2001: A great many people are amazed to discover that the Millennium comes and goes quietly, without massive death, destruction, chaos or the end of civilization.
2007: A Canadian corporation produces the first commercial line of cybernetic prosthetics, offering capacities equal to the original organs.
2011: The U.S. Military creates the first units of cybernetically enhanced warriors.
2013: Advanced powered armour vehicles are experimented with by Japanese research institutes. Later in this year, the first efficient plasma weapon is designed and tested.
2015: A victim of an automobile accident is treated with extensive biologically engineered replacement organs, including a synthetic arm, lungs, heart, kidney, jaw and skin.
2017: Sensory deprivation tanks and neural interface harnasses allow humans to virtually access the Internet for the first time.
2018: An amendment to the American Constitution ensures the extraterritoriality of Multinational corporations. To the Corporations, most of whom now maintain private Corporate armies, this is little more than official recognition of a fact of life.
2019: Virtual computer interface technology requiring only a neural interface harnass is introduced. Though bulky and cumbersome, the devices allow home access for the first time.
2021: Japan's government collapses. Due to the fact that the nation is largely controlled by the Zaibatsu anyway, little social turmoil occurs.
2022: Virtually accessing hackers penetrate the CIA central database. U.S. Government personnel respond. In the first known incidence of Cyberspace combat, twelve people are killed or reduced to mental vegetables. Within the hour vast amounts of sensitive CIA information is available on the Net.
2024: The first AI, Proteus, goes online. Proteus is terminated using inbuilt electronic viral weapons seven hours later. The brief existence of this sentient artificial life form sparks debate and sensationalism on a global scale.
2025: Economic currency fluctuations and repeated, almost unstoppable, computer intrusions threaten the stability of the industrial world. Several nations, including Turkey, Albania and Korea fall to rioting and social anarchy.
2026: Kyodara Technologies purchases large oil deposits in Iran. Akino Corporation begins construction of the first Orbital space station.
2027: Kyodara Technologies begins to place a network of orbital combat satellites into orbit.
2028: A massive earthquake in Tokyo kills 2.4 million people. Repair efforts are dropped; the city is rebuilt over the ruin of the old, extending upwards and outwards into Tokyo Bay.
2031: Middle Eastern terrorists detonate a nuclear device in Miami, killing 456,000 people. American military troops are deployed to invade Iran, the nation credited with the assault, attacking several oil fields. Kyodara corporate military forces respond. The nuclear aircraft carrier U.S.S. William Allenson is destroyed by Kyodara orbital weapons in the assault. The incident is a brutal demonstration of the true independence of the great Multinationals.
2033: Genetic sequencing treatments available in Chiba and Mexico City begin to produce life forms which cannot be truly called human. The subjects of these therapies are the subject of debate and speculation; are they human? What rights do they have?
2035: Dynamar Industries central database is attacked by several hackers, using new keyboard-sized Terminals. The assault is met by a Dynamar Artificial Intelligence, Synestral. Seven of eight hackers are flatlined within ten seconds. Attempts by the victim's families to charge Synestral with murder are thrown out in court.
2036: Chiba becomes an international area, beyond the jurisdiction of any nation or law. Mexico City, Istanbul and Buenos Aires soon acquire the same definition.
2037: The growing North Atlantic Metropolitan Axis, a vast area of seventy million people stretching from Toronto to New York, gains its own limited government and is no longer truly a part of any nation. Other growing Metroplexes, including the Pacific, European, Indian and East Asian Plexes, begin to acquire the same rights.
2039: The United States withdraws military assets from foreign soil, returning to its old policies of isolationism. Many wonder how much of this is due to the Multinationals, who virtually control the government of the U.S. and many other nations.
2041: The Sentient Being Rights Treaty is signed by 301 nations in Zurich. This treaty allows genetically engineered subspecies and modified races full rights of sentient life forms. Its provisions concerning AIs are somewhat more vague; the right of an AI to freedom of thought is assured, although Corporations retain the rights to build and use AI lifeforms to their own ends. A Corporation owning an AI will be responsible for its actions, and any deaths which may result. Killing an AI is now officially not a criminal offense, although Corporate owners gain the right to sue for damages.
Metroplex is a world dramatically changed by unstoppable social decay and relentless technological advance. It has been changed on the surface and in its darkest warrens, in how its people live and how they are ruled, in how they react and how they die. It is a place of horror and beauty, power and greed, a dystopian domain of technology unchained and wonder destroyed.
For a really good grounding, read anything William Gibson ever wrote.
If you can read Neuromancer and still not understand, you never will. If,
on the other hand, you can, then Metroplex is your sort of game.
The Earth of Metroplex is a place where human augmentation is normal. It is given very little thought; as little thought as we give dental work, or eyeglasses.
The development of cybernetic implants began in 2007 with the introduction by Cantech Industries of functional, durable, efficient cybernetic implants. These devices were designed to replace the functions of different parts of the human body.
With time, and with the growth of a suitable market, cybernetic implants became more advanced, and the emphasis shifted. No longer was it enough to have something as good as what nature provided; now, mankind needed to be better. Faster, stronger, higher, and all contained within the human form.
Most people in 2046 have some cybernetic work. Runners have Cyberlinks, to run their decks; Mercenaries may feature implanted communications and visual gear. The ultimate expression of this modification is the Samurai, chromed to the max with speed, strength, weapons and senses unequaled by anything a machine shell could offer. Most look deceptively normal. At least, until they cut loose, and by then it's too late.
In the world of Metroplex, flesh is only a place to start.
You could tell he was a tank job.
There's just something about them. Part of the look. His eyes were a
funny kind of yellow, iris looped around a pupil shaped like a crucifix,
black as night. When he looked at you, they flexed, and synth eyes didn't
He was looking for me, no argument. Drifted through the crowd of the pub,
hands pushed down into the pockets of his black leather coat. He could
have anything in there, but if he was a tank job, he probably didn't need it.
When he started to get too close, I kicked in the wires, felt the rush as
processing speed jumped up. Flexed my hands around my ale; felt the spikes
there, ports opening and closing, opening and closing.
He stopped beside me, and I looked up at him. He smiled. No teeth, just
this serrated greenish gum. Tank job, all right. "People's looking for
you, Alice," he said.
I didn't give him a chance to finish his line. Carved him up some with
the cutters; didn't think it'd really slow him down, but it gave me a chance
to get some room.
He dropped his coat, pulling out hands with fingers tipped with knives.
"You're gonna pay for that," he said, gripping at the wound, dripping blue.
Life's never simple, ya know?
You could tell he was a tank job.
There's just something about them. Part of the look. His eyes were a funny kind of yellow, iris looped around a pupil shaped like a crucifix, black as night. When he looked at you, they flexed, and synth eyes didn't do that.
He was looking for me, no argument. Drifted through the crowd of the pub, hands pushed down into the pockets of his black leather coat. He could have anything in there, but if he was a tank job, he probably didn't need it. When he started to get too close, I kicked in the wires, felt the rush as processing speed jumped up. Flexed my hands around my ale; felt the spikes there, ports opening and closing, opening and closing.
He stopped beside me, and I looked up at him. He smiled. No teeth, just this serrated greenish gum. Tank job, all right. "People's looking for you, Alice," he said.
I didn't give him a chance to finish his line. Carved him up some with the cutters; didn't think it'd really slow him down, but it gave me a chance to get some room.
He dropped his coat, pulling out hands with fingers tipped with knives. "You're gonna pay for that," he said, gripping at the wound, dripping blue.
Life's never simple, ya know?
Not everything on Earth is human.
There are places, like the flesh vats of Mexico, and the hidden night clinics of Chiba, where you can walk in human and walk out something else. With the completion of the mapping of human genes, the alteration and improvement on a genetic level become possible. Vatlings are the expression of this development. There are as many kinds of Vatlings as there are people; each one is unique, a genetic monster built of amino acids and nucleotides. Be wary, however; the further you go from human, the closer you come to Monster. Not all Vatlings are human inside.
The Net is huge. It's more than huge; the Net is life. It is Reality. It is the fulfilment of the promise of the old Internet, a revolution come of age.
For full details on the Net, its impact on life, and how to use it, see the section on the Net.
Governments are out. Corporations are in.
The world of Metroplex is a place of national centralized power atrophied. The old Superpowers are powerful no more. Even the United States, once the most powerful nation on Earth, now has no control over the Multinationals who do business within her borders. The bulk of the population of North America live within the Plexes, arguably beyond the reach of any nation.
Each Multinational reaches across several countries, and is equal in power to the nations of old. They maintain private armies of Corporate Security and Mercenaries, make alliances and fight wars, and struggle to keep pace in the endless race of R & D. In their ranks are the wage slaves, Corporate employees who live, work and die, cradle to grave, within the Corporate embrace; Artificial Intelligences, daemons of Cyberspace of unknown capacities and unknowable natures; Security services, armed to the teeth and granted enormous latitude by failing international law; and the Freelancers, the console cowboys, the Runners who race the Net and trade the only currency worth bothering with: Information.
To the Player Characters, the Corporations are nemesis, instigator, employer and obstacle, often all at once. Street level freelancers are employed to take on tasks the Corporation wouldn't want to be openly involved with; the Corporate pursuit of profit can put the Corp at odds with the PCs; the seemingly random actions of the Corporate giants can add spice to a campaign, get things moving, or offer the touch of danger. In the Metroplexes, the Multinationals are the closest thing to Authority, and the most dangerous things to play with.
The Metroplexes are massive conglomerations of urban sprawl. There are several, scattered across the face of the Earth. The Plexes started as cities started to touch one another. As they grew, they also turned inward.
The Plex is a land all to itself, growing upwards and outwards on its foundation of what went before, growing like a cancer, without plan or direction. Each is home to billions of people. Towers and structures of chipped and graffittied ferrocrete line narrow, winding streets. Garbage, burnt out cars, and things better not inquired after litter those strips of cold asphalt. In the distance, the great Arcos rise, enclosed structures big enough and sophisticated enough to survive all on their own. Like dark anthills against the toxic iron sky, there are some people in there who have never come out. Beyond, like spires of dark glass from a fairy tale, the Corporate towers, where the faceless directors of vast inhuman organizations guide their empires.
The Plex is small, steamy noodle shops in the cold streets, and empty rooftops on humid nights with the stars, stained green by the polluted clouds, overhead. The Plex is arenas where augmented warriors fight, and the Corporate cradle-to-grave employees watch and wager. The Plex is shopping, and running, and drugs, and violence. The Plex is a place where life is cheap, death cheaper; heavily armed mercenary Security services are never far away, and neither are the hoods, the fences, the Runners and the pushers who follow the twisting flows of the crowds though Darwinistic struggles to survive and profit.
The Plex is home.
As Time Goes On
Metroplex will be regularily updated, until all the sections thus far marked with "still under construction" are complete. After that, there's still plenty more to do. I intend to cover each of the big Plexes, with new O.C.C.s, enemies, tech, and so forth. Supplements for Corporations, Orbit, the Net, Mercenary work, and such will come with time. What the hell; I've got 2 megs of space here at GeoCities to play with, let's see how many html files I can squeeze in, eh?
I'm more than amenable to other people contributing to Metroplex.
The Net, Atlantic Plex and Japan are the three areas I reserve to do myself.
If you want to do a section of the world, it'd be nice if you actually
lived there (I'd rather see the Sydney section written by an Australian,
for example), and being willing to discuss alteration and editing is a plus.
If you have ideas, you can bounce them off me at