Kickstarting an antifascist cyberpunk RPG


Originally published at:


So less cyberpunk and more actual punk, then? Also, “ethical insurgency against a fascist regime, taking place in a dystopian vision of… America” sounds a little too close to home right now to be entertainment… maybe I need to think of it as training?


I feel like roleplaying within a dystopian fascist cyberpunk America setting is not enough of an escape from reality for me.


It’s not the same as this one then

Not that I’m complaining about having more choice.


Remember when we thought Reagan was a fascist? :joy:


Thatcher’s Britain!


You mean to say that he wasn’t?


Why do I need a game when I get to live it every day?


There are cyberpunk RPGs that aren’t antifascist?

Have I been playing them wrong all this while?

That said, this sort of setting is my jam. I’m almost certainly backing provided the system isn’t something abominable.


Train hard, fight easy.



Despite appearances, I’m actually very careful with my use of political terminology.

Which is not to say that I liked Reagan. “Vacuous puppet used to promote imperialism, bigotry and greed” is how I usually describe him. That was plenty evil enough already.


maybe it’ll be good rehearsal.


Well, because sitting around with friends playing an RPG where you fantasize about being a young, rebellious cyberpunk who takes down the Fascist/Corporate Oligarchy, set in that timeless moment when you were a young, rebellious cyberpunk-wannabe, (but wasted it all on 'zine writing and the Church of the Subgenius) is a whole LOT safer and easier and MUCH less stressful than actually fighting real fascism IRL.

(I mean, wasn’t everyone a seething rebellious cyberpunk-wannabe teenager in the 1980s?)

(Well, no. )

(Though you might be forgiven for thinking that if you read BoingBoing a lot, since BB seems to serve as Intertube Central for perpetual 14-year-olds lost in a haze of nostalgia for the 1980s mass-media obsessions of their childhood and teen years.)


Remember when there was still some measure of doubt as to whether Trump was a fascist? All the historians weighing in after the election, suggesting that since Trump lacked an obvious ideology, he wasn’t technically a fascist. Now Trump has made his ideology abundantly clear - white supremacy - and it’s time for a reevaluation: “Hey, what do you know - he really is an actual fascist!”


… yeah, so?


A severely obscure and under appreciated old anti-corporate cyberpunk furry RPG:


So take the Anarchists of the BBS’s of yor and have them actually Do Things instead of ‘I’m an Anarchist! Look at me!’

I present to you Exhibit A on why it’s impossible to parody this without hitting so close to how Real Life is that it’s just stopped being fun:

Agreed. Making progress in a made up America now makes me look at the tv, sigh, and lament that it can’t be that easy in meatspace.

No Eclipse phase is an RPG set in the far future where you’re allowed to stat out this post human ‘thing’ that can body swap to their cybernetic hear’ts content and then ‘oh hey the luddites were right. all that stuff you enjoy is wrong on every evel and you’re a bad person for enjoying tanshumanism.’

I wonder if we could hook a dynamo up to regan’s corpse and use the fact he’s turning in his grave to power the country.

Agreed. THe setting looks absolutely wonderful. The art is a thing that tickles a lot of ‘like’ buttons on me and it’s something I could enjoy as story material. However loking at Twitter and random news bits has left me less enchanted by cyberpunk as a genre. That said taking on bits of war games, robocop, max headroom, and the like is a smart move. Those were great parodies within the era itself.

I was a decade late to the party but the Matrix look made me look at why they chose those looks, which got me into ghost in the shell, shadowrun, gibson, etc. I mean I’d already read snow crash by that point so i was vaguely familiar in a passing sense before that point, but the matrix and fight club were what I consider part of ‘people late to the cyberpunk party’ bits of cultural flaff. Well that and ‘hackers’ because even though that’s a horrible movie, it’s the FUN kind of horrible that KNOWS its horrible.

This is news… Welcome news. Fun news.

Also ‘set in an alt 80’s’ has been done in an interesting if ‘lite’ sort of way.

I even wrote a thing within the setting (sorta… kinda. It kinda goes gonzo.) I tried anyway. It was fun at the time.



Yeah. I thought RPGs were supposed to be escapist. This sounds like the 2017 version of “your fifth level accountant got a promotion at work today, so he can upgrade his car!”


Cyberpunk RPGs are antiauthoritarian, but I can’t think of any that were actually antifascist.

If anything, governments tend to be shown as remote or weak in the face of corporate authority in a cyberpunk settings. The typical government presence is something repurposed from the military (military hacking software, veterans serving as corporate mercenaries, a stealthy military transport plane now used for smuggling, a rogue A.I. that was used for black ops wanting to be free or going into business for its own, etc.).

Corporations can act like governments, particularly in space stations or off-world colonies, but this isn’t satirical of fascism so much as criticism of real-world corporate misdeeds such as a company town’s company store gouging, and the government not acting as a check to their power.