Friday, July 04, 2008

Not Post-Apocalyptic, It Was Actually Cyberpunk

Huh. So, I always thought of my first campaign as post-apocalyptic, in genre. Then noisms comes along with a new and exciting definition --
But cyberpunk was always about more than that, at root - its heart has always been in what Bruce Sterling called "the victims of the New"; the people who the Brave New World of the Future has left confused, damaged and trodden underfoot. From our perspective in the new millenium, what are the kind of things that will make people into outsiders, rebels, dropouts and scumbags, and what will those people - the ones with the pizazz to do anything, that is - be directing their rage against?

-- and I realize, no, it was cyberpunk.

Post-apocalypse never really worked, anyway. It had some elements of that, but it also had this whole techno-city-biz thing going on next to that, and the point was the conflict between the post-apocalyptic part and the shiny happy capitalism part. Cyberpunk.

Armed with this knowledge, I might go back and run another cyberpunk game some day. Using a setting built off of what I used for that original campaign, but making significantly more sense now that I have a better idea of what it's about. (That'll help with the novels I keep trying to write about it, too. A lot.)

One thing I know I'd change would be to add a lot more genetech to it. Gene manipulation, out of control retro-viruses, some kind of GM ecological disaster. In the real world, as a general rule, I think GM crops and gene therapy and so on are a good thing. But I like the themes their mis-use suggests, especially for a game. Lets me give people mutant powers and fun things like that. Out of control technology, generally, is something I'd like to play with; robots run amok and people buying military hardware off the street.

Unfortunately, I've got a lot of other games I'd like to run, so this may sit on the back-burner for a while. And I don't know what system I'd use -- I love d20 Modern, and I have both it and Future, but the equipment lists aren't that great, and I don't know that it handles genetech abilities that well. GURPS would be better in both those areas, but I'd actually have to send in my core books to get replaced (bad first 4th edition printing) and I'd want to get a couple other books. And while I like GURPS, I've never had that much success actually playing it.


  1. I've never had much success with GURPS either, for some reason. I suspect it's because I haven't devoted enough time to it - it seems like one of those games that you have to be a Big Fan of, whereupon you get this revelation about how to make it really work. Whereas dabblers just think, "I don't get it."

  2. I really want to like GURPS. I like reading the books, and I had fun in the game a friend ran last summer. But for me, it will always be the game that inspired my adolescent "D&D sucks!" stage. That was not a good part of my gamer career.

    I still like the system, for all the reasons I first got into it. And I'd do a better job now, with a better idea of what's interesting in an RPG and how to gear a game towards that, rather than all the myriad things that can be done in a GURPS game. But the two most terrible games I have ever run both used the system, and I'm not sure it will ever escape that.