When Corporate Hell is not a Metaphor

Touched: A Darkening Alley is the first of a series of stand-alone settings introducing magic into the world of The Sprawl.

The cyberpunk future is already a horror show. Now it gets supernatural…

“The shit-holes are getting shittier, and no one wants to talk about it. The town that disappeared, that video of a lady giving birth to what looked like an octopus, or the leaked corp files about a continuous human scream emanating from Jupiter. Why aren’t the news feeds talking about this? What are the corps hiding?”

—Antonio Alverez, editor-at-large THE CANT

It’s 1985. Ever since Nixon privatised the Vietnam War, we’ve been an a downhill slide into corporate hell. We all thought that was a metaphor, but maybe we were too optimistic. A Darkening Alley is a low-magic, dark horror setting for The Sprawl. Rifts in the fabric of space are starting to crack, opening portals to strange new worlds filled with beings and energies far beyond our understanding; humanity is beginning to feel the effects. Strange happenings are becoming more and more common. The street-side prophets are starting to sound a bit reasonable. The corporations smell power and have started pouring a lot of money into investigating and documenting these occurrences—that’s where you come in.

A Darkening Alley introduces the new Antiquarian playbook, a Trauma system by DYMPHNA, and several magical abilities available to players through basic advances. Because players do not start with magical abilities, you can easily merge this setting with an ongoing campaign.

And check out Dawn Carlos‘ awesome cover art…

Walk into the light...

You can read about the production history and future of the Touched line in this backer update. The most important takeaway is that there are no plans for a PoD version of this product, but it will eventually be included with other Touched products in a future combined PoD book.

Chroming Your Con Play

If you’ve played in a convention game with me over the last year or so, you might have noticed I’ve been using cut-down and mostly pre-generated playbooks. I made these so that I could run 5-10 minute 1-2 player demos for the Fall 2017 Great Falls Comic Expo in Lewiston, ME. I streamed the process of making these on Twitch; the video is now on YouTube:

 

Those playbooks are now available here (and on the Download page).

Generally I use these with The Downtown Dataheist (PWYW on DTRPG).

Ms. Singh wants you to steal a data file from a downtown research facility. Easy in, easy out, right? It’s all fun and games until the street hears what you’re planning. They’ll find their own uses for you.

A few days ago, a fixer asked you to recover a file from this facility. Who is the fixer and do you trust them?

A corporation is leaning on you to sabotage the mission. Which corporation? What leverage do they have over you?

You are keeping this job secret from your Ecuadine handler. Why?

The Downtown Dataheist is a two-hour quickstart mission for The Sprawl. This mission uses pre-generated corporations and individual mission briefs to entangle the characters, a cut-down version of character creation, an abbreviated Legwork Phase in which the players will quickly create the facility they are about to infiltrate, and a timed planning phase. Then it’s all Action.

 

The Mission Files

The Mission Files was originally funded as Stretch Goal 001 of the Kickstarter (backer update here) and is now available in PDF and Print on Demand from DTRPG.

Missions are the lifeblood of The Sprawl. Better lay down the plastic.

The Sprawl: Mission Files is a collection of ten new cyberpunk missions for The Sprawl. Infiltrations, extractions, heists, recovery ops, wetwork, investigations, hunts, pursuits, shakedowns, Mr Smith has them all… and more.

Ready to run. Each mission includes a brief summary of the fictional setup and details on the people and places involved, as well as all the clocks and directives you need.

Hack them into your own shape. Each mission also takes you behind the scenes with design notes on its structure and ideas for hacking the mission to make it uniquely yours.

Between the lines and beyond the missions. The Sprawl: Mission Files is also filled with MC advice and tips for how to handle tricky situations and how to tweak familiar features of the game to enrich your play experience.

With excellent cover art by Alina Shutko!

A somewhat belated update here. The PDF was released in August and after a comedy of proofing and shipping errors, the Print on Demand dropped in October.

 

Dinosaur Princesses Kickstarter Campaign

Here is the link to the kickstarter campaign!

The Dinosaur Princesses celebrate saving the day!

The Dinosaur Princesses celebrate saving the day!

Have you Heard About Dinosaur Princesses?

Dinosaur Princesses is a rules-lite play-heavy collaborative tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) about friends who are dinosaurs who are princesses solving problems together!

Decide what type of Dinosaur you are (a t-rex, ankylosaurs, or platypus perhaps!) and what type of Princess you are (maybe an aquanaut, zookeeper, or chef!). Remember that, just like your type of dinosaur isn’t limited by strict definitions of “dinosaur”, your princess isn’t limited to being a girl—everyone can be a Dinosaur Princess! After you decide what your Dinosaur Princess is like, you then start the very important step of drawing and colouring your Dinosaur Princess. Now gather your friends, build up group dice pool, and overcome all the obstacles and problems that the Palaeontologist throws your way!

Dinosaur Princesses is a story game of collaboration and cooperation for all ages. Great for new TTRPG players and experienced players alike.

Did we mention the rulebook is also a colouring book?

Get notified of future Kickstarters by following Hamish: https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/ardensludere

Or keep an eye out on Twitter: @ArdensLudere  |  @peregrinekiwi  |  @DAYtheELF

 

Featuring art by J Wahl (portfolio)

Dinosaur Princesses Cover

Dinosaur Princesses Cover

Dinosaur Princesses Character Sheet

Dinosaur Princesses Character Sheet

Dinosaur Princesses Play Sheets and Map

Dinosaur Princesses Character Sheets and Map

 

 

Some News

While I’m making a few updates to the main pages for The Sprawl, Dinosaur Princesses and Kratophagia, this seems an appropriate time to mention that Rachel Beck (author of Glitch interviewed me as part of a series on contemporary cyberpunk creators: The State of Cyberpunk with Hamish Cameron. She also just released her second interview, with Fraser Simons of The Veil. Check out Rachel’s visions of a cyberpunk future in print and digital (the first one’s free…) at The Glitch Logs.

If you’re waiting for news on Kratophagia, I had a few things to say on G+ last week.

My production queue is currently as follows:

  • The Mission Files: Currently in my hands between editing passes.
  • Touched: I have some, Steve is finishing the rest.
  • Dinosaur Princesses: Game mostly finished, rules text being written.
  • Kratophagia: Player-facing game aspects mostly finished and playtested, advanced play, MC rules and main text to be written.

Playbooks in the Net

Hey.

You with the cred.

You wanna buy some tasty new playbooks? I got updated errata, print friendly and full colour; legal, letter… maaaan, I even got that good A4 shit. All wrapped up in a tasty tasty compression algorithm.

Wait, what? What do you mean you can download that for free. What are you, some kind of shadow operative?!

Oh. Okay then. I’ll leave you to it then.


The Sprawl playbooks now have a newly updated new zip file, ready for your cyberpunk mission requirements. Enjoy!

//Out of the alley, into your drive..

Sounds of the Sprawl

Backers of the Kickstarter will remember that one of the reward options was a small collection of cyberpunk background sound loops custom made by Wes Otis of Plate Mail Games. Well, I’ve been meaning to make an official post here for a while, but you can pick up any of those background loops from the Plate Mail Games store at DriveThruRPG. That link takes you to PMG’s cyberpunk collection, but they have a background loop for just about any situation these days, including 155 that he made for Monte Cook’s Numenera. Wow. That’s a lot of sound, Wes!

PMG’s current kickstarter is coming to an end. It’s for Kobold Press‘ Midgard setting for 5e, so if that sounds like you, you have 10 days to take a look.

I recently sent a big pile of words for PMG’s Rothaen setting to Wes too. I posted about that here during that Kickstarter; look out for the final product later this year.

//Bathe it in static..

November Metric

Incoming intel…

Prepare your datajack for a driveload of global cyberculture, friend.

Remix your mind and your DNA with the transhumanists of Tangaroa. Screen yourself from the UV, the corps, and the nanobots in Aotearoa. Swim through the stifling oppression of law and history in the capital of the European Federation.

Resist the corporate boot crushing the last bastion of North American freedom. Blow over the agri-prison baseline and the voodoo hooks of the Big Easy. Slink out of the lab and into the streets with keen eyes, sharp claws, and a vengeful mind.

Circle with the sharks of the Global Giant of Africa: smell the fire in their spirits and the spirits in the fibres. Dance from terrace to tower in the Paris moonlight, rapier in hand, honour in mind. Take down the fat cats and the dirty dogs with anthropomorphic abandon.

Play in the Caribbean sand or slog through the Florida swamp at the nexus of terrestrial and orbital borders. Fight your way free from the bleeding edge of militarised capitalism at the fractured terminus of a new Korean cold war. Kick against the current in SoCal’s melting pot of simsense dreams, global commerce, and covert water wars.

Twelve new ways to experience The Sprawl. Are you ready for the November Metric?

November Metric is a 150 page setting supplement for The Sprawl. It includes twelve settings ranging from arcologies to sprawls to nation states to cat-based conceptual overlays; you can use them as-is, or mine them for inspiration for your sprawl.

Check out the awesome cover art by Vira Sakhniuk!

At the moment, November Metric is only available in PDF. We’re working on the Print on Demand files, so physical copies should be available in a few weeks. [Print and PoD are both now available on the DTRPG page!]

November Metric was originally funded as Stretch Goal 003 of the Kickstarter (backer update here). The next supplement will be a book of ten missions in much the same format as “The Kurosawa Extraction” example mission from the book.

// take [intel]

I’ve started a Twitch stream and a YouTube channel.

My goal with this stream is to discuss game design, especially my game designs, through a variety of lenses. I’ll try to organise the videos into appropriate playlists. The first playlist I’ve started is // take [intel] // Game.Stream (embedded below) which will include any video game play streams which are primarily relevant to cyberpunk and The Sprawl.

I’ll start here, but in the future you can expect design sessions, movie commentaries, question and answer sessions, ancient history related game play, and perhaps some dedicated cyberpunk video game playthoughs. There might eventually be some tabletop play, but initially, I’ll be focused on formats that I can slot into my schedule when it’s convenient for me, rather than trying to juggle the schedules of multiple people.

Hamish del Rol

A month or so ago I posted on my Google+ page that I was available for podcasts and Angel Garcia immediately made me put my money where my mouth was.

Last week Angel and his co-host Edgar interviewed me live on their YouTube channel Hijos Del Rol (Story Always). They ask questions about my start in running and playing games, the genesis of The Sprawl, kickstarting and the publishing process, some design questions which I hadn’t thought about for a while, the excellence of acquire agricultural property and Dread, some structural insights into the mission phase, and my future publishing plans, including some hints about Touched.

Check it out!
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