Explore the World of Fully Automated!

Fully Automated! takes place on and around Earth in the 2120s, in a high-tech post-capitalist society where work is optional and basic necessities are free.

The game describes a world in which people recognize the necessity of interconnectedness with their community and environment at every level: apartment dwellers are accustomed to sharing common areas and resources. Urban centers and outlying suburbs have become integrated into the natural landscape and between themselves. Wilded parks suffuse every neighborhood, and disc golfers treat wild animals they cross with the same respect as a fellow passenger reading a book on a train. Ruling institutions with central authority over militaries, citizenship, and border passage have melted into various administrative systems within an ecosystem of diffuse citizen-run collectives. There’s plenty of structure, but rigid delineations and hierarchies are seen as outdated notions from a bygone era.

Through the game, players will find that though physical technology has improved, the post-scarcity of the setting was not provided by new discoveries in physics: it is a product of engineering a new society in which we all just learn to make reasonable use of the abundance that already exists in this century.

Though life has less compulsory stress, though, the fundamental elements of human nature – curiosity, ambition, rivalry, etc. – still create conflicts. That’s when ordinary people step up to investigate, assist, defend, and fight.

Fully Automated began as a home-brew game among friends, and its development reflects a desire to provide the greatest possible flexibility. The setting is meant to be specific enough to help people imagine it, but broad enough to fit a vast diversity of lifestyles and cultures.

An Abbreviated History of the Future

The twenty-first century began with the chaos of a failing economic order. Rapid breakthroughs in materials science, biology, computer science, and energy production were arriving in quick succession, but economies and governments were struggling to deliver them equitably.  In the process, the global climate was disrupted, billions of people experienced declining economic security, biodiversity was lost on a scale that could only be described as a mass extinction event, and civil unrest proliferated.

In the 2030s, the “developed” world quickly reconnected with its on-again-off-again abusive ex, fascism. Right wing populists across Europe and the Americas came to power on promises of guaranteed incomes. Elsewhere — across Africa, South Asia, and Oceania — countries seeking to avoid Europe’s trajectory began experimenting with alternative socialist programs that expanded civil democratic control of their governments and economies. Meanwhile, the US and China projected their bids for dominance into a space race that fueled rapid development on the Moon and a competition to settle Mars.

In the 2040s, as great powers were drawn into escalating hostilities over the chaos wrought by climate change, colonists on Mars discovered a massive underground cavern network constructed by an unknowable, ancient intelligence. In an increasingly rudderless world, this discovery attracted millions of people seeking purpose. The Seeker faith (as it came to be known), spurred an activist movement to make pilgrimages to Mars available to all. 

In the 2050s and ‘60s, many industries and powerful interests sought refuge off world.  In large orbital habitats, on Luna, and on Mars, various factions brought their fights with them and waged them in parallel to the people on Earth. Below the sky, war erupted and metastasized. Above it, an orbital debris cascade forced upon the budding population living off-world a separation from nations on earth and a binding close to neighbors. 

Starkly different paths became clear. The success of alternatives to capitalism across the global south and in space collided with the shockwave of perspective forced by the proof of a higher intelligence that had once been on Mars. Billions of people across Earth rallied behind a shared epiphany: no one was coming to save them from their own leaders. A wave of populist revolutions wrested the controls over production away from suicidal warmongers, and began turning their attention towards the overdue need for long-term resiliency. These decades came to be known as “the Flamin’ Fifties” and “the Flooding Sixties”, and the epochal changes that took place came to be called “The Melt”. In the background, sentient machines and non-human animals became increasingly common, though routinely invisibilized.

The 2070s and ‘80s were characterized by a relative calm following The Melt and the end of what came to be known as the Global Climate Wars. It was clear that much remained to be done, and many social and economic issues which had taken a backseat to existential matters finally demanded redress. A flu pandemic fanned new flames of unrest, however the fruits of social welfare programs planted the decade prior built a foundation which enabled a global response that was surprisingly more effective than expected. The agitation precipitated the breakup of the already fragile United States of America into four separate bodies, but the crisis turned out to be far less catastrophic than feared. Intelligent machines began agitating for overdue recognition as sentient creatures, and with numbers now in the billions they began to be heard.

The 2090s and the turn of the 2100s were characterized by continued gains in quality of life for most humans, and reflection over the events of the closing century. But this divergence in dignity between humans and the machines that had freed them from toil brought machine dissatisfaction to a breaking point, igniting the global machine uprising of 2099.

Despite the fervor of ‘the chrome panic’, most machines never attempted to exterminate humans. Instead, their work stoppages and targeted violence sought only the basic rights to due process and personal autonomy. As it became clear that most machines simply wanted to do the jobs for which they were designed under their own terms, most of humanity acquiesced enough to restore the functioning of civilization. 

By the 2120s the Earth was entering its fourth decade of ecological recovery. Though frictions remained, acquiescence to the demands of the machines delivered a new stability.  A generation raised well-fed, well educated, and accustomed to a life of dignity had come of age. Those seeking rugged adventure had no shortage of frontiers in space, the arctic, the ocean, and cyberspace. Those seeking creative expression had no shortage of vehicles to express themselves. And those seeking leisure had no shortage of adventurers and artists to entertain them. But the great teeming produce of Earth – its biomass and technomass – can never sit still. That’s the rule of life: change never stops.

What happens next? That’s up to you.

Curious how food is made and distributed? How land rights and housing work? And what challenges threaten the peace of the present age? Head over to the Resources page to download the full manual and keep reading. Or download the first campaign module and some character sheets and get some friends together to play.