Monday, June 11, 2012

Thinking Smaller On Big Ideas

A lot of people, certainly a lot of GMs I know, start simple or small and add details as they go.

Maybe it's a single town with a dungeon near by or the starport and some alien ruins but as time goes on it will become a town near a city that's in a kingdom on a continent, etc.

I don't always (usually) work that way. I try to. I wish I did. No, I start huge and epic and have developed the rather odd skill of learning to edit and hold off and pull the camera in tighter.

While thinking about my upcoming Traveller game for example, I came up with some such idea that reminded me of Red Dwarf (the British Sci-Fi Sitcom that I can't believe I haven't mentioned more often on this blog as I love it so much). That somehow got me looking up pictures of ships from the show on Google, which lead me to thinking how much the
Omega Planet Skipper from EXONAUTS' site would fit a slightly more serious version of that universe, not to mention Space:1999, which got me thinking of the InSpace/Space:1999 idea I had and BOOOM!

Gaming Epiphany!

Picture a Traveller game in which the players start out as the typical Space Truckdrivers/Serenity(bleh) group of ner do well troubleshooters when a misjump or some other accident sends them millions of years in the future.

The last Humans alive in the universe (perhaps) with maybe an android or uplifted animal companion for extra fun, they have to maintain their ship and stay alive just to find out if there is any life in the universe not entirely hostile to them. Maybe they want to find out what happened to Humanity. Maybe they want to find Earth. Maybe they want to find some tropical planet somewhere and just lie on the beach forever drinking cool drinks with umbrella's in them.

Refining it, the idea works best as Red Dwarf/InSpace, with big, high concept science fiction like Solaris, Forbidden Planet and 2001: A Space Odyssey crossing paths with the occasional remnant civilization of genetically engineered creature or renegade robot left behind by a dead-beat Humanity.

Personally I think the concept is awesome but I also thinking it would be hard for my current group to 'get' the idea. I can't be too tongue-in-cheek with these guys even though we joke around a lot. They like their gaming serious and aren't adept at understanding my dramatic comedy or comedic but serious game ideas.

I now have to start widdling this down to see if I can use any of it with them or just scrap it and start from scratch.

Hmmm...or I could just save it for the New Jersey Group. Ah, Jersey.

Who said that?! >_<

OK, OK...something less amazing...

Barking Alien


  1. I can't for the life of me see how anything Red Dwarf ish could be serious... but I will let you try....

  2. I have this...some would say talent, some would say affliction...that drive me to add odd moments of humors to otherwise very serious games and vice versa.

    Now these are not moments of goofiness or bad puns or the like. What I am talking about is either something darkly humorous or where the situation is so out of left field that you can't help but laugh, even as abject terror bears down on you.

    If you look at my post on my Ghostbusters game you'll get a better idea of what I am talking about. I hope. ^ ^;

  3. I think if you tell most groups that you're going to run Traveller that certain assumptions are made, and drop-kicking them into 1 Million Years AD is not one of them. That's the kind of thing I call a "Sharp Left Turn" campaign. If you want to keep some surprises in the game you can try to be vague and get them to agree to a Chef's Special/Dealer's Choice approach to campaign selection that's a pretty serious deviation from the meme of "Traveller".

    Of course if you give them a way to get back then it's basically an episode of Doctor Who, which could be fun too, especially if they know it's temporary.

    Of course you know your players better than some guy on the internet, but that's how it looks to me as an outsider. For me that kind of game would depend a lot on the DM and what I thought he was trying to do with it.

  4. I agree with you Blacksteel. As noted, this concept is perfect for my NJ crew but my NY group is not, by and large, the 'Sharp Left Turn' sort.

    Also, as many of them are new to Traveller, I think it best to let them taste the classic, traditional faire before I start making fusion cuisine.

  5. The amusing thing about Red Dwarf was exactly how serious it was. For the most part, they dealt with "real" science fiction stuff. It's just that the characters were not your typical lantern-jawed starship crew, but in fact, a bunch of losers. (Admit it. Dave Lister is the last man in the universe you'd pick to be Last Man in the Universe.)