2099 is a fast and loose cyberpunk using Fudge as a base set of rules and my own "and Bake for 15 Minutes" rules subset for character creation and phrase resolution.It attempts to deal with the issues often brought up by technological overload (which tends to get simplified for obvious reasons) by making the character a "whole" being in which any sort of augmentation is more or less figured into the final product.
It adds a "skeletal" world, a system of "modifications" (called Mods) to represent augmentations or other cybernetic reworks, and adds a Strength/Weakness system. It does not go into great details about the world, since a huge number of details, in my experience, generally limits the outcome. Suffice it say that more and more detail will crop up as game play takes place and some of that extra detail will be posted somewhere on this website.
Characters are, most likely, citizens in the Free-Technology States of America (generally called "footsa" by its people). They can either be half-citizens ("halfers") who merely live in the boundaries and obey its laws, or full-citizens ("citzies") who have actually submitted a working patent to the Bureau for the Advancement of Technology (Human) (or, of course, BATH). Don't worry, BATH does not retain your patent, it merely takes 15% of its value in taxes and grants citzy status for three to seven years.
Citzies pay no income tax (only taxed on what they sell), are granted a full ration of Ethanol, are given accounts to use the FTSA Network (as opposed to using the "free for everyone", but restricted and half-broken, FreeNet), are allowed to open up a stall in the market place, and, most importantly, can actually go to FTSA certified bars (as opposed to numerous "home grown" establishments that might not be good for your health). This "liquor license" is mostly just a way for the government to sucker people in. Of course, since most citzies sell their liquor license, as well as some of their ethanol and their stall permit, most citzies are just people with no income tax and some extra spending money. Which the government does not mind. They are not out to control you, just to keep things runny somewhat smoothly.
FTSA occupies the South-Eastern portion of what was once the United States. There are six states part of it: Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky. South Carolina dissolved its borders into the World Union only a few months previous, and is still something of a sore subject.
By 2050 or so, 98% of the world's oil fields were used up. Of course, since most major countries (and many minor ones) had been stockpiling the stuff for 70 years, there was probably more currently above ground in barrels that had ever been used. No one wanted to touch their stockpiles, though, and so prices kept going up and up. About this time, the USA entered into ethanol production negotiations with Mexico, Brazil and several other American countries. Of course, Petrol-addicted Billionaires could not risk their investment (after several decades) going to waste and began to spread a good deal of FUD ("fudged" up data...pun intended) that America was planning on dominating the world.
The USA did the "sensible" thing of releasing its stockpiles into the market, way undervalued. This caused a general pouring of foreign cash into American banks, bankrupted a few dozen smaller countries (who then liquidated its oil at lower costs) and eventually led up to World War III, which was named "Fuel War I" by cynical, though accurate, historians.
A decade later, USA got its Ethanol Alliance (The EAA). But, being an imperfect world, this eventually lead to FW2. By 2069, the world was in a bad state. Most stockpiles had been destroyed by precision-aimed missles. Wells were dry. Massive amounts of carbon-based fuels being burnt up had wrecked the environment. Worst off, some very sneaky "old world" powers had engineered a couple of killer maize viruses to cripple ethanol production, a move later regretted when approxiamately 85% of their populace rebelled due to a near complete lack of energy by 2071. There was even talking of repealing the "Nuclear Energy is of the Devil Act", but rest-assured, NEIDA stayed. There were quite a few black-market "at home" nuclear reactors, half of which ended somewhat in tragedy.
Right when it looked like everyone was going to ignite the "Big Ones" just so the human race could go down screaming, the Thireks showed up. Now, no one knows what the heck a Thirek is, or was, but their delegates came out looking just like us, if a little 1960s science-fictionalized. They explained that they were only robotic remotes meant to share with us the wonders of the Thirekian empire. Namely limitless power and protection from the evil Bokari. And, in sixty years, the human race would be offered a chance to join the Thireks in their galaxy wide empire of peace. There were only a couple of catches. First, in order to use the energy (the "Thirekian Drive"), you had to sign up for citizenship with the Thirekian Super Computer Unit (the "T-Skew"). To do this, you had to renounce citizen ship to your country and pledge allegiance to the World Union. Secondly, you had to submit all new inventions (and many old ones) to the T-Skew, so that it could process them and make them better. There were to be no wars, and any attack on the Thirekian Drive or the T-Skew would be quickly punished.
Just like that, new cities grew up. Health care got back on track. Pollution dropped. The T-Skew came up with ways to kill most of the pollution, to bring back endangered animals. Food shortage was a thing of the past. In those five initial countries (whose names are not necessary, you know who you are). The rest of world was still in squalor.
Skipping to the end, this is why 98% of the world's population is proud citizens of the World Union and eagerly await the day, in 2131, the Thireks return. Their cities are white, pristine, and free of grime and trash. They are generally allowed to do anything that does not intefere with the order and happiness of others.
There are twelve (or so) bastions of "Humanity First" still going. The rest have all fallen to the temptation of a work free life in which most people carry out leisure activities all day long and which no government can charge a cent for (without angering T-Skew, who takes it as an attack). The only that interests PCs (for now) is the FTSA, where they live. How did the South-East, a low population area not reknown for its technological innovations, become the only active place where human expression is not only allowed but is considered vital to citizenship? The answer is Theodore Beadwhite.
Beadwhite, from Georgia, saw the second coming of the Confederacy. He envisioned a nation of Southern Baptists with strong moral values, and a mite fewer minorities than currently surrounded him. His 2077 message of "humanity will prevail" was essentially his way of saying "Get off my land, heathens!". It would be only polite to point out that he considered the "reborn" Atlanta (never to its glory since that devil Sherman) to be the foretold "new Zion" and his new CSA to be the location of a literal God on Earth. It would also only be polite to point out that his plan quickly went awry, since the resounding cries of "humanity will prevail" became "humanity first" which lead to an influx of population from all walks of life (but few Southern Baptists).
At first, it as the businessmen who tried taking over. In a world without commerce, they had soured, become spiteful. The problem for them is that after a few decades of people literally dying from lack of goods that existed in storerooms but were not quite needed enough to be a good "market share" (and once enough people who needed them died, then that forever wrecked the demand, don't you know?) people were more willing to shoot a greedy businessman than haggle. A good number of said "marketmen" went back north a few years into it, feeling it was better to watch TV all day than risk being shot my an irate father who was still angered by his daughter's death.
To speed up the narration a little, the technocrats soon took over, and the FTSA was born. Though not quite what Beadwhite had expected, he would be pleased (had he survived one of the market riots) to note that religion was somewhat back into power. Of course, it is a bastard of a religion, equal parts monotheism, science/tech worship and humanism, but it is going someplace. They often say "God bless you", though they are equally likely to say "Cogs' Glory!" or some such techno-infused dribble. It is mostly just a way to keep a united society in what is the most hectic country the world has seen.
One of the best descriptions I can think between the World Union and FTSA is to think of WU as a (stereotypical) Mac and FTSA as a stereotypical Linux box. WU is clean, works as is, pretty, and designed with ease of use in mind. FTSA is hectic, a mismash of version numbers, chaotic, and half the fun of being there is being able to tweak things openly. Also, there is a certain lack of humanity in the WU that is almost too present in FTSA. People are willing to get into fistfights over whose air-conditioning system works better, or how an ethanol plant should be built. Don't take the analogy too far, just keep it in mind.
Mods (i.e. modifications, cyberware, augmentations and so on) are as varied in the FTSA as one would guess. Some are simply tattoos that move, or maybe eyes that change color at will. Some add strength or give a person much extra memory. Since the nature of this world (and this system) is to allow whatever quirky ideas at least a chance to come to light, the Mods are simplified down to three essential parts: a story-description, what phrase they affect, and a reliability factor.
It is a good rule of thumb that a phrase can only be Superb if a Mod is involved. With that exception, all phrases should cut out at Great. The Mod must be directly linked to that phrase (and one Mod per phrase effected, though it is conceivable that one phrase might have more than one Mod (Superb only, still).
A Mod has a reliability factor, which is checked in a Fudge Roll. When a Mod is used in some way out of the extra-ordinary (or in some dramatic moment), its reliability is rolled against the base Rank for the phrase it is linked to. This means if a Mod has a Good Rank and a phrase has a Fair Rank, then anything less than -1 on the Fudge Roll means the Mod failed out. Phrases linked to Mods might fail if their Mod fails. The amount by which the Mod failed is how much is subtracted from the phrase's roll.
Mods can also be linked to either Brawn or Will (say, an "anti-poison" Mod or a "pain-damping" Mod). But Mods can not be linked to luck. The same test for reliability occurs.
Characters can have 1 Superb Mod, 2 Great Mods, 3 Good Mods, 5 Fair Mods, or 8 Mediocre Mods. Anything less than Mediocre is not recommended. Characters can also take one Mod at one Rank, and trade one (and only one) Ranks worth in for two Mods of a lower Rank. This means that a Character might have a Great Mod and two Good Mods. Likewise, one of these lower ranks can be traded in, again, for two lower ranks: One Great, One Good, Two Fair. There has to be at least one Mod from Each Rank in this method. One cannot trade in all of Good for Fair. This Rank is essentially the reliability of the Mod.
Each attribute gets one strength and one weakness. This both helps to describe the character better, and helps to add to the "volatility" of rolls. A strength will add +1 Rank to a roll, while a weakness will take away -1.
Written by W Doug Bolden
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