Classes and levels in some games, sure, special abilities and magical equipment in a lot of them, almost universally the getting caught up in more significant events of meaning and significance.
What really makes a hero, or perhaps should, is luck and experience. Adventurers put themselves in harm’s way all the time, and yet, consistently manage to escape in one piece. As they do, they learn things few other people manage to learn. They gain the kind of honed skills and situational awareness that only seasoned combat veterans typically get in the real world.
Of course, experience in the real world doesn’t count for shit when an IED goes off under your chemical toilet. Real, authentic life is horribly random and doesn’t grant plot immunity for people with good stories. Even ironic deaths are only ironic in hindsight.
Very few games really play into these ideas of luck and bitter experience though. ‘Luck’ sometimes appears as a smallish pool of money, experience usually manifests in the form of increased and expanded skills and special abilities, but not in a more ‘usable’ form. You do find it, occasionally (Over the Edge First Edition, some versions of Deadlands – after a fashion) but overall, not so much.
Various story games and roleplaying styles have tried to get around this in one form or another.
Possibly the earliest version is ‘fudging dice rolls’, either to prolong the life of an in-game villain or to spare groups of characters the indignity of a Total Party Kill (TPK). Old School gamers are often critical of this and believe you should let the dice fall where they may.
Some games add mechanics like inspiration, fate, chits, tokens and so on to shift the probabilities around to favour a more heroic narrative, but very Even the most narrativey of narrative games doesn’t address this head-on, and perhaps some game should.
I made an attempt with my game ‘IRREPRESSIBLE!’, based (loosely) on the tales of Sun Wukong, the monkey god of Chinese myth. Well, more based on the English dub of the Japanese series about the Chinese legend of Journey to the West.
In that game, your party shares a pool of points which are represented b tokens in a bag, with one black token. As you do things, the things you’re more skilled at mean you draw fewer tokens, whereas the less skilled you are, the more tokens you draw. Draw a black token, and you fail (but all the spent tokens go back in the bag), draw one twice in a row, and something disastrous happens.
Simple, but effective, kind of like pushing your luck in Dread, which also – somewhat – addresses this.
What if, though, we had a game where your characters were relatively normal in their array of skills and abilities, compared to everyone else around them, but they had this ineffable luck. That along with a pool of experience spent, not to increase their capabilities, but as a resource, to boost rolls.
It’s a thought, but character progression is so integral to many people’s enjoyment of RPGs it’s hard to tell if it’s an idea they’d pick up on.
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.
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.
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.
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
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’.
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.
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.
30 HP QSZ-92s. Attack Roll: 12
Huawei Security Systems: DC 25
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.
We’re playing 2020 in 2020, you can see some earlier posts on this blog about that. As part of that, I thought I’d put a little effort into some campaign material and world-setting (which is an even darker timeline version of our current 2020.
Huawei Backdoor data
Details on the Huawei backdoor could fetch a very high price on the open market, or provide a killer backdoor for any hacker who kept hold of the information.
A darknet broker, BAUHINIA97 claims to know where the information is being held on the Hauwei campus in Shenzen. He’s willing to front transport and expenses in Bitcoin, as a gamble, plus 10% of the final sale price of the data.
UK Arrest Warrants
There are riots, protests, violence and even terrorism all over the UK at the moment. COBRA seems to be in permanent session and this has accelerated the mass flight of capital and industry from the country that was already happening.
Police, reserves and the military have all alread been employed to handle basic duties, while the ‘proper’ police try to quell the riots and disruption, but politically the government cannot put troops ‘on the streets’ and so a great deal has gone out to private contract.
There are strict rules to follow, the warrants are for the individuals to be arrested and turned in to custody, but there’s quite a lot of them and they run anything up to 50,000 pounds reward for the top of the list.
Many different corporations and interests are using the bush inferno as an excuse and opportunity to test out new technology. That creates plenty of opportunities for corporate espionage, especially since communications are a bit unreliable.
One of your brokers is interested in the capture and retrieval of a firefighting exoskeleton being field tested by an Australian startup. The Crow-X1 is cutting edge fire protection, a completely sealed suit that’s supposed to be able to wade deep into the worst chemical fires to attack them at their source.
Reward is likely to run around 100k USD.
Black-market, hidden server farms are highly sought after for lucrative piracy, mob data storage and other illicit purposes. They’re also somewhat vulnerable, for all that there’s a great deal of money sunk into them.
A darknet broker is looking to hire a private group to raid a server farm currently lurking on the edge of Night City’s ‘combat zone’. If they know where it is they could just inform the police, so it seems like they want some incriminating data erased – with extreme prejudice.
10k USD, and preferential treatment for future work – if handled discretely.
One of the many small cryonics facilities that has gone bust has been bought out by Osiris. They’re shipping the ‘high rollers’ from a facility in Scottsdale Arizona to their new headquarters in San Francisco – by road, for the sake of safety.
Your broker has a contracter willing to pay 100k for the retrieval of one, specific high-roller cannister from the truck. If you’re up for it.
The next couple of days are the last days that you can pre-order Election Party, and we’re also looking for reviewers with reasonable traction to review the game. Get in touch at email@example.com if you’re in a position to play and/or review the game.
I’m also doing a giveaway to promote the game, all you have to do is retweet this post, and you could win over 70 quid’s worth of gaming stuff!
My gaming group and I played Cyberpunk to death back in the day, and given that it’s now 2020, we’re playing ‘2020 in 2020’. I’ve also been considering creating a Cyberpunk Retroclone, for some time, but had been somewhat dubious about doing so. The time feels, sort of, right now though.
My intent is to produce a generic, broadly compatible rules-set that can be applied to many different settings (*punk) and then – perhaps – to provide different prefixes as supplemental material. (Cyber*, Steam*, Bamboo*, Bio*) that can be ‘plugged in’.
Some of this will be produced as a side-effect of me creating and running this campaign. I’ll blog about it a bit more, as I go.
9d10, re-roll rolls of 2
or less and assign as desired. Minimum total 70 pts. Reroll lowest
score and add on until you get over 75.
EG: Dana is rolling up
what she hopes will be a Cyberninja.
She rolls: 1, 2, 3, 4,
5, 6, 8, 8, 9
Immediately, she needs
two re-rolls, which score 9 and 6.
That gives her an array
of: 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 8, 8, 9, 9.
That’s still only a
total score of 58, she needs to gain another 15 total points.
Re-rolling the lowest
score each time until it hits 70 continues until the array is: 6, 6,
6, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, which is bang on 70.
Roll as per normal, but
potentially try to tie it to the background timeline.
Ignore the normal rules and treat everything as pickup skills. So you get 40+Int+Ref (before modifications and cybernetics) to spend where you like. Your Role skill cannot be higher than +5 and no other skill higher than +8 (so you have room to grow).
Netrunning will mostly be more like ‘real’ hacking, to do with prep and programs so it doesn’t drag down on the spot play, though on the spot hacking using field effects will also be an option.
Roles & Special
(Replaces Media): Credibility: Allows you to expose stories and
use your reputation to convince people. Also adds half its score to
your Persuasion and Interview skills, rounding down.
(Half round down adds to Intimidate and Interrogate, can be rolled
by itself to exercise authority as an official agent of
Resources, this allows you to either draw on the parent company’s
resources, or your own investments and holdings during a game.
Government administrators are created using the Corporate model, but
handle governmental resources.
Combat Sneak adds half its level to Stealth, Hide/Evade, Awareness
Streetdeal grants you free reputation equal to your skill level, as
a wheeler and dealer, and adds as a bonus to your Streetwise rolls.
You know people, everywhere, and can get just about anything.
Transhuman skill reduces the Humanity loss of installing Cyberware
by its value, for each item.
(Replaces Rockerboy): Influence allows you to reach a large
audience via your social media presence and to directly influence
smaller numbers of people to action. See Influencer table below.
The Research special ability grants half its level, rounding down,
to Library Search and Shadow/Track.
Medtech allows you to perform highly trained feats of medicine,
such as surgery. You can also add half of your Medtech skill
(rounding down) to a single area of medical expertise such as
Pediatrics, ENT, Oncology etc.
Nomad): Neotribes are looser, transnational associations of
people built on interests and common experiences. Communities, with
stronger bonds. You can roll your ‘Family’ to gain aid or make local
contacts from members of your ‘tribe’. Street gang members can be
simulated with this role.
Interface represents your intuitive grasp and specialist knowledge
of modern computing. You add half your Interface skill, rounding
down, when engaged in Programming, Electronic Security and System
Parkour is adds half its bonus to Athletics and Hide/Evade rolls.
a Scrounge check you can figure out where to find junked, lost, but
otherwise usable and valuable materials. You will still have to go
get them, however. Unlike Streetwise or Streetdeal, what you turn up
is free for the taking – at least monetarily.
Sense (adds to Initiative).
Sense, bonus to Awareness and Initiative.
grants you one foolproof cover identity at level 1, another at level
5 and another at level 10. It also adds half its level as a bonus to
Disguise and Persuasion/Fast talk rolls.
well as the ability to jury rig apparatus (for 1d6 turns of
operation) you can also add your Jury Rig skill as a bonus to one
area of technical expertise of your choice (engineering, science
Vamp skill allows you to encourage an audience to part with their
money by using your sexuality, or their fetishes. Rolling this skill
lets you tap people for money, make them take risks, send gifts to
you and otherwise be led around by their libido.
These are more akin to the traditional Nomads and are members of
biker gangs, displaced peoples, Roma caravans, traveller convoys
etc. Basic Transients can use family, to represent their connections
and contacts. Sub-classes calculate their Kith score according to
Neotribes P38. Subclasses include Warriors (Warpath adds half
round-down to Melee, Initiative and Awareness), Outriders (Recon
adds half its level to Awarneess and Hide/Evade) and Shaman
(Counsel, Works as a half-strength version of Credibility and
Vehicle Zen is added as a bonus to vehicular skills.
If you have an essential,
big-ticket item integral to your character concept, you can have a
single item, vehicle or other asset with a value of no more than
€50,000, but it technically, really, is on loan from a criminal,
intelligence, corporate or other group who demand favours etc in
exchange until you pay it off.
Note on Cyberpsychosis
expensive specialists and a weekly one-hour session will set you back
at least €200. In a month of sessions (€800) you can regain one
point of Humanity, but NOT Empathy. Empathy can only be recovered by
a combination of removing cybernetics and therapy.
EG: Tony’s Empathy
drops from 6 to 5, following the installation of a new cyberarm. His
current Humanity is 52. After seven months of therapy his Humanity is
back up to 59, but he can gain no further benefit from Therapy, nor
regain his lost point of Empathy.
Characters reduced to 2 Empathy manifest mental illness and tics – you can decide what, you know your character’s mental fracture points. At Empathy 1 that illness becomes full blown. At 0 it becomes a full blown and permanent derangement. This is separate to any other mental illnesses your character might suffer from. Losing additional points of Empathy stacks on more insanity until you decide to retire the character.
Wounds, Damage and Armour
We’ll start out by trying the Wounds/Threshold system from the Red jumpstart kit, which is kind of like 4e’s Health/Bloodied/Down system. It’s not really any less abstract than wound levels, and a bit easier on the bookkeeping.
It does also mean that armour SP is ‘compressed’ however. Armour SPs convert roughly like so…
NB: We’re covered at the moment, but if you already helped me out please download this for free. Otherwise, any money raised that exceeds what we need will go to charity, likely either the Zelart Scholarship fund or a no-kill cat shelter.
Games in this booklet:
Kredya Sociyani – Can you game the social credit system and come out on top?
One Downmanship – A race to the bottom to take control of the agenda.
The Great Debate – How extreme are you willing to go to get votes?
Elder, Could you tell me? – Create a religion, one annoying child’s question at a time.
Everything is Kung Fu – Solve every problem in the world, with your fists.
I don’t really enter the 200-Word RPG Challenge but I do meet the challenge. I treat it as an exercise, on and off. This year, as once previously, I’m offering up that work for sale, but for a special reason.
My cat, Charlie, has been with me about as long as I’ve been writing games full time. He’s been my companion and my muse, he’s added structure to my day, comfort when I’ve been down, amusing antics and much-needed distractions.
He also saved my life, literally rather than figuratively. At the point of one of my suicide attempts, he interrupted me, practically tearing down the door and making sounds I’ve never heard from a cat before or since. He stopped me, and I owe him.
Before the weekend a neighbour’s dog got out and chased him up a tree. In getting down again he scratched his eye and broke his left rear leg, right behind the knee.
This has meant many vet visits already, with more to come. Medication, X-rays, and may lead to an expensive operation to repair or remove the leg. I want to give him the best possible chance to keep the leg and to survive. I owe him my life.
As such I’m raising money to help cover his vet bills and to keep the options as open as possible. He’s an old boy and likely doesn’t have too many years left, but I love him and want him as fit and comfortable as possible.
This collection of games is Pay-What-You-Want. I’m sick of begging when things like this go wrong, and I do save money as a contingency, but it has been one thing after another this year and it just isn’t doable without help.
Updates can be found on my YouTube channel, ‘PostmortemVideo’.
It was great to have a chance to nerd out over game design with Richard, and to pimp out my new subscriber-first video series on game design. Join my Patreon or Subscribestar for early access to that.
If you’d like me to come onto a ‘cast, to discuss anything or even to argue with me about my various, supposed ‘horrible’ positions on things, I’m always willing, or willing to host you on my Youtube livestream channel. This is a separate channel to my main one, so please subscribe there too!
In this fantastic episode Richard Pullman and James Desborough — also known as “Grim” — walk through a crazy career, an aimless industry, and the need for bravery in creativity.
Grim has more experience than anyone I know working for big companies, but also a raft of original games and content that push the limits of what you can explore in tabletop RPGs.
Had a lot of fun with this #podcast episode! Managed to get to so many different topics.
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!
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’?
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.