Writing Cliques & Powers

cliquesnpowers3Yesterday’s ramblings about stealing and using or losing it didn’t spark from nothing. It was inspired (more or less) from last Friday’s gaming session.

For a few years now I have had a custom of gathering my oldest friends for sauna and roleplaying games in January. This year it almost didn’t happen since we had a chance of location. We ended up not having a sauna but we did have great time with my newest game Cliques & Powers.

It all started out as a joke. I just randomly asked that wether we should have a fantasy or teenage type of game. My players immediately got excited about playing teenagers and I got stuck with creating such a game. As usual I went with Archipelago. Continue reading

Demonic Possession, Part 2 – The Inspiration

It isn’t really demon week anymore but as Halloween (weekend) is here I decided to “wrap up” what I started back then.

Previously I discussed a little about demonic possession and how it was handled in a couple of games I have played or read. This time it I plan to give you some pointers of what to watch for inspiration.

Movies and TV have given us a wide variety of examples of demonic possession. Mainly this works (for those who make them) because it present an opportunity to play up a wide range of our fears with little financial cost. Ie. it does not cost as to get someone to play possessed as it would cost to get someone in a suitable mask to play a space alien (or create a believable monster with CGI).

The effect of possession in roleplaying games is not as strong as in visual media. Most players can relate to their characters and into some extent to the NPCs but I doubt it is likely they will be as intimidated or related as they would be while watching what is actually going on. (I am not saying this is the case always. I am just using this assumption as the basis of choosing what movies to discuss.)

Spoilers from movies will follow.

possessionThe latest movie I watched in this genre was the Possession. It is not very imaginative when it comes to script but it does present an interesting MacGuffin to be used – the Dybbuk Box. In essence the box works as a demon prison. It demon is trapped in the box with personal items and it is forced to look at itself from a mirror for all eternity. Now I don’t get why the demon needs the personal items or why it is necessary to make its imprisonment torture but a similar item could easily be used in supernatural/horror games. An insane demon that can be freed to cause havoc is always fun.

Continue reading

Four Movie Oneshots

Just a few movies to use as a basis for a bit different one-shots.

Le Corbeau

Le corbeau is a 70 year old movie by the director of few of my favorite movies (Les diabolique and Le salaire de la peur) Henri-Georges Clouzot. Its about a small village where a series of “poison-pen” letters (spreading malicious rumors) emerge. All sorts of secrets are uncovered and the community falls into disarray.

Ever since seeing this back in the day, I’ve been thinking how to do this correctly in an RPG. Now I feel like we are at a point where I have a group where this could be a viable idea and the games, like tremulus (no, they are not paying me despite my continuous mentions of their game), are at a level where this kind of strange idea is something I could really work on.

Especially the idea of a framework works great here. Probably better than the other frameworks I’ve made. So, lets make one, although it pretty much writes itself.

Stalag 17

One of Billy Wilder’s several masterpieces, Stalag 17 is a movie about a traitor among POWs. Sgt. Sefton has been dealing with the Germans, so he’s the primary suspect and needs to play his game carefully, trying to flush out the real culprit and get out of the camp with the recently brought-in rich guy.

Since we probably have more than one player, this needs some more attention, as the original story revolves around a single main character, with most of the others simply as his foils. But, we don’t necessarily need the player characters working together. One of them could easily be the camp commandant, or a soldier responsible for the POWs. One could be closely modelled on the Sefton character, while others could be parts of the makeshift organization amongst the POWs. Of course, someone could be the traitor.

Tropa de Elite or Elite Squad

A Brazilian film about an elite squad (yes, really) of police in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. Actually the movie is pretty much all over the place, with not much of coherent storyline (but is still very good), so here I’d like to emphasize one of the plots: The pope is going to visit Rio and wants to sleep in a very specific house. The problem is, the house is located right next to a slum. So, to keep the slum clear, the squad is ordered to clean the closest blocks of weapons. Thirty nights in a row.

Okay, the first night might be bad, but the few nights after are going to be pretty easy, as the weapons are gone. Then the locals will begin to see a pattern. This will lead to traps, ambushes, people with scores to settle and so forth. After a while the raids will become more dangerous night after night.

I don’t know what the right amount of raids is. Thirty is clearly too many, but if someone informs the residents about what’s going on early, maybe four or so is enough.

Reservoir Dogs

A movie I expect more of you have seen than the others on this list, but I could have gone with a number of other movies for a different emphasis. For those of you who haven’t seen this, its about a group of criminals trying to find out what went wrong with a robbery. They suspect an undercover cop among them.

You don’t necessarily need to know who’s the cop in the beginning. I think the ideal would be to do this like the movie did it: in other words, not chronologically. Begin with the criminals gathering at the meeting place and then return to what happened in flashbacks. People can accuse each other freely, or move the blame to others. Maybe come up with different versions.

For a lighter game, do a heist. Just give your players some rough information and put different hazards on their way. Let them roll and explain how they took this into account in their planning. An AW-hack would work wonderfully here.