Technoir Transmission: The NE Sprawl (Master Table/Exposition)

It is the transmissions that really grabbed me from the Technoir playtest documents.  They are somewhere between Apocalypse World’s Threats/Fronts, a Fiasco Playset, the In a Wicked Age oracle and Shock: Social Science Fiction’s minutae.

I want to write a transmission for a space elevator city and naturally, I really want to do up a batch of linked Transmissions that make up the colonized solar system.  But first, this one needs some statting up and fleshing out in order to be fully playable; this is only the Master Table and the Exposition.  Once I have it complete, I will post it up here.


The technology that shapes the NE Sprawl is in its shipping and news publishing.  R.A.S’s (rigid air ships) take incoming cargo from sea-steadings in the Atlantic to skydocks throughout the sprawl, with drones orbiting them to fend off lightning.  News is published through uncounted ronin reporter feeds since the newspaper/network news collapse.  This has led to P.R. firms setting up fake feeds whose sole purpose is to transmit lies and propaganda on behalf of their high-paying clients.


When water was privatized, corporations set up quasi-medieval fiefs in order to protect their stockholders’ resources.  Beyond the coast, the Atlantic Ocean is dotted with sea-steadings, each a city-state onto itself, some ruled by corporate shipping interests, others self-governed as industrial cooperative pirate-havens.


New York City, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Albany, and Baltimore all reached out and became a single, cyclopean urban tumor.   The Sprawl has grown over old and dated political and geographical lines.  Because of a city that has outstripped the county, state and federal laws that once contained the cities cannot contain the crime within the sprawl.   Gated communities became walled townships and entire slums are off the grid or at best in areas with rolling brown-outs.


  1. Reporter
  2. Lawyer, jurisdiction law
  3. Parole Officer
  4. Reservoir Director
  5. Sea-Stedding Black Marketeer
  6. Low Earth Orbit Veteran


  1. Water Riots
  2. Visiting Brazilian Dignitary Assassinated
  3. Shipping Strike
  4. Elections heating up
  5. Low Earth Orbit War ends, veterans to return home.
  6. Underground newsfeed leaks police scandal.


  1. Desperate local sheriff department
  2. Reservoir Trust Company
  3. Sprawl Directorship
  4. Sky-loaders’ Union
  5. Cuban/Southern/Serbian mob
  6. Media Ronin


  1. Reservoir Fortress
  2. Travel Nexus Tower
  3. Sea-stedding
  4. Manhattan Walled Community
  5. 5 Cities Museum
  6. Subway Tenement


  1. Data strip with 1000 credit card numbers
  2. Weapon from high profile murder
  3. Blackmail info for CEO
  4. Prison password keys
  5. Synth, in cryo, with highest turing score to date
  6. Zero-G regenerative system


  1. Manhunt Squad
  2. Intercept Gang
  3. Smear P.R. Firm
  4. Elite Heist Crew
  5. Sprawl Major Crimes Unit
  6. Corporate Bodyguard Team

NOTE: And if this looks at all interesting, here’s the kickstarter link.

Mars and more designs at the shop…

13 thoughts on “Technoir Transmission: The NE Sprawl (Master Table/Exposition)

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  2. Yes, excellent start, and I for one would love to see linked colonized planetary transmissions.

    This is very cool, and I look forward to seeing more. Do you have any exposition about the Low Earth Orbit War? it’s intriguing, but not so detailed. Also, do people live at the skydocks or are they just connection points to high orbit space stations or ships?

    • Thanks.

      Skydocks are just connection points for incoming materials, nothing from space directly, no space elevators in the sprawl. The nearest one is off the coast of New Orleans.

      I wanted to leave the LEO war kind of vague. The big detail I’ll go into in the Space Elevator Transmission is how the soldiers have brittle bones and need expensive medical therapy to deal with the Earth’s gravity again.

  3. I really like where you’re going with this, Judd. I am especially intrigued by the governmental stuff. It reminds me of Magnus: Robot Fighter gone really, really wrong. And water rights taking the place of land rights is a strong move, especially given the seeds you’re planting for upcoming space-based Transmissions.

    I’m throwing together a Transmission of my own, too. Any notes on building one?

    • Thanks, Michael. I’m not sure what scares me more than the idea of privatized water.

      I’d pick two major themes for each transmission and let odd shit settle in from the fringes too but don’t lose sight of those main two important bits

    • Of course, someone could make more detailed Transmissions about single portions of the NE Sprawl and it wouldn’t upset the overview Judd’s provides. Go ahead and make a Transmission for the Boston Burrough with CyberPatriots or Philadelphia Pit of Brotherly Love.

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  5. Just a pedantic note here: Space elevators are only possible on the equator. (The anchoring asteroid has to be in geosynchronous orbit.) Which does at least mean they will end up in very interesting locations with a high disparity between the local populations and the elevator owners/investors/users.

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