Prison...

edited October 2007 in Story Games
Has anyone made an attempt to create a system for a prison game? Something that would play the best bits of Oz, Shawshank Redemption, and/or Prison Break?

If not, how would you go about it? What type of stats would the characters have? Most likely, some form of Cred/Reputation. There would also have to be some type of Favors system, trading goods for deeds.

Anybody else have suggestions or comments?

-Michael

Comments

  • The radio show This American Life has an episode called Hamlet Act V about a group of prisoners performing Hamlet. There is a wonderful bit in there where one of the prisoners talks about doing a version of Hamlet set in a prison. You can check it out in the archives at thislife.org
  • Posted By: Ben JohnsonThe radio show This American Life has an episode called Hamlet Act V about a group of prisoners performing Hamlet. There is a wonderful bit in there where one of the prisoners talks about doing a version of Hamlet set in a prison. You can check it out in the archives at thislife.org
    Its a fantastic episode. While I was listening, I was of course thinking about how prison life could be turned into an RPG, especially when one of the inmates starts describing minnows and whales.
  • Michael,

    I've been working on such a game on and off for a while now on a game called The Big House trying to capture that Oz and Shawshank feel. Prison Break is awesome, too, but ultimately I think an escape game is something entirely different from the other two, although both concepts are interesting. My early design ideas aped My Life With Master overly much, but I've been keeping it on the back burner as I encounter new games and work on other designs.

    My take emphasizes the tension between the Outside, the things outside the prison that give your character hope and motivation to get out one day, and the Institution, which pressures the character to do what it takes to get along inside. I'm also intrigued by pairing up various attributes in ways that mirror that tension - things like Crime and Guilt, Shiv and Lord (religion), and Snitch and Cell Block.

    My struggle in moving forward with the design is in deciding what the characters should be doing and what to have the system reward - leading gangs, working your way through the ranks, keeping your head down, etc. Of course, there's also the challenge of making something so bleak fun. I think Grey Ranks and others will have a lot to teach me in that department.

    James Brown also has a prison game on the backburner as I recall - Do Your Own Time. Hopefully he'll come by to talk about it.
  • I was working on an idea called 'contained' that would be specifically about relationships between characters within a confined space. The idea was based of things like 2001, sunshine etc. but could easily be adapted to a prison game. Or that will be the intention once it is out of my brain and onto paper.

    Cheers

    Iain
  • I've been thinking about a game inspired by prison break for a few months.
    I'm really confused, and not yet ready to make something of it, but here are some thoughts:

    - a fallout mechanic similar to DITV, which deals with personal problems of the single convict, both inside and outside the prison
    - another fallout mechanic which deals with the risk of being discovered
    - a mechanich to exchange points from a fallout to the other, but always inefficent (you remove 1d6 "total fallout" from the escape meter, and add 1d8 to your?)
    - you cannot ruin the escape as a result of you actions. instead, if you gain "escape fallout" over the limit, you must convert it in personal fallout.
    - every player plays a convict and a character outside the prison
    - betrayal between escape-mates and typical prison "bad guy" acts give you bonuses and resources, but put you in a bad spot.
    - semi-fixed lenght, in the sense that you have a time limit in sessions for your escape, but can succed before that.
    - things outside the prison can give you strenght, favours, money and information, but you must strain them.
    - some other idea which i don't rememeber at the moment :) i must learn to take a notebook and pen whith me anywhere...
    -Michael

    Scofield? :P
    I've been working on such a game on and off for a while now on a game called The Big House trying to capture that Oz and Shawshank feel. Prison Break is awesome, too, but ultimately I think an escape game is something entirely different from the other two,

    yeah, that's of course right, but if developed together, the two games could share a good deal of ideas and mechanics...
  • Jared made a game about prison life. It was for the same gamechef that Mountain Witch and Polaris came out of. It was pretty cool. I don't remember the name. I do recall that the ICE ingredient was used as something you could have in your veins instead of blood.

    Also from J-sor is his game "the farm." Essentially about escaping from a crazy prison, pluss a healthy dose of horror movie and the prisoner (you know, the UK one with the dangerous bubble).

    WoD has a suppliment called "asylums" and while its bent is much more the insane, its a pretty helpful document when dealing with prisons.
  • Jim Hogshire's book You are Going to Prison is essential reading and belongs on your bibliography. It's one of my favorite books.
  • Posted By: Kevin Allen JrJared made a game about prison life.
    Four Walls and a Funeral.
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