A downloadable setting guide
The folks who ruined Mars have names and addresses. You have a crowbar, and a dream. Make them pay.
We named our cities after the virtues we expected them to display; Ambition, Charity, Justice; what a fucking joke. All that remains now is Ambition, a blighted hellscape surrounded by death, an imperfect blemish on the flat and barren face of Mars. We wish we had never been born here, we all wish we could leave, no one ever will.
60 years ago something went wrong, the terraforming project on Mars failed, the Spike collapsed, and our atmosphere turned to poison. Only those that made it to the bubble city of Ambition in time survived. Our first outpost, our last city, our only hope. With the surviving population of a whole planet, Ambition found itself overrun, and without the government of Charity City, it also found itself rudderless.
Now, all these years later, Blister City isn’t the same Ambition from our history. Mars is still uninhabitable, we’ve had nowhere to grow but upwards, and that land pulled by corporate interests in the wake of the War has created a culture of massive inequality that no one here is equipped (or more honestly, willing) to deal with. Corporate soldiers prowl the lower levels where the most rich and elite live in relative safety and comfort. As you climb higher in The Blister though things get worse, whole wards live without light, the air thins, and folks choke on the smog of the industry below. Advanced body modification allows folks to survive it, but the debt incurred in artificial lungs, and eyes that don’t need light is massive, empowering the folks down below to continue to make life worse for people in the mid and upper levels.
Blister City is a system agnostic Blisterpunk setting, alongside a rules lite Together We Go TTRPG. It is primarily designed with your favorite cyberpunk games in mind, with the system attached there for folks that don't know where to start, or want something tailored to the setting.
- What is Blisterpunk - Blisterpunk is the home term I use to describe the setting, but one that’s particularly apt. It's Cyberpunk without the corporate watering down of punk themes of direct action, DIY ethics, and anti-authoritarianism. If Cyberpunk is about fashion and nihilism, Blisterpunk is about function and direct action. You might not win, but you can take the bastards with you, and when you do it’ll make the city better for the people you love.
- Where is Blister City - Blister City, formerly Ambition City, is the last city on Mars. After years of successful terraforming, The Splinter, a machine designed to provide breathable atmosphere to the planet, malfunctioned, poisoning the sky and killing millions. Ambition, the first habitable city on the planet, still had a working atmospheric barrier and managed to save itself. Now, 60 years later, Blister City finds itself overgrown, bursting at the seams, and wildly inequitable.
- What are the Players - Players in Blister City are punks, trying to carve out a home in a hostile and unforgiving city, as massive factions here and on earth work against each other, in both obvious and subtle ways. The major problems plaguing Mars are unlikely to be solved by the group, and games set in Blister City are much more likely to be about personal and community victories for the characters.
- What do you need to Play - If you're running the included system you'll need 2-5 players including a GM, a handful of d20s and d6s, and some paper. Otherwise, just this pdf and another game!
- What is the Tech Like - Blister City is a sci-fi setting that is post space travel, but still pre warp/lightspeed travel. Full fledged Artificial Intelligence is likely to be a thing the world is currently grappling with, and tech that might be common could include things such as: extreme body modification and prosthesis, devices that allow people to plug directly into computers, and guns that synthesize and fire bullets seemingly out of thin air. We are still pre-lasers being handheld weapons, although groups like Ares Net are likely working on that. Considerations were made towards games with differing tech levels, and to that end the full text contains The Miasma, a strange space fog that has recently and quickly allowed leaps and bounds in tech.
- What are some Touchstones
- The space travel and political fighting of The Expanse
- The terrible city you never want to leave of Night City in Cyberpunk
- The construction and politics of Kowloon the Walled City
- The modifications, and hyper violence of Ghost in the Shell
- The dying cities on foreign planets of Mass Effect: Andromeda
- I love the setting but don’t love the game - Wonderful! Blister City is designed with other science fiction or cyberpunk systems in mind. Particular consideration went towards the following systems:
- Eclipse Phase
- Hack the Planet: Cyberpunk Forged in the Dark
- Cyberpunk Red
- GURPS Cyberpunk
I'm still working on getting the full sized setting guide out, so in the mean time please take a look at The Visitor's Guide to Blister City, the system wrote specifically around the upcoming product. It contains a small handful of enemies, factions, and history from the future text, so if you like what you see, keep an eye open.
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