Friday, January 15, 2010
A Game in need of a Setting ...
So, Rob Lang's advice for Organizing Your RPG is pretty sound. He also has written an article on creating a better fantasy RPG: How to turn your stock fantasy RPG into a unique delight. And it strikes me that one of Rob's personal soap-boxes for game design is: setting, world design, setting, backdrop, setting, background, setting ... all that. And I am also sure that I wouldn't have to look very hard to find dozens of game designers and publishers who agree with him.
So, in the interest of sound advice, I find myself looking at my own work, past and present, and find that ... I ... I am a systems man. I like playing with numbers and dice and tweaking and twisting the tiny bits of math associated with old school RPG random task resolution.
Everything I do is another approach at rolling dice and interpreting results. There's nothing wrong with that ... it's what I like. That being said, I would like to endeavor to make my latest project something more ... something greater than the works of the past, and I believe the way to do that is with the setting.
My creative bent in the design portion of my RPG does lend itself to suggesting some setting ideas ... so, I have a start ... but I believe that there might be a valid reason that my previous projects are all but completely devoid of anything resembling a setting. I am not driven creatively to write this kind of material. My solution? Seek help.
I said that my current design efforts do hint at some setting ideas ... these are:
I just love superheroes. I grew up reading comics and fantasizing about the fantastic worlds these heroes come from. I like them. I have written no less than 5 superhero inspired RPG's already ... and I still want to do more. (I feel that I can do better.)
I just love women. I grew up reading Playboy and ... Uh, okay bad joke ... but really ... I have decided to create my own art for a game for the first time, and the art that I have been doing is superheroine cheesecake. To be brutally honest, it's what I like to draw, and I need to continue to feed into my joy for this project. Drawing sexy superheroines in spandex is fun. And I am actually pretty good at it. (I think.)
So this has started me thinking along the lines of a world of Superhero Women. I don't want to force players into playing a specific gender. I don't want that kind of game. And I don't want a parody like "Macho Women With Guns." But, I think the world that I do want to make could be an interesting setting for a superhero game.
I see something like this: some fantastic event creates a bunch of superheroes out of everyday people. Overnight, a world of superheroes is born. Interestingly, 90% of the persons effected are women. That's it ... the basic concept.
This setting presents some interesting challenges. What would a culture of superheroes dominated by women by like? Could this produce a reality that is very different from the male dominated hero world depicted in the comic books? How would it be different? Is there a way to answer these questions that will validate the cheesecake in my drawings and not be insulting or stupid? What role will the minority group of superhero males play? How will they interact in this world ruled by women?
I am looking for help. I am putting it out there to the universe and the internet ... "Help me design my universe of super hero women." I am looking for someone who would like to take an honest stab at creating this setting for my game. I am looking for a creative partner who thinks this would be something both fun and great to do. If that's you ... please let me know.
P.S. - I drew the image of Supergirl featured in this post.
(Supergirl is copyright DC Comics.)