The internet was a mistake. Everyone knows it, but we're stuck with it. The breakdown of reliable information transfer is a Great Filter - there are dozens of failed civilizations in human space as testament to that. The passing centuries have made the net as dangerous to use as uncharted jungle is to walk through without boots, thanks to an overflowing ecosystem of constantly-adapting hostile data-life and the eternal shore of perniciously nasty humans.
Using the Internet
Unless there is something terribly wrong going on, players can always access the internet when in a station or colony that has a civilian population - military and corporate bases will have secure, pared-down networks that will have to be directly accessed via a terminal.
Basic usage includes things like looking up something on Space Wikipedia, hiring someone for a simple job (rideshares, etc), viewing a public personal page, making financial transactions with the Company, using a chat client, and so on. Players can just do this normally without incident.
Hacking a computer means getting access that you aren't supposed to have - getting into someone else's account, spoofing administrator privileges, and so on. This requires a skill check.
Venturing off the beaten track (weird imageboards, shady download sites, seemingly-abandoned conspiracy blogs, domain squatter hives) is dangerous: players should make a Sanity save (modified by a relevant computer or cultural skill).
On success, you find the information you want.
On critical success, you find the information you want AND either find something else interesting OR heal 1 stress.
On failure, you find nothing of worth and gain 1 Stress. Further research cumulatively increases Stress gained by failure by 1.
On critical failure, the player's device has picked up some hostile datalife. Gain 3 stress and a virus:
- Identity stolen
- Porn spambot
- Advertising spambot
- SEO spambot
Every settled system has its own separate network(s), but nearly all are built on the same foundation of nodes - overarching categories that sort the zillions of sites available into relatively-useable umbrellas. You'll always have a search engine, a wiki network, social media, and so on. If a site exists in real life, it's safe to assume that there's a space version. Just add '.space' at the end.
d50 Space Websites
- I Know Someone - All-purpose find-a-service app.
- Big Brother - Corporate search engine
- Scrounge - Open-source and usually illegal search engine.
- Silicon Fantasies - Forum for android fetishists
- Mosaic - Hub for dedicated-topic forums.
- Vent - Screaming into the abyss. Also provides counselors.
- Corporate Core - Company social media.
- Indenture Zone - Buy and sell yourself and others.
- The Campfire - Home of creepy esoterica, errata, apocrypha, rumor and tall tale.
- Interstellar Academic Database - Primary source of corporate-funded scientific studies.
- Interstellar Pirate Academic Database - As above, sans paywall and DRM.
- Green Market - Listings for terraforming jobs and planetary relocation.
- DoubleTake - Unravelling hoaxes, countering propaganda, identifying deep fakes.
- Matchbox - Dating service. Squeaky-clean corporate shlock.
- Rabbit Hole - Algorithm-guided tour of the net's bizarre underbelly.
- Union Square - Hub for union services and social media.
- Lonely Star - Dating site. Shitty and hasn't been updated in forever, but less invasive.
- Transistor Railroad - Forum for supporters of android emancipation.
- Scrapyard - Everything you wanted to know about fixing old out-of-date junk tech.
- Lend a Hand - Public board of volunteers offering services.
- Swapworld - Swap your junk for their junk.
- WIKI - Still doing its thing.
- Open Blueprint Database - All the public domain printer blueprints that compiled in one place.
- 5 Rivers - Shipping and warehousing conglomerate. Universal storefront.
- The Longhauler Boards - Home for spacers out on the fringes. Filled with wild tales.
- Ulthar Station - Popular slice-of-life VR sim based on the real space station.
- Rot Luck Club - Commiserating over awful happenings.
- CTANN - Colonial Trade Alliance News Network. Finest propaganda in the core.
- Peanut Gallery - A cyberdemocracy moot specializing only in inconsequential or silly choices.
- Freshers - Social network for those new to the system.
- Yomi - Black market for slaved logic cores.
- Bathroom on the Right - Venerable general-purpose community with devoted core user group.
- The Quarantine - A site that is still up, but has been encrypted for so long and so thoroughly no one knows what is behind the wall.
- Lady & Tiger - Possibly a mystery religion, we're not really sure. Paywalled community.
- Go Hack Yourself - Biohacker forum.
- The Allthing - Cyberdemocracy moot.
- Neighborhood Network - Local community news and chat
- Boarding Action - Social network for marines and mercenaries.
- Mornington Crescent - Long-running hub of a still-fake game.
- DevJam - Open coder community. love doing challenges with specific handicaps.
- Fester - A livestream of a regularly-replenished pile of rotting foodstuffs.
- As You Like It - Algorithm-generated media tailored to your tastes.
- Fatberg - The weird, gross dregs of the internet.
- Mud Blood and News - Crowd-sourced anarchist muckracker news.
- Soapbox - Near-abandoned corporate social media platform. Was always awful and kept getting worse.
- Atarexia - Laid-back friend-finding discussion forum.
- Slipstreamline - Video streaming and hosting site.
- The Altar - Payments of cryptocurrency and personal data will get you an AI-generated oracle.
- Speak With Dead - AI replications of the beloved dead, for affordable per-minute fees.
- The Embassy - Online home of Dog Knights.