Clades and Cultures

“In the transmission of human culture, people always attempt to replicate, to pass on to the next generation the skills and values of the parents, but the attempt always fails because cultural transmission is geared to learning, not DNA. "

Gregory Bateson

The world of Edgerunners is one that is connected by lightning-fast communications and the ever-present internet. Geographical boundaries no longer determine cultural ones. Instead, your social status or the clade you belong to are the most likley limits on your cultural familiarity.

The following Cultural Familiarities (B23) apply to the Edgerunners settings. The first four are based upon social class and are by far the most common. Those with only Clade-based Cultural Familiarities, and no class-based CF, should also take Social Stigma (Minority Group). Anyone with the appropriate clade-based CF (or Cultural Adaptability) is considered to be a part of this ‘minority group’, gaining the reaction bonus to others with the same clade-based CF.

Social Classes

Glitterati: The elite, the wunderkinds, they know which drugs are acceptable on the ski-slopes of Europe and which designer labels are “in” this week. Their culture is based around their shared status as the scions of the ultra-wealthy, born to power, but borrows from every corner of the globe. Everyone is so stratospherically well off that status games have very little meaning. If you’re Glitterati, you’re equally as golden as all the rest. Just be careful you don’t fall on some obscure point of ettiquette that’ll be out of fashion by next month – gossip is a spectator sport for this bunch.

Prole: The culture of the middle class is based around loyalty; to their corporation or other organisation and to each other. Their customs involve subtle interplays designed to fix people in a status heirarchy of management and of the size of their protecting organization. Don’t expect much in the way of artistic or fashion subtlety but do expect elaborate though understated small signs to personality and status displayed on what would otherwise be uniforms. Obedience to authority and traditional regional cultural forms have a good deal of significance for this group.

Dole: Dog eat dog, dude. The only way out is up or in a box and everyone knows it. Doles engage in elaborate insults and haggling as social interaction, enjoy wild fashions and listen to racy musical forms but have a “too posh for us” attitude to fine foods and arts they can’t afford as a defense mechanism against poverty. Loyalty? That’s for those who can afford it. Then again, being a rat or tattletale to the authorities will get you that trip in a box.

Zoner: “Culture? How do you spell that? nevermind, there’s no time we have to hussle dinner!” Life in the Zone is short, brutal and involves crushing poverty every horrible day. What little cultural fun there is comes from shared experience – stories, self-made music, “found” art and trashcan fashion. Zoners are Doles who don’t have the time or energy for even the smallest niceties. Day-to-day survival is the cultural imperative.


Nomad: No matter how much they have, Nomads all share a love of the open road, of movement rather than being tied to one place. Their cultural forms include decorated vehicles, self-made musical forms using natural instruments and elaborate “bardic” stories told my venerated individuals. Nomads revere their elders as repositories of knowledge and their children as hope for the future. They are usually passionate about nature and the environment. They tend to have a strong work ethic, loving work for the toughness it brings rather than material rewards. Nomad interactions are about politeness to avoid battles, about personal honor and affronts to it, about glory in honorable battle and above all about blood and tribal ties.

Victoriana: one of the largest clade groupings in existence centers around a nostalgia for the Victorian era, it’s customs and mores – but adds in modern technology suitably disguised as “steampunk” paraphanalia. Expect exaggerated versions of cultural paradigms from the mid-late 19th century.

Lo-Tech: A clade with the common theme of eschewing all cyberware, bioware and computer technology as a matter of principle. This culture is a lower class one and shares much with the Zoner culture but tends to be heavy on shamanic, natural/environmental and totemic tribal motifs.

Booster: The violent culture of gangs, primarily found in Dole and Zoner areas. Loyalty to the gang, criminal activities for the sheer joy of them, “counting coup” in inter-gang fights, obvious combat augments, tribal art, drug use and loud music are primary motifs. Sexism, public boasting, abusive behaviours and strict in-gang pecking orders inform all interactions.

Collective: A fairly common clade among Proles, less common elsewhere, this cultural group seeks to integrate it’s members into hive minds through technology. Collectivist decisions, identical appearances, a love of interlinked nervous system augments and transhumanist philosophies are common motifs.

Virtuallia: Another clade culture found mainly among Proles, this group spends all the time it can online in shared VR environments often with fantasy rules underlying the VRs. It’s cultural memes and customs are all aimed at the idea that the virtual life is the “real” life and where the mind can be free to create. Also known derogatively as “blue-pillers”.

Singularist: This culture is one that crosses all status barriers but is most common among the more-than-average wealthy, involved as it is in the embrace of technology for individual expression and the pursuit of a transhuman ideal. It stresses existential freedom of decision, and has strong prohibitions against imposing one path to transhumanism on its members.

Genemason: A clade for the wealthy, it strives to reach transhumanism through biotechnology rather than cyberware (which is looked down upon) but is in other respects quite similiar to the Singularist clade.

Traditionalist: This is a catch-all cultural clade in which the members are quite happy to embrace the modern technological era but otherwise hold on to religious or national customs and cultural forms from their religion, region or that of their ancestry. Traditionalists may have a wide variety of customs and cultural motifs but share a paradigm that says people should remember and uphold their roots. People who obviously haven’t done so may be discriminated against in various ways. There are multiple different Traditionalist clades, based upon different values – for example, Traditionalist: Catholicism or Traditionalist: Japanese.

Nihilist: The gothic culture of last century birthed this clade, which is about doom, gloom and the inability of humanity as a whole to transcend the mess it makes.

Militant: A culture that emphasizes “trust the state” motifs, most common in nations with despotic rule. It tends towards music and art that glorifies the state and collective hard work in service to that state. Customs include egalitarian sexual mores, heavy use of sanctioned drugs and respect for authority figures.

Clades and Cultures

Edgerunners Langy Langy