What book would you like to see gamified?

edited September 2007 in Story Games
Every time I read a good book I start thinking this should be a game!!!! So I thought I'd throw it out there. What books haven't been turned into a game or game setting (or have, but poorly), which you think are screaming for game? Please feel free to add why you think this should go on the list.

A couple of my thoughts are (and if these have already been done let me know):

First a bunch of books by Guy Gavriel Kay that are just chock full of pathos and larger than life epiciness.

Lions of Al-Rassan
Song for Arbonne
Tiganna
and
Last Light of the Sun

And some great post-apocalyptic books:

Davy, Edgar Pangborn (also his West of Eden, set in the same world)
No Blade of Grass, John Christoper
The Folk on the Fringe by Orson Scott Card (It might actually make the best game, though its not as good a book as the other two)

Sci-Fi
Altered Carbon By Richard Morgan

Alternate Histories:
Murder and Magic, Randall Garett

Okay, brain's tired tonight, but that's a start. Your thoughts?
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Comments

  • The Cold Six Thousand, by James Ellroy.

    1963 to 1969. A nation in mourning for JFK. Bastards and dope dealers. Dirty cops. Bobby Kennedy waging his war against the mob. Martin Luther King. Hoover and Hughes. The Klan. Murder and war.

    I don't know what kind of game it would be, but I'd play it all the damn time.
  • Gun, with Occasional Music, by Jonathan Lethem

    Science Fiction Noir-style. There's potential for some great mechanics based on drug-use (Acceptol, Forgettol, Blanketrol) and Karma (it's like credit, on a magnetic card, the lower it gets the closer you get to the big freeze). There's evolved animals and babyheads (smart babies).

    Read the book. I guarantee you agree it's Story Game worthy.

    -Michael
  • edited September 2007
    Hmmm. I honestly haven't been reading a lot lately, save manga in Japanese.

    Pullman's His Dark Materials, perhaps?
    DUNE, setting that takes place up to but no later than two years before the Atreides go to Arrakis.
    Or World War Z, a game with stats and stuff, and told only through associated vignettes ("Roll a d8. 7? OK, the next vignette is... a congressional hearing. Let's go!")

    If I were to include manga, I'd say:

    Yuki-pon no Oshigoto aka "Working Cat A Go-Go!" (not the creepy live action version, mind you)
    Sumomomo Momomo (the manga (currently my favorite), and holy hell not the crappy anime) I imagine it will look VERY much like PTA, but with a white and red cover with anime art. But that's probably all.
    Death Note: I imagine the character sheet would be one sheet of paper: At the top is your name, your social background and one or two things about you. The rest of the sheet is simply lines of paper, as if a composition notebook. Period.
    LoveRoma, but I have no idea what I'd "want" or "be looking for" out of it.
    Azumanga Diaoh (the MANGA, not so much the Anime): But both Ewen and TonyLB are working on their versions, so all I need do is wait.
    Fist of the North Star: The awesome parts about love, brotherhood, passion and strength. Not so much about dudes exploding, though I figure some of that is mandatory.
  • Perdido Street Station. Also The Scar and Iron Council, but mainly I'm looking for a systemless treatment of New Crobuzon in the same style as The Pirates Guide to Freeport. I'm not counting the Dragon issue which gave you D&D stats for Uther Doul's Possible Sword. That's not really what I'm looking for...
  • World War Z would be awesome, Andy!

    My choice is a short story - sorry for cheating! "We, In Some Strange Power's Employ, Move On A Rigorous Line" by Samuel Delany would be my pick. Good sci-fi where the power company rides in a barracks-sized tank all over the world, stringing up power, bringing people free energy, and performing "conversions" when necessary, moving a community from the power-free past to the power-full modern. It's Dogs in the Vineyard with the forces of modernity against the forces of conservatism and survivalism. It is awesome.
  • Great Expectations.
  • The God Delusion.
  • Iain Banks' Culture novels. Just a great SF setting.

    Peter Ackroyd's Hawksmoor and indeed his other London books. This one is tough. Psychogeography, genius loci. Alan Moore could be helpful. A fascinating way to look at the world though.

    Malcolm Pryce's Aberystwyth series. Welsh noir makes the funniest detective stories.

    The Lies of Locke Lamorra is also a rather nice pseudo-Venetian fantasy setting.
  • Posted By: noclueAltered CarbonBy Richard Morgan
    I have a very specific idea for this that I might try to do once Misspent Youth is done.
  • edited September 2007
    Mahabharata.
    East of the Sun and West of the Moon, Old Tales from the North, especially as illustrated by Kay Nielson. The one I've linked to is an abridged version of the 1910's book. Scandinavian fairy tales. I have a few more titles in this genre, but the books are not in a place where I can get the specific titles.
    Njal's Saga
    The Mists of Avalon, although I think there are plenty of existing systems where you could play this.
  • Posted By: Graham WGreat Expectations.
    I'd definitely play that.

    I've always thought that the second half of the Neverending Story already has a lot in common with RPGs--it's like Bastian is creating his setting and adversity on the fly, almost like it's a big game of Universalis. And the tension between empowerment in the game and losing your connection to reality is great story fodder, if you set it up right.
  • Related question - what, if anything, do our choices say about us as gamers? Julia picked epics. I picked history. Clinton picked hopeful speculative fiction. Graham picked poncy British lit. Hmm.
  • Dickens is anything but poncy.

    I agree with the Culture series: that'd be great.

    Oh, and I know exactly how you'd do The God Delusion. You'd play a Professor whose Scientific Credibility and Logical Argument stats decreased over the game. Your only hope of getting your book published is by increasing your Bullshit Rhetoric, Misquoting and Grubbing For Quotes On The Internet stats.

    Graham
  • I have often tried to figure out how to make a full-on game out of The Crying of Lot 49 (Thomas Pynchon), but in the end I usually just settle for borrowing/stealing bits and pieces of it and grafting them into other games. Same goes for Catch-22 (Joseph Heller), and just about anything written by Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, or James Ellroy.

    I think the problem I keep running into is that the things I like in the novels I love aren't necessarily things that translate easily, or even well, to a game that I'll love...and so rather than make the attempt to bridge that gap and failing miserably, I take the easy/lazy way out and just crib the stuff that looks like it'll work as-is with no further tinkering required.
  • Terry Brooks Word v. Void series would be interesting. I've thought about writing something up for the old Paladin system or Risus, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.
  • Posted By: Graham WDickens is anything but poncy.
    Oh, and I knowexactlyhow you'd do The God Delusion. You'd play a Professor whose Scientific Credibility and Logical Argument stats decreased over the game. Your only hope of getting your book published is by increasing your Bullshit Rhetoric, Misquoting and Grubbing For Quotes On The Internet stats.
    Yeah, that kind of thing happens to all the obnoxious, nit-picking Brits. Weird.
  • Eric Haney's Inside Delta Force. The first half is the weeding out process for Delta Force. Think of it as a very extended initiation scene. Then the relationships created during the weeding process get worked out in actual high stakes counter terrorism operations. Haney also served as technical advisor for The Unit.

    Among classics, The Three Musketeers of course! That's what I wish Principia was.

    Giambattista Vico's The New Science, which posits that human history starts when primitive man sees lightning and becomes so terrified that he decides to invent politics, art, and technology to protect himself, with all history after that being an endless cycle of decay and rebirth.

    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: I've already written this game, it just isn't that fun. Anybody want a slightly used Victorian magician game system?

    The Voyage of the Space Beagle by A. E. van Vogt.
    Posted By: Andy
    World War Z, a game with stats and stuff, and told only through associated vignettes ("Roll a d8. 7? OK, the next vignette is... a congressional hearing. Let's go!").
    Carl Rigney's "Zombies in the Vineyard" seems to be pretty close to being a WWZ RPG, but without the vignette system.
  • I'll go for action/adventure with a bit of depth. A couple of SF/Fantasy settings I've always thought would make neat games are:
    • The Mage War series by Debra Doyle and James Macdonald. Sort of like Star Wars, except by people who can write and with the main conflict being a clash of rival civilizations instead of a simplistic conflict of good vs evil (although there are plenty of evil people). Space battles, treachery, assassination, politics, smuggling, pirates, privateers and two rival schools of mystics with very different approaches.
    • The Spiral series by Michael Scott Rohan. Our world is the core, but surrounding it is the spiral, where all the worlds of myth and imagination can be found, and from which all time and space can be reached. Anything is out there, but there's not that large of a population to maintain an industrial society, so swords are as common as guns, and technology seldom exceeds the level of steam. Opponents from cannibals and pirates up to monsters and gods. What you find in the Spiral is at least partly related to what you are looking for.
    The books are mostly out of print, but usually available used as inexpensive paperbacks.
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarRelated question - what, if anything, do our choices say about us as gamers? Julia picked epics.
    Epics and fairy/folk tales. I'm a sucker for allegory and archetypes.
  • Oddly enough I can only think of one novel: Watership Down (by Richard Adams). A couple of (related) manga series come to mind: Blame and Biomega (both from Tsutomt Nihei).
  • Posted By: Rich StokesPerdido Street Station. Also The Scar and Iron Council, but mainly I'm looking for a systemless treatment of New Crobuzon in the same style as The Pirates Guide to Freeport. I'm not counting the Dragon issue which gave you D&D stats for Uther Doul's Possible Sword. That's not really what I'm looking for...
    I second this! I love the Bas-Lag novels and the world, especially New Crobuzon. Someone made D&D stats for the Sword of Might? I don't know whether to be intrigued or disgusted. Can I find these stats anywhere? I'm morbidly curious...
    Armada would also make an interesting setting for a game. It's perhaps not as intriguing as New Crobuzon, but it does have the pirate thing going on which seems to be all the rage with the cool kids these days.
  • I'd also go for the sagas and histories. I'd pick the Laxdaela Saga over Njal's. Definitely the Mahabharata, though. Outlaws of the Water Margin would be good, too.

    Also, for interesting gender-explorative roleplaying, LeGuin's Left Hand of Darkness and Spencer's A Brother's Price.
  • Hey, John - look!

    Good call on Laxdæla. A true Icelandic saga RPG would be a good thing.
  • I'd love to see something that would handle memoir.

    Also, occult initiation narratives.
  • Hi!
    I dunno, of the books I have read recently, I'd like to play an adult not connected to the school in Harry Potter. I think there is so much to explore.
    Anything from the Myth Adventures would be fun too, assuming your group was in the mood for some comedy.
    Dave M
    Author of Legends of Lanasia (Still in Beta)
  • I would like to see House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski game-ified, in the manner of De Profundis, with all kinds of templates and document-creation rules and methods.
  • Posted By: jhkimI'd pick the Laxdaela Saga over Njal's
    Cool! I'd go for that, too. In that same vein, The Kristin Lavransdatter series, which is set in the 14th century, and written in the 20th century. It's one of those books that's been hanging out on my bookshelf for years, given to me by my mother-in-law when I was doing SCA. The movie was good.

    I think I'll go find those books.
  • Posted By: AndyDUNE, setting that takes place up to but no later than two years before the Atreides go to Arrakis.
    OrWorld War Z, a game with stats and stuff, and told only through associated vignettes ("Roll a d8. 7? OK, the next vignette is... a congressional hearing. Let's go!")
    Ooooh, both very nice choices. (Although I'd also totally love to see a Dune game that's all about the Holy War/Golden Path and becoming/being Emperor thing. *sigh*)
    Posted By: fnord3125I second this!
    Thirded! ^_^
    I love the Bas-Lag novels and the world, especially New Crobuzon. Someone made D&D stats for the Sword of Might? I don't know whether to be intrigued or disgusted. Can I find these stats anywhere? I'm morbidly curious...
    Well, I'm pretty sure pirated copies are easily available online. (It's what I did, to be honest.)

    As for the sword: In the hands of the average person, it's a +2 Longsword of Wounding. To "properly" use it the character has to be biothaumaturgically altered (With Profession (Biothaumaturgy) and Heal DCs give.) and must not be proficient with it's use. (People proficient in Longswords must take an Exotic Weapons (Possible Sword) feat to "impromperly" wield it.) Using a Fullround action and one of the swords charges, a character can activate the swords special property, which the following results: For every attack the character makes, he is treated as if he also made 19 additional attacks (As if he had rolled every number on a d20 excluding the one he really rolled.), with every attack that hits doing hald damage and every attack that misses doing 1 point of damage. No attack except the one that the player really rolled activates the swords wounding penalty and none threatens a critical hit. (Unless the player really rolled one.) If the character rolls a 1 when activating the sword, all attacks miss and a single charge is wasted. Once the sword is turned off, the character suffers 1d4 points of constitution damage and is fatigued for 1d4+1 hours.

    (Damn, I can't believe I even typed this stuff...)
    Armada would also make an interesting setting for a game. It's perhaps not as intriguing as New Crobuzon, but it does have the pirate thing going on which seems to be all the rage with the cool kids these days.
    It does have some cool stuff in it, yeah.
    Posted By: tony dowlerJonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell: I've already written this game, it just isn't that fun. Anybody want a slightly used Victorian magician game system?
    By all means, yes. I've been thinking about how I'd do the book myself, but I'd really like to see other peoples take on it.

    As for Books that I'd like to see in a game:

    Pretty much everything by Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross, especially things like Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Glasshouse and Accelerando.
    (Although from what I've seen so far, Sufficiently Advanced scratches quite a few of those itches very well.)

    The Futurulogical Congress and other Stanislaw Lem books, especially The Invincible and Fiasko. I've loved his books pretty much since I learned to read and he has a very, very interesting kind of SciFi going on. (I have no idea how dto do something like The Cyberiad, but I'd buy a game based on it in a heartbeat.)
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude / Autumn of the Patriarch / Of Love and Other Demons
  • Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, of course. Come on, Evil Hat!

    Also!

    Julian May's Galactic Milieu series.

    Sherri Tepper's True Game. (Out of print, but findable second-hand at sometimes extortionate prices.)

    Both of these are "supers" (basically psychic powers) but with a well-defined set of powers that intermesh, and the powers are not really the main focus, they're the background for the conflicts and alliances and family angst and relationships and tragedy and triumph of the human spirit. And quirky aliens.

    Terry Pratchett's Discworld. It's amazing that nobody has seriously tried this, but I think they're rightly put off by the man's unique brilliance - I don't know if you can do Pratchett without being Pratchett.

    Anything by Neil Gaiman, but the same probably applies.

    Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan novels (space opera done right), or Chalion novels (polytheism in fantasy done right).

    I'm not sure what-all that says about me.

    If I was picking a non-fiction book it would be Meditations on the Tarot, by the sanest fruit loop in the Catholic-Hermeticist box. Think Da Vinci Code with depth, extra weirdness, and the Catholic Church having it right instead of wrong.
  • Posted By: MikeRMTerry Pratchett's Discworld. It's amazing that nobody has seriously tried this, but I think they're rightly put off by the man's unique brilliance - I don't know if you can do Pratchett without being Pratchett.
    Well, there's Gurps Discworld, but other then that...
  • There's Gurps Discworld?

    Why not Gurps Jane Austen while they're at it?

    Gurps is, I'm sure, excellent at what it does. But I suspect that Discworld just isn't that thing.
  • edited September 2007
    I want a Jane Austen game. Just so it could be built around the stats Sense, Sensibility, Pride, and Prejudice. :D

    Also, I'd like a Borges game. I have no idea what it would be about, but it would still rock.
  • Posted By: DimfrostAlso, I'd like a Borges game. I have no idea what it would be about, but it would still rock.
    I can't help thinking that there's a game idea somewhere in the The Library of Babel (actually, in more than once sense!).
  • Posted By: MikeRMGurps is, I'm sure, excellent at what it does. But I suspect that Discworld just isn't that thing.
    My thoughts exactly, but I just wanted to point out the one Discworld game that exists.

    (Although, to be honest, Gurps Discworld has always been on my list of "Games I'll Buy Someday", simply to see how it's done and wether it has ideas worth mining.)
  • The Easy Rawlins books by Walter Mosley.
  • The Engines of Light trilogy by Ken MacLeod.

    Immortal Cosmonauts!
    Flying Saucers!
    The lost colony of Roanoke!
    Pot-addicted Greys!
    Dinosaur round-ups!
    Star-spanning Kraken!
    Asteroids infected by sapient microbes!
    Space Spiders!
  • edited September 2007
    (Although, to be honest, Gurps Discworld has always been on my list of "Games I'll Buy Someday", simply to see how it's done and wether it has ideas worth mining.)
    It's just Gurps with Discworld setting information. Funny, but the books are funnier (duh) so save your money.
  • Where is the Umberto Eco game?
    Semiotic (narrativist) adventures where the heroes lie and bluff, only to end up as the pivotal but unknown origins of all myths.
  • I thought the campaign design info for GURPS Discworld was, while good, not as great as it needed to be in order to actually make it a decent adaptation. Uncharacteristic of the line, alas.
  • Posted By: komradebobTheEasy Rawlinsbooks by Walter Mosley.
    What, you mean The Sorcerer's Soul isn't already the Easy Rawlins RPG? I was misled!
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz
    Three by Heinlein: The Glory Road, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, and a short story "All You Zombies" - one of the coolest time travel stories ever.
    The Redwall series seems like a slam dunk.
    World Enough and Time by Tim Zahn? would work.
    OH,Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin (a must read, awesome book!)
    some Raymond Chandler would be good too.
  • Jonathan Walton beat me to mentioning Elements of Style, though I was going to mention it sarcastically. Like Andy, I haven't been doing much reading apart from manga. (And most of the manga where I'd want an RPG I've at least starting on something myself). Well, I've also been reading what's required of me for grad school. Someone could probably do something with Natsume Soseki's Yumejuuya (Ten Nights of Dream) where you take turns creating surreal and significant dreams.

    I'm looking at my shelf trying to think of what else, and seeing mostly manga and RPGs... ^_^; Off the top of my head, Chung Kuo (David Wingrove) and Bill the Galactic Hero come to mind, albeit for completely different reasons.
    Posted By: Peter AronsonPosted By: DimfrostAlso, I'd like a Borges game. I have no idea what it would be about, but it would still rock.
    I can't help thinking that there's a game idea somewhere in theThe Library of Babel(actually, in more than once sense!).
    I was thinking the same thing. (And I think I said as much the last time a similar topic came along...) In my current long-term dimension-hopping game the PCs did visit the Library of Babel, though I know Borges' version didn't have a girl who turns into a giant robot using ancient dimension-folding technology, a gunslinging sorcerer, and a wolfman with entropy manipulation powers trying to fend off an angry reality-manipulating god of order.
  • The Brothers Karamazov.
    For all the games we have that are "kick you in the balls and yell BANG!", there is shockingly little representation of proto-nihilistic, angst-ridden, 19th Century Russian crisis-of-faith novels obsessed with human suffering.
  • The Inner Circle by TC Boyle

    The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  • These are so obvious I don't know how I missed em:

    Declare, Tim Powers
    Last Call, Earthquake Weather and Expiration Date, also Tim powers.

    Alvin Maker series by Orson Scott Card
  • James (noclue), is it a thread derail to ask what it is about these books that you want to game but, with the games currently available, feel you can't?

    If it is, I would like a thread that's about that.
  • Dan Simmons´ Hyperion
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