TransGaming in RPGs

Dust 514 is an MMOFPS, but in one way its pretty unique (as far as I know). Its directly linked to EVE Online, where players can offer in-game money to people on Dust 514 to take control of planets for them. This idea intrigues me.

Games are everywhere, but the whole umbrella of games is pretty huge. I don’t play the same games my mother plays, or my nieces play (I play better games, if you ask me). Still, there’s a 40 year age discrepancy between my mother and my nieces, and they still both take part in this culture (in a way). I don’t see them ever playing the same games, but what if they could somehow contribute to each others games?

Sure, many online games already have such features, but its not the same. What if my nieces’ soldiers in the Winter War (to use a very unstereotypical example) needed garments to keep them warm? Could they have a common experience with my mother knitting them cardigans in game (to use a very stereotypical example)? There must be design space here somewhere. This could lead friends with different sensibilities to find more common space.

I mean, what if you have people, who are into politics in RPGs? What if they are friends with people who look for something more action-oriented? Should they be forced together around the same table? I don’t see why.

Lets take a World of Darkness example (sorry, since I’m old school, I don’t know much of what’s going on there nowadays, so I’m using a very old school example here). What if we have a group of elder vampires, who run a city. They want to keep it out of the hands of the Sabbat, but can’t quite agree on the methods and how much they should risk breaking the rules. On the other hand, we have a group of eager neonates, who are very willing to prove themselves.

The elders can pick up clues on where the Sabbat might be encroaching on their territory and they can give this information to the neonates, who can go out and investigate, and perhaps destroy them, if need be. Each group can feel they are doing something in common and helping each other. If you were at the same table, one group would just sit around, while the other is doing stuff, and it wouldn’t be sensible for anyone involved. The sessions would probably just devolve into people talking about random subjects and toying with their phones.

And this is just pretty basic stuff. There could be more depth to this. Maybe there could be a team of scouts or intelligence officers, who are tasked with finding out everything they can about an objective, where the other team is headed in a war situation, or maybe we have different levels in a crime organization, where one group needs to get permission from another on hits and such. Okay, still pretty basic, so, okay here’s one that goes a bit deeper:

What if there was a Galaxy Trucker style game (look it up, if you don’t know) where one group builds the spaceship another needs for their mission? What if there’s another group that makes the decisions on the mission objectives? What if there’s another group trying to vie for the resources needed for the mission? You could even go deeper than that. What if there’s a different group still, which consists of members from the previous group, with the intention of sabotaging the mission? What if this is suspected and there’s yet another group trying to identify them?

Of course this would require a huge amount of coordination and scheduling to work, but the possibilities are still pretty good. Maybe we should design such a game? Or pair of games.

2 thoughts on “TransGaming in RPGs

  1. I find this idea interesting as well.
    I remember reading a story about a guy who wanted to join his roommates RP session, but he was so shy he didn’t want to meet the other people his roommate was playing with. They ended up setting a one-way radio connection for him, so he could sit in his room and listen in on the game. He then sent IM’s for his roommate, the GM. His role was to be the guy behind the curtain for the players: he knew everything about their operations, gave them orders and so forth. The story ends with the players completing their mission and wondering just who on earth this “control” guy is. At which moment the guy walks to the roommates door, announces that he’s the control and walks away. The players were left with more questions than answers.
    In any case, I think the idea of having different “levels” of playing happening in the same space is very interesting. I think it would work well if one, small group were the higher ups who made plans and missions and then you’d have one or more groups of people playing their orderlings. This would would work with schedules if the higher ups player more seldom, let’s say once a month and the orderlings maybe once a week, to give them time to deal with their missions. The higher ups would then have to deal with the success or failure of the missions and whatever side effects it might’ve had, possibly creating more mission opportunities for the other groups.
    It could even be a collabotion of multiple GM’s to keep the load from getting too big for person.
    I would definitely like to be a part of such project.

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