|I love this supplement.|
Because. That's why.
Because it's not great. I mean, it's just B/X Shadowrun, folks. And that's not good enough.
Part of the whole raison d'être for writing the thing was me realizing A) Shadowrun is just D&D with guns and cybernetics, and B) The B/X system is easy enough to mod, and C) why not bring a simpler, easier, friendlier system to the whole Shadowrun concept? So that's what I did...I mean, the game is STILL "Shadowrun"...you won't find Vancian spell lists for example the way the White Star folks (for example) crammed the magic-user and cleric lists into their game.
Shadowrun is a nice enough game. I've gotten some mileage out of it in the past (much more so when I was a teenager), and the recent editions have some truly excellent artwork of a kind I find particularly inspiring.
[I also very much enjoyed the first three novels set in the Shadowrun 'verse; some good stuff in there dealing with the types of issues rarely if ever seen in play at an actual SR table]
But remember that angsty post I wrote about 5 minutes before starting this one? The one in which I said I should be designing and developing games I want to run? Okay, B/X Shadowrun isn't really a game I want to run. Shadowrun isn't a game I want to run.
[sorry to Greg, of course...and all my friends in the U.S. Navy who happen to LOVE Shadowrun]
But that's a concept thing, and there's more to my dislike of my own game than the basic concept (which, by the way, should probably be enough!). There are a number of problems inherent in the design. Chargen, being based on Shadowrun, was too fiddly and took too long (there's a reason why every single edition of SR has included a list of standard archetypes for ready play, rather than making chargen a central part of play). Parts of combat (like bullet counting) are too fiddly. Magic, heavily based on Shadowrun, was too loose and grab-ass for my taste. And, if memory serves me right, there were some problems with the whole "random-monetary-reward-for-job-generator." Though truth be told, any game in which you're playing for money and the money allows you to buy all "system upgrades" (bigger weapons, better cyberware) has some inherent flaws of "game currency" built into the long-term play of the game. I know I found that in my days of playing ACTUAL Shadowrun, too.
[in D&D, for example, no paladin just goes into a shop, plops down his money, and purchases a +5 Holy Avenger. Even if you find a mage willing to create one for you...and you have the money...the DM can make the finding of the magical ingredients exceptionally difficult or challenging; it may even be easier to simply search out legends of an existing holy avenger (no doubt guarded by a host of fierce creatures). But in Shadowrun, the right contacts coupled with the proper credstick will get you anything you need with regard to gear, weapons, and cyberware...heck, even spells and magic items]
So, yeah...there are/were some inherent "system failures" in the game as written, mainly due to me adhering too closely to the structure and system of Shadowrun.
But the whole SR concept is...well, it's fairly unappealing to me at this time. It's dated, sure...the whole "Cyberpunk" thang is pretty dated. But just because a genre is dated doesn't mean it's bad, or lacks value. Many genres over the years have been considered "dead" only to make startling comebacks (the western, the space opera, '30s pulp adventure all come to mind). Many concepts considered "traditional cyberpunk" may be dated, but the idea of a dystopian future ruled by soulless corporations is still a pertinent subject of fiction and role-playing.
|Does this illo really suggest "cyberpunk?"|
Fact is, there are cooler ways to structure a mash-up of fantasy and futuristic, which is why I started rewriting the whole damn game. The problem is, even though I was doing so (re-conceptualizing the setting as something more post-apocalyptic...kind of a Dark Sun meets Bakshi's Wizards meets Heavy Metal meets Appleseed meets the Deathlands novels)...AND fixing the other problems (the reward system, the fiddly chargen, the magic system, the bullet-counting, etc.)...even though I was doing that I found:
A) I wasn't terribly excited about the prospect of running such a game, and
B) The re-writes were taking a LOT of work.
[and would require even more work for a book worth publication...more play-testing, more editing, etc.]
And so the thing got back-burnered, and I just haven't gotten back to it. THAT is the problem with Cry Dark Future. It wasn't good enough as originally conceived/written, and I my dwindling interest in rewriting a post-apocalyptic fantasy game just to make use of a handful of B/X-based guns/cyberborg systems wasn't enough to sustain my writing/design stamina. That's why CDF may very well NEVER see the light of publication in any format.
Which is kind of depressing when I consider how much work I put into the thing originally (and later) and how I dismantled my old D&D campaign to do a bunch of play-testing for something that just ended up scrapped.
Like I said, I'm feeling a little angsty at the moment.
I'm sure this isn't the final word on CDF, by the way. I have hope that someday, something called "Cry Dark Future" will be published by Yours Truly in some format or other. It might even be before I get back from Paraguay (which for the interested means "before August"). But it's really not one of my priority projects at the moment. Just so folks know.