robin_d_laws (robin_d_laws) wrote,

DVD Collection Character Generation

We had one gaming session scheduled before breaking until ’07. Last session had wrapped an apocalyptic scenario of GUMSHOE Horror. I had hoped to do something requiring minimal prep time that would standalone, lasting only one session. I succeeded at the former while failing at the latter.

I thought initially of taking Gregor Hutton’s Best Friends for a spin but on reflection decided that about half the group would receive the idea of playing cliquish girls with, at best, beleaguered forbearance. I thought about rejiggering it to a faculty politics setting but that would have required prep time.

So instead I went to the first shelf of the DVD collection and listed off film titles, asking the players to speak up if they hadn’t seen the movies I was naming. I stuck to contemporary set films and soon had five flicks no one in the group had seen. I filled the five-disc player and flipped from disc to disc, choosing random scenes. The players’ assignment: to create characters based on the people they saw on screen, using the information from these brief clips to inspire their PCs.

After assuring the players that this was not a game I was playtesting for commercial release—as apparently other people own fewer DVDs than I do—we proceeded with a fully improved scenario. Outside of the contemporary setting, even the genre was up for grabs, decided by player choices.

Characters were based on:
Marcello Mastroianni’s super-suave game-playing hitman from The Tenth Victim.
The kid with the toy gun from Kim Ki-Duk’s 3-Iron, played by chryx.
Jeroen Krabbe’s tormented Catholic writer in The 4th Man, (madmanofprague)
Michael Wong’s straight arrow cop in Beast Cops (troy_duffy)
A track-suited, morally concerned small time thug from the Thai comedy-thriller 6ixtynin9. (thebitterguy)

You will note that I didn’t have to go too far through the alphabet to find five flicks no one else had seen. I didn’t want to pick movies they knew, or they’d feel obliged to import the characters in their entirety, instead of using them as a jumping-off point for their own creativity. Besides, everybody would want to play Indiana Jones.

I used Heroquest mechanics, relying on its on-the-fly character generation. Whoever designed that game sure knew how to facilitate my GMing style.

It was madmanofprague, not me, who introduced the centipede-derived drug into the storyline, defining it midway through as an Over the Edge-like excursion into contemporary crime and weirdness.

Using cutaways, I wove the characters into a plotline that left them colliding with each other’s motivations. The Marcello clone has been hired to kill the kid’s uncle. He gave a gun to the kid, hoping he would point it at his victim and shoot. Instead he hit the ersatz Jeroen Krabbe. The uncle manufactures The Black, a centipede-based drug madmanofprague’s character favors; thebitterguy is his dealer. The Michael Wong cop is running around policing all of the crime scenes they’re generating.

We ended on a cliffhanger with Marcello facing a basement of giant centipedes under the kid’s house.

Tags: gaming hut

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