Project Ascension is a 360-degree live-action roleplay experience, set in a cyberpunk version of New York City. Since that’s a mouthful, let’s break this down:
360-degree: When you’re experiencing Project Ascension, you’ll be able to turn around 360 degrees and not break immersion. We’ll be using New York City as a backdrop for the experience, as well as a converted speakeasy we’re calling The Underworld.
Live-action roleplay: Like immersive theater, you’ll be able to explore a story that’s told not only over time, but also in an explorable space. You can investigate the world, and focus on the story elements important to you. Unlike immersive theater, there’s no audience: you’re also the actors, assuming a role and telling a story.
Cyberpunk in New York City: Based on the original movie timelines, we’re a decade after Terminator’s Judgement Day, a year away from Roy’s escape in Bladerunner, and Officer Murphy of Robocop has probably already been born. The world of Project Ascension is set in a world much like ours, with a few key differences in technology that we can accurately simulate. We’ll be using New York itself to generate a “what you see is what you get” cyberpunk experience.
6:00 PM Friday, May 25th to 2:00 AM, Sunday May 27th
There will be a mandatory workshop, on Friday, May 25th, at 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
The experience will run from approximately 10:00 AM on Saturday until 2:00 AM on Sunday.
We will announce locations as they are finalized, but you will generally be in Manhattan below 42nd Street at most times, primarily the East Village and Lower East Side.
We will provided you a character role after you pay and fill out our survey. You’ll be organized into crews, and have the opportunity to discuss your roles with each other prior to the event.
The standard event price is $260, and includes:
14+ hours of cyberpunk immersion. This includes at least 12 hours of access to The Underworld, our converted speakeasy in the East Village, as well as access to various locations we set up throughout the city.
Online access to your personnel dossier. We will hand-craft a character for you, along with history, motivations, and ties to other players. Once we do, we’ll reveal the world of Project Ascension to you in an immersive, online experience prior to the event.
2 meals provided at The Underworld, as well as snacks throughout the day.
Saturday night, we’ll host a party, with a live band and three hour open bar, including premium liquor as well as wine and beer.
Our staff will include paid actors who will help guide your experience, offering opportunities to perform various missions around New York City, appropriate to the cyberpunk genre.
In addition, we’ll provide a mandatory three-hour workshop on Friday, teaching you how to safely enjoy your Project Ascension experience.
Our premium price is $495, which provides two nights accommodations in lower Manhattan. While we will not directly provide entertainment in these spaces, we will structure the experience so that if you choose, you’ll have a space to remain in role from Friday night until you depart on Sunday.
As part of Project Ascension, you’ll be playing a role, like an actor in a play or a character in a game. We’ll provide you characters hand-crafted for you, and you’ll then be able to further refine that character to your liking as part of our workshop process. After our mandatory workshop Friday night, you’ll interact with the other players and create the story you want to tell, within the immersive experience we’ve provided.
The World of Project Ascension
Project Ascension takes place 15 minutes in the future, in a world very much like our own. You’ll be in New York City, in the United States of America. The news stories you read online will be the same in both the real world and the Project Ascension universe. The same movies will be playing in the theaters, the same politicians will be in power. However, there are layers of reality we’ll be adding to the real world to transform it into the world of Project Ascension.
First, there’s layer of technology that exceeds our own. The internet is filled with semi-autonomous expert systems, precursors to true artificial intelligence. Your ability to hack these system allows you to accomplish feats that would make the NSA jealous. Of course, the government also has powerful technology, and you exist in a panopticon: a state of constant surveillance. Access to weapons, technology, and even some locations is rigorously controlled. You’re also on the cutting edge of bio-tech, including some of the first true cybernetic implants. We’ve come a long way from pacemakers and plastic hips, and a handful of people have the first pieces of cyberware, although they’re far from socially accepted.
More important than the differences in technology, however, are the conspiracies that haunt the world of Project Ascension. The news stories you read online have secret connections, and a cabal of shadowy figures seems to control the world from behind an electronic curtain. You know that they maintain personnel files on every person of interest in the country, maybe the world, and they’ve been manipulating you from birth. This is the focus of Project Ascension: you know about these conspiracies, and you’re going to do something about it.
Hacker. Razor girl. Conspiracy theorist. Career criminal. You have a particular set of skills that makes you valuable, but what makes you unique is that you’ve seen the curtain that surrounds them. You know there’s a conspiracy... no, the Conspiracy out there that controls all the money, all the power in the world. And you want in.
Project Ascension is about a group of people who are trying to enter the next level. They know something is out there, and they can even interact with it, but they know almost nothing about the Conspiracy. Are they the Men-in-Black? Servants of an AI? Little green men from outer space? You have no idea, but you know that there’s a chance you can enter their world: you can ascend.
Just to reach this next level, you had to leave your past life behind. You had to drop off the grid, and hide from the panopticon. You had to leave your family and friends and job. Now, you exist on the fringes of society, between the Conspiracy and the rest of the world. The Conspiracy, they use you to pull off jobs. Maybe they hire you to do a kidnapping here, or a break-in there. Sometimes they ask you to do worse.
You live as part of a crew. This is your new family, and there’s a reason you joined up. Maybe you all believe the Conspiracy is corrupt and want to ascend so you can take it down. Maybe you’re all together for mercenary reasons, a group of professionals who work well together. Regardless, you know that most of you aren’t going to ascend. And if you do… if the Conspiracy takes you into their world… it means leaving your friends behind again, forever.
You and your crew interact with the Messengers, members of the Conspiracy who actually acknowledge your existence. They’re the ones who deliver jobs that they hire out. They only show up occasionally, and when they do, it’s a big deal. There’s a bunch of crews out there, and they all need to show the Messengers what they can do.
Sometimes, the Messengers choose one of you, and take you with them, back behind the curtain. Usually, you’re never seen or heard from again, but there’s always rumors that an old friend is spotted working as a Messenger in another city. In any case, the only known way to ascend is to be invited, which means you have to make an impression on them.
It’s rare to get more than two Messengers in the same room; three is almost unheard of. However, rumor has it that almost a half-dozen are showing up in The Underworld, a bar in New York City, on May 26. This is the story of what happens that day, when all of you descend on Manhattan in search of ascension.
Saturday morning, you’ll be notified of the location of The Underworld, and will be able to travel there to meet other characters over the course of your first meal. Throughout the day on Saturday, you’ll be able to explore the world in The Underworld bar, or, if you like, accept missions that will take you out into the larger world.
These missions might vary from searching out contacts at various establishments on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, or going to locations set-up for you to accomplish specific goals. You might need to break into a room or tail a mark. There will be both simulated danger and physical activities to perform. You can also simply hack in from your computer, and explore the world that exists behind the internet.
Dinner will be provided in The Underworld, and after that, you’ll be invited to a party with a live band and open bar for three hours in the evening. You’ll see the results of your efforts, and likely see some familiar faces by the end. Towards midnight, some of you might actually get to see what’s on the other side of the curtain. Finally, after midnight, you have time to process your experience with each other, and reflect on what Project Ascension meant to you.
Project Ascension includes the opportunity for various physical activities, possibly including light jogging, climbing, and sneaking. These activities are optional, and the event will be structured as not to exclude people of all abilities.
Individuals who purchase a premium ticket will be provided sleeping accommodations. This will include your own bed (although in some cases this will be a pull-out bed or a sofa). You will be in the same accommodations as other players, and we will contact you about your specific arrangements.
While we intend to keep all sleeping arrangements in Manhattan and within walking distance to The Underworld, you might have to travel to the Lower East Side or East Village by subway or bus from your accommodations.
The first event will be the workshop, which will be held in an Off-Broadway theater about five blocks from both Penn Station and Times Square in Midtown West. If you have purchased a premium ticket, it will likely be a 15 - 20 minute subway ride away from your accommodations. If you’re coming from the airport, you can expect the trip to take between 60 to 80 minutes, depending on which airport you use.
During the event, you’ll have the opportunity to travel throughout the city. The event is designed to use the New York City subway system. We recommend you purchase a $32, 7-day MTA card when you arrive in New York City, which will take care of all your travel needs.
Project Ascension is designed so you do not need to bring any additional money to enjoy the experience on Saturday. However, you will have the opportunity to visit various places throughout New York City. Generally, if we send you to a location that requires a ticket, that ticket will be provided to you. However, if you want to have a drink at a bar or buy a meal at a restaurant (outside of the ones we will provide), you will have to use your own funds.
We will make every effort to accommodate dietary restrictions. With the diversity of food available in New York City, it should not be a problem to ensure you have two meals. However, we will have to coordinate any such restrictions prior to the event. Please contact us no later than May 1st to ensure we can meet your dietary needs.
Our team is committed to making Project Ascension accessible to all individuals. However, New York City does offer some unique challenges, and The Underworld bar will be down a flight of stairs. While you can participate in almost every element of this game from the bar, you will need to ascend and descend stairs one time on Saturday.
If this requirement makes the event inaccessible to you, please contact us directly. We have several options available, and will discuss how we can accommodate your needs.
Project Ascension is a 21 and over event that includes the serving of alcohol. As such, you must be of legal drinking age in New York City to participate.
In addition, Project Ascension contains mature content, including those of violence, sexuality, and profanity. This content will be addressed during our workshop. However, the following elements are not appropriate content for Project Ascension:
Displays of nonconsensual sex or sexual violence
Use of racial epitaphs or slurs
Use of homophobic or transphobic slurs
Please contact us by email.