Technoir Transmission Guide

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  1. How to create a Sci-Fi city
  2. =Jeremy’s Guide to Writing Transmissions=
  3. Posted by Jeremy Keller (writer of Tech-Noir RPG) on June 8, 2011
  5. So a lot of people have been talking on twitter, forums, and blogs about writing their own
  6. transmissions for Technoir. This is amazing. This is exactly what I was hoping for. I want
  7. to help you as much as I can to do this. …and do this well. …so you will do it more. So I
  8. decided to write a brief guide explaining my process as I’ve written the Twin Cities and
  9. Los Angeles transmissions.
  11. =Exposition=
  12. Write three paragraphs about your city. One is about its unique take on technology, one is
  13. about the environment in the region, and the third is about its society—especially given
  14. the influences of technology and environment. Think of what themes you want to address
  15. with your transmission and talk about them here. This is the most wordy you get to be in
  16. the entire document, so enjoy that freedom while you can.
  18. =The Nodes=
  19. You’re going to come up with 36 nodes. Six connections, six events, six factions, six
  20. locations, six objects, and six threats. Each one is going to have a short, one-line
  21. description. Don’t write so much that you explain what the node is—write just enough
  22. that the GM reading is inspired to define what the node is herself as she connects it to
  23. other nodes on her plot map.
  25. =Connections=
  26. Come up with six connections. It helps if they’re part of the criminal underworld in some
  27. sense, because that’s what ties the protagonists into the seedy underbelly of the city. They
  28. should be characters who you can imagine as both best friends and bitter enemies with
  29. the protagonists depending on the context. They could very well start as one and quickly
  30. become the next.
  32. =Connections Stats=
  33. Connections are made to be on par with new protagonists or one step better. You can
  34. distribute 18 points among their nine verbs with three adjectives or your can distribute 21
  35. verbs and four adjectives if they should be a bit more powerful. Pawn shop owners, drug
  36. dealers, and scientists should probably be on par. Crime bosses and deadly assassins
  37. should probably be more powerful. Assign whatever objects seem to be appropriate.
  38. There isn’t a lot of space here to list out the object stats, I figure the GM can pop open a
  39. player’s guide for that and pick whichever upgrades seem appropriate at the time.
  40. Favors should be assigned to fit the connection’s character concept. There isn’t any
  41. formula to who gets what favors or how many. I would make sure that shark and splice
  42. are represented at least once. You don’t have to have all the favors in your transmission.
  43. Twin Cities doesn’t have chop. It helps create a meaningful difference between the
  44. transmissions. Want chop? Better head to L.A. or Detroit.
  45. You’re going to want to wait til your done creating all your nodes before you make the
  46. connections’ lead tables.
  48. =Events=
  49. Come up with six events. This one is the hardest section for me usually. Look at other
  50. transmissions for ideas. But try think of things that could only happen in your city as
  51. well. Crazy weather is good too as it makes a cover for other nefarious deeds. Keep them
  52. open so they can be things that have occurred, are occurring, or threaten to occur in the
  53. plot. Keep them open enough that many of your connections, factions, and threats can be
  54. responsible for them.
  56. =Factions=
  57. Come up with six factions. Here’s where you’re really going to nail down the theme of
  58. your city. Twin Cities is about cybernetics, so there’s two corporations here that are big
  59. on that. Here are the big categories I think of when I’m trying to come up with factions:
  60. corrupt government, heartless corporations, political activists, fringe religious groups,
  61. large gangs, organized crime, and secret societies.
  63. =Locations=
  64. Come up with six locations. Try to think of the most cyberpunk places in your city. These
  65. are set pieces for cool scenes to play out. What architecture in your city sets it apart and
  66. how can you represent that as a location? My favorite location in the Twin Cities is the
  67. skyways. They seem futuristic (even though they’ve been around as long as I can
  68. remember), and they’re awesome for chases and urban labyrinths. There are actually
  69. probably a lot more than six locations in your city that you want to talk about. So you can
  70. hide other locations in the other nodes by mentioning, in their descriptions, where the
  71. connections hang out, where a faction meets, or where an event takes place.
  73. =Objects=
  74. Come up with six objects. These are your classic MacGuffins! The things everyone in the
  75. story wants to get their hands on. Prototype tech, money, drugs, scary-ass weapons,
  76. doomsday devices, statues of birds. Some can be cool weapons, implants, vehicles, or
  77. other gear that are usable by the protagonists. These can be a cool way to add new
  78. technology into the setting. Twin Cities has a full cyberbody.
  80. =Object Stats=
  81. Just come up with the capabilities of your object and codify those as tags. Use the tags of
  82. the existing objects catalog as a guide. Add some cool story tags like stolen or
  83. fingerprints or tracking device.
  85. =Threats=
  86. Come up with six threats. These are teams of people that are designed to fight
  87. protagonists. Each one should have at least two heavies and anywhere from zero to four
  88. henchmen. Envision your favorite cyberpunk and hardboiled scenarios in your head and
  89. think of who the heroes would be fighting. Those are your threats. Security forces, teams
  90. of assassins, military units, gangs, and so forth.
  92. =Threat Stats=
  93. Make sure each threat has a name. Heavies should be made with 21 points distributed
  94. between the verbs and four adjectives (one step better than the protagonists). Henchmen
  95. are made with 18 points among their verbs and one adjective. Write a list of objects, fully
  96. statted out, that cover everything they have together. Then you can just name which of
  97. those objects each individual has in their own section. Just come up with whatever
  98. objects are appropriate for that group. You can even make up custom objects that aren’t
  99. in the object catalog or anywhere else (but try not to go to that well too often).
  101. =The Master Table=
  102. The master table is pretty easy to come up with. It’s just all of your nodes listed out in
  103. order. Each row is one category with the nodes listed across the columns alphabetically.
  104. There’s an equal chance of rolling any node, so the position doesn’t really matter as long
  105. as you list each node once.
  107. =The Connection Lead Tables=
  108. These tables are a bit harder to do. You’ll want to open an extra copy of your
  109. transmission so far so you can scroll through one copy while editing the tables on the
  110. other. Each node should be represented twice among all the lead tables. I try to make sure
  111. that a node is in the un-connected column of one table and the connected column of
  112. another table—that’s just something I shoot for, it’s not absolutely necessary. If you look
  113. at the existing transmissions, you will notice that each row of the table is a particular
  114. category.
  116. Other than those guidelines, I just try to think of what nodes in the city that connection is
  117. most likely to know about and fill the table with that.
  118. Fill the space by mashing up existing, modern cities with each modern city becoming a
  119. sector of your mega-city. Working from U.S. cities, you may have:
  120. - the government sector (D.C.) Large marble government buildings; lots of statues and
  121. monuments; no sky-scrappers. Government clerks and lawyers.
  122. - the business sector (New York) Very, very dense. Home of bank headquarters, stock
  123. market, publishing industry. Capitalists.
  124. - the entertainment sector (L.A.) Sprawling. Entertainment studios. Mansions of the stars.
  125. Celebrities.
  126. - the night-life sector (Las Vegas) Corporate owned casinos & pleasure palaces and very
  127. little else. Mafia.
  128. - the industrial sector (Newark). Factories, ports, pollution. Blue collar.
  129. - the struggling sector (Detroit). Half-built construction, deserted "downtown." No jobs.
  130. High crime. Struggling poor.
  131. - the ruins (News Orleans, post-Katrina). Neighborhoods in ruins or completely
  132. abandoned. Memories of better times.
  133. When it's time to tackle a sector in detail, just look at a map and borrow as necessary.
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