In the year 2077, technology has improved society as swiftly as capitalism has crippled it. In these trying times with utopia just barely out of reach, the populace have turned to the world of entertainment to keep themselves on the level.
But behind every film, every TV show and every album, there’s likely something seedy behind the scenes…
Inspired by the current zeitgeist of Actual Play tabletop RPG podcasts and my personal manifesto of seeing more people of colour and queer people in genre fiction, The Talent Agency is my own Actual Play podcast, using the Cyberpunk-Fantasy system of Shadowrun Anarchy.
For those not familiar with the Shadowrun franchise, it’s an RPG system that’s been around since the 80s; distinguishing itself from Dungeons & Dragons with it’s Blade Runner-style setting, but retaining the magic, elves and dwarves of high fantasy. Players are ‘shadowrunners’, mercenaries and petty criminals who are hired by corporations for missions of varying levels of illegality.
The speculative fiction setting is definitely of interest to me, but the real draw to SRA is its very improv-heavy play style. My players aren’t just actors in a grand fiction I’ve written, they’re also storytellers – filling in the narrative blanks I’ve intentionally left and adding in some new directions while they’re at it.
I feel that the ‘punk’ in Cyberpunk is there for a reason – art and music are major parts of any subculture and resistance movement, and I have woven that into all of the missions my Runners encounter in this campaign. Every mission touches on the world of arts and entertainment, inspired by music that’s shaped me as much as it shapes this future-fantasy world.
Each mission is split into three acts – please find the first mission below. The post will update with subsequent acts as their respective podcasts go live, along with my GM notes once the mission is complete.
Mission 1: Sakuran (Confusion)
How will you get by? / You know, I just don’t care for foolish affairs / You cheat, you smile, you laugh at my desire / I’m crazy for… What am I crazy for?
A decade of trashy robot action films. A Wage Mage with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A mysterious package from a cybernetics company. Can Tu Step, Spurz and Nano Ranger successfully navigate meeting film stars without embarrassing themselves? Probably not.