How I got into D&D

Growing up a teenager in the early 80’s came with a lot of freedoms that would be described as “negligence” these days. Taking my father’s old Gremlin for a drive Friday night, leaving a note saying I’ll be back Sunday, and just disappearing for a few days. No location tracking, no cell phone constantly going off. Maps instead of GPS. Carton of smokes and a case of beer from my brother’s  more questionable friend. 

Trouble was, the radio was busted, leaving me often with the entertainment selection of: the wind and chain smoking. I’m not complaining (entirely), as it was freeing and an excellent way to clear one’s head. Still, after hours of driving, one can only listen just their thoughts for so long. Thankfully, nature back in the 80’s had a way of providing exactly what you need when times get tough: Hitchhikers. 

Nowadays, yes, hitchhiking has gotten a bad rap, largely due to all the lead poisoned boomers and their rotten, violent tendencies. Back then, however, picking up hitchhikers was still a fairly common and neighborly thing to do for folk. They got a ride, you got some stories, shared some beer; it was a win-win for all involved. 

That’s how, in the summer of 1984, in the backroads somewhere North of Las Angeles county, I came to learn what the hell Dungeons and Dragons was. Running low on smokes, and in desperate need of company, that’s when I found him; a somewhat portly fellow with thinning, long brown hair, dressed in some gaudy sweater and an armful of books and paper scraps. The poor bastard was walking (stumbling really) down the road, a wake of paper sheets trailing behind him, and seemed to give no indication he was losing things. 

I slid the Gremlin to a clunking halt beside him, and rolled down the passenger window, but before I could ask if he needed a lift, I was met with a grunt of a belch and cascade of books and loose leaf notebook paper coming into the window, nearly smashing my unsuspecting face in the process. Confused by the demons grinning back at me on the covers of the books, and at least one with a centaur trying to bash the brains out of a flying Gozer terror dog, I hefted this lump sum of esoteric mysteries and gently tossed them into the backseat, next to the beer. Meanwhile, the figure reached into the car, through the window, in order to open the door. No attempt on the outside handle was made, the beast went directly for the interior. A war against spatial reality played out as the figure attempted to open the door while physically existing within the space needed to open it. It was a conflict in which there were no real winners. Casualties on either side were far too great to justify the spoils won. Evidently an armistice had been reached for shortly after the man crashed down into the passenger seat. 

“Ah, a paladin of the road, I see?” he slurred at me in a midwestern accent. He stunk of whiskey and grass; the wild look in his eyes and the dry blood just under his nose hinted at far more decadent delights than I had interest in. He spotted my map in the dashboard and quickly picked it up for investigation. 

“Heh, yeah, man…” I awkwardly agreed, having never heard the word ‘paladin’ before. Pulling the tab on a Pabst to offer my new passenger, I instead gave him grunts of protest as he began to pull strips of paper from my map. He waved a hand dismissively at my cursing and soon produced a fairly large size bag of grass from his pockets, spilling a number of small rubber dinosaur figures in the process, and eventually produced marijuana cigarettes from the strips of map. 

“My fare, coachman.” He said matter of factly, handing one over to me. I accepted it with a nod, still not knowing what the hell he was talking about, but determining it to be a fair price for the destruction of the map, and moments later we were back on the road. 

Side note: God damn do I miss car cigarette lighters. It was always right there when I needed to find it, unlike a lighter or box of matches, which always seemed to go missing exactly whenever I attempted to look for it.

Shortly, the exchange of smoke and drink between guest and host was complete. Ancient customs from a more civilized time had been fulfilled. As long as both of our fates involved that car, no harm could be brought upon one of us from the other, lest the gods grow angry and smite the oath breaker. 

We made pleasantries and small talk, the verbal equivalent of dogs sniffing each other’s asses, getting a sense of one another before the Deeper conversation could begin. He introduced himself as something pronounced along the lines of “Zhee-gax” which sounded strange as way of a name to my anglican ears, but I’ve never been one to deny someone their identity. Also, I was rather high. 

I questioned him, and he spoke, of the assortment of books and papers we had stashed behind us, the occasional stray breeze from the windows catching in the loose leaf, sending it fluttering around the backseat as if a bird trapped in a place it definitely knows it should not be. Apparently, that ragged assortment of books in the back was a form of game, and the advanced version at that. He dropped words like “THAC0” and “Oerth” which at the time I had no context for, all while gesturing like a madman, as though possessed by Asmodeus himself. 

“And so, as these characters of noble men and heroes, the players set out to explore lost dungeons, fight monsters, and return with the riches they find with it.” He concluded one leg of his monologue while dropping his sixth empty Blue Ribbon out the window. 

“Isn’t that, you know…it all sounds rather imperialistic, when put like that.” I asked, flicking my cigarette ash to the wind. 

“Imperialistic?” He responded in what was mostly a growl. He stared at me, eyes burning behind his wire framed glasses, hateful contempt bearing down from his balding brow. The only sounds were that of the roaring wind passing, and what was likely to be the loose fender rattling in an attempt to break up the tense silence. Like the sands of a dune, something in the conversation had shifted below my feet. Was this irascible Midwesterner truly that short of fuse? Or had something more grim befallen the environment within the Gremlin. I took note of my full can of beer, preparing to grab it on the occasion my guest needed assaulting in order to get his mood back on track. But did he even know about the pact made, through sharing of libations? Did he know of the gods’ revenge? And would they blame me or him, should the need arise for an altercation? Was I doomed from the start?

Thank God I was atheist. 

“Uh, hey, man,” I stumbled over my words, trying to draw this cheese headed savage back into the realm of decency. “You, uh, never mentioned where you were headed. When am I taking you?” 

“Where am I going?” He snapped, before catching himself. A deep breath later, he spoke through clenched teeth, “I’m on my way. To kill a man. A one David Rizzle, to be more precise.”

NAturally, this caught my interest. It wasn’t going to be me, after all. 

“Oh? He, uh, he take your woman, or something?” A line I had heard in a movie. 

“Did he take my - What? No. Nothing like that. Besides, out here in Hollywood I can get a replacement like that.” He attempted a snap, but his intoxicated fingers failed to make the proper connection. The third attempt produced a passable result. “Just don’t tell my wife, eh?” He cackled, amused with himself. His anger had dropped noticeably, though my concern had been replaced with annoyance. “He was one of my players back in Wisconsin. ‘Apparently’ he has ‘issues’ with my monsters.”

“Your monsters?…Oh, right, the little dudes the characters fight.” I flicked an ash from the smoldering cigarette. 

“Little dudes? LITTLE. DUDES?” His tone of voice brought renewed interest into the bludgeoning plan. With a grunt he leaned over, and began rummaging around the floor of the passenger seat. Casting a McDonald’s Styrofoam container out the window he began to babbling in grunts and drooling groans. “This isn’t some little dude. This is an owlbear!” 

“GAH.” I cleverly retorted as he thrusted a tiny plastic figure into my face, knocking the cherry free from my cigarette. “AH” I continued, attempting to swat the burning ball of ash away from my crotch. “Fuckfuckfuck” the monolog continued as I swerved the car back onto the blacktop. 

“A god damn owlbear!” he sneered, apparently unphazed by the last few moments. His diseased mind was locked on to the deranged point he was attempting to make. Righting the car’s trajectory, I finally took note of the figure. It was a pitiful thing, made of common plastic poured into a mold someone had clearly determined ‘close enough.’ It was clearly the hate child of a horned up H.R. Pufnstuf and a taxidermized bear, which had been force fed acid during the ill conceived gestation. Truly awful.

“Truly awful.” I pointed out, beginning to light a new cigarette. It was growing tedious keeping an eye on him and an eye on the road. 

“AWFUL HE SAYS” He screeched, casting the tiny figure out the window, casting it to the literal wind. “Alicanto! Is that fucking awful?” He held up some bird-like creature he had picked off the floor. Before I could speak, he had sent it through the window. “Rust Monster! Mosquitillos! Are THEY fucking awful?” Before I had a chance to even observe the figurines, he had sent them to seek their fortunes elsewhere on that lonely California road. The amount of spittle behind each word grew with every item out the window. 

“What on God’s fucked earth are you playing at, you god-damned loon? Absolute nut job. I hope that Rizzle finds you first. Plunges a damn piece of steel right into that fucked heart of yours.” I confess, I may have been on the verge of panic at this point. Not thinking, I flicked ash inside the car. Did it even matter at this point? I’ll clean the car later, I vowed, now though I’d need to be vigilant for anything this raving maniac was capable of. 

"Oh, he can try!" The beast of a man in my passenger seat bent over, rummaging for yet another figure. I eyed him, contemplating if I was flexible enough to open his door, kick him out, and still remain in control of the vehicle. A moment of clarity told me 'no.' The grass was playing on a childhood of action movies. Bludgeoning would have to be the answer. A guttural sound of victory, blended with a belch, drew me back to the moment, "HA! There it is! THIS is the rhinoxid!"

"What?" I pressed down on the accelerator before looking over. Maybe I could crash the fucker out. No. There would be Questions. And possibly Paperwork. I eased up and examined the tiny figurine before me. It took me a moment to truly behold and understand what I was presented with. Appearing to be a reptile, perhaps a dinosaur, it held the sensibilities of a dog; its sleek reptilian body carrying the extra weight of domestication. A horn protruded from the end of the beast’s snout, threatening to perform a lobotomy should the poor thing trip. It grinned at me, a knowing smile bifurcated far too far into the beast’s skull, suggesting it knew my secret and was prepared to expose it should I not be prepared to keep it happy. That part may have been the drugs. The paint job, on the other hand, was performed by someone who clearly had more important interests elsewhere at the time. Single dots of paint made up for eyes, yet placed clearly off the mark of the molded plastic eye sockets. The paint had either faded quickly or never set to begin with. The overall effect being something dragged from a gritter, left handed path Flintstone’s cartoon shown in a reality where methaqualone polluted the water supply. A stared at this monstrosity, the road a forgotten memory. “What the damn hell do you think you’re showing me?” 

Damn, I actually found a picture of the thing

“A rhinoxid! Can’t you listen? This will be the end to that bastard Rizzle, believe you me. See that horn right there? It’s able to gore you with it and, if it’s got room for charging, it’ll affect you with fall damage too. This paper holds all the stats. Here, just read it!” He pulled a piece of paper from this breast pocket and shoved it at me.

“I’m driving, you dumb bastard.” A technical truth. He jammed the folded paper into the dash shelf. 

“Yes, well, this is sure to stop his complaining…” He muttered, trailing off into incomprehension. He seemed crestfallen. We drove in blessed silence for a moment. 

“Not a lot of women play this game, do they?” I ventured a guess. Somehow it just seemed right. The degenerate in the passenger seat was proving to be the sort to shun mixed company. Or possibly any company. 

“Oh, no. Obviously not. It’s their brains, you see. They don’t get the same pleasure out of it as you or I would. It’s basic biological determinism.” 

Well. That was it. Herr “zhee-gax” had just won himself a bludgeoning. In fact, I had a Blue Ribbon I was prepared to pin on him. My hand wrapped around the can fully convinced now of the assault, only for the can to crush within it. Empty. Muttering multiple damnations to the Lord, I gave the empty soldier a noble burial at road and reached to grab his replacement, only to be met with the sudden intense pain that comes with the act of grabbing an active fire. A string of anathematizations later, accompanied by a choir of loud screaming, I brought the Gremlin to a skidding halt; sliding uncontrollably down the pull off lane for several yards. 

Coughing and dragging ourselves from the car quickly filling with smoke, we regrouped and stood on the far side of the ditch to survey the scene. I coughed again and lit a cigarette to clear my panicking mind. What was in there burning? I stepped forward and pressed my face against the glass, which had grown unbearably reflective in the afternoon sun. Oh, of course it fucking was. Why wouldn’t it be anything else?

“Hey, buddy,” I growled and whistled, “Your goddamn books and papers are on fire in there.” 

“Aw, jeez, oh, yeah. I tend to spill a lot of grease on them.” He looked up from the rhinoxid figure and shrugged, casually accepting the fate of the burning books. He grunted and turned to the woods, calling back as he faded from view, “Alright then, good luck. I’ve got to take a piss.” 

More bloody oaths of vengeance made the world a slightly darker place as I crawled back into the car, attempting to find a way to put out the fire. Ultimately, it took the usage of my last six beers and the remainder of my patience. Still swearing, I pulled the sopping wet mess of burnt paper pulp from the backseat and threw it, disgusted, to the ground. This son of a bitch had been nothing but trouble since he opened the door. The beer was gone, smokes were running low. Wet nylon upholstery, masquerading as denim, was forever stained, serving as a harbinger for things to come. There would be Questions. I would not have Answers. 

A grunt echoed from the woods. 

I checked my watch. It had been the worst 45 minutes any civilized person had been forced to endure. Fuck this. I was severing our Fate, gods be damned. Surely this had been a breach of Host rights. I paused to hurl final insults at the woods, only to determine the dumb bastard wouldn’t register anything I threw at him. Inconsiderate sonofabitch wouldn’t even give me that. 

Still cursing, I shifted the Gremlin into gear and sped off without glancing back. I’d have to determine a reasonable excuse for the destruction and, quite frankly, I already knew I wasn’t going to have one. 

Edit: Some of you have been wondering what was on the paper tucked into the dashboard shelf. I scanned it years ago before destroying the original in a cleansing ritual. Over the years, I’ve only been able to find a few pieces by Omro, but a rare few ever seem related. 

Frequency: Rare
No. Appearing: 1-2
Armor Class: 6
Move: 12”
Hit Dice: 9
% in Lair: nil 
Treasure Type: nil
No. of Attacks: 1
Damage/Attack: 2-8
Special Attacks: Tackle
Special Defense: nil
Magic Resistance: Standard
Intelligence: Animal
Alignment: Neutral
Size: L 
Psionic Ability: nil
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil 

Rhinoxids are overly aggressive omnivores, popular among desert kingdoms as guard dogs in royal palaces, often trained from birth to follow the orders of one master. Due to their cold blooded nature, they are more active during the day, but are rousable at night. If not allowed to freely roam the castle grounds, they will often be found in the kennels. 

The horn of a rhinoxid does 2-8 hit points of damage, and the beasts have 9 hit bice. A running rhinoxid, however, adds fall damage equal to the distance it was able to charge before attacking the target. 


Cyberpunk West Marches

 I’m currently hankering to run another game. Trouble is, the usual group has spread across this desolate planet and our lives have filled with frivolous troubles of day to day life, meaning real life meetups ain’t gonna work out, and weekly online play will be sporadic at best. I’ve heard, through vague passings on the internet, that a “West March” style play might be suitable. At this point in time I actually know very little about the style of play other than it involves multiple groups striking out in the same world. 

An internet search for “cyberpunk west march” provides very little in the way of results, other than “I’m going to run one” posts on reddit (which seem to be infected with trojans. Typical reddit garbage.) Looks like I’ve gotta start from scratch. Which means I’m going to have to start from scratch. 

# What is the West March Campaign Style?

The name itself was taken from the setting (by Ben Robbins, 2001), located on the frontier region of civilization’s edge. These Marches (which were in the West [citation needed]) were the last unexplored region of the continent and just absolutely infested with monsters and ruins. Player characters were adventurers residing in the farthest West outpost town, who would then proceed to strive further into the dangerous wilderness in search of treasure. Ruins and dungeons dotted the extremely detailed landscape, waiting for PCs to find and loot. Some were known, others rumored, and others still completely secret. PCs could choose to go anywhere they could get to, and were the driving factor behind the plot. Rather than the GM setting the characters on rails and saying “uh, uh, you need to go to Bugbearville and kiss the bugest bear” the PCs would announce they had decided to inspect the Spider Woods and the GM would facilitate their march to doom. 

Either way, the campaign play led to characteristics associated with the play style:

  1. No regular time: The players themselves scheduled the sessions on the fly, rather than the group meeting “Every Thursday.” The GM had to be available, obviously.

  2. No regular party: Each session had different players, drawn from a larger group of around 10 to 15 people.

  3. No regular plot: As said, the PCs decided where they wanted to go and do. There was no “mysterious stranger” or a “last remaining unicorn” handing out quests as part of an overarching plot, just the overarching world responding to the chaos they cause. 

Additionally, a few other tendencies formed from the play:

  1. Session reports: Experiences were shared between every participant in the campaign, even if they weren’t present for a specific session. This allowed people to stay informed about changes in the game world and allowed any combination of players to bite at new quests and story hooks. 

  2. Shared geographical map: This provided hooks to the players and allowed for players to make notes after adventures. It was an in-character item and was potentially unreliable. 

  3. Competition was encouraged: Acting contrary to the interests and plans of another player was allowed and encouraged. Jealousy was considered to be a motivational tool to get sessions booked and games actually played. Magic items are out there and up for grabs, after all. 

Apropos of nothing, as I’m writing this, I’m realizing how well suited “His Majesty the Worm” would be to this style of play. 

# How to Adapt This?

That is the question, isn’t it? West Marches was all about the players deciding what to do and striking out to accomplish it, getting loot, returning home and repeating. Cyberpunk genre game sessions tend to be about getting a job, doing a job, getting paid, and repeating. Sometimes an overarching plot forms, sometimes not. Not exactly congruent. 

Might as well start at the beginning and see what can be hammered out. 

No regular time: The issue that caused it all, and the purpose of this long form talking-to-myself-to-figure-out-an-issue based rant. Session will take place whenever the Ducks get their ducks in a row, and also I’m not destroyed after a day of work. 

No regular party: Where the original game had around 15 players, I’m working with about 6. To skirt around this issue, each player will have a stable of 3 or 4 characters they’ll be able to draw from for missions. The idea here being if their primary character was in the field when last session ended, but every Player isn’t available to finish the mission, and play is still wanted, characters are still available. Though the option for Black Bagging* is still available. 

No overarching plot: Easy enough, though some quest giving NPCs will still be present to provide jobs to pay the characters. I’ll still need some job generators, rumor generators, a few gang hideouts, and some Corporate skyscrapers for megadungeons. Sounds like blogging fuel. 

Good, great. Check, check, and check. 

Player agency: The system I’ll be using, Some Weird Sin, will actually be handling this one. In its current incarnation (I have thoughts of changing it, slightly) the Conviction system basically establishes why a character would be foolish/desperate enough to take up the Mercenary lifestyle, and rewards them when they engage in it. I simply take those wants and goals, and sling them out into the world for the PCs to find/accomplish. A job board and rumors should spur them into investigating the world. 

Discovery: “How do you explore a modern city? Everywhere is already discovered and on a map.” Sure, sure, someone knows about it, but you don’t. Being new to a city with a fully detailed map in hand doesn’t mean you’re going to know which pizza place sells weed out back (Gnocchi’s), or which seemingly abandoned warehouse is a gang stronghold. Players will get a subway or bus line map and be kicked out the door. 

Session Reports: The XP system of the game is based on the fact the mercenary community is a bunch of bored gossips spreading rumors and stories in between jobs. One template even gets a bonus to it. Hopefully that encourages some session reports, else they’re going to forget things. As the Ducks do. If it don’t happen, it don’t happen. Perhaps a discord channel or private subreddit (gross) to keep posts in. 

## Potential Challenges

Time Keeping: Mostly seeing this as an issue in the way one job affects another ongoing job. But also, it’s the Ducks, they might not notice. 

Effort: It’s a lot of work upfront, and I am very lazy. I’m already running out of steam to finish this. 

# Closing Thoughts

It’s not a perfect pairing, but I think it’ll be close enough to work. Certainly enough to handwave through any potential issues. If the Ducks lose interest, I’ll at least have a world for pick up games. 

Things I’ll need: 

  • “Town” 

  • City map (Real? Made up?)

  • Job generator

  • Hirable mercs 

  • “Dungeon” maps. So many maps. 

Maybe it’ll work?



* Black Bagging is a tool I use for explaining why someone wasn’t at a session. Should they be unavailable, mysterious figures show up no matter where the characters are, drop a black bag over their head, and drag them off. The next session they’re kicked out of an unmarked van and left to proceed on their way as normal. It’s fun, and solves a nonproblem. 



That title'll keep people away. Anyway, in speaking of bad ideas and unfinished articles, another post that went unfinished was detailing the lost attribute "Credit Score" and the Life Style system that went along with it. Basically the idea was to abstract the money system in a way similar to the way Exalted handled it. Also there was some sort of twitter discourse going on at the time...I think about professional GMs, maybe? I don't know, but the tone was meant to be shitty about that. Whatever it was. 

Also to point out that starting with wealth is the most likely way to have wealth, credit scores are used to keep poor folk poor, the system is rigged from the start, and anyone thinking other wise should probably be eaten. 

System name references have been updated. 

Life Styles

Welcome! Thank you for showing interest in Some Weird Sin Life Style packages and options. We provide multiple options in various price ranges, allowing for a customized experience we're sure will meet your personalized needs! 

Membership prices are paid directly to the General Manager (GM) using real money. 

1. Public Membership (Free) - As a member of the general public you get Free access to the Street lifestyle. At this level you receive 0 rubles per session and have a Credit Score of null. You have no in-character home and may only select Starting Gear from the Street lifestyle equipment packages.

2. Bronze Membership ($10) - As a Bronze member, you gain access to the Low lifestyle. At this level you'll receive 200 rubles per session, have a Credit Score of 300, start with a Capsule living space, and be able to select from the Low lifestyle equipment packages or below for your Starting Gear. 

3. Silver Membership ($20) - By becoming a Silver Member, you're guaranteed access to the Middle lifestyle. You'll received 350 rubles per session, have a Credit Score of 580, start with a Small Apartment, and be able to select from the Middle lifestyle equipment packages or below.  

4. Gold Membership ($40) - At the Gold level, you'll have access to the Upper lifestyle. Here you'll receive 500 rubles per session, have a Credit Score of 670, start with a Medium Apartment, and have access to the Upper lifestyle equipment packages or below. 

5. Platinum Membership ($80) - By purchasing the Platinum membership, you'll announce to the world that you live the Petite Bourgeois lifestyle. Here you'll receive 1000 rubles per session, have a Credit Score of 800, start with a Town Home and Personal Vehicle, and have access to the PB lifestyle equipment packages. Go on, treat yourself! 

6. Corporate CEO Membership ($160) - By choosing to become a member of the elite CEO level, you will be entering an exclusive club and will experience the all the finer options of the game: 
  • 2000 rubles per session to live out your wildest dreams
  • Credit Check rolls with be a thing of the past with Unlimited Credit
  • You'll start with an entire corporation of people at your command
  • Yacht, cars, helicopters - all yours! And the facilities to house them. 
  • Speaking of housing: Choose between a palatial estate away from the city OR an orbital paradise of your very own! 
  • Not only will you have access to all Starting Gear lists, but you'll also receive a custom piece of equipment meeting your specifications.
  • For a mere additional $50, the GM will get YOU one beer per session. 
So why not join the Corporate CEO Membership today? After all, you've earned it!  

Note from Editor: The only thing you've earned is a place against the wall, you corrupt failson. 

Credit Score

The bad ideas continue! In this incarnation, the Credit Score is essentially a stat that was used to abstract the money system, sort of like the way Exalted 2E did. Can't speak for the other versions. 

Essentially, day to day purchases using non-Ruble based currency (US Crypto-dollar; Japan's NuevoYen; all the distributed ledger ones) would be ignored and any major purposes would require a Credit Score check. Basically rolling a 1d1000 and rolling under your Credit Score. Success means you get the funding for the thing. Failure means you don't. However, unlike most stats, performing a Credit Score check lowers your Credit Score check (after the roll is resolved).  Each time you make the roll, remove 10 points. 

To regain the points, you simply have to pay 5% of the original loan amount per in-game month. After 50% of the loan has been repaid, you'll raise your score by 10 points for every additional 10% you pay off. If you miss a payment, you lose another 10 points. 

Why not in Rubles?
Because the people using illegal, and untraceable paper currency are not the kind to care about your ability to repay the loan, just that you will, or they're scrap you for parts in order to repay the difference. 

"That's a dumb system."
Yeah, it is. Why the fuck do we still use it?

But game wise, I feel like there's something here. It'll need to be polished and tinkered with, but something. I won't be using it at the moment, but something. 

Why 20XX?

With the new year, I'm starting to go back through a few pieces that never got finished for one reason or another. This one was generated during a slow period in working on Some Weird Sin, when the dystopian parts of cyberpunk were starting to weigh on me, and I used this as a distraction to drag some whimsy back into my work. My material was starting to sound more like Oddko, when what I want is more like the Epoxies

It also included a statement saying I was working on Some Weird Sin (after I just sort of stopped interacting with most communities for some reason) and explained the removal of Grizzled Cop (tl; dr: I wanted a Punisher-like, but worked my way into Dirt Harry. Also ACAB.) 

Now, mind you, this here's a fluff piece - a bit of world building. It ain't meant to be taken as gospel, and you ain't meant memorize it. Use it wholesale if you want, or as inspiration otherwise, or out right ignore it. 

Anyway, in an effort to get my head back in that "whimsical" space, I set out to reveal the greatest secret of the setting:

Why is it set in the year 20XX?

Well, a gal's gotta retain some mystery, so I'll narrowed it down to two, equally plausible reasons.

1. I can't be bothered
With no over arching metaplot, or a need to keep everything in a linear order, a solid date really isn't necessary. Set it in 2025, 1998, 2615 - Doesn't matter. Put it where ever you want. Doesn't matter. None of this matters. Time is an illusion, and in a game of pretend, doubly so. I snagged the idea of "20XX" from a Mega Man game, only to later learn it's another rpg system. Doesn't matter. 

2. No One is Entirely Sure
Well, some horologists know, but they're bound by NDAs to not reveal the truth. In the march to commodify everything, Capitalism turned against time itself. You see, at some point in the Collapse, the National Institute of Standards and Technology was in dire need of money for whatever it is they do, so they began selling the naming rights to the current years. Did they have legal authority to do this? No. Gods no. But you sling enough money around in a capitalist hellscape and it really doesn't matter. 

The first year this happened was the Year of Duke's Mayonnaise. At first people were confused, obviously, but by the Year of Depends Adult Undergarments the corporations loved the permanent advertising and bought every damn politician they could (for surprisingly cheap) and pushed through legislation to make it official US time keeping. The "small government" hucksters who love large over reaching government policies were the cheapest of all. After the "Quantum Quinquennial" - a five year advertisement for some damn super hero movie - people were overwhelmed by it all and gave in, eventually forgetting the numerical date all together. By the time NIST lost authority for, well, anything, the idea had gained enough "popularity" (political bribing) that the International Bureau of Weights and Measures continued the trend. 

"But...numerical time keeping is FAR more accurate and useable?" That is correct. And also why the corporations continue to use it for their internal documents, though mostly following their own time lines with Year Zero being the founding of the business. Or the birth of the founder if they're one of those companies. The average nobody on the street, however, doesn't know this. 

And there are certainly other calendars still in use, such as the Soviet calendar. But propaganda is a hell of a drug, and the rest of the Western world thinks it's an inefficient and backwards calendar with too many breaks provided. Also the alternating 5 and 6 day weeks were weird and confusing. 

There's also Dreamspell, but it has 260 names for the days of the week. Do you want that? I've been staring at it for twenty minutes and I still can't figure it out. You're just trading one confusion for another. 

The year 20XX aligns roughly with Splurge! Ranch flavored Cola. I say "roughly" because a few companies, from time to time, have purchased/bribed a few extra weeks for special promotions. 

Notable Years

As stated, any fluff presented should only be seen as inspiration and not taken as true canon, unless you need it at your table. 

Whitewing Financial Retirement Services - Yet another Stock Market collapse wipes out most savings and retirement funds. Most companies used their bail out handouts to buy back the majority of stocks, rather than cover employee salaries. Nothing new, but another step in the slow trudge towards megacorporations.  

Concorde Mk 6: Get to Where You're Going - The Soviet Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics in Kyiv develops and successfully deploys the first human cybernetic augmentation (it was an arm), fully mimicking baseline functionality with neural interfacing and feedback. Integrated weapons and shit came later. 

The Concorde: A Year in Memory - Food shortages and over population on the West Coast (it's mostly a desert after all) lead to a hot new food like product being released onto the markets: Sophia Meat. Cheaper and quicker to grow than traditional beef and pork, this cloned human meat quickly became a culinary sensation and, thanks to a loophole in badly worded human cloning laws, is completely legal! New flavors were released within the year: Chloe, Abigail, and Christopher.  

Rothchilds Fuente Cigars - The first recorded person to remove healthy tissue purely to replace it with cybernetics specifically for a job does so around this time. They are later fired for taking too much sick leave when problems arise from infections caused by the immunosuppressant drugs, and the cybernetics were removed - it was company property after all. Unable to work, but still indebted to the company for the cost of surgery and advanced PTO time, they were soon arrested and bound in a debtor's prison, forced to make telemarketing calls about a car's extended warranty. 

 Bayer/Johnson Veterinarian Presents: Farmer's Select Horse Feed - Horses can only be referred to in the past tense now, as a "mysterious" plague wiped them out. 

 McKayes Jewelry: Get Her a Moon Diamond - A portion of the Raft (The crippled remains of an insane religion's sea organization, bound together with derelict ships that have had the unfortunate fate of being caught in nets - or simply pirated) breaks off from the main "fleet" currently colonizing and mining the Pacific Plastic Patch. This portion crashes into one of the smaller Hawaii islands and attempts to ensnare the island to the collective. Three days and copious amounts of fire later, the inhabitants manage to drive off the invaders. In response Congress shrugs at this invasion, largely because several were bought funded by the religion. 

Hynes High Hemmed Pants - It was reasoned that "Since companies are legally people, if the company was founded in America at least 35 years ago, the last 14 of which where spent headquartered in America, THEN said company can run for the office of president." Sounds bullshit, but the Conservative infested Supreme Court went all in on the idea. Naturally, the results were terrible, but President Gewalt still won a second term. 

Selkie's Seaweed Chips - Texas finally put it's money where it's mouth was and seceded again, this time taking Oklahoma along with it. Food riots began 3 weeks later, Water Wars within the month. The independent power grid collapsed during an unusually hot summer. Texas leadership responded by fleeing to Brazil. Current Texas leadership is a collection of unallied warlords. 

AcetaminophenPlus: Now with Cocaine! - Following in Texas' footsteps, but not learning any damn thing, the MidWest micronations soon start to secede, fueled by propaganda created by Farming Corporations. Farming Corporations that soon buy up large swathes of land and begin their own little kingdoms. Mall of America soon becomes a powerhouse in the region. 

HUMMER Duo: the Twin Engine SUV - Dustbowl's back, yo. In North AND South America. 

Gewalt Personal Defense: Wake up. Choose Violence - After a hacking of the San Francisco voting system, each candidate declares themselves the winner. This means San Francisco now has four self declared governments, none of which acknowledges the legitimacy of the others. No outside government agency stepped in as the nation was wracked with apathy and morbid curiosity at how the situation played out. 

All New, All Difffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff- A few minor political scandals, nothing newsworthy. The name was due to a typo, something falling on the keyboard of the worker filling out the official forms. By the time anyone caught it (or cared enough to notice), it was too late to change, as the forms had been submitted. "Year of the Difff" the youth tend to call it. You know how they are. 

Ride of the Canyonero - Kaiju fights become a thing and quickly become popular all around the Pacific Rim. MUCH smaller scale than what you're probably thinking. Think horse sized creatures controlled by neural interface fighting it out for YOUR entertainment. 

Papa Jim's Canned Water (Now with 17% less microplastics!) - The Conservative party in power goes mask off and makes military service a compulsory requirement for citizenship with full legal protections and services. The Liberal party (also conservative) wanted to add means testing, but offered no further resistance. Honestly, this came as a jarring surprise, as most people thought Congress shut down years ago and couldn't recall the last election they voted in.

Tsunami Joe's Synth-Tequila -  The first specimens that eventually grow into the AgroWastes are thought to have been smuggled out of a laboratory around this time. The AgroWastes: A green hell of GMO crops run rampant and out of control. Food is everywhere, but dangerous to eat as the modified crops poison and alter you. Likewise, as to be expected, the wildlife is mutated all to hell.

Skrew Korps!: The Movie - The US Congress just sort of shrugs it's collective shoulders as the West Coast declares itself annexed by Japan, taking the majority of the Tech Industry with it. Though Japan had already invested in 86% of the Industry anyway. The US primary industry is now the Military-Entertainment complex, followed closely by the Prison Industrial complex. 

Still no resolution on the San Francisco thing. 

Splurge! Ranch flavored Cola - Current year. PCs get up to some shit. Probably. 

This Is Over Complicated and No One Would Actually Use It. 

Credit scores were created in 1989. Over draft fees in 1990. If there's a way to sap money from someone, Capitalism will latch onto it like a tick and we're usually stuck with it, having to pretend like it's normal because we have to. Look at the American health insurance system. Dumb shit like this is very believable. Also, it's pretend, settle down. 


I originally wrote the Martial Artist with the intention of adapting Shadowrun's Adept for GoblinBright. However, I didn't immediately do it, and forgot. Classic Wayspell. In moving over the GoblinBright material to the SRD I realized this oversight, so here (a year later) I set to fixing it. 

Also, the numbers are still getting wiggled on the original template. Originally, a template D Martial Artist could modify the cost of a move in their school by 6 (4 for the templates, 1 for being a MA, and 1 for being in school); meaning a move that cost 10 inventory slots would only cost the MA 4. This was suppose to make it so anyone could learn the moves, but could only do one or two at a time, while the Martial Artist had a whole tool bag ready to go. What it ACTUALLY did was confused the drunken players who's math skills were never the strongest to begin with. 

New idea: Cost listed is per level, paid in inventory slots. This level will be the variable within the description, rather than the [cost], [additional], and [total] nonsense. Or whatever it was I called them. Any non Martial Artist can learn a move, but do so at a +2 Cost. 

An Adroit is basically an Martial Artist powered by personal magic. 


Several monasteries and legit dojos throughout the world can be found that offer training in the Adroit art. Through hard work and thoughtful meditation, along with years of practice, the Student can learn to focus their spiritual energy into themselves or the world around them and accomplish feats hereto unheard of in the Western world.  

Unfortunately, the most popular training route is a YouTube series by a Pasadena strip mall dojo instructor named Todd Forrester who will "totally teach you to focus your vibe." 

Costs listed are per level, unless otherwise noted. Treat each playlist as a "school." 


1. Wall Run (3/level) 
"This guy was, like, the One, or something, and he was trying to get through a lobby, but dudes were like, 'No, you can't do that' and totally shooting at him. He was all, 'I'm running across the wall, lol." 
While moving at a Run, you may consider 5*[Level] feet of a vertical surface as suitable for running, gravity be damned. You must start your turn on solid ground. 

2. Hawkeye Throw (5/level)
"So, like, the hero dude was all "I don't miss," and the bad guy was "you're definitely going to miss, bro," but then like, he didn't. You just gotta not miss, dude."   
[Level] times per scene, you may treat your Thrown attack as a 1 (hitting the target and doing Critical damage).  

3. Devil Vision (3/level)
"Okay, it's not, like, ACTUALLY a vision, but the dude was all, like, 'I'm blind, and from the Devil's Kitchen' which was in New York City for some reason, and, like, he could still totally see you and know you were there. He may have been THE Devil, I don't know." 
By stopping to focus yourself, listening to the world around you, you may detect movement around you at a range of 10*[level] feet. This is done through detecting changes in air current, barometric pressure, picking up on the slightest noise, etc. As said, it's not an actual vision based ability, Todd Forrester is just an idiot. 

4. Battle Cry (2/level) 
"And he's all like, 'That's just it, I'm always angry, dude' and he gives this gnarl yell, just a big ass yell, and the bad dudes are all, 'Woah, I'm scared of that guy.' And like, there's plenty of pedestrians outside the dojo, in the parking lot, so class outside today, dudes." 
Once per scene, you may give a loud battle cry and force opponents within 20 feet of you to make a Save vs Fear, with a [level] penalty. 

5. Single Bound (4/level)
"Bro could totally, like, leap tall buildings in a single bound, though...all the ones around here are rather short, so let's start there, dude"
You can casually jump 20*[level] feet from an unmoving standing position. 

6. Combat Sense (3/level)
"It's like, when the bad dudes come up on the hero and he's all 'naw, bro.' That's you, dude."  
When surprised, you have a [level]-in-6 chance of acting anyway. 

7. Free Falling (4/level)
"So he's all "I don't need no parachute, bro, I'll just take his." but like, we don't have parachutes to practice with...sooooooooo...we'll just do without?"
When falling from a great height, you can ignore [Level]d6 fall damage. 

8. Traceless Step (6) 
"And the sensei was all 'you gotta walk across this rice paper without leaving a trace, in order to graduate, lil' bro.' Don't worry, though, I won't be that rough on you. I don't even know where to GET paper from." 
By investing the points for this single level skill, you automatically do not leave a trace on any sort of surface (sand, snow, etc), nor do you make a sound while doing so. You also don't set off pressure plates or motion sensors. 

9. Feign Death (4/level)
"Just like that scene from my favorite movie, Highlander 2, where you think they're dead, but, like, surprise!"
Taking after the noble opossum, you drop into a light coma for [level] rounds. During this time you register as Dead in all aspects. Heart monitors, thermal detection, general poking and prodding: all report "Dead." During this state you can not perceive the world around you, however aggressive enemies are not likely to bother you. Because you're dead. 

10. Adrenaline Spike (5/level)
"They say it's like, bullet time, or something, cameras, I don't know, but like, now you can do it too, dude."
Allows for an additional [level] actions per round this is activated. However, you also take 1d6 Nonlethal damage per round used. 

11. Monkey Snatches Plum (6/level) 
"These two dudes were fighting, right? Doing some sweet Kung-Fu and one was all 'what's in your pockets? lol lmao' and just took the dudes coins out of his pocket. Pretty funny stuff, dude."
When passing a successful melee Attack check by 5, and while being within reach of the target, you may make an additional Combat Maneuver to view [level] items on their person, and select which to take. Can also be used to sneakily add things to their inventory. 

12. Wolverine Healing (6/level) 
"So the bad dudes were all, like, 'rattattattat - there's a million holes in you, bro.' But, then, like, the dude was all 'grrrr, I'm a wolverine, mate' (which is like a wolf or something?) and then he totally healed all the gunshot holes." 
While this form is active, you heal [level] HP per round. Does not count as Magical healing. 


1. Air Punch (3/level) 
"When, like, you wanna punch a dude, but he's way over there - THAT's when you gotta look deep inside yourself, and realize, truly, just how much you want to punch that dude way over there" 
By sending out a rush of air (from your...fists? I guess? However airbenders do it. This is airbending.) you can punch someone up to 5*[level+1] feet away. 

2. Fire Strike (2/level)
"It also works for lighting your cigs off of, dude." 
You add an additional [level]d4 Fire damage to your attacks. 

3. Ice Punch (2/level) 
"It'll chill your drinks in a pinch, bro."
You add an additional [level]d4 Cryo damage to your attacks. 

4. Ground Pound (4/level) 
"If you're surrounded by assholes, and like, you can't hit them all at once, just hit the ground, dude. Hit the ground. But, like, hard." 
By punching the ground you force everyone with a 5*[level] foot radius to Save vs Trip or fall prone. 

5. Ghost Punch (2/level) 
"Just because they're, like, not corporeal doesn't mean, like, you can't punch them, man." 
You're able to both see and punch spirits, doing [level]d4 damage.

6. Missile Punching (3/level)
"The best defense is a good offense, dude, so, like, just punch the bullet, dude."  
 You may reduce incoming ranged attacks by [level]. Should you reduce the attack to 0, you also catch the projectile. 

7. Knock Back (3/level) 
"Sometimes, you just gotta get a dude outta your face, you know, bro?"
Target must Save are be knocked back 5*[level] feet. Should the target hit a solid surface they take damage equal to (remaining feet/5)d4. 

8. M80 Grasp (3/level)
"We all get drunk, or stoned, and forget we're holding a lit M80 at one point or another. It's nothing to be embarrassed about, dude." 
While holding something within the palm of your hand, you may ignore [level]d6 worth of damage caused by it. 

9. Penetrating Strike (4/level) 
"Sometimes, like, a dude's wearing too much, and your blows just aren't hurting them, right? Then, like, you just got to hit harder to get through the armor, you know?" 
Ignores [level] worth of a targets DR, representing you punching harder. 

10. Killing Hands (3/level) 
"My hands are, like, lethal weapons, bro. Totally got to register them at the court house."  
For every [level] you invest, your unarmed damage becomes lethal and moves up the chain by one. Remember, unarmed damage starts at d4 and is nonlethal. (d4>d6>d8>d10>d12>d20) 

11. Pain Relief (4/level) 
"Sometimes, you'll be, like, too hung over or your buddy will be, like, too shot to continue, but you gotta just push through the pain, dude. Wait, no, you gotta PUNCH through the pain, man, totally."
Through focusing your vibe, you're able to heal your targets. Through punching. You restore [level]d6 points of HP to a target for 30 minutes. Counts as magical healing. (Reminder: Targets can only be effected by magical healing once per sun across the horizon.) 

12. Chaotic Punch (5/level) 
"One time, there was this Halloween party, and I was macking on this chick, right? Totally into me. Then this nerd in a top hat and cape came up and start talking to her. Like, bro? C'mon, dude. I don't care if your her boyfriend. Anyway, I said 'never again', you know, bro?"
A successful unarmed attack disrupts a casters magical energies, bestowing [level] extra dice onto the magic user's casting. These dice are only rolled to determine Mishaps and Dooms. Effects last for a scene or until the Magic User takes a round to make a Save to recenter themselves. Levels are considered "locked" until the effect ends.

* That's right. Todd Forrester's favorite movie is Highlander 2. He's THAT kind of person. 



Clerics. Everyone's got their own version of the class and this one is mine. I've seen a bunch that use a d8 for casting, some using d6, and some using words. These are all fine, but they don't seem entirely correct to me. Chewing on the thought, I think it may be because being a cleric (or related modern nonsense) is to give up of yourself in the service of others, but the casting rules for the various versions are all caster centric. Maybe I'm off the mark, but at least a conviction based caster came out of it. 

Strangely it arose from the same line of research that led to the AI as angels idea. Also a Summoner class I haven't fully nailed down. But nevermind that. 


Starting Skills: 1) Religion, 2) Herbalism, 3) Brewing
Starting Equipment: Holy Symbol, Holy Vestments, Holy Scripture

A. Tenets of Faith, Divine Casting
B. Ceremonies
C. Divine Guidance
D. Seek Audience 

Tenets of Faith
Replace your Convictions with the tenets of your God. You work for them now. Also, you may have as many Conviction points as you have Cleric templates. These'll be used for your Divine Casting. 

Break the Tenets, lose your casting and extended Conviction pool. These can probably be restored through a quest. These things always are. 

Divine Casting
As an ex-preacher, let me state plainly: Prayer is just second hand spells and religious ceremonies are just rebranded magic rituals. I ain't being edgy, that's just how it is. With that in mind you get a bit of spell casting ability through prayers to your god. However, you yourself are not casting the spells, but rather the god is casting them for you. Trouble is gods ain't like you or me, they're basically bound to their shtick. Where we can know a little about First Aid and Auto Mechanicing, a god of Healing ain't gonna know the first thing about an engine and a god of cars won't know how to repair that weird meat chassis of yours. 

What this means mechanically is that a god will have a Purview (which will be defined) and a Domain (which will be vaguely implied). Prayers casted in the Purview are automatically 6's. Prayers casted in a Domain are automatically 4's. Prayers not in either of this are automatically 1's. Luckily, you're immune to miscast. 

Prayers in the Purview are ones the god "definitely does" where as Domain prayers are the "yeah, sort of, I guess" type. A god of the Forest would definitely "Speak with Animal" or "Find Water" as those are definitely forest related things. A god of the Forest might, probably "Heal" because a forest is a place of growth, but also if your hurt and fall in the forest, it will consume you. Forests don't give a shit. What a god of the Forest won't do is produce a "Fireball" as fire is a forest destroyer. 

Any god with multiple accreditations (ex, god of love and thunder) has multiple Purviews, as each template in Godhood gets you a Purview

While you, yourself, don't have any Magic Die to put towards said prayers, you essentially buy them at 1 Conviction point/MD. They immediately become the relevant above result. So in the above example 1 Conviction point buys you the same result as rolling a 6 on the MD would for Speak with Animal, a 4 for Heal, or a puny 1 damage fireball of fizzled flames. 

Stolen straight from Arnold K.  Because they are cool. 

Each one takes 2 hours. 

  • Union – People are bonded. If your partner would take physical damage while you are beside them, you can choose to take half of it. If one dies, the others loses 500XP.
  • Funeral – The dead are honored. Everyone gains XP equal to 50% of the deceased's total XP. (So if a PC with 3000 XP died, each of the three surviving PCs will get +500 XP at the end of the session.) This transfer only works from player characters, to player characters.
  • Sermon – You can implant a suggestion in all Neutral and Friendly attendees.  Make a single roll for each (roughly) homogenous group/demographic.  You still need to get people to sit through a 2 hour sermon, and most people are not well-disposed towards religions other than their own.

Divine Guidance
Wizards have to call their familiars and make a contract that will ultimately bring their down fall. Clerics, though, are preapproved and get assigned a companion that will actually try to help them in the form of a lesser angel. Careful through, while familiars vaguely look like animals, angels just outright look like weird shit. Does not count against follower limit. 

Seek Audience
Usually, whenever a cleric and their god have a palaver, it was the god who done the initiating. However, with this power, by getting the GM a beer, the cleric and present PCs, are granted an audience with the god in question. Whether they'll be pleased to see you is another story. Usable once per adventure and lasts for as long as the beer lasts, or until you anger the god. 


(directly stolen from Branson Reese, because I needed a quick example and I refuse to learn what a "Pelor" is)
Purview: Vacation

  1. “It’s 5 o'clock everywhere.”
  2. “We’re here for a good time, not a long time.”
  3. “There is no rule number three.”
  4. “Changes in latitude, changes in attitude.”
  5. “Hell, could be my fault.”

The Tenets take place of your Conviction, so when you get in trouble for following "Hell, could be my fault" you gain a point of Conviction. Which can then be used to power prayers. 

Purview prayers would be along the lines of Comprehend Languages (for understanding locals), Endure Elements (in case you forget the sunscreen), Unseen Bellhop, and Summon Alcohol. Domains would be along the lines of Summon Mount (gotta get there some how), Heal (for the bad sunburn), and Cure Poison (for the bad tummy). Prayers outside of these would be any of the fairly aggressive sort: Fireball, Magic Missile, Acid, etc. When in doubt, talk with your GM. 

Eventually, Danny will send a weird ass, biblically correct flamingo with far too many eyes and wings to assist you in your day to day adventuring and vacationing. Get on good enough graces with him, and that "drop by anytime to use the pool" becomes more than just a pleasantry (once you get the GM a beer, of course). 


Some Weird Sin


After months of playtesting, and a short campaign that got...weird, it's finally here: The update no one asked for. 

Some Weird Sin

(CyberGLoG Mk 2) 

Download it here

Notable Changes Include:

  • A useless guide for new players
  • New Class: Investigator and People's Champion 
  • Dreaming Real is now an Augment instead of a template.
  • Grizzled Cop has been cut 
  • System has switched from simple Weapons and Armor to Gear Porn. (I'm certain the players hate me) 
  • Whole mess of Augments have been added. 
  • Hacker has been named "Console Jockey", Programs have been renamed "Warez", and additional information has been given for both. 
  • Hacking system!
  • Programming system! 
  • Whole mess of Warez added. 
  • Drug system got filled out. 

My Favorite Part

An SRD has also been created. This'll allow me to get my grubby little hands on it whenever I need it, without worrying about which of my devices has the document on it. It also allows me to add information in a quicker fashion than updating a PDF for release. Also a search function. Nice. 

New material will still get posted here, but then will eventually get integrated into the SRD as time allows. GoblinBright, Bastards & Bystanders, Thunderbirds and Energy Weapons - all will go straight to the SRD, with PDF generation whenever.