Monday, May 18, 2015

FASERIP: A Campaign World

I have to make a confession. My kids want to play RPGs with me, but I have traditionally struggled with creating a campaign suitable for them and what they expect from a game with dad. As you might expect from a guy who has a quote from HPL over on the sidebar, my default position (especially when it comes to fantasy) is rather dark. Even when I specifically set out to create a world in which I expect my kids to play, inevitably my creativity takes me down a dark ally out of which I can’t remove myself or my train of though, especially given that mechanically old-school D&D is pretty deadly.

One of the reasons I am so enthused about FASERIP is that it is an opportunity to play a game as written that is lighter and less gritty than my usual RPG fare. As such, I plan to rip off an idea I was originally toying with for a game with my kids that seems to fit really well with a ‘K’-inspired FASERIP campaign.

One of the themes found in ‘K’ is that the power that the Kings are able to wield is significantly greater than any of their vassals. This power is of such magnitude that a misuse of it in the past changed the geography of Japan. In FASERIP terms, the Monarchs are Shift 1 + in terms of their power; however, they will not use it unless absolutely necessary. Thus, all of them operate through their vassals who are incapable of wielding the kind of power the Monarchs can bring to bear.

One way in which I want to play this up is by placing the city in which the campaign takes place in a fairly precarious situation. As in the series ‘K,’ there will have been a major disaster which to the people outside the city resulted in the complete disintegration of that city. In reality, the city and its immediate environs were not destroyed, but rather “shifted” in-between time and space. The Monarchs all suspect that this event took place as a consequence of their use of their power. Thus, all of them fear what might happen if they do so again.

This “shifted” reality allows me to have dream-like elements to the campaign such as buildings, doors or other such anomalies that can show up inside that city and then disappear. These places can contain beasts and devices and things of all kinds of genre-bending goodness.

The conflict that occurs between the Monarchs all comes out of how each wants to solve the problem of the “shifted” existence of the city and the anomalies that occur as a result. Some want to return to the time and space from whence they came. Others fear further harming the world they came from. Still others want to explore the possibility of pushing the “shift” into another dimension or parallel world.

Thus, when a mysterious door shows up on Main Street, the vassals of all the Monarchs come out of the woodwork. Some want to find out what is on the other side of the door, some want to destroy the door and yet other will try to prevent either from happening.


Robert Weaver said...

Father Bless! I too game with my kids, and struggle with making the game (Traveller) interesting without it becoming all combat. Traveller is less mechanically deadly than D&D, but not much. I haven't yet had any of their characters die, but I've pulled a lot of punches to keep it that way. I'm trying to decide how to 'take the gloves off' - not to kill a PC intentionally, but to let it happen and then deal with the fallout. How have you dealt with character death with your kids?
P.S. I played lots of Marvel Super Heroes as a kid, and seeing these retro-clones makes me want to play again. I've made a few forays with this:

FrDave said...

I haven't got to that point, yet, because I have yet to really have any kind of long-term game with my kids. My original thinking about the pocket universe was to actually have it be apart of the collective Dream of humanity. Thus, all the character would be dream-avatars of people in the "real world." Death would have been akin to the "real person" waking up. Eventually, that character could return, but only after a set period of time so that "dying" would still have negative consequences.

Thiles Targon said...

Fr Dave - excellent campaign idea, but I must the thing you mentioned in the comments "Death would have been akin to the "real person" waking up. Eventually, that character could return, but only after a set period of time so that "dying" would still have negative consequences." is brilliant!