Songs of Spheres by David J Rodger

One of the things I appreciate about the stories written by science fiction & dark fantasy author, David J Rodger, is the shared universe aspect. It makes it extremely easy to pick up any single one of his stories and find yourself immediately immersed in that world with a ready-made primer built in to the narration. As you continue to read more of his work, you’ll feel how they all seem to tie together, without being dependent on one another.

The main protagonist for one story feels like he could also be the disgruntled unnamed gentleman briefly mentioned walking down the sidewalk in another. Spheres brushing up alongside each other in their own singular orbits.

Which brings me to his short story collection Songs of Spheres (which can be purchased for Kindle or Paperback)

Songs of Spheres by David J Rodger

I love this collection of short stories. There is a darkness that lingers with you afterwards, a darkness I enjoy going back to. For me it’s like Blade Runner met William Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy in a bar, and then H.P. Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones decided to camp out outside that bar and peer inside the windows.

Here are some of my particular favorites in this collection:

Merchant of Oropas

In certain cultures, the possession of an object during magical ceremony can infuse it with qualities that cannot be measured or monitored by scientific means. They are said to become like beacons, within the Astral Planes, guiding or warding other worldly spirits with no restrictions of time, or space.

Dilemma

A tense and fast-paced plot that plunges into the heart of our fear of the ‘monsters’ we make to serve us. Biological intolerance clashes with the vain attempt to rationalise cold-blooded murder.

The Tainted Moor

In the North East of England is a place where something so terrible has occurred, that the locals dare only to speak of it as a warning to survivors thinking of going there. The Tainted Moor. Man has tried to penetrate the chaos of the Infection and brought such calamity upon the battered Earth that even the Angels weep in despair. An indelible stain upon the bruised flesh of Mother Nature.

Stories with sprawling and vast environs, yet give you very close and intimate portraits of the souls trapped within for those who wish to take a look inside.

Screen Capture from Blade Runner (1982) - Ridley Scott

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Yellow Dawn

There’s nothing that can compare to the excitement of getting packages in the mail, for me at least! Even if you know what’s in them it doesn’t lessen the excitement of unpacking them.

The long awaited supplies for brewing a batch of stout to be ready for next month finally came in today and *drumroll* a new Role-Playing Game book! Fresh off the presses, the newly updated Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur 2.5 by David J Rodger.

Yellow Dawn is set in a post-apocalyptic near future with a landscape fueled by the machinations of its denizens, Cyberpunk technology, and a threat looming beyond the stars to wreak its havoc upon mankind. Fans of cosmic horror and Cthulhu Mythos will appreciate what this universe has to offer to its readers and players.

Dog Eat Dog, the first novel set in this universe, is a wonderfully immersive introduction that sweeps you into the action and gritty intrigue at a rapid-pace and doesn’t let you go. The Yellow Dawn page on the author’s site provides an abundant amount of resources such as scenarios and bolt-ons, links to the short stories set in the universe, and all manner of goodies to enrich the gaming experience.

“In Yellow Dawn the Earth has been ravaged by viral pathogens, the death of billions observed by the orbital colonies and deep-space habitats that were largely unaffected by the Outbreak. Ten years later a handful of cities have bounced back and survivor settlements sprung up across the New Wilderness. The Infected pose an extreme threat within the thousands of Dead Cities; and rumours of alien monsters and Satanic ceremonies filter out from the deep wilderness on the tongues of those brave enough to travel. Players have the chance to become heroes in the New Wilderness, or become involve in city-based investigations and action-adventure.”

“The Influence of Hastur is revealed in pockets of Infection, through the terrible once-human victims that have been erroneously dubbed “zombies” alongside the horrific – and sanity crushing – phenomenon that snags the unwary in Dead Cities. The risk from the Infection is evolving: giving GMs the ability to adjust the threat as the game progresses, keeping players on their toes.”
From the Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur Press Release

All in all, a very impressive creation from an independent source. Once I’ve got a group of willing players to try this out with me I’ll be writing again. Take care until next time, and remember:

Murder At Sharky Point by David J Rodger – A Review

It was a dark and stormy night on the first of October in the year 2010. The rain was not yet near, but the sky above the house was being torn apart by the fierce lightning. Eight solemn and suspicious individuals became entangled in a thick web of lies and deceit, and murder most foul…

I have always wished to host a murder mystery party, and my first game storyline came from friend and author, Mr. David J Rodger.

Murder At Sharky Point by David J Rodger - A Review

 

The character invites were placed inside document envelopes, marked with the name of the invitee, and delivered to their hands or left at their desks at work to discover. The rabid responses began to flood in, and the excitement rose to a fever pitch. None of the individuals chosen to participate in this event had ever played a murder mystery party before. I received ecstatic updates on purchases to fulfill the costumes for the characters. I received comments just to say “I can not wait!”

The night arrived. The storm arrived. The players arrived.

Introductions were made to the dinner guests before they were sent off to separate corners around the house to read the rest of the nitty gritty details pertaining to their characters. Their wide-eyed curiosty became replaced with a mischievous gleam as their minds mulled over what they knew and their machinations began to grow.  We were all a little slow to start, considering this was our first attempt at this particular form of role-play for gaming. Then, a magical transformation. One of the investigative agents fell full tilt into his character and purpose, without mercy, and the rest of the dinner guests transitioned into their roles and knowledge with a dangerous ease.

It began in nervous laughter and smiles, and ended with insults flying, seething glances, clenched jaws, and elegant subterfuge.

By the end of the game, they really did not mind who had racked up the most points. All they wanted to know was Who Did It?

Who were the ones responsible? I’m not going to tell you. All I will tell you is that the murderer/s were not discovered this time around.

The players and I all had such a wonderful time, that future Murder Mystery Parties have been planned with other campaigns. But none of us will forget our first time and how Murder at Sharky Point treated us, and will likely return to it with new groups of players in the future. I’m certain this game can only get better the more it is played. There is so much to it to discover that each time through with players will provide more insight into details of the various intrigues.

To any players of role-play, live action or tabletop variety, I would recommend this game. The characters are a delight to get into, the plot keeps you guessing (and squirming), and I can not think of any other game experience I’ve had that was quite like this one.

The Author’s Site:
http://davidjrodger.com

You can Purchase Murder at Sharky Point on Lulu:
http://www.lulu.com/product/file-download/murder-at-sharky-point/12466364