Back with more waffle about what I’ve been up to lately, in a vague attempt to build up a blogging habit.
The proposed launch into OSR did not happen as planned, due to unforeseen circumstances for one of the players, and there was a short discussion about what the rest of the group should do instead. In the end, I decided to run a session/play-test of my fledging ‘game about vampires, and stuff’.
The plan was to do a bit more blog stuff this year, keep things ticking over, stay up to date with gaming and writing projects as the weeks and months went on. So, that’s going well…
Anyway, the gaming group have just finished a short, scrappy, some might say cursed, sequence of Cyberpunk games. Like the 2020 game itself it was all Very 80s. Rogue cops, a dodgy Doc, a media-babe with a bunny-girl makeover.
There were drugs, high technology corporate sleaze, old (dead) friends, sentient computers and surprisingly little gunplay.
Due to a restricted time frame it ended like a one-season television show cut off in its prime. Our heroes, mid-heist, discover they’re hacking the wrong computer and then:
I had a dream about people turning into cows. Not actual cows, more a kind of Gerald-Scarfe-Pink-Floyd-video grotesquery of lumpen bovine humanity. It starts with the hands and feet, maybe, becoming useless club-like stubs at the ends of spindly limbs. The rest of the body is bulked out, the epidermis peeling away to leave dun coloured patches of blubbery flesh. The face is elongated, snout like, the ears are curved protrusions of stretched skin. In a certain light I guess they do look more like pigs? But in the dream they called them cows at first and that name sort of stuck.
It’s not a localised event. It’s a worldwide phenomenon; a social crisis and a health catastrophe. How does the world respond? How do family and friends cope if it happens to a loved one? What do you do if it begins to happen to you?
I woke up before that part of the dream unfurled itself. In many ways that’s a blessing.
Question 30: What is an RPG genre-mashup you would most like to see?
Urban fantasy and anthropomorphic animals. I think that would be cool. I have an idea for a novel ticking over at the moment (called The Crow Boy, there’s bits of it scattered about this blog), which features magic, steampunk style crazy science, old gods and new deities; all wrapped up in a tale about birds and cats and surly rats. I think there’s probably a game there too.
Other options for mash-ups:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer…in space!
And also something which is probably best described as a cross between Harry Potter and the Battle of the Somme.
She can hear the static in her bones as it gets closer.
“This thing,” he says, “the monster you say is after you-”
“It only travels at night,” she tells him. “In the light I have a chance.”
The pick-up truck is real old, a lot like its driver, and worn down; paint chipped, chrome dulled, seat leather smooth and cracked. There’s a stack of old yellowed newsprint in the foot well on the passenger side, a litter of this and that scattered here and there on what might once have been a square of carpet.
The engine grumbles and strains when he turns the key in the ignition. The whole pick-up shaking to its core as he struggles the wheel around, points the vehicle’s nose towards the rising sun.
“Don’t worry,” he says. “She’ll get going right enough.”
Maybe she’s convinced.
“Settle in,” he says. “You can sleep while I drive.”
The temple fell burning, and black ash motes peeled off, spiralled away, swirled and scattered from a rolling turmoil of endless ruin. Molten alloys bubbled, ceramic armours splintered, whole sections of decking rippled in the maelstrom. Bulkheads bulged, faltered, finally failed as—birthed and bred amongst silence and stars—the temple at last struck the atmosphere of an unknown planet and plunged down to destruction…
All of this is accidental, incidental even; wrong space, wrong time.
A Kovanarii combat-cruiser—Empire Light class, name of Tesallanc, for those keeping notes—in pursuit of an entirely different agenda, clipped the Temple Althren amidships with a brace of spiral seekers launched for an altogether different target.
Temple Althren warped into that field of fire, took the mortal damage aimed at another, and the Kovanarii’s quarry jumped away, lived on to fight again.
A brief scan for survivors—inconclusive—a suitably contrite and concise flash-message to high command, and the Empire Light Tesallanc left the system, coruscating waves of warplight fading, as the temple fell burning in their wake.
No one remembers the factories. Not really. They appear only in dreams and old photographs and nobody ever thinks too hard about them or about what happened there.