K Yani @ 2019-10-05 16:31:55
I wonder is there a cyberpunk fantasy setting that is not like slightly changed Shadowrun? To clarify, urban fantasy (Dresden Files, Urban Arcana, arguably stretching into new World of Darkness) and space fantasy (Fading Suns, Destiny, Dragonstar, Starfinder, Numenera, Star Wars) are aplenty - I am looking specifically for cyberpunk, that is semi-dystopian future both far and near enough not to be either contemporary or too far away. Fantasy assumes some kind of magic and somewhat traditional kinds of various fantasy people. I'd be grateful for any references (RPG, videogames, literature)
Chris Mennell @ 2019-10-06 01:40:58
Hi K! The only thing I can think of is Scrap’s Cyberpunk setting, Noofutra, which we currently have in development. I know that doesn’t help you right now, but hopefully we’ll ha e it out soon!
K Yani @ 2019-10-06 14:09:16
Hello, Christopher It would be nice to see it, because currently I literally cannot think of any CP Fantasy setting that isn't slightly changed Shadowrun. It is such a small niche and Shadowrun occupies it very tightly, from what I see.
Chris Mennell @ 2019-10-06 17:08:34
Also, is Vurt too close to Shadowrun?
K Yani @ 2019-10-06 19:34:41
I don't know, didn't read the Vurt yet.
Roger Giner-Sorolla @ 2019-10-10 22:44:44
oh yeah Vurt is hot stuff! There's also quite a bit of cyberpunk out there with a Near Eastern setting. G. Willow Wilson's Alif the Unseen, Pashazade by Grimwood, etc.
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-10-11 12:58:27
@K yani - I always liked / preferred cyberpunk 2020 (or GURPS Cyberpunk) over shadowrun. I played in some games of shadowrun that I enjoyed, but only a few, because it was with friends, and that is the main reason I enjoyed it. When Gravity Fails was an interesting read (the book) but have not played the rpg supplement. No-one in my rpg groups liked cyberpunk much it seams. 8-(. However, there is some cyberpunk in the Cepheus (an OGL version of Mongoose Traveller 1e) space - Zaibatsu. I quite like a lot of the stuff from zozer games, they have a good take (from the materials I’ve read) of retro SF/cyberpunk. I like Hostile and other supplements for their take on doing Alien / Aliens in a traveller style game system. But, there isn’t a fantasy element there, if you’re thinking “fantasy” as in “magic and elves and whatnot”. I actually think Into the Odd offers a lot of potential here. People have hacked it to do SF and Cyberpunk stuff. What do you want, exactly. Just “real world” cyberpunk (if that makes sense) - or something with a fantasy element, e.g. magic or something, that isn’t just some faux DnD knock off with cyberpunk elves and orks.... The newest thing I’ve seen that might go that ‘cyberpunk way’ is Mothership. It is SF. It is horror - so there is (from various discussions I’ve seen of it) room for a more fantastic twist on things. It doesn’t go into ‘hacking’ etc like a lot of cyberpunk rpg stuff seems to obsess on - that isn’t the main essence of cyberpunk to me. I always though Alien 3 made the first three Alien movies a ‘cyberpunk trilogy’ for example - because of the a) dystopian world/universe presentation, and b) the pre-eminent role of the corporation *above* that of the nation state. Computer hacking (to me, IMO) is a minor part of cyberpunk. YMMV.
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-10-11 13:20:46
@k yani - after reading your post a little more carefully - I don’t know of any cyberpunk fantasy, no. But, for urban fantasy, there is a lot of stuff by Charles de Lint that I quite liked, set in the modern world. I don’t think it is too hard to add cyberpunk elements to a lot of modern world stuff, so that may be a useful set of fantasy to look at. It certainly isn’t shadowrun. I also stopped reading anything cyberpunk for quite a while after realising, while reading “Dogs of War” by Frederick Forsythe, that a lot of cyberpunk was just “Dogs of War” or “The Wild Geese” or other such modern day thrillers with a bit more attitude, a touch more dystopia, and some high tech Sf “chrome”. So, if you’re looking for materials to construct a setting, deconstructing some modern thrillers, some urban fantasy, and some cyberpunk & SF (old and new) should get you there. A bit of work, probably. Otherwise, I’ve not read a lot of SF/cyberpunk the last 10+ years (and what I have read was mostly Alastair Reynold’s “revelation space”). As a possibility, just maybe: try Charles Stross and his “laundry files” stuff. It is more modern day espionage MI5/6 meets Cthulhu, but yet, ...maybe? I dunno.
K Yani @ 2019-10-12 02:15:44
Roger Giner-Sorolla and Alistair Langsford, thank you both for recommendations Alistair Langsford, yes, I am just looking for cyberpunk with magic and elves that isn't just Shadowrun. I am just finding it odd, if this is true, that there is a lot of various urban fantasy (just before) and science fantasy (just after) this genre, and yet, Shadowrun seems to sit as an uncontested and only master of cyberpunk fantasy ever made. In any other genre you have tens, if not hundreds various example - games, literature, people's own settings or hacks. but why Shadowrun is the only cyberpunk fantasy ever made?
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-10-12 12:52:57
Yes, it is strange. I think one SR is enough. Not a great fan of it. But, there could have been other takes. The closest I’ve seen is perhaps Esoteric Enterprises. It is a bit gritty, film-noirish with fantasy elements. And I think GURPS has some not quite trad cyberpunk stuff. I used to be a big fan of gurps but 15+ years of mostly running Over the Edge and Traveller have skewed my preferences and patience levels back to simpler systems. If I were doing a pseudo modern urban fantasy cyberpunk I think I’d start with Esoteric Enterprises. But, there were fantasy (well, ‘alternate reality’ supplements for Cyberpunk 2020 I’ve just remembered: check “NIgths Edge” from Dream Pod 9. They have other ‘alternate reality’ stuff with supernatural/fantastic themes.
K Yani @ 2019-10-12 13:05:08
Alistair Langsford, thank you, I will look it up. Esoteric Enterprises struck me more like urban fantasy, not that much of CP.
K Yani @ 2019-10-12 17:06:01
P.S. but it might be a basis for CP version.
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-10-13 00:25:26
What do you see as the elements of cyberpunk? I personally don’t think computer hacking is that great a part: it is important, but I believe you can have cyberpunk without hacking at all. As an idea, you might also want to look at Zaibatsu from Zozer games. It is a retro cyberpunk game. Not fantasy, but while it is for Cepheus Engine and other 2d6 SF games (so, you could use/adapt it for Traveller), Zozer also have a supplement for Cepheus called Fast Magic. They also have supplements for handling melee weapons and archaic firearms in more detail: so, you could use these 2d6 rules for normal modern day, or historical, or fantasy (but you always could, really...you just had to be unafraid to hack the rules to your needs). There are a few DnD conversions for Traveller out there, so there are tools and ideas you could use to make Zaibatsu include fantasy elements. Personally, I’d look at Maze Rats for ideas for adding more fantastic elements in. Or, a game that has just come out on DTRPG as PWYW - Dungeon Gits. An entertaining (IMO) 6 page 2d6 game that has some good ideas. Lastly, I’d agree EE is more urban fantasy, but I don’t think it would take much to tweak it to be Cyberpunk.
K Yani @ 2019-10-13 12:10:11
I will look on Zaibatsu, thank you. I am curious, in general, not as much about mechanics (I can make my own CP + fantasy on pretty much any system, with some help from CP books on specific subsystems) but about the setting. This whole line of thought started when I realized we don't have anything else in CP fantasy beside Shadowrun and it wondered me why there is nothing _different_ in this genre than Shadowrun, while both urban fantasy and space fantasy have some very drastically different settings. (Also I wanted to write Shadow Warrior (remake + sequel) mini setting and this can only be CP fantasy.) >What do you see as the elements of cyberpunk? Technology of the near future (could be bio-technology, not necessary cyber) invasively dominates still-recognizable world. Generally s**tty world because of that. Power is out of hands of most of the people, with few powerful ones (corporations, tyrants) ruling pretty much everything, behind the scenes or even openly. Humanity is becoming statistics, valuable more as a data. Transhumanism is impending but is impeded by the ones who are in power out of greed and fear. Mainstream culture is oriented on appeal and BuyBuyBuy (there is an brilliant article from https://bottomlesssarcophagus.blogspot.com/2019/10/settinggame-concept-revanescence.html, which struck the cord with me). Past is either forgotten, (in)voluntarily discarded or is a seen as a burden designated to be demolished. There is nowhere else to go.
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-10-14 04:22:17
@kyani - That is a good workable definition of cyberpunk. I also found a good definition in wikipedia. I mentioned Zaibatsu not because of the rules, but because I thought it delineated its setting well. That plus CP 2020’s setting would be a good contrast. It helps that I don’t find 2d6 mechanics too difficult to port into CP 2020s d10 mechanics - or vice versa. I guess you probably mean the video game Shadow Warrior rather than the Japanese move Kagemusha (which was my first thought). However, the movie has a plot worthy of a cyberpunk story (and many another genre).
K Yani @ 2019-10-14 12:45:27
Yes, I meant video game Shadow Warrior (remake + sequel). I think it may provide a viable alternative to Shadowrun, even if on lighter side of "cyberpunk" part of it. What do you mean by "delineating setting' in Zaibatsu, if I may ask?
Adam Thornton @ 2019-10-14 22:27:38
OK, so you've told us what you mean by cyberpunk. Now: fantasy. Traditional humanoid Tolkienian races? Magic? If the first, then how is that not just an exaggeration of a cultural mashup like you have in any big cosmopolitan city? If the second then you have the difficult task of explaining why the world still works like it does in the first half of the 21st century. I mean *I* think part of the problem with Cyberpunk is that we're _living_ in that Cyberpunk dystopia now and it's not got nearly as much chrome and neon as we had imagined. But when Peter Thiel is _literally a vampire_ it's hard to argue the fantasy bits aren't real too.
K Yani @ 2019-10-15 12:54:21
@Adam Thornton Fantasy is much more difficult to define for me. Probably something like that: High degree of personal freedom and, potentially, power, pre-/deglobalized world, generally less s***ty world (CP fantasy is lighter in tone than just CP), the local power holders that can be held personally accountable (and/or murdered) by few anarchist individuals (PCs); there are places to escape to and the focus is generally outward, to parts of the world that aren't fully explored (being it a genuine new land Goddess of Earth and God of Sky just birthed or Columbian 'discovery' of cultures out of mainstream civilization). Various other fantasy people and magic (although they are, on reflection, are the same as cyborgs and nethacking - aesthetics more than the principle). Impeded or fully arrested scientific development (scientific method just doesn't fully work) as narrative can take over the laws of physics. The layer of past history that is useful and vital to the present. If cyberpunk has no past and barely have any future (usually sliding into either SF or post-apocalypse) fantasy has all the past but barely any future, mood-wise. Several dimentions people usually know about but don't/cannot pragmatically control. >If the first, then how is that not just an exaggeration of a cultural mashup like you have in any big cosmopolitan city? Because in fantasy not everybody lives in a big cosmopolitan city and most cultures don't mash up? In 'Babylon-17', there was a generally SF setting where cyberimplants weren't so much limb/organ augmentation but cosmetics, kind of like tattoos today, and few people cosmosurgened themselves to look like fantastic beasts. It isn't much of a stretch to say that in CP people can cosmetically turn themselves into elves and dwarves. And if to speak abstractly, yes, I don't think there is that much difference between a lot of elves and an idealization of white power elite with glamorous lifestyle because I think that all monsters are, at their core, are what humans desire and fear. I think in fantasy the difference is that there is a sense of history behind such elves, something more than just them being reflection of our lives. >If the second then you have the difficult task of explaining why the world still works like it does in the first half of the 21st century. I don't think I want the exact world that works like the world does in the first half of 21st century; my foundation in 'Shadow Warrior' videogames already moves it into 'not real history' territory, because 'Shadow Warrior' was is a pastiche/homage of old action movies. Recently I found little setting called Neopunk Crisis, which is kind of retro/anime vision of cyberpunk from 80s, deliberately outdated by our current time. I think it is a good foundation to start with, where more contemporary things can be added as needed. >But when Peter Thiel is _literally a vampire_ it's hard to argue the fantasy bits aren't real too. Clark's third law? Is he the guy behind all of those 'become a vampire' spam?
K Yani @ 2019-10-15 13:00:54
(*all monsters and fantasy people are what humans desire and fear)
Alistair Langsford @ 2019-10-15 13:03:48
@KYani - perhaps describe would have been a better word than delineate. Zaibatsu is set in Tokyo. It is as much the setting as it is a ruleset, and quite a different vibe from CP2020. So if I were going to introduce fantasy elements, I’d be looking at more asian source material for inspiration rather than dropping orks and elves there. If I were using CP 2020 I’d not drop orks and elves there either. I’d probably look more to writers like Charles de Lint, or perhaps Neil Gaiman’s ideas in American Gods.
K Yani @ 2019-10-15 13:10:34
> So if I were going to introduce fantasy elements, I’d be looking at more asian source material for inspiration rather than dropping orks and elves there. That is what I am hoping to do with Shadow Warrior-esque. My concern is to be inappropriate and callous about the culture(s) I know mostly from anime, mythology and movies.
Adam Thornton @ 2019-10-16 02:31:15
Peter Thiel: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/08/peter-thiel-wants-to-inject-himself-with-young-peoples-blood
K Yani @ 2019-10-16 20:44:49
I see. I do still wonder if all those 'become a powerful vampire' spam was inspired by this. Timing-wise I don't recall vampire spam before 2017.
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