BLAME! is a cyberpunk manga by Tsutomu Nihei. It takes place on a massive Dyson Shell (a solid Dyson Sphere) called "The City", that begins around 1 AU, and stretching out to over 30 AUs -- that is out to Neptune!!!
In The City, large areas are divided by super-strong walls that make up the superstructure. Between these walls are large open areas covered in large cities and factories (the largest are as big as Jupiter). There are a lot of exotic and dangerous environments to be found, but they are all dense urban mazes.
Humans have long since forgotten about the Earth (which was consumed to build the mega-structure), and have changed genetically enough, so that they can no longer use The City's massive computer network -- the "Netsphere". The androids called "Safeguards" have been exterminating these "Mutants" like vermin. The story focuses on a human-looking cyborg (or android) named Killy, who is looking for any human with the Net Terminal Genes, which can access the Netsphere. He is armed with a powerful pistol, that is powerful enough punch holes in the indestructible superstructure. The recoil alone could kill a normal man! This hunt takes him on a long voyage.
If you add in wildlife areas, and more Gamma World elements (strange mutants, green radioactive ooze, and the like), then this world be the ultimate game of Metamorphosis Alpha! Even if you don't care for something this massive, the background art makes for great flash card props for your sci-fi games (just do an image search for "blame! manga" or "blame! comic"). As a comic, it is worth checking out.
"The view is great from up here."
Last Edit: Jan 21, 2013 2:35:12 GMT -6 by Malcadon
An interesting concept, and certainly a cool alternative to the standard "generation ship" model for MA.
Marv / Finarvyn DCC playtester (2011) S&W WhiteBox author (2009) C&C playtester (2003) Builder of the TrollBridge for T&T; Amber Diceless player since 1993 OD&D Player since 1975; Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!" - Dave Arneson
Glad to see I'm not the only one who's taken a healthy interest in BLAME!'s world as a Metamorphosis Alpha setting. For further reading, I'd recommend also the original BLAME! Debut comic, NOiSE, the short BLAME! 2 comic, and Netsphere Engineer. Nihei's Biomega has some similar themes and entities, but is otherwise a different "world".
From the very first issue we're given this: "maybe on earth, maybe in the future", and beyond this, we're told it's a space dungeon.
The largest obstacle I've had with the setting is simply the scale. The Megastructure is so mind-bogglingly large. And while it would be a fun exercise in mega-dungeon design, one might not realize just how long Killy's journey takes. For example, between each issue his wardrobe (and miscellaneous items) changes, and between it indeterminable stretches of time (a minimum of weeks is assumed). At one point he has to take an elevator (and is told an ETA in the hundreds to thousands of hours), and while I don't have the number any more, I'm sure players would have no interests in a 5 month elevator ride without comestibles. Another later example is when Killy has a near-fatal (read: near-permanent fatality), and his body takes 8 years to regenerate itself (!). This tidbit's pretty easy to miss, but it just goes to show the time scale here.
The various myriad groups of humans and other mutants are so far from each other (and in many cases on levels completely separate from each other), that almost none of them realize there is other life out there.
Of course all problems with the campaign are just with Killy's mission, of which normal human life spans would have played out before he reached its end. It's further worth noting that the majority of the book is just his random and plot-specific encounters and adventures. The travel time is glossed over. The world has a lot of potential, both for adventure ideas, lost technologies, locations, and denizens of this strange world.
My own initial plans for attempting the world focused on starting out in the Governing Agency's Capital City, which is the last vestige of human influence, and the only human population that isn't a tiny village or gathering of nomads. The idea would be to play other, lesser members of the Governing Agency.
By far my favorite portion of the series is the Toha Heavy Industries arc, and the village of the Electro-fishers. The local lore considers them descendants of the "Planters", and they had since lost access to the industrial complex, stuck living a ramshackle existence near one of its doors. Continuing on, Killy opens the door for them (there was plain instructions on how, but these fallen folk couldn't read it, bestowing great renown on him), and inside we later encounter the AI in charge of the massive complex, and a knight-errant sort of character that has had many unfortunate run-ins with the Silicon Creatures (non-Safeguard androids) trying to take over. And his regeneration chamber has the nasty habit of scrubbing more of his personality with each use.
Despite the dark, gritty and futuristic approach to everything, there is a good sprinkling of more fantastical elements throughout the series. And the Safeguards (inimical androids) have a very neat method of being "summoned" or "evoked", using local matter to form. (sometimes NPC' biomass is used too!)
Anyhoo, hope that wasn't too massive a dump. This has been my first chance to talk of it to anyone.
Also, I'd like to apologize for not introducing myself first. I've been haunting this forum for a few years since I'd first found it, and have been following the Tolkienian developments for OD&D play with much giddy-ness.
By the way, the folks at 1d4chat made a 40-page PRG of the setting. Even if you are not into the rules presented, it has a lot of useful info about the setting.
If I did not note before, BLAME! is brilliantly illustrated with it moody black & white art, and backgrounds that are nicely cluttered and massive in scale. As the writer throws you into the fiction, it can be a little overwhelming at first, but as the story unfolds, you learn more about the protagonist and the world he lives in. Although, pacing is a little slow, so you would have a lot to read before you crack a dent into the mysteries of that would. It is quite enjoyable, if you enjoy that kind of sci-fi.
Post by dukeofchutney on Jun 12, 2014 8:43:22 GMT -6
I've read both Blame! and Biomega. As comics im not sure they maintain their quality right the way through. Never played MA but this would make a good setting if you could find players that would get behind it.