Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Sprawl Goons

Just a quick post to point you in the direction of the free SPRAWL GOONS one-page RPG created for Nate Treme's Goon Jam over on itch.io.

Nate invited creators to hack his elegant 2d6 game Tunnel Goons and submit them to the vote. It's a neat little system that can easily be built on. So, as I'm predictable, I knocked together a cyberpunk version.

Grab yours here.


Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Session Recap | Cape Point 2030: Finding Mamading

Our latest trip to 2030s Cape Town seemed to focus on fact finding and threat assessment.

The PCs:
Nathan Zero, fixer and CEO of start-up Charon Global (Shaun)
Vijay Ravinder Hazari, hacker and prowler (James) [missed this session]
Hydraulic Dave, morbidly obese techie/drone wrangler (Craig)
Anna Zone, psychotic teenage clone solo (Graham)
Natasha Black, gender-morphing solo/assassin (John)

It’s now Wednesday morning, and Nathan starts early taking calls from contacts Rufus ‘Japleg’ McLellan and Koshka Nine, providing more information on the elusive Mamading. Both report that the fixer has contacts at Marimba’s bar, down in the Bakoven nogo. Koshka had also looked into Rose cartel locations and had an extensive list of property owned by Mr Rose’s syndicate - more than Nathan could have imagined. 

• A highly secure property in the gated Granger Bay complex
• Real estate within the Zarc
• A private hotel suite on the Panama Rose
• Safe-houses on the Raft
• Hidden depots in the Suicide District
• Rose is an investor in the T-K Tower
• Owns the relocated De Waal Park stadium via offshore shells
• Owns the Storm nightclub
• Owns the Cape Royale Hotel

Nathan concluded that the stolen exo-wombs could be stashed in any of those locations.

Dave had managed to 3D-print another couple of counterfeit SMGs overnight, and is awaiting delivery of more FDM printers, so he can increase production. 

Later in the day, gathering at the Radisson (where Natasha is staying, thanks to a well performed hack of the booking system), the group decided to just go straight to Marimba’s.

[GM Note: I did not expect this quite so soon, but thankfully I was well prepared with notes on the bar, the NPCs and the surrounding area.]

They paid through the nose for a cab to take them to Bakoven. At night.

[GM Note: I described the area around Marimba’s. This was probably too much exposition early in the session, I could tell they were glazing over. They only seemed interested in the bar and probably expected to just stroll in and find Mamading.]

For the full Cape Point map, click here

The over-wrought exposition in question, lifted straight out of my notes:

• A blue PSA Casspir Mk V Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected APC cruises scrubland off the M61
• Massive structural breaches in the Bakoven geodesic let in light and channel the wind, whipping up columns of dust
• A ruined factory - what’s left of the walls is covered in bright, angry graffiti - pack of feral dogs
• Area of parched wasteland, a group of dust-covered kids with shoulder holsters, noisily playing football
• Recently burned-out taxi, riddled with bullet holes
• Crumbling Incredible Connection computer store, repurposed as a makeshift home, family washing clothes in plastic drums
• Small decaying church with a capsule hotel glommed onto one side of it’s exterior, rusty scaffolding supports the other side
• Low rent housing blocks, obscured by multiple generators and solar panel arrays, and plastic sheeting greenhouses
• Busy clinic operating out of several combined shipping containers, with sickly local poor queuing onto the fractured streets
• Lilting xhosa-trance music coming from Marimba’s bar, which sits inside the shell of a former Lucky Dragon
• Nearby, on the coast, off the M6 south-west of the Bakoven geodesic, squats the semi-submerged industrial leviathan that is the Koeël Bay Desalination Plant.

[Yeah, a little too much.]

With no fucking about, they went straight inside and directly to the bar and ordered drinks - five warm beers scooped out of a 25 litre plastic drum. Dave also ordered the peri-peri chicken he could smell from outside. Then, Nathan asked the barman (Marimba himself) about Mamading. Marimba was guarded. Nathan insisted he just wanted to bring Mamading some business. The barman seemed bemused at this brass-necked, wealthy-looking pommie in his bar. A solo or two seemed to be paying the group close attention now.

One of the solos, Terrence Van Stratten, an ally of Mamadings, demanded to know what the players wanted with the fixer, his CG-13 assault rifle openly on the table. They explained again, taking an instant dislike to Terry.

[GM Note: I’m glad they disliked Terry, as I played him like an obnoxious prick. The two solo PCs, Natasha and Anna, wanted to kill him right there, after he suggested they were joy girls and told told them what he’d like to do with them. It got tense to the point where I thought they were going to gun him down, but the situation calmed. Not sure if they were intimidated by him (or the presence of other obvious solos in the bar) or if it was self-control on their part.]

Nathan managed to slip some euro Terry’s way and the nutcase agreed to shoot a text message to Mamading about doing business with Nathan Zero. And then they waited.

Eventually, Mamading shows up, with a vanguard of members from the Cortical Dogs gang. The two fixers drank together and discussed the possibility of supplying counterfeit Minami 10s into the district. Mamading wasn’t interested, politely declined, gave Nathan a card, and left Marimba’s. About 10 minutes later, the players called a cab, paid even more money for it than last time, and returned to the bar in the Radisson.

By midnight, Dave had run a trace on the number on Mamading’s card, located the cell phone and tracked it’s movements. It left the Bakoven geodesic, heading north. It took a 15 minute stop in Sea Point, before continuing north then east into Cape Town and stopping at the Westin Grand Quays hotel. Dave’s low-grade AI kept a tab on the signal while he went back to printing guns.

Around 7am, the team ask Dave to check the cell phone’s location - it’s still at the Westin. Dave performs a second sweep for communications, and pings two other signals in close proximity. He elects to monitor and wait.

At 9am the two unidentified signals in the hotel begin to move through the building. The cell phone remains where it has been all night. In a hacked Enterprice rent-a-car, Anna and Natasha race to the hotel to get eyes-on.

They see two working girls waiting for a car outside the hotel. Dave confirms that they are the source of the signals. When the two girls climb into the back of a limo, the two solos decide to follow. Eventually, the limo pulls into the carpark adjacent to Troika. The girls exit the vehicle, and enter the bar. Dave knows the signals have ascended a flight of stairs.

Nathan makes a call to Shamir Globov, their current employer, and asks him whether he knows that two girls have just left their target (Mamading) and headed to Troika. Globov grudgingly explains his side business in escorts, and that the girls are RFID tagged, hence the signals. He agrees to let Nathan swing by Troika and talk to the two ladies.

Dave looks into the location in Sea Point visited by Mamading. He triangulates to an address and does a Library Search to find a registered occupant or owner. He discovers that the current occupant is someone called Klaus Diamond. Another (very successful) Library Search reveals Klaus to be an enforcer for the Njombo cartel, having done time in Pollsmoor. He passes this information to Nathan and the others.

He then checks on Mamading’s phone. The signal is moving through the Westin. Looks like their man is leaving. Infiltrating his phone, Dave discovers he has just called a cab company. Anna and Natasha race back towards the hotel to try and follow Mamading’s taxi.

Following the cab north-west, the group try to decide on a course of action. Dave jacks in and checks the cab for a vehicle link signal, and finds one. He starts to hack into it. In the meantime, Anna and Natasha are closing in on the yellow MPV, in their fraudulently obtained electric sedan. Dave successfully infiltrates the vehicle and looks for the engine management system. Finding it, he easily convinces the LAN that their is an engine fault, the taxi then drops into limp mode. The driver steers it smoothly off the road and onto a lay-by, and comes to a halt. Natasha pulls over behind the cab. The two solos get out of the car.

Dave manages to stop the cabbie from radioing the office, by encrypting the cabs comms, rendering them useless. The driver notices the two women approaching his cab on either side, and pulls a boxy SMG from the glove box. Mamading sits in the back, looking confused. The driver shows he is armed when Anna gets to the driver’s window. Natasha taps on the passenger side with her two handguns. He looks at her and back to Anna, who has now produced a bulky submachine gun. The cabbie sighs, placing his SMG on his lap. Anna orders Mamading to get out. He slides over to the opposite side, sees Natasha, and slides back again. He gets out and Anna orders him to get into their car. Mamading complies.

[GM Note: I was gobsmacked that they didn’t pat him down. He had a Czar Skorpion 5mm SMG in a shoulder holster. They have him in their car, but he’s still armed. I look forward to him using it…]

They drive the fixer over to a ruined warehouse in Link Town, where Nathan and Dave are waiting for them. They get him out of the car and… pat him down [dammit], taking his gun, his phone and his wallet. Anna points a bigger gun at Mamading while Nathan questions him. “Indescribable pain, or answers. Your choice.”

He reveals the following [he knows more, but this is what they got]:

• He has been contracted by Mr Rose himself to bring in the Disposable Boys gang, for protection, prior to the theft
• The Disposable Boys run a large chunk of Tamboers Kloof
• He has been cutting a deal with Mabuki Njombo’s cartel, who are interested in purchasing the exo-wombs
• He knows the Njombos have approached the representatives of a Namibian warlord called Angel Michael - possible chain?
• He’s more afraid of Mr Rose, the Njombos and the Namibian paramilitaries, than he is of the Russians

Dave records the entirety of the conversation. Nathan puts a grand in Mamading’s wallet and tells him he’s just been paid for his information. And that Mr Rose and co aren’t going to be happy about that. Nathan insists he report to him. The fixer shrugs, takes the wallet and his phone, and asks for his Skorpion back. Anna removes the bullets and hands it to him. “Really?” says Mamading. He is then driven to District Six and let out.

The group then meet up at the Radisson hotel to discuss what happens next.

[GM Note: I so could’ve done this better. The scene in Marimba’s bar was drawn out and felt awkward, with no flow. But it served it’s purpose. They seemed to enjoy jackrolling the taxi - probably as it was a more proactive initiative and had a good ‘beat’. I sort of lost it again when they questioned Mamading (I was tired, it was late) and I think he should’ve offered more resistance. BUT. He’s still alive and they let him go, so I can work with that. 

I think I’ll have him pay Terry to eliminate Nathan, and he’ll probably warn the Disposable Boys to expect company. I figure he’ll keep this info from the Rose cartel for now.] 

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Session Recap | Cape Point 2030

I don't usually do session recaps, but a few people have asked me about what's going on in my campaign. With the slow agonising death of G+, I thought I'd give it a try here at the Archive.


Friday night's trip to 2030s Cape Town was all about getting my GMing ducks in a row.
The PCs:
Nathan Zero, fixer and CEO of start-up Charon Global (Shaun)
Vijay Ravinder Hazari, hacker and prowler (James)
Hydraulic Dave, morbidly obese techie/drone wrangler (Craig)
Anna Zone, psychotic teenage clone solo (Graham)
Natasha Black, gender-morphing solo/assassin (John)
After last week's assassination of Network 54 employee, Keira Aspinall, in the Horizonville MPZ, the players met with their client's PA, Innocent Jones, a statuesque African-American woman with Paris runway looks, their payment smoothly transferred through Charon's accounts.
Nathan later met a number of fixers at The Athenaeum club, to purchase several proxy IDs for Natasha, ordered some mil-spec hardware for the solos, and got Vijay an in with an online software dealer. Also added some new connections to his growing roster. Many of these fixers have noticed an increase in arms dealing and mercenary contracting, implying something is going down in the city. Everyone's on edge.
Dave finally had some time to work on some programs for his drone stable, and to work on the DRM-cracked schematics for his 3D-printed, counterfeit Minami 10s (to be printed in toy gun green). Fixers are approached to sell them in to the townships when they're ready.
Natasha was summoned to the run down Devil's Peak microcology projects to see the mysterious Nana Dharma, who appears to be a petite Tibetan geriatric in layers of mismatched clothes, holding court amongst the banks of servers, base units, monitors and cables that fill her cramped, hot apartment. Dharma seems to know things about Natasha even Natasha doesn't know. She looks to be some sort of information broker and an accomplished hacker. The crone hints at a coming war and suggests Natasha choose a side. Natasha is not convinced. Members of the Devil's Peak Daddies gang seem to loyally protect the aged hacker.
The following day Vijay meets up with hacktivist PhreakWorm at the outlandish Negativland cosplay VR forum, presenting as a hazy blur. PhreakWorm is tricked out as a sexy medusa, surrounded by a harem of gimp guards in glossy latex. Vijay finds this show a little uncomfortable. Despite this, he makes a deal with Phreak to store some data in one of their cloud servers, to be released in the event his biomonitor flatlines for over 24 hours. This data could be a problem for the other PCs, if it gets out. PhreakWorm humours Vijay and takes a few grand for holding this info. They now have a link to Vijay's biomonitor too.
Mysterious agent, William Blake, approaches Natasha, Anna and Vijay within the space of a few hours. Blake was active back when they were in London, but they were unsure of his affiliation. Turns out he's working for some sort of AI collective, which troubles the group. He's trying to get them onside. None of the players trust him, especially after talks about various forms of leverage.
The team then gather in the main restaurant at The Radisson Hotel to discuss plans. They employ the privacy screens available there (white noise generators and signal blockers). They agree that Blake may be a problem going forward, and that perhaps Dharma could find out more about him. Anna just wants to execute him and damn the consequences. They desperately try to talk her out of it (for now). She just shrugs.
Later, Nathan and Anna meet one of the fixer's facemen, Koshka Nine, at a bar called Troika. She has a client in need of a team to recover some stolen property. If the team agree to meet the client for a more detailed brief, she wants a 20% cut of the negotiated fee. Nathan manages to get her down to 15%. She agrees to set up the meeting. Some of the clientele of the bar seem to recognise Anna, but she's not sure why.
The meet is arranged for later that evening. Nathan needs to be at a private Sea Point beach at 9pm. The fixer decides to take Natasha with him, just in case. She dresses alluringly, and alters her hair into a shocking pink bob. The beach is well guarded, with perimeter drones and solos in black jackets and beanie hats with A-80s on show. A sleek speedboat lies at anchor off a short jetty.
The speedboat takes Nathan and Natasha out, about half a mile west and into the pitch dark. Ahead they can see lights, and as they close, they see a 107m yacht, grey and white polymer hull and black sails, with more armed men on deck. The yacht is named Fate Amenable To Change.
Climbing aboard, they are escorted below decks into an opulent parlour decorated in a decadent tsarist chic. There's a scent of cigars and perfume, and Dark Side of the Moon plays in the background. Here they meet the aristocratic Shamir Globov, head of the kombinat in the Hub, his favourite mistress, the eccentric Alena Morozov, and a weaselly-looking flesh-pedlar called Porphyry. Globov offers Nathan and Natasha a 60 year old cognac. Alena asks after Koshka, but calls her Katarina. She asks Nathan to get the girl to call her. Then it's down to business.
One of Porphyry's storage areas on Atlantia was robbed three nights ago. Globov describes the merchandise as 'illegal, but viable, live collateral', contained in a number of exo-wombs. He suspects the involvement of the Rose cartel and the Yakuza, but then he thinks everything is masterminded by the Yakuza. He's had a tip-off that a fixer called Mamading knows who's involved and he suggest the PCs start with him. Nathan agrees a fee of 20k, with a promise of a bonus if they can uncover any possible leak in Globov's organisation.
Back on the mainland they discover Porphyry knows Anna (he smuggled her and her twin out of a Haruna lab in Romania and into London). Natasha warns Anna that he's in the city. Anna vows to kill him when this is over.
Nathan tasks his network with searching for any information on the fixer Mamading, as well as possible locations or businesses which the Rose cartel might use to stash contraband. He then visits Dharma and discovers that Mamading is often seen at Marimba's bar in Bakoven; he's well liked and well protected there. She also tells him that Mamading has recently been in contact with both the Rose and Njombo cartels. Nathan now owes Dharma some sort of favour, to be specified later. He then goes home to Bantry Bay and gets drunk.
Vijay agrees to meet Blake at the House of Blue Lights, where they can talk securely. He commits to siding with Blake in his hunt for the group known as the Aleph, and promises to help with disinformation to the authorities, such as the PSA, the Intelligence Directorate and Protocol. Uneasy, he then heads home to his grotty little apartment in Oranjezicht, in the shadow of the geodesic.

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

20 Questions | Cape Point Edition

Many moons ago, Mr Jeff Rients created a list of questions that, when answered, would give you the bones of your D&D campaign world. More recently, the very excellent Tore Nielsen gave it a spin for his The New Economy project.

I thought I'd finally get round to doing the same for my Cape Point campaign. Apologies in advance for any casual DnDisms.

What is the deal with religion?

The Global Brands are very much alive and well, with Christianity, especially in its Protestant forms, predominating. Your contact might be a Calvinist, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish or Bahá’í. There’s also a resurgence in African Traditional Religion, highly diverse beliefs, traditionally oral rather than scriptural, with a supreme creator, belief in spirits and the supernatural, veneration of the dead, use of magic and traditional medicine. 

Technology also synthesises with faith, with a growth in popularity for online Ancestor Archives, the spread of sakawa rituals, combining modern net-based fraud with African traditionalist practices, and the recent incorporation of Yemisi N’kosa’s Church of Virtual Martyrs.

Where can we go to buy standard equipment?

Stretching under Table Mountain there’s the Thirty Mile Mall, the biggest Consumertopia in the Southern Hemisphere. Other stores are scattered throughout the central Hub. If you still can’t find what you need, try The Hoop in the Pinelands nogo, but keep your Minami 10 handy.

Where can we go to get custom fitted armour?

Custom kevlar or spider-weave can be found in the Mall. More unusual or bespoke protection needs to be brought in by fixers, for a price.

Who is the mightiest wizard hacker in the land?

Polly Carbon, nano-enhanced hacker, teen prodigy and occasional kingmaker.

Who is the greatest warrior in the land?

The last of N’kosa Mambi’s clone soldiers. Who knows how many have escaped his wars before he was put down?

Who is the richest person in the land?

Syndicate boss Mr Rose is so wealthy, he no longer has to contend with death. Yet, he fears it more than ever.

Where can we go to get some healing?

Cape Point has a number of pay-per-use government Mediplexes, Nazareth House in Vredehoek being the largest and most versatile. Diagnostic kiosks accept a convenient variety of payment options. Or there are street docs like Dr Omomo, who runs his clinic on Holblane Street, under the Observatory geodesic. If you’re really desperate, try the Medicine Market, but make sure you load up on antibiotics. And, of course, there’s the ubiquitous Trauma Team and Cape Medevac, for those that can afford rapid response and extraction insurance.

Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions?

Poison, disease: Table Mount mediplex specialises in disease control, or sell your soul to Biotechnica.
Curse: Find the witch doctor who cursed you and put a couple of AP rounds into them, or trash that sakawa boy’s server.
Level drain: That’s some weird-ass elf game shit, right there. So, nope.
Lycanthropy: You had to get that exotic gene-edit, didn’t you? Best sign up for the Freak Fights to pay for the reversal.
Alignment change: Identity Function in the Tertius-Kazawa tower, the largest producer of personality chips in the world.
Death: A good ripperdoc might be able to bring you back if you get there fast enough, or get a cortical archive fitted, if you can find (or steal) one.
Undeath: A percentage of the urban poor in the townships believe in the undead, but it’s not a thing. Unless you count those who can afford to extend the lifespans…

Is there a magic guild my MU hacker belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells software? 

Try the Equation Troupe, if you can contact them. Or maybe the datasocialist collective will find you?

Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?

Most of the experts have money and security, safe behind the walls of PLEC-patrolled gated communities and habstacks. To reach them, you’ll need contacts amongst the fixer community. For a reasonable percentage, of course. Or contact Nana Dharma in the Devil’s Peak projects, her distribution seems to know everything.

Where can I hire mercenaries?

Militech and Arasaka are the world’s leading PMCs, but are probably way out of your budget. Echo International might give you good rates. Other than that, try the bars, there are plenty of solos looking for work. Tight budget? Hit up one of the thousands-strong gangs in the townships, but watch your back.

Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?

Most of the Municipal Policed Zones, gated communities and private estates. Here, Johnny Law is just itching for an excuse to put you down.

Which way to the nearest tavern?

There are bars and clubs to suit all tastes. Watcha in the mood for?

What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?

The best way to kill someone, or some thing, and get famous is to sign up for the Freak Fights on the Panama Rose. You might get rich too. Maybe.

Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

There’s an insurgency on the Namibian border and the PAU are ramping up Cold War activities in the Cape Republic. There’s also the coming Ghost War that just needs a spark. Mad AIs and their inhuman machinations, eh?

How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?

There are numerous illegal combat events, where augmented fighters are pitted against one another in cages, pits, parking lots and cellars, hidden in the decaying districts of the city. The most famous and with the best returns are the invitation only Freak Fights. Not sure about the glory though.

Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?

So many. There are Aleph agents embedded in Protocol, Father Ghost’s distribution teetering on civil war, the Flesh Cartels, the competing transnationals, Nana Dharma’s network…

What is there to eat around here?

There are restaurants and fast food joints aplenty, but a majority survive off kibble and SCOP (Single Cell Organic Protein), with the occasional treat of a baggy of piping-hot Sumo Noodles.

Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?

Executed war criminal N’kosa Mambi’s personality matrix contains a link to his orbital accounts, and the Aleph code could unlock the hidden net.

Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?

The Dragon is a combat helicopter, and as far as I know, it has no treasure. But it can bring the hurt.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Regarding Zak S

Many of you are probably aware that Zak Smith aka Zak Sabbath has been outed as an abuser.

See https://www.facebook.com/amandapatricianagy/posts/10215845527064252

I believe Mandy.

And some of you may be aware that Zak's work on Vornheim inspired me to write and publish the Augmented Reality city kit. I asked him for his permission at the time, to ensure he was okay with an unknown such as myself taking his ideas and extrapolating them into an imagined future. He gave me the green light, for which I was very grateful. Hence why I credited him in the book - it seemed only fair.

Things have now changed.

Please do not perceive the book credit in AR as condoning or supporting his vile behaviour. I am looking at replacing the relevant text as soon as I can. I do not endorse Zak or any of his works. His behaviour is unforgivable. He has lost my respect utterly.

With that in mind, I sent him this email Tuesday morning (12/02/19):

I received this in return:

To which I reiterated:

I'll now wait and see what he comes back with.

I am making this public so that Zak cannot claim that he had my support or permission to use my tables for his Demon City project. I doubt he would have included my name in the book anyway, and no money was ever offered, but I wanted to make sure nobody mistook me for a Zak ally. I am not.

I want to thank Mandy, Hannah and Jennifer (and now Vivka Grey*) for speaking up. It was exceptionally brave of them to do so. I certainly hope that, with the truth now being known, they can all recover from this horrific episode and start to heal.


NB: Comments now disabled due to zakpuppeting.

Friday, 25 January 2019


In my newly revisited Cape Point campaign, the players have been tasked with investigating a freelance media called Jacinda Walker. And what's the best way to find out a lot of meaningless detail about someone? Stalk them on social media.

As I didn't want to deal with multiple social sites, I envisaged a point in time where a major international data player, like Infocomp, would monopolise and monetise the social media game for their own ends. I took contemporary sites, such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram, and imagined a digital Frankenstein's monster of online echo chambers, vulnerable personal information, exposed net connections and virulent net advertising. I called this hideous chimera TRU.U.

TRU.U users create 'bubbles' for connections, work, hobbies, videos, and anything else they're in to. This gives lazy netrunners lots of dull, but possibly useful, information on a target. Pet names, favourite bands, family, friends, the kids, are all exposed and conveniently packaged for easy access. Probably the best way to ascertain someone's password EVAH.

Infocomp being the corporation it is, didn't go through multiple hostile takeovers and buyouts for nothing. The company uses TRU.U to monitor people; for personal data scrapes; to wage memetic warfare; to control PR; to engage in social engineering. Staging a coup and destabilising a central African nation? Contract Infocomp's analytics experts to disseminate your political message and publicly humiliate your opponents via TRU.U. Want to ensure a rapid take-up of the latest software update for this summer's Kiroshis? Talk to Infocomp's media marketing team and inundate users with targeted advertising. Control your brand message with bubbles. 

While many people acknowledge Infocomp's ownership of the TRU.U platform, the vast majority of users don't know or don't care. To keep them happy, anything goes on TRU.U; there are very few rules and only token moderation, and criminal activity is rife. Hire solos to knee-cap your boss, order a couple of grams of dorph, stalk your ex and her new partner, and swap aggressive memes about the latest season of My Two Clones, all from the comfort of your broken ass La-Z-Boy.

So, what will my players learn about Jacinda?

• Australian national
• 27 years old (born February 25th, 2003)
• Lots of self-recorded videos - mainly unimportant rants, gigs and social stuff (likes a drink) - last post was 2 days ago, missing Ellie
• Xhosa Trance fan, with a little Chip Hop and some old-school Angel Vision
• Big on social justice, has infosocialist leanings, anti-corruption, supporter of bioroid rights
• Vegetarian, anti-GMO
• Wheat intolerant
• Big fan of the Simsense & Sensibility reactive vidshow
• 83 friends, colleagues (assorted freelancers, correspondents and activists) and family members added to her bubble
• In a relationship with Eliza Myburgh, an admin/clerical worker at Biotechnica, for nearly two years
• In the care of a Trinity orphanage from 2013-2019, in Melbourne - was originally raised by parents on the family’s sheep farm

Will any of that be useful to them? Who knows? Maybe they should do some better research.

Anyone else have any thoughts on social media in Cyberpunk? Anything I've missed?

Leave me a comment below and I'll add you to my bubble.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

That's Entertainment | The Drug of the Nation [D10]

Here's another D10 table, detailing and expanding upon the vid show list from page 38 of the Augmented Reality city kit. I've fleshed out these 10 contemporary vid shows, and added associated plot hooks, for your viewing pleasure. Don't change that dial.

Roll a D10:

1. Implant Fixers - a popular and irreverently amusing reality show, where, each week, three kooky cybertechnicians attempt to fix or replace embarrassing failing implants for members of the public, from their pop-up clinic equipped throughout with cameras.

Hook: Someone the PCs are hunting down (heavily augmented) has signed up for a day at the Implant Fixer clinic. So, your target is now surrounded by cameras for the next 24 hours or so. The good news is they will, at some point, be anaesthetised and be very vulnerable. Have they put a contingency in place? And who knew THAT was a problem on the early Mr Studd® models?

2. Simsense & Sensibility - respected drama about love and virtue, staged in both the modern world and a lovingly-crafted virtual of the mid-19th century. The show is also reactive, with viewer-subscribers making plot proposals in realtime.

Hook: The PCs are hired by the production team who are having issues with a particularly mendacious troll, who keeps shitting-up the plot lines; ratings are tanking fast. They need you to trace the culprit and deal with them - trash their computer, destroy their television, kneecap them, whatever, but it cannot be known that the PCs are working for the show crew; it would be a PR nightmare the execs would never forgive. Turns out, the troll is someone dangerous and connected that the PCs already know.

3. Zone Runner Xtreme - contenders, on foot, battle to complete a course which snakes through some of the worst parts of the combat zone. Eye-in-the-sky camera drones follow the action, as competitors are picked off, one by one. Celebrity pundits provide commentary from the safety of a far-away studio.

Hook: A powerful corporate's eldest son has signed up for Zone Runner Xtreme. Obviously, said corporate is non too happy that his son and heir is putting this life at risk like this, for money he doesn't even need. Yet, the old man admires his drive. He wants the PCs to protect his son and help him to win (without him knowing), or, if things go badly, extract him from the zone. Alive. 

The trouble is, the corporate's rival knows the son is entering the competition (it's all over social media), and plans to send a team to grab him, for leverage.

4. Crash & Burn - promising and talented console jocks go head-to-head through a series of hacking challenges, cooked up by the production team, for big cash prizes. Filmed in front of a live studio audience, pop-up windows and big screen backdrops show the action, with an over stimulating layer of rapid-fire graphics and stats.

Hook: One of the latest Crash & Burn contestants recently turned over a corporate mainframe, and has been doxxed by the company IT team. The PCs are contracted to assassinate the hacker, before they win the cash and buy their way to a new identity. 

The studio has very tight security, as has the hotel the participants are staying in. Unknown to the PCs, contestants are shadowed by network security contractors and production crew, and are encouraged to keep a video diary for the duration, with sections being edited and inserted into the show; could be bad news if the hacker is doing a piece-to-camera when the team decide to strike.

5. My Two Clones - long-running sitcom, following the trials and tribulations of poorly-paid Zoom Corporation retail exec, Poppy Langmore, as she navigates a plethora of zany relationships (and shoots for a pay rise), whilst managing the unwelcome assistance of the two illegal clones her deceased father made of her. 

Hook: The actress who plays Ms. Langmore, Crystal Green, is a train wreck, and has a very expensive drug habit which the studio has enabled for far too long. Fortunately, her onscreen clones are ACTUAL non-consensual clones, and not actresses cut to look like her, as Crystal believes. 

The network want the PCs to smuggle a compliant and vat-fresh third clone into her secure penthouse apartment and eliminate Green - but the team must dispose of the body 'cleanly' (NB: a bodybank won't touch her ruined junkie ass). Problem is, the new clone is having a crisis of conscience, and has her heart set on getting Crystal the help she needs, or she won't play ball. And the real Crystal's narco-paranoia has led her to hire some of the best private security money can buy.

6. Atomic Geisha Dojo - body-perfect competitors face the challenges of the fearsome Dojo obstacle course, while fending off the stealth attacks of the cute-but-deadly Atomic Geishas; a string of brutal, demeaning endurance trials, disrupted by random acts of violence, played for laughs. 

Hook: The titular Atomic Geishas are unregistered synthetics manufactured by Ashoka Robotics in India, illegally brought into the country by a network of fixers, paid by the studio. Three of the units have violently escaped the studio during a routine maintenance cycle, and are at large in the city. The show's lead tech contracts the PCs to find them and bring them back, before it makes the news. She doesn't know if they planned to travel together or separately, but can give the PCs the frequency of their implanted RFID tags. The tech also warns the group that the Atomic Geisha's are hard-coded for cruelty.

7. Personality Adjustment - moving reality show which follows the difficult lives of six people undergoing chemical, psychological and virtual reconditioning, to mend a range of past traumas. Follow their stories, as they each embark on their own journey to a healthier self.

Hook: One of the lead psychologists working on the show is testing illegal personality chips on the participants. Legality and ethics aside, EBM would very much like to get their hands on those chips, and will pay the PCs handsomely for the doctor's bespoke suite of persona-altering chipware. Unfortunately, due to the sensitive nature of the show, and the importance the psych team have to the production, they are guarded by teams of close protection specialists contracted from Arasaka at all times (probably with extraction protocols written in to their deal). And EBM don't know which of the six psychologists is the one dicking with their patients.

8. The Clade - surreal CGI soap opera, focussing on the interwoven lives of the inhabitants of a downtown closed socio-economic franchise-state. Scripted and plotted by a specially-coded expert system, the show is renowned for it's sometimes amusing algorithmic glitches.

Hook: The PCs are asked to find Miles Davy, the original creator of The Clade series, by his estranged and very wealthy ex-wife, along with a cabal of production execs who believe only Davy's talent can turn the show into something great again. Miles, in a creative malaise, has been on a two week bar-crawling, whore-hopping, sofa-surfing odyssey around the city.

In reality, while the execs are genuine (!), the ex-wife is being blackmailed (she likes atrocity porn) by the show's now self-aware expert system into finding Miles so that he can be 'written out' permanently.

9. Fracture Point - classic buddy cop show, following two Organic Damage detectives, Jake Siegel and Rachel Wolffe, as they attempt to investigate the homicide-of-the-week, despite pervasive corporate interference and complex personal relationships. Popular reoccurring characters include Valentina-3, the wisest and most understanding of Seigel's sexbot harem, and Gunnar Wolffe, Rachel's full 'borg and veteran cop dad.

Hook: Fracture Point merchandising is a very lucrative business for the network, with everything from mugs and t-shirts, to v-games and even branded sexbots. The production team hire the PCs to track down the source of Valentina-3 counterfeits that have started showing up in the city, and to halt the operation. They're coming in from a factory in Venezuela, but the shipments are being intercepted by the triads in Florida. The 14K syndicate aren't keen to cease selling their sleazy knock-offs, and they laugh in the faces of your puny gweilo IP lawyers...

10. Alt Cult Zero - slightly judgey and slow moving documentary series following the ups and downs of a number of alternative subcultures, revealing their sometimes difficult interactions with a wider, but still fragmentary, society. Most of the footage is shot via cameras worn by those taking part, shining a realistic, but gonzo, spotlight on hypercurrent alternative lifestyles. Voiceover provided by a neural net encoded with the dulcet tones of Kelsey Grammer.

Hook: Peterson-15, a founding member of a misogynist bro-borg franchise involved in the show, was witness to a mafia shooting at a restaurant a few nights ago. The Family hit man that did the job remembers that the metal-head was loaded with body cams, and that there's probably incriminating footage. The local Don, brings in the PCs as an expendable neutral party and tasks them with taking out Peterson-15 and anyone he's with, and retrieving any footage from the night in question. Sadly, for the PCs, the bro-borgs' compound is well defended, as is Peterson, and the footage was uploaded to the production team's servers automatically.