Category Archives: Near Future

Years back I ran and played in many different cyberpunk campaigns, mostly using the Cyberpunk 2020 system, and the newer Cyberpunk Red, both by R. Talsorian Games.

This is the collection of my notes, system changes, and resources from that time. It should be useful for any near-future dystopian world but will need adapting to other game systems, such as Shadowrun, Cyberspace, & Interface Zero.

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

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.

#4: Monday’s Day of Deals

What follows are my pre-session notes with modifications for what happened during the session.

Scene #1: Meeting with the Bradi bunch

Purpose: This scene is for Mr. White to trade weapons with the gang, the Bradi Bunch (Checking youtube for video snippets, I realise how much I dislike the late ’60s TV series). And for me to pass on information to the team about the Nomad’s lost family.

Place: 10 am in a disused ’60s-style dinner/milk bar, decked out with Linoium & chrome.

People: “Mike Bradi” acting as the face Mr. White will talk to. Greg & Bobby to lug boxes. Alice as the sniper across the road with an assault rifle, just in case. NB: They all look like they’re out of the ’60 Tv show (See Disposable Goons sheets).


  • Mike in friendly tones: “Nice to meet you Mr. White. Do you have the crates?”
  • Mike: “Oh Alice”, to call in help from the sniper (Alice). NB: Not used but I’ll save this for later.
  • Mike, slightly warning tone: “Now, here’s a story… Nobody likes a fixer who plays both sides of the street. Eventually, people will turn on the middle.” – implying don’t sell to our enemies, possible persuasion roll. – “You wouldn’t be doing something like that?”
  • Mike: “You hang with that Naked Nomad, Tracer Naught?” “I heard that his family got aced by some corp goons. Little Bobby here saw the vans leaving the site. Some euro for his tuition could help him remember more details”. Streatdeal: 15 (Cost:100 eb).
  • Bobby, the illiterate kid punk. “Yea.” “I saw 3 vans with the logo of a flaming man on the side.”
  • NB: Lazarus Bio-Engineering.

Postscript: This went off without a hitch and Mr. White met up with the others.

Scene #2: Firefight with the Red Chromer Legion

Purpose: Again it’s weapons trading in this day of deals, but this time put some bullet holes in the PCs.

Place: 1pm in a dock-side warehouse full of useless plastic dolls.

People: Ben “the Purifier” Williams as the chief goon with 4 obvious goons, plus 4 others in ambush (See Disposable Goons sheets).

Plot: This is a stright up firefight. Try to luse the PCs into the warehouse and shoot them to bits. It’s gangers, sop no real planning. if it starts to go south, Ben will make a run for it.

Postscript: The gangers were almost commically ineffective and Ben died just inside the door of the warehouse.

  • The Russain remains obivious to they others, by trying to be a clear cop.
  • The Chemist has now moved onto collecting cyberware, in this case the Rippers are still in the hands from the 6 dead. The Russian will be investigated for this
  • Mr White collects the cash and now offers the weapons to the Bradi Bunch. Deal to follow.

Scene #3: Meeting with the Metal Warriors

Purpose: More weapons trading, but pay some kudos for surviving the last encounter. Also need to speed things up to get to the truck heist.

Place: 4pm at a local bar.

People: Andrea “Kali the knife” as the group’s face with 5 cybered up combat gangers (See Disposable Goons sheets).

Plot: More friendly trading

  • Kali: “Nice of you boys to make it here with the scratches you’ve got.”
  • “Why’d you bring the fucker here”, pointing at the Chemist. “Sable from mealstrom is looking for him.”. Something happened at that party Saturday”
  • “We got parts (ie cyebrware), if you can trade. We’re looking for some good heavy body armour.”

Postscript: The gangers were almost commically ineffective and Ben died just inside the door of the warehouse.

  • The Russain remains obivious to they others, by trying to be a clean cop. Will have to do somethign about this
  • The Chemist has now moved onto collecting cyberware, in this case the Rippers are still in the hands from the 6 dead. The Russian will be investigated for this
  • Mr White collects the cash and now offers the weapons to the Bradi Bunch. Deal to follow.

Scene #4: The Truck Hiest

Purpose: The truck hiest is the culmination of the last 2 session, and it’s split over 3 parts to this scene.

Place: 10pm on the I-115 Freeway.

People: 2 cop cars & 3 trucks.


  1. Taking out the cops
    • The Netrunner is used to take out these, but it wasn’t a PC. So I just used the Netmap from the jumpstart Kit and rolled to work out how long it would take. As fate would have it they got hit by a Hellhound once they’ed taken out the second cop car. it gave the Medtech something to do.
  2. Hitting the Road-block
    • The trucks got hit before they hit the roadblock before they hit the road-block.
    • Shotguns loaded with acid shells to take out the windows, and followed up with custom gas grenades.
    • The passenger in the first truck tosses the grenade out before looking concenious. The Chemist jumps onboards to take control of the vehicle and blowing most of his luck to avoid running through the roadblock
    • With the second truck, the gas grenda bounched back and forth between the Russian and the driver, before logding in the truck, which subsequently slows to a stop.
    • the third truck is secured by the Nomads, without fuss.
  3. Wrap-up
    • The team secured the vehicles and drop the bodies on the freeway. The Nomads leave with 2 trucks, but not the third as it’s not a fuel truck.
    • The group of Streetraces the team persuaded that the Freeway would clear, leave the scene quickly.
    • This leaves the PCs with a truck loaded with robotics and stuff. They call their Bratva masters to have the vehicle disappear. during this time tyhe team walks with a collection of cyberware. About 100,000 eb worth of processers, eyes & limbs, but it’s marked by the NorCal Military.

Postscript: This worked to get the pockets of the PCs lined with cash while increasing the possible problems.

  • The NorCal Military will be back, once they discover who’s responsable. Especially if the cyebrware starts coming out of a single location in the zone.
  • Word of what happened will spread from the group of streetraces. They don’t like been used, so they will happily share the story of what happened.
  • The Nomad pack hired will handover half the agreed weapons, for the 2 out of 3 trucked provided. But question the details provided by the team in the future. Asking for a higher price or offering less for what’s provided.

Scene #5: Facing Sable

Purpose: The Pcs wanted to chase down Sable, so set up a meeting in a park.

Place: Tuesday, 12 noon. Local Park

People: Sable & 5 Mealstrom gangers. The Chemist and a hired sniper. Along with soem Metal Warriors (See Disposable Goons sheets).

Plot: Nothing really planed, just layed out a firefight.

  • Mealstrom through against Metal Warriors


  • The Chemist detonated a kilo of C6, so the cops will have to head this up. And the Russain is the best for the job.

#3: Planning the Heist

With 2 players canceling at the last minute, this session was just the 3 Bratva sellouts. So I made use of the time to finish off details from last session, gather information, research the details and get them to plan the heist.

The Russain used his contacts in NCPD, and Grush his ex-military nomad contacts to discover this information.

  • The convoy of trucks to be loaded down the coast from an unknown ship.
  • The convey splits at a junction south of night city. 2 trucks head south out of town and the 3 the PCs are interested in head north along the I-115
  • Cops are due to escort the trucks from this junction at 7pm.
  • The convey is due to his the I-115 junction near the heart of Night City, by 1:15am, but this does not fit with the rest of the timing.

The plan should work something like this

  • The team hires a Bratva Netrunner to take out the cars in close range.
  • They get 3 double-barrel sawn-off shotguns and load them with acid shells to take out the armored windows.
  • They talked with the Concierge of the motel they are staying at, to connect them with some street races. They pass on information about the blind spots in the police patrols.