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When Gravity Fails by David Ackerman, Will Moss, Chris Williams, and Chris Hockabout is a sourcebook for Cyberpunk 2020. It is based on the Buddyeen Series by George Alec Effinger., of which When Gravity Fails is the first novel.[1]


The series takes place in an alternate future in which Humanity strove for the stars and fell back in failure. The whole world is now balkanized in a patchwork of micro-states feuding for the few remaining resources and food supplies. The only island of comparatively organized and centralized power is the Caliphate, an Islamic state sprawling across the Middle East, Near East, the Arabian Peninsula,, and North Africa.

The stories are set in the Buddyeen, the red-light district of an unnamed city-state in the Caliphate. It is home to two major power-brokers: Friedlander Bey and Reza Abu Adil. Friedlander Bey is like the Godfather of the Buddyeen and Reza Abu Adil is his nemesis. The plots of the novels always revolve around the power struggle between the two. Rumor has it that it began when they fought over a woman.

Murid Audran is the main character. A freelance hustler, Murid fancies himself a tough and clever man like his fictional hero, private eye ?.


Although there is no "universal" level of technological development due to the unstable political situation, there are many advanced technologies available.

Plastic Surgery can now shape a person's body through biological enhancement. A person's height, weight, build, skin / hair / eye color, race or even gender can be modified by the subject using donated or cloned tissue. There are even cybernetic implants that can change the subject's face on command.

Data Chips (or "daddies") are expanded versions of the Cyberpunk 2020 skill chips. It is usually a suite of complimentary skills bundled together.

Personality Modules (or "moddies") are available that override the user's personality with a programmed artificial one. The subject can become a celebrity or fictional character (or a celebrity actor playing a fictional character). The subject would behave like the character would and have access to skills they would use. There are even costume supply stores that sell props to aid in characterization.


Budayeen Series
  • When Gravity Fails (1986)
  • Fire in the Sun (1989)
  • The Exile's Kiss (1991)
  • Word By Night (Unfinished)
  • Budayeen Nights [Anthology] (2003)


  1. ACKERMAN, D. When Gravity Fails. 1st ed., Berkeley, CA, R. Talsorian Games, 1992.