I'm a graduate of the University of South Florida's Creative Writing program, Class of 2012. Currently, I reside in Florida, where I've spent the majority of life. In my spare time, I write fiction and poetry.
The Dark Future of Cyberpunk Part 2
When everything collapses, what is left? How do you survive? What kind of person do you become? These fundamental questions are at the heart of every apocalyptic and dystopian fictional setting. Philosophers have pondered these questions endlessly over the centuries. Most people, I think, would agree that humanity in general is pretty bad at working together when the chips are down. Games like R. Talsorian Games’ Cyberpunk series take it a step further and proclaim that while there are no true good guys and plenty of bad guys, there’s a lot of ground in between those two extremes where people actually live.
Out of the Badlands
When people think of dystopian futures, one of the most prevalent ideas comes from the Mad Max films. Devastated towns, open roads, armored vehicles, leather outfits that wouldn’t be amiss at a BDSM convention, and guns. Lots of guns. In the Dark Future of Cyberpunk Red, the Nomad Role fits that bill and then some, providing both players and gamemasters the opportunity to explore what happens when you leave the relative “safety” of the city and venture out on to the open road.
Daggers in the Darkness
Within the World of Darkness that the Vampires of Vampire: The Masquerade inhabit, there are many creatures that can be considered the “boogeyman”. Among these creatures are the clan known as the Banu Haqim (translated as “Sons of Haqim”), otherwise known as the Assamite Clan. One of the original thirteen vampire clans to emerge from the diaspora of the Second City, the Banu Haqim are seen by the other clans as assassins and diablerists. In point of fact, they are scholars, warriors, and the original practitioners of blood magic in the World of Darkness.
Here Come the Fuzz
When the streets of the Dark Future are overrun with shell casings and bodies, the police are just as often there to protect the community as they are to exploit the community. The Lawman Role in Cyberpunk Red presents an interesting conundrum similar to the Exec Role: the moral landscape of the Role provides for rich storytelling opportunities but can go into some truly dark places. When you have the law behind you, it’s far too easy to slip into your worst instincts.
The Controversies of White Wolf
In my previous two essays on Vampire: The Masquerade and White Wolf Publishing, I have talked about my love for the TTRPG and the lore behind it. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the controversies, missteps, and complete screwups White Wolf has done over the years. This is not a comprehensive list by any stretch but it is a highlight of some that I have found over the years.
The Endless Game
One of the hallmarks of Vampire: The Masquerade (and for that matter the vast majority of the White Wolf games) is the Metaplot, the overarching storyline that was always in the background of the materials published for the game. Intricate, contradictory, and byzantine in its structure, the backstory of Vampire: The Masquerade drew from every form of mythology available, specifically the Biblical account of Cain and Abel.