© 1989 Interplay Productions
He closed his eyes. Found the ridged face of the power stud. And
in the bloodlit dark behind his eyes, silver phosphenes boiled in from
the edge of space, hypnagogic images jerking past like a film compiled
from random frames. Symbols, figures, faces, a blurred, fragmented
mandala of visual information. Please, he prayed, *now* -- A gray
disk, the color of Chiba sky. *Now* -- Disk beginning to rotate,
faster, becoming a sphere of paler gray. Expanding -- And flowed,
flowered for him, fluid neon origami trick, the unfolding of his
distanceless home, his country, transparent 3D chessboard extending to
infinity. Inner eye opening to the stepped scarlet pyramid of the
Eastern Seaboard Fission Authority burning beyond the green cubes of
Mitsubishi Bank of America, and high and very far away he saw the
spiral arms of military systems, forever beyond his reach.
And somewhere he was laughing, in a white-painted loft, distant
fingers caressing the deck, tears of release on his face.
Jacking into cyberspace; from the book NEUROMANCER, by William Gibson
"The matrix has its roots in primitive arcade games," said the
voice-over, "in early graphics programs and military experimentation
with cranialjacks." On the Sony, a two-dimensional space war faded
behind a forest of mathematically generated ferns, demonstrating the
spatial possibilities of logarithmic spirals; cold blue military
footage burned through, lab animals wired into test systems, helmets
feeding into fire control circuits of tanks and war planes.
"Cyberspace. A consensual hallucination experienced daily by
billions of legitimate operators, in every nation, by children being
taught mathematical concepts... A graphic representation of data
abstracted from the banks of every computer in the human system.
Unthinkable complexity. Lines of light ranged in the nonspace of the
mind, clusters and constellations of data. Like city lights,
a kid's show describing cyberspace; from the book NEUROMANCER
THE "REAL WORLD"
Neuromancer is a science fiction role-playing game set in the
year 2058. Your real world location is Chiba City, by Tokyo Bay in the
Kanto District of south-central Honshu, Japan. Chiba is a magnet for
the Sprawl's techno-criminal subcultures, notorious for its shadowland
of black medicine and BodyShops.
Criminal activity in Chiba is a constant subliminal hum, and death is
the punishment for laziness, carelessness, lack of grace, or the
failure to heed the demands of the intricate protocol. At one end of
the city is the towering hologram logo of Fuji Electric, dominating
the skyline over the high-tech zone. At the other end is the Chiba
Spaceport, gateway to the orbital colonies of Freeside and Zion
Cluster. Since Neuromancer is a role-playing game, you'll start the
game bymaneuvering your character through the "Real World" areas of
Chiba City.Skills, in the form of "skill chips" implanted directly
into your brain jackmust be purchased and developed to ensure your
continued survival in thiscomplex world. Skills will be discussed
later in more detail. In the Real World, interactions with the
citizens of Chiba are important. Through dialogue, you can make
friends or enemies. Some people can be very helpful, going so far as
to give you things you need. Others can be down right unfriendly,
keeping vital information from you if you say the wrong thing.
Information is power -- and you don't have much when you start the
Another important source of information is the PAX, Public Access
booths conveniently located around the city, providing private
citizens with the means to stay current with the rest of the world.
The PAX offers a newspaper, the Night City News' a Public BBS
(Bulletin-Board System) for personal messages' and friendly Banking
services (yes, money is important to your survival). The Night City
News is updated daily, so it's a good idea to refer to it at least
once every 24 hours. The PAX BBS will remind you that you're not
alone in this world -- you have friends who are happy to help when
YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE
And what about your friends? Curiously enough, you seem to have
fewer of them these days. Is it because of your breath? Maybe it's
because you haven't taken a bath recently? Or in Chiba City, is
survival more valuable and less costly than friends? You've heard
rumors that several cyberspace cowboys have disappeared--and not all
of them were your friends. Where have they gone? You suspect that
the answer lies in cyberspace, but you've fallen on hard times. You
had to pawn your deck for some cash as soon as you arrived in Chiba
City. you've spent the last two days in a drunken stupor, wondering
what to do. Now it's time to act. The fate of your remaining
friends, and yourself, depends on your successful solution of this
BASIC DECKS AND COMLINK ACCESS
The best way to get started in your quest is to locate the basic
hardware -- your deck -- and the software needed to jack into the
public computer network. Having already spent a short time in Chiba
before the game begins, you'll find a basic deck with Comlink software
waiting for you right where you left it, wherever that is... Deck
hardware and software can be upgraded at several locations in the
city. Money is the key factor. Better equipment means better
reliability and the capability to carry and use more software -- but
the price goes upaccordingly. Most people in Chiba end up buying
their equipment from the usedequipment stores, such as Crazy Edo's
Used Hardware Emporium. But Edo has alimited stock, so serious
cyberspace cowboys buy from Asano Computing, the only local dealer who
carries full-blown matrix simulators called "cyberspacedecks".
Normal Comlink access requires the use of one of the cyberspace
jacks scattered around the city. With a basic deck and Comlink
software, you can use these jacks to access computer systems ("bases")
all over the world. If you know the Comlink access code for a
particular base, you can reach it with the proper level of Comlink
software. Low security bases require only Comlink1.0 for access, but
the corporate and government bases with the highest security require
Comlink 6.0 to make a connection. Keep in mind that the cyberspace
jacks are used fro both Comlink and cyberspace access. Comlink
software can get you there, but most bases are protected by passwords.
Certain bases will give you a visitor's password in their introductory
message, but most passwords must be located by you. Some passwords
that you come across will be coded, requiring the use of the
Cryptology skill chip to decipher them before they can be used for
entry to a base.
As rumors have it, bases can often be penetrated at the lower
levels with a new kind of software that allows you to bypass the
simpler password systems.
Once you've been admitted to a base at a given level, you have
access to everything contained in that level of the base. Many bases
have multiple levels of access, each level requiring a different
password. If you can log onto a database at a higher level after
finding its password, you will have access to more of the contents of
the database -- including secret information.
Valuable software can also be downloaded from some of these bases.
You will be automatically charged for you Comlink access time, so
use your time wisely because it will be limited by the amount of money
you have on your credit chip. When you are logged onto a database,
time passes at the same rate that it does in the "real world".
Once you get a cyberspace deck, you'll want to access the
"matrix"itself, also known as cyberspace. Hidden from the common
citizen who is limited to accessing bases through the Comlink system,
the cyberspace grid represents information in its pure form. All of
the private, corporate, government, and military bases can be reached
in cyberspace. Many of these bases can be reached only from
cyberspace because they are isolated computer with the highest levels
of protection. Visually, cyberspace is a three-dimensional
representation of all the bases, which look like geometric shapes.
These bases are laid out in specific zones of the horizontal
cyberspace grid. In actuality, cyberspace is just an image generated
in your brain by yourcyberspace deck. Without the deck,
cyberspace would just be a complex sea of information that humans
would never be able to understand.
In operation, you might compare travel in cyberspace to driving
around in a city. The streets are represented by the lines of the
grid. The buildings are the geometric shapes of the bases. Your car
is your cyberspace deck. As with moving around a city, you can keep
driving past the buildings or sop and enter them (if you can get past
the security guard).
ICE AND ICE BREAKERS
Bases are protected by ICE -- Intrusion Countermeasure
Electronics -- which acts as an independent, semi-intelligent barrier,
keeping cowboys like you from getting inside the base.
However, cowboys do manage to break in with their specialized
icebreaking softwarez. The trick is finding the appropriate versions
and types of softwarez to break through the ICE before it can adapt
its defenses to the attack. There are subtle, slow-acting viruses
that sneak up on an ICE layer and destroy it gradually, as well as
brute force icebreakers that can crush an ICE layer all at once.
There are many different kinds of icebreaking programs -- some good
and some bad. You'll also notice that icebreakers vary in their
effectiveness, but you'll have to experiment on your own to learn more
about each one.
You'll find that the low-security bases are protected by the
weakest ICE. By breaking into these, you can develop you abilities,
test your softwarez, and generally prepare for stronger and deadlier
combat with medium and high security ICE.
And there's one more minor point you need to know. ICE has an
annoying tendency to fight back. In fact, it can kill you.
Certain bases contain a second line of defense -- an AI, which
stands for "Artificial Intelligence." Beginning with primitive 20th
century attempts to model human intelligence in computer programs,
modern day AIs have developed into individual entities capable of
being granted citizenship by certain countries.
Specially programmed for the military and for corporations that
can afford them, modern AIs have personalities and mental capabilities
far beyond the humans that originally created them. Among other
tasks, AIs run large corporations and design the ICE that protects
bases in cyberspace.
Because of the potential threat of such an intellectual power, a
government agency was formed to keep the AIs under control. The
Turing Registry has the responsibility of watching for signs that any
AI might be developing into a dangerous, ultra-intelligent program.
While this is impossible with the limited computing facilities
available to a single AI, the Turing Registry makes certain that the
AIs are unable to communicate as agroup. As soon as an AI is
created, the manufacturer is legally bound to register its name,
number, and citizenship with Turing. Turing also keeps track of
humans suspected of illegally helping AIs. So far, this has been
sufficient to restrain the AIs.
AIs are fully capable of defending themselves. Sane cowboys
avoid combat with these formidable entities, because icebreaking
softwarez can't harm them. An AI attack is a unique experience.
Cowboys refer to this type of battle, which is aimed directly at the
brain, as "flatlining." The AI feeds a neural shock into the victim's
brain, keeping the cowboy braindead long enough for
his physical body to stop functioning.
While it's rumored that there are skill chips available which
allow mental combat with AI's, no one has lived long enough to talk
about the details. The late McCoy Pauley, a.k.a. "Dixie Flatline", is
said to have run into AIs in three different bases, and supposedly
only survived because he found a weakness in each AI. His "joeboy"
assistant managed to jack Pauley out of cyberspace during three
flatlining attacks before his body died. The fourth time, Pauley's
heart just gave out, and he went to cyberheaven. But he was paid
handsomely for his liver.
Survival in the cyberspace environment depends on the skills,
equipment, software, and information you've acquired in the earlier
phases of the game. You may often find it necessary to return to the
Real World, because you've run out of money or need a new deck, more
software, more information, or you need to move to a new jack location
to reach another area of cyberspace.
LIMITATIONS ON CYBERSPACE TRAVEL
There are two primary factors governing the distance that can be
travelled at any one time by a cowboy in cyberspace : Jack Range Limit
There are several cyberspace jacks available in Chiba City. Physically
connecting your deck to one of these jacks ("jacking in") determines
where you will be located when you enter cyberspace. Most jacks can
access only a limited area of cyberspace, called a "zone". Normally,
you can only access areas of cyberspace within the jack's zone limit.
Connect Time : Few things are free in Chiba City. Using a cyberspace
jack costs money just like the long distance telephone charges of the
20th century. This creates another limit on how far you can travel
when you're jacked in -- if you run out of money on your credit chip,
your connection is broken, putting you back in the Real World.
Cyberspace decks, also called cyberdecks or matrix simulators,
are illegal for private use, but certain dealers have a liberal
definition of private use, and continue to sell them to "independent
agencies." Most cowboys define themselves as independent agencies.
If a cowboy can afford it, there are a wide range of matrix simulators
available. So many, if fact, that an independent reviewing service
known as Consumer Review exists to help people decide which deck to
There are a number of differences between the standard deck,
which is legally available to the average consumer, and a deck with
cyberspace capability. Shielding : Cyberdecks have built-in combat
shielding which protects thec yberdeck and its software from ICE
attacks. RAM Limits : The programs that drive the operating systems
in both types of decks, as well as icebreaking and other application
softwarez, are enormous in comparison to the size of programs in
archaic 20th century computers. Modern deck RAM (Random Access
Memory) is highly efficient and can handle a number of these programs
with remarkable speed. Decks are continuously powered by an internal
power supply so that the memory is nonvolatile. Once you've
downloaded a program, it stays in memory permanently unless the deck
is damaged or you erase the software. Some softwarez, however, are
one-shot programs, consuming themselves after you execute them. Each
deck has its ownlimit of the number of softwarez it can handle. Top
of the line decks, such as the Ono-Sendai Cyberspace Seven, can manage
up to 25 programs simultaneously. ROM Constructs : Highly illegal
and not available to private citizens, cowboy or otherwise, are the
ROM Constructs. Each ROM Construct is a recording of an individual
human's personality, responses, knowledge, and memories. Constructs
are occasionally used by cyberdeck operators in the government and
large corporations, which is why top of the line cyberdecks contain a
slot fora ROM Construct cartridge.
Skills, in the form of "skill chips," are available for purchase
in Chiba City. Skill chips are implanted directly in the brain jack
on the side of your skull, giving you instant access to that
particular type of knowledge. For example, the Cryptology skill chip
gives you the ability to decipher certain types of coded passwords.
Skill chips cover a wide range of abilities, ranging from foreign
languages to high-tech cyberspace skills.
Skills can be improved through tutorials found in bases and
training for knowledgeable Chiba citizens. Some skills are improved
with experience in using that skill. In general, skills improve your
chances of success both in the Real World and in cyberspace. Once you
learn a skill, you remember it permanently.
When you want to use a skill chip in a room in the "Real World,"
you should always use the chip just after you enter the room, before
doing anything else -- including talking with other people.
A list of skill chips can be found in Appendix A.
The Chiba City Body Shop serves two major functions -- body part
sales and "re-animation." If a wealthy cowboy is unfortunate enough
to get killed, and his body is found before it rots, it may be taken
to the Body Shop for re-animation. This is an expensive process, but
the dead cowboy rarely has any say in the matter.
By sheer coincidence, the cost of re-animation almost always
equals the amount of money the cowboy was carrying on his credit chip
when he died. That's why smart cowboys keep a little money stashed in
their bank accounts.
Body Shops are also handy places to pick up cash. Of course, the
drawback is that you have to sell one of your body parts to get the
money, but who needs a spleen anyway?
Important body parts, as determined by the Body Shop, will sell
for more money. Curiously enough, you'll find that the important body
parts tend to be the same ones that most affect your Constitution
level if you sell them off. As a public service, the Body Shop
replaces any part you sell them with a cheap plastic replacement.
Replacement parts are almost as good as the real thing, except for
their short life. Fortunately, you can buy your parts back when you
get the money together... for a higher price... if they're still
LIFE AND DEATH
A wise philosopher once said, "Death is when your constitution
hits zero. Life is anything above that." While walking around the
Real World, there's little chance of losing your constitution, but in
cyberspace it can get whomped on by killer ICE. If you find yourself
selling off lots of your flesh at the Body Shop, keep in mind that
cheap plastic replacement organs don't suit your system very well, and
you won't ever have as high a constitution as you would with good,
natural body parts. You can monitor your constitution by using the
"Mode" command icon.
A NOTE ABOUT TAKING NOTES
You'll discover many passwords, link codes, ID numbers, and other
bits of data throughout the game, and you'll have to thresh through
the information yourself and decide what' important enough to write
down. We've provided pages in the back of this manual for notetaking
purposes. <Go ahead, write on the screen!>
In Talk mode, you can carry on a conversation with other
characters in a room through the use of "word balloons." Word
balloons allow you to choose among several responses or questions that
are appropriate to the situation in that room. In some cases, you
will find an option that reads something like this :
"Tell me about ___________."
If you think the character you're talking to knows something
about a particular subject, you can ask them about it by typing a word
describing that subject. For example, if you want to ask Julius about
skills or skill chips, you could type :
"Tell me about _SKILL_."
Keep in mind that not everyone in Chiba City will want to or be
able to answerall of your questions.
YOUR CREDIT CHIP
When the game starts, your Orient Express Credit Chip will
contain only six credits. Your credit chip acts like a wallet -- it
contains the money you want to carry around with you in the city.
Your bank account holds the remainder of your funds, which can be
downloaded to your credit chip through any of the PAX terminals in
Chiba City. While it's tempting to download all of your funds to your
credit chip, it's not always a good idea -- see the "Body Shop"
USING THE PAX SYSTEM
PAX booths are conveniently located around the city, providing
private citizens with the means to stay current with the rest of the
world. The PAX offers a newspaper, the Night City News; a Public BBS
(Bulletin-Board System) for personal messages; and banking services
through the First Orbital Bank of Switzerland.
When you operate a PAX terminal, you will be given three access
codes and asked for a verification code, which is obtained from the
PAX Verification Codewheel included with the game. <Or the convenient
cracked version you probably have!> See your reference card for
Once you are identified, the PAX Main Menu will appear, listing
your options. You can always exit from any menu by selecting the EXIT
option, or by typing "X" on your keyboard. The Main Menu lists the
1) FIRST TIME PAX USER INFO
2) ACCESS BANKING INTERLINK
3) NIGHT CITY NEWS
4) BULLETIN BOARD
Make your selections by typing the option number on your
keyboard, or by selecting it with your joystick or mouse.
First Time Pax User Info :
A brief history of the PAX network.
ACCESS BANKING INTERLINK :
This option brings up the Banking menu. At the top of the
screen, your name is displayed along with your BAMA account number,
the amount on your credit chip, and your current bank account balance.
The DOWNLOAD CREDITS option lets you transfer a specific amount
of credits from your bank account to your credit chip.
The UPLOAD CREDITS option lets you transfer a specific amount of
credits from your credit chip to your bank account.
The TRANSACTION RECORD option lists the four most recent
transactions in your bank account -- downloads, uploads, and official
NIGHT CITY NEWS :
This option puts you into the Night City News system.
To read the articles, select one of the listed headlines with
your joystick or mouse, or by typing the headline number. the MORE
option should be used to view headlines that have appeared after the
first screen fills up.
BULLETIN BOARD :
This option puts you into the personal message system on the PAX.
You can view the daily messages or send one yourself. If you select
VIEW MESSAGES, a message menu will appear.
To read a message, select one from the list with your joystick or
mouse, or by typing the message number. Be sure to read all the
messages by using the MORE option.
The given examples use keyboard commands, but these steps can
also be accomplished with a joystick or mouse.
BASIC DECK OPERATION
If you're in a room with a cyberspace jack and you've learned
some database link codes, you can use your deck to "dial" into the
database using this procedure (if you have the proper level of Comlink
1) Type "I" (for Inventory). The Inventory list will be
2) Select the "UXB" or whatever deck you have with you by typing
the corresponding number from the list. The Operate / Discard / Give
/ Erase menu will be displayed.
3) Type "O" to operate the deck. A list of software will be
4) Select your highest level of Comlink software (Comlink 1.0,
for example) by typing its number. You will be asked to enter the
Comlink code for the database you with to access.
5) Enter the Comlink code. A proper code (such as "CHEAPO" for
the Cheap Hotel database) with the proper level of Comlink software
will jack you into the database. If you enter an incorrect code, you
can keep trying again until you press Return to exit. If you make a
mistake while typing the Comlink code, just backspace and type over
6) Press the space bar
Typed by Nosferatu. Edited by PARASITE.
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