AW Cyberpunk: Technological Leap Clock

“Night City was like a deranged experiment in social darwinism, designed by a bored researcher with his thumb on the fast forward button.”

Neuromancer, William Gibson

Whenever something comes up that you’d prefer not to decide by personal whim and will, don’t.

Apocalypse World, D. Vincent Baker and Meguey Baker

Inspired by one of my favorite games, Shock: Social Science Fiction by Joshua A.C. Newman.

Let’s put our thumbs on the fast forward button.

A technological leap clock is always ticking with the next big change that science brings. It is coming, a six-count clock. It will change the world.

Yes, the world has ended. World governments are gangrenous limbs rotting in the sun. The earth is dying. But still corporations are looking for ways to get their shareholders and CEO’s into the Towers. Rogue scientists are still plugging away in their black market laboratories. Power supplies are still available and digital lines of communication are still in place.

If the apocalyptic world we see is a corpse, technological leaps are the hair and toenails still growing while it rots in a coffin.

When do we advanced a technological leap clock?

  • When a player makes an advance.
  • When a significant amount of time goes by (a week, let’s say).
  • When a player does a job or hands over a resource to the team behind the technological leap.
  • Whenever you start a new session.
  • When the fiction demands.

There is always at least one technological leap clock ticking. When one is resolved, start another. Players can be as involved as makes sense. They can

MC, make up one (or choose one from the list below) and don’t speak its name. Maybe make up a few but only the one with a working clock is the next one. Perhaps the players begin doing work for a lab that is working on a different one. Give that one a clock too.

If you don’t have any ideas, choose from our list or ask the players, “What technological leap is rumored to be out there almost ready to roll out that your character is afraid of or is interested in?

My instinct is to try not to fuck with scarcity too much. I’d stay away with fast-growing food or hydroponic tech that turns every one room apartment into a verdant farmland or replicators that pipe out hot Early Grey tea on the cheap. That said, what the fuck do I know? Try it and let me know how it goes.

Think about how this will change the world, the players’ jobs, the way humans interact.

Will the elites in their Towers take interest? If so, make another clock for when elites send untouchable stormtroopers to swoop in to take it away.

Technological Leaps

  • Bodies can be cloned on the cheap, costs about as much as a car
  • Accessing orbit is about as cost effective as owning a jet
  • Drugs can make folk telepathic for a short stint with side effects, costs about as much as a designer drug
  • A human brain can be downloaded into a digital medium, costs about as much as high-end cosmetic surgery
  • Solar energy gathered from Mercury’s craters can now power 10 earths
  • A signal is recorded from a deep space array that can only be a sign of alien life
  • Accessing the bottom of the ocean for building and living becomes affordable, costs as much as land on the surface.

These are just suggestions. Go wild and get strange.

Using AW to play a cyberpunkish game? What?

Here’s the first blog post about the idea.


Computer board background

Skull Image by Alois Wonaschütz from Pixabay

Gas Mask Image by Tim Lay from Pixabay

Post Script

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