So I’ve been thinking about what game options might be on the horizon.
Rather than jumping RIGHT in on specific games, I wanted to pick out a couple broad trends that we (I) should probably be aware of.
Here’s the big one: We like being in communities.
Having no one else to interact with but each other does not work as well as being within a larger group of characters. Obviously, the Masks game bears this out, but the Star Wars game also worked best when we had ‘outside’ NPCs to bounce off of. Dungeon World (as an example) might work for something more than a ‘one shot’, but NOT if the structure is a series of dungeon crawls, no matter how good the plotline is. Ditto hexcrawls or pointcrawls, unless there is, again, some kind of home-base community.
If folks have thoughts on that (don’t agree, don’t think I caught some of the nuance, whatever), please jump in.
Anyway, based on THAT thought, I have MORE thoughts, this time about specific games.
Jumping forward x years works, since we’re still in the baseline approach of ‘in a community.’ There are a few Unchained setups that work easily (street-level vigilantes, probably), and a few others that we’d have to be really careful with (the GotG kind of setup runs the risk of being ‘heroes in a ship-bottle with no one else to talk to’ more often than not, without some conscious setup, going in).
This actually works pretty nicely, since there’s a whole portion of the game that’s about setting up the Enclave and the NPCs therein - in some ways, it’s character, and in many ways, the Enclave and those people are as persistent (or moreso) than the PCs. Community isn’t just supported, it’s kind of the point?
With some conscious effort, the home base for the game can be a nicely fleshed out community, but it’s slightly more a freeform effort on the part of the group.
Blades in the Dark
The focus is HEAVILY on ‘the gang’. Ties to community can be done, but it’s more an effort, though it is supported in the game, I think.
Scum and Villainy and/or Impulse Drive
Again, same potential risk as the GotG-type Masks game - heroes in a space-bottle, often cut off from others is definitely a risk. Killjoys shows it doesn’t have to be; Firefly/Star Wars/etc demonstrates it totally can be.
Urban Shadows vs. Monster of the Week vs. Monsterhearts 2
If the inclination is for modern supernatural stuff like Dresden/VtM/whatever, then much as it pains me, Monster of the Week is the loser here, simply because it’s really MEANT to be a monster-of-the-week kind of game. Serious effort would have to go into building out the supporting cast. Monsterhearts goes to the other extreme, being HUGELY about the supporting cast (and screwing with them), but it may be too PvP for many tasts. Urban Shadows has a marvelous Faction mechanic that might feed into the kind of mix of mechanized NPCs and fiction-friendly NPCs we really dig into.
Hearts of Wulin, Thousand Arrows, Dungeon World, or a real departure like Whitehack… we’d just have to make sure we’re set up to be part of larger ‘thing’ - general Murderhobos Inc won’t get it done for a lot of reasons, but that lack of larger connections is at least some of it.
Looking at all the stuff I scribbled on a sticky note, I can’t help but notice that all the games currently making my ears pick up are a bit darker than Masks. That’s on me, and may not appeal to you - please say so. Maybe I just need to get into a Band of Blades game to get it out of my system, because clearly the Masks tone suits us REALLY well. Again, any thoughts: jump in.
Finally finally: I love the current game.
I do. I just want to make sure we wrap up the main character’s main arcs as gracefully as I can manage (which isn’t all that, TBH), and wrap up before we jump a shark. I want to end, not fade, you know? That’s all it is.
author: Doyce T.