Figurative Destruction – A Solitary RPG

January 1, 2011

Figurative Destruction – A Role-Playing Game for One

by Evan Torner

(Submitted as a contest entry for the “Living in the Future” category of the RPG Solitaire Challenge, Jan. 1-11, 2011; see also The Robber’s Tale in this webring)

Tagline: War kills, power corrupts, evil spreads — and that, friend, is only the beginning.

Fictional Synopsis: Suffering under a tyrannical and inhumane empire, two friends assemble a plucky cell of resistance and miraculously overcome the odds to defeat the source of their troubles.  Yet philosophical and practical dilemmas lay before them, dilemmas that prove insurmountably divisive.  Slowly their fellow resistance fighters begin to choose sides between them, until their infant society is polarized, forcing their respective armies to confront each other in a painful final showdown.

Design Premise: Upon returning home to Iowa, I discovered a vast treasure trove of RPG books, assorted characters from two decades of gaming, and a closet full of action figures.  What to do with all this ephemera?  Design a game around it, of course:  a game that would also replicate a frequently repeated war storyline in my own imaginary play of my youth.  Personal design goals include the expropriation of a large quantity of trademarked action figures and personal campaign-bound characters alike (i.e., their names, identities and powers will be fiddled with at will), their incorporation into a storyline that both showcases their formidable strengths and fatal vulnerabilities pitted against one another, and this storyline’s service to both the player and others as a cautionary tale.  I also want to include a system that uses both audio and digital images to document the role-playing while not kowtowing to the genres of podcasts, video or webcomics.  The point, I think, is to have the game mechanics add adult pathos, nuance and ambiguity to the otherwise Manichean battlefields of the cartoons many of us grew up with.

I leave you with a video about Sectaur:

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One Response to “Figurative Destruction – A Solitary RPG”

  1. Still excited about this, looking forward to more. Had to Google manichean, that’s an interesting term.

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