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The Hulk, and my new urge for URGE

Started by Bailywolf, August 26, 2003, 04:11:08 PM

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Well, The Incredible Hulk is playing again on the Sci-Fi channel.  6:00 eastern.  I get to catch it a couple of times a week now, and it's been quite a few years since I've had the chance to watch this show.  Simply put- it's marvelous.  

Yesterday's episode for example.  David is wandering down a long stretch of highway, hitching his way to Phoenix, when a seemingly-friendly (yet somehow creepy) sheriff pulls up and offers him a lift... David makes a few excuses, but realizes things might get weird if he stalls too much, so he reluctantly agrees.  When he opens up the front door, the sheriff says "In back... its regulations."  In the cop car ahead is a woman looking back, haunted.  David asks what she did, and the Sheriff says ",She murdered her husband."  The cop bluffs David when he asks to stop, saying there is a 'cheaper and cleaner place' next to the sheriff station.  David looks worried.

With good reason.

They toss him in a cell, and declare him to be the woman's accomplice in murdering her husband- once again, the wrong place at the wrong time.  Only getting maced in his cell, hulking out, and bashing through a wall allows him to escape.

This episode actually scared me.  This kind of situation- small closed community, local law with nigh-absolute power, and everyone thinking you are in the wrong- scares the hell out of me.  The paranoia- when an ally turns out to be in cahoots with the corrupt officials- and the barest hope of escape with precious documents to prove your innocence.

A great episode.

So more and more when I think Sorcerer, my mind turns to Clinton's URGE, and on to The Incredible Hulk's wandering narrative.  Every episode seems to start with a Kicker, and resolve that kicker by the end.  David- an amazingly decent and compelling character... I had forgotten how well-acted this role is- does his absolute best to remain kind and considerate when faced with the worst humanity has to offer... always walking that fine line between escape, capture, release from his curse, and his basic humanity.

More than once in the series, he sacrifices a potential cure for his condition in order to serve his Humanity better.  The more I see of this show, the more I think it is one of the perfect examples of Sorcerer's transactional morality in dynamic play- and an absolute must-view for any player of URGE.

I can't believe how much I missed when watching this show as a kid... I watched then for the big Hulk freakouts... for breaking stuff and roaring.  I still like that, but what strikes me is the profound humanity and sensitivity of the show.  It's simply marvelous.

And the Hulk himself... much more complex than he seems at first, and not at all the flat and boring metaphor for Banner's suppressed rage.  Rather the Hulk is a parabolic mirror for the world, focusing and magnifying what he is confronted with.  Presented with an aggressive action, he responds with magnified aggressions.  Presented with gentle peace, he falls into a child-like calm.  When he manifests, his driving instinct is the last thing Banner felt before changing-  Escape, and rescue the girl.   Get the horses out of the fire.  Lift the car off the woman.  Talk about a great demon- he lives and exists to drive the story on.

Alright, I'm sorry about this rambling post... but my ideas sort of gelled as I wrote.  

Is anyone running URGE right now, or has done?  I'd love to hear some actual play on URGE.  

Also, any other good URGE resources anyone might recommend?  I remember watching with relish the show called Werewolf when I was young (it was one of Fox's first shows if memory serves)... anyone know if you can find this show anywhere?

And.... Ramble over.


Clinton R. Nixon


Thank you for the comments - I'm glad someone else gets the Incredible Hulk television show. Bill Bixby is a vastly underrated actor.

Urge is the RPG work I'm most proud of doing, even with its first-try flaws. I don't think it gets a lot of actual play because:

- There is one mechanical flaw (damage) that is pretty bad.
- It's made for one GM and one player.
- I could have written a better chapter on how to run Urge.
- Pardon my hubris, but it's all dark and deep and shit.

I think with a good re-write, it'd get more play. Luckily, it wouldn't take so very long to re-write it. I have a couple of smaller projects I want to kick out, and either rewriting Urge, or writing some free supplementary material for it, should get pushed to the top.
Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games


Clinton- can you tell me about some of your own URGE games and how they played out?

Also- if you 2nd edition URGE, I'll be right there to snagg it.


Clinton R. Nixon

Quote from: BailywolfClinton- can you tell me about some of your own URGE games and how they played out?

Herein I show someone the First Rule of Game Design:

I never played Urge. I broke that First Rule in a major way. That's actually why you don't see more play of it: it's not a truly played game.

I forgive myself and all - it was my first real game, and was written when I didn't have a game group. If I ever sit down with a pot of coffee and give it a work-over, it'll be after at least a five-game run of it, though, which would improve it greatly.
Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games

Ron Edwards

Hi there,

Both the 80s TV show and Clinton's mini-supplement are vastly under-appreciated.

If anyone runs the thing, please post here and we'll see a revision that'll take off like a rocket.



Can anyone remember an episode of the Hulk when David enjoyed becoming the green one?  Where he got some real satisfaction about cracking heads and screaming?  He always seemed to fight it- even when the change was going to save his life.  I'm trying to think if he ever let the green man out deliberately.


John Harper

I ran Urge recently. The thread from Actual Play is here:

It doesn't go into lots of detail, but it's a decent play report nevertheless. I don't agree with Clinton's assessment of 1 GM, 1 Player, btw.  I think Urge is just as challenging to run/play as standard Sorcerer (not more so) and can accomodate multiple players. 3 would be my limit.

And you're right about the Hulk TV show, Ben. It was my favorite show when I was a kid and I still love it as an adult. Great writing, great acting, great stories. Until Buffy came along, it was hard to beat for action/adventure/melodrama.
Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!


I'm working on an URGE game right now- with luck I'll be running it in the next week or so (with the vaguries of last minute wedding chaos allowing... getting hitched on the 20th!).  Its an attempt to break out from URGE's "one on one" play style, and delibretly thrust multiple PC's all possessed by the URGE into a tight pack.  Here is the gist of it:

The Politics of Wolves

Premise:  A small group of lycanthropic people bound together by the intense pack-mentlaity which links them who must struggle to maintain human relationships in the face of the more primal, more seductive relationships of social predators.  In this setup, URGE atually represents an entirely new and powerful way of relating to others rather than a source of alienation.  Right and Wrong, Good and Evil have no place in this order- these are human concepts.  In many ways, humans are far more evil than a predator.  A predator is not cruel.  He doesn't build concentration camps.  He doesn't kill for the joy of killing.  He kills to survive, to live.  One route to maintain humanity in the face of URGE is to indulge in uniquely human perversities which no predator would waste time with.


I watched this supernatural horror show back in the late 80's, and at the time was both facinated and frightened by the fairly explicit gore and violence.  A great werewolf show, and the main source for the visual aspects in The Politics of Wolves.

The Wolf's Hour by Robert R McCammon
A great ripping spy story... who's protagonist happens to be a Russian-born werewolf working for the Brits during WWII.  The horrors men do to one another laid bare next to the comparitively clean bloodletting of wolves and werewolves... the flashbacks to Russia are the main source for the hybrid human/werewolf social order, and capture the real struggle between humanity and URGE I want in this game...  After seeing the horrors of the Nazis the protagonist is tempted to abandon humanity and embrace the wolf as the better of the two... human relationships save him from this descent.

Rule Tweaks
Very little here... everythig is just aspected to be more overtly werewolfy.  Urges represent the primal drives of the social predator- to secure position in the pack, to mate, to get the choice bits of the kill, to protect packmates, to defend territory from other predators...  real and valid social drives which work fine for a wild animal... but no so well for a human being.  

This is what I'm working with right now... I may tweak the rules (or at minimum, the descriptors and whatnot) to capture my themes better.... Suggestions or tips or perhaps ways to better realize the things I outline above?  I want the rules of humanity loss and gain to reflect the internal and external forces pushing the group together (external challange, and internal URGE) and the forces driving them apart (individual Human desires and ambitions and situational rifts).  I want there to be real delima... I want the character to be more powerful when they work together as a tight team- as a pack- and less so when they strike out on their own... BUT working together in synergy also threatens their humanity if they operate on the level of their URGE rather than on the higher order social relationships of humans.  

Example- best friends from childhood, one the brawny athlete, the other the scrawny creative type- are attacked and infected with URGE.  They have 25 years of history together as great human friends... but now they have the URGE driving them into a more wolf-like relationship in which a clear order of dominance is required... and if established allows them to work in sinc much more effectively (for example, in a fight).  However, surendering themselves to the URGE would erode their humanity, and destroy the human relationship they previously had.

This is still fairly riffy.  Any help sorting through this splatter-painted idea would be apreciated.