Saturday, September 5, 2015

GM musings, Believable cyberpunk.

In my games the world revolves around my players. But if I am to make the world believable, it must seem as though it doesn't.

I'm in the prossess of planning my first interface zero game. Although I am new to IZ, I am not new to cyberpunk roleplaying. Shadowrun was the second rpg I ever ran, cyberpunk 2020 a close 3rd.  thought I might share some of my tricks to more realistic world building while running cyberpunk. This might be obvious to some, I just hope it's useful to someone. 

Organizations: make organizations with no ties to the players. Too often we as GMs only create what our characters will interact with as they interact with it. Create street gangs, political activist groups, political leaders, vigilante groups, gun runners and drug dealers. Make an alliance web. Who (atleast at start) is aligned with whom. Who has a beef with whom. Let those alliances shift over time from actions off camera revealed through media or rumors from contacts.

Interaction: create interactions between your groups outside of player interaction, rather these interactions happen around the players.
A few examples:

As the players cross the road to meet a contact gang A commits a drive by against gang B on the block across from the players.

As the players enter walk down the street a buildings windows blow out. A bomb planted by a political terrorist group just blew up the headquarters of their rival.

As the players enter a bar two rival biker gangs kick off a fight.

A bank is robbed right next to the players who are on stake out. With a shootout with police and everything.
A rival gang takes out one of your contacts as a retaliation for something totally unrelated to your characters story.

A corporate take over has random groups suddenly breakout in gunfire, corporate security have checkpoints or areas blocked off.

A living world: As your city or world moves and jumps it will seem to have it's own heartbeat. The players have to decide how to act, react, or avoid each and every group drawing them into your alliance web. Every action will have a consequence in the web.