Bookmark Cyberpunk & the GMA KS

You may be aware of my love for Nathan Rockwood’s GameMaster’s Apprentice deck for GM-less role-play. Of all the oracle systems I’ve used, GMA is my hands-down favorite, with Cut-Up Solo an unusual second.

You can see in the image here all the information available on each randomly drawn GMA card, which makes it “one-stop shopping” for storytelling details.

Unrelatedly, my old college buddy Tim Ryan and I have been playing a cyberpunk role-playing campaign for nearly a year now, using the GMA core deck as game master, and my Bookmark HP RPG as the game rules. So when I discovered that Nathan was Kickstarting a brand-new themed GMA deck, for cyberpunk, I just had to back it!

Serendipitously, I’d already begun working on a Bookmark Cyberpunk Sourcebookmark. So I asked Nathan about including that as an add-on to his Kickstarter, and he agreed, enthusiastically.

Check it out. There’s also an add-on bundle available of the Bookmark HP RPG card, the Player’s Handbookmark, and the Game Host’s Guidebookmark. (D&D fans should appreciate the nostalgic nod of those titles.)

Footnote: When I designed the D6xD6 RPG back in 2014, though I’d included rules for character growth through experience, I sort of assumed that wouldn’t hold up to long-term play, just mini campaigns of a half dozen sessions or so. But as an experiment a couple of years ago, I decided to see how far it could go, and after a two-year campaign, the experience system was still working smoothly!

Still, surely the tiny BNHP experience rules couldn’t support a campaign, right? But I figured that, silly as the idea sounded, it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. And as noted, a year into a cyberpunk campaign, character growth is still working! One more reason to be proud of this little RPG, designed on a whim one weekend, as an experiment in HP/XP-less role-play.


Okay. Sales pitch. But I think it worth noting.

First, there’s a 74% discount bundle deal for the GameMaster’s Apprentice and the Bookmark No HP RPG. Print and PDF included. That’s 1/4 the normal price. Link included on the DriveThruRPG HandiQuest page.

What’s HandiQuest? It’s a 99 cent system for using those two items as a deck in one hand, with a pen or pencil in the other. Nothing else needed for solo role-play adventure. Carry it in a pocket, play wherever, it’ll save your place if you need to pause.

So, for under $10 you can own the GMA oracle deck, one of the best RPGs of my career, and an ultra-portable way to use them together. I hope you’ll take a look-see. Thanks!

Janitor’s Log

Back when they Kickstarted this thing, there was a contest for a book of short-short stories. I didn’t make the cut. 🙂

Stardate 021631011956

“In space, no one can hear you yawn,” I thought, as I crawled through Jeremy Tubes, checking lint traps, in the dead of the night watch.

That’s when the first impact rocked the ship, and klaxons started howling.

I heard an automatic hatch clang and seal ahead of me. Without further thought, I started scuttling assward as fast as knees and elbows could piston. I’d been locked in a Jeremy Tube during an emergency before. The power fluctuations had felt like biting insects in every orifice. No way I was going through that again.

I exited feet first into the ship’s holotheater and slammed and dogged the hatch.

The ship rocked with another explosive impact. The lights flickered, then stabilized.

“Right,” a British accent broke in, “what’s all this then?” The ship’s Hologram appeared before me, done up as a London Bobby. He waved a nightstick in my face. “What are you hooligans up to now?”

“I don’t know!” I snapped. “You’re the one with instant access to the main computer. You tell me! Call up a damage report!”

He stepped back, at attention, and stared at me a moment. Then his eyes went blank, losing their normal faux sparkle as he concentrated on tapping into the ship’s primary systems. His Bobby getup faded, revealing a naked physique like a mannikin, and his voice went all mechanical.

“Alien missiles. One. Two. The first struck primary crew quarters, behind the bridge. The captain is dead.”

My spine suddenly felt like jelly. “What about the First Officer? The Admiral?” I whispered.

“Last logged in their quarters, presumed dead,” he stated, emotionlessly.

I staggered backward, bracing myself against the bulkhead, and slid to a seat on the floor. “Can you hail the bridge?” I choked out.

“It was the target of the second missile,” he replied, flatly.

The hull vibrated with another distant explosion. A terrified cry suddenly filled my brain, then silence. That would be the ship’s Telepath.

“That hit Engineering,” the Hologram reported. The lights dimmed. “Power now at 49 percent.”

Suddenly the hatch to the Jeremy Tube above me cycled and reopened. A head popped out. The Cyborg.

“Ah. Excellent!” He said brightly, staring down at me. “At last. A human officer. Until we can raise someone else, I’m afraid you’re in charge, Sir!”

I gazed dumbly at him as he slid from the tube. He took a moment to straighten his uniform, then turned to the Hologram.

“Get a bridge simulation set up here,” he said, “to serve as an auxiliary. We’ll need to respond to the alien ship in kind, if we want to survive long enough to get the main drives back online and buffer the shields.”

The Hologram nodded, and bridge controls began materializing out of thin air. The Cyborg turned back to me.

“Are you with me, Sir?” He asked, offering a hand to help me to my feet.

I coughed. Swallowed. “Uh. Yeah. Sure,” I answered, taking his hand. “Just to be clear though, I get combat pay for this, right?”

Here’s a Pinapple

Photo by Kobby Mendez on Unsplash

I’m grateful to report that each of the bookmark titles received another 5-star rating on DriveThruRPG yesterday. My one-person operation may be small, with relatively small exposure, but its ratings remain encouragingly high, which, thankfully, keeps me motivated and focused.

Because maybe it’s the heat disrupting our normal sleep habits at Chez Smith, or maybe it’s time to reevaluate my meds. Whichever, it’s been tough of late, encephalopathically speaking. Something like Frodo’s “thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” But more accurately, diffuse, like fog on a window, vaguely aware that the things inside are concrete and real, but so disconnected from them. Sometimes mustering the energy to even want to coalesce can be exhausting.

Not complaining; just reporting. (Jennifer says that’s become my catchphrase.)

In any case, I’m grateful for a family who know when too much too fast becomes overwhelming, and who send me to my room.

For friends who accept my sometimes cancelling events day of, when it becomes evident I just can’t deal.

And for fans who keep me feeling relevant and accomplished. My particular religious upbringing makes it difficult to accept praise. But every rating, review, comment, message, Facebook chat or group page interaction, every thumbs up on a YouTube video, every photo from a convention, all that stuff feels like an ongoing conversation. And as an extrovert, I feed on that interaction.

It gives me purpose to write, and the writing brings focus. It’s why my MD concludes every visit with, “So, are you still writing, still publishing?”

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not looking for sympathy. Not fishing for compliments. Not making a sales pitch.

I’m just saying thank you. You know who you are.

The pineapple was just to get your attention.