The World: In the gritty megacities of 2085, the streets are full of music. You can feel the pulse, the beat, the rhythm of people and buildings pressing in on you under the gray sky. Everything changed when affordable digital-neural interfaces became marketable to the public and humanity expanded into the Net, a globally accessible 3D, internet interface. Fueled by unimaginable new power and advertising access on the Net, international megacorporations called Zaibatsu have surpassed the power of national governments in most countries. After two brutal cyberwars ravaged the world, the corporations divided up the planet and built walled-off Corporate Sectors to protect themselves from future uprisings. Everything outside of the Corporate walls is considered a “Civilian Zone.” Comprised of overlapping and primarily anarchistic Communities, the vast majority of the world’s populace lives in some form of a Civilian Zone.
The Community: The most valuable and available resources in the Civilian Zone are other people. Beyond your immediate circle of teammates, there is a larger Community in which you live and depend on to survive. Members of this Community are collectively called “the Family.” Life is hard in the Civilian Zone, but people have learned to survive by working together. Maybe someday, with enough people and the right connections, we can even change our situation for the better.
The United Church of Tupac – Housed in a huge church that is a relic of the 2040’s, this building is part music production facility and fully functional church. The United Church has enclaves all over the Civilian Zone and uses music to inspire the downtrodden victims of hyperbolic capitalism. The origin of the United Church dates back to the first CyberWar, when a soldier built a collection of hip hop, rap, and R&B music to help him survive the horrors and trauma of the war. He wrote notes about the different artists, meditating on the songs as if they were scriptures from a prophet or Buddha. The first among his prophets was Tupac, who defied death and continued to give the world music for years after he was martyred. The author died in battle before completing his writing. After his death, his personal files were hacked and stolen. The hackers read his notes, listened to his music collection, and were so moved that they shared his files. Over time, the collection and writing spread throughout the Net, like a new holy book for the digital age. Within a few decades, a new religion was born. Other prophets include Grandmaster Flash (the Turner of Tables), Lauryn Hill (the Mother), Cool Herc (the First Breaker of Beats), Run DMC (the Transcendent, reference to Hermes and flight), NWA (the Chorus), Wu Tang Clan (the Collective), Organized Noize (the Forge, reference to Hephaestus), etc.
Cindy’s – This establishment is an old paint factory that was converted into a night club/performance hall. The front room is a classy but divey bar/lounge. Working the bar is a large, lightly modified human wearing a bowler hat who goes by Mr. Green. Past the bar and behind a closed set of double doors, is the performance hall. The hall is dominated by an enormous stage, which has a catwalk extending into the wide dance floor. Cindy Fairweather, the hall’s heavily enhanced cyborg matron and MC, runs the joint and provides wheeled carts perpetually full of cans of paint, brushes, and other art supplies for the patrons. The walls, floor, and ceiling are covered with murals that the guests constantly modify and paint over, often with the help of haphazard scaffolding. Gigantic industrial ventilation shafts installed in the ceiling constantly pump out the paint fumes and smoke but can never seem to keep up. The ventilators have trouble, in part because musicians often reprogram them to produce specific noises and beats to enhance rather than inhibit their performances. Cindy and this location were inspired by Janelle Monáe, and are intended to show our appreciation for how influential her music and art have been to the creators of Axon Punk.