Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fixing Literature

Have you ever read something - a comic book, a novel, or even watched a movie - and said to yourself, “That’s stupid!” You’re an hour into something and all you can think is, “This character should have had _________ instead.” Maybe you hate that Tarzan is so damn good. Maybe you hate that the Invisible Woman has force fields. Maybe you just hate Hal Jordan! (Come one -We all like just about every other Green Lantern more than Hal. If you actually like Hal, seek help.)
You know what you get to do as a game master? You get to fix those things! You can fix anything! Say you think that Waterloo was a blunder based on the French aristocracy (and their refusal to take orders from a commoner). Put that into your game world - Fix it any way you want. Maybe the nobles were forced out or the army. Maybe the first noble who acted superior was shot/executed and the next one was smarter. Maybe they just weren’t so damned French and actually listened to the messenger.
There’s a famous series of web sites about “what I would do if I were an evil emperor” or something like that. You know - train your storm troopers to shoot straight, stop delivering monologues, actually shooting the good guy so he doesn’t have a chance to escape. The lists go on and on. Go ahead and use those. But when you do take an existing story and make it your own by twisting that part that irritated the nonsense out of you, think it through. If the bad guy shoots the hero instead of letting him escape, does the hero become a martyr? Do thousands rise up in his wake to oppose the evil lord? Does the hero kill a subordinate at some point, but now that subordinate is going to have time to try and off his lordship? Sometimes things will swing exactly the way you want, but sometimes, your twist can lead to something even more interesting. Yes - I read What If by Marvel Comics and I loved them. Remember - changing genres is the easiest way to make a story your own without giving too much info to the players.
Most of the opinions in this segment are exaggerated -except for the one about Hal Jordan - he stinks!

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