Gray? What clearance is ‘Gray’?
In Alpha Complex, The Computer’s approved, omnipresent data network is called AlphaNet. Internal Security and CPU both monitor AlphaNet closely with data taps and all-pervasive Computer-approved rootkits and spyware. To escape continual surveillance, some traitorous citizens create private networks that use illegal (read: working) antivirus software, illegal (read: heavy) encryption and illegal (read: secure) servers. These independent private networks are the incredibly treasonous Gray Subnets, shadows of the official AlphaNet.
On these covert datanets, plucky citizens speak freely (under anonymous handles), think clearly (through the filters of their secret society propaganda) and buy illegal stuff. Faceless buyers connect with faceless sellers and arrange meetings or drop points. These are almost always in mutually convenient black markets—or, as they are widely known in Alpha Complex, INFRARED (IR) Markets.
This PARANOIA supplement, STUFF 2: The Gray Subnets, presents over 100 items and services available on illicit Gray Subnet sites and in IR Markets. Stuff is grouped in five categories, each offered on a different website:
- Militia Matters!: This PURGE site sells unusual, unlabeled and experimental weapons and armor.
- the y3110wb0t list: Run by Computer Phreaks, this long-lived and popular Gray Subnet deals in illicit data: blackmail material, maps, archives, all kinds of stuff you’re not supposed to know. Oh, and
botspotting. It’s a big hobbyist site for the hopeless ner— the fine collectors of bot sightings.
- Gray Subnet xL: A clearinghouse (of mysterious provenance) for ‘special’ services and those who offer them.
- Third-I’s Cerebral Alchemy Emporium: A Mystics hangout that may outlast the current longevity record for Mystic sites, 38 hours. The site sells—this’ll shock you, brace yourself—drugs.
- Fat Tony’s Free Market: A Free Enterprise joint wit’ style and class, get me? Sells equipment, foods, weird Old Reckoning gear and other problematic junk.
Like other PARANOIA supplements, this book designates player material as RED Clearance, and Gamemaster-only text as ULTRAVIOLET. But don’t get misled! In Alpha Complex, almost everything in this book is drastically illegal at any clearance. You can get brainscrubbed just for visiting these websites. Even though we call the player section RED, that doesn’t mean your RED-Clearance Troubleshooter can bandy this stuff about in casual conversation. So bandy with care.
The first STUFF equipment supplement prompted a few derisive snorts. It listed all the
secret info about each item, the stuff only a Gamemaster should know, in a gray box after each entry. By clearly labeling each box GM INFO and telling players not to read it, we relied on PARANOIA players’ well-known honesty and respect for the sanctity of ULTRAVIOLET Clearance.
Yeah, we know. Don’t say anything.
We wised up. STUFF 2 puts all the GM-only info in an ULTRAVIOLET-Clearance section, which also gives lots of information about the IR Markets. Now players will never see these items’ dirty little secrets, because as we know, no RED-Clearance player ever looks in the—he never reads the—arrgh!
But wait! We fixed it! Many entries include multiple conflicting versions of the item or service; the GM wisely chooses one or another during the game, so even a devious player can’t be sure what will really happen when he fires that Nuclear Slugthrower Round. So we Famous Game Designers have once more pulled out a win.
Some GM-only statistics include clearance levels, which means the listed item or service isn’t strictly, overtly illegal. If you have the clearance specified, you can get them at legitimate outlets. (A lot of these, truth be told, are great items we had to cut for space from the first STUFF.)
Enough blather. Get your ME Card ready, open a firewall port to a secure proxy, turn off your webcam and log on to the most treasonous online environment in Alpha Complex!
Published September 2007 by Mongoose Publishing, Ltd.