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Author Topic: Scavenging  (Read 7648 times)

LuckyDee

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Scavenging
« on: April 26, 2015, 01:53 »

Dear players and dungeon masters, storytellers and other dodgy individuals,

As you may know, I like playing RPGs - proper pen&paper roll-the-dice RPGs - be it via a forum or face to face with people crowding my living room. I've also been launching multiple attempts at creating my own systems and universes, of which 1899 is a tangible result. Ish. Currently I'm working on a new pen&paper system, aiming for an effective set of rules that remains as lean as possible. I know enough people willing to help me on this part, and I have faith in succeeding (finally).

What I am in need of though, is a setting to accompany it. A lot has been done before, to varying degrees of success, and I would of course be very proud if I could devise a setting that stands out from the crowd, should 'unique' be too high a goal. It will probably amount to borrowing elements from different stories, books,settings, even movies, but that's not something I'm averse to - you need to get inspiration out of something, after all.

With a lot of people playing a lot of different games and enjoying a lot of different books and movies visiting this forum, I'd thought to launch a little topic and see what you can come up with. Anything goes. Fantasy? Sure. Sci-fi? Count me in. However, I think in the end the golden goose will be the setting that unexpectedly combines elements from different themes. The Dark Tower springs to mind (post-apocalyptic western chivalry), as do Neverwhere and Fallen London (dark victorian hidden worlds), Discworld (satirical fantasy) and the steam punk genre in general. Undoubtedly many more examples can be found. I even remember someone suggesting Knights In Space prior to me launching 1899.

Give me your best shots. If you were (ever) to partake in a game of RPG which emphasizes characters, story and setting, what scene would you be most interested in? What unlikely combinations float your boat? Or if you dislike RPGs, what stories, be they movies or books, have really triggered your imagination?

Many thanks in advance for your input. As soon as I have something worth playing, I'll definitely be sharing it through this forum.
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mihey1993

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2015, 02:10 »

Well, the first thing springing to my mind is something akin to Vampire:the Masquerade setting, where modern weaponry and life is combined with magic and creatures of legend.
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LuckyDee

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2015, 02:51 »

Well, the first thing springing to my mind is something akin to Vampire:the Masquerade setting, where modern weaponry and life is combined with magic and creatures of legend.

Have been playing that over the past 10-15 years, but thanks for the tip :)
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Thiebs

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2015, 07:59 »

My wife and I have been reading Piers Anthony's Mode series, and the virtual mode has merits for a rpg setting. Some minor changes (like the worlds flowing together instead of crossing realities every few feet) would make it work, and it would support every other possible combination of story elements. You could walk from fantasy sword-and-sorcery to high -tech space ccowboys, with different areas having their own laws of physics and magic. For instance,  in the books, some kinds of magic don't work in some places (especially not in high tech worlds), and some types of technology don't work elsewere (usually in the high fantasy settings). I'd be worth looking up if you're unfamiliar with the books.
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LuckyDee

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2015, 08:34 »

Oooh, that does sound interesting; comparable to an idea I tried working out in the past, but probably with more sense to it. Don't know whether it'd be too much of a good thing, but getting a little inspiration out of it certainly wouldn't hurt. I'll see if I can hunt down a copy, thanks.
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Thiebs

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2015, 09:50 »

No problem. Glad to be of help.  :)
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ujk

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2015, 13:23 »

Don't be afraid of "inspiration". You can get a lot of positive recognition for creatively and shamelessly plundering past works. Just consider Fallout, Far Cry Blood Dragon, Tron 2.0, DoomRL, movies like Drive and Avatar, Quentin Tarantino, George Lucas.

Maybe you'll turn your system into a videogame, call it Arcanum, and send it back in time to 2001 for Interplay to publish.

I myself have a soft spot for mostly realistic games with sci-fi elements.

I find hexagonal systems to be extremely promising. They might relieve some tactical considerations/calculations. For example, line of site and explosion radius can be simple hexagons, not some weird jagged circle on a grid. It might be a lot of work to figure out its implications. For the setting to fit, consider alien worlds and races. Think Starcraft and Prey regarding advanced organic technology. There are some hex-games out there you can research and try out, including a fork of Linley's Dungeon Crawl.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2015, 16:03 by ujk »
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mihey1993

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2015, 15:32 »

Also you could consider viewing other systems with different from usual take on how abilities and characteristics work. Wasteland or shadowrun for example:3
Speaking frankly, there are plenty of things to draw inspiration from:3
EDITED:sorry, my english have broken in my brain XD
« Last Edit: April 29, 2015, 14:24 by mihey1993 »
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LuckyDee

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2015, 05:00 »

I myself have a soft spot for mostly realistic games with sci-fi elements.

I find hexagonal systems to be extremely promising. They might relieve some tactical considerations/calculations. For example, line of site and explosion radius can be simple hexagons, not some weird jagged circle on a grid. It might be a lot of work to figure out its implications. For the setting to fit, consider alien worlds and races. Think Starcraft and Prey regarding advanced organic technology. There are some hex-games out there you can research and try out, including a fork of Linley's Dungeon Crawl.

To clarify: although I appreciate your input on systems, I'm aiming for the leanest form of pen-and-paper RPG. No grids, models/miniatures, intricately structured combat sequences and so forth. If the players are lucky and in dire need of one, they can get a rough sketch of the geographical situation they're currently in. Everything else is just words, words, words.

I am very interested in what sort of sci-fi you like to read/watch/play, though.

Also you could consider view systems with different take on the usual things. Wasteland or shadowrun for example:3
Speaking frankly, there are plenty of things to draw inspiration from:3

What exactly do you mean by 'view systems' please?
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ujk

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2015, 16:40 »

Do you need a way to conduct combat though? Do you intend to have a simple system without positioning, like in Final Fantasy?
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LuckyDee

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2015, 23:19 »

Indeed I do, but it will all be a matter of words spoken (or written, in the case of PBF) and dice rolled. Player #1 tells the games master his character attempts to shoot Enemy #1, Player #2 declares a charge at Enemy #2, some dice are rolled and the games master declares and works out the Enemies' reactions. Repeat until one side gives up. God that makes it sound a lot more boring than it actually is :)

Like I said, it's a pen-and-paper (no computer) thing. Hardly any visuals, just some dice and bucket loads of imagination. As such, all I need is a balanced system in regard to the dice rolls to work out stuff like combat, and that's already being worked on.

For reference, since I think that up until this post we're still not completely understanding each other, this is the sort of stuff I'm talking about (the written as opposed to the spoken version).
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ujk

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2015, 01:34 »

Ok.

I think there's a benefit to settings that mostly take place in the modern real world, but introduce sci-fi (or, in a pinch, occult) elements, but not outright fantasy. You already know a lot about the setting; in fact, any new elements can be specifically described. You don't rely on imagining completely different world like middle earth, and in a game this is even better for resolving disputes because it's easier to establish rules early on. Stories are usually the opposite: you want to have a different world so you can handwave narrative necessities because they make sense in your new world.

Off the top of my head: FEAR, X-Com, Silent Storm, Fallout, Soldier of Fortune, the movie Eraser. Often the sci-fi elements don't get introduced until halfway through.

There's also the small genre of Nazi alt-history fiction. Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a fine if unremarkable shooter, and Shock Waves is a nice old movie. The last 10 years or so produced a glut of such movies, most of them horror, and many of them have zombies. Zombies are big nowadays anyway. Lots to draw inspiration from.
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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #12 on: April 29, 2015, 18:52 »

My vote's for Cosmic Horror - think H.P. Lovecraft, Bal-Sagoth, or hey, even Jupiter Hell.
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LuckyDee

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2015, 00:53 »

I think there's a benefit to settings that mostly take place in the modern real world, but introduce sci-fi (or, in a pinch, occult) elements, but not outright fantasy.

Partly a matter of taste, but yeah, I agree with you on this one. A mix of the familiar and the unknown usually works really well.

Off the top of my head: FEAR, X-Com, Silent Storm, Fallout, Soldier of Fortune, the movie Eraser. Often the sci-fi elements don't get introduced until halfway through.

There's also the small genre of Nazi alt-history fiction. Return to Castle Wolfenstein is a fine if unremarkable shooter, and Shock Waves is a nice old movie. The last 10 years or so produced a glut of such movies, most of them horror, and many of them have zombies. Zombies are big nowadays anyway. Lots to draw inspiration from.

Thanks, especially FEAR and Fallout could prove to be very useful, depending on whether I would be including horror elements (likely) and post-apocalyptic ideas (unsure, but it still looks pretty damn sweet). Nazi fiction has its merits as well, although I wouldn't make this the main item and there's a limit to the number of settings in which this can be included convincingly.

My vote's for Cosmic Horror - think H.P. Lovecraft, Bal-Sagoth, or hey, even Jupiter Hell.

And thank you, too. Lovecraft is indeed one of sources of inspiration I already had in mind.
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Kashi

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2015, 17:39 »

Ever tried making the Unholy Blend? You know, making it a mix of every genre out there and creating something that could be easily identified as a mindfuck of epic proportions. Something that could be fantasy, or modern, or post-apocalyptic... or none at all, because you can't know what's what anymore.
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LuckyDee

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2015, 01:43 »

I sort of did, actually, but it's really difficult to come up with something that doesn't just become a cheesy parody. It lacks the focus I'm looking for at the moment.

Speaking of focus, here are some elements I'm currrently considering including or drawing inspiration from:

- film noir
- Lovecraftian horror
- 1984's dystopia
- the Spanish Inquisition
- the Bureaucrats (Futurama)
- magic and magic users
- Rubacava (Grim Fandango)
- Gotham City

What associations does that spark with you?
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Kashi

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2015, 06:56 »

For some reason, that ends up making me think of Sin City with monsters and magic, where red tape makes things difficult to deal with, and where they hardly get done because of the aforementioned red tape.
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LuckyDee

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2015, 08:10 »

Good call, although I must admit I'm only familiar with the movie. What does the red tape do/signify?
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Kashi

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2015, 18:06 »

Red tape (As being described by Wikipedia): "Red tape is an idiom that refers to excessive regulation or rigid conformity to formal rules that is considered redundant or bureaucratic and hinders or prevents action or decision-making. It is usually applied to governments, corporations, and other large organizations."
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LuckyDee

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2015, 05:03 »

Still working on this one. Does anybody know any good sources of information on (fallen) angels, the biblical ones? The bible's an obvious one, though apparently it doesn't really offer that much insight at all. The only other sources I can think of are the Prophecy movies and a single tale from Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors.

Cheers!
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thelaptop

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2015, 06:35 »

At the risk of sounding like an asshole, have you tried Wikipedia?
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LuckyDee

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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2015, 11:43 »

Indeed I have, but the information there is mostly too cluttered by other religions' views on angels and comparable creatures. I could most likely find more of worth there if I dug around some more, but I'm starting to think I'll have better luck in fiction, based on the biblical concepts to a greater or lesser extent.
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Re: Scavenging
« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2015, 09:08 »

The Book of Enoch, maybe. But thing is finding that one.
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