Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Secession: a post cyberpunk setting

This is a post-cyberpunk setting I've been tooling around with since about 2005. It was originally dreamed up as a spot UK background for Shadowrun, where it was used for a few months. Apocryphally, is postulates a much greater level of involvement in UK politics for UKIP than was evident in 2005. In addition, this was written before the financial difficulties awaiting the global economy post 2008. I've filed off the Sixth World edges of the setting and redomiciled it in the Interface Zero setting from Gun Metal Games. I've also recalibrated the default for player characters to law enforcement; it originally had the PCs running a night club called the Scream as a front for a smuggling operation.

Circa 2088 AD the UK is bankrupt (following an ill-timed decision to secede from the Greater Eurasian Union when the UKIP took power) and an environmental disaster zone to boot. London is now a crumbling and flooded urban wasteland, with the UK's political capital relocated to Manchester.

In order to raise much-needed hard currency, the UK sold the Isle of Wight to the Consortium, a powerful syndicate of mega-corporations, granting it extraterritoriality in the process. Renamed Secession, the island has turned into the premier corporate enclave in Western Europe, and has been connected to the continent by high-speed underwater rail links (Paris in 45 minutes from Newport Central, Madrid in 90).

Secession has been divided into corporate zones, each one the private fiefdom of one of the members of the Consortium. A large central zone, the Newport Hub, remains a mutually shared area for cheaper housing, factories, light industrial facilities, etc. Movement between corporate zones is restricted. [I've not really decided the extent to which such restrictions are imposed - as in Paranoia, residents probably have multi-zone access dependent on their status / security clearance].

Across the water, in southern England, the county of Hampshire is now almost entirely under concrete. The economic success of Secession has led to the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs in businesses serving Secession, and resulted in a construction boom that created a massive new urban sprawl stretching from Bournemouth in the west to Bognor in the east, and as far north as Basingstoke and Andover, all of which are now suburbs. The only area not under concrete is the New Forest, originally slated as a nature reserve, now rented out for research purposes by a number of non-Consortium players (e.g. the Russian mega-corp Zhivny Zat).

Solent City has been going through somewhat of a recession in recent years: while the wealthier financial and residential waterfront districts have maintained their primacy, and rivalled the glamour of the capital Manchester, the loss of masses of jobs that followed a cooling of relations between the Consortium and the UK has led to unrest and poverty.

Solent City has always had a refugee problem, and large shanty towns still cluster along its northern and eastern edges. Now poverty and gang politics are becoming more widespread, particularly as the overall economic and political situation in the UK, the Sick Man of Europe, continues to deteriorate.

The default setting has player characters as cops or freelance operators based in the Newport Hub in Secession, which has become a hive for illegal offshore businesses operating outside the jurisdiction of the UK and European Federation. This includes everything from smuggling, to software piracy, illegal decking, unsanctioned genetic research, and arms dealing. [In Shadowrun they owned a night club called The Scream, which they used as a front operation for smuggling activities.]

The police force in Secession (SecFor) is jointly funded by the seven mega corps responsible for the island. Officially neutral, its officers can enforce Secession regs across all the corporate zones. Technically, no employees of any of the megacorps in Secession have extraterritorial status. In reality, life is a little more complex than that..


  1. It seems you could borrow Cold City's loyalty system for the SecFor officers, to add a bit of inter-player intrigue.

  2. And near the coast of Solent City there will be a solitary house un-concreted over, as I'll be damned if they're making me move out! :P