Story-game Planescape setting

edited February 2008 in Story Games
Posted By: WillH
Are there any other old games or settings with a lot of potential under the surface for deep character play?
Posted By: Denys
Also great suggestion on Planescape. I overlooked this back in the day mainly because I avoided AD&D 2nd like the plague but have since come to appreciate the setting's awesomeness. I was in some cool one-shots but it seems that Planescape-as-sandbox play is headache inducing and daunting; I'd love to see that focused into a story-game. I'm going to spin that off to another thread right fucking now.
Okay, so spinning off from here I'd like to see some ideas put out for story-gaming the rich, high-fantasy setting of Planescape.

Comments

  • edited February 2008
    The idea of different factions based on your ideology or universal philosophy, struggling against one another in a city at the center of the universe is awesome, but I would kick the existing factions to the curb and me and the group would all brainstorm a bunch at the game's beginning.

    And then branching off of those ideologies would be the different dimensions that justify the factions' explanations of "how the universe works." Brainstorm them with the players too.
  • One of the primary advantages of using a story-games system with the Planescape setting is that you can avoid the whole "1st level characters can't do shit" problem, which made Planescape somewhat unplayable under 2nd Ed.

    It be possible to create fiends, celestials and other outer planar entities as PCs, right out the gate, and they could be balanced easily against the inner-planar n00bs. I mean, using something like the Two Die System, it'd be a breeze to keep characters balanced.
  • I think a huge theme in planescape was the idea that belief was power. Get enough people to believe you're a god and you'll have the power of a god. Also the alignment system of D&D I thought worked incredibly well in Planescape, because alignment actually had an in-game effect with the various aligned planes. In one adventure a group actually introduces chaos into a lawful aligned plane and causes part of the plane to slip into another plane. How cool is that?

    You had cities rumored to have been built in the body of a dead god, and if too many people believed that was true, the god would come back to live. Again, how frickin cool is that?

    Any story-game version of Planescape would have to work with beliefs and alignments. To me that was the big draw of the setting.

    ME
  • My Life With The Lady of Pain.
  • I was a big Planescape fan back in the day. It's more or less responsible for starting my love affair with rpgs, and eventually, game design.

    PS was always supposed to be about player character beliefs changing the world, so you'd need some sort of belief or philosophy (most of the factions were really just classic philosophical outlooks with fantasy names: Solipsism, Existentialism, Zen, Fatalism, Fascism, Romanticism, etc.). The beliefs the players come up with should point to What the Game Is About. If you're interested in using a lot of the existing PS source material, you might find that the beliefs of the players fit with in the myriad Factions and Sects, but otherwise you could certainly just toss the lot and make up your own stuff with just a basic skeleton of Sigil.

    There's stories about the workings of the city itself. Personal stories about high-minded idealism confronting real world problems. The transformative power of belief. Crazy-ass power-brokering between supernatural forces.

    There's something very story-gaming about a D&D setting that was essentially "Battle Philosophers"
  • After attempting to play Planescape TSoY, I found that some of the factions are kind of flat.

    If I were to do it again, I might go about it with a kind of faction burner, with players creating factions by answering a few questions about what the faction is saying about reality, how it wants things to change, how its followers bring about that change and what mundane tasks and responsibilities do they see to in Sigil.
  • I think Planescape is the ultimate Wicked Age setting - incredibly far-flung elements become immediately relevant to each other's situations because their best interests are in conflict.

    So you do an oracle for far-flung elements, tease characters out, point best interests at each other, and have lots of opportunity to see different sides of the setting because you have a nice random Oracle keeping you from siloing. Also, there's no power balance issues. No matter who your player character is they can always have a huge impact on their situation.

    Rock.
  • The elements I want to add to this discussion are Dickens, Dickens, Dickens, Dickens, Dickens, Dickens and DICKENS.
  • Something I wrote about Planescape a long while ago:

    "Planescape is Guy Ritchie, Charles Dickens and China Mieville playing D&D together while gurgling alternating shots of Mountain Dew and absinthe. I want Beholder loan-shark eye-cult lords, Githyanki veterans, sword fights in taverns, magic wand duels, epic artifacts and keys to other planes.

    Planescape is about how your PC's beliefs shape the reality of the planes. When you go through a gate to another plane, I picture it Dogs in the Vineyard-style with alien D&D Monster Manual communities in crisis waiting to be pushed in the direction of your various factions and thus remolding the Planes in your Chaotic or Lawful whatever image."
  • Posted By: JuddPlanescape is about how your PC's beliefs shape the reality of the planes. When you go through a gate to another plane, I picture it Dogs in the Vineyard-style with alien D&D Monster Manual communities in crisis waiting to be pushed in the direction of your various factions and thus remolding the Planes in your Chaotic or Lawful whatever image."
    Positively erotic.
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