In the last centuries of the Fifth Cycliad, a great malaise began to descend on the lands of humankind. The civilizations of the Earth, which for aeons had seemed on the verge of slumber, now finally began to rot from within. From the edges of the world, the ever-present enemies drew close, their hungry claws poised to tear apart the delicate flesh of a fruit a hundred millennia in the ripening. And all around, a cry arose for Heroes, to stand against the dying of the light, and save the world from the sins of its past.
Are you a fan of Clark Ashton Smith’s Zothique? Of Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun? M. John Harrison’s The Pastel City? Do you yearn for a roleplaying game that exudes the vibe of Bruce Pennington’s gorgeous artwork? Then look no further — The Chronicles of Future Earth is here.
On Friday 28 September, Mindjammer Press launched its new Kickstarter for The Chronicles of Future Earth — Cosmic Fantasy Roleplaying in the Post-Historical Age. I’m Sarah Newton, the author of the game, which in some ways is the fantasy counterpart to my transhuman science-fiction roleplaying game Mindjammer. We funded the project in a little under 9 hours, and have been unlocking stretch goals since; as of this moment (Friday 5 October), we’ve raised just under £20,000 (appx $27,000), and have unlocked a Player Character Folio and GM adventure to add to the “Chronicler Pack” which forms the core of our offering: a gorgeous full-colour hardback rulebook, a GM screen, dice, tokens, and an A2 map of the “Springtide Civilization” — the world of the earth of the far, far future where the game takes place.
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Two years after running our very successful Kickstarter for the transhumanist SF RPG Mindjammer, Mindjammer Press is back with a new project — the English-language version of a fascinating French-language RPG “Capharnaum – The Tales of the Dragon-Marked.” As a soundbite it’s billed as “a fantastic Arabian Nights RPG of deserts, dragons, and crusaders” — but it’s so much more than that. I first came across Capharnaum and its gorgeous artwork in the Paris Games Fair in 2009, and even then I couldn’t believe it hadn’t been brought to the English-speaking gamer. Now, with Capharnaum‘s second edition, the case is even more compelling.
The brains behind Capharnaum — The Tales of the Dragon-Marked are two experienced French game designers, Raphaël Bardas and François Cedelle. They’re joined by a large and extremely active gaming community based in Montpellier, the ancient town on the Mediterranean coast, but active throughout France, bringing together enthusiasts of ancient world Mediterranean and Arabian Nights-style gaming. In the aftermath of 9/11, Raphaël and François wanted to create a setting which refracted the cultural conflicts of our time in a historical-fantasy context, but which equally provided a gameplay which transcended those conflicts and offered a route to coexistence and appreciation of our diversity.
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Yesterday Mindjammer Press launched a Kickstarter for my far future transhuman science-fiction roleplaying game and fiction setting Mindjammer, to fund a series of RPG supplements and fiction for the game, including sourcebooks, adventures, and even a version for the Traveller rules. It made its initial funding goal this morning in a little less than 24 hours, and John very kindly invited me to Black Gate to speak about the Kickstarter and the Mindjammer setting.
You may know something about Mindjammer already — John O’Neill and Howard Andrew Jones have both written about it before, and I’ve blogged about it here too. It’s set in Earth’s far, far future — approximately 17,000AD — during the Expansionary Era, when a formerly stagnant civilization on Old Earth has reinvented itself as a “New Commonality of Humankind” following the discovery of “planing” — faster-than-light travel. Now, two centuries on, the Commonality is journeying to the stars, rediscovering lost colonies settled from Old Earth by slower-than-light generation and stasis ships millennia before. Cultural conflict is everywhere, between this vibrant, optimistic, yet overwhelmingly strong interstellar civilization, and the disunited, often highly divergent lost colony cultures which are facing “integration” at the Commonality’s hands.
The Commonality considers itself the brightest and greatest civilization of humankind. The Mindscape, a vast interstellar shared consciousness and data storage medium to which all Commonality citizens are linked by neural implant, gifts its citizens with technological telepathy and the awesome powers of technopsi. It also lets them upload their memories, and download the memories of other people — even dead people. Artificial life forms with synthetic personalities based on the memory engrams of dead heroes abound: even the starships are sentient beings, the eponymous “Mindjammers”, faster-than-light vessels which travel between the stars, updating the Mindscape and knitting transhumanity’s interstellar civilization together.
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