Tortuga
 member, 1811 posts
Sun 29 Jul 2018
at 18:14
Fanfic: The Game
So I've been toying with kitchen sink settings for awhile, and lately, this has come in the form of integrating different commercial properties so that their settings and timelines *work* together. Different comic book timelines, book series, movies, television shows. Fanfic: The Crossovering. Marvel, DC, Doctor Who, Conan, Blade Runner/Alien/Predator, Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. Tweaking each just enough to be compatible with the others, while compromising any given property the minimal amount.

It's been an interesting puzzle of a project, but that's not what I'm here to talk about.

What I'm interested in today is finding a way to actually use said amalgamated settings by coming up with campaign frameworks that give players of different power levels reason to interact with (or encounter) the fictional elements of the different properties, at different power levels.

So, to get us started, I'll deal with some obvious ones first.

Low Powered (normal just plain folks, taxi drivers, accountants, pizza delivery boys, grad students):


Fan Club: The players are fans of *whatever setting element*, similar to the Love & Monsters Doctor Who episode. They follow sightings, collect souvenirs, and unwittingly get drawn into danger due to interest and proximity. They might be big fans of The Batman, obsessives tracking The Doctor, or even grad students in some niche mutant study program. The thrust of the campaign is dealing with whatever they're unfortunately wrapped up in and hoping to get close enough to tug on Superman's cape.

Olsens:The players are pals with some superhero or other genre figure. They're the support team. The Foggy Nelsons, the Jimmy Olsens. Not quite sidekicks. Their superhero buddy (who they may or may not be aware of his secret identity) wants to keep them out of danger but wouldn't you know it, they keep getting kidnapped by ninjas. Maybe you get to go on fun adventures, but mostly you worry about your friend and find yourself needlessly endangered. The campaign here lies at a point where you find yourself drawn in past the point of no return; your Hero can't help you, you have a part to play yourself.

Medium Powered (capable people, law enforcement, military vets, stuntmen)

Agents: You work for Torchwood, or SHIELD, or some equivalent. You're not one of them, but these weird genre elements are your responsibility. Or, alternatively, you work for a Weird Genre Element (WGE) division within an otherwise mundane organization. Maybe you're detectives or beat cops, but it's your job to handle this mess.

Henchmen:: You work for a supervillain. Or a series of supervillains. Or maybe a more mundane crime boss. Point is, you usually engage with these Weird Genre Elements at the end of their fists. What people don't realize is that it's actually really a small chance that your crew draws The Batman's (or whomever's) attention. Really, if you think about it, it's a numbers game.

Other campaign framework ideas?
LordXenophon
 member, 10 posts
Sun 29 Jul 2018
at 20:09
Fanfic: The Game
The military could work this way, too. Data and Worf are far more powerful than Geordi, but they all work together as part of the same ship's crew. Or, to give a modern world example, a Navy Corpman supporting a Marine Force Recon unit. Every military incorporates a wide range of combat abilities and variety of specific talents. One with super-powered soldiers, even more so.

This message was last edited by the user at 20:11, Sun 29 July.

Tortuga
 member, 1812 posts
Sun 29 Jul 2018
at 20:16
Re: Fanfic: The Game
LordXenophon:
Every military incorporates a wide range of combat abilities and variety of specific talents. One with super-powered soldiers, even more so.


What kind of military campaign might bring the PCs into contact with the strange elements of the setting on a regular basis?
LordXenophon
 member, 11 posts
Sun 29 Jul 2018
at 20:25
Re: Fanfic: The Game
That's all Star Trek seems to do. Or you could be one of the non-powered mooks on Captain America's strike force. Or you could have a Project Blue-Book that actually finds the aliens. Or the latest war could happen to stray into a part of the world where nobody has been in a thousand years. Or you could be assigned to guard that warehouse where they hid the Ark of the Covenant. You could end up as part of the honor guard, when the Ambassador from Mars arrives. Or, if there are super-heroes in your unit, the barracks. Or maybe your base has been infiltrated by the Body Snatchers and your general was the first to be podded. I don't see why you couldn't throw anything you want at them. U.N.I.T doesn't seem to have any trouble finding alien menaces to fight.

This message was last edited by the user at 20:28, Sun 29 July.

Tortuga
 member, 1813 posts
Mon 30 Jul 2018
at 20:16
Re: Fanfic: The Game
High Powered

Galifreyans: The players are a group of renegade/refugee Time Lords, fleeing the Time War in a TARDIS they can barely operate. Maybe they're looking for the Doctor, maybe they want to avoid his attention. Either way, they'll end up in the right place at the right time.
liblarva
 member, 557 posts
Mon 30 Jul 2018
at 20:37
Re: Fanfic: The Game
Mixed Power Levels

Doctor Who is kind of the universal adapter in that mix. As are superheroes. But more so Doctor Who. Almost anyone from any of those universes could very easily be plugged in as a companion to the Doctor. The Doctor would definitely be up for gathering a gang together and saving the universe. And for the darker elements, just have some version of the Master decide to get in on the having a gang action and create a group of villains. The conflict is built in.

High Powered

The premise of superheroes could easy encapsulate everything else listed. Various kinds of universe threatening, universe shattering, universe combining stories exist in the medium. Crisis on X Earths, Elseworlds, Tangent, and Challengers of the Unknown from DC along with What If, Exiles, and Fantastic Four from Marvel would be a good framework for getting just about anyone onto a team together for some reason. Though that generally presupposes some sort of power or fate or potential that would warrant their membership.

Further, most generic superhero teams go into space, the future, the past, hollow earth, and alternate realities or dimensions all the time.

Military

UNIT is also a military organization that interacts with all kinds or random weirdness. Though that probably fits your Agent idea.

Though you could easily up the power levels while maintaining that agent framework.

High Powered Military

The Green Lantern Corps would also be a military organization that deals with weirdness across the span of the galaxy on the regular. There's lip service to protecting a sector of space, but that's easily thrown out when a sufficiently menacing baddy shows up.

EDIT: You'd definitely want a more story-focused game to run all this. Trying to use something with even medium crunch will either break under the weight (if it's not a superhero game), or make any lower-powered characters utterly useless. Cortex Prime, Fate, and the Doctor Who RPG all come to mind. Though DW isn't built for supers. Lighter games like Over the Edge could work. HeroQuest could. Comedy games like Risus and Toon might too.

This message was last edited by the user at 20:40, Mon 30 July.

LordXenophon
 member, 15 posts
Mon 30 Jul 2018
at 20:56
Re: Fanfic: The Game
Doctor Who is an excellent example of what kind of framework would work with this sort of power-level spread, especially with the Third Doctor. While U.N.I.T. is busy engaging the hordes of aliens or bullet-immune monster, the Doctor runs off and chases the Monster, while Jo ferrets out the Master's spy. Each has a job to do, appropriate to their power level and skills, but they work separately to achieve a common goal. In a play-by-post game, this is no trouble at all. I would put this example under the Olsons category.

Another way to handle it is the Captain America way. Captain America has a squad of player characters. Nobody gets to play Captain America, but he will assign each PC a task accomplish on the battlefield. If all the payer characters can do their job, Captain America will be able to catch Red Skull. If any of them fail their task, Cap has to waste time doing it himself. If enough of his time is wasted, he won't have enough time left to catch up with Red Skull.

I don't see how the Green Lantern Corp is a good example, because all members are of roughly equivalent power level. Where do the low powered characters fit in?

The Justice League would be a better example. Several Green Lanterns have joined the Justice League, but so have some really weak sidekicks, and everything in between.

This message was last edited by the user at 21:02, Mon 30 July.

Tortuga
 member, 1814 posts
Thu 2 Aug 2018
at 16:14
Re: Fanfic: The Game
I think my best bet may be to take an event (movie, episode, comic book crossover) and use that as a base to build around "what else might have been happening off screen." Bank robbers mid-heist during the Chitauri attack on new york, or frustrated Hit Men working for a Gotham Crime Boss during the events of Torchwood: Miracle Day, for example.

This message was last edited by the user at 16:15, Thu 02 Aug.

airellian
 member, 428 posts
Thu 2 Aug 2018
at 20:30
Re: Fanfic: The Game
In reply to Tortuga (msg # 5):

I'm interested in this concept!
Tortuga
 member, 1819 posts
Fri 24 Aug 2018
at 16:14
Re: Fanfic: The Game
Okay: Final revision of the idea, leaves us with two branches. In both cases I've decided to mix in my love of history, which works because fictive works span all of time.

In both cases this is going to be a GM-moderated freeform game. In both cases the PCs will be encountering scenarios and characters from history and historically-set media.

I don't want to give away any plot details, but I've drawn up a massive timeline from (among others) the following sources:

  • Doctor Who
  • Marvel Comics
  • DC Comics
  • Lovecraft/Robert Howard
  • Tolkein
  • Highlander
  • Star Trek
  • Star Wars
  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer
  • Supernatural
  • The Indiana Jones Movies
  • Godzilla movies


And honestly anything else I could come up with. Then I took that timeline, mooshed it all together into a ball, and combined very similar concepts until I figured out what a good "truth" was.

Option 1: Immortals

The PCs are different flavors of immortal (or very long-lived) beings - vampires, Time Lords, golems, "Highlanders," Demons, demigods, etc. - living through history together. Adventures may be centuries apart, but the players will run into each other at interesting points again and again.

During each era players will be offered a selection of immortal "types" as they become available. There will only be one of any given option in the party.

Time between adventures will be compressed and largely hand-waved.

Option 2: Time Travelers

PCs have a malfunctioning time machine. They start out as fairly normal modern humans (and if you really want to play some sort of SCA weaponsmith or whatever I'll let it go but roll my eyes really hard) who get thrown back in time and have to make their way back to the future in fits and starts, spending enough time in any given era to have an adventure or two before the time machine is ready to move them on again.

So. Wanna play? Vote for option 1 or option 2, so I know which idea to run with.
airellian
 member, 430 posts
Fri 24 Aug 2018
at 17:06
Re: Fanfic: The Game
I vote for Option 1! :)
liblarva
 member, 567 posts
Fri 24 Aug 2018
at 19:37
Re: Fanfic: The Game
I'm good with either.
Tortuga
 member, 1820 posts
Mon 27 Aug 2018
at 14:26
Re: Fanfic: The Game
Game is up.

Let's sink Atlantis. link to another game