(Spinoff) What is cyberpunk and what is a cyberpunk RPG?

Dave999

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Steampunk seems to vary - not least because it's often set in a colonial period, which hits the oppressive society and exploited underclass notes hard. Hell, it can even hit the dubious megacorporation notes; The British East India Company definitely qualifies as that based on real history alone.
That steampunk fantasy RPG (Arcanum?) was pretty punk with the revelation orcs aren't evil, they're just discriminated against working class Irish.
 

LatinaBunny

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There’s a nascent subgenre called solarpunk that’s about building an ecologically sustainable sci-fi utopia. Not as advanced tech as Star Trek, more like the early stages between here and there. Not so much with the cyber though.
Oh, I LOVED seeing solarpunk artwork. Beautiful aesthetics there. :) Reminds me something like a futuristic fairy tale or something fairy-like.

Steampunk and Solarpunk seem to miss the punk element of the phrase.
I remembered seeing threads on a Reddit about that type of complaint concerning Solarpunk: that most people were more interested in the aesthetics of the genre than the punk theme part of it.

I’m one of those people who personally love the aesthetics of both the steampunk and solarpunk (and orher punk) genres, but not a big fan of the punk-y parts. I just like the pretty art and fashion. :)

Edited to add: But I’ve definitely seen the dystopian/punk parts in some Steampunk fiction with the industry companies and an unfair government putting the commoners and poor folks in horrible working and living conditions, and corruption, etc.
 

Cosmic Hobo

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Steampunk and Solarpunk seem to miss the punk element of the phrase.
To me steampunk does fail as punk quite a bit, but not really with solarpunk. I think it’s just got a different style of punk. Hit that below...

Oh, I LOVED seeing solarpunk artwork. Beautiful aesthetics there. :) Reminds me something like a futuristic fairy tale or something fairy-like.

I remembered seeing threads on a Reddit about that type of complaint concerning Solarpunk: that most people were more interested in the aesthetics of the genre than the punk theme part of it.

I’m one of those people who personally love the aesthetics of both the steampunk and solarpunk (and other punk) genres, but not a big fan of the punk-y parts. I just like the pretty art and fashion. :)

Edited to add: But I’ve definitely seen the dystopian/punk parts in some Steampunk fiction with the industry companies and an unfair government putting the commoners and poor folks in horrible working and living conditions, and corruption, etc.
When steampunk remembers to include things like industrialization and working conditions and colonialism it can hit punk, but what I’ve read mostly seems to ignore the ugly bits entirely.

To me, solarpunk can exist in the same setting as cyberpunk. Cyberpunk is in the city. Solarpunk is in the country, or different cities. Or later in the same timeline.

The punk comes in with the everything is DIY. Moisture farmers repurposing any scrap of tech they can to pull a few more liters of water from the air to keep the people alive. They’re generally anarchistic societies or small groups run by direct democracy with no leaders. At least the stuff I’ve read.

If cyberpunk is the world run by evil corps and the protags are the ones fighting the Man, then solarpunk is what the generation after the overthrow does with itself. Or the walkaways as Doctorow called them. The people smart enough to just leave the cyberpunk hellscape for somewhere outside the city.

I think there’s a fair amount of dramatic potential in seeing the two genres put in the same setting and time and seeing what happens. Cyberpunk 2020 called them nomads, I think. The people out there in the space between the cities. Someone important runs and the corps have to track them down. Almost a Dredd outside Megacity One or a Mad Max vibe. Maybe...
 
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Delgarde

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Steampunk seems to vary - not least because it's often set in a colonial period, which hits the oppressive society and exploited underclass notes hard. Hell, it can even hit the dubious megacorporation notes; The British East India Company definitely qualifies as that based on real history alone.
Yeah, a lot of steampunk is more pulp, focused on action and appearances. But some of it does pay more attention to the negatives of (pseudo-) Victorian society... to the inequity between classes, to exploitation in the colonies, and to the rise of new social movements like communism which focused on that inequity between owners and workers.
 

Harlander

Too many ellipses...?
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I remember Etherscope leaning heavily on the punk part of steampunk. It's the trappings of more "traditional" cyberpunk - a pervasive information grid, augmentation and such - mapped to steam power by use of some handwavium or other.

But it also has the unified industrial workers of the Republic of Northumbria in the North of England in open revolt, colonialism squeezing the natives and all that good horrible stuff.
 

Dagor

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I disagree on my end because of a caveat.

1. The cyber part shows all the amazing ways tech can be used.

2. The punk is why there's actual adventures to have. Because if the tech isn't being abused and society isn't dysfunctional then it's not a very adventure-friendly place.

Like Star Trek on Earth.
Yeah, right. Because Star Trek is clearly so adventure-unfriendly that the original series died on the vine after the first season and nothing more ever came of it because the audience got bored...oh, wait...

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree there. :)
 

Harlander

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Yeah, right. Because Star Trek is clearly so adventure-unfriendly that the original series died on the vine after the first season and nothing more ever came of it because the audience got bored...oh, wait...

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree there. :)
Not a whole lot of the adventures in Star Trek took place on Earth, though.
 

LatinaBunny

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Yeah, right. Because Star Trek is clearly so adventure-unfriendly that the original series died on the vine after the first season and nothing more ever came of it because the audience got bored...oh, wait...

I think we'll just have to agree to disagree there. :)
I don’t want to put words in D Dave999 ‘s mouth, but I’m guessing perhaps they meant that the adventures are not often set on the actual planet Earth in Star Trek?

I’m not that familiar with Star Trek, but I’m guessing planet Earth is not dystopian at all, and is pretty utopian?

Still, a setting doesn’t always have to be full-blown dystopian in order to have adventures. And I’m not sure if Star Trek would be put in the fully dystopian genre category anyway, if it’s about visiting different cultures, some more hostile than others, and negotiating and discovering mysteries, solving problems, etc. I’ve only watched some of the first season and New Generation, but I didn’t think Star Trek was fully dystopian in the suffocating way that cyberpunk seems to be. The Star Trek crew and some of the cultures they’ve met seemed friendly enough in some areas...?

Still, making everything dystopian is not always needed for a good story. I’ve always enjoyed some of the Ghibli films, for example—and I don’t think the settings are all dystopian settings. The films I enjoyed the best were actually pretty friendly setting-wise. (In particular: Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, and The Secret World of Arietty).

Mary and the Secret Flower had some bad guys controlling a community/magical school environment, but the movie also has an outside friendly-looking human village to me, from what I remembered.

I also liked Spirited Away as well, but not sure if we count Spirited Away’s weird fantasy dimension as a full-blown dystopian setting?

Edited to add: A depressing thought for me, but... depending on how you look at it and are treated and where you are located and your social status, and the unfair laws and corruption, etc, we could consider our normal real lives as dystopian as well, but I’m not going to go down that depressing (for me) rabbit hole. :( I want to escape from the bullshit in real life, and the dystopian fiction stuff just reminds me too much of real life, and I don’t want to read/play too, too much realistic stuff. Having some edge and some realistic bits is fine, but not to the point where I feel those elements are just suffocating me and diminishing my sense of hope...
 
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Dagor

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Not a whole lot of the adventures in Star Trek took place on Earth, though.
Well, if you set your series on a starship you probably don't intend to show its crew just hanging out at home half the time. I mean, I don't complain about Westerns not including enough Austro-Hungarian court intrigue either even though both take place at the same time on the same single planet. :)
 
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