Basically, Dark Age is a pet project of mine that I've been working on for far too long. I've enjoyed playing RPGs for a number of years both as a player and as a GM. These rules and setting came out of the ashes of our Cyberpunk games. I and a few others had written various new bits for the campaign, but some of it didn't fit in, or the rules didn't seem right at the time. After lots and lots of tweaking rules, I thought I might as well try and type the ideas up. The result is this motley array of HTML files you're reading now.
Dark Age started off as a Mad Max type game set on another planet. After playing CP2020, I shifted the setting back to earth and changed the psychics to magicians. I didn't get the magic rules right the first time and mages were very powerful. Fine if you like that sort of thing, but I was after a game where the players struggled, rather than waltzed through encounters. The phrase "We've got a mage in here and we're not afraid to use him" pretty much describes it.
I've tried to expand the character generation to give different types of people access to different skills. There are no special abilities, you can do any job. However, someone who has been doing it longer will be better at it than you.
DA did have elves and dwarves in it at one point. A friend leant me the Shadowrun rules and I knew I wanted something different (not that I'm dissing Shadowrun here - I just didn't want DA to be exactly the same).
That lead on to having genetically or surgically engineered races. Various authors have come up with some great stories which I've thought "wouldn't it be really cool to have a character like....". I've named most of the sources for these races in the Concepts paragraph for each race.
Breed were inspired by a single picture in Shadowrun's Shadowtech book. There's a colour insert of a guy with yellow skin, red eyes, hugh diamond teeth and what looks like interface cabling coming out of his scalp. F***ing hey!
Yes, there is a severe lack of artwork in these files. I can't draw for shit, but I'm open to suggestions or contributions by people! :-)
Great artists steal, poor artists borrow and all that. :-) I'm not saying I'm a great RPG writer, this is only a hobby. DA has it's roots in Talsorian's Cyberpunk game, so obviously you will spot similarities there.
What I do find amusing, is when I come with an idea of either a mechanic, gadget or background setting; only to find the same thing in the next RPG product I buy. I guess there's nothing new under the sun sometimes. It's either that or all of reality is a lie, a fevered delusion created by my godlike intellect. :-)
I didn't have Quirks in the game until we played a game of Vampire. A big list of flaws and advantages followed after that.... then I discovered GURPS and I realised I'd missed the boat some time ago. Doh! :-)
We played a lot of "edge runner" games, teams for hire and whatnot. The X Files lead us to start playing an Agency based game. If you like that sort of thing, I can't recommend Delta Green (Pagan Publishing) enough. Conspiracy X is worth a read for it's take on conspiracy theories and an alternative reality (or is it? <g>).
GURPS Voodoo is another damned fine game setting. It was reading that which provoked me to change the magic system again. It wasn't so much the rules, but the setting. I'm not a fan of "fireball magicians", magic (IMO) should be all in the mind and very covert. Maybe I've been reading too many Charles De Lint novels. :-)
I'd just like to say thanks to the following: Steve for editing and playtesting; Rob for ideas & rules tweaks and Dawn for devilish scenario plots.
Last but not least, the various players (or is that playtesters?) over the years:
Steve "Justified & Ancient" Taylor; Rob of the leather trooze; Dangerous Dave; Paul "Warmonger" Radford; "Slob"; Tony "Cheese please!" Sweeting; Dwayne Heaton, Andy Horrocks and Dave of The Hair.