Saturday, 30 June 2012

Want to see my weapon?

I don't think I ever posted this, so here it is - a Simba Blaster made up to look like a bolt pistol.

This was someone's  birthday present.

What do you want?

Here's a fun question: say I do finally get my FS larp started (unlikely at this rate if work keeps up its breakneck pace) what do I want it to look like?

Well, for a start, I want it to look pretty. Pretty much every fashion and style can find a place and the game's social nature encourages something nicer than the rougher styles of outdoors larping. I think it's also because I find inspiration in cosplay and want to continue previous successes an bringing non-gamers into gaming.

My platonic ideal of a gamespace is probably UCL - at least, until the Masons let me wander round their grand lodge! UCL had a large, open room with an adjoining 1st floor garden (complete with Japanese marker), large marbled corridors, stairs and so on. Of course, that's not the only one. My old uni had a 7th floor lecture room that made a great Rampart Parliamentaire building, with its floor-to-ceiling view of London's skyline.

Gameplay...that I want to work with. At its heart Passion Play was very much a social game and I want to keep that, whatever system I end up using. Except the combat. Even in the social style, I need violence to be energetic - at best something like Star Wars, at its worst brutal and real.

 It may not be the most sensible thing, but my experiences of combat turning into some round-based minigame mean that I want something else. Besides, I do have my eye on a more traditional questing game in the undecided future, where questers travel, quest and fight with dart guns and rubber swords.

I want social gaming because I want to reinforce the perspective of PCs as the 1%. These are people living in the ruins of a grand civilisation and, ultimately, the scope needs to be the same. Like the best in science fiction, it may have epic wars and stars as its backdrop, but the resolution is found in people's hearts and minds.

 Rather than try replicate every thing (and where would I get armies of serfs and knights on jetbikes, anyway?) I'd rather portray the outside world in slightly more abstract terms of maps, news reports and npcs.

In some ways I'd say that's a more realistic portrayal anyway - just look at MPs, CBI types and the bubble they quite clearly live in. (Also, by focusing on social gaming first and linear stuff later, I can focus on worldbuilding.)

 There's also a strong influence here - Babylon 5 taught me that the best drama often comes from two people in a room...just talking. Remember Londo and Reefa talking about the invasion of the Narn homeworld?

Of Supergods and Men

I've just finished Grant Morrison's Supergods. I have to admit that I've never been able to get into comics - oh, I've read a little Dredd, 40k, The Crow, Watchmen and the bad taste comedy of Lenore, but I've never stuck to anything. Most of my superhero lore, like with the mainstream, comes from the recent spate of movies.

If you haven't read it, it's one part history of comics and one part history of Grant Morrison. It also talks about comic books and superheroes in deeply psychological terms, which is what interests me.

After all, rpg characters are superheroes, regardless of genre. Even Vampire, with its 'gothic storytelling' shtick had characters who represented ideas, who could punch through walls and live soap-opera lives of people who don't die unless they're written out.

And what does this have to do with FS? Well, FS consciously straddles reality and myth. As I keep saying, FS characters are the 1%: mythologised like movie stars, powerful as only feudal lords can be and with technologies that look like superpowers to the common folk. Reading a book that dissects superheroes and the heroic myth can only be useful.