Yellow Dawn 2.5 ¦ Bolt-On rules: Nanomech & Synthology

Bolt-On Module

Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by sci-fi & dark fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. Learn more…


This bolt-on is available as a free download in PDF format.

download_PDF_of RPG rules for resolving chases and mob attacks


The purpose of this bolt-on is to introduce two new forms of technology into the world of Yellow Dawn.GMs are free to state that this technology has been around for a while and is prevalent, or, alternatively suggest it’s only recently percolating down from Deep Space and Living Cities with strong O-Zones.

Synthology is the science of taking existing genetic code and modifying it to create customised organisms.  Bioware is a specialisation of Synthology, focusing on developing systems for the human body; the wider field of Synthology develops a range of organisms from bacteria engineered to clear up toxic spills to complex “creatures” capable of undertaking certain tasks.  Synthology has issues with general public disliking and not trusting such organisms; the general “mutated” and “monstrous” of these things can be a real barrier to consumer taste; to the point where there is a new specialisation in the science called Aesthetic Synthology: developing creatures that are pleasing to the eye.  The creation of Carbons comes under Synthology. There are also the moral and ethical issues with how much intelligence and free-will do such artificial yet living creatures be given?  Corporations, always keen on profit and the bottom line, are less discerning about such issues, so a lot of dark, lonely corporate facilities will have “things” grown to perform tasks: from cleaning and repairs through to sentry duty.

Nanomech- dense clusters of nanotechnology working together in a highly flexible and adaptive relationship to create larger structures


Nanomech refers specifically to dense clusters of nanobots working together in a highly flexible and adaptive relationship, to create larger structures, including computer devices, sentry systems, drones and reactive armour (such as Bronson Arms Flash Armour) and adaptable living quarters in a few orbital residences and many deep space habitats (typically only the wealthy).

The nanobots are composites of chemical polymer molecules and advanced metal alloys.  It is predominantly a non-organic technology.

Nanomech can be bought pre-configured; “ready-made” to fulfill a particular function. Or it can be bought or made in a raw un-configured state; developers then write or download templates to get the Nanomech to behave in specific ways – essentially allowing you to create flexible technology that can evolve from one shape and function to another.

Nanomech technology is relatively recent development on Earth.  Part of the backwash of advanced technology coming from deep, deep Space and the Borgendrill Enigma. (GMs can change this if desired).

The risks of weaponised Nanomech being developed and used by terrorists has led to some draconian laws about the classification and legality of certain types of Nanomech. In summary, Nanomech is legal so long as it does not possess the ability to disassemble other matter in order to replicate itself or create new compounds.

Disassembling and replication (DisRep) is constrained to specialised nanotechnology units, called nubs; creation and distribution of DisRep nubs is tightly controlled, and licensed.  Misuse of DisRep nubs or being in possession of unlicensed units carries severe punishment by authorities across the board, from UTOC to the UDP.


AUTHOR NOTE (19th April 2012): This bolt-on system is very much a work-in-progress. Nanomech has been completed but requires game-testing; Synthology is yet to be written at this point.  I’ll provide updates via my blog; so follow if you want to keep informed. However Nanomech does feature strongly in the post-apocalyptic horror story The Black Lake (see below).



The Black Lake by David J Rodger a science fiction dark fantasy horror story that blends post-apocalypse with Cthulhu Mythos

Available in paperback and Kindle formats

The Black Lake

By David J Rodger


A remote island haunted by the consequences of a terrible act that has brought new monsters into our world




“Atmospheric and Creepy” – The Guardian on The Black Lake


“…the best Sci-Fi horror I’ve read in ten years” – Floyd Hayes, Creative Director of World’s Fastest Agency on Dog Eat Dog




Available to buy in paperback from LULU Global

Available to buy in paperback from Amazon UK ¦ USA ¦ DE

Available to buy on Kindle UK ¦ USA ¦ DE



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