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Old 05-12-2011, 08:22 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default TL6-TL9 Parkour-friendly settings?

Greetings, all!

One of the colleagues played a song from the Mirror's Edge OST recently, and it got me thinking:

What kinds of modernish settings are 'friendly'* towards characters like Faith - free-spirited, athletic, idealistic, and kinda allergic the more typical gunbunny stereotype of PCs.

I have this weird idea of a city abandoned after a neutron bomb detonation, which was made a place of some sort of reality-show: some TV corp took over the territory, rebuilt some very basic bits of an automated infrastructure (e.g. sewers and plumbing), keeps lots of camera drones flying around, offers some benefits to people who decide to live for a certain period of time within the city, but strictly limits the sort of equipment that can be taken there (and meddles with the life of the participants to boot). Naturally, the place attracted all sorts of rebel youths, daredevil-glory-hounds, people with a high opinion about their ability at Urban Survival etc. Of course, being actually isolated from the outside world ought to separate the truly capable from those who just followed because 'Dude, that is sooo Urrr-ban!'. Not something I'm ever planning to GM, just a weird random thought.

* == i.e. where such characters are appropriate not as a rare exception, but as people others see occasionally in life.
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Last edited by vicky_molokh; 05-12-2011 at 08:42 AM. Reason: Bolded an important sentence so as not to mislead people.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:31 AM   #2
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Default Re: TL6-TL9 Parkour-friendly settings?

There's a few things you can do to make it reasonable.

1) No/Few guns for the protagonists. They can't fight the bad guys straight up, they have to run.

2) Slightly supernatural athletic abilities. Mirror's Edge is just a little bit above what a real human can do on a whim.

3) Cyberpunk or post-cyberpunk setting. You obviously don't want to get into the cyberspace or post-human stuff, but you're basically working with a futuristic totalitarian state.
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Old 05-12-2011, 08:52 AM   #3
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Default Re: TL6-TL9 Parkour-friendly settings?

I'm playing a "Riddick" analogue in a GURPS Shadowrun game online, as essentially a traceur (that is, using the A3 Traceur template, but at 250, there's not enough starting points to really do the character "right," so he's a little watered down from the movies :P ). Seems to work well enough in that setting, though—highly urbanized, with a need for some occasional B&E, and guns are not "required."
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: TL6-TL9 Parkour-friendly settings?

High control rating would be a good start. Guns would be a big no-no in a CR 5-6 society. At the same time, building activity should be less reglemented, so you can have all the places for the action. I would think something like this: a corporation-friendly dictatorship that creates gleaming, but shoddily built and maintained arcologies (cutting corners to maximize profit), while those not fortunate enough to have some ability the corps can exploit dwell in the ruins of the 20th century, making do as best they can. That would give you a broad variety of settings:

- the public areas of the arcos with their marble floors, glass facades, neon signs, escalators and lush potted plants
- the operational parts of those same arcos, with raw steel structures, badly insulated cables, faulty lighting and steaming pipes
- the somewhat respectable parts of the outside town, with graffiti-sprayed prefab apartment blocks and concrete walkways
- the run-down shantytowns, where ramshackle buildings made out of trash lean against what's left of bridges and skyscrapers

Of course, corrupt law enforcement and corporate security are everywhere, trying to prevent the lower classes from upsetting the lives of the social elite.
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Old 05-12-2011, 09:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: TL6-TL9 Parkour-friendly settings?

See also Brink. I would say that as the game plays, it demonstrates that gun-friendly and Parkour-friendly aren't exclusive goals. It has the "ruined urban" terrain and "authorities vs. citizens" vibe that others have mentioned. It could prove a useful inspiration, anyway.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:21 AM   #6
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Default Re: TL6-TL9 Parkour-friendly settings?

I started work on a setting that would capture some of these elements, although I've a dearth of regularly available players right now, and too many ideas. My setting grew out of a desire to do a low-ish tech space game: TL 9, no lightspeed, quite grungy. I wanted to run a game on a giant colony ship - essentially self-sufficient, cut off from regular resupply, and big enough for a couple dozen millions of people.

I, like others above, fastened on a "heavily controlled" feel - I wanted guns to be rare and/or dangerous. I also liked the idea that this vast ship had vast interiors - unlike the normal "grungy sci-fi" feel with cramped corridors, I wanted the ship to have a grand legacy that had gone to seed. Coupling the two together got me thinking about movement in what would essentially be a hyper-urban environment: there's no ground, just more ship in every direction.

So I came to a parkour feel in a roundabout way, by stripping down a space opera until all that was left were the bones of a single massive ship. Once I saw that image in my head, however, I couldn't shake it. I took some inspiration from Feersum Endjin (Iain M Banks - one of my new favorite authors) for the ideas about scale and that "rusting legacy" feel. The other half was something like Pandorum - ruined ship, wildly variable interior spaces, there's even some stuff that could well be called Parkour from one of the survivor characters.

I ended up abandoning the project when I had the (awesome) idea that gravity wouldn't necessarily work properly everywhere in the ship. This would allow some of the more "cool" parkour styling, but trying to construct some simple maps became really tough. I actually bet this'll be a problem in lots of settings (depending on your level of detail) - you need a lot of space to make a parkour-style game work, and it needs to fit together in interesting and complex ways to properly reward the out-of-the-box movement.

I think the thing we're dancing around is the notion that parkour works best in a modern, urban-ish setting (where there's lots of Stuff to jump on), but you need some excuse for why people aren't doing easier things for their transportation (cars are convenient, after all...). So we go straight to Future Dystopia as a venue of choice. I think it's likely that many (most?) such settings will have space for parkour and other urban movement disciplines.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: TL6-TL9 Parkour-friendly settings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Genesis View Post
I think the thing we're dancing around is the notion that parkour works best in a modern, urban-ish setting (where there's lots of Stuff to jump on), but you need some excuse for why people aren't doing easier things for their transportation (cars are convenient, after all...). So we go straight to Future Dystopia as a venue of choice. I think it's likely that many (most?) such settings will have space for parkour and other urban movement disciplines.
This is really easy to work around. Just have checkpoints for normal forms of transportation (cars, trains, planes, sidewalks) that the characters can't afford to go through.
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:33 AM   #8
Figleaf23
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Default Re: TL6-TL9 Parkour-friendly settings?

One of the sub-cultures in my current post-apocalypse campaign setting has a characteristic martial art based very much on parkour.

(They call themselves The Perfected, inhabit the fringes of ruined, abandoned cities, and are comprised entirely of mutant humans with no obvious physical signs of mutation.)
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:33 AM   #9
Genesis
 
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Default Re: TL6-TL9 Parkour-friendly settings?

Oh, hey - TL 6/7 idea:

Large concrete fortress inhabited by humans, being slowly overrun by whatever Vague Monstrous Menace sounds good to you. The fortress was not build to withstand human siege, just the mindless aggressions of your baddies - so you can get easily replaceable concrete fortifications and even guns alongside architecture that might be more appropriate in pre-artillery castles.

Parkour through monster-infested sections of the fortress, leaping from buttress to buttress, whilst pausing occasionally on some mostly inaccessible platform to take a couple of shots at your pursuers. Try desperately to make your way back to the cut-off interior sections of the fortress with whatever supplies you managed to scavenge from the wings that have already fallen. A combination of stealth, speed, and intimate knowledge of the environment can help you elude danger as you race through crumbling concrete trenches and leap over gaps in cracking bridges.

Would work great with zombies as the aggressors - mindless enough that parkour is a perfect avoidance technique, but they can be made dangerous enough that swift escape is preferable to fighting it out with a rapidly growing horde....
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Old 05-12-2011, 11:34 AM   #10
Genesis
 
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Default Re: TL6-TL9 Parkour-friendly settings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Figleaf23 View Post
One of the sub-cultures in my current post-apocalypse campaign setting has a characteristic martial art based very much on parkour.

(They call themselves The Perfected, inhabit the fringes of ruined, abandoned cities, and are comprised entirely of mutant humans with no obvious physical signs of mutation.)
That's great. Yoink - totally stealing it for my own post-apocalypse setting.
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