Cyberpunk, Street Level, Mystery, Heist
Within the walled city social circles are armor. The life and times of who you trust determines if you’ll get a knife in the back or a warning of an incoming threat. Pay your dues, support the street, and the street will give back to you.
ARe U In?
It’s a hard hack of the Aug Visors. A smart network that looks up profiles, addresses, and cross checks them against known and current moods. The algorithm was made by the kids over at unit 5f-Under H, and a couple of the minders toss them creds to keep it up to date. It’s a little friendly detector; lets us know who’s level with the street and who’s an outsider at a glance. If you want in, you gotta get our votes.
Now the read is this: once a week it flushes the numbers. The movers on the network send out a list of folks they’re speakers for. Related folks get random up down votes on ’em. Folks like ya, they’re gonna up you. Deal shit and they’ll out you. Too many outs and the network bans you. Puts a mark on ya that lets everyone know you’ve been dumped hard. People around might still do business with you, but they won’t think you’re safe. They won’t cut you a deal. They won’t trust you.
Let me do an introduction, let you meet a few folks. Be kind and you’ll get the vouches. If you’re just here for a bit of work you’ll fade from the votes, and just get deleted from the network rather than banned. Cause trouble and every face you meet today is going to turn against you for the rest of your days. You’ll not be forgotten.
So, are you in?
Fitting ARe U In? In
The software is an opt in hack the locals use to track their social connections. It’s a reputation system that reflects how people treat each and the community’s general opinion of them. It’s a tool the players can use to track if they’re causing waves or if they’re doing right by the npcs around them. It’s also a way to learn who the community’s enemies are. On a micro scale campaign focused on working within a small section of a city, the tech works for an in-character way of tracking where players stand. On a macro scale campaign, versions of the software can allow players to track their progress throughout a city. When used on that scale, let players see the overall opinions of them based on groups, not individuals.
The way the rumors go, the higher ups want the block. We’ve seen it before, a block gets big, gets organized, gets efficient and socially strong. It scares the big kids up on the hill. They want to slap down the ant pile before it becomes a problem. It unravels the network, it unravels social circles, it frees up block space for new projects and lets them take a firmer grip on the whole toy chest.
It always starts bigger than you’d think. Move a ton of folks from the various blocks into the offending block. Most of these folks are outsiders to the inner collective; not loyalist, troublemakers like known thieves, violent folk, folk that need help more than they need judgement. Seed that group with a couple of smart loyalists and let them work for a month or two. Needle in the social structures, find out what makes the group work, and then twist it. Break it. Make sure the walls of trust crumble down like so much hate.
And then the violence starts. And then the the big guys step in. They’re “quelling the bad” after all. They’re “helping.” Then they have one of their little thorns do something really stupid. Sometimes it’s a bomb, sometimes it’s an assassination, sometimes it’s a health panic. Just something big that justifies to all the other blocks why the big boys had to come in and knock heads to break up the band.
It’s coming. You can feel it. What can your gang do to help stop it? Or are you one of the worms helping to set all this up?
Fitting Block Deconstruction In
The undermining of a community through unrest and breaking of social bonds is a powerful and delicate scenario for players to be involved with. Using this scenario in a game, players can be situated on both sides of the fence. If they’re working with the target of the Deconstruction, they’re running a mystery game attempting to root out the dark elements in a community before their plans come into play. Players have to be careful as not to tip the scales of the conflict too far or they’ll act like a catalyst for the hammer to fall. If they’re the executioners of the plan, then they’re running a heist as they put into position different tools to break a community, but they have to careful as not to over play their hand and get caught before the hammer falls. It’s a delicate game of risk and reward, and both scenarios offer a lot of potential to the plotter style of gamers.
Wall Sentry Ortica
Minding the walls between the blocks isn’t easy. Station runs, wall miners, saboteurs, they all dig at the job, dig at the place, dig at what makes Ortica alive. The walls are more than just steel and concrete. They’re slotting with living residents that have been bio-engineered to protect the borders between the blocks. These wall sentries are human in their base DNA but their augmentation allows them to traverse the walls with ease, to hear vibrations between it’s sections, to know when it’s been hurt or pierced. The sentries are, in many walls, the living antibodies of the wall.
Wall Sentry Ortica is no exception to this. Once a down and out smuggler, he was caught on his fifth run across the blockade between section 5f and 4f. It was a stupid mistake, but it cost him freedom as the wall sentries closed in on his heartbeat. They ripped him apart. Limbs, organs, they all went quick as the sentries slashed at the intruder. But the sentries that found him were smart, they knew they’d found someone who wasn’t going to be a messy fight. They found someone they could save enough of to replace one of their own. Where the wall sentries do their surgery, no one knows except them. Ortica never had a chance to object before they changed out everything had made him human, and made him into them.
But unlike the others, Ortica remembers. He knows what he was. He knows who his friends were. He recognizes. They say if you know the old codes, he’ll let you through. He’ll delay the others. But don’t play him too much. He’s got to appear in line with the other sentries. He’s got to protect himself, because he doesn’t want to find out what the sentries do to those who don’t protect the wall.
Fitting Wall Sentry Ortica In
The Wall Sentries are dangerous creatures meant to protect the barriers between the blocks. They’re deadly, violent, and unforgiving. Most don’t remember who and what they were, but every now and then there’s an exception. Ortica is one such man. Laying clues about his existence will help the players getting past the border, but make sure to stress not to overplay their hand. Ortica has to protect himself, and those who use his goodwill also want to keep him safe. He’s an expensive fast pass, and he shouldn’t be used often.
Using City Block 5f-4
The Whole Block
The City Block 5f-4 scenario is a powder keg of social unrest. The block is finally getting structured into a recent community after the last Block Deconstruction here a few years back. The ARe U In? protocols are starting to worry the higher ups of the city, and now they’re sending in agents to try and push the culture down before they infect another block. So far, the Wall Sentries have done a good job of purging attempts to smuggle ARe U In? into other blocks, but it’s only a matter of time until someone finds the right route to spread the tool. The higher ups can’t let that happen. The Block Decon must happen now.
The players role in this scenario can vary between simple smugglers tossed into heavy events, city agents attempting to dismantle the block, or insurgents as part of the 5f-4 block organization. Danger and suspense should underlie as much of the events as possible during the team’s time in City Block 5f-4, even if the players attempt to avoid the conflict. At some point, you may even need to force their hand by having one of the factions decide that the players are their enemies. The scenario is representative of a lot of scenarios in RPGs, and reflects any large power attempting to keep control of smaller organizations within their realm. Play with them and see how far you can push the characters’ morality and willingness to see NPCs as people with desperate needs of survival.