Friday, November 5, 2010

More on Stealing Your Game

Here's my forth post for the DBloC Challenge.

It's seems that topics tend to pop up around the same time in the blog world. It's possibly a random coincidence, or more likely, the result of looking for things you've been thinking about recently. Just yesterday, I made a post about plagiarizing from some of my favorite films and TV shows for game settings. Today, The Opportunist from the RPG Musings blog, wrote about "borrowing your plot" from other sources. Now, The Opportunist is a bit more accomplished a gamer and writer than I, and he makes some great points. He also reference some other good articles on the topic, including an earlier article he had written, an article from James Wyatt in his Dungeoncraft Column, and an article by Stephen Radney-McFarland published in his Save My Game Column.

So anyway, what does all this mean? Well, the Opportunist lays out a nice method for creating something unique from your borrowed ideas, combing scenes from Raiders of the Lost Ark and one of the Pirates of the Carribean films. Like I said yesterday, the goal here isn't to run your characters, point by point through the plot of a specific film or television episode, but to take a few key points and ideas and come up with something new and, hopefully, exciting. Using his methodology and my ideas, here's what I've come up with...possibly coming to a gaming table near you some day.

1: Think of a Story
I'm starting with Assault on Precinct 13 (the 1976 original by John Carpenter, not the 00s remake which I didn't bother seeing. In the film, a police precinct is under siege by what seems to be an unstoppable street gang.

2: Think of Another Story
Here I'm going with another gritty gang related film, The Warriors. In the film, a gang called The Warriors are framed for killing a gang leader trying to unite all the gangs in the area. They must get back to the home turf alive.

3: Key Events
Here's a concept that might work for a D&D group:

The PCs are passing through a town they have not visited in the past. The townspeople are receptive, but a bit apprehensive about the strange new visitors, as the town does not usually host outsiders. A rival of the town's leader, takes this opportunity to assassinate the leader. The rival, now the de facto leader, implicates the "outsiders" in the killing, and puts a bounty on their heads to cover for himself. The PCs must escape the town, possibly with limited casualties to the misguided townspeople, depending on the party's alignment. They discover an abandoned outpost near the town. Knowing they much too far from safety, they hole-up in the outpost and prepare for the siege. 

What I find particularly interesting here is that you can make this all setting generic. It would work great in a gritty urban setting, where the PCs are gang members or police or innocent community members and they are defending an apartment building or police station. You could just as easily use this concept in a sci fi, pulp, or horror setting, by reskinning the threat. The PCs become adventurers, investigators, heroes, cattle rustlers, vampire hunters, etc. The threat becomes zombies, orcs, cultists, space pirates, etc. The stronghold becomes a farm house, a spaceship, a yacht, etc.

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