WHAT IS IDENTECO?
IDENTECO is a tabletop RPG about how individual and corporate marketing can influence the world in positive or negative ways. The game is inspired by the cyberpunk works of William Gibson, Phillip K. Dick, and Neal Stephenson; as well as films like Ghost in the Shell, Total Recall, and Blade Runner, where players engage in elaborate deception, tactical combat, and hack their way through the grid to survive in “The Static Age.” IDENTECO emphasizes social influence and its effect on people through its roleplaying and damage system.
Corporations control almost every facet of life around the world. Everyone from the lowest punk on the fringe to the highest-paid government officials are beholden to the whim of the Corps. Many feel like it’s their only way to make it in the world. Through carefully crafted marketing and slick branding, the Corps don’t “force” their will onto people they “enforce” their worth in people’s minds.
Others see past the fancy graphics and carefully manipulative words to find something they consider more “real.” These people try to live outside the prison the Corps have created for humanity. They inhabit the space between the Corps and the cities. They prefer to survive—and if they’re lucky thrive—in the shadow of the very giants they swore off.
IDENTECO is built on an entirely new D20-based system. Players who are familiar with some of the most-popular fantasy games will understand the base concepts, but will be interested to see how the rules are expanded to a modern setting.
The year is 2099. After a series of devastating nuclear attacks on America's heartland by an unseen enemy and the resulting civil unrest the governmental authorities were ill-equipped to quell, the corporations were the only thing left to protect the populace and rebuild society. So they did. Like technocratic gods they rebuilt first the US in their image, and then used new economies of scale and political systems to reshape the Globe.
Now neon-spackled city-states have recreated the urban landscape. Each MetroPlex is controlled by a Corporate Council that reflects the industries that make it thrive. Each Corp takes pride in the city they have created; they see it as a reinforcement of their brand, even while selling goods and services in other cities worldwide. The people inside the city—most in the employment of one Corp or another—are the living embodiment of the brand. Step out of line, and a Corp no longer has use for you.
The United Nations, acting as the last independent government organization, enacted a series of laws aimed at uniting the world by creating the Centralized Human Identity Program, a sort of universal I.D. program for the world, implanted in your body itself and encrypted using your own DNA sequence. It standardized passports, medical records, employment histories, education records, and much more. Most everyone in the cities, but not all, enjoy the benefits of the CHIP, either unaware or uncaring the Corps have access to their most private data.
Outside the cities, non-CHIPed folk live off what is left of the land. Small settlements and simple towns act as rest stops across the wasteland. They battle beast and man to live a “free” life away from corporate influence. It’s a simpler, but no less deadly, place. With less emphasis on technology and its hold on everyday life. The wastelands can be a lonely place at times, where even the best and most-prepared hunters can become prey in an instant.
Unique Social Backgrounds: Players choose to start with one of three backgrounds—Corp, Fringer, or Grounder. These backgrounds represent the three broadest factions in the game and roughly describe the roleplaying areas they inhabit. Each group are wary of others from different backgrounds, but sometimes jobs require a unique set of circumstances that lead to additional player growth.
Style and Substance: It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. Or do it. Reputation on the streets, in the wastes, and in the boardroom is earned not just by doing the job, but by doing it in grand fashion. Favor fortunes the bold—the bigger the score, the bigger the reward. But, remember, to keep your reputation you’ve got to top what you did last time lest you want some hipster saying “He was better back when…”
Punk Subculture: In all aspects of the game players are encouraged to make their voices heard. The hallmarks of the punk culture (individual freedom, anti-establishment views, fashion, sexuality, art, and more) are all represented in the game. For Fringers and Grounders, that’s just another day of the week. They live it. But even Corps make rock stars out of their best and brightest. Radical innovators and tech giants are just as popular a celebrity in 2099.
Moral Choice & Ethical Ambiguity: You’ve heard the phrase, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” That is no more true than in IDENTECO. There are no pre-determined “Lawful Good” or “Chaotic Neutral” characters in the game. You determine your character’s moral and ethics through each scenario, combat encounter, and social interaction. The game is built to challenge perceptions of “right” and “wrong”—forcing players to sometimes make difficult choices—but still allowing them to create the character they want to play.
Near-Future Science: IDENTECO’s near future technology is built on actual science and mathematics derived today. It introduces Element 121, a near infinite energy resource in battery form. It’s become the ubiquitous power source in cars, planes, motorcycles, even entire cities. Remotely Operated Vehicles (R.O.V.s) are controlled by pilots using a form of quantum communications. Advanced cybernetics and robotics allow for superhuman strength and agility. No longer do people travel by jetliner, but my low-orbital planes spacecraft that can circumvent the Earth in a matter of a couple of hours rather than days. Player are encouraged to explore the future tech in the game, and create their own. If there is a working prototype in the real world, odds are it will be perfected by 2099. So have fun.
A NEW D20 SYSTEM
The IDENTECO system rules system is built modularly, meaning it can be as complex or simplistic as the gaming group desires. All the rules content is there for gearheads and tinkerers to sink into, but isn’t sacrificed for those groups who are trying to game on short notice.
Combat is fast, fluid, and deadly. It forces players to find cover, play smart, and be tactical before running into a barrage of gunfire. Hacking is also fast and intuitive, with players have direct access to the grid in real-time through a mechanic call “combat hacking.”
Outside of combat the game works on a sliding scale. Most rolls for social interaction, skills, crafting, repair, and other aspects of the game are not simple pass/fail checks. They “succeed” or “fail” at a gradual rate. This means to play the game outside of combat, a GM need only to set a success rating for action and roleplay the result.
Active Combat System: Every attack is opposed by the defender in some manner. The system allows for some of the randomization that occurs during a firefight while still allowing players to utilize equipment and skills on both sides of the coin. Each attack rolls for both hit success, location, and damage and forces players to adjust their fighting style during a combat session based on the outcome.
Combat Hacking: Hackers are more than keyboard jockeys hanging out back at HQ away from danger while the team puts their necks on the line for a score. Hackers are active participants in combat. Not only can they unlock doors, deal with security cameras, and reroute police backup; they can overload junction boxes to cause explosions, kill lights, and control machinery in real time to aid their team and kill the opposition.
Interpersonal Relationships: There might be no “I” in team, but there is “me.” Side hustle is not only a great way to earn extra money, it advances a character’s goals in one way or another. Players can engage in a number of activities in the game that not only advance their storyline, but can help build their reputation apart from the group. How the group responds to that player’s reputation is up to them.
Your Reputation Proceeds You: Profit and loss means different things when you’re running the streets. Your reputation is a form of currency in the game that can be spent to influence die rolls, social interaction, back-alley favors, and corporate dealings. It can open many doors and get you above the law, but also make you a target for more unsavory characters who might prefer to see you out the game. Your reputation can be enhanced or hurt by the way you play.
Player-Generated Content: The GM isn’t the only writer of episodes or scenarios in the game. Players are encouraged to create their own storylines to follow. These can be a short-term score, or a long-term desire to create their own corporation with dreams of hostile takeover.
Quick and Easy Scenario Design: Because IDENTECO is grounded in the modern-day cartography, GMs and players can reference free online maps or blueprints as a starting place for a location. Each episode can be randomly generated or perfectly planned in a matter of minutes vs. hours of preparation. Though, for those GMs who want to, they can spend days writing story arcs and complex character backgrounds. The choice is really up to you.
In Defiance of Chaos
In Defiance of Chaos is the first book in the IDENTECO story series. The book has been over six months in development and will give readers a first glance at some of the major NPCs, corporations, and villains that comprise the IDENTECO game setting. It's filled with history on how and why the game world exists in its current state and is meant as a primer to the core rule book (coming in 2016).