Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CandidGamera vs. Campaign Ideas

Dungeons and Dragons is a fun game to run. I love doing world-building in a sword and sorcery environment. And it's fairly simple to find players for any edition of D&D - at least, it's easier to find D&D players than it is to find players of other games. It's the common ground.

I've been running a D&D campaign of some sort virtually non-stop for .. fifteen years? Wow. Still, every now and then, I need something else. Something different. Usually, this something different comes in the form of a superhero game. Not always straight-up superheroics - I've done Pulp Supers, Noir/Investigation ("Dark") Supers, Iron Age Supers, and plenty of other variations. I've actually got a Golden Age Supers game idea that I want to run as well.

So, last Saturday, I put the D&D campaign on hiatus for a bit, because I wanted to run something else. And I pitched ideas to my players. (Eric, Kurt, and Veronica)

The Golden Age Supers idea was met with some enthusiasm - it's something I've been talking up for months now, and I think we could have a lot of fun with the concept. I'd be using Mutants and Masterminds, which I consider the gold standard for fast-paced* superhero RPGs.

* The gold standard for superhero RPGs in general is still Champions, but I can improvise better with a d20 game.

But the final decision was two to one for my other idea.

Many of you (of the three of you who read this) will no doubt be familiar with Rifts. It's almost infamous*. It's a post-apocalyptic RPG where a cataclysmic event opened up multiple 'rifts' on Earth, filling the planet with magical energy and allowing for the intrusion of various 'dimensional beings' from parallel Earths. It's the ultimate mash-up multi-genre game, because literally everything can be in a Rifts game. Magic, science, superheroes, whatever. I think it's a fantastic premise.

* (As Ned Nederlander defines it, "more than famous".)

Rifts, however, has two problems. One is the ruleset. The rules were quaint and archaic and derivative of Dungeons and Dragons when the game was released, twenty years ago. And they're just.. ludicrously bad. There's no reason for anything to be as it is, other than that it was decided to be that way. The other problem is the setting. It's got some very entertaining pieces, but some of the ideas are just very wrong-headed, or jarring, or illogical*. And it's complicated by the fact that every subsequent setting book for Rifts introduces more and more powerful things - power creep.

* A brief aside : one of my favorite perennial nitpicks about Rifts is that the setting's dragons are declared in the rulebook to be mammals. Egg-laying, breast-lacking, hairless mammals. Science : YOU FAIL.

My other campaign idea was, essentially, Rifts's premise, with a fresh start on a setting, using Mutants and Masterminds as the rules. I plan to start the group in Japan, and give them giant robot suits to battle the gigantic reptilian monsters that emerged from the Tokyo rift - the large, nigh-invulnerable ground monsters, and the speedy but awkward flying ones.

So, Gamera vs. Gyaos vs. Gundam, basically.

From there, they'll expand outward to explore the post-cataclysmic Earth.

I'm pretty psyched. I can't wait to snap up the new Mecha and Manga sourcebook for Mutants and Masterminds to support the campaign.

No comments:

Post a Comment