Why 20XX?

With the new year, I'm starting to go back through a few pieces that never got finished for one reason or another. This one was generated during a slow period in working on Some Weird Sin, when the dystopian parts of cyberpunk were starting to weigh on me, and I used this as a distraction to drag some whimsy back into my work. My material was starting to sound more like Oddko, when what I want is more like the Epoxies

It also included a statement saying I was working on Some Weird Sin (after I just sort of stopped interacting with most communities for some reason) and explained the removal of Grizzled Cop (tl; dr: I wanted a Punisher-like, but worked my way into Dirt Harry. Also ACAB.) 

Now, mind you, this here's a fluff piece - a bit of world building. It ain't meant to be taken as gospel, and you ain't meant memorize it. Use it wholesale if you want, or as inspiration otherwise, or out right ignore it. 

Anyway, in an effort to get my head back in that "whimsical" space, I set out to reveal the greatest secret of the setting:

Why is it set in the year 20XX?

Well, a gal's gotta retain some mystery, so I'll narrowed it down to two, equally plausible reasons.

1. I can't be bothered
With no over arching metaplot, or a need to keep everything in a linear order, a solid date really isn't necessary. Set it in 2025, 1998, 2615 - Doesn't matter. Put it where ever you want. Doesn't matter. None of this matters. Time is an illusion, and in a game of pretend, doubly so. I snagged the idea of "20XX" from a Mega Man game, only to later learn it's another rpg system. Doesn't matter. 

2. No One is Entirely Sure
Well, some horologists know, but they're bound by NDAs to not reveal the truth. In the march to commodify everything, Capitalism turned against time itself. You see, at some point in the Collapse, the National Institute of Standards and Technology was in dire need of money for whatever it is they do, so they began selling the naming rights to the current years. Did they have legal authority to do this? No. Gods no. But you sling enough money around in a capitalist hellscape and it really doesn't matter. 

The first year this happened was the Year of Duke's Mayonnaise. At first people were confused, obviously, but by the Year of Depends Adult Undergarments the corporations loved the permanent advertising and bought every damn politician they could (for surprisingly cheap) and pushed through legislation to make it official US time keeping. The "small government" hucksters who love large over reaching government policies were the cheapest of all. After the "Quantum Quinquennial" - a five year advertisement for some damn super hero movie - people were overwhelmed by it all and gave in, eventually forgetting the numerical date all together. By the time NIST lost authority for, well, anything, the idea had gained enough "popularity" (political bribing) that the International Bureau of Weights and Measures continued the trend. 

"But...numerical time keeping is FAR more accurate and useable?" That is correct. And also why the corporations continue to use it for their internal documents, though mostly following their own time lines with Year Zero being the founding of the business. Or the birth of the founder if they're one of those companies. The average nobody on the street, however, doesn't know this. 

And there are certainly other calendars still in use, such as the Soviet calendar. But propaganda is a hell of a drug, and the rest of the Western world thinks it's an inefficient and backwards calendar with too many breaks provided. Also the alternating 5 and 6 day weeks were weird and confusing. 

There's also Dreamspell, but it has 260 names for the days of the week. Do you want that? I've been staring at it for twenty minutes and I still can't figure it out. You're just trading one confusion for another. 

The year 20XX aligns roughly with Splurge! Ranch flavored Cola. I say "roughly" because a few companies, from time to time, have purchased/bribed a few extra weeks for special promotions. 

Notable Years

As stated, any fluff presented should only be seen as inspiration and not taken as true canon, unless you need it at your table. 

Whitewing Financial Retirement Services - Yet another Stock Market collapse wipes out most savings and retirement funds. Most companies used their bail out handouts to buy back the majority of stocks, rather than cover employee salaries. Nothing new, but another step in the slow trudge towards megacorporations.  

Concorde Mk 6: Get to Where You're Going - The Soviet Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics in Kyiv develops and successfully deploys the first human cybernetic augmentation (it was an arm), fully mimicking baseline functionality with neural interfacing and feedback. Integrated weapons and shit came later. 

The Concorde: A Year in Memory - Food shortages and over population on the West Coast (it's mostly a desert after all) lead to a hot new food like product being released onto the markets: Sophia Meat. Cheaper and quicker to grow than traditional beef and pork, this cloned human meat quickly became a culinary sensation and, thanks to a loophole in badly worded human cloning laws, is completely legal! New flavors were released within the year: Chloe, Abigail, and Christopher.  

Rothchilds Fuente Cigars - The first recorded person to remove healthy tissue purely to replace it with cybernetics specifically for a job does so around this time. They are later fired for taking too much sick leave when problems arise from infections caused by the immunosuppressant drugs, and the cybernetics were removed - it was company property after all. Unable to work, but still indebted to the company for the cost of surgery and advanced PTO time, they were soon arrested and bound in a debtor's prison, forced to make telemarketing calls about a car's extended warranty. 

 Bayer/Johnson Veterinarian Presents: Farmer's Select Horse Feed - Horses can only be referred to in the past tense now, as a "mysterious" plague wiped them out. 

 McKayes Jewelry: Get Her a Moon Diamond - A portion of the Raft (The crippled remains of an insane religion's sea organization, bound together with derelict ships that have had the unfortunate fate of being caught in nets - or simply pirated) breaks off from the main "fleet" currently colonizing and mining the Pacific Plastic Patch. This portion crashes into one of the smaller Hawaii islands and attempts to ensnare the island to the collective. Three days and copious amounts of fire later, the inhabitants manage to drive off the invaders. In response Congress shrugs at this invasion, largely because several were bought funded by the religion. 

Hynes High Hemmed Pants - It was reasoned that "Since companies are legally people, if the company was founded in America at least 35 years ago, the last 14 of which where spent headquartered in America, THEN said company can run for the office of president." Sounds bullshit, but the Conservative infested Supreme Court went all in on the idea. Naturally, the results were terrible, but President Gewalt still won a second term. 

Selkie's Seaweed Chips - Texas finally put it's money where it's mouth was and seceded again, this time taking Oklahoma along with it. Food riots began 3 weeks later, Water Wars within the month. The independent power grid collapsed during an unusually hot summer. Texas leadership responded by fleeing to Brazil. Current Texas leadership is a collection of unallied warlords. 

AcetaminophenPlus: Now with Cocaine! - Following in Texas' footsteps, but not learning any damn thing, the MidWest micronations soon start to secede, fueled by propaganda created by Farming Corporations. Farming Corporations that soon buy up large swathes of land and begin their own little kingdoms. Mall of America soon becomes a powerhouse in the region. 

HUMMER Duo: the Twin Engine SUV - Dustbowl's back, yo. In North AND South America. 

Gewalt Personal Defense: Wake up. Choose Violence - After a hacking of the San Francisco voting system, each candidate declares themselves the winner. This means San Francisco now has four self declared governments, none of which acknowledges the legitimacy of the others. No outside government agency stepped in as the nation was wracked with apathy and morbid curiosity at how the situation played out. 

All New, All Difffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff- A few minor political scandals, nothing newsworthy. The name was due to a typo, something falling on the keyboard of the worker filling out the official forms. By the time anyone caught it (or cared enough to notice), it was too late to change, as the forms had been submitted. "Year of the Difff" the youth tend to call it. You know how they are. 

Ride of the Canyonero - Kaiju fights become a thing and quickly become popular all around the Pacific Rim. MUCH smaller scale than what you're probably thinking. Think horse sized creatures controlled by neural interface fighting it out for YOUR entertainment. 

Papa Jim's Canned Water (Now with 17% less microplastics!) - The Conservative party in power goes mask off and makes military service a compulsory requirement for citizenship with full legal protections and services. The Liberal party (also conservative) wanted to add means testing, but offered no further resistance. Honestly, this came as a jarring surprise, as most people thought Congress shut down years ago and couldn't recall the last election they voted in.

Tsunami Joe's Synth-Tequila -  The first specimens that eventually grow into the AgroWastes are thought to have been smuggled out of a laboratory around this time. The AgroWastes: A green hell of GMO crops run rampant and out of control. Food is everywhere, but dangerous to eat as the modified crops poison and alter you. Likewise, as to be expected, the wildlife is mutated all to hell.

Skrew Korps!: The Movie - The US Congress just sort of shrugs it's collective shoulders as the West Coast declares itself annexed by Japan, taking the majority of the Tech Industry with it. Though Japan had already invested in 86% of the Industry anyway. The US primary industry is now the Military-Entertainment complex, followed closely by the Prison Industrial complex. 

Still no resolution on the San Francisco thing. 

Splurge! Ranch flavored Cola - Current year. PCs get up to some shit. Probably. 

This Is Over Complicated and No One Would Actually Use It. 

Credit scores were created in 1989. Over draft fees in 1990. If there's a way to sap money from someone, Capitalism will latch onto it like a tick and we're usually stuck with it, having to pretend like it's normal because we have to. Look at the American health insurance system. Dumb shit like this is very believable. Also, it's pretend, settle down. 

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