Daedalus: A Recap

Hi, Michelle here! This is cross-posted to my blog.

So there’s a game I’ve been working on (or rather, it’s been simmering on the back burner) for *mumble* years now. It’s a cyberpunk game called Daedalus. You see, I wrote a setting way back in the 2000s for a company called Guardians of Order, which was published in their Ex Machina book — there were four cyberpunk settings and mechanics for their system. My setting, the aforementioned Daedalus, was pretty kindly regarded, and I was pretty proud of it. When Guardians folded, I got the rights back in lieu of payment for other debts, and we called it good.

Cue Life. (Life enters, pursued by a bear.)

Time passes, as it does, and in the interim I lived in Seattle and did a whole bunch of work for various other people and finished my bachelors degree. Then I moved to Cleveland, went to grad school, got married, and finished my doctorate. Gosh, it sounds so simple when I say it like that. Anyway, in the midst of all that, my husband Matthew and I started our own game company — Growling Door Games. Since I owned Daedalus and it had made a bit of a dent in the market, I wanted to do something with it. So we worked on it a bit and contracted some work, since I was in grad school and couldn’t devote the time to it that I’d wanted. In the end, my lack of availability at the time stalled the project, and it went on the back burner until I could get enough free time to work on it. Turns out, that required finishing my degree.

So now my degree is done and Daedalus has grabbed my attention once more. The product is moving ahead. It is going to be a significant product, if a bit of a weird one. You see, there’s an narrative arc to this game, in addition to the ability to do what you want at various points. I’ve probably played too many video games and took my inspiration from that, but that’s not a bad thing. I’ve come to think of it as my personal “triple axle,” meaning the jump that no one else does. This book will be a thing no one else does. Whether that’s for good reason or not… I suppose we’ll see, assuming I land it without a wobble.
This game has changed a bit over time. That’s actually a good thing. Anything that you keep so long as a concept needs to evolve and find new ground, or else it goes stale from lack of connection. One of my biggest challenges in picking this back up, honestly, has been finding a new way of relating to the material. The world is so different from the 2000s. What was scary then isn’t necessarily scary now, and vice versa. I feel very strongly that games in general (and cyberpunk in specific) needs to establish an emotional connection in order to be successful. It’s always a cold world begging for warmth, even if that comes from burning everything down to get it. So I had to find that heart in order to move forward — and I think I have, and it’s tremendously exciting.

This book will contain:

  1. A section going over the setting, providing the base information needed to play any or all of the included options.
  2. Daedalus: FATE, in which you play citizens of New Hope trying to defend the state against those who would seek to undermine it. You’re just everyday people, doing everyday things until New Hope needs you. You (and your implanted citizenship chips) are the reason New Hope is great, and it’s up to you to make sure it stays that way. This game is a very Cold War, glossy propaganda sort of adventure, wherein your vigilance is key to maintaining your way of life. (Note: Rob Wieland did early work on this system for us, but I’ve realized with time that the game I want is not the one I’d originally asked for, through no fault of his. I’m taking this on myself now that I have the time.)
  3. Daedalus: GUMSHOE, in which you’re still a citizen, but you’ve realized something is wrong. Things don’t work they way they should — YOU don’t work the way you should. Your chip has started to break down, and as it does, the façade of the utopian place around you crumbles too. It’s a maze of strange looks, empty pages, and a rush to find out why the world is the way it is before you are discovered and named a subversive element. The truth is in there, somewhere, if you want it badly enough. Do you?
  4. Daedalus: Powered by the Apocalypse, in which you’ve left the gleaming walls of New Hope behind. Maybe you still exist in the corners as a contact for those struggling to wake up, or maybe you discovered the truth and left it all behind in disgust. Maybe you want back in so badly you dream about it at night. Maybe you just miss the people you’re pretty sure you loved. Regardless, you’re the Unchipped, the broken ones, the ones New Hope can’t see anymore. Burn it all down or sell it out to return, you’ve got choices to make. It’s not easy on the outside, where it’s all too clear that everything and everyone has a price. Designed by Jonathan Lavallee.
  5. A campaign that will run through all three games, guiding players and GMs from Citizenship to Outsider and creating a grand and glorious story that will allow groups to explore the world of New Hope and decide its (and their characters’) fates.
So as you can see, there’s a lot of work still ahead. I’m going to be doing blog posts about this as I go, though, which I’ll also link to on the company web site and FB page. It’s not a small project I’ve undertaken, but I’m really stupidly excited about it. I hope that if you’ve read this far, you are now too.

Current Progress:

  • I’m making a setting bible so that I can both hand it off to other authors as we work through the systems and possibly find someone to write the setting section so it’s not just my voice throughout the book.
  • I’m working on both design for the FATE portion and the GenCon scenario I’ll be running in it.
  • We’re figuring out where a Kickstarter might fit in our schedules, as well as what the final word count for the book as a whole might be. I’ve done a bit of consideration as to breaking the systems out in separate PDFs for sale in addition to the whole thing so that’ll be a thing I look into as well.
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One comment

  1. Very intriguing. I don’t suppose you can elaborate why those 3 systems were chosen for those particular parts in the story?

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