Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I Want to Play This Game and Never Stop

This eagle is stunned by all the awesome

Like them or not, Muse has an awesome song called Knights of Cydonia, with an equally awesome video that you need to go watch right now. Go. Okay, back with us? Awesome, right? Yes, I know this is old news, just humor me here. I first got hip to this song through Guitar Hero III, and then to this hysterically campy video through some casual YouTube surfing. I watched, mouth agape, and in the silence I looked around at Jacko and Munin and Riff and Shade and everybody else and said, "We need to play this game, right now!" I do that a lot. I'll see some crazy thing like the Knights of Cydonia video or get really into a book (or series) and decide that I need to do some role-playing in that setting. So, let's talk about great and/or hilarious settings we want to play in, shall we?

  1. Cydonia - Cydonia seems to have it all, and can best be summed up in one word: Awesome. Well, okay, two words: Fucking Awesome. A one-off video for a song buried deep in an otherwise half-decent album, Cydonia seems to hit every button in the brain of the ten-year-old that I thought I'd suppressed years ago. Let's see, King-fu action, cowboys, robots, post-apocalyptic setting, nonsensical plot twists, over the top sets...honestly, it's Rifts: New West without all the lazy stereotyping/mega-damage cowboy hat nonsense and a better soundtrack. It, like all the other entries here, make me want to know what happened to make this world the way it is. How did it get like this? Has it always been thus? What happened here? I know that this is kind of reading too deeply into something that's essentially a tasty but ultimately disposable piece of entertainment media. Or, maybe it's more of an amuse bouche for the creative, a glimpse into the creator's mind and a taste of his skills, served up to excite us about further entries. Either way I want to slap a rule-set on this setting and run some adventures there. Because it's awesome.
  2. Discworld - Yes, I know Steve Jackson actually made an RPG for Discworld over ten years ago, but no one played it. Terry Pratchett has spent the past twenty-five years skewering both real life and the Fantasy genre, and giving us an incredibly rich and highly detailed world in which we can play. Discworld, as a setting, is so self-aware, recursive, and, well, meta, that it's essentially a joke about a joke about fantasy writing. It would probably also be nearly impossible not to have fun playing a Discworld game. I mean, seriously. Eight colors? Witches? The crazy low-tech/high-tech love child of London and New York that's Ankh-Morpork? Everything about it turns conventional fantasy tropes on their heads, and does it with a wink and a nudge and some pretty evocative text (even if the last few books have been phoned in). The world is expansive enough for both general wilderness/dungeon crawling and urban Neverwinter Nights-style play that appeals to a wide variety of D&D/Pathfinder type players. It's just an all around good fantasy setting that's different enough so that you don't feel like you're playing Keep on the Borderlands again for the fiftieth time.
  3. The Age of Sail - Specifically, the Royal Navy and the world in general as depicted in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin books. Yes, I know it's a historical setting. Yes, I know there's no fantasy in it. Yes indeed, I realize that it's dangerously close to a Pirates of the Caribbean game. What I also know is that the last ten years of the 18th century and the first twenty of the 19th century are chock full of adventure, political intrigue, war, colonialism, nation building, and all sorts of workaday excitement that went on, as they say, IRL, that kids these days forget about with their sparkly vampires and their dragons and their long hair and hippity-hop music. It's also a good game for fiddly, over-educated, detail oriented pedants like me what with all the technical aspects of taking a square-rigged three-master into combat. The kink is actually making a playable game out of it. Ace rookie-GM Zorak and I have bandied about ideas for a game we call At Peril of Your Life, which is pretty much the Master and Commander RPG, but it's gonna take a lot more time and effort than either of us have to actually make it playable. Even then it'd be pretty niche. Doesn't make me not want to take HMS Redoubtable into action with a bunch of asshole Spaniards, though.
You get the idea. There's plenty more, and I could go on, but I've yapped enough, and honestly, there are some people who need killing in the Mojave Wasteland. So tell me, Gentle Readers. What setting do you want to play? What books or movies or, god forbid, music videos, make you want to break out the rules and roll up some characters?

PS: Here's a bonus #4. I want to play in whatever crazy-beautiful horrorshow world Lady Gaga lives in in this video right here. What the hell is going on there? I don't know, but I want it.


A.L. said...

Totally agree on Lady Gaga.

Sucker Punch (look up the trailer on Youtube) looks like it could be fun.

Others are more generic-ish, such as the setting for the minis game Malifaux, which is kind of a weird wild west meets steam punk meets necromancy in the 1800s.

Steve Dubya said...

What I'd like to play...

Night Watch - the first film was great (the second, not so much) but the books are superb and present a cohesive explanation as to why magician, werewolf, vampire or other weird PCs might be doing PC sort of things to the populace.

The First Law - Joe Abercrombie has said that he used to do a fair amount of RPing in the past, and the setting provided in his sword-n-sorcery awesomefests would be fantastic to traipse around in.

Leverage - Yes, I know there's a RPG specifically for this, and from what I've heard about it, it sounds like it might do a fantastic job of emulating the show. I've only started watching and catching up, but the idea of playing a team of highly competent (but otherwise human) folks sounds like it could be a real blast.

Earl said...

Take a look at this article about the Bad Romance video...The lunatic fringe gaming angle becomes...exquisite.


Lonnie L. said...

Personally, I've been hooked on Ghost in the Shell and Appleseed (anime) lately. While I know it wouldn't be too hard to do this in a game (Shadowrun almost fits it perfectly), my main problem with this subject is getting other players on board and understanding it.

Sam said...

I second Ghost in the Shell. And you could basically do it by removing the fantastical elements, magic, elves, dwarves, etc.