What to game, what to game…
Posted by ericmikols
As a roleplayer, I’ve been on both sides of the Dungeon Master’s screen. And, like most roleplayers, I prefer to be a player rather than the guy running the game. But, on the other hand, being the DM means you get to play whatever type of game you want!
When I’ve been the DM, I’ve run all types of games; fantasy, zombies, superheroes, dinosaurs, pirates and pulp. I try to make every game I run a game I would want to play. But, there are some types of games or ideas I just haven’t been able to figure out or lock down. Every time I decide it’s time to run a game, I go through all the same motions and concepts and decide they’re not right yet and come up with something else. But what about the game’s I can’t glue down yet?
To this day, it remains to be one of the few genres I haven’t even made an attempt to run. You would think, with my love for space and science fiction, this would come easy. But you would think wrong. I can’t figure out how to make this type of game work. I can’t get the governments right, I can’t think of aliens and I can’t help but fall in the shadow of material like Firefly and Star Wars. Maybe it’s a case of having to much to work with, but when I think of doing Space Opera, I freeze up like a Space Deer in Space Headlights.
Here’s a case of me having, at one time, done a successful dinosaur game. It was much like Jurassic Park, or Dino Crisis and heavy on the survival horror. However, it was a one shot and one of the first games I ever ran. Ever since then, it’s like I’ve been trying to capture lightning in a bottle for the second time. The problem with dinosaurs, in roleplaying, is that they are just too dangerous. You can hit an orc with a sword or shoot a zombie in the head, but if you try and stand your ground against a dinosaur, you’re dead meat. I keep trying to think of ways to run a dinosaur game where they are scary but not invincible, dangerous but not unmanageable. Unfortunately, a T-Rex is going to eat you no matter how you write up its stats.
Remember the show called Sliders? Well, I didn’t watch it either but it was about a bunch of people jumping from parallel universe to universe. So you can do anything. Abe Lincoln is the new Emporer of America? Sure! Robots run Walmart? Right on! But the problem for me is that nothing matters after a while. You have situations where you need someone saved but if the heroes don’t save ’em? It doesn’t matter because they’ll be in a new universe tomorrow! Also, once the characters find their way home, they’re home. End of story.
Here’s an idea I’ve had for a long time. It’s always been based off of the idea of the Thunderbolts, or the Suicide Squad. The players are super villains, but maybe they want to be better people! The reason I’ve never done this type of game is because I play with some morally ambiguous people who might not want to use their role as a bad guy to learn how to be good. They might, instead, want to use their powers for things I wouldn’t want to describe. To be frank, I’m scared of the horror the players would inflict upon their GM.
I would love to run a samurai game, especially one set in the Legends of the Five Rings realm, but it all comes down to knowledge. While I have an affection for Japanese culture, my knowledge of their history and customs are severely lacking. I’m too ignorant to run this type of game!
But I guess that’s part of putting together a game, deciding how to make your robot pirates against British goblins work.