Monday, May 20, 2013

Better Living Through Chemistry, Part II - Duty Now For The Future

Okay, so -- here's why "254.13.26" got pulled. I'll try to be brief.

And I will fail.

Right about the time that the story (I think it's novella length) was wrapping up, I started to realize what was happening with my cyberpunk stuff, and how I was suddenly in control of it...and in control of my writing discipline. It didn't take long for me to see potentials and, now that I could actually DO such a thing, to set a goal:

The Lightstrip Role-Playing Game.

"The Lightstrip" is the name of my cyberpunk setting, and it's made stupidly unique not only by the stupid amount of influence exerted upon it by 1980s New Wave and Synthpop music but also by the stupid abstractions that color it and which I couldn't tease out and explain to my stupid self, let alone to anyone else, which makes the whole thing kinda stupid. Only it's not stupid, and in fact it's really cerebral at times -- and that, me old Chinas, was the main problem in gaming it. How do you take all of those ideas of mood and philosophy and other such non-bang-bang stuff and interface it with a gaming genre that is primarily, you know, bang-bang stuff?

My new-found superpowers weren't done thumping rump, though, because I finally figured out the solution to that problem while I was gearing up to run some demos of Starblazer Adventures at one of my FLGSes: FATE.

The system was really clicking for me, and I was grokking it. I started to see how I could use the system to finally stick all of that crazy abstract stuff to the crazy adventure stuff, and I decided, with my improved focus and stuff, to just stop jacking around and DO IT. But first, I had to finish up "254.13.26" and create a poster to promote my SB game at the store.

I didn't want to re-invent the wheel for that, so I reached out to Chris Birch, co-author of Starblazer Adventures. He'd approached me some time ago and asked if he could use The Adventure Funnel in the game, and I said yes, because duh. Anyway, I dug up his e-mail addy and asked him for some canned Starblazer promo copy.

Chris told me he wasn't with Cubicle 7 anymore, but he'd see if he had anything.

I told him I hadn't heard about his departure.

He said that he had his own imprint, and that he'd love it if I were to contribute something.

I congratulated him on the new endeavor and asked what he was working on.

He gave me a quick idea of some projects, and told me he'd love to have me contribute.

"Well," I told him, "I'm finishing up this story I'm writing for fun, and then I want to write a game based on it. Maybe in between I can do something for you...what are you looking for?"

He told me some games that he's licensed to support, and suggested that maybe I could do something for one of those projects...

"...or maybe we could publish your game."

...then he asked to see "254.13.26", and I sent him what I had (which was 6 chapters out of 7 plus a coda), and I explained to him what I felt made it different from most published cyberpunk games and the next thing you know we're looking around for artists and I'm writing an outline and starting to lay down a rough draft and he's thinking that "254" should be released as a promo for the game and I'm pulling it down from the web and he's sending me a contract right before he goes off to get married and I'm finally nailing this sucker and getting the damned thing on paper and showing it to friends who read it and go "wow!" and Chris is digging it too but he has to go start work on Acthung Cthulhu and then I'm calling my doc to renew my prescription and her office is calling me at work and telling me that my blood pressure is too high and I am being taken off the Adderall and I havea panic attack and my wife has to come to my office to take me home and part of me that glimpsed happiness and self-realization shatters into a million tiny shards and falls away into the darkness and I swear to you that part of all I am and all I've ever wanted to be dies.

To be continued.