Wednesday, August 26, 2020

RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - STRANGE


Strange is defined as, 'Unusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand.' Another take is 'Not previously visited, seen, or encountered; unfamiliar or alien.'

I like to think that I, or more specifically my areas of interest and the games they inspire, fall into the former category, with settings and locations that are firmly in the latter. 

While I do not claim Star Trek, Star Wars, Superheroes, or Medieval Folklore to be all that strange in and of themselves (all but the last of these appearing in mass media and as elements of pop culture), I would like to believe that my individual takes on them are often a little off-center and odd. This is certainly more evident in Supers and Folklore than the big the IP franchises however. 

At the same time, that's not all I run and when push comes to shove, I wonder how many other people are Gamemastering sessions of The Muppet Show, a Smurfs game set in Medieval Flanders, and a rather creepy and occasionally tear-jerking campaign of Ghostbusters. 

Let's not forget time travel games run in reverse order, a UFO/aliens-in-disguise two-parter set in America's Dust Bowl period of the 1930s, and my ongoing 'Unfinished Business' project - an RPG in which you portray ghosts trying to move on to the afterlife (essentially attempting to remove your PC from play). 

I love the strange. I eat it up. I would rather encounter and engage with the strange over the tactical, the reasonable, the grotesque, or the violent any day. I want to meet living things that make me question the nature of life, picture vistas that redefine terrain, and phenomena that don't quite match our understanding of established physics. 

Sure, in many ways my love of IP gaming belies this interest; I run many licensed franchises because fan familiarity with them is an advantage when explaining the premise of an RPG set in that universe. The key is, once you understand where you are and why, I can more easily get you to wonder about the weird and wild parts I've injected into the setting you feel you know. 

“Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.”
-Werner Heisenberg, Theoretical Physicist

Barking Alien

Two Notes: 

First, I failed to recognize what a very special day yesterday was. August 25th, marks my Gaming Anniversary; 43 years in the hobby beginning in 1977. Yay me!

Second, today is National Dog Day, which is very important to me both personally and professionally. Hurray for Dogs! We do not deserve them. I am spending it hanging out, playing, walking, and chilling with my best friend, Sketch, who turns 3 years old on Friday. 


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