Thursday, October 10, 2019

Setting/game concept: REVANESCENCE_

I've been keeping this in my head for too long, so instead of putting it in a kickstarter or zine rollercoaster seat which never departs, I'm going to put the basis of it on this blog. If there turns out to be a crowd for it, who knows, maybe it does have a future as a bigger project.

This thing is called REVANESCENCE_. It's, if you will, esoteric cyberpunk, a brainchild of my love for Ghost in the Shell, RUINER, Transistor, Blade Runner, Neuromancer, all those classics and then some. The Earth is a Kowloonesque megacity. It doesn't even resemble a proper planet anymore. Everyone worships the Lucky Golden Zodiac, a fivefold of modern demons that embody the pillars of boundless hypercapitalism. The bones of the planet have all broken under the weight of the obese mass of greasy blubber that is humanity. You've got as many lives as you can buy. Let's go.

Movie poster for ALIEN (1979, Poland)
You'll die over and over again. Your HEART_, a gizmo in your body, builds you back again and again, ready to go another round. It builds you with BIO_, biomass plus energy that's kept in your COFFIN_, your outsourced bank account of extra lives. but BIO_ ain't cheap to buy, or cheap to steal. When you run outta BIO_, you're nothing but a cute little computer gadget trapped in a corpse. Lots of scrap-built hardware uses the HEARTS_ of poor fools as processing power, if they can crack them (people who do that for a living are called Heartbreakers). Makes them haunted, full of traces of people. Lost memory scraps someone couldn't burn out. Glitchy relicts of people everywhere. Maybe you think that's fucked up. Maybe you just wanna play pong over some dead gal's trauma.

The Zodiac's on every street corner, on every tacky new year poster in Chinese or Russian or English or whatever, on every happy takeout menu, wherever you like it. It's rat, tiger, pig, crab, monkey.

Art by waneella
First one's real name is RAT_KING_, demon of hierarchy, dominance, ambition, backstabbing, will to power. Then there's VIDEOMANCER_, demon of fake images, fake beauty, fake emotion, fake love, big industry porno, monetised intimacy, exploited and manufactured body ideals. THE_HOLLOW_, who's never got enough. Consumption. Resource exploitation. Neocolonialism. Mining, overfishing. Gorging. Hogging. IMMORTAL_P_, demon of plastics, synthetics, nuclear waste, all that shit that humans keep making that'll outlive em a millionfold. He's pollution and he's carcinogens. And then there's APEMIND_. The corporate data-mining of human behaviour, human tendencies, human psy- and sociology. Tying the species' evolutionary roots to its fingers and using them as puppet strings.

Ghost in the Shell, 1995
Maybe you're not made of meat, maybe you ain't got no HEART_. Then you're AI, android, computer. Programmed to be something. If you're a pop star, a celeb, then you're as fake as can be. Your codelines got nothing but smiles in them. And the brand of course. Gotta sell the brand. You're a happy shiny sociopath, your mind eating up whatever the audience preference algorithm shits out, telling all those love-starved fans to BUYBUYBUY. You're a slave to love, and you're a love slaver. You're the ultimate soulless idol of a maxed-out Kpop industry. There's no people in those quirky sparkly clips no more.

Art by Sachin Teng

Everything except the top layers (of society, of the ladder, of the planet), no actual human being from corporate actually deals with anymore. They just let the algorithms run on autopilot, let the programmed androids do their job. The stuff does a well enough job maintaining itself just enough for the cash flows not to stop coming. Mobs and gangs and Zodiac cults run it all- there's at least two that call themselves the police. Corporate doesn't mind. Even gangsters need to BUYBUYBUY. They don't care where the money comes from, so long as it comes. There's rebels too, but they ain't got no power. It's all just pirate radios and angry graffiti. And violence, 'cause all that anti-corpo hatred that can't reach up to the shiny white of the top layers has to go somewhere. Everything under the polished top is strata of rust, shit, and smiling sunny billboards.

The Zodiac's cults in the strata are a lot different than the ones topside. Down they're supplicants, up they're profiteers. The strata ones are cargo cults hoping for money and power and beauty and all that shit, so long as they worship, and sacrifice, and idolate. The topside ones are like masonry lodges and illuminati entwined with corporate hierarchies and bureaus, serving the Zodiac because they actually DO gain from it. Because it DOES give them power. All the shit the strata ones do and give up and serve and BUYBUYBUY, that doesn't give THEM power, it gives the topside ones power.


  1. This is basically canon in my Mothership stuff now.

  2. This is very strong.
    Thank you for writing this.

  3. You are one of those people who creates stuff that repeatedly makes me angry, because it's along the same lines of things I'm thinking about in that moment, but just so much better in nearly every way than my take on the idea. F you for being so awesome >.<! But also, thank you for being so awesome ;)!

    1. There are still seven Zodiaks missing. Dragon, horse, cat/bunny, dog, rooster, ox and shake - I wonder what kind of society they will define.
      Suggesting just in case if you want to write about this.

    2. Fair enough, thank you :). I think I'm going to have to slow down on blog stuff for a while anyway for unrelated life reasons (probably start doing shorter / less frequent posts), but I'll keep up with all the awesome stuff everyone else continues to work on and hopefully come back with some fresh ideas.

      In the mean time, I look forward to delving deeper into the bottomless sarcophagus.

  4. I like where you're going with this. I'm excited to see what sort of rules your write for it.

  5. This sounds awesome to me. I'm in love with that era of first wave cyberpunk and I've often been disappointed with the cartoonish way it is often presented. This I like much better. <3

  6. And once again Mon shows that he can take a long known trope and reinvent it into something delicious and new.

  7. Monsieur, did you recently make an application to the Cyberpunk Roleplaying group on MeWe? It's saying there's a problem, which means I can't confirm you. Please try and join again, as we'd love to have you as a member

    1. Ah, indeed, I can imagine where the problem is coming from. Send me an email about it, why don't you- then I can send you something back without clogging this comment section. My gmail's in the blog's sidebar.