Wasteland Degenerates: Jumper Cable Edition

Wasteland Degenerates: Jumper Cable Edition

A gas-guzzling, high octane zine for use with Cy_Borg or other 'Borgs, detailing the creation of characters for campaigns involving gritty survival in the wastelands.
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$10,547 🎉
of $750 (USD) goal
460
backers
Project Ended
Ended on <time datetime="2024-07-11T01:00:00Z" data-local="time" data-format="%b %-d, %Y">Jul 11, 2024</time> at <time datetime="2024-07-11T01:00:00Z" data-local="time" data-format="%-l:%M%P %Z">1:00am UTC</time>
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This is The End, is it really your friend?

A desolate road through a wretched wasteland.

A torn leather jacket, pockets stuffed with shotgun shells more valuable than gold.

A loyal dog by your side who probably will still eat your corpse, given the chance.

Mutant beasts howling in the distance.

Welcome to the Wasteland Degenerates Jumper Cable Edition, a jumpstart primer to the upcoming Cy_Borg and Mörk Borg-compatible RPG.  The world of this game has fallen within the last decade and a half, and the PCs are generally old enough to remember the Before Times, when technology advanced too far beyond the balance of ethics, and corporate greed inadvertently brought the world to the attention of inscrutable cosmic beings, hungry for our minds and planet.

You've a lot to learn, rookie.

Inspirations

I came to the idea of Wasteland Degenerates after quickly becoming obsessed with the rules-light, heavy-everything-else Mörk Borg, Cy_Borg and the brilliant and creative spinoffs that emerged from this lovely community.  Each flail to the face brought something new to the table, but nobody had given a comprehensive treatment of my favorite genre, post-apocalyptic survival, nor had anyone satisfied my desire for a dramatic car combat system suitable for a full campaign of road war.

So I decided to do it myself, despite no experience with self-publishing or major connections in the gaming space.  What I did have was 40 years of gaming experience, an English degree, and the painful level of naïvete necessary to think that I could pull something like this off easily.

Anyway, here's my list of major inspirations:

  • Gamma World
  • Car Wars
  • The Mad Max franchise (especially Fury Road)
  • Fallout
  • The Postman by David Brin
  • The Last of Us

But the list goes on... I could also reference films like The Book of Eli or novels such as Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse by Victor Gischler, but let's not get excessive, here.

I think that the biggest reason I'm able to do this, however, is because of my partnership with talented artist and layout guru Matthew Myslinski, who signed on immediately and whose creative ability, industry experience, and common sense has made this project go from a pipe dream to the edge of reality.
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What this edition contains

This 64-page zine gives you the lowdown on:

Player Character (PC) Classes

The Exiled Grease Monkey is mad to the max.
  • Exiled Grease Monkey, an outcast mechanic trained in the Road War.
  • AWOL Conscript, a specialized soldier who left the service when the paychecks stopped.
  • Jilted Survivalist, a doomsday prepper who lost almost everything anyway.
  • Baffled Researcher, a scientist whose tenure means nothing when there are no more universities.
  • Shortwave Evangelist, a charismatic preacher who summons disposable allies with a HAM radio.
  • Itinerant Scavenger, a versatile wanderer who finally found their calling in the apocalypse.

Each character class has static and random special abilities, random flavor text to represent their background, and differing bonuses to the five Traits from Cy_Borg: Strength, Agility, Presence, Toughness, and Knowledge.

Hit Points & Critical Damage

It's dangerous to go alone, take these HP and limbs.
As in other games of its ilk, PCs can be battered, critically wounded, or killed. Limbs can be lost or damaged, perhaps to be replaced with crude or high-tech prosthetics.  Radiation sickness is an ever-present risk which only the rarest and most expensive drugs can mitigate.

And while death is an ever-present possibility in the Wasteland, it may not be the end.  Dark powers claw at the edges of the universe, willing to whisper life back into a dying character, at a price, so they may continue to spread their misery across the world.  Whether the PC fulfills these dark promises is a very different question.

Warps

Reality is falling apart, and some individuals, like the PCs, can briefly change the odds in their favor using Warps, a limited resource similar to Omens or Glitches in similar games.  In addition to the familiar capabilities, Warps may also be used to repair your car a little, even if it's been wrecked! Kicking the tires is optional.

Skills and Mutant Powers

Let your freak flag fly, mutant!
Meteors filled with radioactive "space dust" impacted the earth during the cataclysms.  Those who come into contact with this cosmic substance often find themselves with uncanny powers and drawbacks.  PCs may start with a mutation or receive one through gameplay.

Even those who have not received the alien blessing and curse of mutations and their corresponding complications may have learned Hard-Earned Survival Skills (HESS) to give them an edge on the unforgiving and desolate highways.  Martial arts, hunting and foraging, first aid, or mechanical repair are all options (out of 20).  Classless characters start with one, and they can also be obtained through events in-game.

Gear, Gear, Gear!

You have at least ONE friend in the Wasteland...
No post-apocalyptic game would be complete without loads of scavenged loot to acquire, and I do not intend to disappoint!  Players start with a few trinkets, maybe a drone or a first-aid kit, but can get so much more:

  • Brutal weapons, from the humble board-with-a-nail-in-it to shotgun boom-sticks to the devastating "Zwei" chainsaw, you'll be eviscerating enemies with savagery appropriate to the lawless setting.
  • Cobbled-together armor, including iconic leather jackets and full-on radiation-resistant combat suits.
  • Nuclear Prosthetics, called RAD Implants, to replace limbs or organs lost to wasteland dangers, or ill-advisedly replace perfectly functional natural limbs.
  • Super-science CosmOS interfaces capable of re-writing reality, and sinister alien Tothtec relics found in the craters of meteorite impacts; both of which have increasing risk of "Boot Errors" that can un-stick you from reality or cause other heinous effects. 
  • Advanced drugs that can miraculously heal wounds or send you into a euphoric berserker state.

BURNING RUBBER

What's your ride?

The Jumper Cable Edition will include Wasteland Degenerates's signature vehicular combat system, with fully customizable vehicles ranging from agile motorcycles (they're choppers, really) to unstoppable big rigs. Vehicles, like characters, have their own stats, specifically Power, which reflects the muscle and speed of the car, and Edge, which affects maneuverability, electronics, and vehicular weapon fire.  Power and Edge add to or subtract from the PC's abilities, so to fire a vehicle weapon, you might roll Presence+Edge, or to effectively ram a wasteoid, Agility+Power.

Vehicles can mount:

  • Light or heavy weapons, ranging from low-tech harpoon rifles to devastating tank guns, either in turrets or stationary mounts
  • Light or heavy vehicle mods ranging from turbochargers to tank treads and plow blades for those special instances of road rage.
  • Trailers, extra wheels, and chopper sidecars.
  • Special cargo modifications for specialized missions.

Rules of the Road:

While you can fire your pickup's gatling gun while parked at a diner to avoid paying the bill if you wish, our rules allow for dramatic chase scenes inspired by Mad Max: Fury Road and Furiosa.  The road chase combat system involves a 3x3 grid (see add-ons!), upon which the PCs' main vehicle remains in the center row while enemy and allied vehicles are arrayed in relative positions around the grid.  Road obstacles move back one space every round and potential new hazards are rolled for the upcoming tiles. 

Exact distance is not calculated during a road chase; battles last until one side's vehicles are wrecked or driven off the road, their drivers fail morale checks, or a story event takes place, whether from a special road tile or GM intervention.
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Pledge Levels!

Let's get this done, together!

  • Sympathetic City-Dweller - $1+ - no rewards, but you are helping to bring the project about, and we'll keep you in the loop!
  • Scanner Survivor - $7.50 - A .pdf of the zine, plus any incentives or digital stretch goals.
  • A True Wasteland Degenerate - $15 - A physical copy of the zine, plus all physical incentives and rewards.  Includes a free .pdf of the zine.
  • The Road Warrior - $22 - A physical copy of the zine, plus a pad of character and vehicle sheets.  Includes all physical incentives and rewards, as well as a free .pdf of the zine.
  • Gamma Marauder - $23 - As the Road Warrior, but with a special A3 poster with a tribute to James M. Ward on one side and a graphic mini-adventure on the other! LIMITED STOCK.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Peddler - $37.50 - For retailers only! Includes five copies of the zine, Includes all physical incentives and rewards, as well as a free .pdf of the zine.
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Add-ons and Incentives!

Your character, and, more importantly, their car.
We've got them!  

Add-Ons!

  • A pad of 50 double-sided character sheets, with your PC on the front, and room for their tricked-out hot rod on the back - $8
  • An A3-sized cardstock highway grid perfect for conducting dramatic high-speed chases using whatever toy cars you have handy... or bought at the corner store for this purpose! - $5
  • A physical copy of my free Dark Fort-inspired solo cartographic RPG set in the Wasteland Degenerates setting, Enter the Dismal Armory, as seen on The Lone Adventurer's YouTube channel. - $3
  • A physical copy of the sequel to Enter the Dismal Armory, Blood on the Bleak Road - $5

Incentives!

Backers in the first 48 hours, will receive, at no extra cost, a A3-sized poster (folded to ship with the zine) paying homage to the late, great James M. Ward, creator of Gamma World, Metamorphosis Alpha, and so many other amazing gaming experiences, and without whom Wasteland Degenerates would not exist.  The poster will be created by talented upcoming graphic designer Leo Buffalo.  But wait there's more!  On the opposite side of the poster will be a graphic mini-adventure designed by Matthew Myslinski

Depending on demand, I may make the poster an add-on after the first 48 hours, but we'll see.
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Stretch Goals

I hope you're ready for these stretch goals:

  • $6,000 - Matthew comes on-board full time, hastening completion & delivery! - UNLOCKED!
  • $7,000 - Brian Colin of Vast Grimm creates a monster for an additional enemy pamphlet for physical tiers! - UNLOCKED!
  • $8,000 - A random character & vehicle generator is added to the website! - UNLOCKED!
  • $9,000 - The mission generator will be added to the bonus enemy pamphlet for physical tiers! - UNLOCKED!
  • $10,000 - Another guest creator monster will be added to the pamphlet! - UNLOCKED!
  • $11,000 - T-shirt?

UNLOCKED TIERS:
  1. * We already hit the first three rewards!  That first one was to hire Matthew full-time to work on the remaining spreads, and this will get the zine into your grimy, space dust-covered hands considerably sooner, but it will also make the hardcover full game that much more viable. 

  2. Brian Colin promised to bring some intergalactic horror to Wasteland Degenerates in a special bonus booklet called UNDONE.

  3. My great friend Stuart Gorman has already made progress on a randomized character generator which will make rolling up characters between your combat turns a snap!

  4. The Job Board of the Apocalypse mission generator will be added to the UNDONE bonus content.

  5. The MAD Collective will contribute another monster to UNDONE.

UPCOMING TIERS:

  1. The height of fashion, a Wasteland Degenerates T-shirt is in range if we get to $11,000 by 6 PM!
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Do you want to know more?

We're featured on Tabletop Gaming News!

Pease also check out these links to other content creators and interviewers!

I was on Weird Games for Weirder People, a Crit-award nominated podcast!

I gave an interview to Dieku Games podcast!

YouTube
Facebook

Games with Dave Interview

Hardboiled GMshoe's Office Q&A

The Lone Adventurer played through Enter the Dismal Armory, my Dark Fort-inspired solo game set in the Wasteland Degenerates universe and made TWO videos about it!  Check him out; he's a phenomenal resource for solo RPGs in general!

Part 1
Part 2

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Roads not yet taken

Full disclosure!    Wasteland Degenerates was originally envisioned as a hardcover book that can sit on the shelf next to Mörk Borg, Cy_Borg, Vast Grimm, and Frontier Scum (all by other greatly inspiring authors and designers).  This will still happen eventually, but some very smart people advised me to start smaller.  So this is a supplement that is meant to be used to convert Cy_Borg into an apocalyptic survival game in the lawless wastes outside the city of Cy, or drag your Mörk Borg campaign kicking and screaming into a high-octane, gas-guzzling future.

"Wait," you might ask, "This isn't a complete game?" Not quite, no.  This edition is lacking the deep lore, unique cataclysms (a variant on Miseries or Miserable Headlines), factions, monsters, and missions that were to be included in the hardcover.  The good news is that you can download compatible Mörk Borg rules for free HERE at Johan Nohr's Itch page, or you can buy the incredible Cy_Borg physical book, that is most compatible with this game, HERE (I'm sure there are other options intrepid shoppers can find online).  Just replace all the character creation and combat stuff in those base games with this edition.

As far as adventures go, I've got 1.5 full adventures written, but until I can release those, the community is blessed with a host of talented writers that have produced hundreds of adventures that are perfectly compatible with Wasteland Degenerates Jumper Cable Edition characters.
A hint of the desperate missions to come...

At a future date, when the full hardcover edition of Wasteland Degenerates is on shelves, I still see a reason for the Jumper Cable Edition to exist, since it will make the perfect reference book for players to borrow while rolling up a new character (should they need to in the middle of a session for... reasons), or to send home with players before session zero/one to familiarize them with the character options.
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The Status of the Project, Timelines, and Shipping

The Wasteland Degenerates Jumper Cable Edition is fully written and 45% illustrated and laid out.  As a first time independent author and self-publisher, I have been funding this project from my day job paycheck because I am passionate about bringing it to you.  While the funding goal was just for the actual printing of the physical books, hitting the first stretch goal is going to allow me to employ my artist, the great Matthew Myslinski, on a full-time basis and bring the project to fruition faster. 

I don't know what dangers the road ahead is hiding, but I would like to get the books out by Fall 2024... with Winter 2024 being the outside latest, barring catastrophe.

Shipping will be handled after the campaign with a BackerKit survey.  Due to instability in shipping costs, I am not able to easily predict the costs prior to actual shipping.

I assure you, we're just getting started!
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Legal and Disclaimers

LEGAL STUFF

Wasteland Degenerates: Jumper Cable Edition is an independent production by Scott C. McDonald and is not affiliated with Stockholm Kartell. It is published under the CY_BORG Third Party License. CY_BORG IS ©2022 STOCKHOLM KARTELL.  MÖRK BORG is copyright Ockult Örtmästare Games and Stockholm Kartell.  All other referenced games, films, books, media, and properties are not my property; they are owned by their respective license holders.

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