Mittwoch, 26. Mai 2021

desert v1.61 generators

The game is found here:

Montag, 5. April 2021

Demoing desert - part 2.



Hopes to leverage the killdolls for blackmail. The cyberattack demonstrates that desert is in the know.

  • Goal: ⚀ profit.
  • Resources: Killdolls’ identities, pts of computing power needed to jam the initial blocks, ⚂ personnel per player, ⚃ crates of molotov cocktails.

Shutting down the Killdoll's city block requires 7 points of computing power. 6 for the sensor systems plus 1 for communications. Below is the infrastructure desert has taken over for this attack.

(1) An office tower converted to apartments.

2pts computing power (tech level 5 pts minus 3 pts for using a building towards block scale action).

District: Tech level 6.

  • (ordered + people) > (prediction) = AI-managed office schedules. 
  • (low + ideas) > (prediction) = microtargeted tasks and assignments.
  • (vast + organizations)  > (post-device tech) = state of the art "brainscan" site access control.
  • (new machines) > (deep listen) = inflatables or bikes arrive on voice-order from everywhere in the district.
  • (busy nature) > (deep listen) = autogrown expensive skyscraper parks.
  • (inside machines) > (deep listen) = cleaning robots navigate by sound.

Section: Tech level 6 (surrounding streets: ⚂ maintenance, ⚅ special).
Architecture: Freestanding futurist.

house people
house people
make organizations
connect organizations with nature
fix organizations
house people
house people
house people
house stuff
house people
house people
house people
house people
power organizations

(2) A partly operational dollplant.

2pts computing power (tech level 5 pts minus 3 pts for using a building towards block scale action). 

District: Tech level 2.

  • (chaotic + nature) > (automation) = self-placing flood barriers.
  • (high + ideas) = big plans for development.
  • (individual + people) > (automation) = doll-supported single households.
  • (old + people) = old residents.
  • (busy + stuff) = ongoing construction.
  • (outside + people) = an influx of newcomers.

Section: Tech level 2 (surrounding streets: ⚂ maintenance, transit).
Architecture: Freestanding futurist.

make machines

(3) A residential section.

3pts computing power (tech level 4 pts minus 1 pt for using a section towards block scale action). 

 District: Tech level 1.

  • (chaotic + stuff) = run-down buildings.
  • (low + ideas) = tired people.
  • (vast + ideas) > ([brand]) = Oblivenchy reshaping the district.
  • (new + nature) = new green spaces.
  • (busy + stuff) = many demolitions.
  • (inside + people) = grounded local identity.

Section: Tech level 4 (surrounding streets: ⚄ storage, ⚅ special).
Architecture: Freestanding futurist.

Deploying faction   

Housing corporations and the assorted rich just before their expropriation.      

  • Faction: ⚅⚂ City-scale network.     
  • Goal: ⚅ repression.     
  • Resource: ⚃ space.  

City government

  • Goal: Keep city gov in power and from falling apart.     
  • Resources: Executive powers, an antiterrorism police unit (100 operators), unlimited funds.  

Corporations (Leuven, Rostock, Twój)

  • Goal: Gain influence.     
  • Resources: [brand], backdoors to soft- and     hardware across the city, unlimited computing     power, unlimited funds.

...continues with part 3.

Donnerstag, 1. April 2021

Demoing desert - part 1.

Here is a short solo demo of the current state of desert (

The game begins with a cyberattack on a city block. The single held character/killdoll lives in a building there. So prep has to start with that block. With multiple players, it would likely be more than one.


The targeted block is located in a tech level ⚄ district. Its six impressions are randomly determined to be...

  • (chaotic + people) = undersized bars and clubs spill glittering crowds.
  • (low + people) > (smart city) = from drink to medicinal bag, everything comes with translucent health certificates.
  • (vast + machines) > ([brand]) = Pulse metro expansion.
  • (new + people) > (deep listen) = illegal rental apartments are identified by audio surveys.
  • (quiet + people) > (automation) = a spawn of monodolls to welcome visitors and offer deals.
  • (inside + people) > (smart city) = full customer-tracking with deanonymization in case of incident.


contains a tech level ⚅ section (surrounding streets: ⚀ work, ⚄ storage).
Architecture: Attached minimalist.

Tourists are rerouted during the day to quiet down the streets.


where the killdoll lives.

house ideas
house people
house people
house people
power ideas

The residential building with uni ties has an idea café on the ground level and a roof library.


Name: Katell
Age: 36
Gender: Woman

  • cheap hairnet, 
  • mismatched jewelery, 
  • synth skin, 
  • ragged sweater, 
  • translucent sweatpants, 
  • custom soles.


  • (people) psychotherapy, 
  • (ideas) religious studies, 
  • (nature) sailing, 
  • (nature) gardening, 
  • (organizations) public relations, 
  • (organizations) her church. 


  • (professional network) research group (affectionate), 
  • (religious community) her church (caustic).

Gear: pockets, wearable

...continues with part 2.

Donnerstag, 18. März 2021

the city (desert)

A version of the city for desert. 12 randomly generated districts sorted by tech level.


inner city iii
- flowing gestures at empty, screenless desks.
- a stress level ceiling for service workers.
- the lone audioscope park.
- surveillance-proof startups.
- many-tiered businesses with QM based on audio sensors.
- complex AI-powered HR departments hunt for future hires.


north end
- [brand] politics.
- academics despair over ever-growing databases and aggregators.
- lonely research in true 19c learned fashion.
- wired-up trees.
- heavy doll traffic.
- verdant interiors come alive with greendolls.

inner city i
- e:car traffic
- politicians avoid [brand], wear generics.
- transparent city gov buildings trap sound.
- post-device gardeners micromanage buzzdolls.
- [brand] office workers.
- [brand] lobbyists.

city north
- the tech uni provides [brand] lecturers to the Memory Club.
- post-device birders.
- individualist [brand] looks.
- an old sheet metal factory housing an important data centre.
- high block payments due to tech infrastructure and investments.
- strong academic networks.


- small businesses and restaurants.
- programmable high-rise apartments.
- elite promotion by data-powered live learning.
- old cultural institutions.
- autogrown wild gardens.
- voice control self service retail and boutiques.

new city i
- pent-up anger.
- [brand] greenery.
- densely populated, hampering audio surveillance.
- conservatism.
- residents value privacy, many smart city functions are disabled.
- lots of imported, microtargeted and -curated media.


city south
- self-placing flood barriers.
- big plans for development.
- doll-supported single households.
- old residents.
- ongoing construction.
- an influx of newcomers.

city east
- heavy doll traffic.
- self-driving metro.
- seas of bicycles.
- state of the art consumer electronics.
- many retailers, repair shops and shipping stations.
- simple urban farming.


inner city ii
- grown streets between dense residential, clotheslines and air conditioners everywhere.
- roof antennas and wall-routers.
- [brand] v-markets advertise all over the district.
- active blocks with weekly ideas sessions.
- shy animals.
- varied local politics and ideological groups.

city west
- toy-strewn greenspaces.
- a better tomorrow.
- freestanding towers.
- a former power plant as [brand] event space.
- trams silently glide along.
- overlooking a nature reserve.

city n-east
- various city archives.
- the central [brand] library.
- the copyright agency.
- an aged workforce.
- firms lobbying for archi-tech upgrades.
- pale readers in special access archives.

new city ii
- uniform perimeter blocks.
- important voting district.
- a cry for jobs.
- everyone makes things.
- active [brand] international networks.
- computers, 3d printers and retro-machines.

Donnerstag, 4. März 2021

desert v1.51 generators

The game is found here:

Montag, 15. Februar 2021

desert 15 (pdf)

Trying to tie down a clear premise and introducing faction mechanics.

"desert is a roleplaying game about (not so) ordinary characters stuck
in a near future city. Inside this booklet you will find:

- Killer machines cast from their hidden lives for whom violence is
no way out.

- Mechanics that highlight the alienating effects of ubiquitous sensor
systems and blur the lines between spectator and screen.

- Tools to construct the city sandbox as if it were a place that exists
including building generators and a technique to map city blocks.

- Playable factions pulling at the social and technological fabric of
the city."



Montag, 25. Januar 2021

Minimalist hacking mechanic

Choose your mode. You can either falsify (say...) or gather (ask...) data across a range of sensors:

(tracking) where you/they are.
(access) who you/they are.
(network) what you/they interact with.
(audio) what you/they say.
(video) what you/they do.
(neuro) what you/they feel.

Pick a scale:
1 subsystem
2 building
3 street        
4 section
5 block
6 district

Pick the data:
1 tracking
2 access
3 network
4 audio
5 video
6 neural

Pick the timeframe:
1 seconds
2 minutes
3 hours
4 days
5 weeks
6 months

Roll above the highest number picked on a d6 to stay unnoticed.

Record your hack somewhere. Add up the numbers picked and roll as many d6. Add the sum of this roll to your notoriety.

The base selling price per person is [data]€/24 h. Find a buyer. Scales 1-5 usually involve the data of hundreds of people, thousands in a district.

Reroll all of your recorded hacks every session. Once a reroll fails, there starts to be fallout.