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About Prime_Evil

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  1. Glad to oblige, although it may take a few posts to cover the entire crisis In my setting, the ultimate roots of the crisis are found in the early 2040's. This is a crucial period for climate change as complex feedback loops cause average global temperatures to shoot up a full degree Celsius in less than a decade. This is mostly due to the release of methane from Arctic permafrost. This results in the destabilisation of methane hydrates in seafloor sediments along the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf. In Bangladesh, rising sea levels inundate coastal areas. Severe flooding occurs in many areas. At the same time, the region around Dhaka suffers a severe drought. Agricultural yields collapse. This triggers a series of mass migrations. Half a million climate refugees attempt to cross the border into India. In India, a new Hindu nationalist party exploits the refugee crisis. The incumbent government is incompetent and mired in corruption scandals. The charismatic leader of the nationalist party gains popular support through an anti-corruption platform. Many people are sympathetic to his argument that India should not be ruled by a secular party on the centenary of independence (15 August 2047). A wave of populist anger sweeps him into power. The Nationalists form a minority government. Within six months, the Nationalists enter into a formal power-sharing relationship with their coalition parties. This results in the creation of the Pure India Coalition. The coalition government is very hostile towards refugees and religious minorities. It is also becomes increasingly authoritarian, cracking down on subversion by NGOs and the press. At the same time, Pakistan is on the verge of disintegrating into a failed state. A long-running Islamist insurgency threatens the stability and territorial integrity of Pakistan. The authorities do not have an effective response to the internal crisis. There are five military coups in a decade. The CIA is alarmed by reports that Islamists have stolen materials from Pakistan's nuclear programme. Russia attempts to seduce Pakistani moderates into their sphere of influence. Border tensions between India and Pakistan begin to rise around 2044. The annual monsoon rains fail, causing drought across northern India. The Pure India Coalition government accuses Pakistan of diverting Himalayan meltwaters to feed hydropower projects. They are alarmed by expansion of the Indus Basin Irrigation System at a time when northern India is suffering a sever drought. They argue that Pakistan has violated the Indus Water Treaty, ratified by both states in 1960. A diplomatic conflict over water rights flares up. Pakistan is convulsed by internal political turmoil and cannot present a coherent position during negotiations. Shortly afterwards, events take a dangerous turn. In November 2044, Islamist terrorists attack civilian targets in Mumbai and Delhi. This is in response to a crackdown on Muslim civil rights by the Pure India Party. Police sharpshooters kill the terrorists. But four of them prove to be Pakistani citizens with access to forged diplomatic passports. Investigators identify one of the perpetrators as a former Pakistani military officer. The Indian government accuses the Pakistani government of providing support to the terrorists. Hindu nationalists retaliate by murdering hundreds of Muslims across India. Pakistan accuses the Indian government of giving tacit approval for these murders. The UN sponsors crisis talks, but the Indian delegation pulls out at the last minute. India deploys autonomous combat robots along the border. In January 2045, hackers take down the electricity grid in five cities across India. The Indian government blames Pakistan. International experts suspect that Russia was behind the cyber attacks. Malware previously associated with a Russian Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) group is found on SCADA systems at several sites. Security researchers discover that attackers exploited a zero-day vulnerability to gain persistence within the hardened SCADA systems. In March 2045, a pair of Indian fighters accidentally violate Pakistani airspace. Pakistani autonomous air defences shoot down one fighter. The Pakistani government shows the captive fighter pilot on national television. He shows obvious signs of injury. The Pure India Coalition claims that he was beaten and tortured, provoking widespread outrage. After three weeks, US diplomats secure the release of the pilot. When he returns to India, the pilot tries to calm the situation. He claims that his injuries were the result of the crash rather than mistreatment. The nationalist government places him under arrest for treason. Within a week he is murdered by an unknown assailant whilst in custody. In May 2045, Islamic terrorists attack an Indian army base in Punjab, killing 62 soldiers. India blames Pakistan. In June 2045, a Pakistani intelligence officer is caught red-handed trying to infiltrate an Indian nuclear facility. A police sting operation catches the agent. In Karachi, the interim government claims that a rogue military unit was behind the clumsy infiltration attempt. Relations deteriorate further as tensions rise. In August 2045, Indian police kill a separatist leader in Kashmir, triggering widespread riots. Indian forces use live ammunition against protesters, leaving 246 dead. Pakistan demands that India recognise the independence of Kashmir. India responds by cutting diplomatic relations with its northern neighbour. It accuses Pakistan of actively encouraging the riots. In September 2045, Indian special forces cross the border. They carry out surgical strikes against suspected terrorist training camps. Pakistan responds by shelling Indian military positions within Kashmir. The UN negotiates a temporary ceasefire. in a rare show of unity, the UN Security Council passes a unanimous resolution condemning the violence. Both sides reject offers to send international peacekeepers into the region. I'll see if I can post the next part soon. If anybody has any thoughts or feedback, I'd be happy to hear their thoughts!
  2. My own homebrew setting does something similar to this. In fact, a pivotal event of 2048 involves a border war between India and Pakistan as water shortages caused by climate change start to bite. Rising border tensions in Kashmir trigger the conflict, as well as the election of a hardline Hindu nationalist government in India. Things quickly spiral out of control after a spate of Islamist suicide bombings across northern India. Pakistani artillery bombards Indian positions. In the initial stages of the conflict, India beats Pakistan badly due to superior robotics. Pakistani forces retreat across the border. When Indian troops pursue them across the border, the Pakistani government panics and uses a tactical nuclear device against the advancing Indian forces. There is a brief exchange of tactical nukes. Over the next six hours, both Mumbai and Islamabad are nuked (albeit with small warheads). The combined death toll is around 28 million. The UN steps in to negotiate a ceasefire. UN intervention is backed by China and Russia, neither of whom want even a limited nuclear war within their sphere of influence. There is a lot more, but the result is that UN peacekeepers are sent to the region and a DMZ is established in Kashmir. China is the big winner here as the economic and geopolitical rise of India is set back by a decade or two.
  3. I worked on a random plot generator a while back and came up with some tables that might be helpful. For example, here is a list of things that you might do in a location: assault capture escape from explore infiltrate investigate penetrate protect raid recapture reconnoitre scout spy upon And here is a list of locations that might be important in an adventure: a back-alley cyberclinic a burnt-out tenement inhabited by squatters a camp housing slave labor for a secret project a cheap brothel a cheap roadside motel a chemical waste dump a condemned tenement building a construction site a criminal hideout a crowded shopping mall a cryogenic suspension facility a derelict offshore oil rig a derelict ship a deserted mansion a downtown convention centre a gang hideout a heavily-guarded armory a high-rise office building a high-security prison a highway roadhouse a Japanese restaurant a junkyard filled with derelict vehicles a major airport a martial arts dojo a meat packing plant a military bunker a military training camp a militia training facility a narcotics lab owned by a criminal syndicate a National Guard armory a Naval supply depot a notorious brothel a paramilitary training camp a parking garage a pirate hideout a railway freight yard a remote nomad encampment a robot assembly plant a rural farm owned by a religious cult a secret facility where illegal genetic manipulation is performed a secret government installation a secret research facility a seedy hotel a seedy nightclub a seedy waterfront bar a shantytown or favela a shipwrecker’s yard a sporting event a squalid bar a squalid waterfront hotel a street market a tenement building in the combat zone a terrorist training camp a third-world refugee camp a trailer park filled with poor trash a trendy downtown nightclub a vigilante's hideout a waste management plant an abandoned amusement park an abandoned amusement park an abandoned church an abandoned dockyard an abandoned factory complex an abandoned mine an abandoned refinery complex an abandoned steelworks an abandoned subway station an abandoned subway station an abandoned warehouse an abandoned warehouse an airport coffin hotel an apartment building in the slums an automated factory complex an automated factory manufacturing military-grade armaments an exclusive nightclub filled with rich people an FBI safe house an illegal casino an illegal human cloning facility an illicit bloodsports arena an internment camp for suspected terrorists an underpass just off the freeway an underwater mining facility the city morgue the residence of a high-ranking corporate executive
  4. I saw it recently and agree with the reviewer who commented that Prometheus isn't a bad movie. Instead, it's roughly half of a great movie - and that's even worse in some respects! The first half of the movie was excellent, but around the midpoint the tension strangely seems to dissipate as the script engages in some heavy-handed exposition scenes...until the breathless action of the last 20 minutes or so. It didn't have the consistent pacing of the original Alien movie. Interestingly, Ridley Scott has already indicated that an extended Director's Cut will be made available on DVD later - he hints that the movie was shortened at the request of the studio, who wanted to maximise the number of sessions that it could be shown each day in the cinema. With all of the unresolved questions at the end of the movie, there's definitely room for a sequel...which may end up being a stronger film now that the exposition is out of the way. I wonder whether the sequel might suggest a truly nasty answer to Fermi's Paradox
  5. I suppose that all science fiction is ultimately about the era that it was written in.
  6. I just bought the eBook version from Amazon, and it looks like Shirley has updated the books slightly to make the geopolitics less dated. Here's a sample from the revised prologue: "Global warming. Climate change. It had radically reduced the output of Russian agriculture—of the availability of fresh-grown food, and stock feed, in many places—and that meant food had become hard to get. The Russians were on the edge of starvation—some of them over the edge—when Koziski had decided that Russian armies would swarm into Eastern Europe, and keep on going, in order to corral food resources . . . "
  7. I think that I enjoyed River of Gods the most, but they are all very good. Incidentally, I just finished Rule 34 by Charles Stross and recommend it for a change of pace - who would have dreamed that the world's first sentient AI was accidentally built by spammers trying to find ways around increasingly sophisticated countermeasures? The way the book handles criminal activity in a world of sousveillance - universal surveillance - is very interesting.
  8. I'm working my way through Dervish House at the moment. It's a very interesting look at the development of Islamic culture in the very near future.
  9. Prime_Evil


    It's worth noting that R. Talsorian has taken out a registered trademark on the use of the word 'Cyberpunk' in association with roleplaying games. This trademark was filed in 1989 and renewed in 2000, so it isn't going to expire in a hurry. You can read the details here and here. What this means is that you can't legally use the word cyberpunk in *any* roleplaying game (including computer games) without infringing on R. Talsorian's trademark. The word Cyberpunk can still legally be used in other context - just not in association with 'games of a roleplaying genre'. Note that Shadowrun has been very careful to avoid the use of the term Cyberpunk for this very reason. Steve Jackson Games had to get special permission from Mike Pondsmith to use the term in the title of GURPS cyberpunk. Guardians of Order probably skated very close to the edge of legality with their Ex Machina roleplaying game, since they clearly advertised it as a Cyberpunk genre sourcebook for the Tri Stat system. It can be argued that this is a fairly weak trademark because the term 'Cyberpunk' pre-dates R. Talsorian's RPG and is not unique to it, but the very existence of the trademark has had a definite chilling effect on the publication of new roleplaying games in the Cyberpunk genre. The wording of the trademark is so vague that it would seem to not only prohibit the use of the term 'Cyberpunk' in the title of any new RPG, but also in the text. To make matters worse, on 26 July 2005 Games Workshop trademarked the term 'Dark Future' in association with "handheld game machines, stand alone video game machines, card games, table top games, and board games, all for use in the field of war games, role playing games, skirmish games, and fantasy/science fiction games; playthings, namely, hobby craft sets for war games, role playing games, skirmish games, and fantasy/science fiction games; miniatures and models for use in hobby games, war games, skirmish games and role playing games; kits of parts for constructing models; parts and fittings for all the aforesaid goods". You can read the trademark here. It is worth noting that Games Workshop has a history of vigorously defending their trademarks in court. All of which is pretty ironic. Back in the early 1980's, when William Gibson was offered an opportunity to trademark the terms Cyberpunk and Cyberspace he declined to do so, arguing that he wanted the terms to be in the public domain so that people could use them in any way that they wanted.
  10. Prime_Evil


    Personally, I've been playing around with the idea of developing a cyberpunk game based on the Action System from Gold Rush Games. The Action System is heavily influenced by both R Talsorian's Fuzion system and GOO's Tri Stat system. Although there are a few sections of the rules that need some tweakage, it seems to handle modern and near-future settings reasonably well. Even better, the entire game system has been released under the Open Game License and can be legally re-used by third-party publishers. (Although if you intend to brand your own stuff with the Action System name and logo, you must also comply with the Action System Trademark License). Best of all, you can download the basic rules in RTF format directly from the Gold Rush Games website.. This means that if you like them, you can open them in your favourite word processor and start editing them to incorporate any genre-specific stuff that you want to add. For an example of the kind of thing that can be done, I recommend checking out the MechAssemble RPG -- a toolkit for running robotech-style anime games developed by one fan. If anybody is interested, I may post some of the initial work that I have done to deleop a cyberpunk sourcebook for the Action System here on these boards (although it probably belongs in a seperate thread).
  11. Mmm....the Dystopia mod looks very pretty indeed.
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