So, I thought I’d get the ‘where we came from’ post out of the way early.

Be warned: the following blog post contains both vanity-puff and humble-bragging. You may want to just skip ahead to the next blog post. Hopefully I’ll have got it all out of my system by then.

Still here? Okay then, you were warned.

The story so far…

I have been a roleplayer since the age of 11, and have wanted to write my own games since not much older than that. But I never quite did it. In fact, it took me about 30 years to finally publish something.

In early 2020, with most of the world in lockdown for the Covid-19 pandemic, I joined the CODECO Discord – the cooperative design competition for RPGs. Together with my two randomly assigned, and more experienced, team members (go Team Scallop!) I designed the Steel Hearts RPG. It was about mecha robots powered by strong emotions who fight negative emotion demons. We won the prize for best ruleset, which was amazing considering we never even finished the game.

Steel Hearts gave me the push I needed to finally release something.

5 Minutes into the Future

With the help of several friends I started and released my first RPG product in September 2020 – the first issue of our ‘5 Minutes into the Future’ (5MF) zine.

What is 5MF?

Each issue of 5MF looks at a real-world technology in development right-now and imagines what that might be like in the future. We think up how it could impact in a variety of roleplaying genres; from modern heists and superheroes, to cyberpunk and post-apocalypse. There’s also some crunch every issue for using the technology in popular systems including 5e D20, Fate, and Powered by the Apocalypse. (There will be more on what 5MF is in a blog post soon).

Issue 1 5MF looked at the Wireless Photosheet, a thin golden sheet which with no wires or other components can produce a clean fuel from just sunlight, water and carbon dioxide.

It was released on both and DriveThruRPG, and was well received.

Meguey Baker of Lumpley Games (creators of Apocalypse World) said it was “Top notch… Solid, clear and extremely cool”. Considering we’d never even met, I thought that was really lovely of her. And it was a real boost for me too.

Then in October we donated issue 1 as a freebie for the hundreds of attendees of the virtual Albacon, supporting the brilliant It’s Good To Give charity.

The stuff of dreams

We released issue 2 of 5MF shortly after Albacon (on and DTRPG).

Issue 2 looked at the Dream Incubator, an app and sleep monitoring device that promises to be able to influence your dreams during specific phases of sleep.

This heady mix of technology and dreams proved enticing for lots of people, including a friend of mine, Jim, who has now written his first short story based on the dream incubator which will soon be released alongside issue 2.

The shape of things to come

5MF issue 3 looks at shape-memory material, a textile made from waste materials that can be given precise shape at the micron level which it will always return to, even though other shapes can then be taken.

Issue 3 should be available by the time you read this blog on and DTRPG. For this issue Jim also joined as co-author.

We’ve also introduced our 4th ruleset of 5MF crunch, HexDNA the system powering the brilliant Broken Shield RPG, the brain-child of my friend Gunnar.

And that brings us smack up to date.

What next?

Well, I have lots of plans for

  • First and foremost – 5MF will be continuing. From what little I know there is no-one out there doing quite what we do. So, we’ll keep doing us.
  • You’ll also see us mixing it up a bit, we have some ideas to push 5MF in some interesting directions.
  • You may also start to see some other product lines from us, I’ll keep my powder dry about what just now, but I can tell you it’s all part of the master plan, all building towards something much bigger.

Actually I’m kidding – there is no plan! But it’s like when you are GMing a game and you throw in some crazy, hair-brained thing and your players say “That could be XYZ!” and you say “Ah, maybe!” but what you really mean is – ‘That is so much cooler than what I came up with, I’m nabbing it!!’

On that note.

See you next time.

– Ben.