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Ian O'Rourke
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A Slice of Gaming Ideas
Keywords: Role-Playing Games.

Why have boring lists when you can create diagrams that make you think of a green house and tomatoes? That's how my brain seems to work at the moment anyway. This morning I decided to pull together all the threads and vague shards of gaming ideas, which resulted in the diagram below. Of course, the diagram just hides a list, but what would be the fun in that?

A caveat before we get started. These things are always highly speculative. They are not written up in any order, with the exception of Fading Suns being first. Any ideas represented beyond this point are subject to the 'whims of time' which sees ideas fade, other members of the group run similar things (which does mean I get to play them) and a host of other things I can't predict. So, onward.

Fading Suns is the idea the that currently gets first place. If these were TV shows the others would be speculative while Fading Suns would be in pre-production. The idea is simple: grand space opera. Like all good grand space opera it tends to be shaped by other genres: such as westerns (Firefly, Star Wars), classic pulp (Star Wars prequels, Flash Gordon, etc). In this case it's space opera mixed up with a dark fantasy view of medieval dramas. The characters may be dashing around in starships and carrying laser guns but the suns are fading and their dimming brings with it the encroachment of the Darkness Beyond the Stars. Action, adventure, the human condition, religion, faith and dynastic power in the dark void of space. What exactly is it going to be about? No idea, as it depends on character creation, but I'm quite excited about it. Token nominated system: Starblazer Adventures, though I need to give it a first pass with whatever Fate-Fu I have.

If there is a superhero game left on the list, this is it. The 'whims of time' saw the contemporary superhero game get wiped out by the awesome that is the Promethean Institute. It has influences from Battlechasers and the Exalted role-playing game. It can be neatly summarised as ‘the Avengers in a fantasy milieu’. The central protagonists are essentially superheroes in fantasy clothing with egos to match, striding across the landscape dealing with world shattering events. Their very presence and decision can alter the flow of history. The approach is one of a superhero comic, not a traditional fantasy adventure model. Token nominated system: Marvel Heroic Role-Playing. It probably relies on that system maturing to playability in my mind due to it, hopefully, managing power disparity and completely side-stepping the 'superhero character creation' barrier to entry.

The risk with this one is it has been done before, to some degree, as a Cottage Con game and in the Epic Tier of the 4E Game, but in my mind it's different enough from these games by more readily accepting the superhero aesthetic.

I can pin down where Winter's Tale came from. It was after watching The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe film. It then kicked in again when watching Stardust. Wicked also sneaks in as well. Now, of course, I'm getting the same kick out of the 'flashbacks' in Once Upon a Time. There is something great about the fairy tale set-up. It's fantasy but more romantic, colourful and scary at the same time. I'm not really sure what format this will take. I have no idea if it will have children coming over from the normal world. I'm pretty sure I want the characters to be quite varied. A talking wolf? A toy soldier? Why not. I do know the winter motif is important, again from the aforementioned Narnia film, and I can't get the idea of talking wolves out of my head as an enemy along with the phrase....the winter wolf is coming. Token nominated system: not sure, it would probably need to be something quite flexible, open and narrative. Probably something I've yet to find.

Deadlands is a 'Steam Punk' Western in sensibility. It'll be a mix of stuff such as Jules Verne, the Deadlands role-playing game and elements of the John Shannow novels by David Gemmell. The setting will be in the future after some catastrophic event sends humanity back to some semi-fantasized era akin to the 1860’s but with the ‘Steam Punk’ element. It’s likely the ‘Steam Punk’ will be less steam, more some new source of power born out of the disaster, but the imagery and the like would remain the same. The Deadlands name coming from the fact the post-apocalyptic society believes they are living in the end of days and represent the souls left behind. I’ve been looking at a lot of ‘Steam Punk era’ clothing that you can actually buy and it’s very evocative. A western-style game with lots of scope for dark forces, conspiracies, mad technology, stylish clothing and, no doubt, goggles. Token nominated system: Strands of Fate, it's generic, but FATE awesome, fits perfectly.

AEGIS. I've left this on to last purely because it has history....a long history. A version of this idea was the first game I tried after not gaming for about four years. It goes back that far. It also counts as one of my worst gaming experiences (which probably says more about my previous gaming experience at this point). I assumed the approach too gaming that had developed with my last group(s) would be compatible with anyone.....not a safe assumption. Still, it was one element in a sequence of decisions that kick-started the origin of the current gaming group.

Anyway, it still tasks me.

Basically, what's survived the decade of procrastination is the concept of a contemporary, wide-screen series in the style of JJ Abrams, Jerry Buckheimer and Michael Bay. The exact crucible used to be cinematic spies, at one point it merged with contemporary super heroes, now I just know the headline concept tasks me but the exact crucible is to be decided. At the moment I'm thinking some sort of crucible that becomes a melting pot for any 'pulp-ish', 'modern world as a fantastic panorama', Hollywood, JJ Abrams brainchild idea I can throw into the mix. I could see this being about cinematic action heroes or something branching into super powers (in a similar way to Hell Boy or Atomic Robo), but in that case I'd want the cinematic action heroes and those with powers to work together. Token nominated system: would depend on the nature of the protagonists, could be D8 and D10 Marvel Heroic Role-Playing characters or Strands of Fate cinematic heroes. Not really sure.

That's it. As I said at the beginning. Highly speculative. Whims of time rule is in place and it's very doubtful the shape will remain the same over time, albeit some concepts have stuck with me for a good long while. There is also other ideas on the edge of my consciousness (such as something involving werewolves) that may push some presented here out. These things are only ever a time slice of something that's always in motion.

The other gaming 'thing' floating around is how to overcome the attention deficit. That is, how to overcome the vacuum of gaming discussion that used to be on of the primary forms of sustenance that kept games going in previous gaming group. It doesn't happen now, for various reasons, creating periods of nothing, punctuated by sessions. It's can be quite a lonely experience.

Permalink | Comments(4) | Posted by: Ian O'Rourke on 22/04/2012 Bookmark and Share
1: Neil said...
1. I really enjoyed my side of the AEGIS game. I was having a load of fun diving into and out of things. Some of the other players ... well, it was all a little 'Call of Cthulhu' firefight for them.

2. If you want discussion, discuss. What has changed in your absence is that there tends to be less metagame discussion - less off-the-tables rules stuff like in D&D, and less story stuff because lets be fair, its not like anyone knows whats going to happen. Maybe the sign of 'one of those games' that people would rather wait and see what I come up with than discuss it pre-game. However, just post things, email me, whatever and I'll natter about anything.

3. Fading Suns. That is all

Posted: 22/04/2012 at 09:25:17

2: Ian O'Rourke said...
A 'Call of Cthulhu firefight' is this where your hatred of all things Cthulhu comes from?

To be fair, I should have realised that the RPG culture and experience of a different group might have been a stronger inhibitor than I initially appreciated.


Posted: 23/04/2012 at 01:23:39

3: Neil said...
I seem to remember one of the other players trying to infiltrate some bad-guy base and being faced with a gunfight scenario in a truck depot. He spent a lot of the time hiding, sneaking and generally trying to avoid the gunfire because it was dangerous. Ignoring, IIRC, your rather clear signals that it was perfectly OK to just wade in and cause carnage.

Similarly, the incident in the hotel room, where I dived out of the window and did the hanging from the cleaning array business (I was like Tom Cruise before Tom Cruise knew how to be Tom Cruise) and he was all hanging back.

Oh God yes, I remember now - the attempt to apply real world computing knowledge and logic to superspy computing and the blocking/surveillance technology etc.

Posted: 23/04/2012 at 10:49:06

4: Ian O'Rourke said...
Yeah, it was a bit Impossible Mission and Alias (another JJ Abrams staple) before they were aired.

I don't remember the truck depot.

I do remember the constant 'running battle' over the different between cinematic technology and real technology. It got quite 'tense' and got quite offensive. This is despite the situation was that the trigger event (the theft of a hi-tech drug) lead to a cult downloading their consciousness into a machine.

Weird world.

Posted: 24/04/2012 at 12:45:46

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