Monday, 18 January 2016

Electronic Criminal Hazards

This is the follow up to yesterday's electronic hazards table, covering all manner of electronic crimes to assail the players with as they traverse the mean city. 

This table was a lot of fun to write, and I think it shows. That said, it's tonally all over the place, ranging between inconsequential and funny to completely horrible or game changing. I'm still experimenting with all this!


1. Contactless Pickpocket: a pickpocket is scanning people's commlinks and contactless cards to extract money from their accounts. Characters with legal tender must make electronic security tests to avoid losing their personal data.

2. Personalised Trolling Drones: a local hate group has fabricated some cheap toy drones with speakers to follow the targets of their ire around and scream abuse at them. There is a 70% chance they have access to a public SIN database and are calling out the character by her (official) name.

There is a 30% chance that the drone is carrying balloons of yellow paint, skunk gas or urine to further harass their victims.

3. Gargoyle: a spook covered in surveillance gear is wondering the streets hoovering up passing data and selling it to information brokers. She will sell their locational information to a rival or record their conversations for sale on the open market.

4. Blackmailer: an electronic blackmailer is covertly monitoring the players through a variety of different means. She will target the most vulnerable player character for extortion, most likely threatening to pass their information to the paycops.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Electronic Environmental Hazards

It's been a long time!

( further comment...)

In the time I was away, my hobby time (such as it was) was mainly taken up with D&D of various sorts. In particular, my friend's Beyond the Grid campaign really opened my eyes to the uses and abuses of random encounter tables in ways I hadn't ever considered before. 

I've been experimenting.

I've wanted to do a table full of electronic hazards for a while now, covering everything from contactless pickpockets to AR vandalism to suburban geo-fencing.

This table was originally a D30 table covering all of the above. By the time I finished the process, I'd realised that the environmental hazard and the human hazard tables really had different potential uses. So I've split them up into two different D20 tables. You get an extra ten entries for your nu-buck! Well, you would if you were paying a nu-buck. 

This post contains the Electronic Environmental Hazards table, covering all sorts of spam zones, wireless outages, electronic fortresses and scary advertising systems. It could be so much longer! The Electronic Criminal Hazards table is finished but will be posted in a day or two because I'm a tease like that. 

One of the reasons I separated the two tables is because I realised how much potential the environmental hazards had for really, really interfering in surveillance, chases and casing targets. I think that would be the best time to roll on this table!

Quite a lot of this post was inspired by this BLDGBLOG blog post and several books about "fortress urbanism." I really do recommend reading Mike Davis' City of Quartz for anyone developing a cyberpunk setting, and not just because it was credited in the back of William Gibson's Virtual Light.

Two final notes - my view of a city is clearly inspired by London, where you can turn a corner and be in a completely different environment. The increasing privatisation of streets and gated communities reinforces this even further, when you can enter a shopping street with different effective laws to the rest of the city.

The other thing: sometimes these events might seem inappropriate to certain parts of the city. Just remember that surveillance gear is cheap (cheap enough that I know a low income single mum who uses a camera to check on her kids when she's at work...). Acoustic gun-fire sensors might surround any church or cinema. A syndicate might have installed hidden geo-fences to confuse the police. A poor neighbourhood dominated by a pious minority is just as likely to have a morality enforcement system as a preppy gated community (and so on).