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Author Topic: The Lost Room as a setting...?  (Read 9035 times)
blackpaladin
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« on: December 13, 2006, 08:25:06 PM »

Joshua (or whomever) -

I've become increasingly intrigued with Indie RPGs, particularly Burning Empires. Having that in my thoughts while watching the The Lost Room gave rise to this story being an incredible setting for a game like Burning Empire mechanics. However, it would need an extensive rewrite of material to fit the setting. After this, I ran across some forum comments that Luke Crane made about your game Shock. Though I have not had a chance to read any of your material Luke's thoughts on it seemed very favorable. I'm wondering if your game system would be appropriate for a Lost Room setting?

Vince
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2006, 10:08:32 PM »

Well, I only know the show from its commercials, but I'd guess that it would work, given that the stuff you care about are:

• The social impact, at whatever scale, of the Shocks (presumably, in this case, the Lost Room itself)
• The people the characters care about and must risk sacrificing to keep the things that matter the most to you on that social scale

I'm not sure, but it looks like the Lost Room is basically an anthology show — the room leads to different stories, which are each morality tales? Like the Twilight Zone, for instance, but with a character linking them all together?

Er, I guess that would kind of be Quantum Leap.

Something like that?
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Andrew Morris
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2006, 10:55:41 PM »

Not really. The Lost Room is pretty much a standard hero's journey/suspense story (father loses daughter, father overcomes obstacles to find his daughter, father wins out and is reunited with daughter). The objects are just an interesting bit of weirdness thrown in for fun, as well as the plot device to provide the framework for the events of the story.
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blackpaladin
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2006, 03:52:29 AM »

Joshua, Andrew -

Are the two of you, or anyone else for that matter, familiar with one of the Indie RPG systems that would adequately support the Lost Room as a setting? (I'm still interested in your mechanics in general Joshua :-)

Vince
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2006, 06:41:23 AM »

Well, from what Andrew is saying, it sounds like the setting is a color element and not actually tied to the events. If the events are that the girl is a macguffin as much as the Room, then what actually happens? What actually gets tested?

It sounds like the safety of both the girl and her father, the father's love for her, and his willingness to do stuff to get her back are all foregone conclusions and, after wading just now through the jerky, 1990s webcam-like video on the Sci Fi site, all they seem to care about are the objects themselves with their value shown by demonstrating the cool things they do and that lots of people want them.

That would imply to me that, if you want to play what specifically the series does — show you a cool, presumably creative, magical object each episode and have a bunch of events that show off its coolness, you'll want a system that supports Simulationist play based around the setting. I don't actually know of any good systems, ever, that support that type of play. I mean, those objects would be Minutić in Shock: but they wouldn't be the center of the story the way they are in the series.

On the other hand, I bet you're thinking of something else, something more engaging than just showing off a cool setting element. What kind of game do you want to play? Gimme an example. Do you want there to be a rush to see who's going to get the object each time? Do you want to ask what the characters would do to get ahold of them, or why they want them?

"All of the above" or "any of those!" aren't valid answers.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Andrew Morris
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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2006, 11:44:02 AM »

From my perspective, what really matters in the show is the detective's love for his daughter, and his determination to get her back. If it were a role-playing game, I feel like I'd be rolling that, not some Object Activation skill or something. Or some sort of Mortal Coil-esque, "Sure, you can do that, but the price is this..."
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2006, 11:12:10 PM »

Really? You'd want to test the dude's love for his daughter? Like, he could decide it's not worth it?
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Andrew Morris
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« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2006, 05:14:50 PM »

No...I meant it more like, "Yes, you can find a clue to your daughter's location, but to do so, you'll have to directly cause the death of an innocent person." Kinda like in Dogs, how you say, "Oh, that's important to you? How about now? How about now?" That was one of my first thoughts, but I'm drifting more towards just having your passions make you more effective in certain things.
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2006, 10:29:01 PM »

Yeah, but that means that you're testing the dude's love for his daughter, because you're seeing where the the player will say "No, the price is too high. Now I'll let my daughter die." Either that, or it's a false test. That's some gnarly shit, and it's not a bad idea, but it sounds like the daughter's the mcguffin here, not an everyday element of conflict.

Blackpalidin (what's your real name?), what's the part of the story you like most? What's happening when you're enjoying it most?
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Larry L.
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aka Miskatonic


« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2006, 05:53:42 PM »

The Shock in this case is supernatural, not technological. There's a lot of legitimate speculation over whether God is personally involved somehow. Choices might impact the universe at the "annihilate reality" level, but otherwise go unnoticed by society at large.

Can Shock: be used to tell stories of supernatural horror and weirdness?

For what it's worth, yeah, the protagonist's "choice" to hold onto his object at any cost versus  risking anything to save his daughter are the same course of action. But this is used to justify how he can accomplish so much where so many others have failed; this convenient alignment  is apparently rare in this setting. You see those who have managed to turn possession of the objects into serving some sort of "righteous" goal meeting varying (creepy) degrees of success, all the way down to the poor losers who let their lives fall apart so they could keep their little bit of power. So... as long as you create characters with genuine tough choices and not like the show's protagonist, it could be interesting.

Vince,

You might want to look at Sorcerer. It's thematically in the right direction. I'm not sure how well that would handle the frequent changing owners of the objects, though.
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2006, 08:18:04 AM »

The Shock in this case is supernatural, not technological. There's a lot of legitimate speculation over whether God is personally involved somehow. Choices might impact the universe at the "annihilate reality" level, but otherwise go unnoticed by society at large.

Can Shock: be used to tell stories of supernatural horror and weirdness?

Of course. The way a particular Shock works is up to the owner of the Shock. It could be powered by pixies and fairies and it wouldn't effect the way the game works as long as it's used like it has to be used.

Quote
For what it's worth, yeah, the protagonist's "choice" to hold onto his object at any cost versus  risking anything to save his daughter are the same course of action. But this is used to justify how he can accomplish so much where so many others have failed; this convenient alignment  is apparently rare in this setting. You see those who have managed to turn possession of the objects into serving some sort of "righteous" goal meeting varying (creepy) degrees of success, all the way down to the poor losers who let their lives fall apart so they could keep their little bit of power. So... as long as you create characters with genuine tough choices and not like the show's protagonist, it could be interesting.

Ah, yeah! So the stories are stories about the other people who have gotten the objects, told through the perspective of the main character, right?

I agree: Play it with Sorcerer and ditch the infallible main character.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
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