Genre: biopunk post-apocalyptic
Context: Ever so long ago the old world of metal and machinery faded away into this landscape of growing, thriving, modifying mechanorganic beings. Picture abandoned skyscrapers covered in organ-vines, cities built in the shells of long-dead Leviathans, seemingly bottomless caverns made of pulsing flesh. Biotech gone wild.
Almost all the tech you’d think of as made of shiny steel has its organic equivalent here, or has been taken over and twisted by a myriad of lifeforms in their own image. Here, the post-apocalyptic landscape is not the home of robotic overlords, nor a barren desert wasteland, but a vibrant, biting world where wildly different biomes overlap in seemingly random patterns while humans try to coexist with the remnants of a prior civilization that relied entirely on biotechnology and organic manipulation. Feisty meat wizards, lonesome spider shepherds, durable gut-rope harvesters, wandering mantis bladesmen, and so many others, all are welcome in this world. Because nature is anything but boring.
d12 modifications, mutations & quirks
d10 random encounters
d6 things you find in a Sarcomancer’s lair
d20 tech you can find here
d8 places to visit
Biopunk is -punk. This means: radical, antifascist, anticapitalist, antinormative, DIY-inclined, loud, political. It’s about making the world a better place, not killing creatures and looting corpses (nothing wrong with that, just not what this is about). It’s about punching nazis, tearing down structures of oppression and having fun while doing it.
Body-Modification. Forget those neonliberal tropes of “changing your body makes you less human” shit. Biopunk is all about doing whatever you want with that sack of flesh you’ve got. Want some boobs? Go get them. Maybe some horns, or a tail, maybe some prosthetic tentacles? No problem. Mutation is not an unwanted consequence, a sign of corruption or the horrible effects of magic gone awry - it’s a choice.
Organic instead of metallic. Instead of machines, try to think about what their organic counterparts could be. Make up weird biotech. Think of fleshy pits instead of the same old rocky caverns. Life is weird and fascinating, try to push that up to 11. Why firearms when you could have flesh-eating squid launchers?
Humanity is part of nature. Forget the nonsense anthropocentric idea of a nature/humanity divide. We’re part of it, even if we try to pretend we aren’t. And in this post-apocalyptic example, this is way more obvious and literal. What separates you from nature if you live in a symbiotic relationship with a sentient fungus? If all those skyscrapers are now so overrun with organ-vines that they’ve become part of its organism? If your ship has feelings, how do you treat it? This kind of setting invites us to questions like those. Your sword may be a sentient, pacifist companion. Your dead friend could suddenly come back, but different.
- The Weird and the Other are not necessarily scary, but fascinating. Why fear the unknown? The Weird and the Other here are things to be explored, things that shatter our understandings of the world. Embrace them.