“All I’m trying to do is survive and make good out of the dirty, nasty, unbelievable lifestyle that they gave me.”

Tupac Shakur

“Everything has been figured out, except how to live.”

Jean Paul Sartre

People have never had as many lifestyle choices as they do in 2050, taken as a whole. Yet still those choices are constrained locally by access to wealth. Money still makes the world go around.


In the last few decades, the world has become more connected as the Net, fast methods of travel, increasing industrialization in the Third World and omnipresent media have shared ideas around across the globe. More people have access to mass media than ever before. Media devices including radios, TVs, computers, and mobile phones are easily affordable, and broadcast media like satellite and the Internet give access to unprecedented choice. The increasing ability to gather, store, and share information has made it easier to know about people, products, companies, and governments. Migration has altered both the lives of the people moving and the societies and regions receiving them, affecting language, social values, food, entertainment, and many other aspects of daily life. Thus the ability to produce and disseminate culture in its modern forms is rising in more places around the world. New centers of cultural power like India and China are ascending, driving the emergence of cultural multi-polarity. Cultural flows—the spread of ideas, media, products, brands, and lifestyles to new places—are increasing as the number of cultural poles rises and the world becomes more interconnected. Cultural flows expose consumers in both developed and developing markets to new ideas, products, and ways of thinking.

The other side of the coin is that all that connectivity and ease of access makes it even easier to push corporate brands and the corporate monoculture. Consumerism and monetization, basing an entire lifestyle on the acquisition of major brands, is particularly a problem in the massive urban centers where the bulk of the world’s population now live. Some cynics even suggest that corporate marketers deliberately create clique groups so that the can market more easily to those groups by defining their opposition to other groups. This gambit began in music marketing in the last few decades of the Twentieth century, when marketers successfully split punk from metal, rock from rap, goth from industrial and so on, allowing them to create false feuds to drive sales where before there had just been “music”.

And so, the world of 2050 is one where there is immense variation in lifestyle choices but where those choices are continually being taken away from the “edge” and made mainstream so that they can become just another brand-name commodity. Clique groups, known as “Clades” in a re-use of the term for groupings of animals with a common ancestor, abound especially in the urban sprawls of the mega cities. And quite often, members of those clades are more inclined to associate themselves and their tribal loyalty with their clade fellows than with family, nation or any other claim on that loyalty. Note that not all clades are gangs – but that all gangs and Nomad packs could be described as clades.

Clade Type Descriptions

“The cyberpunk lifestyle reads a whole lot better in fiction than as a lifestyle manifesto. Take it from someone who’s lived through it. Picture this: you’re a former drug dealer who has turned to hacking for a living. You’re crashing in an apartment a bit older than Texas, surrounded by about seventeen computers, sleeping on a futon with a girlfriend with metre-long purple dreadlocks, and planning your defection from one net-based futuristic corporation to another over Korean take-away food. It sounds like something out of an early story by William Gibson, but the reality is a whole lot less glamorous. I’ve been there; I speak from experience.”

Charles Stross

Below are some clade descriptions as a guide for clade creation. Most clades will combine two or more of these types. The descriptions are taken from Mockery’s Gang Generator for the Cyberpunk2020 game, which can be used to generate random clades should the GM wish.

Boosters: This is your standard cyberpunk street clade. Usual traits include random acts of violence and excessive cyberware installation, riding the “Edge” towards psychosis.

Music: Major music fans. Prone to idolization of their stars. Each clade tends to revolve around a specific band or star. Not usually violent (as compared to Boosters), but clade ethics are usually dictated by the attitudes of the worshipped band.

Combat Clade: These guys aren’t violent for the sake of violence — they just like to kick ass, preferably against willing opponents, though this isn’t always the case. Most often, they restrict weapons to “honorable” ones (ie, knives, etc) and are as likely to go toe-to-toe with boosters as another combat clade. Many street solos find their beginnings in combat clades.

Drug Clade: These lowlives buy, sell, and/or manufacture drugs. Sample groups might include anything from psychedellic cults spaced out on love, to violent meth-heads with dealers all over town.

Eco Clade: Environmentalists taken to the extreme. Also includes animal rights activists. Such claves use radical tactics to get their points across. They’re not all violent and mean (some just get together to go hiking), yet a good deal of the more publicized ones are no better than localized eco-terrorists.

Exotic Clade: Akin to poser clades, exotic clades lean towards the use of exotic biosculpts. Some clades use animals as a topic for self-expression, while others go for the truly weird (ie, Martians, mythical beasts, etc.).

Go-clades: These clades are mobile, whether they use motorcycles, BMX bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, etc. The go-clade category represents anything from a tight knit group of skaters to Yakuza-sponsored bosozoku, or hillbillies in monster trucks.

Guardian clades: These types of clades protect the weak from the tyranny of other clades, corporate forces, and law enforcement agencies. They aren’t always well-armed, preferring to utilize martial arts or handguns to get the job done. While usually scrupulous, they can sometimes lose sight of their goals and become no better than just another combat clade. Some actually extort money from the local citizens that they “protect”.

Netrunner clades: Yes, you’ve read that right. Staking out their turf within the confines of cyberspace, netrunner clades are almost exclusively Net-based. Most deal in the free distribution of data and code, though “free” doesn’t always mean that there is no cost. Other groups are software pirates, rogue programmers, or cyberspace “taggers”, using virtual graffitti to deface the Net‘s virtual reality.

Nihilist clades: Members of nihilist groups like to go out in a big bang. They believe that since death is inevitable, existence is futile. Therefore, they will go to great lengths to make their deaths as flashy and destructive as possible. While these clades have a great tendency for destruction, most don’t last very long since members are constantly dying.

Nostalgia clades: These guys are similar to posers, but without the extensive biosculpts. They try to keep the memories of an idealized past alive, fictional or otherwise. Some slick back their hair, dress like James Dean, and drive ’50’s muscle cars. Others dress like cowboys or wear medieval costumes and wave swords around. Mostly harmless.

Party clades: These guys want to have a good time, and are more than likely the hedonists of the clade world. They might be considered the “ravers” of the 21st century. Typically, they move as a group from party to party, or create their own decadence in a warehouse downtown, with or without permission. As recreational drug use is pretty common, most of the members burn out or O.D. eventually.

Political clades: These clades set a specific political standard or goal for themselves, be it fascism, communism, world peace, neo-luddism, etc. They just want to get their point across, even if you don’t want to hear it. While not normally violent, some groups have resorted to common terrorist tactics.

Poser clades: Poserclaves use extensive biosculpts to impersonate celebrities and/or characters from the past or present. Most clades revolve around a specific topic (dead presidents, serial murderers, etc.) or serial (“Gilligan’s Island”, “Hellraiser”, or the ever popular “Brady Bunch”). Members are typically brain-washed, and are expected to completely become their new persona.

Prank clades: These guys play jokes on people. Not everyone, however, will find their jokes amusing. Some jokes are downright dangerous to the victims involved, while others are mostly harmless.

Puppet clades: Specifically, puppet clades are corporate controlled and sponsored, usually secretly. Corporations use them to distribute experimental drugs, test new weapons, and to neutralize threats on the street. Genuine claves tend to hate puppets. Some puppet clades are supported so covertly that only the highest ranking members know who’s pulling their strings.

Racist clades: Any clade that advocates hatred of other races, cultures, and creeds, while maintaining the superiority of their own. Examples could include the famed “Black Panthers” or the more infamous “Nazi Skinheads”.

Taggers: Taggers are clades that use graffitti to “tag” or deface a location. Usually, this type of vandalism takes the form of the clade’s sign or initials painted or carved onto a surface that will be seen by a lot of people. In addition to stock taggers, there are also several groups who paint elaborate and striking murals on walls and sidewalks. Most building and business owners don’t take kindly to people defacing their property, and some taggers have taken to carrying weapons in addition to spray paint.

Theo-clades: Any clade that expresses any religious and/or “cultish” behavior is a theo-clade. These clades can include such diverse factions as the anti-cyberware neo-luddite “Inquisitors”, to right-wing Christian “fundies” who stand on street corners preaching the evils of role-playing games and planning midnight raids on 7-11 porno racks. Most groups attempt to spread their version of salvation peacefully (“Hari Krishna” clades come to mind), but others attempt to root out the heretics and force them to convert or die.

Uni-Sex clades: This includes any clade that expresses a sexual restriction on its members, such as exclusively male or female clades, for any number of reasons. These reasons include a core belief in the superiority of one sex over the other (ie, sexism, such as “The He-Man Woman-Hater’s Club” of Little Rascals fame), or a bias in the members’ sexual orientation (ie, an exclusively homosexual clade).


Edgerunners Langy Langy