Thursday, 26 March 2015

Young Adult Dystopia

The Dystopian YA SF subgenre has now reached the point of:

(a) glorious parody

I hate to say it, but as the Chosen One, I'd actually think more than two boys would be interested in me.

Dystopian YA Novel

(b) newspaper think pieces on what the trend means

(c) baffling adverts
Welcome to your fascist dystopian young adult future, ruled over by a psychotic clown army whose propaganda dictates your every move, including your choice in fast food breakfast sandwiches. But you're young and attractive (and straight and white), so grab the person of your attraction, break free of the lines for mcmuffins or whatever, and run for your freedom! Blast some Ramones (a song about the Nazis no less!) and run! Escape from marxist clown soldiers, jump over a concrete wall and into a ball pit (!) and find the whole in the wall hiding behind our propaganda posters, and climb through to Taco Bell - which is a magical city in the Czech Republic or something, where a multi ethnic group of hip attractive young people lounge around on the streets and will greet you with some free Taco Bell breakfast taco wraps or whatever.
It's like the ultimate Hunger Games 1984 Muse Video Snowpiercer Ultimate Teen Dystopian Punk Rock Rebellion short film, to convince people that they should spend their money on breakfast burritos instead of breakfast biscuit sandwiches or whatever. It's like a parody commercial that would have been in Robocop, but it's for real.
I am just blown away.
Shawn Gaston, on RPGnet.

The Hunger Games hadn’t reached cinemas by the time The Watch House finished, otherwise I might have done a YA dystopia as the flash-forward to a nightmare future instead of a post-apocalypse Days Of Future Past setup. Maybe someday.

Probably without the guard tower with a slide built in, fun as that looks.

The Inheritance

How would you feel if you inherited a wizard’s house? What if it contained its own war? This is the premise of new webcomic A House Divided.

Inheriting property and the trouble that comes with it is a classic opening for Call Of Cthulhu, not seen much elsewhere in gaming. A PC might inherit her father’s sword or a suspicious map, but rarely a haunted house. That could be the start of a game if everyone moves in...

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

And of course the most important part of prepping for the Nationals... deciding on fonts for the series logo.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Anthology Episode Of Your Setting

How would you go about boiling down a much-loved setting into a one-shot, or a movie, or a Twilight Zone episode complete with twist ending?

What is the big plot you’d pull out and adapt? I can kind of answer this one from experience - having stolen the Big Bad plot from The Watch House season four for Nationals one-shots and the like. (It’s the one where they try to resurrect every vampire ever slain in the nearby area, which obviously get increasingly hazardous the longer a series about killing loads of vampires in a particular town goes on.)

And what is the twist ending? I imagine for Buffy it would be that the Vampire Slayer turns out to be a teenage girl. (Battlestar Galactica starts with the premise of a classic Zone twist, by way of an example.)

The other thought this thread gave me was what would an anthology series about your setting be like? A new cast, a new location, even a new time period, but all in the same setting. For Buffy again, we have Tales Of The Slayers and Tales Of The Vampires, collected short comics stories (and text stories) about, well, you can probably guess, throughout history. A one-shot adventure offering a different view of your regular setting could be very interesting.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Preparations for the Nationals

Edit and print character sheets and backgrounds and table tents.

Watch lots of Buffy and Angel, The Avengers, some glee, the pilot of iZombieScott Pilgrim, Empire Records, Josie And The Pussycats, assorted urban fantasy things I haven’t seen yet (The Mortal Instruments... eh, it has its moments, but could have done without the magic self-harm stuff) and get In Your Eyes on DVD, delivered from the US.

Decide on T-shirts for sessions.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Clone Club Game Club

The Godfather and Orphan Black to get card, board and dice games coming soon.

I wonder if the licence extends to RPGs - because a game where every player character is Tatiana Maslany could be fun. :)

Spotting a niche

Harry Connolly created an urban fantasy adventure featuring a hero in her sixties because he couldn’t find anything like it.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Star Wars: Aftermath

Aftermath, the first novel in the new Star Wars canon set between Return Of The Jedi and The Force Awakens is written by Chuck Wendig, who you may know from The World Of Darkness among other places. (I am one degree of separation away from him. Which is quite weird.)

The second Death Star is destroyed. The Emperor and his powerful enforcer, Darth Vader, are rumored to be dead. The Galactic Empire is in chaos. Across the galaxy, some systems celebrate, while in others Imperial factions tighten their grip. Optimism and fear reign side by side. And while the Rebel Alliance engages the fractured forces of the Empire, a lone Rebel scout uncovers a secret Imperial meeting....

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The national bird of your setting

A related idea to this:

A question prompted by the campaign for a new UK national bird. Does your setting have a national bird?

As I sit here, over my shoulder is a framed set of stamps, a souvenir from our childhood trip to the US, of every state’s official bird and flower. I can tell just from a glance that the Cardinal is very popular - not the state bird of Arizona, where the football team named after it is currently based, but the bird of Illinois where it started, among seven states. (The less striking Western Meadowlark appears to be the runner-up with six.)

The symbolic motif of a nation, state, corporation, or clan should tell you something about the group in question, even if it tells you it doesn’t matter to those involved as it was chosen by committee or has a meaning lost to history. This could be particularly true in a fantasy setting where animals and birds might have uncanny powers.

The Dire Wolf of House Stark is a real presence in Westeros, a symbol that became physical and important as the story began, Others are less significant - no stag appears to Robert Baratheon to tell him of his kingship, for example. The Flayed Man of House Bolton retains its historical significance (and really should have told the Starks something...) while the Dragon defines House Targaryen.

(See also Game Of Brands for modern corporations, and how some things never change.)

Non-deadly wildlife in fictional settings

A question prompted by the campaign for a new UK national bird. Does your setting have a national bird?

Indeed, does it have any birds or other small animals besides the norm... and monsters?

PCs venturing into the sewers have a good chance of facing giant rats, but if they go on rooftops they tend not to face giant sparrows or pigeons. One is a classic, the other suggests a comedic parody. Is cuteness a factor? People tend not to take scraps of meat to feed the rats in the park...

Speaking of parks, I saw a pied wagtail recently - the size of a sparrow but much less common around here and strikingly odd due to its black and white plumage. A small detail I might sneak into a fantasy setting - all the birds are unfamiliar.

The Small Folk

The Small Folk is a new game from Phil Masters about small magical beings living unnoticed in our homes and gardens.

BTW, he has kindly offered to demo it at Conpulsion.

"We are intelligent, self-reflective tool-using pursuit predators"

Warren Ellis answers those questions about the future, writing, what to show aliens about humanity.