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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.

These are books with small defects: scratches, scuff-marks, bent pages, smashed corners or small stains. All pages are intact and all interior text is perfectly readable. The quality is equivalent to a “Very Good” used book.

Scuffed Fates Worse Than Death

  •  US Orders: $7 +$5 S&H  Fulfillment by Vajra Enterprises
  • International Shipping: Sorry, but due to the costs of international shipping we cannot offer a price lower than our current cost for the non-scuffed book.
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    Scuffed In Dark Alleys

  •  US Orders: $7 +$5 S&H  Fulfillment by Vajra Enterprises
  •  International Orders: $15 +$15 S&H  Fulfillment by Vajra Enterprises
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    Scuffed Tibet

  •  US Orders: $7 +$5 S&H  Fulfillment by Vajra Enterprises
  • International Shipping: Sorry, but due to the costs of international shipping we cannot offer a price lower than our current cost for the non-scuffed book.
  • Contact Vajra:

    By email at creative [aht] vajraenterprises [dawt] com

    On Facebook.

    Now you can help decide what project Vajra Enterprises will work on next. You can use your Fan Rewards points to buy votes and vote for one of the following four projects. Just post in Burn Immediately to say how many votes you wish to buy and what project you want to vote for. The project that receives the most votes will be the next major game or game book Vajra creates.

    Vote costs are as follows:
    1 vote: 1 Fan Rewards Point
    2 votes: 3 Fan Rewards Points
    3 votes: 7 Fan Rewards Points
    4 votes: 15 Fan Rewards Points
    5 votes: 30 Fan Rewards Points (maximum)

    For those of you who do not yet have Fan Rewards points, it’s not too late to get started.  You can get Fan Rewards points quickly for doing things like introducing yourself on the forum or telling us how you heard about Vajra games.

    Voting ends on March 31st 2013.

    Price of Power
    The second sourcebook in the After Midnight series for Fates Worse Than Death. This books details all the ways that people in the city gain power and the various prices they have to pay. The book also details the major power players of America in 2080, including corporations, gated communities, governments, the drug lords and other organized crime. There will be an expanded section on Sing Sing prison, about life in the prison and the various gangs that hold power there (each available as character classes).

    Cruel World
    A horror card game utilizing photography for the art. In Cruel World you lay down location cards in a grid, then take turns flipping over cards to explore the randomly created game world, trying to avoid or fight off monsters that might be around the next corner. Features cooperative and competitive play modes.

    Fates Worse Than Death: Negotiator
    This is not a role playing game. In Negotiator you play as a representative for some powerful city organization in the middle of a life-and-death negotiation. Your goal is to use any means at your disposal to gain the best outcome for the group you represent. Whether this means diplomacy, lies, threats, trading secrets or making rousing speeches is up to you. Included are the rules of play, several fully written out negotiations and a toolkit for creating your own negotiations.

    London Wonderland
    A complete Role Playing Game based on JAGS Wonderland written by and licensed from Marco Chacon.  In addition to the original setting material of JAGS Wonderland, London Wonderland will have the best version of Organic Rule Components and with a unique setting detailed for this book: the city of London. Wonderland is a mad, twisted version (or versions) of our world, ruled by powerful, insane creatures. Those infected by Wonderland find themselves doomed to fall into it against their will, but also gain supernatural powers. This book will feature several strains of Wonderland infection (the character classes of the game) unique to the London setting.

    At Vajra Enterprises, our specialty is in creating unique, nuanced, compelling, darkly fascinating settings in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres.  We make worlds people want to explore, then we give people the means to explore those worlds through role playing games, novels, comics and more.

     

    Learn about Vajra’s Contributors

    Vajra has made a “We Don’t Sue Our Fans” Pledge

    Vajra is a member of the Bits and Mortar program

    Become part of the team by submitting material to Vajra

    Earn free stuff from Vajra with the Fan Rewards program

    Earn either:

  • A free PDF download of any Vajra book of your choosing.
  • -or-
  • A printed copy of Fates Worse Than Death, Tibet, In Dark Alleys or Behind the Eyes of Madness where you pay only shipping.

     
    By doing one of the following:

  • One Legendary activity.
  • Five Amazing activities.
  • Twenty Heroic activities.*

     
    Post the details of your activities on the “Claim Your Prize” thread of the Burn Immediately message board. Say what you did, with as many juicy details as possible, and what you want for your prize. You’ll be contacted via Burn Immediately private messaging to give you a download link or arrange for shipping.

    If, for some reason, you’re not comfortable posting your exploits on a public message board, PM “kingbv” and we can do it behind the scenes.

    In addition, anyone who gets a free book will also get a PDF copy of “The Secret Origins of Vajra Books,” an exclusive only available to participants in the Vajra Fan Rewards Program.

    You can earn multiple books, just make sure you do new activities each time.

    If we think “wow, this person is too god to be true” we reserve the right to ask for more details or verification.

    Legendary Activities Include:

  • Translate a passage from a Vajra book into another language. Check with us first to see what passages need translating.
  • Write (and post online somewhere) a fan game, sourcebook or novel.
  • Run a Vajra game at a convention.
  • Cosplay as a Vajra character.
  • Use a Vajra book to the point it’s falling apart (pics please).
  • Write (and post online somewhere) a review of a Vajra game.
  • Post “actual play” (text or recordings) somewhere online.
  • Live stream playing a Vajra game.
  • Have 100+ points on the old Fan Rewards.
     
    Amazing Activities Include

  • Write (and post online somewhere) fan game material, comic, short story or illustration.
  • Post (somewhere online) a full writeup of a Vajra PC or NPC.
  • Recommend Vajra to a friend who ends up buying it.
  • Buy a Vajra book (tell us where you bought it).
  • Introduce yourself on Burn Immediately (tell us who you are, where you’re from, what you’re into, something unique about you).
  • Talk to a game shop owner about Vajra books (tell us the shop).
  • Have 30+ points on the old Fan Rewards.
  • Level up a PC (have a PC earn 100 XP through gameplay).
     
    Heroic Activities Include

  • Describe how you heard about Vajra Enterprises.
  • Mention Vajra Enterprises or our games online anywhere.
  • Post on Burn Immediately.
  • Like Vajra Enterprises on Facebook.
  • Have any number of points on the old Fan Rewards system.
  • Run a Vajra game session.
     
    *Or any combination of Heroic and Amazing activities, where 4 Heroic = 1 Amazing, equal to 5 Amazing.

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    • Whenever possible, avoid using white, male, handsome, athletic, heterosexual, native-born characters. Try to vary at least one of these characteristics. No more than one in five characters should meet all of these characteristics.
    • Don’t include minorities solely to play the role stereotyped by their minority status. If you included a woman character, don’t have her just be the love interest, victim to be saved by the hero, or to look sexy in a skimpy outfit. If you include a Black character, don’t have him there just to be an uneducated, thuggish victim or underworld contact. If you include a gay male character, don’t have him be comic relief by being effeminate and cowardly. If you include a Muslim character, don’t have him be there just to be a terrorist. If you have a Native American character, don’t have him there just to give enigmatic and vague wisdom to the heroes. It is okay to sometimes have minority characters who live up to their stereotypes (e.g. a Muslim who is a terrorist) but those should be outweighed at least 5 to 1 by characters who don’t meet their stereotypes (e.g. a woman who is the hero in a non-skimpy outfit, a gay man who is competent and brave, a Muslim who is nice, a Black man who is law abiding and educated, etc.)
    • Don’t use “he” or “his” when referring to a generic character, e.g. “the possessor of this sword has his strength increased ten-fold.” Instead, use both pronouns (e.g. “he or she” or “his or her”). This may seem awkward, but it is no more awkward than other approaches (alternating male and female pronouns or using only female pronouns and then having to explain why).

    Rationale:
    First, because having white males be the default characters and everyone else included solely for their “otherness” perpetuates unconscious stereotypes and prejudices about real life people. Specifically, it perpetuates the prejudice that white males are the default type of person and that everyone else is “different” and definable by their difference. To illustrate this, imagine you tell an artist to draw “a doctor” but don’t specify race or gender. In most cases, the artist will return a picture of a white male. For more examples, see here and here. Such prejudices negatively affect the way people are treated in real life. As creators, we are both the primary cause of, and the best chance for changing, these prejudices and stereotypes.

    Second, it’s just lazy writing to go with these shallow stereotypes. A handsome, athletic, heterosexual, white, Christian, American male as the hero of a story is boring. A sneering Arabic Muslim terrorist as a villain is boring. Being aware of and avoiding stereotypes is an opportunity for we, as creators, to create more interesting, more unique and more memorable characters.

    Please Note: Vajra Enterprises does not advocate censorship. We do, however, believe in the right of self-censorship, which is the right of individuals and companies to choose (rather than having that choice be imposed on them) not to say things that they find annoying, harmful or offensive. This policy is Vajra Enterprises’ exercising of that right.

    Creative Commons License
    These diversity standards are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License so you can use them (or parts of them) for your company.

    we_dont_sue_our_fansAt Vajra Enterprises we promise not to get all angry and reactionary about:
    • Fans making and distributing fan fiction, remixes with other products or home-brewed game material.
    • Fans sharing small portions of game books with players as necessary for play.
    • Critical reviews.
    We’ve also made much of our game material available via a Creative Commons license so you can use it to create your own stuff without having to ask our permission.
    There are just a few things we do mind, and those are:
    • Using out ideas, text and images and not attributing their source.
    • Trying to pass off your work as official Vajra or Vajra-sanctioned product when it isn’t.
    • Giving or selling material to people in a way that discourages them from buying that game material from us.
    Also, keep in mind that some of our products contain material licensed from other creators, so you may need to check with them before doing anything.
    This pledge and it’s logo have been released under a creative commons share-alike 2.0 license.

    Brian St.Claire-King

    brian_facebook_profile
    Brian is the Creative Director for Vajra Enterprises and oversees the creation and acquisition of new settings, as well as writing, game design, advertising, page layout and art direction. Brian lives near Portland, Oregon with two kids and a cute anarchist lawyer. Like the city residents of Fates Worse Than Death, Brian grew up in a poor inner city and feels at home on city streets. Like the Tibetans in Tibet, Brian was raised by Buddhists. Like the Heretics of In Dark Alleys, Brian has always been fascinated by the dark side of things, going out of his way to learn about things most people are happy to ignore. Like the kids in KidWorld, Brian has enjoyed exploring, scavenging and having adventures since his youth. Like the ageless of Hoodoo Blues, Brian is a keen student of history and believes in the value of learning from the mistakes of the past.Contact Brian at creative [at] vajraenterprises [dot] com.

     

    Jonathan Dotse

    Jonathan Dotse
    Jonathan Dotse is a consultant, working with Vajra Enterprises to develop the future history of Africa in the world of Fates Worse Than Death.Jonathan is a science fiction writer living in Accra, Ghana. He is currently working on a cyberpunk mystery/thriller novel set in the sprawling metropolis of Accra in the middle of the 21st century. Jonathan is the creator of AfroCyberPunk, a blog on the future of African science fiction.

     

     

    Eloy LaSanta

    Eloy is the coauthor of KidWorld, the game of childhood survival. He’s been gaming for 20 years, having tasted the flavors of many different games along the way. Upon finding Vajra Enterprises and their games, Eloy has thrown himself headfirst into Vajra’s worlds and systems. In addition to his work with Vajra Enterprises, Eloy has launched his own company, Third Eye Games and has gone on to release many of his own games, Apocalypse Prevention, Inc, Wu Xing: The Ninja Crusade, Part-Time Gods and Mermaid Adventures.

    Contact Eloy at eloy [at] thirdeyegames [dot] net or eloy [at] eloythesaint [dot] com

     

    Carl Warner

    Carl is coauthor of Hoodoo Blues.Carl Warner has been role-playing for over twenty years. He enjoys martial arts, hiking and scuba diving, and is an amateur ghost hunter. Originally from Massachusetts, he and his long-time girlfriend are currently traveling the US fulltime in their motor home. In addition to his work for Vajra Enterprises, Carl is co-author of the State Secrets RPG from Arcana Imperii Productions, and author of “Seance at Baker House and Other Stories“.Contact Carl at www.StateSecretsRPG.com.

     

     

    Dirk Vandereyken

    Dirk is the author of the novel Fates Worse Than Death: Hunter.Dirk Vandereyken was born February 10, 1975. As a young man he liked to skip school quite a lot in order to secretly attend role-playing conventions overseas and practice martial arts instead. Two years after discovering The Dark Eye RPG at age 9, Dirk discovered the The Lord of the Rings trilogy and wrote his first novel, Ice, The Lost Planet, which got published to critical acclaim at age 14 (making him the youngest Belgian SF author ever).At age 15, Dirk took on the job of Regional Director for the Role-Playing Game Association Network for Belgium and wrote his next few books, a fairy tale and a fantasy novel. Two decades later Dirk started his own RPG-fanzine, The Fighting Bard, which eventually evolved into Cerberus Too. Since then, Dirk has been working as a hypno- and psychotherapist, producer, martial arts choreographer, journalist for four different magazines, singer and movie P.R. consultant.

    Contact Dirk at hulpverleningextra [at] telenet [dot] be

     

    Jason Juta
    Jason JutaJason did the covers for almost every Vajra book, as well as interior artwork for several Vajra books.Jason is a South African illustrator and designer currently living in London. His freelance work includes submissions for books on digital fantasy art, CD art and design for Century Media, Sound Riot Records, Avantegarde Records and Low Frequency Records. His personal work includes underground ‘zine publication, event organisation and art exhibition.Contact Jason at his home page: