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This is a game about hot-blooded and highly-trained agents. You take on the role of these people, imagining you are caught in the web of a mind game from which there is little chance of escape. It takes place in the world of tomorrow, where data is just as important as cash, and people have left the ruined earth for the stars.
Karbons are on the loose, superhuman creations that look like us and are extremely dangerous. You will play the role of an agent within a secret organization know as the program hunting these things down. The catch is they have infiltrated your organization, and your agent could be a Karbon themselves. As the lies compound, how will you be able to discern the truth?
This is the wiki of knowledge about the Karbon RPG, now in a third edition known as the End of the World edition. Karbon was initially created by Jason Petrasko as part of a 24 RPG design contest. It was then a simple idea: take the concept of the movie Blade Runner, add on some super-tech science fiction awesome from Ghost in the Shell, and lets play that. However the 24 hour version wasn't too nifty, being just a bit of a hack on cinematic Unisystem. It later underwent a rewrite, but that version still did not meet the expectations of the designer. This is the third version of Karbon, and with many more years of gaming knowledge and insight, the designer hopes this edition will finally meet his expectations. As they say, the third time is the charm, and while its become quite a complicated game, the designer is hopeful.
While the structure of Karbon is meant to explore the mysteries and lies that run rampant in a future where people sometimes don't know who they are and those in power abuse this, there are a couple questions at the very core of the game: What is human? and What is truth? No rules of the game directly address either question, but the game is designed to create situations where the players are confronted by them. Both of these questions have no valid correct answer, so in essence the players get to bring their opinions to the table while they play and explore the questions as like wish.
As the stories unfold that the players create inside the game there is naturally quite a variance of tone. However the game encourages a certain tone for play through structure and reward. A great many scenes in the game are driven by a frantic, high-paced, high-tension, search for answers. If there is a default tone to play, this is it. Danger always lurks around the corner, and sometimes ignorance is bliss. This also means scenes that lack that tone get to be highlights, standing out because they change the pace.