Monday, January 17, 2011

Anthology Games Part 1 - Introduction

Often we think of a single game session or extended campaign in terms of movies or episodes in a long-running TV show. RPG's, as strories, share a lot in common with both small screen and big screen entertainment. If you're playing a one-shot, it's often set up very similarly to a movie. There are character arcs and a story that's simple enough to be played out in three to four hours but rewarding enough to be worth taking the time to play. If it's a campaign, each session of the adventure often ends up feeling like an episode in a TV series with familiar characters overcoming a new challenge each week leading to a confrontation of a final challenge - hopefully encompassing a larger goal that each individual episode lead to at least in a small way. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG pays homage directly to its television roots by explicitly states that each session is an episode in the campaign's overall season.

This metaphor works extremely well to explain what role-playing is to people outside of the hobby. People get TV and movies. They know what a season premiere is. They're familiar with the genres and tropes of these medias. They understand how characters created by writers (players) can work all season just to meet a single goal while at the same time having to confront the classic monster-of-the-week type of challenge.

Back to the topic at hand - movie anthologies. For the purpose of these articles, I'm making a distinction between anthology TV shows and movie anthologies. Anthology TV shows such as the Twilight Zone or Masters of Horror end up coming off much more like one-shot games than movies anthologies do. This isn't a bad thing, but it's not really the topic at hand. For example, the entirety of our Dread experiences could be categorized as being an anthology TV show (and it would make for an incredibly entertaining TV show at that!). The same could be said for Fiasco. Instead, I want to talk a little bit about the concept of taking the anthology movie tropes and moving them into a gaming scenario. This is what I'll be discussing for the next couple of posts throughout this week. I'd love feedback as I go, and any examples of games that already do the things I discuss would be very welcomed. I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I enjoyed exploring the ideas within them!

This post and the ones following it are originally inspired by the incredible Black Sabbath horror anthology from Italian director Mario Bava - hence the image used at the top of the page.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Noble Knight Games

Wanna support The Hopeless Gamer? Shop at Noble Knight Games via the banner below!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...