Bubblegum Cartel

"Bubblegum Cartel" is a Fuzion RPG (based on the Bubblegum Crisis ruleset) campaign run during 1998-1999 with the Houston-area RPG group.

In the 21st century, there are many types of organized crime groups, from local groups which operate in a single city to those which operate globally. Some of these groups are newly established, having been around for only a couple of years, while some have been around for centuries. There are groups that are part of a network, brotherhood, association, or similar larger grouping. Such groups can have members that are all from the same ethnic group, region, clan, etc. or they may be open to individuals from various groups. They can be called syndicates, mobs, cartels, families, clans, mafias, and so on.

The campaign follows the adventures of the player characters in futuristic Neo-Paris as members of the Gagnon crime syndicate. The campaign story concept is character-driven, allowing for the player characters to interact various of other non-player characters and building the storyline. The first episode was played on March 14, 1998, and concluded on May 23, 1998, with the 10 double-game sessions happening on Saturday evenings.

Since there is a medium size group of players who contribute to the campaign, participation on a weekly basis has ranged from three to six players per episode. The current list of players includes Andy, Carol, David, Gloria, J.D., and Mark. The position of Games Master is performed by Joel. The campaign met regularly on Saturdays. However, on some weekends, there was no game because of absence by the Games Master, or low attendance. Game sessions were played at David and Gloria's home, and J.D.’s home.

Campaign Setting

Organized crime groups can be focused on only one market, or they can be an organization that is diversified in the criminal endeavors in which it participates. Rackets that are often transnational involve either the movement of money, people, or goods across borders via ship, aircraft, vehicles, or individual mules. The rackets that are local are protection rackets, gambling, prostitution, theft, kidnapping for ransom, cargo theft, drug sales, and so on.

Some of the organized crime groups, such as the Triads, remember where they come from and are concerned about their communities to a degree. Therefore, they invest a lot of their profits back into the community. On the other hand, some of the organized crime groups, like the Yakuza and some of the Mafia organizations, are focused only on profit, showing no concern for the community.

Welcome to the future of crime. The year is 2034, and life is very good for the city’s 40 million inhabitants. However, “style over substance” is the credo for many. Many use cybernetics to become more fashionable, even though boomer syndrome does occur infrequently. Boomers are the mechanical constructs, used mostly for cheap labor. Occasionally, a boomer goes berserk and causes lots of property damage. But this is Paris, the city of light. With the European economy united under the Euro-Dollar, Paris stands out as a shining point over debased world around it.

Neo-Paris is truly the diamond in the rough of Europe. London, Berlin, Cologne, Amsterdam, and Rome have all become faceless sprawls. Greed and rampant lawlessness are part of everyday society. Neo-Paris has risen above that, becoming the focal center of the European Union. Though most of the aging architecture is being replaced with newer space-age materials, the people don’t seem to mind. Life goes on. Thousands of family shops still dot the landscape. Couples still walk in the Fields of Mars at night without fear. The newest sports craze is Boomer-Ball, an ultra-violent cross between football, rugby, and soccer; the players can only be Boomers or Boomeroids. The French have opened their borders to the rest of the world. Hence, 70% of Neo-Paris speaks English fluently; the remaining 30% their native French. Charles De Gaulle Intercontinental Aeroport is now the busiest in the world, with a constant flow of the masses into and out of Neo-Paris. Next to Mega-Tokyo, Neo-Paris is the second largest city in the world, and the most culturally diverse by far.

Player Characters

The main function of this campaign was a plot-base storyline that was character-driven by the actions of the party. The player characters are members of a team of freelance troubleshooting advisors working for the Neo-Paris metropolitan underworld. All the PCs have some sort of connection with the Gagnon crime syndicate, either by family, association, or ideology; one was even built specifically for this task. As members of the largest organized criminal body in western Europe, the party seeks to maintain the strength of the Gagnon family, balancing their own personal desires to acquire power, making moves within the syndicate and venturing into new opportunities with those in other facets of influence. All the player characters are of French descent unless there is a compelling reason for another nationality, like being part of the Irish Republican Army. Unlike most other player character groups, there is no need for a team name as all the player characters were connected the French underworld. The characters start out with a basic knowledge of each other having worked on previous illicit activities. The uniting string is the head of the Gagnon Syndicate, which desires for each of their unique talents can be put to use to increase influence in western Europe amongst the other families, as well as to stave off the advances of a new technological power which looks to move into Neo-Paris: the megacorporation GENOM.

Important NPCs

As the campaign is self-contained with the area of the Neo-Paris and some areas of France, the players have an opportunity to meet and establish a variety of NPC contacts, allies, and enemies. All NPCs have an equal importance to the campaign, as each one tends to add enrichment in their own distinct ways. Most NPCs are urban folk with one primary base of operations as only the very few can designate multiple zone they can call their own.

At the outset of the campaign, the player characters are established citizens of Neo-Paris, and already have their own bevy of friends, contacts, and adversaries. Some of the party members have deeper connections with the underworld through criminal operations or family. All of them understand the delicate balance of keeping the peace with other NPC consortia and local law enforcement, ensuring the current modus operandi of the Gagnon syndicate is not interrupted. Some NPCs might be live on other cities and locations, but with the power behind the HyperNet, the world is indeed a smaller place to live in.

Episode Guide

Each weekend the players have assembled to play what has been designated as an episode. The characters initially were brought together by association, all being linked in some way to the Gagnon crime syndicate. Each week, a recap of the most recent episode’s happenings will be posted to allow those who have been missing for many or few episodes to get a feel for what they have let pass. Episode recaps cover what the player characters learned from each episode, including major plot points, highlights such as roleplaying and combat, the introduction or revisiting of specific NPC personalities, and other insights worth noting.  Any postings on this website will be the same information given out each week via social media, although much of the personal commentary will be left out. Players wishing to join the Facebook group called Gamers need to speak with the GM directly.

Places of Note

The main plot of the campaign revolves around the encounters taking place in and around the city of Neo-Paris. Although other cities, towns, and countries might be mentioned, these are beyond the scope of the campaign, and are considered non-essential to moving the plot along. A map has been generated to give the players a visual aspect of where their characters are traveling to and from. Not every location has been charted out, but general information will be given to flesh out the campaign. Neo-Paris is the capital and most populous city in the Western Hemisphere, with an estimated population of 32,415,000 residents in an area of more than 150 km² (41 sq mi), making it the 2nd most densely populated city in the world in 2032. The characters will have easy access to the major points on the map when using mass transit or their own personal means of transportation via ground or air vehicles. Although the Eiffel Tower has dominated the skyline in the 19th and 20th centuries, it competes for room in the Neo-Paris skyline of the 21st century with monolithic towers and megacorporation arcologies (GENOM’s being the largest) intruding into the historic skyline and changing the city’s visual identity. It is a mixed development of offices, shops, and apartments that create a disparity between the rich and poor, further allowing for the European underworld to thrive.

Rules and Redundancy

The main goal of the campaign is to have fun. Unfortunately, there are times when rules can come into conflict when players are attempting to achieve their goals. House Rules allow for situations like these to be mitigated when there is insufficient information to deal with specific encounters. The Fuzion system is relatively new, combining the better aspects of the HERO System (Champions, Star Hero) and the Interlock System (Mekton, Cyberpunk 2020). Since there is not an extensive list of Difficulty Values to draw upon, this page focuses on in-game ruling to help build up consistency for this campaign and other campaigns in the future. Inconsistencies on weapon accuracy and resolving damage with certain weapons has also been noted, and any modifications to the ruleset are also seen here and not in the Weapons Locker page. Option Points (or Award Points) are used to improve skills and convert to money to buy more equipment. Enough OPs that are saved up can later allow a player to raise a Stat or two, and maybe buy a Talent or Perk. However, the price for future ability upgrades can either become costly and keeps characters from becoming too powerful, too quickly, or broken allowing characters to create one-sided characters.

Weapons Locker

Core rule books contain a plethora of melee and ranged weapons, armor, vehicles, and other campaign-centric for the players characters and NPCs to choose from. However, there are times when there is an encounter with weapons and items of power that go beyond the scope of what is readily available for purchase. Herein lies an inventory of non-standard items encountered throughout the campaign, from the mundane to the spectacular. Some items are easy enough to understand, and the stats for weapons and armor will be listed accordingly. Sometimes multiple published books will contain conflicting information about range and damage for certain weapons. This area will list what is expected for the campaign, to clear up any misunderstandings about what is listed. The final section of this page lists items that the PCs might not fully understand the scope and power but will list the known quantities of the item. Future information can be gleaned as the campaign continues to progress.

Bubblegum Cartel by Mikhail Mera Monroy Important NPCs by Leon Tukker, and Places of Note by Jello Serve

Artwork for Leon Tukker on this page falls under the Paizo Inc. Community Use Policy.

Artwork for Mikhail Mera Monroy and Jello Serve on this page falls under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.