Eclipse Phase

Transmissions From The End #010: Sneak Peak – Extra Lives

An excerpt from the Systems Malfunction roleplaying game manuscript:

Extra Lives

Human cloning is an established technology in the Systems Malfunction universe. However, as cloning works a little differently in every sci-fi setting, we need to be a lot more specific about how clones work here. An amusing anecdote illustrates why. During a playtest/promo game, a group of actual play podcasters were faced with a scenario where they had to evacuate as the colonists from a planet under invasion by aggressive, biomechanical aliens (if you’re your group’s GM, see In Keeping Secrets, p. XX, and Robots, Monsters, and Worse, p. XX). There were too many colonists to fit in the dropship along with the Colonial Marine PCs, so the players assumed they could avoid leaving anyone behind by decapitating all of the colonists—after all, their heads would weigh less than their bodies and take up less space!—and then have them cloned later.

That is most emphatically not how cloning in Systems Malfunction works, and acting on those assumptions would have been a disastrous mission failure. They would have brutally murdered all of the people they were there to rescue. I found this misunderstanding hilarious, but also enlightening. It was an eye opening reminder that just because I’ve been immersed in the Systems universe for over a decade, newcomers to the setting don’t automatically know its nuances and details.

Here is an overview of how cloning in Systems Malfunction does work:

  • Clones are essentially “extra lives”. All Player Characters start with three clones (see p. XX) but may “sell back” any number of them during character creation, receive +1 Edge per clone sold back (see Building Your (Tragic) (Anti)Hero).
    1. After a character dies, there is a 24 hour waiting period before their clone becomes available as the clone is thawed and awakened. It may take substantially longer than that for the character to rejoin the action, depending on where they have decided to store their clones and what arrangements they’ve made beforehand. If a PC dies, this should be worked out between the PC and the GM. If the character was an NPC, it is at the GM’s discretion how long it takes for the NPC to reappear, but the minimum time is still 24 hours. Only important NPCs have clones, and the average Joe Galaxy doesn’t have any clones.
  • With currently existing technology, a clone can only be “copied” from a living being. Preserved genetic material (or a bunch of heads in a garbage bag) is not sufficient to create a new clone from.
    1. Clones are very expensive. Creating a clone of your character costs 100,000 Credits multiplied by the number of times you have had your character cloned. In other words, creating a third clone of a given character costs 300,000 Credits. Any clones you started with don’t count towards this cost multiplier.
    2. Every clone has 10 less Purity than the “generation” which proceeded it. See Purity & Consequences on p. XX and “Spiritual Machines” on p. XX for the consequences of Purity loss. (An average, heavily augmented human can die and transfer into a clone about nine times before their 10th clone has a Maximum Health of 0 and is effectively stillborn.)
    3. Most capital ships, space stations, and cities have facilities where clones can be created and stored. Backwater colonies may not, and uninhabited/uncharted planetary bodies certainly don’t.
    4. The scanning process to create a clone takes only 10 Minutes. The creation of the clone body takes between one day and one week, at the GM’s discretion.
    5. A Player Character can attempt the cloning process himself, but doing so is incredibly challenging. The PC must have access to an advanced scientific facility (and obviously the person being cloned), must spend 50,000 Credits (multiplied by the number of times the subject has been cloned, as described above), and must succeed a Hard Science (5) Test. Attempting to clone someone in this way takes one hour for the scanning process, and the usual time for the creation of the clone body. Failure on the Science Test means that you have created an invalid abomination it would be merciful to terminate: the credits are still spent. No character can manually create a clone of herself.
  • In addition to the scientific and technical limitations on how clones can be created, there are also numerous scientific, technical, and legal limitations in place on why clones can be created.
    1. Carter’s Laws of Biogenics prohibit duplicative cloning, i.e. it is entirely illegal for two instances of the same person to be active at one time. The entire government-military-medical-intelligence-communications infrastructure of the Republic is engineered to make duplicative cloning impossible. The primary limitation is in the InfoLink Implant which allows for recording of memories and continuity of consciousness (see p. XX). The implant’s hardware has been designed in such a way that none of the galaxy’s major known powers—the Republic, House Yamamoto, House Dresden, or House Dallas—can produce duplicative clones. Attempting duplicative cloning is the single most serious crime in the Republic’s legal clone, and carries more substantially more serious legal consequences than 1st degree murder.
    2. Carter’s Laws of Biogenics also prohibit reproductive cloning, i.e. it is illegal to use cloning technology to produce an offspring that is genetically identical to yourself. The legal consequences for attempting reproductive cloning are less serious than those associated with duplicative cloning, as long as the clone created is a fetus or an infant. Otherwise, this crime is treated the same as duplicative cloning.
    3. Finally, Carter’s Laws of Biogenics prohibit “longevity” cloning. For a human example, it is illegal to create a clone of yourself at the age of 30, with the intent of transferring your consciousness into that clone when you die of natural causes at the age of 76. Other treatments exist to extend the human life-span, but they cost even more than cloning, making them prohibitively expensive for all but the extremely wealthy.
      1. While modern nanomedicine can easily cure most cancers known to man, it is still worth noting that a clone made of a body with a systemic disease will still have that disease upon becoming active. In other words, a woman with Crohn’s Disease who purchases a clone now has a clone in storage that also has Crohn’s Disease.
    4. The only cloning actually permitted by Carter’s laws of biogenics is cloning as “life insurance”. In other words, it is only legal to create and store a clone as a form of insurance against death by violence or accident.
  • Cloning works exactly the same for Replicants as for characters of biological Origin with two minor exceptions.
    1. Replicant “Clones” are instead called “Backups”.
    2. Replicants needn’t worry about Purity loss from iterative cloning, as Replicants begin with 0 Purity and can never lose Purity.
  • To review, Carter’s Laws of Biogenics limit the function of clones in Systems Malfunction to that of “Extra Lives” for people who die by violence, accident, or suicide. (If a nasty fall breaks both of your legs or leaves you paralyzed from the waist down and you aren’t near an Autodoc or anyone who can help you to one, if you have a clone, it is legal to blow your brains out and wake up in your clone body 24 hours later.)

>>>BEGIN SIDEBAR: WHY IS CLONING TECH SO LIMITED?

For a mixture of reasons that are around 70% in-universe and 30% game-balance. The early Presidents in the Carter “dynasty” had specific ideological reasons for creating the Laws of Biogenics and making their enforcement so air-tight and the penalties for violating them so severe. The rationale behind the policy making was as follows.

Duplicative cloning was criminalized to prevent anyone—including future Republic administrations—from creating clone armies. To do so, it was reasoned, would create an underclass of people so replaceable they would have effectively no rights, and to protect the stability of the Republic from an “attack of the clones” type scenario. (From a game balance perspective, a character with multiple duplicates of themselves would be both overpowered and slow down gameplay.)

Reproductive cloning was criminalized under the rationale that the human race had benefitted from the genetic diversity granted by “traditional” reproduction for its entire history. A non-stagnant gene pool was desired to populate the galaxy. Also, natural biological reproduction was simply cheaper and therefore more effective than reproductive cloning.

Finally, “longevity” cloning was criminalized to prevent the further growth of the gulf between the Galaxy’s haves and the have-nots by adding a major line item like immortality to the gifts the wealthy enjoy that the poor do not.

In general, Armand Carter’s children and their children and grand-children were very reticent to allow human scientists to “play God”. After all, it was their famous ancestor that had saved the human race from enslavement to the will of a machine god during the War Against the Gaia (see A Brief History Of The Future, p. XX).

>>>/END SIDEBAR

The American Mercurial Speaks: Unnecessary Necessary Mission Statement – Feminism and Inclusivity

The list of people who are not welcome to play our games includes and is limited to the following: anyone that I specifically and subjectively think is an asshole and/or a douchenozzle. If you are on this list, you already know right where you belong, because I have never been the type not to say what I believe, and chances are I have personally fucking told you to “fire yourself as my fan” (see below).

That said, it is literally impossible to be on this “not welcome” list for any reason except your (shitty) personal behavior and actions. 

I have not, for instance, taken the incredibly shitty step that Posthuman Studios have of “firing” all of their fans that identify as MRAs, with a stated reason of “tolerance”. To me, “we are SO TOLERANT that everyone who identifies as this group can go die in a fire” is the very pinnacle of hypocrisy.

I was a huge Eclipse Phase fan, and am not and will never be an MRA, but I stopped supporting Eclipse Phase on that day, on principle. Because that was a shitty thing to do to a group of their fans, even ones whose beliefs I don’t share.

I also hold the radical belief that people I strongly disagree with are still the former (people).

I don’t want to repeat the giant sentence above, but I feel like I have to.

It is literally impossible to be on this “not welcome” list for any reason except your (shitty) personal behavior and actions. 

Literally no one is unwelcome in the related group of tiny, tiny fandoms that constitute End Transmission Games’ content and nascent community on the basis of race, creed, religion, sexuality, etcetera, etcetera, et al.

Let me give an example of the above without explicitly naming any full names: for five or six years, M. Hunter and Jacinda M., two now-married queer women, were members of my core gaming group. For half a decade they were queer women and they were as welcome as possible: hell, they went beyond welcome: they had the best, most regular attendance of my LARP for four years running.

Then they were shitty assholes to me and now are banned for life. Their gender and sexual identity is irrelevant to the fact that they are not welcome to my content. Their douchebaggery is. (Regular readers: you will note, this paragraph will not help me mend that particular fence. You will also note I don’t give a fuck. I don’t care how many minorities they are, fair weather friends aren’t real friends at all, and anyone who cuts you out of their life for a brief glimpse of you at your saddest doesn’t deserve your friendship.)

In Short — Everyone Should Feel Welcome And Included In All Of Our Games Except For The People Who I Personally Think Are Assholes, And Those People DEFINITELY Know Who They Are

Now I am going to talk about feminism and the risky proposition of self-identifying as an anti-feminist.

Yay.

One of the most radical beliefs I hold is that words have meanings (FWIW: I (obviously) don’t give one half of one fuck about the late Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinions, I just think it’s funny that Coheed put it to music). Holding the belief that words have actual, objective, applicable definitions is dangerously backwards in [CURRENT YEAR].

  • If I say “feminism” or “I am an anti-feminist”, and the only definition of feminism you have ever been exposed to is the memetic and epigrammatic “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people”, you would be shocked, and confused, and offended that I could say anything against feminism.
  • If I say “feminism” or “I am an anti-feminist” and you think of batshit crazy, completely toxic, radical feminazis publicly declaring that it is a “basic fact” we should “recall” that “all penis-in-vagina intercourse is rape”…well that tells us a few things. It tells us that we get some of our our news from the same sources. And it tells us that you know exactly the strain of feminism I’m talking about when I self-identify as an anti-feminist.
  • If I say I’m an anti-feminist and you have no idea which feminism I’m referring or don’t even know that the second “feminism” really exists…then things get really complicated and you might assume the worst.

Spoiler Warning: For Certain Values of ‘Feminist’, I, Devon Oratz, am actually a feminist.

vs1

(Translated From Japanese) “I’m a feminist.”

I wanted to find that clip from Versus (2002) here…you know the one…but the internet wouldn’t let me. Probably for the best.

Specifically, I am an ardent supporter of women’s suffrage (first wave feminism) and a supporter of second-wave feminism, which campaigned for legal and social equity for women.

When I say that I am an anti-feminist, what I mean is that I am an opponent of radical 21st century third-wave sex-negative white feminism (whew!) which seeks to go beyond second-wave feminism and establish women as a privileged class with more rights than men.

I feel like where this argument breaks down so that civility and coherency become impossible is in the following conundrum: modern, main stream  feminism is primarily the latter (or at least the loudest VOICES in it are), but makes every effort to present itself as merely “the radical notion that women are people“. This is a textbook use of what is called in rhetoric or forensics (debate, not like, CSI) the bait-and-switch or to use the term I prefer, the “Motte and Bailey” doctrine and makes productive discussions about feminism almost impossible outside of feminist or anti-feminist echo chambers (which is therefore automatically not productive discussion at all, because it’s just jerks in a circle, doing what they do).

It disgusts me to say this on multiple levels, because I think gender studies degrees should literally be abolished (NO OFFENSE TO GENDER STUDIES MAJORS, DIFFERENT OFF TOPIC BLOG POST, DIFFERENT DAY, OKAY GUYZ AND GALZ AND PREFERRED PRONOUNZ?), but I think the way the Eskimo famously (and by the way, inaccurately) supposedly have a hundred words for snow, I personally need more words for feminism so that people don’t think I am, for instance, in favor of repealing women’s suffrage.

So, when I say that I am an “egalitarian feminist”, what is encoded in that is that I support first and second-wave feminism. Especially in the Middle East, which desperately needs a women’s rights movement. Like, 30 years ago, guys.

When I say that I am an “anti-feminist”, what I mean is that I am opposed to ” batshit crazy, completely toxic, radical feminazis publicly declaring that it is a “basic fact” we should “recall” that “all penis-in-vagina intercourse is rape”“.

I can hold these two conflicting ideas in my mind at one time. SO TOO CAN YOU.

Now, where I get into debates with my female friends who more strongly identify as (SANE) feminists than me is right here: I basically say that the toxic feminists have ruined feminism forever, and that they need to come up with a new word for the non-toxic feminism that they support. They often argue that no, it’s just a few bad apples (the bad apples are all screaming at the top of their lungs, to mix my metaphors), and they don’t ruin the bunch, so the name of the movement (‘feminism’) is salvageable, the radfems should just be kicked out of the feminist clubhouse and called something else.

radscorpion

Maybe just Radfems. I like how it implies they’re not just radical, but also possibly radioactive. Like Radscorpions, but with less hit points and a deadlier sting.

In case anyone wanted to mention the “No True Scotsman” fallacy in any way related to any of the above wall of text, I have only to remind them that I am currently dating this bonny lass, and that she is the truest Scotsman of them all.

-DTO Out

Postscriptum Editorius: Some of you infrequent readers might be all like…

56373586

Well, I’m sorry you feel that way, grumpycat.

 

Leet Haxorz

This is an early draft of the Words (introduction) chapter  from the upcoming Singularity System sourcebook “Infowar”:

Hacking is cool! It’s one of the cornerstones of science fiction, especially cyberpunk. Console cowboys jacking their brains into the matrix to ride the electron high, otaku in basements lit only by the green glow of screens, fingers flying over the keys as they crack through encryption, cyber-commandoes spoofing the camera sensors of enemy robots and the cyber-eyes of enemy soldiers to become invisible, and so on, and so on.

Why is hacking in roleplaying games so rarely cool? Why are hacking rules in games so often, in fact, a complete nightmare to interact with?

Let’s look at one case study that I’m intimately familiar with: Shadowrun. The game has a setting that is universally beloved, yet through three decades and five editions, its hacking rules have been almost universally described as impenetrable, incomprehensible, over-complicated, nonsensical, and just not very fun. For the first three editions of the game, hacking was a very complicated minigame that dedicated hacker-archetype characters (“Deckers”) could play for hours with the GM while the rest of the gaming group went out for pizza or played Super Smash Brothers or something. Or sat around the table bored and increasingly disengaged.

For these reasons—the unapproachable complexity of the rules and the “let’s all go get pizza while the Decker does whatever it is he does factor—most players at most tables simply did not play Deckers. The hacking rules were hand-waved entirely, or Decking was something that the PCs hired NPCs to do, and could therefore be handled smoothly off-camera without engaging with the rules. Decker became synonymous with NPC at most tables. And this attitude—people don’t actually play Deckers—would later become an insurmountable handicap to actually making hacking in the game fun.

The fourth edition of the game took a few steps in the right direction by making everything wireless, meaning that hackers could roll with the team and hack everything within line of sight. This encouraged Deckers to be with the team rather than waiting in a van somewhere. There were a few basic problems with this.

Let’s say that you had a Decker who wanted to hack an enemy’s gun or an enemy’s cyberware to deactivate them, in the middle of a firefight.

This was possible, but it took at least four times as long and was at least four times as complicated as a street samurai shooting someone in the face or a mage blasting someone with a manabolt. The net result of this was that the enemy whose gun you were thirty percent of the way done hacking usually had already had his head blown off by the street samurai or was incinerated by the mage’s fireball.

To make matters worse, it was always possible to set “wireless” on your gear to “off”, making you immune to hackers. Early supplements introduced the “skinlink”, which let you do the above, but explicitly without any of the drawbacks of not having an active wireless connection. In other words, every character had the cheap option to just “set hacking to no” and be immune to hacking. So of course every player character took that option.

The fifth edition of this game tried to address these issues in a way that more or less universally failed to fix anything, and in some cases actively made things worse. One interesting thing was, at the time, I was lobbying for hackers to be able to hack enemies’ guns or cyberware as quickly and as simply as the street samurai could shoot someone or the shaman sling a spell. In other words, I wanted to make hacking simpler and more streamlined, and I wanted to remove the concept of “set hackable to off”. The fan base did not want any of this, because they all seemed to view hacking as something that would happen to their character, not something their character could do to others. The idea of deckers being able to hack someone’s cyberware or weapons in a single combat turn was offensive to them, because, subconsciously, PCs weren’t Deckers—no one actually plays deckers. This, of course, went back to the fundamental problem of the first three editions of the game: that hacking was so painfully complicated that no one wanted to engage with it. Therefore, it became an NPC activity.

That’s more than enough about Shadowrun. I don’t have nearly as much experience with other games where hacking is possible, but I’ve never heard of an RPG in which the hacking rules are especially fun and approachable.

Right now, my favorite hacking rules are the ones which amount to “make one (contested) roll, and if you succeed, you get the target system to do what you want it to”.

This is how I handle hacking in HERO System: if you want to hack a system, you make a Computer Programming roll. If the system’s security countermeasures were set up beforehand, then a retroactive Computer Programming roll is made for the character that set them up. If the system has some kind of active security monitoring—a dedicated wage slave white hat hacker or even an AI—then it makes a Computer Programming roll right now instead. If the hacker’s Computer Programming roll beats the system’s, they have access and get to do whatever they want. Dirt simple, right?

The other hacking “system” I liked was the way that I had a GM run Eclipse Phase for me once. Basically, if you wanted to hack something, you rolled Infosec and if you succeeded, you had hacked the target system and gotten it to do what you want. Pretty simple, right? Those Eclipse Phase guys must be some smart game designers. Except, actually cracking open the Eclipse Phase rulebook, and found an entire chapter full of hacking rules, The Mesh, which was no less than a whopping, very dense 35 pages long. It included literally over a hundred multi-level headings and sub-headings. Now I’ve never actually played with the Eclipse Phase hacking rules: for all I know they might be very good. But what I do know is that the way that the Eclipse Phase GM chose to handle hacking was not representative of them, and that this doesn’t necessarily speak to their accessibility and ease of use.

So again, we come to our question. Why is hacking in roleplaying games so rarely cool? Why are hacking rules in games so often, in fact, a complete nightmare to interact with? Why are hacking systems in most games so complicated than a hand-wavy stopgap of “to hack a thing, roll hacking, and if you succeed, you hacked the thing” can actually be more fun to play with than the rules that were written?

I think that the problems with hacking in games can be traced back to the problems with hacking in movies. Think back to any movie you have ever seen with “Hollywood Hacking” in it. Real hacking is cool, but it is boring to watch. Boring is anathema to Hollywood, so instead we get “Hollywood Hacking”, scenes and portrayals of hacking created by people that obviously know fuck-all about computers. And this can quickly become very, very silly:

 

217521921_7gxmh-2100x20000

Hacking in real life mostly involves hours and hours of cautious, exacting, and tedious “sitting at a computer, entering commands into a text prompt”. At a minimum, Hollywood hacking requires a hacker who is typing as fast as humanly possible, as though the speed at which he types is directly related to his chance to penetrate computer security. But Hollywood also likes really excessively flashy graphical interfaces—the exact thing that real hackers don’t use because they are an unnecessary distraction and a waste of bandwidth. But usually a flashy GUI isn’t enough and the hacker is manipulating three dimensional holographic polygons or navigating through a three dimensional digital maze or some shit. It has fuck-all to do with real hacking, but it looks cool.

Anyone who knows anything about how computers and hacking in real life, tends to have a negative reaction to this portrayal. Uproarious laughter at the dumbness on display is probably the most common reaction, but actual annoyance is a close second.

brain's like 'peace'

“Oh My God. This is…this is brain poison.”
– Penny Arcade, “Brains With Urgent Appointments”

Sometimes the stupidity of Hollywood Hacking with its “rule of cool” departures from reality is even played up to the point of parity. Meet Kung Fury’s Hackerman:

hackerman

“It means that with the right computer algorithms, I can hack you back in time.”

On average, people who make (roleplaying) games know and care a lot more about how computers work in real life than people who make movies. When I look at the hacking rules designed for the roleplaying games I talk about, what I see is a desire to make the rules for penetrating computer security realistic, and not silly, stupid, and dumb like the Hollywood Hacking described above. In and of itself, this is a noble goal, but realism (as opposed to genre­-realism, which is essential), except when used in very carefully restricted doses, is poison to game design. Because reality is not inherently fun, and games must be. Realism is like any spice used in cooking—use too much and you ruin the dish.

Compared to the smart people that made the Matrix rules for Shadowrun and the Mesh rules for Eclipse Phase, I know very little about computer science. In fact, almost nothing. Oh, I know enough to give a flavor of verisimilitude, and I know enough to ask someone smarter if I think knowing a bit about “how things really work” would help inform fun gameplay. But I have no investment in real computer science, and no loyalty to portraying it overly accurately when it comes to creating fun and playable rules for information warfare.

Hacking is cool, and for hacking to be cool in games, it cannot be strictly speaking “realistic”. Because games must be fun, and real life hacking is not fun to do—at least not in a way that is compatible with playing a game. Hacking also must be streamlined enough that the dedicated hacker character can resolve their hacking quickly in real time, without everyone else getting bored and going out for pizza.

It is with these design goals in mind that I set out to design hacking and information warfare rules for the Singularity System—compatible with any science fiction setting—that are both easy to use and fun.

Everyone Loves Free Spaceships, Right?

I made some new spaceships for the Singularity System. Specifically, the Systems Malfunction campaign setting of the Singularity System, which some of you may know from the about-to-turn-ten-years-old LARP of the same name. I figured I’d share them here for free. I’ve written up stats for two small craft,  three capital ships, and a space station (!!) plus a new Starship Bay Weapon that starships can’t actually mount, only space stations can. These should make for a neat add-on for any Systems Malfunction game, and nearly any ongoing Singularity System game you guys might be running.

Singularity System stats are provided but you could also adapt any of these ships for Traveller, Eclipse Phase, Star Wars, or whatever really, if you were so inclined.

The Singularity System didn’t really have rules for space stations, and I’m not formally writing them here. But they are basically what you would think. Immobile objects in space can’t use the Change Range and Facing action, can’t do Evasive Maneuvers, and they can’t Disengage from star combat. They effectively don’t have a Helmsman role or an Auto-Pilot subsystem or a Bridge to shoot at. They’re also sitting ducks to long-range weapons platforms unless they mount Extreme range weapons, so they almost always do.

The formatting is going to be really wonky for this stuff because WordPress doesn’t allow tables and tables would be a pain to set up so these will just be big sloppy lists. Sorry about that, maybe Mik can clean it up into a PDF later on.

(more…)

I Am Genni Conner

 

GenCon 2012 Report

Teh Shadowruns:
Went from running ~24 hours of Shadowrun: Missions at 2011 GenCon to running ~0 hours of it at 2012 GenCon. Unsurprisingly, this year’s GenCon was moderately less stressful. I even got to actually play some Shadowrun (unheard of!) with Mikaela, an official Mission, the Missions tournament (very unofficially), and even a couple hours of the Scramble (Shadowrun LARP!), which I wish I could have played more of. All very fun. Actually playing Shadowrun, with lots of people who know how to play Shadowrun, is awesome. And the sheer amount of hype and buzz and general talking up SR was getting all around the con was amazing. Markedly more people talking about SR, flipping through SR core books, and wearing Shadowrun merch. I blame Jordan Weisman, and Shadowrun Returns.

And my very first ever game of Eclipse Phase, at noon on Sunday, was a great capstone to the con, and a bunch of fun.

S P L I N T E R:
Next year, I want different time slots and more advertising g’darnit! 3PM-9PM Friday and Saturday was inconvenient for various reasons. Friday was a complete no show (our first ever!), nobody showed up, and we couldn’t get into the Press room, and we couldn’t get into the Indie Games On Demand room on zero notice and run there, it was too tightly structured for that. So the day was kind of a total loss for End Transmission.

I did get to meet Rob Trimarco and Jay Stratton of Pantheon Press, which was pretty cool, and swapped them a copy of Splinter for a copy of Fortune’s Fool and a campaign book. They seemed like really nice guys, although I myself was a bit flusterated at the time. Did I mention Mikaela and I did the entire con with a brutal, unshakable of the flu. (And probably infected dozens if not hundreds of unsuspecting gamers. Sorry guys!)

Saturday I actually got like people who wanted to play the game, which was pretty cool! Four players, plus Mik who filled in, for a very satisfying demo. All of the players really dug the game, and it was a very satisfying experience. Unfortunately, I had to duck out early to attend an important Shadowrun meeting. Gah! Wearing two hats, Indie Creator Publisher/Shadowrun Freelancer was a surprisingly difficult balancing act during the con. It’s something I’ll have to pay more attention to in future years.

On Sunday at the dealer’s room, I bought a copy of Eclipse Phase, but ran out of patience/courage before I approached personal hero/total badass Adam Jury to have him sign my SR4A rulebook and rap with him about the industry. But I did get to stop by the (shared) Machine Age booth to talk with fellow Shadowrun writer and indie game designer David A. Hill, albeit much more briefly than I would have liked. I traded him Splinter for a copy of Maschine Zeit and a copy of Farewell to Fear. It’s not money (sigh) but I’d have bought Maschine Zeit anyway, so yeah.

While the business of getting there was a nightmare best not related, all in all actually attending the con was quite fun, reasonably (but not wildly) successful, and unsurprisingly exhausting. As expected, our potential sales don’t remotely justify our expenses, but hopefully we’re beginning to get the word out about Splinter.

In coming posts I’ll hopefully tell you about the other games we’re working on releasing in the next year or so. For now, SLEEP! Or something like it.

-DTO 

P.S. This blog, which was initially designed for talking about the projects of mine that fell through the cracks between Systems Malfunction and Shadowrun, is kind of in a very hazy area right now, purpose wise, since those projects are now being actively published and promoted by End Transmission Games (that’s me!). I guess in the future this blog will be used more for random musings on game design, rather than/in between mirroring the content from the ET games website.