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General Forge Forums => First Thoughts => Topic started by: fig on February 27, 2008, 01:32:15 PM



Title: Frankensetting
Post by: fig on February 27, 2008, 01:32:15 PM
I’m developing my occult/horror setting which is based in Toronto. I’m being intentionally vague with my hooks, not just because subtlety works better with a place like Toronto, but it’s also important to establish an element of mystery. Still,  I’m developing my occult/horror setting which is based in Toronto. I’m being intentionally vague with my hooks, not just because subtlety works better with a place like Toronto, but it’s also important to establish an element of mystery. Still, I have to reveal *something* to peak the players curiosity. I was writing up a part of it earlier and, when I reread it, I thought this could easily be like rumors from UA. I felt a little weird right then. I mean, the setting is far from being a copycat of UA. My whole explanation of the “big mystery” is going in a totally different direction. Still, I can’t help but feel like rumors are a plot device that belongs to UA.

Not only that, but one of the elements of the setting is secrecy. I’m basically making the supernatural to be like a black market commodity. Also, most people aren’t prepared to cope with that kind of knowledge. Furthermore, supernatural powers are not powerful enough to keep people who flaunt it from getting locked up. In a sense, it’s very “Screwtape Letters” in that you have more power the less people are aware how much power you have. The problem is that while I’ve never played the Vampire games (except for the cRPG), it’s playing out to seem a lot like “The Masquerade”.

Granted, many games share common threads with other games, but there is such a thing as too similar. Any thoughts/suggestions?


Title: Re: Frankensetting
Post by: Creatures of Destiny on February 27, 2008, 01:59:53 PM
I think you should ask yourself why play your setting and not UA or Vampire's. The answer to that question will be the cool thing about your setting and you should then work on that. This isn't original advice I've heard it around here before but I think it's pretty good advice for all that.

I really like the black market supernatural idea. I mean that's actually pretty different from Vampire as I remember it. But I can shady looking guys trading spellbooks and trollsblood in abandoned parking lots and Hollywood moguls having wild succubus filled orgies and stuff. Maybe investigate the real black market (don't get in trouble, but read up on it and do some research) and decide how that could be used. You could also throw in stuff like the supposed CIA research into the supernatural and mabe have some of the stuff on the streets actually be leaks from that. It's interesting that supernatural knowledge might actually be a kind of "streetwise" knowledge, ranging from the college kid who knows where to score some magic to the cartel boss who feeds of it, to the FBI agent chasing them down to the CIA agent using it to overthrow a hostile regime - you know there are a lot of way this could be used.

I've never read UA, but that is a risk, when you read something that's really cool it stays with you, even on an unconcious level. So if it's just that one thing and your game is wildly different and original, then don't worry too much but if you find you're making a UA clone then you might as well play UA and houserule it. There's nothing like going to original source material to get something original out (I mean a lot of D&D clones based their weapons, armour and races from the PHB, whereas studying the middle-ages and the mythogolgy that inspired Tolkien might bring up all kinds of ideas that make the game far less of a D&D clone). Read up on detective work, espionage and journalism and see if it gives you any new ideas or just a new angle.


Title: Re: Frankensetting
Post by: fig on February 28, 2008, 01:31:19 PM
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I think you should ask yourself why play your setting and not UA or Vampire's. The answer to that question will be the cool thing about your setting and you should then work on that. This isn't original advice I've heard it around here before but I think it's pretty good advice for all that.

Actually, your response was a lot of help. I found (oddly enough) that I just wasn't focusing on important core elements of the setting. I scrapped it, did a rewrite, and it's coming together a lot better.

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So if it's just that one thing and your game is wildly different and original, then don't worry too much but if you find you're making a UA clone then you might as well play UA and houserule it.

So here's the weird thing with occult/horror (IMO) or any game where mystery is important. We couldn't just play UA because we already know all the secrets. Sure we could play the system, but the setting still needs to be completely redone anyway. I'm finding that it's really difficult to write setting material when it's important that you do not tell the players anything concrete. In a way, I think that anything operating on this premise could sound like UA. Even still, I made quite a few changes to my angle, and I hope to have the bulk of it done within the next few weeks.

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...you know there are a lot of way this could be used.

Naturally, I can't confirm or deny the usefulness of any of your suggestions. :P


Title: Re: Frankensetting
Post by: northerain on March 03, 2008, 07:12:09 AM
I'm also working on a horror game that could probably be emulated by UA or Delta Green or a combination. As a consumer though, I look at a game as a whole. I choose Delta Green and not Conspiracy X, because I like DG's presentation and setting more. Is one game better than the other? Who knows?
This is why I don't see this as a problem. If your setting offers something different than other games in the genre, even if it's a mix of other elements, the system, setting and presentation together make a whole that is unique. At least for me.
I don't see a connection between the Masquerade and the black market in your game. Secret societies weren't invented by White Wolf.