5/9/2019 update: Dark Pathways designer journal 1: history
over 1 year ago
– Thu, May 09, 2019 at 11:48:35 PM
In this update, I want to discuss Dark Pathways a little bit.
I haven’t done any real development on the book yet (still a ton to do with the core books), but I do have some basic ideas I’m going to share with you.
So, I’ve been thinking a lot about this alternate world. My creative process when I do world building generally starts with a rough outline of the history of the setting. Now that might seem easy enough because…Earth, right? Not really.
This Earth has elves, dwarves, orcs and such. As I mentioned during the Kickstarter, I’m not interested in creating a Savage Shadowrun. So, you won’t be seeing any kind of awakening or storylines reminiscent of Earthdawn; but you will see a world that has a long, long history in which these mythological races have evolved right along with humanity, even taking part in some of the world’s most notable events/periods.
For example, it’s pretty fun to imagine hordes of Orcs riding with Genghis Khan as he sweeps across Asia! Maybe Genghis Khan was an orc himself! Maybe Helen of Troy was a beautiful Elf?
Where was I…oh yeah; a long history.
So, when I started thinking about this history, I thought the most curious way to go about it, was to loosely base it off select passages in the bible of all things….specifically, the creation event.
Now, I know you’re thinking Seven Days??? I hope you die in a fire David Jarvis!!!
No, not seven days, because that passage has been misinterpreted. The Hebrew word for “Day” is Yom, which CAN mean days, but it can also mean eons, or ages, depending on context. The inconsistencies in Genesis in terms of the order of creation.
In Genesis 1 we find God calling the cosmos (heaven and earth, and all that is in them) into existence. Then in the rest of Genesis (beginning in Genesis 2) we have the account of what came of (or developed out of) God’s initial creation, how humans responded to God’s call to be his image in the world.
Pay attention to the part where I said “what came of or developed out of” initial creation. Kinda sounds like evolution to me. There are other passages in the bible that describe “The day of the Lord” being a thousand years, and even prophecies about Jesus Christ reigning for a thousand years, which could imply… well let’s do the math.
1 day = 1000 years.
365 days in a year
1000 years x 365 days (1000) = 365 MILLION years.
Anyhow, history is rife with archeological evidence pre-dating the events of the bible. It’s not even open for debate.
So, given all of these years of history pre-dating the bible, I came upon an idea that the bible is really just the history of one tribe; the tribe of Juda. The rest of human (and nonhuman) history begins to unfold through other historical documents and places (like the Epic of Gilgamesh, or the Pyramids), all of which represent other tribes.
Once that hit me, it was really easy to imagine a wide array of cultures all over the world springing up, but what about elves, orcs, and such?
Simple. They’ve always been there. Now, the myths make a bit more sense, because they aren’t myths; they’re historical tales. Dragons exist. Fairies, elves, dwarves…even vampires, werewolves and other monsters…All Real.
But… Cthulhu? The Great Old Ones?
Hecate, Vishnu, Kali?
Absolutely. Given the fact that magic is real in an urban/cyberpunk fantasy game there are a lot of avenues to explore.
Hell. Maybe Moses was a druid.
Are they “Gods”…? Maybe, Maybe not. I’ve been watching American Gods, and I have a few ideas about that, too.
But I digress.
So, now I’ve got a bit of history baking in my mind about this world, how it unfolds throughout history, and as I look forward, I can start to see new cultures emerging, new archetypes, and technologies necessarily based not only in the world we see around us, but other elements perhaps created through the use of magic, or through pure technological genius.
Imagine if Dwarves perfected hydrogen fusion, or anti-gravity. Who knows?
One thing for certain, is this thing is probably going to be much more detailed, much longer than I originally thought.
Anyhow. I have to get back to my work.
Thanks for your time.
04/25/2019 update: Campaign themes, origins, and graphic design preview
over 1 year ago
– Fri, Apr 26, 2019 at 02:35:02 AM
I'm just jumping in to give you an update on everything that's going on. We're still plugging away at everything. I've got a few things to share with you; just a peek, mind you, nothing is completely set in stone yet, so keep that in mind as you read.
Graphic Design Preview
Here's a link to check out the interior trade dress for the book! The fonts, and headers aren't set in stone yet, though. I'm still playing with those. The graphic artist is Karl Kleesler. He also did the graphic design the Wiseguys book. Anyhow, I hope you like it!
IZ 3.0 sample
We've settled on three basic ones; Cyberpunks (working name right now), Protect and Serve, and the Cleaning Crew. Obviously you won't have to use any of them in Interface Zero, but the Plot Point Campaigns are based on them. If you play the PPCs, it'll mean less work for the GM when it comes to prepping your game sessions.
The Cleaning Crew
The streets always need cleaning, and, assuming the corps or sectors pay the bills, there is always someone there to pick up trash and mop up messes in public places. A cleaning crew takes it up a notch. Rather than clearing out debris or washing off the remains of someone’s dinner, a cleaning crew makes sure those awful things that lurk in the darkness don’t make a mess of people. The crew is always alert to strange happenings and unexplained murders, so they can get to the scene and track down the lab-grown menace that escaped (or was released) from its home. The biohorrors a cleaning crew faces often make the job short-term. Deaths, injuries, and PTSD incurred while dealing with literal monsters sideline many members of cleaning crews. However, pictures of you hoisting the head of some terrifying beast erupting on social media is worth the potential cost.
Team Roles: To be Determined
Setting rules: To be Determined
The Stage: Mostly urban environments across the world, though Cleaning Crews might find themselves hunting down things that have been released into the wilds.
Plot Elements: In a Cleaning Crew game, your characters might find themselves doing types of jobs that include: Accessing the scene of a crime to discover whether the monster who perpetrated it was merely human or something else, trudging through sewers to track down a beast that lairs underground and emerges under the cover of darkness to hunt, or breaching a lab in complete lock-down to put down a bio-horror and maybe save some of the idiots who created the thing.
You are cyberpunks living life on the bleeding edge, fighting against megacorporate influence, raging against political corruption, or simply doing it for the juice (and cryptos) you get from sticking it to the man. The jobs you take are risky—even deadly—but often serve a higher purpose. That, and your street cred soars with every run you hit out of the park. You get access to the sweetest nightclubs, cryptos flow like wine, everyone worships you like heroes returning from war…It’s good to be the queen, baby.
Starting Wealth: 20,000 Cryptodollars
Setting rules: To Be Determined
The Stage: Anywhere in the world
Plot Elements: In a Cyberpunks campaign, your team might go on a variety of missions and interact with all sorts of people across the solar system. Anything from standard milk runs to data snatches from a megacorp or even a world government, and possibly even high profile assassinations are common to a Cyberpunks campaign.
Protect and Serve
Life as a sector cop ain’t easy hombre.’ The badge is a target (sometimes literally), and on these mean streets you can be sure some cybered-out borg or mutant is gonna test your authority. The badge is also a brotherhood. You can be sure that if things get dicey, you can send out a call for backup and your brothers and sisters in blue will respond.
You roll four or five deep in tricked-out armored squad cars. You get top-notch weapons and armor made by Ravenlocke Security, the best firewalls, and some nasty anti-personnel malware just in case some brainer tries to worm his way into your TAPnet and fry your team’s brains like a soy-sausage in a NukeMaster357 food dispenser. It’s a daily war, protecting the streets—but it’s worth the pain. There are no fancy parades when you win like you see on TAPnet shows like Dawn Patrol or The Chicagoland Seven, and the danger you face is as much on the inside of the walls of your precinct detention center as it is on the streets but make no bones about it; you save lives, and in the end that’s why you do the job.
Starting Wealth and Equipment: To be Determined
Team Roles: In a Sector Cop campaign theme, you’ll want a versatile team capable of performing a variety of roles. Drone jockeys add another element of protection for your squad and can also surveil areas and track down suspects who flee the scene. Hackers can help disorient opponents, get your team into secure areas, and link everyone together through secure Tendril Access Processor Networks (TAPnets). A medic is vital, as are characters who can negotiate with hostage-takers or talk someone off a ledge. All characters should possess driving and shooting skills.
Setting rules: “Shots Fired!” All characters must take a Vow (minor) Hindrance to reflect the oath they took to protect the city and fight crime.
The Stage: The streets of the sprawl
Plot Elements: In a Protect and Serve game, your characters might find themselves doing types of jobs that include hostage negotiation, riot suppression, ending gang wars before they erupt into sector-wide warfare, or rooting out moles who provide sensitive information to criminal elements.
Finally, I want to talk about Origins. Origins are a way to fine tune your characters to reflect the things they did before they began their "adventuring" careers. The main thing Origins do is modify your Core skills to be in line with the general concept of your character.
Here are a few samples
"There are things that have to be done, things you don't know about, but the agenda of my clients comes before any moralizing"
Agents work for others, usually a nation, corporation, or criminal organization. They have to put the needs of their client over their own, and far above any qualms they might have about right or wrong. Right is always what benefits their client, wrong is everything else. This work they do is often of a very direct nature, if something must be stolen it is the agent who steals it. If someone must be killed, the agent is dispatched. Equally, they are trusted assets who sometimes must speak for their clients in delicate situations.
Core Skills: Common Knowledge, Hacking, Intimidation, Persuasion, and Shooting
"Tracking down a target is as much about talking as chasing and tackling. You want to take them down smooth and fast, and alive as well. Just keep in mind that 'less-than-lethal' is not the same as 'non-lethal'.
Law enforcement being what it is today, bounty hunters are needed to bring in criminals that the po-po can't find or won't bother with. Sometimes people take it upon themselves to hire a bounty hunter for less than legal captures, but a payday is a payday.
Core Skills: Common Knowledge, Notice, Survival, Stealth, and Thievery
"Half my work is done on the Global DataNet these days, but the other half is still good old fashioned investigation. You have to talk to people, even if it is a virtual conversation, and sometimes visit them in person. Sure, there is a lot more forensic evidence we can gather than back in the old days, but evidence doesn’t commit crimes, people do."
Detectives, be they plain clothes cops or private eyes, are in as high demand as ever. Constant surveillance, cybercrimes, better evidence collection, and other technological innovations have not made their jobs any easier, indeed, they have raised the bar on the amount of knowledge the average detective needs to have. A detective must still be able to interrogate a suspect, work a lead, and manage their snitches, but they also have to be experts on what the latest forensic science has to offer, how to navigate the virtual world, and sort through mountains of data.
Core Skills: Common Knowledge, Intimidation, Notice, Persuasion, and Research
Ok, that's it for now. Take care, everyone, and I hope all is well with you!