Human Contact — a hard SF roleplaying game about humans
Download the free preview edition! http://tinyurl.com/HumanContactKickstartPreview
Tweet about this Kickstarter project with the hashtag #HumanContact and I'll send you a PDF of Alone, a preview I did for players at PAX East, about the black ops anthropologists that a Contactor sends in when it's too risky to openly declare their presence.
Shock:Human Contact is a roleplaying game of serious science fiction based on the rules of Shock: Social Science Fiction (http://glyphpress.com/shock/).
Human Contact started as a response to Star Trek, but wound up heavily inspired by Ian M. Banks’ Culture novels, Use of Weapons and Player of Games; Vernor Vinge’s Deepness in the Sky; Ursula Le Guin's Ekumen stories, Left Hand of Darkness and The Telling; and Isaac Asimov’s Foundation trilogy.
It's about what happens when a rationalist, free, democratic society explores its universe and finds others that have different values than it has. It deals with those interactions on both a personal and societal level.
The Academy: a transhuman society of rationalists. Democratic, meritocratic, and scientific, with a mandate to discover new civilizations, languages, and forms of humanity.
Academics: Living for centuries, driven by curiosity, and given fantastic technological powers, they find themselves engaging across the Galaxy with the same tools as all other humans: hate, love, desire, jealousy, and compassion.
Contactors: Institution-starcraft — the Academy's first outreach to new forms of human, mobile anthropological centers of study and thought. Contactors emerge from a wormhole called a Bridge and insert themselves into local cultures, learning their languages and customs. Contactors may arrive in the middle of a cultural cataclysm. Sometimes they can't risk direct contact. They send three Envoys — black ops anthropologists — to ready the colony for the slingshot return of the Contactor craft seven years later. If the Envoys fail, they will cause irreparable damage to the society. If they succeed too well, their hosts will have been transformed and the culture will be lost anyway.
Shock:Human Contact will be 150-200 pages long with both color and black & white illustrations. It will contain information about the Academy, its methods, laws, and technologies. But that's just so you know what's going on. It also will include techniques for creating new colonies, their cultures, their languages, their technologies, their ways of life.
Human Contact will have several color illustrations by concept artist Alex Drummond (http://artofalti.blogspot.com/) as well as a number of my own black & white illustrations. Alex's art has a solidity that the game needs to describe the scope of worlds, artifacts, and anatomy while carrying a level of abstraction that will encourage imagination on the part of the players. A large chunk of these Kickstarter funds are going right to his very modest fee. Many publishers pay the creators last, but I think this is perverse. By donating, you're helping to pay Alex, the creator of his illustrations, directly.
The Shock: (http://glyphpress.com/shock) rules upon which Human Contact is based are built around making real science fiction about radical differences from the world that we know.
Human Contact focuses the Shock: rules to enhance players' relationships with their characters and build a coherent world and society that the players will come back to every week. Your society evolves every episode — sometimes painfully, always interestingly.
The Kickstarter funds for this project are to make sure I can make this book with the production values it deserves.
- Illustrations by concept artist Alex Drummond http://www.alexdrummo.com/ — about 1/3 of the Kickstarter goal
- Printing and shipping 100 copies of the approximately 150-200 page book with color & black and white illustrations. — about 2/3 of the Kickstarter goal
These are far from the only costs for making a book like this. There's no design, writing, editing, typesetting, or other illustration included in this cost, and the print volume is relatively low to keep upfront costs down. My primary concern on the Kickstarter is having enough to make the book beautiful and evocative while making sure I can pay my illustrator first.
I'm hoping to premiere Human Contact at the Dreamation game convention in February, 2011. I look forward to meeting you and making new people, new worlds, and new civilizations!
You might want to know more about Kodrek. Here's the original blog post, though it's gotten to be a more solid game since. http://glyphpress.com/talk/2010/kodrek-a-game-of-the-kotaht-archipelago/
Vincent Baker has just written an Apocalypse World (http://apocalypse-world.com/) character playbook exclusively for Human Contact backers! Back at any of the listed levels and I'll send you out a PDF for the Quarantine! (http://tinyurl.com/S-HCQuarantine)
It's gone when the Kickstarter's gone, so move quick!
- (32 days)