A gigantic star ship has stranded nearby a gas giant of a populated system, sending out an automated distress signal. The type of vessel is unknown, so is the language used in the distress signal. However, the ship appears to be very advanced, maybe even beyond Imperial maximum.
All communications with the ship have failed so far and suddenly a race for the apparently abbandoned ship begins. Imperials, Pirates and Travellers make strange bedfellows. Who will be the first to claim its treasures..and survive?
This is the beginning of the new and exciting TRAVELLER adventure „Hephaistos“: A classic space tale with loads of deck plans and artwork by yours truly, lots of strange creatures and even the opportunity to find and salvage a „living“ ship for TRAVELLER characters. The adventure has been published in German – now publisher 13Mann tries to bring the adventure to English-speaking TRAVELLER and other science fiction enthusiats.
It’s just some kids – meaning: incredibly young players, given the fact that CP2020 is only remembered by very old farts today – having fun playing CYBERPUNK. But they are doing it INCREDIBLY right, hitting just the right mood, theme and way to play the game.
You „may“ have noticed that I love CP2020. And this is why.
Cyberpunk may be dead and we may be already living in our past future vision, but the megas out there have more in store for us. Our perception of the future is accelerating beyond belief, because any lack of real technological breakthroughs (like cyberware or flying cars) is being compensated by new tech that will radically transform how this future world looks and feels and interacts with us.
I have to stress this: The future of 2020, 2050, 2070 or 2100 will not have flying cities and people living on distant planets (like past generations envisioned it), it will not have flying cars and business meetings on the moon (like they thought in the 1950s), it may not even have real cyberlimbs or genetic augmentations (like some hope even today). It will, however, have entertainment, connectivity, video paper and phones and even glass that is distinctivly smarter than most of us…
This future world will be so complex that it will be possible to grasp it only fully when you are living in it. It is also FAR FAR less exiting to think about living in that future than it was in the 80s or 90s: „So we’ll have Augmented Reality? So what? Just another way my Facebook friends can send me invites for stupid social games.“
We will indeed be „amusing ourselves to death„. And we know it. And it’s not like we are anticipating this with baited breath. Au contraire: We are wishing to live in that future because it will offer better ways to get away from it (like Video Games in full VR mode).
When I was living in the 80s, I hoped to live long enough to experience 1999, the focal turning point for anything „future“. I wanted to live long enough to see the year 2000, maybe even 2010, maybe even 184.108.40.206.
Now, living in 2012, I sure enjoy the new toys we got, and am looking forward to the new toys we’re getting in the near future … but the excitement and anticipation has been dampened a whole lot.
When SR4 – „wireless edition“ – was released, I was sceptical and didn’t like it („it“ meaning the wifi world) that much. It took me a while to understand and accept that the vision of the future has to be adapted somewhat to our present world, because it’s kinda hard to imagine a future world that’s actually technologically behind our own, real world.
This attitude has since changed. And mostly because I rediscovered my love for classic (= not transhumanist) science fiction, like the Seaford Saga or the stories about Honor Harrington. In this science fiction, you have both technology that is so far beyond what we can hope to achieve in the next 200 years that my eyes are watering (fact: we couldn’t even go to the moon if our lives depended on it currently) AND that are clearly behind what we have achieved already (note: Honor Harrington doesn’t even have an iPhone).
All the tech that is hard to describe and put into game mechanics in a sci-fi setting (like the connectivity and social issues a wireless WWW has and will have) is being left out while „bigger“ technological advancements that are easier to grasp and introduce in a sci-fi setting, both as a concept and rules-wise (like space travel, or cybertech) are put forward.
Returning to Shadowrun, I now see what the appeal of the „cable matrix“ SOTA of 2050-2060 is – and can even see beyond that: How much appeal a world would have (as a game background, and also in respect to rules) in which the free and omnipresent internet never surfaced. Remember the days of AT&T and AOL dominance? Just add megacorporations and tighten the control even further: internet would be a kind of interactive TV, with the megas being the senders and the consumer being receivers – and nothing else.
Remember how it felt – actually FELT – to be amongst the „elite“ of the world just because you had the implant to dive into the matrix, and others didn’t? Remember the balls you had to have, facing off against the almighty power of the megas, battling them on their home turf, the matrix, liberating data?
I know that from our current day perspective this seems so remote, as our megas oftentimes give off the impression to understand less about the internet than every kid does – but that also means that being a hacker is not and will never be the same as being a DECKER.
OK, enough rambling:
Here are some videos of an increasing stream of videos about the future that’s about to hit us in the next, oh, 5–10 years. I sure will enjoy living then, but I’d like to PLAY in a world that is simpler and darker than our own, not one that’s even more complicated.
Shadowrun is a blend between fantasy and sci-fi. Let’s amp up the fantasy a bit (not in the sense of „more magic“ or „even more player races“, but in the sense of the general appeal of the fantasy genre in offering a simpler world we’d like to get away to), and tune down sci-fi to a gritty, dark, brooding cyberpunk theme where a lone guy with a gun and/or a deck just may make a difference – even when he’s not a dragon or IE.
This is the first new monster I did for D&D 4E, so let me know what you think and leave a comment. While the rest of this blog is in German (mostly), I’ll keep all „Points of Light“ D&D articles in English, mostly because D&D 4E is not available in German anymore, so German D&D 4E players are forced to use English material anyway. New articles for my own campaign and world setting „Blut & Eisen“ (Blood & Iron, a fantasy setting with some steam thrown in) will continue to be in German, though. The monster pix you’ll see (and see here) I made myself, some (most) of them are actually sketches, some even final artwork for the „Monster Manual“ of the best Science Fiction Roleplaying Game there is, Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century. So if you ever tire of the „same old, same old“ dungeon crawl and want to trade your magic sword for a neat pulse cannon or tactical nuke, there you’ll find carnage the likes you’ve never experienced before. And look: Battlelords elves have 14 fingers and wear kilts!
GHOUL FLESHHUNTERS ARE THE HUNTING DOGS of an abyssal ghoul or any other higher undead creature. They are singleminded and bestial, caring for nothing more than hunting the living and sinking their hook-like hands into their flesh, dragging them screaming to their undead masters.
Ghoul Fleshhunter Tactics
A ghoul fleshhunter will attack with his hook attack, securing the victim to itself to use it as a shield. He will try to drag it to his master, who is in the vicinity in most cases. If his master is within 5 spaces of the fleshhunter, the fleshhunter will use his feeding drain to help its master rather than help itself.
Ghoul Fleshhunter Lore
A character knows the following information about ghoul fleshhunters with a successful Religion check (in addition to what they may know about ghouls in general (> Monster Manual)).
DC 25: Ghoul fleshunters are undead creatures in service to abyssal ghouls or Doresain, the King of Ghouls, himself. They often travel in hunting packs, trying to catch the living and bring them to their ghoul master(s).
DC 30: Ghoul fleshhunters are abyssal in nature. However, unlike those graced with special power by Doresain, fleshhunters are cursed with a bestial nature, binding them forever to their betters. Powerful they may be and dangerous as well, but they are nothing better than slaves or hunting dogs for Doresain’s court.
Ever since that golden day I bought my first shirt from the SCHWA corporation, I have been a big fan of „t-shirts with a message“. I mean, really: instead of wearing any of those „fake worn-out“ shirts with broken college or football emblems, you could just as easily wear a shirt that says „You only envy me because the voices won’t talk to you“ or „I’m from the bomb squad. If you see me run – FOLLOW!“.
So every now and then, I’ll present some of the funnier (or weirder) examples of t-shirts I stumbled upon while surfing the internet.
Even though the rabenwelten blog is currently lagging behind its usual daily schedule, I have by no means been lazy. Far from it. I am currently working on the Generation Z setting for D6, yet another Vampire Live project in Berlin I had to get out of my system, I have a SSDC artwork deadline to keep (you can see the smallest fraction of the picture in progress here, to the left) and have the honor to work on a short picture series for the Hellas RPG (Greeks in Space), too.
Apart from that, I have an adventure to prepare for sunday and a dayjob (and a cat, and two budgies, and a girlfriend (not necessarily in that order) and-and-and … and high blood pressure (I wonder from what?).
Anyway, just wanted to drop you a line. And to say that I have uploaded some new pix to the Art of AAS page. Enjoy!
You’ll find new pix for a preview of Transfer there, a new setting for the Universal Roleplaying Game URPG. The preview file was distributed at a RPG convention in Germany and can be found either on the above mentioned URPG website or here:
I’ve said it many times, and chances are I will keep on telling you: Cyberpunk’s not dead, it’s just turned into our present. Almost every day, I find stuff that most Cyberpunk authors may have once described in their visions of our future. And in a lot of cases, this future turned out to be a lot weirder than any SF author could have guessed.
So here’s another fine selection of weird and often quite inventive Cyberpunk stuff, this time from the incredibly imaginative website thinkgeek.com
Personal Soundtrack T-Shirt
The definitive add-on for each and every poser gang member. Don’t be satisfied by just looking like Kirk or marching like Vader. Let others hear your personal soundtrack in each and every situation. Catch more information and a funny video of the many uses of this piece of tech here. Available NOW! for 39.99$
Labyrinth Security Lock
Ever thought that security stuff that just slows down intruders (like Cyberpunk 2020 player characters) is unrealistic? You ain’t seen nothing yet. Even in 2020, there are geeks lurking behind every corner. They may even work in the R&D department of your next megacorporate target. Geeks LOVE labyrinths and puzzles. As you can see for yourself with this titanium labyrinth security lock. Available NOW! for 49.99$
Big Brother is here. And chances are, he will never leave. Especially if he is so much fun to have around. Like when you taze that Cyberpunk that tries to assault you and instanntly upload the video of your succesful move to Youtube. Or your security provider. Or the cops. Imagine all the fun you and your fellow Cyberpunks can have with Fashion Guncam versions of this idea. Watch yourself bleed to death in slow motion. Maybe even to your own soundtrack (check out the Soundtrack T-Shirt, above). Available NOW! for 99.99$.
Wii Pee Game
No. It’s not real. You have not just discovered that there is a peeing game for the Wii console. Super Pii Pii brothers? Give me a break. Sorry pal. No rest for the wicket. The peeing game is here (yes, there is a video as well). Available NOW! fpr 34.99$. Peeing controller included. (OK, OK; so this was an April fool’s joke – but a good one. And not any stranger than the rest of the stuff, if you ask me).
Snooze and Lose
This one gets a bonus point for creativity ingetting wage slaves off their fat asses and earning the megacorp more money. Originally, this alarm clock is intended to donate money every time you hit the snooze button to a charity organisation you HATE – thusly giving you a great incentive to get up immediatly, instead of snoozing on. By 2020, this gizmos are bound to be installed in every wageslaves appartment. Hit the snooze button, and your employer will receive a payback from your bank account. Hithe snooze button three times, and you may receive the ultimate wakeup call by that tazer they built into your corporate appartment’s bed. They may even share your tazed early morning self via that handy youtube tazer application, feeding the vid directly into the megacorporate employees network. The original SnūzNLūz is available HERE for just 39.99$