"Let me see you make decisions... without your tele-vision,
Let me see you stripped down to the bone"

The society of Neon Twilight will be as alien, repugnant and incomprehensible to us as our society would be to the people of the 1920s. It's vital to remember that society shapes technology as well as vice versa. Our cars may operate on similar principles to those in the 1930s, but our styling aesthetic is completely different.

Some parts of society in Neon Twilight - known as Victorians and Heartlanders - have reverted to the cherished nostalgic dream of a lost Golden Age, in which America and Europe were carefree, dominant and prosperous.

The demographic aging of the middle-classes in the Advanced countries (what's known as the First World) is a phenomena that has only recently been reversed. The first baby-boomers began retiring in the 2010s and thanks to new viral therapies and genecleansing treatments the life expectancy of the average person has increased to nearly 95 years. People are fitter (though fatter) and continue working until their late 70s, creating a huge shift of economic and political power to senior patricians who just refuse to retire.

In Europe this trend increased external EU border and immigration controls to the point that even desperate refugees were turned away in vast numbers, as was the case when the Algerian regime collapsed in 2006. The formation of the powerful Neo-Victorian society following the social upheavals of the Netcrash permanently set the ossification process. Younger people were shut out of the corridors of power and diverted to mass entertainment and the pursuit of apolitical prosperity, much as had been the case during the last several millennia. Today society in America is fragmented along ethnic and 'philosophical' lines that weren't evident in the last century.


The world is populated by 8 billion people, of which 310m are North Americans, plus more than 100m Mexicans. Of these, roughly 35m live in NorCal and SurCal, 25m in the old Canadian Territories, 8m in Free Quebec, 50m in the Heartlands, and something like 40m in the world's most intense city, the infamous Eastern Megalopolis, which stretches from Boston to Baltimore and onwards to Washington DC.

North Americans are a frustrated lot, with riches beyond measure in the hands of a few, a large but fragmented middle class, and a repressed and resentful lower-class dependent on scavenging and lot-tek solutions simply to survive. Nearly 10% of the population are locked out of the official economy, receiving no benefits and relying on black-market ingenuity to support themselves. These people are known as blanks, sometimes tolerated, often persecuted and scapegoated by normal people and megacorps alike. With the aging of the so-called 'baby boomer' population, social values have taken a sharp turn to conservative, early TwenCen modes of behaviour. The middle-classes preach the values of hard-work, frugality and religious piety even as they forget their own salad days of greed and excess.


The United States of America is such a hybrid cauldron of bubbling cultures and customs that it's hard to tell whether political fragmentation started the ethnic enclaves or whether ethnic disintegration balkanized the old American Empire. The new realities are these : white Americans (European stock) are 50% of the population, only 30% on the West Coast; brown (Hispanic) Americans are 25% of the population; black (African) Americans are 14%; yellow (Asian) Americans are 8%. These demographics have radically shifted the cultural elements of society, splintering the North American continent in politically-powerful special interest groups and independent freeholds.

BIOSHELL : A small implant placed near the stomach which secretes protective antibodies and parasite-hunting nanoids. Produced by Synthesia (UK) Plc. near Dorset.

Drugs & Pharmas

Since the coming of such vices as Blood-Worming and Nervers, the ancient art of narcotics has seen a decline in numbers — but not in volatility. The United States has legalized a wide variety of narcotics such as marijuana, heroin, LSD, and (soft) cocaine, with surprising results. Some segments of the population remain highly-addicted criminals, but the numbers are significantly lower than in the TwenCen, and use of drug therapy centres combined with 'dimming', has reduced the most susceptible groups to a manageable level. Dimming is the practise of stimulating or (more often) inhibiting certain brain/gland chemical imbalances, such as those which cause the creation of serotonin ("feelgood") and adrenaline ("flight/fight/f*ck" response). Dimming is a voluntary therapy 'adopted' by many parents at the behest of the government or their doctor, and it helps to condition teenagers by regulating hormonal fluctuations. The drugs used for these procedures are commonly known by the polite name of 'pharmas', and they come in a wide variety of types. Pharmas are also used to 'dim' violent inmates in prisons, and to 'stim' soldiers working in the field.

Pharmas are technically purely voluntary, but the societal pressure to use them to 'purify' oneself or to 'get the job done' has made them common and desirable by everyone. The strongest pharmas are used to control parasitic infection and other ailments. Pharmas have several side-effects, the most common being a draining of emotion, an obsession with minute details, loss of mood control, and apathy.


If HIV made people cautious about sex, the New Mutation made them absolutely paranoid about everyday life. The average American today owns more than 20 purifying devices, takes a dose of Sparkle© each morning, wears a filmsuit under all clothing, bathes twice daily, and has a home blood-filter for emergencies. Great Minds put their prodigious mental powers to tracking down viral and parasitic infections — which bloom amidst the urban centers like deadly black orchids.

Since certain countries are very sanitized while others may be pits of disease, each locale has a Contamination Rating which measures how easy or difficult it is to contract various diseases, catch a parasite or other biological contamination. In game terms, the player rolls her Wealth + Stamina each week against the Contamination Rating of the locale. The rating is given in each country section, and can vary by +-1 point depending on seasonal variations or new outbreaks. A botch means something really nasty has infected the player; a failure means a minor debilitating parasite; one success means a minor ailment (diarrhea); two or more successes means that nothing was contracted.

1-2Superclean. Orbitals and Microgravity.
3-4Sanitized buildings, Ultra neighbourhoods
5Clean. Advanced countries.
6Decent. Most countries.
7Unclean. Poor countries, poor cities.
8Nasty. Slums, ghettoes.
9Hellhole, considered a Denied Area
10Disaster zone, point of outbreak.


As predicted, smart cards have become both ubiquitous and mandatory in most advanced countries. Only a few places, such as the autonomous Heartlands or Denmark, still refuse to implement them on libertarian grounds. There are two types of card: the first contains all the data about you, connected to the massive Registry archives; the second is a financial card, and contains all your assets and money, including credit cards, cash, and securities, and is probably connected to your primary financial institution such as Interbank.

CITIZEN CARD (identification papers) contains name, dob, genetic stamp, your picture, address, network address, web account, passkey, criminal record, insurance, citizenship, health, driving license, fishing permits, work permits, special status and privileges, etc. Organizations demanding your info are only licensed to read certain aspects of your c-card. For example, an insurance firm has card-readers which can only scan insurance and health info. Police can only check criminal record, dob, name, gene-stamp and picture info. Most organizations abuse this aspect of information privacy, but discreetly. Citcards are protected by genereaders which are activated by simply holding the card and speaking the correct passcode. The reader can detect whether the card-holder is alive based on the plasticity of the skin and other details. Most citcards have 'emergency' codes which sound like a passcode but activate any local police security devices, or call the police, or at the very least focus an Eyesat on the target location. This is obviously not foolproof, but it certainly works against primitive muggers.

CASH CARD - similar to ID card but also includes all financial data such as mortgages, debt, credit history, securities, and other assets. Illegal use of spending patterns and consumer potential for marketing or profit purposes is harshly punished by law in theory, but in reality enforcement is lax (and in the meantime, you've lost your job). Cashcards are protected by the above measures, and can also be hardcoded for certain transaction limits (say, $500) so that even if someone forces you to use your card at gunpoint, it cannot exceed the limit. Cards come in a variety of colours, styles, holograms, and textures.