Thursday, February 23, 2017

Commentary On Nexus's The Infinite City rpg & Grimjack issue Sevenity Six 'Battle Rock' WIth OSR Overtones

There are some days when I get a point to prove & today happens to be one of those days. I ran a Nexus The Infinite City campaign for years,at its height I had nine players & we did everything from comedy to serious interdimensional science fiction adventures. Now there was poll over in the G+ OSR group
now about ninety two percent hadn't even heard of the game. Nine percent had played & liked the game and one guy who started the poll didn't like the game because it didn't capture the essence of the GrimJack comic book. The game wasn't ever meant to actually but it was meant to emulate certain aspects of the comic book series. Namely the idea of an interdimensional city at the center of the multiverse with different dimensions phasing in and out of the city. It was actually the forerunner of Feng Shui first edition.. Lots of folks used Nexus The Infinite City as an add on game supplement to Feng Shui's time war.
Now since I didn't have the time to address certain aspects of the discussion about the game I want to wanted to do a blog post about them. Let me make the following very clear, THIS ISN'T A PERSONAL ATTACK ON EITHER Norbert G. Matausch or Dave Sherohman. Mr. Dave Sherohman 
made the following statement; "Guess I didn't express myself clearly in my earlier comment. That seems to happen a lot...

Tech level scales are what I don't think fits Cynosure. Yes, there are places where certain tech or magic works and other places where it doesn't, and yes, there are "no tech zones" and the havens (which are completely devoid of magic), but it's not laid out in a line like every tech level system I've seen does it.

The best example of this is probably the issue Battle Rock (issue #86, according to google), based around a battle of the bands in a dimension where a well-played bass line can demolish a city block. It's never explicitly stated whether a machine gun works there or not, but I assume not, because people use electric guitars instead. So is that higher-tech or lower-tech than the universe we inhabit? It's neither! It's entirely different, not merely "more" or "less" than our world."
There are some aspects of his statement I'd like to address.
Right so the issue in question is Grimjack issue Seventy Six called Battle Rock, in this issue GrimJack's James Edgar Twilley incarnation goes to fill a blood oath to the Ragnarock n' Roll dimension. In this setting modern musical instruments are used instead of weapons & basically drums instead of guns,guitars & voices  instead of lasers,here a battle of the bands is a thermonuclear event. Grimjack goes to play at the FillAlmo and defend the 'Heart of Rock & Roll'. All of these events are sketched out by the artwork of Flint Henry!

In Nexus The Infinite City terms bards are going to be king but it can be a bit tricky here.
Ragnarock n' Roll dimension
Moderate Tech  High Magic

Here the laws of physics are quirky at best, a PC is going to need to make a performance or skill roll with an instrument to make an attack. Drums are going to do gun damage, guitars are going to have the same damage as a medium laser pistol, synthesizers are going to do similar damage to a heavy pistol, voices can do damage similar to a machine pistol, etc. The 'Heart of Rock & Roll lays at the center of  the FillAlmo and is the spiritual center of the entire dimension. Any performer who falls to the forces of evil has a bit of their soul taken by the heart. In extreme times of danger the heart may call upon these spirits to help defend it against the forces of music industry mediocrity.
The Philistines represent the forces of instability, mediocrity, & entropy they take the form of zombies, lawyers, record executives, & sometimes other undead. They are lead by media moguls & corporate magus of the lowest orders. Should they get their hands on the Heart of Rock & Roll then all is lost. A new heart will have to be forged and it could take centuries.

Time flows differently in the Ragnarock n' Roll dimension, two hundred or more years may pass in Nexus while only a 20 years passes in Ragnarock. This leads to many retiring to the life of battle rock within  the Ragnarock n' Roll dimension to battle new crops of Philistine forces & train the next band of battle rockers.

Now as far as OSR terms are concerned you've got to be a 2nd level bard or shaman to participate in 'battle rock' functions. A successful wisdom roll is needed to operate a modern instrument and a charisma roll is needed instead of a normal combat roll. Mutant Future or a similar retroclone would have the appropriate technological instruments to make battle rock.
I've run two adventures in the the Ragnarock n' Roll dimension using Gamma World 1st & 2nd edition where the PC's were battle bands on war tours.

This blog post is for educational & entertainment purposes only and is not a challenge to the trade marks or copyrights of any to first comics or the holders of the Grimjack copy rights or trade marks. Nor Nexus The Infinite City. None of the role playing games mentioned in this blog entry are responsible for it.

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