A couple of weeks ago I posted about some world building for a roleplaying game. That’s not the setting that I am actually using, since I don’t want to tip my hand to my players. The setting I am building is called “A New Dawn”. I am describing it as “concentrat[ing] on emerging super humans in the style of “Heroes”, “Alphas”, or “Misfits”.”
Currently I am engaged in the interesting work of building this out to make it playable.
I have my mechanics sorted out (including borrowing a sanity mechanic from Cthulhu Mythos games to model the alienation the PCs feel – “because super humans are still human”), an opening story ready to go, and I am currently making characters to oppose the PCs.
The tools I am using for this work are all the ones I’ve been talking about recently relating to outlining: state diagrams, gating events in act structure, and the Noteboard. The goal here is to have a broad story structure which the players can explore. I am trying very hard to avoid too much prep on aspects which the players may well avoid – the point here is to have enough structure in place that I can improvise details as I go.
However, the most disruptive aspect of this preparation exercise is the research. I mentioned three TV shows in the descriptive statement: I’ve watched all of Heroes, but I had never watched any of Alphas or Misfits, so I have been catching up with those shows on streaming video services.
Based on the pilot episode at least, I don’t think I would recommend Alphas. They lost me right at the beginning by misapplication of the term “synesthesia” to mean “enhanced senses” – synaesthesia (as I prefer to spell it) refers more to cross-wired senses, and that is the way in which the synaesthetic Alpha character uses her power for parts of the story, but the first usage of it is enhance her hearing, which is a bit off.
On the other hand, Misfits is a real corker. It’s a classic British show with a small cast and limited location scope (at least in the first couple of episodes) but it manages to pack so much mystery, tension and character development into those tight spaces.
Anyway, all of this means that I have watching more TV lately which is not good for my routine.
But it’s going to be great. More on this post-game, I think.