October 6th, 2005

hoard potato, tv, movies

Not In Kansas Anymore, Revisited.

In a private post, a friend of mine mentioned an old post in Pyat's LiveJournal about the classic fantasy trope of someone from a familiar world getting transported to a new and exotic realm, and how seldom paper-and-pencil RPGs took advantage of this, despite the advantages it has from a GM's standpoint.

Here's a variation of the theme that didn't come up in the original thread:

Nothing says the PCs all have to come from the same place or time.

This can be a boon for groups with a wide range of preferred genres. Has Clem always wanted to play a Gunslinger, but never been able to convince a group to play an Old West game? Drop him into your Lost World with the Renaissance Man, the Pulp Era Brawler, the Cold War Fighter Ace, and the Special Effects Guy With A Gift For Improvised Tech. Have aliens abduct them. Send them to the time of the dinosaurs, or to some far-flung future wasteland.

Or, heck, to the carefully-crafted Non-Standard Fantasy World that your D&D players never appreciated before.

It's also a boon for the rare player who likes to sit down and devise elaborate backgrounds for his PCs, and play Someone (or Something) Exotic. The NIKA scenario gives them an opportunity to come up with all manner of baroque customs, traditions, familial rank and relations, and what have you, without having to force the GM to work all that backstory into the game proper.

(Never rely on an entire group to do that, however; Snark's Fourth Law was originally formulated after a my short-lived GURPS Space game folded. I came up with a setting with a wide variety of human colony worlds, and said, "Hey, you don't just get to write up your characters; you get to create their entire culture." Only two players out of half a dozen made the effort.)
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