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Monthly Archives: June 2016

The worlds of Vajra Enterprises are designed to be dark, dangerous, scary, full of secrets, often unpleasant and often unfair. And all the worlds of Vajra Enterprises have been designed to try to make it so that everyone gets to be a badass. We’ve tried to make it explicit that poor people, people of color, women, kids, disabled people, immigrants, homosexual, bisexual and transsexual people all get to be badasses in our settings.* We’ve tried to do this by being mindful of the character creation options we offer, the examples we use and how we describe the sources of power and skill in our settings.

Badass can mean being able to beat people up or kill people. Badass can also mean being an amazing thief, hacker, diplomat, con artist, inventor, athlete, seductor/seductress or strategist. It could mean that the character has occult knowledge, cool gear, social connections or interesting powers.

A Vajra character is still vulnerable to all manner of injuries and mishaps. The character may be at the bottom of the social ladder. The character might be repressed, discriminated against, underestimated. The character might not be confident in his or her own badassery. The character might have suffered, might still be suffering, from whatever it took to become a badass (being a badass never comes easy). None of these things, however, make the character any less of a badass.

Being a badass means that the character has some ability that, if used at the right time and the right place, will completely fuck up the bad guys’ day, no matter how powerful the bad guys think they are. And maybe, if he or she is lucky, the character might fuck up a bad guy in a way that makes the world a better place.

Why are we so insistent that everyone gets to be a badass? Many reasons, but one is to match reality. If you look at the true badasses of history, the ones who disrupted the status quo, struck fear into the heats of the bad guys and made the world a better place, they didn’t come from an elite (like the kind most action movies seem to draw their heroes from), they came from all of us.

And if we ever make a setting where some group doesn’t get to be a badass, we want you to call us on it so we can fix that.

*Do I need to mention that straight white dudes get to be badasses? My first thought is that I don’t, since that’s the default-assumption of every major fictional setting. On the other hand I know some straight white dudes can be ridiculously touchy about this sort of thing so I’ll go ahead and say it: straight white dudes get to be badass.

It is dangerous

Danger makes things exciting: makes people have to be careful and pay attention to what they do. There has to be a wide-reaching danger of characters dying or something just as bad happening to them.

It takes place in a unique society…

The culture, beliefs, history, laws, technology, etc. should be something that hasn’t been thoroughly explored in other games. This could mean a relatively explored bit of real history, an alternate history, or a future where society has changed in interesting ways.

…or, takes place in our world, but with big unique secrets.

If it does take place in a well-known world (e.g. the modern world), it should take place in a world that has quite a lot going on behind the scenes: conspiracies, subcultures, a secret history, and lots of unusual places and situations to explore.

It has a unique aesthetic

It shouldn’t just be different, it has to also FEEL different, in a way we can access via art, music, graphic design, etc. Technically, there’s very little difference between “underwater city” and “art deco underwater city” but the latter is much more fun to explore, even if only in our imaginations.

People can have interesting abilities

Having powers is fun. It doesn’t matter if the powers are mystical, magical, technological, the result of extreme training, etc. so long as some characters can have the ability to do cool stuff that not everyone can do. The more different powers that characters could have, the better.

There are plenty of mysteries

There have to be plenty of things for characters to discover, otherwise there is no point in them exploring.

There are plenty of grey areas

There shouldn’t always be a clear division between good and evil. It’s more interesting if there are people/organizations/causes that are ethically neutral, or might seem “good” or “evil” at first glance but end up being otherwise.

There is no universally benevolent government

If there was a government one could dependably go to for help, one could just do that when things get tough, which kind of blunts the danger part. There should either be no government, or an evil government, or a corrupt/dysfunctional government, or a government that refuses to believe in the things the PCs deal with, or a government that regards the PCs as a threat.

There have to be underdog heroes

There has to be the possibility for the people who everyone discounts, because they think those people are worthless or boring or powerless or low-class, to be the people who actually make a difference in the world (just like in real life).

There has to be hope

If there’s no hope that things can get better, there’s little motivation to do anything. Therefor, there should not only be a way the world can get better, but a way that the heroes can be instrumental in making that happen. The hope doesn’t have to be blatant; it can be as little as a faint glimmering in the darkness.

In the world of In Dark Alleys, pleasant façades hide terrible secrets, and there is no more pleasant façade than that of the happiest amusement park in the world. Hiding behind the smiling faces, cotton candy, princesses, rides and fantastic décor, there are creatures that hunt us, people who experiment on us, powers-that-be who watch us, and alien worlds waiting to swallow us up.

This is a Dark Ride is a sourcebook detailing the world’s most famous amusement park as it exists in the In Dark Alleys setting. Included is in-depth info on the mundane park, various supernatural entities, NPCs and groups, guidelines for creating a park employee character and a complete adventure.

The second edition contains 9 pages of additional material, including a description of the Deserted City’s own amusement park, and an easier-to-read layout.

Anyone who buys the printed book, or who owns the first edition, can download the pdf for free here.

 Printed Version: $17.50 – Fulfillment by Lulu*

 PDF: $3.95 – Fullfillment by DriveThruRPG

*Look for Lulu coupons here.