Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Switching Genres take 2

OK, so the last post was why Westerns are good. Here is why others are not so good:
Super Hero stories - Too often the super hero is a solo act. Too often the villain is a solo act. Few fantasy role-playing games are set up for fight, escape fight again. They’re kill or be killed. That doesn’t work as well with superhero stories. Also, the hero(es) often gain power in astronomical proportions. The hero doesn’t gain a better weapon, he learns to channel his inner self and go from throwing small flames around to going super nova. That doesn’t work for extended campaigns. The action pacing is often very good though.
Fantasy stories - Too often the hero is a solo act or a hero with less important followers. Too often the players see the similarities immediately. Too often there is one super powerful weapon - not the kind of thing that groups of friends can share. Often the action is paced wrong and the hero and his lady love are important aspects.
War stories - They typically use “parties”; this is good! They are kill or be killed; which is good! Typically they are far too dramatic, with massive amounts of character building and not the right action pacing for a RPG. Sometimes, TV series can be useful for mission ideas (Think Combat! or Rat Patrol). The enemies work because they are always the same. Trying to get a plot line where your party members HATE the enemy, but its a new enemy every week? Yeah - nope.
Off genre action - This is some of the best ground, but it depends on the movie. A classical space opera might work, unless its all about one hero, though you’ll never hear me say anything bad about Flash Gordon. Some of the pulp action stories, typically about Wild Africa - can work nicely, but they do rely on their location for some of the mystery and suspense. That can be extremely difficult to reproduce. Of course, there is no better hero than Allan Quatermain, and in his first two books, he does travel with a party. It comes down to the same issues as we laid out here. As we all know, a sci-fi movie can be a classic Western style, or a war movie or a super hero story. Victorian, Future, post-Apocalypse, they really don’t change what we’ve already listed.

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