In the ‘90s I played a lot of Shadowrun. It has been one of my favorite games for quite a long time and even though I always struggled with the rules I have a lot of fond memories of that game. Yesterday my friend and fellow RPG blogger Roberto pointed this video out to me:
It’s a promotion video created by now-defunct FASA back in 1990 and has been shown at GenCon that year. I have to admit the depiction of the Matrix at the end of the video isn’t that bad, but the acting in the first part is worse than a lot of fan videos I’ve seen over the years. FASA, what have you been thinking?
Nevertheless this is an interesting piece of gaming history and if you ever played Shadowrun, you should watch this short video. And I think we at least have to thank them for trying. Creating a live-action promo video for a roleplaying game is and has been a bold move and I have to admit it would be cool to see what today’s companies could do with the help of modern technology and enthusiastic fans.
WARNING – While this is NOT a post about Porn the RPG (imagine the stats for that game) or a review about the Book of Erotic Fantasy, it will deal with complex issues, or what may be called “adult” topics and whether they belong in an RPG game. If such themes offend you, disturb you, or are not appropriate, please read no further. That all thank you, now back to the post…
I have always liked to push the envelope in my games, let’s call it Shock GMing! Trying out new storytelling methods such as games where events occur in a non-linear fashion, dream sequences, gimmicks like dressing up as a villain (I know that is dangerously close to cosplay), handing out props like a plastic sword or a glass vial with a strangely colored liquid inside to represent magic items, to more mundane things like altering, tone, pitch and volume when I speak. I still remember the a session when I talking in a calm normal voice and unexpectedly shouted and pounded on the table to represent a startling situation during the game. One player almost jumped out of his skin!
These are far from the only tools in my GM Toolkit, but I also enjoy introducing moral, philosophical or controversial topics and situations in my games. I realize this approach may not be for everybody, after all we ultimately role-play to have fun, and dealing with such topics as religion, politics, may not be everybody’s idea of “fun”. But by the same token I enjoy telling complex stories that tackle such subjects and I believe that while the goal of the game is having fun, it should be fun for all concerned, including the GM. If all I could tell were stories about endless dungeon crawls in worlds of black and white morality, my GM days would be numbered.
When it comes to the Old-School Renaissance I have some mixed feelings. On the one hand I enjoy the simple old-school charm of games like Swords & Wizardry or X-Plorers, but on the other hand I am unhappy with the lack of innovation and creativity in this part of our hobby. Games like the aforementioned X-Plorers, Stars without Number, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess are the laudable exceptions here.
But recently I read about another new old-school game which seems to take things in a different direction. Crypts & Things, will be a swords & sorcery game based on a heavily modified version of the Swords & Wizardry rules.