Posts Tagged ‘Bloodnet’

The RPG Scrollbars: Cool Setting, Bro!

The problem with fantasy is that it’s often not very… well… fantastical. Far too often, even brand new worlds feel like Tolkein or Warcraft or Star Wars with a few twists, and the serial numbers scraped off. The good thing about this is that when a game does take us somewhere new, it feels all the more special for it. This week then, a quick look back at some which have caught my attention for their sense of place. That doesn’t necessarily mean super-original in the great scheme of things, or even not based on a licensed work, or even necessarily that the world contained a great game. These are just a few settings that have stood out from the crowd as cool ideas that surprised, inspired, and deserve borrowing or dusting off.

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The Ambitious Failure Of Cybervamp RPG BloodNet

I’m known for writing about old games that are worth playing today. This is something of a departure, as I can’t really recommend Bloodnet [Wikipedia page] with a clear conscience. It isn’t a good game. But it’s been lurking in my mind for the better part of 20 years.

It’s a rare game that would excite a traditional RPG fan as well as a genre cynic like me – an unforgiving, non-linear, party-based adventure with turn-based combat and minimal handholding, set in a world devoid of goddamn elves. Instead, it’s set in the kind of future that only the early 1990s could conjure up.

Cast as Ransom Stark, you’re a ‘disgrunt’ – a former employee of evil megacorporation du jour, TransTechnicals, discarded when your work made you sick. Now you’re one of many surviving the dystopian microcosm of Manhattan via illegal activities like ‘decking’ (unauthorised Matrix use. No, not that one. Well, actually….), theft, espionage, and of course murder. Then you’re bitten by a vampire.

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