I uploaded the wrong version of the final encounter with the Body without Organs. Foolish. The PDF has been updated:-
Seven double-page spreads designed to be used as prompts for improvisation, creative inspiration or random tables provide the spine of the story: pre-generated characters, maps and guidance for play form the scenario’s second half.
Right now, the scenario is freely available only as a desktop PDF but other formats may soon become available:-
Two hours of sheer panic this morning when it emerged that the latest Microsoft updates meant that two-thirds or so of the images I’d used in Black Dog Dérive wouldn’t print, but sustained and desperate technical legerdemain has resulted in a hard copy I can trust. It seems to render okay as a PDF too. Aren’t those disingenuous mountebanks at Microsoft lovely, lovely people?
Black Dog Dérive is a modest affair but one nonetheless that requires some decisions to be made. I come from a dim, dark and mythical past in which players of a roleplaying game were left to make their own choices about how to play but this approach now seems to be regarded as some kind of oversight – and perhaps rightly so.
Playtests have allowed me to refine the guidance down to three modes: Old School, Story First and New Wave. That I do not see these styles of play as politically opposed or mutually exclusive is half the reason I’ve written the scenario – but, you know, that’s up to the people playing.
It will probably be a booklet of 30 pages or so. I may print it out as a fanzine or I may just make it freely available as a PDF: it’s been a difficult year money-wise and health-wise and I may have to settle for what I can make happen. Really, I just want it out there as an option for those playing Ville Vuorela’s wonderful STALKER: The SciFi Roleplaying Game. I’ll contact Ville when the first draft is done – the end is in sight now – and see what he thinks is appropriate.
Earth’s drought-stricken water supply of 2033 is monopolized by “Water & Power”, led by Villain Kesslee (McDowell), a militarized corporation which first captures Tank Girl (Petty) and her young friend Sam (Ramsower) and then puts Tank Girl and in-house Transportation-expert Jet Girl (Watts) to work luring a troublesome band of Genetically-Engineered Mutants known as “Rippers” – made by combining the DNA of humans and kangaroos – out into the open. Tank Girl makes the acquaintance of a modified M5A1 Stuart tank (“The sheer size of it!” she exclaims, fondling the gun-muzzle, “I’m in love!”) and the resulting confrontation sees the Rippers wound Kesslee – subsequently restored in suitably lurid fashion as a Cyborg – and Tank Girl and Jet Girl escape by tank and by plane respectively. They follow a lead to Sex club Liquid Silver where the Madame (Magnuson) intends to put pre-pubescent Sam to work servicing the depraved desires of paedophile Rat Face (Pop). The duo humiliate the Madame and the other occupants of the club by making them perform Cole Porter’s Let’s Do It (1928) at gunpoint, whereupon Water & Power soldiers storm the impromptu song-and-dance number and recapture Sam. Tank Girl and Jet Girl discover the desert hide-out of the Rippers and inveigle themselves into their affections by taking part in a Jazz-poetry inflected Religious festival and, despite the suspicions of Ripper T-Saint (Ice-T), are trusted by the Rippers to use their vehicles to seize a shipment of Weapons intended for Water & Power – but this proves to be a trap. Kesslee reveals that Tank Girl has been bugged all along and informs her that child protégé Sam is trapped in a pipe of rapidly-filling water. A comic book-style fight ensues and Tank Girl short-circuits Kesslee’s cybernetic rigging by injecting him with one of his own weapons: a handheld hypodermic capable of turning blood into water:-
The moustache of main character David/The Lobster (Farrell) might easily serve as emblem for the film: earnest and yet outrageously out-of-place, trying to fit into a world whose societal constructs and everyday cruelties in fact make no more sense than any other animal endeavour. Absurdist SF is combined with deadpan Satire to disorienting effect.
The laws of “The City” indicate that David and the other single people in The Lobster must be taken to “The Hotel”, a desolate and joyless locale in the style of an English holiday resort wherein those visiting must couple-up within the forty-five day time limit or be sent off to live in “The Woods”: “If you fail to fall in love during your stay here, you will turn into an animal.” David’s brother is rendered as real-life dog on screen because “he was here a couple of years ago but he didn’t make it”. Masturbation is banned, Sex with the Hotel Maid (Labed) is as mandatory as it is joyless, and the hotel is filled with single people unable to talk, dance or connect emotionally with one another except via a bloodless rendition of romantic customs vaguely reminiscent of the transmitted narcissism of Internet dating. “If you encounter any problems you cannot resolve yourselves,” announces the Hotel Manager (Colman), “you will be assigned children. That usually helps.”