I’m not a big fan of bucket lists as I’d rather have a richer/more-fulfilling life than one-off experiences. That extends to gaming, which is why I’ve sold off my monster games that take a whole weekend (or several) and instead have a variety of short, accessible games which I can play regularly with friends.
There is, however, one gaming experience I would like, well, to experience: a full pen-and-paper RPG campaign. In particular, there’s one game I’ve wanted to play ever since I heard about it: Primetime Adventures, which isn’t what most people think about when they think of RPGs. I’m just going to quote the book:
If you enjoy great television, then you’ll love Primetime Adventures, the game that lets you create and play the TV show you always wanted to see, complete with meaningful characters and gripping drama.
As a group, you and other players will create the show and its cast, then play out actual episodes of the series, exploring the personal struggles and cooperatively laying out fantastic stories that television executives can only dream off.
Basically, it’s not a game about hitting monsters with sticks, leveling up, and beating the big bad. It’s a game where players create characters with their own issues, motivations, and story arc and weave them together to into stories, like Firefly or Glee or Doctor Who. And I’m looking for 4+ other people who also want to create stories to play.
What can you do in this game? Well, pretty much anything. For example, the show can mix and match genres or draw upon your favorite shows. Create characters you find compelling or want to see in action.
For example, the book gives an example of a show about family, except the family are prohibition-era bootleggers. The older brother is a war hero trying to readjust to life before trenches. The sister (Meredith) wants to be a socialite and tries to fast-talk her way into society, but her family’s condition keeps drawing her back. The dad is trying to support his kids by fighting off a rival bootlegger while coming to terms with his dead wife; his best friend is a cop, which complicates business. The younger son is trying to escape his brother’s shadow and has become a delinquent; he’s nemesis is the younger brother of a rich girl Meredith is trying to impress.
Here’s another example:
- A dozen or so years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, another generation of students must deal with the realities of the wizarding world. Students from all houses unite to form a quidditch team to heal the divides. Various canon characters make cameo appearances.
- Lucas (Gryffindor) grew up with a father seriously maimed in the last war. He doesn’t like that Gryffindors are mostly known for their pranking and believes the decades-long systematic alienation of Slytherins is what drove a lot of them to follow Voldemort. It’s his idea to start the quidditch team. His nemesis is a Gryffindor prefect who abuses his position.
- Finley (Slytherin) was formerly a lackey for Malacius (do I have to give a house name?), but was betrayed by them. He has to deal with his desire for revenge. He has the Slytherin knack for cunning and is very good at noticing (and exploiting) details, which helps as a seeker.
- Ava (Ravenclaw) is a muggle-born computer geek and keeps trying to mate muggle technology with magic, but people in the house disapprove, so she is a social outcast even among Ravenclaws. She tries to prove herself as keeper and team strategist.
- Callum (Slytherin) was Malacius’ other minion but quit when Finley did. This causes problems for inside Hogwarts, by antagonizing a powerful Slytherin faction, and for his family outside of Hogwarts for the same reason. Or he can fix things by just giving up his principles. Even big hulking beaters have personal problems.
- Leah (Hufflepuff) is torn by different loyalties: she just made Hufflepuff chaser, and Hufflepuffs make a big deal out of loyalty and friendship (not much else going for them…), but Lucas is her childhood friend and budding romantic interest.