Convention Book: Progenitors is Live!

My friends, I have a badass announcement:

Convention Book: Progenitors is live!

This book wouldn’t have been possible without my amazing, talented writing staff: Lillian Cohen-Moore, David A Hill Jr, Josh Roby, and Jeremy Tidwell.

Yesterday, I posted a little bit on my G+ about the book. I’ll build on that here, and tell you some stuff you’ll find inside:

  • I put forth the question to my writing team: “Clearly, there are loads of player character-esque Progenitors in the Convention. Who are they?” And thus was born Applied Sciences: Biosphere Explorers, Deviancy Scene Investigators, Medicines Sans Superstition, Damage Control, and Ethical Compliance.
  • Have you ever wanted a genegineered creature as a retainer? Or play one? The Progenitors have uplifted octopi, lizardmen, dinosaurs, and so on.
  • The theme of this book is of the Convention’s (and the Union’s) sense of guilt, and of healing. They have some ambitious (and dangerous) plans to keep the Technocratic Union from fracturing.
  • We touch on the other, little Methodologies in the Progenitors, the ones focused on veterinary medicine, psychiatry, ecology, and so on. And we talk about why even most Progenitors don’t know that these exist. (Spoiler: they don’t get a lot of funding.)
  • Naturally, we add the Progenitors’ thoughts to the bigger picture that is the fracturing Union, and how the Dimensional Anomaly changed them.
  • New gear, Procedures, etc., some of which is a bit creepy. And most of it key to the combat-oriented Progenitor amalgams.
  • Memetic warfare.
  • Progenitors not just in their own amalgams, but their roles in mixed-Convention amalgams.
  • And more. I’m pretty goddamned happy with this book.

This book was also one of the harder books I’ve had to make, because the 1995 Progenitor book was written purely from a “lets write about the villains as unrepentantly evil! let’s twirl those mustaches!” (Though, Syndicate turned out to be even harder for that same reason.[1]) And that was fine for that line, but the Revised line is all about them as heroes.

So how the fuck are the Progenitors heroes? That was a lengthy conference call, and the results are inside the book. :)

If you’re a Technocracy fan, I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think!

– Ryan

[1] And I’m damned happy with the results.


17 Responses to Convention Book: Progenitors is Live!

  1. Octavo says:

    Finished reading it today. Phenomenal book. I’ll have more to say when I get around to adding a review to the drivethrurpg page.

  2. Octavo says:

    I have a quick question about the new Methodologies in the NWO and Progenitor books. What specialty spheres do they get? I assume that members of the NWO’s Feed get a free dot of Data, but I’m less sure about the Progenitor’s Applied Sciences. Since it’s not officially a Methodology, would a player use the specialty sphere from the big three?

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      Applied Sciences isn’t a Methodology, so wherever they came from.

      To be honest, I’ve never been a huge fan of the free dot thing with the Technocracy. It fits the Council of Nine, because they’re all focused on these Spheres. The Technocracy is about function, not mysticism. (To be fair, I’m all for the free dot, just not codifying it as such.)

      – Ryan

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      And that’s partly do you could say “my Progenitor is weird, because her free dot is in Forces, and she goes around hunting errant sauromorphs, but she’s still a Progenitor who wants to help people.” How you became Enlightened should dictate that free dot, not (in the Technocratic stance) where you’re working.

      – Ryan

    • Octavo says:

      Sounds like a good approach. Thanks.

  3. vjj says:

    I haven’t bought Convention Book: Progenitors, I’m still collected information about it. I have a question about the amount of sci-fi flavor put into the Progenitor’s paradigm/sub-paradigm: what kind of details do you include in the book? For example, did you include any terminology from Molecular Genetics such as from Developmental Genetics, Epigenetics, Evolutionary Biology, Systems Genetics/Biology? Thanks.

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      That’s a pretty interesting question (and in spite of you being a troll, I’ll answer it, for the benefit of others).

      It’s a fine line when we’re talking about what’s effectively magical sci-fi. We don’t have a lot of specific jargon in the book, because we don’t want to lose people who are interested in the Technocracy but don’t follow ever TED talk (let alone have a degree in biochemistry). We don’t want people to constantly run to Google when we namedrop something, and in most cases it would be superficial — the book focuses on who the Progenitors are and what they do today more than it does specific technology. (If we had more space, I would love to add to each of these books a detailed chapter on that Convention’s sciences from a purely narrative standpoint.)

      So, we leave that jargon space to people who do know it and who do want to play with it.

      It’s a different situation than when working on another’s IP, like with the Dresden Files, where we expect most fans to pick it up to know the jargon used in the books — so it’s on use to make sure we do and are faithful to that. Most people picking up Progenitors won’t know the jargon we could throw around, so we limited ourselves to using it when it would make that part of the book pop out, feel more real or more vibrant.


  4. vjj says:

    I see you haven’t approved my comment. I understand. It’s hard to write great science fiction and if you don’t have at least SOME knowledge of the science you’re trying to speculate on, well, you really can’t write something good. In any event, your silence on the issues I raised is enough information to dump the Revised Convention Books. I have far more confidence in Phil Brucato’s M20

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      Oh, that is precious. Bless your heart.

      For other people out there, as this person is a lost cause:

      I am beyond thankful that this person is “dumping” on the books I’m working on. After all, this is exactly the sort of fan that no creator wants, the fan who can’t handle someone not replying to a comment that was missed because the creator didn’t get the email, and hasn’t looked at his blog because he’s been too busy working roughly 70 hours a week in the last few weeks making games (including the Void Engineers book) while also having an old friend over as a house guest.

      It turns out that we creators aren’t your bitches. If that means you’re so hurt by that that you’ll not read something we write, thank christ. Toxic anti-fans are the reason people leave creative fields, so by telling me you’re going to pass on my stuff, you’re telling me that my future is a little brighter because you’re not in it. Hallelujah!

      Folks, don’t be this “fan.” If someone doesn’t respond to you, maybe it’s because they’re busy and missed a notification. (Or that they’re just busy, and it’s on a list of things to get to when a free moment is had, like I happen to have right now.) Or the blog software didn’t successfully send a notification — certainly my host has been shitty about that in the past. Or any number of other things. You don’t have my balls on a leash just because you send me a comment, an email, a tweet, whatever. *eyeroll*

      Or, if absolutely must be this sort of cockbite, please do so in a public way. It’s cute, and other creators will get a bit of a laugh out of this.

      – Ryan

    • Sean Nittner says:

      I’m not really one to jump to Ryan’s defense. He can handle himself just fine, but where did that come from?

      You started with a perfectly reasonable question and then two days later deduced that silence meant the authors weren’t knowledgeable about the science included in their setting. How did you make this leap?

    • Ryan Macklin says:


      It’s pretty typical for haters to grasp at straws to insult someone they don’t know for reasons that don’t make sense. Asking that question is like looking into the abyss — the abyss will stare back at you, and possibly tell you about how it mated with your mother.

      And like I said, it’s precious. Was nice to start my Tuesday with a chuckle, as this is yet another hellish crunch week.

      – Ryan

  5. Thom says:


    Seeing as how you’ve not responded to my hastily scribbled invites through snail mail, I’m going to assume you’re never going to join me in a totally heteromantic vodka bath because you are too busy writing cool things I want to buy. Way to be “that guy”, Macklin! I bet you don’t know anything about drinking booze, you tea-sipper!

    (Can I add: “Eat a dick, vjj?”, or is that uncool. I’m socially hopeless, sorry.

  6. Amanda Alvis says:


    I think I’ve found something for you to use for inspiration for a reformation of the Syndicate if you are still staying on the Technocracy Revised project. BTW, excellent work on that! Anyway, I figured that this might help the revising of the Syndicate and to see how business are now getting their act together by setting different sets of standards which are beneficial. Here is a TEDTalk on B-Corps (beneficial corporations) to help you out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGnz-w9p5FU. I figured that chances are the Syndicate probably needed a correction and would probably wind up following this model in order to improve itself, but also to correct the damage that they did in the process. If you need any more information, let me know; I’m glad to help out.

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      I’m the line developer for it, so I’m still on it. :D

      Syndicate’s in the can and off to editing — we gave arguably the most villainous Convention as serious eyeballing, because each book is about them from a heroic perspective. (From what my alpha readers tell me, we knocked it out of the park, so I’m excited for others to check it out!)

      We’re working on Void Engineers right now, with most of it back in the writers’ hands for rewrites.

      – Ryan

  7. Amanda Alvis says:

    Awesome then! Well, I just thought it might be helpful because I wasn’t sure as to which direction it was going, but if the B-Corps are mentioned, that would be deliciously and deleriously awesome. BTW, you do excellent work! Thanks!