absentnormality
 member, 55 posts
Sun 21 May 2017
at 20:07
Dystopian Chicklit
So a publishing house agent recently posted online that some genre mixes don't work and she cited dystopian chicklit as an example. I've spent all day trying to work out the best way to make a game out of this idea because I really can't be bothered writing a book to prove her wrong but I think some kind of a "How to find a husband during a zombie apocalypse" game seems like a fun idea.

Anyone fancy taking this idea and running with it?
Or have any ideas on systems or themes to flesh this out a bit?
odysseasdallas
 member, 46 posts
Sun 21 May 2017
at 20:33
Dystopian Chicklit
Pride & Prejudice. And Zombies.

'nuff said.
swordchucks
 member, 1393 posts
Sun 21 May 2017
at 21:42
Re: Dystopian Chicklit
odysseasdallas:
Pride & Prejudice. And Zombies.

I was going to suggest this very thing, though it might be a cheat because of the parody elements.

Red Markets uses dependents as a theme in a zombie apocalypse, but it's more about the economics than you're looking for.
StarlitSpider
 member, 47 posts
Mon 22 May 2017
at 00:42
Dystopian Chicklit
In reply to absentnormality (msg # 1):

I'm not really sure why it wouldn't work, unless the definitions of the Chick Lit genre are a lot stricter than I'm imagining. Couldn't you describe Jane Eyre as Dystopian Chick-Lit, as a novel about the struggle of womanhood in repressively patriarchal society? Someone more familiar with the genre correct me, but couldn't this be done explored by any combination of focusing on mundane, day-to-day life and interpersonal relationships in a dystopian setting (as opposed to a primary focus on the espionage/action/physical conflicts) and having patriarchal forces or old and new ideas about womanhood be prominent thematic ideas?

I feel like I'm leaning too far into post-apocalypse as a source for dystopian settings, but Unhallowed Metropolis presents a post-zombie apocalypse setting where humanity has retreated into fortress cities with Victorian styles and values, rubbing shoulders with a number of quieter horrors under a ruthless, frightened sort of martial law. It's retro-futuristic goth-punk, with Jekyll, Frankenstein, Moreau, and Tesla style mad science being the source of most technology, Bedlam levels of psychiatric care in world where psychics gain frightening powers that exacerbate the symptoms of associated mental illness when they use them, hauntings are as common as pest infestations and parapsychologists are ghostbusters by way of the Addams' family, classes are deeply stratified and secret societies are everywhere, et cetera et cetera. It's a setting that revels a little too much in "everything is evil and ugly and doomed," but drawing the focus back to women who live in this world, in their overlapping social circles, and make it more about real human beings living out their lives amidst awful things than about caricatures of awful people, and you could definitely have something interesting.

I can imagine a "party" of characters- the aspiring Alienist(the setting's word for psychiatrists) striving to help people but constantly tempted to wield the dark kind of political power her position gives her to break down obstacles in other parts of her life, while simultaneously facing the discrimination and biases that follow women in academia. The land-rich noblewoman from a bankrupt family putting off a political pairing, who knows more than she wants to about the depraved side of aristocratic society. The psychic investigator trying to root out corruption without becoming a tool in it by the people who employ her. The medium forced to play up the spooky mystic act if she wants business in her part of town- does something like that miss the mark?

Maybe an urban fantasy story in a setting similar to Pact (Worm's successor by the same author), where practitioners live and work and gather power in a modern-day setting, but one where the supernatural side of things hosts too many creatures that predate women's rights, and where old, oppressive traditions still hold a kind of power in and of themselves.

Just a couple of ideas. Is that anything like what you're looking for?

There's also an RPG coming out called the Watch, which is about an all-woman (and femme nonbinary) military force that's come together in a low-fantasy setting to protect their tribes from a dark force that tends to represent an embodiment of misogyny, patriarchy, and toxic masculinity.
Gaffer
 member, 1471 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Mon 22 May 2017
at 14:37
Dystopian Chicklit
Just to throw out a definition for absentnormality to respond to.

From Wikipedia:
"Chick lit or chick literature is genre fiction, which "consists of heroine-centered narratives that focus on the trials and tribulations of their individual protagonists". The genre often addresses issues of modern womanhood from romantic relationships to female friendships to matters in the workplace in humorous and lighthearted ways."

Is this what we're talking about, but dystopian?

Not having read or watched, Handmaid's Tale seems to sort of fit the bill.
badpenny
 member, 364 posts
 eats shoots and leaves
Mon 22 May 2017
at 14:49
Dystopian Chicklit
Let's take the premise of a single mother struggling to ensure her son's future against overwhelming odds.  Place that in a dystopian context and you have Terminator 2.

Like what was done with P & P & Zombies, you take any situation and you turn it upside down.

This message was last edited by the user at 14:49, Mon 22 May.

Tortuga
 member, 1771 posts
Tue 23 May 2017
at 00:28
Dystopian Chicklit
They might have meant "wouldn't work commercially." There's not a tremendous crossover between 'real' chicklit and post apocalyptic fiction audiences. I'm not saying "no crossover." I'm just saying "not enough for a publisher to take a risk on." It's a very risk-averse industry... if they don't think a book is going to sell tens of thousands of copies (or win awards), they're not going to bother when they could instead publish something more commercially viable.

It's a business. Run by businessmen. Making artistic choices for business reasons.

P&P&Z did not work because Chick Lit and PA are a great combo. It worked because of P&P's name recognition combined with the gimmick of "and zombies?!?" along the same lines of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter... but vampire hunting/historical fiction is a way easier sell.

This message was last edited by the user at 00:30, Tue 23 May.

MrMandible
 member, 10 posts
Tue 23 May 2017
at 01:33
Dystopian Chicklit
"And then I realized, I was in love with Big Brother the whole time..."
JxJxA
 member, 185 posts
Tue 23 May 2017
at 02:59
Dystopian Chicklit
I haven't watched it, but from what I've heard, wouldn't iZombie fit in that genre? It's not literature, but it's a pretty popular TV show.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15362 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Tue 23 May 2017
at 03:14
Dystopian Chicklit
Please remember that the purpose of this thread is to express interest in a game proposed by the OP.  An extensive debate/discussion regarding source material and genre viability should be saved for the game itself.

Thank you.
dlantoub
 member, 241 posts
 Anime Fan
 Virtually all genres
Tue 23 May 2017
at 23:18
Dystopian Chicklit
Back to the op almost any system would work for this.
What is important is the setting. Chick lit seems self explanatory. Centres on a female character and their struggle. Works fine except you then realise this includes Lara croft and samus aran.

Want an action babe not from a game. Nausicaa. And is pretty much the text book definition of post Apocalypse chick lit. Decide if the game is society based with power decided politically or heroically with power decided by action.
absentnormality
 member, 57 posts
Wed 24 May 2017
at 13:13
Dystopian Chicklit
Yeah... I wasn't asking for a debate on the validity of her statement or examples that prove her wrong. I was merely citing it as catalyst for a game idea.

Let me put it another way; I want to run/play a dystopian-chick lit type game. Any ideas on systems/settings?

I've run freeform dystopian games before but not with a proper system or a less survival based theme.

This message was last edited by a moderator, as it was against the forum rules, at 13:20, Wed 24 May.

dlantoub
 member, 242 posts
 Anime Fan
 Virtually all genres
Wed 24 May 2017
at 16:49
Dystopian Chicklit
For a beer and pretzels take on this. Macho women with guns. Bare in mind this one is irreverent and deliberately so.

Otherwise I guess you could adapt something like Mouse Guard

Savage worlds may work
badpenny
 member, 365 posts
 eats shoots and leaves
Wed 24 May 2017
at 17:37
Dystopian Chicklit
Let's unpack this.  We have two key words and a system request.

Dystopian is subject to interpretation.  It could be a wasteland, or a thriving city, but just not for a given class.

Chicklit implies female-centric and often (but not exclusively) about relationships and/or personal fulfillment, e.g. the female protagonist wants it all (career and relationship).

System considerations haven't been expressed.  To me, it seems like a heavy system is just going to get in the way.  Everyone likes a system that someone else will dislike.  I can't think of a universally loved one.

What's going to be measured/tested?  Combat?  Social conflicts?

I think what some of us are struggling with are definitions and that's why it's ended up seeming like a debate.
Furyou Miko
 member, 517 posts
Thu 25 May 2017
at 16:45
Dystopian Chicklit
You know, with the mix of survival and relationships... Have you considered looking at Apocalypse World? It's practically designed for this kind of thing.
Aidhogan
 member, 50 posts
Sat 3 Jun 2017
at 05:25
Dystopian Chicklit
I really don't understand how Magical Burst!, the tabletop homage to Madoka, hasn't already been mentioned.  It's almost entirely about managing emotion-driven relationships in a world inevitably falling into nightmarish horror.  Graaaaaanted, it's more of a YA Modern Supernatural presentation than Chicklit, but it wouldn't take anything more than revising some of the youth-/school-specific character challenges to suit more adult problems, in order to correct that.

Honestly, I think it'd be a fun project.