Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ben Linus is a level 25 Controller Solo

Here's a timely question while I officially sit here with 35:23 minutes left before the Lost season premiere begins: what role playing system would work to play a game in a similar style to Lost? I think these kinds of questions require first an examination of what themes and recurring motifs make up a series or piece of fiction. For Lost I'd go with intrigue, heavy mystery, large cast of characters, and heavy emphasis on background. To this end, a lot of systems could be used since it's basically a generic modern setting heavy on the use of super-science and average joes making a go of it.

Instead of thinking of modern rules that would work well, I'm going to try to cobble together a new system in a half hour or less to burn time until the premiere! Let's think of a basic core mechanic to build the system on top of. Generic rules systems are perhaps the easiest to start thinking about. I'm rolling around the New World of Darkness core rules, maybe Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition rules, or plain-old Unisystem as seen in All Flesh Must Be Eaten. Savage Worlds has the advantage of handling combat really, really well and covers the bases. Unisystem is nice and simple and requires just a quick die roll to resolve most issues. Neither of these focus really on social situations though. I'm going to go with New World of Darkness as the core system. The combats aren't run as smoothly, but that's ok, because Lost doesn't tend to have prolonged gun fights and the such. Usually it's moments of violence surrounded by shuffling around the main players. The rules would remain around the mortals line, but nWoD would also play well into the semi-supernatural (or whatever) aspects of Lost as well, a real boon!

What else do we need? I'm thinking of pulling the GM advice section out of Dread to encourage GM's to learn the best techniques for isolating players. Dread touches on good strategies for social, physical, and psychological isolation - all of these are going to be needed to create real paranoia (speaking of which, I'm woefully ignorant about the game Paranoia, but it probably would be good source material to pull from as well).

Let's pull a mechanic out of 3:16: Carnage Amongst the Stars here to round out the rule set. 3:16 is obviously combat heavy and focuses almost exclusively on getting your kill count up to the top to beat the other players. Besides the fact that the competitive nature might not be that far from Lost when you get right down to it, I really love the flashback - strength/weakness mechanic. Basically in a pinch, a player can invoke one of his rare flashback powers. They bring up a bit of their past, something either that they draw power from - a strength - or something that hampers their effectiveness - a weakness. It's a nice way to do quick character generation for characters that can actually be fleshed out later on - just like the characters in Lost.

That's it! Lost starts soon and I gotta grab something to drink! Enjoy the show everyone, and I'll see you on the other side!

P.S. No, D&D 4e would not probably be the best system for Lost. There is no "Torturer" class to play Sayid... at least not yet. :D

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