Francois wakes up to a gentle voice saying “It’s 7 AM, time to start getting ready for work.” The light in his room gently brightens, simulating a sunrise. His eyes open and he sits up, rubbing his eyes, the scent of coffee wafting through the room and making his stomach grumble. He gets out of bed and reaches absently for a robe hanging next to the bed, the inside of the robe already warmed for him, just as he likes it. His feet aren’t cold — the floor is heated to the perfect temperature for him to be comfortable.

He moves to the shower, which starts running as soon as he enters the room, quickly calibrating to his preferred temperature. He’s heard of newer versions that are the correct temperature as soon as the water starts streaming, but those are mostly for people above his pay grade. He could get one if it were important to him, but he always stops to brush his teeth first, just as he’s doing right now, so why would that be any better? A warm wave of satisfaction sweeps over him as he drops his robe and steps into the hot water, the spray and the heat clearing his mind and letting him luxuriate in the shower.

As he leaves the bathroom, the lights dim behind him and then rise in the living room and kitchen areas. The coffee is already poured into a cup, and fresh bagels are sitting on the counter by the conveyor pad, already heated. He opens the refrigerator and pulls out the cream cheese, spreading it on as he likes it even as the appliance chimes to note the container will now be empty, adding it automatically to the order from the grocer. He sips his coffee, perfectly flavored by the machine with cream and sugar. He reads the screen for the news he needs to know for the day, delivered and chosen for him based on his commute, location, profession, family, and browsing habits. He notes that there’s a mixer for young professionals at the tavern on the corner tonight, and his eyes widen just a bit. Well, he didn’t have plans anyway, and he’s got a good feeling about this. This is definitely something he wants to attend.

A window pops up with a five-minute warning chime, letting him know he’s going to have to leave soon to get to work on time, and the screen dims to reinforce the message. He drinks off the rest of his coffee, sets the cup in the disposing receptacle as the table automatically cleans away the crumbs, and turns to head out the door. The feed flashes briefly with a one-word message — “UNPLUG”— but Francois has already turned away. The screen goes uncharacteristically black, rebooting to clear the signal. By the time the welcome graphic is up again, he’s gone, whistling to himself as the door slides shut and locks behind him.

Daedalus is a near-future roleplaying setting created by Michelle Lyons-McFarland, and presenting a world in which technology caters to our preferences and makes our worlds perfect. People have chips implanted in their brains as babies, and those chips regulate brain chemistry, making many diseases and disorders nothing more than frightening relics of a barbaric past.

But who controls this technology? Are we shaping the tech, or is the tech shaping us? And what happens to a person when their chip malfunctions and they see exactly how far we have fallen?

Daedalus is three roleplaying games in one book. The first, using the Fate Core system, presents characters who are still in the system, working for the Ministry of Compliance to root out dissidents and keep everything running harmoniously. The second, using the Gumshoe system, lets players take on the roles of people whose chips have started to malfunction, and who must now use their familiarity with the system to investigate the truth behind this seemingly miraculous technology. The third game uses a variant of the Apocalypse World system, and shows what happens when the chip fails entirely, the scales fall from the eyes of the citizens, and they are truly cast out.