David J Rodger, 1970 – 2015

On 22nd November, 2015, David J Rodger passed away. I’m writing this over a year after it happened, and it’s still very raw for everyone who loved him. It’s only today that I discovered that David had given me editing rights to his blog, and after talking to his girlfriend Jo, I felt it was important to post something about his death here. His blog still gets a lot of visitors keen to learn about his work, and he wouldn’t want them to think he was ignoring their questions and comments.

On Friday, 12th December 2015, I was honoured to speak at David’s funeral, to a venue packed full of his many friends. Below is the text of my tribute to a remarkable human being.

Hi. My name is Chris Halliday. To David, I was “Doc Toc”, or occasionally “Mr Sardonic”. Looking out at the faces here, I’m struck with a sense of “Deja Dave” – the feeling I’ve seen many of you in David’s photos.

David was only the second friend I made when I arrived in Bristol eight years ago, but it’s through him that I met many of my closest and dearest friends. David delighted in friendship – more than anyone I’ve ever met he understood the true value of it, the joy of a life made of precious moments shared with the ones you love.

David was, first and foremost, a storyteller. Many of you I first came to know as characters in David’s anecdotes; colourful characters with larger-than-life names – Oj, Miss Scarlet, Sharky “Bones” McCoy, Game Breaker Hagen, Penfold, Nice Guy Tony, Hiab-X, and many others. When I became a character in those tales with a name of my own, it was a badge of honour. I wear it proudly.

David’s passion for life was infectious. Through him I discovered new authors, new music, new places. He loved unearthing gems of experience and sharing them with others, and he loved when it was reciprocated. He introduced me to Hybrid, I gave him M.R. James. He gave me Leftfield, I gave him Robert W. Chambers. A glance at the most played tracks in my music collection shows his influence – over half the bands there are ones I first learned of through him.

David was a catalyst. He drove things, events, people; either by setting an example or by his honest encouragement and feedback. Because of him, I’m a published game writer. His unfailing kindness and loyalty – and that of the wonderful friends he brought into my life – helped me get through some very dark times. That’s not to say that there weren’t moments when he was the very devil. I’m sure many of us have woken up at some point with random objects taped to us, or had our most embarrassing and intimate moments painstakingly documented on film and video. We all have Dave stories like that.

I think it’s well known how much of an influence H.P. Lovecraft had on David’s life and writing. The day before David left us, I read the following passages in the pages of what is probably Lovecraft’s most optimistic and uplifting story; “Beyond the Wall of Sleep”. I like to think that it describes David himself; a visiting Trickster god, part Loki, part Coyote, sliding in on a light beam to remind us that the only real things in life are love and laughter.

“I am an entity like that which you yourself become in the freedom of dreamless sleep. I am your brother of light, and have floated with you in the effulgent valleys. It is not permitted me to tell your waking earth-self of your real self, but we are all roamers of vast spaces and travellers in many ages. Next year I may be dwelling in the Egypt which you call ancient, or in the cruel empire of Tsan Chan which is to come three thousand years hence. You and I have drifted to the worlds that reel about the red Arcturus, and dwelt in the bodies of the insect-philosophers that crawl proudly over the fourth moon of Jupiter. How little does the earth self know of life and its extent! … We shall meet again – perhaps in the shining mists of Orion’s Sword, perhaps on a bleak plateau in prehistoric Asia, perhaps in unremembered dreams tonight, perhaps in some other form an eon hence, when the solar system shall have been swept away.”

David was a chameleon; many things to many people. To me, he was a mentor, a brother, and a friend.

We shall meet again.

David J. Rodger, August 30, 1970 – November 22, 2015

Never forgotten, always in our hearts

NOTE: It was only after creating the original post that I noticed the tag at the bottom leads to David’s last post on the blog, entitled “Designer Death”. I have a feeling that this is another of David’s practical jokes from beyond the veil.

Designer Death

There’s a grim fate in store for any of your engineered workers if they don’t consume their daily quota of Zone.

Ensure loyalty and obedience. Get value from your investment. Contact your nearest FUJI-BROKELL representative for details.

Designer death - genetically engineered humans used in sex industry and low skill jobs - cyberpunk in the post-apocalyptic world of YELLOW DAWN by David J Rodger

Designer Death. Image by Borja Pindado. Copyright David J Rodger

Words and image from the forthcoming release of Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur (3rd edition). An RPG and basis for several novels that blends Cyberpunk themes with H.P.Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos in a post-apocalyptic setting. With a deal on the table from Modiphius (Achtung! Cthulhu) under their license with Chaosium, the new edition has been written to work with Call of Cthulhu 7th ed.   Artwork by superbly talented Borja Pindado.

More info herehttps://davidjrodger.wordpress.com/yellow-dawn-rpg/

The bright lights of the city were like jewels she’d seen a thousand times before but never noticed just how beautiful they could be, until now.  It was difficult not to stagger as she moved along the street, colliding here and there with one of the people who moved with such hurry.  She didn’t want to hurry.  She wanted to soak up every moment – she wanted to grin, to show this freshly comprehended world how happy she was to finally join it.  But the Masters had warned her about this reaction, and about appearing to be different.  This city was not the UDP.  The people here might point her out and then men with violence in their hearts and cold blood in their veins would take her away – and dispose of her like the trash she used to carry from the restaurant.  Yet to walk and twirl slowly, head angled upwards, soaking in the sights, reading the commercials flashing across buildings and vehicles and to know what it all meant, to see her place in this vast world and feel the joy the colours brought to her spirit; it was intoxicating and wonderful.

– Covert Chronicles, a blogger with access to everything and everyone.

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Biopunks, Grinders and Synthetic Biology:

https://davidjrodger.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/biopunks-grinders-and-synthetic-biology/

 

First glimpse of script for Yellow Dawn – The Movie

I had a nice surprise the other day. Contact from the US screenwriter who has been working on the idea of a movie based on the world of Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, which encompasses the role-playing game and the three novels (Dog Eat Dog, The Black Lake, The Social Club).  We’ve had a number of video calls this year fleshing out a two page treatment for the movie. Now arrives the first 6 pages. Great stuff. He’s really captured a strong flavour of Yellow Dawn and I’m more than happy to see how another mind translates it into their own vision and words. I’ve signed-off what he sent through. Here’s a glimpse: Continue reading

Video Animation ¦ Ruin – a post apocalyptic short

A little under 10 minutes this is a wonderfully atmospheric cyberpunk post-apocalyptic short that plugs straight into your adrenal gland. Definitely make sure you’ve got big sound, full screen and a do-not-disturb holo hovering above your skull.

There’s a fantastic absence of dialogue, adding to the enigma of the story’s background: what is the character searching for and why did this happen? Is the character even human, or something else? Great sense of peril from the autonomous machine response.

It would fit seamlessly into the post-apocalyptic universe of Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, except for the fact it shows nature having reclaimed the abandoned cityscape. In Yellow Dawn, one aspect of the Infection that dominates the daily life of survivors who have chosen not to seek sanctuary in the Living Cities, and is part of the pervasive Influence of Hastur, is the fact that the flora and fauna of Nature does not grow anywhere there are significant populations of Infected victims (erroneously called zombies by survivors and media). Even 10 years after the event known as Yellow Dawn happened, the Dead Cities remain free from the choking overgrowth of weeds, trees, wild grasses or anything else; adding to the intensely disturbing atmosphere to these places.

Here’s the video:

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Story by Wes Ball. Produced by Oddball Animation

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David J Rodger – DATA

Unveiled: New Cover for 3rd Edition of Yellow Dawn

Borja Pindado creates an epic scene of post-apocalyptic action adventure, steeped in the potent mystery and thrill of investigating H.P.Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos

Borja is one of three artists who have been working on the Yellow Dawn project since I started writing the new 3rd edition in January (2015).  With a deal on the table from Modiphius (Achtung! Cthulhu) under their license with Chaosium for Call of Cthulhu products, the 3rd Edition of Yellow Dawn has been written to work alongside CoC 7th Edition rules.

I briefed Borja to create a scene that conveys the idea of the Earth becoming a “new wilderness”, littered with the ruins of Dead Cities where strange and alien horrors now lurk.  I wanted the cover to convey a blend of scavenged military equipment and medieval revivalism.  And beside all this tactical gear, firearms, leather armour and bows, there is the raw awakened power of the Road Mage wielding an old magic.

Dead Cities are where scavengers go to risk their sanity and their mortal life for plunder.  But the world of Yellow Dawn includes a vast, almost limitless range of genre and style of play. From the high-octane, high-technology and low street culture grime of Living Cities with their Cyberpunk glare, through to cautious investigations among rural settlements that cling close to the boundaries of these rare Living Metropolises.  And beyond, into the deep plunge of the unknown New Wilderness, along lonely roads and over rugged terrain, to where survivors have been cut off and isolated for a decade or more, since the apocalyptic event known as Yellow Dawn first struck the Earth and ushered in the Age of Hastur.

Here’s the new cover:

Yellow Dawn The Age of Hastur written by David J Rodger - 3rd edition artwork by Borja Pindado

Learn more about Yellow Dawn here: http://www.davidjrodger.com/yellowdawn.htm

Sneak Peek: Nova Punks rage across a post-apocalyptic wasteland

Nova Punks post-apocalyptic road gangs from the world of Yellow Dawn and RPG written by David J Rodger - artwork Borja Pindado

Nova Punks. Artwork Borja Pindado

New artwork from Borja Pindado who is wrapping up the last of the briefs I sent through for the new 3rd edition of Yellow Dawn, a post-apocalyptic RPG based on the world of my books.  This image features Nova Punks, tapping into the “Mad Max” flavour that is one of many you can experience within the Yellow Dawn universe.

Learn more about Yellow Dawn here: http://www.davidjrodger.com/yellowdawn.htm