Nightrun: Murder City
The future is a savage place. A spiraling population has created vast, cramped cities with rampant crime. The needs of nearly 15 billion people has put a strain on agriculture and land. The strained environment has begun crumbling, with sea levels rising and air qualities reaching critical levels. In the wake of a global recession, business has found new life in deregulation, with some corporations becoming almost as powerful and wealthy as world governments. Technology has advanced faster than our ability to understand its impact, giving us cybernetic enhancements, global internet, and levitating vehicles, as well as bioplagues, media overstimulation, and designer drugs. Power has shifted from something shared by all to something wielded by a pampered elite. Resources are now squarely owned by the wealthy, and everyone else squabbles over the scraps. Leadership has been brought low by the forces of finance. What was to be a shining era was stolen from us, and now none are sure whether we will ever find our future. This might be the sunset for our self-destructive species. Only time will tell.
Set in a dystopian world of overpopulation, ecological degradation, vast corporate power, economic disparity, and technological discovery, Nightrun is a cyberpunk setting that pits characters on the edge of society against an environment out of control. In this world of sleek vehicles, aggressive capitalism, and hollow lives, the characters must do what they can to better their own situation, whatever that might mean. The world is in flux, and the characters are at the bleeding edge.
Nightrun takes place in our world, a couple of decades in the future. Many things have changed – politically, environmentally, socially, technologically, economically – but the world is still fundamentally recognizable. Just that everything is more… extreme.Several key changes differentiate the cyberpunk world from our own:
- Technology: Most of what we know today is still in use, only greatly advanced. The internet is now a global wireless system accessible from almost anywhere (called “WorldNet”). Vehicles are largely electric, and some can fly using VTOL jets. Advances in miniaturization and biotech have created cyberware, machines integrated into the human body.
- Politics: Worldwide, governments are in a state of collapse, victims of struggling economies, dwindling resources, and restless populations. Most politicians are so corrupt that they do very little actual governance.
- Economics: Over the decades, aggressive capitalism has shifted wealth into the hands of a relative few, creating an income gap that is reaching critical mass. There is no longer a middle class in this, or any, country. It is becoming harder and harder for most people to find enough money to sustain an acceptable lifestyle, yet the forces of advertisement and social pressure still influence people to spend what money they have on flashy excess.
- Social Structure: The lack of wealth, opportunity, and open space has created a social rift that has turned people against one another. The phrase, “Every Man For Himself” has become the order of the day. This development suits the powerful fine, as it keeps the citizenry from organizing and fighting back against their oppressors.
- Environment: Two centuries of industrialization, only made worse in the last twenty years of deregulation, has ravaged the global ecosystem. Climate change has raised sea levels one meter worldwide causing some cities to be partially swamped, extinction and deforestation has nearly ruined entire regions, weather has become more unpredictable and severe, deserts and tropics extend farther than before, the air and water are toxic dumps, and agriculture hardships have forced most people to begin subsisting on cheap foods made from algae and other low-grade sources.
The characters may have dreams of changing these facts and making the world a better place, but for right now they need to focus on the one thing they can control: their own survival. They perpetually walk a line between giving in to the hopelessness of it all, losing themselves in designer drugs and soulless new technology, and fighting back against those who have turned humanity against itself. It’s a noble fight, but a hero’s gotta eat, too.