What game supports this laundry list of fictional features

edited September 2010 in Story Games
Key 17 (The Invisibles)
Deadpool
She-Hulk
Two Cops (Chainsaw Suit)
Mountain Climbing Expedition (Monty Python)
Dungeons and Discourse (Dresden Codak)

So far, I'm thinking that I need to lean heavily on Puppetland, but crunchier ideas are welcome.

Comments

  • oAo;

    That's quite some list of features...
    Not sure about the Two Cops or Dungeons & Discourse thing...but maybe the classic "Tales from the Floating Vagabond"? Not sure where you could get it nowadays, aside from used book stores.
    Or PDQ would work rather well...the PDQ-based Truth & Justice does pretty well with superpowers, and I'm sure Pythonesque comedy would be easy enough to fit in. Or Fudge/Fate.
  • EXALTED!

    or

    RISUS
  • Andy - Exalted? Really? Maybe things have improved since my last contact with it, but I don't see it. Could you elaborate a bit?

    Michael - ditto on "Tales from the Floating Vagabond", which I don't know anything about. What about it makes you think it would be a good fit?
  • edited September 2010
    Posted By: AndyEXALTED!

    or

    RISUS
    You left out WUSHU.
  • Two Cops is a cop who enrolled in the academy twice, and now he's two cops. He's a character on Chainsaw Suit.
    John Cleese's character in the "Mountain Climbing Expedition" sketch has double vision, but is anosognosic. He believes that there really are two of everything he sees (or four of twins).
    These characters have interesting ontological problems! They muddle the singular/plural distinction. The expedition leader's ontological problem has epistemological roots, which is cool.

    Key 17, from "The Invisibles", is a substance that causes people to be unable to distinguish between symbols and their referents. You hold up a piece of paper with the word "LION" written on it to a person dosed with Key 17, and they yell "JESUS CHRIST" and get in the car. Taking Key 17 breaks the use/mention distinction and gives you an epistemological problem.

    Among Deadpool's powers: he can see through the fourth wall. He knows he's in a comic book. He can see the speech bubbles and narration boxes, and occasionally uses this to his advantage, but mostly just exploits it for humor. She-Hulk has a similar power but it's handled differently. That's interesting because of the possibility of recursion, among other things. Deadpool, in particular, introduces observer problems, and questions of the inevitability of the future for fictional characters (you can't foreshadow something in the narration boxes without him knowing about it and maybe trying to do something about it, for instance). Pretty cool!

    Dungeons and Discourse: one, two. Two is better.
  • Posted By: ccreitzWhat about it makes you think it would be a good fit?
    Based on my initial belief you were going for something more Bizarre Heroes+Humor, Tales from the Floating Vagabond was sort of a spoof of all things sci-fi. They even had superpower rules in one of the supplements. It had the feel of combining Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Star Wars, Star Trek, and Spitting Image (the British caricature puppets).

    Now that I have a better idea of what these other things are that you reference, as well as to what thematic end, it still might be a good choice. Floating Vagabond makes a point to exploit these concepts. The various special abilities, even in just the main book, would serve your needs well. It is a lot more on the side of slapstick, but could easily be toned down to a more subltle level.

    Mechanically, Floating Vagabond might not be as user-friendly (wasn't bad, but one of the few games I've seen requiring a D30...which I have since stocked up on). But the concepts and abilities could easily be ported to some other system (my thoughts? Using the old Ghostbusters rules...)
  • This sounds like a standard Over the Edge campaign. Breaking the fourth wall was outlined as one of the big campaign plots in the corebook. Weird epistemological problems are OTE's bread and butter.

    The system is flexible enough to handle whatever weird stuff you come up with, and the setting and background stuff will provide you with more surreal philosophical conundrums to play around with.


    Alternatively: Nobilis. Nobilis can get you into some surreal, silly but also thought provoking philosophical issues. Especially if you have thematically relevant domains for your Powers (Causality, Observation, Paradox, etc.)
  • edited September 2010
    Posted By: Mr. TeapotThis sounds like a standard Over the Edge campaign. Breaking the fourth wall was outlined as one of the big campaign plots in the corebook. Weird epistemological problems are OTE's bread and butter.

    The system is flexible enough to handle whatever weird stuff you come up with, and the setting and background stuff will provide you with more surreal philosophical conundrums to play around with.


    Alternatively: Nobilis. Nobilis can get you into some surreal, silly but also thought provoking philosophical issues. Especially if you have thematically relevant domains for your Powers (Causality, Observation, Paradox, etc.)
    You beat me to the OtE mention; once Colin actually expanded on what he wanted, I immediately thought of those bits of the corebook and Weather the Cuckoo Likes.

    Nobilis might also manage. Basically, I can't think of any games that specifically drive towards that level of meta-play (well, maybe Power Kill), but going there is definitely easier with a game that gives players a lot of narrative power, or characters so much cosmic power that it basically operates on a narrative level. Something where players are actively declaring plot points would work, like Houses of the Blooded (which, now that I think about it, has subsystems that involve players managing their PCs' territory via a Settlers of Catan-ish board game, and characters writing plays that give the viewers new Aspects).

    Baron Munchausen would be another good choice, since the players are playing characters telling one another tall tales, and interrupt one another IC to establish troublesome details that must be incorporated or disputed ("But Baron, how could the mad monk Rasputin have possibly smelled your cologne when I happen to have his nose here in my pocket as a dueling trophy?"). Isn't there a more directly Scheherazade-inspired game or two out there too?

    Weapons of the Gods also sort of flirts with this in spots, since the basis of the Secret Arts (essentially, granting people advantages or disadvantages on the fly) is one of narrative convenience-- the difficulty of inflicting penalties for blinding rage on an irate shopkeeper is vastly lower than trying to do the same thing to a calm, reserved judge. Experience points, alignment, and character levels all exist as in-character concepts to varying degrees, and there is a special "transcendent" kind of XP that lets you buy things the normal variety can't-- the gaining and use of which is viewed as an affront to the natural order of things. Also, the supplement has large-scale conflict rules that are explicitly modeled on a board game that exists in the setting.

    The new edition of HeroQuest uses narrative-based difficulty (basically, the difficulty of doing anything is completely divorced from the task itself; it begins as a set number, and rises and falls as the PCs either succeed or fail at individual rolls. So crossing the same river or climbing the same wall could be harder or easier depending on when in the story it happens), and has the ability to "zoom in" to a conflict (i.e., resolve it in more or fewer rolls) depending on how narratively important it is. Making the characters explicitly aware of this might have some interesting consequences, especially since the game uses freeform traits, so a character could easily have "Knowledge of comedic tropes" or "Has a copy of the script" and use that to augment their more mundane skills.

    Finally, Exalted has touches of this kind of thing in the setting, since characters are aware of certain rules constructs existing in-game and could arguably deduce many others from the evidence they canonically have, but even the people that like the game admit the rules are so fatally broken that the most successful way to play involves avoiding reasons to roll dice, so I'd look somewhere else.
  • Posted By: ccreitzDungeons and Discourse (Dresden Codak)
    When the first one came out, the best way I saw to play out the philosophical one-upmanship show in the comic was with a Dogs in the Vineyard-like resolution mechanic (i.e. characters have Traits like Cartesian Dualism 2d8 that they roll in conflicts. All the philosophical stuff is player-inserted color).

    I don’t know if that’s helpful, but maybe you can chew it over. This is an interesting--albeit weird--idea for a game. Good luck.
  • Posted By: CamBanksYou left out WUSHU.
    Dammit, you're right!

    -Andy
  • edited September 2010
    Oh yeah, and if you REALLY want to cross the streams, a guy in my gaming group has a copy of this RPG called Crossroads (I think), where not only are the players supposed to play THEMSELVES as their characters, the first session is supposed to consist of everyone sitting down to roll characters for the game, then getting sucked into a dimensional portal to the fantasy world. Some definite Mazes and Monsters potential there!

    But actually, I think the REAL game you're looking for is WTF. And possibly its supplement, TLDR. I even have an AP report.

    So yeah, Jenna Moran seems to have the market cornered on self-reflexive and/or epistemological RPGs. I forgot to mention the super-meta-worldbending narrative combat supplement she wrote for Exalted, but I'll let her explain it.
  • I just want to say that in Mutants and Masterminds (3rd edition), I once statted up fourth-wall-awareness as ESP with the "dimensional" feat, which allows your power to operate in another dimension, with the dimension chosen being "the real world".

    It's a pretty flexible for a d20 system, once you figure out how to get it to work. I think you can handle any of those examples in it with a bit of awareness of how to play the system. Dungeons and Discourse would require... well, focus, but really, attach philosophical justifications to your powers and allow liberal use of Extra Effort for the Alternative Power feat and get a good group on board, and it'd probably be doable.
  • Itras By, I'd say. These could all be player characters there.
  • Matthijs, Itras By isn't available in English (or German, or French)… or is it? Sadly, I don't speak anything in the Northern Germanic branch of the family. Reading Danish (e.g.) just gives me the irritating feeling that I almost understand it, and if I had paid just a little more attention in school, maybe I would. :)
  • Also, Joe, I need to reread WTF (and read TLDR) in light of this current project. That might be right.
  • edited September 2010
    Colin, Itras By is included in the Norwegian Style book, as Itras' City.

    I couldn't find it online by looking at only one website, but you can buy the
    book through that website.
  • To be exact: The Itras By resolution cards are in the Nørwegian Style book - but the game itself (as in, setting, character generation etc) isn't.

    Yeah, sorry, Colin, I guess I knew that not everybody reads Norwegian. I just felt like talking about the game.
  • Nobilis is an amazing suggestion.

    "My dude is this badass gunslinging comic book character. Oh, yeah, and he's the power of foreshadowing and metafiction."

    "I'm the power of debate. I manifest as a highlander type character, OF COURSE."

    "And I'm the Marquessa of Nonstandard Gender Identities. @feministhulk is kind of my inspiration here. I'm picturing a sexy-yet-brutish green woman, with impossible strength and these weird post-modernist powers that occasionally surge up."

    "I think my guy's an alchemist, and also a crazy philosopher. He's got a raggedy beard and spends all day in his labratory. Maybe I can give his potions some proxy powers? I want him to be able to fuck with epistemology, and to confuse symbols and referents or something... is this workable, guys?"

    GM says "Okay, there's a lot of common ground here. Perhaps your Imperator is that of Logic, or Deconstruction?"


    There. That's Deadpool, Dungeons and Discourse, She-Hulk and Key 17. And that's the GM (actually, in Nobilis, the HG) seemlessly integrating them and taking it all in stride.
  • Posted By: AndyRISUS
    This, and much of it!
  • Posted By: McdaldnoNobilis is an amazing suggestion.
    I forgot to mention how the advice in the second edition of Nobilis is all given by a canon NPC who has the knowledge that she is a character inside a roleplaying game. The text indicates that this is an impossible situation, yet still true.
  • These specs are alon the lines of the Savage Henry game I've always wanted to play.

  • Colin, did you end up with anything?
  • Here's my takeaway:

    WTF is probably right. If there's anything it's good for, this would be it. The only question is how playable it actually is, and that AP report doesn't settle it in my mind. Nobilis is almost as good a fit and might be the way to go. I'm allergic to Exalted, so that's right out, but might want to look at Weapons/Wushu.

    The other really spot-on, why-didn't-I-think-of-it suggestion is Baron Munchausen. If I can ever find a couple of other people who want to play my game, that's probably how we'll do it, since I already know the rules, such as they are.

    This thread has awakened my desire to finally get and read Over the Edge. I've read so much about it, but never read it... this will be rectified soon, I think. Ditto RISUS. Also, I will have to learn Norwegian so I can read Itras By, unless someone translates it into a language I already read first (Matthijs, are there any translations into any language other than Norwegian at all? I do read French and German.).
  • Posted By: ccreitzAlso, I will have to learn Norwegian so I can read Itras By, unless someone translates it into a language I already read first (Matthijs, are there any translations into any language other than Norwegian at all? I do read French and German.).
    It's been translated into Finnish. Finnish is really easy. I hear kids talking it all the time.
  • You crazy Northern Europeans and your crazy reindeer talks!
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