Rotten to the Core (1990) is the last 2300AD supplement. It is primarily a sourcebook detailing Libreville, the city in Gabon, Africa (in 2300, part of the French empire) where the space elevator, amusingly referred to as the “Beanstalk” is anchored. Naturally, this sort of aperture to the stars is going to encourage a lot of power, money and corruption, making it an excellent venue for cyberpunk. I will say, despite a lot of reasonably realistic things going on in this book, it is weirdly white for a city in Africa, even allowing for the colonial imperialism of the French empire and the probable riptide-like currents of gentrification that would beset a place like Libreville.

Anyway, if you take your expectations for a cyberpunk city, dial all the tech to “plausible” and make sure to check every box established by the sub-genre (including having Tim Bradstreet do some art for you), then you’ll pretty much have Libreville. It is kind of weird having something so early in cyberpunk’s lifespan also be so by the numbers, but there you have it. And that isn’t a bad thing! It is just…an obvious thing. Rotten to the Core is not subtle.

The included adventure may as well be a short story by Billiam Hibson. There’s corporate secrets, dark doings, stolen tech, betrayal, violence, all wrapped in that chrome package. There’s a guy named Steel Cowboy. It’s not high art, but it probably makes a good adventure, honestly — the best RPG adventures tend to be somewhat derivative, right? Where players sort of see the big beats coming. That’s this. And since the cyberpunk aspect in 2300AD is so generic, you can pull it out and run it for anything.

Nice Aulisio cover, it’s got atmosphere.

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