Category Archives: Campaign Worlds

This category focuses on the role playing campaigns I am involved with.

Anti-Surveillance: Facial Recognition

In the dark future, how do you avoid being observed? When there is so much technology designed to track you and pass your movements onto the corporate overlords and onto their government masters.

Most facial recognition relies on video cameras to record the face, and a computer system to identify a person from the background noise or environment. This usually relies on Machine Learning to extract the face from the environment and then a library of faces to compare with. This provides 2 points of disruption or attack to disrupt the system.

1. Countermeasures

Facial recognition is one thing that many Player Characters, will have to dodge to avoid arrest. They will be detected, but what can they do to avoid recognition?

This is the most obvious solution, and the one many players tend to fall back on. There is always low-tech, the shelf standards like motorbike helmet, ski-mask, or face mask. However, even the basic mask can cause some problems with some dark materials appearing transparent under Infrared light, or white materials glowing when a UV light is shone on them.

Some interesting additions include Video Masks, Exotic Makeup, or Bizarre Clothing.

Video Masks

Building on the basic mask idea is the video mask, which combines a solid mask with a form of video projection or screen.

A near-future version would be a more self-contained device than the projection mask, described here. The Scifi series, TekWar provides an example, where a hi-tech hooded displays another face on yours. It’s used as a plot device to allow people to sneak in. Or even an adaption of Ghost in the Shell’s Therm-Optical Camoflague. Regardless of the source, there are countless ways this can be used and abused.

From a distance, a character could look like someone else, which provides interesting options for players messing with NPCs and NPCs doing the same. Frame someone for murder with video evidence.

However, the risks of using the technology can provide tension for the game. The PCs can be challenged with a Scooby-Doo-style mystery of who’s behind the mask. Or on a covert operation where you can keep them guessing how long will this keep working? Is there some exotic technology that will see through the illusion?

Exotic Makeup & Bizarre Clothing

Dazzle was a kind of camouflage used during World War 1, where it was designed to throw off the range-finding visual observation of ships by submarines.

SS West Mahomet in dazzle camouflage, 1918

Computer Vision Dazzle Camouflage points the way towards exotic fashion & makeup for the near future with Dazzle-style, 8-bit low-res pixel style, or AI-generated patterns sprayed onto your face.

Weird patterns or distorted geometry on clothing confuse the sensors. See These clothes use outlandish designs to trick facial recognition software into thinking you’re not human.

The will category of anti-Surveillance technology will see a lot of change as the Algorithms improve to detect people, while the counter algorithms create better counters.

2. Attack the system

This second stage is really looking at corrupting the algorithm, with a cyber attack, or flooding them with useless data. Either way, this becomes a game scenario in its own right.

Ubiquitous micro-computers

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized computer with the same capacities as a laptop or desktop, but with less power. These microsystems are used to embed web technology and help create the Internet of Things (IoT). I have used them to create a micro-webserver and a cloud-based file sharing. So let’s have a look at how these cheap little bad boys can be used in a cyberpunk setting.

Updating the tech to Red, we have an object the size of a credit card that can connect to a local Net or any store you walk into. They’d be dirt cheap and embedded into every credit stick, electronic device, urban flash clothing, or just a common piece of junk.

Ubiquitous micro-computers provide a way to control a piece of technology (For example; Clothing with built-in LEDs, a radio scanner, or a wifi detector). The places they get embedded does make sense most of the time. Wifi-enabled toaster, anyone? That is until, you realize that a single mass-produced chip can be run out in the millions for pennies and have a simple program installed  They usually have no security, because that would cost extra and who’d want to hack your car headlight anyway?

But just think of the fun you could have, with net-kids sending abuse at each other, or a Corporate assassin using the headlights to trigger another device or programming the vehicle to shut down when it passes a certain street.

All mobile phones have GPS tracking, but what if your CredChip passes on your movements every time you enter a store affiliated with Chipmakers? Or any piece of electronics a PC is carrying. For some examples look at these GPS Trackers from the Spy Store. Cyberpunk2020 has the equivalent device with the Tracer Button and Tracking Device.

Want to know your enemy’s movements, hack their phone, or their sneakers?

So, these systems are small without the ability to run most programs, but you can be certain that some enterprising young hacker has rewritten a program to work on a particular device. And maybe the team needs to collect the software so they can then trigger the vid jacket to hack the garage automatic door opener to provide access to Solo’s favourite ride.

Just remember, In a world where everything is connected nothing is safe

Cyber-helms for all situations

<corp jingle>
The Micro-Air bubble for all of your outdoor needs,
filters out neurotoxins floating around the streets.
</corp jingle>

This is just an example

Word from the street:

… Hey man these things are great, just hook them up to the auto-doc atomiser, and breath in your concoction of choice …

– Unknown ‘Dorpher

… Upgraded a batch of these for the 13th district PD, with armored faces, smart-google HUD, and rebreathers. Worked a charm, except if you smack the exhaust port, the facemask pops right off …

– Kutter, Techie

… Got to watch the effects when a Netrunner, flipped the filter direction and sucked all the air out … I’ll never use them again …

– Gimbals, Street Solo

A Map for Shadowrun

Playing in a game of Shadowrun 5e and the question of maps came up. in particular, Ley lines and connecting them to the game world. Luckily, the Internet contains geeks who have made something that could be used. the main challenge was getting the data that could be moved into Google Maps or Google Earth. Note: the upload limit for Google Maps kiboshed that idea

The Shadowrun world map was quickly solved, thanks to Reddit thread, Google Earth Shadowrun.

Although there are a lot of sites on Ley lines with helpful titles like;

None of them seams to have anything useful. does have a Google Earth style map, but the data was hidden so it can not be combines with the Shadowrun map.

A bland-looking website… strangely enough these older websites tend to have the better data… had Explore the UVG Grid with Google Earth with a useful kmz file to upload to Google Earth.

The two together make a great resource for Shadowrun GMs and players

Drink the Future

Lockdown’s been driving most people crazy and I’ve needed a way to add to my campaign. So, I’ve been working on some background elements for my Near Future Campaign. It’s a Work in Progress at the moment, as some labels need changing.


Soda for your brain!

Loaded with neuro-chemicals to enhance your thinking.


For that edge in speed AmphetaCola is a cut above the rest.


Reload that relaxed feeling, with SodaTranq.

Available in 2 flavours Grape & Berry.

The gorgeous grape relaxant cuts the edge off.

Drift off into berry bliss.

Common People

Although, YMMV, I find this CPAF, because hidden behind the music are words that bite home with the cutting wisdom of the bards carving ideas into your mind. So, I’m filing this piece of forgotten ‘art’ under CPAF!

Pulp‘s lyrics fill a void only the poor can really understand, combined with a saccharin pop beat and the overacting god, otherwise known as William Shatner, on the album, “HAS BEEN” … No truer words spoken … elevates it too the next level with an almost act of piracy (or a cover for the uninitiated) by not signing! The sheer genius and greatness of this! Remix culture at it’s finest.