The city of Raima is all you’ve known. It’s all anybody has ever known. An endless, enveloping sprawl of hard-angled concrete bathed in dull phosphorescent light, built upon itself in countless strata. Raima was not built for you or others like you, its intended occupants having vanished eons ago.
You are cybernetic drifters, vat-grown outcasts, gene-spliced mercenaries and robotic itinerants, looking to eke out an existence in the half-light and dark corners of a vast, strange and inhospitable city. Will you delve into the Old Beneath in search of technological relics? Will you search for a place to call home? Will you vie with or throw your lot in with one of Raima’s many formidable factions? Will you seek the mythical Surface above?
Welcome to REBAR, a roleplaying game set in the post-human far future, in an infinite, brutalist city.
WHAT IS REBAR?
REBAR is a roleplaying game / setting I’m currently writing heavily influenced by the works of Tsutomu Nihei, Jeff Vandermeer’s Borne novels, video games by Heart Machine and many other points of inspiration, intended to help facilitate pen and paper role-playing in a distant, post-human future, amongst the ruins of an all-enveloping city. It’s using Chris McDowall’s Into The Odd and Yochai Gal’s Cairn as a base, and adds a few new wrinkles such as Troika!-inspired character backgrounds, combat proficiency / chance to miss, and swapping Willpower for Perception as the third character stat.
Currently the book is still deep in development and isn’t ready for playtesting yet as I’m still working out things like damage values, faction play, exploration, ‘dungeon’ generation and a bunch of other stuff I’m hoping to include. As always, I’m hoping this will be a useful starting point for people to run their games in, as I’ve seen at least a few people asking about the best RPG to use for a BLAME!-style campaign.
I’m hoping to finish the initial manuscript for REBAR in the first half of 2023, and have it mostly ready to go by late 2023 / early 2024. I’m working with the ever-wonderful Jarett Crader of Mothership infamy and previously Exalted Funeral under his new label Space Penguin Ink, which is gearing up to publish a bunch of incredible RPG books this year and beyond.
I’m hoping I can share more on REBAR soon, for now - for now, here’s some words.
BACKGROUND - Chemical Drifter
You are a roaming sellsword carrying ramshackle armour and equipment. A steady microdose of hallucinogenic substances pumped directly into your cerebrocomputer enhances senses out beyond the physical and allows faint perception of the Datasphere. Your speech and movement is lyrical and delicate.
THREAT - Drones
Shambling, distended sleeve-corpses, pseudoflesh rotten and sloughing. Crude machinery and bladed steel are welded to their bones by unknown hands. Most faculties have been lost aside from base survival routines and a capacity for violence. Will attempt to drag any downed victims off, presumably to be broken down or modified. 1d4HP | 9 INSTINCT 1-2: Sleeping | 3-5: Alert, exploring | 6: Dragging off a victim
THREAT - Sentinel
An emotionless porcelain humanoid face atop a 9 foot tall suit of ornate plasteel armour fused with synthetic muscle. Piloted by a tiny, shrivelled biological humanoid encased in an amniotic sac embedded in the armour’s chest. They carry a long, angular glaive (1d6) for defense, and a lightrifle (1d6) for long-range engagement. Once their tower has identified a target, they will pursue tirelessly and kill remorselessly. A sentinel cut off from their tower will wander in search of a new host, their behaviour erratic. 2d6HP | 10 INSTINCT 1: Wandering aimlessly | 2: Singing in lamentation | 3: Searching for a tower | 4: Dormant | 5: Violent frenzy | 6: Pursuing target
FACTION - Sons of Helios
An army of Vat-Grafts, parthenogenically birthed from the blood of their father-god Helios, the self-proclaimed final human. Ornamental uniforms of gold and white mask any identity or individuality in their ranks, the Capsuleers swear unflinching fealty to Helios and his campaign of violent conquest, believing the entire city to be theirs by birthright. They view other Grafts as lesser, of impure stock, and other peoples of Raima as their property. As such, they are uniformly disdainful and often hostile of those outside their ranks.
Values: Conquest, purity, violence
FACTION - Rustbearers
Sleeves and biomachines that worship rust, and view decay as a virtue. They believe that as the creations of humans, the peoples of Raima should likewise perish in a grand and total return to nature. They often symbolically decorate themselves in rust, moss, ivy, fungus and bones. Guided by a small inner circle of scholars and philosophers, they are locked in a bitter and intractable ideological struggle with the Constructivists.
Values: Nature, decay, primitivism