Welcome to the forty-ninth Designer’s Diary, a column where designers are given the opportunity to take readers on an in-depth ride through the design and development process of their system, setting, or product. If you’d like to share your product in the Designer’s Diary column, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To me, Shanghai Vampocalypse is I Am Legend marrying Cyberpunk and having an affair with Big Trouble in Little China in Shanghai 2048. It is a horrific world over run by nanite-created vampires mixed with the old gods of legend and lore. With only twelve hours to save the world, the characters have a lot to overcome.
We wanted to show that you could have epic-level campaigns in Savage Worlds. Shanghai Vampocalypse is a demigod-level campaign where everything is out to get you.
I loved Kung-fu theater growing up. So, that was in the back of my mind. I also love Shadowrun, the first Matrix movie, and horror in general. Dark speculative fiction is my specialty.
I did all sorts of research on the city of Shanghai itself – where it came from and where it is heading. I also researched its gods, military, transportation systems, and parks. Shanghai is a city rich in technology and tradition.
[Vickey A. Beaver] Unfortunately, Aaron Acevedo and Jason Engle, who did the bulk of artwork and overall design, and Alec Acevedo, who contributed additional illustrations, weren’t able to respond in time for this interview. Still, it’s clear from flipping through Shanghai Vampocalypse that they endeavored to capture elements of Shanghai, a vision of cyberpunk, and the horror of vampires and bring those together with a unified feel. The illustrations support the grand nature of the text. Jennifer’s initial description can be seen in the depictions Aaron, Jason, and Alec designed.
This is a fast paced, kick-ass, epic-level campaign where a misstep can mean the end of the world. It is all about hard choices, the greater good, and being Demigods.
I think Shanghai Vampocalypse is a lot more lethal. But, honestly, I don’t know.
Everything I did for Shanghai Vampocalypse came in layers – outlining each section, researching the needed areas, and then writing that section. I was logical about my progression with a top down approach. While I worked, I sent completed drafts to the publisher for vetting to make sure I was on the right track. It is a lot more complicated than it sounds. Ideas are easy. Everything else is hard – but worth it.