URPGs Breakroom Chatting

This is for all questions, discussions, issues and what not that is not directly related to a campaign. Technical issues are to be posted in here as well. Finally, any important Administrator announcements will be made here as well.

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URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby PMiller » Tue Aug 25, 2015 4:42 am

Hello all,

I am starting this thread as a general around the water cooler/hanging out in the break room chit-chatting thread. We are a small community here at URPG (probably smaller than some people think since a number of us use multiple character accounts). But we want to sell ourselves as a small site of friendly people.

But to be "friendly" we kinda need to socialize a bit more and communicate. :mrgreen:

So new to the site or been around for years, post here to say"hi" and share what's on your mind.

~ PM
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby Herzog » Tue Aug 25, 2015 5:41 am

Hola, everyone!

So yea, i have new project that i am excited about. Should be hitting the advertising thread today
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby DM Sirine » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:47 am

Nice, Herzog! New games are always exciting. :)

One thing that PMiller and I were talking about the other day is TV shows that make good RPG game inspiration. Anyone want to discuss what TV shows might make a good game? We were talking about "Strike Back", the general idea of an international counter-terrorism unit, as an example.
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby PMiller » Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:41 am

DM Sirine wrote:Anyone want to discuss what TV shows might make a good game? We were talking about "Strike Back", the general idea of an international counter-terrorism unit, as an example.
Yeah, I liked the idea behind Strike back from a gaming perspective. Each season had 10 Episodes that were linked with a central bag guy with a grand evil plan. Each episode worked towards that, but they had shorter term bad guys and missions to take care of in that one episode. Sometimes there would be a cliff hanger, but most of the time they completed what they started. It could provide some good inspiration.

I am already looking at the SyFy show Dark Matter. Great premise. I actually used something similar in Among the Stars months before Dark Matter came out.

Anyone ever wondered why D&D and fantasy RPGs are more popular than SciFi?
Yet in movies the interest appears to be the opposite?
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby Herzog » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:37 am

I have never heard of Strike Back, but does sound like it would be a good game concept. Would the players be the counter terrorism unit, or the bad guys themselves? Or would there be two groups of players playing against each other?

On the subject of sci-fi versus fantasy, I think some of it might be culture. I mean movies have the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, where as books/pen and paper have Tolkien and dungeons and dragons.
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby DM Sirine » Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:31 am

I think you are right on that score, Herzog. There is not as much choice when it comes to fantasy movies. For sci-fi movies and franchises, we have Star Wars, Star Trek, Firefly, Mass Effect, and many others we could name. But major fantasy franchises aren't quite as prevalent. Lord of the Rings comes to mind, and you could argue that Harry Potter is more fantasy than urban fantasy.

But not much else, really. So maybe the movie preference is because there is more choice when it comes to sci-fi, and perhaps that is driven by the ease of production. You can slap black paint on a Nerf water pistol, put someone in a jumpsuit and leather jacket, and call their costume sci-fi. Fantasy costumes and weapons require more thought.

I dunno about the games though. Maybe because it started Chainmail/D&D, and has followed in that tradition ever since?

I think that any contemporary game about terrorism would have to be played from the good guys' perspective, otherwise it would just be too unpleasant. I don't think we'd really find much fun in lopping off the heads of civilians or blowing up national monuments. Kind of different from a crime game in that regard, as I think there's more latitude to portray criminals as more decent people who just steal or whatever, but terrorists can't be portrayed positively in any way.
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby Calvin » Wed Aug 26, 2015 4:28 pm

DM Sirine wrote:But not much else, really. So maybe the movie preference is because there is more choice when it comes to sci-fi, and perhaps that is driven by the ease of production. You can slap black paint on a Nerf water pistol, put someone in a jumpsuit and leather jacket, and call their costume sci-fi. Fantasy costumes and weapons require more thought.

I dunno about the games though. Maybe because it started Chainmail/D&D, and has followed in that tradition ever since?

Maybe part of it is that while movies need props and costumes, games need mechanics, and D&D provides a convenient ruleset. The success of D&D-based games like Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment and Neverwinter Nights also helps establish a tradition.

I think that any contemporary game about terrorism would have to be played from the good guys' perspective, otherwise it would just be too unpleasant. I don't think we'd really find much fun in lopping off the heads of civilians or blowing up national monuments. Kind of different from a crime game in that regard, as I think there's more latitude to portray criminals as more decent people who just steal or whatever, but terrorists can't be portrayed positively in any way.

I think part of the problem is the term itself. Unlike "criminal", the term "terrorist" is highly politicized and doesn't really have a rigorous or consistent definition. In contemporary usage, it has become largely associated with fringe political groups and indiscriminate violence. If a group had sympathetic aims and showed restraint in their tactics, most would probably resist labelling them as "terrorists". Criminals, on the other hand, can be somewhat sympathetic and yet still be referred to as criminals because their actions, regardless of motive, violate the law.

I think the flip side of Strike Back for more "morally dubious" characters could instead be something like Ronin (the movie with De Niro and Reno). The same kind of mission-based structure PMiller described could work there too, just with personal enrichment as the objective instead of stopping a terrorist plot. In general though, TV Shows and movies seem to usually focus on one of two individuals (usually the best known and highest-billed actors), sometimes acting in opposition to one another. TV shows with a larger number of central characters, such as Game of Thrones or The Wire, tend to use their extended cast to tell multiple, interweaving stories.

I can only really think of a handful of movies and TV shows that would translate well into a RPG. Aside from the previously-mentioned Strike Back (I haven't seen Dark Matter so I can't comment on that), Person of Interest, The Untouchables, The Raid and Exiled could all potentially serve as the inspiration for an interesting game. Pretty much any heist film could also work, with the various crew members with different specialties working towards a common goal. Herzog's new game also reminds me of the film SIlmido, which is about Unit 684, the South Korean black ops team that was (allegedly, not all details are known) formed of death row criminals and tasked with the assassination of Kim Il-Sung.
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby PMiller » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:42 am

DM Sirine wrote:I dunno about the games though. Maybe because it started Chainmail/D&D, and has followed in that tradition ever since?
That was my thinking. I was a big SciFi fan in my youth too, only finding Star Frontiers as a decent RPG at the time. I tried Gamma World too… Nowadays, there are tons of Rules for Fantasy and SciFi alike.

Perhaps the SciFi genre really comes down to too many sub-genres. That makes it great for movies and books to provide variety, but harder to support on the RPG market outside of Star Wars and Star Trek. Game companies are not jumping all out to produce modules for those rule systems. Maybe OGL has something to do with it.

Calvin wrote:Maybe part of it is that while movies need props and costumes, games need mechanics, and D&D provides a convenient ruleset. The success of D&D-based games like Baldur's Gate, Planescape: Torment and Neverwinter Nights also helps establish a tradition.
That is a good point from an on-line PbP perspective. Outside of Mass Effect and Star Wars, I have not seen anything compete with those CRPG titles. How many of us have played those games before turning to PbP? I know I did for years before trying PbP.

Herzog wrote:I have never heard of Strike Back, but does sound like it would be a good game concept. Would the players be the counter terrorism unit, or the bad guys themselves? Or would there be two groups of players playing against each other?

In case you have not looked it up yet Herzog, it started as British mini-series where a SAS Officer was working anti-terrorism and a personal vendetta off book. The Cinemax series built off that idea and made it a team of covert anti-terrorism military personnel (British and American).

Our discussion originated on using basic plot outlines from the series and applying them to the genres for SciFi games because it is harder to find published modules for SciFi games outside of Star Wars. My collection of Star Frontiers stuff has everything they published and it is not very much. I don’t have any d20 Future modules at all. I am slowly making notes for a game based on Dark Matter, but I do not want to completely rip off the TV Show and have been looking for some alternate plot hooks and such to integrate with my ideas.

Calvin, Dark Matter is a new series on SyFy channel. I think it is pretty good and it could be around for a while.
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby Obi-Wan Jacobi » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:52 am

Hello, everyone! :mrgreen:

First, I love the idea of this thread. I think providing a place to develop friendships is what the social element of the internet should be all about. Besides the fact that the creation of community and having fun is typically why we all play the games we play.

I also never heard of Strike Back, Herzog, but it sounds like an interesting setting and could make a wonderful game setting.

On the note of why Fantasy seems to be the prevalent theme in games while Sci-Fi is prevalent in movies might just be as simple as DnD got there first (by first I mean successfully got there first with a quality product that was endorsed by enough people to make it significant). DnD successfully provided a framework to create adventures that were imagined by Tolkien himself. Now we could each make our own Aaragorn or Bilbo and adventure with our own fellowship. For whatever reason basic things about Fantasy games (Lord of the Rings, Dragon Age, etc...) are present in DnD like having humans, elves, dwarves, hobbits, orcs, etc... They are just generally expected to be there, whereas in Sci-Fi, even though Klingons and Romulans might be strongly planted as staples of the Star Trek universe, it feels unoriginal to use them - almost like you need to invent your own world to "get it right". DnD is just simpler and requires less work.

This is one reason why when I was introduced to the Cortex system a while back, I thought they had something that could be made to fit any setting as long as the GM and/or players came up with rules and mechanics to fit it. As you may or may not know, at times I tinker around with game design (specifically game mechanics) and I wanted to come up with a rule set that could encompass both Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Having stats for dwarves, elves, wookiees, and klingons would all be there and/or could be made in order to facilitate any setting created. It hasn't ever really gone anywhere and I of course scrap what I'm thinking every so often to come up with something better :mrgreen:
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby DM Sirine » Thu Aug 27, 2015 1:08 pm

Calvin wrote:I think part of the problem is the term itself. Unlike "criminal", the term "terrorist" is highly politicized and doesn't really have a rigorous or consistent definition. In contemporary usage, it has become largely associated with fringe political groups and indiscriminate violence. If a group had sympathetic aims and showed restraint in their tactics, most would probably resist labelling them as "terrorists". Criminals, on the other hand, can be somewhat sympathetic and yet still be referred to as criminals because their actions, regardless of motive, violate the law.


Very true. This is the basis of most Rebellion-era Star Wars games, if you think about it. Though the heroes' actions (blowing up space stations, stealing vital intelligence, skirmishing against Imperial forces) would be seen as "terrorist" actions in another context, in the Star Wars universe, they're firmly characterized as heroic. Makes sense due to the black and white morality of the setting, of course. The Empire and everyone working for it is evil, so the rebels' actions are fully justified. But you'd need a black and white situation in which that would work, hopefully one where the bad guys even do you a favor by calling you 'rebels' instead of 'terrorists' or even 'insurgents'.

Calvin wrote:I think the flip side of Strike Back for more "morally dubious" characters could instead be something like Ronin (the movie with De Niro and Reno). The same kind of mission-based structure PMiller described could work there too, just with personal enrichment as the objective instead of stopping a terrorist plot. In general though, TV Shows and movies seem to usually focus on one of two individuals (usually the best known and highest-billed actors), sometimes acting in opposition to one another. TV shows with a larger number of central characters, such as Game of Thrones or The Wire, tend to use their extended cast to tell multiple, interweaving stories.


Yeah, that would work. A criminal boss giving the group their jobs instead of having a superior in the intelligence community doing so. And there's still room for decency and morality, even when high stakes crimes are being pulled off (like the TV show "Leverage"). Or it could be darker than Leverage, and more morally ambiguous without running into full-on villainous territory that would be unsuitable for a play-by-post game.

Calvin wrote:I can only really think of a handful of movies and TV shows that would translate well into a RPG. Aside from the previously-mentioned Strike Back (I haven't seen Dark Matter so I can't comment on that), Person of Interest, The Untouchables, The Raid and Exiled could all potentially serve as the inspiration for an interesting game. Pretty much any heist film could also work, with the various crew members with different specialties working towards a common goal. Herzog's new game also reminds me of the film SIlmido, which is about Unit 684, the South Korean black ops team that was (allegedly, not all details are known) formed of death row criminals and tasked with the assassination of Kim Il-Sung.


Okay, the fact you mentioned The Raid and Ronin AND The Untouchables has made me put Exiled on my to-watch list. Hadn't heard of it before, but if it deserves mention with the rest of those, I'm there. :) Thanks for the rec.

OWJ, you should check out PMiller's conversions for The Window system to play in Shadowrun and Pathfinder settings. Using the base concepts, you could turn any setting-specific game into a Window game using his rules. Sounds like it would be right up your alley.
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby PMiller » Fri Aug 28, 2015 12:55 am

DM Sirine wrote:Yeah, that would work. A criminal boss giving the group their jobs instead of having a superior in the intelligence community doing so. And there's still room for decency and morality, even when high stakes crimes are being pulled off (like the TV show "Leverage"). Or it could be darker than Leverage, and more morally ambiguous without running into full-on villainous territory that would be unsuitable for a play-by-post game.
{Cough, cough} Shadowrun or Cyberpunk. :p

DM Sirine wrote:OWJ, you should check out PMiller's conversions for The Window system to play in Shadowrun and Pathfinder settings. Using the base concepts, you could turn any setting-specific game into a Window game using his rules. Sounds like it would be right up your alley.
Yeah, I am really digging how easy it is too. I thought about doing a Star Wars one as well, and I might in the future. I certainly think it will be more PbP friendly than FFG’s latest version.
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby Herzog » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:11 am

Yea, I second taking a look at The Window. Having converted two my games to that system from d20 has certainly made it easier to focus on story telling, rather than getting bogged down in mechanics. The beauty in the system is that every thing from race to class to feats all balance out. Everything boils down to a rank on the competency ladder.

Anyway, I know this isn't a the place to plug a game, but OWJ. If you want to see it in action, check out the Black Company game. We are just starting up and are working thru the characters gen.

If some starts up a shadow run game, I am all for it. :mrgreen:
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby DM Sirine » Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:17 am

PMiller wrote: {Cough, cough} Shadowrun or Cyberpunk. :p


Very true! ;)
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby Herzog » Sun Aug 30, 2015 2:55 pm

Did Fantasy Flight Games do the latest Star Wars ruleset? How is that compared to SAGA?
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Re: URPGs Breakroom Chatting

Postby PMiller » Mon Aug 31, 2015 12:44 am

Herzog wrote:Did Fantasy Flight Games do the latest Star Wars ruleset? How is that compared to SAGA?

Yeah, they published the first book over a year ago. There are some good things and bad about it. I liked some of the concepts for character generation. But the entire gameplay system is based on opposed checks, so even when you roll well, you can fail. Overall I don’t think it is as PbP friendly either. I still play it, but I am not itching to play more… but I also have not been trying to get into any new Saga games either.
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