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Setting F.A.Q and Q & A

Setting discussions!

Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:39 am

Posts: 58
Location: Birmingham, England
The way I'd imagine criminal organisations in this sort of thing would be that they are essentially very powerful groups of mercenaries, with a similar structure to that of the corporations - but everybody is up for hire and negotiations would be conducted between the broker and the head of the crime syndicate.

That way, you could end up hiring a member of - for example - the Russian Mafia to help you carry out an assignment, but your rivals could do the same and he could end up facing off against a fellow Russian Mafia member.

In that case, you'd end up having either a stand-off, an issue to sort out with the head of the syndicate (perhaps paying him more to call off the rival's hired gun) or the two hired guns would come to an agreement where one would help the other or they'd both give up.
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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:42 am

Posts: 67
Location: Quincy, MA

Kaje wrote:
The way I'd imagine criminal organisations in this sort of thing would be that they are essentially very powerful groups of mercenaries, with a similar structure to that of the corporations - but everybody is up for hire and negotiations would be conducted between the broker and the head of the crime syndicate.

That way, you could end up hiring a member of - for example - the Russian Mafia to help you carry out an assignment, but your rivals could do the same and he could end up facing off against a fellow Russian Mafia member.

In that case, you'd end up having either a stand-off, an issue to sort out with the head of the syndicate (perhaps paying him more to call off the rival's hired gun) or the two hired guns would come to an agreement where one would help the other or they'd both give up.


I dig the idea of a company both hiring from the same circle. I wonder if there will be a way to mark "Public" vs "Private" contracting circles, so you can get them all on your side and your hostile rivals cannot hire them or anyone can hire them at any time.
Level Zero Games Staff | Writer | Video Guy
"We are all made of star stuff." -Carl Sagan
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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 8:46 am

Posts: 58
Location: Birmingham, England
LowCashBro wrote:
Kaje wrote:
The way I'd imagine criminal organisations in this sort of thing would be that they are essentially very powerful groups of mercenaries, with a similar structure to that of the corporations - but everybody is up for hire and negotiations would be conducted between the broker and the head of the crime syndicate.

That way, you could end up hiring a member of - for example - the Russian Mafia to help you carry out an assignment, but your rivals could do the same and he could end up facing off against a fellow Russian Mafia member.

In that case, you'd end up having either a stand-off, an issue to sort out with the head of the syndicate (perhaps paying him more to call off the rival's hired gun) or the two hired guns would come to an agreement where one would help the other or they'd both give up.


I dig the idea of a company both hiring from the same circle. I wonder if there will be a way to mark "Public" vs "Private" contracting circles, so you can get them all on your side and your hostile rivals cannot hire them or anyone can hire them at any time.


To sort the latter out, I imagine a system where a broker/corporation could choose to pay a retainer fee to certain organisations to secure their exclusivity - effectively locking them out for other corporations - for a pre-agreed amount of time. They could then renew that deal should they wish to, or release the organisation back into the public domain.

Of course, not every organisation would be completely trustworthy - and despite a retainer being paid, I would expect one or two to take jobs from rival organisations behind the back of the corporation paying the retainer. That might be a little more difficult to implement 'in-game' but there's no reason why it couldn't make up the exterior 'lore'!

That's why it might pay to keep a mole or two within certain circles!
I'm British, and thus fuelled by tea! Naturally!

Post Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:39 am

Posts: 2
Wait, wait. So a Plug replaces the function of _synapses_?

So it's like, almost a _brain replacement_? Or it's something else? I am confused about whether the Plug is some kind of microscopic size thing hanging onto all your neurons, or some kind of chip wired into your head, or a replacement for brain tissue.

Post Sun Jul 07, 2013 4:49 pm
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The plug is a literal port in the back or side of the head. The main 'artery' links to the spinal column and works it's way up into the brain. It traces and copies the synapses of the brain, running parallel to the original cells, and replacing their role if they are destroyed (e.g. by SDS). In the process of adapting it to grow new synapses they made the device able to receive external inputs. At first the plugs were discreetly covered up and only used for checkups and realignment, but then the medical device was rapidly co-opted to use in a new age of virtual information. Most commonly the port is left with a safe-cap that readily takes various commercially available commlinks.
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Post Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:15 pm

Posts: 3
Admin and LowCashBro, I have several questions about the Net gain setting, particularly smaller details.

First off, what are "guns" like in the Net Gain setting? Are they the classic guns of now, or do they use caseless ammunition or something even more exotic?Are projectiles the same old lead and copper bullets with few variants like hollowpoints and hard rubber rounds, or do we have plenty of exotic variants, such as taser and chemical rounds? In addition, have drones and robots become commonplace in security forces?

Secondly, what does the average city look like? Are there multi-level cities ala Hengsha from Deus Ex, or floating cities in the Pacific? And how do people get around? Vehicles that automatically drive themselves, with public transportation, filled with maglev trains and elevators built to hold dozens of people?

Finally, a question about the general state of technology. Net Gain: Stories made mention of cybernetic servants that looked nearly human, and other sources would indicate that cybernetic limbs go far beyond normal human limits. Have 3D printers made it big in Net Gain, and if so, how fast/big can they work? Is it finally possible to download a car? Have we made vehicles/objects that can fold into smaller, compact boxes once done with? And as far as garbage disposal goes, it is at neatly packed away and recycled, or do we have huge scrapyards/slum where the exceptionally poor and destitute live? And finally, have we made it into space? I recall mention of a space elevator somewhere, but do we have colonies, or just small outposts?
Author of the unofficial Net Gain Quests on /tg/.

Post Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:18 pm

Posts: 67
Location: Quincy, MA

Heya! Thanks for the questions! Let's start from the top.

First off, what are "guns" like in the Net Gain setting?

Guns are a lot like what we have now. By the time Net Gain rolls around we won't have publicly available "pew pew" laser guns or blasters, but devices like MetalStorm and caseless, electronically fired weapons will be more prominent. For exotic weapons, plastic pistols and chemical rounds (fired from M203 or similar launcher) will be available, as well as larger vehicle mounted "microwave guns" for crowd control. Gun attachments may include millimeter scanners and infrared sights, or cameras linked to plug systems (for remote aiming and even firing). Think Splinter Cell meets Shadowrun, if that helps narrow it down.

Secondly, what does the average city look like?


"Average" is tough to call of course, but let's talk about a city like Boston (since I live there now). Boston by 2043 won't have changed too much geographically. Multi-tier and floating cities are probably a little further down the line...but the first floating settlements/compounds do exist (just not on a MACRO scale. Think private island.) More cables, more satellite dishes and antennae will dot the skyline. More skyscrapers and high rise apartments for sure. The very first flying fleet vehicles are starting to come into use (VTOL ambulances and auto-couriers). Solar panels and alternative energy/green thinking will pop up in the richer areas in attempts to promote greener construction and self-reliance as resources become scarcer and scarcer. So to answer your question the average city is a lot like today's cities, just taller and more connected.

And how do people get around? Vehicles that automatically drive themselves, with public transportation, filled with maglev trains and elevators built to hold dozens of people?


Internal combustion cars still exists, though gas is VERY close if not over 10/gallon. Synthetic fuels will help mitigate that cost. But hybrid cars are BIG at this time, and the fully electric car is a totally feasible option for many consumers/commuters. New train systems will be maglev, and the old train lines will either be upgraded with better cars, or still run the "tried and true" as long as they work. Auto-Drive isn't that common, with only a few designated interstates or continental highways fitted for cars that use the technology. Most people drive themselves still, as even the finest and most expensive android assistants are still technically not allowed to drive (though many brokers/higher-ups let them anyways.)

Finally, a question about the general state of technology...Have 3D printers made it big in Net Gain, and if so, how fast/big can they work?

The 3D printing boom has become much more settled by 2043. If a car is 100% 3D printed, it's still considered a novelty, as there are better made and more efficiently produced cars still rolling off traditional lines. A hardware store or repair shop may have a printer for machining custom parts or fittings for home construction or other tasks. A bakery might have a printer ready to do custom orders for cake toppers, etc. The average American household though, would likely *not* have a 3D printer at home, though they would come across and benefit from 3D printed goods on nearly a daily basis.

Have we made vehicles/objects that can fold into smaller, compact boxes once done with?

Hee hee hee...it's possible! Compact bikes and cars exist today, but it all hinges on their efficiency and practicality. Certain foundations have developed appliances for small living spaces (tiny apartments, etc), designed to maximize the usefulness of whatever space is available. But for the most part there isn't much of a miniaturization trend.

And as far as garbage disposal goes, it is at neatly packed away and recycled, or do we have huge scrapyards/slum where the exceptionally poor and destitute live?


An interesting question! Massive landfills will exist in poorer, rural areas, and they will probably encroach a little on people's living spaces. Trailer parks next to dumps, people picking through square mile after square mile of trash, it's all there. We may be shipping our garbage offshore, or shooting our nuclear waste into the sun, but the truth of human waste is one that will never absolutely vanish.

On the other hand, recycling is easy and effective! Paper, plastic and a host of other materials can all be re purposed and used again, just like today...only more future-y.

And finally, have we made it into space? I recall mention of a space elevator somewhere, but do we have colonies, or just small outposts?


Spaaaaaaace! Outer Space in Net Gain is just another sector of the workplace. The richest pharmaceutical companies have small space stations where their scientists synthesize perfect crystals for their drugs before massive, unmanned "factory" stations manufacture them. We have a permanent Moon colony, And the first skeleton crews are manning a tiny, barely there outpost on Mars. Many countries (Japan, Russia, India, China...) are participating in space flight as well, with NASA acting as more of a supervisor than a front runner. There's all kinds of disputes over lunar territory, data transmission and storage and more, as corporations realize the profits that can be made by expanding outside the Earth's atmosphere...though it's not for everyone at the moment. Civilians can visit the first tier of "space hotels", and even in some cases the moon. Transoceanic flights are now almost entirely sub-orbital making a trip from LA to Japan about 2 hours instead of 10.

GREAT questions, I hope I shined a little light on them for you! Feel free to ask anymore you'd like, and thanks for the support!
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 Fri Oct 11, 2013 12:49 pm
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Location: Chicago

To add to that:

First off, what are "guns" like in the Net Gain setting?
Caseless rounds and other such things are pretty common, but the biggest revolution is in the supporting equipment, viewing modes, intelligent range/target/cover analysis, etc. An operative with the right equipment can even mark signatures as targets and simply has to line his weapon up, the system firing when a shot is confirmed. Like any system it is prone to complications, so training is still vital.
Drones and robots are very common in defensive security positions, though most often in a support role. Hulking killbots make terrible optics, so the real heavy duty combat drones are saved for use in the fields of total war.

Secondly, what does the average city look like? And how do people get around? Vehicles that automatically drive themselves, with public transportation, filled with maglev trains and elevators built to hold dozens of people?
Beautiful. New construction methods plus an influx of private capital and a "cold war" style standoff between a number of large corporations has led to a mighty building boom. Of course they have to build on what's there, so the modern marvels are still jutting out of the cityscapes we know today, redefining the skyline. There are a few "at sea colonies, usually combinations of private islands and massive yacht networks, but most people are still flooding into the ever expanding cities. There are some multi-layered cities but not like the "poor people live on the bottom" cliche... though they may work there. Much like the lower districts in the heart of Chicago, the underground is either well lit consumer mall things with paths about the city, or the yellow din of the service roads and gates, keeping the monolithic towers above them well supplied with resources and taking away the waste.
Of course city infrastructure can often be the slowest thing to change, so while there are some new transit lines using new technology to support the booming population, the old trains and subways are still in full use.
City AI are more popular, with a lot of useful connected systems available to the public and making life in a sprawling metropolis a bit easier, and to better adapt to the city's food/traffic/power/network needs.

Most cars have a suite of automated controls, allowing people the option to choose to drive or not, though the vehicle will take over control to prevent collisions. Most downtown districts are so stricken with traffic that most roads in downtown are automated driving only, allowing for higher speeds and closer packed streets than would be safe on manual control. There are also dedicated autolanes on most big highways, similar to carpool lanes, except they can travel at a faster speed. There are more flying vehicles (VTOLs), however these aren't consumers flying but emergency services and high priority couriers (and the occasional lazy/impatient CEO).
They are also mostly hybrid or all-electric, though the strained power grid is only getting tighter despite further improvements in technology, diversity of fuel sources, and trade agreements to assure stability.

Finally, a question about the general state of technology...Have 3D printers made it big in Net Gain, and if so, how fast/big can they work?
FabShacks are available as commonly as the local 7-11, offering midrange printing "for when you need it now", and are quite popular. More still is simply ordered from printers online and delivered. Some people have printers, but they're more hobbyists, as the average person can just find a design online and print it out locally or order it from a shop instead of wasting money on the device and materials themselves. It's still limited to some pretty specific products, and larger more complex things like vehicles are easier to manufacture traditionally. The most common use is as part of a larger manufacturing process, where they are used to make specific custom parts, prototypes, and so on.

And finally, have we made it into space? I recall mention of a space elevator somewhere, but do we have colonies, or just small outposts?
Yeah, unless you're filthy rich and have tons of money to waste, or you're a scientist working in an extremely niche field, you probably won't be jumping any rockets of this rock just yet.
The space elevator idea had been dying off, people are still talking about a "sling" style propulsion system to get cargo into space cheaply, but the focus has really shifted into fabricating/synthesising/obtaining the resources they need in space, instead of relying on earth-bound materials.

Sub-orbital flights are much more common though, the equivalent of a "business class only" flight.
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Level Zero Games

Post Sat Jan 25, 2014 12:33 pm

Posts: 3
Another set of questions for the creators of Net Gain.

In a character's biography, you make mention of a Broker School. What is it like? Does it differ greatly between corporations, or say, have a neutral party to balance things out between corporations?

Secondly, what does the average war look like? Do countries still have standing armies, or focus more on hiring mercenaries? Are there any sort of mechs or exoskeletons in use?

Finally, it would seem the Net Gain world, as a whole, is focused on a shadowy, sneaky style of life, operating in the dark. Might there be locations where this differs from the norm? Say, Istanbul/Constantinople, a city-state caught between old and new, where a difficult legal system of laws create an environment where the rules are far easier to break. Maybe an certain area in South America is so hotly disputed, it has become a constant battlefield, to the point where many corporations test out new equipment or whatnot here.

Interested in hearing back from you, and great to see progress on the game is picking up again!
Author of the unofficial Net Gain Quests on /tg/.

Post Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:20 pm
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Posts: 60
Location: Chicago

Heyo! John here to answer more setting questions:

In a character's biography, you make mention of a Broker School. What is it like? Does it differ greatly between corporations, or say, have a neutral party to balance things out between corporations?

Not sure what character bio you're talking about? But brokers do go through training of sorts. Given the profession is technically illegal, most brokers get training in related fields: lots of project management, production, military, legal spy agencies or CorpSec backgrounds. Once someone decides to break into the Broker game, they either have to be head-hunted by an agency or work their contacts (another vital broker skill) to get in the door. Once in the agency, they're put under strict supervision and given increasing responsibilities, to see how they handle the pressure. The better they do, the more permissions and freedoms their given. Eventually they're promoted from an associate to a full broker, and then they'll keep climbing that ladder (or get burnt along the way).

Secondly, what does the average war look like? Do countries still have standing armies, or focus more on hiring mercenaries? Are there any sort of mechs or exoskeletons in use?

The "wars" are so varied and convoluted it's hard to identify an average. Much like the modern world, most wars involve sudden hot flashpoints of conflict, and prolonged guerilla warfare and "peacekeeping". Most corporations that are big enough to have sovereign arcologies have CorpSec divisions dedicated to combat, though once they get pulled into something it's common to hire contractors to pad out the regiments. Since Corps are also usually part of a larger federation (the governments we have today), there's also the federal troops in the conflict, sort of like UN troops. Most developed countries still have standing armies, sometimes volunteer and sometimes with mandatory service terms. Just like the modern world the tech level can range dramatically from battered AKs to dropships full of combat droids.

There are PCVs (Personal Combat Vehicles) which are sort of between a mech, a motorcycle, and an armoured jeep. They're fast and mobile, heavily armed and armoured, and tend to hold a pilot and up to two passengers on the back, mainly used for breaking entrenched positions or for quickly assuming flanking positions. They also see use in policing efforts, with an officer in a PCV carrying his partner in a Power Mesh, using the benefits of both to chase down high-threat criminals.

The Power Meshes are an exoskeleton used to augment soldier strength. Battery life is still a problem, so they're usually reserved for the Heavy Weapons guy to help haul MGs and ammo.

The droid dropships are used by first world countries though the cost usually keeps them for use in those flashpoint encounters. The humanoid robots are fast and adept at navigating tight urban environments, and are controlled by a combination of AI and pilots that stay in the armoured dropship and broadcast commands. The majority of fighters are still human, though; either due to cost restrictions or because they need to serve a broader purpose. Not to mention powerful PMC unions... droids are seen as a useful complement to normal forces.

Finally, it would seem the Net Gain world, as a whole, is focused on a shadowy, sneaky style of life, operating in the dark. Might there be locations where this differs from the norm? Say, Istanbul/Constantinople, a city-state caught between old and new, where a difficult legal system of laws create an environment where the rules are far easier to break. Maybe an certain area in South America is so hotly disputed, it has become a constant battlefield, to the point where many corporations test out new equipment or whatnot here.


Very much so! Most of Net Gain focuses on activities in more developed areas, so it's quite sneaky, but the rules of engagement vary widely depending on where you are. Exactly as you suggest, certain hotspots get so turned over by the chaos that they just become a place to put your PMCs to work and test new toys, with the benefit of grabbing up some land and resources if you can hold onto it for long enough, not to mention whatever your PMCs are paid for the contract in the first place. These are very dangerous regions to operate in, as the usual etiquette tends to be thrown right out the window.

Etiquette is also very different in various countries. Most wealthy countries have a policy of capturing and trading operatives (or on occasion, hiring them!). Though if an operative causes significant "disruption of the peace" or starts taking lives, they are often executed with extreme prejudice... and if they do capture them then a long and tortuous "intel extraction" can be expected. Various other unspoken rules can pop up: Attacking employees, invading personal homes, using family members as bargaining chips or targets. Not that it doesn't happen, just that if that becomes public knowledge the loss of face is significant, and retribution will be more severe.

(Though to clarify, not all aspects of the setting will make it into the game, or only in limited fashion, depending on how fun it is.)
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Level Zero Games

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