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Old 10-11-2019, 06:51 AM   #1
seaweedbrain
 
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Default adopting settings from books/movies etc

When you adopt a setting from a book/movie/ wherever what information do you give the players? For example, I've adopted the setting from The Wave universe (Without Warning, After America and Angels of Vengeance) basically on the eve of the Iraq War, March 14, 2003, the bulk of the population of the contiguous United States (along with the bulk of the populations of Canada, Mexico, and Cuba) disappears as the result of a large energy field that later comes to be known as "The Wave".

My game is set in between books one and Two. So The Wave has disappeared but only limited exploration has taken place.

EDIT: To clarify,i'm not asking for advice. Just wondering how others approach it.
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Last edited by seaweedbrain; 10-11-2019 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: adopting settings from books/movies etc

Have you read GURPS Adaptations yet?
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:01 AM   #3
seaweedbrain
 
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Default Re: adopting settings from books/movies etc

never mind, realized my mistake.
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: adopting settings from books/movies etc

The only time I've done this at length was a GURPS campaign in the setting of Charlie Stross' Laundry stories. For that, I deliberately separated the PCs from the main storyline, making them part of a different branch of the Laundry ("The Plumbers") that is referenced, but not explained in any detail. This meant that I wasn't tied to the story characters or their timeline.

I've also run a couple of short Discworld campaigns, avoiding the major characters, and a homebrew Toon: Schlock Mercenary game where I could not avoid the major characters, but the gameplay felt forced.

In general, I feel it's a bad idea to try to play the characters used to establish a setting in a different medium, or to play through those stories. RPGs are their own kind of story, and work best if you accept that.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: adopting settings from books/movies etc

I like to give the players as much information about a setting as possible. If I'm basing it on a previous work, I'll say so.

On the other hand, I'm a compulsive setting tinkerer, so I'll probably tell them there are changes to the setting and do my best to say what they are, so they'll never be able to say "But the walls are 100 feet high, not 20!"
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Old 10-11-2019, 12:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: adopting settings from books/movies etc

We're big on setting inspired by fiction but rarely adapted. It kind of stifles the creativity of the GM to work within the framework of someone else's story. We have recently played a cool game based on a French TV series called Black Spot. The GM simply didn't announce the source and he changed enough parts of the story to keep it fresh.
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Old 10-11-2019, 01:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: adopting settings from books/movies etc

I discussed a lot of approaches in GURPS Adaptations, nearly all of which I've used, other than "play out the exact original storyline." But most basically, when I run a campaign in the setting of a fictional or dramatic source, I tell my players up front that that's what I'm doing; that recruits players who are familiar with it and encourages them to take advantage of the source material for inspiration. Usually, anyway. There was the time when I used E.R. Eddison's Zimiamvia: Only one of five players read the books, and the resulting campaign was in a radically different mood, a mix of Shakespearean comedy and Dumasian swashbuckling.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:14 PM   #8
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Default Re: adopting settings from books/movies etc

My inclinations would be to tell players what setting I'm stealing, when/where relative to the stories the campaign is set, and what I've changed about the canon, so they aren't surprised when the setting contradicts some of their expectations.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:23 PM   #9
whswhs
 
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Default Re: adopting settings from books/movies etc

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
My inclinations would be to tell players what setting I'm stealing, when/where relative to the stories the campaign is set, and what I've changed about the canon, so they aren't surprised when the setting contradicts some of their expectations.
Yes, I think that's all sound. When I ran a campaign set in Middle-Earth, I warned the players in advance that this would be an alternate Middle-Earth where Sauron won the War of the Ring, and the PCs would be in the resistance.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: adopting settings from books/movies etc

The first time I borrowed a setting from a book, was back when I was starting to run games and the book itself didn't have much info about the rest of the state of the world and I was at a loss as to how to describe the rest of the world since the book at least what i had read didn't go into any detail.

In case you're curious, the main details I can recall are : A massive earthquake drops the east coast by about five feet or so with frequent aftershocks, the west coast is turned into a death zone of radiation due to a Christian extremist screwing up his plans and destroying some nuclear power plants, causing a massive influx of population into the midwest making a giant city that spills over a few state lines. Culturally, drugs are legalized and so there's a market for real drugs and synthetic drugs and the age of adulthood is pushed down to 16,14 with parents consent. (If you find a book that matches this,give me it's title and i might be bale to tell you that's it, I believe it's the start of a trilogy) Clearly,the book wasn't going for being believable regarding a few things.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Yes, I think that's all sound. When I ran a campaign set in Middle-Earth, I warned the players in advance that this would be an alternate Middle-Earth where Sauron won the War of the Ring, and the PCs would be in the resistance.
I recall reading some information you posted about that setting years ago, in fact when reading your book GURPS Adaptations, it's one of the examples that popped into my head.

EDIT II: Currently,i'm without a group but one idea that has been kicking around is picking up after the events of The Stand, either in Boulder CO or some other location.
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Last edited by seaweedbrain; 10-11-2019 at 08:33 PM.
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