Quick Roundup

So for the last few weeks, I’ve managed to write a new post to go up each Monday and Friday, but I missed one. I had a bunch of writing built up and then through a combination of extra training at work and travel, I didn’t get around to writing one.

Big mistake!

Hopefully, I’ll keep on track for the foreseeable.


What’s gone on in the meantime? Dima the Crow got an outing. I was pretty happy with how he played, but we’re levelling up after this first session and I think I’m going to retool a little bit. I didn’t go full bladelock before, and I’m not intending to now, but I think maybe a bit more offence and less defence might be useful. Replacing Armour of Agathys with Hex is looking to be my first step since I can use an Invocation slot for Mage Armour.


I have a plan to sit down at some point in the near future and add some more Magic decks to my list. I have a fair few that I’m quite pleased with how they turned out, I may as well show them off. I’m currently working on a brew for a Frontier Mardu Warriors deck and a Commander Saskia Warriors in a similar vein (but with green for ramp and access to Naya staples).


I’ve started moving my Ginnungagap rules over from Homebrewery to GMBinder. Not a big change exactly, since it’s mostly a copy/paste job, and the rules aren’t exactly extensive, and the need to format them in standard D&D styles is a vanity project. But it’s one I’ve been working on.

I realised I had a few mistakes and the sections need reordering some. And then I can happily work away on Races and get them rounded off.


I’ve found myself reading through different twists on rules for FATE, both for my FATEPunk idea and for the Old Crown. I have a feeling the skill modes from Atomic Robo will be a good fit for the Old Crown if I can work out appropriate modes.

And then I’ve sort of started thinking about the move of FATEPunk from the Pacific to Africa. Started. A bit. Probably too much.


Worlds to go back to

I haven’t been too productive of late, despite telling myself that once again I’d kick into gear following the New Year. It would be nice to say that this post will be the start of a new trend, but I’ve told myself that before, and I still quickly get sidetracked by something or other. I can hopefully make myself semi-productive for a while and maybe pull something together from all my draft posts (oh so many draft posts).

So, worlds I miss and want to go back to. Not ones I think about all the time, ones I work on more often. Mostly these are played experiences, ones I felt were never complete or I wish I could flesh out some more.


Legend of the Five Rings

So, I’ve managed a few times to put something together for this, as my incomplete play report from a few years ago might attest.

I did manage to round off a few plots that I had for my favourite character there. He was married off, above his station, into a new clan, which made sense from a story point-of-view but still felt at least one adventure too soon.

Always waiting in the wings was a backup character I made, a Centipede clan bushi who, after years of Phoenix clan training to master the art of attuning to the Void, had accidentally attuned himself to the Sun. He never had a chance to break out and do anything, and I doubt he ever will.

It would be cool to go back though. I always had great ideas for a Dragon shugenja, or to play a Scorpion how I felt he should be played, rather than how they inevitably were. With the new rules on the horizon, maybe I’ll get to try something out.


Dresden Files

The last time I played, my cryomancer had finally escaped his Doom as a Rulebreaker for naively reading a book on Outsiders, only to end up with a completely new Doom – never accept the help of the Genius Locum of a Leyline in order to trap a Necromancer inside an infinitely repeating second, no matter how good your intentions.

I had some ideas for pulling together a new game set in Las Vegas, with various clued in mobsters and the Lady Luck making several appearances, but I never got it off the ground. And with the Paranet Papers coming out with their own spin on Vegas, I was a little put off the idea.

More recently, I came up with a couple of ideas for other locations (Dublin with lots of Fae and Werewolf stuff going on, Hong Kong with Elemental Courts and probably Vampires and triads). I haven’t made any notes or anything on them yet.


The Goblin King

The Goblin King was a magic-powered supervillain in a game of Mutants and Masterminds. He was equal parts campy Batman villain and silly Venture Bros. villain, modelled in part on the Monarch.

But the game dried up just as I was starting to get the development going. Infiltrating the UN in order to have a conversation with the General Secretary, I had just let slip that the entire time we’d been playing, I’d been purposefully hamming up the ridiculous aspects of the character in order to avoid conflicts between Earth and the Goblin Dimension (which had been all but destroyed in a war under the previous, non-Human Goblin King).

I’m not sure how many other players picked up on the fact I’d been underplaying my abilities or motives, but I was enjoying it. I have a draft post sat around trying to rebuild the character in a few different superhero rules sets, but I’m not very happy with it.

One day, I might bring him back.



My A-Z of the setting as I had it imagined was written almost a year ago. It was heavily borrowed/stolen from a cyberpunk game I’d played in for months during 2011, which I enjoyed so much I attempted a not-so-subtle copy of it (that’s my story and I’m sticking with it).

I managed to run a game around 2014 or 2015 using some hastily cobbled together rules for cybernetics in FATE. One session in and I realised that the story I wanted to tell wasn’t the story the players were interested in, and I called it quits.

If I went back to it, I would probably move away from the Pacific-rooted story, maybe exploring the areas around the rival space elevators as I’d written them. That would drop the game into either Africa or South/Central America which would have a very different feel from the Black Lagoon/Marvel’s Madripoor, or maybe wouldn’t. I don’t know.

The big villain of course would still have to be globalism and global trade conglomerates, and so on. Nativism / Globalism, Cultural appropriation / Globalism or Cultural destruction / Globalism would all work in those settings, but I don’t have nearly as many ideas of how to pull it off.

More to ponder then.


Sands of Fate

My elemental Arabian Nights fantasy game was fun for the few sessions I played with it, but I was so focused at the time on the rules and how to make them work that I don’t know if my setting was as good. It certainly had a few parallels with the Old Crown, which I’d been working on at the time.

I’d like to try again, maybe sit down with it and work out some of the kinks, but I’m not in the place for it right now. I’ve been reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s Years of Rice and Salt and it’s certainly brought some of the ideas back to the fore of my mind.



And that’s all for now. Maybe I’ll actually manage to write something else up soon too!

City takeover

The other day, I ended up having a scroll through some old blog posts and one caught my eye that I’d completely forgotten about.

Since I’ve written that post, new novels about that hinted-at history have begun rolling out, but I’m ignoring those until I get my hands on a copy!


Anyway, the point being, I’m now thinking about how this could be pulled off in an RPG. How best to apply the rules, and what rules? Taking over a city is basically the main goal in any Vampire: the Masquerade game for any half-decent coterie, so I might ignore that.

What then? FATE, D&D, Cortex, Savage Worlds all give potential, as does just homebrewing or mashing a few of them together. D&D would be easy to pick up for most of my players, but FATE might give me the god-like messiness that gives them the chance to really take on a city.

I may have been playing too much Saints Row and falling back on my love of the Authority comics in brainstorming this. And then I remembered the post I made before my original city takeover and thought about connecting the players to an old forgotten temple or something like that.


Anyway, we’ll see. So far, my options for a new RPG are either this, Space Viking D&D, or an intro Vampire game that people might be interested in. We’ll see. It’s been far too long since I rolled some dice!

Z is for: Zaibatsu

Whilst many Megacorps are run by a board of directors drawn from their different subsidiaries, the corporations called Zaibatsu are instead controlled by individual families.

These families may act as a board of directors, running the holding company that manages its subsidiaries, and therefore they share a great deal with the other Megacorps. The subtle difference as a family holding, with heirs and heiresses, is an important one.

The Japanese term for these holding companies has grown in popularity, though they are also known by their Korean name Chaebol is also sometimes used in the IICP.


Some of the zaibatsu active in the IICP include –

Nguyen Medical – working with the Department of Health as well as private insurance companies (many of which they own), Nguyen Medical is one of the largest medical technologies companies in the world. They build, maintain and operate hospitals and equipment, and their most famous subsidiary is probably the well known Trauma Team emergency medical service.

Mitsui Sumitomo – From mineral extractions to petrochemical processing and heavy industrial manufacturing, Mitsui Sumitomo has a hand in many pies. They even have a hand in vidstream content creation and a mesh network gaming portfolio.

Toyota Aerospace – A conglomerate of heavy manufacturing and engineering projects, they build all kinds of electric motor vehicles, including the spinnercab. Their emphasis on engines and engine parts means that many other companies choose to buy from Toyota rather than develop products themselves.

Keswick Holdings – Notable for their fortunes coming from Hong Kong and the Jardine companies, the Keswick group owns large numbers of hospitality subsidiaries, mainly hotels and restaurants, as well as the construction firms who build them. One of their smaller subsidiaries imports European sports vehicles.

Cheng & Fung – Not generally thought of as a builder of products but an enabler of services, they dominate the field of logistics and supply-chain management. They do however have sizable subsidiaries in hotels, casinos and high-end jewellery, as well as smaller interests in telecommunications and property development.

Y is for: the Yellow Plague

The most recent health epidemic to sweep the world, the Yellow Plague was killing hundreds of people daily across the globe as recently as a few years ago.

Related to Streptococcus pyogenes, which even in the early 21st century was killing 500,000 people a year, the Yellow Plague was much more effective at harming the host before symptoms began to show. The damage to the internal organs, and particularly the liver, caused some of the same symptoms as Yellow Fever, and so the name quickly stuck.


At first barely noticed, cases began to amass in Europe and spread beyond, and more people died from consquences of toxic shock and sepsis. The UN advised a ban on all unecessary travel, but by that point the infection had spread far and wide.


The origins of the infection remain a mystery, but many believe the outbreak was caused by a genetically engineered bacteria that was either intentionally or accidentally released into the population of Central and Western Europe.

X is for: Xenophon

Following a series of political, social and environmental disasters, the former state of Greece fell into civil war. One of the factions that arose called itself the Ten Thousand, modelled on the ancient army of the same name.

Espousing a fascist ideal in their interpretation of Ancient Greece, a country they claimed direct heritage from, the Ten Thousand were a hard-line military group that believed in realigning the feuding city-states that were formerly Greece under a new tyrant, – the leader of their group, who called himself Xenophon.


In the ongoing conflict, they did not fair well, and with Xenophon imprisoned by the New Athens authorities and later put on trial for genocide, many of his followers escaped into the wider world amongst all the others fleeing the area.


Over time, what was once an idealised army of fascist warrior philosophers morphed to become the terrorist group called Xenophon, in honour of their ‘fallen’ leader. Whilst their tendencies to violence had continued, much of their original philosophy had warped over time.

Now favouring the Ten Thousand as the ideal arbiters of their own version of justice, their biggest crime to date has been the simultaneous destruction of Australian authorities in the name of freedom from borders – “for how can the Ten Thousand show justice to the world without freedom to travel to every place they are needed?”


The group is outlawed in most countries of the globe and features on a UN security watchlist, though there are some still within Reunited Greece who continue to send them support.

W is for: the rest of the World


United by the African Union, the nations of Africa have come together to build several Pan-African projects, including the continent’s own space elevator and a reforestation effort at the edges of the Sahara.

Economic ties with Europe and the Americas have slowly been replaced with projects funded by the UN, Asian interests and the cross-border Megacorps.



After decades of turmoil, North America isn’t what it once was.

The United States fractured into several successors, eventually leading to the Western Republic centred on old California, Independent Texas, the Empire of America holding the Midwest and much of the old southern states, and Free New York the last of the northeastern states not to join Canada.

Mexico and Canada have weathered the fall of their neighbour well, gaining land on their old borders and happily bolstering their populations.

Central America has also seen a boost, with UN and Megacorps beginning construction of a new space elevator project off the coast.

Following years of struggle, South America has also had its borders reshaped. The rise of the criminal cartels and their subsequent fall has left behind a patchwork of semi-recognised micronations. They are currently administered by the UN and various NGOs, trying to sew the old continent back together again.



Following years of lobbying by corporations, human industry has arrived in Antarctica.

Whilst mineral reserves below the continent are being extracted, work is also underway to make the continent more habitable for humanity in the form of the Antarctica Arcology. A combined work of perhaps half the corporations on the planet, it could become every part the corporate state that the IICP has evolved into.



Home to almost a third of humanity, the powerhouse of Asia has become the centre of modern human civilisation.

The technological rise of Japan, Korea and China has propelled great social upheaval, though it was China’s annexation of much of Siberia and the reunification of Korea being the main turning points in the last decades. The oligarchs of the new Russia Hegemony work tirelessly to build their military-industrial state, whilst the Peace Movement in India has managed to draw much of its own population out of poverty.

Peace it seems will never be achieved in the Middle East. Pan-Arabism and Zionism erupted into brutal conflict and have not calmed for some decades, save brief ceasefires for a year or two as the rest of the world seeks a resolution.



The European Federation, the Russian Hegemony and Britain have all seen their fortunes rise and fall.

After Russia’s losses in Asia and the fracturing of its United States allies, it fell back to diplomatic relations with Europe, strained for decades but nonetheless. Whilst it could have no hope of joining what was now a distant neighbour, it could at least patch some of its worse ills.

Britain too had become a distant ally of the Federation, though has taken much longer to repair its links. Home to several of the largest corporations in the world, it has relied heavily upon them for economic gains, infrastructure and even governance.

Not everyone was happy with the Federation of course. From the economic collapse of Greece came the rise of the terrorist group called Xenophon.


Oceania and Zealandia:

With the IICP at its heart, the Pacific has gained the most in the last few decades, becoming just as much a powerhouse of economic and social revolution as Asia.

Following terrorist attacks on several Australian cities, a group called Xenophon claimed responsibility. Calling for immigrants rights and a world without borders, their attacks on the public authorities did anything but open Australia’s borders.