One of God's own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.” -Hunter S. Thompson

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Digital Dark Age

As I continue to write out my thoughts on the P.A.L.A.D.I.N. Blues campaign a thought continued to nag at me. While P.A.L.A.D.I.N. Blues is meant to be a cyberpunk police drama it’s far from the only story that could be told in this dystopian universe that has begun to take form in my minds eye.

In fact the whole idea for the Tempest System first emerged years ago from a failed attempt at another campaign I called The Saints of Los Angeles. I tell you more about that campaign later, but suffice it to say that was frighteningly similar to Firefly/Serenity. Frightening in the sense that since I had never seen an episode of the Firefly television series, nor the Serenity movie. In fact I knew absolutely nothing about the franchise at all. It blew me away at how it was possible that my own idea could be so similar.

Finally it dawned on me what it was that was bothering me. I was working on writing more than just the details to be able to run this P.A.L.A.D.I.N. Blues story arc. I was in fact creating a campaign setting that was quite capable of being utilized as shared universe. A setting that in my mind could be plundered to tell as many other stories that could be imagined. Stories told by me, or by others.

After having identified this particular issue the next step in my mind was to provide some sort of framework as to what this campaign setting was all about. I went back to my stack of spiral notebooks and took a gander. That was when I found the notes I had written for my own personal vision for a Shadowrun inspired setting of my own design. A setting I had called the Digital Dark Age.

At the time those notes were meant to be used in conjunction with Monte Cook’s Arcana Unearthed, a d20 rules variant and fantasy campaign setting. Consider the idea that if a mash up of Cyberpunk 2020 and D&D were the major inspiration for Shadowrun, then a mash up of Shadowrun and MC:AU was the inspirational seeds for the Digital Dark Age. Not a new concept by a long shot, but at the time I was pretty excited about the idea. Of course like most of my hair-brained ideas it never got off the ground. Yet the notebook and ideas endures to this day. Heck, I just might take another shot at that idea again some day. Except this time I might call it Burning Arcana, or something similarly riffing off the Arcana Unearthed or it’s updated abd expanded incarnation, Arcana Evolved titles.

So this all this is all a roundabout way of saying I’m hijacking the Digital Dark Age title and using it for this current world building project right now. Some times we have an idea that’s ahead of its time. Some times I even think our ideas are like that jar full of mixed types and sizes of screws we all have stored away on a shelf somewhere. Every once and a while we take that jar down. We rummage through it, or pour it out looking for the perfect screw for the job. Some times you might even try a few of the out to see how they fit or if it can do the job just right. So welcome friend to the Digital Dark Age. Cyberpunk roleplaying set in a new Dark Age of mankind’s far future.


  1. Sounds like an interesting concept.

  2. Thanks! It's nice to know I'm not just talking into the void here.