Patricio
 member, 159 posts
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 17:30
Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
Is it possible to extract the setting, locations to explore, NPCs and adventure hooks out of a novel? Have you ever tried it? If so, what was the result?
facemaker329
 member, 7107 posts
 Gaming for over 30
 years, and counting!
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 17:44
Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
It's possible, yes.  I've never done it, personally, but the fact that there are multiple LOTR/Middle Earth RPGs, and even more games using other rules systems in a Middle Earth setting, shows that it can be done...
seraphmoon
 member, 84 posts
 "Plays well with others."
 Talks lots. Reads more.
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 18:36
Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
It seems like it shouldn't be any harder than creating a game out of a movie or TV series. There's already a good amount of conversions out there; GoT, Amber, Dresden Files, Dune, Laundry, Discworld, Cthulhu . . . some have been more successful than others. Was there a particular novel or series you were thinking of converting?
Patricio
 member, 161 posts
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 19:41
Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
Not yet sure because there are so many excellent trilogies of novels, I just would like to read the experience of people that made it and how it worked.
donsr
 member, 1661 posts
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 20:10
Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
I have, for my games, picked  a setting... and set a  'main plot".. then   built the world  around that...

 some of  my   game playing   influenced  my game   as a  living  world, ( things happen whether  or not we are there to see them)… then..Minor plots popped  up or  were made  … and plots  were made by the RP of the characters.

 some events  are triggered by PC   acyions… some are  missed..forever.. some  are created by them.. it makes the worlds  more alive..and  helps   we , as I get surprised now  and then, by good RPing  charcters  who manage  to  figure things out..or   help create  new subplots.

 my rule?... GM the way you want to   be 'GMed  by'... just as when I coached?  I coached the way I  wish I would have been..and my players   loved it.
Shannara
 moderator, 3833 posts
 Keep calm, drink more
 COFFEE!!!!
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 21:49
Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
I've tried to set something in the city of Haven, from Simon R. Green's books, in small scale.  It didn't go terribly, but one of these days I'm going to give it another go when I have more time to really do the prep work.
donsr
 member, 1662 posts
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 22:07
Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
 the   city I use   for my D&Dish game   was the city a created in one   night ( most likely before   most of you were born)   ..  stores, shops   inns  ectect ect  was out  table top setting after    our  'DM' got  burn out... until we  quit  playign a few years later.

 I find? its better to have your  own  city..or place ..even if you are in   someone  else's  se3tting? Because   you are in control of that place, and  can set parameters  there... and have the  other part of the   settings  flow into yours.
evileeyore
 member, 197 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Thu 25 Jul 2019
at 23:29
Re: Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
Patricio:
Is it possible to extract the setting, locations to explore, NPCs and adventure hooks out of a novel?

Yes.  Every single 'Hyborian Age' setting asserts this as so.

quote:
Have you ever tried it?

No.  I have done so from cartoons (Thundarr the Barbarian), movies (various post-apoc and dystopian/c-punk movies), and computer games though (Fallout, Master Of Magic).

quote:
If so, what was the result?

Results depend on the skills and strengths of the GM.  In my case, it worked fine.  I also didn't bother mirroring the setting I was ripping off, just used it as the starting point for my own creation.
horus
 member, 823 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Fri 26 Jul 2019
at 05:22
Re: Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
A lot of how difficult it is might depend on the novel, on the GM's willingness to read it multiple times, researching in intimate detail every aspect of plot, setting, and cast, separating the wheat from the chaff (so to speak), etc.  One would really have to love a book a lot to put in that kind of time.

One of my very favorite books of all time is a thing called The Book of The Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, jr. (not to be confused with the Celtic classic of the same name). It's a tale of barnyard animals involved in an ultimate battle of good vs. evil in a world before ours.

It is, if I say so myself, wonderfully written, and had me laughing one page and crying the next as I devoured it.

Would I ever try to make a game of it?  Not for a million bucks.  Way too epic in scope, and way too ensemble a cast.

Dune by Frank Herbert is another favorite of mine.  Sure, it's epic, and it's sprawling in its scope, but I've given serious thought to trying to run a game in that universe (or some version of it).  The Dune Encyclopedia would be a big help here.

I'll end it with my absolute favorite:  Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light.  Boy, would I love to play in a game set in this setting.  If I were to build a game for it, it would be a pure labor of love and I'd probably never finish it completely, but might get it close enough to play.  I've already read it into the double digit number of times, and have done a lot of reading on Buddhism, Hinduism and their associated mythologies to be able to visualize this, and listening to Ravi Shankar while reading it didn't hurt, either.
evileeyore
 member, 198 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Fri 26 Jul 2019
at 05:38
Re: Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
horus:
Dune by Frank Herbert is another favorite of mine.  Sure, it's epic, and it's sprawling in its scope, but I've given serious thought to trying to run a game in that universe (or some version of it).  The Dune Encyclopedia would be a big help here.

Oh man, thanks for reminding me of my Dune/Star Wars/Fading Suns mashup!  That was epic.
Lillykins
 member, 2 posts
Fri 26 Jul 2019
at 06:35
Re: Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
I once did a Shadowrun game based on a Flobots music video.  Inspiration can come from anywhere.  I do find that trying to stick too closely to a source material can limit you more than help in many ways, but taking inspiration for things like themes and setting is not only valid, it's recommended.  Everybody steals, the good ones just don't get caught.
Yaztromo
 supporter, 269 posts
Fri 26 Jul 2019
at 11:13
Re: Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
There is a Barsoom game where I am a player that is fundamentally the amateur adaptation of a classic ruleset to a series of novels.
Ski-Bird
 subscriber, 22 posts
Fri 26 Jul 2019
at 11:14
Re: Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
Shannara:
I've tried to set something in the city of Haven, from Simon R. Green's books ...


Hawk and Fisher for the win!  I loved those books, and Green's sci-fi Deathstalker saga that came after.  I never quite hopped on board with his magic-noir stuff though.

Green's world-building would lend itself fairly well to an RPG tale.  The way that he alluded to the many villainous offscreen characters and factions, I mean.  In those books, there would often be provocative names dropped left and right, not all of them made actual appearances as characters.  It really gave the reader a sense of the setting, the grim tone of the city, but didn't really paint you into a corner with the details.

Completely made-up of course, but it wouldn't have been weird to see names like: The Prince of Rats, Jenny Machete, The Razor Twins, Our Lady of Stitches, etc.

I feel like a reputation game mechanic of some sort would have to be introduced in a tale like this.  The protagonists would often win/avoid a fight without even drawing a sword (or axe!).

A withering stare down, and a few implied threats were enough to do the trick in a lot of instances.
tmagann
 member, 590 posts
Fri 26 Jul 2019
at 14:32
Re: Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
One of the issues I discovered when I attempted it back in the 80s was the game system. Not all systems adapt to all novel themes. We tried with the Thomas Covenant books in D&D 1, but had less than stellar luck. Gurps would have worked better, but we hadn't discovered it, quite yet.

On the other hand, using the BRP rules from Chaosium's Worlds of Wonder and the magic system from their compatible Elf Quest, we had very good luck with the Myth Adventures books..

It's less Game system than the Magic system, truthfully, but they're often too closely tied to separate.

When in doubt, Gurps or Risus will usually do the job. And Risus is much easier.
seraphmoon
 member, 85 posts
 "Plays well with others."
 Talks lots. Reads more.
Fri 26 Jul 2019
at 16:30
Re: Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
horus:
A lot of how difficult it is might depend on the novel, on the GM's willingness to read it multiple times, researching in intimate detail every aspect of plot, setting, and cast, separating the wheat from the chaff (so to speak), etc.  One would really have to love a book a lot to put in that kind of time.


I think you've hit the nail right here for any adaptation, novel or otherwise. Unless you're only using it as an inspiration, or saying something like "this game is set in the Unexplored Territories/Distant Future of World X", you'd have to know a *lot* of details about the source material. If you're using a series, well . . . I'd find it easier to do something like Shannara or Amber than, say, Dune or Malazan.

The way I see it, if you don't have a really good idea of what the players will be interested in, creation of anything boils down to two options: Start with the basics and research/define things as they come up, or stat everything out ahead of time and risk your hard work not being used. For a lot of published worlds it's easy to just look things up on the fly now, though. I do that as a player anyway for several games.

Picking a system could be a pain too. I prefer freeform or diceless systems like Amber, but if I knew the players were more comfortable with hard rules and numbers I'd probably go with GURPS. I like Genesys too, for a nice dice-based system that still allows for narrative flexibility.
Waxahachie
 member, 162 posts
 The horn that wakes
 the sleepers
Fri 26 Jul 2019
at 22:50
Re: Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
There are quite a lot of system/setting books for RPGs based entirely on novels. The tricky part is creating a good story that can hit the notes the novel does or explore the world/setting in a unique and interesting way that doesn't copy the book(s), which is harder for some settings than others.
Patricio
 member, 174 posts
Sat 10 Aug 2019
at 03:08
Re: Have you ever tried to create a game out of a novel?
Thank you for all the input, yours have been interesting opinions.