Syndicate can be used as you see fit, it is not tied to things explained later. It is your campaign and games, after all. If you do not like something, change it. If you want crude realism, use it that way. Syndicate is very flexible. If you want a detailed combat system, borrow it from some other game. If you want another kind of world, take it from other place. Things here are only to give you ideas, to get you started, to inspire you.

Welcome to the dark future of the mid-21st century. World politics are strongly influenced by huge corporations struggling for power. Human life in huge cities is cheap, fast and without future. Most of the Third World countries are completely polluted and demolished in countless wars.

Syndicate is a roleplaying game for futuristic action/agent movies. If you have never played roleplaying games before, this is one place to start. Find an experienced game master (a person that runs RPGs) and start playing. Details are not described here, find an another RPG for that.

Basic Rules of Syndicate

Before you follow these steps, it might be a good idea to check out the campaign details from your gamemaster. Some people do not like characters who are more successful than the gamemaster's own miserable life.

The Corporate World

It is year 2039 and the world is a much meaner place to live in. Big corporations rule the economic world and crush all those who oppose them. Skill and knowledge are power, and those without either are worth less than nothing.

First came the wars in the Third World. Countless bombings with biological and chemical weapons demolished most of the African, Asian and South-American nations.

Then came the global depression, famine and collapse of the political system in weaker countries. Various nature resources started to run out. Recycling and reproducing were enforced and the real power moved to those with power plants.

After the wars and the collapse of the totalitarianism, the corporations expanded their power into Third World countries, making them more and more dependent on corporate power and technology. Finally, in some countries, a vote could be hired and thus the corporations could buy votes from the poor.

For new resources and food, mass production was moved to the oceans. Gigantic corporate food droids collect seaweed and other plants from the sea, in order to produce cheap synthetic food and materials for everyday goods.

How to Start?

What's New?

Players of the old Syndicate version may ask, what is new. For a start, system and characters are almost same as they were earlier. The main difference is that all technology is tried to make more realistic, by current visions of the near future.

In old times, Syndicate was like other cyberpunk games, with cybernetic limbs and cyberspace hackers. Now, in last 5 years it has evolved into realistic prognostication of near-future world of corporate power. Many thanks especially to Ville Vuorela, who gave the inspiration and boost to make this 5th edition - this 5th edition actually has many of his ideas and used with permission.

Syndicate Filmography

To get the idea and world behind Syndicate, some movies can be used as inspiration. However, most films have some completely out-of-balance unrealistic things, so do not expect to have everything in them, just something:

Realistic Environment

In Syndicate, my goal has been to create a very realistic near-future RPG. There is some very advanced things like cybertechnology, but main aims are consistency and a believable world. As part of this, all technology is based either to current high-end things or predicted ones, and based on information from various professionals and sources. Anyway, I have had no enough resources to double-check all sources, and some things change as years go by. Thus, if you have any big flaws in game system or world defination, please let me know.

Syndicate V: The Corporate Future (c) Kalle Marjola 2001-2002. See generic rpr game license