These both make me want to run a short Fickle RPG campaign in these worlds. Not much else to say, except “enjoy”:
In case you haven’t seen Dark City (1998) you really should go watch it. You also shouldn’t read anymore of this post first because it will have spoilers.
So first of all Dark City is a bit like The Matrix. Except instead of the main character knowing about the concept of the Matrix, and then discovering it the details throughout the movie, the protagonist in Dark City wakes up in a bath tub, confused and alone, and we as viewers slowly unravel the mystery of his world. The plot seems to be mostly about solving a murder, but really he uncovers the horrible truth that he’s trapped aboard a giant lab where alien creatures test on humans in an ever changing city. There are cool hints to watch for on subsequent viewings, great atmosphere and art, and overall a really mind bending idea.
I’d like to a similar concept with Fickle RPG. I’d frame the one-off/mini-campaign to the players as a standard detective story. I’d say maybe 1920s era to them, and that they’d be trying to solve a mystery. But as they dig through the plot elements and story they start to uncover things that can’t be true. Like who are these strange looking men shuffling around at night? What is this empty injection they find near a sleeping vagabond? Why can’t they leave the city? And slowly the plot would continue and they’d end up at the big reveal.
I think this is a fun idea because it throws a lot of player assumptions out the window. Like “I know the rules of this universe”, and “a city in 1920 can’t suddenly change”. And it’d be a bit of a test of my GMing skills to keep a straight face as they start to realize not everything is as it seems. I’d also have to work really hard to make sure they got the right clues (the old “give 3 clues when you want the players to find 1”) to make sure the story continues at a good pace and is revealed without my standard weakness of a giant exposition dump.
I could see a similar style game in the Cthulhu mythos, where the characters are digging into a crime in a small town, and discover cultists, and oh wait the cultists actually have summoned some dark, fantastical creature.
I ran some Fickle RPG recently with two one-offs in a Fast & Furious setting. If you don’t know the Fast & Furious movies you must not get out much, but just in case here is the movie series listing. Today I’m going to talk about that setting, some of the mechanical changes we used, a summary of how both sessions went, and in more detail in a separate post some ideas on car chases in general and tips to get them working in Fickle RPG.
When I set out to plan the one-off I aimed more for the earlier Fast & Furious movies, so it’s less about a high tech, organize team pulling off a Bourne style heist with extremely over the top shenanigans, and more some street racers getting involved in minor crime with just a few over the top shenanigans.
Two fun settings for Fickle RPG for you today! They both have a custom character sheet, and I think the Fallout one might be the best I’ve done so far. The fonts and Vault Boy imagery really pop.
As for the settings, I ran a 4-5 session mini-campaign for Star Wars. Lots of planet hopping, and a nice payoff in the end. For Fallout I’m mostly used to Fallout 1 & 2, and my friends are more familiar with Fallout 3 & 4, so we did sort of a mix. That setting was used for a one-off, which went really well and I think captured lots of Fallout-y things.
Also they had some of the better Luck Dice re-themes: Force Dice for Star Wars (naturally), and VATS Dice for Fallout.
Anyway here are the setting notes, including the custom character sheets:
I’ve also updated the main Fickle RPG page to keep these settings organized and make it a bit easier for new players to use existing materials and sheets.
I’m going to run a couple one-offs of Fickle RPG soon, and was thinking of settings/genres. Realistically I think we’re just going to rock and roll some Star Wars.
BUT there are two I came up with that I’d love to explore with the right group at some point. They are a bit more player-vs-player in terms of the intrigue and distrust involved, so that could be refreshing and an interesting stretch of the rules too (mainly because players allocating against each other instead of the Storyteller would add a whole new level of tension).
First of all an Arctic base with the alien creature from John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). I think they remade the movie, but come on, as if you’re gonna beat Kurt Russell and the amazing and unique soundtrack.
Anyway after a suitable stable of scientists, engineers, and other blue collar personnel were created, I’d hand out secret Personal Goals. All would be blank but one, which would simply say “You are The Thing”.
Then let the chaos ensue!
The second setting follows a similar pattern. Not really based on a certain movie, but more the dark ages of witch hunts and burning at the stake, with maybe a bit of Warhammer-fantasy-esque low/gritty magic thrown in to have ACTUAL witches. Maybe a bit would be drawn from the cheesy Nicholas Cage movie Season of the Witch (hate him all you want, I still like a few of his clearly-for-a-paycheck movies, such as Drive Angry).
Anyway the session would open with the players (who are a mix of inquisitor/priest/commoner types) burning a witch at the stake. Then having to carry documents of the deed to some central library…or whatever…just some excuse to travel. But before they head out, I hand everyone a secret Personal Goal and tell the players it will say if they are a witch or not.
The M. Night Shyamalan twist? No one is a witch. And go!