Science Fiction with Meaning
The glint of flexing steel skin and the challenges it brings to its owner. An alien language, whispered in a dream telling truths no one wants to know. Towers a thousand miles tall populated by coarse corporate overlords and surrounded by its impoverished workers.
Explore the hopes and dreams you have for science and technology. Plumb the depths as they go awry and turn on their masters.
Shock: Social Science Fiction is a fiction game that gives you the tools to tell those stories, to build a world and people it with the characters that make it work the way you want it to.
Author Ben Lehman’s original story Who Art in Heaven, taken from an actual game of Shock: is included with running rules explanation.
Grab that raygun and put it in the service of your ideas.
For 3 to 5 players.
I can’t wait to get this thing out the door.
OK, I’ve mooned over my honey, and now I’m out of money. So I’m back from Block Island and back in the saddle.
I’ve got a couple of graphic design jobs going on — a landscape architect who seems like a really good guy, and a woman whose company makes baby slings. The second is an ongoing, large-scale (for me) corporate identity. The first, I dunno; I’ve only met with the guy a little bit for a tangentially related project.
But, of course, that’s not what I’m hot about (though I am excited to get paid). This is what I’m excited to do:
I’ve got some illos to do for Shock: and then it’s done. I think I’ll do three more. One, I managed to start on our trip to Block Island and needs a few more hours. I’m not sure what to do for the rest.
I’m working on a top-secret project with Clinton R. Nixon (probably one of many over the next year or so). The Eisner-nominated Jennifer Rodgers has already done the cover illo and it’s beautiful.
I’m also working on a collection of Japanese ghost stories with Timothy Kleinert, as a sorta-supplement for The Mountain Witch. This project is exciting to me because I love these stories. They’re sort of a Mother Goose of Japanese folklore, assembled by a relative outsider, Lafcadio Hearn, who eventually became an unlikely Japanese citizen. The book will be largely stories from Kwaidan, his major collection, with some others Tim feels are appropriate and full of Japanese ghost creepiness.
Mike Mearls, big cheese over at D&D, just wrote this very encouraging article over at his Lj. If you haven’t read it, do. Then read the handwringing below where people worry that “Self-Publishing is Good” really means “THE RPG IDNUSTRY SI DOMED!”.
Sharp-eyed L-Dopan Jeff noticed that the ring in the picture below is really the One Ring. It’s true! I didn’t have any photos of our rings handy, and I liked the little joke.
But now the secret’s out! So here are our actual rings. Carrie and I made these of red gold. She made hers and I made mine, symbolically each bringing our distinctiveness to the relationship.
It’s hard to see in this picture, but they’re proportionate to our sizes. That means her whole ring fits inside my ring. Maybe that means I could eat her in one bite?
(In case anyone doesn’t know, I’m getting married this coming weekend. It’s delayed my Shock: plans for a couple of weeks so I can do the illustrations discussed below. But priorities are straight here. If you’ve pre-ordered the game, I’m sorry for holding onto your money. I promise I haven’t spent it on tequila and whores like I did with my Under the Bed money.)
While taking pictures of the Mechaton guys below, I did this experiment with a slightly larger scale guy. Normally, I work at a slightly larger scale than this, but I wanted to see if I could condense some and make a plausible Minifig-scale mecha a la Gasaraki or VOTOMS. The shape of the body was also inspired by the Spartan from Macross.
This machine, an Armored Frame (or “Pittman”) is ideally part of a three-person team: the pilot inside the thing, a Human Operations Officer, and a Mechanical Operations Officer. The HOO is responsible for monitoring the well-being of the pilot. The engineer is responsible for feeding the pilot information and watching telemetrics on the suit itself. It stands about 3.5m tall. At the point in history where it’s being used, machines like this have replaced tanks, which can’t get down city streets and are too slow and vulnerable to fire from above. Though larger than a single infantryman, it can nonetheless fit down alleys and into larger buildings, climb onto rooftops (since it weighs little more than a motorcycle, thanks to advanced composite materials), and hide between trees.
These are scattered about the world, having been sold by private corporations to anyone willing to pay, so they’re the rocket-propelled grenade of the late 21st century. They’ve given great military might to individuals who then persue their own nationalist, idealistic, and capitalistic goals with this mighty weapon.
In these pictures, it’s outfitted with a 20mm machine gun. The “hands” are a standard fitting, and many corporations produce weapons that readily fit them.
With the new measuring rules in Mechaton, it’s totally possible to play with guys this size. The buildings would get expensive, though. But Vincent, I think it could be totally fun.
Over at Vincent’s blog, there’s been a lot of talk about Mechaton, a superfun mecha fighting game. You build your guys, say what all the parts do, then take strategic objectives while smashing each others’ guys, leaving Lego body parts strewn across the table. It’s the best such game I’ve ever played. Strategy’s very important, as is tactics, and luck has just the right effect on things.
Here is the army I like to use the most. There’s one more guy than I can use, and I decide at game time what I want the loadout to be.
This guy’s all defense. He’s got 2 Reds at Long range in the form of a recoilless rifle on his back and a pair of smashin’ guns for 2 Reds at Direct range on his arms.
The same guy. You can see the Glaug influence.
This is Shiva. One Green for bird legs, ECM and carbon chassis for stealth (2 Blues), lasers for kick you ass at Direct range.
This is Scout. 2 Yellows for the sensors, a Blue for ECM, two Green for running on all fours, and a Green d8 for not having ranged weapons. Sometimes, he gets Big Missiles. I couldn’t find the missile rack, so none are shown.
These are the Fuchikoma built to fight as a single, revolting mass. They’ve got two Reds at HtH, a Yellow for their sensor dome, a Blue for being little, and a Green d8 for not having ranged weapons. Their optional Green for having four legs is left behind so they get another initiative die.
One of them, alone.
The game will be on sale at GenCon Indy. I was going to sell kits, but it’s a huge amount of work. I’d have to have a huge demand up front to put that energy in. Nonetheless, you should totally buy the game and play it. I’ve had more fun with this game than all the time I’ve spent playing Warhammer and Battletech combined.
I’m finally getting this weblog running. It’s a weblog about design for the most part, and because many of my friends will care, it is sometimes about my life.
The design I’m talking about is largely game design, but also graphic design and sometimes probably even industrial design. Everything you see that someone made? Someone designed that. Every brick, every book cover, car handle. Every word was placed by someone in that book, every rule was considered. That’s what I want to talk about.
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