Friday, June 3, 2011

I want to hunt treasure in the cosmos!

Something possessed Andrea and I to go on a Disney animation binge lately. It started by us both inexplicably craving to watch the Lion King. We followed that up Monday night with The Little Mermaid and immediately went through to add a bunch more Disney movies to our Netflix Queue. By the way, Tangled was much better than I expected. Last night we got Treasure Planet, a Disney movie that was caught between a time when Disney couldn't miss and when all they did was try to ape Pixar's success. As a kid of the late 80's/early 90's, Disney animation was the bee's knees. The only problem was that the studio tended to focus on the princesses in their stories, and the opportunity for a strong male role model were few and far between. I liked fairy tales well enough (still do), but I wanted to see something like Star Wars in the animated world. Unfortunately, I was a bit out of the loop when Treasure Planet was released and missed it all the way up until yesterday.

Skip to today, and I find myself completely taken in by the setting. Treasure Planet, based on the literary classic Treasure Island, throws the characters, tropes, and trappings of the original work into some far-off future where aliens are more common than humans. I love the anachronistic setting so much because it feels like a real world. The spaceships have sails - because they're solar powered! The sailors and pirates wear tri-corner hats - because they look cool! I envision this being so far into the future that technology has progressed to the point where we can create artificial environments and project them off the top of our ships so we can fit the latest fashion and technology trends. The whole setting feels like a society that longs for simpler times but does so through accessing tech we can barely imagine much less understand in our own time.

I want badly to play in a tabletop game in this world. Being based on Treasure Island, you've got to use a system full of pulp or otherwise focusing on the story-telling aspects of the traditional pirate genre. Truthfully there are very few, if any parts of the story that would require the settign to strongly represent the aspects of sci-fi that makes it Treasure Planet. That doesn't mean you couldn't make the sci-fi an integral part of your story of course. I love the setting because it avoids any grim-darkness of other sci-fi settings while still being serious and full of consequences, unlike my least favorite form of science fiction - stuff like Flash Gordon. Ultimately I want to role-play in the funny accents, have my character wear a petticoat, and fly around on his spaceship. Is this too much to ask?



  1. If you're alright with it being more "you got sci-fi in my fantasy" I would recommend Spelljammer

  2. I'm not sure exactly which system I'd recommend for this (D6 Adventure springs to mind -- as does a variant on Castle Falkenstein) but I will say that I am completely on board with this idea.

    I love this movie, I love what it did with Treasure Island's legacy and I hope that you get to play this game. I want to play this game!

  3. How about Savage Worlds? Very flexible for including a variety of alien races or character backgrounds without much design work, and it has a pulp feel where the PCs stand out from the people around them. Also, it has rules for running large combats with lots of extras, in case you need to lead a boarding party.

    Does sound like a setting that's been missing too. Cowboys can go into space so why not Pirates?

  4. I was actually thinking more about this and would now go with Lady Blackbird:

    The setting is actually pretty close only leaning more toward Star Wars and Firefly right now than Pirates of the Caribbean and Treasure Island. It would be very, very easy to change the setting to work with Treasure Planet.

  5. Savage Worlds isn't "missing" this as a setting, it is called Sundered Skies, a licensed SW setting from Triple Ace Games. SS is approximately halfway between Treasure Planet and Spelljammer.


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