flooding in much of the Netherlands and Northern Belgium, threatening Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp. The Netherlands has lost as much as a quarter of its total land. In Africa, Libreville is inundated, along with much of coastal Gabon and Gambia. Swathes of Southern Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam become salt-marshes. In South America, Paramaribo in Suriname is wholly consumed by water. Venice, finally, sinks beneath the waves.
In the United Kingdom, London’s flood defences are no longer fit for purpose, strained to the limit on an almost yearly basis since 2012. Ipswitch is almost always flooded in Autumn and Winter, Rendlesham forest is dying due to saltwater in the water table. Lowestoft has become a peninsula, Norwich huddles behind makeshift flood defences and Peterborough sits on the edge of a stinking marsh, full of lost towns. In the North, Hull is fighting a rearguard action against the inundation, as is Exeter, Southampton and Portsmouth.
In North America, Seattle is struggling to cope, and the San Francisco bay now extends as far east as Stockton, Tracy and Sacramento. Coastal Texas has been inundated to a catastrophic degree, as has Louisiana and Florida, with the Keys almost entirely being swallowed up. Vast amounts of money and engineering have been thrown at New Orleans, at the expense of other towns and cities such as Jacksonville, Floria, which is under a slow, creeping evacuation which is happening all along the Eastern Seaboard, as far North as New York. Washington threatens to go under, and Atlantic City is now permanently flooded.
Combined with increasing extremes of weather, habitability is dropping globally and annually, nearly a hundred million people are, at least temporarily, displaced by flooding.
The Polynesian islands no longer, really, exist. The first ‘climate genocide’, though America has absorbed the population of Samoa and Australia and New Zealand have accepted climate refugees from many of the other islands.
In Western Europe, the Gulf Stream has been faltering, meaning that in some years the British climate is, ironically, three degrees colder than it would otherwise be, leading to ever more bitter winters – because of Warming.
The Oceans are some 30% more acidic, bleaching coral reefs and drastically affecting even more resilient forms of sea life, ‘dead zones’ are expanding rapidly, and catches are down.
6.6m km^2 of permafrost has thawed, accelerating Warming by releasing large quantities of methane and carbon dioxide and making a great deal of arctic terrain swampy, unstable and prone to sink-holes.
Heatwaves kill tens and even hundreds of thousands globally each summer, with droughts lasting – on average – 6 months and water-scarcity hitting over half a million people globally each year, with severe drought affecting 250 million people annually.
Crop yields are down around 8% globally, and it is harder to raise livestock and to fish, putting immense pressure on food supplies, as well as water, around the globe. Increased carbon levels have, further, decreased the nutritional value of crops while – at the same time – increasing their carbohydrate content.
Animal life is in freefall. Invertebrates have lost 43% of their habitat, vertebrates have lost 26%, Plants 41%, Insects 42%, Mammals 24%, Birds 23%, Butterflies and Moths, 34%, Dragonflies and Damselflies 12%. While species from other ecological areas have moved into areas to recover from the die-back, species diversity is down, and many of these species are invasive, contributing to even greater die-back.
Climate has caused a precipitous drop in GDP by 15%, with climate damage mitigation and prevention costing a colossal $13 trillion per year. Around 0.25% of the total global energy expenditure now goes on air conditioning and heating.
Diseases run rampant, with prehistoric bacteria and virii continually emerging from the thawed permafrost, though – thus far – they lack the immunity many modern diseases have to treatment. Malaria and other insect-transmitted diseases have expanded their area of risk by over a third.
Much like in our world, the world of this alternate timeline is being torn in two directions. On the one end, there is an increased level of insular nationalism; on the other, there is the inevitable gravity of globalised trade, culture and communication. Europe has embraced a part globalist and part internationalist approach. America has become more combative, while China and India seek to undercut the developed nations in the global financial climate.
Only the very poor and the very rich eat meat. The very poor because they still raise small amounts of goats, pigs and chickens for food, the very rich because they can afford it. In the developed world, meat is an expensive, high-class commodity, fish is a middle-class commodity, and the poor can only eat fresh on occasion. Climate shifts and attempts to preserve stocks and the environment, combined with social pressure, prevent mass meat consumption.
Vat-grown meat is available but still costs about twice as much as regular meat (which costs about five times as much as its real-world 2020 prices). Even vegetables are no longer as nutritious, thanks to the higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere, which causes them to be harder to digest and to have increased levels of carbohydrates and lower levels of nutrition. Even a salad will make you fat.
Highly-processed insect protein mostly derived from crickets, mealworms and buffalo worms, pads out the diets of the poor. In this form, it is more acceptable, and affordability really convinces people to try it.
Matters are not helped by well-meaning ecological activists, who advocate against genetically modified organisms and for organic farming, which drastically lowers yields.
Eating meat is seen as, at best naughty, and at worst the equivalent of lighting a cigarette in a crowded room.
Environmentalism is still prominent in Europe. However, the USA, Russia, China, India and the UK have a policy of pursuing wealth rather than preserving the environment, hoping to spend their way out of trouble and to mitigate environmental harm with raw capital and growth. Only Europe and the Pacific Rim nations remain genuinely committed to environmentalism, greening their cities, electrifying their infrastructure and sinking a great deal of money into alternative energy research, nuclear power and fusion research.
Life expectancy is around eight years higher, thanks to advances in medical technology, but only if one is middle-class and live in a developed nation. The truly wealthy can expect to live to at least 100 while remaining physically and mentally ‘spry’, most living to at least 120 – and technology is always improving. President Trump, for example, looks more like a man in his fifties than his seventies and looks younger and fitter than he did in the year 2000.
Key Differences from Cyberpunk 2020
So I started running a cyberpunk setting game using Ex Machina (Tri-Stat). It has to be said, I’m not a huge fan of Tri-Stat. Making up characters and powers and options and things in the system is good fun, so far as character creation goes, but in execution it all feels a little bland and Ex Machina’s way of working damage is a little intrusive and annoying. The three-stat reductionism is also more than a little annoying, even though it makes things relatively simple.
Still, the setting is the thing though and while the settings in the book (the bulk of the book) never really roused my interest they do comprise a good toolkit for putting things together of your own with examples and some statted up NPCs, guards, cybernetics and so on.
My setting is set at some point around/after the 2050s and incorporates ideas liberally lifted from Doktor Sleepless, Augmented Reality speculation, Maker/Fabber speculation and Peter F Hamilton’s earlier cyberpunk setting books (such as The Nanoflower) along with my own ideas which I’ve been developing for some time either for personal games or for Genesis Descent (which will hopefully actually get greenlit at some point).
My setting is London, some time after 2050, and it’s a London much modified by climate change (flooding) and energy starvation issues. The key points of the setting are:
What do players do?
With government and police almost entirely irrelevant there’s little to hold companies back and, hence, a huge amount of potential for PMCs, freelance industrial espionage and so on. Players are likely criminals, social networking engineers, people off the grid or otherwise capable of ‘doing things’ for important players.