Thursday, June 6, 2024

Revisiting GRIDSHOCK 20XX Zine 3: Regions

My baby blue.

Somewhat delayed, here's the post-mortem for GRIDSHOCK 20XX Zine 3: Regions, which gives GMs "all the details on a world in the grip of super-villainy." Well, maybe not all the details, but a good deal of them, anyway.

The Cover
  • Each region in GRIDSHOCK 20XX has its own unique "big bad" in charge of it. For the cover, I asked Steven De Waele for an image of Lord Thunder, the daemon-possessed former hero and head honcho of The Sanction, with his right-hand man Atramentus at his side. I think Steven understood the assignment. Lord Thunder looks like a nasty customer. In retrospect, Atramentus' visual design is too similar to the Omegas, an entirely different type of adversary, so I would give different guidance to the artist if I were to do it over. He still looks sinister and cool, though. I'm not going to lose sleep over it.
  • You may have noticed that this zine is in landscape format, so pages turn vertically. I've heard a little bit of grumbling about that, but I think it worked well, particularly because it gave Steven room to provide a panoramic view of each region. We set up the PDF version to display those landscape format pages properly. I honestly don't regret that design decision.
Region Entries
  • Descriptions of each of the eight regions of the GRIDSHOCK setting take up the entire zine; even the inside covers are used to convey setting information (except for the inside back cover, which the ICONS license required to be OGL information).
  • I think the regions themselves are pretty cool. Each one is designed to present a distinct flavor of dystopia, each with its own issues, locales, and badguys for player characters to deal with (or have as part of their origin). The presentation of each region includes important NPCs, locations, etcetera in a standardized format with numbered lists. The intent was to provide enough information for GMs and players to have an idea of what the regions were about without bogging them down with tons of text. I think it worked, though my predilection for circuitous sentence structure is on display. I see a lot that should be tightened up, trimmed down, or made clearer.
  • A few adversaries got full stat blocks. These are presented in the typical format for ICONS, which means that the GM would almost certainly need to look up what all their powers do. Ideally, I'd want the character writeups to be more immediately usable.
  • Really, the map that was in Zine 1: Roadmap should probably have been included here instead.
  • This is probably my favorite of the four GRIDSHOCK 20XX zines.
Fear not: The next blog post will wrap up this retrospective on GRIDSHOCK 20XX. It might be a little while before you see it, as I'm moving house and starting a new job this month. Thanks for your patience.