Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Cyberpunk location descriptions
Dumpshock Forums > Discussion > Shadowrun
So, with all the threads going around about rules and stuff (which are normal considering the new edition, don't get me wrong), I thought I'd try starting a little game. Each poster must write up the description of a place. The exercise is to get is as "cyberpunk" as possible. We all know cyberpunk varies a little in interpretation, and that's fine. To me, a great cyberpunk locale means something old, tired and rotten, but covered with an artificial layer of high-tech glitz and modernity. The surface is shiny but the core is rotten.

So, just to get the ball rolling:

"The nun's apartment smelled of dust and incense. The floorboards creaked loudly in protest at every step. One could imagine the silence-loving nun having learned to scurry quietly like a mouse over these floor, learning every quarter-inch spot where squeaking did not occur. She must have felt like she lived in a minefield. The walls weren't much better. The room hadn't been painted in ages. Whatever was left of the once-white-now-yellow paint was pealing like a leper's skin. A giant NERPS billboard outside flooded the musty room with bright neon light that altered between a rotisserie oven's red glow and an all-pervasive white light. How the nun had avoided insanity from sleep deprivation was anyone's guess. Perhaps her diligent and desperate nightly prayers did it. Or, perhaps, she hadn't escaped madness at all..."
"The diner was a cheap shack stuck between a low-cost puppet parlour and a drug den. It was hard to tell which was which, since all three buildings were coated in grease that hadn't been cleaned since the first crash. In fact, the only way to distinguish between any was to actually go in - it didn't help that the blazing AR tags outside the three places had long since been merged by an enterprising hacker into 'Little Jimmy's BigTitChip House', a tag that was honestly more useful than distinguishing the three. The door to the diner had once been frosted glass, but now resembled the same black-painted exterior as the other two. The only way to get inside was by luck or experience. Inside the diner was what you'd expect - a dead-eyed troll with more chipjacks than hair and a burnt out chip slotted in every one. He was constantly staring at a trid, set in a corner of the room that hadn't displayed anything besides dead sky static since the twenties, or maybe that was all he could stand. Whatever seating or tables that might have once graced this establishment had long been reduced to scrap, then stolen, then returned. The only thing on the menu - scrawled in illegible handwritten text that might have fetched a good price at a modern art sale - was presumably a soyburger, though if you asked, you'd learned that no one had ever actually eaten there. It was a wonder how the place was still open, but maybe it'd just been forgotten about, written off like so much gutter grime."
The group, all four of them, cautiously navigated the dim tunnels. Rider and Tank lead the way; one following tracks while the other watched for traps or an ambush. Dealer followed close behind, carefully following their footsteps, and hastily surveying for any salvageable leftovers. Seraph took-up the rear, making sure nothing was following them.
Unbeknown to them, an enemy scout wearing a thermo-optical invisibility suit was probing the tunnels. The scout had spotted them and positioned himself out of their pathway, yet was hiding in plain sight. He knew he could not take on all four in a close confined space, even when invisible. His best bet was to remain unnoticed and report their presence once they all passed by. As they began to walk pass, he scrutinized them and considered his contingency plan. If the scout was actually spotted, he would have to move fast and take one of them hostage before they get a chance to target him. The two up front were too close and too well armed. Rider was obviously the tracker and very mobile. Tank was a pure combatant with an intense focus to spot any threats. He looked to be the most formidable and the most likely to spot the super-stealthy scout. The third one, Dealer, appeared less of a threat but was carrying an intimidating sawed-off shotgun and was positioned in the middle of the group. The scout would be surrounded if he attacked him. The last one, Seraph, is a slender female and looked like the easiest of the group to fight in hand-to-hand combat. She also had her back turned mostly to keep an eye out for pursuers. She would be the scout’s target.
Rider sensed something and signaled the group to stop in silence. With a single twirl of his finger, Rider gestured Tank to turn around and look behind him. Tank’s synthetic eyes locked onto the invisible scout’s position. In an instant the scout leaped off the wall just past Dealer and charged toward Seraph. To Tank and Rider, a blurry shimmer was moving in front of them. Unable to fully perceive its direction of motion, they both aimed their guns at it readying to open fire. Dealer was clueless and whipped his head around trying to spot whatever spooked Tank and Rider. Before Seraph could react she was attacked and disarmed. Her assault rifle was knocked out of her grasp by what seemed to be a ghost. She instinctively crouched to dodge any would be attacks – or possible shots from Tank and Rider aiming directly at her – but before she could reach her dropped gun a follow-up grappling move seized her in the scout’s hold.
The scout’s outline was now somewhat visible to everyone, and the cold end of his fully visible pistol was pressed against Seraph’s head. Tank went on one knee to take a steady aim directly at the scout’s head. The laser sight of his gun refracted through the scouts thermo-optical head covering, and the obvious sound of his multi-rifle’s auto-ammo selector mechanism slotted to shoot double rounds, but no shot was fired. Dealer, realizing what had just happened, was still keenly looking about for other possible invisible enemies. Rider let out a deep breath and lowered his submachine gun with one hand, while gently raising his other hand with an open palm.
“You can’t take us all prisoner,” Rider rationalized, “and if you hurt her you’re dead in an instant.”
“Yeah, well I don’t think you’re willing to take the risk.” The scout replied, “Because if you did then your buddy would’ve already taken his shot.”
“Ok, smart guy.” Dealer nervously interrupted as he stopped scanning the area and squirmed in place with his shotgun aimed at their direction, “So, what’s your plan? You expect us to just walk away and leave her here?”
“None of you are getting out of here.” The scout responded with a more imposing tone, “My team has a lock on my position and are on their way. You have a clear choice to make. Surrender and live, or fight and die. Even if you run and hide it’ll only be a matter of time before you’re discovered or starve to death down here. None of you are getting out!”
“That’s a bluff!” Dealer exclaimed, “Let her go or you die!”
“Nobody is going to kill anyone.” Rider calmly motioned to Dealer to lower his gun, “If your team is really on their way then there really is nothing we can do. So, how about we just stay cool and wait until… or if… they get here.”
As the scout perceived the situation his senses became hypersensitive. He had been in other highly stressful settings before with weapons pointed at him. Time seems to slow down and everything is in focus, but this time it was different. The sensations were more exhilarating and the fact that he held a hostage stimulated him. He could clearly sense how her lips felt against his palm, her warm breath on his hand, the rhythmic rising of her chest against his arm with each soft breath, and the throbbing beat of her heart. It began to excite him. He didn’t much care about the guns pointed at him anymore. He hated those guns not because of the direct threat to his life, but because they forced him to use one hand holding a pistol to her head. He wished both hands were free. The scout’s breathing and heart rate rose, as did his body temperature. He grabbed her more firmly not to have a stronger hold, but to hold her tighter and to slightly rub against her. Pressing her against his body, he sensed her curves as though they were both naked. He wanted her lustfully.
There had been a long pause since Rider’s last comment and the scout finally responded, “You know what?” The scout’s voice had changed again, but to a more mischievous tone, “I DO expect you three to walk away. So get moving!”
Dealer appeared somewhat baffled by the scout’s sudden change in demeanor and more annoyed by his demand. Tank did not budge and maintained his posture. Rider took a moment before speaking. He looked as if psycho-analyzing the scout, but instead noticed the look in Seraph’s eyes and smiled instead.
“Oh, you’re not going to harm her and we both know it.” Rider confidently replied.
“Shut up!” The scout snapped back, “All of you drop your guns and get the hell out NOW!”
The scout began to back away with Seraph still firmly in his grip. Then Dealer sneered and quickly made a comment, “Hah! There is no damn team and you’re on your own.”
Rider’s submachine gun swapped hands, as he placed his left hand on Tank’s right shoulder and spoke a single phrase, “Threat reversal.”
With that, Tank switched targets and spoke, “I’ll just kill her so we can finally end this.” His rifle’s laser sight was now pointing onto Seraph’s forehead.
The scout felt a rush of emotions surging through him. It was pure primal range and nothing was going to stand in his way. He absolutely wanted to have his way with her, to a point where his sense of rational was overwhelmed. He tunred the clearly visible pistol in his hand to point towards Tank, and this was exactly what Seraph was waiting for. She instantly snapped back her head and rammed her skull into the scout’s face, while simultaneously back-kicking his – now exposed – groin. The pistol shot missed its target by a wide margin from her reaction and she broke free of his hold. The instant she was more than an inche away from the scout, Tank fired his weapon. Seraph jumped back while exhaling a rough scream and Dealer yelled in turn in surprise. The thermo-optical invisibility suit flickered off as the scout dropped to the ground. His now visible face was bloodied with the entire back half of his head blown away.
“Nice shot, Tank.” Rider said with a smile as he walked towards Seraph, “Weak minds were always your specialty, Seraph. That was quick thinking.”
Rider lent a hand to help Seraph stand up and then continued, “What angle did you use to screw with his mind?”
Seraph picked up her assault rifle and winked at Dealer with a quick answer, “My ass.” She then turned to Tank with a sincere glance, “Thanks.”
“I should’ve known.” Dealer commented in amusement, “The fool got Psonic mind-raped. Good teamwork guys.”
“So, who’s getting this guy’s T.O. suit?” Tanks asked allowed with a clear intention that he wanted the invisibility suit.
Very nice scenario and loved the team interaction, but thought this thread was more about locales?
QUOTE (Sendaz @ Jul 31 2013, 01:39 PM) *
Very nice scenario and loved the team interaction, but thought this thread was more about locales?

Yes, I was off topic... it would've have been best if I had read past cyberpunk
I'm not much of a writer, but I wrote this for a game a few sessions ago.

Looking down the alleyway, it is about as unremarkable as most alleys get. A dumpster on the left side has fallen victim to the local homeless drek as there are garbage bags ripped open and contents strewn about the alley. From here you can see Big Johnny's face on the cover of a half torn magazine called "Knitting for Trolls!". Normally, trolls and knitting seem like they dont fit, but would you tell a nine foot troll that?
Past the magazine and further down the alley on the right are a few collapsed boxes with intricate designs of water stain on the bottom and pleasant acid rain from above. Now is when you realize that this alley is quite different; it smells pretty bad of garbage and rot...more than the regular city stink. You have two potential homes in this alley if things ever turn sour, but if you get hungry, it looks like the edible food has already been claimed.
She silently unbent her knees and raised herself from in front of the altar of her ancestors, finishing the prayer with a clap. She was deep in thoughts - troubled thoughts. She felt a chill. She willed the thermostat control overlay into existence and adjusted the temperature. She silently glided through the spacious, wood-paneled apartment. She found her husband where he always was, sitting in his sofa chair, a remnant of Yoichi 12 year-old whisky in its tumbler, the bottle sitting on the table next to it. His face was a frozen mask of joy, a content look on his face. She tried to feel happy for him, and thus, for herself. But she couldn't. She knew about the girl in his virtual reality. Made up, perfectly crafted. He loved her, she knew. He tried to hide it. At first he pretended he needed the long hours in VR for work. When she discovered it wasn't so, he flew in a rage, said things to her. Unspeakable things. Like she was not his wife at all, but an overly inquiring teenage slave girl. They had grown so distant. But how could she compete against a girl perfectly and uniquely crafted to make him happy?

She stood in the hallway, watching him in the dim light. She turned and continued to the bedroom. She sat on the low bed. She was so lonely. She needed to feel him. They hadn't been intimate with each other in months. She needed to feel that pleasure. She thought of touching herself, but she couldn't face that, it's not what she wanted. She reached into her black wood nightstand and pulled the drawer open by it's mother-of-pearl knob. She took a small datachip out of the bronze casing that held it, and several identical copies, and brought it to her temple. She cried as she slotted it, because she knew this would only drive them further apart. She cried right up till the moment the chip kicked in. After that, she merely smiled.
Note: This isn't Shadowrun cyberpunk, but something I wrote up for a freeform RP. (The exact guidelines were 'I want magic and cyberware but not Shadowrun nyahnyah.gif) Still, if you're interested:

The job wasn't going right. Felix Silver hated when jobs didn't go right. It'd been so simple - just find a girl, the sacrosanct product of 'love' between two corporate bigwigs, a biologically created replicant from a place where sex was something you did on the Matrix. Find her and bring her back to her father. His mouth made noises about protection and love. Silver didn't care - corpslaves weren't real people, they didn't feel things. He'd fucked up, and wanted the girl back before one of his rivals found out and downgraded the fucker. The mother had already been mind-sized back to a wagedrone, working for fresh air and a full two thousand calories. The father had shown him a picture of the three of them, pretending to be a real family. The mother was pretty - really pretty, with an organic touch to her custom-mods. Most corpslaves forgot what individuality really meant, even if they got high enough to start having it. She didn't, though. She looked real, and not just a holo-cutout copy of the latest simstar. That's the price of clean air and water, though. It was a price Felix, (or Fix, as he preferred) ever wanted to pay. He liked his square-cut jaw, the small scar above his right eyebrow, his bronze coloured skin. There wasn't a simstar like him, and he was proud of that.

He didn't have much else to be proud of. Except, of course, his professionalism, but he'd shed pride in that years ago, after he'd learned that his job often involved little more than playing glorified assassin for people who decided that disposable humans were more cost-effective than using robomechs.

He was twelve, then. His naivete was excusable, he thought. Fix swept his head over the teeming square of Kirkton - the cleaner level under the NeoDyne arcology. Cleaner being relative - the district was run by a warlord, but this warlord understood the value of things like having enough security so merchants could make taxable profits, and enough education to ensure that his merchants could cheat the other guys. A Trump-Tokugawa skyraker, near-orbital elevators that would take people to the supermaglev transit system that encircled the planet and actually allowed the arcologies to send material between each other, rose like a jagged dagger through the dark, neon and holographically illuminated streets. Kirkton wasn't cleaner just because it's warlord wasn't a complete moron - but because the corps had a distinct interest in keeping the skyrakers up. After all, they did have to send product down to the teeming masses somehow, even if they never bothered to meet them.

His talent, that little spark of power that distinguished every true human from a corpslave replicant, tingled wearily. He found people. He was good at it. Hell, he was one of the best, at least under the NeoDyne dome, and in no little part due to that tracking magic. He usually found mavericks in under a week - hell, it was part of his pitch whenever a client wanted to contract a Hunter - but this girl had eluded him for nearly two, and he knew that the father would only have his position - and his credit for so long before someone else found the girl. Then Fix could kiss his paycheque - three weeks of 80% purified air and a dozen apples, in addition to the usual charge (ammo and power packs) - goodbye.

He fantastized again about the apples - never having tried one, he had no idea what to think, but his brain was creative enough to offer suggestions. It didn't help his talent, though, which told him, vaguely, that she was somewhere in that pressed square of whores and junkies, soldiers and wanna-be corpies. He'd slipped enough bribes to the local mercs and drug dealers to make sure no one existed the district without him knowing, but Kirkton was huge. If he didn't find her now, the bribes would run out, and with that, his dream of eating an apple.

He wasn't going to find her standing up here, he decided. The support platform that encircled one of the NeoDyne dome's massive arcologies gave him a great view of the crowd below, but the unguent of sight he'd piped into his cyber-eldritch augmented eyes merely showed him even better the masses of filth teeming below. They were his first augment - not his last, not by a long-shot - the technosorcerousl construction ripped out of a dying maverick. Most of his ware was - mavericks quickly figured out that in the sprawl, you either evolved or died, and at least in the beginning, had the resources to afford it.

He never would, of course, unless he settled for the mutation-granting biometallic replacements common amongst the teeming masses of life on Nova Nix - but he valued his sanity, and his mostly clean genestrand. His talent sparked for a moment, his sight automagically magnifying it's target. It wasn't the girl he was looking for, though, which was odd. The minor charms he'd woven to help sharpen his senses meant to keep out distracting stimuli, though he was never good at the fusion of science and magic that passed for technology on this world.

Tiny gears, audible within his bone structure, whirred as his eyes refocused on a pale-skinned girl, thin and ill-fed, a pair of feline-like ears on her head. He knew her, which was why his talent had sparked, eager to provide him with <something>. He was loathe to engage her - readers always made him nervous, but maybe she could feel out his target. He could spare a quarter-apple, he figured, though it pained him to think of it. He'd already apportioned three for rent (after lying to his landlord about his pay, of course, but he'd already figured out where to hide the rest,) and another one was planned as bribes to the Nashiro-gumi gangers that 'ran' the hood around his flat.

Not the air, though - the air was all his. He hated the smell of the cheap oils he rubbed on the scavanged gas mask to make them work. Apples were one thing, but fresh air was the reason he got into Hunting biz in the first place. It was a sign of luxury and success - aside from being a corpslave, but that particular cost had always been too high.

The square loomed a good fifty feet below him, but he spotted a relatively clear spot on top of a soylent ramen stand next to the reader-girl, and took a breath as he clambered onto the railing of the platform. Then, ignoring the slight burst of vertigo that assaulted him as he glanced down, Fix jumped.

Magically-treated nerves kicked into gear as his mind screamed 'Ohshitohshitoshit', the ground accelerating towards him far faster than he'd anticipated - and then slowed, each foot passing by in what seemed like an hour. Forcing himself to calm down as his brain readjusted to his augmented processing, he drew a small, pistol like object from inside his heavy armoured trenchcoat and aimed it at a bar-shaped holo-projecter jutting over the ramen stand and depressed a button. Snake-like coils of rubber and steel shot out, wrapping around them bar and changing it's course - he'd gotten better at that, lately. The enhanced reflexes were his newest augment, and arguably his best, but he hadn't quite gotten the hang of them yet, though he figured he'd adjust given a few more weeks.

It took a toll out of him, and the operating time ran out quicker than he'd hoped, reality snapping back with the realisation that he was hurtling at a flimsy bit of metal barely larger than a man's hand at a horribly fast pace. 'Ohshitohshitohshit,' his mind said, and he barely managed to disengaged the grapple before hitting the sheet-metal roof of the stand. The coils snapped back into their casing, snapping his arm back with enough force that gravity was confused for a brief nanosecond in which direction to point his momentum, before it decided on down. Luckily for him, gravity's indecision was his benefit, and he managed to tuck into a roll as his body hit the roof, shock-absorbant carbon-threads negating most of the impact. It was still enough to knock the air from his lungs as he rolled on to the pavement, picking himself up with a tad of self-conscious glancing.

Assured that no one had noticed - or cared, really, he turned his head towards the cat-eared girl. "Hello, Taia," he said, his accent cultured enough to pass for a wanna-be corpie, something he'd worked on for years. Gutterscum didn't get jobs, after all. "It's been a while. You look hungry."

This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Dumpshock Forums © 2001-2012