This post is the last of the preview posts, which describes the five design principles I had in mind when I wrote Reboot the Future, Deep setting info you can ignore if you want
The overall theme of Reboot is that everything is information. Literally in the form that the Universe that the characters exist in is at its root pure Information. Information is the treasure that the players seek to gain power and advance their characters.
Reboot the Future works on three levels of information. In a way, these are three information Worlds that coexist with one another, feeding into each other, but to the players may appear completely exclusive. One of the setting’s great “Wow” moments should be the realisation that all three information levels are linked. If you are playing a Closed game where the Game Moderator has set up the setting in private, and the players have not realised this, make sure you don’t give the game away and let them work it out for themselves.
So here are the three levels of information.
- Level 1: Cyberpunks are Go! This is the standard reality of the cyberpunk, dealing with day to day stuff, and perhaps seeing how the corperations or some shady crime boss is manipulating the situation. But at this level the cyberpunks resolve the matter and live with the consquences and move on.
- Level 2: Pushing the Hidden Agenda further. Here the curtain between everyday life the deeper world of the conspiracies behind the facade, starts to twitch quite heavily. Suddenly things are not so straight forward. The characters have to make firm choices, make thier own peace with the awful truths they discover, or be prepared to dig even deeper.
- Level 3: Everything you know is wrong. This is where the final causes of the conspiracies are revealed, hidden behind layers of disinformation. This is where things really get weird, like in the Matrix series of films. There’s also a large dash of Ufology (well the game is set in space) at this level, that some players may not take to. I had a group where I had guided them thorugh levels 1 and 2 in a short story arc, but when I suggested we move the game up to level 3, and tour the Consortium in the UFO they had just discovered, they respectfully declined and we stayed at level 2 and finished the story arc naturually shortly after.
I like the 3 levels idea. I’ve always felt that a future corporate dystopia would make a great setting for some kind of “techgnostic” horror like the New World of Darkness/Chronicles of Darkness/God Machine Chronicle from Onyx Path.