“I used to think that cyberspace was fifty years away. What I thought was fifty years away, was only ten years away. And what I thought was ten years away… it was already here. I just wasn’t aware of it yet.”
Impending world economic collapse brought on by greedy corporate fat-cats who it seems will never see the inside of a jail no matter what they do. Impending societal collapse catalyzed by that economic breakdown and only to be worsened by increasing global climate change, which will cause war, famine and disease on a truly global scale. Superpowers that aren’t super at anything anymore except bombing brown people and warrantless watching of their own citizens, run by politicians that in any case are all in the pockets of those corporate financiers.
The majority of people now earning below the “average” wage, which is only average because the billionaires skew the statistics – worldwide, that 1% own 99% of everything. Peak “cheap” oil heralding the end of the capitalist lifestyle for the 99% who own only 1% of the wealth, but the fat cats still want to wring the last red cent out of an obsolescent energy policy. Riots and revolutions by the disenfranchised, the disenchanted, against the elite – everywhere from Cairo to New York.
Sound familiar? It should. That’s the modern age, but it’s also pure cyberpunk. It’s as if the 1980s pioneers of the genre got the motifs right, but were off on the timeline by about thirty years.
That’s the starting point for this new imagining of cyberpunk for the GURPS 4th edition rules. In this dystopic setting Japan and Europe are just as much in the hole as America, cellphones aren’t the size of house bricks and the Net is for everyone. But other than that, this dystopic future looks a lot like the one imagined by the likes of Gibson, Sterling and Stephenson. Some inner city areas are combat zones filled with crime and poverty, the corporate elite rule the world from their glittering towers, and the foolish or brave few try to change their lives or the course of history. We’ll call those few Edgerunners.
The Corporations control the world from their skyscrapers, enforcing their rule with private cyborg assassins and insider deals at every level for politicos and police. The world economy has crumbled while global warming and environmental pollution have made many places, including large chunks of America, uninhabitable. On the streets, Boostergangs roam a shattered urban wilderness, killing and looting. In the hottest clubs and sleaziest bars it’s a perpetual party, as fashion-model beautiful techies rub biosculpt jobs with battle armoured roadwarriors. The Future never looked so bad.
But you can change it.
You’ve got interface plugs in your wrists, weapons in your arms, HUD targeting in your eyes, bio-chip programs screaming in your brain. You’re wired-in, cyberenhanced, bio-boosted and solid state as you take it to the fatal Edge where only the toughest and coolest can go. It’s dark, it’s raining – and you’re wearing shades, because looking good while you do your thing is almost as important as doing it.
Edgerunners is a setting for role-playing in a dark near future, packed with cutting edge technology and intense urban action. It deals with the horror of humanity mingled with machinery and the fear of what the machine society has become; with the greedy corporations that rule the cities and the corruption within; with just surviving on the Edge.
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