Sunday, September 4, 2011

Berk Faction Profile: Gibsons

Image from Wikimedia Commons
The wastelands surrounding Berk are home to gangs of raiders, and none are more widespread than the Gibsons. For the Gibsons, it's all about the mirrorshades and the motorcycles. These nomads horde technology, raiding settlements for whatever electronics they may have, along with food and other supplies. Gibsons prize video games above all other technology. To them, the world is one big first-person shooter, and everyone else is a valid target.

It is unclear where the Gibsons started. The many packs of Gibsons are spread out so widely that it is possible that they do not share a single point of origin, and instead they developed simultaneously in several places. Librarians blame the violent video games that came into the hands of some survivors. With little else to do besides play video games, they became desensitized to violence and got their priorities mixed up, valuing "skillz" in combat above decency and compassion.


In theory, Gibsons will drive any vehicle, but they prefer those that are fast, loud, and agile. Motorcycles are best, as are stripped-down cars and dune buggies. Most Gibson packs will also have one or two trucks or vans to carry their computer equipment and supplies.

When it comes to weaponry, Gibsons enjoy the destructiveness of Between-Time energy weapons, but they particularly fetishize certain solid projectile weapons from before the First Event. Foremost among these is the "Ay-Kay," which is either an AK-47 or AK-74. Other favored rifles are the "Colt" (an M-4 or M-16) and the Dragunov sniper rifle. For sidearms, Gibsons are looked down upon unless they own an M1911 (or a pistol based on it), a Glock, a USP, or a Desert Eagle (which has too many nicknames to list, and besides, they're pretty silly).

Gibsons like to wear black. Trench coats are always popular, as are sunglasses. This can lead to problems when out riding in the scorching sun of the wasteland, so Gibsons have had to compromise by making their trench coats out of very light fabric.

Gibsons enjoy showing off the electronics they own, so they will strap their tech to themselves or have it protruding from pockets. Portable gaming systems are highly prized, as are portable DVD players that play the over-the-top action movies Gibsons love.

Even though cybernetic augmentation has become almost unheard of since the Second Event, Gibsons know the location of several functioning Automatic Clinics where they can be upgraded with better hardware. One common upgrade is the addition of a "HUD" overlay to their vision. Another is a subdermal implant on their forearm that, when activated, glows with the number of "kills" that everyone in that Gibson packs has received.

Gibson Membership

Anyone with a desire for violence and a fast machine is welcome to become a Gibson. Many wastelanders and Berk residents are drawn to the Gibsons due to the fear they engender and the power they wield. There are rumors of Gibsons taking on and raising orphans from settlements they wipe out, though in reality they usually have so many willing volunteers that there is no need to kidnap more.

A newly inducted member of the Gibsons is known as a "noob" and must provide his or her own weapons and equipment ("noob" might mean that the Gibson has "no obtained weapons"). Getting a kill is not enough to move up in rank; one must not only kill an armed enemy, but also "complete the kill." It is unknown exactly what this implies, though it may be tied to a victory celebration in which a Gibson crouches over the head of a fallen enemy.

Once a Gibson "completes the kill," he or she becomes a "pro." These Gibsons are allowed to choose their weapons and equipment (hence "pro" is thought to be short for "provided with weapons"), and they also receive a "tag." This becomes their callsign, and often includes the words "Sniper," "Death," "Kill," or "Yourmom." "Pro" Gibsons are given the right to wear sunglasses.

The best Gibsons are the "elite," and each pack will have one or more "elite" member. These Gibsons have cybernetic augmentations that give them phenomenal fighting abilities. Some elites can sense an enemy's location behind cover and shoot them without ever making visual contact. Others can move their aim nearly instantly from one opponent's head to the next. There are rumors of even more outlandish abilities, such as the power to pass through solid objects, turn invisible, or to take huge amounts of damage and keep fighting.

Urban Gibsons

Most Gibsons raid the wastes, surviving by attacking settlements and merchant caravans carrying food and goods to and from the city. Some Gibsons live within the Berk city limits, though, and these differ significantly from other Gibsons.

Urban Gibsons do not need to cover the vast tracts of land that their wasteland brethren roam, and they also have a much more limited supply of fuel, so they often travel on fuel-efficient scooters or even single-speed bicycles with chains and spikes welded to them. These Gibsons do not wear trench coats, but instead favor plaid shirts, sweater vests, and skinny jeans. Instead of the extensive cybernetic modifications of other Gibsons, they favor gadgets and devices. They usually scratch a crude symbol of a fruit into the back of devices that do not already bear such a mark. One thing they share with the other Gibsons is their love of raiding and violence, though the urban Gibsons, or Gipsters, raid strictly ironically.

Gipsters do not like using well-known weapons like Ay-Kays or Colts. Instead, they choose the most obscure makes of weapons possible. I would list some examples, but you probably haven't heard of them.

Gibson Adventurers

While most Gibsons travel in packs and have no interest in anything but raiding, there are some "lone wolf" types who make their living as mercenaries. These are often former pack members who had a falling out with the others in their pack and were force to go it alone. Others had a crisis of conscience and decided to do the right thing for once.

These Gibsons, or perhaps ex-Gibsons, often turn the tables on their former comrades, raiding Gibson camps for fuel and ammunition. While raiding farming settlements is low-risk but often yields barely anything worth taking, raiding Gibson mobile bases is virtually suicide, but, if successful, will yield more spare parts, electronics, ammunition, fuel, and (in the case of Gipsters) vinyl records than an adventurer can use in a year.


  1. Another solid entry. I was hoping for a little more about collecting and fetishizing weird technology and gadgets, and of excessive Twittering and ruminating about the state of modern society, but I think you pulled this off very well. I admit I would probably play a Gibson in a Berk campaign (no surprise there!). The part about Gipsters made me laugh out loud. I can only imagine what kind of fruit they would scratch onto their technology! So they love gaming, they love obscure/non-mainstream tech, and they love... that fruit company. Does that mean that this is their holy grail: ?

  2. Also, the Gibson special abilities and the possible meanings of "pro" and "noob" made me smile. I wonder if the Gibsons have any special abilities tied to their love of mirrorshades, black leather, and their stripped-down consoles they call their "decks."

    I wonder if it might be fun to make one of these entries in the voice of a Librarian tasked to study these groups/places/concepts? What would the poor, diligent Librarian make of all the weirdness?

    Also, silly Choppy, the Dragunov isn't a gun in CounterStrike!

  3. I was trying to incorporate weapons that are fetishized by FPS players, so naturally the list sounded CS-centric, but I had to include the Dragunov as well. Because it's badass.