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Author Topic: "Night Watch" as a Mortal Coil setting...  (Read 3851 times)
arete66
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Posts: 21


« on: September 17, 2006, 08:53:44 AM »

I just recently watched the excellent Russian Horror/Fantasy film "Night Watch" and was amazed at how it seemed to scream "Mortal Coil" to me.

What are your impressions of "Night Watch" as a "Mortal Coil" fit?  Strengths?  Weaknesses?

Cheers,
Tom
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Brennan Taylor
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2006, 09:33:22 AM »

I haven't seen the film yet, but everything I've heard about it seems to indicate that Mortal Coil would be great for the setting.

It's basically a monster hunter kind of plot, right? Do the protagonists have powers of their own?

Anyone who's seen the film want to chime in?
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2006, 11:27:32 AM »

Heh, usually these "movie this and movie that" threads slip right past me (I don't watch much American cinema nowadays), but now I just realized five minutes after reading the title that I *do* actually know the movie in question. A Hollywood-style fantasy movie out of Russia was too zany an idea to pass up when it premiered, what, a year or two ago.

As for the question: I wouldn't recommend Night Watch as any kind of rpg material, mainly because it was dull as a log and empty of thematic content. Just the kind of post-Matrix preteen adventure hash you'd get from an American studio. That said (and Tom, of course you may disagree about the evaluation), its basic premise should fit well for Mortal Coil, being that the movie has a very clear-cut urban fantasy premise: the forces of good and evil struck a pact in pre-modern times, forcing both supernatural armies underground as a preferable alternative to destroying the world in a final confrontation. Now the twin groups of "Night Watch" and "Day Watch" act as police and peacekeepers for the respective sides (the goody Night Watch keeping the creatures of the night at bay, and Day watch doing the same by day for the benefit of the bad guys), making sure the truce is respected. Apart from the basic premise there's no particular universal design for how magic works, it's all local and subject to the script. The first movie (I understand they've done at least one sequel) had a witch hewing close to folklore, lots of werecreatures, vampires, some kind of world-threatening curse and a couple of more vaguely enchanced individuals (including the main character; I don't remember for sure, but apparently he or his son was some kind of chosen one or something).

So yeah, I guess you could mix up a Mortal Coil game out of that. I'd go for the "who guards the guardians" and "shades of gray" angles myself, as those were the main directions the movie's pretensions lay, if I remember correctly. At least I seem to remember there being some scenes where it was pointedly suggested that the Night Watch is really no better than the creatures of the night, or something like that. Making it all a Mortal Coil game could actually work pretty well simply because the movie was so light on story; you could take the main idea outlined above and make your own story out of it, without stumbling on copying the movie, which is something that tends to trip roleplayers when they make movie adaptations.
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arete66
Member

Posts: 21


« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2006, 10:44:51 AM »

Yep.  The tone and the premise are what appealed to me as a roleplaying setting. 

I hadn't thought it through, but I agree that the lack of a really strong story (the attitude, basic themes, premise, and tone made the movie, not the story) actually is a benefit for running the setting.  I suppose that's why almost all of the RPGs based on strong-story material don't appeal to me.  If the perfect story has already been told in the setting, what's the point of telling some lesser side story?  In fact, these kinds of movies and stories might actually be the best settings for RPGs.  For every time I've thought, "What a great premise, but they didn't do anything with it",  wouldn't it be wonderful if some top-notch RPers actually created the story that should have been told? :)

I also think the slight tweak to standard mythologies was a good example of magic tokens being spent.  (Like the fact that vampires could *only* be seen in mirrors when they chose to be invisible.)

And that the fact that the Night Watch and Day Watch have to show some restraint in dealing with each other is a nice premise for real roleplaying as oppoased to simply jacking the enemy in the face.

Cheers,
Tom
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Sovem
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Posts: 94

J.F.Halsey


« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2006, 10:41:13 AM »

Hey,

I just wanted to chime in here to say that the Night Watch book, recently released in English, is ten thousand times better than the movie. The movie had a totally awesome feel with its cinematics, but the director ripped as much of the magic out of the original story as he could. The way the Others use their powers in the books is quite awesome and a lot better defined than in the movies. I highly recommend it.

Oh, and, if you do chose to read it, know that the movie's plot isn't even the same as the book's, they just have a few of the same scenes here and there. The plot is much more detailed and follows more closely the shades of grey Eero mentioned.

I have been dying to roleplay a game based on the Night Watch universe, and, having just discovered Mortal Coil two days ago, I think it would probably be the best system for it. From what I gleaned from the Introduction online, anyway...
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