More or less than human? - a Mephisto review
The Crisp Line
Fate worlds usually have one or two central ideas, and in the case of The Crisp Line, this is summed up in the subtitle DNA is not our destiny. In the near future, genetic engineering and, in particular, the CRISPR/CAS gene scissors have been advanced. In this brave new world exist genetically modified persons (GMPs), which come in two varieties. On the one hand, there are the perizygotic GMPs (Perries for short), who were optimized before they were born and, while they appear like normal humans, are not only improved, but theoretically pass these improvements on to their offspring. On the other hand, those who did not get this advantage at birth can have themselves optimized afterward - with risks and side effects. Of course, this development also has social consequences, with GMPs being viewed rather critically. Nevertheless, the first genetic modification is not the last for many, even if there is a risk of ending up as a mutant monster.
Genetic enhancements come as packages named after the animals from which the traits are taken: the gorilla package makes you stronger, the axolotl package more robust. Gameplay-wise, the packages improve stats, offer stunts, and change appearance through mutations. During the game, more packages can be acquired - with the risk of becoming less and less human. So naturally, such characters are suitable as agents who complete missions in this cyberpunk setting to get money for further improvements.
As usual, the book offers an adventure in which players witness an operation against the local GMP scene. They encounter a conspiracy between politicians, organized crime bosses, and free agents.
The Crisp Line has an exciting hook that is coherently implemented rules-wise, even if the number of enhancement packs is limited. However, the book focuses on the one aspect of the game, so the broader setting can (and must) be developed by the individual group. As the adventure provides a fitiin introduction to the setting, so The Crisp Line provides a solid starting point for Fate players interested in cyberpunk settings.