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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 162 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Going outside the village  (Read 11808 times)
iago
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« on: August 07, 2003, 07:52:08 PM »

So, I'm a sucker for taking games and seeing how far I can stretch them in terms of altering the setting, or subverting the paradigm (like, with Paladin, making the side of light full of villanous Code components), and still leave them as recognizable and full of all the juicy goodness they had to begin with.

The whole 19th century village thing is probably the easiest thing in My Life With Master to modulate.  So, I've had the whole notion of how to frame it all differently bouncing around in the back of my head since I bought the game yesterday and consumed its flesh in a voracious hour of reading.  (Something about the presentation made me feel I need to go back and read it twice to 'get' it mechanically, but that's for another thread someday.)

So I'm sitting there shooting the breeze with my manager today, and he mentions how back at corporate HQ, there's a vice president who sits in an office at the end of a row of offices.  The closer you get to his office, the greyer the hair of the occupants of those offices along the way.  The VP, though?  Picture of health and vigor.

Lightbulb goes off.

So now I'm running around with visions of a CEO or VP or whatever Executive Master, a Feeder Brain probably but not definitely, who's draining the lifeforce of the executives who are reorged into his presence (probably through the villanous work of his minion in HR), as well as feeding on the vitality of the company itself (the village analogue), driving it deeper into debt, bankruptcy, and ruin over the course of the game.  The Outsiders are, naturally, VPs of other departments, or peer execs from other companies.

You can really go full Dark Dilbert here (or maybe more appropriately Swimming with Sharks, etc) in terms of the minions he has under his sway, too, and office politics, romance, etc seems like a deeply tasty source to draw from.  The game might be a little more subtle than something more overtly "frankensteinian" in terms of the "special effects" of it all, but it feels like it would root the storyline in a lot of modern psycho-horror if done just so.

Figured I'd toss the idea out there in case it plants a dark seed in some other GM's garden.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2003, 08:50:27 AM »

See the Origins game I posted about:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=7043&start=0

I'm a big fan of the idea that you can do this in any setting. Let's start a list of ideas. So far we've got:

Modern Office
Small Town America

I'll add:

Jungle Lair (think Heart of Darkness)
Antarctic Research Station
Mountaintop Monastery


Any of this evocative?

Mike
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iago
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2003, 09:27:30 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Jungle Lair (think Heart of Darkness)

This one hits the mark.  Mista Kurtz -- he dead.

The 'town' in this case is the tribe of natives, I think, with the 'outsiders' are the rest of the army from which the master has detached himself.  Dennis Hopper as a minion does bad things to my brain, too, to take it forward to Apocalypse Now.

Quote
Antarctic Research Station
Mountaintop Monastery
These work less for me, I think, mainly because they seem too isolated. The presence of "the town" and semi-easy access by the outsiders seems important.

I also keep trying to figure out a way to bring this into something I do with the Amber setting (this is a favorite exercise of mine: "Yeah, great system, but can I run Amber with it?").  Sure, it requires a lot of shoehorning to make it even possible, but I'm fine with that.  Right now I've got this image of Oberon or Brand as the master, the outsiders as Chaos or the Princes, and the town as some segment of shadow, Amber herself, etc.  Could be a bizarre little gig, a kind of way to turn a "throne war" scenario on its ear (perhaps by working as a precursor to one even).  But this is my own private little section of thought exercise. :)

It does suggest a particularly twisted notion to me, though, where King Arthur is the master and the knights of the round table are minions in some fashion.  The master's goal is the grail, only this time, his methods and motives are bad, bad, bad.  All of Britain becomes the town, and one could potentially position this as a period of time when the King is without his sword.  Dunno quite where I'm going with this, but (one of) the great thing(s) about this game is that all you've gotta do is toss a few seeds out there and collaborate the rest of the details into being with your players.
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xiombarg
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2003, 09:39:48 AM »

As per previous discussion, I think a Paranoia game, with the Computer as the Master, Alpha Complex as the town (with a very low Reason) and the Outsiders being that the Computer is trying to gain success with regard to being "the Communists" -- it wants to impress the Communists that Alpha Complex cannot be invaded -- has potential. Of course, the fact that the Communists don't really exist as an outside force the way the Computer thinks of them is an interesting thing.

Game ends with the players (Troubleshooters) finally destroying the Computer, resulting in MegaWhoops Alpha.

As for Amber, if you view the creation of Amber as a reaction to Chaos, you can make Dworkin the Master, with Oberon and kids as Minions, Shadow (or Amber itself) as the Town with Chaos as the Outsiders.
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jburneko
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2003, 09:39:56 AM »

Quote from: iago

I also keep trying to figure out a way to bring this into something I do with the Amber setting (this is a favorite exercise of mine: "Yeah, great system, but can I run Amber with it?").


Funny, you should say that because my test is, "Can I run Ravenloft with this?"  Let's see.  Darklord = Master, Town = Domain.  Yup.  Suddenly, my entire Ravenloft collection just became my stock list of Masters and Towns.

Jesse
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Lxndr
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« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2003, 09:44:06 AM »

A Space Station Colony (the "townsfolk" are the colonists, the "outsiders" are perhaps traders who come to and fro?)

A Western Mining Town (the "townsfolk" are the miners, the "outsiders" are... um... um... I'll get back to you)

the Antarctic Research Station does have too little Townsfolk factor, but a Mountain Monastery doesn't... usually they're close to a number of small villages, which together could provide a "town."  I'm not sure what the outsiders are in a monastery, though.

a Sumerian Ziggurat?  (the "townsfolk" are the local people, the "outsiders" are, perhaps, fellow priests?)

I love the King-Arthur-as-master, by the way.  It rocks.  :)

And finally... a variant Willy Wonka as a deranged Master, the Oompa-Loompas his townspeople, and the Outsiders the people he's brought in with the golden tickets.
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xiombarg
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2003, 09:44:46 AM »

Quote from: jburneko
Funny, you should say that because my test is, "Can I run Ravenloft with this?"  Let's see.  Darklord = Master, Town = Domain.  Yup.  Suddenly, my entire Ravenloft collection just became my stock list of Masters and Towns.
Ravenloft is almost too easy -- it's practically the same genre, after all, with the whole "Dark Lord" thing.

What about more abstract Masters? Like an organization, instead of a single person, and the Minions are the people on the bottom rung. That could make for an interesting Illuminati-style campaign, with the Minions overthrowing successively more and more powerful Masters... The "town" is the world itself, and the "outsiders" could be nearly anything, including aliens, depending on what you think the "goal" of the Illuminati is...

That could make for an intersting long-term MLwM campaign.
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2003, 10:01:42 AM »

Now we're talking!

Quote
Alpha Complex as the town (with a very low Reason)

LOL. That's awesome.

I like all of these suggestions. The space station idea is really cool for it's isolation. Fear could be very high indeed if the Master controlled the environment. Thinking about it, this makes The Black Hole a totally MLwM game. Right down to the Master's robotic minions Bob and Maximillian.

I ought to have taken the tactic that others wisely have, here, and included what the the townskolk are. Outsiders this is tougher for each setting because Outsiders are more specific to the Master's needs. But I'll include some samples.

Antarctic Research Station
Townsfolk: The folks at the little military base that people use to get in and out
Outsiders: the men funding the research

Mountaintop Monastary
Townsfolk: The little village at the bottom of the mountain
Outsiders: monks from an associated temple

Working any better now?

Western (to follow up on Lxndr's idea)
Townsfolk: Farmers (bet the Master is a rancher)
Outsiders: US Marshals

I'll play old Zeke, the toothless miner who works for the Master scaring farmers off their land late at night.

As for abstract, and working off of the office idea:

ReallyBigCo
Townsfolk: consumers
Outsiders: Investors


Mike
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iago
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2003, 10:01:51 AM »

MLWM/Little Fears crossover has some meat to it too -- with the parent as a master, other parents in a stepford wives kind of community as the outsiders, suburbia as the town, and the *kids* as minions.

Gets real interesting if you imply that the rest of the homes in the little community are having their own MLWM games going on in them too.

I'm also curious about the possibility of "shared world" stuff, where you have more than one competing Master...

To go with the multiple Master concept, there's also the possibility of doing a riff on _A Night in the Lonesome October_ (Zelazny) where each player plays the minion "companion" of a Master who is taking part in the game... but I'm not sure the mechanics would bear that all that well.  

Who knows.  Maybe you?
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jburneko
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« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2003, 10:07:51 AM »

Actually, I think it would be cool to do this with a Thug-Eyed perspective on the superhero genre.  The Master would be one of the supervillians.  The Town would be whatever city the superheroes normally defend.  And the Outsiders would probably be the superheroes themselves with the Want being to be recognized as the superior opponent.

Example:

The Master: The Joker
Town: Gotham City
The Outsiders: Batman, Robin, Oracle, Batgirl, Nightwing, Huntress

You could even stretch the end game such that the Minion doesn't kill the master but is instead somehow instremental to his capture.

Jesse
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iago
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« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2003, 11:37:19 AM »

The Master: Frankenfurter
Minions: Riffraff. Columbia. Magenta. Rocky.
Townsfolk: The party attendees.
Outsiders: Janet. Brad. Dr. Scott.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2003, 11:58:11 AM »

That's DOCTOR Frank-n-furter, to you, mister!

S/He didn't attend evil doctor school for many a year not to be addressed by the proper title!

Mike
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Lxndr
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« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2003, 12:00:34 PM »

How's bout a southern plantation, ca. 1862?

The master - the slaveowner

The minions - the house staff

The townsfolk - the rest of the slaves, mostly the "field staff"

The outsiders - the North
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John Harper
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« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2003, 12:32:03 PM »

You couldn't really play this one, but it's interesting. The original Star Wars trilogy is a perfect MLwM story:

The Master: Emperor Palpatine
The Minion: Darth Vader
Townspeople: The people the Empire terrorizes, especially Vader's family.
It is by winning Luke's love that Vader is finally able to destroy the Master, though he must commit some pretty terrible violence and villainy before he gets there.

Here's one you could play:

The Master: Lord Vader
Minions: Imperials serving on Vader's flagship Star Destroyer
Townspeople: Inhabitants of the worlds the Empire terrorizes
Outsiders: The Rebellion. Vader's Want is to show his superiority to the Rebellion and crush its spirit.

Others:

The Master: Shang Tsung, master of the Mortal Kombat tournament
Minions: Scorpion, Sub-Zero, and the other "bad" fighters
Townspeople: The good fighters and the people they care about
Outsiders: Demons from hell that are checking up on Shang to make sure he's holding up his end of the bargain.

The Master: A tyrannical Hollywood film director
Minions: Members of the cast and crew
Townspeople: Other members of the cast and crew
Outsiders: The studio execs

The Master: A mad submarine commander
Minions: Members of the crew
Townspeople: The rest of the crew
Outsiders: The Navy
[This would of course work on a whale-hunting ship just as well. :)]

The Master: The Don
Minions: Mafiosos
Townspeople: The Big City
Outsiders: FBI, other crime families
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lumpley
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« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2003, 12:51:28 PM »

Quote from: Fred
King Arthur is the master and the knights of the round table are minions in some fashion. The master's goal is the grail, only this time, his methods and motives are bad, bad, bad. All of Britain becomes the town, and one could potentially position this as a period of time when the King is without his sword.

Holy crap.

I mean.  Holy crap.

Lancelot and Guenivere because Arthur told them to.  And they didn't have enough Love to resist.

Yikes.

Quote from: John
The Master: The Don
Minions: Mafiosos
Townspeople: The Big City
Outsiders: FBI, other crime families

Has anybody else here seen Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead?  I keep trying to get Paul to watch it but he won't.

-Vincent
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