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Tabletop Game / Cosmopol

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Giant robot is giant.

"The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity."

"Cosmopol: a utopia to some, a dystopia to others - anything you want can be yours... but if you fail, it means you're a bad person."
- Dreia Melinkoff

Cosmopol is a Tabletop RPG setting by Dreia Melinkoff.

It is set in an alternate timeline where The Great Depression (and thus the rise of Those Wacky Nazis) never happened, and for the hundred years after, history, politics, and technology evolved in a different direction.

Most of the action takes place in the North American city of Cosmopol or its gloomy European counterpart, Neustadt.

Settings include:
  • Century of Progress: a bright world, a golden age... anything you want can be yours, for a price.
  • Cosmopol Reckoning: no golden age can last forever. Ecological catastrophe, social upheaval, collapse of the world economy and collapse of the infrastructure add new challenges for the characters.
  • Cosmopol Retribution: new powers rise and cities come under siege as ideas fight ideas and buried secrets come to light.
  • Cosmopol Redemption: corruption eats the city from the outside in

Tropes in this system:

  • Amazon Brigade: For some reason, both the setting and the PC group have ended up with dominantly female characters.
  • Author Appeal: The universe was born out of the author's own admitted love for 20s and 30s tech and retrofuturism.
  • Bio Punk: Genetic engineering takes place in the background of the first two settings, then center stage in Retribution.
  • City of Adventure: Either of the two cities presently described in the three settings
  • City Noir: Cosmopol's street level and Undercity... and all of Neustadt.
  • Cool Airship: All of the ships made by Stahl Luftschifftechnik qualify as this.
  • Code Name: Most characters will have a nickname or callsign they use in their "Night Job".
  • The Cracker: Arguably the most powerful character type.
  • Diesel Punk: And how.
  • Everybody Smokes: More, you gain temporary boosts to a number of attributes by smoking. The only penalty is against your income and self-discipline if you become addicted.
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  • Fantastic Racism: In Reckoning, there is widespread discrimination against "gene jobs", which in Retribution erupts into attempted genocide (and brings about the titular retribution).
  • Framing Device: The universe and its major events are introduced by fictional characters living in-universe.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: One of the player character jobs.
  • Hacker Cave: Averted, as hacking looks ridiculously low-fi: hackers spend most of their time crouching over little analog dials and scanning lines of code on display goggles or very tiny screens.
  • Homemade Inventions: A major point of the game. And in Reckoning and thereafter, the very economy is based on it.
  • Kafka Komedy: You can actually take "Kafka Physics" as a negative-point disadvantage. If you're afflicted by this, there is a strong chance that anything you attempt will be obstructed by the willful incompetence of others, obstructive bureaucracy, or your paperwork getting lost. Also, if something actually works for you, expect to pay for it in some way that makes you feel as if the universe is singling you out to laugh at you.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Keller frequently stumbles awkwardly when trying to talk around English words that he thinks he doesn't know. The reality is that English actually borrowed these terms from German.
  • La Résistance: The Playful Hacker organization Zero One militarizes into this in Retribution
  • Mad Scientist Laboratory
  • Motherly Scientist: This would be Dr. Taryn Stone.
  • Mr. Exposition: Keller and the other characters in the framing stories
  • Playful Hacker: The Zero One are a whole brotherhood of them.
  • Privately Owned Society: Both Cosmopol and Neustadt, up until Retribution.
  • Punk Punk: Largely of the Diesel Punk flavor, with many Cyberpunk and Bio Punk elements.
  • The Roaring '20s: The world has been stuck here for a hundred years, while progress marches on.
  • Robot Master: Dr. Taryn Stone again.
  • Science Hero: One of the player character jobs.
  • Schizo Tech: Computer intranets, large-scale architectural/civic projects, robotics and advanced genetic engineering... in a world that seems to run on internal combustion, fossil fuels, pneumatic mail, vacuum tubes, and display gratuitous use of pressure gauges and analog dials.
  • Technology Porn: Somewhat averted. The world is as advanced as our normal one and in many ways more advanced, but the tech looks like 1930s technology.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Several characters do this as of Retribution... the alternative would be to die.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?
  • What Measure Is a Non-Super?: Grappled with in Retribution. And how.
  • Zeerust: Equal parts Zeerust of the Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, Bauhaus and German Expressionist variety
  • Zeppelins from Another World

In-Game Character Tropes:
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Barrett.
  • Battle Couple: This is arguably Keller and Barrett in Retribution.
  • Buffy Speak: Keller. Partly justified in that he is not a native English speaker.
    • Hand me the twisty thing. The thing which twists.
      • Averted in Retribution, as much of this arc takes place in his native Germany.
  • Code Name: The rule for "night jobbers"
    • Dieter Kohl - Keller
    • Tsuritsa Zima - Maus
    • Tatyana Silova - Titan
    • Alexander Blake - Shine
    • Dava Gruenwald - Barrett
  • Germanic Depressives: Keller.
  • Genre Savvy: Characters commonly reference (in an oblique fashion) the popular culture of our universe.
    • This will go over as well as a cowboy serial set in outer space. I give it twelve or thirteen.
  • Hot Gypsy Woman: Averted with Maus. Though she is indeed Romani, she's a Wrench Wench, wears tank tops and cargo pants and prefers the fairer sex.
  • Snark Knight: Keller.
  • Thememobile: Keller's motorcycle, named "Kafka". Also qualifies as The Alleged Car.
    • "Why did I name my motor cycle Kafka, you ask? What kind of question is that? I had to file my renewal in QUADRUPLICATE... I need this too?"
  • Took a Level in Badass: Keller. After being the snarky, combat-incompetent hacker and often The Load during the first two settings, he returns in Retribution as a cell leader in La Résistance... complete with an Expository Hairstyle Change.
  • Tsundere: Barrett.
  • Wrench Wench: Maus