#RPG #Cyberpunk2020 2020 in 2020 – How the First Session Went and Unused Material for You!

Night City Sunset – Adrian Marc

Did a really good first session, but after a few other games we’ve been playing over the last few years the speed and ease of play of Cyberpunk came as a pleasant surprise. Mission oriented play and the players trying to avoid mess and lengthy combat issues certainly helped, but we ploughed through a lot more than I had planned on! Fortunately Cyberpunk is easy to improvise for, so I was able to improv the additional adventures and we had a really good session.

Next time I’ll be able to start incorporating some of the characters’ personal hooks. Looking forward to it. Still, there’s no reason why other Cyberpunk 2020/Red gamers can’t take advantage of my work as well. Check out the previous video/posts for what it’s all about and the rules changes we’ve been making.

Australian Bushfires

This is one of the adventure hooks we didn’t follow up on, but various companies in-setting have been using the fires as an excuse to test new equipment and gear, from AI assisted big-data processing to better predict weather and the best points to ‘attack’, to drone-swarm firefighting and other techniques. One of these efforts was an Australian tech start up, applying military and therapeutic exoskeleton technology to rescue applications. This is something some companies are already looking into, for load-bearing and equipment carrying – especially in high-rise fires, I just took the concept a bit further to a whole suit of ‘power armour’ designed for firefighting.

The mission would have been to insert into the fire zone and to steal the prototype for an unknown client. The mission would have been complicated by the fact that the start-up (FARPAC – Fire And Rescue Power Armature Concepts, based out of Northern Sydney), had been hired not to really fight the fire, but to retrieve certain objects and data from a ‘civilisational panic room’ mansion owned by an Australian billionaire.

Anyway, here’s the Power Armour prototpe stats, if you want to use them.

Ricky Ryan – Deviantart

FARPAC Wahn X1 Proof of Concept Armature

Mission: Firefighting
Unit Cost: Approx 250,000 euros in raw materials and technology, perhaps double that in terms of actual value and work sunk into it. A production version might cost 200,000.
Chassis: Str 16, Lift 800, Carry 240
Toughness: 5 (Taken off damage before armour)
Armour: SP 15 (30 Vs Fire/Heat – add 10 to both values if not using CPRed)
Damage Modifier: D6+2 (Lethal)
Sensors: Wideband Aperture Helmet Sensors and AR Overlay
SIB: -2
DFB: +1
Controls: Advanced
Utilities: Bodyweight Med System, Self-Seal Compression, 4 Hour Life Support, 8 Hour Powerplant (combination pneumatic/LiS battery system. I’ve allowed LiS batteries to double capacity in-setting with no extra cost).

Head: 4 SDP
Internal: Wideband Aperture System SDP 15, Comm Link 5 SDP, 200 cost, 80km range.

Left Arm: 4 SDP
Internal: 1 Winch and Grapple – 20kg – 500 bucks, SDP 40
Internal: 2 Fire Extinguisher 10 kg, SDP 20, 4 uses. 500 bucks.
External: 1 Fire Extinguisher 10 kg, SP 10 SDP 20, 4 uses.

Right Arm: 4 SDP
Internal: 1 Fire Extinguisher 10 kg, SDP 20, 4 uses.
Internal: 2 Fire Extinguisher 10 kg, SDP 20, 4 uses.
External: 1 Large Power Saw, SP 1/3rd, WA -2, 8D6AP, 1250 bucks, 15 kg, SP 10, SDP 25.

Torso: 12 SDP
Internal: 1 Bodyweight Med System SDP 15
Internal: 2 Self Seal Compression SDP 50
Internal: 3 Self Seal Compression SDP 50
External: 1 Food/Filtration SDP 10
External: 2 Extended Life Support SP 20, SDP 20 – 4 hour support, 10 kg.

Left Leg: 8 SDP
Internal: 1 Self Seal Compression SDP 50
Internal: 2 CO2 Scatter Pack WA +3 50 capsules, ROF 1d6, Range 50m, weight 2kg, SP 10 SDP 20
External: 1 CO2 Scatter Pack WA +3 50 capsules, ROF 1d6, Range 50m, weight 2kg, SP 10 SDP 20

Right Leg: 8 SDP
Internal: 1 Self Seal Compression SDP 50
Internal: 2 CO2 Scatter Pack WA +3 50 capsules, ROF 1d6, Range 50m, weight 2kg, SP 10 SDP 20
External: 1 CO2 Scatter Pack WA +3 50 capsules, ROF 1d6, Range 50m, weight 2kg, SP 10 SDP 20

This is really little more than a wearable linear frame with lightweight, fireproof armour and an enclosed environment to protect from heat, smoke and fumes. The real innovation is in the sensor suite, heat shielding and feedback systems, enabling you to find and ‘feel’ your way as though you weren’t armoured at all.

Cryonics Heist

In the setting cryonics has fallen completely out of favour with tech billionaires since the advent of general intelligence AI and the prospects that creates for the potential of consciousness upload. That’s where all the money is going now, and so the bottom has fallen out – along with all the funding – for cryonics research, storage and preparation.

A new company, Osiris Medical Technologies has sprung up, consolidating the debts and resources of these groups and companies as they go bust. They only, however, seem to be taking on the corpsicles and frozen heads that are a) profitable or potentially profitable, or b) have been vitrified using more modern preservation techniques.

The client in this particular case has hired them to retrieve one particular frozen head from a shipment being moved across the country to San Francisco from Alcor in Scottsdale Arizona, which is being wound up.

The players created an epic distraction and went after the head before the convoy left, but I’d done prep as though they were going to attack the convoy. So here you go…

HEMTT A3 Hybrid Truck/Generator

Unit Cost: 450,000 euros
Top speed: 65mph
Utilities: All-Wheel Drive (Off Road), Military Radio, Improved Handling +1
SP: 44 Composite Armour (SP 25-35 in CPRed, assuming a ‘B-Kit’. Without B-Kit armour assume a basic steel-mantle armour of SP 15/10)
SDP: 100 (Body 5 – If not using Maximum Metal just reduce all incoming damage by 5 before armour)
ACC/DEC: 10/30
Range: 1200 miles
Mass Rating: 13 tons.

Refrigerated Military Container

A standard size shipping container with armour and a backup generator.

SP: 15
SDP: 50
Electronic Lock: DC 25

HUMVEE Hybrid

An electric/diesel hybrid civilian version of the popular military vehicle.

Top Speed: 100 mph
Utilities: Off Road, Pintle Mount.
ACC/DEC: 15/40
Range: 520 miles
SP: 10 (Upgraded, standard car body would have SP 5)
SDP: 60 (body 3, if not using Maximum Metal just drop all incoming damage by 3)

Osiris Medical Technology Convoy

The convoy consisted of the following:

2 x HUMVEE
1 x HEMTT Truck
Truck Driver x1
Hummer Driver x2 w/pistols
Hummer Guards x2 with SMG
Truck Guard x1 Elite w/Pistol
Medical Technician – Unarmed

Guards: 14 base attack rolls (16 for elite), 35/18 HP.
HK416A5 Carbine 15/10/15/20/25/30 WA +1, 100 round cassette, 5.56 (5d6) ROF 20
10mm Glock – 2d6+1 AP, 20 round capacity.
Snap-Out Batons D6
Body Armour vest and legs (Concealed) – 7 SP.
Smart Glasses/Wireless Smartlink/Biomonitor Wristband +1 WA.

Elite Guard: Right arm cyberarm 20 SP, SDP 30, Shield pop-out with gun brace – Protects head and torso, Skinweave (5 sp), Base Attack: 16

Tactics Under Attack: Rear car: brake, stop, leave vehicle and try to flank ambushers. Front car: interpose between truck and attackers, stay in cover/vehicle and, return fire. Truck: brake and reverse toward reinforcements. Otherwise ram through obstruction.

Osiris Medical Technology

“Taking you to the future.”

Total Assets: 600 million+
Incorporated: 10th August 2019
CEO: Dr Cranston Baird
Headquarters: Building 3, Bridgehead Road, Oakley San Francisco.
Associated Groups: 21st Century Medicine, ACS, BPF, LES
Foreign Partners: KrioRus

Osirus Medical Technolog sprang, seemingly, out of nowhere and gathered up the assets of the various bankrupted and struggling cryonics groups and foundations in the USA. They’ve been utterly ruthless and have discarded or ‘returned’ all remains frozen prior to the vitrification process.

They claim philosophical issues around ‘continuity of consciousness’ make digital upload non-viable as a true immortality and are spending a great deal of money on improving fMRI and other scanning technologies, nanotechnology, cloning and other associated technology that would be useful for ‘resurrection’.

HUAWEI Raid

I was underprepared for this one, but it meant travelling with smugglers to Hong Kong, infiltrating mainland China and breaking into Huawei’s big tech campus around their headquarters. The old campus, not the new, weird, pseudo-European one.

Besides normal security guards, surveillance and tech (such as drones, cameras and so on) the Chinese government has a vested interest in many of their companies and post political officers and even armed guards at key installations.

People’s Armed Police

Attack Rolls: 15 base.
35 HP
SP 7 light vests (CPRed).
Access to Gear:
QSZ-92 5.8mm Pistols WA+1, 20 round magazine, 2d6-1 damage.
QBZ-95 Assault Rifle WA+1, 30 round magazine, 5.8mm 5d6 damage
Norinco HP9-1 4 WA-1, round magazine, 12 gauge, 4d6 damage
Laser Rifle 20d6 (5d6) +1 WA
Bullet Proof Shields – SP 15

Security Drones: SP 10 SDP 15 – Electrical dart guns AP 1/4, D6 Taser effect.
Basic Power Armour: Body 12, Armour 20 +1 WA Smart Helmet.

Political Officers

30 HP
QSZ-92s.
Attack Roll: 12

Huawei Security Systems: DC 25

Server Smash

The mission here was to put a stop to an ‘open source AI’ project before it could ever take off. The nerds involved got backing from a splinter-gang of the Brainiacs, H-Squared, who were a bit more open to cybernetic enhancement beyond neuralware and ardent posthumanists.

Typical Gangbangers H-Squared

30 HP
2d6 Pistol +2 WA
2d6 SMG +2 WA
Awareness 19+2 (Optics)
Attack 12+3
Armoured Trench/Bodysuit/Skinweave combo SP11
Sensory Boosts/Software +2
Cyberoptics
Massive amounts of skillware – Any skill they are likely to need at +3

Drone Swarm: 1HP each, form a cloud of whirling ceramic fans that do 1d6x1d6 AP1/4 damage per turn.

Mongrel Robotic Guard Dog SP 15 HP 20, Jaws 2d6AP.

#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters: Breaking the Limits, the AFM Companion RELEASED!

IMPORTANT!

This product is too spicy for DrivethruRPG, which means I cannot use their promotional tools etc, and I can’t link to it off their site. I would greatly appreciate it, therefore, if you could spam the ever-loving shit out of this link everywhere, so that people can be aware of it and buy it direct.

Vielen danke, kiitos, merci, arigatōgozaimashita.

This companion volume to badly named but well-executed horror RPG Actual Fucking Monsters is bigger than the original! 120 pages of content for your Actual Fucking Monsters games, too spicy for Drivethrurpg.

  • We’ve got random character generation if you’re into that sort of thing.
  • We’ve got a whole wedge of new Monster Powers so you can dissolve your foes with vomit or get in touch with their feelings.
  • Want to play a dark, evil magician? Got you covered.
  • Want to introduce boring stuff to worry about, like, ‘humanity’. I don’t think you should, but we’ve got you covered anyway.
  • Want to fight against the Monsters as a Hunter? You can do that now, with more details on the Hunter organisations from the main book, and new ones! Along with revised Hunter ‘Powers’.
  • Want to run your games safely without some absolute head-end crying to mummy that they didn’t know a game called Actual Fucking Monsters was about Actual Fucking Monsters? Details for the M-Card game insurance policy are included.
  • Need victims for your Monsters to do horrible things to? We’ve got a random victim generator and 100 pre-generated victims!
  • Player advice on how to have fun in an Actual Fucking Monsters game? You bet your sweet arse.
  • Some ideas for artefacts, and some examples.
  • A (very scant) idea of a sort of setting beyond the implicit. Learn where Monsters fit into the world.
  • And lastly, a long-ass example of play, to help you grok with fullness.

This is a Post-Mort.com and Lulu.com exclusive, so please, inform everyone you can that this is up for sale!

#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters: Breaking the Limits – Schachr Mequbbãl

Loosely, and probably incorrectly, that translates to ‘Black Kabbalist’. They’re one of the Hunter groups detailed in the back of Actual Fucking Monsters. The main book doesn’t go into a tremendous amount of detail, but the idea is that this order of Kabbalists and their supporters came about during WWII to deal with supernatural threats to the Jewish people that existed alongside the very human monsters we’re all familiar with.

Some inspiration was taken from 2000ADs ‘Fiends of the Eastern Front’, particularly ‘Stalingrad’, the more modern story illustrated by the brilliant Colin MacNeil.

In the modern age the Schachr Mequbbãl are a black-operations group buried deep within MOSSAD, hunting down Nazi Monsters (many of which were immortal) and new supernatural threats that abound both within and without Israel.

The practice of Kabbalah is forbidden, and said to curse one in the eyes of god, but these select few are willing to make that personal sacrifice for the sake of their people.

I’m not one for ‘sensitivity reading’, this is fiction, but it does occur to me that I know quite a few Israelis and Jews who will be far more familiar with Jewish folklore than I am. Everyone knows about the golem, but I’d like to include some other things. Anyone got anything cool to add as a ‘kickassery reader’?

#RPG – The Lost Biker Culture of Gaming

We ain’t havin’ no Chaos MCs on our turf!

NB: Biker culture is quite different in the UK than in the US. If you are wearing the patches of a ‘rival’ club in the USA, you will more than likely get a right shoeing. In the UK… eh, not so much. Still, while you can view my ‘cut’ as a parody, I see it as a homage and as a show of respect to MCs around the world. Even so, I tried looking for a local club to get permission from, and there aren’t any, other than a little band of recreational weekend warriors. Be careful about wearing cuts or patches wherever you are, and keep the local culture in mind.

Take my name out of your mouth, it’s not my cock.

One of the things I miss about the RPG subculture is the no-fucks-given, middle-finger-extended way in which it used to embrace the childish ‘satanic’ accusations. This was done through the embracing of heavy metal and other subcultures, including that of biker clubs (MCs).

It’s not necessarily the music that I miss. Bolt-Thrower were never really any good, but going into a Games Workshop to find yourself surrounded by metalheads and bikers made you feel at home. Contrary to appearance, they were also, always, the sweetest most welcoming guys in the world. Of course, the corporate culture changes at Citadel/Games Workshop around 1990 and they stopped selling RPGs and gave the metalheads the heave-ho to project a more family-friendly appearance. More’s the pity.

I’m the only one in the GC, so I’m president by default – for life 😛

Gaming, like headbanging and like joining an MC, used to have a bit of an air of danger to it even though it was nerdy as fuck. Without that culture, I’d never have found my style. I’d never have found my tribe. I’d never have seen Slayer live (and that’s a kill-or-cure life experience let me tell you). I would not have continued into goth, industrial and many of the other significant influences in my life.

I wanted to pay my respects to the lost tribe of gamers. I wanted to ground my current identity in my past. Not for nostalgia, but out of respect and as a constant personal reminder.

Obviously alluding to percentile dice, but also to the 1% outlaws. Seemed appropriate, given the notoriety 😉

I first hit on the idea of making a ‘Gaming Club’ cut way back in the day, when I was a mere sprog and when AD&D was in its dying gasps. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have the time. I didn’t have the Internet back then, though I did have a heavily patched blue denim jacket – as many metal fans did.

I was reminded of that idea when I finally deigned to catch up on ‘Sons of Anarchy’, which would have been around 2015, or so I guess. Still, I didn’t have the spare cash or the time to put into the project. Short of a few web-searches for custom patches, it didn’t amount to anything (plus I was preoccupied with Gamergate and related issues).

My group of friends have gone by this since forever. I’m no longer entirely sure why. Flash Gordon? ‘Ming’ being slang for weed? Both? Probably.

Most recently, two crucial things made my idle idea come to fruition. Firstly I played (and enjoyed) Days Gone and even in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse the biker culture, brotherhood and the symbolism of the ‘cut’ were a big deal in that game. Again, it reminded me of the old idea. I also had started buying cheap stuff from wish.com to add production value to my videos and my gaming. Suddenly, I could get an affordable black denim vest. I had the motivation, and it was easy to do. A quick search around Etsy and I found a place that did custom patches for a reasonable price.

Then it all came together.

It does put a smile on my face to don my ‘GC’ cut. Hopefully, it also conveys to others the sense of pride and place I have in the gaming community and its history.

The original ‘Rollin’ 20s, Lake Geneva Originals’ shirt was too complicated to turn into patches, but you can get it HERE.

#rpg – Actual Fucking Nightlife, Part One – Kin

Nightlife was a much underrated game, by Stellar Games (also known for It Came from the Late Late Show) with great art by my long time partner-in-crime Brad McDevitt (whose art was all over AFM and who also sells stock art through us at Drivethrurpg.

I have tried to approach the guys from Stellar Games on several occasions to seek licensing for this ‘lost’ game, but they have always asked for too much, or more commonly, been unresponsive to attempts to license or or produce a new edition (as I did with Blood!).

I figured it might be fun to provide some bare-bones rules conversions for running Nightlife using the Actual Fucking Monsters system nonetheless, it doing so would also help me explore what additional rules and ideas might go into AFM’s companion book.

So here it is, just a silly fan-blog.

Kin

The Kin in Nightlife were pretty loose anyway, rather open collections of thematic powers and weaknesses. So there’s plenty of scope to use AFM’s completely open system to recreate the Kin breeds found there.

Death and Resurrection

Unlike Monsters in AFM, you can’t outright kill Kin easily. When they die they – usually – resurrect the following night. This is detailed in the Nightlife books, but a Monster in AFM’s rules can only resurrect a number of times equal to their die type in Body (1-5 times) before dying the ‘true death’. Dying from Bane damage, or being dismembered or bodily destroyed will also do it.

General Kin Monster Powers

Ageless, Armoured, Claws & Teeth, Control Weather, Danger Sense, Direction Sense, Drain, Dreams and Nightmares, Extra Sensory Perception, Heightened Sense, Navigate Probability, Sense of Time, Speed, Techno-Invisibility, Tracking.

Vampyres

Those who are Made.
Transgression: Cannibalism/Blood Drinking
Monster Powers: Animal Magnetism, Beast Form (Bat), Hypnosis, Insubstantial, Beast Form (Rat), Beast Form (Wolf), Drain (Blood).
Possible Banes: Sunlight, Running Water, Garlic, Wood, Fire, Holy Relics.

Werewolves

Those who are Born, or Those who are Made.
Transgression: Sadism or Cannibalism.
Monster Powers: Animal Magnetism, Beast Form (Hybrid), Beast Form (Wolf), Drain (Pain), Fearsome, Heightened Sense.
Possible Banes: Fire, Silver.

Ghosts

The Neverborn.
Transgression: Cause Fear.
Monster Powers: Armoured, Camouflage, Drain (Fear), Empathic, Facedance, Fearsome, Frigidity, Insubstantial (In Ghosts, using this power makes them corporeal), Levitation, Telekinetic, Teleportation.
Possible Banes: Cold-Wrought Iron, Fire, Holy Relics.

Daemons

Those who are Born or Neverborn.
Transgression: Corruption and temptation.
Monster Powers: Body Manipulation, Drain (Life Force), Facedance, Fire Breath, Flight, Inhabit, Levitation, Telepathic Projection, Telepathic Reading, Teleportation.
Possible Banes: Flint (stone), Holy Relics, Natural Fire.

Wyghts

Those who are Made.
Transgression: Necrophagy, Necrophilia.
Monster Powers: Drain (Youth), Necrocommunication, Reanimator.
Possible Banes: Sunlight, Silver, Fire.

Manitou (Inuit – even I thought that was a bit much)

Those who are Born.
Transgression: Pranks and tricks.
Monster Powers: Animal Magnetism, Bedlam, Camouflage, Harm Transference, Heart Attack, Levitation.
Possible Banes: Fire, Holy Relics.

Animates

The Neverborn.
Transgression: Sadism.
Monster Powers: Body Manipulation, Demagogue, Drain (Life), Hypnosis, Telepathic Projection, Telepathic Reading.
Bane: Sunlight, Fire, Antipathy.

#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters RELEASED!

Aren’t we all just a little tired of shiny, brooding, romantic, tragic monsters with their ‘woe is me’ whining and carrying on? ‘Monsters we are, lest monsters we become’. Well, fuck holding onto your humanity. If we’re going to be monsters, let’s be Actual Fucking Monsters.

Drawing inspiration from works like Nightbreed and an endless array of 80s horror flicks and their revivals, Actual Fucking Monsters is a game of monstrous creatures doing horrible things and being tracked down and destroyed for it. You don’t win, you live fast, leave a bloody swathe in your wake and then are cut down by the forces of vengeful humanity.

Is that fun?

It sure as shit is.

BUY PDF HERE

BUY POD HERE

#RPG – MetaCards – System-Neutral Roleplaying Prompts RELEASED!

GET THEM HERE

MetaCards provide a means to encourage roleplay and verisimilitude in your TTRPG games.

GET THEM HERE

MetaCards are a generic system that can be overlaid on top of any other game system.

The cards provide prompts to roleplay in a certain way. The players can then represent a certain mood or perform certain actions that can provide verisimilitude for games that are designed to seem ‘real’, or thematic cues for games that are more narratively focused.

The players are encouraged to follow the cards by a small, mechanical, near-universal bonus. Decks can be customised with prompts specific to your group or campaign if you’re seeking to encourage a specific kind of roleplay. You could customise the deck to prompt players in a horror game to do stereotypical horror-movie things, or those in a romantic fantasy game to engage with the romantic preconceptions of that genre.

This is meant to be introductory, allowing you to take the concept and run with it for your own games.

GET THEM HERE

Hardcopies of the MAIN DECK and BLANK BOOSTERS will be available at TheGamecrafter.com

#RPG – Actual Fucking Monsters

I’m currently working on a couple of things, Metacards (systemless RP prompts to encourage roleplay and verisimilitude) and Actual Fucking Monsters, my spasm of disgust against the humanisation of monsters and the ‘pussification’ of vampires, werewolves and other monstrosities, inspired in part by Nightbreed (Cabal) and intended as a reaction to the lack of actual fucking horror present in most modern horror RP, TV series, films and so forth.

Rules can only do so much, the way you play a game – or are encouraged to – can also make a huge difference. In the advice section I lay out five ‘pillars’ that are meant to guide playing Actual Fucking Monsters.

Push the Envelope
Every player, including the Games Master, should be seeking to push the envelope of horrific and stomach-churning action that takes place in the game. In a time when so many games are bending over backwards to be overly considerate about people’s feelings and to protect them, this is meant to be like a roller coaster or a horror film. It’s meant to terrify and disgust each other – for fun.

There are Consequences
Everything you do in the game will come back to bite you on the arse in some way. You eat a child to fill your satiation? The mother tracks you down, even when the police give up. People see your monstrous visage and it goes viral on the internet. The sheriff comes after you, then the state police, then the feds, then monster hunters and witch burners. Everything you do comes back.

There is no Redemption
This isn’t a story about redemption or a cure. There is no spiritually pure path and probably no insight into the lore of your people. It is a downward spiral into despair and death and an inevitable bad-ending. This is Near Dark, not Interview with the Vampire.

Everyone is Awful
Nobody is good or pure or nice in this world. Every cop is a womaniser, a racist or an alcoholic. Every parent beats their children or never sees them. Every friend is a betrayer, every lover will cheat on you, everyone is out for themselves or out to get you. If you scratch the surface there’s nothing but darkness beneath.

Everyone Dies
There’s no ‘winning’ in this game. There’s no grand adventure. The world is reactive to everything you do and eventually, it all catches up to you. That’s the story here, and you ‘win’ by being an antihero, transgressing morality, pushing buttons and dying a spectacular death.

#RPG – Gorean Adventures, The Green Island RELEASED!

260756In this supplement for Tales of Gor you join a rebellious inventor on a quest for a mythical lost island and city. Will his technological innovations anger the Priest Kings? Will you fall afoul of the pirates that ply their trade across the Thassa? What will you discover beneath the waves, far from the politics and skulduggery of Civilised Gor?

This book also contains information on a (non-canonical) Farther Isle for you to use as a setting or base of operations for your player group.

Download

Hardcopy

#RPG – The Politics of Postmortem Studios

f2388bfcfd4cad5fbf8dd05fa090cf7a.pngIn the run-up to the US mid-term elections, several game companies put out statements on their political stances and exhorting people to vote in particular ways. This struck me as a little crass, and somewhat beyond the remit of a games company, an entertainer or – indeed – an artist.

This is far from the first time that this has happened, with games companies ‘excommunicating’ fans with particular outlooks, or even outright telling them ‘we don’t want you’. In a time of increasing division, this is even more divisive and this seems – to me – to be especially unhelpful when games and other diversions are a way to reach across the aisle and to humanise each other.

Still, I thought it best to explicitly state my political position as a company writer, game designer, artist, employer – and as an individual. So first, my position as a company, and the one I would prefer (but not demand) that anyone who works with me adopts…

I do not care who you are or what you believe. Your politics are not relevant to whether you enjoy my games or not. I do not want to deny anyone access to my material and while it is inevitably, somewhat, coloured by my experience and outlook, I make no demands and exclude nobody. Whatever your politics, creed, colour, sexuality, gender identity or ice-cream preference you’re welcome to play and enjoy my games, to work with me ore interact in any which way you prefer.

Hopefully, that’s clear enough. The TL;DR is that I don’t care about your personal politics, and you shouldn’t care about mine. Games are a way to look past all that, see each other as people, set aside politics and other divisions and to just have fun.

So as regards my personal politics, if you care…

I am a left-libertarian on the political compass, waaaaay down on the bottom left. Ideologically I’m an Anarchist-without-adjectives, but closest to an Anarcho-Technocrat. Ideological ideals rarely survive contact with the real world however, and my guiding principle from Anarchism is to maximise freedom for the greatest number of people, which in the current sociopolitical climate leads me to adopt Socialism as the best option to meet that goal.

I am pro free speech, for anything that falls short of The Harm Principle and believe the role of the state should be as guarantor and defender of people’s rights, rather than a source of constriction, censorship or oppression – and I extend that to the private sphere. Those rights should be as equal as possible between everyone, without special treatment either positive or negative. I believe we should work as hard as we can to maximise people’s opportunities so that everyone has the best possible chance to achieve their full potential.

I’m also an atheist, apparently I’m obliged to mention that.

Overriding anything else I think or believe, pragmatism and correct information has to come first. Effective action can only proceed from accurate facts, and pragmatism requires compromise where such is possible without losing touch with those base principles.

You may have heard things about me that seem to be in conflict with these ideals. There is a lot of bullshit going around, mainly – ironically – because I choose to speak up about the regressive, censorious behaviour of others in the industry who – also ironically – often consider themselves progressive. If you want clarity, my door is always open.

Behind all this is, of course, is an argument over politics, art, political art, the ‘personal as political’ and all that jazz.

Can art be political? Sure. To an extent, we can’t help but project our own politics and worldviews into what we create. This is more obvious in some forms of art than others. That doesn’t mean that art has to be political, nor that it has to beat people over the head with politics.

There’s a term for wilfully, evangelical political art, and that is propaganda.

That’s also behind what I call the ‘Christian Rock Problem’. The reason Christian Rock is so fucking terrible is because it puts its religious message first, over and above the concern of making it any good. This is also why Rage Against the Machine’s breakout album is the only good one they did.

  • So, art can be apolitical.
  • Art can be about politics.
  • Art can be political, and that’s when it becomes propaganda.

Art to any purpose can be worthwhile and beautiful. Even a TV commercial or a cereal box, even a Soviet-era political poster.

In divisive times like this, streaming art and games according to political tribalism only stands to worsen things and to increase the polarising effects we already suffer from social media bubbles, tabloids and tribalistic news channels. Games, hobbies, sports, these are places where we can meet across these lines and understand each other – or they should be. I cannot stand that people are willfully and deliberately politicising these spaces and making the problem worse, not better.

If you are interested in my more political games, feel free to check out The Little Grey Book and @ctiv8.

If there are any specifics you’d like me to clarify my positions on, I’d appreciate the opportunity to do so. Feel free to ask below or via Ask.fm/grimachu