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Cyberpunk, not just Future Sci-Fi
What is Cyberpunk?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about what constitutes and what doesn't constitute fitting in with the theme.

On one hand we have pop culture references, references to modern bands and celebrities and what-not, these clearly don't belong IC.

On the other hand, we have people complaining about how limited some technology is in the game and how it's unrealistic for 2100, and we have people complaining about outmoded slang being used in-game and similar complaints.

Cyberpunk isn't just future sci-fi. It's often retrofuture, especially the body of work we draw from for inspiration. What does this mean?

It means certain fashions and lingos exist in 2100 that died a hard death, or will presumably die a hard death by 2100. It means that technologies that were only conceptual in the 80s are still considered groundbreaking in 2100, whereas other technologies are more or less on-point with current projections.

Yes, we have our own slang which enriches our world; this isn't to say that older lingo isn't acceptable. Fuck, one of our terms is 'ace kool', think about that for a second. A lot of the theme drips with that 80s influence, which we can now start thinking of in 2015 as retrofuture. Pink mohawks, spiked leather, cheesy fucking slang... It's part of cyberpunk and part of our world. Along with our brick phones and suspiciously outmoded printing devices.

Obviously, technology in Withmore is different, so it can make sense to be ICly confused with technology that your character is approaching. However, time and time again it's obvious that people are forgetting that it's not merely 2100; it's 2100 in an alternate timeline, that vastly diverges from our own.

Not only this, but making assumptions about certain words being valid, or how the rest of the world is in terms of tech, or that certain trends don't exist in 2100 (I've heard of punks being called out on not existing IC. CyberPUNK anyone? Mods in cyberpunk? Leather jacket rockers?) just... isn't good for the game. When you start to co-write shit that there's no documentation to support, you throw a spanner into the works. You're not helping progress the RP. There's no good way to approach it without simply writing it off and ignoring or turning it into a he-said-she-said because there isn't a Sindome Bible of every little detail in the world. What you are doing is flatly flying in the face of the rules of improvisation.

We can universally agree to drop 2015 memetics and pop-culture references, nobody is questioning that these are invalid and lazy. But let's also remember that there are elements of our universe which are outdated, and this is a -completely different argument- from the pop-culture one.

So let's co-operate. Don't call out the world, it's horrible form and comes across clunky as hell, throwing a spanner in the works and contributing nothing. This isn't behaviour that needs calling out, making references to our modern and classical media is. We're all improvising here.

Am I wrong? Disagree with me if I am. But I believe that there is a group of well-intentioned players trying to vet others and often, I find, end up forgetting from time to time that just because it's 2100 it isn't OUR 2100. It's a dystopian Cyberpunk heavily Gibsonesque 2100.

There are healthy ways to approach use of language you think is questionable: remember that Withmore is a melting pot in the truest sense and there is probably a lot of lingo you will hear that you might not be familiar with. Simply accept that that language is something you are unused to hearing in your neck of the woods.

You might ask for clarification if you don't understand the words being used. This is fine. See above; you're unused to this language. You require an explanation. Fine. Maybe you start to think a character talks funny and act appropriately. Fine.

Calling out language on being outmoded is not a healthy way to approach this. For one, it doesn't make sense if that term is in circulation widely in the game but you're not privy to it. It doesn't make sense because there is no good way to judge what is and isn't extinct language, see above on: throwing a spanner in the works, bad improv. Especially if the term covers something that isn't in our unique slang.

It's also bad because you're now apparently a linguist. You just happen to know about slang that was used over a hundred years ago but now is apparently dead. That's extremely jarring and immersion breaking, especially where there's no call for it or it doesn't make sense for your character to be privy of such subjects as classical slang. On the flipside, if it's slang that's in regular circulation in the world and your character IS a linguist who studied classical slang, now you're wrong and it's still jarring.

If you're absolutely positive that somebody is acting in a way that is unthemely, there are plenty of healthy ways to approach it. But there are also responses which only further shatter immersion or break immersion in the first place if the players actions were a non-issue.

Let me further clarify:

'That's so x!'

'Haha, x? Wow, I thought that term went out of fashion in 2010.'

Why does your character know this 2010 factoid? Does it make sense for your PC? Is this statement true? Do you have any evidence at all to support this judgement? This raises a ton of red flags.


'That's so x!'

'Haha, x? Wow, I thought that term went out of fashion in 2010.' - Doesn't know this term is used every day IC.

Still raising red flags for the same reasons, but now a bunch of people are OOCly confused over whether their valid use of slang is invalid. This is not good for anybody. Now people will begin to doubt whether that correct use of slang is in-fact incorrect, which can lead to bad play practises, or further call-outs. If your character is purporting to be an expert, this is even worse, as the OOC confusion is only made more severe.

Either way:

What would have been a total non-issue (because it was completely correct RP) now becomes a messy situation where everyone involved must figure out who is in the right, who is in the wrong and what must be done to move forwards.


For that matter, people need to be mindful about how they address actual breaches of theme. People fall into the same traps. Someone mentions Eminem and half the SIC become experts on century old rap and give the subject far more attention than it requires instead of dismissing it and moving the RP forwards with a simple: 'Who? Man, listen to some Cyberknights of the Cortex Abomination.' But I digress.

Long story short: be mindful what you call out as bad theme. This is not 2100, this is a 2100 retrofuture in an alternate universe. Where you must call out bad theme, be mindful about how you do it and don't fall into theme traps yourself. Do not make calls on the universe that is not in documentation that are not yours to make.

This is all for this theme rant.

Frankly, I wouldn't mind rolling back our clock to put us in the right century again. 2099 was fine, but 2100 does require more advanced tech. Maybe its time we're only 70 years in the future.

The staff panics with a lot of what-abouts when I bring this up, so the discussions don't go far and I'm outnumbered in thinking it could be a healthy idea currently. I do know that this cognitive dissonance has only arisen in the past 3-4 years among the population.

It would certainly help with the cognitive dissonance.

When it comes down to it though, it doesn't matter if we're in 2030 or 2250 so long as people understand how our timeline and technology works and differs, and how the pop culture of today isn't relevant Sindome.

But yeah, rolling the calender back would help avoiding to remedy this situation in the first place when confusion does come up. I'd say that it's a good idea and I support it, although I think it would be difficult to update all of the date references in the game, and it would raise more questions for new players when they came across those references to events in the '2090s' or beyond.

I'm with you: this is a completely different timeline. As you've brought up and I have and others have before even in that dang "lol" thread.

This is a different time line full of nuclear bombs dropping, Britain no longer being on their own and part of a European Economic Union, New German Republic, 'Mass Destruction Syndrome'. (MDS quickly becomes a sociological catch-all term for the collective world shock of the death of over 2 billion people), Earthquakes and tidal waves, Horrific Genesplicing experiments on victims, Ebola-Aids virus and Over 14 Billion or 15 Billion people (More than double what we have now). (The planet's fucked.)

1 - Anyone remember the stripper with the fake snake in Blade runner who wore, out in public, basically a bikini top, underwear, heel boots and a clear rain jacket? This in Cyberpunk 2020 RPG (tabletop) was the "Nude" fashion. Walking around in what looks like lingerie is an accepted fashion, even in corporations. (There though should be tasteful.) You also have Blue Jeans, Biker Leathers, Mohawks, tinted hair, high fashion clothing, and even Bag Lady Chic. Nose Rings, Earrings, ritual scars, tattoos, mirrorshades.

The world is repressed. Especially in Withmore it seems (From having the Matrix to not having the Matrix to ?? & certain tech is different and in need of an update in some cases [which we help explain to newbies when we sit down and work with them on some things].).

As for the feel of the city, there are many many stories and pictures to choose from to get a feel for the genre. Blade Runner, Minority Report, Neuromancer, New Rose Hotel, Judge Dredd, Total Recall, Johnny Mnemonic, even Hackers to some degree.

2 A - I think I observed the interaction on sic that you're referring to. Please don't assume that that was the player trying to correct another player. Please don't assume that that was calling out bad theme.

2B - I also don't see anything wrong with another character RP'ing something in their character's personality and not knowing a slang definition of something.

It is slang after all. And depending on where you grew up or are located, it is very likely to not have heard of that slang term. Especially depending on how the character was raised within that 'where'.

Let alone the lack of education most people actually have at this "present time" of 2100.

There are many many slang terms to choose from. You can play with it and have fun with it.

Example, many of us have heard of "Friendzoned" as in: The friend zone, in popular culture, refers to a platonic relationship wherein one person, most commonly a man, wishes to enter into a romantic or sexual relationship, while the other does try to take some time to come up with some things.

In CP's popculture, it would be something like: Manozoned. Or Chombattazoned.

Help Slang: Slang terms are something of utmost importance to the theme of a game. Different groups talk in different manners. How a street samurai would talk is very different from a corporate salary man. To help players get into the theme, and into character.

You can view slang in the @who or type @slang. If you want to search for the cyberpunk version of a word, try doing '@slang ' like.. @slang fool or @slang gun.

Fun Links:

Sindome: Theme: Cyberpunk Slang:


It's something to have fun with!

Cyberpunk 7 Podcast #5: Cyberpunk Slang

In CP's popculture, it would be something like: Manozoned. Or Chombattazoned.

I think Euclid's right with this.

Who's to say that 'Friendzoned' didn't persist 85 years?

Or who's to say that since 'Friendzoned' didn't develop in real life until after the Sindome timeline diverged, that it didn't evolve independently?

'Friendzoned' shouldn't trigger a painful, annoying, and stupid IC argument.

'I like Justin Bieber and Pixar movies' should.

Crafty: Everything in your second post from 2A, 2B, on...

I don't think you read the thread, because I explicitly covered these points. I did observe this interaction you're referring to, it isn't why I made this thread (I've been meaning to for weeks) and it isn't a callout on any specific individuals, it merely reminded me that I meant to bring this topic up. No assumptions were made my part on the intentions of the players involved. There is nothing wrong with being unaware of slang definitions. Read the thread, don't just post, I addressed these points already.

I firmly disagree with your hard stance on CP's popculture on friendzoned. I'm not going to elaborate because I already explained why above - this is exactly the behaviour I'm trying to address. Feel free to use a bastardization of friendzoned and come up with your own slang, that's fantastic. But please read the thread and see; 'Friendzoned' shouldn't trigger a painful, annoying, and stupid IC argument.

Of course, this is my opinion. But it's also a basic tenet of collaborative improv.

It was just an example guys.

To help some others come up with some things in addition to have fun to the variety of slang available.

I think there's a lot of merit in a roll-back 15-20 years.

I'm also curious to know WHAT people think Cyberpunk actually is.

In my mind, it's got very clear rules that separate it from other genres, like steampunk, cyber-fantasy, space operas, and other sub-genres of the broad umbrella that is science fiction. I'll try and enumerate them here, please feel free to add, modify, or delete as you understand it yourself.

1. Modern or futuristic setting.

2. No magic. Technology is sufficiently advanced to resemble magic.

3. Corporations are the government.

4. No heros, only villans and anti-heros.

5. Dystopian. Haves and have nots.

6. Information is the most valued commodity.

Now personally, I like my CP like I like my detective noir: Dark, gritty, and full of metaphors. But there's lots of room for flavors of CP while still adhering to those basic rules.

I think these rules are important because if you break them too much, you don't have Cyberpunk any more.

Break rule 2: Magic? It's cyber-fantasy. Shadowrun.

Break rule 1: We do this all without modern electronics? It's Steampunk.

Then you have the one that's most important to me: Rule 4.

It's my preference, but I will never play a hero. I consider it unthemely. My characters range between moral and immoral, but they never go looking to be "the good guy". There is no good guy in a dystopian world, because he gets beaten down and taken advantage of until he's forced to be the bad guy. That's how anti-heroes work: They don't choose to be heroes, they're forced into it. And they don't win in the end, they survive. They pull through. They live long enough to get forced into a worse situation until they don't pull through. I consider it my mission to see this fate visited upon each and every PC I encounter given a long enough time frame. I think there is nothing more unsatisfying than seeing someone lose interest in the game due to lack of something interesting to keep you going, and there is nothing more interesting than being forced to come up with new solutions for how to stay alive. The best RP I've had comes from conflict of one sort or another, and if you're dissatisfied with your characters life, try taking a little advice from Tyler Duden and go punch someone in the street, because I swear it will make you feel alive again.

So, bickering about slang aside, what else is themely for you?

First, who was bickering about slang?

It was just an example.

That way others (particularly new peole) can think with it and have fun with the links and say something flash to their inputs or outputs (gf / bf - love that CP2020 slang) before they slammit on with some Ronin while on dorphs and if they don't get bagged and tagged, then they can hang with their chombattas and maybe even be chilled with said Ronin. Sometimes a good ass kicking is all that's needed to communicate differences and be aces for the time being at least. :D *grin*

Prior to that, I was tired since it was late, just wanted to point out that the comment on SIC could be an IC thing but OPoster mentioned this was a long time coming and that is fine. I got that.

2nd (before we go back to OP):

Cyberpunk-Noir (I thought you'd like this):

In regards to Cyberpunk themese and technology; I tend to imagine Cyberpunk things as having the same kind of tech you see in the Alien movies; the future, as envisioned by the eighties. The computers have green CRT screens, the cars are solid chrome and they fly, the AIs are big white spheres you can walk inside, only the rich have anything approaching a modern mobile phone, and loss of limb is cheap when you can get it replaced by a shitty mass of steel beam and pulleys. Basically; don't worry about how tech in-game doesn't match up with tech in real life. In the eighties, people thought everything would get bigger and more powerful, instead of smaller. They thought modern (for them) fashion would never go out of style. Basically, think about what you thought the future would be like when you were twenty years younger; that's what Sindome's future is like.
Cyber-Noir. Love it.

CP being suck in the 80's: I hear you. And thank you for your contribution.

Personally, I'm not a big fan. I think Neuromancer, one of the defining pieces of work in the genre, which was NOT a product of the 80's, didn't envision the future through the rose colored glasses of the 80's. I think, and I'm open to debate here, that Gibson envisioned a world so perfectly achievable and realistic that he will still see some of the most important advancements that bring us one step closer to it being a reality in his lifetime. Improvements that he envisioned with a depth of clarity that some of us envy his crystal-ball skill.

I'd like to think of Cyberpunk as an ever evolving genre, of which retro-cyber is absolutely part of the core constituency. As a counter example though, I'd also consider Mr. Robot to be VERY cyberpunk. It wasn't stuck in the 80's.

Perhaps Sindome is retro-cyberpunk in a way though?

'Perhaps Sindome is retro-cyberpunk in a way though?'

I believe so. You're right, Cyberpunk doesn't have to be stuck in the 80s. We most certainly do draw inspiration from the retrofuture CP works though, and if not in the rest of the world there are certainly echoes of it in Withmore and our own particular tech.

I think it's an important factor too, in terms of actually being able to encapsulate the world in game / code terms. It makes the fairly unspectacular tech stand out less against the robust systems when it's a given part of the setting, as opposed to a full-fledged future sci fi Cyberpunk.
It certainly is a beautiful explanation for it.

When Curt5 initially said it I felt like it was too restrictive, but the more I thought about it the more I realized he was right on. It would explain why our Progia don't have tons of apps, why we don't all have laptops strapped to our backs, and why some of the technology is largely unadvanced or even regressed from it's current state, and wildly sophisticated well beyond our current means in other areas.

Whatever it is, retro/cyber/noir, it's punk at it's finest. It's unique, full of gritty flavor, and vivid, like livewire voodoo coming on in the night to cast it's incandencent glow on the stolen chrome that ticks through the city.

Many of us have seen this & it's somewhat fitting. Have fun.


Guess it's not working from my phone.

Do a search for the image: R U a cyberpunk.

It's a fun visual.