February 3rd, 2006

pacific torus vedic echoes

200 words

"He jumped the barricades and hurtled to the sea."

The policeman nodded, projecting patience. "Miss --"

"See?" she pointed. He glanced back at the pier. "He didn't come back up --"

He held up a hand. "A college-age kid? About my height, thin as a lightpost?"

"Well, yes ..." The usual double-take. "Oh, my. Officer. He wasn't one of those ... shifters, was he?"

"You must be visiting here. They call him the Pier 3 Dolphin Boy. He's made such a spectacle the pier's shopkeepers cracked down, but even the fences haven't stopped him."

"Oh." Nervous laugh. "Sorry to waste your time."

The officer shrugged. "If you see him again, let us know. At this point there are liability issues, trespassing ... Honestly, I’m kind of sorry we're going to have to stop him. I've seen the pictures -- he looks so happy in midair, his long blond hair streaming out behind him ..."

He smiled, but it didn't ease her sudden look.

"His hair was short. Definitely short. It looked brown."

"Are you sure?" he began, glancing -- catching pale in the pier's shadows -- swiveling his head.

"Shit." He ran to the beach, peeling his shirt.
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This side up (by kevinpease)

Roleplaying your world

Elsethread, gavinfox asks me, "I'm interested in running a Tomorrowlands [Universe] RPG sometime, what would you suggest would be a good system to base it on?"

Although TTU -- an urban fantasy setting, based on a modern Earth where magic and creatures of fantasy/myth/anthropomorphics suddenly turn up after a dragon walks through a news broadcast in the closing days of 1996 -- is of interest mainly to me and my fellow universe collaborators, I think the broader question is a pretty interesting one in general. When you're pulling a world setting into a role-playing game, what system works best, and why?*

This is obviously going to be very different for different worlds. A superhero setting, a cyberpunk setting, a horror setting are all going to have very divergent focuses, and the roleplaying genres built up around each theme tailor themselves to those themes in ways that help create expectations and a mood. It was with this in mind that I tried to dig down to the foundations of the question.

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* Amusingly, I tackled the reverse question -- putting a role-playing game into a world setting -- long before I thought about this. TTU has its own imaginary roleplaying system, "Age of Ascension," which some people might say is cribbed from a very similarly titled game but I have no idea what they're talking about. *innocent look* It's got a standard high-fantasy genre setting, uses buckets of six-sided dice, and is set in an era where humanity is growing into its power and seizing the reins of magic in order to tip the balance from being minority-race-in-threatening-world to dominant-powers-threatening-extinction-of-myth. Unfortunately, I haven't put the game system together beyond the basics required to have people in-story talk about it. (You may recall a BaMoTTuSto story in which people were live-actioning it; also, the Redeemers -- the paramilitary group headed by these blokes -- have a campaign going.)