Board index Net Gain Net Gain: Setting Setting F.A.Q and Q & A

Setting F.A.Q and Q & A

Setting discussions!

Post Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:43 pm

Posts: 67
Location: Quincy, MA

Feel free to post your questions about the world of Net Gain here! I'll focus on answering questions regarding the setting and style of the game specifically, and leave the mechanics and design talk to John!

What year does Net Gain take place in?


2043 was the year we decided for the setting. It's just close enough that we don't have flying cars everywhere or nanobots forming a T-1000, and just far enough away so we can add in all the science fiction we're working today to make science fact (mind-brain interfaces, better internet, faster processor speeds, etc). The game doesn't take place explicitly in 2043, as time will pass as you play, but the idea (for now) is that it's an "eternal 2043"...more about the feel of the times than the passing of the days.

Why call it Net Gain?


It's a bit of a pun. We had a great conversation, went through a lot of tag words, but Net Gain together is both a promise of inter-connectivity, and the promise of...well...gain. In business, a net gain is what you make after taking out what you spent (a net loss would be if you spent more than you made, for example.) Net Gain sends a clear picture that you'll be doing business, and hints at a little of the "cool" on top of it.

What is a broker?


In the world of Net Gain there's essentially four levels a person can be. Top level executives (CEOs, boards of directors), middle managers (Directors of Operations, Chief Operating Officers, Brokers...etc), Operatives (Gunners, Drivers, Hackers, Pilots, Security, Fixers, Faces), and bitizens (Sheep). As a broker, your job is to interface with the top level execs and the operatives. Danny Ocean (Ocean's 11), Nathan (from TV's Leverage), and Ted Crisp (from TV's amazing and ill-fated Better Off Ted) are all examples of broker types. They're consummate professionals, modern takes on the city-state princes of the old world. Masters at the fine tactics behind social engineering, the delicate art of espionage, and the grand strategy of war.

How does the rest of that social ladder affect my broker?


CEOs and the Board: "What they don't know won't hurt'em" is the name of the game when it comes to the higher-ups. They give a broker free-reign, and a very generous slush fund, to make sure the company stays in the black. This blank check lets the brokers do whatever is necessary to make money, while freeing up the CEOs to admit no knowledge of any wrong doing...should the authorities come knocking.

Other brokers: Other brokers can be either great sources of information, or your worst enemy. It's usually safe to assume the latter. Brokers make their living by arranging subversion, and will often try to take the competition out of the picture...both in their own company and their rivals. But it's not always so grim. Brokers can form alliances, play wargames against each other, chat and joke over drinks after work... it's just understood that you shouldn't expose yourself even to these friends because that's just good practice. if you slip up a broker is just as likely to let you know, though they'll expect the favour returned.

Operatives: Operatives are the extension of a broker's will. They are tools, a well-equipped Swiss army knife of skill sets that a broker can hire to complete their assigned missions. Operatives loyalty will affect the way they respond to orders, and could even turn them against you in crucial moments. On the other hand, an operative with full loyalty would gladly take a bullet for you, so it pays to protect your team. Big time. Each Operative is unique, with specific traits and abilities, so remember to fit them to their task to reap the best rewards.

Bitizens: The population of the earth. Specifically, the consumers. Bitizens power the corporation with their purchases, so the corporation needs them to survive. News stories that affect the globe will change the state of the market, and the buying power of the bitizens could change and fluctuate at almost any time. A drought might suddenly increase agricultural research purchases, a proxy war will go a long way to promote arms sales and R&D. All industries are affected by the state of the Earth, and its a broker's prime directive to make sure the people's money is going into the corporation's pocket no matter what. Drawing too much heat will lower the public reputation of a company, and drastically affect revenues. And we wouldn't want that...now would we? :twisted:

What is a plug?


Plug technology is one of the biggest advancements in the Net Gain universe. By setting up a complete replacement of the brain's synapses it preserves function, while preventing degredation at the hands of Synaptic Degeneration Syndrome. SDS is a very real threat, a genetic mutation that slowly dissolves the connections between our brain cells. The plug runs on bio-electric power, allowing the brain to continue to interface with the body naturally without needing external assistance.

The side effect of this treatment is the ability to beam information directly to and from the brain. Visual information can be beamed directly to the visual cortex, and seem to float in front of a user's eyes. Fully immersive sensory programs called "slips" can take users into entirely different places, private or public net spaces and other world of games or films. Commlinks are special devices like cell phones attached directly to the plug interface that allow a person to connect wirelessly to the net, and from that to anyone else online, without lifting a finger. Prosthetic enhancements that use the plug interface allow for full control and feeling in artificial limbs, and even extra utilities.

The plug is widespread enough that about 8/10 people in a major city would have one. Most health insurance companies cover plug procedures, and about 6/10 of those people will be diagnosed with SDS sometime during their life, and in some cases, at birth. While it's not generally accepted to perform the procedure on children, there have been exceptions in history.
Level Zero Games Staff | Writer | Video Guy
"We are all made of star stuff." -Carl Sagan
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." -Gandalf

Post Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:45 pm

Posts: 67
Location: Quincy, MA

reserved
Level Zero Games Staff | Writer | Video Guy
"We are all made of star stuff." -Carl Sagan
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." -Gandalf

Post Sun Mar 24, 2013 3:45 pm

Posts: 67
Location: Quincy, MA

reserved
Level Zero Games Staff | Writer | Video Guy
"We are all made of star stuff." -Carl Sagan
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." -Gandalf

Post Wed Apr 03, 2013 1:44 pm

Posts: 7
2 Questions:

Are operatives aware of broker person? Do they know what company a particular broker is working for?
Because I can imagine situation where you do not want operatives to be aware who they are working for, as this information can get to the target corporation.

Are bitizens also employees of companies? Do they have feelings and loyalties towards different corporations?

Post Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:11 pm

Posts: 67
Location: Quincy, MA

1) Operatives are aware of their broker typically (even giving mid mission updates), though some brokers prefer a "curtain" between the two parties. Some operatives may have no idea what company their working for. It helps to develop a certain level of trust between broker and operative, but totally unnecessary. I'd say it's case to case!

2) Bitizens are the general populace. Once they get hired by a corp/sign on to the corp lifestyle they're corp employees, reaping all the benefits. In the game itself, Bitizens stay bitizens, and act with the ebb and flow of economics. Think of them as a massive, single organism..."the public," so to speak. Your consumers. When you hire someone to work in your War Room, they'll be from the operative pool, someone already a part of the dark world of business.
Level Zero Games Staff | Writer | Video Guy
"We are all made of star stuff." -Carl Sagan
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." -Gandalf

Post Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:24 pm

Posts: 28
This might be completely out there, but via TekWar and stuff...what kind of drugs are there? I mean, are there illicit drugs that specifically act on a person's implants? Can people download viruses and the like?
Business is the bottom line.

Post Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:36 pm

Posts: 58
Location: Birmingham, England
I would hope that there would be some level of drugs involved, it's a dark setting and so I assume relatively well-known addictive substances will rear their ugly heads at some point. Alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, heroin...people with cybernetic implants may struggle to acclimatise to their new additions and - as such - look to mind altering substances to cope with the stress.

Viruses would be a nice addition, I could imagine the opposition uploading them to your agents to take a few of their systems offline, or to your systems so that you suddenly lose control over your agents and have to rely on their own judgement for completing missions. I imagine something like a security camera static appearing over the mission until your systems come back online.
I'm British, and thus fuelled by tea! Naturally!

Post Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:46 pm

Posts: 67
Location: Quincy, MA

Since Net Gain isn't too far into the future, you can expect today's classics to still persist. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc...as for plug drugs there aren't necessarily mental "viruses". Unlike Ghost In The Shell and Shadowrun, the plug in Net Gain doesn't "hold" anything like a consciousness or a ghost. It's just an interface. But that doesn't mean you can't run programs that stimulate the brain in certain ways. There are certain safety precautions against too much interference between commlink/terminal and plug, but you can still get the head trip effect from certain software, for sure. And most of that software can be pirated, so it's kinda hard to charge for it unless it's SUPER good/encrypted, etc.

How the plug would react to drugs that already exist? Not sure! Might be awesome to "slip trip". Put on the Lord of The Rings slip and take some mushrooms, mellow out for a bit.
Level Zero Games Staff | Writer | Video Guy
"We are all made of star stuff." -Carl Sagan
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." -Gandalf

Post Thu Apr 04, 2013 12:55 pm

Posts: 28
Because I am so totally about going for left field, this may or may not have crossed your minds. How do professional sports play into this setting? Do the corporations own the big teams like in the original Rollerball? Are there cyborg athletes? Could a professional sports team be considered an asset in terms of building wealth to leverage against other corporations?
Business is the bottom line.

Post Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:03 pm

Posts: 67
Location: Quincy, MA

I think a sports team could definitely be considered an asset! They have ups and downs in sales like any product, and are part of the entertainment industry. Of course they'd have to split up cyborg athletes and human athletes, and the resulting excitement of cyborg spots might make "pure baseball" much less exciting. Full body cybernetic replacements are rare, even extreme replacements like skull or spine are very, very rare but done to people like soldiers or wealthy executives. As the world of Net Gain matures these very rapidly become more common place, but in 2043 they're just now becoming more regular. During your daily life you might have heard of someone who had a full body transplant, but meeting one is very unlikely.

Imagine how most teams right now are sponsored by cities (at least in their names), in the future it will be the corporations names in front of the teams. The Colgate Cardinals, The Merril-Lynch Bankers, The McDonalds Clowns...etc.
Level Zero Games Staff | Writer | Video Guy
"We are all made of star stuff." -Carl Sagan
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." -Gandalf

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