Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Still Wobbling this Week

Just like how working my wooden block calendar everyday keeps me more aware of petty stuff like what day to write down on say the patient reports that I make my day-to-day living doing, writing Wobble scenarios helps me analyze different fantasy media. By media, I mean mediums, as in TV, written fiction, and gaming material.

My Wobble stuff, as you might've heard, is a personal coping mechanism for the RPG craze which is mixed genre settings. "Mixed genre" was always the third-most viable RPG genre besides sword and sorcery and it has continued to be since the 80s. With the publishing of Rifts and FASA's licensing of Dr Who this tradition has surpassed science fiction (from TV or Film or publication), superhero, or even post-apocalyptic. And it gets reinvented every few years. If you're a steampunk fan and don't know that it's gunnes-meets-high fantasy then you're illiterate in gaming culture.

It also is one of my least favorite sub-genre in any medium. It's popular on TV because it's so among TV show producers. Phasers and Nazis. Aliens that resemble Italian movie Sword and Sandal characters. Victorian-era folk with I-pads. The surreality of folks walking around in costumes from different historical eras has always been a source of inspiration. This has not only led to half of the BBC shows of the last century and later Stargate, but it becomes a trope to be used in every fourth Star Trek (all of the series, except Enterprise) episode. The convention of trying to make use of overly-abundant costumes makes its way into every TV sooner or later as the obligatory Halloween episode comes up. When it comes to gaming though, I like what works.

Even nicer is that mixed-genre works better in pen and paper RPGs than elsewhere in Adventure Gaming. Wargames and boardgames would require way too much reference material to be any sort of entertaining read to mix in plastic army men, 10mm Napoleonic campaign miniatures, and a Fisher Price farm's pieces to say the least. Pen and paper authors can strip to the waist, cover themselves in lard, and then use sock puppets before anyone in the audience gets surprised.

So when I come across Peryton's Qalidar: Resistance or Brandon Osorio's Time Shredders sessions, I come up with whacky conundrums and gonzo premises. My alien species don't have to be the result of research but of freaky images and pop culture anomalies. Only half of the time do my works have anything to do with either setting. Still, I don't feel the need to do the whole game design thing, even if my own rules are all but complete already. No. My rule notes are just notes. They're mere suggestions, for the enterprising GM, to interpret as he sees fit. At the same time, the creatures and story-arcs that I develop in these scenarios I want to remain distinct.

I have some seven scenarios written up, and just about ready for post-production. As always some are closer than others.

Wobble 1: "The Wobble Ship" (redux)
Wobble 2: "Corporate Raiders"
Wobble 3: "Eye Of the Needle"
Wobble Sideways 1: "Here Be Dragons" (Qalidar)
Wobble 4: "Egg"
Wobble Sideways 2: "The Clock Library" (Qalidar)
Wobble Sideways 3: "Back In the Saddle" (Time Shredders)

I am going to be looking for some help to do the initial playing on five of these pieces over the next year.

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