Technoir

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PC: Can I apply existentially annihilated to the gunman?!?.... GM: No.

Indie RPG for near-future science fiction detective/thriller stories.

Uses some pretty unconventional mechanics, oriented towards narrative storytelling (using tags like FATE system) and convoluted plots that are influenced by the players.

Released as a *.pdf book, so it should be easy for you to get from rapidshare purchase legitimately.

Characters[edit]

Players choose three training programs, which both describes their career history and how many points go into each attribute (called VERBs since you always use one in challenges), and each training program gives them an ADJECTIVE (ie. 'quick', 'logical', 'patient') which can be called upon during challeges for a small bonus to rolls. These are always helpful and permanent adjectives; players can acquire temporary or harmful adjectives during the game.

Player characters also start with three CONNECTIONs, chosen from the campaign setting's guidbook (the city's "Transmission" dossier). The character has a relationship with each connection described by an adjective; players are discouraged from choosing the same adjective as any other relationship of theirs or other player characters. These connections can be called upon before the game for favours to improve the character, or during the game for favours, but each time players use these connections, they become more involved in the plot.

Players also start the game with some useful OBJECTs, which have adjectives of their own. It is advisable for each character to have the adjectives "linked," "display" and some form of "input" so that character can access the ubiquitous Internet-equivalent at any time.

Setting[edit]

Near-future, cyberpunk. Fully-functional replacement limbs and sensory organs, omnipresent computer wireless network, augmented reality interfaces. Corrupt-as-fuck extranational corporations. Much more Blade Runner or Minority Report than Shadowrun or S.Gundam.

Campaign settings come in neat packages called 'Transmissions' for each city. Inside you will find a lists with at least six each of the following:

  • Connections - important figures in the city that can do favours for the player characters
  • Events - likely to happen in this city
  • Factions - groups in the city that have their own agendas
  • Objects - MacGuffins for missions
  • Threats - People, groups or other hazards that could want the player characters disposed of... or PCs could hire to dispose of unwanted connections

The GM would typically start an adventure by pulling three random items from these lists, drawing them on a diagram called the PLOT MAP and connecting all of them with relationships. As players call on their connections for favours, the GM adds these connections to the Plot Map.

Example: In the Los Angeles Transmission, the GM rolls up "Syd Martini" "Church of Astrology" and "Executive Limousine." Connecting the three, the GM draws up the following plot: Syd hires the players to track down a stolen Limousine, a simple investigation and digging job but Syd emphasizes that this is important and must be handled discretely. What Syd hasn't mentioned is that the Limo was actually the getaway car for an extraction gig, getting a CEO's daughter out of a Church of Astrology compound. Since the Church believes the daughter was kidnapped from them and the cult's higher-ups had plans for using her to influence her daddy, the Church is also on the lookout for the limousine and are willing to violently discourage anyone else. Before the game starts, two of the players use "Pi Larson" for fixer and chop favours. The GM adds "Pi Larson" to the Plot Map and connects it to the Limousine: Larson fenced the Limousine two days ago, but didn't know about the compartment under the seats were the CEO's daughter was hidden during the extraction. Larson doesn't even know if the girl was still there, but can tell you who he sold it to: a carpool manager for a corporation competing with dear-old-daddy's company.

Homebrew Transmissions[edit]

Urban Jungle Transmission

Berlin Cityscape Transmission (now with threat profiles)

Paris Underground Transmission

Jeremy Keller's Guide to Writing Transmissions