Working alongside Skydance Television and the incredible team behind the hit Netflix TV series, we’re excited to immerse you in the neon-drenched cyberpunk sandbox of Altered Carbon with our official tabletop RPG.
In this transhumanist vision of the future, the human mind is nothing more than digital code – Digital Human Freight – saved and stored in a Cortical Stack, advanced technology that allows you to “re-sleeve” your entire consciousness into a new body. You can wear any body you can afford, transmit your mind across the cosmos in an instant, and, if you’ve got the credits and political cachet, you can re-sleeve time and again for centuries, accumulating enough wealth and power over the millennia to become the societal equivalent of an immortal god.
Whereas character death is a natural occurrence and ever-present threat in tabletop RPGs, Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game offers a unique angle on the concept. As opposed to creating a brand new character, players will have the opportunity to transfer their character’s consciousness, memories, and experiences into new Sleeves post-death… but at a cost.
Mind you, immortality is not invincibility. Losing a Sleeve is a life-altering setback, and “Real Death” awaits anyone whose Stack is destroyed. That being said, Sleeves introduce their own refreshing challenges to players and storytellers alike. Augmentations can instantly upgrade your athleticism, but a world-class surgeon in an unadjusted Sleeve can botch a basic procedure. The possibilities for characters and campaigns may change from one Sleeve to the next… making long-term gameplay more versatile, while empowering the story to steer character advancement at its own pace.
Bay City is divided into three major territories – the Ground, the Twilight, and the Aerium – each a world of its own; ruled by different kinds of people, playing games for different kinds of stakes.
The Ground: The underclass — known as “grounders” due to their inability to inhabit the skyscrapers as residents or personnel — continues to soar in numbers. Grounders are satiated with automated dispensed foodstuffs, public housing, and a neon-soaked parade of carnal pleasures. On paper, the features of the city seem almost Utopian, but the majority serves only as cheap labor for the vast bureaucracies of the Protectorate and the Meths whose own lives are glittering paradises in comparison to the empty, endless grind of the greater population.
The Twilight: A razor thin middle class serves as administration, managers, and highly skilled technicians to service the various technological marvels of society and its endlessly expansive bureaucracies. These skilled individuals are said to inhabit The Twilight, somewhere between the darkness of grounder society and the dazzling brightness of the high life of meth aristocracy. Most aren’t far removed from some criminal element, either by choice, close relation, or the occasional contractor through one of their shell corporations. You’ll scarcely find a programmer who hasn’t moonlighted as a “Dipper” at some point. Most dabble with decadence or crime (often the white-collar variety), if only to search for some form of existential purpose… The extra money doesn’t hurt either.
The Aerium: This network of skyscrapers is the domain of the meths exclusively. Their towers pierce the sky by several times in height the normal skyscrapers of Bay City. Each tower has the luxury of supporting a multitude of sprawling estates, all free and far above the need to see the rabble below, the unseen underclasses toiling under permanent cloud cover. Only specifically registered air vehicles and police aircars are permitted to fly anywhere near this complex. The much vaunted Suntouch House is part of this complex.
The core edition of Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game takes place on Sol (Earth) in the year 2384. With the help of a gamemaster (GM), you and your friends can create your own stories and Sleeves in Bay City, the futuristic Californian metropolis that serves as the main setting of the first book and Season 1 of the Netflix series.
Take control of police, military, technicians, artificial intelligence (A.I.), special operatives (CTAC), and even the influential elite of high society (Meths) as the core neo-noir themes of Altered Carbon promise endless sci-fi adventures:
- Mystery — Solve the unfolding mystery. The gamemaster themselves may not even know who the culprit is at the beginning of the story!
- Intrigue — Augments and re-sleeving don’t come without their own costs. Story-driven mechanics challenge players to balance their personal egos and baggage, influencing how players interact with one another and how their characters develop over time.
- Action — An original game engine uniquely designed for the RPG, delivering a strategic yet dynamic zone-based combat system with exotic high-tech weaponry and streamlined options for more action-oriented gameplay!
- Drama — The twisted reality of transhumanity enables players to create challenging stories, complex characters, and century-spanning epics, all which explore the darkest aspects of human nature that the value of life and fear of death once held in check. When murder is little more than extreme property damage, transhumanity is the perfect playground for noir storytelling that delves into the moral depths of our own humanity.
Working in tandem with Skydance Entertainment, we’re able to provide a deeper dive into the world of Altered Carbon. As a result, we’re expanding on elements of lore, and the colonized worlds that previously we unexplored until now!
Want to learn more about Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game? Check out our Quick Start here, which delivers an overview of the fictional universe, tutorials for our game engine, and examples of play to ease new gamemasters and players into the game and story world.
Included in the QSG is a quick reference of lore, rules, and some basic character details – including concept art which was used in the making of the Netflix series.Click for a clean Character Sheet
The Core Rulebook contains everything gamemasters and players needs to play the game.
- Building a Neo-Noir Narrative. Build an authentic noir experience with a multi-layered mystery that unravels over time. Plot twists, MacGuffins, red herrings, and informants all provide the ever-adjusting structure you need to bring mystery and intrigue to your players without the need to pre-plan every detail at the start.
- Starting Adventures. Enjoy two complementary modules designed to teach you everything you need to know to run the game and teach players the Hazard System.
- Creating a Character. Ready to jack in? Pick an archetype: Civilian, Socialite, Official, Criminal, Technician, or Soldier. Generate core attributes like Strength, Perception, Empathy, Willpower, Acuity, and Intelligence. Game elements like Stack Points, Health Points, Ego Points, and Influence Points help flesh out your characters and determine how they perform and progress through the story.
- Baggage. Your time in Altered Carbon takes its toll, as damage to your ego builds up over the years… as do the ghosts of your past deeds from sleeve to sleeve.
- Variant Characters. Explore a range of unique playable and non-playable characters such as artificial intelligence beings, envoy soldiers, and high-class meths.
- Re-sleeving. The body is merely a shell, and death is not the final destination. Each Sleeve comes with its own strengths and shortcomings. An impossible task in one Sleeve may be child’s play in another. Meanwhile, your enemy could be wearing your friend’s sleeve, so use your intuition and ingenuity to observe the details, break through the obvious, seek out new solutions, and stay alive.
- Tons of Traits. Tier-based Trait system allows you to easily build your own Archetypes or assign a set of unique abilities that complement one of our pre-set character builds, with plenty of crossover options so that no two Archetypes are really the same.
- Wealth Level Based Economy. Rather than nickel & dime every transaction, players can acquire gear and supplies adjacent (or above — if they’re willing to risk greater consequences) to their Wealth Level in order to keep the focus on story momentum.
- Technology & Equipment. Nemex, Shard Pistols, Portable AI Emitters, ONI Interfaces, Merge9; the Core Rulebook provides all the mechanics for purchasing, acquiring, and modifying a plethora of futuristic weapons, apparel, and gadgetry with an expansive list of customizations for nearly every item.
- Expanding the Altered Carbon World. While the Core Rulebook focuses on Bay City and Season 1 of the series, we’ve got big plans with Skydance who is currently in production for Season 2, and we’ll be working alongside them to discover more ways to explore the colonized worlds in future RPG supplements. In the meantime, fans can explore Osaka and other parts of Earth 2384 via our stretch goal modules listed below.
Altered Carbon: The Role Playing Game will employ the Hazard System – a brand new game system that finds inspiration in popular engines like the Cortex System, Savage Worlds, and Outbreak: Undead.. all while delivering unique gameplay specifically designed for this RPG.
Want a quick video breakdown of the game? Becca Scott is here to help!
SKILL DICE: As you’ll see in the video tutorial above, actions are done using an appropriate die type depending on your level of skill.
Which are rolled against a Target Result (TR) assigned by the GM or Scenario:
- 12+ – Trivial
- 10-11 – Easy
- 9-10 – Normal
- 7-8 – Tricky
- 5-6 – Challenging
- 3-4 – Complicated
- 0-2 – Nearly Impossible
With success determined by rolling EQUAL TO OR UNDER the Target Result. The difference between the result and the TR are the degrees of success/failure generated.
Natural (rolled) 1’s are considered an “Ace” – and always succeed with a flourish.
Besides the basics of rolling equal to or under the Target Result, the Hazard System provides a list of easy-to-apply modifiers that will help to quickly and contextually flush out a scene.
- Bonus Dice: Players can be awarded Bonus Dice, which can be of any Die Type. Bonus Die results can take the best results (serves as an advantage).
- Luck Dice: When luck plays a factor on the outcome (for better or worse), Luck Dice of any Die Type may add to Skill Check Results. Even players with D4s as Skills may fail if luck turns against them. Luck can even displace Difficulty altogether in the right situation.
Christopher is trying going toe to toe with an off-world assassin in a synthetic Sleeve but decides the fight is a little outside of his league — so he wants to escape. He could simply dart away, in which the GM will ask him for an Athletics – 5 (challenging) roll. He has a D10 in athletics so its reasonable. Or he could use a chaff bomb, which will disrupt the synthetics sensors and maybe cover his tracks. That just requires a Throw – 10 (easy), and even with a D12 that shouldn’t be a problem… shouldn’t…
Since all dice can roll low, there is ALWAYS a chance of success.